Fox News Halftime Report -- How broken are Democrats?

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Fox News Halftime Report

Feb. 24, 2017
By Chris Stirewalt


On the roster: - How broken are Democrats? - White House pushed FBI to stifle reports on Russia ties - Annnnnd…Trump responds to report slamming FBI in tweets - Power Play: CPAC pop quiz! - We used to call this 'childhood'

HOW BROKEN ARE DEMOCRATS? 
What kind of party do Democrats want to have?

Simple: One that stops losing elections.

As the members of the Democratic National Committee gather this weekend in Atlanta to choose a new leader, much as been said about the paths forward for the party.

One, personified by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is maximal confrontation. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, urges his party to face down Trump as not just wicked but also criminal.

It was at least three years before Republicans in the Obama era had to deal with bleating from their base about impeachment, but Ellison & Co. are already there.

Think about that for a second. A sitting member of Congress potentially in line to lead a major political party is calling for the impeachment of a president who has been in office for five weeks. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, that's gonzo stuff.

The other way forward is being cast in the press as a more moderate choice, that of former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

The very fact that Perez, a staunch uber-liberal, is being depicted as some sort of squish tells you how bad off the Democrats are now.

If you thought John Boehner and Reince Priebus had it bad keeping Republicans from swallowing their tongues in the Obama era, Perez and other basically normal Democrats are about to walk through a hellscape even more diabolical in nature.

Where Republicans had Obama's supposedly forged birth certificate, Democrats have Vladimir Putin rigging the election. The Democrat's conspiracy theory is less insane sounding, but will be equally damaging to the party and its mental health – if not more so.

From a practical point of view, dealing with Trump for Democrats would be a pretty straightforward matter. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has basically said as much: Find the points on which Trump, no conservative, agrees with Democrats -- especially on stimulus spending, labor policy and trade -- and then jam the GOP. 

One of the advantages of having a non-ideological president was supposed to be all the deal-making that would get done. But instead, Washington is still stuck.

Yes, that is in part because Trump and his fellow Republicans can't quite get the signal calling down on moving the big legislation still in the discussion phase, but also because no Democrat other than those from bright-red states feel free to work with Trump on anything.

If Schumer really wanted to be in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's head, the Democrat would be paying multiple visits to his fellow New Yorker at the White House.

But Schumer knows that he can't because his party's base doesn't even consider Trump the legitimate president, just as some Republicans, including Trump, felt about Obama.

If Perez wins this weekend, his task of leading a political party, not a resistance, will be daunting to say the least. It would be easier for him than it is for Schumer since the party isn't concerned with policy so much as fundraising and organizing.

Even so, dealing with the frothiest parts of his party is a task no prospective Democratic chairman, save perhaps Ellison, could relish.

The last time Democrats were in the wilderness like this was 13 years ago after the emotionally devastating defeat of John Kerry by incumbent president George W. Bush. Obama proved an unlikely but effective Moses for his party by effectively absorbing the energy the kooks of the far left and channeling it into more productive aims.

Right now, there is no one on the horizon with the potential exception of California Sen. Kamala Harris who could unite this angry, broken party.

This weekend we will find out just how angry and broken it is.

THE RULEBOOK: CODEPENDENT
"Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires." – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 10

TIME OUT: SACKED
Smithsonian Magazine: "The fate of Greenland's Vikings—who never numbered more than 2,500 – has intrigued and confounded generations of archaeologists… [O]ver the last decade a radically different picture of Viking life in Greenland has started to emerge from the remains of the old settlements… [I]n the 13th century, after three centuries, [the Vikings'] world changed profoundly. First, the climate cooled because of the volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Sea ice increased, and so did ocean storms…Second, the market for walrus ivory collapsed, partly because Portugal and other countries started to open trade routes into sub-Saharan Africa, which brought elephant ivory to the European market…And finally, the Black Death devastated Europe…The Norse probably could have survived any one of those calamities separately…But all three blows must have left them reeling…The Greenland Vikings were essentially victims of globalization and a pandemic."

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with
your tips, comments or questions.

WHITE HOUSE PUSHED FBI TO STIFLE REPORTS ON RUSSIA TIES
AP: "White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official said. The official said that Priebus' request came as the White House sought to discredit a New York Times report about the contacts last week. As of Thursday, the FBI had not commented publicly on the report and there was no indication it planned to. The New York Times reported that U.S. agencies had intercepted phone calls last year between Russian intelligence officials and members of Trump's 2016 campaign team. Priebus' discussion with FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe sparked outrage among some Democrats, who said that the chief of staff was violating policies intended to limit communications between the law enforcement agency and the White House on pending investigations."

