Picking Our Battles
Can You Believe?
Can you believe Trump’s endless childish attacks on Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, whose help he desperately needs to implement his so-called foreign policy and pass his so-called tax reform? It’s further proof that Trump has no interest in or understanding of the legislative process.
Can you believe Trump challenging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to an I.Q. test? Even if Trump is not inflating his own I.Q. the way he exaggerates his wealth, he has absolutely zero E.Q. — that is emotional intelligence, the wisdom and judgment he needs to lead the nation.
Hits and Misses – the week’s best and worst moves
Hit of the Week: Dianne Feinstein’s announcement that she will seek another term in the U.S. Senate. I am proud to support my good friend’s reelection. With all the turbulence coming out of the White House, we need her steady hand in the Senate. Dianne will continue to provide the wisdom, judgment, experience, expertise, and unwavering commitment to women’s right to choose that we have come to expect from her — and get from so few others in Washington.
Miss of the Week: So many Trump misses to choose from — repealing the Clean Power Plan, threatening NBC with the loss of its broadcast license, repealing the employer mandate for contraceptive coverage, to name a few — but the winner has to be his threat to abandon Puerto Rico because its infrastructure was a “disaster before hurricanes.” Note that FEMA is still operating 50 Disaster Recovery Centers in Texas and 18 in Florida, but Trump says responders can’t be in Puerto Rico “forever.” If he has his way, a few more rolls of paper towels and he’ll be out of there.
Hot Race of the Week
Democrats have an excellent chance of winning back the House next year, especially if we can defeat seven very vulnerable Republican House members in California. Winning the Senate will be a tougher lift because so many more Democratic than Republican seats are up in 2018. But at least two Republican Senate seats should be ripe for the picking: Arizona and Nevada. In Arizona, Jeff Flake faces a strong Democratic challenger in Representative Kyrsten Sinema, an electorate that has turned sharply against Trump — and Trump himself, who is actively working to defeat him in the Republican primary because the senator has dared to criticize the president’s racist immigration policies. If Flake is defeated or weakened in the primary, Democrats in this increasingly purple state have a good chance to pick up this seat.
One catastrophic wildfire or hurricane season does not in itself prove that the earth is warming any more than one snowstorm proves it isn’t (as Senator Jim Inhofe, my old friend and adversary on the Environment & Public Works Committee, used to claim). But there is no doubt that overall, climate change is increasing the severity of these disasters by drying the fuels that feed wildfires and warming the waters that fuel hurricanes. That is what makes the timing of Trump’s latest and worst environmental rollback so ironic and infuriating. Monday’s announcement that the E.P.A. would begin repealing the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan is a giant and potentially irreversible step backward in the fight against climate change. If implemented — and that’s a big if, given the clear legal mandates it would violate — the E.P.A.’s actions would make it virtually impossible for the U.S. to reach its commitment of reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent. With so many fights against Trump on so many fronts, it’s often hard to pick one’s battles, but this is one we cannot lose.