Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The queen, the truth, the noise

Good morning. Welcome to #247 in my ongoing series “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be APR? Why is he talking?” Yes, yes it is. And because.

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted out what would be easy to pass off as #infinity plus one in his ongoing series “Hey look, I’m a fascist asshole.” In this episode, Trump made yet another repetition of his baseless claim that CNN and MSNBC are “fake news.” Which makes this sound like a pretty boring episode. But this time there’s a twist.

This time Trump preceded and trailed that fake news claim with a whine about how social media has been picking on the right. And he threatened to do something about it. That something could be an executive order. It might be a regulation from the FCC. It might even be a bill hastily drafted up by Mark, Devin, Jim, Dana, or any of

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Fundamentals favor the Democrats in November

Nate Silver/FiveThirtyEight:

The 5 Big Takeaways From Our House Forecast

Democrats are favored to gain control of the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm elections, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model. But — a very FiveThirtyEight-ish sentence follows — the range of possible outcomes is wide and Democrats’ prospects are far from certain. Relatively small shifts could allow Republicans to keep control of the House, or could turn a blue wave into a tsunami.

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Abbreviated pundit roundup: The GOP’s plan to make the rich richer

We begin today’s roundup with The New York Times and its editorial on the new GOP tax plan:

With their new bill that would slash taxes on the wealthy and blow up the federal budget deficit, House Republicans and President Trump are making it absolutely clear whom they are working for — the top 1 percent — and whom they consider dispensable. Well, that’s pretty much everybody else…It will take experts weeks to fully analyze the House tax bill, but what we already know is frightening enough. No Republican who cares about fairness, economic sense and the financial health of the government can support with a clear conscience this shameless wealth transfer.

Here is John Cassidy’s take at The New Yorker:

[I]n gauging how the legislation would affect corporations and very wealthy people, we can be definitive: they will benefit hugely. Despite the fact that the bill

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: What adults? Where?

Brian Beutler/Crooked Media:

The contrast between Benghazi and Niger as political events parallels the contrast between how the American political system processed revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and how we processed similar revelations about the male leaders of Fox News—and even the Republican president of the United States.

In each case the institutions of the right responded to key developments instrumentally, revealing through the shifting scenes and casts of characters that their animating concerns weren’t protecting Americans serving in dangerous parts of the world, or protecting women in the workforce from powerful, abusive men, but making partisan brickbats of those incidents when possible, to advance unrelated goals.

The institutions of the left, by contrast, addressed each event in close to neutral fashion, guided primarily by their commitments to competent governing, and the physical well-being of fellow citizens.

This illustrates a fundamental characterological difference between the American left and

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Abbreviated pundit roundup: Attacking a Gold Star widow, tax reform lies and more

We begin today’s roundup with the continued attacks on Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson. First up, Amy Davidson Sorkin at The New Yorker:

There were two moments during her interview on “Good Morning America” when the expression of the face of Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, was transformed by a sudden smile. One came when George Stephanopoulos asked if it was true that she and La David—who was twenty-five when he died, three weeks ago, in Niger—had met when they were just six years old. “Yes, sir,” Johnson said. The other was when he mentioned that she was expecting her third child, a daughter, in January. Her oldest child is six now. Those are circumstances that could overwhelm anyone. But Johnson, throughout the six-and-a-half-minute interview, was steady, calm, and focussed on two goals: asking for answers about how her husband had

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Politicians panic over party positioning

Josh Kraushaar/National journal (free article):

House GOP Fears Wave in 2018 as Money Woes Grow

The odds of Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker again are rising as Republican donors show frustration over the party’s stalled agenda on Capitol Hill.

Of the 53 House Republicans facing competitive races, according to Cook Political Report ratings, a whopping 21 have been outraised by at least one Democratic opponent in the just-completed fundraising quarter. That’s a stunningly high number this early in the cycle, one that illustrates just how favorable the political environment is for House Democrats….

The odds of a Democratic House takeover in 2018 have never looked greater this election cycle. One plugged-in House Democratic strategist, who has previously been circumspect about the party’s chances to win control of the lower chamber, put the chances of Nancy Pelosi again becoming speaker at a 7 (with 10 being the most

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The politics of being above politics

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NY Times:

Kelly, in Defending Trump Call, Holds Up Military as an Elite Class

After his remarks, Mr. Kelly permitted only those reporters who knew families of dead service members, called Gold Star families, to ask questions.

Phil Klay, a Marine veteran and the author of “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he had little problem with most of Mr. Kelly’s remarks, but took umbrage at his restrictions on the questioning.

