Well, what's tough about writing a newsletter is when lots of news impacts what you were writing! So, sorry this is a little late, but we needed to rework a few sections given the BIG (!!) vote for the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and the news out of Albany. We wrote about how Cuomo was dead man walking and how he just needed to realize that fact. Apparently, even without reading our newsletter, he also realized it. Everyone else knew it. Staffers resigning knew it. Legislators about to impeach him knew it too...
So, where are we on all these important topics?
First, let’s tackle the Senate vote, recap Cuomo and give you a few tidbits you can use to impress your friends! Don’t forget to leave your comments!
So, without further ado, infrastructure…
Full Speed Ahead for Infrastructure
On infrastructure, I know we’ve exhausted the politics of the state of play. What’s left are the stories behind who voted how. On Sunday, Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi came out and said he was supporting the legislation. That’s a big “yes” vote. However, Todd Young from Indiana, who was part of the bipartisan group writing this legislation, came out against the agreement. The rub here is he's up for reelection. And former President Trump has put out some strongly worded statements about how, in his view, this legislation is bad. Most importantly, he’s talked about primaries for GOPers and withholding support for those who vote for it. Obviously, I think this has a whole lot less to do with the substance of infrastructure, something he has never that focused on even as President, but instead has to do with the fact that the much-ballyhooed Infrastructure Week is going to happen, it just isn't going to happen in the Trump administration.
It passed! With a remarkable 19 GOP votes despite Donald Trump’s threats and bellows!
(It does look like Senator Young of Indiana is making a strong move for the Gold Medal in flip-floppery with this reversal; I think he can now claim the John Kerry “I voted for it, before I voted against it” trophy. Senator Young must really fear a primary, because he made the political decision to get out of the cutting ribbons on new bridges business and scuttle over to the pearl clutching deficit hawk business, which is the main song sheet the Republican opponents to the infrastructure are singing off of now. That noisy choir, of course, was mute when it came to Trump’s epic budget deficits.) All that said, the Trump factor in all this is fascinating. It looks like it's going to be far stronger in the House than in the Senate, where his bellowing has been essentially impotent. (Another intriguing sign about the potential GOP future.)
And, my dear Gibbs, even Senator Graham has voted for the bill, so you enjoy a blue plate Crow Special on that one! Though I’m sure my time is coming soon with all my lunatic predictions!
I like my crow medium rare, Murphy. Maybe with some mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach to go along with it! Some of the other votes were interesting, too. Of the 15 GOP Senators who are up for reelection or haven’t announced they aren’t running, just 4 voted for this bill (Murkowski, Crapo, Grassley and Hoeven). Trump, no doubt, had an impact there. Mitch McConnell was also a “yes” vote. Others in the leadership (Barasso, Cornyn, Rick Scott) voted no. Nonetheless, 19 Republicans voted for the bill as did all the Democrats. Count me as impressed!
Cuomo’s No Good Very Bad Week (Month, Year?)
Well, I guess Cuomo finally got the message after what was a terrifically bad weekend. His top staffer, Melissa DeRosa, resigned late on a Sunday in a statement that actually doesn't mention him. She's mentioned repeatedly throughout the Attorney General's report. And while it was a big blow to Cuomo, I think she's got her own legal problems in this. Next came the CBS interview with “Executive Assistant #1.” Sunday started pretty bad and Monday didn’t make it any better. If his last name wasn’t Cuomo, he would’ve been out last week, but apparently he decided to ride out a few more news cycles before he finally gave his not so sorry resignation.
What a news day. First it was scratch one hench-woman as Melissa DeRosa dived out of the flaming Cuomo battleship. (I guess Elle will have to do another less gushing profile on her now. Sure, I'll wait for that.). But an hour ago much bigger news: Cuomo resigned. Even the pugnacious Governor knew the jig was up. Why? The most dreaded word you can hear in any crisis meeting as political staff has been ricocheting around the Governor’s office for a few long days and that word is “criminalization.” That’s waaay worse because it goes waaay beyond political embarrassment or “yikes we were going to get a primary now” or “Jeepers, we're sunk in the polls.” Nope, when the conversations to recipes for making wine in a prison toilet, well… need I say more? Today was inevitable.
