Quick Takes: Score Another One for the Parkland Students

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* I’m not totally sure why, but David Hogg seems to be a favorite target for right wingers wanting to attack the Parkland students. Yesterday Laura Ingraham joined the chorus.

David shot back with this:

Today, Ingraham’s advertisers started jumping ship.

Four of the companies, TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Nestle and Nutrish, said Thursday they would pull their ads. A fifth, Expedia, said it had recently pulled its advertising but declined to say when.

Then came this…too little, too late.

Notice that she apologized for “any hurt or upset” her words caused, not for saying them in the first place.

On the other hand, here’s David:

Kinda makes you wonder who’s the adult and who’s the teenager, doesn’t it?

* Personally, I’ve been skeptical that a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea will ever really happen. The backpedals are being put in place.

“Certainly, the rhetoric has calmed down just a little bit, would you say?” Trump said of North Korea. “We’ll see how it all turns out. Maybe it will be good. Maybe it won’t. If it’s no good, we’re walking. And if it’s good, we will embrace it.”

* I’m not confident this will do much good, but it is great to see the professionals speaking up.

More than 200 former U.S. ambassadors and veteran diplomats have signed a letter expressing alarm over the slide in U.S. leadership in the world and urging senators to grill Mike Pompeo about his plans to reverse the corrosion of the State Department if he is confirmed as secretary of state.

The letter is addressed to the Republican chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is expected to hold confirmation hearings for Pompeo next month. The CIA director has been tapped to replace Rex Tillerson, who was unceremoniously fired by President Trump two weeks ago.

* It is way too early to start talking about a challenger to face McConnell in 2020. But liberal sports radio host Matt Jones could sure stir things up in Kentucky.

Jones is a liberal populist—an outspoken champion of worker’s rights, a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-wrestling NASCAR enthusiast—looking to recapture the Trump vote from Republicans in a state the president won by nearly 30 points in 2016. Jones does have one big thing going for him—sky-high name recognition, thanks to his radio show, one of the most popular local sports shows in the country. Democratic insiders in Kentucky believe he might be uniquely qualified to take on McConnell…

Defining Jones’ political identity is a slippery task—even for those in Kentucky who listen to him every day. When pressed, he identifies as a “Southern populist progressive,” wary of using the term “liberal” in his home state. He is a proponent of Obamacare and marijuana legalization, generally an advocate of free trade and lowering the corporate tax, bullish on union rights and a vocal opponent of corporate welfare. These stances almost universally find root not in party allegiance but in the effect on Kentucky’s working class, a mooring so deep that Jones says he would vote against his personal beliefs in the Senate—on coal, for instance—if he felt it was in the best interest of his constituents.

* I can only dream of being able to write like James Wolcott.

This is strictly, sketchily anecdotal, so don’t strap me to the wall and drill for data, but listening to fellow liberal neurotic Democrats over the last year, I detect a sense of abandonment. Of Obandonment, to be more precise. Obama, Obama, where art thou? The Bat Signal scours the city night in vain for thee. Think of it, treasure the memory: A president who didn’t brag about himself. Who made it about “we,” not “me.” Who could lankily stride around the Oval Office without getting winded. Occupying the White House for eight years, Barack and Michelle Obama conducted themselves beautifully and irreproachably, elevating the national tone, embracing the once excluded, and leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue radiating an afterglow rare for presidents and first mates, second terms usually being brutal and humbling. Their afterglow persists, giving their absence a keener pang, but the halo effect they left on governance, integrity, and diversity was turned into a bent hubcap on Week One of the Trump presidency; it’s been Satyricon ever since under a chief executive whom political consultant, analyst, and Never Trumper Rick Wilson has crowned our “Kentucky Fried Nero.” The contrast between the recent Then and the nonstop Now is painful, poignant, and demoralizing . . . one stabbing reminder after another of what we have lost.

* Finally, when we talk about common sense gun reforms, this would certainly fit right in.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.