* It spoke volumes when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo chose to speak recently at the American University in Cairo. That’s where former President Barack Obama spoke early in his presidency in an attempt to reset U.S.-Muslim relations. In his globally-chronicled speech, Obama spoke emphatically, if idealistically, of a “new beginning.”
In his speech, Pompeo underscored that he wasn’t restrained by the adage that partisan politics stops “at the water’s edge.” Would that he were.
“The age of self-inflicted American shame is over,” he trumpeted, “and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering. Now comes the real new beginning.” Zing.
It’s one thing to try and be President Trump’s Middle East “fixer” and walk back his blindsiding declarations on Syrian policy. But it’s a new low to denigrate a former president while on a foreign mission to cozy up with the usual authoritarians.
* The biggest undocumented-immigrant problem we have are visa overstays. How does a wall fix that? We also know that smuggled drugs mainly come through legal ports of entry. A wall doesn’t address that either. Then there’s anxiety-and-anger-inducing anecdotal evidence of illegal perps committing heinous crimes against innocent Americans on our sovereign soil. The crimes remain blatantly disproportionate, but no less emotionally impacting. Too bad we can’t wall out home-grown criminals, including domestic gangbangers.
* Migration from Mexico is now negative. There are more Mexicans returning there than coming here. The issue is Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Maybe we could help Mexico build a wall on its southern border.
* “The Wall” is part of Trump branding. It works well at a rally or on a bumper sticker. Forget the real issues dealing with border security and illegal immigrants. His base wouldn’t rally around “Improve E-verify!” Just like “Lock her up!” goes over much better than “What questionable ethics!”
* How could it be that this president–who built his marketing reputation by building a brand–has missed an obvious wall-funding opportunity? How about naming rights? It doesn’t even have to be “1-800-ASK-MEXI.” Hell, maybe WALL Street would be interested.
* “I think he’d like it being called ‘The Great Wall of Trump.'”–Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.
* There’s obviously no love lost between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump. And it was visceral even before the shutdown-sit-down fiasco. This is, among other things, a battle of wills. One key variable: Pelosi actually knows how the legislative process works.
* Seeing Trump in that “Make America Great Again” cap is, uh, grating enough. But wearing it while there’s a government shutdown that he “owns” and is “proud of” only ups the ante on insult, hypocrisy and anger.
* Ultimately, after anxiety fits over family budgets, furloughed federal employees will be paid for work they didn’t do. So much for conservative, Republican fiscal ideology.
* Last week Mexico was one of the few countries to have representation at the swearing in of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. A few weeks earlier leftist Mexican President Andrés
Manuel López Obrador had invited Maduro to his own inauguration. It doesn’t bode well for any future Obrador-Trump negotiations–from trade to border security.
* The Democrats are hardly resting on the laurels of a retaken House of Representatives. Campaign solicitations for 2020–in the form of “Senate Majority PAC” donor mailings–are out over the signature of Sen. Chuck Schumer. It’s a reminder that 2020 doesn’t look like 2018 for Democratic Senate inroads. “Republicans have to defend 22 seats–while Democrats have to defend just 12, giving Democrats a huge strategic opportunity,” says Schumer. “We have a real chance to take back the Senate.
“Under Senator McConnell and his caucus of yes-men, the Senate has become Donald Trump’s most reliable blank check. Only Democrats will stop his reckless ideas from becoming law.”
And, BTW, if you didn’t receive a mailing, the online contribution counterpart is www.SenateMajority.com/TurnTheTide. And all contributions will be matched one to one.