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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,146

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If one were accept the fiction that Trump didn't try to pressure Ukraine for his own political gain

This is what the Republicans would have us believe instead:

1) That Trump's own personal lawyer was for months orchestrating a campaign to do exactly that without any direction coming from Trump to do so. And that the President was totally clueless of it and/or did absolutely nothing to set his attorney straight. OR

2) That the entire diplomatic corp and national security apparatus involved with Ukraine below the level of Secretary of State all believed they saw enough persuasive evidence of exactly that to reach the conclusion that Trump was pressuring Ukraine to deliver political dirt for Trump's reelection campaign. And that the President was totally clueless that he was giving everyone that impression and/or did absolutely nothing to set the record straight with any other plausible reasons for his actions to members of his administration who saw the quid pro quo.

Anyone who would argue that Trump is "innocent" of extortion and bribery is instead arguing that the President is totally inept and incapable of running the executive branch of the U.S. Government when it comes to matters of vital national security. And that should be just as damning as the truth.

It is already uncontested that Trump totally disregarded unanimous contrary opinions from all of his senior national security and military advisors when he gave the green light to Turkey to betray our Kurdish allies. Now it is established that Trump totally disregarded unanimous contrary opinions from his senior national security and military advisors, and all experts on Ukraine, regarding the dangers of freezing military aid to that country and singling a weakening of support for that fragile democracy while it was fighting a Russian invasion.

These truths are uncontested and all establish Trump's total unfitness for office. He must be removed for reasons of national security even were one to argue that Trump is not in fact literally corrupt (which he is).

I'm for Elizabeth, Bernie or Kamala, but I would rather have Amy than either Joe or Pete

And it should go without saying that I would enthusiastically support any of them against Trump.

Biden's campaign has quite simply underwhelmed me, and I've approached this entire primary contest with a much more detached attitude than I have had in prior presidential campaign cycles. Which means I have not been emotionally rooting against anyone, which is the corollary of not strongly for anyone either. This has been a refreshing change for me in a way, remaining in a more passive mode. I have watched to see how our various candidates swayed the public, rather than doing my small bit attempting to sway anyone toward any of our candidates myself.

So, I was and remain open to Biden, but he has impressed me less this time around than I was expecting him too. I expected Harris to be doing better than she has so far also. At this point her winning the nomination is increasingly seeming unlikely. In pundit speak I reside in the progressive lane when it comes to my natural inclinations. IMO only Bernie and Elizabeth remain viable from that so called lane, though it is remotely possible that Steyer can "buy his way" into it if that is where he chooses to position himself ideologically AND he has a few viral moments in the next couple of debates.

The so called more "moderate lane" is a little more complex. For one thing there is the late entry of Patrick and the possible late entry of Bloomberg to contend with, replete with unknown repercussions. It seems that Buttigieg has chosen to stake out turf in the "moderate lane", competing with Biden there. So has Booker and Klobuchar. Of those Mayor Pete clearly has momentum and money behind him. Cory has carved out a "moderate" niche for himself in the second tier, but he hasn't surged. Amy Klobuchar however has begun to show some signs of moving up, and there still is time for her to build upon her recent momentum.

I'll be blunt. I think it would be risky if Democrats nominated Buttigieg this time around, though he might be a good VP addition. There is very little enthusiasm for him among African American voters, and this race has been going on long enough now for that to register as a real problem for him. I have no doubt that the vast majority of African Americans would vote for Buttigieg in the General Election, but enthusiasm (or the relative lack of it) is a very real factor in political success. Hillary Clinton swept up the black vote in Democratic primaries in 2016, but the actual African American voting rate dropped in 2016, which was one of the contributing factors to Clinton not becoming president. And yes there is the matter of vestiges of homophobia remaining in the American public as a whole, which is by no means restricted to minority communities. But there is also Mayor Pete's relative lack of administrative and policy experience above the level of a medium sized municipality. Those motivated to disparage Pete Buttigieg because they harbor homophobia in themselves can use Buttigieg's relative inexperience as convenient cover for attacks on his potential leadership.

I see in Amy Klobuchar a fresh yet experienced face of moderately progressive Democratic leadership. I think she would contrast well against Trump as our nominee, better in some crucial ways than would Joe Biden. I'm keeping a close eye on her as well as on my preferred candidates, and on Daval Patrick also.

Don't let Republicans focus on "the phone call". This was a multi-month extortion conspiracy.

The phone call between Trump and Zelensky was not the basis of the crime. It is one damning piece of evidence of an orchestrated multi-player national security sell out. The crime was carefully formulated and carried out by a team working at Trump's direction and it took place in multiple ways, at multiple times, and in multiple locations. The totality of the evidence must always be front and center

Damning as it may be, Republicans want to focus on that one phone call because if that is examined outside of its full context, then the impeachment burden of proof rests on how certain words spoken in a single instance are interpreted. That lends itself to a "Trump always talks that way, it may be inappropriate but it isn't impeachable" defense. Republicans want to fight on the grounds of a single phone call, a single "spontaneous" moment in time. We can't let them boil it down to that.
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