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100 Days of Trump: Media mafia can’t touch Trump so they’re after his White House family

It could easily be argued that in every administration the president’s closest aides come under intense media scrutiny with many nearly reaching the status of quasi-celebrity if they’re influential enough.

For example, conservatives and liberals alike universally recognize James Carville and Karl Rove for their close associations to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively. These are the faces that became renowned by going on TV and speaking on behalf of their boss, promoting his image as well as his policies during their Saturday Night Livetenures.

Though gaining quasi-celebrity status isn’t exactly rare for political staff, it almost seems like Donald Trump’s inner circle is being singled out for special media ridicule – with Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer in particular being given more than their fair share of media focus and criticism. Needless to say, it’s been nearly all bad.

Spicer was even the subject of a rather lengthy segment on Saturday Night Live last weekend where comedian Melissa McCarthy did her best impersonations of Trump’s top press man. The skit was funny, if a little bit over the top.

Naturally the White House had a different take on the episode. Annie Karni, Josh Dawsey and Tara Palmeri of Politico report, “[T]he devastating ‘Saturday Night Live’ caricature of Spicer that aired over the weekend — in which a belligerent Spicer was spoofed by a gum-chomping, super soaker-wielding Melissa McCarthy in drag — did not go over well internally at a White House in which looks matter.

“More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him. And the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job in which he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the ‘opposition party,’ and developing a functional relationship with the press.”

If Trump was actually upset about the scene I doubt it had anything to do with Spicer or the way he’s been doing his job. It’s seemed clear to me that Spicer and the entire Trump team is still searching for the right formula in dealing with an overtly hostile press. The fact that a show like SNL trots out a woman to play Spicer doesn’t matter a lick.

It’s what McCarthy did in the scene that should concern the Trump people. She portrayed Spicer as an exaggerated bully who isn’t interested in doing his job as much as he is in badgering the press. It was a not-so-subtle attempt to provide cover for the news media while loudly jabbing at Spicer and Trump as overly aggressive, nasty and mean – you know, standard stereotypes for conservatives and Republicans.

Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live continues to cast liberal Republican-basher Alec Baldwin to impersonate Trump himself, but they’re not even bothering to employ a look-alike for Steve Bannon. Instead, they’re using an actor dressed in a grim reaper costume to satirize Bannon.

In doing so, the comedy writers have already created a caricature of Bannon as a Darth Vader-like sinister presence in the White House who hates minorities and women and who grimly advises the president to confront world leaders and goad them into making fools of themselves. And then he takes over the president’s desk at the end. Funny…? Not really.

As if this weren’t bad enough, Kellyanne Conway is constantly depicted on the show and in the press as dismissive of potential problems within the White House. Politico reported, “Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s most prominent aides, trekked to Capitol Hill on Monday morning on a diplomatic mission — to reassure the 100 or so Senate GOP communications staffers that Trump has no intention of acting unilaterally with a pen and a phone, while neglecting Congress…

“The sources said Conway and Boris Epshteyn, who leads Trump’s surrogate operation and also attended the meeting, appeared dismissive of their worries and struggled to give satisfactory answers.”

In other words, it doesn’t take a Saturday Night Live skit to smear Conway as someone who doesn’t listen or care about others outside the small universe of the White House. The balance of the article basically accuses the administration of being understaffed and tone deaf to the needs of congressional Republicans.

As long as President Trump remains “controversial,” his staff and advisors will continue to be represented in this manner by the media, whether it’s intended to be humorous political satire or not.

If they can’t get to Trump, they’ll try and make his White House “family” look bad. It ain’t working either.

When seen in a realistic light, Donald Trump’s approval numbers are actually quite good

In perusing the news headlines in the weeks since Donald Trump was inaugurated as America’s 45th president, the media has taken delight in noting that his approval ratings are the lowest of any new president since…well, ever.

It’s true. To a casual observer, the numbers aren’t great. Some would say they’re not even good considering every president typically enjoys a “honeymoon” period in his first few months where the country sits back and watches the change in policies and personnel, optimistic that government will continue to function but with a shiny new gleam to it.

Not so for Trump. As of Tuesday his approval rating was at 45.1 percent in the Real Clear Politics average, with 48.6 percent disapproving. The response from the media has been to paint a narrative of Trump as a divisive and potentially failed president just a few weeks into his first year.

Not so fast. Trump is actually doing quite well in the areas of the country where he needs it most.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reports, “Trump's approval rating is 45 percent, an underwater mark previously unseen for a president this early in his first term. But Trump's image and his policies are holding up just fine among voters in Republican districts and states key to the president's ability to drive his agenda through Congress, and his party's success in 2018...

“While his national numbers aren't good, Trump is much stronger in the states that could decide the outcome of the midterm elections, according to Republican operatives who have reviewed polling produced since New Year's Day. For now, that suggests Democrats are less likely to benefit from the president's struggles nationally than has been the case in past election cycles.”

Ah yes, the beauty of our federal system as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. As was discussed often in the days and weeks following last year’s election, the Founders tried hard to create a system whereby citizens from different parts of the country would be able to have their say in not only who they sent to Congress to represent them, but also in selecting the lone nationally elected figure, the president.

This fact will provide little solace to the whiny liberal forces griping about “tyranny of the minority” and calling into question the validity of the Electoral College, but they’d have a much harder time arguing that the Constitution’s apportionment of representatives and senators isn’t fair or equitable.

But knowing those people, they’ll probably start screaming to amend the Constitution to give states like California four senators since its population is so much larger than any other state.

