January 18, 2019

Trump vs. Pelosi

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

On Wednesday, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone his Jan. 29 [State of the Union] address.” AP News

On Thursday, Trump followed up by denying Pelosi and other Democrats the use of military aircraft for a trip to Belgium and Afghanistan. Reuters

Also on Thursday, Trump “canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.” AP News


Many on both sides are critical of Trump and Pelosi.

“Two weeks in, the relationship between the new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and President Donald Trump is off to a smashing start… As hundreds of thousands of federal employees continue to work without pay, the two most powerful elected leaders in the country are locked in a duel of personal vengeance.” The Atlantic

“Next thing you know, they’ll both be running to the teacher yelling that the other one started it. American government has now entered the Romper Room. Can’t anybody in Washington remember that they are supposed to be serving over 328 million people, rather than trying to prove who is more adept at breaking the other person’s crayon?” Washington Examiner

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

The left supports eliminating the electoral college, arguing that all votes should count equally regardless of which state they're from.

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is driving President Trump nuts… by doing something he simply cannot abide: She’s stealing the spotlight. She is also seizing the initiative in the trench warfare over Trump’s government shutdown… Pelosi’s play was a stiletto -sharp reminder of how much power she wields — and an illustration of how deftly she is wielding it.”
Washington Post

If anyone has the chops to manage Mr. Trump’s brattiness, it is Ms. Pelosi… Ms. Pelosi is not overly concerned with personal popularity. Like Mr. McConnell, she has a job to do, and if getting it done requires taking some heat, so be it.”
New York Times

Regarding the canceled congressional trip, it “was to come during a particularly sensitive geopolitical moment… Trump is set to roll back close to half of all U.S. troops in Afghanistan, dealing a significant blow to the progress the U.S. has made over the last six months to help broker peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban…

“Troops on the ground viewed the Pelosi trip as a chance to gain an inroad with someone, especially the highest ranking member of the House, in the U.S. government who could see the need to keep U.S. troops in the country. The announcement of the drawback has significantly lowered morale among officials and soldiers.”
Daily Beast

“Trump’s candidacy and his presidency are largely predicated on being the guy who picks the fights that commentators in conservative media say should be picked. The appeal of ‘owning the libs’ — smacking down liberal political opponents or, more broadly, the elitists with whom the liberal population is believed to overlap — has enormous traction in some circles, including in much of Trump’s base… This is how Trump does politics. He may not do everything that his base would wish, but he at least fights against the people they hate. That’s often good enough.”
Washington Post

Others note that “[Warren] has provided more detail on Medicare financing than Sanders has. She has also provided more overall policy detail, including on the taxes she would raise, than Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg. And her Medicare plan comes much, much closer to paying for itself than various Republican tax cuts. I wish the conservatives complaining about her plan applied the same rigor to their own ideas… The biggest weakness of Warren’s approach is that it tries to bulldoze through the sizable public anxiety about radical changes to the health care system. Warren would not let people opt into Medicare, a wildly popular idea. She would force them to join… she needs to come up with a reassuring transition plan soon.”
David Leonhardt, New York Times

Many note that “Biden’s opposition to [marijuana] legalization… puts him at odds with the great majority of Democrats, 75-plus percent of whom back legalization. Biden’s opposition even puts him at odds with the median Republican, with polls showing that even a majority of Republicans support legalization. Politically, then, legalization should be low-hanging fruit… Yet Biden is not quite there… It’s an especially bad look for Biden. He has a long record of pushing for punitive criminal justice and drug policies — not just supporting but actually writing many of the laws in the 1980s and ’90s that helped shape America’s modern war on drugs. For Biden to hang on to marijuana prohibition, then, just reinforces one of the major concerns that criminal justice reformers like Booker have about him.”
German Lopez, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right sees Buttigieg and Biden as the winners of the debate, and criticizes the answers on housing and foreign policy.

From the Right

“Pelosi is using her faux security concerns as a pretext to do something unprecedented and outrageous: deny a president of the United States the opportunity to come to Congress and deliver his State of the Union address… Yet all those who constantly decry Trump for shattering of presidential norms seem to be perfectly fine when Pelosi is doing the norm shattering — and lying about why she is doing it.”
Washington Post

“If we’re going to end this tradition [of the State of the Union], we ought to do it for a better reason than the speaker detests the administrationand there’s a government shutdown going on. The security explanation is nonsense, and everyone knows it… The State of the Union has gone on during times of war, deep recession, under threat of terrorism and with Congress contemplating the impeachment of the president… Now we’re going to toss the whole thing out because of the government-shutdown fight?”
National Review

“It is easy to see why she wanted to do this: the State of the Union is a great stage for the president… I would like to see Trump deliver the State of the Union before a cheering throng of 15,000 or 20,000 in an arena. He could invite members of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court to attend, and simultaneously deliver his report on the state of the union to Congress in writing… Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want the president to be seen in a favorable light in the House chamber? Fine. Let’s do it in an arena somewhere in the heartland.”
Power Line Blog

Regarding the canceled congressional trip, many note that “Pelosi tried to pull a power move on the White House. On Thursday, Trump landed a brutally timed counter-punch. His reasoning — that she should be in the nation’s capital to continue negotiating the end of the shutdown — is a scathingly shrewd touch… Like the GOP presidential field in the 2016 primaries, Pelosi may be learning the hard way that you can’t out-troll Trump. This is his bread and butter.”
Washington Examiner

It’s worth noting that “conservative ideas were much more popular when not associated with the Republican party. In Washington State, voters narrowly rejected bringing affirmative action back to state contracting and university admissions…

“In Seattle, the self-proclaimed socialist city-council member appears to have lost her seat to a pro-business challenger. In Colorado, voters gave fiscal conservatives a big win by rejecting letting the state keep any tax revenues above the state spending cap, money that the state Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights currently guarantees as refunds to taxpayers. In Sussex County, N.J., voters approved, by a 2-to-1 margin, a referendum directing the local freeholder board to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Washington, Colorado, New Jersey — notice these are places where Republican candidates have had no luck lately.)”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Dog accidentally runs half-marathon after being let out to pee, finishes 7th.
Sport Bible

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