Category Archives: Elections

Everybody Hates Ted

One of the most heart warming sub-plots of the 2018 midterms involves Senator Ted Cruz’s re-election bid in Texas. Tailgunner Ted is in deep shit and his party knows it. The Texas GOP dispatched Lt. Gov Dan Patrick to lobby the White House for Trump to campaign for a man he used to call Lyin’ Ted. The man I call the Insult Comedian said yes.

While many GOPers profess confidence that Cruz can pull it off, one can almost see the flop sweat flying. If he’s doing so well, why the panic? Why is Budget Director Mick Mulvaney worried that Cruz isn’t likable enough? Here’s why: Beto O’Rourke.

Congressman O’Rourke is a once in a lifetime candidate who exudes charisma a la JFK or Barack Obama. I was a Beto skeptic until recently but the more I see him, the more I like his chances. He comes off as a straight shooter who is willing to give a straight answer even on the most controversial subjects such as protesting NFL players:

The GOP is trying to use this against O’Rourke but with limited success thus far. Voters like candidates willing to take a stand and not waffle on the controversies of the day. Beto comes off as a real person, not a pre-programmed politician who sounds like his answers were inspired by a focus group. In short, Beto O’Rourke has the IT factor, which is something very few candidates ever have.

Then there’s the issue of toughness. Texans like their pols tough. They don’t care if the candidate is a sumbitch as long as he’s their sumbitch. Ted Cruz *used* to be a tough guy but he threw it all away when he made up with the Insult Comedian after he called him Lyin’ Ted, accused his father of complicity in the Kennedy assassination, and called his wife ugly.

Texans are fond of saying “Remember the Alamo,” in 2018 Texas Democrats should say, “Remember the Enquirer.”

Even Texans who like Trump may have some issues with a creep who has crawled to a man who insulted his family. Ted Cruz is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I am convinced that there’s a decent chance that Ted Cruz will get his comeuppance in 2018. But even if he squeaks out a win, Beto O’Rourke is a man with a promising future. Dems should avoid treating him the way we treat candidates who have lost close races in the past: i.e. Al Gore and John Kerry. Beto has the right stuff. Win or lose, I can see him on the national ticket in the not too distant future.

As my friend and editor at the Bayou Brief, Lamar White Jr, is fond of saying, “something big is happening in Texas.”

Repeat after me: Candidates matter.

Not Everything Sucks: Obama Speaks

Former President Barack Obama delivered a fighting campaign speech today in Urbana, Illinois. He has freed himself from the constraints of NOT mentioning his successor’s name and let Trump and the Republican Congress have it.

Billboard (Going Mobile)

The Insult Comedian’s twitter timeline is a treasure trove of contradictory statements. He blows with the wind, which is self-generated by his big bazoo. A group in Texas, with the help of Parkland kid David Hogg, is taking advantage of this with the moblie billboard above.

The optimum plan is to trail Tailgunner Ted around the Lone Star state. The mobile billboard will definitely be there when Trumpy rallies with the artist formerly known as Lyin’ Ted at what should be called Jerry Johnson Ego Stadium. FYI, the LSU Tigers opened a can of whoop-ass there yesterday on the Miami Hurricanes. End of Geaux Tigers digression.

I’d like to see signs with some National Enquirer covers waved at Trump-n-Ted as well:

The Texas Senate race gets more interesting every day. Something is happening in Texas. Beto O’Rourke is an exceptional candidate who I think has a pretty good chance to take out Tabloid Ted. It will be perilously close since Texas is politically as ruby red as the delicious grapefruits grown there. I wouldn’t Beto the ranch but I think the non-asshole from El Paso can beat Cruz by somewhere south of 5,000 votes.

The last word goes to (who else?) Pete Townshend and the Who:

Think of the obelisk on the Who’s Next cover as the Cruz campaign. Who among us wouldn’t piss on it?

Malaka Of The Week: Duncan Hunter

California Republican Duncan Hunter was the second Congresscritter to endorse the Insult Comedian. As if to confirm he’s one of Trump’s “best people,” he was indicted on the heels of corruption charges against the first Congresscritter to endorse Trump, Chris Collins. Collins has opted to shuffle back to Buffalo, Hunter vows to fight the charges. And that is why Duncan Hunter is malaka of the week.

