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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

If I’m not mistaken, Sean Spicer, presumably speaking for the administration, is making a series of distinct and perhaps contradictory arguments about why it doesn’t need to, can’t or just shouldn’t turn over documents tied to former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

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I noted over the weekend just how weak a hand President Trump was playing in his effort to force Democrats to vote for border wall money with a threat of taking away people’s health care coverage. I said this afternoon that it looked like he was getting ready to cave. But I could scarcely have imagined that Trump would preemptively cave as quickly, objectively and ridiculousness as he appears to have done. This is turning into the Dog Day Afternoon of legislative hostage dramas.

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I want to go back to the point I made this weekend, which is that President Trump’s threat to shut the government down and kick people off insurance (by pulling subsidies) if Democrats didn’t agree to fund the wall is just a big time political loser.

I stick to that point. But let’s see what now seems to be happening. President Trump’s advisors are now signaling that Trump plans to back down because he knows he’ll lose. In other words, Mr Winning, Dominating, Make the Best Deals is about to go Low Energy and walk away from a sure loss while trying to pretend it never happened.

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I just listened to the reliable party man Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC confidently predicting that voters would not stand for a “Schumer shutdown” of the federal government over President Trump’s demand for funding over his border wall. I’ve seldom seen a man so slavishly bend all his ideas to whatever Republican happens to be in power. In any case, here’s why that “Schumer shutdown” prediction is almost certainly wrong.

Over recent months, I’ve several times noted that President Trump thought that once he won the election, everybody would love him. I base this on various comments he’s made and just my general sense of his personality. But nowhere to date has he said it more clearly, more openly.

It comes in this AP interview and it turns on his press coverage (emphasis added) …

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Is the President already pre-failing his “border wall or the your annual physical gets it” hostage drama shakedown? As I noted on Friday, the President is or was setting up a government shutdown drama in which he threatens to deprive people of coverage from the Obamacare exchanges if Democrats don’t agree to fund his border wall. As explained here, this is not only an egregious bit of legislative hostage taking and mafia-like shakedown, it also shows a pretty poor grasp of the politics of the moment.

Now it seems that the White House may be trying to moonwalk away from the threat.

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We now have a result in the French presidential election which until a week or so ago looked to be the expected, most probable outcome. The independent Emmanuel Macron (technically the candidate of the made-for-purpose Forward party) will face National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in a run-off on May 7th. It seems very likely that Macron will be the eventual winner, though nothing these days can be treated as certain. The defeated candidates of the two dominant mainstream parties, the Socialists (Hamon) and the Gaullist Republicans (Fillon), have both already said they will vote for Macron since Le Pen stands outside the bounds of acceptable national leaders.

I am no expert on French domestic politics and make no pretense of being one. But I am a close and concerned observer of the rightist-populist trend which has been roiling Europe and North America. So I have some thoughts on that dimension of the story.

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