Tag Archives: US politics

WATCH: The West Wing is coming back (briefly)

I am a massive fan of The West Wing. There are several episodes (The Midterms, for example) where I am almost word perfect. So you can imagine how excited I am that it’s very briefly returning in an HBO Max special on Thursday. It’s being done for When we all vote, an organisation chaired by Michelle Obama to:

increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.

The cast will reunite to perform the 2002 episode Hartsfield’s Landing. It’s the one where Josh and Donna try to make sure that there as many Bartlet votes as possible in a small village in New Hampshire that votes at midnight. I love it.

The trailer, published this week, gave me goosebumps. If you haven’t seen it, enjoy.

I’ve heard that a lot of fans have this week been rewatching the episodes at the end of Season 4 which involve the invocation of the 25th Amendment for reasons that I can’t imagine.

It comes at a time when Democrat House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed legislation on the subject of the 25th Amendment, looking in more detail about when a President is unfit for office.

From the Guardian

The office of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, announced a Friday press conference about the bill after she expressed concern that Trump, who is under treatment for coronavirus at the White House, is suffering a “disassociation from reality”.

The president has unleashed a barrage of erratic and self-contradictory tweets and declarations in recent days that have left staff scrambling and raised concerns over his stability.

In a zig-zagging interview on the Fox Business channel on Thursday, his first since being hospitalised, Trump, 74, boasted: “I’m back, because I am a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young. And so I’m lucky in that way.”

If Aaron Sorkin had put forward scripts for the West Wing which outlined what is going on now, he would have been laughed out of the tv studio.

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Daily View 2×2: 15 June 2020

2 big stories

The relaxation of the UK’s lockdown continues, albeit somewhat falteringly. Yes, you’ll probably be able to go into a pub soon, but your kids may not be back at school until September. And that’s partly because politicians are increasingly ignoring scientists, as Rishi Sunak quite openly acknowledged. He is, I think, right to do so – advisors advise, politicians decide. If only many of us had more faith in the quality of those politicians who form our current government…

Caution is probably the watchword though, as many, if not most, people are still uncomfortable with crowded places, and are …

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An Ostrich Prepares to Lash Out

Every week I do an hour long programme for American radio. The purpose is to try to explain what the rest of the world is thinking about America and what is happening in the world which should be of interest to Americans.

The format takes the form of a discussion between myself—an avowed liberal expat—and an old school friend, Lockwood Phillips, who is a staunch Trump supporter. Not surprisingly, the mix leads to some lively discussions. This week was especially so.

Actually, it was the off-air discourse that was at times off-colour and even more interesting was the exchange of emails …

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Daily View 2×2: 8 June 2020

2 big stories

Black Lives Matter. A simple statement that probably ought not to be necessary, but is. The demonstrations in our bigger towns and cities will have drawn most of the coverage, but the picture is from that well-known radical heartland of Bury St Edmunds, where a demonstration took place yesterday afternoon. Perhaps it is a sign of promise that, even in a community like this, where the non-white population is small, hundreds of people felt moved to express their anger at the injustice of a society which treats black people …

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Daily View 2×2: 5 June 2020

2 big stories

Yesterday, the New York Times published an opinion piece by the junior US Senator for Arkansas, Tom Cotton, which called upon President Trump to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to

employ the military “or any other means” in “cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws”

by way of an overwhelming show of force against protestors. Why is this important? Because Tom Cotton is a potential Republican nominee for the Presidency in the not that distant future.

It would be fair to say that there was a backlash, as the editorial page editor himself admitted.

There is a valid question to …

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Daily View 2×2: 3 April 2020

It’s Friday, it’s five to five half-past seven, and it’s time once again for…

2 big stories

Yesterday, Matt Hancock announced that he was writing off £13.4 billion worth of NHS debt – on the face of it a thoroughly good thing. Of course, you find yourself wondering how it could have repaid that debt anyway, and the problem of the legacy of PFI remains a shadow over the finances of our healthcare, but it will obviously help to ease the burden on day to day finances in our hospitals.

Ten million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in the …

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Daily View 2×2: 30 March 2020

I’ve been looking back at Liberal Democrat Voice past over the weekend, and jolly interesting it has been too – the archives are a glimpse into a rather different political party and, indeed, a rather different Liberal Democrat Voice. As for us, we’re not the same people we used to be, indeed, the Editorial Team of ten years ago bears little resemblance to today’s lineup.

