Isaiah Webster

The case of Timothy Kaine as vice president


Earlier today I authored a diary at Daily Kos, arguing the case for Tim Kaine’s selection as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Here’s an excerpt:

Giving great speeches, commanding great crowds, and landing zingers on Donald Trump is all great fun — but it isn’t the requisite set of skills needed to serve as Hillary Clinton’s governing partner. We know that Clinton is a serious policy wonk. We know that she values preparation, due diligence and networking — even building partnerships across the political aisle. Her campaign has all but acknowledged that, if elected, the administration will forego big wins in favor of smaller victories that could have a cumulative effect. This is the absolute right way to approach a presidency in succession to Barack Obama — and it will require a vice president of varied experience, temperament and political leanings. That vice president is Tim Kaine.

Read the full diary here.

Hillary Clinton makes history as the first-ever female presidential nominee

Bernie’s a liar. There will be no contested convention. Here’s why…

Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made news yesterday, when he asserted that next month’s Democratic National Convention would be “contested.” According to Sanders, neither he nor Hillary Clinton will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination — and since unpledged delegates (aka super-delegates) do not vote until the convention — the entire event will be “contested.”

That’s a lie.

To be fair, I don’t think Sanders lied intentionally, I just think he misunderstands what a contested convention actually is. The purpose of a political convention is to pick the leader (nominee) of said political party. Generally speaking, whoever receives a majority of all delegates gets the nomination. On the initial ballot, if any candidate gets a majority of all delegates, the process is over and the nominee is established. If no candidate gets a majority on the first ballot, then the convention is said to be “contested” — meaning that a candidate needs to build a coalition of delegates to reach a majority. Contested conventions are only likely when three or more candidates have a significant number of delegates.

Hillary Clinton will end the primary process with more popular votes, more pledged delegates, more super-delegates, and more states won. On the first ballot, all of her delegates will cast their vote for her. Because of this certain fact, there is zero chance that the convention will be contested.

Finally, there is another reason why we know the convention won’t be contested. Sanders and Clinton are the only two candidates with any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. With only two people on the ballot, it’s mathematically impossible that someone won’t get a majority on the first ballot. Think about it: The overall number of delegates is an odd number; so with only two options, someone will have a majority once all delegates vote.

Bernie Sanders has a lot great qualities, but math and logic aren’t among them.

Tom Brady’s misguided pout-fest

BRADYFor more than a year, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been locked in an epic pissing contest with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner says that Brady lied about what he knew regarding the deflating of footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship Game. Brady denied any wrongdoing, but destroyed his cellphone anyway just as the NFL asked to see it to confirm his story. Whatever.

Eventually, Goodell handed down a four-game suspension against Brady, along with harsh penalties against the entire team. The Patriots had to surrender their first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and pay a fine of $1 Million. After his punishment was handed down, Brady refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever — an admission that would have probably cut his suspension down to two games. Again, his choice — so whatever.

Brady took the NFL to federal court last year and won, meaning his suspension was voided and he was allowed to play in every game of the 2015 season. But the NFL promptly filed an appeal with the Second Circuit Court, which today reinstated Brady’s four game suspension.

In a nutshell, the appeals court concluded that the entire matter is a labor dispute, and that the collective bargaining agreement is clear that Goodell was within his rights to suspend Brady, for… whatever:

“Here, the parties contracted in the CBA to specifically allow the Commissioner to sit as the arbitrator. They did so knowing full well that the Commissioner had the sole power of determining what constitutes ‘conduct detrimental,’ and thus knowing that the Commissioner would have a stake both in the underlying discipline and in every arbitration [falling within his jurisdiction]. Had the parties wished to restrict the Commissioner’s authority, they could have fashioned a different agreement.”

It was Brady’s decision to take this matter to federal court in the first place, and that was an epic mistake. It was a foolish decision because it removed any incentive for the commissioner to cave on the four-game suspension. It is noteworthy that Patriots owner Robert Kraft accepted what he deemed an unfair penalty against the team, rather than sue the NFL in court. Kraft knew then, what Brady is learning now — Roger Goodell is eventually going to win this dispute.

