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If I’d approached you 2 weeks ago and told you that Judge Kavanaugh would be confirmed and that he owed it to a fiery speech by Lindsey Graham and a powerful speech by Susan Collins, I’m betting that I would’ve won lots of bets.

The truth is that people are figuring out that Republicans have developed a spine at just the right time. What we do with that newly-detected spine is up to us. And by us, I’m talking about the full spectrum of Republicans. Or, to steal Lindsey Graham’s newly-coined phrase, the past 2 weeks have brought together Trump Republicans, Bush Republicans, Romney Republicans, McCain Republicans, Libertarians and vegetarians.

Think about this:

Watching the Republican Party come together – and seeing senators who have personified the weakness of the GOP stand up for what’s right – has been a revelation. If you had told me last month I would be praising Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Collins, I would have thought you were crazy. Yet here we are and all three have been beacons during this fight, and delivered when under extraordinary pressure.

Watching Sen. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, sulk into an elevator, refusing to stand up to partisan hecklers, was dispiriting. But Collins’ speech Friday was an inspiring reminder of what the Senate is supposed to embody, a place where lawmakers give a thoughtful and reasoned presentation of the facts before us, in this case regarding Judge Kavanaugh.

Then there’s this:

Collins’ speech was important and valuable. And for those of us who support President Trump and have been extremely critical of the GOP establishment, it was a reminder of what we can accomplish working together. President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were very active calling senators urging them to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination, which likely made a big difference.

President Trump, working with his original supporters and establishment Republicans, have made a significant ‘down-payment’ on making America great again. Imagine if we held onto our House and Senate majorities, then started working together to accomplish the rest of President Trump’s agenda.

Let’s understand that these midterms aren’t just about continuing President Trump’s agenda. I want that to happen but that isn’t why these midterms are so important. They’re important because Democrats have gone off the deep end. When they send 3,000 coat-hangers to Sen. Collins’ office, that’s proof that Democrats have totally lost their minds. That debate is finished.

It’s time for Republicans to provide leadership. It’s safe to say that Democrats can’t provide any leadership. Finally, does anyone seriously think that Nancy Pelosi will produce better results than what we’re getting right now? I don’t.

After President Trump tweeted that he’s willing to shut down the government over funding for his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he’s optimistic they “can avoid a government shutdown.” A senior Republican aide said “We’ve got the whole month of August dedicated to appropriations. This notion that we’re going to shut down the government — everyone needs to dial down the panic button a couple notches.”

That leads me to this question: will Republicans finish the major funding bills on time, then force Democrats to either vote for funding the wall or shutting the government down? The truth is that Republicans might paint the Democrats into a corner by passing the vast majority of appropriations bills on time. The NDAA is heading to President Trump’s desk, which funds the military. Since Congress is passing individual appropriations bills rather than a CR that funds the entire government, the MSM and the Democrats (pardon the repetition) will find it virtually impossible to succeed in accusing Republicans of shutting down government.

Further, the part of the government that is actually shut down is the Department of Homeland Security. Do Democrats really want to tell swing-district voters that they don’t want to build the wall? That might work in some of the most liberal districts but it can’t help them in the Rust Belt, the Midwest or Great Lakes states where they’re fighting to recapture governorships and/or hold onto precarious Senate seats. Further, if Democrats vote against funding the wall, won’t that essentially kill their opportunity to flip the Arizona and Nevada Senate seats?

“We’ll finish up the set of appropriations measures we’ve been considering for several days and take four more big steps toward our goal of completing a regular appropriations process and funding the government in a timely and orderly manner,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

President Obama loved getting Republicans into an all-or-nothing position because he had the biggest megaphone. Republicans now have that super-sized megaphone. It’s worth noting that President Trump is on the right side of the border wall issue. Whether Republicans realize it or not, most Rust Belt/Corn Belt states prefer keeping the gangs, drug cartels and human traffickers out of their states.

If Democrats want to bet that they’re on the right side of that issue, let ’em try. Ultimately, I’m betting that there’s more people who want to stop MS-13 and keep the economy running strong than there are people who prefer open borders, rampant crime and a return to the Obama economy.

If Republicans can campaign on getting their appropriations done on time, that will tell voters that, despite a bumpy start, Republicans are getting the nation’s work done on time. That’s a net positive for both the House and Senate. Couple that with the Senate confirming another Supreme Court justice and the House getting started on Tax Cuts 2.0 and you’ve got a pretty nice list of accomplishments to run on.

If funding the wall is the only thing left on the agenda, that’d put Democrats in a sticky position. That’s a position red state Democrat senators don’t want to find themselves in.

When then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to abolish the filibuster on judicial nominees and presidential appointments in 2013, people told him that his tactic would have adverse affects in years to come. Chief among those critics was Mitch McConnell, the current Senate Majority Leader.

Last year, Democrat special interest organizations ordered Democrats to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. When Democrats complied, Sen. McConnell predictably replied by dropping the nuclear option on the Democrats. This summer, when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, those same Democrat special interest organizations have ordered Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to keep all Democrats together in voting against President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Kennedy. (Apparently, the idiots who ordered the first mistake haven’t learned that it’s foolish to double down on that mistake.)

This article highlights just how foolish Democrats are. Because these special interest organizations insisted on resisting President Trump the last time, they don’t have a chance this time. It must’ve killed Carl Hulse to write this:

The actions of a handful of Senate Democrats struggling to hold their seats in red states where Mr. Trump remains popular — notably Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — will have broad implications for the party at a critical political juncture.

That’s just the start of the list. After this week, you’d better add Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill and Bill Nelson to the list, too. If Tim Kaine votes against President Trump’s latest nominee, it’ll be difficult for him to defend himself because he will have voted against both of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.

That’s what happens when politicians listen to lunatics like this activist:

Republicans should thank Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and President Trump for the difficult position Democrats are in right now.

Senate Democrats insisting on obstructing President Trump’s agenda got a shot across their bow this afternoon from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled. Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.”

Democrats have insisted on using every trick in their book to obstruct President Trump’s nominations to cabinet positions, Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges. They haven’t stopped using those tactics because they’ve never paid a price for their obstruction.

This afternoon, that changed. This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he’s cancelling the Senate’s August recess. That means 10 vulnerable Democrats will lose time to campaign in their home states while their opponents campaign and fundraise.

Sherrod Brown, are you feeling better today than a month ago? While Jim Renacci is campaigning throughout the state during August, you get to slog through appropriation bills and judicial confirmation votes. Trump won Ohio by 400,000+ votes in 2016. I’m pretty certain his voters will turn out, especially after you voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Good luck this November.

Bob Casey, are you feeling better today than a month ago? You, too, voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Now, you won’t have as much time to campaign as you’d anticipated. Good luck in November.

Jon Tester, how’s that long flight back to Montana? You thought you’d have the month of August to campaign. You really needed it after making those baseless accusations about Ronny Jackson. Instead of campaign in August, you’ll be spending your time in DC wading through appropriations bills and confirming Trump’s judicial nominees. Good luck in November.

Mitch is playing this properly. If Democrats want to play hardball, let them lose some Senate seats as a result.

This election cycle, Mitch McConnell hasn’t been a profile in optimism. Apparently, that’s changing. In a recent interview, McConnell expressed optimism about Sherrod Brown’s Ohio senate seat. (Perhaps he got a copy of Salena Zito’s great new book and realized that there’s a realignment happening?)

Sen. McConnell told the Hill “I saw a survey within the last week in Ohio indicating that race is very competitive. I would certainly add Ohio to the list.” A source in Ohio added “Within the past week a number of Republicans have been talking about it behind the scenes. The survey has given Republicans reason for hope. It’s internal polling.”

Anytime that a source cites internal polling, that’s a legitimate reason for skepticism. Still, Jim Renacci is a top-tier candidate who just received President Trump’s endorsement. Those can’t be ignored whatsoever. The other thing that’s impossible to ignore is the fact that President Trump won Ohio by a pretty healthy margin:

These aren’t signs that indicate an easy race for Sen. Brown. Rather, as I’ve argued, I think it points to a legitimate pickup opportunity for Republicans. Sen. Brown is essentially a socialist. He voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Renacci voted for them. Brown is a climate change true believer that supported President Obama’s anti-coal regulations.

What part of that sounds like a good match with today’s Ohio?

McConnell’s growing confidence about the midterm election is fueled by what he says is the most productive record by a “right-of-center” Congress in more than 30 years. “I’m now in my third decade in the Senate. This has been the best period, the best period right-of-center over the last 17 months, in the time that I’ve been here. It’s been a period of extraordinary accomplishment,” he said.

“We think we have made a very significant difference for the country in measurable ways,” McConnell added. “Conveying that to the voters in places that we have Senate races is going to be a big part of being competitive.” McConnell said he wants Trump to do more to talk up the Congress’s accomplishments, something GOP senators requested of the president during a recent meeting on Capitol Hill. “I’d like the president to talk about it more often and I believe he will going into the fall campaign,” he said.

