About that wall deal…

“Yes, by making a ridiculous demand to honor a dishonest and frivolous campaign promise Trump set himself up to be humiliated,” a Talking Points Memo reader fumed this morning about the purported deal reached about border wall funding between congressional Democrats and Republicans. “Fine. But it’s hard for me to see how this deal is much of a victory for anyone else, apart from representing a defeat for him.” Continue reading

State of the Union 2019

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9:38 p.m. The president needs MS-13 boogeymen like college men need sex.

9:33 p.m. Almost four thousand troops the president will deploy to the Mexican border — a “tremendous onslaught” he calls it while Dems hiss and Pelosi holds up a peremptory hand.

9:28 p.m. Jared Kushner’s response to the presence of Alice Marie Johnson, whose sentence the president commuted, is the only human spasm this protozoa has shown.

9:25 p.m. The president bemoans the number of nominated judges waiting “years and years,” nodding sadly at the memory of Merrick Garland.

9:23 p.m. What a scene: hordes of aged GOP red white prime sirloin chanting “USA!” while the women in white sit on their hands.

9:20 p.m. “Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers.” Meanwhile Joe Manchin applauds like a man with fleas on his palms on learning that we produce more natural gas.

9:16 p.m. “Tonight I ask you to choose greatness.” Warren G. Harding: “America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality….”

9:14 p.m. “A more prosperous American way of life is within reach.” If you make over a million bucks a year.

9:08. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Tim Kaine stand and applaud as if at knife point.

9:07 p.m. Watch Pelosi get crap for net getting up to say howdy-do to the First Lady.

9:04 p.m. The only woman to shake the president’s hand in the last minute? Elena Kagan.

9:03 p.m Speaker Nancy Pelosi, looking as if she took a hit of battery acid.

9:02 p.m. [Senator] Mitt Romney spotting!

9 p.m. Justices Kagan, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Chief Justice Roberts are the only Supreme Court justices present. Kavanaugh, grinning ear to ear, is the only one who looks as if he arrived at a kegger where the beer is cold and the ratios fine.

8:58 p.m. I avoid running photos of the president. Let me run instead a photo of a SOTU by a president who was a uniter.

8:55 p.m. I’m going to live blog no more than 30 mins of the SOTU b/c I want to see Nancy Pelosi glower and how this diverse congressional class respond.

On the luridness of gay conservatives

The New York Times‘ Sunday magazine has run a story about the frustrations of gay conservatives. One Ben Holden, a Suffolk University student, explains himself:

Though he said he is liberal on most social issues and wishes the Republican Party would take climate change seriously, Holden aligns himself with conservatives and libertarians in many other ways — he’s anti-abortion, free-market-oriented and skeptical of big government. But perhaps above all else, Holden rejects what he considers a bedrock of contemporary liberalism: that, as he put it, your “immutable characteristics” — race, ethnicity, sexual orientation — “should determine what your position is on every political issue, or what you’re allowed to express an opinion about.” He added that he feels alienated from progressives on his campus and across the country, many of whom he believes are unwilling to debate issues “without resorting to shaming or name-calling.”

Continue reading

The politics of civility

Hours after her swearing-in as the new representative of Michigan’s 13th congressional district, Rashida Tlaib said the following to a crowd at a MoveOn event:

And when you’re son looks at you and says ‘mama, look you won, bullies don’t win.’ And I say ‘baby, they don’t’ because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherfucker.”

No sooner had these remarks gone viral that the Beltway pundit class’ brains oozed into their smoothies.  Continue reading

What privilege looks like

White men have endured so much pain in America. They need to take their country back.

Beginning in October 1968, records show, Mr. Trump had a 1-Y classification, a temporary medical exemption, meaning that he could be considered for service only in the event of a national emergency or an official declaration of war, neither of which occurred during the conflict in Vietnam. In 1972, after the 1-Y classification was abolished, his status changed to 4-F, a permanent disqualification.The Times began looking into Mr. Trump’s draft record anew when an anonymous tipster suggested that a podiatrist who was a commercial tenant of Fred Trump’s had provided the medical documentation.

The tipster offered no names, but The Times used old city directories, held by the New York Public Library, and interviews with Queens podiatrists to identify Dr. Braunstein.

The doctor’s daughters said his role in Mr. Trump’s military exemption had long been the subject of discussions among relatives and friends.

“It was family lore,” said Elysa Braunstein. “It was something we would always discuss.”

She said her father was initially proud that he had helped a “famous guy” in New York real estate. But later, her father, a lifelong Democrat who had served in the Navy during World War II, grew tired of Donald Trump as he became a fixture in the tabloid gossip pages and a reality television star, she said. The daughters, both Democrats, say they are not fans of Mr. Trump.

Thanks to the medical deferment, Donald Trump avoided serving in a war whose largest casualties included Vietnamese men and on whom the burden on poor and black young Americans was grievous.

‘Now the party is Trump’

Is anyone surprised?

“There has been close to no introspection in the G.O.P. conference and really no coming to grips with the shifting demographics that get to why we lost those seats,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, an upstate New York Republican who is planning to repurpose her political action committee to help Republican women win primaries in 2020. “I’m very frustrated and I know other members are frustrated.”

Ms. Stefanik said there had been “robust private conversations” but she urged Republicans to conduct a formal assessment of their midterm effort.

The Republican response, or lack thereof, to the midterm backlash stands in stark contrast to the shake-ups and soul-searching that followed its loss of Congress in 2006 and consecutive presidential defeats in 2012.House officials indicate that they will pursue an after-action report, but it is unclear how far it will go in diagnosing why they lost the popular vote by more raw votes than any time in history.

Many of the lawmakers who lost their races or did not run again say the party has a profound structural challenge that incumbents are unwilling to fully face: Mr. Trump’s deep toxicity among moderate voters, especially women.

With most of the Republicans who lost hailing from suburban seats, those who remain represent red-hued districts where the president is still well liked.

“Now the party is Trump,” said Representative Tom Rooney of Florida, who at 48 decided to retire, “so we follow his lead.”

Yes, the “controversial and bold” GOP autopsy report released in 2012 that did naught to change anyone’s mind. And nothing will happen in January 2019 either.