But something drew my eye, and so, in magpie style, I’m stealing it, or perhaps more generously, recycling it. The Daily View feature ran in 2009 and 2010, and was meant to be an early preview …

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The Democratic primary for New York Governor just got interesting

The collision of two of my favourite worlds will keep me well occupied until June 26th when the Democrats choose their candidate for New York Governor.  Yesterday, Cynthia Nixon, who played my favourite character in Sex and the City, Miranda Hobbes, announced her candidacy with a  very effective video.

The Democrats already hold the seat, of course. Andrew Cuomo seeks his third term and won in 2014 with 54% of the vote in the General Election. He is the obvious frontrunner to fight again for the Democrats with, at the moment, a fairly massive lead over all-comers. From the New York Times:

Ms. Nixon, 51, has never before run for elected office and has chosen a huge undertaking for her first bid: seeking to unseat a two-term incumbent (and son of a three-term governor) who is sitting atop more than $30 million in campaign cash. “Our leaders are letting us down,” she says in a video posted on Twitter, talking about the inequities in New York spliced between images of her walking on the streets of New York City and taking the subways. “Something has to change,” she says in the ad. “We want our government to work again, on health care, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us. It can’t just be business as usual anymore.”

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For Winchester 1997, read Virginia 2017

The mantra “EVERY VOTE COUNTS” is an article of faith for political activists everywhere. Liberal Democrats know this more than most, having won one election and lost one in the last twenty years by a margin of two votes (Winchester 1997 and North East Fife 2017).

Now, from the state of Virginia, comes another reminder that every conversation with an undecided voter can swing an election, in a very unusual outcome. On election night last November, Republican David Yancey ‘won’ a crucial state house seat by ten votes, just preventing Democrats from overturning a 32-seat Republican majority. However, his challenger, Shelly Simonds, filed for a recount.

Held in December, the recount appeared to have Simonds winning the seat by a single vote, 11,608 to 11,607. Great news for Virginia Democrats, who thought they would now split control 50-50 of Virginia’s 100-seat lower House of Delegates.

However, their initial euphoria was short-lived. Two days later, a three-judge panel threw out Simond’s one vote win, ruling a disputed ballot should count for Yancey, the Republican, and tying the race. (Veterans of disputed ballot arguments at recounts might want to look away now – here’s a copy of the disputed ballot in question, which shows a mark against both the Democrat and Republican candidates, but then also crosses out the Democrat candidate’s name).

Posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Book Review: The Residence: Inside the private world of the White House

The Residence cover

If you get a chance over the Summer, have a read of Kate Andersen Brower’s book detailing the history and lives of the people who look after the first families at the White House. Find out about their relationships with the various occupants of the biggest goldfish bowl on the planet.  From the Roosevelts to the Obamas, find out about the details of domestic life and the varying relationships between staff and residents.

It is a little biased towards the Republicans and if you know a lot about US politics, there are no new sensational revelations, but it is a fascinating read nonetheless. My emotions went from sympathy for the Clintons and Obamas to annoyance with Lyndon Johnson’s obsession with his shower.  You feel the shock and fear around the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. How does it feel when you realise that your workplace could be the next target – especially when you leave some of your colleagues behind.

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Lessons from history: What Bush and Reagan could teach some UK politicians about their attitude towards economic migration

Way back in 1980, as Ronald Reagan and George Bush were battling it out for the Republican nomination, they were asked whether the children of Mexicans working illegally in the US should be able to get educated. Their answer, posted on the Houston Chronicle’s Facebook page, might surprise you. Today’s politicians and tabloid editors might learn something.

Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush debate Mexican border security…

What would Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush say about immigration and securing the Mexican border today?Well, here's what they said about it in 1980 during a GOP debate in Houston.(Archival video from Getty Images)

Posted by Houston Chronicle on Tuesday, 5 January 2016

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South Bronx is just as important as Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall

South Bronx - Some rights reserved by Nathan CongletonIt is lovely to watch a US President taking the oath of office and not be scared. The feeling of dread I experienced in 1981 and 2001 when Reagan and the younger Bush took office was not pleasant. While Barack Obama has not been perfect, his heart is generally in the right place. His achievements in his first term are all the more remarkable when you consider that he faced a Congress full of some of the most right wing, conservative Republicans we’ve seen in our lifetimes whose sole aim was to thwart his every move.

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