It’s A Bit Early To Start Praising ‘Bipartisan Trump’

And the rest of the day’s politics news in one clever ploy.

Here’s what appears to have happened:

• “Chuck and Nancy” go over to the White House for a meal. While dining on Chinese food and chocolate cream pie, they hash out a framework with the President for a deal where up to 800,000 undocumented immigrants, most of whom arrived as children, can stay in the country. Quick and dirty like the President has always promised he’d do. Trump last week cancelled the Obama-era DACA program, citing a pending legal challenge led by Texas’ Attorney General.

• The top Dems emerge from the dinner to say in exchange for Trump agreeing to protect the “Dreamers”, they’d agreed to a border security funding package, but pointedly said that does not include a border wall.

That mobilizes Trump’s baseagainst him. Radical Right Wing Anti-Immigration Isolationist Nationalists got very little sleep last night. Trump heard them. (Did you not realize how rabid your base is, Mr. President? Or did you never imagine they’d come for you?) So early this morning he Tweeted, denying anything resembling a deal ever took place:

• At the same time, God Bless Him, he stuck to his gut on the Dreamers, and in a 2nd and 3rd Tweet, expressed his support for exactly what Schumer and Pelosi said he’d agreed to:

• So by now, everybody is angry, hopeful, confused, or a combination of any 2 of the 3.

• Then there’s “the wall.” The White House had already spoken out about the Dems contention on this:

Trump follows up with:

Interestingly, a Schumer spokesperson had already gone out of his way to clarify that his boss didn’t mean to imply the President was giving up on “the wall”, just that is was not going to be part of this deal.

• Then later in the day, when questioned by reporters on his way to Florida, Trump seemed to pull a U-ey again, saying yes indeed he’s “fairly close” to a deal with Democrats, and while that deal would include “massive border security”….”the wall will come later“. He said Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are already “on board”.

Don’t you get the feeling the President is loving this?

We gotta leave it there. We’ll update you tomorrow AM on whatever happens between now and then.

Trump Says Tax Plan Won’t Benefit Rich

Earlier in the day, Trump held a meeting with a bipartisan group of Representatives who like to call themselves the “Problem Solvers”. And he praised bipartisanship saying it was the cornerstone of “some of the greatest legislation ever passed.”

“Bipartisan Trump” also told them the wealthy will not “gain at all” from his tax plan. That he expects the rich to be “pretty much where they are.” And, in fact, their taxes might “go higher”. That would be a change from the tax reform document the White House released in July, showing the top tax bracket falling to 35% from 39.6%. (Unless he considers 35% and 39.6% to be pretty much the same). Anyway, he said it, you can see it right here:

No, says Marc Short, White House Director of Legislative Affairs (and former top Koch brothers executive), when the President said “I think the wealthy will be pretty much where they are….If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher, frankly”, he didn’t mean actually raising tax rates for the rich, he just meant they may end up paying a higher effective tax rate when he’s done slashing their wasteful tax deductions.

Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker posits that it’s fair, even sensible, to not have much faith in Republicans’ capability of passing tax legislation on their own. And since Republican leadership seem to have abandoned the idea of making it “revenue neutral”, the President may need some Democrats on board.

“That Makes Sense”

According to South Carolina’s Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, that was the President’s response to him when he explained why he was so critical of Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville. He said he told the President: “It has to do with the affirmation of hate groups who over three centuries of this country’s history have made it their mission to create upheaval in minority communities as their reason for existence.”

According to the New York Times, Scott cringed when asked if the President had expressed regret, saying, “He certainly tried to explain what he was trying to convey.”

The White House equivocated on this meeting too. Press Secretary Sanders saying Scott (whom the White House mistakenly identified as Tom Scott) didn’t express any “displeasure”, just sat down with the President for a nice talk about “what we can do to bring people together.”

White House Calls For Resignation Of ESPN Anchor After She Insults Trump On Twitter And Calls Him Names

We don’t think this story requires much comment beyond that. The ironies and inequities should be self-evident.

We were going to write a little here about how Trump has mostly behaved himself on Twitter of late, but of course he just had to slam Hillary again following the publication of her book, and point out he beat her in the election. Trump toasts “the deplorables” and declares Hillary had “no game”.

Gorsuch Again Pays Big Dividends For Trump, Republicans

The newest Supreme Court Justice was the deciding vote in staying a lower court ruling that would’ve required Texas to redraw its voting maps ahead of the 2018 elections. A Federal District Court in San Antonio had ruled a district that includes Corpus Christi is unfair to Hispanic voters. Another district, stretching from San Antonio to Austin was also invalidated on the basis of racial bias. But the Court says leave things as they are until it has time to consider the State of Texas’ appeal.

Houston Moves Ahead With Tax Hike To Pay For Storm Rebuild

Houston’s Mayor has proposed an 8.9% property tax hike for costs related to Hurricane Harvey. It’s now in the hands of the City Council, with a final vote expected in mid-October. If passed, it’d be the first tax hike the city’s seen in 20 years.

Higher taxes will be the subject of big debate as estimated costs soar way beyond the $15-billion in aid the Federal government has already committed. Texas ranks 46th out of the 50 states in terms of tax burden per capita. It has no income tax, no corporate tax, and no estate tax. And two leading tax attorneys argue in the Washington Post that Texas should not be allowed to keep it that way (or if they want to, figure something else out). They propose the Federal government provide aid from now on mostly in the form of loans, not grants.

Editorial: Why Democrats Need To Make Damn Sure They Go For The Kill In 2018

Although Democrats were not able to win a single Federal special election, they’re doing much better now in State elections, including in some red ones. On Tuesday, a Democrat ran away with a seat in Oklahoma’s State House, in a district Trump won handily. Democrats also flipped State seats in New Hampshire and New York, winning an Assembly district that had not elected a Democrat since 1960.

And this is the time of year when incumbents in the U.S. Congress decide whether they are going to run for re-election next year or not. It’s common courtesy to announce by Christmas, in order to ensure somebody who wants to run for a seat but won’t challenge an incumbent has sufficient time to gear up.

According to an analysis by the Daily Kos (with slightly hard-to-read graphs), Republicans are rushing for the exits early this year, with 17 vacated Republican seats already (a combination of Republicans who say they’re not returning, and those running for other offices). That’s way ahead of previous years. Meanwhile, Democratic departures are in line with recent elections.

In the past week alone, several prominent moderate Republicans have announced they’re not returning, most recently Michigan’s David Trott. He and others have cited reasons such as “more time with the family”. But the real reason, in many cases, is they’re facing an ugly and expensive primary challenge from the Far Right that their pollsters tell them they’ve got no shot at winning.

To which we say: encouraging, but also meaningless. Why? Simple: in order to win a seat, you’ve actually got to win that seat. Doesn’t matter how many seats your compatriots may have won.

The problem with so many moderate Republicans dropping out is they won’t be replaced in most cases by moderate Republicans. They’ll be replaced by either 1) Democrats who have their sh*t together, or 2) Wack-jobs from the Radical Right. It’s gotta be the former or we’re in big trouble.

Keep in mind Democrats need to be truly inspirational to get people out to vote (Georgia’s Jon Ossoff wasn’t; he lost a winnable race), while Radical Republicans can ensure a 100% turnout among their supporters just by getting out of bed in the morning. Remember also that all the Districts we’re talking about were won by Republicans less than a year ago, so we get really puzzled when we hear Liberal friends of ours walking around talking about how it’ll be “a piece of cake” to flip ’em.

Just look at what’s happening in Alabama right now: the more mainstream Republican candidate, Luther Strange (who currently sits in the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions), looks about to be shellacked by Radical Right Winger Roy Moore, a former judge who was kicked off the bench two times, and was considered a walking and talking joke until Trump legitimized all the racist, exclusionary and hateful things he espouses. He was a rabid “birther”. And as Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, he ordered the State’s judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a Federal Court. One of Moore’s primary campaign promises: national reciprocity for gun carry permits, meaning any carry permit issued by any state would have to be honored by any other state. That primary is in 10 days.

Democrats should have the greatest success going after Republicans in districts that Hillary won or narrowly lost. That means if they’re successful, they will mostly be unseating Republican moderates. We will shed no tears for them.

But a partial Democratic victory could create a nightmare scenario: a few more Progressive voices in the house, with Republicans still managing to eke out a majority while becoming much more Radical and unified. Those fewer, but more Radical Republican reps will be ready to run rampant.

In that context, anything but an absolute Democratic victory will be a disaster.


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