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Our thoughts and prayers

One possibly redeeming consequence of the latest massacre of school children is that the scapegoating of mental illness and the parade of politicians who take NRA money expressing “thoughts and prayers” for dead children and grieving parents are wearing thin. It’s time to take over the national narrative. These are not “shooters.” They are domestic terrorists. And this is not about balancing gun rights with other rights. It’s about keeping our children safe. As I suggested the other day in this space discussing [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:31:46+00:00 February 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ban Entitlements

My friend Drew Westen, author of the classic book on political language, The Political Brain, observes that Republicans run rings around Democrats when it comes to the Orwellian use of political language, and that Democrats often step on their own strengths. For instance, as Westen observes, Democrats should never, ever use the budgetary term entitlementsto describe our two most cherished Democratic programs, Social Security and Medicare. Democrats use the term either because they want to sound like savvy wonks, or out [...]

By | 2018-02-20T16:31:04+00:00 February 14th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Can you dig this?

Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan is another bait and switch. For starters, it’s dead on arrival, since Congress just concluded a two-year budget deal after massive horse-trading. Legislators are not about to reopen negotiations. It’s bizarre that Trump releases his budget after rather than before this deal. It’s one more sign of his irrelevance. As for the proposed infrastructure plan, it proposes $200 billion of actual federal spending over a decade. The rest is supposed to be private money, [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:54:38+00:00 February 12th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Big Short

Poor Trump. He brags on the stock market and then the stock market tanks. Now, it’s made up about half of his losses. I've been waiting for Trump to tweet that Monday’s sickening market slide was the Democrats’ fault. They spooked investors by refusing to approve his wall; or by failing to applaud his State of the Union address; or maybe by threatening his very presidency, the source of everything good in the economy. Trump is implicated in the wildly gyrating [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:55:08+00:00 February 7th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

What happens next with special counsel Robert Mueller and President Trump?

Clearly, White House Counsel Donald McGahn or his associates were the source of the explosive leak that Trump had directed McGahn to fire Mueller, and that McGahn blocked the move by threatening to resign. But why did McGann choose last week to leak the story of an episode that happened last June? The most obvious explanation is that Trump was again making noises about firing Mueller. If that was the concern, McGahn’s leak worked, with several key Republicans again [...]

By | 2018-02-12T17:16:54+00:00 February 5th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Dreamers and Trump’s Wall

My friend Tom Edsall wrote a very smart column in The New York Timeson Trump’s immigration offer to the Democrats. Edsall quotes a number of political scientists and strategists, but the bottom line is: Take the deal. Trump is offering to more than double the number of number of young people brought here illegally as children who can qualify for citizenship. In exchange, Democrats must support $25 billion for Trump’s wall, as well as his unsavory demands to limit so-called chain migration [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:03:29+00:00 February 2nd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Amnesty Man

What is Trump up to, with his take-it-or-leave-it immigration offer? For starters, he and his ultra-nationalist domestic policy adviser, Steve Miller, are continuing to play to Trump’s hard-core base. Second, Trump is trying to demonstrate that he’s the boss here. There are several problems, however. First, there is no such thing as a take-it-of-leave-it demand in politics. This may work as a ploy when you are negotiating a real-estate deal and you hold most of the cards. But in [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:03:45+00:00 January 26th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Bad Trade

It is appalling how misleading is the mainstream press coverage of trade issues. Virtually all mainstream writers have imbibed the conventional wisdom that there is a simple divide between something called “free trade” and something disparaged as “protectionism.” Free trade, good; protectionism, bad. But how do you proceed when another country is clearly protecting its home markets and its exports—by subsidizing their manufacture and selling them below the cost of production—at the expense of competitors who really do practice [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:04:03+00:00 January 24th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump: For the Dreamers Until He Was Against Them

The Senate is set for a noon vote today on whether to defer consideration of DACA and keep the government open for three weeks. Democrats would be fools to take this deal. In three weeks, nothing will have changed, and Congress will go through this all over again. Public opinion supports extending DACA by margins upwards of 80 percent, depending on the poll. Even a majority of Republican voters support it. The more this drags on, the clearer it becomes to voters [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:33:57+00:00 January 22nd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Shutdown Sweepstakes

About that impending government shutdown: Who will blink first? I’m guessing that Trump will. Why? Because he and the Republicans, as the governing party, have more to lose if the government actually shuts down. And because Trump, in the end game, is pretty good at making a deal, and likes to brag that he can get things done. And because the Democrats realize they have the cards this time, and are prepared to hang tough. And because, at different [...]

By | 2018-02-12T16:40:47+00:00 January 19th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments