If Republicans hadn’t passed the tax bill, they’d be in a free fall right now. Instead, they just won a shutdown fight against the expectations of conventional wisdom, the generic congressional ballot is looking better, a drumbeat of encouraging economic news — some of it related directly to the tax cut — offers hope of lifting the national mood, and the Bannon insurgency is much diminished. For the last, we have Michael Wolff and largely Steve Bannon to thank, but another big legislative failure would have certainly given a boost to kooky candidates. The tax victory also tilted Trump away from Bannon and toward the congressional leadership, which delivered him a big win. None of this is to say that Republicans are going to have a good November — we’d be talking of a 24-seat House majority being in peril even with a more normal and popular Republican president — but it is possible that the Democratic wave is now diminishing rather than growing.
Earlier today the Grand Jury for the District of Columbia charged twelve Russian intelligence officers with conspiring “to gain unauthorized access (to ‘hack’) into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage ... Read More
An investigation is one of two things: a search for the truth, or a farce. The House is conducting a farce. That fact was on full display during ten hours of testimony by Peter Strzok, the logorrheic lawman who steered the FBI’s Clinton-emails and Trump–Russia probes. The principal question before the ... Read More
The activist base of the Democratic party is lurching left fast enough that everyone should pay attention. Activists matter because their turnout in low-turnout primaries and caucuses almost propelled leftist Bernie Sanders to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated New ... Read More
1)Al, as you were posting on social media a list of proposed questions for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, did it occur to you that your opinion on the matter is no more relevant than Harvey Weinstein’s? 2) Al, is it appropriate for a disgraced former U.S. senator to use the Twitter cognomen “U.S. ... Read More
Toward the end of The Death of Stalin, two Communist Party bosses size up Joseph Stalin’s immediate successor, Georgy Malenkov. “Can we trust him?” one asks. “Can you ever really trust a weak man?” his comrade answers. Good question. Last week brought the news that the head of Shambhala ... Read More
In Helsinki, President Donald Trump damaged his administration and harmed his own foreign-policy objectives. His press conference with Vladimir Putin is further deranging America’s political life. Just as he did after the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un, President Trump demonstrated his almost bottomless ... Read More
One of President Trump’s outstanding appointments has been Dan Coats, his director of national intelligence. Coats is a former House member, former senator, and former ambassador to Germany. He is a Hoosier (i.e., from Indiana). Whether he plays basketball, I don’t know. At Wheaton College, he played soccer. ... Read More