Despite skeptical public, GOP pushing ahead on tax-cut plan
Pelosi’s opponents accused Democrats of approving a major law without ever reading it, taking her words out of context. What Pelosi was trying to say was quite similar to what Ryan is now saying: Once the law is passed and the public sees its impact, voters will like its benefits.
Instead, opponents branded the ACA as “Obamacare,” and it remained unpopular for most of Barack Obama’s presidency. In December 2009, after the House approved its version and the Senate was gearing up for a Christmas Eve vote, just 44 percent of voters supported the health proposal, and 51 percent opposed it, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The GOP tax proposal is slightly less popular at almost the same stage of the process: Just 33 percent of adults support Trump’s tax plan while 50 percent oppose it, according to this month’s Post-ABC News poll.
Head scratcher, unless you figure it’s all for the donors. But these folks, by the way, really want to screw you in every possible way (NY Times):
In Tax Debate, Gift to Religious Right Could Be Bargaining Chip
Speaking of lose-lose, Politico:
Republicans flee from McConnell in 2018 primaries
While GOP candidates distance themselves from the Senate leader, Democrats hope to turn him into the next Nancy Pelosi.
Heading into the 2018 elections, only one Republican Senate candidate nationwide has pledged unequivocally to back Mitch McConnell as majority leader. Most Republicans facing competitive primaries are hemming and hawing, admiring McConnell’s political savvy and fundraising apparatus — but also looking warily at his sinking approval ratings both with Republicans and the broader electorate.
Even in some of the red and purple states represented by Democratic senators where McConnell is hoping to pad his majority — places like Missouri, Michigan and Wisconsin — the leading candidates are dodging questions about McConnell's leadership or threatening to oppose him if the GOP Congress doesn't deliver on the party's legislative priorities in the coming months.
The Republicans continue to push an extraordinarily unpopular agenda. If you’re going to play for “base only” elections, how does that help you win? This is where “so what? hey, 2016, Trump, ignore the polls” kills you. But keep playing dumb, GOP. It’s your funeral.
Why a historically conservative county in Virginia is making national Republicans nervous
Until Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) won Chesterfield County three weeks ago, the stretch of suburban and rural communities southwest of Richmond had been considered reliably Republican.
Yet voters infuriated by Trump, many of them women and Hispanics who have migrated to the county in recent years, are redefining Chesterfield and alarming Virginia Republicans who have depended on the area to make up for the support the party lacks in urban areas.
To the doubters on our side, take it all in. Take in the generic ballot (D +10), the wave stories like this one from Charlie Cook:
Democratic Wave Begins Forming Off Political Coast
At this point, some politicos, very likely Republicans, are doubtless asking, “What wave?” The answer is, the one right in front of us. We know that midterm elections are referenda on the incumbent in the White House and that Donald Trump’s approval ratings are at a historic low at this stage of a presidency. Could they suddenly turn upward? Sure, but they have been pretty stable in the mid-to-high 30s for months.
Either 48, 49, or 50 percent of Americans strongly disapprove of him, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls. Generally speaking, when voters get to the point of strong disapproval, they never make it back to approval. Fluctuations come from those who somewhat or moderately approve or disapprove, or those who are undecided.
Take in the •competitive• AL race, with the prospect of either a D win or a child molester as the poster boy for the GOP. A competitive race. In Alabama.
Tim Miller is an ex-Republican.
No “yeah, but..” This is the political environment. Get used to it.
Could the battle for the GOP’s soul leave Republicans unelectable?
What's not up for debate is that, for better or for worse, the ground the GOP rests upon is shifting underneath Republicans' feet, and the battle is on for which side will ultimately lay claim to it.
Here are five ways that battle is manifesting right now:
The rise of more controversial candidates: The establishment GOP leadership once thought it had a different insurgency, the tea party movement, under control. Until interim Sen. Luther Strange lost to Moore in Alabama this fall, the Republican establishment hadn't lost a primary in five years.
They lost Alabama, and they could lose more primaries next year, which could cost them general elections. Trump's former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, has said he wants to try to challenge nearly every GOP senator up for reelection in the 2018 midterms.
Thought there's no evidence Bannon can do that, there is a ton of evidence that when far-right candidates win primaries, they are prone to spectacular downfalls in the general elections.
Democrats won key Senate races in Missouri and Indiana in 2012 because Republican voters elected flawed candidates who said controversial things about rape. Now, there's a growing chance Democrats could pick up a Senate seat, in Alabama of all places, because Republicans there nominated Moore.
And now for something completely different: I just got my copy and am slowly savoring it (NY Times).
The First Woman to Translate the ‘Odyssey’ Into English
The classicist Emily Wilson has given Homer’s epic a radically contemporary voice.
Since the “Odyssey” first appeared in English, around 1615, in George Chapman’s translation, the story of the Greek warrior-king Odysseus’s ill-fated 10-year attempt to return home from the war in Troy to Ithaca and his wife, Penelope, has prompted some 60 English translations, at an accelerating pace, half of them in the last 100 years and a dozen in the last two decades. Wilson, whose own translation appears this week, has produced the first English rendering of the poem by a woman.
“One of the things I struggled with,” Wilson continued, sounding more exhilarated than frustrated as she began to unpack “polytropos,” the first description we get of Odysseus, “is of course this whole question of whether he is passive — the ‘much turning’ or ‘much turned’ — right? This was —”
“Treat me,” I interrupted, “as if I don’t know Greek,” as, in fact, I do not.
I expect the female characters (Penelope, Circe, Calypso, etc) to have a different interpretation. Fun!!!
PS enjoy a classical education while it‘s still available:
Most intriguing article of the day from Stephen Marche/NY Times:
The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido
The masculine libido and its accompanying forces and pathologies drive so much of culture and politics and the economy, while remaining more or less unexamined, both in intellectual circles and in private life. I live in Toronto, a liberal city in a liberal country, with Justin Trudeau for prime minister, a half-female cabinet and an explicitly feminist foreign policy.
The men I know don’t actively discuss changing sexual norms. We gossip and surmise: Who is a criminal and who isn’t? Which of the creeps whom we know are out there will fall this week? Beyond the gossip, there is a fog of the past that is better not to penetrate. Aside from the sorts of clear criminal acts that have always been wrong, changing social norms and the imprecision of memory are dark hallways to navigate. Be careful when you go down them; you might not like what you find.
So much easier to turn aside. Professionally, too, I have seen just how profoundly men don’t want to talk about their own gendered nature. In the spring, I published a male take on the fluctuations of gender and power in advanced economies; I was interviewed over 70 times by reporters from all over the world, but only three of them were men. Men just aren’t interested; they don’t know where to start. I’m working on a podcast on modern fatherhood, dealing with issues like pornography and sex after childbirth. Very often, when I interview men, it is the first time they have ever discussed intimate questions seriously with another man.
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