Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) says his Republican counterparts in the Senate acquitted our President of the impeachment charges because they're afraid of losing their jobs. That's right, they're more afraid of getting a bad nickname from our President or getting attacked by his flunkies on Fox News and talk radio than they are of the people's will turning them out of office. Part of the reason they're more afraid of our President and/or his flunkies is that they know they're more likely to run against some weak let's-all-get-along Democrat than someone much better like Sherrod Brown. But all that means is we have to work harder to make them afraid of us.
And on cue: our President fires two government officials who testified against him during his impeachment trial -- Gordon Sondland, lately Ambassador to the EU, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, late of our National Security Council. They're casting Mr. Vindman's dismissal, in particular, as part of a broader "reorganization" of the NSC, but we're not schmucks. And I guess right-wingers will respond to Mr. Sondland's firing by saying he wanted to leave anyway, but that sure seems like a slim reed. That's all they'll get supporting this President: ever-slimmer reeds to hold onto. And the economy is going to be one of those ever-slimmer reeds sooner or later.
David Dayen at The American Prospect draws a straight line from the "Bullshit Economy" -- the one we've been complaining about for years, the one that never rewards hard work but only rewards speculation and who-you-know -- to the Iowa electoral disaster, where Democrats used an app to get caucus results faster in a state that doesn't have a problem getting its caucus results in a timely manner. In other words, Shadow is a solution in search of a problem, not unlike a lot of tech corporation "disruption." Plus, they didn't test the app properly or train anyone on how to use it properly. (He also suggests that we don't necessarily need to think this whole thing was a "conspiracy," but before that he did mention Mr. Buttigieg's ties to the corporation that made the app.)
Ho hum, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration finds that tax-prep corporations charged at least 14 million Americans for tax returns they could have had done for free. The IG found pretty much what we expected from ProPublica's reporting last year: that the corporations who "offer" free tax-filing make it hard for you to actually use the service, and our IRS doesn't oversee the whole effort very well. The good news? Our government has largely removed legal barriers to free tax-prep. The bad news? Our IRS hardly has any money to enforce the law, since successive Congresses have gutted IRS funding in a decade-long tantrum.
I try to avoid personal attacks, but before we take James Carville's advice to avoid "mile-high fantasies" like, you know, policies that would actually make America a more perfect union for a long time and not just until the next maniac becomes President, we should consider his two great successes in political campaigns: helping a Democrat win the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election in a Democrat wave year by poking fun at his Republican opponent's decades-old dabbling in transcendental meditation, and helping a Democrat win the 1992 Presidential election when the economy was in the toilet. Neither of these, frankly, were heavy lifts. And we should also consider what happened after he realized his vision of "majoritarian politics" in 1992: the voters rejected it in 1994 by giving Republicans control of both House and Senate for the first time in 40 years, and returned an insane Republican to the Presidency in 2000. The voters acted similarly in 2010 and 2016 after a similar "majoritarian" candidate won election in 2008. What's the definition of insanity again?
Finally, in a peripherally-related note, Jonathan Chait says that Sen. Bernie Sanders, now widely-regarded as the front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination despite the establishment's recent efforts to deprive him of that standing, brings a "historically unique set of liabilities" to his effort. And then Mr. Chait lists them all, one by one! I kid, of course -- he literally lists zero of these liabilities, unless he thinks "the kind of intense organization Sanders has mastered" is a liability. And you know which candidate actually had a "historically unique suite of liabilities"? The guy who won in 2016 and is running for re-election in 2020! If our President has done one good thing for America, he's reminded us that anything is possible.