So far in politics, 2017 is looking a lot like 2016. Just sayin’.
So clearly we missed a lot over the last few weeks. In our defense, there’s been some stuff behind the scenes that we aren’t quite ready to talk about yet. Regardless, we have a lot to get to, so let’s get to it!
One More for the Road
On Saturday morning the line to get tickets to President Barack Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago started to wrap around McCormick Place. By six in the morning, they were all gone.
People forget that before he was president, Barack Obama as a hotshot Illinois Senator that had a penchant to make the right speech at exactly the right moment. Past speeches like the 2004 Democratic National Convention come to mind.
To be fair, we haven’t seen “that” Obama for some time now since he’s been in the Oval Office. The guy we see now is more pragmatic, level-headed leader, but that doesn’t mean he can’t pull-out that 2004 Obama magic from time-to-time.
It’s fair to say that 2016 was a rough year for President Obama supporters. With Democrats unable to get a majority in either the Senate or House and a Donald Trump presidency looking to reverse any decision Obama had made in the last eight years, people were looking to be inspired on Tuesday night. Those guys needed a 2004 Obama speech.
While they didn’t exactly get that, what they did get was a look back at all the progress they had all accomplished. And for a night anyway, that seemed to be enough.
Still Trump: “Why Is Everyone So Mad at Russia?” Edition
Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only "stupid" people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
Good Work Team!
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is a committee charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct from the House of Representatives and their staff. The House established the office in 2008 and is an independent entity that consists of individuals that currently aren’t serving as House members. Essentially the Office of Congressional Ethics was created for two purposes; (1) to have an independent oversight committee for the House to make sure everything is on the “up-and-up” and (2) the committee is meant to bring some transparency to Congress by disclosing its findings to the public.
So yeah, the existence of the OCE is a pretty vital in keeping the integrity of the House intact.
Yet on a federal holiday last week, the House GOP voted to essentially dissolve the OCE by gutting the office’s powers for independent oversight. The basic idea around this, to rename the OCE into the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and start policing themselves in regards of ethical conduct within the House. For all intents and purposes, this is one of those rule changes that happen with very little fanfare and is reported on Last Week Tonight months later.
However, in an era where Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States, the press did something that it usually doesn’t do; it made a huge deal about something that is incredibly important, but would generally be looked at as a “unsexy” story.
Surprisingly however, it went viral!
With the story catching steam it had top Republicans – like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – against the rules changes along with right-leaning groups like Judicial Watch asking to retain the OCE. More importantly, it led to calls into congressional DC offices.
While the bill is still looming around like a bad venereal disease – being momentarily sidelined by the GOP and not being removed completely – the end result of saving the OCE has everything to do with the press and the people pushing back against Congress for a better government. Granted, there’re still major problems when it comes to how the press reports the news and how we consume it, but for a brief (and beautiful) moment it all worked as it was intended.
And no, Donald Trump had nothing to do with this. Even if his Twitter states otherwise.
Still Trump: The Golden Globes Edition
Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
First Through the Wall
Let’s be frank, Donald Trump’s cabinet picks will most likely be confirmed. With Republicans having majorities in both the House and Senate, Trump’s cabinet picks are all but guaranteed to get passed. Yet with his first batch of candidate picks going through confirmation hearings this week, they’ll face a unique situation; they’ll have to answer to not only their own public record, but to Trump’s as well.
Some confirmations will be easier than others – Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary should be relatively painless – yet for others there will be legitimate questions regarding their cabinet appointments. For Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson there are VERY REAL concerns over their nominations. With the Office of Government Ethics having yet to complete the ethics review process, the pushback from Congress on Trump’s picks could tell the story on what the next four-years under a Trump Presidency could look like.
Things to Keep in Mind While You Read/Hear About The Trump Dossier
Things to keep in mind about BuzzFeed’s leak of “The Trump Dossier” that has been circling among various politicians, intelligence agencies, and some in the media (no that doesn’t include us) over the last couple of weeks.
- You should absolutely read BuzzFeed’s leak of The Trump Dossier! Just when you do… take everything you read with a grain of salt. None of it has been verified.
Let us repeat that, none of what’s in The Trump Dossier has been verified or vetted by anyone! So there is a legitimate possibility that some of the things in this dossier could be false.
The fact that the “golden shower” incident is getting more attention than the fact THE FUCKING RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT COULD BE BLACKMAILING THE US’ PRESIDENT-ELECT, is depressing on So. Many. Levels.
Right now there is a debate going on among journalists on the role of the news media; is it the media’s job to provide context or complete transparency of a news story. If nothing else, it’s making the media have that important conversation. So, hurray?
Still Trump: First Press Conference Edition
WATCH: CNN correspondent demands to question Pres.-elect Trump after Trump criticizes CNN; Trump refuses. https://t.co/M9Lkzuo8IY
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) January 11, 2017
Your next US President everybody!
(Photo Credit: Google Images)