Friday, July 10, 2020
Thursday, July 09, 2020
Frank Luntz advised Republican senators to not disavow the president, but to put some daylight between themselves and Trump, according to two people familiar with his presentation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private remarks. Luntz also warned that this November’s congressional results could be similar to the 2006 midterms, when Democrats wrested control of both chambers away from the GOP after President George W. Bush’s popularity fell as a result of the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina. Luntz did not respond to a request for comment."
"Daylight." Explains why Sen. Thom Tillis has disappeared his allegiance to Trump in his TV ads. He's rather showcasing his humble roots in a trailer park. Shades of Virginia Foxx-ism!
“Republicans in the Senate might be trying to disappear Donald Trump from their campaign ads, but they can’t erase their records in Washington of enabling the White House’s attacks on health care in the middle of a pandemic or their refusal to hold the president accountable as he divides a nation in crisis,” said Stewart Boss, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is already suing Governor Cooper over the same issue.
Impeachment would have to begin in the NC House. Republican House Speaker Tim Moore "did not return requests for comment on the petition. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's office said it would be out of turn for Berger to comment, given that any impeachment proceedings would have to start in the House."
In other words, don't hold your breath, Ashley Smith.
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
But not so fast there. That was then. Now Florida is experiencing one of the worst spikes in virus infections, and its governor's poll numbers -- along with Trump's -- are sagging noticeably in the Sunshine State.
Yesterday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Trump ally, refused to say whether he would lift a rule mandating that indoor gatherings stay under 50 percent capacity — which would hold the Jacksonville convention to 7,500 people. Plus Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry issued a mandatory mask order last week.
What a bummer, if Trump has to look down on just a half-capacity auditorium of people wearing masks, or not wearing masks in defiant solidarity with the stupidest and most dangerous one-term president in American history.
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
March 3rd primary vote totals:
Ronnie Chatterji 411,732 -- 35.81%Dimple Ajmera 390,888 -- 33.99%Matt Leatherman 347,226 -- 30.20%
I ended up voting for Dimple Ajmera -- primarily because of what I considered her stronger base in Mecklenburg County -- but I looked hard at Chatterji. I'm grateful now for the profile PamsPicks.net did on Chatterji last March (reproduced here without all the internal links):
Chatterji is a 42-year-old Gen-X-er who lives in Durham. He’s an economist and tenured professor in the Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He served on the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama and he has offered economic advice to a number of other presidential and senatorial campaigns. He’s also an appointee of Governor Roy Cooper to the Entrepreneurial Council.
Chatterji has authored several op-ed pieces in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and writes widely for management and policy audiences with several recent pieces in Harvard Business Review and for the Brookings Institution. His new book, co-authored with Michael Lenox, is “Can Business Save the Earth?” (Stanford University Press).
If elected treasurer, Chatterji promises to “invest responsibly in companies that expand opportunities across our state. We can lead the fight to protect our environment and increase equity. We can expand access to financial services for all North Carolinians. We can make our healthcare system a model for the nation. The Treasurer can do so much for our state and I am ready to get to work.”
Highly qualified, and he has adorable kids:
Incumbent Republican Treasurer Dale R. Folwell
Folwell is an old political hand from Forsyth County. He served several years on the Forsyth School Board before being elected to represent NC House Dist. 74 in 2004, and after the 2010 Tea Party takeover, he rose to be Number Two in the House as Speaker Pro Tempore under Speaker Thom Tillis. (House Dist. 74, incidentally, is the seat that Winston-Salem City Councilman Dan Besse is running for now -- a ripe prospect for flipping.) Folwell tried to move up to lieutenant governor in the elections of 2012, but he finished third in the primary against the eventual winner, Dan Forest. In 2013 he was appointed by Gov. McCrory to head the state's Division of Employment Security. By 2016 he was running for state treasurer against Democrat Dan Blue III:
General Election of 2016:
Dale R. Folwell 2,373,022 -- 52.70%Dan Blue III 2,129,762 -- 47.30%
He kissed the Koch ring by loyally attending American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings. He was a hawk for new hurdles on voting and helped get through anti-gay marriage and bathroom monitor bills that did so verrry much to improve North Carolina's economic standing in the free world -- then had the gall to run for treasurer.
