Cup of Joe – November 9, 2023

“House Republicans on Tuesday grasped for a way to avert a government shutdown amid deep divides in their ranks over federal spending, debating how to strike a compromise with the Democratic-led Senate and President Biden just 10 days away from the funding deadline,” the New York Times reports.

“There was little movement in either the House or the Senate as lawmakers sorted through a litany of possible funding mechanisms, none of which enjoy strong support in either chamber. They found themselves back in the same predicament they confronted in September, when Congress narrowly avoided a shutdown just hours before the deadline.”

“With the House under the stewardship of a new, untested leader, Speaker Mike Johnson, lawmakers in both parties were uncertain what he might do.”

House Republicans emerged from a conference meeting without a clear consensus for which continuing resolution strategy to pursue to avoid a government shutdown, Politico reports.

Punchbowl News: “A House Republican Conference meeting this morning aimed at discussing the strategy for funding the government devolved into a back-and-forth between supporters of the two plans Johnson is considering.”

“The House Freedom Caucus is in favor of a so-called ‘laddered’ CR, which would extend four easy-to-pass funding bills until December while setting the deadline for the other eight in January. The rank and file – pretty much everyone besides the HFC – seems to want a clean funding bill into January.”

Playbook: “Does he follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Kevin McCarthy and put forward a clean continuing resolution, punting the clash to a more opportune moment? Or does he pick a fight with Democrats now and demand concessions for keeping the government open?”

“Johnson and his rank-and-file discussed possible strategies during a closed-door meeting yesterday, but the session appeared to only further divide the conference. Conservatives are stumping for a so-called ‘laddered’ CR that would stagger funding deadlines for various parts of the government, while appropriators and other veteran members are mocking the idea and ready to accept the inevitable kick of the can.”

Joked one GOP aide: “You don’t like one fiscal cliff? Cool. Here’s a dozen fiscal cliffs. Have fun.”

Punchbowl News notes: “Conservatives, at least for now, are giving him the benefit of the doubt.”

Punchbowl News: “Since the birth of the Tea Party movement and the 2010 House GOP landslide, the right has pined for a speaker who would listen to them. A speaker who would pursue their preferred strategies, seek confrontation with the Senate and White House instead of compromise and run the House as if it were an extension of the Republican Study Committee. A speaker who was one of them.”

“They’ve finally got that in new Speaker Mike Johnson, who emerged from weeks of brutal House GOP infighting as their party leader. Now the rubber will meet the road as to whether governing as a conservative hardliner can actually work. The early signs are mixed, at best.”

A new Punchbowl News survey of lobbyists find that 82% say there will likely be a government shutdown between now and January 2024.

“Virginia voters resoundingly rejected Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s costly efforts to take control of the General Assembly in Tuesday’s elections, according to unofficial results — flipping the House of Delegates to Democratic control and preserving a blue majority in the state Senate that can block his conservative agenda and prevent Republicans from tightening limits on access to abortion,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats’ sweeping victories amounted to a sharp setback for Youngkin as he seeks to raise his national profile as a potential last-minute presidential contender and seemed to fit with a national trend that saw Democrats rally around the issue of protecting abortion rights. In Ohio, voters decisively approved a measure to build abortion access protections into the state constitution, and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) won reelection after hammering his Republican opponent for supporting the state’s near-total ban on abortions.”

“Youngkin had hoped to set a new model for how Republicans everywhere could win on the abortion issue, campaigning on the promise that if voters gave Republicans control over both chambers of the General Assembly, he would pass a ban on abortions after 15 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”

Politico: “Youngkin bet it all on the Virginia legislative races. And it looks like he is coming home empty-handed.”

“Democrats won decisive victories in major races across the country on Tuesday evening, overcoming the downward pull of an unpopular president, lingering inflation and growing global unrest by relying on abortion, the issue that has emerged as their fail-safe since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year,” the New York Times reports.

“In races in parts of the South and the Rust Belt, Democrats put abortion rights at the center of their campaigns, spending tens of millions of dollars on ads highlighting Republican support for abortion bans.”

