Early Returns

Invisible Policy and Presidential Persuasion

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. James Goldgeier and Elizabeth N. Saunders at Foreign Affairs on the invisibility of good foreign policy.

2. Dave Hopkins on why a Republican Congress needs an active Republican president to get very much done. 

3. While Molly Reynolds at Brookings cautions us about the limits of presidential persuasion

4. Julia Azari at FiveThirtyEight on how Donald Trump is an atypical new president. Well, one of the ways, anyway. 

5. David Cottrell, Michael C. Herron and Sean Westwood at the Monkey Cage look for, and can't find, voting fraud in New Hampshire.

6. Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare argue for a Senate select committee, rather than a bipartisan commission, for investigating the Trump/Russia scandal. That sounds correct to me. I'm even more in favor of a Senate-only committee than they are, because a small rather than a large committee is the way to go, and a bicameral committee would almost certainly be large. I'm not confident, alas, that Senate Republicans are willing to move on this.  

7. Greg Sargent at the Plum Line takes apart Steve Bannon's bluster

8. Mark Leon Goldberg at UN Dispatch on why cutting foreign aid may prove difficult

9. Philip Klein makes the conservative case for Republican action on health care. My guess is that when it comes down to it, there really aren't a whole lot of people (or organized groups) who care about what Klein considers "freedom" in this context -- most of the opposition to Obamacare was really just opposition to Barack Obama. But that's just my guess; what really matters is what Republicans in Congress believe their constituents care about. 

10. Good Ezra Klein item on the trouble Trump finds himself in. Written (as all of the items linked here) before Trump's speech to Congress, but as I said in my wrap, I didn't see anything that really changed his position. 

11. The Upshot's Neil Irwin on the wonk gap. Absolutely. 

12. And really, this president (and his administration) can't make the layups -- such as welcoming governors to the White House. The Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery reports.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.