Early Returns

Being Smug, Fighting Wars and Sabotage

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. Ruth Bloch Rubin at the Monkey Cage on the House Freedom Caucus.

2. Lee Drutman on the lessons of the collapse of the Republican health-care plan

3. Seth Masket on smugness

4. Dan Drezner on the health-care negotiations and future foreign-policy crises

5. Back at the Monkey Cage, Miranda Yaver on the effects of cutting spending on Planned Parenthood

6. Andrew Rudalevige on the possibility of new congressional action on the war(s) the U.S. is still fighting, and of debate about war powers more generally. 

7. Josh Chafetz at Take Care on Donald Trump and John Tyler

8. Greg Sargent is exactly correct about how foolhardy it would be for Trump to deliberately sabotage the Obamacare exchanges. Outside of, that is, how absolutely unconscionable it would be to deliberately harm U.S. citizens for political advantage. I won't say it's never been done before (it certainly has, and far worse than this), but there's no excuse for it. 

9. Brian Beutler at the New Republic argues that Republicans undermined their ability to govern now by how they acted during Barack Obama's presidency. I agree, but you can trace the problem even further back. 

10. My Bloomberg View colleague Timothy L. O'Brien on the Trump circus and Jared Kushner

11. Keith Cowing at NASA Watch notes that no one has any idea what's going on with space policy. Expect more of these kinds of notes on more and more policy areas, as the consequences of a wild-card president and a chaotic White House become more and more obvious. 

12. And my Bloomberg View colleague Noah Feldman on how Trump is constrained by the constitutional system. He's correct -- but I disagree that worries over Trump and U.S. democracy were (and are) unduly alarmist. Presidents have been known to go around the constitutional system before, and they'll try it again. I'm on the side of those who stress the resiliency of the overall political system, but the tendency of Congress, the courts, the bureaucracy and other institutions to check the president is, unfortunately, only a tendency. And normal presidential weakness -- what Trump is experiencing now -- is only somewhat related to the ability of institutions to fight back if the president fights outside the lines.

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