Sunday Evening Long Read: “‘In the White House waiting’”

Too long for Donny Dollhands to read, but presumably he’s gotten Ivanka or Jared to give him the highlowlights.

The president who pitched himself to voters as a world-class dealmaker has proven to be an unreliable negotiator. Grappling for the first time with a divided government, Trump has contradicted himself, sent miscues and spread falsehoods. He has zigzagged between proudly claiming ownership of the shutdown and blaming it on Democrats, and between nearly declaring a national emergency to construct the wall without congressional approval and backing off such a legally and politically perilous action…

The government could reopen if Trump agreed to sign legislation funding the government, versions of which already have passed both chambers of Congress, and table the polarizing debate over border security.

In the weeks leading up to December’s deadline to fund the government, Trump was warned repeatedly about the dangers of a shutdown but still opted to proceed, according to officials with knowledge of the conversations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the president that he had no leverage and that, without a clear strategy, he would be “boxed in a canyon.” He tried to make the case to Trump that even if Pelosi and Schumer were interested in cutting a deal with him, they would be constrained from compromising because of internal Democratic Party pressures to oppose Trump’s wall, these officials said.

Then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) talked with Trump by phone for 45 minutes the day before the shutdown, warning that he saw no way to win as he paced in a Capitol hallway just outside a conference room where House Republicans were meeting. Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned about the perils of a shutdown during the Christmas season.

Inside, some of the more hard-line members urged a showdown over border wall funding, arguing that Trump’s core supporters would revolt otherwise. But McCarthy asked, “Tell me what happens when we get into a shutdown? I want to know what our next move is.”…

Trump’s advisers are scrambling to build an exit ramp while also bracing for the shutdown to last weeks longer. Current and former aides said there is little strategy in the White House; people are frustrated and, in the words of one, “freaking out.”

The shutdown was born out of frustration. Angry that he was stymied by party leaders and his own aides from getting more money for the wall in 2018, rattled by conservative criticism and stung by his party’s midterm defeats, Trump decided in late December to plunge into a border fight after being encouraged by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both hard-line conservatives. It was a startling decision to McConnell and others, who thought they had White House assurances that a shutdown would be avoided.

“He has no choice here,” said Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter who was House speaker in the Clinton administration and during the second-longest shutdown, an episode widely viewed as a disaster for Republicans. “He has to win. His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down. If he backs down on this, Pelosi will be so emboldened that the next two years will be a nightmare.”…

As another Post article helpfully reminds us, the last time Gingrich promoted a shutdown, it didn’t work out so well for him — or his GOP co-conspirators!

Which makes it all the more interesting that it sounds like McConnell just might be looking for an exit ramp now. McConnell’s only loyalty is to himself and his leadership position, so if he’s playing the ‘I tried, but whatcha gonna do?’ card, he’s decided Trump is more of a liability than a benefit.

165 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    That’s an amazing photo top of the fold. Well done, WaPost.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    Adam Jentleson 🎈 (@AJentleson) Tweeted:
    A full two years ago, the media read a memo by the man who ran the Russia desk for MI-6 detailing how Trump is compromised by Russia, but collectively decided to focus more on the supposed impropriety of publishing the memo and its funding than the information in it.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:


    Adam Jentleson 🎈 (@AJentleson) Tweeted:
    We know much of what we know because of the amazing work of many great reporters. But the “both sides”-ing of the Steele memo by the pundit class was essential to normalizing Trump & giving him room to operate for 2 years, incl stacking the courts & purging senior FBI officials.

  4. 4
    Miss Bianca says:

    But McCarthy asked, “Tell me what happens when we get into a shutdown? I want to know what our next move is.”…

    1. Shutdown
    2. ????
    3. VICTORY!!

    As the old cartoon put it, “I think you should be more explicit here in Step 2…”

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Corey Bu-Shea (@coreybking) Tweeted:
    And if I see Kamala is a cop again, and I’m blocking and deleting you; a prosecutor is not a cop…attack her voting record, and her decision making while in her various positions, but don’t parrot dumb shit to appear like you know…this is not a game! 🙄🙄🙄🙄

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @rikyrah: to which I would add: the preoccupation with the “salacious” aspect– that one small part of the story– that was approached with a combination of adolescent giggling and Grundyish tut-tutting to the detriment of the more relevant financial aspects

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    @rikyrah: Tell it.

    I want the enablers in the media cleared out too. Huge fail parade by them. Was glad to see Krugman getting shrill today.

  8. 8
    Elizabelle says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Very true. I do not care a fig about any pee tape.

    What else was in there was horrifying, and way more serious.

  9. 9
    HeleninEire says:

    I’m not sure I’m buying the McConnell angle. He can stop this tomorrow and he refuses to.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    At this point, the Wall is almost irrelevant. Give in to Trump now and he and the GOP will continue to repeat this tactic over and over again.

  11. 11
    Miss Bianca says:

    And speaking of the WaPo, here’s a priceless headline:

    Graham urges Trump to reopen government — but declare national emergency if border deal remains elusive

    “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday that President Trump should agree to reopen the government and continue trying to hammer out a deal with Democrats on funding his long-promised border wall — but that the president should declare a national emergency if no progress is made in three weeks.”

    If I facepalmed any harder, I’d knock myself out.

    But you know, “each side”, according to the vid caption, is “blaming the other” for the shutdown. Jesus Chicken-Fried Christ, the media – even the best of them – just CANNOT FUCKING QUIT this “bothsiderism!” BS.

  12. 12
    debbie says:

    Angry that he was stymied by party leaders and his own aides from getting more money for the wall in 2018,

    That $25 billion deal last year wasn’t enough for him???

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HeleninEire: The McConnell angle was supplied to Costa by McConnell or McConnell’s people.

  14. 14
    PsiFighter37 says:

    OT – but if any other Denver-ites are interested in meeting up on Tuesday evening around 7 PM, let me know! I was thinking that Jagged Mountain’s brewpub would be a solid spot to meet up if there’s any other appetite. Think I have only seen one other indication of interest so far…

  15. 15
    SFAW says:


    That $25 billion deal last year wasn’t enough for him???

    That “deal” would have allowed the browns to be treated like actual humans, so it was a non-starter for him and His Despicables.

  16. 16
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Brian Schatz @ brianschatz

    well over a month ago, IIRC

  17. 17
    Mikeindublin says:

    The Art of the Loser

  18. 18

    @Baud: Yes. And the next tantrum will be far worse.

  19. 19
    Mr. Prosser says:

    Based on the problems trump is going to have from the Mueller investigation McConnell will have no remorse overriding a veto and finally letting Il Douche hang out to dry.

  20. 20
    oatler. says:

    The fuhrer is hunched in his bunker.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:


    And I have to say that Newt Gingrich is correct above: Trump and the Republicans have not left themselves any way to compromise and get some kind of “win.” They’re gambling that the public will blame the Democrats and force the Demcorats to back down and allow a wall.

    Only problem is, McConnell and Trump are the frog and the scorpion. McConnell has no guarantee that Trump won’t decide not to sign the deal at the last second and leave McConnell holding the bag. And the Democrats know that, so they have zero incentive to step in and save McConnell’s ass.

    I hope it is sinking in for McConnell this weekend that he’s gone off the edge of the cliff with no parachute, and it’s a loooong drop to the bottom of the canyon below.

  22. 22
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Nothing Yertle has done during this particular bout of dysfunction suggests he is going to do that. He didn’t mind passing funding bills with no strings attached as long as Donnie was distracted. Now that he’s paying attention, he can’t be crossed.

  23. 23
    debbie says:


    Except that he agreed to it and then walked away!

  24. 24
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Miss Bianca: Per a Far Side cartoon, an extremely complicated equation on a blackboard. In the middle is a little cloud that says “and here a miracle occurs”.

  25. 25
    sukabi says:

    @A Ghost To Most: underpants gnomes getting caught pantless.

  26. 26
    Miss Bianca says:

    @PsiFighter37: I’d love to, but weather…and prior commitments…forbid. Hope other Juicers can make it and y’all have a great time!

    @A Ghost To Most: Sidney Harris

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Half the problem is that the MSM keeps calling it a “border” deal. It’s not. Every funding plan has money for border security included in it. What those deals don’t have is money specifically earmarked for construction of a wall.

    They need to cut out the “border” shit. It’s the fucking WALL that’s holding everything. Border funding is there. Dumbfucks.

    @Mr. Prosser:

    McConnell can’t hang Trump out to dry, because McConnell is neck-deep in the Russia shit. He’s been taking money from Russia and distributing Russian money to his caucus and he knows it. That’s why he looked sick and terrified after the briefing in 2016 — he thought he was busted with no way out. But he and the Russians figured out a way — if Trump was elected, they could protect each other.

    McConnell is going to protect Trump to the end because it’s his only protection against espionage charges and a long prison term. They stick together, or they sink together. Full stop.

  28. 28
    TriassicSands says:

    The president who pitched himself to voters as a world-class dealmaker has proven to be an unreliable negotiator. Grappling for the first time with a divided government, Trump has contradicted himself, sent miscues and spread falsehoods. He has zigzagged between proudly claiming ownership of the shutdown and blaming it on Democrats, and between nearly declaring a national emergency to construct the wall without congressional approval and backing off such a legally and politically perilous action…

    Apparently, Trump’s “art” in making “deals” is simply to exhaust his opponents to the point where they throw up their hands and surrender. Add to that the unpleasantness of being in the same room with such a noxious POS…

    It’s not exactly a polished approach, but I can see it working (depending on the adversary and the importance of the issue).

