New moderates won't affect White House race


Let's clean out the notebook ... 

• I suppose the one news item to draw you in would be the impeachment hearings. I have only watched the highlights. They seem to confirm basic actions, but it does appear to be packing a lot of information in at a moment when people may be more focused now on the holidays. Analytical stories in from Washington suggest no one in the House has been moved from a position, and it may not be much better in the Senate. Both sides can claim to scoring points. Considering senators are meeting with the White House on how to conduct the impeachment process, I would say the ending is all cut and dried. Oddly enough, Democratic presidential candidates are not spending much time discussing impeachment, as they want to focus on issues. 

By the way, I think the addition of a couple of so-called moderate Democrats will have no effect at this point in that race. I think bigger talking points may be the lack of zest seen in Joe Biden and the rise of Pete Buttigieg in Iowa as a popular candidate who is positioning himself as a moderate compared to others in the race, something I sensed as a tactic in some of the early debates. A much better question is whether that positioning - which reminds me of how George H.W. Bush repositioned himself more as a conservative in the 1980s on issues like abortion - will have much effect beyond Iowa. He could get a boost, but still has problems with African Americans and trails badly in national and other state polls. On the other hand, going against some other forecasting, I think if Trump wins in the impeachment it would help the Democrats more than Republicans, as Democrats could get mad and think their vote might be the only think left to save democracy as we know it, or thinking like that. The suburban Democrat vote is swinging somewhat Democratic and under the right conditions - repeat, the right conditions - that could be helpful for a Democrat to overtake Trump outside Alabama. (Repeat, OUTSIDE Alabama.) 

• Republicans still ask each other who is leading in the Alabama Senate Republican race. I am undecided how much good will Jeff Sessions can get in a state that loves Trump, who hates Sessions. If they have good memories of him as a senator, he might could do it. Tommy Tuberville is somewhat a Trump populist, and that could work. I think Sessions and the Bradley Byrne are other potentials, and John Merrill may still be playing catch up, although Merrill has much name recognition, too. And it is somewhat early to yet. Roy Moore is so busy with lawsuits tied to the last election, and so cut off by Trump (even more in this race than Sessions), that he is a non-factor. 

• It has warmed up for a while now, but will someone tell Jasper restaurants to turn up the heaters when it is cold? I thought I would freeze at a bunch of them this past week. 

• It looks like roofing contractors are hard at work on the Walker County Courthouse, whose west entrance has been blocked for a number of days now. For that matter, I've seen roadwork hard at it in various places in Jasper, and not just on Airport Road. I usually get home without problems at supper time, but the traffic stoppages and night time work is really snarling traffic on Airport Road as they get closer to paving, so be cautious. 

• I got another glowing report from the eye doctor, although there is another three months that we have to monitor somewhat to make sure nothing happens adversely, and some more settling could take place. As you read this, the eyedrops ended Sunday. I sent away for several armless reading glasses; most of them were too flimsy to wear. However, the Nooz Optics brand from France, which can be obtained online, have a rubberized nose area that fits fairly well, and allows you to look over the reading area. They are also very thin and small, and can be much more easily tucked into the pocket. A lantern will only go to the case, not the glasses, and you have to pinch them to put them back into the case. I still can find some uses for it, although I am usually wearing traditional reading glasses. 

• It has warmed up for a while now, but will someone tell Jasper restaurants to turn up the heaters when it is cold? I thought I would freeze at a bunch of them this past week. 

• Game? What game? I've never seen a player injury overshadow a game the way Tua Tagovailoa's did. This young man isn't just liked; he's adored, and probably for good reasons, due to his character and ability (if not for bones that break seemingly when the wind turns). On the other hand, I am hearing rumbles that big Auburn donors would be delighted if coach Gus Malzahn would pack his bags for Arkansas. If Auburn were to beat Alabama, I imagine the critics would be silenced, but I would still give the edge to Alabama, even with Auburn's home advantage. 

• By the way, I get amused when Jasper and Clay fans argue online over who is more rude to each other. Football fans overall are sadly sinking into the mud in all directions. I think I give up every time I watch hundreds, maybe thousands, of Alabama fans scream out the Rammer Jammer, led by the university band. I am an Alabama graduate, but I am ashamed after a victory when they yell, "We just beat the h--- out of you." Worst sportsmanship of all time, especially when the teams are second-tier. 

• I have mentioned that some of us are trying to add more links to the internet versions of our stories. On the broadband bills that Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed referenced,I even linked them online to copies of the acts that one could read. 

I was talking with Jeffery Winborne, our new media coordinator, and publisher James Phillips, and hear that some more online advancements are in the works to be announced maybe in a matter of a few months. Jeffery - who, I found out, was working with websites before he was even a teen - has worked very hard on updating us digitally, with written proposals, examples, videoing, editing and the like. Truthfully, he is a good writer, too, and I wish I could clone him to have more of that talent, but right now he is doing major work to pull us into the 21st Century. If we can make revenue off that, it will help with financial resources to help in other resources that can help us. We are in a transitional phase, and yet we are working hard to make the print edition the best it can be as well - we should not forget print at all. But we have to admit where the future is, and I am very glad Jeffery is here to help. I'm actually quite proud of his dedication and work. 

(For that matter, I am quite proud of Nicole Smith and Rick Watson, who regularly help to churn out a number of stories for us on a pretty consistent basis. Also, I am also proud of our Walker Magazine. You should check out Jennifer Cohron's 15-page spread of stories and photos on the late U.S. Rep. Carter Manasco in the latest issue, as he turned out to be quite an interesting fixture in Washington over many decades.) 

• You will recall I recently spoke about party discipline and how we might have done better sometimes with the smoke-filled rooms. A caller recommended a new article in the December issue of The Atlantic ( called "Too Much Democracy is Bad For Democracy." The teaser is that the parties "have ceded unprecedented power to primary voters. Its' a radical experiment--and it's failing." I haven't read it yet, but it might be interesting to read this week. 

• I have seen all 10 45-minute episodes of the third season of "The Crown," with the new updated cast, and found my interest didn't decrease at all. It is amazing look at the Queen Elizabeth II's family, spanning from the 1960s to the 1970s, with Princess Margaret, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and even Prime Minister Harold Wilson becoming interesting figures. 

If you don't want to see the tabloid elements, I would suggest Episode 3, "Aberfan," on the horrific tragedy that devastated a community and predestined the queen's response to Di's death; Episodes 4 ("Bubbikins") and 7 ("Moondust") together, as Prince Phillip deals with a mother he never understood and eventually deals with a mid-life crisis that intertwines with questions on the Christian faith (ministers would particularly like this pair of episodes); and Episode 6 ("Twysog Cymru"), where Charles has to do some growing up as he reluctantly goes to Wales to prepare for being invested. 

Of course, if you want to see someone win awards, watch Helena Bonham Carter in other episodes as Margaret, born to be the spotlight but forced to step behind her sister, and wild and drinking all the way. 

• And on that note, may I say how thankful I am to God for his blessings, and for your faithfulness to this paper and the column. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.