Friendly fire: Warrants dropped, Cheney expelled and Pence cornered

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Can Americans still have a sensible and friendly political discussion beyond the partisan divide? The answer is yes, and we prove it every week. Julie Roginskya democrat and Mike DuHaime, a Republican, are consultants who worked on opposing teams their entire careers but remained friends throughout. Here, they discuss the week’s events with associate editorial page editors Julie O’Connor and Dave D’Alessandro.

Q. We still require workers in our hospitals, prisons and nursing homes to be vaccinated and given at least one booster dose. But not in schools and daycares – Governor Murphy announced that these adults do not need to be vaccinated or tested regularly more. You are both parents. Are you ok with your child’s teacher or caregiver not being vaccinated and tested for covid?

Mike: I am for a return to normal, with the hope that teachers and others in positions of authority in small, crowded rooms will be smart. To me, that means, please choose to get vaccinated and boosted. And if you have COVID symptoms, test and/or stay home. But the cost of lockdowns on children’s academic and social development, while understandable at first, has gone on too long and must not be repeated.

Julia: The problem is that there are plenty of kids with pre-existing conditions for whom COVID is much more than mild flu. There are also infants in daycare who don’t have the vaccines or the immune system to easily resist COVID. I understand and appreciate the governor’s dilemma, which is that there is already a shortage of teachers and caregivers in the state, and he needs to do everything possible to have a full roster of teachers by the start of the year. school year. But as a parent, I think it’s extremely selfish of adults not to do everything they can to protect children from this horrible pandemic and the easiest way to do that is to get vaccinated.

Q. Governor Murphy also gave his approval to the $4.7 billion Turnpike expansion project, vehemently opposed by most Hudson County politicians and a coalition of 135 environmental and community groups. No one denies that rehabilitation is needed, but widening the carriageway will create more traffic at the Holland Tunnel and throughout Jersey City. Where is the gift here?

Mike: I support him. The only reason Holland Tunnel traffic has been tolerable in recent years is all the traffic going through Newark Bay and through Bayonne and Jersey City. Traffic exiting the turnpike east to the extension is horrible, backing onto the turnpike and route 78 in Newark. We cannot live in the most densely populated part of the most densely populated state in America and oppose road improvements. Moving people and goods to and around New York City is critical to our state’s economy, which is why our infrastructure must keep pace.

Julia: It is not difficult to understand why the governor made this decision. Here, the fight opposes the building trades and the elected Democrats of Hudson County. But only one of those groups has the financial capacity to support a presidential campaign and the governor’s Super PAC. He no longer races for anything else where participation in Jersey City and Hoboken will be crucial to his destiny.

Q. At our last meeting, the FBI had just searched Mar-A-Lago, and the repercussions seem to be coming in waves. What do we now see as the political consequences of Donald Trump storing classified documents in his golf course safe?

Mike: The Republican chorus that originally defended Trump and bashed the FBI without any knowledge was embarrassing, but that support for Trump has waned considerably since more information emerged showing that his decisions to make and keep secrets nuclear weapons in an insecure location were totally inappropriate. Most of the presidents in our lives grew up as human beings when the weight of office fell on them, and crises often brought out the best in them. Not Trump. He somehow diminished in his duties and even more so after his departure. All of his worst traits have been exposed and exacerbated under the scrutiny of the work.

Julia: Kudos to Mike for constantly reminding us what a true Republican should be. The rest of the GOP, with a few notable exceptions, has become a cult in the grip of a reality TV con man. As Sean Hannity said, Trump can run for president even as a convicted felon, as if it were some sort of badge of honor. There are no political consequences for him in the Republican Party, but it could make independent voters more reluctant in November to vote for a party that has made support for that national show the only real test of loyalty.

Q Former Vice President and mob target Mike Pence said he would give due consideration to an invitation to testify before the January 6 Committee. Assuming he still wants to be president, what is the political calculus when he sits for his deposition?

Mike: Vice President Pence is in a tough spot. A devout Christian, he has sold his credibility to lavish praise on Donald Trump at every opportunity so many mainstream conservatives are skeptical of his judgement. And Trump stalwarts will never forgive him for not supporting Trump on Jan. 6, even though he did the right thing. The best thing he can do politically is not to be political. Do the right thing and hopefully enough people will respect your actions that you have a future role as well.

