January 27, 2019

Sunday School 1/27/19

Lots going on this morning on the talk shows, most of which will not be addressed in today's post.

For example, I won't say much of anything about Roger Stone's TV appearance but he was asked this absurd question by George Stephanopoulos:
You're in good shape but you're not a young man, 66 years old. Are you prepared to spend the last, best years of your life in jail?
The point of the question, which must have been a plant, was to allow Stone to plug his legal defense fund. If ABC has an ombudsman, I hope that person looks at this interview. Shame on the network for giving Stone this platform. And shame on Stone for having a tattoo of Richard Nixon's face on his back. That's just wrong.

Also on with George today? Former NJ Governor Chris Christie, an ABC News contributor and now the author of  "Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey and the Power of In Your Face Politics" (a book not to miss, according to USA Today).  Here's a snippet of that interview:
What I outline in the book, though, is garbage in, garbage out. And the problem for the president has been at time, and especially the people he had around him in the beginning, were just not suited to be there. And when you're getting advice from those people, lie the executive orders we talk about right in the beginning, with Steve Bannon and others writing them on the back of an envelope essentially, not vetted... you know, when you do that kind of stuff, when you have people who think they can be rogue actors like that, that ill-serves the president. They got him off to a really bad start in that regard, and it drove me crazy because I knew we had a plan for him that would have gotten him off to a good start with good people. 
It's important to remember that while Steve Bannon formally fired Christie, it was Jared Kushner who gave the order.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was on one of the shows, too, and stated that president Trump did not shut down the government. I've not heard allegations on whether there's a tattoo of Trump on McCarthy's back.

The main reason I paid any attention to MTP today (I've been ignoring them for a while now), was because Tom Brokaw was on the panel along with Yamiche Alcindor, Kristen Welker, and Hugh Hewitt.  Here's some of that discussion, starting with the decision to reopen the government.

Welker noted that Trump allies seem to think the only way this all ends is with a declaration of a national emergency and offers a lesson for Trump:
He went into this fight without any strategy, without any plan. And so, every day, essentially, the president, the White House, they were looking for an off ramp instead of trying to execute something that they'd already planned out very carefully.
Which sort of sounds like what Christie was saying to George on the other network - except that it's now two years into the Trump presidency. Is he still surrounded by bad people who scribble strategy and policy on napkins?

Here's Brokaw, before he talked about how the shutdown really causes systemic damage because the way in which people interact with the government is much bigger than many people realize.
You know, Donald Trump treated federal employees like poker chips, only this time, his father wasn't around to bail him out. And I think that hurt him more, by the way, than people realize. There was a whole crowd of people out there who probably voted for him, a number of them. And suddenly, they get -- what they get is their job jerked out from under them.
Brokaw's point that federal employees may have been Trump voters did not come into the equation for the president until the end; in the beginning, he was tweeting that the 800,000 furloughed workers or working-without-pay folks were Democrats.

Alcindor pointed to the airports starting to show signs of stress, noting
...that was just the beginning of what we would've seen. I was talking to a federal worker this weekend who said, Monday, people might not have shown up to work. Thousands more people would've been like, "I can't do this anymore."
On the Roger Stone arrest, Hewitt suggested that Campaign Officials One and Two might be going to jail with Stone. Welker added
And I think it chips away at the White House, the president's argument that this doesn't touch him. Strewn throughout that indictment are references to the Trump campaign, although not a direct link to Russia...
As I like to do when he's on the show, I'm going to close with Brokaw, who is usually the sane voice of reason.On winning and losing, the shutdown, and the politics of it all, vis a vis the speech by Colorado Senator Michael Bennett in response to Lyin Ted Cruz, here's what he had to say:
I really didn't think that you could widen the gap between the Beltway and the rest of the country any more, until this happened, and now... I mean, you know I told you earlier that I talked to these Westerners who began by saying "Like Trump, like his policies." Then, they said "Wish he'd stop, wish he would stop tweeting all the time."  Last time I talked to them, "he's a clown. I can't stand him. But it's still the policies that we believe in." 
But anywhere I go, Republican, Democrat, or Independent, "why can't they talk to each other and find common ground?" Every community in American finds a way to build a new school, or to do something about downtown. But here, we can't do it because we breathe the same air, and it's toxic, in it's own way, about what needs to be done and how seriously people take their very minute positions on something. 
See you around campus.

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