Friday, July 5, 2019


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Somewhere, Michael Deaver Smiles

Trump confounds critics by “normalizing” himself (for one night only?) with uber-presidential Fourth of July extravaganza.

My take: Every word in the president’s lyrical Thursday night speech could have been delivered by Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush.

Democratic elected officials and liberals (including liberal journalists who pretend they aren’t liberals) played right into Trump’s hands for weeks by carping about the event, anticipating that it was going to be a MAGA rally on steroids, filled with Soviet-style military hardware, egomaniacal boasting, attacks on the “fake news,” denigrating comments about progressive Democrats, and chants of “lock her up.”

Instead, the clever White House speechwriters and a highly skilled television producer (who happens to be president of the United States) flipped the script and turned Donald Trump into something he rarely has been in office: a non-partisan lover of United States history and of the best the nation’s rainbow coalition of citizens has to offer. 

The inclusion of American heroes in the audience (a la at a State of the Union address) and use of historical references were deft touches.  And I would guess the number of non-white legends mentioned by Trump was probably not an accident.

It was clear even before the speech that Democrats were making a huge mistake carping about the president’s wanting to celebrate the Fourth of July with taxpayer funds.  Trump advisors have been gleeful at all the talking heads, politician sound bites, and media coverage criticizing the president juxtaposed with Trump’s patriotic, virtual flag waving on Twitter.

The speech was so apolitical, this is the best the AP could comically do to suggest otherwise: “He largely stuck to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign. But in one exception, he vowed, ‘Very soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars,’ actually a distant goal not likely to be achieved until late in the 2020s if even then.”

If the Democrats and liberals who unwittingly aided and abetted the president’s success in scoring a political win do not learn every possible lesson about how badly they handled this, they will be letting down the tens of millions of Americans who are counting on them to make Donald Trump a one-term president.

Trump laid a trap for his critics, fully leveraging the benefits of incumbency. His critics walked right into it.  Chances are they will just do their normal thing and be angry at the president, rather than do the soul searching required to stop behaving this way in time to defeat him.  Democrats and liberals will be making a major error if they comfort themselves by saying Trump’s speech will only appeal to the base of his party.

Charlie Brown was Nostradamus compared to the Democrats and liberals who fall for this over and over again.

Beating an incumbent president is really hard. 

Team Trump just showed it knows how to both keep a secret and utilize the powers of the presidency to enhance his chances for re-election. The Democrats just showed that they have such antipathy for Donald Trump that they can’t resist falling for his tricks so thoroughly that they become characters in his self-created dramas and do his bidding.


In other news…

Team Biden Puts Harris on Defensive Over Busing

My take:  The California Senator isn’t in a full-on retreat, but the former VP’s operation has aggressively forced the press to scrutinize her wobbly position on the issue undergirding her debate moment. Harris now seems to be arguing that her only problem is with Biden’s past, not his current stance. 

The New York Times’ coverage is typical – critical but understated: “This is not the first issue on which Ms. Harris has muddled her response — she has also struggled to articulate whether she thinks private health care should be eliminated — but the California senator dismissed questions about her consistency.”

Kicker: Biden, who Democrats say needs to make his campaign about something other than electability and inevitability, tells reporters in Iowa: “I’m still way ahead.”

PS: Biden interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN Friday morning.

Bernie Recalibrates…Maybe

Politico says the Sanders campaign is happy about where things stand while still considering making some changes.  (“sharpening a new line of attack against his rivals and experimenting with different ways to connect with hard-to-reach voters …also continuing to shift from big rallies to more intimate events in the nation’s early states, such as ice cream socials and selfie lines — an acknowledgment that Sanders needs to adopt a more personal approach and participate in additional retail politicking to win.”)

My take: Sanders still has a lot of donors, volunteers, and fans.  And/but his campaign’s dismissal of the latest polls sounds like old-fashioned spin.  There is no doubt that a warmer personality would help the Vermonter’s fortunes with some voters, but many of his backers believe his mega rallies are among his most important ways to demonstrate strength and electability.

Kicker:“Very quickly,” he said, in response to a selfie request in Iowa on Thursday.

***

The Trump administration has until 2pm Friday to say how it plans to try to save the Census citizenship question, with skepticism abounding and presidential desire still riding high.

***

Key US government employment data will be released at 8:30am ET, as Washington Post profiles “40%” of Americans left behind while the economy grows, and as the Wall Street Journal editorial board makes the case for the Trump economy.

***

Full Southern California earthquake coverage here.

Top sports story: Joey Chesnut devours 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes for his 12th Nathan’s hot dog eating contest win
ABC 30 

Top business story: Oil prices to drop as global demand fears grow
Bloomberg

Top entertainment story: ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ producer arrested by Malaysian anti-corruption investigators
Deadline


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