Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Axelrod urges Democrats to avoid obstructionism He was speaking to a politically-savvy group in Chicago. (Chicago Tribune)
Comment: When David Axelrod talks political strategy, he is giving very valuable advice. I think he is here, too, both for Democrats and the country. As a political strategy, D’s should (and I think will) focus on a few targets. Their problem is that so many Trump nominees are ripe targets for the Democratic base: Sessions at Justice, Pruitt at EPA, DeVos at Education, Tillerson at State, and Puzder at Labor, plus whoever Trump nominates for the Supreme Court.
◆ Main Democratic Targets among Trump Nominees
Comment: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has spoken of at least eight targets. Unless some damaging information, not currently known, emerges about them, each has enough votes for confirmation. The Democrats’ goals are to
- Put up a strong fight to please their base
- Damage Trump, his nominees, and their agenda
- See which nominees are most vulnerable to assault and then focus their fire heavily on them
There is actually a ninth target. The Democrats are certain to fight against Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Schumer has already said as much.
◆ WSJ says the Trump Economic Team has different perspectives on trade. Not everyone is a protectionist, they say. (Wall Street Journal)
Donald Trump is rounding out an economic team with competing power centers and contrasting views that could lead the White House in unpredictable directions as it tries to steer the U.S. toward faster growth.
Several selections reinforce the basic split that permeated Mr.Trump’s campaign, with market-oriented advisers from the Washington and Wall Street establishment on one side and free-trade adversaries on the other. –Wall Street Journal
Comment: One other division is likely to emerge. Some, led by Mulvaney, are budget hawks. (Mulvaney was a member of the House Freedom Caucus, associated with the Tea Party.) Others, including Trump himself, have spoken of major infrastructure spending and shown no willingness to cut major entitlement programs, aside from Obamacare.
◆ Ryan, Trump economic team working together on tax overhaul, reports Fox Business.
◆ Related Story: Small Business optimism greatest since Reagan era Bloomberg reports here.
Comment: The prospect of tax cuts and relief from burdensome Washington regulations are driving the animal spirits.
◆ Congratulations to Clemson for winning a great game against Alabama to become national college champions. It literally went down to the last second, which Clemson’s great QB connected for a short touchdown pass. Alabama played a great game, as well, but Clemson matched them stride for stride and ultimately had one stride more.
◆ To Rick Santelli and producer Lesley McKeigue for hosting me on CNBC Tuesday morning.
People are still talking about Rick’s appearance Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, when he criticized Andrea Mitchell’s biased coverage. “On election night, I never saw you so unhappy,” he told her.
Honesty is such a rare and refreshing approach.