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I see CBS has learned a lot. Also, I’m not sure that some of these reporters are actually old enough to vote:

  30. 30
    Scamp Dog says:

    @PsiFighter37: I’m in! I haven’t heard of Jagged Mountain, but I’m willing to give it a try. TaMara has my direct contact information if you’d like to call or email me directly.

  31. 31
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Graham is getting righteously dragged in the comments, many variations on “Hello, Lindsey…you don’t fucking *schedule* an “emergency” for 3 WEEKS FROM NOW – dumbass!”

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:

    But, per Republicans, he’s compromised; he went from concrete wall to steel fence.

    Oh, he’s compromised alright. Is, not has.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Scamp Dog: Scamp Dog! *waves*

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    Secret surveillance footage of Trump and McConnell meeting in a grocery store … 😉😂

    “Straight down the line” is their only choice. They’re tied together by their crimes and there’s no escape for either one of them.

    (I say that Trump is Stanwyck and McConnell is MacMurray, but I’m open to arguments that it’s the other way around.)

  36. 36
    gwangung says:

    @Adam L Silverman: They’ve gotten dragged for the lack of African American reporters and rightly so. Key voting bloc, particularly for Democrats (and we’ve seen what happens if you’re not conversant in black culture).

    However, folks shouldn’t say there are no POCs here. POC is not a synonym for African Americans. Dont erase the Middle Eastern and Asian American folks there.

  37. 37
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TriassicSands: Yeah, but somehow, I don’t see it working with Nancy SMASH!

  38. 38
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Miss Bianca: I stand corrected. That one stuck in my brain from way back.

  39. 39
    joel hanes says:

    Is anyone else getting a certain feeling of gathering momentum ?
    Of a change in the weather ?

    The next six months will be critical.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s how every toxic narcissist operates: they stick to their position until they grind the other person/people down and they give in just to end the goddamned conflict. And most of the time, it works … unless you can catch the narcissist dead to rights on something and turn the whole matter over to law enforcement.

  41. 41
    hitchhiker says:

    His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down.

    Nope. It’s a function of “owning the libs”. It’s a function of punishing the “politically correct” for their efforts toward a more just society. It’s a function of flat-out racism.

    His relationship with the base depends on their joy at “beating” people they’ve been taught despise them. We didn’t despise them .. until they put this conman in charge.

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Radiumgirl: Everyone seems to ignore who it is Robert Costa actually works for. It isn’t the Washington Post, regardless of the bylines. Nor is it Washington Week in Review, regardless of the chyrons.

  43. 43
    Miss Bianca says:

    @A Ghost To Most: I loved that cartoon so much when it came out that I had it on a T-shirt when I was in college. Ann Arbor was geeky that way. : )

  44. 44
    James E Powell says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m curious to know if they all went to the same four or five private colleges located in the northeast states.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gwangung: Not my tweet. Also, not my elephants, not my circus.

  46. 46
    kindness says:

    McConnell was fine with the shut down when his name wasn’t mentioned. McConnell is central to the shutdown.

  47. 47
    TriassicSands says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They may be old enough to vote, but they won’t be able to get legally drunk to excuse their reporting.

  48. 48
    Redshift says:

    Ms. Redshift watches CNN’s Reliable Sources, and Carl Bernstein had a wonderful turn of phrase, referring to Trump as potentially a Russian asset “witting, unwitting, or half-witting.” He actually wasn’t trying to be funny, but I found it hilarious. (His point was that some of Trump’s pro-Russian actions could be intentional, and some he doesn’t know he’s been manipulated into, I think.)

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Do I need to download Snapchat?

  50. 50
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Miss Bianca: I wanted to go to Michigan so bad as a kid; I loved those football helmets.
    Was Bob Seger still big when you were there?

  51. 51
    trollhattan says:

    Admittedly, a yuge, luxurious and gaudy bunker.

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Lotta institutional memory there.


  53. 53
    gwangung says:

    @Adam L Silverman: True. But I’ve seen multiple comments about CBS “not having POCs” on board and I want to register my irritation. Folks saying that don’t understand what’s being said about diversity and inclusion.

  54. 54
    Miss Bianca says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Oh, hell yeah, Bob was considered a local still, Pioneer High, class of…60-something!…

    Even in the 80s with Goth and New Wave the hot new trends, there was a big “Bob Seger, fuck yeah!” contingent. Hell, there probably still is!

  55. 55
    TriassicSands says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    A great Schiller quote and now (with assistance from Ghost to Most) one of the all-time great cartoons.

  56. 56
    low-tech cyclist says:

    One line from the WaPo story had me laughing out loud.

    “Aides said Trump has been largely uninterested in the minutiae of managing government agencies and services.”

