The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Managing Expectations

Rich Galen

Monday February 25, 2019

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  • One of the first things a young political operative learns is: Manage expectations.

  • Actually, the VERY first thing a young political operative learns is: Don't [mess] up filing. If your candidate can't get on the ballot, your campaign cannot be successful.

  • Managing expectations is very much on everyone's mind here in Your Nation's Capital.

  • Donald Trump is heading to Vietnam; Michael Cohen is heading to Capitol Hill; and, Robert Mueller is heading for home.

  • There is also a spirited discussion about how the National League East will go this baseball season, but we'll leave that until we're a little deeper into the Spring Training season.

  • Let's start with Trump's summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un. Without any bone spur cracks, they will be meeting in Hanoi this week and the expectations for success, as I understand them is getting a commitment for no new testing of missiles capable of launching nuclear warheads at the U.S. and, for that matter, no new testing of nuclear warheads.

  • Trump said the other day that he and Kim had "fallen in love," which is creepy enough, but it is also a long way from Trump's first round with Kim, when the goal was the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


    If ever there was a policy that fairly screamed to be reduced to an acronym, the "total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" would be it.

    How much easier would be to simply say (or type): TDKP?

    This is why you subscribe to Mullings.


  • Anyway, the TDKP goal is lost to history. The new goal, after comparing weird hairdos, is the status quo.

  • Kim, for his part, needs more food, fuel, investment, and the ability to export something other than weapons of mass destruction. Kim will likely get from Trump a decrease in sanctions, and an increase in diplomatic recognition - not full ambassadorial representation, but whatever is in the State Department's bag o' tricks that will allow Kim to show North Korea is moving toward being a full player on the world stage.

  • Then, there's Michael Cohen. Cohen went through the last decade or so, strutting around the hip bars and restaurants in Manhattan, burnishing his reputation as Donald Trump's Fixer.

  • Somewhere between threatening reporters on the phone, and lying about payments to porn stars, Cohen and Trump fell out of love - thereby creating the love gap in Trump's life currently being filled by Kim Jong Un.

  • Cohen will testify this week before not one, not two, but three Congressional committees this week: House Oversight and House Intelligence (both led by Democrats) and Senate Intelligence (led by Republicans).

  • Only the testimony before the House Oversight Committee will be public - currently scheduled for Wednesday when Trump and Kim will be in their own private discussions.

  • What will Michael Cohen tell the committees that we don't already know?

  • Probably not much, but his testimony will be a lot more interesting for the panels on the cable chat shows to discuss than the amount of vanadium and titanium North Korea will be allowed to export.

  • Finally, there are the expectations of the Mueller report which now range from a handwritten note in the same envelope as the keys to the office; to a library of charges and proofs accusing the Trump campaign and, perhaps, Trump himself as being Howdy Doody to Trump's Buffalo Bob.

  • Whenever Mueller releases whatever he releases this is my expectation: The new chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Ca) will have his staff set up a cot next to the position where the cable shows do their standups, so he can be available for interviews 24/7.

  • Robert Mueller and his team know a lot more than you and I do. They know a lot more than anyone in Congress does. They might know a lot more than Donald Trump does.

  • The busiest people in the U.S. this week will not be the staffs of the Committees, or the State Department, or the Department of Justice.

  • The busiest people will be those who are drafting statements - minute-by-minute - for the 273 Democrats running for President.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the WashPost's curtain-raiser on the Kim/Trump summit, to a list of sanctions in place against North Korea, Howdy Doody, and the Mother Jones look at what might be in the Mueller Report.

    The Mullfoto is a great submission by Mullsters Larry & Linda Beer.

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