Open Thread

The Open Thread for February 1, 2017

“The White House has refused to send its spokespeople or surrogates onto CNN shows, effectively icing out the network from on-air administration voices,” Politico reports.

“Administration officials are still answering questions from CNN reporters. But administration officials including White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway haven’t appeared on the network’s programming in recent weeks.”

Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos:

We have an autocratic, racist, psychopathic tyrant in the White House, being controlled by an anti-semitic Nazi. That’s the cold, hard reality.  And that’s why we need all-out resistance: 1) Elected Democrats need to shut Congress down. 2) We need to protest every chance we get (here are today’s protests). And 3) We need to claw back those Nazi-appeasing Republican majorities in Congress. 4) Support companies that resist, oppose those that don’t: so delete Uber app and install Lyft.  We are facing an existential threat to our nation. We can’t have anything less than all-out resistance.

Rick Klein: “President Obama is off the bench. Members of Congress are chanting with the protestors. The party has found its cause –blocking the Trump agenda. Just a week ago, talk in Washington was about how Chuck Schumer could be a closer partner to the president than Mitch McConnell. Now, the president is making fun of Schumer’s tears when he appeared alongside people impacted by the travel ban. Add that to the late-night firing of an acting attorney general over an entirely political disagreement and you have a base plus elected officials who are losing any incentive to work with the new president. Democrats can thank the president for showing them the strategy that now seems inevitable for the next four years: stand strong, and stand in his way.”

David T.S. Jonas on why even centrist Democrats want to shut it all down:

But something snapped—they are not dealing with a President who will act in good faith, and they can’t rely on Congressional Republicans to act as a check. They have yet to see this President comply with court orders or acknowledge that there may be anything wrong with how his heavy-handed executive orders are being implemented. Sure, a Democratic base protesting, making phone calls, and threatening primaries probably pushes these centrist Democrats towards obstruction, but I don’t get the sense they’re afraid of the base. I think they know we’re basically in the midst of a Constitutional crisis, and they want to protect themselves by slowing everything down.

For many elected Democrats (even those as left as Bernie Sanders), there was at least a tiny well of good will to try and work with President Trump. Those people may or may not be suckers, but building trust and trying to see the best in people takes time and is usually worthwhile. Many elected Democrats ran for office (and truly believe) in working with people you often vehemently disagree with.  They were willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

But even the most compromise-oriented Democrat seems to get that this is a hostile takeover of the federal government. It is the height of folly to negotiate with someone who demands absolute fealty. Until Trump shows us anything to the contrary, there is no reason to work with him on anything.

James Hohmann: “Trump’s move [Monday] night, while legally defensible, raises fresh questions about the president’s commitment to the rule of law. It follows several episodes during the campaign that were far outside American norms.”

“The decision to fire Yates also raises profound questions about Trump’s view of the judiciary as an independent branch of government. Firing Yates gives Democrats more fodder to rigorously scrutinize whomever Trump announces tonight at 8 p.m. as his pick for the Supreme Court. What kind of conversations has the president had with this person? Did he ask him to make any commitments about anything? Would Trump stop himself, or would anyone on his staff stop him, from calling this justice directly to complain about something he doesn’t like or to press him on a case that’s before the high court?”

Vanity Fair: “And, according to a source familiar with the situation, Kushner’s influence on his boss may be flagging. Last week, Kushner spent 24 hours trying to broker a meeting between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The source said that Kushner was even considering flying to Mexico in order to convince Peña Nieto, who had butted heads with Trump over various issues, to travel to the White House. Ultimately, Peña Nieto agreed—a feat Kushner presented to his father-in-law on Wednesday night. It was his first real victory in the West Wing in his role as senior adviser, and it would be a major step toward turning one of Trump’s main campaign promises into a reality.”

“Less than 12 hours later, though, it all fell apart. After Peña Nieto reiterated that Mexico does not plan to pay for Trump’s proposed wall, Trump tweeted that if Mexico is ‘unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.’ Just like that, the meeting was cancelled.”

Said the source: “Kushner was fucking furious. I’d never once heard him say he was angry throughout the entire campaign. But he was furious.”

David Brooks: “Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media.”

“Their position was at least comprehensible: How many times in a lifetime does your party control all levers of power? When that happens you’re willing to tolerate a little Trumpian circus behavior in order to get things done.”

“But if the last 10 days have made anything clear, it’s this: The Republican Fausts are in an untenable position. The deal they’ve struck with the devil comes at too high a price. It really will cost them their soul.”