    Aides said?! They need to source something that’s been common knowledge for nearly two years??

    Seriously, WTF?!

  57. 57
    SFAW says:


    Except that he agreed to it and then walked away!

    You sure? I thought he rejected it (via his minions working to prevent its passage in the Senate).

    Either way, the idea that all those browns flooding ‘Murica and taking away all those valuable RWMF pundit jobs sent the wingnutosphere into a tizzy, etc., and he reneged on the latest, and so on.

  58. 58
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s not my circus, not my monkeys. Nie moj cyrk, nie moji malpy.

  59. 59
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Moderation? WTF? For writing in Polish?

  60. 60
    Miss Bianca says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Well, you don’t expect *Trump* to take time off from rage-tweeting to come out and tell us that he’s not doing the work of Presidentin’, right? *Of course* that task got outsourced to his “aides”! //

  61. 61
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Oh, moderated for fat fingering my email. I’m so old I can remember when we didn’t have to enter it all the fucking time.

  62. 62
  63. 63
  64. 64
    Kent says:

    I’m actually fine if Trump decides to go the “emergency powers” route. Two possible outcomes:

    1. The idea gets tied up in the courts for two years and dies a slow death.

    2. The Supreme Court signs off on the concept and then in 2 years we get to watch President Warren divert $20 billion from the Pentagon to pay for climate change programs, national gun control, or whatever new national emergencies we can think up.

  65. 65
    hitchhiker says:


    I laughed at that, too.

    trump is a half-witting pawn.


  66. 66
    Miss Bianca says:

    @raven: Huh, will have to check that out, early Bob always seemed way more interesting to me than mid-70s-and-beyond Bob.

  67. 67
    raven says:

    @Miss Bianca: Just like Grand Funk.

  68. 68
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The original form, AFAIK, is the Polish nie moj cyrk, nie moji malpy. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

  69. 69
    raven says:

    @Miss Bianca: Leanin on my Dream is a fav.”

    I was addin’ the score when there’s a knock on the door
    was a letter addressed to me
    It read “greetings from the president, united states”
    I fell down on my knees

    The next day I was on the picket line
    and Lord you should have heard me scream
    “you know you’re leanin’ on my dream”
    “hey man you’re leanin’ on my dream”

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’ve always heard the phrase with “monkeys,” but I didn’t know it originally came from Polish. Interesting. 🤔

    It’s very popular among adult children of narcissists, for obvious reasons.

  71. 71
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Kent: uh, you mean President Gabbard of course

  72. 72
    joel hanes says:

    In the White House waiting

    We’re all stuck, waiting out this nightmare ride.

    Some of us have been in this situation before.

  73. 73
    raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Yea, we’ll have a Hindu prez real soon.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    joel hanes says:


    greetings from the president

    Still have my notice, in a box somewhere.

  76. 76
    raven says:

    @joel hanes: I got out when I was 19 after 2 years and 10 months so I didn’t have to mess with it!

  77. 77
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Miss Bianca: The second wildest road trip of my life was from Omaha to Flint in 76. That was a rocking town in those days. We went into some bar, and the DJ was playing some disco. My buddy pushed the DJ away, broke the disco record, threw it in the crowd, and put on “Live Bullet”. The place erupted, and we drank free til we were stinkin’.

  78. 78
    A Ghost To Most says:

    My half-brother drew a 25, but was exempt as sole survivor.

  79. 79
    joel hanes says:


    triggered you too

  80. 80
    MomSense says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Not one black person on that team, though.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:


    Apparently, she’s a Hare Krishna.

    Not joking. The “Hindu” sect she belongs to is an offshoot of the Hare Krishnas and is basically a cult. And she was homeschooled. 😱

  82. 82
    Another Scott says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Hehe. :-)

    I’ve only been to Flint once, during a summer vacation in the mid-80s. There was an indoor auto museum/park there. It was interesting, but nearly deserted. Every minute or few there was an address on the PA:

    “Welcome back to AutoWorld!! …”

    It was kinda sad. :-/

    Maybe they should have had Seeger there as the house band!


  83. 83
    Watergirl says:

    @MomSense: None of them have learned anything! Is this the network that moved their sports reporter to the 2020 elections?

  84. 84
    Brachiator says:


    Ms. Redshift watches CNN’s Reliable Sources, and Carl Bernstein had a wonderful turn of phrase, referring to Trump as potentially a Russian asset “witting, unwitting, or half-witting.”

    He left out “nitwitting.”

  85. 85
    SFAW says:

    “‘In the White House waiting’”

    “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Shitgibbon WDC wgah’nagl fhtagn.” ?

