Profile of Mitch McConnell in NYT - I would say it’s worth a review to see who this head of the Senate and indefatigable T supporter truly is…and why holding the (T) line is in his interest. He likes “helping to call the play.”
“He isn’t a party guy. He’s just — there. He’s just a fact of life.” Like a spy or a pinto bean, McConnell has used this blankness to his advantage,
When I first approached McConnell’s office about interviewing him to discuss this legacy, shortly after the Kavanaugh confirmation, he agreed quickly, eventually obliging with several hours of conversations over the course of two months. He also encouraged a couple of dozen friends, colleagues, conservative pundits and members of Trump’s White House staff and cabinet to talk to me. The ways in which a subject tries to shape the reporting of his or her story — as canny subjects do — are revealing in their own right. During the interviews, there were the recurrent phrases: McConnell “can very quickly read the last page in the book.” He was “a listener by nature.” And in virtually every McConnell-authorized conversation, it was said that he was a “student of history.”
> He is — and also of his place in it. McConnell is atypically unconcerned, among senators, with his public profile. Even friends who attest to his dry wit and well-concealed sentimentality acknowledge a Man Without Qualities aspect to him: “He isn’t a jokester,” says Slade Gorton, the former Republican senator from Washington State and an old friend of McConnell’s. “He isn’t a party guy. He’s just — there. He’s just a fact of life.” Like a spy or a pinto bean, McConnell has used this blankness to his advantage, made it a carrier for designs greater than himself. His ascent in Republican politics came through his willingness to be the face of party prerogatives — fighting against campaign-finance reform during the Clinton and Bush presidencies, impeding a then-popular president’s agenda during Obama’s — that were distasteful to the general public, his shrugging willingness to play a villain when a villain was required.
But beneath this unconcern is a different kind of self-regard, a sense of himself as a historical figure in waiting. In his first Senate race, his campaign paid for a rare two-minute TV commercial tracing the arc of his life and work at a time when his elected career consisted of two terms as the judge-executive — a county-level mayor, essentially — of Jefferson County, Kentucky. When he was named Senate majority leader in 2014, and The Louisville Courier-Journal described him as the third from Kentucky, his staff called the paper, insisting he was the second and demanding a correction. (Earle Clements only filled in briefly for Lyndon Johnson after his heart attack.) At the McConnell Center that McConnell founded at the University of Louisville, his alma mater, there is an exact replica of the mahogany desk McConnell used as a junior senator, which was once occupied by Henry Clay, a fellow Kentuckian and one of the heroes of the 19th-century Senate, who engineered the Missouri Compromise. There is a bronze statue of Clay standing at the desk, but the brass nameplate on the desktop says “Mr. McConnell.”
But the particular way in which McConnell has always conceived of his own historicity is significant and unusual among contemporary Republicans. The Tea Partyers have their Mel Gibson-movie fantasies, the Trumpists their Pinochet-meets-“Die Hard” pastiches. But McConnell aspires to be not the bloody and maybe tragic hero in a revolutionary drama but one among a short list of undisputed masters of the machinery of American government, both essential to and dwarfed by the history of this machinery. Notably, the political philosopher he cites to the near exclusion of all others is Edmund Burke, the 18th-century Irish writer and Whig politician who essayed trenchantly against the French Revolution, and whose influence on 21st-century Republican politics you would have to squint very hard to make out.
This vision is also unmistakably senatorial. McConnell recognized his future in politics by high school and narrowed his ambitions to the upper chamber by the time he graduated from college; on his law-school applications, according to his authorized biographer, John David Dyche, one of his professors wrote that McConnell ‘‘will be a U.S. Senator.” “I was running for the Senate in ’84 from the moment I was sworn in as county judge on Jan. 1, 1978,” McConnell once said — and he has never aspired to anything outside it. “I think most senators look in the mirror and think they hear ‘Hail to the Chief’ in the background,” Terry Carmack, who has worked for McConnell on and off since his first Senate campaign, told me. “But he always wanted to be in the Senate.” And from early in his Senate career, McConnell later wrote, “I wanted to one day hold a leadership position in my party, helping to call the plays and not just run them.”
The Senate majority leader wields an elusive kind of power. The position, which dates back to the 1920s, is as paradoxical as the institution, which is given the authority to make great changes but also given as many tools to impede those changes as to enact them. To the Senate’s defenders, this is the “cooling saucer” of George Washington’s probably apocryphal explanation; to its detractors, it is more like an unreleasable parking brake on progress, never truly succeeding at holding back the future but ensuring that the country’s arrival at it will be as delayed and frictional as possible. At the turn of the 20th century, the Senate proved ineffectual in regulating railroads and banking. It failed to grasp the severity of the Depression until Americans had endured its hardships for years, offering only the meekest of remedies until Franklin D. Roosevelt forced lawmakers to do otherwise. Isolationists in the chamber impeded efforts to check Adolf Hitler’s advance in Europe; Southern conservatives were effective enough at delaying legislative action on civil rights to prompt the oft-quoted observation of William S. White, The Times’s congressional correspondent in the 1950s, that the Senate was “the South’s unending revenge upon the North for Gettysburg.”
I’ll put this here as it’s the best I can find. A Trump voter from the last election (someone I know very well ) was listening to an NPR report last week, an interview with a person who said they had known DT for 30 years + and noted he had filed for bankruptcy 50 times in his lifetime.
“50 times”, my “friend” said, “that’s terrible, I wish I’d known that”.
I thought to myself, “you weren’t listening very well during the campaign”.
Also, an article by Patti Davis in WAPO.
Day 33 of the shutdown.
