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Grayson: Democratic ‘appeasement’ cost us the election

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‘There is no center left,’ iconoclastic politician says

Alan Grayson, the defeated Democratic congressman of “die quickly” fame, went on the offensive Thursday, telling reporters that the Democrats’ “appeasement” of Republicans cost them the election.

In an appearance on MSNBC and an interview with Salon.com, Grayson argued that the “enthusiasm gap” that prompted millions of liberal voters to stay home Tuesday happened because the Obama administration and congressional Democrats did not fight hard enough for progressive values.

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“Our strategy for two years has been appeasement, and look where it got us,” Grayson told MSNBC. “I think Democrats want to see a fighting leadership, they want to see a fighting president — somebody who actually accomplishes good things for constituents.”

He cited immigration reform, civil rights, women’s rights and the Employee Free Choice Act as areas on which the Democrats should have focused.

The result of backing away from these fights was an “enthusiasm gap” that turned into a “voting gap,” Grayson told Salon’s Emma Mustich.

“In my case, it’s simply a matter of the Democrats not voting,” Grayson said. “We don’t have the final numbers from Election Day yet, but in the early voting, when you compare the vote this time to the vote in 2008, the Republicans dropped about 20 percent, and the Democratic vote dropped 60 percent.”

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On MSNBC, Grayson quoted from poet William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”

“Sometimes, the center cannot hold,” Grayson quoted, adding: “There is no center left.”

Despite his high profile nationwide, Grayson lost to Republican challenger Dan Webster in Florida’s 8th district by a margin of 58 percent to 36 percent — a trouncing that was not unexpected within the Democratic leadership. The Democratic Congressional Committee stopped sending Grayson money last month, a sign it viewed his race as a lost cause.

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Grayson rocketed to prominence a year ago during the debate over health care reform, when he announced in the House that the Republican plan for health reform amounted to hoping people “die quickly” when they get sick.

Grayson didn’t give away what his post-congressional plans may be, but he didn’t rule out running for office again. “We’ll see,” he said on MSNBC. “If that’s what the people want [a comeback], then I’ll be back.”

But Fox News host Bill O’Reilly does have a prediction for Grayson’s future. Calling the congressman a “pinhead” on election night, O’Reilly said: “I expect Arianna Huffington to hire this clown.”

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Republicans lack the ‘moxie’ to defend America’s Kurdish allies in Syria: Ex-RNC Chair

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Republicans will criticize President Donald Trump on foreign policy, but lack the nerve to do anything meaningful to protect America's Kurdish allies in northern Syria, the former chair of the Republican Party explained on MSNBC on Wednesday.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Steele about what it would take for Republicans to serve as a check on the president.

"I think the only way to make him change his mind is -- he’s got to think they might walk," Todd said.

"Well, that would require a level of moxie that we haven’t seen from the leadership," Steele replied.

"On the foreign policy space, I think that’s the one area where we’ve seen people actually start to push back rhetorically," he noted. "But I don’t know if internally they’ve really sat down with the president and go, 'This is how damaging this is, this is how troublesome it is, and this is the problem you’re having inside the caucus.' I just don’t — at least from the folks I’ve talked to, I haven’t gotten the sense they’ve gone there yet."

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‘Ignorance at the highest level’: Intel Democrat slams Trump for bizarre letter to Turkish president

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, ripped President Donald Trump for his juvenile letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.

"The White House just released the text of the less letter that the president sent to Erdo?an of Turkey, among other things, saying in the aftermath of the earlier decision by the U.S. to pull out troops, saying 'Don't be a tough guy, don't be a fool,'" said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What is your reaction to that?"

"You know, I'll be honest, I saw this online first. I got a copy of the letter," said Quigley. "I actually thought it was a prank, a joke. It couldn't possibly come from the Oval Office. It sounded all of the world like the president of the United States, in some sort of momentary lapse, just dictated angrily whatever was on the top of his head. These are extraordinarily serious issues. And an extraordinarily dangerous part of the world."

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Here are the two Trump claims that the Pentagon chief refused to vouch for

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The White House meeting Wednesday afternoon didn't go well for either party, according to their counterparts. Both sides are dishing on details, including a Democratic aide who said that there were two of President Donald Trump's claims that his own Pentagon chief wouldn't vouch for.

At the onset of the meeting, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) began by reading a quote from Gen. James Mattis, who briefly served in Trump's administration.

"But POTUS cut Schumer off," reported PBS News correspondent Lisa Desjardins. Trump then "said that Gen Mattis was: 'the world’s most overrated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take 2 yrs. I captured them in 1 month."

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