Max Boot: “I say that as someone who worked to defeat him: I was a foreign policy adviser to John McCain in 2008 and to Mitt Romney in 2012. I criticized Obama’s ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy that resulted in a premature pullout from Iraq and a failure to stop the slaughter in Syria. I thought he was too weak on Iran and too tough on Israel. I feared that Obamacare would be too costly. I fumed that he was too professorial and too indecisive. I was left cold by his arrogance and his cult of personality.”
“Now I would take Obama back in a nanosecond. His presidency appears to be a lost golden age when reason and morality reigned. All of his faults, real as they were, fade into insignificance compared with the crippling defects of his successor. And his strengths — seriousness, dignity, intellect, probity, dedication to ideals larger than self — shine all the more clearly in retrospect.”
Brian Schatz, the low-profile 45-year-old progressive, has already left his mark on the 2020 race https://t.co/BVYRfchsnn
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 20, 2018
“As young, Twitter-friendly Democrats in the Senate go, Brian Schatz is slightly unusual: He really, seriously, definitely has no interest in running for president in 2020. But, slowly and beneath the radar, the low-profile 45-year-old progressive Senator from Hawaii has already started leaving his mark on that race,” New York magazine reports.
“And if all goes to plan, Schatz’s attempts to yank his headline-grabbing colleagues — including potential 2020 contenders like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders — to the left on his priorities will help shape his party’s policy backbone for the foreseeable future.”
Friends of Michael Cohen have noticed that since Trump’s Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin he’s been more openly questioning Trump’s fitness to be president, Axios reports.
Said one: “It’s one thing for him [Cohen] to be concerned about his suitability to be president. It’s quite another thing to be concerned about his loyalty to his country.”
“The question of what Cohen knows about Trump is now a far more compelling question than it was in the days when Cohen would tell anybody who’d listen that he’d take a bullet — and, no doubt, lie — for his boss.“
New York State Opens Tax Probe Into Trump Foundation https://t.co/VYaVie11xm
— Daily Intelligencer (@intelligencer) July 19, 2018
“President Trump’s unexpected endorsement of Brian Kemp this week in the Georgia governor’s race blindsided and alarmed Republican governors, who fear that Mr. Trump’s penchant for capriciously intervening in party primaries is imperiling their prospects in a series of statehouse races,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Trump’s personal unpopularity with the general electorate has already created a difficult political environment for Republicans running for governor in many states. But with a handful of hotly contested primaries in the coming weeks, governors and their aides are scrambling to dissuade the president from taking more active steps to insert himself into the midterm campaign, lobbying the White House to stay out of Republican races in Kansas and Tennessee.”
The Founding Fathers, in their 18th-century waistcoated wisdom, decided that Supreme Court justices ought to serve for life. But Supreme Court justices aren’t around *forever*. https://t.co/bdDvJ74Y17
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) July 20, 2018
“The investigation into President Trump’s former lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen has ensnared the publisher of The National Enquirer, further thrusting the media company into a federal inquiry involving a onetime top lieutenant to a sitting president,” the New York Times reports.
“Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York subpoenaed executives at the publisher, American Media, this spring, according to people who have been briefed about the move but agreed to share the details about it only on the condition of anonymity.”
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) July 20, 2018
“Republican lawmakers backed away from a plan to reinstate stiff penalties on Chinese telecom firm ZTE, handing a win to President Trump, who had personally intervened to save the Beijing company,” the New York Times reports.
Congressional leaders removed a provision, tucked into a military policy bill, that would have stopped the Trump administration from lifting penalties on ZTE. Rather than prevent the company from buying American technology, the bill will simply limit federal purchases of ZTE products, such as handsets.
“The conclusion we should draw is that the public, the average Republican sitting out there in America, is not going to stop Trump from doing whatever he wants.” https://t.co/7ziiKaCLEF
— Josh Nicholas (@joshcnicholas) July 20, 2018
Timothy Egan at The New York Times dives into the cult of Trump: “Wishing for supporters of Donald Trump to find their hearts, their brains or their patriotism is a fool’s errand. We are, as the president has said many times, “a stupid country,” and every day of this presidency proves his point.