Trump rattling off Republicans’ accomplishments won’t just help GOP senate candidates. It’ll help push House Republicans across the finish line, too.

I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating. There’s lots of reasons to be bullish on Republicans in 2018. It won’t be a great year in the House in terms of gaining seats but it’s a far cry from the Democrats’ Blue Wave. Here’s what I see happening to the House Democrats’ Blue Wave in 2018:

When it comes to political wisdom, Lindsey Graham isn’t too bright. The NYTimes is quoting Sen. Graham as saying that “The president’s going to have a vote on his concept. I don’t think it will get 60 votes. The bottom line then is: What do you do next? You can do what we’ve done for the last 35 years — blame each other. Or you can actually start fixing the broken immigration system. If you came out of this with strong border security — the president getting his wall and the Dream Act population being taken care of, most Americans would applaud.”

Sen. Graham isn’t too bright if he thinks he’s on the winning side in this fight. Americans want a DACA fix as long as it comes with the wall and an end to chain migration. Each of those issues have approval ratings of 70%. If Sen. Graham thinks that President Trump is on the losing end of that fight, he isn’t too bright.

The American people understand that bad bipartisan deals are really just bad deals. They’ve seen DC pass bipartisan deals for years while things got worse. They’re upset with elitists in both parties. They’re demanding that these elitists do something different this time. It’s a revolutionary concept but it’s worked in the past. It’s called listening to the people. Don’t tell us that the things that the American people want done in their name is complicated.

It’s only complicated trying to explain why politicians ignored the will of the people. Then it gets real complicated — for the politician. That’s their problem.

Meanwhile, politicians in the “Common Sense Coalition” who are up for election this year better prepare to get their comeuppance in November. Watch Sen. Schumer’s speech, then ask yourself whether he’s bothered to listen to the American people:

After watching that speech, I’m left wondering whether Sen. Schumer thinks the American people are simply an inconvenient afterthought. Lost in his political spin is whether the bill the Common Sense Coalition is putting together is something that the American people would reject. Also lost in Sen. Schumer’s spin is whether the Common Sense Coalition’s bill would fix anything or whether it would just be another bipartisan bill that doesn’t do what the American people expect it to do.

Thanks to President Trump’s populism and his commitment to the American people, Democrats and wayward Republicans are finding out that resisting the American people isn’t a great way to earn a living in politics. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech summed things up perfectly:

My Democratic colleagues have spent months demanding the Senate take up this issue. They even shut down the government, unnecessarily, I might add, in order to secure this very week of debate. But now that the time has come to make law instead of just making points, they’re stalling.

Why? Why, after months and months spent demanding that the Senate take up this issue, do they now object to even starting the debate? Because they know, no matter how long they spend in closed-door negotiations, they can’t change the fact that the president has spelled out a fair and generous framework that will be necessary to earn his signature. They cannot take ‘yes’ for an answer. So, instead of moving to fulfill their promises and address the DACA issue, they haven’t even allowed the debate to begin.

It’s clear that Sen. McConnell listened to the people. He’s kept his promise. When he kept that promise, Democrats shut down debate. That’s the indisputable fact.

If Democrats want to face the American people after shutting down the government so they could debate immigration policies, then shut down debate when Sen. McConnell scheduled a week of debate on immigration/DACA, that’s their option. They shouldn’t be surprised if the people, including DACA activists, take brickbats after them when Democrats campaign on immigration/DACA.

Finally, I’d put together ads for each of the members of the Common Sense Coalition that starts with Republicans wanting to fix DACA and border security, then transitions into a frame where the narrator asks these immigration liberals which side of their mouth they want to talk out of.

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Sen. Schumer’s second shutdown is puzzling at best. Debate was supposed to start Tuesday on immigration reform. Sen. McConnell promised unlimited debate on the topic. Before the debate began, though, Sen. Schumer used the unanimous consent rule to prevent the debate from starting. Sen. Schumer, the senator that shut down the government to force a debate on DACA 2 weeks ago, has now shut down debate on DACA.

Sen. Schumer got his nose out of joint when Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA), introduced an amendment “that would withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from federal law enforcement.” Sen. Schumer complained, saying the amendment “does absolutely nothing to address DACA, does absolutely nothing to address border security.”

Sen. McConnell agreed to a debate on immigration reform. He didn’t limit the debate to DACA. If Sen. Schumer doesn’t like that, tough. It’s time for Sen. Schumer to pull his big boy britches up. Acting like a whiny wimp because he didn’t get his way is what wimps do. If that’s the first reaction of a US senator, then it’s time to stop referring to Senate Democrats as being part of the world’s greatest deliberative body. It’s time to start thinking of them as crybabies.

