Matt Kerbel

Liberation Day

  This is a dark moment. This is a time of celebration.  Our country suffers under the acute weight of a deadly plague made unnecessarily lethal and divisive by profound ineptitude, laziness and vengefulness. Tomorrow we will replace incompetence and sloth with energy and skill. We bear the burden of an economy torn apart by a coldhearted ignorance and malice toward those in need. Tomorrow we will elevate the value of expertise and rediscover empathy. We face an existential climate crisis ignored for greed and exacerbated by magical thinking. Tomorrow we will reclaim the importance of science and reason. For four years we have been ground down by a bully’s wrath. Tomorrow we will restore compassion. We have been steeped in lies so total that they have led to violence in the name of keeping a fake promise to honor a false god. Our capitol has been defiled. Tomorrow begins the hard work of repair and reclamation. We are divided by what we believe is real and have been immobilized by a corrupt leader willing to imprison a nation so that he can remain free. Tomorrow he will be extracted from power and lose his legal shield. He will leave.

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They Don’t Know What To Do

Every spring for the past decade I have led a group of Villanova students through official Washington, and every year Washington feels a little different depending on the political circumstances of the moment. During my first trip in 2008, the Bush administration was winding down, twenty-somethings had replaced veterans in responsible jobs, and Republicans were on the market in anticipation of a Democratic victory in the fall. By the following year, hope-and-change fever had swept the Potomac and Democrats owned the city, prompting a tense exchange between a few of my more conservative students and a party official who flaunted his role in Obama’s

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Enablers

Remember when the grown-ups in congress were going to check the worst impulses of the president? That was the rationalization offered to reluctant Republicans by those trying to unify the party around a presidential candidate with authoritarian tendencies. Sure, he’s reckless and crazy, but Trump will be kept in line by the adults in the legislative branch. In fact, there have been external checks on the president during these dizzying first four months of the Trump administration, but congress has not been among them. We have seen pushback from corners of the judiciary and the permanent bureaucracy, from some journalists and opinion leaders and

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Incompetence

Donald Trump is right about one thing: the 100-day standard used to evaluate presidential performance is ridiculous, an artifact of the landmark accomplishments of FDR’s first months when a national crisis and congressional supermajorities made possible a torrent of policy advances the likes of which we are unlikely to see again. But like it or not, those evaluations are coming and they will be harsh. At Wolves and Sheep, we are not bound by convention or inside-the-Beltway wisdom. So rather than wait another week, I submit to you my 92-day assessment (because, why not?) of the Trump administration. You can divide the

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Accountability

Democracy dies without accountability. The democratic system is built on our ability to know what our representatives are doing and kick officials out of office as a corrective to poor performance. This is how the mechanism is supposed to work: Candidates tell us what they want to do if they are elected. They give us honest information about their platforms which we use to decide how to vote. In office, officials attempt to enact their campaign agenda. Then they run for re-election on their record, defending it honestly and on a level playing field against challengers who criticize it fairly. We assess the record of incumbents and the promises of challengers,

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The Obamacare Trap

After seven years of making Obamacare repeal their number one objective, Republicans have fallen into a trap of their own creation and revealed to the country that they are not prepared to be a governing party. This afternoon, they abandoned their repeal measure when they couldn’t assemble a winning House coalition despite the unanimous desire in their caucus to uproot President Obama’s signature achievement. The bill produced by House leadership with the approval of the president was rejected by radicals angry that it didn’t extract Obamacare by the roots and by politically astute conservatives who understood they couldn’t explain to their constituents why 24 million people would lose

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Governing Is Hard

Donald Trump recently discovered that reforming health care is complicated. And, wouldn’t you know, governing is complicated too, as Trump’s party began to recognize this week during its flailing first attempt to put legislative language to its longstanding promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Under ideal circumstances, making dramatic changes to a policy that deeply affects every American requires exceptional political skill, and Republicans most certainly are not operating under ideal circumstances. Victory can paper over a lot of disagreements, but the fault lines that divide a party inevitably reemerge when irrevocable decisions have to be made. And, let’s be clear—the Republican Party

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