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:


    Well, Black people only vote for Democrats, so there’s no need to get their opinions about anything!
    /CBS News executive

  87. 87
    B.B.A. says:

    My horseshit theory: Mitch knows perfectly well the wall is a worthless symbol, little more than a giant $5 billion middle finger aimed at the Democrats and Mexico. That’s exactly why he’s going to the mat for Trump – he thinks he can hold out longer than we can, and he wants the satisfaction of making the Dems say uncle and give themselves the finger.

  88. 88
  89. 89
    MomSense says:


    Well at least that person may get the sports references right. I’m so disgusted by how politics is covered.

  90. 90
    SFAW says:


    Not one black person on that team, though.

    They’re just trying to match up with the demographics of those they think will be allowed to vote.

    ETA: Or what Mnem said just above

  91. 91
    MomSense says:


    Pretty much.

  92. 92
    Starfish says:

    @PsiFighter37: I can’t make it because I have a long event on Tuesday afternoon that extends into early evening, but I hope that you do manage to get a group together.

  93. 93
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Miss Bianca: Live Bullet was a staple in the barracks. This was before random piss testing, so the smell of herb was never far away.

  94. 94
    MomSense says:


    Damn. That’s what the Republicans want.

  95. 95
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    African Americans? Meh, who needs them?

  96. 96

    @Adam L Silverman: I read the late night Tulsi Gabbard thread. If folks are interested. I could do AMA about Hinduism and the caste system. A view from the inside. And try to answer questions to the best of my knowledge because its a large and a complex subject. More complicated than the issue of race in this country. Because there is baggage of several millennia.
    There seem to be several questions and misconceptions and a cartoonish understanding of the caste system.

  97. 97
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @A Ghost To Most: I should add that my buddy was the well known son of a very high ranking UAW man in Flint. Nobody would fuck with him there.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:


    If that’s Mitchie’s theory, I can tell you the one big flaw in it: Trump is a Republican. It doesn’t actually matter what the Democrats do, because Trump has to sign it, and there’s no guarantee that he will. The Republicans own this shutdown.

  99. 99
    JPL says:

    @Steve in the ATL: btw Both quarter backs who are bible thumpers lost. It’s almost as if god is trying to tell them something.

  100. 100
    JMG says:

    @JPL: Drew’s thumped a Good Book or two himself. Brady’s transitioning into a future as a literal snake oil salesman. Hard to see God or Satan’s hand in that.

  101. 101
    chris says:

    @Immanentize: OT In the previous thread you asked about Twitler’s tweets so I left this for you. It’s a way to read them, if you must, without giving him the clicks.

  102. 102
    MoCA Ace says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    What, no Anchor Man GIF… I am sorely disappointed

  103. 103
    Immanentize says:

    You seem to be saying diversity is counting POC. Are all people of color interchangeable in outlook, knowledge and experience? Well, there are a few people of color there. A few women too! You may feel represented, but that does not look like diversity to me. That looks like the more-white people in America get promoted quicker because, you know, more whiter. I think that’s called tokenism.

  104. 104
    Immanentize says:

    @chris: thank you! I am researching a theory….

  105. 105
    Watergirl says:

    @MomSense: Me, too. I figured they gave it to a sports person since all they seem to do is know how to cover it as a horse race. sigh. I hope she is at least interested in politics, but I’m not counting on it.

  106. 106
    Watergirl says:

    @Immanentize: @gwangung: I think you’re both right.

  107. 107


    I am researching a theory….

    Uh oh…

  108. 108
    a thousand flouncing lurkers (was: fidelio) says:

    I hope this can happen.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think that what gwangung is saying is that diversity is about more than Black vs White. “People of color” is supposed to refer to everyone whose ancestors came from a continent other than Europe and not be another code word for “Black.”

    I don’t think we’re the people he’s annoyed with at the moment, but he needed to vent a bit.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @a thousand flouncing lurkers (was: fidelio):

    I would also be interested in having s_c do an AMA. I think we have enough other Indian-Americans who comment here that we could get some additional perspectives in the comments as well, which is always helpful.

  111. 111
    MagdaInBlack says:

    I would be interested.

  112. 112
    Watergirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was trying to figure out how to say that.

  113. 113
    Redshift says:


    I’m actually fine if Trump decides to go the “emergency powers” route. Two possible outcomes:

    And then when we get a Republican president who’s an authoritarian like Trump but not an utter incompetent?

    “A Man for All Seasons” comes to mind.

    There are some norms that could be torn down that I’d have mixed feelings about; emergency powers isn’t one of them.

  114. 114
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Watergirl: thirded

    as to the CBS sports reporter, I don’t know who that is, but Charlie Pierce and I think Mike Pesca both started out as sports reporters, and Dave Zirin (sp?) does a really good job covering the intersection of sports and politics

  115. 115
    MomSense says:


    The newer term is BIPOC which is Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

  116. 116
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: here’s a diversity example I use: if you go to the talladega speedway on a race day, the stands will be filled with people who are the same race, sex, and approximate age as I am. However, I have almost nothing in common with them even though we’re all middle aged white men.

  117. 117
    trollhattan says:

    In case of free sportsball time now that football has ended, Australia Open has begun. Sharapova just dismantled some poor British gal and Nadal is up next. Andy Murray plays very late tonight and any match going forward could be his last.

    They have a metric buttload of courts.

  118. 118
    JLowe says:

    It seems like the one hammer the GOP might have over the Democrats is cruelty; the willingness to use Federal employees and groups dependent on Federal assistance as human shields in the hope that the Democrats will cave simply to stop the suffering.

  119. 119
    Watergirl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I take your point. I love Dave Zirin.

    @MomSense: Had not heard that. If you’re speaking, do you spell out each letter or is it pronounced as a word? Or is it more just for writing.

  120. 120
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    That is a pretty bad example of what diversity is. We all have different genetic make-up, amirite?

    You are describing a gathering of priveleged white folks who have the right to be at race day no questions asked, regardless of their personal kinks, because of 400 plus years of taking from others — black people being the longest and most abused in this country — and gaining an advantage because of that theft.

  121. 121
    sukabi says:

    @Adam L Silverman: it’s not that they’re too young, it’s that you’re aging. Welcome to the world of “How the fuck did THAT happen!??!” as you look in the mirror.

  122. 122
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: well, I was thinking more that most race fans there would be redneck right wingers where as I am genteel and extremely liberal

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:


    And yet the primary problem still remains: Trump can’t be trusted to keep his word. It would be entirely within his character to make the Democrats cave, pass a bill with a $5 billion wall, and then say, “Nah, I’m not signing anything that doesn’t have $10 billion for my wall.”

    Because he doesn’t actually give a shit about The Wall as an object. He only cares about it as a way to make himself the king — the decider, if you will. He wants them all to come crawling to him, begging for him to sign the bill to re-open the government, so he can throw it in their faces and demand more concessions. That’s what he thinks of as “negotiating.”

    McConnell could stop this at any time by getting his Senate caucus to join the Democrats to override any veto. But he won’t, because his fortunes are tied to Trump’s, and if Trump goes down, so does McConnell. Straight down the line is McConnell’s only choice.

  124. 124
    sukabi says:

    @HumboldtBlue: 😀😀😂😂😂😜

  125. 125
    Watergirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: I mostly agree. But in the end, if Trump won’t blink, McConnell will have to.

  126. 126
    joel hanes says:


    if Trump goes down, so does McConnell

    Please let this be so.

    Because, IMHO, Trump is going down this year, hard.

    And, if I may be allowed a request : someone in House Judiciary Committee should expend some energy looking at Pam quid pro quo Bondi, because she needs to be disbarred.

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Remember only 18 now.
    Bet the ones that aren’t will be in 2 yrs.

  128. 128
    dww44 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So, I’m clueless. Who does he work for? the Republicans? McConnell?

  129. 129
    Jay says:

    Learnin, learnin, learnin,

    Nazi’s conquored Winnipeg in 1942.

  130. 130
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    I know you were and you are right. If you told them what you thought there would be disagreements! Arguments! Maybe guns drawn.

    But you would have to tell them you were not in their club to even scratch at that type of diversity.

    john a. powell, Berkeley Prof., I think has his finger on the new diversity/race issue. In England and in the earliest days of this country, we first defined people as Christian or not Christian. You couldn’t be a slave if you were Christian…. But then the folks in this country had a new idea — and yes, we were the first (Virginia actually) — you couldn’t be a slave if you were white. So, we birthed race right here which is why folks refer to it as our original sin. But “white” was defined as “not black” which is why, as time went on, we had amazingly detailed blood lineage statutes regarding who was white defined by the “not one drop of black blood” distinction.

    powell argues that now we think in a mirror way -+ “who is black?” Almost anyone of any color, including black, or heritage can be white. Nikki Haley and Ted Cruz are obviously white. So is Ben Carson. Elizabeth Warren is black — or people are working hard to make her black (that is what all the Pocahantas stuff is when I hear it — making her black).

    So, the old European/not-European distinction has been reversed in some ways to be a question of in with the supremesist agenda or not. That is why when I look at that group of reporters, I don’t see any black people.

  131. 131
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: so I’m black? Cool!

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    It’s a siege. Trump and McConnell are hunkered down inside the walls refusing to budge.

    Every so often sieges are won by the people inside the walls, but the cost is very, very high to them. Think Leningrad in WWII.

    The MSM is going to get louder and louder about how the Democrats have to Do Something, but they are not in control of this situation. Trump is … unless McConnell breaks or his caucus breaks wthout him and leaves him stranded.

  133. 133
    Redshift says:


    It seems like the one hammer the GOP might have over the Democrats is cruelty; the willingness to use Federal employees and groups dependent on Federal assistance as human shields in the hope that the Democrats will cave simply to stop the suffering.

