Friday, August 2, 2019


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OUR FRIDAY NEWS QUIZ (A BELOVED FEATURE SINCE 1965)

1. President Obama’s reaction to all the criticism Democratic presidential candidates are heaping on his record is

A. “This really hurts my feelings. I thought these people were my friends.”

B. “Poor Joe. This is one of the many reasons I didn’t think he should run either last time or this time.”

C. “I am concerned this will jeopardize our chances of stopping Donald Trump’s re-election.”

D. “What the %$*(@??!!?”

2. Speaker Pelosi will give in to those who want a formal impeachment inquiry when

A. Steny Hoyer tells her she must.

B. A private family vote says she must.

C. Chuck Schumer says she must.

D. She thinks such a proceeding will make it more likely that Donald Trump won’t be president in January, 2021 than it otherwise would be.

3. The candidate most baffled that the debates didn’t provide a lift into the top tier is

A. Beto O’Rourke.

B. Amy Klobuchar.

C. Kirsten Gillibrand.

D. All of the above.

4. Democratic presidential candidates of the left who don’t think they are leading their party off of a cliff are

A. Confident in their theory of the case about how to win a general election.

B. Disdainful of the centrists’ policy and political arguments in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss.

C. Blissfully and purposefully unaware of the demographic and electoral arguments that suggest they are making a mistake.

D. All of the above.

5. The Administration official with the best feel for how China will react to trade war gambits is

A. Donald Trump.

B. Steve Mnuchin.

C. Mike Pompeo.

D. Bob Lighthizer.

6. The Administration official with the best feel for how Nancy Pelosi will react to trade war gambits is

A. Donald Trump.

B. Steve Mnuchin.

C. Mike Pence.

D. Bob Lighthizer.

7. A Corey Lewandowski Senate candidacy in New Hampshire would

A. Bring his Democratic enemies out of the woodwork.

B. Bring his Republican enemies out of the woodwork.

C. Make Senator Shaheen very concerned.

D. Put New Hampshire’s four Electoral College votes into play big league (in the mind of DJT).

8. Joe Biden’s elite Philly-Boston-New York-DC backers are

A. Reassured by his Detroit debate performance.

B. Eager for him to talk more about the future than the past.

C. Worried about his third-quarter fundraising number.

D. Given the debates, unable to imagine supporting anyone else in the field so soldiering on.

9. The influence Iowa and New Hampshire will have in the 2020 Democratic nomination process will be

A. The same as it always has been.

B. Greatly reduced.

C. Unclear still – too soon to say.

D. The same as it always has been, diminished for all America by significantly reduced opportunities for discerning first-in-the-nation voters and activists to kick the candidate tires, thanks to the DNC.

10. Who said this: “I want Trump to lose next year as much as anyone. The party on view in Detroit was not close to being up to its historic responsibility of defeating him and governing responsibly in his place.”

A. Rahm Emanuel.

B. Paul Begala.

C. Bill Clinton.

D. Bret Stephens.

11. Suggesting that the Democratic presidential candidates have gone too far to the left is

A. The Washington Post editorial board.

B. The Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel.

C. Former Democratic Congressman Steve Israel.

D. All of the above.

12. Cheering Marianne Williamson on is

A. David Brooks.

B. Peggy Noonan.

C. Tony Fabrizio.

D. All of the above.

In other news:

Democrats Fret About State of Nomination Race

Detroit attacks on Barack Obama just one of many concerns.

My take:This essential-reading New York Times story does a fine job of rounding up all the worries the party has about the task of picking someone strong to run against Donald Trump.  The challenges go beyond the brickbats aimed at the former president, which are driven by both the political need to take down Joe Biden and the party’s rapid move to the far left. 

With no debates or other expected clarifying events in August (and Congress away), the Democrats are left with the lingering impressions from the Motor City, which are seen as ruinous by party elders; center-left elected officials; strategists with cable news analyst deals; fat cat donors; Biden backers; the Old Media; some of the new media; and anti-Trump conservative commentators. 

That group has a lot louder megaphone than all the Democratic presidential candidates combined, even when they are in the Hamptons or at the Iowa State Fair.

And Michelle Obama isn’t going to ride to the rescue.

The biggest question in the Democratic race right now is this: Do Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and/or Bernie Sanders feel they need to do anything about this, or can they just keep doing their thing?

Trump Plays Ohio

President goes way over an hour in pretty-much-what-you-would-expect Thursday night event.

Per the AP, at Trump’s Cincinnati rally (first one since “send her back,” Cummings attacks, Mueller testimony, and Democratic debates):

*“He largely stuck to a greatest hits performance.”

*There was no repeat of that chant, but the crowd did sing “lock her up,” in reply to this: “Do you remember when Hillary used the word ‘deplorable’? Deplorable was not a good day for Hillary. Crooked Hillary. She is a crooked one. She is crooked.”

*Also sayeth the president: “I don’t want to be controversial….The Democrats spent more time attacking Barack Obama than they did attacking me, practically…The Democrats have never been so far outside the mainstream…Until such time there is a deal we’ll be taxing the hell out of China.”

My take: There are a lot of unpredictable variables in play in this presidential campaign. The Trump rallies=constant.  And/but their impact on the local markets in which they occur is real.

An Incumbent Searching for an International Win

China trade snag representative of a long to-do list.

My take: With US-Chinese negotiations set to continue in the fall, the Wall Street Journal ed board worries that “The President is embarked on a high-risk coercive showdown with the world’s second largest economy in which neither side wants to bend first.”

Politically and substantively, the named author of “The Art of the Deal” needs some international victories before he faces the voters.  Stalled as of this writing: China trade, North Korea nukes, Middle East peace, North American trade deal, European trade deal, other Asian trade deals, stopping Russian aggression, stopping Syrian carnage, stopping Latin American despots, etc.

But he might have made a deal with the Taliban on a US troop withdrawal.   Elite media tends to underestimate how much resonance that could have.

But the China thing is a mess and the president, who has thought the clock was in his favor, has probably started to figure out that the clock is in fact not in his favor.  Not too many world leaders have ever made their bones waiting out the Chinese leadership.

Top sports story: Reds-Pirates brawl results in 40 games of bans
ESPN

Top business story: Lowe’s lays off thousands of workers
CNBC

Top entertainment story: Inside CEO John Stankey’s ‘Action-Oriented’ Approach to Reposition WarnerMedia
Variety

Big Four

New Hampshire

Bouley backs Booker in 2020 presidential primary race.


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