Primarily Speaking

image of a cartoon version of me surrounded by flames while I smile and give two thumbs up, pictured in front of a patriotic stars-and-stripes graphic, to which I've added text reading: 'The Democratic Primary 2020: Let's do this thing.'

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

Well well well. After Joe Biden's reprehensible support for the Hyde Amendment was roundly criticized by his opponents and everyone else with a shred of decency, he announced last night that he has changed his position, saying: "I want to be clear: I make no apologies for my last position. I make no apologies for what I'm about to say," but "circumstances have changed."

First of all, he should be apologizing for his last position, because it was garbage. Secondly, no, circumstances have not changed. As @magi_jay noted on Twitter: "Hyde is no worse right now than it was a few years ago. There's no new evidence. It's always been bad."

Biden should have admitted that he's just straight-up been wrong on Hyde. Instead, he is spinning some horseshit about "changing circumstances" in the hopes that voters who don't understand the basics of Hyde will think there might have been a time when it was reasonable.

Biden also claimed his reversal was prompted by a new level of anti-choice Republican aggression: "Folks, the times have changed. I don't think these guys are going to let up." No shit, Joe. They haven't let up since Roe was decided in 1973. He knows that, of course. He isn't ignorant. He just doesn't care.

Look, I'm glad that Biden changed his position, but, as I noted on Twitter, it's a problem that I can't trust he'll stick to it: I want progressive politicians to progress — but I do find it hard to trust them when their progress is so evidently motivated by political expediency. I don't want my autonomy to rest on an ambitious man's unprincipled whims.

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In other Biden news, after skipping the California Democratic Party convention, he'll now also be a no-show at the traditional Iowa Democrats' Hall of Fame dinner this weekend. Nineteen other candidates will attend. Despite still leading in the polls, it doesn't sound like Biden will be missed: "'After I hear from 19 different people, I'll probably be okay without the 20th,' said Steve Drahozal, chair of the Dubuque County Democrats." LOL ouch.

This is a very good piece about Senator Elizabeth Warren by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
At the Fairfax campaign stop, Warren tells some thousand people who have shown up to hear her, a crowd visibly dominated by women, that her lifelong dream was to be a teacher — a dream she lived up to as a special education teacher and a law professor before becoming a United States senator and, now, a candidate for president. This is something some of the Warren think pieces tend to miss: Warren is an extraordinary educator. We misread her as a detached wonk when she's actually a brilliant translator of complex ideas. Watching her on the stump, you come to realize that it's not so much the fact that she knows a lot of technical and complicated things that truly excites her fans, it's that she can explain them to you.

...[T]he women who come to these early Warren rallies like being addressed by an adult as adults. At a time when America has devalued teachers, empathy, expertise, and planning for the future, Elizabeth Warren serves as one reminder of what we have lost. It doesn't mean the voters will necessarily throng to her side. It just means that the women I spoke to, and more and more of the women I know, don't mind being educated about how everything went so terribly wrong in their political lifetimes. Elizabeth Warren can explain it, and has a plan for it, and believes she can fix it.

This is a very good piece about Senator Kamala Harris' sister and campaign chair Maya Harris by Christopher Cadelago and Carla Marinucci at Politico:
A no-nonsense boss who became a single mom at 17 and earned a law degree from Stanford before embarking on a long career in progressive activism, she's emerged as a primary attraction in her own right. Aside from standing in for Kamala at fundraisers, Maya can be seen at campaign stops posing for pictures with selfie seekers who recognize her from social media and her time as an MSNBC talking head — a gig she landed after advising Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

...The 52-year-old — who holds the post that John Podesta had for the Clinton campaign, and has been aspirationally referred to by political types as Kamala's Bobby Kennedy — would almost certainly be serving in a Clinton administration had she won.

..."I think most people who know Maya will tell you she's one of the smartest people they know," Kamala said. "The fact that she has volunteered to work on this campaign at such a high level, and she's exactly who she's always been — she works around the clock and she's probably the hardest, if not one of the hardest working people on the campaign — I feel very blessed."
Julián Castro will be the first 2020 candidate to visit Flint, Michigan, when he travels there this weekend: "It's been more than five years since the #FlintWaterCrisis and some folks are still reeling from its effects. I saw the impact firsthand when I visited as HUD Secretary in 2016. I look forward to returning this weekend to meet with residents about the progress still to come."

On Twitter, @TrinityMustache wonders why Levi Sanders, Senator Bernie Sanders' son and "senior campaign advisor," is tweeting Kremlin propaganda. GOOD QUESTION!

In other Sanders news, he looks like a 1950's nuclear scientist gazing up at a New Mexico desert test blast in the distance on the cover of Time magazine. The cover story itself, by the way, is fucking ridiculous — and the fanboy who wrote it says on Twitter that he hasn't "really done much campaign reporting before," so I don't feel remotely obliged to link to what is basically garbage penned by an amateur whose primary qualification was apparently fawning sycophancy.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says that Stacey Abrams was robbed of the Georgia governorship, and he is right, and I'm glad he said this: "Stacey Abrams ought to be the governor of Georgia. When racially motivated voter suppression is permitted, when districts are drawn so that politicians get to choose their voters instead of the other way around, when money is allowed to outvote people in this country, we cannot truly say we live in a democracy." YES!

Senator Cory Booker is charming in a 20 Questions segment for Now This. My favorite quote (at 5:47): "Someone who's nice to you but not nice to the waiter is not a nice person."

John Hickenlooper is still definitely running for president.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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