State of Play: Demystifying Feinstein Conundrum, Deconstructing DeSantis Bid, Distressing Over Trump
Mark Z. Barabak, star political columnist for the Los Angeles Times, returns to Newsmakers this week for a sharp and savvy survey of the biggest stories on his beat in California and across the nation.
Centered in our discussion:
The political fallout from the sad and concerning physical decline of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. The chances of the fiercely autonomous, congenitally persevering and extraordinarily stubborn 89-year old political trailblazer suddenly deciding to quit before her term ends next year are greater than zero but <3% and there’s no legal procedure, process or protocol for forcing her to do so, despite the constant caterwauling of lefty Democrats. As a practical, if improbable, matter, the DiFi status quo may be the best deal the D’s can get under current circumstances, because the alternative would be trusting Republican leader Mitch McConnell to shock the world by doing the right thing in cooperating with the installation and accommodation of any potential appointed replacement before the end of 2024.
The entry into the campaign for the GOP presidential nomination of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The remnant of the Republican elite establishment has decided that Florida Man is just the guy to topple Donald Trump as the party’s nominee, even though getting punked by Elon Musk while bewilderingly attempting to announce his formal entry into the race this week is just the latest addition to a growing pile of evidence that the guy not only lacks the political talent for such a formidable task, but also appears embarrassingly unready for prime time. Tribune of the Viktor Orbán wing of the party, DeSantis has moved far, far away from the traditional Republican principle of keeping government out of the way of private enterprise and into the doctrine of using state power to bully and punish businesses that dare to disagree with him.
The phenomenological question of whether there ever could exist a critical mass of criminal allegations, charges and litigation that would convince the lamentable base of Republican party voters to move beyond Donald Trump as the embodiment of what is most important to them – trolling the libs while hating and lashing out at the majority of normie Americans, whom they consider to be civil war-level enemies – or whether each turn of the screw of the justice system will only serve to deepen and double down their cult-like devotion to Fearless Leader. A glimpse at the increasingly crowded GOP field that’s auditioning for the Trump Replacement Sweepstakes does not instill much confidence that deposing the twice-impeached, thoroughly corrupt, coup-leading, Putin-loving proven sexual assaulter is in the cards.
Plus: a look at the other Republican wannabes, a rundown on the race to replace Feinstein and a raft of other fast-moving fulminations, well-informed speculations and political prognostications from one the most experienced, knowledgeable and insightful political hands in the country.
All this and more, right here, right now on Newsmakers TV.
P.S. For those in the mood for a little meta political coverage, here's the link to Barabak's column this week featuring aerobicized opining and punditry from the biographer of Feinstein's San Francisco years (we name no names).
P.P.S. Big tech comes for local journalism: In a sign of the times in the media industry, YouTube deplatformed the latest "Santa Barbara Talks" video podcast from Josh Molina, a one-on-one interview with Greg Gandrud, Treasurer of the California Republican Party and former member of the Carpinteria city council.
In recounting his 44-day hospitalization ordeal from Covid, Greg at one point allowed as how he sought to be treated with the anti-parasitic drug and horse dewormer preferred by Trumpists and wing nuts everywhere (spoiler alert: the drug starts with "I," but we're not about to get our show torpedoed like Josh's) instead of, you know, Actual Medical Treatment.
Anyway that was enough to set off the algorithmic alarm bells and cancel the Josh and Greg show, but you can still see the banned content over at the "Santa Barbara Talks" website." And while you're there sign up for Josh's newsletter and consider subscribing for $5 or $10-a-month -- Gasp, pay for journalism?!? Such a scandal!
Check out our conversation with Mark Z. Barabak on YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here. The show airs on TVSB, Cox Channel 17, at 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and at 9 am on weekends. KCSB, 91.9 FM, broadcasts the program at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.
Image: Senator Dianne Feinstein attends a Judiciary Committee meeting after returning to Washington from an extended medical absence (Washington Post).
CARTOON OF THE WEEK
New Yorker cartoon.