The Ant and the Grasshopper
Can You Believe?
Can you believe Trump bragging about his “warm rapport” with the murderous Philippine tyrant Rodrigo Duterte?
Can you believe John Kelly stating that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War,” when the only compromise being considered at the time would have enshrined slavery in the Constitution? Compromising on slavery is like compromising on breathing – you can’t.
Can you believe Trump’s response to the terrorist attack in New York? Of course you can, because he does it every time. Instead of offering help or condolences, he uses the tragedy to blame Democrats and call our criminal justice system “a joke.”
Hits and Misses – the week’s best and worst moves
Hit of the Week: Robert Mueller’s “shock and awe” indictments in the Russia investigation, and particularly the guilty plea by George Papadopoulos. It’s like Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper: while Trump and his allies fight this as a media war, Mueller quietly and methodically builds his case. One wants to win news cycles, the other wants to uncover the truth.
Miss of the Week: Sean Hannity’s mad on-air rant following Monday’s Russia announcements. In a diatribe that was unhinged even by his usual standards, Hannity glossed over the indictments in order to attack “President Clinton” (Hillary!) for allowing a Russian company to buy American uranium. Two years ago, Fox News was Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi; now it’s all about uranium.
Hot Race of the Week
This feature is usually called “Hot House Race of the Week.” Dozens of House Republicans are vulnerable in 2018 because they’ve voted against their constituents’ interests, or Clinton won their districts in 2016, or Trump is dragging them down, or all of the above. Here in California, we’ve been playing offense, working to flip at least 7 of the 24 GOP seats Democrats need to win the House. Elsewhere, however, we’ll have to play defense – especially in the Senate, where far more Democrats than Republicans are up for reelection, many of them in states Trump won.
One crucial race is in Missouri. In 2012, Senator Claire McCaskill was easily elected to her second term. But Trump won Missouri by 18.5%, and Republicans immediately put Claire in their cross-hairs. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley will be a tough opponent. Claire McCaskill has been a champion for veterans, children, and working families. She’ll need our support in 2018. She has mine.
The Russia investigation is critically important to our national security and the future of our democracy. At the same time, it’s a “shiny object” – a sensational story that threatens to overshadow other critically important news. Like how the Republican budget would shred the national safety net with huge cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and children’s health. Or how the GOP tax plan would mortgage our children’s future, amassing unprecedented deficits in order to give massive tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
Whenever Mitch McConnell is asked about Russia, he changes the subject to tax cuts, the only thing that unites Congressional Republicans and the only thing most of them really care about. Mitch has his eye on the prize, and we need to be every bit as watchful as he is.