Chuck Grassley’s speech puts things into proper perspective:

Why wouldn’t Sen. Schumer not welcome this debate? If he thinks that stripping funding from sanctuary cities is that unpopular, he should welcome that debate. Instead, Sen. Schumer apparently prefers protecting his vulnerable members from debating an issue that the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with.

Yet if the debate’s slow start is dispiriting for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives could depend on its outcome, it’s not particularly surprising. “If you didn’t go into this debate realizing something like this was going to happen, you weren’t paying attention,” said Jim Manley, a veteran Senate aide who worked for Edward Kennedy and then for Harry Reid when the latter man served as majority leader. “I defy you to find worse debates in recent history than those over immigration. They are ugly, bloody debates chock-full of highly partisan social issues that seek only to divide and don’t bring anyone together.”

This isn’t about DACA recipients. It’s about Democrats playing political games. They don’t like it that President Trump and Sen. McConnell have called their bluff. Thanks to changing the dynamics of the debate, Republicans have put the Democrats in a difficult position to defend.

By opening up debate on all immigration-related matters, Sen. McConnell has put the Democrats into a position where they’ll have to debate all immigration-related issues. That’s the last thing that Sen. Schumer wants. Frankly, this should frighten vulnerable Democrats from red states.

Sen. McConnell couldn’t put Democrats in this pickle, though, without President Trump’s steadfast support:

But if the Democrats want to make a deal, it’s really up to them, because we want really tremendous border security, but we have to have Democrat support for DACA, and they are starting that process today. We didn’t want to have it in the big budget, because if we have it in the big budget, it’s going to get mixed up with all of the other things.

So now we have our military taken care of, and now we start very serious DACA talks today. And we are — I can tell you, speaking for the Republican Party, we would love to do DACA. We would love to get it done. We want border security and the other elements that you know about. Chain migration, you know about. The visa lottery, you know about. But we think there’s a good chance of getting DACA done if the Democrats are serious and they actually want to do it.

But they didn’t want tax cuts. They fought — we didn’t get one vote for massive tax cuts that have turned out to be unbelievably popular. And what came up — which was even a surprise to us — were, the big companies stepped up, and millions and millions of people have gotten tremendous bonuses. Nobody knew that was going to happen. That was a — that was just the beginning point.

The Democrats say that they want a DACA fix. If that’s true, it’s time they stepped up and provided votes to fix the problem permanently. If Democrats hide behind Sen. Schumer’s skirt, that’s their problem.

Democrats will be known for participating in Sen. Schumer’s second shutdown.

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Last Monday, Sen. Chuck Schumer had a day from hell. I don’t feel sorry for him. He deserved everything he got — and then some. This week has the potential for being worse for Sen. Schumer. Bill McGurn’s column lays out Sen. Schumer’s nightmare scenario, saying “What if Mr. Trump looked up at the gallery full of Dreamers during his address and said, ‘I have offered a good-faith compromise that would not only resolve your place in America but open to you the precious gift of American citizenship. All I ask is that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi meet me halfway?'”

Clearly, Democrats prefer having the issue so they can beat Republicans with it. They don’t want a solution, partially for campaign purposes, partially to keep the steady stream of new voters flowing in. Democrats need those new voters because they’re alienating blue collar workers seemingly on a daily basis. (That’s why Ms. Pelosi’s dream of being speaker again is a pipe dream.)

Mr. McGurn introduced another irony into the column by saying “But if Mr. Schumer allows the Democratic zeal for resistance to take the form of rejecting every Trump offer for compromise, Mr. Schumer may well pull off another miracle by making Donald Trump look like the reasonable one in Washington. … Alas for poor Mr. Schumer, his tragedy is to have reached the top at precisely the worst moment, caught between a Republican president who can’t stop demeaning him and a Democratic Party that seems determined to ensure he remains a minority leader.”

Let’s be clear. President Trump has painted Sen. Schumer into a corner strategically. If Sen. Schumer makes a deal with President Trump on immigration, the division within the Democratic Party will grow. If Sen. Schumer doesn’t make a deal with President Trump on immigration, Sen. Schumer will look like an obstructionist. It likely also means Sen. Schumer will be the minority leader through at least 2024.

Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor today to tout President Trump’s accomplishments:

Yesterday, Democrats started hinting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as a result of the budget agreement that ended the shutdown. After the Democrats’ whisper campaign started, Sen. McConnell took to the Senate floor to talk about the booming Trump economy, saying “The rising tide of economic optimism I have been highlighting on the floor is not showing any signs of subsiding. Yesterday alone, three of the nation’s largest companies announced major new investments in the U.S. economy and workforce. Each said their decisions were made possible by the improved business climate created by the landmark tax code overhaul that Congress passed last year.”

Sen. McConnell continued, saying “First, Verizon announced plans to invest a chunk of its tax reform savings right back in its employees. Next month, about 155,000 Verizon workers – excluding senior management – will receive stock bonuses valued around $2,500.” Then Sen. McConnell said “the Walt Disney Company announced a new investment of at least $175 million in its U.S. workforce. Over 125,000 employees will receive cash bonuses, and Disney will invest $50 million in an employee education program designed to help hourly employees access higher education and vocational training.” Next, Sen. McConnell said “JP Morgan Chase announced a $20 billion-dollar, five-year comprehensive investment plan to support economic growth and American workers. That plan includes permanent raises for 22,000 employees, hundreds of new bank branches across the country, thousands of new jobs, expanded philanthropy, and an increase in loans for affordable housing and small business development.” Finally, Sen. McConnell said “Starbucks has announced that it is permanently raising pay and conferring new benefits like one-time stock bonuses and expanded paid leave. This major investment in its U.S. workforce will affect more than 150,000 employees.”

Though President Obama’s spinmeisters will attempt to claim this is the result of President Obama’s policies, the truth is that the economy is booming because President Trump got rid of President Obama’s policies. These companies have made it clear that these bonuses and higher wages are the result of the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

During the Obama administration, economic growth was mediocre to pathetic. Since the Trump administration started eliminating Obama administration regulations and Congress passed the Trump/GOP tax cuts, the economy roared to life. That’s because businesses had an incentive to invest their money in their workers, R & D, and building plants.

As this continues, Democrats will have a difficult time convincing voters that life with Republicans in control is miserable. By the time Election Day 2018 arrives, people might be positively impressed.

After reading this interview and this article, it’s obvious that Democratic immigration activists are getting restless.

During the interview, CNN’s Gregory Krieg asked Erika Andiola, an immigration activist and DACA recipient, “Do you think there’s a lack of urgency of Democrats or a lack of understanding that it doesn’t all happen at once?” Andiola replied, saying “There’s always been a lack of urgency. The urgency has (only) been with a handful of Democrats. It’s unfortunate, like I said, because when it comes to campaigning, they don’t hesitate. But when it comes down to really using all of their leverage to really get something like this passed, they just won’t come through.”

It’s finally sinking in that Democrats want the issue, not the solution. That isn’t sitting well with immigration activists. According to the article, “Immigration advocates are gearing up for a three week blitz to pass protections for undocumented immigrant children after the Senate voted on a short-term funding bill without them Monday. But while advocates universally see this as a critical juncture for the future of the DREAM Act, there’s already some disagreement over where to focus the fire. Republicans may be withholding their votes. But many groups are planning to target Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) instead.”

That’s just part of it:

A trio of progressive organizations, including CREDO, is hosting an event on Tuesday night that will bring activists to the front lawn of Schumer’s home in Brooklyn. They are also in the process of printing signs for the event which read “Worst negotiator in Washington. And Brooklyn. #SchumerSellout,” superimposed on an image of the Minority Leader’s face.

Ouch. And that’s just the start:

“We’re targeting Dems who voted for this CR (continuing resolution),” Angel Padilla, policy director for Indivisible, a resistance organization formed in response to Trump’s presidency, told The Daily Beast. “They sold out Dreamers. They failed to stand up to Trump’s white supremacy. They had the support of the grassroots and they caved. It also demonstrates that Democrats remain terrified of immigration. And they will continue to run from it.”

It sounds like this intensity just leads to primaries to those insufficiently pure.

While some progressive groups are gearing up to target Democratic leaders and others look to be prioritizing Republican moderates, virtually all say that they’re prepping a massive show of political force.

Just this upcoming week alone, Matos said they have 28 activities planned in 16 states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York, (all states where Senators voted in favor of the spending bill) ranging from press conferences to vigils and rallies.

Thank God for circular firing squads:

Indivisible, meanwhile, sponsored what they called the Dreamer Pledge with over two dozen other organizations, including United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country, months ago. It was intended to hold members of Congress accountable and get them to promise to protect DREAMers. The website was updated on Monday after votes were tallied, branding Democrats and Republicans alike who supported the short-term spending bill “Dream Killers,” and the members who voted against it “Dream Heroes.”