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Is Beto O’Rourke On a ‘Suicide Mission’?

The El Paso Democrat faces long odds against Ted Cruz.

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke Facebook page

Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. The party’s presidential candidate Hillary Clinton last year performed better than any member of her party has done in years and still only received 43 percent of the vote. Texas elections are the fire that incinerates Democratic politicians, but a tall and youthful congressman from El Paso on Friday offered himself up as a cool drink of water to douse those flames in a challenge to Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

In announcing his candidacy, the 44-year-old Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke declared in his hometown that he will serve the state rather than run for president and promised to counter the “fear and paranoia” coming for President Donald Trump’s White House.

But O’Rourke is not only from a different time zone than the rest of the state, he may be from a different political reality. “I know Beto. And he’s a good guy. But I think this is a suicide mission,” Texas’ other Republican senator, John Cornyn told Politico.

O’Rourke said Friday he will run for the office by refusing to take either political action committee money or corporate money. Cruz starts the race with $4.2 million in his campaign account, while O’Rourke starts with a little less than $400,000. During his presidential campaign, Cruz’s loosely affiliated Super PACs raised more than $38 million for his campaign. Texas is a state with about 25 media markets. Running a statewide campaign usually costs $1 million to $1.5 million a week, and $30 million in spending is not unusual in a general election. O’Rourke begins by limiting his ammunition. “It’s bear your throat to the wolf,” Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson told me. “[the wolf] may have pity on you but probably not.”

O’Rourke did not specifically rule out having a Super PAC, and in fact one was associated with his 2012 upset primary defeat of incumbent El Paso congressman Sylvestre Reyes. The Super PAC was partly financed by O’Rourke’s father-in-law, El Paso developer Bill Sanders. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Reyes said at the time that Sanders “is using the super PAC to help influence the outcome of this election while circumventing loopholes in campaign finance law to buy Mr. O’Rourke a seat in Congress.” If O’Rourke has a primary opponent, that Super PAC might become an issue because it also was used in an unsuccessful effort to unseat U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas.

O’Rourke does have the skills to run a campaign through alternative media, and is known for using Facebook Live to his advantage. House Democrats staged a sit-in last year after Republicans refused to bring up gun control legislation in the wake of the Orlando night club mass murder, but Republicans adjourned the legislative day, prompting the C-Span cameras to shut off. O’Rourke brought the action to national attention by streaming it on Facebook Live. C-Span then picked up O’Rourke’s feed as well as that of another congressman.

More recently, O’Rourke and U.S. Representative Will Hurd of San Antonio charmed the nation with a live stream of their bipartisan road trip town hall from Texas to the nation’s capital after a snowstorm caused the cancellation of their flights. They got stories in The New York Times, Washington Post, and on Good Morning America. One segment of their stream had 1.5 million viewers. Not bad for a free ride.

Cruz is no stranger to social media, though. As a result of his unsuccessful presidential campaign, Cruz has 2.4 million followers on Twitter. O’Rourke has about 10,000. Cruz used his account to tweet: “A liberal Democrat is announcing a campaign today to try to turn TX blue. Stand with us to #KeepTexasRed.”

The O’Rourke path to challenging Cruz is not completely clear, either. Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio also is considering a run for the Democratic nomination and put out a news release Thursday urging party members and reporters not to forget him. “He plans to make his decision in the coming weeks,” said his political director Matthew Jones.

Then there is the possibility that former George W. Bush political adviser and television commentator Matthew Dowd will run as an independent against Cruz. In an interview I had with Dowd earlier this year, he declared that the Democratic Party in Texas is damaged goods.

However it works out, O’Rourke may have little to lose in a race against Cruz. He promised only to serve four terms in the U.S. House, and next year’s election would mark the last time he could run and keep that promise. Also, as Jillson noted, O’Rourke is the son-in-law of one of El Paso’s wealthiest developers. “Beto lives life with a cushy net beneath him.”

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  • John Bernard Books

    Finally!
    “Hillary “Liar, Liar, Pantsuit on Fire” Clinton is now getting that orange wardrobe we’ve all been dying to see her in as the FBI slapped some cuffs on the former Secretary of State and hauled her off to jail, though she was in full on cackle mode the entire time.”
    http://www.youngcons.com/breaking-hillary-clinton-just-arrested-by-fbi/
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d2bc74410568a147a7b85da4408a7979df06dea4739ed6366a5f287bd99dd75.jpg

    • Michael Mays

      April Fool.
      Not really witty at all

      • John Bernard Books

        awww you didn’t think it was funny….hahaha

      • SpiritofPearl

        Booksie is a fool all year long.

        • John Bernard Books

          more wisdom…..wow

  • SpiritofPearl
  • John Bernard Books

    dems are deep doodoo…..
    “The sources told Fox News that surveillance of the Trump campaign began before Trump became the Republican presidential nominee July 19, and the surveillance had nothing to do with Russia, Housley said.”
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/31/fox-news-senior-obama-intelligence-official-unmasked-trump-associates/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

    No April fools joke you big dummies…..

  • roadgeek

    I hope everyone understands that, despite the nickname “Beto”, Robert Francis O’Rourke is of Irish descent. O’Rourke, 44 years old, is the son of Patrick Francis “Pat” O’Rourke, an El Paso judge whose family immigrated to the United States from Ireland three generations earlier. It was in El Paso that the young Robert began going by “Beto,” a common nickname in Mexico for people named Roberto.

    • Too Sweet

      The Irish have a long history in Texas, far earlier than any Anglos thought of moving here. My common ancestors with Mr. O’Rourke started settling in Texas during the time this area was still Spain. You heard of San Patricio (St. Patrick) County? The Irish were drawn here by a commonality of religion and physique. irish and Mexican were both small, swarthy and Catholic. They came at the blessing of the crown, running from Cromwellian massacres at home. So I do not really believe too many folks in El Paso see a whole lot of difference. The irish only started being considered fully white about 60 years ago.

      • SpiritofPearl

        “Cromwellian massacres” describes it precisely.

    • WUSRPH

      Pat, his dad, was an one-term county judge who was defeated for re-election….but they were doing that a lot in El Paso around then as both Pat’s successor and his successor’s successor were also defeated after serving only one term.

  • José

    Can a long shot candidate win a contested primary and then, using a lot of social media and riding a wave of voter disgust at the status quo, prevail in the general election? Let me see… (Opens history book and flips to the 2016 Presidential election.)

    • WUSRPH

      Maybe the Mexican government can hire 1,000 Trolls to start attacking Castor and Cruz on Social Media……Of course, it would not be coordinated in any way because that would sound to much like Russians.

      • José

        That thought also crossed my mind. And they would work harder, without griping, and do it for less.

        • SpiritofPearl
          • anonyfool

            The irony of Latinos and Hispanics bidding on building the wall to raise money so they can boot the GOP out of office is delicious.

          • José

            Thanks, P. That is a nice essay.

            I get awfully tired of fat loudmouthed rednecks who complain that the Messikins “steal all our jobs”. It would tickle me tremendously if those goobers would spend just one day chopping cotton in the hot sun, or picking cabbage, or replacing a roof, or any number of other things. Back in my younger days in the Valley I spent a few summers working in fields and on construction. It’s brutal, and those hombres worked HARD.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I’ve been in Texas for less than six years, but I saw immediately that Latinos do the hardest, dirtiest work that Anglos and black folks won’t do.

          • John Johnson

            So did plenty of us gringos, Jose. In the cotton and maize fields, hauling sheet rock, crawling under houses hanging duct work and wrapping it in fiberglass insulation…the jobs were filled; the jobs got done. I did them during summers and part time during parts of the school year. These all went to full time illegals over the last four decades or so. There was demand and our federal government allowed it to happen. The legalities of it should have been addressed and worked out back then. This is what can kicking gets you; those we elect are great at it.

      • John Bernard Books

        Oh you trolls….say the dumbest things…
        and you get paid to post this garbage

      • Kimberlylealy

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !da10c:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        !da10c:
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  • John Bernard Books

    Remember when the democrat from San Antonio was the next rising super star for dems….
    “According to a new report from the IG, HUD officials cleaned up $3.4 billion in errors from its 2015 financial records and $516.4 billion in errors from 2016, after the IG was unable to issue an opinion on either year’s financial statements in December.
    It is sad to see the level to which Democrats dragged America.”
    https://www.federalisttribune.com/2017/04/01/ben-carson-finds-hud-guilty-collecting-taxpayers-money-unlawfully/

    yeah that guy…..

  • John Bernard Books

    This is why dems cannot win in Texas
    “Hillary Clinton had access to classified data after she left State, even after she announced her presidential run. It is interesting to note here that surveillance of Donald Trump began at least by March 2016.
    Clinton negotiated clearance to Top Secret documents for herself and six of her staffers. If nothing else, it gave her an extreme advantage during the presidential campaign.”
    http://www.independentsentinel.com/hillary-clinton-six-aides-access-top-secret-information-ran-president/
    Dems simply see nothing wrong with this.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/538362ed218b6ac6dacb9358624c8e6f64d83e0d8b14a5e1dadf88099fe74b49.jpg

  • WUSRPH

    During its last Regular Session two years ago the Texas Legislature, in effect, deliberately cut the general
    revenues it would have available this session by more than $9 billion thru a combination of dedications and tax cuts. Despite the fact that it created a budget crisis for this session, members of the Legislature are
    working hard to do it again. Proposals with that Impact range from the Lt. Governor’s favorite plan to place a garrote on the state’s fiscal windpipe with a tighter spending cap to a cut—and eventual phase out—of the
    only general business tax to the plan outlined below. There are, of course, many others in the works as well.

