Trump’s political calculus on Moore

Social media’s reeling over Alabamans support for Roy Moore increased with a firm endorsement from President Donald J. Trump. Mr Moore’s bid to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct with teen-aged girls almost four decades ago. The detailed analysis driven by in-depth reporting by The Washington Post should have thrown Mr Moore into the woodshed for a classic Alabama woodshed whooping, but recent polling, some of it questionable according to Politico, has Mr Moore still in the race.

This is after all the South, and Southerners have been showing a propensity to turn the eyeballs away from bad behavior if it means voting in a candidate that promotes good Christian values, such as keeping a replica of stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed in your courtroom.

Mr Trump doesn’t have room to spare in the Senate where a couple moderate leaning types have shown some gumption for stirring up the legislative pot especially on health care and tax law reform. He will need as many reliable, steady Republican senators as he can get.

Also, a win here would send a signal that for all the reports that Mr Trump has lost some of his base, Mr Trump will have significant support going into the 2019-2020 campaign season.

A Moore win should also send a signal to the Democrats. Special counsel investigations and congressional hearings on Russia may not be enough to derail Mr Trump’s agenda much less get him out of office in 2020. They will still have to knock on doors in flyover country, an initiative that I have yet to sense any enthusiasm for from progressives.



Charlie Rose and the politics of pussy grabbing

I have been hearing the theme song from “Charlie Rose” playing around in my head since yesterday’s announcement that Mr Rose had been accused of sexually harassing women, some of whom actually worked for Mr Rose’s production company. The announcement caught many off guard given the genteel persona that Mr Rose exhibits during his show where he interviews high-profile figures including heads of state, writers, actors, and the occasional activist.

I was one of those that grimaced upon hearing the news. “Really? No way, man.” But pushing back a minute I had to say to myself, “Well. Why not him?” Mr Rose, given his decades as a journalist, is a powerful figure. A man whose brand is distributed by Bloomberg, PBS, and CBS has garnered considerable leverage over the years. One bad world from him could end a career before it even started.  He made a number of his employees feel apprehensive, trapped, and violated. His actions paint a textbook case for on the job harassment.

What is being downplayed is the increase in women coming forward with claims of sexual harassment by men. I saw a comment on Facebook posing the question, “Why now and why so many?” I believe there is a political motive behind what appears to be a recent rise in allegations, an emerging wave that started back on 8 November 2016. I believe what we are seeing here is a messaging campaign from the left that is now back firing.

Donald Trump’s crass attitude about women was put on display during the last election cycle when he was seen and heard on a video describing his “Grab ’em by the pussy” approach to women. This and other displays of perceived insensitivity to race and gender makes Mr Trump public enemy number one to progressives who have been calling for his impeachment before he even took the oath of office.

How then to get rid of him? In politics, the number one weapon is persuasion and I believe that the messaging machine is using sexual harassment as both fuel and output to paint a picture that America’s unsafe environment for women is the result of the man the Electoral College put in office in December 2016.

The messaging started with the protest marches in major cities with women’s issues including gender bias and harassment at the core. They then elevated to women coming forward and calling out powerful men for their low-brow deeds.

Unfortunately for the progressives, their messaging is causing collateral damage. They did not expect Hollywood to take a hit, the very same Hollywood that has been at the forefront criticizing the President for insensitive policies towards women, immigrants, blacks, and gays. They did not expect that the cancer of harassment was lurking behind their very walls where studio owners and producers would be called on the red carpet for their inappropriate sexual behavior.

Mr Rose’s behavior was no secret based on the accounts in The Washington Post, whose account of Mr Rose’s misgivings is very detailed and well investigated. Definitely not a hit piece written overnight which should be expected since The Post ended up exposing one of their own.

I think there will be more collateral damage. The accusations will not stop. The ultimate collateral damage will be incurred by progressives who thought that only old, fat white men who vote Republican would take the heat.

Manafort and the bond market.

The Wall Street Journal today reported that investors did a little flight to safety moving money from equities into the bond markets as a result of today’s federal indictment of Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for President Donald J. Trump. The increased demand drove up bond prices while sending bond yields down.

According to The Journal, yields fell to 2.374% from 2.426% for the ten-year Treasury note. Investors believe that the indictment will divert Mr Trump and Congress’ attention from tax reform and other economic growth initiatives. As the investigation continues and hearings for Mr Manafort get on the way, investors probably believe that the Administration will be in denial and prevent mode between now and mid-terms.

I believe that this indictment alone should not engender this type of fear and that by tomorrow it may pass.

My more experienced litigation posse may confirm this, but you are supposed to make your strongest argument up front, and if your argument is that there was complicity between the Trump campaign and Russia but your indictment of the campaign manager doesn’t even include the word, “Russia”, something is wrong.

Maybe Shonda Rhimes wrote this indictment or is running this investigation. Maybe she wants Mueller to do a Perry Mason and build up to a dramatic finish at the end.

So far, however, failure to properly vet a campaign manager is not an impeachable offense although one could raise questions about the judgment of Mr Trump.

Maybe there is a surprise ending being written in this script, details forthcoming. In the meantime, I don’t see the Trump administration being overly distracted by this indictment. I expect them, however, to create a few more of their own as their inside the Beltway experience grows.