February 17, 2019

Sunday School 2/17/19

Only time for one lecture this morning, as I'm in day three of a partial technological shutdown here at veritable pastiche. In advance, I thank you for your patience and for sticking around until all issues are resolved.

Today's classroom? This Week with George Stephanopoulos, with co-host Martha Raddatz handling the interviews. I chose this one primarily for William Weld, who says he will primary president Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination. But first, a couple of highlights from the other guests.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told Raddatz that his state would "definitely and imminently" be filing a lawsuit challenging the president's declaration of  a national emergency, noting it was not a surprise. Raddatz wondered about any harm being done to California, since Trump's focus was on Texas. She asked (without irony) if Becerra was
...confident your state has concrete standing to challenge this? What harm is he doing to California with this declaration?
 Becerra's response?
We're confident there are at least 8 billion ways that we can prove harm. And once... all the different states are clear, what pots of money that taxpayers sent to DC he's going to raid, which Congress dedicated to different types of services; whether it's emergency response services or whether it's fire or mudslides in California or maybe tornadoes and floods in other parts of the country, or whether it's our military men and women and their families who live on military installations that might - that might have money taken away from them, or whether it's money taken away from drug interdiction efforts in places like California, a number of states, and certainly Americans will be harmed. And we're all going to be prepared. 
Becerra talked about how strong the border is, in the words of DHS, and that entries "by those that don't have permission" are lower than in 20 years or so, therefore
...it's clear this isn't an emergency, it's clear that in the mind of Donald Trump he needs to do something to try to fulfill a campaign promise. That doesn't necessarily constitute a national emergency that would require us to essentially stand down on all sorts of federal laws and also violate the US Constitution. 
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was up next; she thinks there's enough support in the Senate to pass a resolution from the House to terminate the emergency declaration, but that overriding a certain Trump veto would be a different story. If the veto occurred and couldn't be overridden, Raddatz wondered if the House should move forward with a lawsuit (since only Congress can appropriate funding), and Duckworth agreed with that plan of attack.

Duckworth also agreed that in some cases the wall is good, but that there's much more needed, according to the folks on the border. She also agreed that perhaps the overly vague National Emergencies Act should be looked at to add some clarity on what is an emergency. As a veteran, she's not a fan of taking money away from the military to build the wall. She's also not a fan of playing games with national emergency declarations, noting
I don't want a type of government where we are playing these tit-for-tat games. It should be one where we serve the American people by coming to a consensus. And where we're headed, this division is not acceptable for our form of democracy.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) was also on but he's around more often so I did not focus on him. Suffice it to say that he's a fan of the wall and agrees with the president's declaration of a national emergency.

Enough of the opening acts -- now, on to William Weld, who was the Libertarian vice-presidential candidate in 2016. Many people thought thought the Libs would have done better with him on the top of the ticket instead of what's his name. Here's part of Weld's announcement:
I encourage those of you who are watching the current administration nervously, but saying nothing, to stand up and speak out when lines are crossed in dangerous ways. We cannot sit passively as our precious democracy slips quietly into darkness. 
Raddatz started by pointing out the uphill battle Weld is facing, including Trump's 78% approval rating among the Rs, and the RNC pledging Trump its undivided support. Weld's answer was spot on, including this part:
I think the Republicans in Washington want to have NO election basically. I don't think that would be very good for the country, and I have a lot of views of how the president is acting in office... He think he has to humiliate whoever he's dealing with or else he's half a man... It's just no way to run a railroad. 
Weld's path forward?  Making it's clear the president is a "reckless" spender, which will "crush generation Xers and Millennials. He talked about all the ways that jobs are going to disappear, including AI, robots, drones, and more, and making sure the skill sets are are there to help the folks who are displaced by these technologies.
If we don't do anything, then the door to the middle class is going to be shut on the working poor, which would be very bad for the country as a whole. That's the sort of thing they're not paying attention to in Washington, because they're so busy with divisiveness and trying to make everyone feel awful. 
Raddatz wondered if Weld was out to "weaken Trump for the general election" more than beating him in a primary. Weld said it wasn't
...not rather than beating him, but it is part of my thinking to make sure he doesn't repeat We don't have six more years of the antics, frankly that for want of a better word, that we have seen the last two years. I think that would be bad for the country, and I don't care who knows it.
On what he would say to Trump's base, the ones who like what the president's done on national security, the economy, the wall, Raddatz wanted to know how he'd make his case.
I would say his whole hyper-emphasis is pure politics on his part... he wants to divide the country and hold up, you know, scary bogeymen that everyone else can think only he can save us. It's part of  plan, I think, on his part to make himself seem indispensable. He's not indispensable at all. 
Raddatz quoted from a statement from the Massachusetts GOP Chair which said, in part
Weld is the same ex-Republican who deserted Massachusetts for New York, who endorsed President Barack Obama over Senator McCain for president, who renounced the GOP for the Libertarian party, who ran against the Trump-Pence Republican ticket while cozying up to Hillary Clinton. Even Benedict Arnold switched allegiances less often.
How does 'that' Weld convince Republicans who "see that record and think you don't stand for the party."
Well, I'm not going to convince the Republican state chair because they're all under pressure and orders from Washington, make sure this guy gets no purchase. Make sure we don't really have a primary, we want to sail through this without anyone having to think of analyze issues. And I think that's not what the country needs, to put it mildly. 
And with that, Raddatz wished him well -- and I do the same.

See you around campus.

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