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On the roster: Roseanne Barr and the new political correctness - Garrett drops re-election bid due to alcoholism - Bipartisan lawmakers in talks to revive DACA bill - Trump accuses Mueller’s Dems of meddling - Bro…

Who knew that making a professional vulgarian and an infamous kook a face of your political movement could be so risky?

There will be many millions of pixels wasted in the name of debating whether ABC was right or wrong to terminate Roseanne Barr’s eponymous sitcom after the comedian likened a former White House official of black ancestry to an ape.

If you feel obliged to have an opinion on that subject your view is likely shaped by your politics and is therefore something of a foregone conclusion. The same goes for your estimation of her show in the first place.

So powerful is the draw of political tribalism that people are now increasingly able to turn their tastes on a dime in order to conform with what is politically correct.

Barr’s act in the show that it produced is all about being shocking. It was shocking when she spit and grabbed her way through the national anthem and it was shocking when she and her TV character so brutally assaulted conventional norms about middle class marriage and family.

A generation ago she was admired on the left for skewering June Cleaver expectations for media moms. This time around her admirers have been mostly on the right since she has adopted her support for President Trump as her preferred outraged generation device.

Like a lot of middle aged white dudes who suddenly started appreciating Kanye West’s rhymes, Trump supporters were excited to see someone who unabashedly rooted for the president, even if it was just an exercise in trolling liberals. After all it seems like that’s the point of a lot of what Republicans do these days. It tends to matter less whether something is good or bad or even congruent with a philosophy as much as it matters that something will “make heads explode.”

Similarly, Democrats express strange new respect for ultra conservative Republicans, like Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., or even Attorney General Jeff Sessions when they bedevil Trump. And political correctness in cultural choices has a much longer history on the left side of the aisle. Surely no living human could endure a set of Kathy Griffin’s comedy unless they believe they were doing it for a political cause.

But now, Republicans are fully engaged in the act. This isn’t just the wistful nostalgia of Pat Boone or Wayne Newton from the Reagan era. This is full blown art as cultural weapon.

If you are fool enough to allow strangers to dictate your likes or dislikes in music, movies, books and television there’s not much we can tell you. You drank the Kool-Aid and are mixing up another pitcher.

We don’t know whether or not the president will stay strong with Barr in light of her racist remark. Her comment came in support of the kind of batty conspiracy theories in which some in the president’s orbit – and sometimes the president himself – have trafficked.

Trump has in the past defended racists and kooks who were part of his broader political tribe. This is, after all, a guy who gave an interview to Alex Jones.

And it’s potentially useful for Trump to embrace the idea of Barr as a victim. This would work well with his general narrative that middle class white voters are being persecuted. There are obvious down sides in aligning oneself with someone with a record like Barr’s, but the president has already taken that leap with her. If whole controversy creates an enormous, divisive uproar, then it would fit very well with the president’s overall political style.

It is too late to try to get politics out of art and popular culture. When you are at a point where Taylor Swift is criticized for not taking political positions, you know that we are not going back to the old, more pleasant arrangement where people did not much know or care about the political views of their preferred entertainers.

Politics and culture are kind of like government and religion: Both are harmed by their co-mingling.

It's fine to debate whether or not Barr is too nasty to be on prime time television. It’s even possible that some good might come from such a discussion.

And it’s understandable that people feel greater sympathy for those who feel sympathy for them. But what makes no sense is ever giving up your own taste in art to meet the expectations of your fellow partisans.

“Sense, perception, judgment, desire, volition, memory, imagination, are found to be separated by such delicate shades and minute gradations that their boundaries have eluded the most subtle investigations, and remain a pregnant source of ingenious disquisition and controversy.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 37
WSJ: “Over time, many other antiquated auto features have been ruthlessly abandoned—hand-crank starters and windows, carburetors and cassette decks. But stick-shifting has defiantly stuck around, joining ax throwing, rock climbing and ultramarathons as an activity people stubbornly enjoy despite its needless difficulty. … Thomas Plucinsky, a company representative for BMW, ‘There is no longer a logical reason to shift manually.’ Cars with automatic transmissions accelerate faster, drive more smoothly and get better fuel economy than stick shifts, he pointed out. One could argue that manually shifting a modern car makes about as much sense as milling your own flour, building a fire to heat your home or drawing water from a well. Even many pro drivers race automatics these days. … But many people still buy stick shift cars for ‘emotional reasons,’ Mr. Plucinsky said. ‘They enjoy the mechanical feedback, which is part of the fun of driving even if they are just commuting to work.’”

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Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
41.2 percent 
Average disapproval: 
54 percent 
Net Score:
 -12.8 points
Change from one week ago: 
down 0.6 points 
[Average includes: Gallup: 42% approve - 54% disapprove; CBS News: 40% approve - 55% disapprove; CNN: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; IBD: 38% approve - 56% disapprove; Pew Research Center: 42% approve - 54% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
41.8 percent
Democratic average: 48.4 percent
Democrats plus 6.6 points
Change from one week ago: 
no change 
[Average includes: CNN: 47% Dems - 44% GOP; CBS News: 50% Dems - 41% GOP; Pew Research Center: 48% Dems - 43% GOP; Monmouth University: 49% Dems - 41% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 48% Dems - 40% GOP.]


