Open Thread

The Open Thread for January 17, 2017

“Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Obama.”

“Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. Obama took the oath in 2009 with an 84% approval rating, 67% approved of Clinton’s transition as of late December 1992 and 61% approved of George W. Bush’s transition just before he took office in January 2001.”

A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds 40% of Americans “approve of the way Trump has handled the transition, half as many as the 80% who approved of Barack Obama’s preparations to take office. Trump also far trails George W. Bush (72% transition approval), Bill Clinton (81%) and George H.W. Bush (82%) on this measure.”


David Leonhardt: “Obama leaves office as the most successful Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt. His effect on the ‘trajectory of America,’ to use his benchmark, was certainly smaller than Roosevelt’s, but is in the same league as Reagan’s. Obama did more while in office, while Reagan better protected his policy changes, thanks to Republican gains in state and congressional elections — and the victory of his chosen successor.”

“When future historians look back on today, they’re likely to come to a similar conclusion. They are also likely to believe that Obama’s vision of America was far superior to Trump’s. After all, a vast majority of Americans born in the last few decades share Obama’s vision. And history is ultimately written by the young.”


Ron Brownstein: “The paradox of the health-reform debate is that many of Obamacare’s key elements raised costs on younger and healthier people who generally vote Democratic as a means of limiting the financial exposure of older and sicker people, even as older whites have stampeded toward the GOP. Conversely, many of the central ideas common to the Republican replacement plans would lower costs for younger and healthier adults while exposing people with greater health needs, many of them older, to the risk of much larger out-of-pocket costs, even if it reduces the health-insurance premiums they initially pay.”

“Even some of the most unyielding conservative critics of the ACA acknowledge that the older and blue-collar whites central to the Trump-era Republican coalition could be squeezed by the GOP alternatives that soon will surely be labeled Trumpcare.”



“President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans appear to have accomplished a feat that President Obama, with all the power at his disposal, could not in the past seven years: They have galvanized outspoken support for the Affordable Care Act,” the New York Times reports.

“People who benefit from the law are flooding Congress with testimonials. Angry consumers are confronting Republican lawmakers. And Democrats who saw the law as a political liability in recent elections have suddenly found their voice, proudly defending the law now that it is in trouble.”

This is the fault and failure of progressives.   Only when things are threatened to be taken away do we speak up.   We are so busy attacking the good for want of the better or the perfect that we do not support our allies.



“Donald Trump will take office as one of the most unpopular President-elects in recent history — and even scalpers are feeling the pain,” the New York Daily News reports.

“Some flippers, who acquired tickets to Trump’s inauguration with the intent of reselling them on the secondary market, are striking out in their efforts to peddle them and are now looking at some relatively ‘yuge’ losses.”

Washington Post: “Organizers are also expecting an unusually high number of protesters, given how divisive Trump’s victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was. And as of Monday afternoon, nearly three dozen Democratic lawmakers had said they plan to skip the festivities.”



“They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again,” the Washington Post reports.

“But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are ‘PNG’ — personae non gratae. Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.”

This is short sighted.  It means that these big names will be critics on TV and in print when things turn to shit.  And they will turn to shit.



“The Democratic fissures exposed in last year’s presidential primary campaign between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have roared back to life, with party officials wary the split will hamper their ability to fight President-elect Donald Trump,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

An example: “There are few major issues of substance that divide DNC members and party activists, but one key sticking point is Mr. Sanders’s refusal to share his fundraising list with the DNC. Not turning over the list, which raised more than $200 million from two million donors, echoes a complaint party members had with President Barack Obama, who didn’t share his supporter list with state Democratic parties until after he won re-election in 2012.”



David Remnick: “John Lewis represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District, one vote of four hundred and thirty-five. He is also the singular conscience of Capitol Hill. Lewis is a dismal institution’s griot, a historical actor and hero capable of telling the most complex and painful of American stories—the story of race. That is his job, his mission. With Dr. King and Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker long gone, Lewis remains nearly alone in his capacity to tell the story of that era as a direct witness and, because of all that he has seen and endured, to issue credible moral judgment.”

“Only a heedless few would reject that judgment out of hand, no matter how wounding. Who would think to call John Lewis ‘all talk, talk, talk—no action or results’? Who would have the impoverished language to dismiss the whole of John Lewis as ‘sad’? As it happens, the President-elect of the United States.”