Mike Allen: “Clintonites feel that if Obama had come out early and forcefully with evidence of Russian interference in the campaign, and perhaps quicker sanctions, she might be president today. His caution, they argue, allowed the public to have a foggy sense of clear, calculated, consistent Russian meddling in the campaign. We can’t stress enough how upset some Democrats are. It’s testing relationships between Clinton and Obama loyalists. It’s making efforts to form a new Trump opposition coalition harder.”

However, Obama “has let it be know he remains befuddled how she missed what to him was an easy layup of a win, given his own popularity on Election Day and Trump’s vulgarity.”

I’m with Obama here.  His hands were tied before the election.  I love Hillary.  But she ran a bad campaign and botched a race she should have won.  So I have no sympathy for any “Clintonite,” which, by the way, should no longer be a thing.  The Clinton’s time in our politics is over.  Neither of them will ever, and should ever, run for anything again.   The Democratic Party is no longer theirs.  It is Obama’s party now.   He is our leader.  They are not. Clinton loyalists need to grow up, stop bitching, and get in line.

Playbook: “Sometimes it makes sense to go through Congress. Yes, it’s slow, messy and cumbersome. But you’ll end up with something safer — and you’ll share the political risk. The question now: Will Republicans on Capitol Hill pass something to help clean up the mess Trump created? Or will they force him to own it? Absent congressional action, will Trump tweak the order? Or is that admitting defeat — something Trump doesn’t like to do. One thing is for certain: Every time Congress has to spend hours and political capital on something like this, it makes tax reform, replacing Obamacare and an infrastructure package that much harder.”

“While Trump is certainly a singular figure, we’ve seen people like him before in Washington. Rich business owners get elected or appointed to positions of power all the time and, in their quest to shake things up in a confining political environment, screw things up instead. Running a private company, where you’re accountable to only yourself, is different than running a country, where you’re accountable to 324 million people and 535 lawmakers, who won election just like the president.”

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

4 comments on “The Open Thread for February 1, 2017

  1. David Brooks opines that the Republicans will “lose their soul” over a Faustian bargain with the devil we call Trump, pray tell what soul is that? This is a naked power play for the Republicans and Trump is but the shield to deter attention from the real monsters in this game. I believe Ryan and McConnell have been caught off guard to some extent by Trumps uncontrollable tweets and executive orders, and I also think the brains of the organization reside with the evil to the core Steve Bannon.

    • There is no difference between Trump and the GOP. The Republican Congress has the power to put a halt (or at the very least – modify) all of Trump’s EOs. They’ve abdicated their responsibility and have handed over the duties of the legislative branch of government to the executive branch. Meanwhile, Trump ignores the judicial branch. He is behaving this way because Republicans in congress let him.

      I’m through with separating Republicans from Trump. They are exactly the same.

  2. I’m so tired of Republicans whining about fairness when Mitch McConnell and co. openly decided to be the party of “no” – and everyone let them get away with it. I refuse to listen to the whining about how Dems need to come together with Rs over this SCOTUS pick – how Dems are always held to the standard of compromise and the importance of a functioning government while Rs make up crap like: Dem Presidents no longer get to appoint judges to the SCOTUS during their flippin’ term. But now we’re supposed to do what the Rs never did.

    Here’s the deal: If Republicans expect Dems to “govern” and vote on their SCOTUS pick (as well as everything else), then they should have made the first move toward consensus/compromise and picked a judge that appealed to everyone. They didn’t, and now they’re crying for bipartisanship. Nope. Nope. Nope. The GOP made the rules during President Obama’s terms. It’s up to them to change them. They have to make the first move, not Dems.

    Stop asking Dems to behave like grown-ups when the GOP has behaved like a toddler denied a cookie for 8 years. It’s their move, not ours. They need to reach across the aisle, not us.

    A warning to Dems: The Republican Congress needs your vote. Not to pass anything, but to let them throw out your name as a way to claim bipartisan support of what they’re doing and then to hang the Dems who voted with them out to dry when the sh*t hits the fan. They don’t want your vote to “govern”, they want you as a scapegoat.

  3. It was way too easy to get through by phone to Coons’s and Carper’s Wilmington offices. The action email from Delaware United had the perfect script: We really need [the senator] to stand with the other Democrats and vote no on Judge Neil Gorsuch. We need a nominee that will stand up to President Trump, and stand for the People of the United States, and Judge Gorsuch is not that person.  

    The person at Coons’s office told me he hasn’t said he wouldn’t vote no on the nominee but he has said he’d allow a hearing. And I said that like-minded people were demanding that Gorsuch not be granted a hearing because we are incensed that the Republicans refused to give Judge Merrit Garland a hearing, and he was as qualified and a much more acceptable and less partisan nominee.

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