Documentation. Witnesses. Facts. Truth. That's what they're afraid of.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Planning Sessions

In 2009, right after Obama's inauguration, Republican leaders gathered together in a DC steakhouse to discuss how to take down his presidency:

For several hours in the Caucus Room (a high-end D.C. establishment), the book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform.
“If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”
The conversation got only more specific from there, Draper reports. Kyl suggested going after incoming Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for failing to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while at the International Monetary Fund. Gingrich noted that House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) had a similar tax problem. McCarthy chimed in to declare “there’s a web” before arguing that Republicans could put pressure on any Democrat who accepted campaign money from Rangel to give it back.
The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily. The Republicans had agreed on a way forward:
Go after Geithner. (And indeed Kyl did, the next day: ‘Would you answer my question rather than dancing around it—please?’)
Show united and unyielding opposition to the president’s economic policies. (Eight days later, Minority Whip Cantor would hold the House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama’s economic stimulus plan.)
Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airwaves. (The first National Republican Congressional Committee attack ads would run in less than two months.)
Win the spear point of the House in 2010. Jab Obama relentlessly in 2011. Win the White House and the Senate in 2012.
“You will remember this day,” Draper reports Newt Gingrich as saying on the way out. “You’ll remember this as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown.”

Seems to be the Republicans' M.O. when greeting a Democratic Presidency; it reminds me of this:

According to R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., editor-in-chief of the Spectator, the idea for the Arkansas Project was hatched on a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay in the fall of 1993. The "Arkansas Project" name that later became famous was conceived as a joke; the actual name used within the Spectator and the Scaife foundation was the "Editorial Improvement Project."
Project reporter/investigators were hired, including David Brock, who later (after reversing his political stance) described himself as a Republican "hitman",[2] and Rex Armistead, a former police officer who was reportedly paid $350,000 for his efforts.[3] Also assisting the project was Parker Dozhier, a bait shop owner who was reportedly obsessed with bringing down Bill Clinton.[4] They were tasked with investigating the Clintons and uncovering stories tying the Clintons to murders and drug smuggling as well as adultery.[5]
According to Brock, Armistead and Brock met at an airport hotel in Miami, Florida, in late 1993. There, Armistead laid out an elaborate "Vince Foster murder scenario", a scenario that Brock later claimed was implausible."[6][7] Regardless, by the end of 1993, Brock was writing stories for the Spectator that made him "a lead figure in the drive to" expose Clinton.[2]

The other day, I asked someone, "Where's our steakhouse meeting?" Well, this appears to be the answer:

The potential explanations for Democratic losses in November are endless, and far from Trump’s inauguration on Friday and the massive marches against the new president on Saturday, roughly 120 of the Democratic Party’s high-level donors and strategists who spent the weekend tucked away at a peaceful golf resort here came no closer to a consensus on what went wrong.

So, it's the David Brock event I've been anticipating for a while.

I'm tempted to start post-morteming again, but nah. I do like seeing that NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have a voice; he said this:

“As with most complex matters, there can be a lot of answers that are not inconsistent with each other, but overlapping, and different folks will focus on different things,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who advocated greater investment in state legislatures and state-level politics. “I think we’ve moved on, to a certain extent, from the ‘what went wrong’ phase."

I think that's the right move. If you go by Nate Silver, anyway, without Comey, the Clinton campaign was in solid shape. The post-mortems would be a lot different if Clinton had those 2-4 points back. I don't know how one gameplans for something like FBI interference, let alone WikiLeaks/Russia. (Trump knows Comey's the biggest reason for his come-from-behind win)

I also like seeing this:

...they committed to investing more in opposition research initiatives and war rooms, to pay more attentions to state campaigns, and — in a popular decision among a crowd full of Hillary Clinton supporters and absent much Bernie Sanders support — to avoid further acrimony within the party.
OK, I like the first half more than the second. We need more attention devoted to state campaigns. But the Bernie wing does deserve a seat at the table, particularly if these guys get one:
“You don't come back from this deep a hole without some serious argument,” insisted Jonathan Cowan, the president of the Third Way think tank.

*Shudder*. Those guys do nothing but damage to our party.