He's been the most vocal opponent of one of Governor Cooper's executive orders, banning city-owned utility providers from disconnecting or fining non-paying customers during the COVID pandemic -- a humane provision, with so many out of work, to keep victimized workers from being thrown out on the street. But every good deed, it seems, has a worm in the bud: Some city-owned utilities could literally go bankrupt because of non-payment. That's the situation in Elizabeth City, incidentally, which was in desperate straits under the governor's order. Some 30% of its customers weren’t paying their utility bills. Without a waiver, the city would go broke in the fall, and its customers could end up paying a 10% to 46% hike in electric rates, according to Richard Olson, Elizabeth City's city manager (as told to the conservative Carolina Journal).
Elizabeth City therefore applied to the state for a waiver to Gov. Cooper's order, and after waiting two weeks for any sort of reply, announced that they had no choice but to defy the governor and start charging again for in arrears utilities on July 1st. Immediately, the state got off the dime and granted the waiver. Folwell wants that waiver extended to all other such utilities, and he's demanding a face-to-face meeting of the Council of State today to debate the issue and force a vote. Unclear whether the Council of State can actually override the governor, but it can certainly cause trouble.
Both Folwell's and the governor's are rational positions, and both have merit. People shouldn't be thrown out of their homes during a state emergency which cost them their jobs. Cities shouldn't have to go bankrupt, either, which might actually lead to higher utility rates for all customers. It's a merciless dilemma, and I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.
I can agree with some issues Folwell has been strong on. His statement on hospital pricing transparency: "...I’m calling on all North Carolina hospitals to be transparent and to publish their pricing so consumers can make informed decisions regarding health care. I’m also calling for the United States Department of Justice and the North Carolina Department of Justice, on behalf of the State Health Plan, to recover the potentially hundreds of millions overcharged to consumers by hospital management from this illegal activity.”
Pricing transparency is perhaps another brick in Folwell's wall against spending on social programs, especially on healthcare, especially for some 720,000 state employees, both retired and active now. In January of 2019, and as administrator of the state's Health Care Plan, Folwell proposed cutting spending some $300 million on health care for state workers, a move which Partners for Innovation in Health Care claimed would "ration care and access, jeopardize the quality of care, cripple local operations and services in every single healthcare system across the state and cause employee layoffs." For his part, Folwell pointed to the hidden and even deceptive prices charged by hospitals, usually in concert with insurance companies.
Late last March, just as COVID-19 was getting a foothold in North Carolina, Folwell was diagnosed with a serious case of the virus and spent five days in hospital recovering. Despite that experience, Folwell has been one of the more vocal members of the Council of State -- along with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest -- to push back against the governor's various shutdown orders.
He's definitely a mixed bag sort of treasurer. While I can appreciate his thinking on some issues, I'm holding his days in the NC House against him.
Monday, July 06, 2020
So Dan Forest, running for governor of North Carolina like he had a clue, showed up Saturday among 500 mainly unmasked supporters in Henderson County and said words, some of which were these:
"There have been multiple comprehensive studies at the deepest level held to scientific standards in controlled environments that have all said for decades, masks do not work with viruses. That's why we've never used a mask for a coronavirus before, ever."
In the great Trump tradition, that's just ignorant. Also dangerous. Rob McMillan reports that many cities in the 1918 flu pandemic mandated masks and fined people who didn't wear them. There's plenty of visual archival evidence too (see below).
Dan Forest is a idiot. Also a ass.
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court (Seat 1) Democrat Cheri Beasley (Beasley appointed Chief by Gov. Roy Cooper in February 2019, following the retirement of Mark Martin
Beasley is the first Black woman to serve as Chief Justice in North Carolina, following a long career as a district court judge in Cumberland Co., then as a judge on the NC Court of Appeals (elected 2008 as the first Black woman elected statewide to any office), and then as an associate justice on the Supreme Court (appointed to fill out an unexpired term in 2012 and elected to a full term in her own right in 2014).
Beasley's opponent, Associate Supreme Court Justice Republican Paul Newby, has made a name for himself as the most nakedly partisan Republican judge on the high court.
Associate Justice of the NC Supreme Court (Seat 2) Democrat Lucy Inman, for an open seat
In 2010, Inman was appointed to the superior court as a special judge by Governor Bev Perdue. She won election to the Court of Appeals in 2014, defeating District Court Judge Bill Southern in a race to replace retiring Judge Robert C. Hunter. Interestingly, she is the great-granddaughter of Josephus Daniels, the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer at the turn of the last century and an avowed white supremacist, whose statue was recently removed from a Raleigh park with the assent of his descendants.
Her opponent, NC Court of Appeals Justice Republican Phil Berger Jr., has been pushed up the ladder of political advancement by his daddy, Phil Berger Sr., the boss of the NC Senate, and is a kind of poster child of nepotistic thumb-on-the-scales special dealing.
Associate Justice of the NC Supreme Court (Seat 4) Democrat Mark A. Davis (appointed March 2019 to fill out Cheri Beasley's term after she was elevated to Chief)
His opponent, Republican Tamara Barringer, is an attorney educated at UNC-Chapel Hill and was an NC state senator from 2012 until she was defeated in the 2018 Blue Wave election by Democrat Sam Searcy.
Associate Justice of the NC Court of Appeals (Seat 4) Democrat Tricia Shields, for an open seat
Open because Associate Justice and Democrat Linda McGee retired.
Shields was born in Elizabeth City. She earned a bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University in 1982 and her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1985. Shields' professional experience includes serving as a law clerk with the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She worked with litigation firm Bailey and Dixon, international law firm Troutman Sanders, LLP, and litigation firm Hedrick, Gardener, Kincheloe, and Garofalo. Shields has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the Campbell Law School, teaching trial advocacy. She has been associated with the Wake County Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association. Shields also served as a member of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and acted as its president from 2011 to 2012.
Her opponent, Republican April C. Wood, is a district court judge from Lexington. She was first elected to the district court in 2002 and serves as the Davie County truancy judge and is a certified juvenile court judge.
Associate Justice of the NC Court of Appeals (Seat 5), Democrat Lora Christine Cubbage, for an open seat
Open because Associate Justice and Democrat Wanda Bryant retired.
Lora Cubbage was born and raised in Shenandoah, Va. After relocating to Greensboro, NC, she worked for 17 years as a barber before returning to school at the age of 29 at NC A&T. After earning her degree there, she went on to law school at UNC-Chapel Hill. She's served as an Assistant District Attorney in Guildford County, an Assistant Attorney General in Raleigh, as both a district court judge and (currently) a superior court judge in District 18A (Guilford County).
Her opponent, Republican Fred Gore
Associate Justice of the NC Court of Appeals (Seat 6), Democrat Gray Styers
His opponent, Republican Chris Dillon, incumbent since he won his election to the seat in 2012, is running for a second term on the court.
Associate Justice of the NC Court of Appeals (Seat 7), Democrat Reuben F. Young (appointed in April 2019 by Gov. Cooper to replace retiring Justice Bob Hunter)
His opponent, Republican Jeff Carpenter, is Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Union County. He is a former North Carolina state trooper and trial attorney. He was appointed to fill a vacancy on the superior court bench in Union County by Governor Pat McCrory in 2016. Carpenter was subsequently elected to an 8-year term in November of 2016.
Associate Justice of the NC Court of Appeals (Seat 13), Democrat Chris Brook (appointed in April 2019 by Gov. Cooper to replace Justice Mark Davis, whom Cooper had appointed to the Supreme Court)
His opponent, Republican Jefferson G. Griffin, was born and raised in Nash County. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. After graduating from UNC, he earned his United States Coast Guard captain’s license and worked as a charter fisherman on the North Carolina coast. In 2008, Griffin graduated from North Carolina Central School of Law and began practicing law in Kinston. In 2010, Griffin joined the Wake County District Attorney’s Office, and in 2015, he was appointed by Governor McCrory to be a district court judge in Wake County. He was elected to a four-year term in the 2016 general election in Wake County. He also serves as a Captain in the North Carolina Army National Guard as a JAG Officer.
Posted by J.W. Williamson at 7/04/2020 09:56:00 AM
Thursday, July 02, 2020
The 30-second ad below will run on Fox News on Saturday during Trump's July 4th Salute to America. It features the face of former NC House member and Matthews, NC mayor, Shawn LeMond, saying, “The Republican Party that I knew and loved was an honorable party. What’s taken over our party is wrong. And as a Republican, as a Christian, we simply cannot allow this man to be re-elected.” (SORRY! Every attempt to embed the ad into this post screwed the hell out of the text. See the ad here.)
The ad was produced by a group calling itself Republican Voters Against Trump (RVAT). Their website is not forthcoming about who they are -- the names of individuals leading this effort -- but it contains a calvacade -- dozens and freakin' dozens -- of Republican testimonials about loss of faith in Trump, from all over the country. A bracing stew of discontent.
