With the release of the Senate's plan yesterday, tax cuts are off to a stronger start than health reform's fraught debut earlier this year.
Even Republicans who have been skeptical all year about tax reform's prospects are telling Jonathan Swan and me that they see glints of momentum. The reasons:
Sheer political panic: This may be Republicans' only chance to hold onto the House. GOP leaders, especially Speaker Ryan, are under no illusions — particularly not after the results in Virginia.Donor pressure: As members and senators have admitted out loud, donors won't be returning phone calls if united GOP government can't deliver tax reform.The Roy Moore factor: Senators were already nervous about this unpredictable, anti-establishment figure entering the Senate in the new year. His election is on Dec. 12. Now, with yesterday's molestation accusations (see item #3), Republicans can foresee a scenario in which he loses to a Democrat in Alabama!The upshot: The GOP must pass tax reform before "the Roy Moore line," says a source close to leadership.Republicans understand and care far more about cutting taxes than they ever did — despite seven years of sloganeering — about overhauling Obama's Affordable Care Act.Be smart: Despite the "so far, so good" start, expensive concessions will still have to be added to bring around resistant business interests. Expect more stuffing in this bird.
"Republicans in Washington seemed near panic ... in the light of a news report in which four women said Roy S. Moore, the Republican nominee for a United States Senate seat in Alabama and an evangelical Christian, had made sexual or romantic overtures to them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s," the N.Y. Times writes on A1.
The dominoes: N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Julia Wolov, who accused a fellow comedian, Louis C.K., of sexual harassment in front-page story, "Detailing Lewd Acts, 5 Women Accuse a Comic of Misconduct": "I think the line gets crossed when you take all your clothes off and start masturbating."
The sun sets behind the ancient Acropolis hill and the ruins of the fifth century B.C. Parthenon temple in Athens yesterday.
In a few hours, we'll debut Axios China, our new, weekly newsletter from Bill Bishop of Sinocism, who is consulted by CEOs around the world for his Beijing insights, intel and connections. Sign up free here.
Sneak peek ... "Trump in Beijing: Smiles mask growing tensions":
The Economist cover ... "Endangered: America's global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump — A presidential tour of Asia cannot hide the fact that America has turned inward, hurting itself and the world":
P.S. L.A. Times front page, "Trump's Asia trip shows U.S. at risk of being sidelined: Leaders have not pursued negotiations or given concessions," by Don Lee: "From Tokyo to Seoul to Beijing, the American president has been feted with maximum ceremonial honors ... Nowhere in Trump's tour, however, have any of those leaders entered into serious negotiations or made significant concessions."
Steve Bannon, in an interview with the N.Y. Times' Jeremy Peters on Wednesday, a year since Election Day:
We celebrated today in the Trump movement as MAGA Day [Make America Great Again]. Right? A high holy day. ... It's MAGA Day. And we'll celebrate it like Bastille Day going forward.
"After a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to 'send five women' to Donald Trump's hotel room in Moscow, his longtime bodyguard [Keith Schiller] told Congress this week," NBC News reports.
Wall Street Journal front page ... "Snap's Splashy IPO Stifled Its Doubters: Deal participants had concerns about revenue, competition — issues now gutting the stock price":
Be smart: Snap's Q3 report this week — revenue of $207.9 million, with 178 million daily active users — was less than analysts expected, but still reflects a business of stunning size that remains addictive to young users. If Snap had stayed private, the hype and heat would have persisted.
"Zuckerberg nears end of US tour, wants to boost small biz," by AP Tech Writer Barbara Ortutay:
Go deeper ... "Silicon Valley's guilty conscience," by Stef Kight.
Kellyanne Conway joined "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd at the Newseum last night to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the longest running show on TV.
Starbucks holiday cups from 1997 to 2017 (top row to bottom, left to right) are displayed in New York yesterday.