The longer I am around politics the more I am perplexed by decisions made by smart people, judgments that come across as shortsighted and counter to their interests, whether from a lack of self-control, discipline, or focus.

My view has long been that just how ambitious a new president’s policy agenda should be is heavily dependent upon the size of that president and party’s election victory. Did they have a mandate to do bold, historic things, or not so much? In no particular order, how many votes did the presidential ticket win, how many states did they win in the Electoral College, and very importantly, how big are their party’s Senate and House majorities? A newly elected president is issued what amounts to a credit card, with the credit limit determined by the depth and breadth of the victory.

With roughly 60 Senate seats come the keys to the kingdom, as does a House majority north of about 280 seats. Those are convincing and unambiguous victories, indeed something of a repudiation of the party on the losing end of that

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