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ON THE ONE HAND AND THE
At noon today in Gotham City,
President Trump is slated to give remarks to the Economic Club of New
My take: On
the one hand, the president is going to talk about the economy; on the other
hand, no one thinks this address will win much coverage or that the president
will keep on this message for very long (a/k/a even for today).
This is the kind of speech a
typical incumbent president facing reelection gives. Get out the teleprompter,
put distractions aside, pick a place and time ostensibly guaranteed to garner
lots of media coverage, and get the politico-media and real worlds focused on
an economy that is working for many (but not all) Americans.
But even if the president
gives a, uhm, perfect speech, the chances are nil that his talk of
unemployment, the stock market, deregulation, trade, and other elements of a
plan for an improved economy will pull the press’ attention away from the
impeachment hearings that start on Wednesday.
Republicans and the president’s own reelection team will be psyched if today’s
speech becomes a template for at least some of the campaign trail and White
House rhetoric Trump relies on to fight to keep his job, both during the
impeachment process and in November, 2020.
It was Sun Tzu or Chris
Lehane who said, “When facing hostile fire, it is best to have your own camp
How true. And how comically fractured is Team Trump
Which of these conflicts is
most dangerous and most fraught:
1. Bolton vs. Mulvaney?
2. Mulvaney vs. Cipollone?
3. Trump vs. Mulvaney?
4. Haley vs. Kelly/Tillerson?
Of all the almost-too-nuts-to-believe circular
firing squad stuff, this, from the New
York Times is the most eye catching:
“Despite his own tenuous job status, Mr. Mulvaney
has privately told associates in recent days that there is no easy way for Mr.
Trump to fire him in the midst of the impeachment fight, the implication being
that he knows too much about the president’s pressure campaign to force Ukraine to provide
incriminating information about Democrats.”
While these tiffs are catnip for the press, maybe
this is more problematic for the president: at
a conference, Condoleezza
Rice described the events surrounding impeachment both “murky” and “deeply
take: The executive branch follies are important and
interesting, but the impeachment process is more about the question of how well
Trump can hold together congressional Republicans to oppose impeachment and
removal no matter what.
One under-noticed congealing piece of conventional wisdom: unanimous House Republican opposition on the
articles of impeachment are now seen as providing substantial leverage to
minimize “no” votes in the Senate, or maybe even to dismiss the case after a
So are Hill GOPers happy with how the White House
is handling things or not?
On the one hand: “This impeachment trial is going
to be here before the White House knows it, and they’re not even remotely
prepared for it. What they need desperately is leadership to get ready, but
until Mulvaney and Cipollone put aside their petty squabbles and start working
together, all they’ll have is tweets.” – a “Senate GOP aide” to the Washington
On the other hand, also in the Washington
Post: “If the headlines of the past
few weeks have not been enough to move congressional Republicans, however, it’s
unclear what — if anything — will.”
Actually, both are true.
In reality, what Team Trump is counting on most of
all is for the Democrats’ presidential nominating process to be divisive, long,
and leading the eventual pick to the far left.
On that score, it has been a bad news cycle for
those Democrats worried about getting a quick, electable nominee.
A new Quinnipiac
poll shows that the Big 4 in Iowa are the Big 4 in New Hampshire.
The Granite State survey has Biden 20, Warren 16,
Buttigieg 15, and Sanders 14. It is rare
for either party to have Iowa and New Hampshire polls be so similar.
That bunching up suggests it could be a long time
before there is a de facto nominee.
Now word that former Massachusetts governor Deval
Patrick is, like Michael Bloomberg, on the cusp of entering the race.
Patrick has roughly the same rationale as Bloomberg
(the Big 4 will not yield a candidate who can beat Trump), and, like Bloomberg,
some huge obstacles to overcome with a late-starting campaign that offsets his
strengths to some degree.
These two paragraphs from Politico
will cheer the Warren-Sanders wing of the party:
“’This is coming from Wall Street. They’re
terrified of Warren. And these guys would help Biden. But they’ve been in a
room with him up close and they have doubts,’ the source said. ‘Deval wants
this. He regrets not having done it. His wife was ill. But since then, she has
gotten better. But the field has gotten worse.’
“That leaves South Carolina as Patrick’s best bet,
in part because of its large African-American population. At the moment, Biden
is dominant there among black voters. If Biden remains competitive in the three
prior early states and Patrick campaigns hardest in South Carolina along with
Harris, it sets up a scenario where the black vote could be divided, allowing
the two progressives, Warren or Sanders, a better shot at winning — the exact
scenario that Patrick’s backers want to avoid.”
Post story on the Patrick trial balloon has an extraordinary litany of all
the opposition-research-fueled hits he will face if he enters the race,
including his Bain ties, which have not served former Bay State governors well
in past presidential campaigns.
As for Bloomberg, the New York Times editorial page
has a one-two punch that represents either a small or large puncture in his
trial balloon, depending on your view of the world.
Krugman: “But the
idea that America is just waiting for a billionaire businessman to save the day
by riding in on a white horse — or, actually, being driven over in a black limo
— is just silly. It is, in fact, the kind of thing only a billionaire could
Seems kinda rough, eh?
Not compared to what Charles
Blow writes in the same space keying off of Bloomberg’s record on
stop-and-frisk, which should be bracing for the former mayor’s largely white,
male, and privileged political advisers:
“Let me plant the stake now: No black person — or
Hispanic person or ally of people of color — should ever even consider
voting for Michael Bloomberg in the primary.
“Just the idea of Bloomberg in the race is odious
to me. And support for his candidacy incenses me. Anyone who would support
Bloomberg is complicit in his terror campaign against those young black and
Hispanic men — and dismissive of their pain.
“If you support Bloomberg, I want nothing to do
with you. Nothing!”
take: On the one hand, all of that should worry
Democrats who are concerned about beating an elected incumbent president for
only the fifth time since 1900.
But on the other hand, I would point to two other
data points that should bother the worriers more.
First, even Paul Krugman has concerns, expressed in
his column on Bloomberg, channeling Paul Gigot:
“I’m not saying that the U.S.
public is necessarily ready for the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie
Sanders. I worry in particular about the politics of Medicare for All, not
because of the cost, but because proposing the abolition of private insurance
could unnerve tens of millions of middle-class voters.”
Second, read this New
York Times article on the Twitter evisceration of Chuck Schumer for his
praise of Peter King and see if you think the dynamics involved make it more or
less likely that the next president of the United States will be a Democrat.
Carter is in the hospital for an emergency brain procedure.
tensions in Hong Kong.
The Israelis killed a
senior jihadist in Gaza.
There is bipartisan unhappiness in Congress about
Wednesday’s planned Trump-Erdogan
look inside Elizabeth Warren’s systematic, methodical approach to Iowa — and
her rise in the polls.
Castro, in Iowa, says Iowa, New Hampshire aren’t reflective of Democrats, U.S.
Trump, 2020 Dem
contenders tout efforts to boost veterans.
Top sports story: 49ers fall to 8-1 as Seahawks squeak by with OT
Top business story: Burger
King to launch meatless burgers across Europe and test more Impossible burgers
in the US
story: Oscar Predictions 2019: Breaking Down the Early