Alexander Bolton

The Donald Trump Show (Coattails and Kid Gloves)

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in New York City, New York, 16 June 2015.  (Photo: Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency)

Why is it always Donald, Donald, Donald?

Over at The Hill, it seems a fine way to spend a weekend:

Oh, yeah …: The Hill staff offer an overview of the Sunday interview shows, including notes about Donald on Trump, Lindsey on Trump, Carly trying to hop on Trump’s coattails, and a strange reminder that former U.S. Senator Jim Webb is running for the Democratic nomination.

Speaking of Sunday shows: Mark Hensch reports on Meet the Press attempting to consider a nexus of ideas: Donald Trump and flip-flop.

Imagine that: And Alexander Bolton explains why the obvious advice for Jeb Bush is to “walk a fine line” in dealing with the Donald, or, as the headline has it, “Treat trump with kid gloves”.

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Image note: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in New York City, New York, 16 June 2015. (Photo: Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency)

A Betrayal

Mitch McConnell

Yesterday, Steve Benen described what he sees as a “silent governing failure” of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Following a Huffington Post report that the Senate would, under his leadership, become even less productive and more intransigent about the federal judiciary, Mr. Benen reminded:

Now, some of you are probably thinking this is normal. President Obama’s second term is starting to wind down; the opposition party controls the Senate; so it stands to reason that the GOP majority would scrap plans to confirm qualified court nominees. Perhaps, the argument goes, McConnell is doing exactly what Democrats did when they had a similar opportunity.

It would be a credible argument if it were in any way true.

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What They Voted For

TedCruz-bw-banner

One of the hammers that has yet to drop after the 2014 GOP midterm victory is the obvious question:

Top Republicans want Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general delayed until they are in charge of the Senate — and they are insisting she divulge whether she supports the president’s plan to act without Congress on a major immigration amnesty.

Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky issued a Friday statement saying her nomination should be considered “in the new Congress,” and on Saturday, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah also pushed for a delay.

Cruz and Lee issued a joint statement highlighting their demand Lynch divulge her thoughts on whether an executive amnesty would be constitutional.

“President [Barack] Obama’s Attorney General nominee deserves fair and full consideration of the United States Senate, which is precisely why she should not be confirmed in the lame duck session of Congress by senators who just lost their seats and are no longer accountable to the voters. The Attorney General is the President’s chief law enforcement officer. As such, the nominee must demonstrate full and complete commitment to the law. Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement whether or not she believes the President’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal.”

(Dennis)

It is not as if we should be surprised; they told us before the election. Even the Speaker of the House is on board with the suggestion that a lame-duck congress should walk away from its duties, even with a war on the line.

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Something About Dana Milbank

One of the most entertaining, yet simultaneously most stupidly dangerous, maneuvers in news and commentary media is trying to make a point while pretending to offer serious analysis. The obvious response to Dana Milbank’s incendiary, idiotic reflection on the U.S. Senate is to simply shrug and wonder why The Washington Post consents to publish such trash.

It would be nice to say: Okay, Dana, you’re on: If you’re wrong, will you quit your job at WaPo and never write political commentary again? Except, of course, we can’t expect that kind of integrity from Milbank, and, quite truthfully, we shouldn’t.

He’s not actually a reporter, or even an “opinion writer”, anymore. He is a craftsman of sorts, though, scrawling out columns that, hopefully, will attract readers and get his newspaper some attention.

Dana Milbank“Congress is broken,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday before holding a party-line vote that disposed of rules that have guided and protected the chamber since 1789.

If Congress wasn’t broken before, it certainly is now. What Reid (Nev.) and his fellow Democrats effectively did was take the chamber of Congress that still functioned at a modest level and turn it into a clone of the other chamber, which functions not at all. They turned the Senate into the House.

Right. Whatever you say, Dana. Because a Senate chamber in which the Minority Leader filibusters his own bill, freshman backbenchers stage a coup in the House of Representatives, power players boast of their bad faith, and Republicans flee their own policies because it’s more important to bring the president to failure than actually serve the nation isn’t already a macabre exercise in dysfunction and futility.

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Annoying

Okay, this is … annoying.

Maybe in journalistic circles, it’s not quite like hanging out with mystery writers. Maybe in journalistic circles, certain tacit assumptions are safe. But even among professional writers, some assumptions aren’t safe, which leaves me wondering yet again about those people to whom writing is some sort of odd inconvenience unless they’re scrawling out a grocery list or a gift tag.

The Senate voted to change the chamber’s rules to exempt executive and most judicial branch nominees from filibusters, effectively lowering the threshold for confirmation to 51 votes. The modification does not affect Supreme Court nominees.

(Bolton)

That is to say, I can certainly look at Alexander Bolton’s paragraph for The Hill and know what the internal workings amount to. There are plenty who can. But there are also plenty who are not so fortunate, and they appear to be the majority.

In changing Senate rules, Democrats are “effectively lowering the threshold for confirmation to 51 votes”, as Bolton explains. In other words: In changing Senate rules, Democrats are reiterating the longstanding majority vote for confirmation.

For those who attend the political discourse more closely or habitually, it might seem a pedantic correction. But there are also those who know exactly why it’s important.

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