“If the problem is that most Americans aren’t engaged, then saying that only those who are engaged can ask about this, then that is deeply counterproductive,” Mr. Klay said in an interview. “This is deeply critical to us

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: A tale of three tweets

Trump has changed the picture on his Twitter account to one that shows him chairing a meeting of FEMA in anticipation of hurricane season—just to add that extra frisson of horror you didn’t know you were missing. But rather than writing at length his morning, here’s a tale in the space of three tweets.

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— Jason Sparks (@sparksjls) August 6, 2017

— Trump Draws (@TrumpDraws) August 6, 2017

Look, it’s not as if I want Donald Trump to be in Washington. So what if he’s spent 53 days vacationing at tax

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Chaos in the WH in every area

Politico:

GOP lawmakers square off against Trump

Senate Republicans spent the past week boxing in the president on Russia, health care and Robert Mueller

Senate Republicans spent their last week before a four-week August recess on a series of moves with one main goal: Reining in Donald Trump.

The GOP delivered an unstated declaration of independence from their own Republican president by passing a Russia sanctions bill he resisted, rebuffing his demands they try again on health care after the spectacular implosion of Obamacare repeal, even taking steps to head off any attempt by Trump to fire the special counsel investigating him, Robert Mueller.

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump takes a darker turn in response to losing bigly

Ron Brownstein/CNN:

Trump gambles on cultural frustration over economic self-interest

In Quinnipiac University polling this year, blue-collar whites and seniors (of all races) were more likely than Americans overall to support Trump’s original travel ban on Muslim-majority nations, his plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and deportation of undocumented immigrants who have not committed a serious crime. The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute has found that, compared to the public overall, both groups were much more likely to say the police are not unfair to African-Americans, and the blue-collar whites were more likely to say transgender people should be required to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender at birth.
But with Trump still receiving very low marks from minority voters, and facing historically low ratings for a Republican president among white-collar whites, he can afford hardly any defection from the blue-collar

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Trump takes a darker turn in response to losing bigly

Ron Brownstein/CNN:

Trump gambles on cultural frustration over economic self-interest

In Quinnipiac University polling this year, blue-collar whites and seniors (of all races) were more likely than Americans overall to support Trump’s original travel ban on Muslim-majority nations, his plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and deportation of undocumented immigrants who have not committed a serious crime. The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute has found that, compared to the public overall, both groups were much more likely to say the police are not unfair to African-Americans, and the blue-collar whites were more likely to say transgender people should be required to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender at birth.
But with Trump still receiving very low marks from minority voters, and facing historically low ratings for a Republican president among white-collar whites, he can afford hardly any defection from the blue-collar

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Abbreviated pundit roundup: White House chaos continues

As has been the case in almost every day of the Trump administration, we’ve had almost a month’s worth of news already this week — from the firing of the Mooch to the reporting that Donald Trump wrote Don Jr’s false statement about his meeting with Russians. We begin today’s roundup with Dana Milbank on the firing of the White House Communications Director:

“I said we were brothers,” Scaramucci, the newly named White House communications director, said last week of his rivalry with Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff. “That’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel.”

Scaramucci’s retelling of Genesis had a twist: It was a murder-suicide. Priebus’s Abel was indeed slain by Scaramucci’s Cain; the chief was ousted Friday. But Cain met the same fate Monday afternoon; his buffoonery, self-aggrandizement and foul mouth caused him to be sacked after just

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Potency, manliness and the Trump Party of One

Interesting how blatant the writing about male potency is getting when it comes to Trump’s presidency and the people around him.  For the best example, last week’s Peggy Noonan piece. And in a similar vein, here are some great follow-up posts to the Trump, “Mooch,” and the Rise of the New York Douchebag piece from Jeet Heer:

Olivia Nuzzi/New York Magazine:

“This isn’t a normal presidency,” the source said. “Trump always likes shiny new toys. Anthony will be the golden boy for the next couple of months.”

“Trump is taking a gamble on Scaramucci,” the source added. “But if he makes Trump look bad on this, he’s going to fall out of favor very soon — and if he thinks Reince was mistreated by the president? Wait until he sees how the president will treat him.”

Kevin D. Williamson/NRO, a must read:

Death of a

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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: ‘You’re kidding yourself if you think next week can’t be worse’ edition

The latest Friday dump wasn’t just news. It was Reince Priebus, who was literally left on the tarmac with neither a ride nor the keys to get his stuff back from his office. Priebus later tried to claim that he had quit before he was fired, but … it’s kind of unconvincing if you get in the car and ride out to the airport only to be booted. You just know that, in the other vehicle, Anthony Scarammuci was howling with laughter.