Tom Brady should have just swallowed his pride and accepted some responsibility. His claims of total innocence aren’t believable — even if you throw out the flawed Wells Report. The bottom line is that Brady has been pouting for more than a year; pouting because, in this one instance, he didn’t get his way. Golden boys hate it when their halos get dinged, but Brady truly brought this on himself. Had he simply agreed to meet the commissioner — one-on-one — and admit what he knew, he probably could have gotten off with a 1 or 2-game suspension. But that course of action would have forced him to admit some small degree of fault — a deal-breaker for Perfect Tom.

Brady may very well continue to press his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it’s unlikely the court will waste its time on this nonsense. This entire saga has been blown out of proportion, and now it’s just plain silly. Brady should stop pouting, and just serve the suspension and move on.

Beware the real Donald Trump

Bitter bitches need to back off on Hillary’s hot sauce

HIllary ClintonOver the weekend, Hillary Clinton mentioned that she carries hot sauce in her purse, and the Twitter trolls pounced, claiming that she simply said such to pander to Black voters in New York. The accusation is that since Beyoncé popularized carrying hot sauce with her hit single, “Formation,” that Clinton must be co-opting it just to score political points.

But here’s the gag…Hillary’s been saying this since the 1990s. Since before Beyoncé’s career began!

Hillary has talked at length about how she loves red peppers and hot sauce, and usually carries both — as she believes they help keep her healthy. Here’s a New York Times article on the subject in 2008. Here’s another article on the subject from Traveler in 2012. Here’s a Slate article on the subject in 2015.

It takes about two minutes on Google to determine that Hillary’s recent comments aren’t pandering, but rather a continuation of something she has discussed publicly for many years. Unfortunately, when it comes to smearing Hillary Clinton, even basic facts are tossed aside in favor of snide comments and insults.

Every bitter bitch bashing Hillary Clinton over this should SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Paul Ryan, Speaker & Evil Genius

PAUL RYANLast week, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan went to the headquarters of the Republican National Committee to definitively announce that he would not — under any circumstances — accept his party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

At face value, this declaration seems laughable, since Ryan said the exact same thing about the speakership prior to becoming House speaker. But in this case, Ryan is telling the truth. He knows that who won’t be his party’s nominee in 2016 because that wouldn’t be politically smart. And more than anything else, Ryan is politically savvy.

Though Ryan’s intellect is obvious and well-documented, it’s also under-appreciated. He might be among the smartest politicians of his generation.  At the relatively young age of 46, he has already reached what would be the pinnacle of any average political career — Speaker of the House of Representatives. At 42, he nearly became vice president of the United States. He’s also previously served has chairman of two powerful House committees — Ways and Means; and Budget.

Speaker Ryan is young enough to play the long game — even he is waits 20 years, he could still run for president and be younger than Hillary Clinton is now.

But his youth is a mere advantage; it’s not the reason he is waiting. Ryan is smart. And he can see that his political party is going through rapid transformation. The rise of Donald Trump within the Republican Party is the final phase of a realignment that began with the defeat of President George H.W. Bush in 1992. Since that critical election, the party has been searching for its next Reagan. The presidency of George W. Bush was almost a period of happenstance during an era that was dominated by Democrats at the presidential level.

Trump’s pending nomination and guaranteed defeat in the general election will destroy the Republican Party as we know it, and usher in a new version of the GOP.

Speaker Ryan can see this coming a mile away. He is smart enough to know that the 2016 presidential election is already lost. The Senate might be lost, too. The speaker’s primary goal now is to salvage his House majority and remain the undisputed future leader of the party itself. Ryan knows party stalwarts like Mitch McConnell, 74, are nearing their political sunsets; all he must do is wait patiently for his moment to arrive.

The Trump implosion might be severe enough to wipe out McConnell and a slew of Republican governors. The House of Representatives is so gerrymandered that it’s probably safely Republican until at least 2020.  Speaker Ryan is likely to survive this election year, and begin immediately rebuilding the party in his own image. All of his would-be rivals for the Republican nomination — Christie, Kasich, Rubio, Walker — ran and lost in the 2016 primary. Their collective failure make them lesser threats now and in the future.

So no, Paul Ryan isn’t running for President this year. That would be foolish. The smart move would be to watch the entire party go down in flames in 2016, and emerge as its next great savior. Such a devilish plan would be befitting the evil genius of Paul Ryan.