In his article, Drucker states the obvious, “Like Trump's loss of the national popular vote, Republican operatives say the president's high disapproval numbers are being driven by dissatisfaction with his leadership in progressive, high-population metro centers, like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.”

Walk down the street in these big liberal enclaves wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and it’s an invitation for a fight. Sure, the percentage of Trump supporters in areas with heavy Democrat constituencies is probably under 10 percent, if even that high. But go out into the country and people aren’t so shy about voicing their approval for the president.

Drucker also shared a Missouri survey which showed Trump’s policies are slightly more popular than he is in liberal areas. In other words, people are somewhat more open to what the new president is proposing even if they still aren’t wild about him personally.

It also shines a light of truth on the media created notion that the population is turning away from Trump over his travel and immigration restrictions, among other policies. If anything, it also proves that all the protests thus far are masking real weakness for the Democrats at the grassroots level.

If there really is a Tea Party-like movement building on the left, we could know about it soon courtesy of special elections to replace congressmen who have left to join the Trump administration.

Jim Geraghty of National Review reports, “These are not the most glamorous of contests, but as Republican success at the state level during the Obama years demonstrates, they can be consequential. If there is indeed a massive grassroots mobilization of anti-Trump voters in the works, its first glimmers should be seen in this year’s races.

“Between the Women’s March on Washington, pro-refugee rallies at the nation’s airports, and other high-profile anti-Trump protests, it certainly seems like there’s a new urgency and energy on the left. But some progressive activists worry that energy will peter out as it has before.”

According to Geraghty’s well researched article, five Republican House seats could be up for grabs this year in special elections if all of Trump’s cabinet nominees are confirmed as expected. It should be noted they’re all in safe GOP districts, but if the voters out there are really that dissatisfied (as the Democrats and the media claim), a wave could be forming, right?

Or it could be that Democrats are really the ones on the outs with the People and a bleak outlook for the future.

Stewart Lawrence writes in the Daily Caller, “Democrats have a 3-1 lead over the GOP in California, New York and Massachusetts and a 3-1 lead over Republicans in the Pacific Northwest and the Mid-Atlantic (also known as the ‘Acela Corridor’). However, those regions account for less than 20% of the total numbers of House members. By contrast, if you focus on the American South, the Heartland, and the Southwest — about 80% of the country — the GOP leads Democrats by more than 2-1.”

With as divided as the country is today, it’s hard to see how opinion would shift drastically in either direction. But a few things can be gathered from the numbers.

First, as Drucker argues, Trump is in better shape politically than the polls would indicate. Two, barring a drastic change in the public’s attitudes, Democrats will remain in the minority for all of Trump’s first term, and three, Trump’s wide popularity with his own base will put heavy pressure on congressional Republicans to go along with his agenda.

There are no guarantees in politics and we know things can change with the passage of time and events. But as of now, President Trump is looking pretty good despite the lukewarm polling numbers.

With DeVos confirmed, Sessions will join her in the administration later this week

President Donald Trump’s administration gained another cabinet member on Tuesday and did so in historic fashion.

Jordain Carney of The Hill reports, “Vice President Pence cast the rare deciding vote on (Betsy) DeVos, breaking a 50-50 tie after Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) became the first senators to oppose a Trump Cabinet pick, joining all Democrats.

“Pence is the first vice president ever to cast a decisive vote on a Cabinet nominee. The last time a VP broke a tie in the Senate was 2008, when then-Vice President Dick Cheney voted on a tax adjustment plan.”

Poor Joe Biden…he didn’t get to vote a single time in his eight years as VP. He must feel justifiably useless.

No matter, now the federal government has a Secretary of Education, someone who can genuinely shake up the system.

In assessing the sheer volume of opposition to DeVos, two thoughts came to mind. First, Democrats saw DeVos as their best and perhaps only opportunity to score a victory against the new president’s cabinet. Second, liberals are genuinely afraid that DeVos and Trump will make progress in reforming the nation’s schools.

While the vast majority of Americans know little about what most of the federal government actually does (how does the Federal Reserve set interest rates?), nearly everyone is familiar with public schools.

If someone shouts, “He wants to shut down the agricultural soybean subsidy program!” nobody would even look. But if you say “She hates public schools” everyone pays attention and the ill-informed are inclined to think negatively.

That’s what happened to DeVos, with the Democrats making a number of outlandish and stupid statements about her wanting to trash the public education system.

Such is the intensity behind the left’s lobbying effort against school vouchers and school choice. At the mere suggestion of diverting federal resources to state and local entities, private schools – or even worse, parents themselves – liberals cry foul. Teachers unions have sunk their claws so deeply into Democrats that it’s impossible for them to escape.

The concept of educating kids and schools has changed rapidly in the internet age, yet public schools remain mired on a basic model that doesn’t work anymore. Where there is no competition there is no improvement. School choice will make every school better and the vast majority of parents will keep their kids in public schools.

And if they don’t, what does it matter? The kids will still receive an education in a manner parents approve of.

Meanwhile, Senator Jeff Sessions is next in line for confirmation, possibly tonight.

Again, Jordain Carney of The Hill reports, “Sen. Jeff Sessions's nomination to be attorney general overcame a key hurdle on Tuesday, paving the way for the Senate to confirm the Alabama Republican this week.

“Senators voted 52-47 to move forward with Sessions's nomination. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was the only Democratic senator to support him.”

Democrats are basically powerless to stop his nomination at this point but are still smearing Sessions, saying he is not independent of President Trump and is “anti-immigrant” and won’t protect all Americans.

Blah, blah, blah… We’ve heard it all before.

One thing we haven’t heard them say is Sessions isn’t qualified for the office. But that doesn’t factor into the Democrats’ thinking much these days.

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