Do you know what I am? Ugly all day! Nicholas Cage Con Air
I love that quote, it’s one of my all time favorites. And it’s topical as well, since the way things are going, when it comes to Donald trump, the answer is Ugly all month. And better yet, it isn’t just Trump, it’s slamming the GOP right in the chops at the worst time. On a packed political news day, here’s a recall if just how many wheels can fly off of the Trump train in 24 hours.
Today was an 11 hour marathon grilling for Judge Amy Comey Barrett for her confirmation to the Supreme Court. And it by no means lived up to Trump’s expectations. Granted, Trump wants to fill this seat, mainly because he’s a selfish pug, and wants to take advantage of anything that is given to him, but in this case, the nomination actually served a more devious purpose.
Let’s be honest. The coronavirus, and Trump’s botched response is killing his reelection campaign. And Trump has been totally incapable of pulling any stunt that would take the virus and his response off of the front pages. One maj0or benefit of the Barrett hearings are that they would smother news coverage, giving Trump something else to talk about for the week.
Except that the Democrats aren’t cooperating. Both in their opening statements yesterday, as well as their direct questioning today, the Democrats showed admirable message control, using the certainty that if confirmed, Barrett would vote on the ACA suit, and using that as a platform to display pictures of cute kids and grandparents, tormented or killed by the coronavirus, and hammering them home to a captive audience. The Democrats made sure that the virus, and Trump’s botched response, remained front and center.
An it didn’t help matters any that Barrett herself came across in the hearing as a conniving little sneak. Anybody who has watched Senate judicial confirmation hearings knows that nominees normally turn themselves into verbal pretzels to avoid giving a specific answer to a question, They prefer to either refuse to answer a hypothetical question, or they refuse to answer a question on an issue that could eventually come up before them on the court.
But Barrett went the extra mile, and then swam a lap to boot. She refused to answer even direct, simple, straightforward legal questions. Senator Amy Klobuchar made her look like a fool when she described Trump attempts to hire mercenaries as poll watchers, and asked her a simple question, Is voter intimidation against the law in the United States? Barrett danced on the head of a pin, trying out the hypothetical excuse, only to have Klobuchar read her the federal statute that has been on the books for decades. Likewise, Senator Dianne Feinstein asked her if the President had the constitutional authority, or authority in federal law to delay an election. Again, Barrett did a rain dance until Feinstein pointed out that he had no authority under either premise.
There could be no question, Barrett is terrified up there. This is the brass ring she’s trying to grab. And Trump has already made it perfectly clear, both in oral statements, as well as Twitter, as to what he expects from his newest Justice. Barrett is trying to walk a tightrope to keep Trump from pulling her nomination in a rage tweet, and starting all over with somebody else.
Leningrad Lindsey Graham takes the cake today for the most craven, crass political self opportunism. Graham is running a high stakes Senate hearing to ram through an already unpopular judicial nominee, and yet, in the middle of the proceedings, he manages to find time to squeeze in a quick personal bitch about his pathetic fund raising numbers in his reelection race. I guess the FOX News viewers weren’t buying enough of that he was selling.
And it turns out that there might be a pretty good reason for that craven cowardice. Earlier tonight on MSNBC, a reporter who covers politics in South Carolina quoted a new poll that showed Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison finally pulling ahead of Graham 47-45. I have watched this race closely, since I have been a regular supporter of Harrison, and this is the first time that he has actually managed to climb the mountain and take the lead.
And the hits just keep on coming. 1 day after massive turnout in Georgia for the first day of early, in person voting, leading to lines of 8 hours or more, today was the first day of early, in person voting in Texas. And in the largest county in Texas, Harris county, the doors blew off. Harris county also had long lines, but not due to a lack of effort. The San Antonio Spurs NBA team posted video of insane lines at their arena to vote. Harris county set a new record today, with more than 110,000 voters showing up to cast ballots. I guess Beto’s million voter call bank yesterday worked. As I wrote earlier, at least some of the grassroots enthusiasm is highlighted on flipping the Texas legislature, but what does dear Ursula Faw say? A rising tide lifts all boats.
And in Kentucky, Moscow Mitch McConnell just couldn’t resist stepping on his shriveled old crank either. Last night he held the only debate of the cycle against Democratic challenger Amy McGrath. By all accounts, McConnell showed up woefully unprepared for the buzz saw he stepped into. At one point he disdainfully said, As far as I can tell, my opponent’s campaign consists of, I’m a former Marine, I’m a mother, and McConnell’s been in Washington too long. To which McGrath brilliantly immediately fired back, You’ve been in Washington for 36 years, and what does Kentucky have to show for it? In another exchange, as McGrath excoriated McConnell for his slovenly attitude towards Kentuckians, McConnell’s only response was to audibly laugh as she spoke. That kind of a dismissive attitude by McConnell towards a woman making a cogent point is going to cost him. But it gets worse. At one point, McGrath took McConnell to the woodshed on his willful reticence to move, or even negotiate on a Covid-19 relief package passed by the House, at a time when so many Kentuckians were suffering. The moderator asked McConnell if he wished to respond, to which McConnell replied, No. Next question please. I think that if there was one question Kentuckians would have liked answered at that debate, it was that one.
But here’s my favorite one. In North Carolina, GOP incumbent Thom Tillis is in the fight for his life against a Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham. Most polling, as well as the Cook Political Report showed the race a toss up. A September poll showed Cunningham +1. But instead of capitalizing, Cunningham got himself embroiled in a personal scandal, in which he had to admit to, and apologize for,D