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Morning Briefing: It's Infrastructure Week Again. God Help Us All

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 12, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | February 12, 2018 |


I don’t know much about deficits and debts. I’m a liberal, right, so that’s not really my thing, but you know, if President Obama had given a massive tax cut to the wealthy and then asked for trillions of dollars in new spending, guys like Paul Ryan would have feasted on him.

But that’s what Donald Trump is doing: After his massive tax cut, he’s now asking for a trillion and a half dollars for infrastructure, $17 billion to fight the opioid epidemic, and $20 billion for a wall. How is he going to pay for this? 1) He’s not, and 2) by cutting trillions from the social safety net. Healthcare will be harder to get and more expensive, which is not exactly what you want to hear in the middle of a flu crisis where, for instance, a second-grade teacher died over the weekend because she couldn’t afford the $116 co-pay for Tamiflu.

Most of what Trump is asking for, he’s not going to get. For Trump, it’s the ask that’s most important. We’re in February now. We’re nine months away from the mid-terms, and the closer we get, the more Trump is likely going to attempt to rally his base with fear-stoking and divisive cultural politics. It’s going to be a brutal, toxic, ugly election year.

There’s an immigration debate this week, and I suspect given how divided Congress is that nothing ultimately will come of it. If we’re lucky, the DREAMers will get a stay — they’ll kick the can on the issue into next year or beyond. In the meantime, forget about Donald Trump trying to govern. He’s going to spend the next nine months raising as much hell as possible to 1) stoke his base, and 2) drown out the voices of the opposition. My hope is that it backfires, and instead of rallying his base, it energizes the opposition. To wit (from The Washington Post):

The committees that support Democratic congressional candidates posted strong fundraising figures in 2017, according to campaign finance reports that showed the two main organizations outraising their Republican counterparts by $32 million.

The Rob Porter situation might be an ideal example. Trump has defended Porter in public, but what’s kind of interesting is that reportedly, he called him “sick” and “bad garbage” behind the scenes. What’s that about? Either it’s because he believes most of his base is made up for abusers (not unlikely) or he fears speaking out against Rob Porter publicly because the man has dirt on him and clearly has a temper. From Buzzfeed:

He worked in Lee’s office between 2011 and 2013, where sources said he constantly clashed with colleagues on how the then-newly elected tea party-aligned senator should approach certain issues. Two former colleagues said he would often get irritated in meetings when things didn’t go his way, and one recalled a particular incident in which he described Porter as “unhinged” — visibly red and shaking with anger — when he was not included in an event.

Meanwhile, he’s also been trashing the MeToo movement:

Due process, my ass! He doesn’t give a shit about due process. If he had, he wouldn’t have chanted “lock her up” for a year and a half. Or as Kirsten Gillibrand has suggested, if he really cares about due process, he’d give his accusers an opportunity to confront him and plead their cases.

Politically speaking, I think it behooves Democrats to continue focusing on Rob Porter and John Kelly’s response. Morally speaking, it behooves this country to kick John Kelly out on his ass for a clear pattern of protecting abusers. We still don’t have a clear timeline of the events. There’s a lot of contradictory statements from inside the White House, and we need to nail them on this.

I mean, hell, even Steve Bannon thinks that the MeToo movement will be bigger than the 2010 Tea Party movement:

“I think it’s going to unfold like the Tea Party, only bigger. It’s not ‘Me Too.’ It’s not just sexual harassment. It’s an anti-patriarchy movement. Time’s up on 10,000 years of recorded history. This is coming. This is real.”

Shut the fuck up, Steve Bannon. Nobody asked you.

Also, he may be right.

What the Democrats don’t really need to do is continue pressing for Trump to Release the Democrat’s response memo to the Nunes’ memo. Trump refused, and by doing so, it clearly appears he’s hiding something. That’s the impression we want to leave. If Trump actually does release the Democratic memo, it’s not likely going to say anything that the press hasn’t already reported dozens of times. For the Democrats, the release will be anti-climactic. Best to keep the focus on Trump’s hypocrisy and his lack of transparency.

Anyway, it’s “Infrastructure Week” again, so strap in, because Trump doesn’t have a good history when it comes to Infrastructure Weeks: