Though he is now on a 12-day trip through Asia, President Trump must still grapple with a hostile news media which routinely omits positive coverage of his accomplishments — concentrating instead on political spectacle, outrage and partisan distractions. Mr. Trump will be out of the country on Nov. 8, the first anniversary of his election. Distraught Democrats promise to holler and scream in the streets to mark the moment — and the press will be there to chronicle it all.
But in the big picture, amid the din of controversy and angst, how is Mr. Trump actually doing?
“There is never a boring moment with President Trump — he is the main attraction and rarely disappoints. From early-morning tweets to provocative statements on the campaign stump to off-the-cuff riffs at press conferences, Trump knows how to keep his critics and his supporters on their toes. Trump’s unique communication style is constantly derided by a press corps that predominantly despises him, but his ability to ignore his biggest critics and continually strike the responsive chord of his core supporters on topics ranging from the national anthem to monuments to the establishment swamp creatures of both parties has allowed him to persevere,” Ford O’Connell tells Inside the Beltway.
He is an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and author of the book “Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery.” Mr. O’Connell has seen quite a bit.
“If Trump has fallen short in one area, it is finding a persuasive message to light a fire under the backside of the Republican-controlled Congress to move on his legislative agenda, particularly tax reform. If Trump can do that in this highly polarized political environment, his poll numbers will rise much to the dismay of his political foes. Until then, the President earns a B-plus and has some work to do,” Mr. O’Connell observes.
NORTH KOREA: AN AUTHENTIC THREAT?
Some numbers of note as President Trump departs for Asia, poised to tour five countries though Mr. Trump will not be visiting the DMZ between North and South Korea. Interesting.
Meanwhile, a new CBS News poll finds that 64 percent of Americans say the North Korean threat of nuclear weapons can be contained; 55 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree. A quarter of the nation overall, however, call it a threat that requires action now — something on which 37 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree.
And one more thing. Another 63 percent of Americans overall say other countries, such as China and South Korea, should take the lead in dealing with North Korea; 56 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of the Democrats concur.
‘MONEY ANXIETY’ FADES
Well, this is helpful. The “Money Anxiety Index” is much improved. The index itself measures the level of financial anxiety Americans feel based on what their expenditures and other factors, according to Dan Geller, an expert in ‘behavioral finance, and the creator of the gauge.
Thanks to sizable increase in personal expenditures in September, the index has dropped from a high reading of “100” to just about half that. Find the details at MoneyAnxietyIndex.com.
“People are creatures of habit and they repeat their financial behavior based on the economic cycle, Generally speaking, people spend when safe and save when scared. Now that money anxiety is back to its pre-recession level, people are increasing their spending,” Mr. Geller says.
THE SOCIALISTS HAVE A MOMENT
The Party of Socialism and Liberation is not having a party per se to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, which is Sunday.
But the group is staging a public event in the nation’s capital titled “The Russian Revolution: 100 years and still shaking the world,” featuring such speakers as Gloria La Riva, the party’s 2016 presidential candidate.
Back in the day, some journalists billed her as “the other socialist in the race” — the “other” referring to Sen. Bernard Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist and independent.
“No single event shaped the 20th century more than the Russian Revolution and no single event has shaped the 21st century more than its destruction in 1991. For those who dream and fight for a new world today, it is essential that the lessons of the Russian Revolution and Soviet experiment be studied and understood,” advise the organizers, who have suggested a donation of $5 to $10 for the event — though “no one is turned away for lack of funds.”
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: Peacefields, a Colonial-style mansion built in 1850 on two acres near Allentown, New Jersey. Seven bedrooms, nine baths, grand foyer, library, formal living and dining rooms, family room; 4,588 square feet. Multiple staircases and fireplaces, original wood floors, plaster molding and trim, chef’s kitchen, deluxe baths. Sitting porch, slate patio, two barns with four-car garages. Currently an active country inn. Prices at $799,000 through Era.com; find the home here
POLL DU JOUR
• 82 percent of Americans say it’s hard to ban hate speech because people can’t agree what speech is hateful; 90 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats agree.
• 70 percent overall say being politically correct is a “big problem”; 90 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.
• 67 percent overall say freedom of speech ensures truth will ultimately “win out”; 70 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.
• 58 percent overall say the political climate prevents them from saying things they really believe; 73 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats agree.
• 28 percent overall say political correctness helps people avoid offending others; 10 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Cato Institute survey of 2,300 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 15-23 and released Wednesday.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin