Attention surplus disorder | Fox News

GetResponse Pro

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: Attention surplus disorder – House set to override Trump veto of defense bill – Battle brewing as Dems seek federal funds for abortions – In Georgia, both sides chase Latino votes – Giving it all he’s got

President Trump will leave office having vetoed the fewest bills of any chief executive since Warren Harding, who only got two years and four months to wield the pen.

So why did Trump bother vetoing an elephantine Pentagon funding bill and then spend days threatening to ax an even larger spending and stimulus package negotiated by his own administration and backed overwhelmingly by his own party?

Trump has been even lighter on the veto pen than his nine strikes – none overridden by Congress (so far) – would indicate. Three were in a cluster around efforts to pull back some of his weapons sales and two were around his taking money to put up fence at the border with Mexico.

It is true that in our era of weak Congresses and ideologically monolithic parties, vetoes have been out of vogue. The vassalage of our legislative branch means that seldom will a president see any bill to which he has not already assented.

But even by that standard, Trump has been veto averse – frequently signing legislation he said he would oppose, etc. So, what’s the point of this lame-duck outburst?

Yes, it is certainly intended to punish Republicans for getting off of his Tilt-A-Whirl ride of election rejection. Almost nothing could have been more harmful to GOP efforts to maintain control of the Senate than a government shutdown and yanking away coronavirus relief one week before runoff elections in Georgia.

Even if overridden, Trump’s veto for military spending – including money for troop salary bumps and housing – will do some damage to Republicans in Georgia, which has one of the nation’s largest military populations.

But rather than opening up the can of worms that is the future of the Republican Party, let’s stick to the surficial stuff.

The best argument for Trump’s veto and veto threat is that they get attention for issues that matter to the president. We assume that one of those is his ability to abscond with a sizable bloc of Republican voters the way the Clintons took the White House china.

But what about the policies which Trump says he is using his veto power to raise awareness for: His calls for repealing legal protections for social media firms, fatter stimulus checks and an investigation into kraken-related activities. In rescinding his threat on the government funding/stimulus package, Trump said he had advanced those causes.

While he certainly got attention, Trump only diminished the chances of gains on those fronts. By an empty threat and a veto that will ultimately be overridden or rescinded, Trump reduced his already limited lame-duck clout. Worse still for those causes, he offered them up as an incoherent jumble, not a call to action. He did the equivalent of holding a bonfire to promote forest fire awareness.

Trump viewed these “must-pass” bills as a platform atop which he could get attention and increase his relevancy as it deflates like bounce house after a birthday party. But without a cogent call to action, his antics only pushed the air out more quickly.

There is a great deal to suggest that, whether it’s Trump or anyone else, most of the awareness raising done in our social-media-driven era of performative politics does more to prevent progress. Attention may help the hawker, but it doesn’t move the goods.

Not that it’s going to stop anyone.

In a piece about the female freshmen Republican House members who have dubbed themselves “The Force” – the Jets to the Democrats’ “Squad” Sharks – the newbie GOPers say they’re stealing the other side’s tactics. For instance, they favor attention-getting personal videos in the style of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as part of their “branding.”

“Imitation is a high form of flattery, right?” Ocasio-Cortez told Politico. “So, I’m glad they think that way of me.”

But while Ocasio-Cortez is certainly good at getting attention, what about her first term suggests that the attention has been useful for much more than her own celebrity?

Yes, her notoriety helped raise money to knock off a couple of House incumbents, but other than that it’s been a bust. Her party nominated a moderate Democrat who will soon be president and has fled concepts like the Green New Deal like the pox. The celebrity certainly helped one group, though: House Republicans looking for an easy way to label Democrats as too radical.

This is the predictable extension of the politics of attention getting. The attention itself becomes the objective and the policies the vehicles for obtaining it. It’s like a company that develops products to fit an ad campaign instead of the other way around.

“Is the power of declaring war necessary? No man will answer this question in the negative. It would be superfluous, therefore, to enter into a proof of the affirmative.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 41

Writer Megan Garber looks at how we watch. The Atlantic: “Nearly 60 years ago, the FCC chair Newton Minow delivered an excoriation of television that was officially titled ‘Television and the Public Interest’ but would be remembered, among the broader American public, as the ‘vast wasteland’ speech. Minow’s indictment of TV – its perky game shows, its formulaic sitcoms, its violent dramas – was cutting (one of his accusations against the newish medium was that it channeled ‘sadism’). [His] criticism helped shape the conventional wisdom that was dominant as I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s: the notion that television was something to be a little bit embarrassed about. It was the ‘boob tube.’ It was the ‘idiot box.’ … Those fusty ideas have been in decline for a while; 2020 proved how wrong they were all along. … It was valuable to me not just in the way it’s always been valuable, as a source of entertainment and education, but also as, simply, a source of connection.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.