Hunter “inherited” his seat from his father one-time House Armed Services chairman and “why not me” presidential candidate, Duncan Lee Hunter. Hunter has styled himself as Junior. He is not, he’s Duncan Duane Hunter. One might even say that he’s a Catfish Hunter

As a true blue Trumper, Hunter is a major grifter and fraudster. He and his wife Margaret have been charged with a lengthy bill of particulars:

“I’m saying when I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got to Congress since I’m gone five days and home for two,” he said to Fox News’ Martha McCallum. “She was also the campaign manager. So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure. But I didn’t do it.”
How gallant. This is NOT how a Marine is supposed to behave. In addition to being tackier than a 3-three-year-old who just ate cotton candy, it’s a feeble defense. The money was donated to Not Junior’s campaign and he’s responsible for any credit card fiddling. Shorter Adrastos, Duncan is a donut in the Gordon Ramsay sense of the word:
 

A federal indictment alleges that House Armed Services member Duncan Hunter was not happy when he didn’t get a tour of a military base in Italy and had this to say: “Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves.”

Prosecutors also accused the California Republican of falsely claiming that personal expenditures were for “wounded warriors.”

Fuckin’ A. A is for asshole.

Before the shit hit the fan, Hunter’s seat was safe: 538.com gave him a 91.83% chance to win. In the wake of the indictment, the Cook Political Report has moved the race from likely to leans Republican. Here’s hoping Ammar Campa-Najjar, Not Junior’s Democratic opponent, can pull off a minor miracle. The whole “it’s my wife’s fault” thing will definitely hurt. I suspect Hunter will double down on Trump-style racism and xenophobia against his opponent who is Palestinian/Mexican-American.

Duncan Hunter epitomizes the greed and mendacity of Trump’s so-called best people. He’s an entitled little putz who expects daddy and/or Trumpy to get him out of this mess. And that is why Duncan Hunter is malaka of the week.

The I-Word: Don’t Take The Bait

The dread Sarah Huckabee Sanders trotted out some of her snappiest patter at Wednesday’s White House briefing. Yes, I’m being sarcastic although she does have a Bob Newhart-style deadpan delivery. Maybe she should try wearing a cardigan like Bob did as Dick the innkeeper in Newhart. It couldn’t hurt. Larry, Darryl, and his other brother Darryl already work in the West Wing alongside a wide variety of Dicks, after all.

“Impeachment is the only message Democrats have going into the midterms.  I think that the biggest contrast you could possibly make is the message of the Democrats, which is nothing more than attacking the president and looking at cheap political stunts while this White House and Republicans in the House and Senate are focused on doing good things for the American people.”

Sarah is such a cut-up.  As usual, she’s making shit up. Leader Pelosi, quite correctly, has urged her members to stay focused on health care, corruption, and whatever issues work in their districts. It’s back to Tip O’Neill’s message that “all politics are local.” It was an approach that helped Democrats hold the house from 1954-1994. There were even two blue wave elections in that era: 1964 and 1974. Shorter Nancy Smash: Just win, baby.

Trump is already the main issue without mentioning the I-Word. Democrats would be wise to focus on Team Trump’s rampant corruption and use this phrase: “putting a brake on an out-of-control president*.” Voters already know that the I-Word is a possibility after Dems take control of the House: why awaken the depressed GOP base?

The mere fact that Zany Sarah, Senator Cornhole, and other GOPers are talking about impeachment is why Democrats should not. Why take the bait and let Republicans set the agenda in a year that the wind is blowing in their faces? And we know how much the Insult Comedian “hates the wind” unless it’s the hot air coming out of his big stupid bazoo.

The main reason we should NOT take the bait is what happened in the 1998 midterms. Newt Gingrich and his merry band of wingnuts went all in on impeachment. It backfired and Democrats *gained* 5 House seats and held their own in the Senate.

To follow Tom Steyer’s lead and go all in on impeachment is playing into the GOP’s hands. Do we really want to be like Newt? Don’t take the bait. Just win, baby.

The Band and Marvin Gaye get the last word:


The Incredible Shrinking Party

I have shitty photoshopping skills so I don’t even try to alter images to match my post titles. My last attempt took way too long so I surrendered to the inevitability of my ineptitude. In short, I’m no Michael F.

I’m continually amazed by how much people still care what hardcore Trumpers think. They’re an irrelevant sub-set of a rapidly shrinking group. Repeat after me: to hell with the Trump base. Surveys on the number of self-declared Republicans put the figure at anywhere from 24 to 28%. Before Trump’s election, the numbers were more like 30-33%. He’s shrinking his party at a rather staggering rate. Rather than concerning themselves with angry white working class Trump voters, Democrats should go after those former GOPers who have abandoned the Party of Trump, hereinafter POT. They, too, want to put a brake on this out-of-control president*.

Politically successful presidents do not shrink their party. I was of age during the Reagan administration and Ronnie grew his party. College campuses were full of young Republicans who thought of Reagan as their political grandfather. This Kinks song was about young Thatcherites but it was equally applicable to young Reaganites:

Repeat after me: there’s a Kinks song for every occasion.

Donald Trump has had the opposite effect on the vast majority of young voters: he has repelled them with his repulsively retro views. Reagan was able to wrap his retro views in warm, nostalgic words and images from the golden age of Hollywood. They didn’t call him the Great Communicator for nothing.

Reagan’s way with young voters is one reason the country is in the fix we’re in right now. Those spineless middle-age Congressional Republicans were once young Reaganites. They seem, however, to have forgotten about his dislike and mistrust of the Russians.

It’s time for Trump’s opponents to gather together in a grand coalition to take the POT down several pegs this fall. I’m open to working with whoever wants Democrats to take control of Congress, state legislatures, and Governor’s mansions. This is no time for grudge holding: the stakes are too high. There’s also no time for hand wringing about Gerrymandering when there’s an obvious solution: get out the vote in massive numbers. It’s time for our people to turn out for EVERY ELECTION, not just presidential years. The fate of the Republic and liberal democracy is in the hands of the voters. Just say no to the Incredible Shrinking Party and throw the bums out.

I guess that qualifies as my version of the “win one for the Gipper” speech. It’s time for the cat in the movie poster to stop toying with the shrunken POT and go for the kill. There will be a treat in it for everyone. Della Street will insist.

The last word goes to former Democrat Ronald Reagan as a dying George Gipp in Knute Rockne: All American.

Beats the hell out of hunting for the Celebrity Apprentice N-word tape. Besides, as I said on the tweeter tube:

Another day, another last word fib. Woe is me, bop.

The Ego Has Landed: Why Not Me Avenatti 2020?

It’s time to press pause on my pledge NOT to write about the 2020 election until after the mid-terms. Porn star mouthpiece and cable teevee big mouth Michael Avenatti attended the Iowa State Fair last week. He was not just there to dine on food-on-a-stick: he claims he’s exploring a presidential candidacy. He even spoke at the Iowa Democratic party’s annual Wing Ding thing. Wing-a-ding-ding.

I suspect he’s missing the limelight since he’s been eclipsed by the Manafort trial and has been less ubiquitous on cable news the last few weeks. His rationale, such as it is, is that Democrats need a fighter as opposed to someone with actual experience. In short, he wants to be our version of the Current Occupant and fight hot air and bullshit with hot air and bullshit. He’s equally unqualified, opinionated, and brash. Unlike Trump, he’s smart and may even understand the complexities of international time zones.

Get ready for more of this nonsense. The election of an unqualified Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head was bound to lead to a spate of Why Not Me candidates. I hereby dub it Why Not Me-ism. We’ve seen this movie before: Jimmy Carter’s out of nowhere 1976 bid was inspired by McGovern winning the Democratic nomination in 1972. Carter’s campaign biography was titled Why Not The Best? when it should have been Why Not Me? Of course, McGovern and Carter had some qualifications as opposed to Why Not Me Avenatti whose sole “qualification” is yelling at Trumpy and Cohen on MSNBC, CNN, and the Tweeter Tube.

Avenatti is a natural-born citizen who’s over 35 years old so he meets the constitutional qualifications to run. He can run if he wants to but we’re NOT obligated to take this publicity hungry egomaniac seriously. Here’s why not: as opposed to the nihilists in power, Democrats believe in governing. Donald Trump and the Republicans have made an unholy mess. The next president will do what Barack Obama was obliged to do: spend much of their time in office cleaning up after their predecessor. It will not be pretty but it needs doing. It’s hard to see the likes of Avenatti having the skills and knowledge to wield the political mop.

Speaking of bad ideas, the Republicans have decided to run against Nancy Pelosi. It’s unlikely to work, but the MSM has picked up on the notion and is asking all Democrats if they plan to vote for her for Speaker. Nancy Smash’s response is a cool “Just win, baby.” She knows she has the votes and that the House will need able and experienced leadership when the Democrats resume control. Our House leadership *should* get younger but I think a better target is Steny Hoyer. The notion of an inexperienced leader replacing one of the best Speakers in recent memory is as absurd as Michael Avenatti as president.

Democrats are not so desperate that we need to resort to the likes of Why Not Me Avenatti. Just say no to Why Not Me-ism.

This Isn’t About Manners

Bruni interviews a Republican governor in a blue state (Maryland) and listens to him talk about how he doesn’t really feel the need to speak out about anything Trump does other than, you know, the whole “tweeting” thing: 

You said, regarding Trump, I don’t want anything to do with this.” Anything to do with what?

He wasn’t the type of guy who I thought should be president. I didn’t like the tone during the campaign. There were a lot of people running, and I didn’t think he was the most qualified. I didn’t think he was going to win, either.

I’ll say this: One on one, he’s a different person than the persona you see out there. But I don’t like the tweeting. I don’t like the name-calling. The divisiveness really is not good for the country. But he’s not the only one to blame.

In what ways do you think he’s doing the most damage?

I wish he would stop tweeting.

I’ll be the first person to say that the inside of Donald’s head is like the third Port-a-Potty from the main stage on Lollapalooza weekend but that’s not, in and of itself, a disqualification from being president.

If FDR had needed to grab some pussy to win WWII and pass the New Deal I’m sure we could have found some volunteers. Lyndon Johnson’s mouth makes Donald Trump’s sound at home in the Sistine Chapel. John F. Kennedy was putting a dude on the moon while actually inside a Mafia prostitute. We have no IDEA the sorts of things Rutherford B. Hayes got up to.

The tweeting isn’t the problem. The name-calling isn’t the problem. Donald Trump’s issue isn’t that he’s a shitty human being. It’s that he’s a shitty president, corrupt and incompetent in equal measure, and the party that nominated and elected him is being all EWWWW GROSS when he’s not actually veering from their chosen path all that much.

What matters to them, really? Pointless belligerence on the foreign stage, judges who oppose abortion rights, and tax cuts. He’s satisfied all those requirements, like any Republican president would have, so this is all just goddamn dinner theater. Not the good kind. The kind where you gum your boiled beef and watch a former member of the Monkees warble his way through Oliver.

Republican candidates are going to start coming out and trying to challenge Trump for 2020, and they’re going to have to be asked the question none of these garden weasels could answer in 2016: How are you any different?

Because, you know, Ted Cruz might not have been an actual fascist but he certainly would be nominating judges off the same Christianist pecksniff cheat-sheet. John Kasich, that voice of moderation and reason, is actually wandering the wilderness to the right of Trump on abortion, and not just the kind for one’s mistresses. Mitt Romney ran against his own health care program after Obama took it national.

The only thing these personifications of whiskey-dick can offer is the idea that they will be nicer about their regressive, segregationist positions than Trump is. Their conventions will feature “Blue Lives Matter” segments instead of physically humping the flag. They’ll deny women medical care, but won’t call them cunts. They’ll leave insinuations about opponents’ patriotism to their surrogates and think-tank partners, and deny any relationship when questioned.

How refreshing.

The problems we’re having under Trump are not because Trump is weird and gross and probably a rapist, and spends too much time on Twitter. The problems we’re having under Trump are the problems we’ve had under Republican rule in 30 plus states and the federal government: exacerbation of economic inequality and segregation, gerrymandering and vote suppression, encouragement of racism and/or punitive patriotism, contempt for education and labor, I could go on.

Trump disappears tomorrow, and that baloney pony Bruni’s interviewing up there or someone just like him will breathe a sigh of relief, get elected president by yelling the word UNITY a thousand times, and quietly deregulate some more giant banks that foreclosed on widows and orphans. All without a tweet.