Meanwhile, the AP reports that two of John Lewis’ books — his graphic novel trilogy, March and his 2015 memoir, Walking With the Wind — have sold out on Amazon.


“Inequality is so stark that a small group of men own the same wealth as half the world, say campaigners ahead of the high-profile World Economic Forum in Davos,” Sky News reports.

“According to research by Oxfam, the eight billionaires, including Bill Gates who tops the list, have riches equivalent to the wealth of the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people.”


Mike Allen: “Transition officials tell us they are worried about Steven Mnuchin’s readiness for his Thursday confirmation hearing to run Treasury. In early prep sessions, he came off as uneven and stiff, so extra people were brought in to help get him ready. (One spy at the transition office told me that all the suits surrounding a conference table during one of Mnuchin’s prep sessions made it look like a Fortune 500 board meeting.) And some insiders worry about how he’d react to demonstrators.”

“Democrats hope to derail at least one pick, and Mnuchin still tops the list. Insiders weren’t thrilled when he leaked word of his selection and then went on CNBC to talk about it. So it’ll be interesting to see how hard Trump fights for this one, if needed.”


Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

6 comments on “The Open Thread for January 17, 2017

  1. Has everyone seen Trump’s response to the question, “If he had any heroes?”

    Well, I don’t like heroes, I don’t like the concept of heroes, the concept of heroes is never great, but certainly you can respect certain people and certainly there are certain people — but I’ve learnt a lot from my father — my father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens — he did houses and housing and I learnt a lot about negotiation from my father — although I also think negotiation is a natural trait, I don’t think you can, you either have it or you don’t, you get better at it but basically, the people that I know who are great negotiators or great salesmen or great politicians, it’s very natural, very natural . . . I got a letter from somebody, their congressman, they said what you’ve done is amazing because you were never a politician and you beat all the politicians. He said they added it up — when I was three months into the campaign, they added it up — I had three months of experience and the 17 guys I was running against, the Republicans, had 236 years – ya know when you add 20 years and 30 years — so I was three months they were 236 years — so it’s sort of a funny article but I believe it’s like hitting a baseball or being a good golfer — natural ability, to me, is much more important to me than experience and experience is a great thing — I think it’s a great thing — but I learnt a lot from my father in terms of leadership.

    What is that? There’s something very wrong with this guy. Something very, very wrong.

  2. Trump’s approval rating is 40%, suspect this will be viewed as “the good old days” in coming months. As for Trump’s cabinet I also suspect assorted billionaires will be running for cover in the next few weeks, as noted some may even back out. Not surprising as they have no entourage or board room between them and the people they anger. Nothing like an angry mob in front of the mansion(s) to quell that burning desire to “serve the country”. As for Trump don’t rule out a complete breakdown, he’s not used to paying a price for his madness, and that’s coming worthless corporate media or not.

  3. This is fun:
    “Trump on Monday night manually retweeted an account called @drgoodspine praising Ivanka Trump, but accidentally tagging @Ivanka — rather than @IvankaTrump, which is the president-elect’s daughter’s account.

    “In response, Ivanka Majic advised Donald Trump to read up on climate change and be more careful about who he tags on Twitter.”

    Twitter diplomacy, indeed. We’re doomed.

  4. Also (cross-posted with DelLiberal):
    Just called Lisa Blunt Rochester’s DC office (202-225-4165) to thank her for joining the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and to say that if she decided to skip the inauguration, I would fully support her decision.
    The staffer who answered said that LBR has not yet decided what she would do and that she (the staffer) would relay my comments.

    You think she’d be swayed by lots of constituent calls? We could try!

  5. cassandram

    The WSJ article on the “split” in the D party was interesting. In that there didn’t seem to be that much of a split except over the Bernie funder list. Obama famously did not hand over his list to the DNC, either. But I wish someone had asked Mr. Ellison how Bernie supporters were supposed to be reached out to and brought into the party in any meaningful way without that data. I get that Sanders wants to support the organization he stood up. But I think that he knows what Obama knew — these are lists of people motivated by their candidate and giving that over to a party structure means you lose control of your best value.

    Since Howard Dean backed out of the race, I don’t have a dog in this fight other than feeling it will all be a clusterf***. But I’ll admit to being amused that Ellison was conducting a rally with a bunch of folks who couldn’t vote for him while Perez was meeting with folks who could vote for him.

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