I think DeRosa jumping ship was the first sign this was all crumbling. But again, I think, and to your point, the surest sign that the jig was up is everyone is scurrying to protect themselves. In politics, you want to get to the point where it's the name on the front of the jersey you are working for as a staffer, not on the back. It's time for fretting about the names on the back of the jerseys now, which means it's all over.
All eyes are now on Cuomo’s No. 2, who was waiting in the wings.
Cuomo’s resignation does not get him out of all the legal fights he still has ahead of him, but it might give him more time to think about what he’ll say on the witness stand. I wouldn’t hold your breath for any sort of apology. Maybe more along the lines of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, though it’s Cuomo who sadly can’t handle the truth.
Senator Scott Finally Gets “the Great Mentioner” Treatment
Those crafty snoops at Politico had a good item about something that’s been going on under the surface in the GOP for nearly a year. Sen Tim Scott is preparing to run for President.
While Scott and his comms team have adroitly found time between big donor seduction meetings to issue various denials, have no doubt they are putting the pieces together. Time will tell if he can catch fire in the GOP base – he’s been a hesitant Trumper at time – but he could wind up being everybody's second choice for President and first choice for VP—not a bad outcome for a 55-year-old pol. Scott has a civil vibe and very impressive personal story. Plus, there is a certain tailwind in the GOP for impressive Black conservatives; white GOP primary voters are so tired of being called racists for being Republican that they pine for impressive candidates like Scott. He's playing the inside game of money more than the outside game of base voter politics, but frankly I think he's doing a smarter job than “Governor-viruses-are-make-believes” DeSantis. So this will be interesting to follow.
Hey Murphy, what does that mean for police reform?
Scott is for it!
Much like infrastructure, there's direct police reform and there's wider lefty social net “let's create an army of 3 million unionized social workers to replace the police” police reform. The stuff that Scott is for is moderate, not reflexively anti-cop and popular everywhere, including with Republican voters. So, I think it could give him an interesting way to stand out.
Pity JD Vance. A Midwesterner myself, I liked his book. I even had a great phone call a few years ago with JD Vance when he was first thinking of potentially running for office. I liked him. He was smart, informed and well intentioned.
Well. Burn those notes. JD is going pure Tucker now. (Another old friend who has turned into a sad sell out.) I understand that JD has a crowded GOP primary for US Senate to try to win, but really? He’s pulled an artless 180-degree flip that even the aerial team at Cirque du Soleil would find highly disturbing. And sadly for Vance, it’s a rookie move; voters (and the Trumperor himself) usually reject cheap imitations. Ask George P. Bush. So, I doubt Vance will overcome the real Trumpers in the Ohio primary. He’s got sharp competition in the Trump suck-uppery department. Former state treasurer Josh Mandel is highly capable in that regard, and former state party chair Jane Timken, is no slouch either. My take: if voters want a Trump acolyte, there are much more authentic products on the shelf for them to choose from in the primary.
Breaking News: UN Report: Climate Change is Real
You’re going to hear a lot this week about the UN report on climate change and the real impact it is having. The report is real and its scary. It’s political impact though will be to give a needed boost going into the discussion and debate in the budget reconciliation process. The world must act and it’s past time to get some serious money focused on a serious problem. This report shows that we don't have 25 years to debate whether this is happening and figure out how to fix it. We've got a much shorter runway before it looks impossible to turn back. While the report may not change a lot of hearts and minds inside of Congress, the struggle has always been that this is an issue that felt like it was far away, and you don't have to go far outside to see smoke in the air and to read about record temperatures. I think this is an issue that is now living more presently in people's lives, unlike it has ever before.
My other tidbit is around another big release this week (finally) from the Census Bureau, which will drop the data necessary to draw legislative districts at all levels. So, let the important skirmishes begin!
More on that and I’m sure more on the fallout from Cuomo’s bombshell later in the week.
See you on Friday!
Murphy and Gibbs