Some people, including most journalists, work better under deadline pressure. Other people freeze up under pressure and can’t make a decision. In the next month we will find out which group the Republicans in the Senate fit into.

The first deadline is Dec. 8, when the government supposedly runs out of money and shuts down without the approval to borrow more money. This has continued to the point of absurdity. It would seem the idea was that if Congress had to authorize new borrowing that it might encourage Congress to reduce spending. If that was the idea it hasn’t worked.

For the last couple of decades, it has just meant that Congress would fight and argue for a few weeks and then vote to borrow more money because Congress cannot get its spending under control. So, by Dec. 8, Congress has to vote to borrow more money and it would be highly embarrassing for the Republicans if they shut down the government because they can’t agree among themselves.

It might actually result in some sanity being infused into the entire system where Congress would stop spending so much money. It’s one of those cases where most sane people agree that Congress cannot continue to spend as much as a trillion dollars more than it has in revenue each year forever, but nobody seems to have the will to make significant reductions or, for that matter, even insignificant reductions.

The very best that Congress seems to be able to achieve, and this is only after huge battles, is to slow the rate of increase slightly, and that never holds.

The federal government didn’t get to a $4 trillion plus budget overnight. It simply keeps adding programs and those programs keep growing because the people in charge of the programs want them to grow. The more the programs grow, the more power the people in charge of them have. So they continue to grow.

There is no chance of significant reform before Dec. 8, which seems to be the way it always works out. Congress puts itself in a box where the only two choices are to borrow more money or theoretically shut down the government.

Although the government doesn’t really shut down, it does give the news media an opportunity to find people who are at the very least inconvenienced by the supposed shutdown. If the government is “shut down,” the media will be chock full of stories of federal employees who can’t buy food for their children because their paychecks are a couple of days late. In this case there is no doubt about who will be blamed because the Republicans control everything.

Once the Republicans make it through the shutdown then they are supposed to pass major tax reform legislation. It appears that right now there may be the votes to pass some tax reform legislation, but there are a number of Republicans in the Senate who seem to believe that they can’t simply pass a bill that is better than the current system but have to pass a bill that is better in exactly the way they think that it should be better.

Very little legislation would get passed if everyone who voted for it had to agree with everything in the bill. Politics is all about compromise, but some Republicans appear to have spent so many years thinking of reasons to vote against legislation that they can’t shift to thinking of reasons to vote for legislation.

Tax reform is supposed to pass before the Christmas break. Who knows, maybe it will turn out that the US Senate is really good at cramming for exams and it will all get worked out before the end of the month.

If the Republicans haven’t passed tax reform, they should have to spend Christmas in Washington getting their work done.


According to so-called independent nonpartisan analysis, the Republican tax reform plan will result in even larger deficits. No doubt according to their figures they are entirely correct. It reminds me of a saying by a philosopher whose name I have forgotten: “You are correct from your point of view, but your point of view is wrong.”

The same predictions were made about the tax reforms made by Republicans in North Carolina and those predictions were proven to be entirely wrong. The tax reform in North Carolina has resulted in huge surpluses for the state. It seems that the same type of reform on the national level would result in the same increase in economic activity, which would bring in more money not less.

According to The New York Times, the Congressional Budget Office is completely nonpartisan, which makes me think that the CBO is not the least bit nonpartisan because if it were truly nonpartisan The New York Times would think that it had a conservative slant. The New York Times thinks that The New York Times is nonpartisan, and nothing could be further from the truth.


More evidence that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to be sent home is his reaction to the allegations of sexual improprieties against Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic Sen. Al Franken.

When McConnell was told of the allegations made against Moore, McConnell said, “I believe the woman, yes.” And he said that Moore should step down. In the case of Franken, McConnell didn’t say that he believed the woman but that there needed to be an investigation.

Of course, the two situations are somewhat different. In the case of Moore, the allegations are 40 years old and the accuser has been quiet about them for 40 years. In the case of Franken, there is at least one photograph supporting the claim that he behaved improperly. Perhaps McConnell wants the photograph investigated to make certain it wasn’t Photoshopped and planted by the Russians.

McConnell did everything in his power to keep Moore from winning the Republican primary, and everything in his power means spending millions of dollars. It would seem likely that McConnell was also behind getting President Donald John Trump to endorse Sen. Luther Strange in the primary. Now McConnell has found another way to attack Moore, who has strong conservative political beliefs that McConnell appears to hate more than strong liberal political beliefs. Of course, in McConnell’s perfect world, everyone would be like him and have no political beliefs other than the belief that McConnell should be in power and be reelected.

So what has McConnell done as majority leader? He got Neil Gorsuch approved for appointment to the Supreme Court, and that was a very big deal. But otherwise he hasn’t done much of anything and he freely admitted it isn’t his goal to do anything other than get like-minded senators – in this case that would seem to be senators who don’t want to do anything – elected in 2018 so that Republicans can keep the majority. Theoretically that would mean going forward, after the 2018 election, the Republican-controlled Senate could continue to hold up every significant piece of legislation passed by the House for at least another two years.

McConnell may have been in Washington for too long, or maybe he was never very bright, but he doesn’t seem to understand that being in the majority is not a goal in itself. You are supposed to want to win the majority so that you can accomplish some legislative goals. It would appear that McConnell wants to stay in the majority because he gets a bigger office and a larger staff.

But McConnell stated, all on his own, that as majority leader his goal was to keep the majority. It appeared that he was being completely honest, and he put his finger on exactly what is wrong with Washington, or one of the big problems; there are so many it’s hard to keep track. But the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats have one goal when they get to Washington and that is to get elected to another term. All the things they talked about during the campaign fall to the wayside and their one goal is to raise enough money to get reelected. Many of them see it as purely a money issue. They forget all about the people back home or even that there are people back home.

You might think that former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would have been a lesson – and if he wasn’t a lesson, that Trump would have been – that people are sick and tired of Washington.

Cantor was the Republican majority leader in line to be speaker. The people back home were supposed to be so impressed with what a great man Cantor was that they would fall all over themselves to vote for him – even though not only did he not bother to come home to see his constituents, he didn’t even bother to campaign much. He was supposed to win because he was one of the most important men in Washington and could raise millions of dollars all over the country.

But in 2014, Cantor lost in the Republican primary to David Brat, who had little money or political experience.

Then Speaker John Boehner had already made plans to step aside and let Cantor take over as speaker, but Boehner, Cantor and the rest of the Republican leadership made a serious miscalculation: They forgot all about the voters.

McConnell is in the same boat from a political standpoint. He wants Republican candidates nominated who don’t stand for anything. He wants people who will come to Washington and become a part of Washington, not come to Washington and represent the people who sent them there.

It’s going to be a battle royal in the Republican primaries next year when the Washington folks go up against the home folks. It looks like in this case the home folks are going to be able to raise money – probably not as much as McConnell and his buddies, but enough to be in the race.

And the home folks are going to have Steve Bannon on their side, which is huge.


There is more and more evidence that the battle in Washington is not between Democrats and Republicans, but between Washingtonians and the rest of the country. There is a reason why some of the wealthiest counties in the country are the counties adjacent to Washington, DC.

Washington takes an enormous amount of money from the country and then spends an enormous amount more. If you haven’t noticed, the Republicans have not made any move toward reducing spending. The debt ceiling is over $20 trillion and is going to have to be raised again because the Republicans are spending money just as fast as the Obama Democrats.

The only hope in 2018 is to elect a sizable number of people who want to go to Washington, not to become part of the establishment but to tear the establishment down.

It won’t be easy. The case of Moore in Alabama is nothing if not an example of how far the Washington insiders are willing to go to eliminate the threat from the outside.

Nobody who has looked into Moore’s background would think that he will become a Washington insider. Moore is a bomb thrower, and if he wins a seat in the US Senate, McConnell and his cabal can expect Moore to be throwing just as many bombs at them as at the Democrats. In fact, considering what McConnell has tried to do to him, Moore will be more likely to cause problems for McConnell and company than for the Democrats.