WaPo: “Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) announced Monday that he is struggling with alcoholism and will abandon his run for a second term in Congress so he can focus on recovery and his family. Garrett, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, is the 48th Republican to retire or announce they will not seek reelection to the House this year, according to a list maintained by the House Press Gallery. Many are leaving in anticipation of a strong Democratic performance in congressional races this fall and out of frustration with partisan politics in Washington. Garrett, 46, was facing a robust challenge from his Democratic opponent, journalist and author Leslie Cockburn, who had raised more money and had more cash on hand than he had. In recent days, unnamed former staffers had accused him and his wife of mistreating staff who worked in his congressional office. But in a videotaped statement, Garrett, a former Virginia state senator, said his departure from politics was spurred by his addiction.”

Distillery owner first to enter race to replace Garrett - WaPo: “Hours after Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) made the surprise announcement that he will not seek reelection in central Virginia, potential candidates began jockeying to replace him and one officially entered the race. Denver Riggleman, a former Air Force intelligence officer and distillery owner who ran a short-lived campaign for governor last year, said he is seeking the Republican nomination to help pass President Trump’s agenda in Congress. ‘As we have all seen over the past few years, it takes a real outsider with real world experience to drag the swamp monsters to dry land,’ he said in a statement. ‘As a veteran and small business owner, I am perfectly suited for that task.’ Riggleman is the first candidate to publicly confirm he will run after Garrett announced his struggle with alcoholism, but there is a long list of other potential candidates, including four from the General Assembly.”

Trump to hold rally in Nashville tonight - AP: “Trump is traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday to raise campaign cash for Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the party’s leading U.S. Senate hopeful in Tennessee, and to headline a rally with his most loyal supporters. Blackburn is expected to face Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen to replace Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who is retiring. The Tennessee campaign is among several races crucial to Trump’s plans to maintain control of the Senate, where Republicans are defending a narrow two-seat majority. Trump is planning a series of political rallies and events in the coming months to boost Republicans and brand Democrats as obstructionists to his agenda.”

Montana Senate race gets boost from outside cash - AP: “Outside money is pouring into Montana’s U.S. Senate race even before Republicans settle on a nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who has become a leading target of the GOP after drawing the fury of President Donald Trump. Four Republicans are jockeying for a last-minute advantage ahead of the June 5 primary. Their ambitions to topple the two-term incumbent were buoyed after Trump — who won in Montana by 20 percentage points — unloaded on Tester for releasing allegations that the president’s pick for head of the Department of Veterans Affairs loosely handed out prescription drugs and got drunk on duty. Among Tester’s would-be challengers, state auditor Matt Rosendale has emerged as the favorite of deep-pocketed conservative donors. Outside groups including two bankrolled by Illinois billionaire Richard Uihlein have spent $1.8 million pumping Rosendale’s candidacy. That’s almost twice as much as he’s raised himself.”

Vulnerable Dems say banking law is proof of their ‘independence from Washington’ - The Hill: “Three vulnerable Senate Democrats hailing from states President Trump won in the 2016 election are touting their work on a new bipartisan banking law, portraying it as proof of their independence in Washington. Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) co-authored the bipartisan legislation, signed by Trump on Thursday, that eases the regulatory oversight imposed on banks and credit unions by the Dodd-Frank Act. The senators say their bill is a prime example of their ability to work across party lines and solve problems, a message they are eager to bring back to voters in their home states. … Yet whether the law will turn into electoral gold remains to be seen. The banking industry remains deeply unpopular, and liberal activists have assailed the new law as a giveaway to the financial industry.”

Gov. Hogan releases first ad in reelection campaign - WaPo: “Gov. Larry Hogan released the first television advertisement of his reelection campaign Monday, part of a $1.3 million advertising blitz ahead of the gubernatorial primary that is costing substantially more than some of his leading Democratic opponents have in the bank. With four weeks until the June 26 primary, Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford have $9 million cash on hand and no Republican primary opponents. Their first television ad, which will air on broadcast and cable stations, highlights Hogan’s record on the economy and environmental issues, including efforts to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

Millennial midterm candidates starting strong - Politico: “[Colin Allred] — the newly minted Democratic nominee for a competitive House seat [in Dallas]— is part of a swell of young Democratic House candidates hoping to inspire higher turnout among fellow millennials in the midterm elections… At least 20 millennial Democratic candidates are running in battleground districts… Currently, the average age of a member of 115th Congress — nearly 58 years old in the House and nearly 62 years old in the Senate — is among the oldest of any Congress in recent history… [Elise Stefanik] was first elected at age 30. No woman has ever been elected to Congress in her 20s, but two 20-something Democrats — Sara Jacobs in Southern California and Abby Finkenauer in eastern Iowa — are serious contenders running in competitive districts. Illinois' Lauren Underwood, 31, and Ohio's Aftab Pureval, 35, have already won primaries to take on sitting GOP incumbents this fall.


