Ranking The GOP Candidates

Establishment outlets like the Washington Post, the Hill and Roll Call are not quite sure what to do with the lingering stench that is the Trump campaign. He hasn’t yet imploded as expected, and his comments and attacks on other candidates have become even more outlandish. Today, the Hill for the third time since May ranked the Republican candidates based on the likelihood of winning the nomination.

I don’t know what race they’re talking about, but it’s not the one I’m watching. Yes, they put Trump first, as they pretty much had to. But Bush at #2, John Kasich at #3, and Scott Walker at #4? Whatever they’re smoking, they need to pass that stuff around, because it’s seriously mind-altering. Bush is melting down, and he keeps picking fights with Trump that are absurdly one-sided. Kasich has not gotten any significant traction other than in New Hampshire, and has nowhere to go even if he wins there. Walker is banking about the hordes of Canadians threatening the Great Lakes, and he’s tanked in Iowa, which was and remains the key to his campaign.

Rubio at #5 is not awful, but I’d probably rank him lower. Carson at #6 is absurd given the recent polling showing him at 18% in Iowa and with the highest favorables of anyone in the race. Cruz should be top three at a minimum. And I don’t want to read any more about party elites deciding who is and isn’t electable. Whoever these elites are, they couldn’t even exercise control over their first “party” debate – Fox News made all the decisions. Huckabee at 8 is about right, he’s worn out his welcome on his third run. Fiorina should be much higher than 9, and Paul shouldn’t even be in the discussion, he’s done.

The Hill has yet to come to grips with the fact that the Republican electorate has collectively lost its mind, and is no mood to listen to the Hill or any other so-called “party elites” in the process of winnowing down the field. Quite the contrary – the more it appears that such elites are ganging up on Trump, the better he will do. 

My top 10 right now: Cruz, Trump, Bush, Carson, Fiorina, Rubio, Kasich, Walker, Huckabee, Jindal (he was the last one of the clowns out of the car when I made my list, so I thought he deserved his one minute in the Maryland Scramble limelight).

Musical Digression

So here’s the pitch: Finnish roots band covers AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

Sound interesting? No? Well, sorry, but you’re wrong.

First, for you youngsters who don’t know the song, here’s AC/DC from 1990.

Now here’s the Steve ‘n Seagulls cover, from 2014.

The official video had been viewed over 15 million times. In just over a year.

I’m a big fan of bluegrass, Americana, roots – whatever you want to call it, I know it when I hear it. The fact that a form of music born and bred in the American outland is booming in Europe and around the world is just fantastic.

Nick Mosby For Mayor?

I put in the question mark because there’s been no official decision, but from the tone of this story, City Councilman Nick Mosby is going to run.

Mosby, who says he’s wanted the city’s top job since age 8, said Sunday he’s “seriously considering” a run for mayor. Already, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and former Mayor Sheila Dixon are in the field of candidates. But Mosby says he can offer voters something they can’t: “New energy.”

“I know I can lead the city,” he said. “I know I have the managerial skills and the experience to do so. We can’t expect these old leaders to take us in a new direction. Baltimore is hungry for change.”

While only two candidates – incumbent Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and former mayor Sheila Dixon – have formally announced their candidacies, the list could get a lot longer.

Political analysts believe the race for Baltimore mayor could get crowded in 2016. In addition to Rawlings-Blake and Dixon, State Sen. Catherine Pugh, State Del. Jill P. Carter, and Councilman Carl Stokes are considering runs. Author Wes Moore, an educator and army veteran who had previously ruled out running, recently began leaving the door open to entering the race.

Mosby would be a strong candidate, says Matthew Crenson of Johns Hopkins University, but there could be issues around the fact that his wife, Marilyn a mossy, is Baltimore State’s Attorney.

“The voters have heard from Sheila Dixon and the mayor, and they’re probably a little tired of them,” he said. “Sheila Dixon is tarnished by the conviction and Rawlings-Blake by the riot.”

He said Mosby’s biggest issue may be a perceived conflict-of-interest in office, given that his wife is the city’s top prosecutor.
“His campaign is going to be a little complicated by his relationship with the state’s attorney,” Crenson said. “He already had to cancel one fundraiser because they used his wife’s image. On the other hand, she’s given him a ready-made national reputation. It might be that the voters will be taken with that.”

My sense is that there is more upside than down in the relationship between Nick and Marilyn Mosby. But he does need to be careful to avoid further stumbles over the ethics of how he handles the situation.

From what I hear, Nick Mosby is probably the favorite going into the race. But there’s a long road to travel between here and April 26.

“Former” Vs. “Late”

Point of personal privilege here. I’ve been seething about this for an hour. One of my coping mechanisms is to write a blog post. So here you go.

Marvin Mandel was married to Barbara Oberfeld in 1941. They divorced in 1974. She is his “former” wife.

Marvin Mandel was the governor of Maryland from 1969 to 1979. He is the “former” governor of Maryland.

Very shortly after his 1974 divorce, Marvin Mandel married Jeanne Dorsey. She died in 2001, still married to Mandel.

Jeanne Dorsey Mandel is NOT Marvin Mandel’s “former” wife. She is his “late” wife.

This is the right way to refer to Marvin Mandel’s second wife.

Mr. Mandel died while visiting with his family and the family of his late wife, Jeanne Dorsey Mandel, while celebrating the 50th birthday of Paul Dorsey, Mr. Mandel’s stepson.

This is the wrong way.

Mandel died Sunday afternoon after having spent two days in St. Mary’s County visiting with his family and the family of his former wife, Jeanne Dorsey Mandel, while celebrating the 50th birthday of their son Paul Dorsey, the family said in a statement.

When a spouse dies, the correct reference is “late,” not “former,” which describes a divorce.

This is exactly right.

Given this tragic set of circumstances and already coping with overwhelming grief, can you then imagine how it feels when reference is made to a late spouses as an “ex-wife” or an “ex-husband” or an “ex-fiance(e)”? In using that incorrect reference, the widowed are not only insulted, marriages and relationships are also dishonored; as are the lives that the surviving spouse shared with their late beloved and the healing journey that the surviving widowed and their families have been left to navigate.

Kudos to the Sun. Raspberries for WBAL. Come on, guys, this really shouldn’t be that difficult.

Late night rant over. G’night.

Marvin Mandel Dead At 95

Former Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel, who became governor after the election of Spiro Agnew as Vice President in 1968, and who oversaw the modernization of the Maryland judicial and executive branches of government in the 1970s, died earlier today at 95. Governor Larry Hogan ordered flags to be flown at half staff in acknowledgement of Mandel’s passing, and he also issued a statement:

Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Mandel. He released a statement, saying: “The first lady and I send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Mandel family and all those who loved and cared for him. The state of Maryland lost not only a former governor but also a truly great leader and someone countless people thought of as a friend, including myself. I will be forever grateful for the advice, wisdom, and stories Governor Mandel has shared with me throughout the years.

“No other governor has had the lasting impact on all three branches of Maryland government and while he held elective office for 28 years, he dedicated his life to making our state a better place to live. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Governor Mandel, but I know that his legacy will live on, through the many people he touched during the course of his life.”

One of the most colorful and interesting figures of Maryland politics for over a generation, Mandel was removed from office in 1977 after a racketeering and mail fraud conviction that was later overturned. Prior to that, he and his first wife separated in 1974 when Mandel began an affair with the woman who later became his second wife. His first wife refused to move out of the Governor’s mansion, forcing Mandel to rent an apartment in Annapolis until she agreed to leave, creating a public relations nightmare for the governor.

After his conviction was overturned, Mandel became a respected elder statesman for the Democratic Party for many years, one whose opinions and endorsements were eagerly sought after by statewide candidates. In the end, due to the many changes in government that Mandel brought to the state, perhaps no other single political figure had quite the same impact as Mandel, the only Jewish governor that Maryland has ever had.

I’m Off The Scott Walker Bus

Since the early days of the 2016 campaign, I was concerned about the appeal of Scott Walker to the Republican squads of flying monkeys. He’s crazy and dangerous and corrupt, but he’s managed to keep a lot of his worst crazy under the radar. And he looks and talks like a sane and rational guy to the average voter with a 10 second attention span. As the governor of a Midwestern swing state, he’d have appeal all across the rust belt, in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota, key linchpins of recent Democratic presidential wins.

