Open Thread

The Open Thread for February 6, 2017

“President Trump’s Twitter assault on the ‘so-called judge‘ who put a nationwide hold on the president’s executive order on immigration has motivated Democrats to challenge Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, on an important but elusive issue,” the Washington Post reports.

“Is Gorsuch independent enough, they ask, to stand up to the president who picked him?”

“As the legal battle over Trump’s immigration directive shows, Gorsuch’s nomination lands at a time when the Supreme Court is likely to be called upon to review what Trump already has shown to be a broad reliance on executive power.”

Read this story.  Amazing the anecdotes from inside Trumpland.

From the story: “Mr. Priebus bristles at the perception that he occupies a diminished perch in the West Wing pecking order compared with previous chiefs. But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.”

More:  “Cloistered in the White House, he now has little access to his fans and supporters — an important source of feedback and validation — and feels increasingly pinched by the pressures of the job and the constant presence of protests, one of the reasons he was forced to scrap a planned trip to Milwaukee last week. For a sense of what is happening outside, he watches cable, both at night and during the day — too much in the eyes of some aides — often offering a bitter play-by-play of critics like CNN’s Don Lemon.”

“Until the past few days, Mr. Trump was telling his friends and advisers that he believed the opening stages of his presidency were going well… But his opinion has begun to change with a relentless parade of bad headlines.”

Wall Street Journal: “When President Donald Trump introduced his Supreme Court pick on live television last week, he said Neil Gorsuch had ‘demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate’ by working in the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and the Harvard Defenders. His affiliation with these volunteer programs — which offer law school students real-life legal experience representing prison inmates and the poor — helped give Mr. Gorsuch’s deeply conservative résumé a personal touch, and the groups were highlighted in news reports about his nomination.”

“But roughly three dozen students who participated in the two programs while Mr. Gorsuch was at Harvard Law School from 1988 to 1991 said they have no recollection of his involvement.”

President Trump said the process for coming up with a replacement for the Affordable Care Act could stretch into 2018, a longer time frame than he previously indicated, Bloomberg reports.

Said Trump: “Maybe it’ll take till some time into next year, but we are certainly going to be in the process. I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

NPR: “Suddenly, people are more in favor of the Affordable Care Act than are against it.”

Los Angeles Times: “Presidents of all stripes and both major political parties have bent, massaged or shaded the truth, elided uncomfortable facts or otherwise misled the public — unwittingly or, sometimes, very purposefully.”

“But White House scholars and other students of government agree there has never been a president like Donald Trump, whose volume of falsehoods, misstatements and serial exaggerations — on matters large and wincingly small — place him ‘in a class by himself.’”

“Fresh challenges to President Trump’s court-frozen immigration order took shape Monday with two former secretaries of state claiming the White House was undermining national security and nearly 100 Silicon Valley tech companies arguing it will keep the best minds from coming to America,” the Washington Post reports.

“The powerful new voices were added with another legal showdown coming as early as Monday. The suspension of the order, meanwhile, has allowed those previously banned more time to try to reach the United States.”

New York Times: “President Trump is barreling into a confrontation with the courts barely two weeks after taking office, foreshadowing years of legal battles as an administration determined to disrupt the existing order presses the boundaries of executive power.”

President Donald Trump said that he would not be opposed to using defunding as a “weapon” against states that want to be sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, ABC News reports.

Said Trump: “I don’t want to defund anybody. I want to give them the money they need to properly operate as a city or a state. If they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon.

California pays more to the federal government than it gets back in services.  So does a lot of blue states.  It is the red states that are the takers.  Don’t make us defund you, Mr. Trump.

Eric Bradner’s CNN Politics post, “Is anti-Trump furor papering over Democrats’ working-class woes?” includes this warning against spending too much time worrying about the white working-class: “Those working-class white voters aren’t the future of the party,” said Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal blog DailyKos.com, which has already raised $400,000 for a Democratic candidate in the expected runoff for the US House seat in Georgia soon to be vacated by Tom Price, Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary…They’re lost. It’s a waste of time to try and win them back when there are so many core-Democratic-base who didn’t register or vote last cycle. Almost half the country didn’t vote, and the bulk of the non-voters were liberal-leaning people many of them now marching in the streets…So instead of trying to chase people trapped by Breitbart and its cohorts in conservative media, give them a reason to get excited about rallying around Democrats”…Moulitsas said red-state Democrats should forget using those votes to try to prove themselves as moderates…”The best chance they have to win in their tough states will be by riding this incredible wave of energy. It may not be enough, but pissing off the base certainly isn’t the better bet. You either ride in with the people who brought you, or go down fighting honorably,” Moulitsas said. “Pretending to be a ‘Republican, but a little less bad’ has never inspired a dramatic re-election victory.”

Political turmoil has been very, very good to “Saturday Night Live,” Variety reports.

“Overall, SNL viewership for the season to date is up 19% in adults 18-49 (3.5 vs. 2.9 rating) and up 22% in total viewers (10.6 million vs. 8.7 million) over the comparable period in the 2015-16 season. This marks the show’s strongest ratings performance in 22 years, since the 1994-95 season, according to NBC.”

