Category Archives: Elections

Moderate Republicans Always Cave

The vote spread in the Senate is tantalizing. The GOP has a two vote margin, one if you don’t count John McCain. Defeating a Trump Supreme Court nominee seems doable IF the two Republican Senators who are on the record as pro-choice vote against a nominee. Don’t hold your breath: moderate Republicans always cave.

Yeah, I know, Collins and Murkowski voted against  ACA repeal but that’s an exception to the rule. Unless Trump picks a nominee as outlandish as his twitter feed, they’ll vote the party line. One reason I expect a smooth and genial Gorsuch/Roberts-type nominee is who vetted the potential Supremes for the Trumpers:

Leonard Leo — the anti-abortion Federalist Society executive vice president currently on leave to advise the President on Supreme Court nominees, and the originator of Trump’s campaign-era list of potential nominees — has been careful to note that names on the list have not taken a public stance on abortion.

“None of the people who are being talked about now in the public space in the media are people who have a clear position on Roe v. Wade,” he said, as quoted by the Washington Free Beacon.

The right has these things down to a science. They’ve been honing their craft since the Robert Bork was, well, borked by the Senate. They tend to pick nominees who are rational on the outside but stone cold wingnuts on the inside. It’s one reason they prefer to nominate federal judges because they’re not out there writing inflammatory articles. The Gorsuch nomination proved this is one area in which Trumpism hasn’t dumbed down the GOP.

Senator Collins is making reassuring noises about how she wouldn’t support a nominee who “demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade.” But she’s also convinced that neither Roberts nor Gorsuch would vote to overrule it. That naive notion seems to be based on her belief that they’re “nice guys” and that “nice” Neil Gorsuch wrote a book about stare decisis:

“I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent,” she said. “So someone who devotes that much time to writing a book on precedent, I think understands how important a principle that is in our judicial system.”

Collins is willing to be hoodwinked by private assurances when the Court overruled several longstanding precedents this term:

Liberals leading the charge against Mr. Trump’s potential picks quickly dismissed Ms. Collins’s remarks, suggesting that the senator was either being hoodwinked or knowingly obfuscating her position. They pointed to court decisions as recently as last week — when the justices overturned a four-decade-old precedent in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to deal a blow to organized labor — in which it reversed earlier rulings.

“This proves how flimsy Collins’ pro-Roe position is,” Brian Fallon, a longtime Democratic operative whose organization, Demand Justice, is helping organize opposition to potential nominees, wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning, referring to Ms. Collins’s comments on Mr. Gorsuch. “She is perfectly happy to let herself be suckered based on phony assurances about ‘precedent.’

Repeat after me: moderate Republicans always cave. The moderate to conservative red state Democratic Senators up for re-election this year have NO incentive to die on the SCOTUS hill unless Collins and Murkowski break with their party. It’s hard to imagine the most vulnerable Dem, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, voting against a conservative court pick in any event. He was elected because he ran in a presidential election year and had an appalling opponent. Conservative Democrats *usually* cave on Republican Supreme Court nominees, after all.

There is no path to defeat a Trump nominee unless Collins and Murkowski announce their opposition early and often. Otherwise the red state Democrats will cave since they’re already running scared. That, too, could hurt their campaigns by flattening out enthusiasm among liberals. There *are* red state liberals: I’m one of them

Of particular interest to me is how Alabama’s Doug Jones comes down on this issue. He has to run again in two years BUT he’s a rather learned lawyer who has surely thought about the implications of replacing Kennedy with a hardcore conservative. There’s no incentive for him to do the right thing if Collins and Murkowski cave.

The best case scenario is for the vote to be delayed until after the election. Given the nuking of the filibuster on SCOTUS votes, I’m not sure how this can be accomplished. I know for certain that Chinless Mitch does not give a shit about the so-called McConnell rule. He could care less about accusations of cynicism: he’s cynical and damn proud of it.

I agree with Larry Tribe and Cory Booker that Trump should not be allowed to appoint a Justice who might rule on issues involving the Mueller probe. I have my doubts that such considerations will move any GOP votes since some of them are working to destroy the investigation. Besides, a prospective nominee could theoretically defuse that issue by promising to recuse themselves. That’s only likely to happen if they think they’re going to lose. Here’s how Jessie Jackson might have phrased it in his prime: If you’re going to lose, defuse and recuse.

I remain committed to fighting the nomination, but Josh Marshall presented some contrary views at TPM that are worth considering. The one upside to the political corner Anthony Kennedy’s retirement has painted us into is that  GOP money is flowing from House to Senate races. That helps Democratic odds of retaking the House but the Senate was always trickier given the map.

Anything can happen and a few months is a lifetime in politics. But one should never forget: moderate Republicans always cave.

On Our Own Now: Justice Kennedy Exits, Stage Right

I planned to write about the McConnell Court after the appalling decision in the Muslim ban case, which featured an off-hand reversal of the infamous Korematsu ruling. I hadn’t planned to write about Anthony Kennedy but then the news cycle went berserk and my plans changed.

Liberal twitter was on suicide watch after Kennedy’s announcement. There was fear in the virtual air. Kennedy *was* a swing vote on some issues that matter to liberals: abortion, guns, and gay rights. BUT he was also a conservative Reagan appointee who voted with right-wing justices in 13 out of 13 5-4 decisions this term.

The great Dahlia Lithwick wrote one of the best pieces about Kennedy’s exit, stage right:

It was always more fan fiction than reality that Justice Anthony Kennedy was a moderate centrist. Democrats liked to soothe themselves with the story that Kennedy was a moderate because he’d provided the fifth vote to support continued affirmative action, reproductive rights, and gay rights and had strung the left along with the tantalizing promise of someday finding an unconstitutional political gerrymander. But we always knew that Kennedy was a conservative, indeed a very conservative conservative. Recall that in the famous study done in 2008 by Richard Posner and William Landes, “Four of the five most conservative justices to serve on the Supreme Court since the time of Franklin Roosevelt, including [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito, are currently sitting on the bench today.” And Kennedy? He was ranked in that study as the 10th most conservative justice in the past century.

To the extent we wrote paeans to Kennedy, it was for his occasional defections in areas that materially affect the lives of millions of people—women, minorities, LGBTQ couples, voters, Guantanamo detainees. And to be sure, each of those votes was well worth it. But we knew that for each such vote, there was a Bush v. Gore, a Citizens United, a Shelby County.

Kennedy’s opinions this term reflected an exhaustion with the law and the court that shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s 81 years old and ready to sit back and do whatever retired Supremes do. We should have never regarded him as a legal savior of sorts. We’re on our own now.

I am not optimistic about the chances of defeating Trump’s next nominee BUT it’s a battle well-worth waging. The filibuster was nuked for SCOTUS nominees during the Gorsuch confirmation process BUT the GOP majority is nominally 51-49 but actually 50-49 because of John McCain’s illness. I am not optimistic about rhetorically pro-choice Senators Collins and Murkowski voting NO since Republican moderates almost always cave. Jeff Flake has made noises about holding up judicial nominees until McConnell allows a vote on tariffs but it’s unclear if that would apply to Kennedy’s soon-to-be vacated seat. Besides, Flake has been all hat and no cattle in his opposition to the Orange menace. We’re on our own now.

Having said that, Senate Democrats owe their base a fierce fight over this nomination. The future of Roe v. Wade is at stake. Overruling that 45 year-old precedent will NOT automatically render abortion illegal nationally, BUT it would allow states to do so. I expect the Gret Stet of Louisiana to be one of the early entrants in the odious race to abolish abortion. Louisiana Republicans have been working over-time to make Democrat John Bel Edwards a one-term Governor and a Roe reversal would hand them a cudgel. Edwards is rhetorically  pro-life and, like Justice Kennedy, has supported restrictions. But Governor Edwards would have to deal with an enraged Democratic base if he signed a bill banning all abortions. I somehow doubt he views that prospect with anything but foreboding. He needs Gret Stet liberals if he is to be re-elected. It will be a major test of coalition politics here in my backyard. Stay tuned.

Kennedy’s exit-stage right-is a reminder to liberals that we should stop looking for saviors. There’s no deus ex machina that’s going to drop from the sky and save us from the Trumper horde. We have to do it ourselves at the ballot box. There remains an excellent chance to flip the House but control of the Senate is up in the air despite the GOP’s narrow margin. It’s a tough map for Democrats, which is why everyone needs to forget about 2020 and focus on state and congressional elections. We on our own now.

Like many, I had hoped that Anthony Kennedy’s personal qualities would make him loath to allow the loathsome Insult Comedian to appoint his successor. Kennedy is famous for using words like dignity and respect in his opinions. Ain’t nobody less dignified or more disrespectful than Donald Trump who has already made the Kennedy retirement about himself. Dahlia Lithwick, once again, summed up my feelings on this point:

Many of us predicted that Kennedy would not allow Trump to replace him with someone who would dismantle his legacy. We were wrong. Many of us believed that a lifelong devotee of dignity, civility, and the rule of law would not want his work tarnished by a president who routinely attacks individual judges and the very notion of an independent judiciary. We were wrong. That two of Anthony Kennedy’s last judicial acts included a letter that opened “My dear Mr. President” and a vote to grant that same president a virtual blank check on the national security front certainly suggests that nothing about a president who liesbullies, and destabilizes the rule of law was any kind of real impediment to Kennedy’s departure.

2018 is the most important off-year election in the history of the Republic. It’s a chance to check the wild excesses of the executive and legislative branches.  Organize and vote like your life depends on it.

We’re on our own now.

INSTANT UPDATE: In the least surprising development ever, Jeff Flake has announced that he won’t put a hold on a Supreme Court nominee.

We’re still on our own.

Chiming In

I’m on the road and should zip my lip but I’m not very good at being silent when there’s this much news. I guess you’ve noticed that already. I prefer writing on the mighty Wurlitzer that is my desktop keyboard but a laptop will just have to do. I’m not, however, a fan of track pads. I find them user hostile and unatracktive…

The G-7 summit was a Trumped up fiasco. Remember when even jerky American presidents made nice with our allies?  How is it possible to fight with Canada, which currently has one of the most amiable leaders in the world, Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has followed his father’s playbook in dealing with Donald Trump. Trudeau the elder disliked Nixon but forged a decent working relationship with him. When he learned that Tricky had called him an asshole on the White House tapes, Pierre Trudeau had an elegant response: “I’ve been called worse by better people.”

Everyone is better than the Insult Comedian.

The Dictator-Dotard summit was a farce. Trump left it spouting North Korean propaganda. If they allowed dancing in the streets in Pyongyang, they’d be doing it as I write this. If this is winning, I’d rather lose.

The good thing about being on the road is that I’ve missed all of Trumpy’s teevee bragfests. I like how my friend Laura described his appearance: “Even sitting down for an interview, 45 is gross. Looks like he is working hard to have a bowel movement.”

Hey, at least he gives a shit…

In election news, Never Trump Republicans are doing a rotten job of “taking back” their party. Exhibit A: Mark Sanford. Exhibit B: Corey Stewart. Virginia Democrats are thrilled that Lost Causer Corey will be Tim Kaine’s opponent this fall. It’s yet another sign that the GOP is well and truly Trumpified.

That’s it for me. I have a high school graduation to attend. I’m glad that relatives don’t have to wear caps and gowns. It’s not a good look for anyone, especially a grown man with a size 8 head.

That is all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Hundred Fifty Days

And then the rest of our lives, ladies and motherfuckers. The rest of our lives.

… Republicans have, at best, continued to stand by and allow Trump to undermine and obstruct the FBI. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan acknowledged, on Wednesday, that there is no evidence to support Trump’s spying lies, but at a press conference Thursday, still defended the sham “oversight” that has been used to try and out a legitimate FBI informant.

Trump’s abuses of power are frightening, but they would not be possible without the complicity of Republicans in Congress.

One hundred and fifty days and then I don’t want to hear anymore about how you just weren’t excited to vote for the Democrat you had the chance to vote for, they didn’t tickle your liberal fancy just right, the fucking earth is caving in so either get over yourself and show up for your immigrant, minority, gay, trans brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus or get the fuck off my Internet.

These elections are the only things that matter now. You and I can follow the twists and turns of the Mueller investigation until we have degrees in Internet Lawyering, and we can shield our eyes in horror from the latest Trump idiocy and we can stockpile dry goods for the coming post-apocalyptic hellscape but there’s really only one thing we can do, right now, today.

And that’s register as many people to vote as we possibly can. Because that’s the only thing that can stop it.

The courts can’t. They’ve been stacked since Reagan while liberals have been worried about being mean by Borking every regressive Republicans put up. Mueller can’t, either, not really. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are not going to impeach and try Donald Trump no matter what Mueller finds.

Don’t even bring up media, I’ve said what Imma say about the omnipresence of Fox and the alternate reality it nurtures. No story in the Post is going to shame anyone involved here.

The only way to stop this is to vote in as many Democrats as possible.

Yeah, some of them will be shitty Blue Dog middle-of-the-road corporatists, but what you forget when you decry that is that the only thing giving the Manchins of the world their power is the lack of Dems in general in Congress. If all of a sudden there are twice as many Democrats, the three pains in the ass we’re always worried about don’t matter anymore because we don’t need them to get shit done. Looking at you, Heitkamp.

People keep warning about “outrage fatigue” and I thought at first that’s what I had, but what I really have is a lack of giving a shit about the latest dumbass thing the administration does because we need to focus on November and only November. Vote. For anything with a D after its name or anything committed to caucusing with them. I don’t care if you don’t love them. I don’t care if you don’t think they have a message or they aren’t jerking you off on your pet issue. Vote. Straight ticket. Everywhere, every time.

We’re seeing the apotheosis of “maybe things need to get worse before they get better” and I can’t even say they can’t get worse because the universe can hear me, and the only way to make things better at all, bless Mueller’s holy name, is to vote.

A.

You Say Jungle Primary, I Say Open Primary

There’s even a third alternative used to describe electoral systems such as California and the Gret Stet of Louisiana: top two. I prefer open but hate the system itself. It led to much advance agita about yesterday’s election in California. There is rare good news: Democrats were NOT locked out of any Congressional primaries. A collective sigh of relief was heaved, otherwise we might have hurled.

I admit that I was surprised when California adopted an open primary system via ballot initiative in 2011. No state should emulate Gret Stet politics but they did. At least the California lege can pass a budget, which ours cannot do as I pointed out on the tweeter tube:

The premise of the open/jungle/top two primary is that the role of political parties should be limited. It’s a deeply silly goo-goo notion. Repeat after me: You can’t take politics out of politics. It’s the system that gave Louisiana the run-off from hell in 1991: the Charming Crook versus the Kreepy Klansman. Mercifully, things turned out well yesterday despite this goofy system. The best way to check the Kaiser of Chaos is to retake the House and unleash the subpoena power. Then Scott Pruitt will really have to go to the mattresses.

The teevee punditocracy insist on calling the open/top two system the jungle primary. It has the virtue of being dramatic, it certainly beats the hell out of a *fourth* term of art: non-partisan blanket primary. I hate to be a wet blanket but that sounds like a dull and wonky slumber party.

Jungle primary is a meaningless term that must have been dreamt up by someone who watched too many Tarzan movies on teevee as a kid. I watched a few of those fakakta flicks on TCM recently and I cannot decide if they’re from hunger or campy fun. Tarzan even fights the Nazis in a couple of war-time entries. Tarzan good, Nazis bad.

The news from New Jersey was also pretty darn good. Democrats have an excellent chance to flip four seats held by the GOP. There’s even a rising star in the bunch:  former Navy pilot Mikie Sherrill who’s also a graduate of the Naval Academy.

It was a another good night for Democrats. Turn-out was good and the enthusiasm gap was visible; something the inside the beltway pundit class continues to have a hard time spotting. I think Nate Silver nailed it:

They’d rather beat the drums for jungle primaries. You say jungle primary, I say open primary. Let’s call the whole thing off.

What would I do without Ira Gershwin? Or Ella and Louis for that matter:

WRT Mueller

Just a quick note on the savior of the Republic.

Look. I am as susceptible as anyone to Twitter outrage over whatever Mueller’s found today that incriminates Trump and everyone around him. However, I want everyone to understand that a Republican Congress is not going to impeach Donald. Under no circumstances. The four loud Never Trumpers aren’t enough here, especially since they don’t back up their talk-show bullshit with votes.

November is all that matters. It’s ALL that matters. Even that might not be enough, but you gotta check some of his bullshit and Congress is the only way to do that. The courts are one Supreme away from being lost forever. If we want to stop Trump it’s gonna happen in the Capitol and in state houses across the country so buckle up and register some goddamn voters.

Yes, it’s an outrage (whatever it is we’ve found today, I dunno, I haven’t checked in 30 seconds or so) and yes, it’s fun to pop the corn. I’m not saying I ain’t drinking champagne on indictment day. But remember Fitzmas, remember Scooter Libby, and keep your eye on the fucking ball.

A.

Why I Shouldn’t Be President

If I became president I would TOTALLY INSTALL A DIET COKE BUTTON ON THE RESOLUTE DESK.

Guys, this is like the only part of Trump — besides his clowning on Ted Cruz — that makes any sense to me. I would install a Diet Coke button and a button that brings me chips and salsa, and I would have someone every day at 3 come in and give me a phone full of kitten videos and then I would use the full faith and credit of the United States to screw with everyone who was mean to me in college.

I am a petty, vindictive bitch who doesn’t so much hold grudges as cuddle them lovingly and tell them they’re pretty.

Like, yes, theoretically, the Constitution and shit, but there are places I’d like to send the 82nd Airborne and if they work for me, sorry Wrigley Field, you’ve had a good run. The IRS is gonna be all up in the grill of certain historically conservative publications and I won’t feel bad about it at all. Congress gets upset, they can impeach me, the cowardly bastards.

WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY I SHOULDN’T BE PRESIDENT JESUS TITS.

I mean come on: 

Now, according to four sources close to the White House, Trump is discussing ways to escalate his Twitter attacks on Amazon to further damage the company. “He’s off the hook on this. It’s war,” one source told me. “He gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos,” said another source. “Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?”

According to sources, Trump wants the Post Office to increase Amazon’s shipping costs. When Trump previously discussed the idea inside the White Hose, Gary Cohn had explained that Amazon is a benefit to the Postal Service, which has seen mail volume plummet in the age of e-mail. “Trump doesn’t have Gary Cohn breathing down his neck saying you can’t do the Post Office shit,” a Republican close to the White House said. “He really wants the Post Office deal renegotiated. He thinks Amazon’s getting a huge fucking deal on shipping.”

This is why you don’t elect petty, vindictive, venal little bitches to be president of the United States. When you’re a CEO, you can do things like visit unspeakable acts upon those who bother you. If you wanna run a workplace where you hide dead fish in the desks of your rivals you go ahead and you do that. You find competitive advantages and you use them, and then you find ways to punish people for screwing with you, and you use those, too.

I’m not telling anybody running a business not to be ruthless about it. The high road is for snipers.

This is why the United States isn’t a business and the president isn’t a CEO. We keep electing these clowns (see Rauner, Bruce and Fitzgerald, Peter) who claim they can just yell government into submission with the magic powers of their business voices, or something. Like the problems must be easy to solve, and lazy politicians just don’t want to solve them. That’s it!

And then they get into power and the legislative branch says okay honey, go play with your Diet Coke button and let us do the real work, and these CEOs get all flummoxed. Yelling at the interns worked so well at Corporation X! Why won’t these junior congressmen from Utah do what I want? Why can’t I call in the National Guard if somebody bugs me? I was told I was now the most powerful man in the world!

Yeah, you’re not. And the junior congressmen from Utah don’t work for you. At best they work for their crabby, disaffected voters and at worst they work for themselves, and they, too, want a Diet Coke button someday.

I know I do.

A.

Malaka Of The Week: Mo Brooks

Since November, 2016, one of the MSM’s favorite words is unprecedented. Everything is unprecedented. It’s hard to argue that a president* making foreign policy pronouncements on twitter while watching Fox News is NOT unprecedented. It is. It is also aberrant and a textbook example of malakatude.

I’m going to do something unprecedented myself: First Draft’s first two-time malaka of the week. In the past, I’ve avoided repeat offenders because there’s enough malakatude to go around without plowing the same furrow again. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and that is why Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks is malaka of the week.

Mo Brooks first wore the malakatude crown of shame on June 8, 2014 for some inflammatory and downright idiotic white nationalist rantings. Brooks puts the Mo in Moron. In 2014, Malaka Mo claimed Democrats were waging a “war on whites” because of their uppity president and such.

Since then, Mo finished third in the 2017 GOP Senate primary behind Judge Pervert and Luther Strange. He was only the second craziest candidate in the race. Go figure.

In 2018, we’re getting Mo of the same nonsense as Brooks claims that assassination threats are the reason so many House GOPers are retiring:

“One of the things that’s concerning me is the assassination risk may become a factor,” he said.

Brooks referred to the fact many members of the Republican baseball team are retiring, including Sen. Jeff Flake and Reps. Ryan Costello, Pat Meehan, Dennis Ross and Tom Rooney.

“You have to wonder with that kind of disproportionate retirement number whether what happened in June played a factor,” he said.

So, it’s not scandal or the fact that they’re sure losers in the fall? It’s the Scalise shooting? Does Darrell Issa know about this? Since Mo is running for re-election, I guess that makes him one of the brave ones. Of course, he represents Alabama’s 5th district where white Democrats are rare and you can’t shake a stick without hitting a neo-Klansman. Mo is one brave motherfucker as well as a tribune of malakatude.

My favorite bit of this imbecilic rant is when Mo makes a vague Chinese Cultural Revolution reference without showing any signs that he knows what a Maoist really is:

He also said the “socialist Bernie Sanders wing of society” was pushing for a revolution that would lead to Maoist level of violence.

“There are a growing number of leftists who believe the way to resolve this is not at the ballot box but through threats and sometimes through violence and assassinations,” he said.

Other than social media keyboard warriors, I’m unaware of anyone advocating violent revolution or tooling up to become a 21st Century Gang of Four. The idea of past malaka of the week Jeff Weaver, Nina Turner and cohort donning Mao shirts and waving the little red book at Our Revolution rallies makes me chortle, titter, and even guffaw.

Since Malaka Mo is trotting out the Maoist straw man, it’s time to trot out some good old-fashioned ChiCom rhetoric and call Mo a running dog of the imperialist Trumpist dynasty.

It seems as if Mo is starting a Congressional GOP baseball team conspiracy theory. They’re all retiring because the Mau Mau Maoists are out to get them, which makes this some kind of Obama-Gang of Four conspiracy. Does Alex Jones know about this? He might, however, confuse them with the British rock band of that name. He could always ask his pal Billy Corgan to clarify matters.

It turns out that Malaka Mo is one of the GOP baseball team’s “coaches.” Why does a pickup baseball team need coaches? Is Mo teaching them the spitball? He’s good at scuffing up the truth, after all. Coach Mo conjures up images of Coach, Sam Malone’s lovably dim sidekick/bartender on the early seasons of Cheers. Mo Brooks is his evil twin but every bit as dim. I guess I shouldn’t use the word dim or Malaka Mo will think I’m talking about dim sum, which could make me a Maoist or some such shit. Mmm, dim sum.

Congressman Brooks continues to put the Mo into Moron with his bizarre ideas and convoluted thinking. Republican Congresscritters are retiring because they think they’ll lose their seats and control of the House. Fear of violence is just another lame excuse. And that is why Mo Brooks is malaka of the week.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Unpopular Vote edition

This is a red-letter day, folks!

The Darnold has finally – FINALLY – said something too stupid for even the Freeperati to praise!

What, you ask?

Trump: I would rather have presidential election based on the popular vote
The Hill ^ | 04/26/18 | Brett Samuels

Posted on 4/26/2018, 2:30:13 PM by Simon Green

President Trump on Thursday argued that he’d rather see the presidential election be determined based on the popular vote than the current Electoral College system, claiming it would be “much easier to win.”

“They also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign,” Trump said during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“It’s as though you’re running — if you’re a runner you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one mile,” he continued. “The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it’s — to me, it’s much easier to win.”

Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, securing 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 207.

However, Clinton defeated Trump in the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

Trump has claimed without any evidence that his defeat in the popular vote was due to widespread voter fraud.

The president has frequently touted his election victory in the 15 months he’s been in office, often explaining that it is difficult for a Republican to win the general election based on the way votes are divvied up in the Electoral College.

A month after the election, Trump took to Twitter to claim that he would have performed “even better” in the 2016 campaign if it had been based on the popular vote.

“Campaigning to win the Electoral College is much more difficult & sophisticated than the popular vote. Hillary focused on the wrong states!” he tweeted, referencing his Democratic opponent.

1 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:30:13 PM by Simon Green
Bobs-FuckingStupid
First comment?
To: Simon Green

 

Uh… no.

2 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:32:24 PM by chris37 (“I am everybody.” -Mark Robinson)

To: Simon Green

 

Stupid. So the five most populated states will determine who’ll be president.

4 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:34:30 PM by SkyDancer ( ~ Just Consider Me A Random Fact Generator ~ Eat Sleep Fly Repeat ~)

To: Simon Green

YUGE mistake!!!The electoral college ensures a representative vote. A popular vote would ensure that NY, CA, and FL would decide every election.

7 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:35:18 PM by Jim 0216 (MAGA by restoring the Gospel of the Grace of Christ and our Free Constitutional Republic!)

Your sig line is pretty amusing.
To: Simon Green; Donald J Trump

Waitaminnit.  Trump has a Free Republic account???   Jeebus couldn’t love me that much.

It’s nice that you have an opinion, Donny-boy, but you don’t get to make that decision. There’s a lot more to America than California and New York.

Not to him. To him, you and your ilk are just rubes in flyover country.

I thought you knew that. You’ll still have to campaign for the votes from us rubes in “Flyover Country”.

8 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:35:47 PM by NorthMountain (… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed)

That’s what I said.
To: Simon Green

 

Trump: I would rather have presidential election based on the popular vote

Well, I would rather return to land owning males as the electorate.

That ain’t gonna happen either.

20 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:39:57 PM by Responsibility2nd

Oh Freeepers – don’t ever change.
.
Just die.
.
Of course, there are a few 13th-dimensional chess-believing holdouts:
To: Simon Green

Now…Trump is playing here….He constantly debates himself. I think it’s a riot cuz the media doesn’t know what the hell to do.

5 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:34:35 PM by Sacajaweau
TrtumpDidntSayThat
To: Sacajaweau

 

I think Trump is trolling the press and the Dems…

10 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:36:23 PM by kosciusko51

He’s trolling Fox And Friends?  Interesting idea.
To: Simon Green

 

He’s trolling. Haven’t people figured that out yet?

17 posted on 4/26/2018, 2:38:40 PM by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)

Maybe that would account for the stunned expressions on the Fox And Friends couch-sitters during The Darnold’s unhinged diatribe last Tuesday.  “He’s trolling us!”
.
As far the accusation of his trolling F&F goes, let’s examine that word.
.
.
More trolling after the bridge…
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Yup. Vote Them Out.

It’s the only way:

Trumpism isn’t receding in the GOP — it’s increasing. This year’s Senate and House candidates are more like Trump than the ones in 2016. The voter outrage these candidates are stirring up won’t go away, even if some of the Trumpy candidates get their clocks cleaned in November — remember that many of them won’t, because they’ll be running in deep red states or districts.

After that, either Trump will consolidate power, which will make Trumpism the winning play for 2020 candidates, or he’ll remain under siege, possibly until he falls, which will increase Republican voters’ taste for vengeance.

The minute the cowards McConnell and Ryan decided to throw in with Trump, pussy-grabbing and all, so that they could get their tax cuts, the only way out of this for the GOP was ever gonna be through it.

David Cay Johnston, a reporter so meticulous he once asked THIS VERY BLOG for a correction (and we gave it to him because he Knows Things and also he was right and we were wrong), thinks this is the most important set of elections since the Civil War.

Well, he may win again in 2020. The November elections are the most important American elections since the Civil War, and I’m including 1932.

Based just on normal historic averages, the Republicans should lose control of the House by about four seats. They should lose control of the Senate as well, although the map is pretty awful for the Democrats. If Republicans retain control then I believe what will happen over time is that someone who shares Trump’s dictatorial and authoritarian tendencies but doesn’t have his baggage — someone who is a competent manager and just as charismatic — will eventually arise and you can kiss your individual liberties goodbye. That will take time but it’s the trend we are heading towards.

And everybody who thinks the answer is that the GOP needs to nominate more moderate candidates is bonkers crazy nuts. The answer isn’t that the GOP needs to fix itself. It’s that the GOP needs to be voted the fuck OUT.

Everywhere. In red states and blue ones. In city offices and in congressional races and in goddamn county clerkships from here to eternity.

“But my congressman’s a moderate!” Doesn’t matter. “But my guy does good things!” So what? If he’s still voting with Trump (and every Republican is) then he’s as useful to you as a coal-rolling doomsday-prepping schoolgirl-assaulting Bible-banging yeehaw screaming about child trafficking-pepperoni plots. This is not a time when we can afford to save a few Republicans who are Not That Bad. The aggregate is all that matters and in the aggregate they are All That Bad.

Is this some kind of tragedy? Not really. Should the GOP fix itself? Meh. It’s far more important that AMERICA fix itself and we don’t need them to do that. I get why our political infrastructure are invested in promoting the idea that America needs two functioning parties but I don’t get why anybody who isn’t paid to say so should give a good goddamn.

Convention centers and journalists and Grindr need Republicans but name me one reason America does. What do they bring to the table of any value? The last time they did good stuff they were basically where Democrats are now so maybe we should just have Democrats and Democrats, I don’t care, the goal is to get everybody home safe and alive and not bankrupt so call it whatever you want.

But stop pretending the GOP is gonna turn this around. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. That’s an oncoming train and they’re driving it, fast.

A.

You Beto Your Life

It’s time to revisit the Texas senate race. Beto O’Rourke remains the underdog but I’m glad people are taking a flyer on his candidacy. If there was ever a year to try to win a statewide race in Texas, 2018 is the year. Besides, what would be sweeter than bloodying Tailgunner Ted’s nose even if he survives? It’s win-win.

I have a suggestion for the Beto Bunch. It’s in the nature of a stunt. Those of us who are old enough to have voted in 1992 should recall Chicken George. He was the dude in the chicken suit who followed Poppy Bush around. The chicken came out of the coop when Poppy initially refused to debate. It was a Democratic stunt to bug Bush and benefit the Clinton campaign. It worked.

I think the gag could be updated but with a retro twist. Not only a retro twist but another pun on the Congressman’s nickname. Puns are important, y’all.

Let me clarify something: I may be old but I’m not old enough to have seen You Bet Your Life when it first aired. I saw the re-runs. Ya got that? I don’t want to have to make like the late R Lee Ermey and go Full Metal Jacket on your asses.

Back to Grouco Marx. Anyone who has ever seen his venerable quiz show knows that there was a secret word, when a contestant said it, a duck puppet dropped down and the contestant won some cold, hard cash. The duck puppet/muppet/marionette, whatever it was, looked like Groucho and evoked Duck Soup as opposed to Daffy Duck or Duck Dunn.

I suspect you’re wondering where the 2018 tie-in is. Here it is: the Beto Bunch should station a dude in a duck suit at every Cruz event. He could carry a pole with a You Bet Your Life style duck marionette that looks, not like Groucho, but like Rafael Edward Cruz. Every time Ted lies or mentions the name Donald Trump, the Duck Dude can quack and wave the marionette.

As a reminder of Cruzian spinelessness, there could also be a sidekick waving a placard with these National Enquirer front pages:

On second thought, the placard is probably a bad idea. Some of Cruz’s supporters may be packing heat and if it’s duck season, the Duck Dude and sidekick could be in deep doo doo like Daffy.

Duck Elmer GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This proposed stunt is a bit complicated and I realize not everyone will get the joke, but I like to be helpful. Maybe the Duck Dude could duck and cover when Cruz advocates bombing a country. The possibilities are endless as well as endlessly silly.

The last word goes to the Kinks:

Speaker Disconnected

I’m old enough to remember when being Speaker of the House was the ultimate accomplishment for Congresscritters. There was a long line of Speakers who, for good or ill, served forever. Gerald Ford accepted the Vice-Presidency because his ambition to be Speaker was thwarted by Democratic control, which lasted until 1995. Wise choice, Jerry.

The great Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn served as Speaker from 1940-1947, 1949-1953, and  1955-1961. Mr. Sam loved his job and his members as did Tip O’Neill who was Speaker for 10 years. Those days came to a screeching halt after the Tea Party wave election of 2010. Paul Ryan has finally had enough and decided not to run for re-election this fall. I, for one, am not surprised.

The most ardent teabaggers have morphed into the so-called Freedom Caucus who have specialized in making first John Boehner’s, then Paul Ryan’s life a living hell. We all know the line about herding cats. Dealing with the so-called Freedom Caucus is like herding FERAL CATS. Do I have any sympathy for the man Charlie Pierce memorably dubbed the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver? Hell to the no. I never bought into his previously glowing reputation, which is gone, gone, gone after 2 years of bowing and scraping to the Kaiser of Chaos.

There have long been rumors that Jenna Ryan is not down with her husband’s politics much like Ronald Reagan’s chirren with Nancy. Snopes has found these rumors to be unproven. I have something to throw in the hopper. It’s more in the nature of gossip or hearsay but I hope it’s true. I have a friend who has a friend who knows Jenna Ryan quite well. Supposedly, she’s banned all mention of Donald Trump from the family home and dinner table. Who could blame her?

The other good news is that Ryan’s seat could flip in the fall without him defending it:

In the words of the Insult Comedian, that would be beautiful, tremendous. Not as beautiful as Ryan losing to a Democrat in the fall but still tremendous. There’s a chance that up to 50 House Republicans may retire instead of facing the voters. Those skeptical of a Blue Wave can put that in their pipe and smoke it.

