Open Thread: Pay Attention to Senator Warren, People!



Open Thread: That’s Not A Whip, It’s A Doormat

At the Washington Post, “The GOP’s new Obamacare repeal bill is a big defeat for conservatives”:

Republicans announced a set of changes to their proposed health-care overhaul Monday night, and while the revisions make symbolic nods to hard-line GOP conservatives, the most significant changes are social spending boosts aimed at wooing the party’s most moderate members.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan conceded last week that the original bill needed changes to rally enough Republicans to move it through the House. But as members of Ryan’s party were pulling him in opposite directions, he had a choice: He could work to draw in more centrist GOP lawmakers concerned about the projections that the initial proposal would force millions of Americans to go uninsured, or he could try to win over more of the party’s conservative members who said the bill still spent too much — especially on social programs aimed at helping Americans buy health insurance…

…[T]he real concessions went to moderate lawmakers. Between Medicaid and a system of tax breaks for working- and middle-class households purchasing private insurance, the bill includes some $150 billion in new federal spending to help make sure that Americans can buy insurance. It is a tangible expansion of federal power in the health-care sector, compared with the first draft, that indicates an appetite among moderate Republicans for a more robust social safety net.

The House Freedom Caucus, a crucial conservative bloc, will allow its members to vote as they please on the legislation.

Still, the group’s leader — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) ripped the proposed changes Monday night. “After investing hours and hours and hours of trying to find common ground between our moderate members and conservative members, and believing, because of the White House’s engagement in the process, that we could find common ground; I’ve now reached a conclusion that our leadership is going to put forth a bill that does not address any of the concerns in a meaningful way and will dare us to vote against it,” he told Axios

(Details of the proposed changes at the link.)



Open Thread: You Know It’s Bad for the Repubs, Because They’re Already Trying to Cover It Up

Aaaand here comes Rep. Trey ‘But Her Emails’ Gowdy… Per USAToday:

Rep. Trey Gowdy used Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing to cite Obama administration officials, including the former president, as potential sources for leaks.

The South Carolina Republican was questioning FBI Director James Comey during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing as part of its investigation into Russian interference with the U.S. election.

Like many of his Republican colleagues, Gowdy used his time to focus on recent leaks of classified information to journalists. But he went a step further by raising specific names of people from the former administration to show they had access to leaked classified material, implying they might have been sources of the leaks…

Gowdy argued that “unmasking” Flynn’s name was a felony because it was part of a confidential intelligence gathering and had previously been “masked” to protect his identity.

“I’m not going to get either that particular case, that matter, or any conversations I had involving the president. So I can’t answer that question,” Comey responded.

But Obama wasn’t the only one. Gowdy also rattled down a list of people who had held high-ranking positions in the Obama administration and asked whether each would have had access to the “unmasked” name. He included former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former White House adviser Ben Rhodes, former attorney general Loretta Lynch and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates.

“In the universe of possible motives of felonious dissemination of classified material, we could rule out wanting to help the intelligence communities and the law enforcement communities. Those are two motives that are gone now, that leaves more nefarious motives,” Gowdy said…

How dare those filthy Democrats try to expose our treason on behalf of the higher cause! Do they not understand that targeted leaking is only permissible by OUR party?

ETA:



The Way We Live Now: A Simple, Marketable Primer for Dealing with the Toddler-in-Chief

Okay, President-Asterisk Trump is not working nearly as effectively as his biggest boosters hoped, in those heady days after the election. But you deal with the gulls you have, not the gulls you wished you had, so… Politico founders and self-styled machers Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen share some #Savvy in their newest venture, Axios:

Top CEOs have a new First Customer. With President Trump taking a hands-on approach to negotiations, here are five tips for surviving and thriving — based on conversations with executives, aides and friends who have battled Trump in private and found some success…

Get to the table, whether you love him or not. Trump is a transactional guy with unformed views on many topics. He frequently seeks advice and occasionally takes it. While it might feel right to buckle to pressure and refuse meetings, you lose your leverage, instantly and profoundly.

Give him something he can call a win. Trump has an elastic view of winning, as seen by his trumpeting of companies announcing new U.S. jobs that were set in motion long before the president won. He NEEDS something to tweet, but often needs the specifics filled in, several business leaders told us…

Find and exploit common ground — on people, real estate, politics or private aircraft… He has a surface-level-at-best understanding of most policies, so going in for arcane policy discussions doesn’t work.

Know he’s a vindictive guy who harbors grudges long beyond the moment. If you refuse to meet with him or put out anti-Trump messages, prepare to suffer revenge. He pays close attention to critics, and his aides hand him printouts of anti-Trump statements made by people or companies they don’t like. They have a notional enemies list that gets used for everything from rejecting appointments to key jobs, to deciding who gets a voice in policy debates.

Work Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. Both men sit it on key meetings, and often get Trump alone afterward to shape reaction and follow-up to interaction. Both are accessible by text and cell, and like playing the role of the Trump whisperer.

Then sit back and pray he doesn’t whack you with a Saturday morning tweet…

Just think of Trump as a sort of half-bright talking bear with access to vast wealth and powerful quasi-military resources. Prepare to trick him into sharing the first with you, without unleashing the second on you. Contact us for more tips and our very affordable consulting rate sheet!

This is the sort of world-weary how-it-works handout that used to be standard for business-journal articles about third-world dictators like Idi Amin or Muammar Gaddafi.

THANKS FOR BREAKING AMERICA, REPUBS!



Early Morning Open Thread: Is Our Press Corpse Learning?

Interesting, if true:



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Same As It Ever Was

Our own Southern Beale went to that Nashville rally:

What a bizarre event.

Trump’s campaign started robo-calling supporters in a four-county area 48 hours ago offering free tickets. The optics they were going for, of course, was, “thousands of people lined up to get in,” which isn’t as hard as it sounds when your venue is the Municipal Auditorium, not exactly the largest rink in town. However, they got the crowd they wanted: thousands of people were, indeed, lined up … all the way down James Robertson Parkway, all the way up to the state capitol, all the way around the building. I’m guessing there were 15-20,000, but I’ve heard other figures that are higher. Let it be said: most if not all of these folks could have fit inside the Titans’ football stadium. But that wouldn’t have provided Trump with the necessary ego-gratification that comes with a “standing room only/thousands turned away” narrative…

Click over to SB’s blog for more — including photos of the event.
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Apart from catching up, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Thursday Morning Open Thread: The Trump/Ryancare Rollout Is Progressing Not Necessarily to the GOP’s Advantage…

… as the Emperor of Japan is reputed to have said, explaining the country’s surrender at the end of World War II.

What’s on the agenda as we slog through another day?
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