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On the roster: Democrats get jittery over coffee exec – Time Out: Please don’t stop the music – Pelosi re-invites trump to give State of the Union – Audible: The POTUS caucus – Extreme couch surfing
DEMOCRATS GET JITTERY OVER COFFEE EXEC
NPR: “Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he is seriously considering a White House bid in 2020 as a ‘centrist independent,’ but many Democrats are increasingly alarmed that a third-party run could split the anti-incumbent vote and help President Trump be re-elected. In an interview with NPR… Schultz pushed back on that concern, arguing that he could be successful where other independent candidates haven’t been by appealing to an increasingly growing center and peeling off Democratic voters put off by the party’s progressive leanings. ‘I think lifelong Democrats and many, many more lifelong Republicans than Democrats realize are looking for a home,’ Schultz said. ‘If there is a choice between President Trump and a progressive liberal-minded person on the Democratic side, it would kill me to see President Trump be re-elected, and I believe that is what would take place.’ … ‘Nobody wants to remove and, in a sense, fire President Trump more than me.’”
David Frum: ‘Howard Schultz May Save the Democratic Party From Itself’ – Atlantic: “[Schultz] might weaken the Democratic candidate in 2020, and thereby help reelect President Donald Trump. Actually, this complaint reveals why Schultz’s exploration is just the help America needs. Schultz seems to intend to run as a compassionate businessman concerned that the Democratic Party is veering too far to the left. … But if you seriously believe that the Trump presidency presents a unique threat to American democracy, you want the safer choice, not the risky one. You want the candidate with the broadest possible appeal, not the most sectarian. Trump will be beaten not by his fiercest enemies, but by his softest supporters. You want to appeal to them, detach them—not chatter on social media about how you’d like to punch their kids in the face.”
Willie Brown dishes on past relationship with Kamala Harris – USA Today: “Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown addressed his past relationship with Sen. Kamala Harris in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday and acknowledged giving her appointments that furthered her career. ‘Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago,’ wrote Brown, who said he had ‘been peppered with calls from the national media about my ‘relationship’ with Kamala Harris, particularly since it became obvious that she was going to run for president.’ Harris’ office did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment on Brown’s letter to the Chronicle. Brown was married at the time he and Harris dated, but – because he had been ‘estranged from his wife’ Blanche Brown since 1981, according to People magazine –the relationship was not kept secret. A Sacramento Bee reporter told People that Brown ‘had a succession of girlfriends’ and would ‘go to a party with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on the other.’”
Warren wants to be the wonk in the field – NYT: “After talking up gun control laws and criminal justice reform on a recent South Carolina campaign swing, Ms. [Elizabeth Warren] dug into the nitty-gritty of free market regulation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency she helped create… Almost one month into her presidential campaign, Ms. Warren’s passion for policy minutiae has become her way of standing out in an increasingly crowded Democratic field, establishing herself as a wonk’s wonk whose expansive ideas and detail-oriented speaking style are her bid for a good first impression on voters. While other Democrats have focused on sweeping themes of unity or change, as Senator Kamala Harris of California did on Sunday at a campaign kickoff rally, Ms. Warren is making a personal and political wager that audiences care more about policy savvy than captivating oration.”
Wall Street getting nervous – Politico: “Top Wall Street executives would love to be rid of President Donald Trump. But they are getting panicked about the prospect of an ultraliberal Democratic nominee bent on raising taxes and slapping regulations on their firms. The result is a kind of nervous paralysis of executives pining for a centrist nominee like Michael Bloomberg while realizing such an outcome is unlikely from a party veering sharply to the left. Early support from deep-pocketed financial executives could give Democrats seeking to break out of the pack an important fundraising boost. But any association with bankers also opens presidential hopefuls to sharp attacks from an ascendant left. And it’s left senior executives on Wall Street flailing over what to do. … While just one slice of a complex corporate world, Wall Street has often played a pivotal role in presidential elections.”
THE RULEBOOK: BOOM
“Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” – Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 55
TIME OUT: PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC
New Yorker: “One night, ten years ago, [journalist Robert Sullivan] was racing across Portland, Oregon, hoping to see the Foghorn Stringband… [He] wasn’t expecting a concert, per se. It was a session, a weekly get-together for musicians to play old fiddle tunes and sing an occasional song. The idea of a ‘session’ can be a little confusing to first-time listeners, but, in this case, the players were unamplified in a corner, as opposed to onstage, and they were not ‘jamming.’ (The term ‘session,’ in this context, comes from the Irish word seisiún, pronounced sesh-oon, which is used to describe a loose but organized collaborative musical event.) There was very little improvisation; instead, these tunes were played seven, eight, or even ten times, depending on the player’s level of interest or delight. After the final rendition, they’d shift seamlessly to a different tune, and then perhaps another. As you heard each song again, it seemed either to unfold or to repeatedly reintroduce itself.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 40.6 percent
Average disapproval: 55.6 percent
Net Score: -15 points
Change from one week ago: up 0.8 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 38% approve – 58% disapprove; Fox News: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; CBS News: 36% approve – 59% disapprove.]
PELOSI RE-INVITES TRUMP TO GIVE STATE OF THE UNION
Fox News: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday invited President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address on February 5. The invitation from Pelosi comes after a planned January 29 date to give the address was scuttled due to the partial government shutdown. That led to a contentious back-and-forth between Trump and the House speaker before the president announced a deal to reopen the government on January 25. ‘When I wrote to you on January 23rd, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year’s State of the Union address,’ Pelosi said she wrote in her new invitation to Trump. ‘In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th.’ … The House and Senate still must pass a resolution officially inviting Trump to speak to a joint session of Congress.”
Strong opposition to border emergency declaration – Monmouth University: “After ending the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, the public is divided on whether it has made President Donald Trump look stronger or weaker. Trump’s job rating has ticked down a little, but public opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has generally improved in the aftermath according to the latest national Monmouth University Poll. The public is split on whether a new budget deal should include funding for a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico, but they oppose – by a nearly 2-to-1 margin – Trump using an emergency declaration to get it built. The poll also finds that the percentage of Americans who feel that the state of the union is strong has dropped from a majority one year ago to a minority today. Most Americans (81%) approve of Trump’s decision to reopen government for three weeks, but they are divided on how this action affects his image. Somewhat more say it makes him look weaker (32%) rather than stronger (24%), but a plurality of 41% say it has had no effect on his image.”
Report says deficit will reach $897 billion – AP: “A new government report says that the U.S. budget deficit is set to hit $897 billion this year and predicts that economic growth will slow as the effects of President Donald Trump’s tax cut on business investment begin to drop off. The Congressional Budget Office Report predicts a $118 billion increase over last year’s $779 billion deficit. The CBO predicts in a report released Monday that the economy will grow by 2.3 percent this year, a slowdown from 3.1 percent last year. The report comes as the government is reopening after a 35-day partial shutdown. The CBO says the shutdown will have a modest negative impact on the economy. The report lands in a divided Washington, where neither Trump nor Democrats controlling the House are expected to make curbing the deficit a priority.”
Trump says another shutdown likely – WSJ: “Mr. Trump, in an interview, assessed the chances of whether a newly formed group of 17 lawmakers could craft a deal before the next government-funding lapse, in less than three weeks: ‘I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board.’ He made his comments as hundreds of thousands of federal employees prepared to head back to work Monday following the president’s move Friday to reopen the government after the 35-day partial shutdown, even without funding for his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico. The group of 17 lawmakers is now tasked with hashing out a longer-term deal on border security and, potentially, broader immigration issues. … Asked if he would accept less than $5.7 billion in the next round of negotiations, Mr. Trump said: ‘I doubt it,’ adding, ‘I have to do it right.’”
Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., in hospice care – [Raleigh] News & Observer
N.C. Dem Dan McCready raised $500,000 for a potential do-over election – Roll Call
Republicans startle tech sector with privacy plans – National Journal
Chris Christie’s part autobiography, part account of the Trump presidency to be released Tuesday – NYT
Roger Stone faces arraignment Tuesday, won’t rule out agreement with special counsel – ABC News
AUDIBLE: THE POTUS CAUCUS
“There are so many Democrats running for president there might be a near majority for this idea on the Democratic caucus, just out of self-interest.” – Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., talking to Roll Call, about his proposed Senate rules changes that would make it harder for individual members to block lower-level presidential nominations.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, I wonder if you could expound on the ‘why’ the Democrats feel that the government should play such a large role in our individual lives? I can’t figure that out given that approach is so foreign to our history.” – Rick Randell, Bradenton, Fla.
[Ed. note: Well, I’d first have to say that an interventionist role for the federal government isn’t exactly foreign. From Franklin Roosevelt through Jimmy Carter, leaders in both parties embraced the idea of federal activism. The modern conservative movement was, in fact, substantially a response to the bipartisan consensus on the subject. Bill Clinton’s nomination in 1992 was the first serious repudiation of that worldview among Democrats, i.e. “the era of big government is over.” The nomination of Barack Obama was, in turn, a rejection of Clinton and his moderate triangulation.]
“Please help me on some civics. What is the Check and Balance to Federal Judges who want or write the law instead of interpret the law?” – Jim Hain, Omaha, Neb.
[Ed. note: Most of the checks on the judiciary come a priori. The courts have no way to raise revenues and no way to enforce their rulings and are entirely dependent on the other two branches. There are posteriori devices, too. A judge can be impeached or the other two branches can in various ways circumvent the judicial. But the Founders were absolutists when it came to the concept of an independent judiciary. Like John Adams said, “A government of laws and not of men.”]
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EXTREME COUCH SURFING
NY Post: “A couch has been stuck 30 feet high in an Upper West Side tree for days — baffling neighbors who have no clue how it got there. The freaky furniture was first spotted lodged in the branches of the tree, next to an apartment building on Amsterdam Avenue and West 95th Street in Manhattan, about a week ago, according to residents Monday. … But some neighbors said the gray wicker sofa may have blown off of a roof patio on a stormy day last week. … Retired scientist Richard Katz, 71, who lives a couple blocks away, wondered, ‘How did it get there?’ He shrugged and said, ‘Only in New York.’ He had walked by the levitating living room with his dog, Oreo, dozens of times without looking up and noticing, he said. A city forestry crew plans to move the furniture from the tree Tuesday, said Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for the city Parks Department.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Every once in a while, the Senate seems to remember that it belongs to a coequal branch.”– Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Aug. 3, 2017.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.