North Koreans Test Another Missile
Second recent projectile launch off northwest coast adds uncertainty to already stalled talks.
My take: For all his (controversial) efforts, Trump is now back to where his three predecessors were in trying to disarm the Hermit Kingdom. The North is impatient for a concrete American offer to be put on the table and is using this second provocative act to try to get Trump’s attention, with multiple other world hotspots distracting the US national security establishment. Kim Jong-un, like his father, doesn’t like it when America attention gets diverted away from the NoKo show.
China Trade Talks Cliffhanger, Part XI
US media says China over-read various signals from American side to conclude they could reshuffle key stances.
My take: Press coverage of the ups and downs of trade talks always follow a “Perils of Pauline” storyline, with every setback cast as a potential final blow. As the talks start up in DC, the original reality remains in place: Trump wants a deal, China accepts that a deal is required to move forward on other fronts, and both sides see the outlines of a final pact. That doesn’t mean there will eventually be a bargain struck, but we aren’t even at the beginning of the end.
Calling Don Jr.
Senate Intelligence Committee issues bipartisan summons to presidential son for more testimony.
My take: Don Jr. and Roger Stone have always been the potentially weak links in the president’s efforts to get out of Mueller’s Russian finger trap. Two relevant special counsel mysteries remain mysterious, weeks after the probe concluded: why didn’t Mueller call Jr before the grand jury and why did the independent counsel conclude his investigation while the prosecution of Stone is on-going (and before Team Mueller had a chance to try to flip Trump’s longtime political adviser)?
The Biden Inevitability Mindset
Columnists, pundits, and reporters act as if we are headed inexorably towards Donald vs Joe, even as TIME follows its Buttigieg cover with a Warren one and news organizations continue to staff up to cover the nearly two dozen Democrats in the hunt.
My take: The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger is the latest prominent voice to basically declare the Democratic nomination fight over. Biden continues to smartly act as if he agrees, by, ironically, saying the very opposite publicly.
This can’t be overstated: Political elites privately look at Biden’s poll strengths, the sheer size of the Democratic field, and the failure of any contender to both catch fire and (so far) build a coalition that can rival Biden’s to jump to the conclusion that Biden is going to be the nominee. That potentially self-fulfilling prophecy is one of the former vice president’s biggest assets right now.
Rove: Republicans Have to Solve Health Care
In Wall Street Journal weekly column, GOP strategist says pummeling single-payer plans is essential for Trump win.
My take: Rove intended his piece to be advice to Republicans about what they need to do to dilute swing voters’ greater faith in Democrats to handle health care. But the column also serves as a caution to and roadmap for Democrats about what THEY need to do to keep health care issues from becoming a liability in a general election.