Scaramucci spent the week attacking Priebus and making an ass of himself to a truly astonishing degree. In just a couple of days, Mooch …

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos

Reince Priebus being out is news. But health care policy collapse >>>>> soap opera in the WH. Trump is still President, so failure is intrinsic to the administration.

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Vann Newkirk II/Atlantic:

The seeds of McConnell’s failure were planted way back in January, when House Republicans finally began to deliver on seven years of promises on repealing Obamacare. The first signs of inter-party discontent came with the earliest decisions as a new governing party, as GOP leaders couldn’t decide whether they wanted to just repeal Obamacare altogether—and thus absorb the political risks of something on the order of 30 million uninsured people—or use the opportunity to replace Obamacare with a more conservative health-care paradigm. They weren’t helped by the

Continue reading “Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos”

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos

Reince Priebus being out is news. But health care policy collapse >>>>> soap opera in the WH. Trump is still President, so failure is intrinsic to the administration.

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Vann Newkirk II/Atlantic:

The seeds of McConnell’s failure were planted way back in January, when House Republicans finally began to deliver on seven years of promises on repealing Obamacare. The first signs of inter-party discontent came with the earliest decisions as a new governing party, as GOP leaders couldn’t decide whether they wanted to just repeal Obamacare altogether—and thus absorb the political risks of something on the order of 30 million uninsured people—or use the opportunity to replace Obamacare with a more conservative health-care paradigm. They weren’t helped by the

Continue reading “Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos”

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos

Reince Priebus being out is news. But health care policy collapse >>>>> soap opera in the WH. Trump is still President, so failure is intrinsic to the administration.

x

Vann Newkirk II/Atlantic:

The seeds of McConnell’s failure were planted way back in January, when House Republicans finally began to deliver on seven years of promises on repealing Obamacare. The first signs of inter-party discontent came with the earliest decisions as a new governing party, as GOP leaders couldn’t decide whether they wanted to just repeal Obamacare altogether—and thus absorb the political risks of something on the order of 30 million uninsured people—or use the opportunity to replace Obamacare with a more conservative health-care paradigm. They weren’t helped by the

Continue reading “Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos”

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos

Reince Priebus being out is news. But health care policy collapse >>>>> soap opera in the WH. Trump is still President, so failure is intrinsic to the administration.

x

Vann Newkirk II/Atlantic:

The seeds of McConnell’s failure were planted way back in January, when House Republicans finally began to deliver on seven years of promises on repealing Obamacare. The first signs of inter-party discontent came with the earliest decisions as a new governing party, as GOP leaders couldn’t decide whether they wanted to just repeal Obamacare altogether—and thus absorb the political risks of something on the order of 30 million uninsured people—or use the opportunity to replace Obamacare with a more conservative health-care paradigm. They weren’t helped by the

Continue reading “Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The GOP health care debacle, explained, amidst the Chaos”

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Senate GOP’s epic failure to repeal Obamacare

What a night! Breaking ranks with a party that was hellbent on denying millions affordable health insurance, Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain voted against the so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. 

Tanner Curtis at The New York Times has detail on how it all went down:

The hustle and bustle in the Capitol’s hallways faded into stillness as the hours dragged by. Aides, glued to their cellphones as they waited for instructions, paced or sat; others hauled in boxes of pizza. […] The events played out 52 years after Congress approved legislation creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law on July 30, 1965. A bust of Mr. Johnson, who had served earlier as Senate majority leader and as vice president, is on display in the Capitol. /react-text

Here’s Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast:

McCain’s vote—and Susan Collins’s and Lisa Murkowski’s;

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Abbreviated pundit roundup: Senate Republicans begin their Obamacare repeal attempt

We begin today’s roundup with The New York Times and its editorial on yesterday’s votes in the Senate:

The majority leader, Mitch McConnell, browbeat and cajoled 50 members of his caucus to vote to begin a debate on health care without even telling the country which of several competing bills he wanted to pass. Vice President Mike Pence provided the tiebreaking vote. The proposals vary in severity, but all of them would leave millions more people without health insurance and make medical care unaffordable for many low-income and middle-class families. It is clear that Mr. McConnell does not much care which of these proposals the Senate passes; for whatever reason — pride, White House pressure, sheer cussedness — he just wants to get a bill out of the Senate. It could then go into conference with the House, which passed its own terrible bill in May.

Here’s George Zornick’s

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