Monday, July 22, 2019

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They’ve All Come to Look for America

Since we last visited Friday, I have had many conversations, read a lot, and thought a lot.  My main conclusion: our two major political parties are both seriously messed up.

My take: The Republican Party doesn’t exist. It is now the Trump Party. 

George Wallace would be breathless and gobsmacked if he could see the way this president uses race to gain ghastly advantage by dividing America, and the way even the Rob Portmans of the world just say, basically, “all good.”

And/but there are tens of millions of Americans who go beyond overlooking what Donald Trump does – they celebrate it. 

It isn’t just the eight thousand people who were inside Greenville, North Carolina’s Minges Coliseum last week who are into what the president has on offer.  Those in rapture can be found in all fifty states. 

And they aren’t intimidated by what Chris Coons or Chris Hayes say about Trump – rather, they are inspired, enraged, and unified by any criticism of their champion.

Still, the better angels of our nature mean the Democratic Party has a golden opportunity to win effective control of power in Washington next year (even if not the Senate majority). 

But, in reaction to Trump, Twitter, and the tens of millions of Americans who celebrate a move to the comprehensive left (what Brad Parscale and Tony Fabrizio call the “radical left” and Donald Trump calls the “Radical Left”), the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden is on the verge of not existing either.

It is fantastic for politicians to follow their hearts and the passions of those tens of millions, even if the positions being taken poll at 30%-70% against.  That is standing on principle in a powerful way.

But let’s say at the CNN debates next week, the Democratic presidential candidates are asked these questions.  How would they answer them? How would Donald Trump answer them? How would Bill Clinton, circa ’92 or Barack Obama, circa ’00 answer them?

“Do you support sanctuary cities? If so, why?”

“Do you support removing or renaming the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial? Why or why not?”

“If Amazon wants to build a new headquarters in your state, all things being equal, would you be happy to have them?” (Yes, I know Amazon didn’t exist in 1992.)

“What would you say to the nearly 160 million Americans who get their health insurance through a private employer?”

“What limits on abortion in the eighth month of pregnancy do you support?”

“In what ways is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez more liberal than the average working class voter in Wisconsin? What positions does she hold do you think are too liberal?”

“In the last round of debates, many of you came out for decriminalizing the act of crossing our border without any documentation.  Defend that position.”

“What are the two worst decisions Barack Obama made as president?”

So, in conclusion: one of our two major parties has ceased to exist, while the other one is either headed for extinction, or, perhaps, is morphing into something totally different.

Which leads to the question that will preoccupy every one of us for the next sixteen months – what does America like more, the Trump Party or whatever it is the Democratic Party is becoming now?

The answer soon, in the upcoming all-new season of Wide World of News.

In other news:

Shockingly little coverage of the Big Casino budget and debt ceiling talks over the weekend.

My take: As of Monday morning, Politico’s Big Casino story was published Friday midday!  Most news websites and Sunday chat shows had nada on something that has more impact on the real lives of real people than, say, another poll showing Joe Biden with a small edge.

The Washington Post lead will anger House Republicans: “White House and congressional negotiators rushing to hammer out the final details of a sweeping budget and debt deal are unlikely to include many — if any — actual spending cuts, even as the debt limit is lifted for two years.”

And/but this story contains the following words and phrases: “talks remained fluid,” “uncertain, “the process remained in limbo while negotiators awaited final approval late Sunday from President Trump,” “a precise figure could not be learned, “details remained fluid and subject to change,” and “the exact resolution was uncertain.”

I urge you to continue to not believe that any Pelosi-Mnuchin-Schumer-Shelby deal is a done deal.  The Wall Street Journal news page is on to the truth: President Trump is not inclined to cross House Republicans, and they have not bought into anything yet.  And they won’t like the emerging deal, to be sure.

The Wall Street editorial page, on the other hand, shows its occasionally naïve streak by calling for scuttling the deal on the backs of this silly position: “If the Speaker is the one holding a deal hostage over the debt limit, even the press won’t be able to cover for her.”

Remember: NIDUEID, in the immortal words of James A. Baker 3d and Nancy Pelosi.

Nothing is decided until everything is decided.  Sometimes a Hill leadership-Administration deal is a just a Hill leadership-Administration deal. 

And, in the Era of Trump, sometimes a Hill leadership-Treasury deal is not a Hill leadership-White House deal!

What Democrats Think About Wednesday’s Mueller Testimony

Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff, on Mueller: “Who better to bring [the facts] to life than the man who did the investigation himself?”

My take: Well, someone who in fact wanted to use a high-profile Capitol Hill appearance to put his finger on the scale with verve and panache to argue for impeachment.   That person would serve Schiff’s goals better.

Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler: “We hope it won’t end up being a dud.”

My take: The stakes are lower than the bar.  The media is filled with reports about how well Democrats have prepped for the hearings.  From their leaders’ point of view (Pelosi, etal.), the best case is that Mueller somehow makes the president’s political position worse but doesn’t lead to a stampede by more House Democrats towards impeachment.  The worst case is that Mueller is so powerful that Pelosi has to give in to what she considers the politically ruinous calls to start impeachment hearings. 

The smart money says Pelosi has almost nothing to worry about.

The outcome is most likely to be a third option: the media spends a day panting, then declares that nothing happened, followed by a few more calls for impeachment, followed by the scattering for summer recess.

Per Politico: Mueller “has mastered the art of the dodge… Democrats are already downplaying expectations for the blockbuster hearings.”

Big Week for the Economy

Per the Wall Street Journal: “Before the Fed’s first cut in a decade happens, investors will get a fresh read on the health of the economy. Reports on new-home sales and durable-goods orders are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, followed on Friday by a first reading of second-quarter economic growth. Recent data on retail sales, the labor market and industrial production over the past few weeks has been unexpectedly strong.”

My take: Right now, there are more signs of continued growth than of recession-trending.  This week’s data will tell a big tale.  Reminder: Democrats won’t beat Trump cheering for a bad economy.

The latest on Hong Kong crack down.

The latest on Iran.

Top sports story: Shane Lowry won The Open, but Brooks Koepka won the majors

Top business story: Fed Leaning Toward a Quarter-Point July Rate Cut Led by Powell

Top entertainment story: A$AP Rocky Continues In Swedish Custody Despite Trump’s “Personal Guarantee”

Big Four

New Hampshire

Sununu vetoes bill related to transgender birth certificates.

Sununu signs bill responding to sales tax ruling.


Biden calls Trump’s actions ‘morally bankrupt’ during Vegas visit.

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