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On the roster: It’s not the heat, it’s the humility – It’s Biden vs. Everyone else – Impeachment dam breaking as Pelosi deputies tip hand – President Trump begins U.K. state visit – New level of salty
IT’S NOT THE HEAT, IT’S THE HUMILITY
DUBUQUE, Iowa – When we survey the ranks of, as Miracle Max would say, “slightly alive,” candidates who fill the bottom rungs of the Democratic presidential field it is tempting to wonder why they put themselves through it.
Kirsten Gillibrand was a famous and powerful person in Washington. She has been elected to the Senate three times. She represents a large, wealthy state that it very influential in Democratic politics. She probably had a pretty good life.
But here she is, standing in an atrium at the University of Dubuque speaking into the camera of a laptop held by an aide expressing EXTREME excitement about the town hall she just completed. The town hall was rough running at spots and afterwards she stuck around to shake every hand, take every selfie and listen to every line.
The junior senator from New York is a smart person. She knows that the probability of her becoming the Democratic nominee, let alone president of the United States, is vanishingly small. She’s so bad off in her once-esteemed candidacy that she is in real danger of missing the cut for the first debate.
Gillibrand, the tip of the spear for the #MeToo movement in Congress, Senate successor to Hillary Clinton and one time doyenne of the Wall Street bundlers doesn’t have enough donors to meet her party’s standard for participation in its first debate later this month. She’s still short of the 65,000-donor mark, a population not much larger than that of little Dubuque, here at the intersection of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
So what on earth is she still running for? We could ask the same of former Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Gov. Steve Bullock, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Sen. Michael Bennet. These are people with real accomplishments and success in life. They surely know how preposterous their chances are.
First, there is the bumble bee phenomenon. The rules of aeronautical design would say that the big fat bumble bee with its little tiny wings cannot fly, but since no one told the bumble bee he just keeps on buzzing. So yes, some of these folks may actually think that success is just around the corner.
But we suspect that self-preservation is more of the cause.
If South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg doesn’t become president his career will hardly be the worst for it. Even if he finishes in third or fourth place for his party’s nomination and gives a speech at the Democratic National Convention he will have done himself enormous good.
But what becomes of someone like Gillibrand if she can’t even make it on the debate stage? How will her constituents and political rivals back in New York see her if that happens? What about the donors who she squeezed to get the seed money to launch her presidential campaign? What about her fellow senators?
When Gillibrand, like her colleagues Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, started getting ready to run for president they didn’t know a lot of the things now shaping the race. They didn’t know that Joe Biden really was that popular among black voters. They didn’t know that seven senators would be running. They didn’t know that Democrats would go gaga for the 37-year-old mayor of the fourth largest city in Indiana.
These are not people who got to where they are by being squeamish or for lack of ego or ambition, so what do you expect them to do except slog on.
If you are on the 64th-best team in the 64-team NCAA basketball tournament you may have some dreams about being the giant killer of all time and winning the championship, but what you really want to do is win that first round and show that you belong there. You just want to survive and advance for as long as you can.
So as you watch Gillibrand and her fellows gripping and grinning their way through the various indignities of being at the head of a failing presidential candidacy, remember that sometimes preserving your pride can be a little embarrassing.