    If some enterprising reporters has a moment or two, it might make a good story to do a wrap up on all these
    proposals. At least I’d think so.

    The effort to make it impossible for state government to fulfill its responsibilities by strangling its revenues goes on. The latest is a constitutional amendment by Sen. Seliger that masquerades as a cap on the so-called Rainy Day Fund but, in the process, cuts the state’s general revenues by nearly one billion per year. The amendment, SJRA 41, which is up for consideration in Senate Finance tomorrow, responds to the frequent complaint that too much money is being tied up in the Rainy Day Fund by placing a cap on the amount that can be deposited in the fund at $5 billion. (That would be about half of what is estimated will be in the fund next year). That sounds like a sensible move. BUT it couples that with an automatic cut in the oil and gas tax any time the fund balance reaches $5 billion. This, perhaps but perhaps not incidentally, cuts general revenues as well. The impact will be a reduction of more than $900,000 million in GR by the year 2021 if Seliger’ s proposal is adopted.

    • BCinBCS

      The Rainy Day Fund at $5 billion represents only 57% of one month of the Texas budget. I realize that it is not supposed to be for general revenue spending but even “for emergencies only”, it is not a lot of money.

  • WUSRPH

    I know that Lt. Gov. “Bathroom Watcher” Patrick is, shall we be polite and say, “unhappy” with the director of the Legislative Budget Board but cannot do anything about it while the Speaker supports her….but that is
    apparently not stopping his little self-proclaimed war on the LBB?…..You may have noticed that he blocked it from distributing its version of the Texas Performance Review to the Senate this session…The Speaker saw it got out, however…..But did you know that there are bills that would subject the LBB and its fiscal notes to a SUNSET REVIEW a well as a bill that would have the State Auditor audit the fiscal note process…..On the surface, not a bad idea….but I bet there is a lot more under the surface. (Personally, I’ve been advocating a review—by outsiders—of the entire legislative support branch setup—Leg. Council, LBB, Auditor, Library, etc.—for some years. But my proposal is aimed at improving them. I doubt I can say the same for the present bills.

    This reminds me of when the Employees Retirement System (ERS) was added to the Sunset list back in 2013 after it awarded the stateworkers insurance management contract to someone other than Blue Cross/Blue
    Shield… At the time it was generally felt that the addition was at the request of BC/BS. It was supposed to be reviewed by this session, but I have not heard anything about it…..perhaps that is because BC/BC is again taking over the contract on Sept. 1st. And because there is a new ERS EX-Dir. Maybe?

  • WUSRPH

    In the last of my legislative brief notes for today:
    The Texas House debates the state budget on Wednesday. It will be followed by the bill making supplemental appropriations for the current biennium, mostly for the health care programs that it deliberately underfunded two years ago. It will do the same in the budget for the next biennium as it has cut the funding for Medicare by one billion dollars under the estimated cost. It says this was because it expected the feds to make changes in the program that would save that much (presumably by the cuts provided for in the dearly departed Ryan/Trump AHCA), but, as they did last time and the time, underfunding health care costs is an old, old practice to allow them to balance a budget even while knowing that it is not adequate and will have to be “supplemented” next time.
    That cut in medical spending is a major difference between the House’s version of the budget and that already approved by the Senate. The Senate got around the problem of how to balance a budget by an accounting trick that pushes $2.5 billion of spending into the budget biennium after the one that the budget being debated now covers. This allows them to count that money as being available during this biennium to cover other expenditures without having to increase revenues or tap the balance in the Rainy Day Fund, which the House does to finance its budget.
    Another big difference that the Senate does a hatchet job on funding for higher education and, in effect, cuts the amount of State Tax Dollars going to public education by more than one billion……
    All in all, they are setting themselves up for an “interesting” (you might say) conference committee to work out the differences. That panel should start its work—most of which is done behind closed doors—by the end of this week.

  • WUSRPH

    As to the question of this thread: Is Beto taking on a suicide mission?

    In my opinion: YES……based on current conditions and assumptions there should be no way for either O’Rourke or Castro to defeat Cruz, as much as I regret having to say that.

    O’Rourke has two problems even getting past the primary. First, despite his nickname, an O’Rourke does not do as well in the primary as Castro…..just a fact, not a judgement. Second, he is from El Paso and is still unknown. No one from El Paso (or west of Midland) has EVER won a statewide office in Texas. The last one to even try was State Sen. Joe Christi in 1972 who ran for lt. governor and thought that being the father of liquor-by-the-drink would help him. WRONG!. West Texas, in general, have not done that well….Preston Smith of Lubbock (1968-72) and Coke Stevenson of Junction (1941-1947) being the only West Texas or Panhandle governors in living memory.)

    HOWEVER, there are some possible conditions that might make a win by either one of them possible, if not probable.

    The first would be if Trump has proven to be a total failure and there is a massive move to refute him and those who support him. This could include Cruz who, although he fought Trump and said many bad things about him during the primaries, has come around to being a strong supporter. Cruz, being Cruz, of course, could change back should Trump continue to self-destruct and/or the Russian Affair undermine him.

    The second would be if somebody even farther to the right than Cruz was to defeat him in the GOP Primary. This might encourage some moderate GOPers (if any really exist) to either go fishing on election day or maybe even result in one or two crossing over to vote for the Democrat. (In that case, an O’Rourke would probably do better than a Castro, again based simply on his name and again simply a fact, not a judgement.)

    That’s how I see it.

    • José

      I suspect that it’s not just a statistical anomaly that people from West Texas and the Panhandle do poorly in statewide races. Those regions are isolated both in distance and attention. Rick Perry should be noted though. When he ran for Ag Commissioner and won he represented the Haskell area, which is awfully close to the Panhandle.

      Beto is undoubtably a long shot for that and other reasons. But after last year Trumpocalypse I suggest that folks should be real careful when saying that someone can’t win. The political climate today is bizarre, and “unprecedented” is the new “normal”.

      • WUSRPH

        Why people get into races that they probably cannot win is often a real puzzle. Beto did promise no more than four terms….so unless he’s going to suddenly discover that the public must have his service and breaks his pledge he had little choice other than to take this opportunity when it arose. (Others who have made that pledge—as did a lot of the TPers—seem to have found that the public call to stay was too strong (sic) to resist)…Even if you lose, you will always be introduced thereafter as “a former candidate for the US Senate”….and that may be a little salve for a wounded ego.

        • Wesley TX

          Beto also has the option to move and represent a different district.

          • WUSRPH

            Most unlikely…….even if only because finding a district he could win would be difficult. The closest possible would be his new friend GOP Rep. Hurd’s Dist. 23….The GOP has done too good of a job in gerrymandering Texas to make it possible to win most of the others. But trying something like that would probably not be something the voters would accept…

        • José

          Ha! I forgot that it was Hance who gave Junior a spanking way back when. Good one.

  • WUSRPH

    For three years the US struggled through a war on the Korean peninsula (look it up youngsters) deciding at the end that “winning” would require such an effort far beyond any benefits and, as a result, agreeing to an “armistice” that still is in effect.

    That war proved, among other things, that Korea is one of the worst places in the world to fight a war. Extreme heat in the summer….Extreme cold in the winter….Extremely mountainous (especially in the North who we were fighting) with terrain perfect for a hill-by-hill, trench-by-trench struggle closer to that of WW I than anything else in this century…The South’s Capitol and major population centers only a few miles from the border and within the range of modern weapons…A opponent who has had more than 60 years to prepare his defenses… And a country so closely located to China that the Chinese may almost inevitably feel themselves drawn into the conflict, as they were in 1950. All factors that make a war there—with our without Chinese intervention—one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, we have ever undertaken even with all our modern weapons and technology.

    You’d think that experience, plus the knowledge that this time both sides will have nuclear weapons available, would tend to make American leaders hesitate to engage in another conflict in Korea. The conditions—without the nuclear aspect—were enough to convince President (former General) Eisenhower that it was not a winnable war at any acceptable level of engagement. The same was enough to keep LBJ from bombing the North after the Pueblo Affair and it seemed to be enough for all other presidents to think twice before doing more to discipline the troublesome North Korean government than economic sanctions. But today we have a president who, only today, proclaimed that he is ready to take on North Korea by ourselves even if the Chinese object. Today’s remarks follow earlier ones in which he pledged that he “would not allow” North Korea to develop nuclear armed ballistic missiles that can reach the US. How he’d do that he has not revealed. Let us hope we don’t have to find out.

    • John Bernard Books

      What?