Dems are still not negotiating until the government is open, but 2nd and 3rd ranking house Dems Hoyer and Clyburn are stating that they could get to a large number like $5.7 billion but not for a permanent wall but with smart wall tactics - drones etc AND include some permanent status for Dreamers.
The strategy of course is to give T something that is close to the number he wants, but not build a wall…and get back the DACA recipients their due. They know that putting T in a position where it looks like he is losing is not a good strategy …make it appear that T would get a win and he can gloat about it.
We shall see…
Feels like we are in dangerous territory here…and wish it would come to a head and change.
House Democrats are also drafting their own plan for border security, which is expected to be made public in the coming days. “We are going to be talking about substantial sums of money to secure our border,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic leader, told reporters.
Representative James E. Clyburn, the No 3. Democrat, said separately that Democrats could back a $5.7 billion funding measure that included drones and refitted ports of entry — but no wall. That is the amount Mr. Trump has demanded for the wall he wants to build on the southwestern border.
“Using the figure the president put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security, then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall,” he said.
Both Mr. Hoyer and Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, seemed to leave the door open for eventual negotiations to include talk of some kind of border barrier — so long as the government was open first.
When asked point-blank if Democrats would agree to talk about a wall, Mr. Jeffries did not say no but reiterated Democratic talking points about what the party favors: new scanning technology to detect drugs and weapons, improvements in infrastructure at ports of entry and more personnel, including more immigration judges.
Mr. Hoyer was asked whether Democrats might consider permanent protections for the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, in exchange for “some new physical barriers.” He said it was clear that Mr. Trump would put money for a wall on the negotiating table.
“It’s clear what the president wants; it’s clear what we want,” he said. “If you have a negotiation, both parties are going to put on the table what they want.”
How about giving him a papier-mâché wall?
Even a Trump-friendly poll by Fox News shows that the majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown. And to me, this is more telling: the Democrats in Congress are a distant second with only 34% blaming them. Summary of the poll on Fox News site.
Let’s just hope Trump gets this message!
There was a clear message from Senate Republicans to President Donald Trump in the two failed votes Thursday aimed at ending the 34-day-and-counting government shutdown: We need to re-open the government. Like, now.
Yes, both votes – one on Trump’s proposal to temporarily extend DACA provisions in exchange for $5.7 billion for building the border wall, the other a Democratic proposal to simply re-open the government for a brief period to negotiate on border funding – failed to get the 60 votes they needed to advance to a final vote.
But not all failures are equal. The Trump-GOP plan got a total of 50 votes, while the Democratic plan got 52 votes. As The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake noted on Twitter: “The Democrats’ plan got 2 more votes, even though they have 6 fewer senators.”
Which is the key point. Only one Democrat – West Virginia’s Joe Manchin – voted for the GOP proposal. Six Republicans crossed party lines to support the Democratic plan: Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Johnny Isakson (Georgia), Cory Gardner (Colorado) and Mitt Romney (Utah).
Those six senators openly defied the Republican President of the United States despite the fact – and this is important – they knew that the Democratic bill wasn’t going to get 60 votes. (There was never any illusion on Capitol Hill that either of these bills would pass.) These votes are rightly understood as message-sending by this bloc of a half dozen Republicans. They wanted to make clear to Trump, and to a lesser extent, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that the time to end the shutdown is here.
Sen Michael Bennet (D-CO) rails against Ted Cruz, T’s wall, the Congress’ inability to vote for what’s right…Powerful oration and calling everyone to task. Get with it Congress, and open the government.
“Stop playing petty partisan politics.”
“Our deficit is going up, while our unemployment is falling…do you know how irresponsible you would have to be to accomplish this, Madame President (Pelosi)?”
Shut down at LaGuardia…could it be a tipping point!!!
Air Controllers already work 10 hours 6 days a week. And some have to take 2nd jobs, to take care of their finances.
But pensions can be put at risk, and air controllers do not want to risk getting fired if they strike.
Hope this continues…and gets some action.
The Federal Aviation Administration halted flights into New York’s LaGuardia Airport because of a shortage of air-traffic control staff, escalating the pressure on President Donald Trump and lawmakers to end the government shutdown.
A lack of workers at an air-traffic control facility in the Washington area prompted the FAA to order a ground stop at LaGuardia, one of the nation’s busiest transportation hubs. Flights at other East Coast airports such as Washington’s Reagan National, Newark Liberty International and Philadelphia International were also delayed Friday.
Chris Cillizza nails it – Trump simply caved; there’s no other way to frame it.
President Donald Trump had made one thing very clear on each day of this 35-day government shutdown: He wouldn’t agree to a compromise deal to re-open the government unless it contained money allocated for the construction of his border wall.
And then, on Friday, he did exactly that.
Where was Jared in all of this shut down? He was coming up with plans with Pence and Stephen Miller to keep at it with the wall, meant to keep immigrants out.
I think it is telling that Jared stands behind Stephen Miller, and this article says he
"prop up Mr. Miller as an expert on immigration
For one, Mr. Kushner inaccurately believed that moderate rank-and-file Democrats were open to a compromise and had no issue funding a wall as part of a broader deal.
“If Jared Kushner thinks there is any daylight between House Democratic leadership and rank-and-file members on this issue, then the extent that he lands this plane it will land in the Alamo,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York.
And Democratic leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer, party officials said, did not believe that Mr. Kushner had the power to circumvent Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser to the president. In meetings, they also noticed, Mr. Kushner appeared to prop up Mr. Miller as an expert on immigration, noting that Mr. Miller’s reputation as a hard-liner was out of sync with his reasonable nature.
On Friday, President Trump did what Mr. Kushner had privately insisted was not an option on the table: He folded.
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