2016 Republican Presidential Clown Car Begins!

Pay cut? That depends on how well his children run his business. If they are even marginally competent, he should make more money.
Doubtful. Trump's deals are personality backed, and the children of the rich are seldom good at business.
Trump has quit the Fox gravy train as have all Republican candidates.
Temporarily. And it's boosting his reputation, selling his brand. Actually getting elected Pres would make that more rigorous andsemi-permanent, separate him from his deals and investments for four years.
Dr Toad said:
Why are Republicans so willing to be "entertained" by idiots?

The general answer, "Because they're conservatives", probably doesn't suffice on this occasion.

Part of what we're looking at is a question of foresight. It has to do with Reagan's attempt to activate the evangelical blocs as Republican voters. That effort worked. The GOP has also carried the Southern Strategy for decades. In effect, their economic platform is perfectly happy to continue to profit from such relationships, but the rise of their social conservative activist wing through recent decades has pushed much of the "anti-intellectualism" we hear so much about, and as we've seen in the twenty-first century there comes a point where even the business wing of the GOP has a hard time dealing with the moralists.

When we consider how much of their voting base requires a rejection of basic science like evolution, and even throw in the business interest in rejecting climate sciences, every little bit starts to add up. Anti-abortion rhetoric redefines medical definitions to suit theology. It's to the point that they're not even evading basic contradictions, such as the idea of a TRAP law as small government; they don't seem to see the contradiction. And then there's the Gay Fray, in which equality demands supremacism, and "religious freedom" requires victims.

There is a question of terms, and in this context I refer to the short, middle, and long. In the short term, all of this cultivation has obvious benefits. Until the twenty-first century, it seemed the middle term looked pretty good, too. The only real question was the inherent bleakness of the long term; if you cultivate ignorance, you must someday either harvest it or suffer the stench and other effects of its fermentation. And, you know, fallen apples in autumn is one thing, but shite smells like shite smells like shite. What we're finding is that the middle term wasn't so rosy, and Republican leaders have no idea how to countenance the truth emerging through longer terms.

The problem is that Republicans specifically cultivated these components, and part of the problem of your question arises in trying to comprehend to what degree it failed to occur to them that such parts could result in some sort of Frankenstein-metaphor body politic.

Republicans made, essentially, a business decision, and this market that is so easily "'entertained' by idiots" is part of that result. I often use the Cold War juxtaposition of capitalism and communism, but in speaking of capitalism in the United States we generally mean something far more Machiavellian than Adam Smith. This is important. If votes are the currency, then the business decision paid off in the short term and into the middle term, but at some point enough of the books might come apart that the whole sector falls into crisis. I don't think we're looking at a Bear Sterns magnitude meltdown of conservative politics, but this problem you postulate is real, and it is a direct result of Republican strategies and tactics.

While it is possible that Donald Trump is the schism point, because the question really does seem at what point your average Republican neighbor will put his or her foot down and say no more, it is unlikely such a reckoning would come about. An analysis of the Republican posture might suggest winning battles for losing the war; their economic and social policy fronts are nearly against the wall, and it's really a question of how long they can hold out before fundamentally restructuring the platform. And that analysis would in turn suggest that conservative factions have every reason to hang together through this cycle.

But there is a sector in the conservative market that desperately wants some manner of revolt. They come to the Party through the "anti-intellectual" appeal so easily postulated as anti-establishment. And they will be among the first to break. They are accustomed to a certain all-or-nothing expectation, and are increasingly frustrated by the demands of actual, functioning compromise. And this will be a story to watch, especially if the Republicans lose 2016.

Meanwhile, in the case of Mr. Trump specifically, yes, he has these blocs awake, but I am also expecting history to reveal that part of his standing in the polls at present really is to be found in a significant number of otherwise non-participants who would have otherwise skipped the poll but hung on because they got to vote for their favorite reality television host↑.

And, you know, it's kind of like "pro wrestling"; as a narrative we can expect some people to throw in with the "bad guys", but if you ever dallied through the marketplace, some of these people really, truly, actually believe in this stuff, and, yeah, they think there's something heroic about smashing the ring bell into some dude's throat. It really is kind of scary, in that sense.

But that's all garden postulation, for wine, cheese, and the summer breeze. One thing worth watching is another not-quite metaphor about the business community. When the Trump phenomenon passes, the "'entertained' by idiots" question will remain; Sen. Cruz, Dr. Carson, Gov. Jindal, and Messrs. Perry and Santorum all leap to mind. But in the business community, the passing of an obvious symptom is often played off as the end of the malady. Republicans will likely try something similar; compared to Mr. Trump, these others might actually sound kind of sane. Just like we might pretend the recent arrests of FIFA officials means the organization is now free of corruption.

In truth, I don't envy the RNC its harvests. This is bitter, even toxic, fruit.
Unfortunately, Trump will further radicalize the Republican Party and we are seeing it now. Republicans are competing with each other to be the biggest nut and give voice to the most bizarre and inflammatory lies.

While that may help them get Republican votes, it isn't good for the nation.
Ben Carson, Republican candidate for POTUS, said something remarkable for its honesty on Sean Hannity's radio show today, he said, "in politics facts don't matter". Of course, Hannity quickly moved away from the comment. Unfortunately, Carson's statement is universally true of Republican politics, and sometimes true in Democratic politics.
But Rod and Foz Are Funny

One might think Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gets no respect.

And then one might nod inwardly, resolving that things, as such, sound about right.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a blistering floor speech Friday accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) of lying to him over a deal to vote on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

"Today is a sad day for this institution," said Cruz, who is running for president. "What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing."


And nothing says solidarity like shocking and offending one's colleagues in a fit of blind stupidity.

The stage was set for fireworks this weekend during the rare Sunday Senate session that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called to push forward a major transportation funding bill, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did not disappoint. The underlying must-pass bill, which finances federal construction programs on the nation's roads, has become the focus of proxy battles on everything from Planned Parenthood to the Export-Import Bank. Sunday, however, Senate Republicans lined up behind McConnell to shut down Cruz's attempts to wreak havoc on the legislation.


And that was Sunday.

There are a number of things about Senate Majority Leadership in this story, as well; Tierney Sneed's↱ five-point takeaway for Talking Points Memo is simple enough on the surface:

(1) A Symbolic Vote to Repeal Obamacare Failed

(2) Ted Cruz's Effort To Undermine McConnell Backfired

(3) Tensions Between Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz Only Became More Apparent

(4) Orrin Hatch Invoked Rule 19 To Scold Ted Cruz

(5) Other Senate Republicans Were Having None Of Cruz's Shenanigans

Hey, it really is a talking points memo.

Perhaps any other day we might be recalling tales of John Boehner as the Worst Speaker Ever, and start to wonder whether his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell has a steady hand on the helm in the Senate. Mike Lee's 's anti-abortion measure aimed at Planned Parenthood failed, and what appears to be the fifty-seventh Republican-led vote to repeal the PPACA saw an amendment fail to break filibuster.

The Ted Cruz Show really did muck up the Sunday session. Instead of picking an issue and rallying 'round in fits of brink fever; not even an Iran amendment could make the cut, though with Cruz as its advocate we need not wonder why.

But that's the thing. To the one, Republicans are into brinkmanship. To the other, they couldn't even put up a façade; this time the delaying tactic was nothing but Republican on Republican spite. Rather than taking a hostage and making demand, it seems Senate Republicans could only manage to yell at each other a lot.

And, sure, it's entertaining. But I also have this joke about the coincidence between the Party that tells you government does not and cannot work, and the Party that goes out of its way to prove the thesis.

Ted Cruz managed to show us all just how that works.


Image note: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters following a rare Sunday Senate session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, 26 July 2015. Senior Senate Republicans lined up Sunday to rebuke Cruz for attacking Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, an extraordinary display of intraparty division played out live on the Senate floor. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Carney, Jordain. "Cruz accuses McConnell of lying". The Hill. 24 July 2015. TheHill.com. 28 July 2015. http://bit.ly/1JQFPIB

Sneed, Tierney. "5 Points On Ted Cruz's Sunday Senate Shenanigans". Talking Points Memo. 27 July 2015. TalkingPointsMemo.com. 28 July 2015. http://bit.ly/1MwN66j
Seriously, What?

"Jeb has a simple message to Congress: 'If Congress skips votes or hearings, Jeb will dock their pay. It's the responsible thing to do'."

Yes, really.

It's been a while↑ since we paused to give the Serious Clown any serious attention, and that's probably seriously to his benefit. The former Florida governor seems to be experiencing some communicative difficulties.

But this?

Okay, come on. Running against a do-nothing Congress is certainly a reasonable proposition this cycle, and it will be rather quite interesting to watch a Republican do so.

But this is ... I mean ... come on, really?

The inimitable Steve Benen↱:

Jeb Bush recently added a new line to his stump speech, scolding members of Congress with poor attendance records. "The reality is that Congress is in session for typically three days a week when they are up there, so it's not asking too much that every member be there and work on those days," the Republican presidential hopeful said.

Bush first made the comment in Florida, which led me to think it was just a little passive-aggressive shot at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who keeps skipping votes, private hearings, and important policy briefings. But this is actually becoming a key feature of Bush's national platform ....

.... Even by the standards of the 2016 Republican presidential race, this is a little weird.

I'll concede that elected lawmakers should, as a matter of course, show up for work as often as possible. It can get frustrating to see members of Congress blow off votes or important hearings because they want to appear on television or go to a fundraiser. I have a strong hunch the focus groups convened by Bush's campaign aides came to the same conclusion.

But Bush's proposed solution is quite foolish. Just on the surface alone, it's the sort of thing one might expect from someone with little understanding of how Congress works – sometimes, for example, hearings are scheduled at the same time and a lawmaker has to choose which one to go to. It's hardly evidence of neglect or indifference.

Even Bush's terminology is needlessly clumsy. "If Congress skips votes"? Congress refers to the institution itself; it can't skip a vote.

But it's the notion that a President Jeb "will dock their pay" that's especially odd. The pitch makes it sound as if legislators are dependent on the White House for their paychecks, and if the boss gets mad, he or she can simply dock the pay of employees at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Our constitutional system of government doesn't work this way. Presidents can't dock lawmakers' pay on a whim – if they could, plenty of presidents probably would have tried this already.

There is a degree to which this all sounds pedantic; to wit the point about needlessly clumsy terminology is laying on a bit thick, considering how many times Americans were expected to take a pass on Jeb's brother and say, "Er ... ah ... right, we know what you mean, George."

Still, though, that is part of the point. This doesn't even qualify as "not even trying". This is just plain, populist appeal to ignorance. And therein lies a difference that really isn't all that subtle, that between recognizing human frailty to the one, and to the other seeking to exploit it.

Jeb Bush, once expected to be the "serious candidate" amid a clown car of hack populists, keeps burying himself. In fact, it recalls something I often say about Democrats; it's not that the Democrats are saints by any measure, but rather that compared to Republicans, the prominent, harmful sin of the Democratic Party is incompetence. Even when it comes to stooping to match Republican attack adverts, superpaccing, and populist appeals to ignorance, they're just really, really bad at it all. Generally speaking.

Mr. Bush appears to suffer a similar problem. In his most human moments, he's making weird noises, and we can almost tell what he means, except he ends up looking like the socially underdeveloped family bookworm trying too hard to be cool.

Compared to the sounds of the internet, the Republican angry face, and that awkward, "Whoo!" of relief at the end of his campaign declaration speech, this kind of stupidity is considerably more difficult to receive kindly or simply overlook.

We already know Jeb Bush is smarter than that. Trying to play this skeezy game is problematic; Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul―even Rick Santorum and Ben Carson, for heaven's sake―all seem at home swimming in these polluted, even toxic streams of rhetoric. The Bush family is iconic of an older political form, with rhetorical sleights expected to be at least one or two valences more subtle, or, at least, less blatant. As the anti-intellectual fruit comes to bear after a generation spent sewing populist appeals to ignorance↑, Jeb Bush finds himself something not quite a fish out of water, but, rather, a big clownfish in a strange and polluted pond.

And I know that's pushing too many metaphors at once, but such is the circumstance before us; if we intend sympathy unto Mr. Bush, some amount of figurative mythologizing is required. He still can be seen in this context as a tragic hero, but only barely, nor especially inspiring.

