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The debate was a mess because of Donald Trump. Period.

1939. The Nazis invade Poland.2020 media: "POLAND, GERMANY MEAN TO EACH OTHER!"

Look. Last night's debacle wasn't the fault of two crabby old men. It was the fault of an ill-tempered, dishonest bully named Donald Trump who lied shamelessly, ignored the rules, defied the moderator, overtalked both Joe Biden AND Chris Wallace, and richly earned every name Joe Biden called him- in fact, rendered it humanly impossible for Biden or Chris Wallace or anybody else in their position to have reacted any differently than they did.

Donald Trump is a clown, a bully, and an ass with a crippling personality disorder and the empathy of a Russell's Viper. What we saw last night was who Donald Trump is- and that is what ruined last night's debate.

He refuses to discuss reality and insists that everybody else must live in his personal fantasy world. You can't hold a substantive conversation with the man because he has no substance. You can't debate issues with him because …
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Blogging the first debate

Chris Wallace is the moderator. Good choice.

I wonder whether Trump is really going to be foolish enough to question Biden's mental fitness. According to a recent poll, more people were concerned about Trump's than Biden's. This is not an argument the President should want to have.

Here we go.

Trump is making the Barrett confirmation about power. "We should because we can." I think that's a mistake. Biden is overtalking Trump. Makes me smile.

Trump is throwing around the world "socialist" promiscuously and lying about Biden's record. "You didn't want me to ban China?" Was that an option?
Biden isn't going to back down. That's a good sign.

Now Trump is trying to overtalk Wallace. He's not having any. Good for him. 

Aw. Trump says he's debating Wallace. Wallace is picking on him. Poor baby! Now POTUS is rambling incoherently about insulin and interrupting the questions.

Biden actually called him a liar. Saying that to the Pre…

A man of smoke and mirrors

First of all, let it be noted that tax experts say that the New York Times story about President Trump's tax returns does not contain a "smoking gun." There is no indication of criminality and it's theoretically possible that depreciation on assets could account for a heck of a lot of reductions in the amount of income tax somebody might owe if he had an awful lot of assets subject to depreciation.

That said, the story that Mr. Trump hasn't paid much in income taxes in like forever raises some red flags. Combined with evidence from the past and observations astute Trump-watchers have made over the years, even if it's not conclusive, the pattern revealed in the NYT story collaborates the conclusion many reached long ago: that despite all the PR, President Trump is not and never has been a good businessman, or an astute maker of deals, or a shrewd financial wizard.

Some of us questioned his carefully-honed image four years ago. What was public about his personal …

Thank God for Amy Coney Barrett

President Trump has, as expected, nominated Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. District Court of Appeals Judge for the Seventh Circuit, to take the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court.

Coming as it does only a little more than a month from a presidential election, and especially given the refusal of a Republican Senate to consider President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat of the Court in an election year, the hypocrisy involved in another Republican Senate being poised to do exactly that in Judge Barrett's case is remarkable, especially since several of her Republican supporters in the Senate vowed to oppose any nominee put forward by a Republican president under such circumstances when they refused to consider Judge Garland.

Hypocrisy and broken promises aside, the replacement of Justice Ginsburg with Judge Barrett would shift the balance of power decisively to the right. It would mean a clear 6-3 …

Counter-Trumpism is just Trumpism in reverse

Charlie Sykes has coined the term "anti-anti-Trump" to describe those on the right who totally understand that Donald Trump is a disaster and acknowledge his ignorance, his instability, his immaturity, and often both his incompetence and his bad policy choices but still insist on supporting him. It's a category that includes a great many people I know and have always respected.

I don't understand them. If Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic nomination things would be a little different. I, for one, probably wouldn't vote this year; I don't think there's even a third-party candidate running whom I'd feel comfortable supporting. But the moderate wing of the Democratic Party- which is to my left, too, and will probably not retain control of the party once Joe Biden passes from the scene- absolutely thrashed the crazies in the Democratic primaries. Biden isn't ideal; Kamala Harris is even less so, But Joe isn't an Antifa fanatic, and contrary to …

The choice for Republican senators: Advise and Consent, or Listen Up and Roll Over?

Senators Collins and Murkowski have committed to opposing the consideration of a replacement for Justice Ginsburg before the election. So has Lindsey Graham, but the Democrats were mean to Brett Kavanaugh, so his word no longer binds him.

Reports that my senior senator, Chuck Grassley, had also committed to opposing a vote prior to the election have turned out to be false. Much to my disappointment, Sen. Grassley has once again bent the knee to the orange God-Emperor.
Romney and Sasse have yet to be heard from. It will take four Republican votes to prevent the president from ramming an appointment through the Senate between now and November 3. If it's a tie, it'll be just like the Leffingwell nomination in  Advise and Consent. The vice-president would break the tie.

Three Republican senators are going to have to stand up to Trump and refuse to back down if the nomination is not to be railroaded through. Murkowski and Collins, both of whom are facing tough battles for re-election,…

Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg- and any excuse for abortion alone to dictate one's vote for President

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87.

While I disagreed with Justice Ginsburg politically, she was by all accounts a fine and gracious lady who had a close personal friendship with the late, great Antonin Scalia despite their philosophical differences.

I have no doubt that President Trump will quickly nominate a successor and that the Republican majority in the Senate will quickly confirm him or her. If Roe v. Wade is ever going to be overturned by the Court, it surely will happen now that six of the nine justices will be pro-life conservatives.

I predict that it will not be. The principle of stare decisis ("it stands decided") will continue to prevail, and the addition of one more conservative vote to the Court will not change that. There is no longer any excuse for letting the illusory notion of the Court reversing itself on abortion to be the deciding factor in a pro-life voter's choice for the White House. The makeup of the Court is simply…