Trump was sued by the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Leandra English, because she said that she was the interim director, not Mick Mulvaney, appointed by Trump.

It is Washington fighting back with everything it has against Trump.

The idea is that, before he resigned, director Richard Cordray, who was appointed by Obama, got to choose his own interim director and the president of the United States has no say in the matter.

In other words, the fact that Obama’s chosen successor, Hillary Clinton, lost shouldn’t make any difference because the Obama chain of command should continue. The appointment of the successor shouldn’t go to the person who won the election because Trump wasn’t supposed to win.

Only in the topsy-turvy world of the swamp would something like this even be considered. But fortunately the federal judge found the idea that the president didn’t have the authority to appoint an interim director as silly as it sounds.

People in the financial industry applauded when Cordray resigned because the agency has been so overbearing in creating and enforcing regulations on financial institutions.

It appears that Trump has prevailed, but the idea that his authority to appoint interim director would face a legal challenge is absurd.


When Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller was appointed, by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, it was one Washington insider looking out for another.

Mueller, because he had served under both Democrats and Republicans, was supposed to have been nonpartisan – and in a way he is. Like Rosenstein and a host of other folks in Washington, their loyalty is not to a political party but to Washington, better known as the swamp.

Mueller made some really bad calls as director of the FBI. It has been all but forgotten by most, but right after Sept. 11, 2001, there were anthrax attacks that caused five deaths and shut down the US Capitol Building.

Mueller was in charge of the investigation and picked the wrong man as the killer. He completely misread the evidence and went with the suspect Steven Hatfill, even though the evidence pointed in a different direction.

Hatfill was a scientist who had never handled anthrax and eventually got a multimillion dollar settlement against the federal government. But Mueller put Hatfill through hell, all the time ignoring the scientist who was responsible and who committed suicide when the investigators finally got close.

The evidence against Hatfill consisted mainly of a couple of dogs with a dubious past. The dogs reportedly “alerted” on Hatfill, but cases where these dogs had alerted on others had been thrown out of court. The idea that this huge investigation would come down to a couple of dogs who had proven unreliable in past investigations says a lot about what a great investigator Mueller is. In this case he was the kind of investigator who didn’t let the facts interfere with his theory, which turned out to be completely wrong.

Only in government could someone manage to mishandle a major investigation so completely and somehow win praise for it.


Joe Scarborough, better known as Morning Joe, needed to watch L.A. Story, where Steve Martin’s character, the wacky weatherman, records the weekend weather in advance and it gets him fired. It’s not usually a good idea to record a news show in advance, even the week of Thanksgiving where not much happens politically.

There is nothing wrong with pre-recording a show as long as you are honest about it. But to record a news-based show on Wednesday to run on Friday is asking for trouble.


New home sales reached its highest level in 10 years. The number of houses sold where construction hadn’t started reached its highest level since 2007 – an indication of consumer confidence.

It’s taken a lot longer than anyone imagined, but it does appear the recession that began in 2008 has finally ended.


I don’t know Charlie Rose. I have never met him or talked to him. I did call him once but he never called me back. However, I did know his father, who was a fine man.

I don’t know Charlie Rose, but I do know how old he is, and being close to that age myself, I have some idea of what he looks like without his clothes on. I’m not sure it’s sexual harassment for a 70-something-year-old man to be walking around in front of 20-something women without the benefit of clothes. I think it simply falls into the harassment category.

I’m not as old as Rose and in pretty good shape for someone my age, but, my gosh, when I catch sight of myself in bathroom mirror stepping out of the shower, I’m a little horrified. In my head, I’m still an 18-year-old swimmer, but whoever that was left the building long ago and in his place is this wrinkled old bald guy with a paunch.

Charlie Rose shouldn’t be subjecting people he doesn’t know well, male or female, to view his naked body. In fact, I think they should have to sign some kind of release, stating that they fully understand what they are about to see, before they have to look at his old wrinkled torso.

Everyone seems to agree that Harvey Weinstein was a real jerk. But what is it with these old men that they want to parade around naked in front of young women?