Boy, was I wrong. If Donald Trump can claim one scalp so far, it is definitely the Walker campaign. One of Walker’s rules is never to let anyone get to his right. Trying to get to Trump’s right in 2015 has been a fool’s errand, and Walker has often looked like a fool with his trying to out-Trump Trump. Walker has cratered in the polls, falling in Iowa from the mid-teens to the mid-single digits.

Today, he may have etched the tombstone of his campaign. Appearing on Meet the Press, Walker decided that building a wall along the Mexico border wasn’t enough.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is putting a new twist on the topic of securing the border, a staple among the GOP candidates running for president, by pointing north.

Walker said in an interview that aired Sunday that building a wall along the country’s northern border with Canada is a legitimate issue that merits further review.
Republican candidates for president have often taken a get-tough approach on deterring illegal immigration, but they usually focus on the border with Mexico. Walker was asked Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he wanted to build a wall on the northern border too. Walker said some people in New Hampshire have asked the campaign about the topic.

“They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at,” Walker said.

Thanks for playing, Governor Walker. Why don’t you go with these gentlemen in the white uniforms to a nice quiet place for a little rest?

I’m off the Walker bus. To regular readers, this will come as no surprise, but I’m a Tailgunner Ted Cruz guy now. Even if he believes that as a Jew, I’m only here to serve as cannon fodder for the apocalypse and ensuing rapture. Hey, at least I had the good sense to marry a Texan, right?

I think Ted Cruz has got what it takes to win over the delusional rabble that is what’s left of the once-great Republican Party.

Journalistic Malpractice

Early this morning (just before 1:00 a.m.), I posted video of Debbie Wasserman Schultz ruling “out of order” a motion at the DNC meeting in Mineapolis to put the DNC on record as supporting the Iran deal negotiated by the Obama Administration. I posted it at the time to highlight the rejection of a motion to expand the debate calendar, which was rejected at precisely the same time, as was a third, unrelated motion. But in that same 7:30 video DWS also rejects the Iran deal motion as well.

The video was from C-SPAN, but the 7:30 chunk that I linked to was posted to YouTube yesterday. A 40 second video, limited just to DWS’ comments on the debate schedule, was what originally attracted my attention. It was posted by a C-SPAN user to the C-SPAN site on Friday. So anyone who was paying attention knew by Friday night that there were three motions offered, and that DWS had rejected all of them. Anyone who was at the meeting certainly knew as well.

WordPress will only let me embed videos from a small number of sources, such as YouTube and Twitter and a few others I don’t generally look at. So I couldn’t embed the C-SPAN video. I went looking on YouTube and found the 7:30 version, which was posted yesterday. It covers DWS personally rejecting all three motions.

Yesterday, the Post published a story at 2:39 p.m. about DWS rejecting the Iran deal motion. The problem with the story is that it’s not really a story, as there was at least one video that makes the rejection clear, yet the Post is relying on “knowledgeable Democrats.” Very hush hush, very Woodward and Bernstein.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz prevented consideration of a resolution at the party’s summer meeting here that praised President Obama and offered backing for the nuclear agreement with Iran, according to knowledgeable Democrats.

The resolution was drafted with the intention of putting the national committee on record in support of the agreement as Congress prepares to take up the issue when members return from their August recess.

Why not just say “hey we were there, we saw it, here’s what happened and C-SPAN has the whole thing”? Did the Post have nobody at the meeting? All the candidates addressed the DNC on Friday, including Martin O’Malley’s blistering takedown of the debate schedule. Why the need to cite anonymous sources when the whole thing was there on video?

Even worse, despite failing to use the video, the Post actually went and asked the DNC about DWS’ role.

A party spokeswoman and said procedural issues prevented the proposed resolution from being considered. She did not directly address Wasserman Schultz’s role in the decision-making. Other Democrats said that it was congresswoman’s direct opposition that blocked its consideration.

“On the one hand, on the other hand.” There’s a video that clears it up. Of a public meeting. If you didn’t have someone there, that’s pathetic. If you did, you’d think that the DNC chair rejecting a motion to support a Democratic president’s most significant foreign policy achievement might be news? Something to remember? No?

Less then an hour later, the Hill followed up with a “story” which just parroted the Post version.

 Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz blocked consideration of a resolution at the party’s summer meeting that would have praised President Obama and backed the his nuclear deal with Iran, The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources.

Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is Jewish, has not yet publicly said what she thinks of the nuclear deal and how she intends to vote when Congress considers it in September.
A DNC spokesperson said procedural issues blocked consideration of the resolution at the Minneapolis meeting, according to the report. The spokeswoman didn’t address Wasserman Schultz’s role.

24 hours later, both stories remain intact, neither reference the video. Argh. Time to unlimber the Rant Machine.

I’m sorry, but what the hell are you doing calling the DNC? There’s a seven and a half minute video of DWS that shows precisely the role she played. She shot the motion down PERSONALLY. On VIDEO. That’s on the INTERNET. On freaking YOUTUBE. And presumably, you had one or more reporters ACTUALLY THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED. And all you could do to try to update the story was CALL THE DNC AND ASK THEM WHAT HAPPENED? Hell, the Hill reporter could have come to my little blog anytime after 12:57 a.m. this morning and seen the video in all its glory.

Deep breath. Into a paper bag. OK, I’m good now. I feel much better.

Neither story is updated, it’s all still presented as if it happened in the dark of night when it actually occurred in a public session with video cameras. The correct storyline is “Here’s video of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz rejecting three motions from the floor, one on the Iran deal and one on the debate schedule.” Get some reactions from whoever your go-to folks are, and there’s the story. No unnamed sources, no DNC spokesman, just some actual evidence that makes the story real and allows readers to judge the story for themselves by watching the thing actually happen.

Is that too much to expect from two pillars of political journalism? Apparently so.

Save The Date

Earlier today, I received an email invitation entitled “Reminder: See You Sunday!” from the Raskin campaign. I thought “well, that’s a little bit of short notice, but hey, let’s read further and see what it is.”

Turns out it’s an invite for Fathers’ Day.

“Well,” I thought, “how helpful of them to tell me about the event ten months before it happens? And how much confidence does it show to plan an event for after the primary? They really believe they’re going to win. Thoughtful and confident is good.”

And I’m sure that the host of the event, Councilmember Hans Riemer, will be fully recovered from his recent hip surgery by next June, too.

So I’m putting the event on my calendar for next spring. Maybe take some pictures.

Isn’t this the right way to look at this email? There isn’t any other conceivable explanation, is there? 


CD8 Online Poll – Final Results

The poll results are in and 1487 votes were cast.

Jamie Raskin 644 (43%)

Kathleen Matthews 531 (36%)

Kumar Barve 123 (8%)

Ana Sol-Gutierrez 76 (5%)

Valerie Ervin 59 (4%)

David Anderson 51 (3%)

Will Jawando 3 (0.2%)

1120 of the votes (over 75%) were cast since my last vote total update on Thursday:

Raskin 497 (44.4%)

Matthews 480 (42.9%)

Barve 65 (5.8%)

Ervin 46 (4.1%)

Gutierrez 23 (2.1%)

Anderson 19 (1.7%)

Jawando 0

It’s still utterly meaningless and unscientific. But it’s also still fun. I have a new idea that I will share with you later today about some other online polls that I’m thinking about. 


Shorter Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the issue of the debate schedule:

The chair of the DNC (me, bitches!) decides on the debates, I’ve decided, and there ain’t no way in hell anybody’s gonna get me to change my mind.

Don’t believe me? Watch the video. It’s unreal. This is not the way a political party should be run. It is antithetical to the principles of the Democratic Party that I have been a part of for more than 35 years. It’s embarrassing. Listen to the 40 seconds or so starting at 6:30 of the video. It says, in only a slightly less nasty way, what I state above.

I support Hillary Clinton – but this exercise in autocratic rule by the DNC chair cannot be defended. Period.