Friday, January 4, 2019

Last Call For The Dark Side Of History

When leaders of democracies do things like "invoke emergency powers to undertake domestic policies as an end run around existing systems" then nothing good happens, see the bulk of the last 80 years.

President Donald Trump said Frday he is considering declaring a national emergency to help pay for his long-desired border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The president, when asked by ABC News' senior national correspondent Terry Moran during a press conference, acknowledged that he would consider declaring a national emergency to help get funds to build the wall "for the security of our country".

Trump did not elaborate on the details of such a process.

Earlier Friday, multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussion told ABC News that options could include reprogramming funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere – a move which would circumvent Congress.

Sources tell ABC News the discussions are still on the "working level" adding that there's a range of legal mechanisms that are being considered before such a decision is announced.

The discussions have intensified as the president is now 14 days into a partial government shutdown, facing newly empowered House Democrats who are refusing to budge issue of wall funding. "We are not doing a wall," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, calling the proposed structure an "immorality."

If you think Donald Trump would stop at "just building a wall" when it comes to invoking emergency powers, history is full of autocrats that indicate otherwise.

She Said A Wordy Dird

Newly-minted Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib said what we've all been thinking for the last two years, and this has Serious People Upset At The Democrats.

Newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Friday shied away from moving forward with impeachment at this time, calling it a "divisive" option. But she said that a colleague's use of an expletive to describe President Donald Trump was no "worse" than some of the language the president himself has used.

"I do think that we want to be unified and bring people together. Impeachment is a very divisive approach to take and we shouldn’t take it ... without the facts," Pelosi said during an MSNBC town hall at Trinity University in Washington, her alma mater.

Her comments came the morning after a newly elected member of Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., told a progressive audience that Democrats are going to "impeach the motherf---er."

Pelosi said, "Generationally, that would not be language I would use, but nonetheless, I don’t think we should make a big deal of it."

Pelosi also said that what Tlaib said was "nothing worse than the president has said," and that the episode "consolidates his base, but I don’t think they need much consolidation."

She added that while she was "not in the censorship business ... I don't like that language, I wouldn't use that language, but I wouldn't establish language standards for my colleagues."

Good for Nancy Pelosi to defuse this manufactured outrage, but of course CNN's Chris Cillizza is Very Concerned™!

The point here is simple: Trump didn't win because voters thought he was a great guy. They knew he wasn't. Many of them disapproved of the way he ran his campaign -- and the way he acted in his life. They just decided that other things, namely that he represented radical change in Washington, mattered more. 
Calling Trump names -- even explicit ones -- isn't going to convince people who are on the fence about him in 2020 to cast their vote for a Democrat. Remember that Hillary Clinton's general election campaign was largely based on this flawed premise: We're not going to elect someone like this guy as president, are we? 
People did. And so it looks -- at least to me -- like the height of folly for Democrats to pursue a strategy over the next two years built around the idea of lowering themselves to Trump's rhetorical level.

And Jonathan Turley is Rather Upset™!

Tlaib quoted her son telling her, “Look mama you won. Bullies don’t win.” Tlaib reportedly replied, “You’re right, they don’t. And we’re gonna go in and impeach the motherf**ker.”

There may or may not be grounds for impeachment in the Mueller report expected. However, being a bully is not one of them. More importantly, the glee expressed by Tlaib is concerning enough but there also seems a lack of concern over the actual proof of a high crime and misdemeanor under the constitutional standard. Impeachment is not meant to be a partisan tool or some cathartic act. That might be a better — and less profane — lesson to share with one’s son.

Other Democrats are Livid And Furious™!

“Mueller hasn’t even produced his report yet!” said Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. “People should cool their jets a little bit, let the prosecutors do their job and finish the investigation.”

“Inappropriate,” added Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.). “As elected officials I think we should be expected to set a high bar… It’s not helpful.”

Even Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who introduced an impeachment resolution earlier this week, was shocked. His eyes bulged in disbelief when a reporter read him Tlaib’s comments and he was speechless for several seconds.

After he regained his composure, Sherman said that kind of language is detrimental to the cause: “That’s not language I would use … I think the office of the presidency should be treated with respect.”

Party elders also sought to calm talk of impeachment without criticizing Tlaib directly. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, called Talib’s comments “inappropriate” and said, “We need to be patient.”

“You can’t accomplish very much of anything unless you have civility and show respect for your colleagues,” Cummings said. “Those kind of comments do not take us in the right direction.”

Maybe Rep. Tlaib should sound less like DOnald Trump.

Of course, maybe Donald Trump should sound less like Donald Trump, and not be doing the things Donald Trump is currently doing, and maybe we should all be far more concerned with that.

Just saying.

Already Looking For The Exits

Sen. Pat Roberts, the blunt-speaking Kansas Republican who worked closely with Democrats on helping the nation’s farmers and protecting food stamps for millions of low-income Americans, announced Friday that he would not seek reelection in 2020.

“I am announcing I will serve the remainder of this term as your senator, fighting for Kansas in these troubled times. However, I will not be a candidate in 2020 for a fifth Senate term,” said an emotional Roberts, his wife, Franki, by his side.

Roberts’s plans to retire comes just a few weeks after Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, another longtime GOP senator known for bipartisanship, said he would not seek reelection.

Roberts recently shepherded an $867 billion farm bill into law, with the measure securing the backing of all Senate Democrats, a remarkable feat in a fractious Congress. The legislation allocates billions of dollars in subsidies to American farmers, legalizes hemp, bolsters farmers markets and rejects stricter limits on food stamps pushed by House Republicans.

Conservatives were unhappy with the bill’s provisions on food stamps, and the Trump administration had signaled its intention to cut them without approval from Congress.

Roberts alluded to his bipartisan work at a news conference in Manhattan, Kan., where he announced his decision.

“I have a lot of trust and faith in Senator [Debbie] Stabenow,” Roberts said of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s ranking Democrat as he boasted about passing his eighth farm bill. He also called the panel “the least partisan committee in Washington.”

Roberts, 82, said he spoke to former senator Bob Dole before making his announcement and the 95-year-old Dole joked about seeking the open Senate seat.

Republicans will be favored to hold Roberts’s seat; Democrats haven’t won a Senate seat in Kansas since 1932.
Republicans close to Senate leaders expressed strong interest Friday in the prospect of trying to persuade Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to run for the open seat. As a former congressman from Kansas and a staunch ally of President Trump, the Republicans reasoned, Pompeo would have the potential to clear the GOP field and spare the party a potentially messy primary fight. 

I bet they have a real shot in 2020, just saying.   And it's not like Mike Pompeo has covered himself in glory working for Donald Trump, either.

I understand that Dems picking up 4 seats is going to be tough, but Colorado and Maine are definitely in play and don't count out David Perdue's seat in Georgia, Joni Ernst's seat in Iowa, Thom Tillis in NC and hey, Lindsey Graham in SC.

Dems on the other hand will have to defend Doug Jones's seat, and that's going to be a long haul.

It's doable though.


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