Trumpster Diving

* There is still a discernible difference among Democratic strategists as to how to respond to in-your-face Trumpian dynamics. From “go high” to “(metaphorically) kick ’em.” I prefer the former; don’t look to replicate the same sort of MO you deplore. It should be beneath the cause–and, in the era of ubiquitous media, can give the other side gratuitous, “liberal mob” ammo. Stay with principles without playing the punk card at restaurants or at the annual Washington Correspondents Dinner. Put it this way: Don’t fight fire with fire; fight it with a fire extinguisher of better proposals worthy of the America we still want to be.

* Approximately 30 million women voted for Trump in 2016. Alas, that’s not “fake news.” It also remains embarrassingly inexplicable.

* Looks like the tax cut that would “pay for itself” has reached the credibility level of “Mexico paying for the Wall.” That wouldn’t be the way Mitch McConnell would actually frame it, but that’s the uncomfortable upshot when you advocate cutting entitlement expenses to try and undercut a burgeoning budget deficit. But who expected the senate majority leader to make the case for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid right before the mid-terms? Timing is everything, as we assumed McConnell knew.

* Imagine, the Saudis are still working on a cover story for the killing of journalist-critic Jamal Khashoggi. Whatever its ultimate iteration beyond “fistfight”-gone-wrong, this much is obvious. “Rogues” don’t operate independently of authoritarian leaders on anything of import. Underlings misunderstanding instructions or overstepping authorizations just doesn’t happen. That’s not how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose personal agenda notably includes the silencing of critics, operates. And let’s not forget that if MBS had wanted a de facto green light to go after a Washington Post columnist residing in the U.S., he could hardly have missed the ongoing signals emanating from the White House in the form of Trump’s routine assaults on American media. We’re seeing the tragic consequences.

* “Vote against the GOP this November.”–This blunt directive was issued by George Will. Yes, THAT George Will. It’s THAT scary.

* “Despite us having the worst laws in the world and no help from Democrats, our administration is doing a great job on the border.” That was White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, not President Donald Trump. But, yeah, she not only shills for her boss, she now sounds like him too.

* Yeah, that was quite the shocker that the Philippines just won another term on the UN’s Human Rights Council–given that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has become synonymous with human rights violations–aka “extrajudicial killings”–in his beyond-brutal drug war. Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano used some familiar phrasing in lauding the UN’s decision. “We are really greatly honored as this is a vindication that fake news and baseless accusations have no place in modern-day human rights discussions.” Yeah, that’s who else traffics in such familiar, media-bashing rhetoric.

* “Here’s a quote, from the late writer and political cynic Gore Vidal, that still has currency. “The great American formula: socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the poor.”

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