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Pelosi’s Big Day! And my early take on 2020


This is the day we’ve been waiting for, when Trump is held to account. Here’s the gavel, Speaker Pelosi!

Under her leadership, these five Democratic House chairs are going to be the heroes of 2019:

Jerry Nadler, Judiciary Committee

Adam Schiff, Intelligence Committee

Elijah Cummings, Oversight Committee

Richard Neal, Ways and Means Committee

Maxine Waters, Financial Services Committee

The first three, Nadler, Schiff and Cummings, have been real attack dogs over the last two years, increasingly critical of Trump as he breaks laws and violates American values. Neal has been largely silent; representing south-central Massachusetts, a working-class district, he’s stayed off the MSNBC/CNN talk shows. But he’s the one tasked with unearthing Trump’s tax returns. As for Maxine Waters, well! Trump loathes her as much as she loathes him. He called her “a low IQ person,” which is in line with his usual smears of women and people of color. She, for her part, hasn’t hesitated to express extreme umbrage in every interview; her ever-sharp tongue is a good match to Trump’s insults. How fitting that a person whom Trump has disparaged—a black woman–now will get to sit in judgment of him!

So the worm has turned. I don’t know if Trump will run for re-election in 2020 because, honestly, we don’t know if he’ll still be in office. He might quit, especially if Mueller—armed with a vast armada of proof of his lies and crimes, including the pee tape—makes a deal with him: in exchange for not prosecuting him or his family or the Trump Organization, Trump resigns and promises never to engage in elective office again. He might be impeached, although as we all know, conviction in this Republican-dominated Senate is a near impossibility. With his high blood pressure, he might even drop dead of a heart attack or stroke.

And, with an eye toward 2020, I look to primary season, already unfolding, with a certain unease. I sense another internecine battle within the Democratic Party between the far left (Sanders, Warren) and the more moderate center, what might be called the Hillary wing. This split cost us the election in 2016; Sanders, especially, persuaded enough Democrats to abandon the ticket to hand the presidency over to Trump. Although he’ll never acknowledge his role, he was indeed The Spoiler.

In my judgment, Sanders and Warren ought not to run. Both are out of step with mainstream America, and even with the Democratic Party; both are unelectable. Warren in particular rubs people the wrong way. Whether or not that’s her fault is beside the point; she’s not likeable, and likeability plays a huge role in a politician’s success. Sanders is likeable—he’s got the Uncle Bernie persona. But he’s tainted by that Spoiler role he played two years ago, and a lot of Hillary supporters (including me) will never forgive him.

Beto is looking good, isn’t he? Handsome, charming, athletic, poised, a great speaker, inspirational, a family man, and he has a proven track record of fund-raising. That’s on the plus side. But is he the new JFK or Barack Obama? Democrats, it’s said, fall in love; Republicans fall in line. We’re all in love with Beto now, but, as I’ve pointed out before, the DNC had better do an outstanding job researching every second of his life, because if there’s a single skeleton in the closet—sexual, financial, plagiarism, anything at all for Republicans to seize on—he’s toast. The lesson of Tom Eagleton ought to haunt Democrats.

I’m looking also at Sherrod Brown. I’m not big on Kamala Harris—not yet, anyway. Maybe next time around. Amy Klobuchar is an interesting choice. She checks a lot of boxes: Woman. Important swing state. Great personality. Not too liberal for those suburbanites, but liberal enough for most Democrats. And, this one is out of right field: Gavin Newsom. Not for the top spot, but for veep. By summer, 2020, he will have been Governor of California for 1-1/2 years, and will have established a national profile. But in the end, I keep coming back to one name: Joe Biden. He’s got pretty much everything: the track record, the chops, a certain telegenic quality despite his age, a winning personality, the best smile in politics, a solid liberal track record over the decades. Moreover, there’s nothing lurking in the closet: Biden’s been vetted more than all the others put together. He’s got a good tongue, too—any crap Trump (or any other Republican) throws at him, he’ll turn around, jiu-jitsu style, right back in the thrower’s face, and he’ll do it flashing those pearly whites. Biden’s negative, if you can call it that, is his age: he’ll be just short of 78 on Election Day 2020. But if he’s healthy, he could do it—especially if he picks the right veep.

And who might that be?

Biden-Beto: The B&B Boys. The pro and the rookie. Classic combo. Plus Beto puts Texas into play.

Biden-Newsom: Risky, and might be too coastal. But Newsom would attract immense attention, and the environmentalists love him (so do the gays, but they’ll vote Democratic anyway).

Biden-Klobuchar: Nice. The sweet spot. Mixes up the genders, plus gets the heartland to balance out Biden’s eastern cred.

Biden-Booker: Longshot, and it would be an all-East Coast ticket. But African-Americans are Democrats’ most loyal constituency, and they deserve representation. Plus, Booker is trusted by the left.

Biden-Sherrod Brown: Like Klobuchar, Brown brings an important swing, heartland state, Ohio. He’s super-telegenic, smart and able to defend himself against the Republican smear machine. And he’s progressive enough for the Sanders-Warren wing.

Of course, whomever the Democratic nominee is, I will support her or him with all my heart.

So there you have it: My early take on 2020.

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