Walking the wire. Without a net.

He soars through the air with the greatest of ease, the daring young man on the flying trapeze.   Traditional Welcome back, my fellow wayfarers through this cold and forbidding land. I have referred previously about how covering Emperor Numbus Nuttus is like watching a pebble tossed into a quiet pond, everything seems to be circles within circles. And a comment to an article I wrote earlier today highlights yet another instance of this phenomenon. I wrote in the article of the trouble various vulnerable GOP Senators in states where His Lowness are having walking the tightrope between maintaining a distance from Trump’s toxic antics, and yet not moving so far so fast that they alienate his insane base. Trump’s okay that I referenced was his trading RNC campaign cash as contributions to their campaigns for their signing on to Senator Lindsey Grahams idiotic critique of the Democratic House’s impeachment inquiry. The point was that taking his cash opened up these vulnerable Senators to criticism that they were too hugger mugger with Trump because they took his money. A well put comment said that vulnerable incumbents would distance themselves simply because they needed mainstream voters in the general election more than they needed Trump’s Trombies.  Normally, this would be rock solid logic, but Trump’s almost Messianic hold over his slobbering herd creates a new and thorny path that these incumbents need to navigate. There are a few points that I want to make that should help clear things up, and also show this rings-within-rings situation I’m talking about. First, the House vote yesterday on the rule for going forward. Several observers were rather disappointed that no Republicans, not even retiring ones, joined the Democrats to approve of the inquiry going forward. This was a strictly procedural vote, with no lasting effect, it simply laid the path forward. Even if a GOP House member is retiring, why spend the next 45-60 days getting twitter shit dumped on your head by Trump? The actual floor vote on articles of impeachment is the one where the rubber hits the road, and depending on the timing, things could be very different, and the results also very different, not only in the House, but in the Senate as well. Here’s why. The original, pie-in-the-sky prediction from the Democrats in the House was that they hoped to have articles of impeachment ready for a floor vote in the House by Thanksgiving. They are now looking apparently at a more realistic time frame of holding the floor vote during the abbreviated session between Thanksgiving and the Christmas break, giving Yertl McTurtle a nice fat lump of coal in his Christmas stocking. This causes scheduling problems for McConnell, since traditionally, a presidential election year is considered to begin in late January or early February, when the first primaries and caucuses take place. But for incumbents of both parties, there is a much nearer deadline to consider, and considering Trump’s stranglehold on his base, it is one that GOP incumbents in both chambers of congress are desperate to keep their heads in their shells without pissing off Da Boss until it passes. Since every state has a primary election in which they choose each party’s candidates for the general election, so each state has a filing deadline for the submission of petition signatures […]

“Death by 1000 cuts”

Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep   Buffalo Springfield You know, after the Mueller investigation finally ground to it’s anticlimactic, totally unsatisfying conclusion, His Lowness loudly complained that he “wanted his first 2 1/2 years back!”But nly in the dystopian oligarch paradise is Trumptopia, can it be possible that Trump will soon fondly reminisce about the Mueller investigation as “the good old days.” Trump’s childish, whiny petulance actually has some basis in fact, at least in his own mind, basically because he has been under siege since day one. While the actions of many presidents have spawned protests, almost never have they occurred on the day after inauguration, and very seldom have those protests resulted in similar global protests of solidarity. Trump’s vetting process was so atrocious getting a cabinet together was a nightmare, creating a higher dropout rate than Trump University, and he had to shit can his national security adviser 3 weeks in. His executive orders and administrative decrees were almost uniformly found to be unconstitutional, and he had two years with Robert Mueller checking his BVD’s for skid marks. How can The Mango Messiah possibly be expected to come to look at those as his salad days? Easy, because it’s about to get a whole lot worse. And Trump will be going into his upcoming trials and travails without his get-out-of-jail-free card, namely having Robert Mueller as his ultimate go to shiny object to distract everyone from what’s going on at the moment. And over the next few months, a shit load of stuff is going to be going on. Whether the GOP likes it or not (and they don’t), whether he calls it an “inquiry,” or calls it an “investigation,” House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler’s insertion of the word “impeachment” into court filings likely just bought his House committee a whole world of judicial latitude in his upcoming hearings. Witnesses under subpoena will be compelled to testify, and with subpoena power, they’ll find it much harder to dodge and obfuscate. If Nadler is smart, he will compel every witness to testify under subpoena, removing the scant protection that a “voluntary” appearance affords the witnesses. And a part of every committee hearing will now include 30 minutes of questioning by House staff attorneys, and let’s see how Corey Lewandowski and Felix Sater like them little green apples. As the field narrows, Democratic presidential candidates are going to spend more time whacking away at Trump, and less time whacking away at each other, at least I hope so. And if there is one thing that Glorious Bleater is incapable of, it’s letting the slightest criticism or insult pass unremarked. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Republican primaries are only going to pick up steam. As duly announced and properly filed GOP presidential candidates, Weld, Sanford, and Walsh are going to start hitting the road and slamming Trump, whether Trump and RNC Chair moron Romney McDaniel like it or not. And whether individual states choose to hold presidential primaries or not, I’m pretty sure that Weld, Sanford and Walsh will hold residential debates and town halls, whether the Cheeto Prophet is there or not, and the networks will have to cover them under the “Fairness Doctrine.” And oh yeah, Justin Amash is lurking in the wings as a totally […]

Good Lord. They really ARE eating their young!

If there’s one advantage to running on a party ticket, especially if you’re a fledgling candidate, it’s that the party has resources. I’ve written in the past that parties offer support for candidates, especially newbie congressional candidates in the form of things like a monetary hand when campaign donations run low, expert guidance in setting up and running a campaign office and campaign, and temporary staffing. All of this can keep a candidate competitive, and give them a fighting chance. But if there is one advantage that a national party can give a candidate that rises above all others, it is polling data. Polling is expensive to do, and a campaign that isn’t awash in special interest donations can have trouble in keeping up with how their message is resonating with voters, and what issues they need to key in on, and refine their message. Well, national parties do a shitload of polling, especially in presidential election years. And considering that the presidential candidate is running nationally, they run national polling, broken down into districts, showing where a candidate is strong, and where he needs to spend more time. And it is intricate polling, with plenty of cross tabs, dealing with things like specific issues, and candidate popularity. All of this data is like manna from heaven for a congressional candidate. It offers them specific, quality polling data on a range of issues, and it doesn’t cost them a dime, the party is happy to make it available to them to assist them in their quest for political “fortune and glory.” Congressional campaigns most likely use the party’s internal polling data for their district more than any other party resource. But maybe not so much this year, at least not on the GOP side. Because Propublica is reporting that this time around, RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, bidding fair to replace Reince Priebus as the most pathetic excuse for a party chair in the history of politics, is throwing a monkey wrench into the works, and in so doing, is literally endangering the chances for GOP congressional districts in key races. While the RNC is still making the party’s internal polling data available to congressional campaigns across the country, the RNC is withholding one critical cross tab of polling information from congressional campaigns. And that critical cross tab is President Donald Trump’s personal and job approval ratings in the district. I have written a couple of different articles over the last few days, dealing with Romney McDaniel’s, the RNC’s, and local state party organs doing everything in their power to spare the delicate snowflake fee-fee’s of Trump from negative information, such as a state primary in which he fails to garner at least 95% of the vote, Putin style, by simply eliminating presidential primaries in their states this year. This damages not only the party, by making it look weak and feckless, but also Trump himself, by giving him a delusional impression of his actual popularity. But this is ten times worse, especially for the party as a whole. Donald Trump is one man, and if he goes down, then he goes down. In the midterms of 2006, and the presidential election of 2008, incumbent President George W Bush largely sat out the elections, rarely campaigning with individual candidates, unwilling to tar their electoral chances […]

Like a pebble in a pond, circles within circles.

Of all of the laws I’ve ever known or heard of (or broken), by dint of my spending so much of my recent life immersed in the fetid cesspool that is Donald Juan Trump, the law I most find myself confronted with these days is the law of unintended consequences. And oh, boy, this time I found one where the political sentence is damn near capital punishment. Trump’s biggest problem isn’t in being a political ignoramus, we’ve had plenty of those before, including some who were even rather successful, for a variety of reasons. Trump’s real problem is that he is such an arrogant, abusive son of a botch, that even political operatives whose only qualification was helping elect a 7th grade class president don’t want to work for him. And that political incompetence among the people who have to do the practical “heavy lifting” is going to kill him, mark my words. As you are all already aware, due to the crepe paper thinness of the special snowflake fee-fee’s of Glorious Bleater, the states of South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas are actively taking steps to quash having the office of President of the United States appear on the GOP primary ballots in those states this year. This is being done for no better reason than to protect Trump’s fragile ego from anything less than a Putin style election result. But here come those unintended consequences again, thundering in like a herd of elephants into a Victoria’s Secrets fashion show. And if you’re like me, you want as many GOP state parties as possible to follow suit. Primary elections are the ultimate example of “base” politics. On each side, only the 25% or so of voters in that party who are most passionate about the issues of the day bother to show up and vote, thus the adage, “veer hard left or right in the primaries, then tack to the middle in the general election.” The practical result is that the two ballot mice that about 140 million Americans will vote for in November are actually chosen by about 40 million voters total in the primaries. But primaries are critically important processes, not only to the party in choosing a candidate, but to the actual candidates’ campaigns, for two reasons. First, having the candidate chow in the weeks before the primary for rallies and appearances generates enthusiasm for the candidate, enthusiasm that the campaign will carry over into the fall. And second, it is a tutorial for the candidates campaign, where are they over performing, where are they effective, and most importantly, where do they need to improve their message to reach more voters? Let’s just look at South Carolina as an example. As the first majority minority state on the Democratic side, all of the Democrats are going to be flooding the state, making multiple speeches in a day, field testing their slogans and speeches, and polling the living shit out of the place to see what’s working, and what’s not, and how to improve it. This is going to engender an insane amount of interest and enthusiasm, not only for the individual candidates, but for the Democratic base as a whole. and the messaging lessons learned in the primary will be put to fine use in the general election. But what […]

It’s simple math: Three is greater than one

These are people who, when they put one foot forward, honestly have no idea of what they’re going to do with the other foot   Tom Jimson   Drowned Hopes The really fun part about watching a socially retarded hedonist, and those who enable him, is watching them stumble and fumble around, desperately trying to convince the rest of us that everything is just hunky-dory, like the beat cop standing in the mouth of an alley in an old movie, “OK, everybody move along, nothing to see here, go about your business.” As we speak, Don Juan (the ladies Don Juan anything to do with him) and his RNC family traitor flunky, Ronna Romney McDaniel, are flailing around, trying to convince the world that it’s totally normal for an incumbent president to suspend the democratic process when running for reelection. “Presidents normally suspend the primary process, it’s wasteful and expensive for the state parties to run primaries when there’s no doubt as to the outcome.” Like everything else with Trump, it’s a lie wrapped in a thin veneer of truth. Someone in my comments on a similar subject remarked that they didn’t remember Obama’s primary campaign in 2012 either. That’s for a good reason, no credible challenger stepped forward to run against Obama in 2012. Just like nobody stepped forward against George W. Bush in 2004, Bill Clinton in 1996, or Ronald Reagan in 1984. There’s that pesky nugget of truth again, when sitting presidents are functioning normally and effectively, the party tends to leave them alone in the primaries. Gerald Ford in 1976, and George H.W. Bush in 1992 were weak and ineffective, faced primary challengers, and won the primaries, but it ended up costing them the general election. And that is highly likely to happen again in 2020, despite the best efforts of Trump and the RNC. Trump’s problem is, much like in 2016, buried in the numbers. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld announced his primary candidacy early, and then proceeded to scrounge for votes on mainline networks like CNN and MSNBC, which is kind of like nosing for truffles in the Mojave desert. This was actually a simple matter for Trump, and required no real action on his part, since Weld was a solo act, and represented a part of the party that had fled Trump long ago. All Trump had to do was to not engage Weld, what was Weld going to do, debate himself? But now the rules and dynamics have changed, because now we have a game of Twister going on here. Joe Walsh and Mark Sanford have joined the fray, and they represent much more current iterations of competition for Trump, especially since they don’t carry the stigma of having bolted the party to run for VP on the Libertarian ticket in 2016. I know what you’re thinking, Ignore one loser, of ignore three losers, what’s the difference? Here’s the difference. Regardless of what the individual state parties do regarding primaries, and despite the best efforts of the gruesome twosome, Romney and Trump, there is going to be a primary battle in 2020. Because not only is there safety in numbers, there is also strength and force in numbers. Trump ignored Weld, and he can ignore Walsh and Sanford too, but that doesn’t mean that they have to ignore him, or each other either. As much as His and Her […]

GOP: “All hail King Trump!”

It takes a big man to stand up to his enemies, and a bigger one to stand up to his friends   Albus Dumbledore Well, that’s like, a total bummer, man. Here I was, all ready to settle in for some cheap post holiday entertainment in 2020, circa 2016, GOP eyeball gouging and groin kneeing between Donald Trump, Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford, and William Weld. But it appears now that this will be just one more in a long line of unfulfilled fantasies in my life. This injustice will not stand, man. The Dude will not abide! According to new reporting in Politico, in meetings later this week, four states, South Carolina, Kansas, Nevada, and Arizona will finalize plans to entirely scrap any plans for presidential GOP primaries in those states, handing the state delegates to Trump by default, and making any serious primary challenge to his renomination even more remote. Trump advisers are quick to point out that the party of incumbent presidents regularly forego the primary process for renomination, but what they kind of sweep under the rug is that it normally occurs when the incumbent president isn’t facing any declared opposition. If you look closely, you may notice a kind of a common thread there. In 2018, South Carolina elected a Democrat to congress when a Trumpista defeated incumbent Mark Sanford in the primary. Arizona, which Trump narrowly won, elected a Democrat to fill Jeff Flake’s vacant seat. Nevada gave the Denver boot to GOP incumbent Dean Heller in 2018 and Kansas elected a Democratic Governor as well as a Native American, lesbian, MMA fighter to congress, flipping a seat long held by the GOP. All of these are states in which Trump may have been expected to show possible weakness in a primary battle. Now, to be sure, it is the individual states, and not the RNC that controls state primaries, so no outside interference by the White House can necessarily be inferred. You might remember that I recently wrote an article in which I reminded everybody that South Carolina had actually threatened to take this action just about 9 months ago, and now it appears that others are following suit. Let’s be clear here, I have trouble in conceiving that any of Trump’s challengers could pull off taking a single state in a primary, with the possible exception of Weld in New Hampshire or Massachusetts. But one can only imagine that these individual states internal polling must have shown enough weakness for Trump that the states were loath to risk embarrassing him with a challenger logging an unacceptable percentage of a primary vote. This has got to be the single most pathetic show of emotional insecurity I have ever witnessed. Sweet Jesus, Gerald Ford, who wasn’t even duly elected as President, but replaced President Sneaky when he took it on the lam, damn near ended up in a floor fight at the RNC convention in 1976 against Reagan, but he went through the process. It shows the stunning weakness of character that Donald Trump possesses, that he doesn’t even have to tell these states anything, they just instinctively know that he will be upset by any less than shining results from their state primaries, and take the necessary steps to appease his childish ego. This is a PR nightmare […]

How democratic IS democracy in South Carolina anyway?

I love this phrase, Free and fair elections are a hallmark of democracy. What the hell is a hallmark anyway? When I hear the word hallmark, I think of two things. One, the most expensive pieces of folded over, colored cardboard in the world, and two, if you make a hallmark, you’re standing around after school with a brush and a bucket of water. Be that as it may, elections with plenty of free choices is suposed to be out thing. But then I remembered something that I think most people have long ago forgotten. Most of you know that I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember useless shit by the closet full. And just now I remembered a headline I saw some 8 months ago. The headline on CNN read “South Carolina GOP could forego 2020 presidential primary in support of Trump. The article, dated December 20, 2018 reported that because reports were already swirling around about possible 2020 GOP primary contenders against an already dumpster diving Trump, the South Carolina state GOP was preparing to forego having the presidential primary on the 2020 SC ball out if anybody other than Trump filed the proper paperwork and signatures to get on the ballot.They’d have a standard GOP primary ballot, there just wouldn’t any presidential choices at the top of it. That report surprised the shit out of me at the time. South Carolina is supposed to be redder than a baboon’s ass, and world class Trump country. After all, didn’t they trade in a perfectly good middle aged lecher in hiking boots for a Democrat because Trump felt that there was only room in Washington for one middle aged lecher, regardless of his footwear? What were they so worried about all the way back then, before they even had any names of possible primary opponents? *Full Disclosure* There was nothing in the CNN report to indicate that either Trump or the White House had any involvement in South Carolina’s considerations, this was a hare brained scheme that they had apparently dreamed up all on their own. But it does beg the question, with the primaries more than a year off, and with no announced opposition, why was South Carolina already so worried that an opponent, any opponent, could siphon off 15-25% of SC primary voters away from Trump? To the extent that they were willing to look like an authoritarian state in depriving their citizens any choice in presidential candidates? This bears closer watching, and not just in South Carolina. Things have only gotten worse for Trump, not better, and figure to continue on that trajectory. There is plenty of time for candidates like Weld, Walsh, and even possibly Sanford to gather the required signatures on petitions to get on state ballots, and turn them in. South Carolina is supposed to be Trump country, and they’re already working on a bail out plan. What about not so red states, more traditionally conservative states like New Hampshire, or Massachusetts, where a traditional Republican like William Weld could make a serious fight out of it, if not pull off a stunning upset? Say, what about California? Trump is about as popular as ebola out there, what if he lost a squeaker there, or only narrowly pulled it out? Look, I know that South Carolina is just trying to […]

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