At HuffPo Sam Levine reports that Republican voter suppression guru Kris Kobach finds himself in a bit of a mess over a court ruling that he be sanctioned for making “patently misleading representations” to the court about the contents of voting rights documents he was photographed holding while meeting with Donald Trump in November.” Kobach’s excuse, Levine explains, is that “he eliminated four pages of arguments from a brief his attorney was drafting in order to get it down to the page limit as a filing deadline approached.” However, adds Levine “ACLU lawyers also urged the court not to reconsider the sanctions based on Kobach’s pleas about last-minute editing because he hadn’t made such a claim in other briefs responding to the motion to compel him to produce the documents from the Trump meeting. The lawyers said the claim was Kobach’s “latest excuse,” and “if a misunderstanding had simply arisen from editing errors, that fact would have been well known to Defendant and his co-counsel months ago.”
Trump’s nasty attacks against ‘Morning Joe’ co-host Mika Brzezinski provide a convenient distraction from more important matters, like the GOP’s latest voter suppression scam under Kobach’s leadership as vice chair of the phony “comission” on election “integrity,” which doesn’t even pretend to be bipartisan. The Mikagate uproar also eats up media space that would be better allocated to coverage of the Trumpcare horror show, at least for the millions of Americans whose health security is at stake. But Trump’s latest twitter disaster has produced one beneficial effect, as Ashley Kilough reports at CNN Politics: Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD) has introduced “a bill to create an 11-member commission made up of mostly physicians and psychiatrists — more formally called the “Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity,” which could help to oust a mentally-unhinged President. Although few would have thought a year ago that such legislation is necessary, the sobering thought of Trump in control of the launch codes makes it a welcome development. As things stand now, one Democratic slogan for 2020 might be “Sane Leadership for Challenging Times.”
Speaking of distractions, another importat Heather Digby Parton writes at salon.com; “As much as the president’s grotesque tweets served as a grim reminder of his true character, Trump did manage to do the one thing he has been dying to do for weeks: move the press off the Russia story. Sadly for him, it only lasted a few hours before yet another late-breaking Russia scoop hit. The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris published a story that links former national security adviser Michael Flynn to a longtime right-wing operative named Peter W. Smith, who told Harris he had engaged with Russian hackers to obtain the so-called “missing emails” from Hillary Clinton’s private server. Smith also claimed he was in touch with Michael Flynn and possibly his son, both of whom he knew through some earlier business dealings…Another big Russia story, arguably even more significant, landed yesterday and few people seem to have noticed. Kevin G. Hall and Ben Weider of the McClatchy Washington bureau reported that Trump’s business dealings in countries of the former Soviet empire were much more substantial than he’s let on and his ties to bankers, oligarchs and politicians in the area are much more consequential…”
Much recent media coverage urges Democrats to focus on developing and projecting a more credible message, instead of relying on blasting Trump (Here is a good example) to win elections. That’s true, although it’s somewhat of a straw-man argument, considering that nearly all Democratic members of the House and Senate embrace a specific, well-thought out legislative agenda, the elements of which generally receive strong support in opinion polls. It’s just hard to condense the various priorities of the ‘big tent’ party into a soundbite, or even a digestible paragraph. In addition, well-targeted attack ads are often effective. The other problem is that Trump’s aggressive pursuit of the most extreme right-wing goals leaves Democrats no choice but to addresss his almost daily outrages — especially since the opposition to his excesses is so weak in the Republican Party.
As for White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claiming at last Thursday’s press briefing that Trump “in no way, form or fashion has ever encouraged violence, quite the contrary,” echoing Trump’s assurance that he “certainly” did not “incite violence,” she should be called on to respond to the following video clip:
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is trying to discredit the Congressional Budget Office as part of the “Deep State” apparatus, in the wake of the CBO analysis shredding Trumpcare. But current Republican Speaker Paul Ryan sees it a little differently, as Roll Call reports: “One day after the White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office as an inaccurate arbiter, amid a heated debate over the effects of the Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending the nonpartisan office. “Yeah, he’s actually a Republican appointee. If I’m not mistaken, Tom Price appointed him,” Ryan said Tuesday morning when asked whether he had full confidence in CBO Director Keith Hall. Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services and a key advocate of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, was previously the House Budget Committee chairman.”
“House Majority PAC, the main Democratic super PAC involved in House races, has launched a major project studying white working-class voters ahead of the 2018 elections, looking to arrest Democratic losses with the key demographic,” notes Scott Bland at Politico. “The research is a sequel to an effort the super PAC ran in 2016, when it combined focus group interviews and a large-scale series of polls examining the views of whites without college degrees in key congressional districts…The follow-up reflects growing recognition among Democrats that their party cannot win back political power in Washington or many states without many more votes from whites without college degrees.
At The Upshot, Claire Cain Miller reports that “Family-Friendly Laws Are Being Passed, but Not by Trump’s Team,” and notes “Last week alone, state legislatures passed several major pieces of legislation that benefit families. Oregon became the first state to pass a bill guaranteeing workers predictable schedules, with two weeks’ notice and 10 hours off between shifts. Washington passed a paid leave law that gives workers 16 weeks to care for babies, family members or themselves. New Jersey voted to double its paid family leave to 12 weeks, pay workers more while they’re out and let them use it in more types of situations. Rhode Island’s House and Senate passed separate paid sick leave bills, but not yet a compromise bill.”