Friday, January 25, 2019


I'm not the kind of person who concludes that every outrageous Donald Trump word or deed is an attempt to distract us from bad news. I'm skeptical of this theory because even in the rare moments when there hasn't been a recent wave of bad press for him, Trump does and says horrible, offensive things. Doing and saying horrible, offensive things is his way of life. It isn't all intended as a news-cycle smokescreen -- Trump just likes being a dick. Being a dick is what he does.

But when there's really bad news for him in the Russia investigation -- arrests, indictments, law enforcement raids -- he really does seem desperate to alter the news cycle as quickly as possible. That's why I give Robert Mueller credit for the temporary reopening of the government (without a penny for the wall): Yes, Trump's polls are terrible right now; yes, federal workers missed a second paycheck today; yes, inbound service at one of Trump's hometown airports was halted temporarily today because there weren't enough air traffic controllers -- but I'm sure Trump wanted Roger Stone's arrest not to be leading the news cycle, and this was the most effective way for him to ensure a change in the media's lead story.

However, it's only a three-week reprieve -- we'll probably go right back to shutdown mode at the end of it. We may need another arrest to reopen the government after we get to February 15 without a deal he's willing to sign.

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