    That is certainly one vulnerability on the Dem side (possibly the only significant one.) I’m quite confident it’s part of what gets wingnut legislators into this position – they’re steeped in a government-hating bubble, where everyone says government is bad, and only government bureaucrats and moochers like it.

    But as things begin to hit like farm loans and crop forecasts, FTC administrative approvals for corporate actions, small business loans, and on and on, “we don’t need no stinkin’ gubmint!” is going to get harder and harder to sustain.

  134. 134
    Eric S. says:

    @schrodingers_cat: FWIW, from a sheer “I want to learn something new” I support this.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Jimmy Rabbitte? Is that you? 😂

  136. 136
    trollhattan says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Can you dig it?

  137. 137
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL: no, my friend, you work for management.🙂

  138. 138
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mnemosyne: loved that scene!

    I’m worried about my golf game now, though

  139. 139
  140. 140
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Everyone seems to ignore who it is Robert Costa actually works for. It isn’t the Washington Post, regardless of the bylines. Nor is it Washington Week in Review, regardless of the chyrons.

    The Post and Wikipedia agree that he works for the post:

    Robert Costa is an American journalist. He is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and the moderator of Washington Week on PBS

    Who else do you think he works for, and why? I’m serious about asking this.

  141. 141
    MomSense says:


    I think spoken it’s thebletters or the words they stand for.

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:


    The refrain I keep seeing from conservatives on Twitter is, “Why do we have any non-essential government employees?” i.e. anyone considered “non-essential” must be one of those lazy gubbmint workers who draws a paycheck for doing nothing all day and should be gotten rid of permanently.

    My husband’s fear is that this is all a ploy to get the furloughed workers to quit and then declare an “emergency” to bypass the civil service laws and fill all of those jobs with fundie homeschoolers to destroy the day-to-day functions of the government from the inside. He sometimes has a weird connection to the thinking of the Conservative Borg even though he’s a lifelong liberal Democrat, so I can’t entirely discount his fears.

  143. 143
    J R in WV says:


    If Tulsi Gabbard was raised as a Hare Krishna devotee, would actual Hindu beliefs have much to do with her foundational beliefs? ‘

    The North American Hare Krishna temple is in New Vrindaban, WV, not far from Bethany, WV where Cole lives. The founders and leaders were most all tried and convicted of a wide variety of crimes, including murder.

  144. 144

    @J R in WV: No. They wouldn’t. There were a lot of questions raised in that thread about the caste system, Indian politics, Hindu philosophy etc. I was talking about those questions. I

  145. 145
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Ahh, I see another employer in Bob Costas’ bio: National Review; is that a famous right wing nut job magazine? I don’t keep that close a track of RWNJ house organs.

    Sorry if I was hostile sounding, the news gets to me some days more than others. He doesn’t seem proud of that gig, it isn’t tops on his by-line.

  146. 146
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @J R in WV: lots of religions are guilty of murder. I’ve been told more than once that the Jews killed Jesus. Though no one has had a good response when I mention that Jesus was himself Jewish and was killed by Romans who were not.

  147. 147
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    James Bond: You must be joking.

    Q: Why, because I’m not wearing a lab coat?

    James Bond: Because you still have spots.

    Q: My complexion is hardly relevant.

    James Bond: Your competence is.

  148. 148
    dww44 says:

    @J R in WV: I’m with you. I also want to know for whom and why and keep checking back to this post to see if Adam has provided the answers we seek.

  149. 149
    LesGS says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I am mostly a lurker, but know I would get a lot out of your doing an AMA on Hinduism, etc. I hope this can happen.

  150. 150
    J R in WV says:


    I’m interested in actual Indian Hindu tradition and belief, took a class in the long ago that hit it some… just making sure folks knew there’s a big difference between Hare Krishna style Hinduism and the real thing, and that Tulsi Gabbard isn’t the real thing at all…

    I’ll probably be there if you do get into it, unless something comes around in the real world, like a dentist appointment or such.

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:


    That was me with the anesthesiologist when I had my ACL surgery this summer. 😂

    He was really good at his job, though, even if he looked like he was about 12 years old.

  152. 152
  153. 153
    J R in WV says:


    National Review, a well known RWNJ house organ. For some reason that gig isn’t at the top of his by-line list of gigs!!??

    From their web site:

    Costa’s first full-time job in journalism was the Buckley Fellowship at the National Review Institute. In this unique opportunity, Costa worked at NR’s New York headquarters, assisting editor Rich Lowry with reporting projects and political coverage. He led NR’s coverage of the Obamacare debate on Capitol Hill, wrote several stories for the magazine, and covered Scott Brown’s historic Senate campaign.

