A fun Holiday short I had the pleasure of directing…
All things considered, last week was fairly quiet compared to what has come before it. Still, things are shaping up to become very interesting, with a looming SCOTUS vote coming and more Trump tweets to deal with. Let’s dive in!
- Chuck Schumer (Arrow NEUTRAL)
After threatening to filibuster the Gorsuch nomination, Schumer was able to get together enough Democrats to actually force the looming showdown. With the Dems in the minority for at least the next year and a half, being the obstruction party is about all they can do at this point. Still, while the game was already played by the Repubs during Obama’s term to mixed success, what little power they have can still be used, if only to rally support for their base.
- Senate Traditions (Arrow DOWN)
That whole notion that the Senate is the “Senior” circuit compared to the clown school that is often the House is rapidly fading away. By doing away with the filibuster and making the SCOTUS nomination a straight majority vote, things are going to get increasingly partisan moving forward. Some Senators have lamented about this erosion of consensus building that used to be a part of Senate lore, but unless both sides want to start playing nice, it’s inevitable.
- Sen. Johnsey McGraham (Arrow NEUTRAL)
Still voices in the wilderness about criticizing how the House is handling the Russia investigation, though as more and more testimony comes out, it’s hard to imagine other moderates staying silent for long. Though, they are also complicit in the Senate becoming increasingly partisan, they still find some bills to find consensus across the aisle, especially involving Veterans.
- VP Mike Pence (Arrrow UP)
(The New Yorker)
The biggest story with the VP last week involved his interesting beliefs regarding dining out with women that put people on both sides chattering away about things that really seemed un-important in the grand scheme. Pence is exactly who everyone thought he was: a very conservative God-fearing man who loves his wife and might have a bit of a retrograde opinion of women in the work place. He also seems to be the adult face that gets sent out to carry water for policies and laws that Trump doesn’t want to get involved in. As most VP’s are, he’s the good soldier who has to just be happy to be there. Truth be told, with the mounting issues surrounding the President, a penny for his own thoughts about what the future may hold.
- Sens. Mark Warner and Richard Burr (ARROW UP)
Speaking of adult faces, meet the men who are tasked with cleaning up the epic mess that Devin Nunes (Thanks for ruining my name, numbskull) made of his investigation. They’ve both pledged to work together and seem more much hellbent on getting to the bottom of what is going on. If the country is ever going to get real answers, it’s going to take oversight from both parties that stand outside the sphere of influence of the White House.
- Jared Kushner (ARROW UP)
As CNN puts it, meet the new Secretary of EVERYTHING. Trump is famous for trusting his family above all else and the proof is clearly there for all to see with Kushner and wife Ivanka taking up prominent positions in the White House. If he’s able to tackle even half of the tasks he is being given, a parade may be in order. At the very least, for a 36 year old with basically no foreign diplomatic experience, just keeping the US out of trade wars will be a good first step.
- Pres. Donald Trump (ARROW DOWN)
Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2017
Another tough week for the President, as the fallout from the Healthcare debacle still sits steaming in the corner. Though he seems to have managed to avoid becoming directly responsible for its downfall, his self-proclaimed abilities as a master deal-maker are looking weaker by the day. He’s a President that desperately needs a win with that point being echoed in a series of early morning Tweets that seemed to once again go to the well of: leakers, hackers, Hillary and the like. Can someone already be a lame duck 2 months into office? At the very least, he’s starting to sound like a band that only plays the hits and never comes up with anything new.
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (ARROW NEUTRAL)
McConnell truly has no shame. As he basically admitted over the weekend on Meet The Press, his tactic to stonewall Merrick Garland was all to do with politics and nothing more. Likewise, the Democrats are now essentially asking him to play his hand that he has long been holding: killing the filibuster on SCOTUS confirmations. Odds are that happens this week and this new normal will be yelled about for a while. Stay tuned if the Dems ever get control back, because these changes work both ways and McConnell may well rue this tactic in the future. For now though, the victory is his.
- The FBI (ARROW UP)
With news that the FBI is setting up a special unit to investigate the Russian connections and with the power and purview to investigate any and all people, this is the real power behind the scenes. The so called “Deep State” has been in open rebellion since Trump took charge and these sort of ongoing investigations won’t warm up the relationship anytime soon. However, the FBI has the power and scope to go places that the Senate Investigation can’t and may in the end be the final say on the matter. Time, however will tell, and the longer things drag on, the less of an appetite the American people will have for it.
- The US Judicial Branch (Arrow UP)
Hard as it might be for some to believe, the country still has a court system that can check even the most confident President. As evidenced by the now TWICE blocked travel bans, the ability to make sweeping changes doesn’t happen on a whim. Likewise, the battle involving the SCOTUS and inevitable cases they will hear after Gorsuch is approved will set the standards for the country far more than any executive order really can. With further lawsuits looming to fight against the changes around the EPA that have been passed, real power remains in the hands of the court system.