Ryan’s Randian views have long been repugnant to right-thinking people BUT he used to have the reputation of being a nice guy off-stage. That ended with the advent of Trump. Speaker Ryan is the latest in a long line of Trump dignity wraiths. Everything Trump touches turns to shit.

I wrote about Ryan on the day he became Speaker in 2015. In a fog of history post, I compared Lyin’ Ryan to James G. Blaine “the continental liar from the state of Maine.” I also posted a Separated at Birth image of him and Eddie Munster.

I’m sure Grandpa Munster would have been disappointed in him: the late Al Lewis was a lefty activist when not playing a zany vampire. We do not have to Snopes that.

The last word goes to Keane with this peachy video with a horror movie feel. Much scarier than the Munsters’ house at 1313 Mockingbird Lane but not as scary as the current House of Representatives or one led by the Gret Stet’s Steve Scalise.

Why I’m Not Writing About 2020 Yet

Several people asked me this week about the 2020 presidential election. They want to know why I’m not writing about it yet. The main reason is that it’s too damn early. I prefer to focus on the fall election, which may well be of greater significance than 2020. I’m going to break my rule this one time in order to explain my temporary silence.

Another reason to skip 2020 chatter is that we’re uncertain if Trump will run again and who will muster the balls to challenge him in his own party. Republicans are all profile and no courage. It will take a deluge this fall for a candidate to pop their head above the parapets and challenge the Insult Comedian. I hope for a challenge because incumbents tend to lose when they face a serious primary opponent. Hell, even Poppy Bush lost in 1992 and his challenger was proto-Trumper Pat Buchanan. I’m skimming over the Perot factor because that was a fall phenomenon.

On the Democratic side, the early field is depressingly elderly. Surely we can do better than a septuagenarian: Biden, Warren, Hillary, and the gruff independent will all be too old. I’m not sure which fresh face I’d like to see atop the ticket but we’ve done well with candidates under 50 in the past: JFK, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama spring to mind this spring.

Then there’s the ultimate “why not me?” pretender: outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Trump’s fluke electoral college win will inspire others. It reminds me of the post-1976 political environment when Jimmy Carter’s out-of-nowhere victory inspired a generation of “why not me?” candidates. The chances of a big city mayor being nominated by either party are slim. The last former mayors to be Oval Ones were Calvin Coolidge and Grover Cleveland; both of whom became Governors first and one of whom was an accidental president. Remember the 2008 Giuliani or 1972 Lindsay farces? I thought not. Sorry, Mitch.

Endless speculation about 2020 is for weak minds like Chris Cillizza. Surely nobody out there wants me to be like that dolt? Besides, Democrats have been *too* fixated on the White House at the expense of down ballot races. Flipping Congress and as many leges and Governorships as possible is a worthy goal and will send a message to the Kaiser of Chaos.

I realize that I just wrote a quick and dirty essay about 2020 to explain why I’m not writing about it yet. It’s akin to falling off the wagon and explaining one’s fall. I hereby renew my pledge not to write about 2020 until the votes are counted this November. I almost said “believe me” but I’ve been admonished not to do so. I could bring back Carter’s “you can depend on that” line but given how that worked out in 1980, I’ll pass. Instead, let’s revive Al Gore’s line from 1992: “It’s time for them to go.”

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “And the loons shall lie down with the Lamb” edition

 

Okay people – coffee break’s over – back on your heads!

One subject for today’s Obsession – Pennsylvania special election live thread!

Lamb vs. Saccone Special Election PA18
NY Times ^ | March 13, 2018

Posted on 3/13/2018, 7:16:01 PM by Pinkbell

A thread to discuss the results.

I feel like Lamb has a lot of momentum, has run as a moderate, and has run a better campaign. I’ll predict he’ll win tonight (although I’d like to see Saccone win).

NYT does a good job with election results.

1 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:16:02 PM by Pinkbell
Oh, DO they, now? So the “New York Slimes” is always full of fake news, but suddenly they’re the go-to for factual election results?

To: Pinkbell

The republicans would have had more excitement excrement if they ran a head of cabbage.

FIFY.

How can these clowns lose a state like Alabama? They’re going to give it all back to the commies if they don’t get their act together.

I thought you Freepers loved you some commies?  Or is that just since 2016?

RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel needs to go home if they cannot do better than this.

10 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:21:54 PM by boycott

I wonder how long it’s going to be before the other Freepers strap on their blamethrowers?
To: boycott

 

The republicans do not want the majority because they cannot justify what they are doing, tax cuts aside.

12 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:24:39 PM by Lagmeister ( false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders Mark 13:22)

BlameThrower
 .
Twelve posts in – that has to be some kind of record.
 .
To: VeniVidiVici

 

Marine officer and democrat…

Two terms that just don’t seem to right in the same sentence.

20 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:30:44 PM by NFHale (The Second Amendment – By Any Means Necessary.)

Nice try, wannabe. I’ve got a Marine friend named Dan who could cut you into pieces small enough to hide, and he’s as liberal as they come.
To: NutsOnYew

 

God…yet another potentially close race with a LOSERTARIAN also on the ballot. I wonder if Soros is back-channel supporting these idiots?

23 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:33:01 PM by House Atreides (BOYCOTT the NFL, its products and players 100% – PERMANENTLY)

BlameThrowerDiagram
And then –
To: Pinkbell

 

Saccone takes the lead by 14 votes!

woohoo it’s in the bag!

27 posted on 3/13/2018, 7:35:26 PM by JPJones (More tariffs, less income tax.)

You a fonny boy.
More below the “Read Roy Moore” link…
.

Continue reading

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The Lambslide

I am, of course, being sardonic, sarcastic, and other S words. Conor Lamb’s special election margin is 627 votes as I write this but a win is a win is a win. It’s a victory for coalition politics and a defeat for the president* and a feckless Speaker of the House who seems incapable of distancing his members from a wildly unpopular Trump. Paul Ryan is the most politically inept Speaker of my lifetime: the goal of any Speaker is to preserve their majority. Ryan is too afraid of the rabid right-wing base he’s pandered to all these years to even try to save his majority. Thanks, Paul.

This triumph will prove to be somewhat ephemeral since the crazy quilt Pennsylvania Gerrymander scheme was tossed out by the courts. Lamb will have to run in a differently configured district this fall but that somehow makes this victory even sweeter. Lamb beat a Republican in a district drawn to make it well-nigh impossible for a D to beat an R.  It took an asshole president* to produce a 20 point swing. Thanks, Trumpy.

In classic Trump fashion, he’s making excuses and absolving himself from any blame for the GOP’s latest special election defeat:

 “The young man last night that ran, he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.’ He ran on that basis,” Trump said at the fundraiser, according to an audio recording obtained by The Atlantic. “He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, ‘Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.’”

In fact, Lamb ran a classic lunch pail/kitchen table pro-union campaign. It’s the way Democrats have won elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since the New Deal. I don’t recall Trump being a fan of organized labor. Fake populism can only get you so far.

Here’s how former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau described Landslide Lamb’s campaign:

It takes a coalition to win any election that doesn’t take place in the purest truest bluest district. For the 50 state strategy to succeed, that requires supporting candidates who can win in a given district. That was the strategy Howard Dean used to help Democrats take back the House in 2006. You might recall that Dean ran as the most liberal candidate in the Democratic presidential race in 2004. He was still a believer in coalition politics, which is what made Nancy Smash Speaker and Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader.

The important thing is to win and negotiate our differences later: the future of the Republic may well depend on a blue wave this fall. A candidate who can win in Berkeley or Brooklyn cannot win in Western Pennsylvania or statewide in, say, Texas. A lot of “non-partisan progressives” on twitter have been unhappy with Beto O’Rourke because he’s insufficiently pure. Do they prefer Rafael Edward Cruz who the last time I checked was the wingnut’s wingnut?

The sitting president is *always* the issue in mid-term elections, especially since the South became a sea of red. The days when Tip O’Neill could hold his majority with a popular Republican president in office are long gone. Trump will be the main issue even when a candidate chooses to treat him like Voldemort and not speak his name aloud a la Landslide Lamb. It’s a losing issue for Republicans and a winner for Democrats and sanity. Believe me.

The last word goes to Genesis with my favorite song with the word lamb in it:

You Beto You Bet

Texas is a white whale for Democrats and I refuse to play Captain Ahab. I have some friends who are enthusiastic, nay giddy, about El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s challenge to Tailgunner Ted Cruz. As a firm believer in the 50-state strategy, I’m pulling for him but it’s an uphill struggle since Cruz is taking nothing for granted. It’s apt to be one of the most entertaining races in the country, especially since Beto is such a punworthy name.

Team Cruz has fired the opening salvo in its general election campaign. They’re out to Beto their opponent into submission with a radio ad, which informs us to a country Beto that you “if you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.”

The ad implies that O’Rourke adopted the nickname to pander to gun-grabbers and illegal aliens since Beto is a Hispanic nickname for Robert, which is the candidate’s given name. Without missing a Beto, the congressman told CNN that he was called Beto since he was a wee laddie as you can see from this tweet:

I hope he’s learned how to tie his shoes…

This tempest in a Texas sized teacup is, of course, ridiculous since Rafael Edward Cruz goes by the nickname of Ted. I guess the point of this stupid ad is to show that real men and/or manly conservatives don’t have nicknames or some such shit. If that’s so, I call bullshit on Cruz who has been a profile in political cowardice since he caved to the Trumpers. Like most wingnuts, Cruz is a fake he-man who is terrified of the Republican base and Trumpy.

The whole thing is extra-ridiculous because it clashes with two myths beloved by Texas right-wingers: the Alamo and John Wayne. The two myths converged in the bad 1960 movie directed by the Duke who played Davy  Crockett:

Just think, we’ve gone from a movie star with a dead raccoon atop his head to a reality teevee star with a dead nutria atop his head. So much for progress.

Country music has long been used by Texas politicians back to the days of Pass The Biscuits Pappy O’Daniel who was elected Governor in 1939 and Senator in 1941. Are you ready for a biscuity hoe-down?

If the Cruzites want to get really vicious, they could adapt a Kinky Friedman classic and use it against Beto O’Rourke:

The downside is that the Kinkster, who ran for Governor against Rick Perry in 2006, is unlikely to give them permission to use his tune. Besides, the real asshole in the race is Tailgunner Ted.

Whatever happens, the Texas Senate race will be a real barn burner. (Uh oh, I’m showing signs of John Neely Kennedy fake hick syndrome.) I’m sure I’ll write about it again since I have only begun to pun. The last word goes to (who else?) The Who:

Tweet Of The Week: Senator For Sale

Like the rest of you, I’m thrilled by the Parkland students’ activism. They’re pretty darn good at snark too:

Admittedly, Marco Rubio is an easy target. He’s as soulless, inauthentic, and robotic as Willard Mittbot Romney. The NRA has bought and paid for his thoughts and prayers.

Florida is a fascinating place for the gun control/safety (whatever you want to call it) debate to happen. Justice Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories for democracy” and Florida is where the NRA carries out its nuttiest experiments. That’s why it’s so bloody easy to buy a “Marco Rubio” in the Sunshine State.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is often called the real governor of Florida. Her power and influence with the lege is based on money and the power of single issue voters. Here’s how Mike Spies describes it in the New Yorker:

Hammer is the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist. At seventy-eight years old, she is nearing four decades as the most influential gun lobbyist in the United States. Her policies have elevated Florida’s gun owners to a uniquely privileged status, and made the public carrying of firearms a fact of daily life in the state. Daley was referring to a law that Hammer worked to enact in 2011, during Governor Rick Scott’s first year in office. The statute punishes local officials who attempt to establish gun regulations stricter than those imposed at the state level. Officials can be fined thousands of dollars and removed from office.

Marion has the hammer and she uses it. The struggle between the NRA and the passionately aggrieved Parkland students will be a wonder to behold. Florida is holding statewide elections this year and it’s an excellent opportunity for voters to  break the NRA’s spell. If they can defeat pro-NRA members and elect pro-gun control legislators, it would go a long way to breaking the NRA’s hammer lock on the Florida lege.

The NRA more resembles a cult than a special interest group. Its members, pet politicians, and leadership recite stale talking points about freedom and the Second Amendment; instead of Hail Marys, one could call them Hail Gunnies.

The NRA’s deep pockets have helped them sell a lot of toxic Kool-Aid to members of Congress and state legislators across the country. The spell will not be broken by some companies bailing out on doing business with Wayne LaPierre and company. It can only be broken at the ballot box.

Here’s hoping that the Parkland students have as much persistence as pluck. They have a golden opportunity to spill the NRA’s toxic Kool-Aid by breaking the hold of the gun lobby over the Florida lege and governor’s mansion.  It’s time to take the hammer away from Marion Hammer and bring some sanity to Florida politics. I know that’s a tall order but the kids are alright.

Malaka Of The Week: Willard Mittbot Romney

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Remember all the MSM pundits who swore that the robot who wanted to be president would run for the Senate as an anti-Trump Republican? They were, as usual, wrong. Willard Mittbot Romney remains the flip floppingest, panderingist pol in the game and that is why he is malaka of the week.

Willard Mittbot Romney blows with the wind and in the GOP the wind is generated by the blowhard president* who endorsed Willard this week. Other than a few diehards, the #NeverTrump bubble seems to have burst. Willard isn’t the only one crawling back to the Insult Comedian. There’s a swell piece in the Failing New York Times about how Republican pols are forgetting about “decency” and coming to grips with the fact that Trump is popular among their tribe. Bob Corker is one of the rats returning to the sinking ship alongside Willard. Remember when Corker was lionized by the MSM? His head is back up Trump’s rump.

Nobody should be surprised that a man who changes home states like others change underwear has caved in to the pressure to conform.  Willard is a born conformist who never sticks his neck out when he doesn’t have to. So much for the brave words in his “Trump is a con man” speech. Like the man himself, the words were as hollow as a cheap chocolate Easter bunny.

As we enjoy mocking the MSM for getting something wrong again, let’s not forget that Willard could flip back to the #NeverTrump side if the Insult Comedian’s grip on the GOP base loosens. He’s such an opportunist that anything is possible. I’m not sure I buy the arguments made by Max Perry Mueller in Slate that Romney is on a Mormon mission to fulfill some goofy prophecy made by Joseph Smith.

The first rumors of a possible “Senator Romney,” which began to swirl in April 2017, brought new life to the long-whispered “White Horse Prophecy” that combines this messianic constitutionalism with Mormon politics. Depending on whom you ask, the White Horse Prophecy holds either that Mormons will one day save the American constitutional system in its darkest hour, or that Mormons will overthrow American democracy to create a latter-day theocracy. The prophecy is attributed to Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith Jr. In 1843, Smith purportedly told his followers that on the day when “the Constitution of the United States is almost destroyed… hang[ing] like a thread,” out of the “Rocky Mountains” the “great and mighty” Mormon people will, like the “White Horse” of the Book of Revelation, rush east to save the Constitution.

The last thing we need is a Mittbot on a white horse to save us. He’ll have to make up his mind as to whether his distaste for Trump’s table manners will turn into genuine opposition. It depends on what happens in November, which is why Democrats need to redouble efforts to flip the House and Senate. A blue wave could result in another epic Romney flip flop. Believe me.

Mitt Romney looks and sounds like a president. But he lacks the backbone to take on a president* of his own party until a challenge polls well. That’s a fact even if it’s a revelation to much of the MSM. And that is why Willard Mittbot Romney is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Tom Petty with a tune that could be the theme song for Willard, Corker, and their craven ilk:

2018: Anyone But An Elephant

If the checks won’t check then nothing balances: 

For White House and the National Security Council staff veterans, the revelation that Porter did not have a full security clearance raises a number of real questions that must be answered. Those questions speak directly to the safety of America’s most sensitive intelligence officers and most dangerous operations.

Having worked at the White House — including both at the National Security Council and alongside the staff secretary – I believe Porter-gate has all the markings either of a very high security breach or a highly unusual staff structure. It also raises real questions about how Trump White House staff under both Reince Priebus and John Kelly managed sensitive information, and what both of them knew about the allegations against Porter and when they knew it.

So? Oh, dear God, so what? I am having the hardest time right not getting het up about this or that scandal because it’s all a scandal and until November none of it is going to stop. Republicans are not going to do anything about this and until we elect lots and lots and lots more and better Democrats and/or Anyone But An Elephant, we can be as scandalized as we like but nothing’s gonna change.

The Founders planned for Trump. Hell, they’d just overcome rule by an unchecked and uncheckable manbaby so they explicitly planned for a tyrant with two whole other branches of government for the people to call on.

What they didn’t plan on was one party controlling everything, and that party being so craven it would allow ANYTHING if only it didn’t have to lose any power. Anything. Illegal wars in the Middle East, warrantless spying on Americans, an epidemic of gun violence without recourse for the victims, starving children of education and safe housing and clean drinking water because they weren’t white, deporting people who’ve lived here for decades …

Oh, plus everything Trump and his cronies have done.

What George W. Bush figured out is that once you are elected president nobody can do shit about shit, not if Republicans are venal and Democrats are scared. The rules might as well not even exist. Security clearances? HAH! Warrants for wiretapping? Why bother? Weapons of mass destruction? Who gives a shit? There are no rules. You can just ignore it all.

So following the ins and outs of this or that horror seems to me to be indulgent when all that matters is winning a whole shitload of elections on the backs of whatever donkey, red rose, turtle, toaster, or VW beetle we can hump across the finish line.

Let the elephants rot.

A.

We Want To Be Good

Look how they’ve exceeded their goal: 

I am Samierra Jones, a Senior at Coppin State University and a graduate of Baltimore City Public School system. Baltimore City Public Schools are currently operating with an inadequate heating system. Students are still required to attend classes that are freezing and expected wear their coats to assist in keeping them warm. How can you teach a child in these conditions? This fund raiser will  help  in purchasing space heaters and outerwear to assist in keeping these students warm. To raise $20,000 would be enough to cover the fees of Go fund Me and purchase roughly 600 space heaters, outerwear, and it will cover the processing fee for Go Fund Me.

A lot of the comments on this are rightly castigating American society for creating a situation in which strangers have to pitch in to heat a classroom for students to learn. That is disgusting. It’s ridiculous that we can fund a plane that doesn’t take off or land, and a war that won’t ever be won, and a tax cut for a billionaire, instead of funding heat in our schools. It’s absurd.

And maybe the most absurd thing about it is the way in which it points out the lengths to which decent people of good will will go in this society to continue upholding the social contract no matter how often their leaders tell them they don’t have to.

Look at what happened here. Strangers pitched in. Strangers exceeded the $20,000 ask by more than $50K. Strangers covered the costs for people they have never met and will never meet. Strangers kicked in small amounts and it added up to enough to solve a problem no one person could have solved on his or her own.

That’s government. That’s all it is. Pooling a small amount of our resources to provide resources for everyone.

And in the absence of government, in the face of the deliberate abdication of government, after 40 years of tax cuts and posturing about graft and fairytaling about our supposed desire to not have any government ever because welfare queens or something, people all over the place are trying to say through the Internet that fuck your selfishness, we will do this anyway.

This isn’t me justifying private charity being a substitute for government action. It’s me saying that our natural impulse is to take care of each other. Given the chance, given enough high-traffic retweets and attention, we respond to these things. We push and change and fight for each other. It’s what we’re made for. It’s how we live and that instinct is knit into our muscles and bones.

It’s why it took them so fucking long.

It took Republicans YEARS, years on every level from municipalities to the White House, to destroy the human voice that wakes us, that says our fate is your fate. It took them DECADES of daily propaganda, of beating their drums as if the sun never set, saying no, no, no, no. Saying we can’t afford to be brave and generous and decent and true. Saying we can’t afford to help one another, to open our hands and offer our shoulders. Saying we shouldn’t do this anymore. It took them AGES to get us to where we are, to make us this small and this mean.

And still, people say, I can help. Let me help. Still.

We pass the word. We give what we can. Some give more. Some give less. But we give, and instead of just being infuriated by the idea that you should have to beg for your very life, we should be looking at examples like this and saying they signify the will to care for one another still remains.

No matter what they tell us. No matter how loud they shout. No matter how many lies they thread into the tax code and how many cautionary tales they spin about fraud and waste and inefficiency and paralyzing fear.

We are big enough for things like this. And we will keep doing them, whether you want us to or not. Candidates for office should take note, and call this what it is, this extension of what we have to care for all of us. They should call it government, and run on it as much as they run for it.

A.