Bernard L. Schwartz and David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:
Joe Biden Is the Master Deal Maker America Needs Right Now
If passed, the deal to preserve America’s financial standing in the world by avoiding the debt disaster threatened by Republicans would be one of Biden’s deftest accomplishments.
Joe Biden is the Congress whisperer.
Facing the toughest sort of Congressional opposition—obstructionist, nihilistic, extremist—the president has, during his first two and a half years in office, achieved extraordinary results. He has produced transformational legislation like the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act and the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act.
These were not just complex, major pieces of legislation that impacted the lives of millions, they were each historic in their own way—driving record job creation, leading to the biggest investment in our infrastructure in more than half a century, producing the biggest investment in combatting climate change in our history, resetting America’s approach to competitiveness.
Without a doubt there are things that didn’t get done in Biden’s first term, and there are bad things about this nascent debt ceiling deal. But as in all things, you also have to ask compared to what? Default? Not getting stuff passed at all? If that’s your baseline it’s a good deal despite its compromises. And the same is true for the Biden record overall.
Want a better deal than what we’ve got, with less compromise? Don’t lose the House. Put a majority in the Senate not based on a conservative senator from West Virginia or a corporate sellout from Arizona. Put a winning president in the White House with a bigger coalition. Don’t shake your head knowingly, claiming there’s no difference between the parties.
If you can’t do those things, you’re not going to get the laws, policies, and programs you want. And (wait for it) … you’re going to have to compromise.
Speaking of Republicans, let’s look at GOP dystopia from the Texas Tribune:
Attorney General Ken Paxton faces impeachment. Here’s how that works in Texas.
The Texas Legislature has never removed an attorney general. If the House votes to impeach, the Senate will hold a trial.
Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been at the center of several scandals, faces a possible impeachment. A Texas House committee voted Thursday to recommend the action, opening the way for the Texas House of Representatives to hold a hearing and decide whether to impeach the three-term attorney general.
Paxton, the state’s top lawyer and one of its most powerful and controversial Republicans, has faced criminal investigations, legal battles and accusations of wrongdoing for years. But after he requested $3.3 million in taxpayer funds to end a lawsuit by former staffers who accused him of on-the-job retaliation, the Texas House General Investigating Committee began looking into accusations of wrongdoing.
The vote to impeach is Saturday, and it’s by simple House majority. The article spells out what’s next.
New York Times:
How Fighting for Conservative Causes Has Helped Ken Paxton Survive Legal Woes
With the Texas House set to vote on his impeachment, Mr. Paxton is counting on political support that he’s amassed as a Republican legal firebrand.
Now, facing his own political showdown in the Texas House of Representatives on Saturday as the House prepares to vote on impeaching him, Mr. Paxton made the stakes plain for his Republican supporters.
In a news conference on Friday, he reminded them that he was “leading dozens of urgent challenges against Biden’s unlawful policies” and said that the “illegal impeachment scheme” was playing into the Democrats’ longstanding goal of removing him from office. He then called on supporters to come to the State Capitol on Saturday “to peacefully come let their voices be heard."
Michael Hiltzik/Los Angeles Times:
A glimpse into the dystopian abyss of President DeSantis’ America
Press interest has perked up lately, with DeSantis’ policy initiatives becoming more febrile as his announcement draws nigh.
But the press hasn’t begun to devote sufficient attention to the curious experiment DeSantis has launched, based on the hypothesis that it’s possible to win a presidential nomination, not to mention a presidential election, by appealing exclusively to a bloc of racists, antisemites, gun nuts and other nightcrawlers of the far right. An America led by DeSantis as he has portrayed himself thus far would be a dystopian hellhole.
Let the examination begin.
It would be proper to start with scrutiny of DeSantis’ positions on the most important geopolitical issues of our time, if they could be detected.
Well, that’s disqualifying.
Mariano Alfero/Washington Post:
DeSantis says, if elected president, he’d consider pardons for Jan. 6 offenders
Hosts of the conservative “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” asked DeSantis if he thinks Jan. 6 defendants “deserve to have their cases examined by a Republican president,” and whether he would pardon former president Donald Trump if he were “charged with federal offenses.” DeSantis said that on his first day in office, he would “have folks that will get together and look at all these cases.”
“Now, some of these case, some people may have a technical violation of the law,” DeSantis said. “But if there are three other people who did the same thing but just in a context, like [the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020] and they don’t get prosecuted at all, that is uneven application of justice, and so … we will use the pardon power.”
That, right there, is disqualifying.
Ron DeSantis administration officials solicit campaign cash from lobbyists
The practice raises ethical and legal questions about state employees trying to raise campaign cash from lobbyists who have business currently before the governor.
NBC News reviewed text messages from four DeSantis administration officials, including those directly in the governor's office and with leadership positions in state agencies. They requested the recipient of the message contribute to the governor’s campaign through a specific link that appeared to track who is giving as part of a “bundle” program.
“The bottom line is that the administration appears to be keeping tabs on who is giving, and are doing it using state staff,” a longtime Florida lobbyist said. “You are in a prisoner’s dilemma. They are going to remain in power. We all understand that.”
NBC News is not naming the specific staffers who sent the text messages because it could out the lobbyists who received the messages and shared them.
This is the way DeSantis runs Florida. It’s as disqualifying as his Ja. 6 comments.
All of that is just a reminder that DeSantis is a pretty bad character, and in no way a ”better” choice for America than Donald Trump.
After long debate, CT Senate advances state voting rights act
The Connecticut Senate on Thursday night advanced a landmark bill intended to protect historically disenfranchised communities from discrimination at the ballot box, including key protections once considered a stronghold of the federal Voting Rights Act before it was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senate Bill 1226, dubbed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of Connecticut — a nod to the late civil rights icon — passed on a 27-9 vote just before midnight, following hours of emotionally charged debate among lawmakers over what the proposal would accomplish. The Senate’s approval of the comprehensive bill marked the first time it passed out of either chamber since it was initially introduced in 2021.
Even blue states have work to do.
Are the Anti-Trump GOP Forces Starting to Implode?
A mission-control breakdown for DeSantis and smooth launch for Scott bode ill for those hoping to thwart the former president.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Will this go down as the week that the grand plan to deny Donald Trump the nomination fell apart?
For months, high-level Republican lawmakers, donors and strategists eager to block Trump have described, in separate conversations with me, an endgame to the presidential primary.
When it becomes clear in the early state and national polling who is consolidating support, the most influential figures with ties to the lagging candidates will stage a sort of political intervention and tell them it’s time to quit and rally to the strongest alternative to Trump.
Such a plot always struck me as a bit far-fetched, for starters because politicians aren’t known for putting party ahead of self. Yet the appetite among elite Republicans to move past Trump was and is so immense I thought there could at least be a do-the-right-thing effort.
Yet as spring turns to summer, traditionally the period when presidential hopefuls consider whether they’re gaining any traction, this vision seems more fantasy than strategy.
We don’t win based on merits alone. We win by doing the hard work (see Wisconsin).
Tonight, the Manhattan DA’s office publicly released a list of discovery items it has produced or will soon produce to Trump. Those items include a number of recorded conversations, including one between a witness and Trump. But something else interests me more.
In New York state, a defendant is entitled to receive all witness testimony before the grand jury and any and all other witness statements provided to the relevant prosecutor’s office. But here, the Manhattan DA’s office also attached this two-page list of books.
Why? Because these books themselves may contain relevant witness statements. And it is quite a collection.
These are political books, gossip books, and other books of interest included in discovery. Give the thread a read.
On a different topic, here’s Cliff Schecter on freshman Democrat Dan Goldman of New York and his approach to congressional BS: