And in the school, the children screamed....
I am so furious and wailingly despondent.
Primarily because of the slaughter of those beautiful children and the unfathomable anguish of their families.
But also because of the failure of the American government to address the epidemic of gun violence that is unique to this great nation.
And also because of the despicable display of partisan antics and posturing of the last two days.
Spend just a moment pondering which is worse: those aiming venomous verbal fire at the other side out of actual anger or those just play acting?
Those who block legal changes supported by about 80% of our fellow citizens or a political party so inept that, after a decade or so of such support, it still can’t leverage public opinion to get something significant passed into law?
Here you can listen to the proposal I made talking to Michael Smerconish Wednesday, urging President Biden to fly to the NRA meeting in Houston and ask 100 Senators and President Trump to join him in finding at least a partial solution.
Although it will test me this morning, I offer The Presumption of Grace to the following:
1. The Wall Street Journal editorial board, who wrote this sentence in the lead editorial:
We aren’t opposed to sensible gun regulation if it is politically possible and might prevent such killings.
“aren’t opposed”??!!? Really???? Precious children were killed; take a stand.
2. White House officials who apparently would rather spend time convincing Politico’s Jonathan Lemire that they shouldn’t be held accountable for causing or solving the dozen or so major crises facing the nation than, say, solving them:
The White House argues that it not only bears little responsibility for creating the confluence of crises but that it doesn’t necessarily have the tools to resolve them either.
3. Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke.
4. Mr. John Thomas, as quoted in Politico:
“The gun issue is a perennial issue that’s not going away, whether there’s a mass shooting or not,” said John Thomas, a Republican strategist working on House campaigns across the country. “And the folks that feel strongly on the right about the Second Amendment, while their heart clearly aches, they also are deeply concerned about their safety, their family’s safety, and the rhetoric of the left immediately jumping to their worst fear, which is seizing guns and gun control.
“It’s an issue,” he added, “that the base needs to be reassured and spoken to [about] — that they’re not going to get their guns taken away.”
5. Those who won’t take on the special interests and failed elected officials who consistently block or do nothing serious about school shootings or about systematic gun violence in America’s cities.
6. These two:
Ted Cruz @tedcruzHeidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde. We are in close contact with local officials, but the precise details are still unfolding. Thank you to heroic law enforcement & first responders for acting so swiftly.
7. The executives who make money working for this company, whose tweets are more protected than the little children of Uvalde. Precision.
8. Those who will kowtow to the NRA on Friday.
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While the rest of the media generally downplays the prospect of a bipartisan deal on gun safety in the Senate, you can read more bearish forecasts in Politico and Axios, although the clock ticks and, if past is prologue, some of the Republican Senators who claim to be open to new laws are likely not actually speaking in good faith.
1. The Washington Post’s “How much has Donald Trump’s influence waned?” piece takes the blue ribbon:
Donald Trump has long been the dominant force in Republican politics, but as he has faced a spate of setbacks in recent weeks — punctuated Tuesday night by the defeat of his favored gubernatorial candidate here in Georgia — the former president has been privately fretting about who might challenge him.
Trump has been quizzing advisers and visitors at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida about his budding rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, including his former vice president, Mike Pence, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Among his questions, according to several advisers, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations: Who will actually run against him? What do the polls show? Who are his potential foes meeting with?
He also had revived conversations about announcing a presidential exploratory committee to try to dissuade challengers, they say, even as some party officials and advisers continue to urge him to wait until after the midterm elections to announce that he’s running….
[P]rivately, his team increasingly expects Republican challengers — potentially including DeSantis, Pence, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, along with others — to come after him in 2024. Among his advisers’ biggest concerns, though, is that DeSantis, who has dominated chatter among Republican operatives and donors, takes Trump on.
“My guess is a lot of people run against him,” said Tony Fabrizio, his longtime pollster, if Trump announces he’s running.
That view is now widely held in Republican circles.
“I think there is a very real and growing sense — albeit in hushed tones, private conversations, and rarely publicly but more publicly now than ever before — of people saying maybe not that he’s a paper tiger, but that his power is greatly diminished,” one person close to him said. “Privately, no one around Trump — and when I say no one, I mean no one, other than the handful of people who wouldn’t have any professional existence without him — wants him to run again.”
Another Republican operative who recently met with Trump said it is now clear that Trump will have to compete to win the 2024 GOP nomination, for which the former president remains heavily favored.
“It isn’t going to be a clear field for him. There’s a lot of people who want to go against him,” the operative said. “If he runs, Pompeo, Pence and Chris Christie all will consider running against him. Who knows what DeSantis will do? These guys are out there working, they are hitting every donor they can find, they want to run.”
2. And/but Jeff Greenfield:
If the question is whether Trump maintains all but total power over his party’s choices of candidates, the answer is “no.” In some cases, at least, his endorsements have not and will not carry the day. But if the question is whether the Republican Party has succumbed almost wholly to Trump’s canard that he was robbed of his presidency, and whether they are determined to ensure a different outcome to the next presidential election, the answer is a clear and compelling “yes.”
3. Politico speaks truth to power:
When Janet Yellen was tapped to join the Biden administration as Treasury secretary, she came with celebrity status — one of the world’s preeminent economists and the first woman to have led the Federal Reserve.
More than a year later, as Democrats are grappling with decades-high inflation, stock market turmoil and rising recession fears, Yellen is rarely on center stage. She has surprised supporters by wielding less influence in the West Wing than her recent predecessors did in the job, which is often considered an administration’s chief economic policymaking post, say people familiar with the matter.
4. Washington Post:
High inflation is expected to persist for the rest of the year, saddling Americans with higher costs as price hikes continue, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.
The nonpartisan budget office estimated that key measures of inflation will show signs of easing this year relative to last year, but will remain uncomfortably high as demand continues to outstrip supply, putting upward pressure on prices.