RVAT was founded in May 2020 as an auxillary PAC to Defending America, the brainchild of Bill Kristol and a small group of oher disaffected conservatives (Mona Charen, Linda Chavez, et al.) and veteran Republican campaign operatives (Sarah Longwell, Tim Miller). RVAT appears to have been created to target specifically North Carolina, along with Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Florida, with anti-Trump ads aimed at white college-educated suburban voters (Wikipedia).
Meanwhile, other conservative Republicans have been organizing other expressions of disgust, including Judge Bob Orr in North Carolina who helped launch a whole new would-be National Republican Party in the fall of 2019. Republicans for the Rule of Law and The Lincoln Project also sprang up.Yet another group, Republicans for a New President, plans to bring all the disaffected together in Charlotte for "an alternate convention" to Trump's renomination in Jacksonville. The website for Republicans for a New President also does not list its members, the names of its organizers, but says it's "A Project of Stand Up Republic." Stand Up Republic is a 501(c)(4) launched in January 2017 by Evan McMillan, a 2016 independent candidate for president.
Anyway, all these guys and gals are planning to get together August 24-27 in Charlotte for "The Convention on Founding Principles," a convocation of all the #NeverTrumpers, the location obviously chosen because the Republican National Convention was supposed to be there. After Roy Cooper pissed off Donald Trump, and the RNC moved itself to Jacksonville, Republicans for a New President didn't move. They stuck with Charlotte (though much of their "convention" is now likely to be "virtual"). The question: Can they get noticed enough? Get out a message? Present a salutary contrast to Trump's mob on the issue of COVID-prevention. Influence the election?
Trump continues to say (believe?) that 95% of Republicans love his ass, but the truth is he's been shedding Republican support at an accelerating pace. While early in the year some polls found Trump with 90% support among registered Republicans, by May a Rasmussen poll could find only 70% of Republicans enthusiastic about Trump's reelection. Some 23% explicitly wanted someone else to run for president. A Pew Research poll this week gives Trump 78% of the Republican Vote, down from 85% in March. (For comparison, George W. Bush was down to 75% support among Republicans by the end of his term.)
GOP strategist Larry Shaheen of Mecklenburg County said that ads like the one above are "not designed to move Republicans. They're designed to make the Unaffiliateds in urban areas more comfortable not voting for Trump and voting for Biden." That's Trumpism's Achilles heel, the independents.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Boebert, a young 33-year-old, is the owner of Shooter's Grill in Rifle, Colorado, and if you sense an almost mythic piling up of firearm references, you wouldn't be wrong. Boebert enjoys posing with a handgun strapped to her thigh, and she reportedly encourages her wait staff to wear sidearms too. She's popular with white men. She defied COVID restrictions and kept her restaurant open despite state-wide orders, until the local sheriff got a cease and desist order against her. She likes the QAnon conspiracy movement for promoting the belief that "deep-state traitors" are Trump's biggest problem -- not his abyssmal ignorance, his imperial arrogance, or his obvious subservience to Vladimir Putin.
Oh, she's a spectacle all right. In a state that has imposed new gun restrictions following mass killings, she's a cheerleader for assault rifles. At a town hall meeting in Aurora, she yelled at Beto O'Rourke about his pledge to outlaw them. That made the news too.
But the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado seems like safe ground for Boebert's theatrical gun cosplay. It's rated "Solid Republican" by Cook's Political Report. It's a huge swath of western Colorado containing ranches, farms, mountains, and lots of guns.
But Boebert's surprising win in the primary yesterday sent me looking for the Democratic candidate in the race -- Diane Mitsch Bush -- and whether she might be exactly the right antidote to the self-parody of a restaurant owner who knows no embarrassment.
|Diane Mitsch Bush|
She offers many stark policy contrasts to Boebert, not least of which is her stand on guns. In 2013, Bush voted for universal background checks and magazine limits in Colorado. She continues to support universal background checks, long-term assault weapons ban, and a ban on purchasing bump stocks. She also supports funding for national research for gun use, safety, and violence prevention through the Center for Disease Control. A number of violence prevention groups have recognized her for her record on combating gun violence, including Colorado Ceasefire, Moms Demand Action, and LEAP Forward.
Guns may become THE campaign issue in the Colorado Third. Boebert's dress-up accessorizing may determine that. But another issue that could play even stronger is health-care, especially in the context of the Trump admin's total bungling of the pandemic response. Boebert's cavalier refusal to protect her customers and her staff from the threat may play hard against her.