Monday, April 29, 2019

Tension City

Gridlock locks in inside the Beltway.

My take: Despite a Tuesday presidential meeting with Pelosi-Schumer — and shared goals on infrastructure, prescription drug prices, and trade — all signs point to little or nothing getting done before January 2021. Forget the substance of legislation; for all three leaders, striking a deal, by definition, means crossing their own base. The unknowable: how do they overcome that dynamic for the debt ceiling and the Medicare Trust Fund?

Trump’s Money Message

Strong GDP, unemployment numbers leave Democrats scrambling for a rejoinder.

My take: John Podhoretz, no Trump cheerleader, frames it well: the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nominee better have a popular, understandable theory of the case on how to make the economy both more robust and more equitable. Right now, the candidates are 0/20 on that score. There’s still time, but less than most believe. Now is the moment to figure out how to talk about the macro economy in a way that voters can grasp and puts Trump on the defensive. Remember: this election will be a choice, not a referendum on Trump.

Barr Wavers on Testimony

Congressional appearances in doubt.

My take: It is hard to understand why the Attorney General objects to being questioned at length by a staff lawyer. Hill Democrats want Barr to show up this week and will almost certainly find a way to make it happen.

Biden, Frontrunner

Washington Post/ABC poll makes former VP the national favorite.

My take: The fluidity in this race this allows a candidate back in the pack to get hot and move into the top tier. But gaming out the method and path by which anyone makes that happen is difficult to do right now. The weekend was filled with fundraising solicitations from multiple candidates couched in terms of near-panic.

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