November, 2017

Trump’s Tweet Blew Up the GOP’s Strategy

Playbook: “Republicans had a game plan. Then the president tweeted about Schumer and Pelosi, they pulled out of the meeting and their strategy was blown up. This is the second fiscal negotiation in which Republicans’ well-laid plans were blown up.”

“What the congressional leadership tells us: Chances for a government shutdown are skyrocketing at the moment.”

A Very Fragile Deal Allowed Tax Bill to Advance

“A key concession that helped clear Republican tax legislation for a Senate vote as early as Thursday is drawing sharp opposition from conservative groups and some lawmakers, signaling that GOP leaders still face challenges in achieving a major legislative victory before year’s end,” Bloomberg reports.

“The Senate Budget Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote of 12-11 Tuesday, but only after Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said he bargained for adding a controversial provision: a so-called revenue trigger that would impose tax increases if the tax bill’s cuts raise the federal deficit. The amendment has sparked condemnation from other Republicans, despite a lack of detail about how the provision would work.”

James Hohmann: “The challenge for Senate GOP leaders, who have such a small margin for error, is that two of their holdouts want to make the tax giveaway more generous, but another half dozen or so Republicans are uneasy with how much it already adds to the debt. These contradictory demands complicate negotiations and will force McConnell to decide who he needs to placate most.”

Ron Johnson Feels No Loyalty to GOP Leaders

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) “watched angrily last fall as his fellow Republicans gave up on his reelection campaign, convinced he was doomed and that their dollars and hours would be better spent elsewhere. A year later, Johnson is still in the Senate but also a key holdout vote in the Republican effort to overhaul the tax code — and those political calculations, along with the ill will they bred, are coming back to haunt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow heads of the GOP,” the Washington Post reports.

“Johnson surprised party leaders this month when he said he would vote against the Senate version of the GOP tax plan, saying it favors corporations over other businesses. To vote for the bill, he is asking for a large-scale restructuring that could add more than $100 billion in benefits for certain businesses.”

“Republican leaders, who probably can afford to lose a maximum of only two GOP votes if they hope to move their measure through the Senate, are working to win over Johnson with a mixture of cajoling and concessions. But as the leaders negotiate, they’re working with a senator who feels little obligation to repay any party favors.”

Trump Shares Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Videos

“President Trump shared videos supposedly portraying Muslims committing acts of violence on Twitter early Wednesday morning, images that are likely to fuel anti-Islam sentiments popular among the president’s political base in the United States,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump retweeted the video posts from an ultranationalist British party leader, Jayda Fransen, who has previously been charged in the United Kingdom with ‘religious aggravated harassment,’ according to news reports.”

The videos were titled: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!

Big Majority of Millennials Want a Third Party

A new NBC News/GenForward poll finds a strong majority of millennials — 71% — say the Republican and Democratic parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed.

“Sixty-three percent of millennials disapprove of the way President Trump is handling his job as president. But millennials also hold a variety of political institutions in poor regard, and 65% think the country is on the wrong track overall.”

Democrats Missed Their Opportunity

Amy Walter: “We are reportedly at a ‘watershed’ moment on the issue of sexual harassment. Women, emboldened by the Harvey Weinstein revelations, have come out of the shadows of shame and stigma to tell their own stories of harassment and assault. It’s also been a time of ‘reckoning’ for Democrats who once excused or defended President Bill Clinton over accusations of abuse and harassment. From an electoral standpoint, this new focus on empowering and energizing women voters should be an opportunity for Democrats.”

“In Alabama, Democrats have a chance to steal away a bright-red Senate seat thanks to assault accusations against Republican Roy Moore. It’s also an opportunity for them to prove to voters that the party demands the highest standards of conduct from its representatives in Congress. An opportunity to show that Democrats won’t put party over doing the right thing. Yet, I have been struck by the lack of ‘watershed-level’ response to Democrats’ handling of allegations against Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers, two members of their own party. Instead of meeting the moment, Democrats have missed it.”

Matt Lauer Fired Over Misconduct Allegations

“NBC has fired its leading morning news anchor Matt Lauer over sexual harassment allegations,” the New York Times reports.

A memo said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, but that “we were also presented with reason to believe this my not have been an isolated” incident.

Lauer’s dismissal was seized upon by President Trump, who asked in a tweet when executives at NBC would “be fired for putting out so much fake news.”

CEOs Say Tax Cut Will Go to Investors

Bloomberg: “Major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. say they’ll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class.”

“The president has held fast to his pledge even as top executives’ comments have run counter to it for months. Instead of hiring more workers or raising their pay, many companies say they’ll first increase dividends or buy back their own shares.”

Trump Weighs 11th-Hour Boost for Roy Moore

President Trump “isn’t planning to go to Alabama, but he still might use the weight of his office to help elect scandal-tarred Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore,” Politico reports.

“The White House is considering flooding the state with robo-calls, emails, and text messages in an offensive designed to activate the president’s supporters on Moore’s behalf, three people familiar with the discussions said. An administration-sanctioned super PAC, America First Action, is conducting polling in the state as it weighs a possible 11th-hour barrage.”