Joe Biden

Some 2020 Democratic Presidential Speculation, Just Because

The sun rises near the White House on Nov. 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

It would be easy enough to overplay the drama in an early look toward the 2020 election by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin of the New York Times:

In a largely leaderless party, two distinct groups are emerging, defined mostly by age and national stature. On one side are three potential candidates approaching celebrity status who would all be over 70 years old on Election Day: Mr. Biden, and Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Competing against the Democrats’ senior cohort is a large and relatively shapeless set of younger candidates who span the ideological spectrum: governors, senators, mayors, wealthy executives and even members of the House. They are animated by the president’s turbulent debut and the recent history, from Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 to Mr. Trump’s last year, of upstart candidates’ catching fire.

In the Senate alone, as much as a quarter of the Democrats’ 48-member caucus are thought to be giving at least a measure of consideration to the 2020 race, among them Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California. All are closer to 40 than 80.

For now, however, it is the party’s septuagenarian trio that is casting the longest shadow over 2020, and all three have taken steps to extend or expand their leadership status in the party.

In between, for good measure, is discussion of an amorphous non-faction we might consider as the collected other, including Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Before booking the orchestra for a dramatic score, we should remember this is merely April, 2017; Democrats need to to read the midterm map, first. That is to say, it seems a bit early to see who lands where in relation to what. And, admittedly, it is hard to account for the proverbial known unknowns in the time of Trump; the unknown unknowns seem extraordinary at this time, too.α

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Something About Alfalfa

This is something that has been bugging me, and the question doesn’t seem to want to calm down.

To the one, the infamous Yemen raid is all the more notorious for being the first military action of President Donald Trump’s new administration. To the other, Rachel Maddow spoke with a Colin Kahl, formerly a national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden:

MADDOW: In terms of how President Trump did run this process, we don’t know very much about it. We are told in terms of the timeline that his National Security Advisor briefed him on the plans for the operation one day. The next day, at dinner with his senior strategist Steve Bannon and with his son in law Jared Kushner, and with Secretary of Defense and some other principal-level personnel, he made the decision around the dinner table that it would happen, and then it was launched immediately. That seems like a remarkably informal, small, quick process. Is that totally out of keeping with the kinds of processes that you’ve seen around potentially deadly raids like this, in the past?

KAHL: Well, it is unusual, especially in a context where a raid like this represents a significant escalation in the nature of our actions in Yemen. So it’s not just the raid itself, it’s that there’s a broader set of authorities that are behind that, that deserve deliberation, and what I mean by that is you need to have not just the Defense Department around the table. You also need your intelligence professionals, so that they can vet the intelligence to make sure that they agree with the risk assessment the Pentagon is making. You also need the State Department at the table, so that they can go through the political implications; what happens if civilians die, what are the implications for tribal relations in Yemen, or diplomatic relations? You need the communicators in the room so that you know that you’re on message and you can coordinate with your allies. You also need the legislative team in the room so that you can notify Congress. This is a deliberate process that you owe the president a holistic assessment, and the problem is even if you’ve got a bunch of smart capable people around the table at dinner―like Secretary Mattis, who I think the world of, and Joe Dunford, our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who’s an amazing man―you need a fuller picture than those two general can provide so the president to make a decision of this gravity.

Quite the question; quite the answer. Nor should we look past the rest of it but for the moment, well, the words “significant escalation” stand out. And it’s just one more reason.

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Nifty

Detail of graphic from New York Times, 22 September 2015: Who’s Winning the Presidential Campaign?

Okay, so what part of this pretense from NYT’s The Upshot

History suggests that each party’s eventual nominee will emerge from 2015 in one of the top two or three positions, as measured by endorsements, fund-raising and polling.

isn’t seemingly self-evident?

Nonetheless, it is an interesting toy, tracking various data sources according to reasonable pretenses, but pretty much from the outset it seems as if the New York Times is overplaying its hand.

If we might suggest to keep an eye on it, and see how well they do, we might also suspect it is designed to pitch itself as somehow successful, since its job is to follow trends toward a conclusive resolution.

Still, there are plenty of people you know who need color graphics in order to figure out what’s going on. Who knows, maybe this will help.

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“Who’s Winning the Presidential Campaign?” The Upshot. 22 Septemer 2015.

Sadness

DENVER - AUGUST 27: U.S. Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) (L) hugs his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado.  U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention.  (Photo by Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Via Huffington Post:

Joseph “Beau” Biden III, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, has died from brain cancer, the White House announced Saturday evening. He was 46.

There really isn’t much to say; we can only offer our deepest condolences for the Biden family tonight.

I mean, I’m a father. I … no, I just can’t deal with imagining a day like today.

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Image Note: Detail ― “DENVER – AUGUST 27: U.S. Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) (L) hugs his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention.” (Photo by Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

Chen, Kelly. “Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s Son, Dead At 46 Of Brain Cancer”. The Huffington Post. 30 May 2015.

Square Zero

Presidential Hopefuls Have Already Crossed the Unofficial Starting Line

Easy enough, indeed, to criticize the HuffPo headline for the article from Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas, but we must also recall that such articles are written for the people who do not really pay attention, who might complain that Christmas marketing creeps earlier each year but apparently have no idea that several major political players have spent more of their recent time in office running for president than, well, anything else.

One set of elections ends in early November as another begins when presidential hopefuls cross the unofficial starting line in the 2016 race for the White House.

With control of the Senate at stake, the months leading up to the mid-term elections offer a clearer window on a crowd of potential presidential candidates already jockeying for position from Nevada to New Hampshire. Their cross-country touring will intensify this fall under the gaze of voters who will pick their parties’ nominees. Look for the would-be contenders to road-test rhetoric, expand coalitions, and consider their own political flaws_while keeping close watch on each other ….

…. Whichever party controls the Senate after the November 4 balloting_Republicans need a six-seat gain to win the majority_will say much about what President Barack Obama can accomplish in the final two years of his presidency and the tone of the race to succeed him.

“The end of the 2014 general election does, in a sense, commence a beginning of the presidential primary phase,” says New Hampshire Republican operative Rich Killion. “But an informal, unofficial opening to the process already is underway.”

And it’s been underway for a while, folks. No, really.

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