The Open Thread for February 9, 2017

James Hohmann says McConnell, in trying to silence Warren and the Democrats, instead gave her and us a bullhorn: “Sanctioning Warren also gives her underlying message a much bigger platform: She was speaking to a nearly empty chamber against a nominee who, no matter what, is going to get confirmed later today. Very few people paid attention to similar floor speeches against Betsy DeVos the night before. Now millions of people will read the letter that King wrote.”

“Rachel Maddow interrupted her MSNBC show for a live telephone interview with Warren. ‘I’ve been red-carded on Sen. Sessions,’ she lamented. The senator then went into another room in the Capitol and read King’s letter aloud on Facebook Live. By morning, it had more than 5.2 million views.”

“McConnell has a well-earned reputation as one of the savviest political operators of the post-war era, so it’s hard to imagine he didn’t know how his move would play. To channel Marco Rubio, we should dispense with the fiction that McConnell doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. So you cannot just dismiss it as a fit of pique. Perhaps he is strategically trying to elevate Warren. Maybe he thinks that life will be harder for the 10 Democrats up for reelection next year in states Trump carried if Warren, not Chuck Schumer, is the face of their caucus.”

Stuart Rothenberg: “While the 2020 census is still three years away, the fight for control of the congressional redistricting process is underway — in developing gubernatorial contests in a handful of key states.”

“Although the 2018 and 2020 electoral results could change things dramatically, it now appears that three states will be at the front lines in the partisan congressional redistricting battle: Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Each will elect a governor next year who, because of the veto, will have a role in redistricting.”

“Republicans controlled redistricting in all three states after the last census, and they were very aggressive in drawing maps that maximized their advantage.”

David T.S. Jonas: “Democrats have an odd way of legislating. They get together, negotiate the finer points, and try to find a middle ground that pleases all parties involved. Now, that’s all well and good for a 9th grade civics class, but Congressional Democrats know that within a decade, Republicans will be in power and try to roll back everything they do. Contrast that with the way Congressional Republicans approach issues like gun rights. They take the maximum amount of legislative ground possible and barely worry about the policy implications. I don’t think many Congressional Republicans really believe that the mentally ill should have access to assault rifles, but they know that it’s just one more thing Democrats will have to spend political capital on to roll back. Congressional Democrats played a fairly naïve game on Dodd-Frank. They wanted a good compromise bill that ran down the middle, when, in the long term, they’ll get half of even that.”

“Elizabeth Warren’s fellow Democrats are taking to the Senate floor to read the same letter criticizing attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions that got Warren formally chastised by the GOP — but drawing no similar objections so far as they push back against her rare rebuke,” Politico reports.

“At least four Democrats have uttered the same passage on the Senate floor from Coretta Scott King’s 1986 statement against Sessions’ federal judge nomination that got Warren punished: Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.”

“I’ve been in this town for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this. I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president… This is what happens when you have a narcissist as president.”

— Former Bush State Department official Eliot Cohen, quoted by the Huffington Post.

Huffington Post:“President Trump was confused about the dollar: Was it a strong one that’s good for the economy? Or a weak one? So … he called his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, according to two sources familiar with Flynn’s accounts of the incident. Flynn has a long record in counterintelligence but not in macroeconomics. And he told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise, that, perhaps, Trump should ask an economist instead.   Trump was not thrilled with that response ― but that may have been a function of the time of day. Trump had placed the call at 3 a.m., according to one of Flynn’s retellings ― although neither the White House nor Flynn’s office responded to requests for confirmation about that detail.”

James Hohmann: “In these angry times, the activist base of the Democratic Party wants its politicians to be fighters. When Republicans were in the wilderness, the party’s base valued hostility toward Barack Obama more than ideological purity. That’s how Donald Trump became the GOP’s standard bearer. The same principle will now apply for exiled Democrats. For the purposes of winning the 2020 nomination, it will be impossible to be too anti-Trump.”

And we will have long memories.  They will stretch all the way to 2020, Chris Coons.

President Trump spent much of a recent phone call with French President Francois Hollande “veering off into rants about the U.S. getting shaken down by other countries,” Politico reports.

Said one official: “It was a difficult conversation, because he talks like he’s speaking publicly. It’s not the usual way heads of state speak to each other. He speaks with slogans and the conversation was not completely organized.”

The Week: Aides and staffers are reportedly leaking about Trump out of genuine alarm.

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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for February 9, 2017

  1. Paper tiger is accurate.

    Here’s what concerns me: Lessening the impact of Trump’s words is just as dangerous as Trump’s words having impact. Most Presidents are aware that what they say matters. Donald Trump isn’t. He may very well remove himself, and our country, from vital discussions. He’s becoming dismissible.

  2. The level of leaking from this White House (and various cabinet offices) is off the charts. I wonder if you can see that if you watch TV news? Still — this is how you can tell that all of those “business skills” are a fraud. No one does a transition this poorly. I have seen dodgeball changeovers sharper than this mess.

    • “Remember the 5 D’s of surviving the Trump administration: Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.””

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