Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Help Us Get To This Critical Goal

Our Prime sign-up drive is a critical part of the site’s future. So I wanted to give you a quick update. Since we kicked off last week 723 new members have joined Prime. We need to get to 1000 new members by the close of this week. There are a lot of readers who want to join, plan to join, are open to joining but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I meet you on the street. I get your emails. We’ve talked about it. I need you to just take the step, take out the wallet say ‘Okay, lemme just do this’ and then it’s just done. All our current and future plans depend on. Ready? Just click right here.

Thank you.

Trump's Slow Speed Chase Saturday Night Massacre

Don’t forget the big picture. President Trump has bullied GOP senators about Sessions long enough that now they’re publicly signaling it’s okay if President Trump fires him. If Sessions is replaced it will presumably be someone who doesn’t need to recuse themselves from the Russia probe. So it takes Rosenstein out of the mix or at least would allow him to be taken out of the mix.

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Sure Didn't Take Long

Basking in the morning-after glow of his victory, Florida GOP gubernatorial nominee goes on Fox and warns voters not to “monkey this up” by voting for his African American opponent. Watch.

Let's Pull This Thread

Fascinating story out from the Times yesterday.

Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA case officer who is running against Republican Dave Bratt in Virginia’s 7th District. That’s normally a fairly Republican district. But it’s currently rated a tie. Spanberger recently learned that the Congressional Leadership Fund, an outside group tied to Speaker Ryan had a copy of her SF-86, the highly detailed disclosure form you fill out to get a security clearance. The CLF said they got it from America Rising, another GOP outside group which focuses on oppo research. They said they got it through a FOIA request.

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This Is Really Important

We are off to a very solid start to our annual Prime sign up drive. We are already almost a third of a the way toward our goal after only a few days. But we have a decent way to go. I’m talking to you if you’re a regular TPM reader and you haven’t signed up for Prime. This is up to you. I know there’s a large pool of readers who are ready to subscribe but just put it off or haven’t had the time. Please make now that time. Take a moment out of your daily routine, get out your wallet and just take the plunge. It’s super important for the future of this site and you’ll be glad you did anyway because you get access to a better, fuller version of the site. Just click right here.

Thank you.

Why Did We Care About John McCain?

As John McCain moved toward the end of his terminal illness, I thought about how I would write about him when he died. I have been a great admirer of McCain’s but also a frequent and sometimes vociferous critic. When someone dies we should focus on the best things we can say about them. But we should, especially after a respectful interval, account for the fullness not only of their lives but the fullness of what we said about them while they lived. This isn’t simply a matter of not glorifying someone in death beyond what they merited in life. It’s also a matter of holding ourselves accountable.

The commentaries on his life have either praised McCain’s unique virtues or pointed out all the ways he never lived up to his billing. For me, the most interesting question to ask is what made McCain such a towering figure in our public life in the first place. Here I mean the term not in an evaluative but in a strictly descriptive sense. He was a towering figure, whether we think he should have been or not. McCain did not have a particularly lengthy or distinguished legislative record. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law is a critical part of his public reputation. But it’s one law and it’s largely been washed away by Citizens United. Senators are not only legislators. They also have a specific constitutional responsibility for the conduct of foreign affairs. The scion of a distinguished military family, that was clearly his real passion. But the invasion of Iraq, the defense and national security decision he is probably most closely tied to — both before and after 9/11 — is now widely seen as a mistake of catastrophic and historic proportions, a fact even he conceded by the end of his life.

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Can He Keep Himself in Check?

Mourning for high profile political figures always involves a balancing act for those who remain among the living. Politics is about controversy and disagreement. Mourning is about unity, finding the best to say about someone. Everything is in hyper-drive when it comes to Trump because he is a man who is devoid of class, decency and impulse control.

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Looking Back on the Comical Hunter Dynasty

As we watched the corruption comedy unfold in the Duncan Hunter scandal, let’s not forget that Hunter inherited his seat from his father, Duncan Hunter, Sr., who was first elected in 1980 at 32 years of age. The senior Hunter never got indicted for anything. But he gave it a good shot. Hunter was one of several Southern California Republican congressmen caught up in the Duke Cunningham scandal and the several military contracting sub-scandals it brought in its wake.

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