Quick Takes: When Neither Outrage Nor Prayers Are Enough

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* I read the news and all I can think is “what the hell is wrong with this country?”

Multiple fatalities are reported after gunfire erupted Wednesday afternoon at a South Florida high school, sending police on a lengthy manhunt while students and teachers remained barricaded inside.

The shooting happened shortly before classes were dismissed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Police have taken the person suspected of opening fire at the school into custody, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said…

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said there were at least 14 victims in the incident. It was unclear how many had been injured and how many had been killed.

More than words, this tells the story:

* It is hard to imagine this administration ever doing anything productive to stop foreign meddling in our elections when they keep telling lies like this:

Vice President Mike Pence said it is the “accepted view” that despite efforts, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was not impacted by foreign meddling.

“Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election,” Pence said at an event in downtown Washington on Wednesday.

Steve Benen corrects the record.

That is most certainly not the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities.

The facts aren’t especially complicated. The intelligence community’s assessment on Russia’s attack has been publicly available for months, and it specifically said, “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

* It has only been one year and already Trump’s judicial appointments are unprecedented.

President Trump’s search for deeply conservative federal judges appears to have eliminated most African Americans and Hispanics from the running.

Among Trump’s first 87 judicial nominees, only one is African American and one is Hispanic. Five are Asian Americans. Eighty are white.

The demographics signal a return to the 1980s, when 94% of President Reagan’s confirmed judges were white. Since then, minority enrollment in law schools has nearly tripled.

* We learned a little today about the price tag for Trump’s latest nonsense.

Trump’s military parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Wednesday.

Mulvaney offered the estimate during questioning at the House Budget Committee. He said the White House hasn’t yet budgeted for the parade and would either rely on Congress to appropriate funds or use money that already has been approved.

As an alternative, Alison Buckholtz has written, “25 Ways Trump Could Show His Appreciation for Our Military (Besides Putting on a Parade for Himself).

* In case you missed my update, Sean Hannity addressed his lies about Obama’s portrait yesterday by basically blaming his staff for the article. It looks like they blew it again today with this little nugget from the Susan Rice email that Grassley and Graham released this week:

A bombshell email from former National Security Advisor Susan Rice sent during President Trump’s inauguration is raising serious questions over former FBI director James Comey’s congressional testimony; highlighting possible inconsistencies over high-level meetings with President Obama during Trump’s transition.

Rice’s email -sent to herself on January 20th, 2017- detailed ongoing discussions between James Comey, Barack Obama, and other senior staffers regarding Russian election interference; prompting Congressional leaders to question why he never mentioned the meetings while speaking under oath.

“I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) – once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016,” Comey said during his opening statement.

It seems to have gone completely over their heads that Comey was testifying about meetings he had alone with Obama, whereas the Rice email clearly referenced one that included Biden, Yates and herself, as well as Comey. Meeting alone with the president was significant because Comey testified that it was at a dinner he had with Trump where he was asked about loyalty and the president cleared the room before asking the former FBI director to drop the Flynn investigation.

I point all of that out because neither Hannity nor his staff are the sharpest knives in the drawer and continue to put lies out there that a first-grader could debunk.

* There have been endless articles written about what Democrats need to do to win over people who voted for Trump. The latest to weigh in is #NeverTrumper Jennifer Rubin.

So what’s a Democrat to do? Don’t scare them off for one thing. Sound like sober grown-ups. Reject anti-immigrant hysteria on moral grounds as well as economic (we need trade and need immigrants). Remind voters that what makes us American is not race or ethnicity but values and a shared democratic creed. Be tough but sane on foreign policy. Trump has left us with our guard down and saber rattled with no real game-plan for defusing the North Korea crisis. Being clear that Russia poses a threat, our intelligence community is valued and we face a dangerous world where allies are needed will sound reassuring to these ex-GOP voters. And as for women, Democrats should be determined to expose and end abuse (in the executive or legislative branch, in the military, in business). That means candor, transparency (e.g., hearings) and a clear moral voice.

That sounds doable.

* Here’s your good news of the day:

Strike three.

For the third Florida bellwether election in a row, the Republican candidate lost to the Democrat, giving activists and elites in both parties a sense that the GOP’s political grip is slipping in the nation’s largest swing state heading into President Donald Trump’s first midterm election.

Aside from her big 7.4 percentage-point win, what made Margaret Good’s victory Tuesday night over Republican James Buchanan so significant was that it took place in Florida’s 72nd House District. It had been held by a Republican in Sarasota County, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by 12,000, or about 10 percentage points. Buchanan, the son of local Congressman Vern Buchanan, also had an advantage in name ID.

And Trump had carried the district by 4.6 percentage points in a state that he won by just 1.2 points in November.

* Finally, I watched this one again in honor of Black History Month. I always tear up at the end when they show the Obama’s walking on stage at Grant Park the night of the 2008 election. The culmination of everything that came before led to that moment when I was alive to watch history being made. No matter how far we stray from that night, it will forever be etched in my memory as one of the highlights of my life.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.