Annnnnd…Trump responds to report slamming FBI in tweets - Fox News: "President Trump, after a brief hiatus, returned to throwing Twitter bombs Friday morning to accuse his own FBI of failing to crack down on leaks – on the heels of reports about a conversation his chief of staff had with the bureau about Russia-related allegations…The White House pushed back, claiming in response that while Priebus did speak with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, McCabe initiated the contact to inform Priebus that The New York Times report about campaign contacts with Russia was incorrect…[Trump tweeted] 'The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security 'leakers' that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even…. find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.'"

POWER PLAY: CPAC POP QUIZ!
Chris Stirewalt headed over to CPAC with a little pop quiz for attendees – all in good fun. Answers range from weird to wacky to thoughtful to hilarious. WATCH HERE.

AUDIBLE: PASS
"Sooner or later, I'm going to eat your ass." – Gov. Jim Justice, D-W.Va. in an interview with radio host Hoppy Kercheval in which Justice was describing himself as a grizzly bear and a Republican state senator with whom he is feuding as a "barking poodle."

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Pence at CPAC: ObamaCare 'nightmare' close to being over - Fox News

Trump transition team raised $6.5 million through mid-February in part through cabinet members' families, corporations - USA Today

Bannon talk at CPAC meant to reassure conservatives nervous about Trump - NYT

Trump says the U.S. needs to step up its nuclear arsenal - Retuers

Ivanka, Jared Kushner pushed to strike critical language on climate change from executive order - The Hill

McCaul says we don't need 'a 2,000-mile wall'  - Politico

Poll: Large majority think Russian communications should be investigated - CBS News

ObamaCare reaches highest approval rating yet - Pew Research Center

Fla. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz calls on Trump to release tax returns - WaPo

Montana GOP leader opposes mail-in ballots in election to replace Zinke - Great Falls [Mont.] Tribune

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
As the nation's governors prepare to gather in Washington for their annual meeting two chief executives at the forefront of major policy fights, Wisconsin Republican Scott Walker and Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe sit down with Mr. Sunday to forecast the fights ahead. Watch "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week's media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.

ITYW: Sunday, funday - Did you miss your fix of this week's "I'll Tell You What" podcast? Well, you can always listen and subscribe here OR tune in to Fox News Channel on Sirius XM channel 450 or on Fox News Talk Sundays at 8 a.m. ET starting this weekend.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
"Why isn't anyone talking about the two countries responsible for 50% of the industrial worlds CO2 emissions in 2013? Two countries with 45% of the world's population but little in environmental controls. If you want to stop rising CO2 levels, how is it done without huge efforts by China and India? Two countries identified as emerging industrial economies." – Les Pappas, Scottsdale, Ariz.

[Ed. note: Well, some people are talking about it, but the fact is it seems highly unlikely that any action will be taken on that front anytime in the next four years. And while your point is well taken, we also remember that if Britain and Germany had told the U.S. to scale back our industrial revolution in the 1880s, we would have scoffed too.]

"Your estimate that perhaps ten percent of the country is illegal seems way too high. Pew puts it 3.5 percent." – Brien Downes, Delmar, N.Y.
 
[Ed. Note: I was told there would be no math! No, you are quite right. That was my simple sloppy calculation. The Pew estimate of 11 million illegal immigrants out of a total population of 318 million is as close to authoritative as we are likely to get. Good catch.]
 
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

WE USED TO CALL THIS 'CHILDHOOD'
Travel and Leisure: A new school has opened in Maine with the intent to teach millennials how to do things like manage taxes, eat nutritionally, and balance relationships—AKA how to be an adult. The Adulting School offers classes and events around Portland, Maine to teach beginner adults how to become pros at folding a fitted sheet or actually meeting people at networking events. It also hosts social media groups and webinars to instruct on adulting from afar. Although the courses may seem like mundane experiences everyone must struggle through once in their life (The Adulting School has been criticized for 'coddling' millennials), the idea for the school sprung from the mind of a psychotherapist. Co-founder Rachel Weinstein noticed that large groups of millennials she worked with were grappling with many of the same issues—paying bills on time, cooking nutritional dinners, etc."

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
"The border tax is complicated, difficult to understand, and incredibly intrusive.  It's about as intrusive a step as you can imagine for government to step in." – Charles Krauthammer on "Special Report with Bret Baier."
 

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