    • John Johnson

      A fine tribute to those who were caught up in that nasty conflict.

      What I don’t understand is what you support or don’t support with regards to North Korea. Is status quo going back several decades OK with you, as Fat Boy gets bolder?

      • WUSRPH

        As I have said before, I see what “Fat Boy” is doing as something to be expected from a country like his. When you are virtually alone in the world as the last of the hard-core Communist (Stalinist) regime–assuming that they still believe it—-and surrounded by moral powerful neighbors—China and Japan–who have both controlled you in the past and have fought over you—you have seem as rough as you can to survive. In this age that means getting nuclear weapons and, perhaps, making others think you are crazy enough to use them. This does not mean that I approve of the North Korean regime, only that I think I understand its motives. It does mean, however, that I doubt that military action other than an all-out war which raises the possibility that they will use their nukes—will accomplish much more than drive them back deeper into their shell.. (Korean is known as “The Hermit Kingdom” BYW). Nothing can effectively be done to contain them (and that is what I favor) without China being involved. That is just another reason why Trump must be very careful in his dealings with the Chinese. A lot more is at stake than where Apple makes its products.

        • John Johnson

          You can ignore a loudmouth for only so long…especially when he starts shooting nuke warhead capable missles closer and closer to home.

          I think treating a thug with kid gloves emboldens them; I think Fat Boy’s thinking about the world placing a bounty on his head might give him pause. I think he is more narcissistic and egotistic than idealistic, and would prefer to live as long as he can over dying for a cause.

          • WUSRPH

            It is precisely because he wants to live as long as he can….that he has to seem to be tougher than any other boy on the block….He has to fend off both domestic and foreign threats. That also means that he is unlikely to use those weapons unless attacked. They are no use to him if used….Their only function is to serve as a deterrent. The point I have tried to make is that shutting him up with military force is likely to be much more costly—potentially in millions of lives—than keeping him contained inside his small country. Economic sanctions help do that. Some think that if things get bad enough in NK that he will be overthrown. I am less optimistic than that…..but containment was what we did to the Soviet Union for 40 years and it worked there. Economic sanctions that starve his economy and his people are far from being “kid gloves”. They worked with Iran…..but it took years and an joint international effort. What the world has done to date has seriously hurt North Korea, but it can not be successful without China being directly involved…which is just another reason that Trump should watch his mouth when he meets with Xi. The diplomatic fact—regretful as it is—that when it comes to successfully containing North Korea, China is in the driver’s seat.

          • José

            Containment is underrated. I always thought that George Kennan deserved more credit for the eventual victory in the Cold War, certainly more so than Reagan. You didn’t mention Iraq, but that was another example. Saddam Hussein was horrifying, to be sure, but so was the cost of removing him and the result isn’t a heck of a lot better. It would be smart for us to keep isolating the Kim Dynasty from the rest of the world until the DPRK grows up and can play nice.

          • WUSRPH

            What most people did not realize at the time was that Kennan opposed the heavy emphasis on military force as the main containment tool and such things as the Vietnam War.

  • John Bernard Books

    Connect the dots…..
    “White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-03/top-obama-adviser-sought-names-of-trump-associates-in-intel

    Draining the swamp…of dems.

  • John Bernard Books

    Smartest people in the room…
    “Judy Woodruff asked Rice about allegations by House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes that Trump associates and possibly Trump were swept up in surveillance of foreigners. Her response was less than truthful.
    “I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.”
    http://www.independentsentinel.com/susan-rice-requested-unmasking-12-days-ago-said-know-nothing-unmasking-trump-team-intercepts/

    are caught lying….again.

  • don76550

    The more people learn about this extremist liberal the less likely they will vote for him. He is another Obama and is a threat to our bill of rights. Real Americans will not vote for this extremist left wing fanatic.

    • BCinBCS

      It’s ironic, I suppose, that all of us “liberals” are constantly defending the Constitution through such “liberal” organizations as The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) from ultra-conservatives like you don, who would be happy to take them away.

      • don76550

        You are the people who wipe your feet on our bill of rights with your rigid Marxist ideology

        • BCinBCS

          Interestingly enough, Don, the Constitution says nothing about Marxism, so how are liberals “…wipe[ing] [our] feet on our bill of rights with [our] rigid Marxist ideology? Maybe the reason that we liberals must constantly defend the Constitution and its Bill of Rights is because you (and other ultra-conservatives) have no idea what is in it.

      • Jed

        which word is closer to “liberty”?

        the only thing “conservatism” seeks to conserve is the pre-existing state of power (and property) relations.

        • St. Anger

          appropos of the post below by don (to whom i can’t post a reply because settings):

          you bring up marxism a lot, but i don’t gather your criticisms are based on anything “marxist.”

          can you name one way in which marxism would flout the bill of rights? which of those things would marxism disagree with? do you know?

          meanwhile, i can name at least one way conservatives would and do deny the rights in the bill of rights … for virtually every one of the 10 amendments.

  • WUSRPH

    Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, was writing about the Soviet Union when she penned her 1985 essay, “The Myth of Moral Equivalence,” but her argument still resonates today: “To destroy a society it is first necessary to delegitimize its basic institutions so as to detach the identifications and affections of its citizens from the institutions and authorities of the society marked for destruction. An alliance among democracies is based on shared ideals. The process of delegitimization is, therefore, an absolutely ideal instrument for undermining an alliance, as well as for undermining a government. The NATO alliance among democracies simply cannot survive a widespread conviction among its members that there is no difference between the superpowers. It is not necessary to demonstrate that the Soviet Union is flawed, or deplorable. To destroy the alliance, it is only necessary to deprive the citizens of democratic societies of a sense of shared moral purpose which underlies common identifications and common efforts.”
    (Washington Post)

    Sounds like she knew Trumpism was coming….“We have a lot of killers,” he said. “You think our country is so innocent?”

    Egypt’s dictator today….when does the Philippine murder arrive?

    • John Bernard Books

      Wha…

    • BCinBCS

      Hear, hear.

  • WUSRPH

    Talk about dragging out the inevitable…..House members have filed 402 proposed amendments to the state budget bill the House will vote on later this week—although virtually none of them will be adopted. Most, in fact, will probably be withdrawn before even coming to a vote. But it does allow the members to show what they thought should have been done and what they think was left out. Adding anything to the budget is made almost impossible by the fact that the House operates under a “rule” that provides that you cannot increase the total dollar amount of the bill—i.e.—you cannot add new spending—but have to balance any increase you propose with a cut elsewhere—and somebody else will favor leaving that in the bill. Some of the amendments might wind up in a “wish list” that the House traditionally adds to the back of the bill. It includes items that members would like the conference committee to consider IF they somehow find extra money is available. The Comptroller often comes up with a few extra dollars at the last minute so there is always a very, very slim possibility that one of the items in the wish list (or something like the governor’s so-far unfunded kindergarten program) can be picked up and added before the bill comes out of conference. But most of the items in the wish list die there having served the purpose of allowing a member to show those interested in the amendment that he tried. Whether the current Comptroller will come up with any substantial amounts is more than questionable….but back when Bullock was comptroller he always had a few millions saved up which he released after he was sure his agency would get all it needed.

    • John Bernard Books

      wha….

    • BCinBCS

      W, I find the information that you have on the legislative process extremely interesting and I would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to share it.

  • WUSRPH

    April 6th, as we established in an earlier history quiz, was the day the US House of Representatives voted to declare war on Germany and the “Central Powers” in World War I. The Senate had voted two days earlier……but what most people forget or did not know…..It was not a unanimous vote as there was still al opposition to the US getting involved “over there”, particularly from socialists and German-Americans and Irish-Americas. The votes in the two chambers were 82 to 6 in the Senate and 373 to 50 in the House.

    This week’s history quiz: What did one women do on April 6, 1917, that she would do again 24 years later?

    • John Bernard Books

      what….

    • WUSRPH

      Besides what she did on April 6th and 24 years later, what else is the woman’s claim to fame in American history?

  • WUSRPH

    For those who get that easy one….here is another slightly harder one:

    Who was the Imperial German military attaché in Washington, DC, just before WW I who was thrown out of the country for his activities, including working with German spies and saboteurs, who later played a leading role in the events leading up to a major event that took place on January 30, 1933?

    • John Bernard Books

      whaT!….sounds like senility has arrived….

  • WUSRPH

    On a more serious note:

    Does anyone think that what the Democrats in the U.S. Senate to try to block the SCOTUS nomination is:

    (a) smart politics in playing to their base?
    (b) wrong as the president should have his choice?
    (c) something their beliefs require them to do?
    (d) not worth it if it winds up destroying the filibuster as a legislative tool?
    (e) something the Republicans have coming for what they did to Obama’s nominee?
    (f) a tactic they should save for a worse nominee (which is certain to happen with Trump)?

    • SpiritofPearl

      Well, McConnell asked for this, so payback time has come due. I have no real sense of what will happen next. The filibuster was not original to the constitution.

      • WUSRPH

        Yes, but it was used in other countries and dates back to 1841 in the US Senate…..The “previous question” method of stopping one was dropped in 1868…so it has a long history.