    I wouldn’t confess to it either, if they didn’t have proof!!

  154. 154
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Starfish: Psht, I have an event extending to ‘early evening’ and it makes not a lick of difference to me!

    All good, though. I only attend a couple of these every 5 years or so :P

  155. 155
    dww44 says:

    @J R in WV: Thanks. How did you come by that answer? Honestly, though I had no inkling about this, I’ve always not trusted Costa, have long thought he was probably a closet conservative and wasn’t totally on the up and up. He always seems to have a secret he’s not divulging to the listener. He has tried too hard to appear to be a neutral observer.

  156. 156
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Just a query from an ignorant foreigner, but what would happen if the air traffic controllers went out on strike?

    I know that they did this before and got stomped on by Reagan, but at the moment they aren’t getting paid. How long is someone expected to work without pay?

    What is the difference between being required to work without pay and indentured servitude? At least indentured servitude is rent free.

    Would the shutdown survive for more than a couple of days without flights?

  157. 157
    J R in WV says:


    Yes, ya think?!!

    A pernicious and dangerous cult, that a member of congress was raised up inside of. There was a lot of criminal activity at New Vrindaban, up in the northern panhandle of WV, back in the days when it was founded. Drugs, murder, all that…

  158. 158
    Mike G says:


    But as things begin to hit like farm loans and crop forecasts, FTC administrative approvals for corporate actions, small business loans, and on and on, “we don’t need no stinkin’ gubmint!” is going to get harder and harder to sustain.

    That’s when the cry goes out to “privatize airport security and air traffic control so it isn’t affected by government shutdowns.”

    Which is basically “You know who can fix this? The people who wrecked it.”

  159. 159
    JLowe says:

    In response to the thoughtful replies (and thank you, and thanks in advance to this awkward reply, as I don’t have a good grasp of the website tools!), I raised the cruelty issue in the concern that the Democratic leadership has no strategy to address it. The GOP in support of the Administration is playing a very sharp game. What’s the Democratic leadership have in response? For example, where’s the massive shaming of each GOP member of the House and Senate, especially the Senate, for allowing their constituents to undergo the continuing pain being inflicted by the Administration? Where’s the massive shaming of the elite Washington press corps for engaging in the both siderism nonsense that might be good for their market share, but bad for the country?

  160. 160
    J R in WV says:


    Googled a whole bunch of his “byline” stuff, and one mentioned National Review, so I googled his name + National Review, there it was…

  161. 161
    Miss Bianca says:

    @JLowe: My FB feed seems to be full of articles highlighting the human toll of the shutdown, and they don’t seem to be shy, for a wonder, about placing blame squarely on Republicans. Seems some of the media are getting it. You’re really, seriously “concerned” that the Democratic leadership is somehow not competent to address the optics of the shutdown? You’re really afraid that Nancy Pelosi, for example, is being shy about placing the blame on Republicans and Trump? She’s not. Is “massive shaming” all on “the Democratic leadership”, or is some of that up to us, as well? Are you represented by a Republican Senator? I am – and I consider it my responsibility to *assist* the Democratic leadership by telling him what a shitty job he’s doing, and that I am not fucking fooled by GOP bullshit. Every single one of us has a part to play in “massive shaming” – it’s not going to be massive without the masses.

    Not sure what you think the “sharp game” of the GOP actually is. Their “sharp game” is to sit on their asses and say, “Nope, not me” and hope the shit doesn’t splatter them as it hits the fan. And hope, as our own Adam Silverman says, is not a strategy – and it’s certainly not sharp gamesmanship.

    Finally, a salient point: The GOP cannot be shamed – if they were capable of shame, they wouldn’t be allowing this bullshit. All they are going to understand is being beaten and forced to do their fucking jobs. Which is what the Democratic leadership is, ultimately, focused on. “

  162. 162
    N M says:

    @J R in WV: I think the point Adam was trying to make was not so much who gives Costa his pay check, it is rather who he seems to be the mouthpiece of (namely, Mitch).

  163. 163
    Dupe1970 says:

    @Miss Bianca: My dad had this up in his office when he was a Professor. Such a great joke.

  164. 164
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @A Ghost To Most: One of the reasons I hang on this blogforsaken gog is the regusting regularicity with which, when I spot a chance in the comments for a cleverish retort, that very comeback is delivered by one of the Jackaltariat at most a dozen or two comments farther down. Just FTR.

    (ETA: also just FTR, the appearance of “a miracle occurs” in the middle of a flowchart-covered chalkboard in all likelihood long predates Larson’s shameless expropriation of it. “The good artists borrow, the great ones steal.”)

  165. 165
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I believe the original is in Polish:

    nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy

    (not my circus, not my monkeys).

    (ETA: And now I see that G&T, as forseen in #164 supra, got there foistest wif da mostest in #68. Jeebus cripes.)

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