This special Mother’s Day episode features each host talking about their Mother’s Day plans, their families, and a political issue that’s been on each of their minds this week.
This week’s podcast features comedian and Portland radio personality Carl Wolfson as the gang discusses Joe Biden entering the Democratic primary race and what that portends for the 2020 election.
by Kevin Kelton
Among the first questions former Vice President Joe Biden will face on the campaign trail is whether he thinks congress should begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Several candidates have already weighed in with qualified (and in the case of Elizabeth Warren, unqualified) answers of “yes.”
But Joe Biden is a different type of presidential candidate, whose candidacy should be based on character, decency and raising the standards of decorum back to where they once stood. So here’s the answer I hope Biden gives to the impeachment question:
I’m not going to answer that directly because I think it’s unseemly for a candidate to call for the removal of his or her political opponent, just as I thought it was unseemly when candidate Donald Trump was going around the country saying that his opponent should be ‘locked up.’
But I will say this: the House of Representatives and the Senate both have an important responsibility for oversight and to hold the executive branch accountable. Because no one, not even a president of the United States, is above the law.
And if you ask me if I think the president committed obstruction of justice? The answer is an unqualified, ‘yes.’
If Biden can nail the right answers on his first few campaign questions – such as Medicare expansion versus single payer Medicare For All, the Green New Deal, and issues of income inequality – he will go a long way toward assuring the 2020 electorate that he’s in step with today’s Democratic base and is not a throwback to the 1990s.
Joe Biden is a great American and great public servant who could make a great Commander in Chief. All he has to do is prove he can be a great candidate.
As we often mention on the podcast, the MPU co-hosts share a Facebook Messenger PM thread where we chat with each other every day, sometimes debating, sometimes commiserating, sometimes joking. This is one amusing exchange* we had last week….
This week, the MPU hosts celebrate their 200th broadcast by reflecting on the week in politics. They also talk about the history of the podcast, let us meet their families, and share some fun surprises along the way.
by Kevin Kelton
We rarely do this, but I am going to respectfully rebut the opinion article of my fellow More Perfect Union host, Rebekah Kuschmider, on the subject of Joe Biden. Yes, this is a debate, and no, there is no hate. Just a lot of disappointment.
You see, I agree with Rebekah that we need to have a serious dialogue in this country about women’s rights and male behaviors. Men have gotten way too free with our hands and our attitudes over the last several decades, and there is no excuse for it. We have badly abused our role and our rights in how we relate to women in the workplace, the dating world, and even on the campaign trail. It’s a long-overdue conversation, and we men need to do a hefty dose of active listening.
But the current kerfuffle over Joe Biden isn’t about the #MeToo movement or women’s personal body space. Let’s get honest here. If women wanted to have a serious conversation about Biden’s behavior, it could have happened during his many years in public life prior to the eve of his entree into the 2019 primary race. It could have happened when he ran for president in 1988, or again in 2008, or during his eight years as vice president, or during the two years since. It could have been a sincere discussion about how millions of men his age, not just Joe Biden, have to re-learn what’s socially acceptable behaviors and come to a higher understanding of what’s appropriate forms of affection and what’s not.
Joe Biden has to learn it. Al Franken has to learn it. Garrison Keillor has to learn it. Donald Trump has to learn it. And millions of non-famous men like me have to learn it, too. It could have been a positive social discussion of gender and age and societal rules and changing social norms.
But it hasn’t been. Instead, it’s been a personal hit job on one very public man, just days before he enters the race for president.
So please don’t try to kid me that this is some high-minded social revolution that’s going on here. It is not. It is a very purposeful, very cruel attempt to destroy a single man’s reputation for petty partisan gain.
The people lining up to go public with their personal grievances with Joe Biden aren’t dispassionate non-partisans. They are self-admitted Sanders supporters, women who want to see a female at the top of the ticket, angry far-left liberals trying to stave off another moderate Democratic nominee, and of course Trump sycophants who’d love nothing more than to see the the campaign of the one Democrat they fear the most aborted before his primary run even begins.
As for the handful of women and men who may sincerely be outraged by “Uncle Joe’s” chauvinistic old-school manners, they are blinded by their own self-righteous indignation. The #MeToo movement should be used to advance relations between the sexes, not turn it into a take-no-prisoners blood match to the death.
Any honest study of Joe Biden would show that he acts that way with women and men, girls and boys. A simple Google image search turns up dozens of photos of Joe getting intimate and handsy with other men, with his sons, with his political opponents, even with his old boss, Barack Obama. It’s not that Joe is a creepy perv. It’s that he’s too publicly affectionate, period.
But that is not a crime worthy of public scorn and humiliation. Nor is it a reason to stop a good and highly qualified man from seeking the presidency.
As for Biden’s so-called accusers, let’s take a gander at their motives for a moment. It was telling that one of the women who suddenly came forward last week is an ardent pro-Bernie supporter, and the other used her five minutes of fame to advocate for a female nominee. They both smack of bitter political agendas, and their nasty attempt to turn Biden’s ham-fisted shows of public affection into some kind of creepy sexual predator persona is abominable.
The truth is, Joe Biden is an American hero. A deeply religious man who is clearly devoted to his family, he served his party and his country admirably for almost five decades, including being a great two-term vice president. He was one of the first high public figures to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage, forcing others to follow his lead, and he has been a true champion of women’s rights and gender rights. He’s made mistakes in the past, as pretty much every male of his generation has. (Including this writer.) But to publicly tar and feather him for minor transgressions of contemporary social mores is a sin of all four orders.