But therein lies the sympathy; it's actually kind of sad watching Jeb Bush stumble along.


Team Jeb. "Skipping Work". YouTube. 21 July 2015. YouTube.com. https://youtu.be/YBE3P2yD7so

Benen, Steve. "Jeb Bush targets lawmakers who 'skip work'". msnbc. 3 August 2015. msnbc.com. 3 August 2015. http://on.msnbc.com/1Dngmtq
All the clowns, with the exception of Paul and Trump, spent the weekend pandering to the Koch brothers and their anonymous cohorts. One must ask why is it Koch's cohorts are perfectly willing to spend millions, hundreds of millions of dollars getting someone of their liking elected POTUS but they don't want to be identified.

When these people donate money they normally want their names all over it. So why the secrecy?
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Compared to the sounds of the internet, the Republican angry face, and that awkward, "Whoo!" of relief at the end of his campaign declaration speech, this kind of stupidity is considerably more difficult to receive kindly or simply overlook.

We already know Jeb Bush is smarter than that - -
Jeb's reputation for smarts has not survived scrutiny - he's not very bright. But that's not his big problem, nor is the family male aphasia (which is beginning to look like a psychiatric carryover from being married to or raised by Barbara Bush, actually). His major problem is that he is and always has been corrupt. And it's weakened him. W had a kind of Forrest Gump innocence in depravity that braced his backbone a little, but Jeb's got self awareness.
Joepistole said:
When these people donate money they normally want their names all over it. So why the secrecy?

Because they're worried about their own "rights" at the expense of other people's rights.

It came to the naked spotlight a few years ago in Washington state, when backers of an anti-gay ballot initiative fought tooth and nail to keep their names off the public record. You see, the thing is that while many moralists are happy to back the Wildmons when they call for a boycott of Disney because an old man somewhere imagined some child-porn perversity in The Lion King, or some such, they feel that other people boycotting their own businesses is a violation of their rights.

It's the standard two-bit bully's hypocrisy of morally superior archetypes afflicted with such humility that they don't want their magnanimity to be known.

If I was Mitt Romney, I would say something about sauce for the goose. "How dare you support what you support, but how dare you think you have the right to know a damn thing about what I support."

More directly, they're basic cowards and terrible people.
Fox News has winnowed the field for the voters to be blamed later: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box...hristie-kasich-make-the-top-10-for-fox-debate

driftglass said:
Or, put another way, three former governors, one sitting governor, one former US senator, one sitting US senator and the only woman in the field were aced out of starting positions at the Republican Goat Rodeo by a revival tent huckster, an openly batshit doctor and a thug-tempered carnival barker with a comb-over.
Iceaura said:
Jeb's reputation for smarts has not survived scrutiny - he's not very bright.

Perhaps the difference between book smart and intelligent? Even with the family advantages, you don't accomplish what Jeb has without knowing a thing or three.

But weakness and corruption? There's a beginning of an explanation; he doesn't even have to be a bad guy at heart, either. Affluenza must describe more than a reason to not punish rich people guilty of crimes. Look at that family. Look at the people they surround themselves with. Perhaps weakness first, and then corruption? Because while an American barony childhood might sound privileged, corruption is also one of the things it teaches. Not so much in the form of, "I am corrupt, but that is acceptable", but more akin to, "Huh? What's corruption? This isn't Panama, you know."

And while we might imagine plenty about his brother's What, me worry? smarmy grin, it is possible for such an attitude to arise in its own innocent context, too. Honestly, the angry Republican face, sound of the internet, and relieved "Whoo!" after the campaign launch speech all tell me there's a real person in there, somewhere.

And perhaps part of that is personal; I'm forty-two and finally managed to figure out an unspoken family secret I wasn't looking for but turns out to explain a whole hell of a lot, and it really is tragic in its own, I don't know, psycholiterary―does that even make sense?―context. But here's an interesting Freudian question: What if a seemingly domineering mother's overprotection is in fact something else entirely? That is to say, what if it's derivative and symptomatic of something entirely different? The bottom line is that my context for viewing a troubled relationship in the family just took a fairly radical turn, and rarely am I ever caught so by surprise.

Jeb's a mama's boy. I wouldn't go so far as to say that is specifically problematic, but it also explains a lot. He's smart enough to navigate insanely corrupt waters; but he's also conditioned to a certain outlook in which that's not what he's doing.

What has changed is the Republican Party. These aren't the calm seas of entrenched corruption; this is absolute chaos. The reason he needs so many damn do-overs―e.g., today's↱―is that he's playing a different game than he is accustomed to. Navigating the new context is a bit of a challenge; there is no comfort of familiarity, as this is not his father's Republican Party.

To the other, like Mitt Romney, it would seem Jeb doesn't really recognize the twenty-first century, and, in truth, that really does seem to require a certain amount of functional stupidity.

Here's a phrase: Learning privilege by rote.

Works great as long as one needn't adapt.


Bobic, Igor. "Jeb Bush Evokes Ghost Of Mitt Romney With Flub About Abortion". The Huffington Post. 4 August 2015. HuffingtonPost.com. 4 August 2015. http://huff.to/1P5tNQc
tiassa said:
Perhaps the difference between book smart and intelligent? Even with the family advantages, you don't accomplish what Jeb has without knowing a thing or three.
His accomplishments strike me as both modest and indicative of their means - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush - which do not include lightning speed or illumination in the ol' cerebral cortex, and do include his identity as a Spanish speaking link between America's ruling elite and Caribbean organized crime.

I give him humanity props for learning Spanish via falling for a girl - the best way - and for being an actual athlete of some kind in his youth, but the prediction here is that the more actual experience we have with this guy the less credit he's going to get for intelligence.

Look, it's not that John Bush is unusually stupid (or even that George was prior to his substance abuse), it's that they are not unusually intelligent or accomplished members of their class, and their class is not unusually intelligent in comparison with its society. And average, median, normal range social graces etc thinking ability doesn't qualify someone for the Presidency. These guys end up as patsies. Who's going to be Jeb's Cheney?
The Jesse Benton Review

Jesse Benton has been indicted multiple counts surrounding a central bribery accusation. Mr. Benton and two other former campaign aides to Ron Paul's 2012 presidential run have also been charged.

Steve Benen↱ recaps the history:

As we discussed about a year ago at this time, the controversy started in the 2012 Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa. Then-state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R), the chair of Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign in Iowa, announced just six days before the caucuses that he was quitting Team Bachmann to support Ron Paul's presidential campaign.

The shift was not the result of a sudden realization, but rather, Sorenson switched teams because the Ron Paul campaign paid him a $73,000 bribe. Sorenson eventually pleaded guilty to two criminal counts associated with the bribe and the lies told to cover it up.

But that didn't end the story. We know who received the bribe, but the investigation continued into who paid the bribe.

All of which brings us today. When Benton first emerged as a figure in the scandal, he was forced to resign as Mitch McConnell's 2014 campaign manager, but Rand Paul nevertheless made Benton a top aide in his political operation.

And it really was a strange tale, as we even noted here:

You'll find a fun quote in that last, when Benton resigned from Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign: "For his part, Benton blasted 'unsubstantiated media rumors' and insisted that the allegations surrounding his role in the Sorenson bribery scandal are 'false.'" As Benen↱ continued in his consideration at the time, "If Benton is guilty of no wrongdoing, why resign late on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend? The Republican operative's statement added he feared 'becoming a distraction' to Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign."

This is, in fact, one of the weirdly fun morbidities about politics. To the one, it's true that the fact of this scandal existing arrived to me through Steve Benen and Rachel Maddow, who make no secret of their political sympathies. And it is also true that it might seem odd to some that we might give so much attention to some small politcal event several states away. But here's the thing about that.

There was this moment in early 2012, a quick press gaggle, with Rep. Michele Bachmann standing in the rain, trying and failing to read a statement from an iPad without looking and sounding like she had no idea what she was doing or saying. Just for that scene, it's treasure of the cycle. But that was also the occasion she accused the Ron Paul campaign of bribing her Iowa campaign staff.

It seemed a classic Moonbat Michele Moment. But then it turned out that her Iowa chair, then a state Senator named Kent Sorenson, who had quit her campaign six days before the Iowa caucuses, pled guilty to taking a bribe to join Ron Paul.

Everything else has been a soap opera. Benton, who is married to Ron Paul's granddaughter, went to work for Mitch McConnell, got caught on tape admitting to "holding my nose for two years" because what he was really working toward was Rand Paul's 2016 presidential bid, and then resigned from McConnell's campaign two days after Sorensen pled out. Of late, he has run Rand Paul's superpac.

And now the circle comes 'round; the ouroboros bites itself in the ass. And, you know, if taking a chainsaw to the tax code didn't help Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) raise his presidential hopes, I don't see how Benton's indictment will help. It will be a bit hard to dodge the sociomoral and political guilt by association on this one.

Then again, it's a headline, and in Hollywood, at least, they are fond of saying there is no such thing as bad news.

You know. At least people are talking about you.


Benen, Steve. "Top Rand Paul aide faces new federal indictment". msnbc. 5 August 2015. msnbc.com. 5 August 2015. http://on.msnbc.com/1UoDZGq

—————. "McConnell campaign manager resigns amid bribery scandal". msnbc. 30 August 2014. msnbc.com. 5 August 2015. http://on.msnbc.com/VY2oZZ
Donny Phantom

Last month we noted Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL26)↑, who raised the prospect that Donald Trump's candidacy for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination was a Democratic plant.

Robert Costa and Ann Gearan↱ of The Washington Post just added fuel to that strange fire:

Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men.

Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.

Clinton’s personal office in New York confirmed that the call occurred in late May, but an aide to Clinton said the 2016 race was never specifically discussed and that it was only a casual chat.

Even still, it seems unlikely. As we considered last month, given the number of Republicans who have tacked to line up behind Donald Trump, it seems a difficult conspiracy theory to accept. Sen. Ted Cruz? Gov. Scott Walker? Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and how about a professional conservative propagandist like Rich Lowry, editor of National Review? Watching them back Mr. Trump, one can reasonably wonder if Mr. Curbelo has thought his assertion through. Really? A Clintonian conspiracy including Cruz, Walker, Carson, Fiorina, and Lowry, among others, as participants?

And this is something of a challenge for conspiray theorists. Steve Benen↱ notes:

Just a few weeks ago, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), raised a bizarre conspiracy theory. As the Miami congressman told a local radio show, maybe Donald Trump’s entire presidential campaign is an elaborate scheme – cooked up by Democrats – to make Republicans look ridiculous and undermine the GOP.

Curbelo’s theory seemed a little over the top, but he’s not the only one who’s floated the idea. After this Washington Post report was published late yesterday, the conspiracy theorists felt a degree of vindication ....

.... Clearly, it’s an odd year and we’ve come to expect inexplicable developments, but even by 2015 standards, this is a little bizarre. The day before the first debate for the Republican presidential candidates, “four Trump allies” told the Washington Post about a private phone call from three months ago? Did the GOP candidate’s campaign want the story to come out right now? If so, why?

Before the right’s conspiracy theorists get too worked up, though, it’s worth pausing to note that no matter what was said between Clinton and Trump in May, it was Republican voters who responded favorably to Trump’s outrageous antics and message. It seems extraordinarily unlikely that the former president encouraged Trump to call Mexican immigrants “rapists” and question John McCain’s military heroism, but even if that somehow happened, it’s not Bill Clinton’s fault that GOP voters responded, “Hey, I like what that Trump guy has to say.”

Considering history, we should recall that the former president also gave Mitt Romney advice when the Republican nominee spoke to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2012; Mr. Benen also notes Jamison Foser↱ of Media Matters joked, "I think if Bob Dole had called Clinton for advice in 1996, Clinton would’ve given it to him."

Here's the fun part, though; presently it seems my earlier proposition about polling respondents is wrong, and the emerging picture suggests Donald Trump's popularity among Republicans in the 2016 preseason―the Iowa Straw Poll would have occurred either this coming weekend or next―actually has to do with ideological commitment. Poll numbers emerged from Iowa and New Hampshire suggesting Republican voters prefer sympathetic rhetoric over electability, by a landslide. Subsequent national numbers suggest a similar result.

In a way, this is admirable; they're at their wits' ends, unable to find a reason to compromise with yet another moderate who knows better than to give them what they want.

To the other, look at the principles they line up behind. So we can wonder all we want at the appearance of strangely conflicted interest; it's true, a Trump candidacy will only help Hillary Clinton. And while it is true it seems impossible to presume Trump so stupid he cannot recognize the implied gambit, it never really has been clear what, exactly, he intends to accomplish with this run. It's almost a version of seeing you see me watching you watch me watching you watching me. How deeply do we want to dig with that bit going 'round and 'round?

Because it seems obvious that Donald Trump is an embarrassment to the GOP field, but Republican voters might well be an embarrassment to themselves. As simply as possible, if Trump's candidacy is some sort of maneuver to discredit the GOP, then we might wonder why it's working so damn well, since that outcome hinges on what Republican voters want. And for the moment, they seem to like Mr. Trump.

We're several months, still, from the first primary; we'll have to figure the landscape if Trump actually takes Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina.

Meanwhile, it is certainly true that Donald Trump knows how to put on a show.


Costa, Robert and Anne Gearan. "Donald Trump talked politics with Bill Clinton weeks before launching 2016 bid". The Washington Post. 5 August 2015. WashingtonPost.com. 6 August 2015. http://wapo.st/1IZnzCt

Benen, Steve. "Clinton, Trump chat fuels conspiracy theories". msnbc. 6 August 2015. msnbc.com. 6 August 2015. http://on.msnbc.com/1DwAAkk

Foser, Jamison. "I don’t think he’s trolling". Twitter. 5 August 2015. Twitter.com. 6 August 2015. http://bit.ly/1Dx1uZB
I have just recently met 2 different people that like Trump. They both said essentially he is abrasive but he is saying what we all are thinking. WTF?? I sure as hell am not thinking what he is [loosely referred to as] thinking!
I have just recently met 2 different people that like Trump. They both said essentially he is abrasive but he is saying what we all are thinking. WTF?? I sure as hell am not thinking what he is [loosely referred to as] thinking!
Trump plays well with the angry white male voter (i.e. the Republican base). So I think Trump will do well in the Republican primaries. I think it quite likely he will be the Republican nominee. Unfortunately, the Republican field is full of crackpots thanks to the Republican entertainment industry where craziness is valued more highly than rational discourse.
What All Who ...?


Origin said:
They both said essentially he is abrasive but he is saying what we all are thinking.

Well, okay, consider it this way: Quite frequently, liberals will challenge conservatism as inherently prejudicial or even bigoted. Conservatives generally loathe this charge.

I don't think that part is a particularly controversial setup. What comes next, though?

Bigots, like all bullies, prefer some sense of company, that they are not outliers, that they are in fact empowered and respected and socially approved. Thus, the bigots in the Republican Party would like us to believe that Mr. Trump's words are what "we are all thinking". Limiting that "everybody" a degree less inappropriately than unbounded, it would be fair to suggest they are saying Trumps words are what "we Republicans are all thinking".

Those conservatives who groan at liberal charges of bigotry and hatred will necessarily groan right now. Their problem as Republicans, though, is that the two Trump supporters you met might be right. Further limiting it to the question of what "we Republicans backing Mr. Trump are all thinking", that would seem to represent a larger portion of the GOP than conservatives are generally willing to admit.

This is an interesting situation; I'm uncertain where it goes from here.
Wait until the Republican base learns Jeb Bush is married to a Mexican national. That will go over like a lead balloon with the Republicans base.

In all fairness, Jeb's wife is a naturalized American now, but it's my understanding she retains her Mexican citizenship.
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- - -. Really? A Clintonian conspiracy including Cruz, Walker, Carson, Fiorina, and Lowry, among others, as participants?
And the boss himself, Rush Limbaugh.

But Clinton is a very smart guy, in this arena: there is no conflict between throwing a draft creator out there capable of pulling the entire Republican public face into the swirl of the crap-flusher, and creating a plant.

If Clinton had planted Trump, it would look like this.