We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to [email protected].

NYT: “The House on Monday evening will vote on overriding President Trump’s veto of the annual military spending bill, setting up a path for lawmakers to deliver the first veto override of Mr. Trump’s presidency in his final days in office. Mr. Trump vetoed the bipartisan legislation on Wednesday, making good on a monthslong series of threats… But the legislation, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes raises for American troops, has longstanding, broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill… Congress has successfully passed the legislation for 60 consecutive years, and this year’s measure passed the House and the Senate by margins surpassing the two-thirds majority necessary in both chambers to force enactment of the bill over Mr. Trump’s veto. Mr. Trump’s objections to the legislation have left some Republicans, who are typically loath to challenge the president, poised to vote to override his veto.”

Dems set vote to jam GOP on Trump check demand – Fox News: “The House of Representatives on Monday will vote on a bill to send $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans in lieu of the $600 checks included in the coronavirus stimulus and government funding package President Trump signed Sunday night. The vote will come after Trump for the better part of a week railed against the size of the checks and the amount of foreign aid included in the massive combination of two legislative accords that lawmakers sent to his desk. The Monday vote won’t address the ‘pork’ that Trump has said he wishes to cut — despite the fact he requested much of it in his budget. But it will force GOP House members to go on the record on whether to increase the price tag on the stimulus checks after the president demanded they do so.”

How McCarthy and Graham mollified Trump – Axios: “Getting a cranky, stubborn President Trump to belatedly sign the COVID relief bill, after unemployment benefits had already lapsed, was like being a hostage negotiator, or defusing a bomb. The deal was closed on a Sunday afternoon phone call with Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. ‘This is good,’ Trump finally said, an official familiar with the call told me. ‘I should sign this.’ Over many days, Mnuchin and McCarthy — aided by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who golfed with Trump in West Palm Beach on Friday — indulged the president’s rants, told him there was great stuff in the bill, and gave him ‘wins’ he could announce, even though they didn’t change the bill. Playing to his vanity, they invoked his legacy, and reminded him he didn’t want to hurt people. They convinced the author of ‘The Art of the Deal’ that he had shown himself to be a fighter, and that he had gotten all there was to get.”

Signing statement will likely come to naught – Fox News: “In the President’s signing statement, accompanying his signature of the COVID aid/government funding plan, he points out he wants ‘far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child.’ … Like the President’s budget request, a rescission is a ‘budget-cutting request.’ Rescissions bills aren’t unheard of. But the administration must now send to Capitol Hill a list of items that it wants to be cut. It’s then up to Congress to advance a potential rescissions bill. And, with only a few days left in this Congress, such a request is nearly out of the question. It’s possible Congress could address the proposal before Mr. Trump leaves office January 20. But doubtful.”

NBC News: “House Democrats have spent two years passing government funding legislation without picking a fight over abortion, but with President Donald Trump leaving office, party leaders say 2021 will be different. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who is set to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said next year the House will eliminate the so-called Hyde Amendment, a decades-old policy that prohibits federal programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions. ‘This is the last year,’ DeLauro said at a Dec. 8 hearing about the adverse effects of the Hyde Amendment. ‘The time has come in this current moment to reckon with the norm, with the status quo.’ ‘The Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory policy,’ she said, arguing that it puts politicians between a woman and her doctor and is particularly harmful to rural and low-income women. But that is guaranteed to face Republican opposition, Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said.”

Biden to invoke Defense Production Act for Covid vaccine production – CNBC: “President-elect Joe Biden plans to invoke the Defense Production Act after he takes office next month to boost production of coronavirus vaccines, a member of his Covid-19 advisory team said Monday. ‘You will see him invoking the Defense Production Act,’ Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, said during an interview on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box.’ ‘The idea there is to make sure the personal protective equipment, the test capacity and the raw materials for the vaccines are produced in adequate supply.’ The wartime production law, which allows the president to compel companies to prioritize manufacturing for national security, could help the U.S. secure components and specialized products that manufacturers need to produce the Covid vaccines. Biden’s team has been weighing whether to invoke the law for vaccine production, NBC News reported last week.”

AJC: “As the runoff election nears, both Democrats and Republicans are courting the roughly 250,000 Latino voters in Georgia. Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are trying to get Latinos back to the polls by emphasizing COVID-19 relief and changes to immigration policy. Republican U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are ripping pages out of the playbook of President Donald Trump — who saw a 10-point bump this year among Georgia Latinos — by pointing out the significance of a strong economy and their opponents’ supposed embrace of socialism. In what are expected to be tight races, Latinos could be the deciding factor, said Stephanie Lopez-Burgos, the Gwinnett County field director for the Working Families Party.”

