* Over the last few weeks it has been interesting to find myself agreeing with conservative pundits like Jennifer Rubin and Kathleen Parker. It happened again today with David Brooks.
I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.
Trump’s White House staff is at war with itself. His poll ratings are falling at unprecedented speed. His policy agenda is stalled. F.B.I. investigations are just beginning. This does not feel like a sustainable operation.
On the other hand, I have trouble seeing exactly how this administration ends. Many of the institutions that would normally ease out or remove a failing president no longer exist.
* I need to revise and extend my remarks from earlier today in order to add one more example of how Trump is fulfilling his need for constant admiration. Apparently Trump arranged a meeting and photo op with a few Congressional Republicans.
“He wants the real, unfiltered, what’s going on,” Collins said, “not necessarily watching CNN, MSNBC or even Fox. There were 11 of us from 11 different parts of the country able to share with him the responses we’re getting when we’re at the supermarket, when we’re at Home Depot.”
Yes, Trump wants real, unfiltered news about how a bunch of white (mostly male) Republicans love him.
* A recurring theme: when you embrace incompetence, you can simply make shit up.
As the White House staff tries to put together a budget for President Donald Trump, they face a fundamental problem. Trump has promised to cut taxes, increase spending on the military and infrastructure, and avoid cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The only way to do that without producing an exploding budget deficit is to assume a big increase in economic growth.
And Nick Timiraos at the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump is planning to do just that — by making things up.
Deep into his story about Trump budget hijinks, Timiraos reveals that “what’s unusual about the administration’s forecasts isn’t just their relative optimism but also the process by which they were derived.” Specifically, what’s unusual about them is that they weren’t derived by any process at all. Instead of letting economists build a forecast, Trump’s budget was put together with “transition officials telling the CEA staff the growth targets that their budget would produce and asking them to backfill other estimates off those figures.”
* For the next story, all you need is a headline and a picture: “Christie says Trump made him order the meatloaf at meal together.”
* Those who assume that the competition for a new DNC chair is a battle royale between bitter enemies just got their bubble burst.
— Nomiki (@NomikiKonst) February 16, 2017
We’re friends. It’s ok. https://t.co/xdllbgFN9S
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) February 16, 2017
What Keith said. https://t.co/U3Klavtmau
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 16, 2017
* Finally, here’s a GREAT video from the people who organized the Women’s March.