I know David Brock has a mixed reputation, but we need to get in the mud a bit (as Bill Maher said the other day, "There can't be two sets of rules.") Brock's statement is good, if we really live by it:

“Trump is owed the same deference from us that he paid to President Obama in the birtherism smear. Donald Trump famously threw out the political rulebook. If we are to succeed in this period, Democrats must suspend the normal rules of politics as well,” said David Brock, the Democratic strategist who organized the meeting, in his call-to-arms address to the gathered donors. “I’m sick and tired of the Republicans taking advantage of our fundamental decency — that ends today. These times require that Democrats go at the other side with both barrels."
The gathering — and others like it that are percolating across the country — came together at an inflection point for the party, as it debates the shape of its opposition to Trump, its policy agenda, and even the identity of its leadership.
“While we’re absolutely going to move forward, we’re not going to forget what happened. We’ll remember James Comey and the Clinton-hating traitors inside the FBI. Virtually every day we’re confronted with more hard evidence that Hillary had an electoral majority on the day Comey issued his letter, and that he stole the election, period. End of story,” said Brock, making a case that just about everything went wrong, in a speech that also faulted the Clinton campaign’s lack of ads featuring workers hurt by Trump’s business decisions.
“We’ll remember the Russians. It’s a frightening world in which mixing the FBI’s abuse of power with the Kremlin’s criminal hacking and vicious propaganda efforts yield the election of Putin’s puppet, Donald Trump. We’ll remember the union-busting in Michigan and Wisconsin that delivered those states to Trump, and the Republican voter suppression efforts in Wisconsin and North Carolina that did the same. We’ll remember the purveyors of fake news."

I'm with him. As I've said many times before, I don't love that we have to depend to much on the donor class, but that's the post-Citizens-United world we live in. So more of this.

So, we've got some Democrats together to think about how to undermine Trump from the top, and what we're doing at the grassroots is unprecedented. I hope we can join the two together, but at the risk of both-sidering within the party, both the fact that Sanders wasn't represented at the retreat and that the DC Women's March left Hillary Clinton of its list of honorees makes me worry. It really will be a problem if we can't figure out how to work together.

The planning sessions on how to handle Trump aren't exclusive to those inside the U.S.:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal government must now confront the reality of a Donald Trump presidency as his cabinet members begin gathering today in Calgary for a three-day retreat.
Up to now, Trudeau has had a relatively smooth ride guiding Canada's relations with the U.S., thanks to being so simpatico with Barack Obama — natural allies on climate change, with a close personal relationship that oozed brotherly affection.
Now the Liberals are girding for a major reset with Washington, which is expected to be the preoccupying pastime for Liberal ministers during their upcoming meetings.

I don't know what to make of this though:

So far, the Liberals have taken a wise approach in reaching out to the Trump's transition team, "in order to begin conveying the importance of our economic partnership and the American interest in maintaining it,'' said Roland Paris, Trudeau's former foreign policy adviser.
But now the real work starts with Trump taking over the White House.
"This is a big shift. It's not just true for Canada but for every country in the world. We have a U.S. administration which is pursuing an approach which looks like it will be different from any U.S. administration in our lifetime.''
Trudeau has already shuffled his cabinet to adapt to Trump appointing trade specialist Chrystia Freeland to Foreign Affairs, and retired general Andrew Leslie as her parliamentary secretary, thanks to his connection to a number of fellow former military commanders who got top jobs under Trump.

Does that mean Canada thinks it really can work with Trump, or is this lip service? I honestly don't know. Geopolitics are going to be awfully interesting over the next few years. I'd like to think that if Trump could get away with working with Putin, it's fair game for Democrats to stay close to Canada. But this feels like a mixed signal:

Because while the Marches in the U.S. were organized by women, and women's rights were a big part of what they were about, they were also a general anti-Trump protest. Trudeau not acknowledging that feels like he's hedging his bets.

We need allies somewhere, because we certainly don't seem to be able to count on any Republicans for anything:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced Sunday that they will vote in favor of Rex Tillerson, President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state.
McCain and Graham released a joint statement on Sunday announcing their support and addressed the subject in separate interviews.
"I will be voting in favor of his nomination," McCain said on ABC'S "This Week" on Sunday morning.
He said it was not "an easy call" but said that he is giving Trump "the benefit of the doubt."

Republicans gotta Republican. Over the last couple of weeks, I've heard a number of Democrats put hope in these two. We never learn -- regardless of his service to America, John McCain is not an honest or respectable person:

The clip itself belies the headline. McCain says: "But I think that the fact that he's appointed and nominated these outstanding individuals is bound to be an encouraging sign." If he's going to support Trump's nominees, particularly Tillerson, Putin's buddy, we can't expect any investigation into Trump's relationship with Russia that involves McCain (or Graham) to be anything but a whitewash. If he doesn't know by now that he can't trust Trump AT ALL, we can't trust him.

Anyway, again, the Democratic Party really needs to pull together, because we might be all we've got for the time being.

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