Everything That Is True...

...according to Mark Halperin


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The three most complicated relationships in life are mother-daughter, landlord-tenant, and Pelosi-Hoyer. 

If you want to hear about Joe Biden’s strengths, ask Jill; if you want to hear about his weaknesses, ask David Plouffe, David Axelrod, or Barack Obama. 

If you want a friend in Washington, become friends with Ken Duberstein. 

As Mark Twain said, everybody talks about Donald Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, but nobody does anything about it. Except Liz Cheney. 

You can’t know who will control the Senate after the midterms until you know who the Republicans will nominate in Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona. 



Boston is the best sports town. 

Los Angeles is the best food town. 

Chicago is the best walking town. 

Austin is the best lifestyle town. 

Washington is a city of Northern charm and Southern efficiency. 



The fastest way still to know what is making news is to listen to the CBS News radio hourly – despite (really because of) social media and cable TV.

The best way to understand the flows and ebbs of the legislative process is to follow Liam Donovan on Twitter; it is worth joining Twitter just for him.

Read everything David Sanger writes. 

The New York Post is America’s most indispensable newspaper. 

Regardless of your political leanings, read the Wall Street Journal editorial page always. 



“The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Mad Men” are not optional. 

“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” holds up over time; “Petticoat Junction” does not, like with “Cheers” (holds up) and “Entourage” (doesn’t). 

Reality shows are not a reflection of the decline of civilization — they are a primary cause. 

If you don’t have YouTube TV, you are doing it wrong. 

Watch some Ernie Kovacs; you will enjoy it, and you won’t believe how much David Letterman stole from him. 



The number of people in your life who care about your stories regarding bad customer service experiences, health problems, or travel delays is far, far lower than you think. 

Every food you don’t think would taste better after adding bacon tastes better after adding bacon. 

Make no important decisions when tired, angry, drunk, or after talking to a ghost. 

Repeatedly reach out to people in crisis, even if you don’t know them well. 

“Nothing tastes better than being thin feels” was said by a thin person. 


In all high-stakes Washington negotiations (as in mergers, divorce agreements, and inter-family Monopoly rule talks) the truest truism is “Nothing is decided until everything is decided.”

You might think, given the heavily-spun impact Team Biden-Harris-Klain-Pelosi-Schumer are having on the Dominant Media press coverage now that a deal on the reconciliation package is coming sooner than the Houston Astros elimination from the MLB playoffs (there’s a pro-Red Sox joke embedded in there….).

In fact, a TBHKPS pact with applicable committee chairs (which is roughly where we are now) does not mean the back bench will go for it, or the activist groups.

This Alice-in-Wonderland sentence from the New York Times tells you a lot of what you need to know:

[Biden] [a]ides said they expect Democratic lawmakers — progressives and moderates alike — and activists to embrace the compromise legislation once it passes.

So vote first, support later?

Despite lots of coverage of President Biden as closer-in-chief, these are some of the items still unresolved:

-- the macro spending number

-- the spending programs that fit it into that number

-- the tax increase mix

Just, like a few things.

The White House is doing what White Houses always do at times of crunch: Argue that the presidency itself is existentially on the line, with the legislative agenda, the Halloween deadline, the international summits, the Virginia gubernatorial contest, and the world watching all coming to a head in a matter of days.  And: Don’t Make the Perfect the Enemy of the Good.

Ball all those together, the thinking goes, and D lawmakers from the far left to the near left will make the policy and political compromises necessary for the good of the Democratic Family.

Also/but, check out these not-everything-is-decided tea leaves as big as the Ritz:

Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he hoped to speak with Ms. Sinema soon.

“I hope that we’re going to talk some of this through,” he said. “The rates that we came up with were not punitive, and they allow us to accomplish policy outcomes that many of us agree on.” (Wall Street Journal)

Editor’s note: SOON!


[W]hile the Biden administration and Senate Democratic leadership plan to work with both Sinema and Manchin, they now believe it would be more productive to seek a deal with Manchin, bring House and Senate progressives on board and then dare Sinema to block it. …

Democrats are struggling to figure out where Manchin will land on climate change provisions, paid leave and Medicare expansion….

[T]he problem with Sinema’s opposition to rate increases is that Democrats see hiking taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans as a political winner. So giving into Sinema over her opposition to corporate and individual rate hikes will be seen as giving away a potentially big political boost for the party. Furthermore, Biden wants a deal here by next week so we just find it hard to believe that Democrats are going to introduce new tax structures at this point. (Punchbowl)


Leaving a private caucus meeting Wednesday morning, some Democrats appeared most concerned about the prospect of limiting the duration of the expanded child tax credit to just one more year. Democrats had hoped to extend the monthly payments through 2024 or 2025.

“I think it’s a big mistake — one year extension is a big mistake,” Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut and a champion of the proposal, said Wednesday morning. “And I think it’s not good, not good for the country, what I will do is to continue to pressure for a new framework that’s more enduring for children and for families.” (New York Times)


Even Pelosi seemed irked with the cuts floated by Biden on paid leave and tuition-free community college, the trio report:

“News to me,” Pelosi said when asked about those programs being scaled back. “That’s not a decision.” (Politico)


We will always have SALT.


Sure, the White House can live with the Wall Street Journal ed board saying an alleged $2 trillion package is actually much bigger than that, but how do you think they adjudge the political peril deriving from this New York Times news story:

As Democrats in Congress debate how to pare back their big social spending bill — to a total budget increase of less than $2 trillion over a decade — they have even further to go than it may appear.

The Congressional Budget Office has said it is “unclear when” it will provide official estimates for the entire proposal written by the House last month. So we’ve turned to what several budget experts say are the best available estimates of the cost of everything in the bill, compiled by Don Schneider, an economist at Cornerstone Macro. The figures, detailed in the tables below, show that lawmakers’ starting point is far higher than the $3.5 trillion number they had used to describe the package initially.

All the new spending and new tax cuts and credits in the bill add up to closer to $4.7 trillion over a decade, the result of an ambitious agenda and some optimistic thinking about the pricetag.


Mr. Biden’s efforts have been hampered, some administration officials concede privately, by his own falling poll numbers, which slumped this summer as the United States suffered another wave of Covid-19 infections and deaths and the administration staged a chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. (New York Times)





If you believe Terry McAuliffe will take the blame for any loss in Virginia, rather than blaming Joe Biden’s approval ratings and Democratic dysfunction in DC, I have a war memorial to sell you.


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