Ossoff tries to go from wunderkind to winner – NYT: “Mr. Ossoff has always been adept at making his own breaks. He has consistently outperformed his professional résumé, impressing lawmakers many years his senior with his intellect and drive. And he has capitalized on his own well-off upbringing and a series of well-timed introductions and personal endorsements to rise through Democratic politics in Georgia. … Federal filings made public last week showed Mr. Ossoff to be the best-funded Senate candidate in history after pulling in $106.7 million from mid-October to mid-December — almost $40 million more than Mr. Perdue’s tally.”

Dems benefit from team dynamic – AP: “Through Wednesday, nearly 2.1 million voters had cast ballots, roughly on pace with the Nov. 3 general election. … One thing helping line voters up is the decision of the candidates in both races to run as tickets, with joint appearances and advertisements. J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said the joint effort has helped Warnock wrap up Democratic voters. ‘He and Ossoff have done a better job of running as a ticket,’ Coleman said. ‘I think overall that’s going to benefit Warnock and help him consolidate some of his support.’ With the candidates running as tickets, it’s unlikely the parties will split the seats.”

Affluent Georgians tantalize with hopes of majority – AP: “At Atlanta’s Chastain Park, investment bank logos about ads for pizza joints and dentists on the outfield fences of the baseball diamonds. Sprinkled among Dodges and Toyotas are Audis and Alfa Romeos. Some of Georgia’s most affluent voters, formerly reliable cornerstones of the state’s once-ascendant Republican majority, live in million-dollar houses here. They might be swayed by Joe Biden’s calls to give him a chance to govern by electing Democrats in Georgia’s twin Jan. 5 runoffs to decide which party controls the U.S. Senate. Or they might be Republicans who voted against President Donald Trump in November but will come home to the GOP, seeking divided government and low taxes.”

Trump picks south Georgia for final pre-runoff rally – Fox News: “President Trump will hold a rally in Georgia on the eve of the crucial U.S. Senate runoff election in support of the state’s two Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, he announced on Sunday. ‘On behalf of two GREAT Senators, @sendavidperdue & @KLoeffler, I will be going to Georgia on Monday night, January 4th, to have a big and wonderful RALLY,’ Trump wrote on Twitter. ‘So important for our country that they win!’ Trump returned to the campaign trail earlier this month, hosting an evening rally in Valdosta, Ga., where he described the stakes in the dual contests as a decision of ‘whether your children will grow up in a socialist country or free country.’”

Politico: “Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and President Donald Trump’s defeated electors from Arizona may force Vice President Mike Pence to publicly pick a side in Trump’s bid to overturn his 2020 election loss. Gohmert and a handful of the would-be electors sued Pence in federal court on Monday in a longshot bid to throw out the rules that govern Congress’ counting of electoral votes next week. It’s an effort they hope will permit Pence — who is tasked with leading the Jan. 6 session of the House and Senate — to simply ignore President-elect Joe Biden’s electors and count Trump’s losing slates instead. The lawsuit asserts that the 1887 law known as the Electoral Count Act, the vague statute that has long governed the electoral vote counting process with minimal drama, unconstitutionally binds Pence from exercising total authority to choose which votes to count. … The lawsuit comes before Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.”

Meghan Cox Gurdon: ‘Even Homer gets mobbed’ – WSJ

“We offer this as a newspaper that endorsed you, that supported you: If you want to cement your influence, even set the stage for a future return, you must channel your fury into something more productive.” – An excerpt from the opinion piece, The Post says: Give it up, Mr. President — for your sake and the nation’s, by the NY Post Editorial Board.

Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

The Times of London: “As one of Star Trek’s most beloved characters, Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott spent a lifetime exploring the galaxy… Now it can be revealed that in death the actor who played the starship’s chief engineer has travelled nearly 1.7 billion miles through space, orbiting Earth more than 70,000 times, after his ashes were hidden secretly on the International Space Station. ‘It was completely clandestine,’ said Richard Garriott, a video game entrepreneur who smuggled Doohan’s ashes on to the ISS in 2008 during a 12-day mission as a private astronaut. …. Anxious to fulfill his father’s request to be laid to rest among the stars, Doohan’s son, Chris, contacted Mr Garriott… He printed three cards bearing a photograph of Doohan, laminated them with a sprinkling of ashes sealed inside and tucked them inside his flight data file. … [One] is under the cladding on the floor of the space station’s Columbus module, where he hid it in 2008.”

“Which is why my default view of espionage is to never believe anyone because everyone is trained in deception. This is not a value judgment; it’s a job description.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on March 9, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.


Attention surplus disorder | Fox News

Source link