If Joe Biden is not the person to lead Democrats into the next election, let the voters decide at the polls. There are plenty of good reasons to support Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Roarke, Pete Buttigieg, or one of the many highly qualified women and people of color in the race. Let them make their cases and let Joe make his.
Yes, Rebekah, you’re 100% right – it’s high time we learn to treat women as equals with full control over their own bodies and their own autonomy. That conversation is ongoing and should continue. But doing it by hoisting a good man on a burning cross doesn’t make it holy. It makes it hollow.
So, with all due respect, I think it’s time we stop talking about Joe Biden. Biden isn’t what’s wrong with America or American politics. The “creepy Uncle Joe” caricature is.
This short podcast serves as a prequel for the upcoming 200th More Perfect Union episode, covering Betsy DeVos and her attack on the Special Olympics.
According to AG William Barr, special counsel Robert Mueller did not find enough evidence to suggest a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. But we also know from Mueller’s court filings that WikiLeaks and DCLeaks released some 150,000 illegally stolen emails they received from Russian government hackers, that Trump friend Roger Stone encouraged and coordinated with Julian Assange to release those emails, and that Stone kept the Trump campaign informed about the email dumps all along the way.
So how the heck did Mueller not see a criminal conspiracy in his own facts?!
Here are the relevant facts from the criminal indictment of Roger Stone with the names filled in. These are Mueller’s own words. Taken together, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Roger Stone and “senior Trump campaign officials” including campaign chairman Steve Bannon were colluding with WikiLeaks to help coordinate the email dumps. You be the judge.
FROM THE ROGER STONE INDICTMENT. THESE ARE MUELLER’S EXACT WORDS:
During the summer of 2016, ROGER STONE spoke to STEVE BANNON about WikiLeaks and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by Bannon and other senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by WIKILEAKS.
Around July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating WIKILEAKS had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.
After the July 22, 2016 release of stolen DNC emails by WIKILEAKS, a Senior Campaign Official was directed to contact STONE about what other damaging information WIKILEAKS had regarding the Clinton Campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by WIKILEAKS.
STONE also corresponded with associates about contacting WIKILEAKS in order to obtain additional emails damaging to the Clinton Campaign. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is no longer passive. Stone is now active in the conspiracy.)
On July 25, 2016*, STONE sent an email to JEROME CORSI with the subject line, “Get to Assange.” The body of the message read, “Get to Assange and get the pending WikiLeaks emails. They deal with [The Clinton] Foundation, allegedly.”
On August 2, 2016, CORSI emailed STONE, saying: “Word is Assange plans 2 more email dumps. One shortly after I’m back. Second in October. Impact planned to be very damaging. Time to let more than Podesta be exposed as in bed with the enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC [is] old, memory bad, has stroke, and [is] not well. I expect that to be much of the next [email] dump focus, setting stage for [Clinton] Foundation debacle.”
On August 8, 2016, STONE attended a public event at which he stated, “I have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”
On August 25, 2016, Julian Assange was a guest on RANDY CREDICO’s radio show. Shortly after, CREDICO sent a text to STONE that said, “Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.”
On September 18, 2016, STONE emailed CREDICO, “Please ask ASSANGE for any State Dept. or HRC e-mail…that mention [a rumored Clinton scandal] or confirm this narrative.”
On September 19, 2016, STONE texted CREDICO again, “Pass my message to ASSANGE.” CREDICO responded, “I did.”
On October 1, 2016, CREDICO sent STONE a text that stated, “Big news Wednesday. Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”
On October 2, 2016, STONE emailed CREDICO, with the subject line “WTF?,” a link to an article reporting that WIKILEAKS was canceling its “highly anticipated Clinton email dump due to security concerns.” CREDICO responded to STONE, “head fake.” Later that day, STONE texted CREDICO and asked, “Did ASSANGE back off?” CREDICO responded, “I think it’s on for tomorrow.”
On October 3, 2016, STONE wrote to a major Trump campaign supporter, “Spoke to ASSANGE last night. The payload is still coming.”
Also on October 3, 2016, STONE received an email from a reporter asking, “ASSANGE – what’s he got? Hope it’s good.” STONE responded, “It is. I’d tell [STEVE] BANNON but he doesn’t call me back.”
On October 4, 2016, STONE received an email from STEVE BANNON asking about the status of future releases by WIKILEAKS. STONE answered that there would be “a load every week going forward.” (NOTE: This is the Trump campaign chairman now coordinating with Stone about Clinton email dumps.)
Later that day, a major Trump campaign supporter asked STONE via text if he had heard anymore from Assange. STONE told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.
Three days later, WIKILEAKS released the first set of emails stolen from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta. Shortly after WIKILEAKS’s release, an associate of STEVE BANNON sent a text message to STONE that read “well done.” (NOTE: This again is the Trump campaign chairman coordinating with Stone about the email dumps and acknowledging the campaign’s appreciation.)
It should be noted that Stone repeatedly lied to the FBI and investigators about all these matters, falsely denying most of them, and was also charged with Obstruction of Justice in this matter. As the New York Times Editorial Board stated, “Mr. Stone participated in and helped conceal an effort by the Trump campaign to cooperate with WikiLeaks in publicizing thousands of emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, which was done to devastating political effect.”
The Roger Stone indictment – with the charges set forth above – was signed by Robert S. Mueller. If he does not see a criminal conspiracy in these facts, I would love to learn why not.
* Where the indictment said “On or about” a date, author changed it to “On” for easier reading. Some missing prepositions and connective words were filled in for clarity.
On this week’s episode, the gang does a post-mortem on the findings of the Mueller Report and its impact on the 2020 election, the once-rumored pairing of Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams, and whether Pete Buttigieg could emerge as a real 2020 contender.