Wall Street Journal: “They were disparate elections in different states—for governor, state Senate, a supreme court seat and on a constitutional amendment. But the results of off-year races on Tuesday pointed in one direction: Voters will come to the polls to defend abortion rights.”

Playbook: “We’re beginning to sense a pattern here. Never mind Americans’ nagging concerns about the economy. Never mind an expanding portfolio of global crises. And definitely never mind those year-out presidential polls.”

“There’s no two ways about it: It was another good election night for Democrats, nearly across the board.”

As one Biden adviser said, dismissing pre-election polls: “The best predictor of voting behavior is voting behavior.”

The House voted to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) over remarks she made about the Israel-Hamas war.

Nearly all House Republicans were joined by 22 House Democrats in censuring  Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the only Palestinian-American in Congress, for her criticisms of Israel generally and her defense of the rallying cry: “From the river to the sea.”

“Ivanka Trump is set to testify in the ongoing civil fraud trial of her father and his business in New York on Wednesday, when she will become the fourth and final member of the Trump family to take the stand,” CBS News reports.

The Lincoln Project is taunting Donald Trump in a new ad over his daughter’s upcoming testimony in his civil fraud trial in New York. The ad is set to run only run in Florida, where Trump is spending most of his time these days.

“The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared inclined to uphold a federal statute that forbids people who are the subject of domestic-violence restraining orders from possessing firearms,” the Washington Post reports.

“Justices on both sides of the court’s ideological divide seemed to think the Second Amendment does not keep legislatures from restricting firearm possession after some sort of court finding that a person is dangerous. During oral arguments Tuesday morning, some of the justices suggested they did not have to go much further than that to decide the case at hand.”

“Former staunch allies of Michigan GOP Chairwoman Kristina Karamo, who assumed the role following an unsuccessful secretary of state campaign, are now uniting to remove her as the party remains mired in infighting and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt,” the AP reports.

“It’s a swift fall for Karamo, an election conspiracy theorist who in February was overwhelmingly elected by grassroots activists to lead the state party through the next presidential election until early 2025.”

“Publicly united on the need to expunge Hamas from Gaza, President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appear starkly at odds on two major questions about the war: Whether and how to pause Israel’s attacks for humanitarian reasons and who will run the besieged territory if and when the fighting stops,” the Washington Post reports.

“The short-term question is whether Israel might hold off for a short period to facilitate the arrival of much-needed aid in Gaza and, if Hamas agrees, secure the release of some of the scores of hostages it and other extremist groups seized on Oct. 7.”

“The long-term question is who will take over governing Gaza — meeting the daily needs of its 2.3 million people, preserving Israeli security and overseeing a reconstruction effort — if Israel accomplishes its stated goal of eradicating Hamas.”

New York Times: Blinken says Gaza and West Bank must be “unified” under Palestinian Authority.

“President Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in their call on Monday to agree to a three-day pause in the fighting to allow progress in releasing some of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza,” Axios reports.

“According to a proposal that is being discussed between the U.S., Israel and Qatar, Hamas would release 10-15 hostages and use the three-day pause to verify the identities of all the hostages and deliver a list of names of the people it is holding.”

President Biden has hit a new milestone as the Democratic-led Senate confirmed his 150th federal judge, NBC News reports.

“Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) acknowledged on Tuesday that there’s urgency to resolving his blockade that’s left more than 400 military promotions in limbo in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy,” Politico reports.

Said Tuberville: “We’ve got several things that we can do. I understand the urgency. I’m not just being hard-headed about this. I understand we’ve gotten into some unique problems the last few weeks.”

He added: “I want to get this over with.”

Tom Nichols: “Trump is, to put it mildly, an emotionally disordered man. But such men are usually only a hazard to their families and themselves, especially if they lack money or power. Trump has both, but even more important, he has people around him willing to use that money and power against American democracy. As the Post report reveals, these henchmen are now trying to turn Trump’s ravings into an autocratic program; without their aid, Trump would be just another motormouthed New York executive living on inherited money and holding court over a charred steak while the restaurant staff roll their eyes. With their support, however, he is an ongoing menace to the entire democratic order of the United States.”

“The coalition of prodemocracy voters — I am one of them — is shocked at the relative lack of outrage when Trump says hideous things. (The media’s complacency is a big part of this problem, but that’s a subject for another day.) For many of us, it feels as if Trump put up a billboard in Times Square that says ‘I will end democracy and I will in fact shoot you in the middle of Fifth Avenue if that’s what it takes to stay in power’ and no one noticed.”

Republicans are licking their wounds and surveying the carnage from yesterday’s election, but there’s no sign that it will break Donald Trump’s grip on the GOP.

You probably remember Trump’s immortal line from 2016: “We’re going to win so much, you may even get tired of winning.” The next line in that riff is the pièce de résistance: “Please, please, it’s too much winning. We can’t take it any more.”

Sean Hannity on Fox News: “Democrats are trying to scare women into thinking Republicans don’t want abortion legal under any circumstances.”  You don’t. 

Newsmax anchor: “It does seem like the Republican Party generally has a real problem with winning.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum said “very sexy” issues like abortion bringing out young voters is evidence that “pure democracies are not the way to run a country,” the Daily Beast reports.

He added: “That’s why, thank goodness that most of the states in this country don’t allow you to put everything on the ballot. Because pure democracies are not the way to run a country.”

Charlie Sykes: “Last’s night’s votes followed a consistent pattern since the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision. Last year, abortion rights won all six state ballot measures — in blue states like California and Vermont, in swing states like Michigan, and in deep red states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana.”

“Add Ohio to the list. And, like the others, the vote was not even close.”

“In Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin hoped that a fifteen-week abortion ban compromise might defang the issue. It didn’t.”

“In Kentucky, abortion played a central role in the GOP’s failure to unseat Democrat Andy Beshear. And in Pennsylvania, a liberal state supreme court candidate cruised to an easy victory.”

“Donald Trump is again putting pressure on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to overhaul Wisconsin’s system of elections, this time by elevating calls to impeach the nonpartisan leader of the state’s elections agency whom Trump continues to cast as a villain in his false narrative about the battleground state’s 2020 election,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“The former president and frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary race on Monday shared with his 6.5 million social media followers a press release from Republican Rep. Janel Brandtjen criticizing Vos for not moving to impeach Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe.”

 “White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu is expected to leave his role by the end of the year,” NBC News reports.

“It’s not clear whether Landrieu has his next position lined up or whether he might join Biden’s 2024 campaign, though he is likely to have some role in the broader re-election effort, two sources familiar with the discussions said. It’s also unclear whether he will be replaced.”

The Messenger: “On Jan. 15, 2021, Trump signed a document that would reappoint him as trustee on the day that President Joe Biden took his place. But Trump only returned to that position for fewer than seven months, precipitously resigning from that post within days of Weisselberg’s indictment and resignation.”

“The revelation, largely buried by the spectacle of Trump’s contentious and pugilistic testimony, showed the former president’s apparent scrambling to distance himself from the entity holding his assets — shortly after New York prosecutors charged Weisselberg and the Trump Organization with dozens of financial crimes.”

“President Ronald Reagan rode a ‘Morning in America’ message to a blowout re-election victory in 1984, based partly on warm feelings about his economic performance,” the New York Times reports.

“Today’s economy is similar in many ways to Mr. Reagan’s as he entered that campaign, with one big difference: There is widespread voter angst over the incumbent’s economic stewardship.”

Dennis Aftergut: “A presidential campaign is very different from an off-year election, but we can draw certain conclusions. First, it’s even clearer now that abortion remains a powerful electoral driver. Second, while the polls for 2024 cannot help but worry us—as they show growing support for Donald Trump despite his telling us he will destroy American constitutionalism, and continuing concerns about Joe Biden despite his administration’s successes—Tuesday’s results remind us that we shouldn’t despair.”

Playbook: “Expect a big push from Biden’s allies in the coming days to reset and reframe.”

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

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