Friday, January 19, 2018

Hold my drink

A looming government shutdown doesn't keep the Donald away from the golf course.  He's off to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend while Congresspersons desperately try to reach an agreement on a budget.  Whatever spending bill Congress cobbles together will have to have his imprimatur, but I guess he figures no deal will be reached so why waste my time in this shithole when I could be in sunny Florida.

This last-minute scrambling is the result of Trump's hasty decision back in September to scrap DACA.  He was so desperate to have his wall that he figured he could force Congress to act on it.  Instead, Congress kicked the budget down the road, which I'm sure is what they will do today as well, as there appears to be no agreement.  For the time being, Dreamers have been saved by the federal courts, but this is just a stop-gap measure until Congress has the guts to deal with immigration.

For his part, Chuck Schumer has said having Tom Cotton and Dave Perdue on the Senate immigration reform committee is a non-starter.  These two guys have no interest in a compromise solution and appear to be egging on the President when it comes to standing tough, even if they walked back his comments on immigration.  A kind of "closet toughness" as if to make themselves appear as though they are arbitrators.  In reality, it is the kind of slinkiness we have come to expect from Republicans, which is why Schumer is having none of it.

The Donald has other things to worry about as well, such as the fate of a Pennsylvania House seat, which in any normal election would be considered a safe seat.  After losing a safe seat in Wisconsin this past week, Pennsylvania Republicans are taking no chances and invited His Trumpness to Pittsburgh to make a pitch for Rick Saccone, the kind of ugly Republican voters no longer seem to want.

CNN kept breaking away from its "State of America" to cover the event, which was impossible to watch.  Trump acted like he was at some television network luncheon trying to see how many persons he could call out around the table, including Saccone, who came up on stage and looked like he was going to plant a big wet one on Trump before wisely choosing not to.  If Trump loses this race, he's pretty much sunk.  No one will want to get within a 10-mile radius of him during the summer.

I'm not sure where Kate Bolduan has been recently.  Nia-Malika Henderson has stepped into her shoes on the political chat show.  Just as well as Nia-Malika is much less irritating to listen to.  She tried to get her Republican commentators to offer something approximating a candid opinion on Trump's report card for 2017, but it was hopeless.  His surrogates continue to try to prop him up like you would a cardboard dummy that has been left out in the rain.

Surprisingly, this guy still commands an 80% approval rating among Republicans, which is the only thing that keeps him the mid-30s in overall approval rating.  It certainly isn't translating into votes as Roy Moore found out in Alabama.  Republicans may still support Trump, but enthusiasm has clearly waned.  So, Saccone better hope something gets Republicans to the polls on March 13 because his commanding lead is shriveling up fast. 

He faces a tough challenge in a young, battle-tested Democrat, who has reawakened the party in Western Pennsylvania.  Conor Lamb has both a military pedigree and has served as state prosecutor.  His limited government experience should be an asset in a district that went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016, but has since soured on the President.  Murphy's sleazy past doesn't help either.

As Barack Obama recently described in an interview with David Letterman, it is the Republicans who now find themselves in a bubble of their making.  They have screened out all the mainstream news, and would still like to think they are riding the 2016 wave.  Democrats have flipped 34 seats since November '16, the Republicans only four in state and federal elections.  Patty Schachtner shocked Wisconsin Republcians by winning the 10th District state senate seat, a usually reliable conservative seat.  Gov. Scott Walker issued a wake-up call to fellow Republicans but it appears to be too late.  There just isn't any excitement for these conservative candidates, whereas the Democratic Party appears re-energized.  Obama will apparently be campaigning heavily for Democratic candidates across the country this summer, no doubt leading the news media to keep a tally of who comes out on top, Obama or Trump, in their list of endorsements.

In the meantime, our federal government is on hold until a budget can be approved.  So, enjoy your time in sunny Florida, dear Donald, because it looks like things are getting ugly in Washington.

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