My Content

elections

Ben Cline Betrays Conservatives and Beclowns Himself in Joining SCIF Stunt

by D.J. McGuire

There was a time when conservatives in general – and Republicans in particular – took national security seriously.

We can argue about when that era ended; after Wednesday, no one can argue the fact that it has ended. Dozens of Republican Congressmen proved that when they chose to violate the Secured Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where the current impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump is being conducted. In the process, these clowns delayed testimony for nearly five hours and violated all sorts of security regulations by bringing in their phones (a flat-out violation).

One of these fools – at least in rushing the SCIF – was Virginia’s own Ben Cline (R-6th District), as can be seen from this Washington Post story (third video, titled “Desperate”: Lawmakers react to Republicans disrupting impeachment inquiry testimony; Cline can be seen about 24 seconds in as he pats his fellow committee crasher on the back).

Thus, less than two weeks before Election Day, Cline provided the perfect reason why I will be voting for the straight Democratic ticket on November 5 – with the full understanding that I am possibly the only one against the rest of the Bearing Drift contributors on this.

At first, I was going to be merely theoretical (although I still think correct) about how the GOP needed to by punished – hard and deep – for Trump, how the lesson needed to be sent to every single Republican on a ballot from now until he is defenestrated (either via impeachment and conviction or by losing re-election). I would then shift to how the Virginia Republicans behaved over the last two decades (three tax increases and rejected Medicaid expansion with a tax cut while accepting Medicaid expansion with “work requirements” that disincentivize entrepreneurial behavior and increase regulation of poor people).

Cline’s clown show, however, took this to an entirely new level of mandatory punishment for the GOP/RPV.

Nearly all of my fellow BD contributors who weighed in on the 6th District race in 2018 insisted that Ben Cline was the nice guy in the race for the GOP nomination. He was more reasonable than Cynthia Dunbar. His experience as a Delegate would mean he would keep his head down and do for his constituents – just as the Republicans running for state and local office this year are supposed to do.

Instead, he violated clearance rules in a manner that would make Hillary Clinton’s private server explode. He participated in the compromising of a SCIF. Mieke Eoyang (a former staffer of the House Intel Committee) explains what these fools did:

“Foreign adversaries are constantly trying to figure out what goes on inside those rooms to figure out what the US knows about them, to out US high-level sources in their governments, to know what the US government knows and use it against us.

“But in ‘storming the SCIF’ without observing the security protocols, Rep. Gaetz et al, endangered our national security & demonstrated they care more about a political stunt than protecting intelligence information. I cannot emphasize enough how serious this is.”

So if Ben Cline can beclown himself like this, what can we expect of the rest of this bunch?

No one can say with a straight face that the Republican Party of 2019 is anything remotely like the party the led us to victory in the Cold War, fought for freer trade, and defended American interests robustly abroad. For many 2019 Republicans, that’s a feature rather than a bug.

However, we now also know that the Republican Party of 2019 thinks “more about a political stunt than protecting intelligence information” – and that Virginia Republicans, rather than an exception to this rule, have become an example of this rule. That is what Ben Cline showed us all on Wednesday.

Ben Cline deserves neither power nor office. He exemplifies a party that needs to be taken to the woodshed, and the only way they will listen is if the voters replace them – all of them – with Democrats (I can’t even bring myself to accept Republican-in-all-but-name Chris Peace – sorry, Andrea). It’s a harsh remedy, but the Republicans have done this to themselves …

… especially Ben Cline.

D.J. McGuire – a self-described progressive conservative – has been part of the More Perfect Union Podcast since 2015. He is also a contributor to Bearing Drift.

Is the Past Prologue for Democratic Presidential Candidates?

by D.J. McGuire

The events of the last 24 hours (for which we did a special episode – you can listen here) have led many to wax nostalgic over Watergate (euphemism, people, euphemism). It’s also led me to ponder the era between then and now, and I’ve found something that could be ominous for nearly all of the potential 2020 Democratic candidates (including my preferred choice, Congressman John Delaney).

The early 1970s gets harder to remember with every year (the past is like that), but we should not forget that the American people’s revulsion with Washington corruption neither began nor ended with Richard Nixon. This was the era of the Church Committee hearings with subsequent intelligence reforms, campaign finance law reform, and a serious rethink of the structure of economic regulation. Right and left had their own answers to the conundrum of corruption – smaller government for the former, cleaner government for the latter.

One other result that has dramatically impacted the nation has been noticed less: the effect on presidential elections. We’ve had 11 of them since Nixon’s resignation. Here are the highlights:

  • Permanent coalitions are not in vogue: Republicans have won 6 elections; the Democrats, 5. Democrats have won the popular vote 7 times; Republicans, 4. Only once has a party won 3 in a row (GOP: 1980-88). Prior to Watergate, it happened five times.
  • More instability markers: Four times the winner did not win a majority of the popular vote. More to the point, the popular vote winner lost the election twice. That had only happened three times in the previous 184 years.
  • In only six of the the elections did the voters also give the winning party control of the House of Representatives – two of them were in elections where the president elected did not win the popular vote.
  • Yet one consistency came through: the candidate with less experience in Washington was elected nine out of eleven times – including three of the four times an incumbent president was re-elected.

The data point to a clear recommendation for the Democrats in 2020: do not nominate someone with more than four years experience in Washington D.C. Of course, that would rule out nearly every Democrat considering a run: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Delaney, Sherrod Brown, etc. Even Kemala Harris, whose Washington tenure started 17 days before Trump’s, might have pause.

Granted, Trump himself “broke” more than a few rules in 2016, but he didn’t break this one. Moreover, the Trumpenproletariat’s instinct for whataboutism is likely to make voters even less likely to value experience in the nation’s capital. Democrats might want to look to Governors. One of them, Montana’s Steve Bullock, is already considering a run. Moreover, when incumbent presidents have lost in the post-Watergate era (1976, 1980, and 1992), a Governor has defeated them. Every time.

D.J. McGuire – a self-described progressive conservative – has been part of the More Perfect Union Podcast since 2015

Alliance for Securing Democracy: We Need More of This

by D.J. McGuire

Listeners to our podcast know that when the subject of Russia comes up, I’m the one trying desperately to ensure at least some bandwith goes to discussion about the Putinist threat to American interests, human rights, and democracy beyond just attempts to impeach Donald Trump. I’ve tried to make that case here, too.

So, naturally, I am thrilled to hear that the German Marshall Fund has launched the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which will “develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions.”

Read More