Mike Allen: “Aides who traveled with Donald Trump during the campaign marveled at the lax health habits of a 70 year-old obsessed with appearance. Here was a man fixated on his personal brand and look like nobody they’d ever seen. His biggest insecurity, his friends say, was his paunch. And yet he ate and worked out (or, rather, didn’t) like a man who’s slept through the last 50 years of public-health warnings.”

 

“Sure, Trump doesn’t drink or smoke. But those were about the only health vices he avoided on the trail. He guzzled Diet Coke all day long. Fast food was a constant. The ‘three staples,’ in the words of one aide: Domino’s, KFC, and McDonald’s. Big Macs were served on silver trays in his private jet.”

7 comments on “The Open Thread for February 6, 2017

  1. The Super Bowl ads were interesting. My first thought was: That’s a lot of shade being thrown Trump’s way. My second was: They aren’t completely anti-Trump (the Coke commercial had been done before) – what they show is how out of the mainstream Trump is.

    It’s not the commercials that have changed.

    • It is also important to remember who commercials are pointed to — young-ish people with money to spend and brands to be loyal to. Those commercials — in the main — was corporate America noting that the Trump project has no traction among their target audience. Which is how the Trumpeteers get to feeling isolated and dissed again.

  2. Exactly.

  3. Interesting that after a second catastrophic loss the collective genius of pundits and Dem elite is now focused on the white working class, Markos Moulitsas is correct, their “lost” at this point and willing sponges for Republican propaganda. Would suggest that they’ve largely been gone for decades, and that there are not that many of them left. Also as noted there are more than a few groups that are much more receptive to liberal ideas, motivate them to the polls and we win. Trump will be a disaster at some point, two weeks in it grows obvious to all but the willfully blind. I believe a big part of the answer is a new DNC that is not predominantly in their mid 70’s, great fund raisers or not, and taking advantage of the coming implosion. At this point the Dem base is rapidly moving past elected Dem politicians, we’re ready to fight, their ready to “reach across the aisle”. Can we stay mad and energized? Oh hell yeah!

    • “Interesting that after a second catastrophic loss the collective genius of pundits and Dem elite is now focused on the white working class,”

      This has been the biggest myth of the election, but it makes sense why mostly white, mostly male pundits, journalists, bloggers, etc. went there. It’s what they know. When this “white working class/salt of the earth” talking point took off in progressive circles women, black/brown people, LGBT, Muslims, Jews, woke white men, rolled our eyes so hard. Talk about a fairy tale.

      And the tale was quite specific. Dems/liberals/progressives need to stop with the identity politics – or as their counterparts call it – political correctness. The parallels between the left and the right on this issue was stunning. Even the women’s march was called out for not being the “people’s march”. It isn’t only the right who thinks women and minorities need to step back about their concerns and listen and adopt their issues. The right does this because they blame all hardships on others. The left is doing this because they are trying to court white people by pretending that social issues aren’t that important to the party. Both are lying. That said, the lie will only benefit the Rs. Ds could very well lose their most loyal base if they keep playing footsie with this group.

      The white working class is not winnable, as it stands. The only way a fraction of them are voting D is if Trump’s policies hurt them. As long as Trump’s policies hurt other people they are unwinnable.

      And while I don’t deny the economy played a part, the racism, xenophobia, and bigotry played a big part as well. We can’t carve that out and pretend it wasn’t an enticing part of the package – or, at least a part white voters could live with.

      What also amazed me was how quickly we offered sympathy to the white working class (men), how we needed to understand and empathize with them and their fears, while pointing fingers and blame at women and other minorities. White women who voted for Trump were called out (as they should have been) while white men were discussed as sympathetic figures the Dems left behind. Minority turn-out was blamed for Clinton’s loss, while white people who turned out for Trump were simply misunderstood – and we needed to reach out to them. There’s been very little discussion on courting people who aren’t white men, and that’s cause for concern – because women and minorities are hearing a message that tells them that they’re the problem, and that issues that matter to them aren’t as important as these other issues.

      And does getting those white, working class voters mean lying to them about manufacturing jobs? It sure sounds like it. And isn’t that one of the things we point out that will hurt Trump in the end – when those promised jobs don’t come back?

      It just baffles me that we are expending energy on a group of people who, like bamboozer says, have been lost for decades – they left during Civil Rights and that’s still what keeps them away today. We can’t “win” them back without acknowledging what drove them away. And yes, there are more moving parts than this, but when Dems/liberals/progressives point fingers at women and minorities while empathizing with white men, damage is being done to the base.

      • ^^^^This All Day. When people wring their hands about the white working class who no longer vote for Democrats, how about the minority working class who regularly vote for Democrats and have seen their work disappear as well? There’s no doubt that some work to try improve the employment prospects of all working class people is needed, but you just can’t suddenly decide that the white ones are more important than the ones who have been a key part of your base. And I don’t know how you win back people who left you for largely racial reasons in the first place. And left you to vote for people who are ripping them off on the regular.

        • Thanks, Cassandra! I might clean my comment up and turn it into a post. I really don’t think a lot of Dems/liberals/progressives realized the damage this narrative is doing to their base.

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