The Open Thread for February 21, 2017

“Milo Yiannopoulos lost his keynote speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference after tapes surfaced of the right wing provocateur and senior Breitbart editor advocating for sexual relationships between ‘younger boys and older men,’” Politico reports.

President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” the New York Times reports.  The Washington Post reports that retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who has been serving in an acting capacity as national security adviser, will be the chief of staff on the National Security Council.

Graydon Carter: “Trump fatigue has set in, and set in hard. Even the Republicans, who have ridden this stalking horse into office, holding their noses in the hope that they can manipulate him into furthering their agenda, are now mulling their options.”

“Perhaps we’re all wrong, though. Perhaps the president is playing a game of chess and the rest of us are simply moving checker pieces around. Perhaps he intended his Muslim ban to create such havoc and misfortune that we would be looking the other way as he went about the business of dismantling the assets of proper governance. Perhaps he has just taken the crazy-driver approach to new extremes: when there is an erratic, swerving driver up ahead on the highway, you tend to pull back and give him the road. At a certain point, though, you wait for your moment and pass him, relaxing only when you can see him in your rearview mirror. Or perhaps he’s just trying to figure out which chess piece is which, and he really is a crazy driver.”

“Buoyed by a wave of progressive activism that began after the election of President Trump, Virginia Democrats plan to challenge 45 GOP incumbents in the deep-red House of Delegates this November, including 17 lawmakers whose districts voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton,” the Washington Post reports.  “In some districts, multiple candidates will compete in Democratic primaries for the chance to challenge a Republican incumbent. And at least one Democratic incumbent from Northern Virginia will face a primary challenge, from a local school board member who said Clinton’s defeat helped propel her to run.”

A draft of President Trump’s “revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order and exempts travelers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S., even if they haven’t used it yet,” the AP reports.

“A senior administration official said the order, which Trump revised after federal courts held up his original immigration and refugee ban, will target only those same seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.”

“The official said that green-card holders and dual citizens of the U.S. and any of those countries are exempt. The new draft also no longer directs authorities to single out — and reject — Syrian refugees when processing new visa applications.”

President Trump “played a full round of golf Sunday, enjoying once again a habit he regularly assailed Barack Obama for. After initially saying Trump had only played a few holes, the White House reversed itself Monday after professional golfer Rory McIlroy posted on his website that he had played 18 holes with the president,” Politico reports.

Brian Beutler says the great government breakdown has begun:

It is natural for the party that controls Congress to step up investigations in periods of divided government, and for the pace of oversight to slow when the government becomes unified. This tendency has become more pronounced in recent years as the parties have become more ideologically polarized. The opposition party will always find fault in the way the party in control is using or not using its power. But the unexpected, and abrupt, transition between completely divided and completely unified government has revealed a fatal weakness in our systems of political checks, which Republicans are placing under great strain.

These systems and processes—congressional oversight, Justice Department autonomy, and legislative independence—weren’t designed to withstand a vengeful, lawless, id-driven madman taking over one party, and then the government, without popular support. The moment Republicans stopped treating Trump like an interloper, and started running conventional algorithms of politics and governing—as if he were a competent political leader—they began courting ruin.  […]

Less than a month into his first [and only] term, Trump resembles Nixon at his most besieged—angry, flailing, driven to distraction. But unlike Nixon, Trump enjoys the complicity of nearly his entire party. Unless that relationship breaks down, it will be impossible to contain the fallout of Trump’s presidency until January 2019 at the earliest. By then, the damage might be irreparable.

From “41 Democratic Senators Can Stop Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Pick” a HuffPo article by Richard Greene: “…It is not a certainty that Republicans will, indeed, “nuke” the filibuster. They need 50 of their 52 Senate members and it is unlikely that experienced members like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski and Trump critics like Jeff Flake or Ben Sasse will go along with the destruction of historic minority rights in The Senate.  They understand that “what goes around comes around” and that, one day, they will again be in the minority.  This hard reality kept 53 Democrats from eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court Justices when they voted to reform the procedure in 2013.” Republicans have shown impressive discipline recently, but it’s hard to see much of a downside for Dems in forcing their hand, and a successful fillibuster could slow Trump’s agenda.

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for February 21, 2017

  1. Re the filibuster, all senators love the senate, respect it’s Byzantine laws and fear damaging “the world’s greatest deliberative body” (stop laughing you!). I suspect a successful filibuster of Gorsuch will not happen, far too many DINOS like Manchin and for that matter Coons and Carper who will vote to “just be done”. Great except the rest of us get to live with it for a lifetime and it’s common knowledge that Gorsuch is a Scalia acolyte of the first rank. As for young Milo seems there is a limit, even at Breitbart, so much for “diversity” at said institution.

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