        • SpiritofPearl

          So did slavery . . .

          Why should we keep it? What are the cost/benefits for BOTH sides?

          • WUSRPH

            It is the ultimate legislative defense of the minority against the majority. It can be misused, as it was by Strom Thurmond to oppose integration, but it can also be used for the good when the majority is ruled by “the momentary passions of the mob” that our Founders feared would overwhelm liberty. I guess it comes down to whether you believe that the majority should prevail or that sometimes it must be stopped for a greater good. (Some would say that an example of a filibuster being used for the greater good would have been when US Sen. Rand Paul’s unsuccessful attempted to slow or stop the adoption of the Patriot Act after 9-11–an act that many, on both the right and the left, feel threatened basic civil liberties.)

            Although there was no specific provision for a filibuster in the rules when the Senate first meet in 1789 there was a consistent belief stated by Jefferson, Madison and others that one of the purposes of the Senate was to “slow” the process of legislation to insure that it had been fully thought-out and understood. Extended debate has always been a practice. A filibuster in the old days went beyond that as it required that one senator hold the Floor for as long as he o she could stand……..Today, however, the 60-vote rule has made actual debate on the Floor unnecessary…..It keeps things from coming up rather than forcing some senator to talk against the measure.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I appreciate the motive for the filibuster. McDonnell has to decide if he does too. Perhaps the Hastert Rule needs a revisit.

            If the nuclear option is imposed, the GOP owns it.

          • WUSRPH

            McConnell is, like most, primarily concerned with the short-term. In this case, that is getting Trump’s nominee confirmed. He will, in those great American words, “worry about that (everything else) tomorrow….for tomorrow is another day”. Trump’s ability to governor and his image would be even more damaged by the Senate failing to confirm. On the other hand, the Senate’s traditions and the protection of liberty in the future, may be severely damaged by changing the rules for all time for this one nomination. If I were him, I’d swallow the defeat for now, but I’m not…and he won’t.

          • SpiritofPearl

            As a student I learned about John Calhoun’s “concurrent minority.” It seemed hokey to me then, a desperate attempt to preserve slavery. We still have the electoral college, much to our dismay, and gerrymandering. What other protections does the minority have? So much corruption . . .

          • WUSRPH

            The primary purpose of the constitution and particularly the 10 amendments we call the Bill of Rights is the protection of liberty from the excesses of the majority.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Let’s ask ourselves how many aspects of our democracy revolve around protecting the minority. Right now we have a madman in the WH because our constitution did so.

          • WUSRPH

            I find Trump’s election more than regrettable……but I think the best thing to say is that old saying about a legal technicality letting a bad man go free….it is better than one …..than…..
            There are just far too many example in our history, not even considering the history of humanity in general, where the majority will would have been the wrong thing to do, We are better off with occasional mistakes….like Trump…than we would be to sacrifice the protection of the thoughts, actions, lives, liberty and, yes, property….that our system makes possible because it is designed to protect the minority against the (hopefully) occasional misjudgments of the majority.

          • SpiritofPearl

            We have an existential threat right now. How do you propose to resolve it?

          • WUSRPH

            Speak out. vote….and hope that the system of checks and balances and separation of powers works. And hope that Trump, being Trump, will continue to flail around and accomplish little. That’s about the limit of what I can do constitutionally. This is, despite all he might do to make it one, still not a banana republic.

          • SpiritofPearl

            “Hope is the thing with feathers.”

            — Emily Dickenson

            At least Bannon and Flynn are out at the NSC.

          • WUSRPH

            You work toward and end….but you have hope it will work out.

          • St. Anger

            “Let’s ask ourselves how many aspects of our democracy revolve around protecting the minority. Right now we have a madman in the WH because our constitution did so.”

            germany had the maddest man of all … because theirs didn’t.

            you can’t be serious. as an educated person you need to think about what you are saying. would you have murder trials broadcast on tv and decided by texting a 5-digit number? would you let a majority of americans decide what to do about foreign wars? we would have bombed iran in 1979. JJ probably still thinks we should have. would you allow majorities to decide what customers businesses may choose to serve, or whether social programs need to be funded?

            we have a madman in our WH because of corporate interests, profit-motivated media, corrupt republicans (all republicans), inept democrats, and lazy voters. to the extent you can blame the constitution for those things, then be my guest.

          • SpiritofPearl

            We’ve had two presidents recently chosen by a minority of the voters. How’s that working out?

            We are not French.

          • St. Anger

            “The primary purpose of the constitution and particularly the 10 amendments we call the Bill of Rights is the protection of liberty from the excesses of the majority.”

            also too the courts.