Politico: “A group of senators in both parties is beginning to restart back-channel talks across the aisle and with the White House in hopes that the chamber will be ready to act if the House or the courts throw the issue back to the Senate this summer. But the Senate isn’t ready to take up the issue after a thoroughly unproductive immigration debate in February, followed by months of radio silence. And lawmakers are growing more and more worried the upper chamber could be blindsided by a call to action later this year. The House, meanwhile, has become a hotbed of immigration debate — and it’s preparing to take up one or several Republican bills in June. But even if the GOP is able to resolve its intense disagreements and pass something, the Senate is very unlikely to accept it, according to interviews with nearly a dozen senators of both parties.”

Report: DHS official says immigrant children aren’t lost, they ‘can’t be reached’ -
 CNN: “A top official at the US Department of Health and Human Services on Monday called reports that the agency has lost nearly 1,500 immigrant children false and misleading. The children are not lost, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said in a statement. Their sponsors simply have not responded to follow-up calls from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the HHS department that oversees the care of unaccompanied alien or minor children. The agency was under no obligation to make the 30-day follow-up calls to ensure that the children and their sponsors needed no additional services, he said. Now, this voluntary action is being used to confuse and spread misinformation, he said. … ‘While there are many possible reasons for this, in many cases sponsors cannot be reached because they themselves are illegal aliens and do not want to be reached by federal authorities,’ he continued.”

Nielsen goes against the boss on sanctuary cities - McClatchy: “[Trump’s] embattled homeland security secretary recently awarded nearly $1.7 billion in grants, some related to immigration, to states and localities across the nation, including so-called sanctuary cities, according to three people with knowledge of the grants. Kirstjen Nielsen authorized the grants despite objections of her top staff… Homeland Security officials said Tuesday that Nielson was bound by a nationwide court order that instructs the federal government not to withhold funding. Despite that, her top aides urged her in the day leading up to the awarding of the grants not to include the money for sanctuary cities, according to the three people, two of whom used to work at the department and remain in close contact with employees. … ‘She is known for deliberately ignoring warnings that her decisions are not in keeping with the president’s agenda, but that she proceeds forcefully and simply misrepresents what she is doing.’”

Fox News: “President Trump warned Tuesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the ‘13 Angry Democrats’ on his team ‘will be MEDDLING’ in the midterms by pursuing their Russia probe so close to the election. The special counsel reportedly is expected to lie low going into the midterms if the probe has not wrapped up by that point, so as not to be seen as swaying voters. But in a Tuesday morning tweetstorm, the president effectively argued that the probe is already threatening to interfere in the vote -- and questioned again why the team is not investigating ‘totally Crooked Hillary Clinton’ and Democrats. … The president was referring to the 13 investigators -- of the 17 total members on Mueller’s team -- who have registered as Democrats. At least nine have donated to Democratic candidates and causes. Mueller, though, is said to be a lifelong Republican and served as FBI director under former Republican President George W. Bush.”

Michael Avenatti creating complications in Cohen probe - WSJ: “A lawyer for former adult-film star Stephanie Clifford has frustrated efforts by federal prosecutors to obtain information about a hush-money deal involving President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, according to people familiar with the matter. In public, Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s current attorney, has been among the most vocal critics of Michael Cohen, the lawyer who paid her $130,000 in October 2016 to sign a nondisclosure agreement about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. But behind the scenes, Mr. Avenatti has slowed prosecutors’ efforts to discuss the nondisclosure agreement with Ms. Clifford’s former lawyer, these people say. Mr. Avenatti also demanded to review documents investigators subpoenaed from Ms. Clifford’s former manager, they said.”

Supreme Court allows Arkansas to enforce anti-abortion pill law - Fox News

Trump mocks Dem Rep. Jared Polis for tax cut repeal bill - The Hill

Dems attack Trump on increase gas prices - Politico

Stephen Miller
’s “constructive controversy—with the purpose of enlightenment” - The Atlantic

“‘Me’-morial Day” – Tweet from user Mike Bender in response to a tasteless Memorial Day post from President Trump, who bragged that America’s war dead would be “happy” with Trump’s policies.  

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BBC: “A man had to be rescued by police and the fire service after getting stuck in a child's swing in a play park. The 20-year-old had been firmly wedged in the child-sized seat for three hours before police were called to Landseer Park in Ipswich [England] at 07:50 BST. When a ‘shove and pull’ method of swing-release failed, the fire service arrived with a trusty screwdriver. The swing was taken apart and the ‘grateful but embarrassed’ grown-up was freed unharmed. A Suffolk police community support officer quickly realized the man - who complained he had been in there for three hours - was definitely stuck. There was no shifting him as the girth of his rear was clearly too wide for the child-sized swing. After taking the swing to pieces and releasing the man, crews from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service put it back together so it could be safely used by someone of the right size.”

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.