Early Returns

Passing Judgments and Impeachable Offenses

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. David R. Jones at the Monkey Cage suggests judging presidents after a year instead of after 100 days. How about both? 

2. Also at the Monkey Cage: Gretchen Helmke on the evidence from Latin America about the dangers of presidential government

3. David Leonhardt on "ethnic nationalism.

4. My Bloomberg View colleague Noah Feldman on impeachable offenses and Donald Trump. Nicely done. I'll say it again: We're not apt to actually get an impeachment unless either Trump becomes far more unpopular than he is now or something far more blatant is uncovered. However, the fact that the president has committed impeachable offenses gives Congress terrific leverage against him, if they choose to use it. 

5. Timothy Jost at Health Affairs has a quick study of the new Republican health-care bill. Leaving the substance aside, my view is that since January or so, this has all been about shifting blame for not achieving the Republicans' big goal (without anyone having to vote for something that they don't want to vote for). The best collective outcome for House Republicans is to pass something and let the Senate take responsibility for failure. The next best outcome? Perhaps it will wind up letting the relatively moderate House conservatives -- and the overlapping group that has tough re-election fights coming in 2018 -- to spike the bill. They get to boast that they saved everyone's benefits, and the rest of the House Republican caucus, many of whom still worry about primary challenges, gets to be True Conservatives. 

6. And Jonathan Chait has it right on Trump's tax-cut strategy.

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