A.

The Insult Comedian’s Florida Man

Florida Man Ron DeSantis and Trump. Photograph by Octavio Jones/Tampa Bay Times

The president* held one of his incoherent rallies yesterday in Tampa, Florida. He said one of the stupidest things he’s ever said and that’s saying a lot:

Trump claimed Democrats were attempting to give undocumented immigrants the right to vote.

“Which is why the time has come for voter ID, like everything else,” Trump told the crowd. “You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need ID.”

In a career of specious arguments, this one is near the top. When was the last time the Insult Comedian went grocery shopping? Has he ever gone grocery shopping? The only times I’ve ever been carded was when I’ve bought booze. We know the Darnold only drives people to drink, he’s not a drinker himself.

I conceived this post before the Kaiser of Chaos put his foot in his mouth last night. He was in Florida campaigning for Congressman Ron DeSantis who is running in the GOP primary to succeed Governor Bat Boy. Typically, Oval Ones stay out of primaries but Trump cannot help himself. FYI, Rick Scott, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, skipped the rally. He’s nervous about appearing in public with his fellow megalomaniacal rich guy.

Trump endorsed DeSantis because of his appearances on Fox News as a fierce MAGA Maggot and Trump flatterer. That’s right, the Fox and Friends effect is in force. Anyone surprised? You shouldn’t be, the Insult Comedian schedules impromptu meetings based on what he’s seen on his favorite show. I wish I were making that up but I am not.

Florida Man DeSantis’ head is so far up the Trump rump that he made the ickiest and most obsequious pro-Trump ad of the year thus far.

I hope young Casey DeSantis grows up and rebels against her father’s stupid politics.  It’s what he deserves after exploiting her in that ad. Oh, the malakatude.

GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!

UPDATE THE THIRD: We did it! Thank you to everyone who contributed. This Sunday look for special Kick-and-cats-blogging in joyful celebration, and we really, really appreciate the ability to keep the lights on around here for another year!

Update II: CRAZYTOWN WE ARE ONLY $400 AWAY FROM OUR GOAL. You guys get a Kick and Catz video if you put this thing away by midnight! 

Update: WE ARE HALFWAY TO OUR GOAL AFTER 2 DAYS. You guys are amazing. Thank you all so much. Click here to keep it going! 

Hey, the earth is caving in, help us keep the lights on until it does! 

Here’s what we’d like to do this year, in addition to covering our hosting fees and getting my laptop a new battery: Continue to deal with the general stupidity of the state of government and chronicle the trash fire that is American journalism. Pay the electric bill. Keep Paul, Della, Slade, Ada and all our other asshole pets in Fancy Feast. Continue Kick’s education by buying poster board for her to spell our protest signs. COVER THE DANG MIDTERMS.

For 14 years (JESUS) we’ve only ever asked once a year for your support. Our goal this year is $1,650. Can you help us get there by next Sunday? I have something special planned if you do.

A.

To Hell With The Trump Base

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about the vaunted Trump base. It causes Republican Senators to retire and Congresscritters to wet their pants in fear. Their entire political world is based on doing nothing that will upset the Trump base. They’re obsessed with Republican primary voters, which will cost them dearly in the next general election as long as our people turn out.

The power of the Republican base is wildly overrated. It’s ridiculous nonsense to anyone who can count. The number of voters who identify with the GOP has been declining for years. There are currently 25-26% of the voters who call themselves Republicans. That means the 88% of Republicans who support Trump make up 23-24% of the total electorate. That’s why the GOP has long been devoted to voter suppression culminating in 2016 where the Trump/Bannon/Russian strategy was to depress the Democratic vote. It worked then but we’re on to them.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of Americans do not support this president*. If they turn out to vote in November, Republicans will lose the House and hopefully the Senate and a slew of state house races. There is a solid anti-Trump majority in the country and the hardcore Trump base makes up at most 1/4 of the voting public. Their only hope is that Democrats and Independents stay home. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Vote them out. As Al Gore was fond of saying in 1992,  “It’s time for them to go.”

I was probably too polite in my post title. Here’s what I should have said:

FUCK THE TRUMP BASE.

That concludes this political pep talk. Class dismissed.

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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