First Draft on Politics: ‘Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion’

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Opportunities for miscalculation are growing.
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Monday, April 17, 2017

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Ballistic missiles were paraded through Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, on Saturday as part of the celebration of the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country's founder.
Ballistic missiles were paraded through Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, on Saturday as part of the celebration of the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • President Trump and his aides have made it clear that the United States will no longer tolerate North Korea’s incremental nuclear weapons advances. A mix of national ambitions, personal ego and deadly weapons is creating opportunities for miscalculation.
  • Mr. Trump has become a virtual homebody during his first few months in office, largely sitting out the honeymoon period that other presidents have used to hit the road and rally support for their priorities.
  • Emerging from relative obscurity, Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, is inheriting the potentially explosive investigation into Russian election meddling.
— The First Draft Team
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Economic View
Supply-Side Economics, but for Liberals
By NEIL IRWIN
James Yang
The social safety net is forever at risk of becoming a hammock, to use House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s memorable metaphor.
That, anyway, is an operating assumption behind much of the discussion of social welfare programs. Economists have often taken it as a given that there is an inherent trade-off in which the larger the social safety net, the fewer people will work.
But what if that framing is backward? Certain social welfare policies, according to an emerging body of research, may actually encourage more people to work and enable them to do so more productively.
That is the conclusion of work that aims to understand in granular detail how different government interventions affect people’s behavior. It amounts to a liberal version of “supply-side economics,” an approach to economics often associated with the conservatives of the Reagan era.
Read more »

With Trump Appointees, Potential Conflicts and ‘No Transparency’

By ERIC LIPTON, BEN PROTESS AND ANDREW W. LEHREN

The president is populating the federal government with former lobbyists who in many cases are influencing policy in industries where they were recently paid.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump: Pillars of Family-Driven West Wing

By PETER BAKER, GLENN THRUSH AND MAGGIE HABERMAN

As President Trump has soured on Stephen K. Bannon, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have emerged as the president’s most important advisers, at least for now.

The Society Columnist With a Front-Row Seat at Mar-a-Lago

By KATIE ROGERS

Shannon Donnelly, a journalist who has chronicled Palm Beach society for decades, has been a fly on the gilded wall during several of President Trump’s visits since he took office.

Pence, in South Korea, Calls North Korea Missile Test ‘a Provocation’

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

The vice president is beginning a 10-day tour of Asia and will meet Monday with the acting president of South Korea.

Mediator

In Putin’s Moscow, a Pliant Press That Trump So Craves

By JIM RUTENBERG

Watching Russian television and hearing journalists’ war stories, I wondered if I had arrived through an alt-right wormhole.

Feature

I Thought I Knew the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong.

By RICK PERLSTEIN

A historian of conservatism looks back at how he and his peers failed to anticipate the rise of the president.

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Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
 
From the Right
• Jon Gabriel in The Arizona Republic:
“We don’t have a debt ceiling — it’s more of a retractable roof.”
A staple of previous debates about government spending, conversations about the national debt have not been a feature of political discourse during the early days of the Trump administration. Mr. Gabriel wants to remind his readers that the country’s debt is a problem. He contends that President Trump’s budget, rather than being a draconian measure that cuts too many valuable programs, does not go far enough. Read more »
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From the Left
• Brian Beutler in The New Republic:
“Spicer may be the worst such press secretary in the history of the job, but he reflects the administration’s contempt for truth, decency, and the free press in both roles exquisitely […]”
The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, may have had a bad week, but the president’s critics should not call for his resignation, Mr. Beutler argues. Where a more polished spokesman might merely put a “nicer gloss on the indefensible,” Mr. Spicer’s gaffes serve to remind us of the “stupid, impulsive” things the president himself says. Read more »
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More selections »
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