January 18, 2019

Trump vs. Pelosi

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 is critical of Trump’s negotiating tactics, and argues that this deal will not solve the underlying problems with the immigration system.

“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

“In 2016, a poll of voters in key battleground states found that 76 percent of voters agreed with the following statement: ‘However we feel about abortion, politicians should not be allowed to deny a woman’s health coverage for it just because she’s poor.’ Sixty-two percent agreedthat ‘when Medicaid covers pregnancy care but withholds coverage for abortion, we’re taking away a low-income woman’s ability to make important personal decisions based on what is best for her circumstances. ’ And a recent poll commissioned by a consortium of women’s health groups found that 9 in 10 women of color believe ‘that a woman being able to control if, when, and how to have children provides both individual and societal benefits.’ If Joe Biden wants to carry the banner of a party that claims to champion, protect and uphold the inalienable rights of black, brown and poor people, he must reverse his support of the Hyde Amendment and follow the lead of his fellow Democratic candidates.”
Danielle Campoamor, Washington Post

Critics of the candidate argue, “Want to defeat Trump? Attack Biden… Many progressives are understandably fearful that attacking the presumptive frontrunner might weaken him and give Trump ammunition for the general election. But challenging Biden’s record is important. For example, his core base of support – older Democrats – needs to know what an unreliable defender of Social Security and Medicare he is. By challenging him on his record, especially in the eyes of older, traditional Democratic voters, progressives could break the myth of Biden’s ‘electability’. (A strange trope given that Biden has tried and failed to be a presidential nominee since the 1980s.)… Anyone angling to be the Democratic nominee should espouse a real progressive agenda – just being ‘anti-Trump’ isn’t enough.”
Bhaskar Sunkara, The Guardian

“For Warren or anyone else to prevent the uniquely depressing experience of a Biden ‘national unity’ campaign, specifically targeted at a tiny cadre of wobbly Trump voters and Jeff Flake-style dissident Republicans, something has to change before next winter. Democratic voters and the media and basically everyone else must get over their skittish, fearful response to the Trump presidency, and their based-on-nothing certainty that nominating a progressive or a woman or a socialist or anybody who isn’t an avuncular white man with a vaguely reassuring demeanor and no discernible ideology will once again lead to disaster.”
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

From the Right

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

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The relevant question is not the nationality of a source offering ‘oppo research’ but the accuracy and relevance of the information. Another consideration is whether the information was obtained illegally—by hacking emails, for example. While the Supreme Court has said people have a First Amendment right to share illegally obtained information if they were not involved in the lawbreaking (something that news organizations frequently do), you might reasonably argue that they should also report such crimes when they become aware of them, which may be what Trump had in mind when he said he might contact the FBI ‘if I thought there was something wrong.’”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

On the bright side...

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

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