THE RULEBOOK: CAUSE AND EFFECT
“The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 10
TIME OUT: ‘FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY’
The [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call: “Mike Madden built it and didn’t even need to wait for people to come. They came in busloads, in fact, and will continue to do so now that the former Muhammad Ali training center, Fighter’s Heaven, near the edge of Schuylkill County, [Pa.] has been officially refurbished and, as of Saturday, officially open to the public as a museum and shrine to the former world heavyweight boxing champion. … [Ali] transcended the sport and pretty much everything else… ‘He wanted to use his fame and fortune to help others,’ Madden said. ‘So if we can help carry out a piece of that mission, that would be great.’ Which is why the museum is tied to a number of charities that will benefit from the facility. Madden is not planning on profits from this venture. As a real estate businessman, he makes enough in his other ventures. In fact, they haven’t even worked out an actual admission charge yet.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 40.6 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -12.2 points
Change from one week ago: down 0.6 points
[Average includes: CNN: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; CNBC: 40% approve – 50% disapprove; CBS News: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]
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IT’S BIDEN VS. EVERYONE ELSE
Politico: “With the introductory stage of the Democratic presidential primary now over, the lines of engagement are beginning to take shape. And what is emerging is a primary that is no longer one nominating contest, but two. The first, occurring wherever Joe Biden materializes, is the front-runner’s campaign against himself… The other includes everyone else. Nowhere were the two tracks of the primary more stark than over the weekend, when Biden positioned himself in Ohio, far from the horde of other Democratic contenders. While more than half the field jostled at the Californian Democratic Party convention here — the largest single state party gathering in the nation — the former vice president had the lectern to himself at a Human Rights Campaign dinner on Saturday, contrasting his candidacy not with any Democrat, but with the Republican president. His counter-programming appearance served the latest reminder that, with large leads in national and several early state polls, Biden is running a race in a vacuum, adhering to his own rules and schedule.”
All eyes on California primary – NYT: “While California was among the final states to vote last time, in June 2016, state officials have now moved up the primary date by three months. In March 2020, its treasure trove of nearly 500 Democratic delegates is poised to play a decisive role at the start of the nominating contests. …California’s true impact on the nomination may depend heavily on the results in Iowa, and on whether a runaway nominee emerges in the following three contests of New Hampshire (on Feb. 11), Nevada (Feb. 22) and South Carolina (Feb. 29). If one candidate dominates those four states, California — which votes on March 3 with a dozen other ‘Super Tuesday’ states — could catapult him or her even further ahead with a big delegate victory. By contrast, political strategists say, candidates who suffer in those first states and lose momentum would have a hard time turning things around in California, no matter how much time or money they invest in the state.”
IMPEACHMENT DAM BREAKING AS PELOSI DEPUTIES TIP HAND
Fox News: “While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging caution and patience in response to those in her party clamoring for impeachment proceedings against President Trump, her top deputies are signaling it’s only a matter of time before they begin. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-highest-ranking Democrat in the House, said in an interview Sunday that he believes impeachment proceedings ultimately will be launched against Trump at some point in the future. He suggested Democrats are already laying the groundwork in Congress. ‘I think we’ve already begun,’ Clyburn said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘We’ve got all of these committees doing their work, we’re having hearings.’ … Despite the momentum, Democrats, even with their congressional majority, still appear to have some work to do in convincing their own party. A New York Times tally says 54 House Democrats support impeachment, 58 do not support it and 123 have not committed. Michigan Rep. Justin Amash is the only House Republican to support impeachment. It takes just a simple majority of the House to impeach.”
Poll: Impeachment support rises, Trump approval stays steady – CNN: “Democrats are increasingly in support of impeaching President Donald Trump and removing him from office but the majority of Americans remain opposed to the prospect, a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS shows. Trump’s approval rating, meanwhile, holds exactly even with where it was in late April — 43% approve and 52% disapprove of the President, according to the poll. That’s the case even as support for impeachment rose slightly from 37% last month to 41% now. Similarly, those backing impeachment hit 43% in December, down from CNN’s previous high mark of this question with 47% in September 2018. The new poll finds 54% are against impeachment. The shift on impeachment stems mostly from a rebound in support for it among Democrats — 76% favor it currently, up from 69% in April.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP BEGINS U.K. STATE VISIT
Fox News: “President Trump mixed high-level diplomacy with schoolyard taunts as he kicked off his overseas visit meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and later touring Westminster Abbey — while sparring on the side with one of his biggest British critics, London Mayor Sadiq Khan. The London itinerary is part of a packed overseas agenda that includes a state dinner at the palace and D-Day commemoration ceremonies. At their initial visit to the palace early Monday morning, the president and first lady Melania Trump had a private lunch with the Queen, later inspecting a collection of artifacts including an 18th-century map of New York, historic photos of golf at St. Andrews and books about birds and George Washington. … The visit began with formalities befitting a state visit. … … Trump will be in the U.K. from Monday to Wednesday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which comes at a tumultuous time in British politics, with Prime Minister Theresa May due to step down on Friday.”
All while sparring with London mayor – Fox News: “Juxtaposed against that scene, however, was an opening scrap between Trump and London Mayor Khan, who penned a critical column of the president he called a ‘global threat.’ In the column titled, ‘It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump,’ Khan listed Trump’s most controversial policies and likened them to the actions of European dictators of the 1930s and 40s. Before he even arrived in London, Trump fired back calling Khan the ‘twin’ of New York City’s liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio ‘except shorter.’ Trump continued the attack Monday, calling Khan a ‘stone cold loser.’ Khan’s office said in response that the comment is ‘much more serious than childish insults which should be beneath the President of the United States.’”
And feuding with Meghan Markle – WaPo: “During the 2016 election campaign, the duchess — then Meghan Markle — called Trump ‘misogynistic’ and ‘divisive.’ The American actress also said she might move to Canada if Trump was elected president. Instead, two years on, she married Prince Harry and became part of Britain’s royal family. Suggesting that he had been unaware of the duchess’s 2016 remarks ahead of preparations for his upcoming state visit to Britain and his royal reception on Monday, Trump said in an audio recording released by the Sun: ‘I didn’t know that she was nasty,’ in response to a question that cited Markle’s earlier remarks. … Trump refrained from provoking a full-blown spat, quickly emphasizing in the same interview with the Sun that ‘I am sure she will do excellently’ as a duchess. On Sunday, Trump suggested that his remarks on Meghan had been taken out of context.”
Boris Johnson leading the way to be next prime minister – Reuters: “Boris Johnson, frontrunner to be Britain’s next prime minister, promised on Monday to lead the country out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without an exit deal, launching his leadership bid in a campaign video. … Johnson, a former foreign minister who resigned in protest at May’s handling of Brexit, is the bookmakers’ favourite to win a crowded contest and take over the running of the country at its most important strategic juncture in decades. ‘If I get in we’ll come out, deal or no deal, on October the 31st,’ he was seen telling a member of the public in a campaign video released on Twitter. The launch coincided with the arrival in Britain of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has thrown his weight behind Johnson by saying he would do a ‘very good job’ as British leader.”
Congress returns, gets to work on disaster relief bill – Roll Call
Survey: Majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s trade policies – CNBC
AUDIBLE: PINKIES UP
“Alright Booker, if you’re going to lose a finger, you got to make it count, buddy. Not this weak-kneed stuff with losing a pinky, okay?” – Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., tweeted in response to a headline from satire website The Onion that read “Cory Booker tries to relate to rural voters by mangling hand in grain auger.”
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NEW LEVEL OF SALTY
AP: “A Seattle man took exception to a car-share vehicle that was parked without permission at his duplex. So he built a fence around it. Dan Smith tells KIRO-TV he doesn’t know who parked the car2go Mercedes May 17, but it wasn’t one of his tenants. By the next day he had erected the barricade, preventing other customers from using the vehicle. He wants Share Now, the company that operates car2go, to pay $65 a day in storage fees, $300 for the fence and up to $500 for ‘harassment fees.’ The company says it has been unable to remove the sedan because of the fence. Its policy requires customers who park in unapproved areas to pay any towing and ticketing fees. The company says it does not tolerate having its vehicles held for ransom.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Yesterday’s conventional wisdom: A wave of insurgent populism is sweeping the West, threatening its foundational institutions — the European Union, the Western alliance, even liberal democracy itself. Today’s conventional wisdom (post-first-round French presidential election): The populist wave has crested, soon to abate. Chances are that both verdicts are wrong.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on April 27, 2017.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
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