Monthly Archives: April 2019

This Is What a Constitutional Crisis Looks Like

After the midterm elections of 2018, many of us comforted ourselves that democracy had held after all. Democrats took back the House, and there was no outright theft other than the structural theft of gerrymandering and voter suppression. But Democrats had won by a theft-proof margin. Elsewhere, adult minders at the White House, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon were containing Trump’s most lunatic impulses. The “deep state” so vilified by Steve Bannon was doing its job. Trump had [...]

By |2019-04-29T15:39:28-04:00April 29th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Infrastructile Dysfunction

Donald Trump is cornered. In his increasingly desperate efforts to bully and bluff the House investigations of leads provided by the Mueller report, Trump oscillates between bluster and changing the subject. His latest gambit is infrastructure. The American people, he insists, don’t want to hear about obstruction of justice. They want to hear about infrastructure. Indeed they do. Democrats are proposing a multi-trillion dollar Green New Deal. So where has the president been? Nowhere. He had two years with [...]

By |2019-04-25T13:52:04-04:00April 25th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Warren Does it Again

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s twin proposal for substantial student debt relief plus tuition-free higher education is a huge winner—economically, politically, and even fiscally. It demonstrates once again why she is such a leader at connecting brave policy ideas to the lived condition of ordinary Americans. The idea of cancelling $50,000 of debt is smart. It puts the relief where it is most needed. And it pays the cost by a tax on the super-rich—those whose own kids have no trouble [...]

By |2019-04-23T00:31:11-04:00April 23rd, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

It Ain’t Over

Bill Barr gave it his best shot, clumsily playing the role more of Trump's defense attorney than attorney general. But Barr's grotesquely dishonest spinning of the Mueller Report has backfired, and the reverberations will only increase. Here is the key line from the special counsel’s report: The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system’s checks and balances and the principle that no person [...]

By |2019-04-20T15:11:45-04:00April 20th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Notre Dame: God must be very angry at Her children

I am neither a Catholic nor any sort of believer, but my first reaction to seeing Notre Dame in flames, oddly, was that God must be very disappointed in us, Her children. This is doubly weird, since the God I imagined was a vindictive Old Testament God, banishing Adam and Eve, turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, or drowning the Egyptians—but of course Notre Dame is supremely a New Testament creation. Why might God be angry? The [...]

By |2019-04-16T15:12:09-04:00April 16th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Can the Deep State Contain Trump?

For Trump’s first couple of years, we consoled ourselves by believing that Trump was a kind of Gulliver figure, an overgrown child restrained by the adults of the deep state. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was a sort of serious person who resisted Trump’s worst impulses. The generals at the Department of Defense and the National Security Council were bulwarks against Trump’s nuttier impulses. The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was the worst kind of racist but a [...]

By |2019-04-12T16:32:01-04:00April 12th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Huddled Masses and the Politics of 2020

Here’s a hard question for progressive advocates of refugee rights. Did Trump just get perversely lucky? Until a few months ago, critics of Trump’s wall, his caravan obsession, and his claim of an invasion had a foolproof rejoinder. His story was a fantasy. Immigration from Mexico was notably down over the past several years. Now, however, border crossings from refugees are way up. And Trump’s story of what draws refugees from Central America is not entirely wrong. They’ve heard [...]

By |2019-04-10T20:36:08-04:00April 10th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump Paints Himself into Yet Another Corner

With great fanfare, Trump went through the motions of carrying out a campaign promise when he negotiated a revised NAFTA. Supposedly, this would be better for the United States, and would appeal to the same blue-collar workers who deserted the Democrats to support Trump in 2016. It might even peel off some union support. But the devil turned out to be in the details. While some the provisions of the so-called U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal looked good, including the one [...]

By |2019-04-08T20:36:42-04:00April 8th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Britain’s Unlikely Grand Coalition (Don’t Mention the War)

What on Earth are we to make of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Hail Mary pass—her attempt to work with her arch-enemy, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, to save the British economy from crashing out of the EU, and possibly to save her own neck? The Brits, unlike the Germans and other continentals, tend to avoid grand coalitions. The U.K. has had only one such successful coalition, Winston Churchill’s wartime government, which included Labour leader Clement Attlee as [...]

By |2019-04-05T15:38:07-04:00April 5th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Orwell Watch: “Redacted.”

When the government censors a document, reporters and editors should stop using the evasive, exclusive word, redacted. They should use the right word: censored. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "redacted" has been around since the 15th century. Its proper meaning is “edited, or prepared for publication.” But in the past couple of decades, government bodies have used “redacted” to mean defensible censorship, and the press has played along all too willingly. Of course, “redactions” are often far from defensible or [...]

By |2019-04-03T16:10:37-04:00April 3rd, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments