Friday, May 06, 2016

Loony Cult Leader Urges Followers To Reject Other Loony Cult Leader

Two men say they're Wingnut Jesus
One of them must be wrong

Glenn Beck Calls On Conservatives To Leave The GOP 'Because Tinfoil Hat Don Is Crazy'

Remember kids, when batshit demagogues fight, we're all winners.

David Brooks: The Man With Three Buttocks

Dateline:  Acela Corridor

Fresh from capturing the nation's attention with his surprisingly fierce yet tender 2015 performance as Marco Rubio's campaign messaging guru and Carly Fiorina's elocution coach --
That’s where Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio come in. So far, Fiorina has looked like the most impressive candidate. She has a genius for creating signature moments. (“If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton’s.”) But her spotty record at Hewlett-Packard probably means she can’t start at the top of the ticket.

Rubio is young and thus uncorrupted, and he is a genius at relating policy depth in a way that is personal. He has clarity of mind and can sum up a complex subject — Russia, the Middle East — in a way that is comprehensible but not oversimplified.

This debate was one moment in time, but you can see the vectors of where this campaign is headed. This is no longer Bob Dole’s or George H.W. Bush’s G.O.P. But it’s not going to completely lose its mind, either.

It’s going to be somewhat the same, but edgier and more renegade. Right now, Rubio, Fiorina and maybe Chris Christie are best positioned to occupy that space.
-- Mr. David Brooks now returns to what he knows best: offering unsolicited advice to the Democratic front-runner...about the proper way to talk to Appalachian coal miners...from the safety of his opulent apartment in Washington, D.C.'s tony Cleveland Park neighborhood:
She heard tales of loss and renewal. Then she gave a speech proposing an agenda for the region. It was a perfectly serviceable speech. Yet you can see in it some of the reasons the Clinton campaign has not exactly caught fire.

The core problem is that she sounds like a normal Democratic candidate in the noble tradition of Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey, but she doesn’t sound like an imaginative candidate who is responding with fresh eyes to situations today.

This year it seems especially important to show voters that you see them and know them, and can name the exact frustrations in their lives. Clinton’s speech was filled with the flattery that candidates always offer their audiences — “Appalachia is home to some of the most resilient, hard-working people anywhere.” But the political rhetoric was conventional and she didn’t really capture the texture of life.
To the best of my knowledge, the closest Mr. Brooks has come to manual labor of any kind in the last 20 years has been some cardio and leg work from tirelessly carrying water for Bush Administration, and a little upper body work from all the patting himself on back he did after Dubya decisively won the Iraq War in 2003 and put paid to all those dirty Liberal doubters.   And the closest Mr. Brooks has ever come to intersecting with the lives and loves of Appalachian coal miner was that time The Capital Grille experimented with using Pappy's Moonshine Madness Barbecue Sauce on its baby back ribs.

Which is why, while Mr. Brooks could not exactly find anything specifically wrong with Hillary Clinton's speech --
Clinton did gesture toward some of these truths, saying, “They’re dying from suicide, but I thought Bill really put his finger on it. He said, ‘You know what they’re really dying of? They’re dying of a broken heart.’” But her policy ideas don’t exactly respond to current realities.

She vowed to “take a hard look at retraining programs.” She’d expand tax credits to encourage investment. She’d get tough on trading partners who are trying to dump cheap steel...
-- from his position floating dirigibly far above the cares of ordinary mortals, he just could not help kvetching that somehow she just could have done better:
A daring approach might have been ...

A more imaginative approach might have been to unfurl a vision to reweave social fabric...

A more timely approach would have noted this fact...

Clinton’s speech was not bad by any means. But she could have offered something inspiring and audacious...
Oh how I despair of Mr. Brooks' rebranding:
Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.
On the other hand, there could be a play there.   It could express a vital theme of our age.

Blue Gal, get my agent on the phone!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

The GOP Goes To The Mattresses

Today, House Speaker and third person in line for the presidency, Paul Ryan, offered to consider supporting the presumptive nominee of his party if Mr. Trump gets him a pony:
Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he cannot yet support presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

"I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now," the Wisconsin Republican told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" in an interview.

Ryan's position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party's nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump's policy positions.

Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and "to be a part of this unifying process." The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.

Ryan said he wants Trump to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of."
Mr. Trump countered with an offer that maybe Ryan would get his pony -- 

-- one piece at a time:


"I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!"
They still have no idea what sort of lunatic they have just made the head of their party.

But it is going to be incredibly entertaining watching them learn.

Today in Republican Detachment Disorder: Eliot A. Cohen

According to his Washington Post bio (and why would they lie?) Eliot A. Cohen...
...served in the Defense and State departments in the George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations, respectively.
And so, being a loyal Bush family retainer, rather than a simple repast of crow and humble pie, Mr. Eliot has predictably order off the right side of the menu, where it's Bitter Recriminations and Third Party Absinthe for everyone!
Trump’s impending nomination means it’s time for a third party

It’s over. Donald Trump, a man utterly unfit for the position by temperament, values and policy preferences, will be the Republican nominee for president. He will run against Hillary Clinton, who is easily the lesser evil but is trailed by clouds of scandal and misconduct and whose party’s left wing poses its own threats to liberties of speech, religion, enterprise and association.

It is time for a third candidate, and probably for a third party.

Some people will dismiss this notion as absurd. However, only those prescient enough to have forecast Trump’s success have the standing to certify impossibilities. If the Trump candidacy has blown up every other aspect of political conventional wisdom, why not this one?
Well actually, Mr. Cohen, since I did forecast Trump's success, let me advise you to stop hanging around with depraved creeps like Bloody Bill Kristol.  He is not really your friend, Eliot, and the crank he deals is basically zombie bath salt crazydust cut with Frank Gaffney talking points.  It can lead to the eating of other people's faces and the writing of stupid things in the Washington Post.

Why do you think they call it "dope", Eliot?  Why do you think they call it "dope"?!?!

So why does Mr. Cohen really need a third party?

To fuck with the dirty hippies of course!
Even if a third candidacy still yielded a Clinton victory, it would be worthwhile. It would, first, deny the Clinton campaign the illusion of a mandate from American voters who would have, en masse, turned out to reject Trump. If nothing else, a strong third-candidate vote would send her a message to govern from the center, rather than in deference to her party’s increasingly powerful left wing.
And that's the real story.  Because right now I have no trouble at all believing that thousands of party elites and millions of dollars are being passed around like Benghazi-porn to see just how fast a third party can be stood up.  Not built on any identifiable foundation or principle, of course (Republicans no longer have principles) but a temporary, pop-up community in the desert -- a Koch Brothers Burning Man --  where the GOP donor class and Cruz "True Conservative" dead-enders and various other authors of the rise of Trump can park their vote this time around and pretend they are doing something meaningful. Pretend that, somehow, they had nothing to do with the long, grotesque, deliberate mutilation of their Party of Lincoln into the Party of Jefferson Davis.

Sorta like the Tea Party Scam, but for rich people.

And for a party that has spent the last 7.5 years doing nothing but cutting the brake cables and sugaring the gas tank of the man who won two presidential elections back-to-back with overwhelming majorities, it is a little late to start pretending that you actually care about whether or not Democratic presidents have mandates.

Also, as long as I am giving solicited advice, Eliot, a little bird tells me that the entire "Connecticut for Lieberman" party can be picked up for a song...

Monumental Failure

This is what they want.

This is what they have always wanted.

And It Seems To You The Thing To Do...

 ...would be to isolate the winner.

Now that David Frum's Republican Party has chosen a future of dancing mad and naked around a funeral pyre made of everything it ever claimed to believe, Mr. Frum would very much like Hillary Clinton to take the Democratic Party apart and refashion it into the kind of place where someone like, say, David Frum could find a comfortable sinecure.

Can Clinton Make Good on Her Opportunity? 
Given her general election opponent, she has a historic opportunity to unite a grand, cross-party coalition.

The Republicans have made their choice. Now the Democrats’ likely nominee faces a dilemma of her own: Run as a centrist and try to pile up a huge majority—at risk of enraging Sanders voters? Or continue the left turn she’s executed through these primaries, preserve Democratic party unity—at the risk of pushing Trump-averse Republicans back to The Donald as the lesser evil?

Those have to be exciting possibilities for the Clinton campaign. For a generation, national politics has been polarized into two unified blocs with minimal cross-over. The Trump nomination suddenly makes imaginable an election like 1964 or 1972, in which a divisive nomination by one party propels millions of voters across the aisle to the other. But the way to win a 1964 or 1972-like victory is to move to the center, to position the winning candidate as the safe choice...

Can she seize the opportunity thrust upon her by the mistakes and delusions of her opponents. Does she think it worthwhile to try? Can she discipline herself to succeed? If so, the remaking of American politics so often talked of by her eloquent predecessor, Barack Obama, may prove one of the most unexpected accomplishments of this least idealistic of all presidential aspirants.

If last seven years have proven anything beyond any doubt, it is that is will be impossible to "remake American politics" so long as Mr. Frum's racist, xenophobic, paranoid and proudly pig-ignorant Republican party exists in its current state.  No more 9/11-get-out-of-accountability-free cards can be issued,  No more "tea party" rebranding scams can be permitted,  Nothing short of razing the Party of Limbaugh to its foundations and driving the Pig People back into the political sewers will suffice.

Nothing short of a public acknowledgment that Liberals Were Right All Along will do.

If Mr, Frum really wants roll up his sleeves, join the rest of us on Team Rick and get his hands dirty working on that enterprise, welcome aboard.  He can do like the rest of us have been doing for decades: pick up a (metaphorical) crowbar or grab a (metaphorical) ax or using his fucking teeth if necessary (video definitely not safe for work) -- 

-- and get on with the hard, thankless business of stopping the mindless beasts and monsters he helped unleash.

And after he spends a decade or so in the trenches publicly disavowing Hate Radio, Fox News and 80% of the GOP and defending Liberals who Were Right All Along, Mr. Frum may finally begin to notice a funny thing.  That this reasonable, coalition-building, pragmatic, forward-looking party he longs to join already exists!  It is called the Democratic Party and on any given day you can find Eisenhower Republican Centrist policy-wonks like Hillary Clinton and FDR Democrats like Bernie Sanders passionately contending over the shape and direction of the future.

But probably not.  Mr, Frum does not strike me as a man for hard work.  He seems more...

You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Whither Conservatism?

Serious Conservative Junior League Person of the Year (1998), Ross "Chunky Bobo" Douthat woke up yesterday to find that some fiend had stolen that pillowcase full of emergency backup True Conservatism he keeps under his bed and replaced it with ten pounds of shit.

Thing is, if he had bothered to check the freshness date on his bag of emergency backup True Conservatism he would have noticed that it has been full of shit since the 1980s.  But like Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind, Mr. Douthat does not think about thinks that he does not think about.

The Defeat of True Conservatism

Now, after knocking Ted Cruz out of the race with a sweeping win in Indiana, Trump has beaten a second theory of where the G.O.P. needs to go from here: a theory you might call True Conservatism.

But it turned out that Republican voters didn’t want True Conservatism any more than they wanted Bushism 2.0. Maybe they would have wanted it from a candidate with more charisma and charm and less dogged unlikability. But the entire Trump phenomenon suggests otherwise, and Trump as the presumptive nominee is basically a long proof against the True Conservative theory of the Republican Party.

Trump proved that movement conservative ideas and litmus tests don’t really have any purchase on millions of Republican voters. Again and again, Cruz and the other G.O.P. candidates stressed that Trump wasn’t really a conservative; they listed his heresies, cataloged his deviations, dug up his barely buried liberal past. No doubt this case resonated with many Republicans. But not with nearly enough of them to make Cruz the nominee.

Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all...

Trump proved that many of the party’s moderates and establishmentarians hate the thought of a True Conservative nominee even more than they fear handing the nomination to a proto-fascist grotesque with zero political experience and poor impulse control...

Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part. From Fox News’ 10 p.m. hour to talk radio to the ranks of lesser pundits, a long list of people who should have been all-in for Cruz on ideological grounds either flirted with Trump, affected neutrality or threw down their cloaks for the Donald to stomp over to the nomination. Cruz thought he would have a movement behind him, but part of that movement was actually a racket...
So True Conservatism was never more than a public signifier -- just another a club tie or flag pin -- representing a fairy tale which virtually no one on the Right actually believed and whose purveyors were never more than con men running a long and profitable scam.

In other words -- in the words that Mr. Douthat dares not frame his mouth to utter -- the Left has been right about the Right all along.  

Today In Both Sides Do It: Every Damn Body

On the Right, Trumps' Pandemonium Carnival has finally pounded the last stake through the heart of the Party of Lincoln.  He did not steal or snooker the nomination away from his betters, because on the Right there are no "betters".  After 30 years of relentless reshaping by Hate Radio and Fox News, the GOP has now fully embraced its core concept of "Ignorance is Strength" and finally come out of the closet to proudly present itself to the world as the racist, fascist Party of Jefferson Davis we on the Left have been warning about for decades.

On the Left, the contest for the Democratic nomination continues, with two, qualified candidates fighting hard but mostly above-the-belt over the 10% of the issues which divide them.

And squatting in the rubble we find the same Beltway high priests of Both Siderism, still knee-walking drunk on their own privilege and self-regard, still casting the same ridiculous runes and interpreting the same moldering goat entrails and reciting the same old incantations.

Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post with the usual crap:
After Election Day, Democrats, Republicans and the media have some serious soul-searching to do

Now that the contours of the general election are reasonably predictable, it is time to start thinking about the tripartite institutional reckoning that should come in November’s aftermath — for the media, Republicans and Democrats...
Former speechwriter and permanent Beltway stalactite, Michael Gerson, predictably follows suit:
Republicans and Democrats are fixated on nostalgia — and have deformed our politics

Both Clintonism and Reaganism, no doubt, needed updating. But the parties have gone further, essentially abandoning the two most compelling, successful governing visions of the past few decades. With the influence of Bernie Sanders and the success of Trump, American politics has launched into uncharted ideological waters.

Tom Friedman copes with Donald Trump in the same way Tom Friedman copes with everything: by unspools his 1,000th New York Times column on China, Jobs and The Internet --

-- and concludes:
Every one of these challenges can be met if we put our heads and hands together. For that to happen, though, this version of the Republican Party had to be destroyed, so a thinking center-right party can emerge. If that is what Trump has done, he’s done the Lord’s work. We also need Democrats to be a center-left party, though, and not let Bernie Sanders pull them to the far left. If both happen, maybe something good can actually emerge from this crazy election.
Even Doughy Pantsload at the National Review -- who just broke up with Joe Scarborough because Joe kept insisting that a three-way with Donald Trump would make their relationship even more awesome -- joins the Both Siderist minyan gathering around the corpse of the Republican party:

Nationalism and socialism are in full gallop in America today while conservatives are without a horse.

Donald Trump almost never uses the language of traditional American conservatism, with its emphasis on classically liberal notions of limited government, constitutionalism, individualism, and free trade. He prefers to talk about “strength” and “winning” while vowing to restore the “greatness” of yesteryear through his indomitable will. Meanwhile, the Democratic party is embracing socialism. Hillary Clinton doesn’t call herself a socialist the way her tormentor-competitor Bernie Sanders does, but Sanders has not only pulled her to the left, he’s revealed the heart’s desire of the activist base of the party.

Still, even without Sanders’ influence, Clinton’s worldview was always that of top-down technocracy. Indeed, this is what unites Clintonism, Sandersism, and Trumpism...
Of course it is not strictly true that conservatives do not have a horse.  They, in fact, have a very large dead horse which they have been energetically beating for years, and by God if they just keep at it, one day soon that pile of gnawed bones and rotting flesh will raise itself up and ride them all off to glory.  But until then it is important to remember that, somehow, it is always Both Sides...Both Sides...Both Sides...

I'm sure there are others.  Many others, because they have no longer have any capacity to react to any crisis beyond running is circles and yawping the same, miserable lies that have paid for their home and hearth for 30 years.  Inevitably, most of the Beltway's best and brightest will end up camped out under the Both Siderist freeway overpass, jostling each other for space on the "Meet the Press" and "This Week..." where they can continue to build their little piece of the Both Siderist brand.  

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

You Won't Have Tailgunner Ted To Kick Around Any More

Tailgunner Ted cuts and runs and Carly Fiorina helps drive another enterprise into the ditch.

From the New York Times:
Ted Cruz Ends His Campaign for President

INDIANAPOLIS — Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is ending his presidential campaign, according to his campaign manager, bowing to the reality that his crushing loss in Indiana all but assured the nomination of Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Cruz, who staked his bid in the Republican race on a message of conservative purity and religious faith, had suffered through weeks of setbacks as the primary calendar reached the Northeast, where Mr. Trump significantly expanded his lead.
No word from John Kasich, who was last seen wrestling a breakfast skillet to a draw in Nebraska.

All Fall Down

The Washington Post joins the chorus of decrepit mainstream media outfits who are sure that someday, somehow, someone will pay for this nonsense:

The steady downward spiral of the Republican Party in 2016:

In the matter of the Republican Party’s moral and ideological bankruptcy, the GOP is still in the “gradually” phase. Donald Trump is seemingly about to accumulate all, or nearly all, of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the GOP presidential nomination on the first ballot. In the face of this not quite entirely inevitable but quite entirely odious prospect, the thing to do is declare your unequivocal opposition and fight it. Alas, some leading Republicans, such as House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (Fla.) and Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (Pa.), have endorsed Trump. Others are calibrating their responses, as politicians are wont to do.

Someday, everyone involved in American politics will be called upon to account for his or her behavior during Mr. Trump’s run for the White House. The Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus, forged one route months ago when he cheerfully pronounced: “Winning is the antidote to a lot of things.” It will be instructive to watch which politicians now follow Mr. Priebus to the moral poorhouse, and which have the gumption to chart a different course.
Bold words, WaPo.

Bold words.

But for an outfit that is run as Fred Hiatt's personal neocon safe-house and continues to offer it's masthead to the likes of Michael Gerson and George Will and Charles Krauthammer and Kathleen Parker and Ruth Marcus and Marc Thiessen and Robert Kagan and Jennifer Rubin and Joe Scarborough, maybe the Post should be careful about offering editorial prayers for comeuppance to be visited on the heads of the morally and ideologically bankrupt.