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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Re all of the yada-yada about “authenticity” of political candidates, Michael Tomasky calls it out: “I hate authenticity. Authenticity sucks. It’s a substitute for critical thought and actual argument, and the political media harp far too much on it…I can’t tell you the number of straight-news reporters who’ve said to me over the years something like: Yes, okay, Ted Cruz or Lindsey Graham or whoever may be a little out there, but you know what? At least he really means it. What you see with him is what you get. To which I would rejoin, well, that’s fine, but so what; all that means to me is that when he starts World War III or resegregates our school system via his court appointments or gives the 1 percent another whopping-big tax cut, he’ll be doing so sincerely…I’d much rather have a president who inauthentically raises the minimum wage and passes paid family leave than one who authentically eliminates the federal minimum wage and does what the Chamber of Commerce tells him to do on all such matters.”

From “We All Get ‘Free Stuff’ From the Government,” a NYT op-ed by Bryce Covert: “In a 2008 poll, 57 percent of people said they had never availed themselves of a government program, yet 94 percent of those same people had in fact benefited from at least one — mostly through what the Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler has called the “submerged state,” or the huge but often invisible network of money spent through the tax code…Jeb Bush, however, is almost certainly aware of the freebies available through taxes. (According to one analysis of his federal income tax returns, he himself has saved at least $241,000 since 1981 through the mortgage interest deduction.) Just days before he vowed not to promise voters more free stuff, he put out a tax plan that would give out a whole lot more of it.”

Three recent polls show a stat tie in NC Governor’s race, despite low name recognition for Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Michelle Everhart of the Columbus Dispatch reports that a new Quinnipiac poll pegs Ohio voters support for medical marijuana at 90 percent and for recreational use at 53 percent. “What’s unclear is whether those people will vote for Issue 3, ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize both types of marijuana use. The issue is on the ballot statewide.”

At JSpace News, Erica Terry’s “Godwin’s Law Has Brought Us Ben Carson’s Hitler Gun Control Theory,” explains “Nevermind that Germany’s strict gun laws date to 1919, were the result of the Treaty of Versailles, predated the rise of Hitler, and were actually loosened under Hitler’s reign,” writes Terry. “Nevermind that the largest known example of Nazi resistance, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, saw armed Jews try and ultimately fail to defend themselves and their families due to the unmatched numbers of the SS. Nevermind that Israel, the globe’s largest single population of Holocaust survivors, is a place where it is incredibly difficult to purchase a gun. Nevermind that the fate of European Jewry in the 1930s was arguably decided not by bullets, but by a largely silent civilian public.”

If you’ve been wondering about what’s going on with the Webb presidential campaign, try Max J. Rosenthal’s Mother Jones post, “Is Jim Webb Really Running for President? An Investigation. He’s maintaining a suprisingly low profile.”

At The New York Times Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer Marin Cogan reports that, in the wake of the Kevin McCarthy debacle, “Republicans Are Calling Their Party a ‘Banana Republic.’ It’s More Like a Failed State.”

Also at The Daily Intelligencer Jonah Shep addresses the mess in his round-up “How the Right Is Reacting to the House Leadership Crisis.” The most chuckle-worthy nugget comes from Ed Rogers, who tries to smear a little lipstick on the pig, calling it “an opportunity to have a good debate and a good contest for this vital leadership position within the Republican Party.”

Ed Kilgore notes at the Washington Monthly that the Speaker of the House doesn’t have to be a member, flags some humorous and frightening possibilities and invites his readers to offer suggestions in a similar spirit. They come up with the Kims – Davis and Kardashian, “Heckuva Job Brownie,” and a Reagan hologram, among other outsiders.

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