Julia: I see no path for Mike Pence in the 2024 Republican primary. The Trump mob wants to assassinate him and almost literally did. Anti-Trump conservatives know he didn’t stand up to Trump for four years, until the very last minute. Evangelicals long ago decided that the Mar-a-Lago missives were more relevant than the Mount of Olives sermons. If he wants to go down in the history books as a defender of law and order, he will voluntarily testify before the January 6 Committee and tell the truth about what he knows.

Q Rep. Liz Cheney, Trump’s top prosecutor in the Jan. 6 Committee, lost the Republican primary for his congressional seat in Wyoming to a Trump-backed opponent. Does a brave conservative have a political future after being ousted by her own party?

Mike: Cheney is clearly planning to run for president. She will be the darling of the Republicans of Never Trump, but they are not numerous enough to carry out a primary. She will be loved by the media until they find out that she is pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment and truly conservative. I have a lot of respect for what Cheney did. Yes, she sacrificed her seat, but history will remember her long after the many GOP members of Congress who sat in silence have been forgotten.

Julia: Liz Cheney is an abject lesson in how the GOP became bigoted. In politics, she voted with Trump 93% of the time. She is a staunch conservative and checks all the boxes ideologically. Her “sin” – literally, the unforgivable stain – is that she did not support subverting the constitution to keep Trump in power. It just underlines how alienated the party has become from any underlying politics. This should concern all of us, because the nation needs two strong parties that contest elections on the basis of political disagreements, not the blind worship of one man.

Q. President Biden signed another huge bill this week. In fact, he signed some version of everything he proposed – the American Recovery Act ($1.9 trillion), the infrastructure bill ($550 billion), the Chips and Science Act ($280 billion) and now this Inflation Reduction Act ($700 billion). . He may not be FDR or LBJ, but has he failed to deliver, with limited bipartisan help?

Mike: It may be too late to reverse the narrative, but your points are well made. Biden likely has more legislative accomplishments, albeit without any bipartisan support, in his first two years than any president since LBJ. But as Julie has often said, Democrats have a communication problem. People’s opinions were made about Biden based on Afghanistan, inflation, inconsistent CDC advice and gas price spikes long before he finally got some influence on domestic politics. It is possible that it is too little but rather too late to help halfway through.

Julia: If Biden has no bipartisan support for improving infrastructure in Republican-represented states, increasing competitiveness with China, and lowering prescription drug prices for Americans, that only underscores how bad the GOP is. become an obstructionist. The democratic failure to communicate this more effectively continues to be a problem, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is by far one of the most successful policy makers of our time.

Q. Democrats spent 8 times more than Republicans on abortion ads in the 50 days following the Dobbs decision, and they believe this question will move independents in the medium term. Is that okay?

Mike: Who cares what they spend now. Where have the Democrats been for the past 50 years? Democrats are good at being crazy and spending money, but often terrible at organizing and staying focused on a cause.

Julia: I continue to believe that abortion, in itself, is not a determining motivator in the medium term. What can motivate voters is the general feeling of Republican overreach and the idea that the party has just lost its mind. Forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, even when the fetus has never developed a skull. Threaten to sue a doctor who helped a 10-year-old rape survivor terminate a pregnancy. Defend a former president who got away with national secrets for reasons still unknown and threatening to defund the FBI when he tries to find out why. All of these horrors will become national reality if the Republicans take control of Congress. This election should have been a referendum on the president, as all midterms usually are. Instead, it threatens to become a referendum on Republican madness.

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A note to readers: Mike and Julie are both deeply involved in politics and business advocacy in New Jersey, so they both have ties to many of the players mentioned in this column. DuHaime, the founder of MAD Global, was chief adviser to former Governor Chris Christie and worked for Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and President George W. Bush. Roginsky, director of Comprehensive Communications Group, served as a senior campaign adviser to Cory Booker, Frank Lautenberg and Phil Murphy, and worked with Rep. Phil Norcross, brother of George Norcross. We will only disclose specific links when readers might otherwise be misled.

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