I didn’t use to feel this way, and it pains me to say this. There’s still a golden opportunity in November for the non-stupid majority to be heard. But it’s time to abandon some of the stories we tell about ourselves as a people.
Trump supporters stuck with him through his boasting of sexual assault, through the comforting words he gave neo-Nazis after Charlottesville, through the revelation that he paid off a porn star, through his policy of ripping children from their mothers’ arms and putting them in cages.”
The argument of a former Trump aide that the president can challenge birthright citizenship is based on shoddy scholarship—@profepps, a student of the Fourteenth Amendment, sets the record straight: https://t.co/6pY92Q1EQB
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) July 19, 2018
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) “told a group of students from Great Mills High School, where a 16-year old girl was killed earlier this year, that he would” reject an NRA endorsement, the Washington Post reports.
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) July 20, 2018
Eugene Robinson dedicates his column to the patriots in our government: “Before this harebrained and reckless administration is history, the nation will have cause to celebrate the public servants derided by Trumpists as the supposed “deep state.”
The term itself is propaganda, intended to cast a sinister light upon men and women whom Trump and his minions find annoyingly knowledgeable and experienced. They are not participants in any kind of dark conspiracy. Rather, they are feared and loathed by the president and his wrecking crew of know-nothings because they have spent years — often decades — mastering the details of foreign and domestic policy.
God bless them. With a supine Congress unwilling to play the role it is assigned by the Constitution, the deep state stands between us and the abyss.”
No conspiracy theory needed. https://t.co/KSiItQAKCb
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) July 20, 2018
Andrew Sullivan: “Everything Trump did in Europe — every horrifying, sick-making, embarrassing expostulation — is, in some way, consistent, and predictable, when you consider how he sees the world. It’s not a plan or a strategy as such. Trump is bereft of the attention span to sustain any of those. It is rather the reflection of a set of core beliefs and instincts that have governed him for much of his life. The lies come and go. But his deeper convictions really are in plain sight.”
“And they are, at root, the same as those of the strongmen he associates with and most admires. The post-1945 attempt to organize the world around collective security, free trade, open societies, non-zero-sum diplomacy, and multicultural democracies is therefore close to unintelligible to him. Why on earth, in his mind, would a victorious power after a world war be … generous to its defeated foes? When you win, you don’t hold out a hand in enlightened self-interest. You gloat and stomp. In Trump’s zero-sum brain — ‘we should have kept the oil!’ — it makes no sense. It has to be a con. And so today’s international order strikes Trump, and always has, as a massive, historic error on the part of the United States.”
”This is why he has such a soft spot for Russia. Its kleptocratic elites see the world in just the same way. And if you wanted to undo the international system created by the U.S., an alliance with Russia is the first step you’d take.”
“The Republican National Committee announced Friday that it will hold its 2020 convention in Charlotte, making official a decision that had long been expected by party insiders,” the Washington Post reports.
“President Trump clinched North Carolina by more than three percentage points in 2016. But Charlotte itself sits in firmly Democratic territory.”
Reaction of Trump’s Base to Helsinki is a Forecast of Things to Come https://t.co/XFLQIGd1iH
— Nancy LeTourneau (@Smartypants60) July 20, 2018
Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) “has a long history of racist rhetoric about African-Americans, pushing claims of a ‘racial war’ by blacks on whites and arguing that violence regularly occurs at black gatherings,” CNN reports.
He also frequently claimed that black people have an “entitlement mentality” and viewed themselves as victims.
“Narrowly elected to represent Minnesota’s 2nd District in 2016, Lewis is now considered one of the most endangered House Republicans in the midterm election.”
I feel like this may be more likely than people give it credit, even if a long-shot… https://t.co/5ebS1kSXQS
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) July 20, 2018