June 9, 2019

The Room Where It Happens - Hamilton-An American Musical

No one really knows how the game is played
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made
We just assume that it happens

I've been part of enough negotiations in various arenas to be skeptical of anyone who thinks an "outsider" would be a good fit to be the president. Too many games need to be played; the sausage making is difficult. This song marks the point in which Alexander Hamilton negotiated with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to move the nation's capital to Washington DC. Virginians Jefferson and Madison want the capital moved from NYC to someplace closer to their home. Hamilton was willing to concede the move to create an independent district between Virginia and Maryland (Quick aside: call your congressperson and tell them to support HR-51 to make DC our 51st state and the residents there will actually not suffer taxation without representation), because Hamilton knew that the power he created and was responsible for--Wall Street--would remain in NYC where he lived. He gave them something they wanted for something he wanted.

I thought about that a lot this week while Mike Pence and some other Trump representatives met with Mexico to allegedly negotiate Trump's demands to avoid new tariffs. It was never clear to me exactly what measures Trump wanted Mexican officials to take, but apparently the pressure from the Republican caucus (who understood that the ridiculous charges that would be passed on to their constituents would really hurt them) made the Trump administration desperate to call anything a victory in negotiations and announce that they had successfully convinced Mexico to agree to their demands to avoid the tariffs.

But there is no one in the Trump administration that has interest in the actual sausage making. They just assume that it happens.

President Trump's deal with Mexico on Friday to drop plans to impose sweeping tariffs on the country in exchange for Mexico's promise to crack down on illegal migration is reportedly made up largely of actions that Mexican officials had already agreed to in discussions over the past several months, The New York Times reported Saturday. According to the Times, officials from both countries said Mexico's agreement on Friday to deploy its national guard throughout Mexico, "giving priority to its southern border," had already been promised in March during secret discussions with then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, in Miami.

So, they got nothing in this negotiation that they didn't already have. They just wanted to pretend to be in the room when it happened.

Go ahead and tell me that a great business person is what this country needs.

ABC's "This Week" — Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas; Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. Panel: Mary Bruce of ABC, Eliana Johnson of Politico, former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and Patrick Gaspard, former Obama White House political affairs director.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — Pre-empted by coverage of the French Open tennis tournament.

CBS' "Face the Nation" —Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont. Panel: Karen Tumulty and David Nakamura of The Washington Post, Mark Landler of The New York Times and Kelsey Snell of NPR.

CNN's "State of the Union" — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Panel: Scott Jennings, former Special Assistant to George W. Bush; Jennifer Psaki, former Obama White House communications director; Bill Kristol, editor-at-large, The Bulwark, and director, Defending Democracy Together; and Democratic strategist Aisha Moodie-Mills.

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" — Jorge Castañeda, Mexican politician and secretary of foreign affairs (2000-2003); Shannon O’Neil, author, “Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States and the Road Ahead”; Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian rights leader and activist; Dan Senor, chief spokesperson, Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (George W. Bush Administration, 2003-2004); Dina Esfandiary, fellow, the Century Foundation; Nigel Hamilton, author, “War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey — D-Day to Yalta.”

CNN's "Reliable Sources" — CNN's Jim Acosta, author of "The Enemy of the People"; Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.; Sally Hubbard of the Open Markets Institute; David Chavern, CEO, News Media Alliance; Kevin Riley, editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; S.E. Cupp, host, CNN’s “SE Cupp Unfiltered”; Irin Carmon of New York Magazine; and Bill Carter, CNN media analyst.

"Fox News Sunday" — Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.; Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Panel: Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal; Anne Gearan of The Washington Post; Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell; and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.

So, what's catching your eye this morning?

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