Thursday Morning Open Thread: Now You Wanna Be Our Buddy?

The South Boston Democrat is among those who received a formal invitation to meet next week with Trump’s director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, as the White House makes a renewed push to cultivate moderate Democrats.

“I was asked if I would be interested in going over to the White House for a meeting,” Lynch said in a statement to the Globe. “They said they were looking for ‘moderate’ Democrats – which I am. But under the circumstances I felt like they were trying to divide our party so I declined the invitation.”

“My feeling is that the Trump White House has taken a ‘scorched earth’ approach so far,” he added. “I am usually someone who looks for middle ground, but Mr. Trump’s opening position, especially as reflected in his budget, has been so extreme that there is no middle ground. It’s a non-starter for me.”…

Lynch is the most conservative member of the Massachusetts delegation, and has in the past shown a willingness to buck Democratic Party lines. In 2010, he was one of the few to vote against final passage of President Obama’s health care bill.

Think of Steve Lynch as a low-profile version of Long Island’s Pete King; he’s got a job for life, as long as he doesn’t get crosswise of his base, whose strongest impulse is to reject anything not of its Tribe and its Tribal Traditions (aka ‘Southie Pride’). Lynch voters may not have been Trump voters, but they were at the very least Trump-persuadable. If Steverino is publicly spurning the outstretched Repub hand now, it means that Lord Smallgloves’ mojo has lost its magic, at least here in the redder reaches of the Peoples’ Commonwealth.

Which is a bit of a problem, if you read the Washington Post, company paper for the town whose monopoly industry is national politics:

Congressional Republicans are working aggressively to craft an agreement intended to keep the government open past April 28, but their bid to avert a shutdown hinges on courting Democrats wary of President Trump and skirting the wrath of hard-line conservatives and Trump himself.

The murky path forward on government funding sparked unease Wednesday within the business community and at the Capitol, where Republicans speculated that Trump’s request for money to build a wall along the border with Mexico and $30 billion in new defense spending may need to be delayed to avoid a shutdown…

But for the moment, neither House nor Senate Democratic leaders have committed to supporting a spending plan. Bipartisan committee negotiations are underway, and crucial elements of an agreement remain unfinished. Democrats, too, bring their own challenges to the negotiating table. They are under pressure from their liberal base to oppose virtually everything that Trump and Republicans do — especially, in the case of the budget, funding for a border wall. But they and most of their supporters also favor keeping government open, and they are vulnerable to being accused of hypocrisy if they are seen as playing a part in causing a shutdown after years criticizing Republicans for doing the same.

Meanwhile, several congressional aides said that Republicans are agitated by the lack of clarity from White House officials over a strategy to avert the awkward theater of a Republican-driven shutdown on the watch of a Republican president…

But wait — this time, there’s a Plan B!


.

Why must everybody laugh at his mighty sword?



Monday Morning Open Thread: The End of the Beginning

A BFD win, if we can keep it — and for once, it looks like we just might. Per the NYTimes, “Democrats, Buoyed by G.O.P. Health Defeat, See No Need to Offer Hand”:

Invigorated by the Republican dysfunction that led to a stunningly swift collapse of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and relieved that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains intact, Democrats are in their best position since their embarrassing loss in the November election.

While it is far too soon to suggest that the House Republican majority may be imperiled, Democrats are newly optimistic about picking up seats in 2018, hoping to ride a backlash against Mr. Trump. Seeing an opportunity, they say they will not throw Mr. Trump a political life preserver at what they sense could be the first turns of a downward spiral.

The president’s approval rating was already mired below 40 percent in some surveys, and is likely to remain low after the health bill’s failure. He has no prospects for legislative victories on the immediate horizon, given how complicated and time-consuming his next priority, an overhaul of the tax code, would be even for a more unified party.

And while his electoral success in states represented by Democrats in Congress had been thought to put such lawmakers in a vise between their party and their president, Mr. Trump demonstrated no ability to pick off centrist Democrats in his first significant legislative push. Democrats — red-state moderates and blue-state liberals alike — formed an unbroken front of opposition to the repeal-and-replace campaign…

Though the ability of Democrats to do much more than say no remains limited, their success in helping to thwart Mr. Trump will not only embolden them to confront him again — it will also inspire activists to push them to do whatever it takes to block his path.

“Having tasted victory, the resistance forces will feel even more empowered to insist that Democrats continue withholding any cooperation and not granting Trump any victories when he is so wounded,” said Brian Fallon, a Democratic strategist…

Cult-of-the-Savvy high priest and Politico founder Mike Allen, at his new brand Axios:

It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of the Day 64 defeat. President Trump, who made repeal-and-replace a central theme of his campaign, and House Republicans, who made it the central theme of every campaign since 2010, lost in a publicly humiliating way despite controlling every branch of government and enjoying margins in the House rarely seen in the past century.

This virtually guarantees no substantive legislative achievements in the first 100 days. And it creates rifts and suspicions and second-guessing that make governing much harder.

What’s on the agenda as we start the new week?



Saturday Night Open Thread: Old Man Yells At Crowds



Excellent Read: “How Obamacare Became a Preexisting Condition”

Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:

You knew things had gone sideways when they locked up the House. The corridors that lead through the heart of the Capitol, from Senate chamber to House chamber, were still an unnavigable mass of tourists and staffers and journalists, all clustered by the walls and in unruly knots below the various graven images in Statuary Hall. The echoes were an impossible gabble of crying children, overmatched tour guides, angry parents, and television stand-ups from many lands. At about 3:30, when the voting was supposed to start, a small, tough-looking woman from the Capitol Police turned out the lights in one of the small foyers leading to the chamber. She swung the big doors shut and slammed the locks down into the floor. And that was pretty much it. Until, of course, Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, took to a podium in the bowels of the Capitol and said the following.

“Obamacare is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.”

That statement should have come with a sword for Ryan to hand over to Nancy Pelosi who, let it be said, is one legislative badass. She somehow kept her caucus united. There wasn’t even a hint of blue-doggery from her caucus as it sat back and let the Republicans rip each other to shreds, let the president* get exposed as a rookie who should be sent back to A-ball, and let the conservative movement expose itself as graphically as it ever has as the soulless creature of the money power that it’s been for 40 years. Usually, there are some Democrats who either want to make a deal so that Fred Hiatt will send them a Christmas card, or simply because Democrats occasionally can’t help themselves from trying to make the government, you know, actually work…

“We were a 10-year opposition party where being against things was easy to do,” Ryan said. “And now, in three months’ time, we’ve tried to go to a governing party, where we have to actually get … people to agree with each other in how we do things.” Of course, since 2010, the House has had a Republican majority and a Republican speaker. There have been two of them—John Boehner and Ryan. The crazy caucus ran Boehner out of office and now, they’ve handed Ryan his head. Pro Tip: it’s not you, boys. It’s your party…

To be fair, the president* took the defeat rather better than I thought he would, which is to say he blamed the Democrats, repeated claim that the Affordable Care Act is gasping its last breath, and was so fulsome in his sympathy for Paul Ryan that, were I Ryan, I’d hire a food taster. Somebody’s going to pay for this. You can be sure of that. Meanwhile, as Paul Ryan said, Obamacare remains the law of the land. The Rotunda was still packed with tourists when the news came down and you wondered how many people there had somehow been helped by the Affordable Care Act. Maybe it’s that elderly gent looking up at the statue of Huey Long, or that kid in the wheelchair paused beneath Norman Borlaug. Obamacare is now a pre-existing condition, and a damned stubborn one at that.

Also too, Scott Lemieux at LGM on a “B.F.D.”:

It is ever more remarkable, in retrospect, that much of the discussion on the left following the passage of the ACA consisted of complaints about how Obama/Pelosi/Reid could “only” pass the ACA. This is, on one level, understandable, given that the ACA is unmistakably inferior to the baseline established by other liberal democracies… The coalition that passed the ACA included three senators from the Dakotas, one each from Indiana and Arkansas, and two each from Montana and West Virginia. Glib “BE MORE LIBERAL!” exhortations don’t really help you to get liberal governing majorities in an institution that heavily favors conservative rural interests.

Comprehensive health care reform is brutally hard, as Truman and Johnson and Clinton can tell you. In addition getting the list of legislators above, the Democrats also needed to keep in the fold every liberal who was well aware that the ACA was substantially suboptimal. Senators like Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown deserve enormous credit for working to make the bill as it could be and then supporting it. The Republicans just completely failed with a more homogeneous coalition in the more top-down chamber. What the Democratic leadership pulled off in 2009 is remarkable, and we now know that it is an enduring accomplishment.



Saturday Morning Clowns Open Thread: Not Gonna Get Easier, Repubs


.

Aaaand now… Onwards, to the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver’s Ayn Rand wet dream…



Late Night Open Thread: SAD!

(Courtesy of Schroedinger’s Cat)
.

Not us Dems, of course — but this guy:

What’s that again, Donald?…



Friday Evening Open Thread: Repubs Be LOOOOSERRRSSSS!

Yes, it’s only one battle, the GOP will never give up, think of the Media Village Idiots whose cocktail-party weekend has just been ruint, yadayadayada. As a devout Cynic, I’ve always felt that one of our Democrats’ greatest weaknesses is that we can never stop looking for the defeat lurking behind every victory. Tomorrow, we gird for the next fight — tonight, we celebrate!

Apart from cheering our warriors, what’s on the agenda as we start our well-earned weekend?

(And I am “open” to being handed a large bag of money, no strings attached. LOSER!)