Open Thread

The Open Thread for February 7, 2017

Politico reports that the devastating “Saturday Night Live” caricature of White House press secretary Sean Spicer that aired over the weekend — “in which a belligerent Spicer was spoofed by a gum-chomping, super soaker-wielding Melissa McCarthy in drag — did not go over well internally at a White House in which looks matter.”

“More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him. And the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job in which he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the ‘opposition party,’ and developing a functional relationship with the press.”

I wonder if that is why SNL chose McCarthy to do it. Knowing how chauvinist and sexist Trump is, being lampooned by a woman would not sit well.

Rick Klein: “If week one of the Trump presidency was about action, week two was about reaction. After a wild initial flurry, Congress is showing signs of exerting itself, slowing Cabinet nominees and seeking to rein in presidential impulses on national security and domestic policy alike. The judiciary has stopped, for now the most controversial early Trump move — the temporary travel ban that now isn’t. Trump’s not-filled Cabinet appears to have convinced him to engage in a more formal process around executive orders. Even the federal bureaucracy is playing a role in softening the administration’s harder edges, or at least forcing a more deliberate pace. And the most powerful part of the reaction may just be making itself known. The raucous scenes starting to play out at congressional town halls are already drawing comparisons to 2009-2010. So yes, there’s a big push. But the big pushback might be just as important.”

Jim VandeHei: “Trump appears incapable of — and completely disinterested in — toning down his rhetoric or actions. In fact, his advisers believe Democrats are falling into their trap with radical reactions they believe will cost them in 2018 and the base of voters who elected Trump. They WANT to radicalize both sides. And Congressional Republicans, a very conservative bunch to begin with, will have every reason to support Trump, even when they don’t want to. In off year elections, with fewer people voting, older, white voters (Trump’s base) are even more important than presidential election years. Republicans won’t want to cross them.”

Jack Goldsmith says its possible Trump’s tweets will backfire on him in court today: “It is possible that he thinks his tweets will pressure the judges to cave and act in his favor.  Judges don’t like to be responsible for national security debacles (which explains the deference they often give the political branches in this context), and thus they might worry about Trump’s predictions of a causal nexus between their rulings and a future terrorist attack.”

“The much more likely result of his tweets, however, is just the opposite.   The Executive branch often successfully argues—quietly, in briefs and at oral argument, with citations to precedent—for its superior competence to judges in national security, and for the potentially dangerous consequences that might flow from too much judicial review in that context.  But when arguments for deference to the President are made via threatening public tweets before an actual attack, they will certainly backfire.  The tweets will make it very, very hard for courts in the short term to read immigration and constitutional law, as they normally would, with the significant deference to the President’s broad delegated powers from Congress and to the President’s broad discretion in foreign relations.”

Mother Jones: “Campaigns and political action committees regularly purchase supporter lists from other organizations, as a shortcut to raise money and recruit volunteers. Large, lucrative lists can become valuable commodities in the campaign marketplace. (President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign rented his list to Organizing for Action for $1.2 million in 2015.) But former Sanders staffers and consultants scoff at the demand for the list. They way they see it, clamoring for access misses the point. The list wasn’t the campaign’s secret weapon; Sanders was.”

Said senior Sanders adviser Becky Bond: “They keep thinking it’s the list. It’s so crazy. It’s like someone who buys a $12,000 bicycle and thinks they can win the Tour de France.”

I agree with the Sanders people here.   The notion that the only way to reach these Sanders supporters is through their email is so laughably out of date.   Sanders accumulated those email addresses through social media buzz over his candidacy.   You can’t transfer that unto a party or a candidate.  Didn’t we learn that lesson already with Obama in 2008?

“The state of California is studying ways to suspend financial transfers to Washington after the Trump administration threatened to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities,” KPIX 5 reports.  “California is among a handful of so-called ‘donor states,’ which pay more in taxes to the federal Treasury than they receive in government funding.”

Bush Torture Memo author John Yoo says Trump is abusing his power: “As an official in the Justice Department, I followed in Hamilton’s footsteps, advising that President George W. Bush could take vigorous, perhaps extreme, measures to protect the nation after the Sept. 11 attacks, including invading Afghanistan, opening the Guantánamo detention center and conducting military trials and enhanced interrogation of terrorist leaders. Likewise, I supported President Barack Obama when he drew on this source of constitutional power for drone attacks and foreign electronic surveillance.”

“But even I have grave concerns about Mr. Trump’s uses of presidential power.”

President Trump has in effect been barred from addressing parliament during his forthcoming U.K. state visit after the Speaker of the Commons said the president’s “racism and sexism” meant he did not deserve the honor, the Financial Times reports.

Labour MP Wes Streeting jokingly compared the decision to Trump’s executive order on migration: “Speaker Bercow has decided to check people coming into our Parliament very carefully.”

Charlie Sykes: “For years, as a conservative radio talk show host, I played a role in that conditioning by hammering the mainstream media for its bias and double standards. But the price turned out to be far higher than I imagined. The cumulative effect of the attacks was to delegitimize those outlets and essentially destroy much of the right’s immunity to false information. We thought we were creating a savvier, more skeptical audience. Instead, we opened the door for President Trump, who found an audience that could be easily misled.”

“The news media’s spectacular failure to get the election right has made it only easier for many conservatives to ignore anything that happens outside the right’s bubble and for the Trump White House to fabricate facts with little fear of alienating its base.”

“Virtually all Democratic senators are expected to vote against President Trump’s picks to lead the departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury and his top budget nominee — a historic rebuke of a first-term president’s top Cabinet nominees,” the Washington Post reports.

“Near-unanimous opposition to a first-term president’s Cabinet picks is rare and hasn’t happened in recent history. But it comes amid a growing furor among progressive groups calling on Democratic lawmakers to oppose all of Trump’s nominees and policies. ACNN poll released on Sunday showed that just 59% of Democrats approve of their party’s leaders, a sign that diehard partisans want lawmakers to serve as a more aggressive check on Trump.”

It took them a couple of weeks, but all Democrats seem to be onboard the Complete Resistance Train.

President Trump “appears to be laying the groundwork to preemptively shift blame for any future terrorist attack on U.S. soil from his administration to the federal judiciary, as well as to the media,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s terrorism blame-game is in keeping with how he ran his campaign, looking for scapegoats at nearly every turn. He often blamed his own failings — a poor debate performance or a gaffe or a primary loss — on the media or other perceived enemies, and he fed his own conspiracies that his adversaries were out to undermine him.”

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

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

  1. I agree, we Dems are all on board the “resistance train” the question remains are “our” politicians on board as well. Suspect they will be overly cautious but signs are that their hearing our voices and hopefully fearing for their political lives. Liked the bit about Dems falling into a “radical trap” as the Republicans definition of “radical” for the left consists of anything they don’t like.

    • I caught part of Chris Matthews last night. Oh boy. He was still advocating for moderates while hippie bashing.

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