          • St. Anger

            he called it the concurrent majority.

            idea being you needed a majority concurrently in all the subunits (i.e. states) to do anything at the national level.

            which of course is a recipe for never doing anything, and which as you say would have had the effect of preventing the repeal of slavery. we’d probably still have it today.

          • SpiritofPearl

            You are correct vis-a-vis majority. Cut me some slack. It’s been 50 years.

          • St. Anger

            again with the electoral college thing: it was meant to work the opposite way of what happened last november.

            this last election is only the fault of the founders and their electoral college to the extent that the founders failed to anticipate just how stupid americans (even the “elite” electors) would be 230 years later.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Well, it failed miserably.

          • St. Anger

            “What other protections does the minority have? So much corruption . . .”

            i have responded separately to two other things about this comment, but this one troubles me the most.

            by equating protections for minorities with corruption … you have played directly into the hands of those who would strip away those protections … people like the tea party. people like dan patrick.

            meanwhile, the corruption is right out there in plain view, unabated, not hiding in the bill of rights. you can blame money for corruption, you can blame (certain) people for corruption, but if you throw the constitution in there as blameworthy, then you are muddying the waters in a way that only trump or JJ could appreciate.

          • SpiritofPearl

            I’m not saying to discard the constitution. The concurrent minority legislation and gerrymandering were not in the constitution. The electoral college is.

          • SpiritofPearl

            This should worry us even more . . .

      • José

        The filibuster is not in the Constitution explicitly. However the Constitution does grant each chamber the right to determine its rules—Article I, Section 5—and the Senate has included the filibuster in its rules, so it’s perfectly legit. Over the years the Senate has modified that rule, such as cloture upon a supermajority vote of 2/3 and later 3/5, and most recently allowing a simple majority for confirmation of some appointees. But they specifically retained the filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations.

    • José

      I don’t know whether it’s smart or whether it will have any effect, but truthfully I would lose respect for the Dems if they didn’t at least give it a good try, even as a bluff. What are the other options except to roll over? If Mitch would go nuclear now he would certainly go nuclear the next time. I just don’t see that there’s much downside, and there’s a slim chance that they could force 45 to choose again. Even if the nominee is no better at least they would have a small victory in public perception of strength.

    • BCinBCS

      Answer (a), W.

      It is imperative that the base get fired up and remain fired up to overcome the barriers of previous rule breaking (not voting on Obama court appointees including Judge Niel Gorsuch and the most egregious gerrymandering of legislative districts.

      • pwt7925

        I agree. The Democrats have to throw red meat to their zealots the same way the Republicans have to satiate theirs. I think we’re approaching the day where we have a Congress of No.

        • Jed

          so only zealots oppose the nomination?

          i do agree with the analogy, though not in the way you meant. the “moderates” of each party seem to sniff contemptuously at the people of their own party who actually hold political convictions, and these “rational centrists” keep hoping against all evidence that those “zealots” will toe the line come election day.

          how did that work last year? for either party?

          the democratic “zealots” you sniff at are the future of the party (just look at the age demographics).

          meanwhile: “I think we’re approaching the day where we have a Congress of No.”

          where were you the last 6 years?

          • BCinBCS

            I was proselytising and voting. (But I live in Texas.)

  • WUSRPH

    Since I can’t tempt you with the historical quiz questions (or maybe you all know the answers), here are the answers:
    The woman who did the same thing on April 6th, 1917, and 24 years later……U.S. Rep. Jeannette Rankin of Wyoming voted against declaring war in both WW I and WW I (Dec. 8, 1941). She was a pacifist. She was the only nay vote in 1941, but one of 50 in the House in 1917. She was defeated in the 1918 elections and did not return to the Congress until 1940, only to be defeated again in 1942. Her other claim to a place in American history is that she was the FIRST woman to be elected to the Congress. In fact, she was sworn in only on April 2, four days before she cast her vote against the war. (Wyoming had had women’s suffrage from the time it became a state. Most other states did not allow women to vote until after the adoption of the 19th Amendment in 1917.)
    The military attaché at the Imperial German Embassy who was kicked out of the country shortly before the US entered WW I: Franz von Papen who, as a former chancellor of Germany, convinced German President von Hindenburg to name Adolph Hitler the chancellor of Germany of January 30, 1933.

  • John Bernard Books

    Are we witnessing the end of the dem party?
    “Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/03/susan-rice-ordered-spy-agencies-to-produce-detailed-spreadsheets-involving-trump/#ixzz4dIbTBW7i

    you’re stupid if you think this was only done to Trump….it was done on all republican candidates.