* You could see it coming. The proposed Trump
budget: “MAGAnomics.” It’s
a meme for a $1.1 trillion deficit–as well as priorities that include a border
wall and hikes in defense spending, as well as cuts in economic safety-net
programs, environmental spending, education and the Affordable Care Act. How
grating is that?
* We know what Trump unscripted sounds like. For
anyone else, it would be “GaffeGate”–from
the Comey firing, Charlottesville equivocation and Access Hollywood vulgarities
to Vlad Putin fealty and Kim Jong-un infatuation.
Speaking of Kim, who Trump “fell in love”
with, this just in from North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Choe Son Hui.
After, ahem, announcing that Kim was considering the resumption of nuclear and
missile tests, Choe blamed John Bolton more than Trump, saying the relations
between the two leaders was “still good.” In fact, “the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful,”
Choe added. Say what? This sounds more like the relationship between Trump and
his Mike Pence-led evangelical followers.
* Not that we should expect much difference in
rhetoric between President Trump and candidate Trump–because he’s always in
campaign-rhetoric mode–but this was a new low. His re-election campaign sent
out this Trump message to supporters:
“I look forward to VETOING the Dem inspired OPEN BORDERS & Pro-Crime Resolution! Donate NOW for the WALL & we’ll
TRIPLE MATCH your gift.” It wasn’t outrageous enough to demonize Democrats
as “pro-crime,” but then doubling down to ask his cult-following base
to help pay for the WALL that he had promised them Mexico would pay for.
* Here’s more satirical context for Trump’s “Tim Apple” reference that he has
tried to pass off as some eponymous riff. The Trumpspin version: “I referred
to him as ‘Tim Apple’ on purpose. I was kidding; of course, I was. No, it
wasn’t some presidential gaffe as the ‘Fake News’ would have you believe.
Believe me, I’m quite familiar with the names of all of our hot-shot, great tech
entrepreneurs like Tim and Sergey Google and Mark ZuckerFace.”
* Much was made of the dozen Republican senators who voted with Democrats to block Trump’s bogus declaration of a national emergency
that was a blatant ruse for funding his base-loving border wall. Alas, that’s
not enough to override Trump’s veto or undermine his perversion of the
This should be about taking one for your country,
living with your conscience and, yes, earning the approbation of non-Trumpsters,
who are still the majority of the country. And if sheer, self-serving pragmatism
must be in play, as it always is, there’s this career reality for those who
might pay a ballot-box price for not prioritizing Trump above all else. A “moderate”
GOPster can stay in the game and carve out serious, career-enhancing face time
on MSNBC or CNN. Ask Michael Steele or Bill Kristol–or ex-Florida Congressmen David
Jolly and Carlos Curbelo. Failing that, there’s always consulting, lobbying or,
what the hell, ambulance-chasing.
* As for Florida’s two Republican senators, they
split. Clueless, feckless Rick Scott
fell in line and voted with Trump. “It’s clear that there is a crisis and
it’s long-passed time to fix it,” was his staff-crafted, bullet-point rationale
for the blatant misuse of the National Emergencies Act.
As for Marco
Rubio, it was vintage because as the de facto secretary of state for Latin
America who still harbors Oval Office ambitions, he has a more complex agenda.
He said that passage of Trump’s emergency declaration “would create a
precedent a future president may abuse to jump-start programs like the Green
How self-servingly nuanced. Rubio’s doing more than standing up to Trump
and reasserting Congressional authority. He’s saying that Trump’s
wrong–knowing that at some point saying so could help his post-Trump
credibility–but Dems are still Dems, of course. They just can’t be trusted
with their socialist schemes.
*How important is it that the final Mueller Report goes public? The U.S.
House couldn’t have been more emphatic. Even though it’s non-binding, the House voted unanimously (420-0) to make
the report public–with an exception for classified material. The House is rarely
unanimous on anything, although the “ayes” could have been a bit
more. Florida Panhandler and Trump lackey Matt
Gaetz actually voted present.
* George Conway,
the conservative, ex-Republican Trump critic–and husband of Trump adviser
Kellyanne Conway–has been commenting on Trump’s mental state. As in, it’s
worrisome–or worse. His Twitter assertions included screengrabs from the
“Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” most
notably the ones referencing anti-social
and narcissistic personality
Most establishment Republicans won’t agree with G.
Conway on the record, because, in effect, they’d be calling out the Trump base
who remain in lockstep fealty following their “very stable genius” cult
leader. BTW, the odd-couple Conways make James Carville and Mary Matalin look
like Ma & Pa Kettle.
* How unconscionable that there was even a passing
reference to Trump in that 47-page manifesto of the New Zealand mass murderer who slaughtered 50 Muslims in
Christchurch. The white-nationalist killer called Trump “a symbol of renewed
white identity and common purpose.” Yet another reminder that
America’s president matters far beyond our electoral shores.
* Will the charismatic, high-energy, fund-raising
marvel that is Beto O’Rourke, 46, be
a factor in the 2020 presidential election? Only if he makes sure that his
feisty followers stay the course for the Democratic nominee when he’s not on
the ticket. His time still awaits. And when it arrives, he should be able to
point to a track record that no longer includes opposing the Affordable Care
Act but does include winning an important statewide race–not losing to one of
the most disliked members of Congress.