Thursday Evening Open Thread: Monetizing the Klown Show

gop two lines ohman

(Jack Ohman via

John Cassidy, economics reporter for the New Yorker:

Nobody should be expected, or forced, to keep up with every detail of the G.O.P. primary, especially when, Lord help us, we still have more than eight months to go until the Iowa caucuses. At this stage, the important thing to remember is that there are really two spectacles taking place: a high-stakes horse race for the Republican nomination, and a circus held on the infield of the track. Although the events run concurrently, and are ostensibly geared toward the same end, they shouldn’t be confused with one another. One is a serious political contest. The other is a sideshow, designed to amuse the spectators, give the media something to cover, and further the ambitions, varied as they are, of the participants…

From the link, John Wolfson at the New Yorker, on “Running for President to Build Your Brand“:

The 2016 G.O.P. field is bursting with candidates who have practically no chance of victory. Sabato’s influential Crystal Ball report, which tracks political races across the country, currently counts nineteen potential candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination. Twelve of them have no shot at winning, Sabato said, adding, “and I’m being generous to some of the other seven.” (His generosity does not extend to a perennially rumored candidate whose name is absent from the list. “We couldn’t include Donald Trump and live with ourselves,” he said.)…

Why are so many experienced people lining up for a race that they cannot possibly win?…

For a number of the candidates… the chances of actually securing the nomination don’t appear to factor into the decision to run. It is now so easy and so lucrative to mount a campaign for President that, even given the current historically crowded field, it’s a wonder that still more people aren’t running. “The primary process is a spectacle now, and that’s a relatively new development,” Sean McKinley, a Ph.D. student in the politics department at Brandeis University who researches the rewards of unsuccessful campaigns for President, said. “There are increased incentives for people to run, and there are fewer downsides, so why wouldn’t you run?”

McKinley researched Presidential races between 1976 and 2008, and found that losing candidates benefitted enormously simply from having run. Senators who had only narrowly won earlier elections suddenly found themselves retaining their seats by comfortable margins, despite not having shown well in the Presidential race…

Participating in the public-speaking circuit has emerged as an especially profitable side benefit of running for President… For many similar candidates, McKinley said, “the only thing they really had on their C.V. was that they had run for President. So if you’re a politician reaching the end of your career, and maybe you haven’t earned as much as you could have in another field, maybe you consider running for President to raise your profile for the speaking tours.”…

“Campaign finance is going to continue to change the shape of politics, as people realize how permissive the laws are,” McKinley said. He expects that we’ll see even more candidates running in future elections. “There are very few rules left. You may have to solicit money from only a couple dozen people.”…

Apart from the neverending grift, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

70 replies
  1. 1
    shawn says:

    I’m completely convinced that this is Bobby Jindal’s angle. Despite being an asshole, he’s still a smart guy. There’s no way he thinks he’s got any real shot at the Whitehouse.

    But he knows that there’s a wingnut fringe of the country out there, where if he tells he agrees with all of the nonsense they’re spouting, they’ll worship the ground he walks on and throw money at him for the next 10 years or so. It’s a small percentage of the populace, but even a few percent of a country this big is still millions of people and lots of potential dollars.

    It’s cynical as hell, and it’s a real shame that Jindal is further destroying the state of Louisiana in his efforts to prove his ultra-conservative bonafides. But he’ll make a plenty rich living off of it.

  2. 2
    Shakezula says:

    The Kochs can get some of their money back by televising Campaign Fund Cage Matches.

    I’d pay to view.

  3. 3
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    I looked out my front window about 10am and saw a massive tractor trailer unsuccessfully negotiate a left turn. He drove on top of my front lawn, flattening my wife’s newly sprouting perennials, knocking over a pole and a speed limit sign. He scraped the car of my neighbor across the street. She came running out with her cell phone snapping photos and yelling at him. I confess I yelled at him myself.

    I called the police and he got a ticket for ignoring weight restrictions. Big trucks aren’t allowed on the side street across from me.

    He blocked traffic in both directions for the 45 minutes it took him to back out and in and out and get out of the way.

    So now my front lawn looks like the site of a monster truck rally.

  4. 4
    cat says:

    Does the UK Election election rate its own thread? The polls have closed and the exit poll is terrifying as the Tory/LibDem coalition could form a government, even if it’s just barely.

    Conservatives(Tory): 316
    Lib Dems: 10

    Labour: 239
    SNP: 58
    Plaid Cymru: 4
    Greens: 2
    Ukip: 2

  5. 5
    mdblanche says:

    It takes a lot of candidates to make a stew
    A pinch of bile and nasty, too
    A scoop of olds to subtract the spice
    A dash of hate to make it not nice, and you’ve got
    Too many Kooks
    Too many Kooks
    Too many Kooks
    Too many Kooks
    Too many Kooks
    Too many Kooks
    Too many Kooks…

  6. 6
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    Meanwhile, Dinesh D’Souza asked a judge for a summer break from his community service, which was denied.

    Charlie Pierce: “I do not believe D’Souza quite understands what this whole “convicted felon” thing is all about.”

  7. 7
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @mdblanche: Too many Kooks spoil the Brothel.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    Baud 2016!
    Because he needs the cash!

  9. 9
    Hal says:

    Senators who had only narrowly won earlier elections suddenly found themselves retaining their seats by comfortable margins, despite not having shown well in the Presidential race…

    I was just wondering the other day what Carly Fiorina’s intentions were since she has zero chance at he nominations. Now I think she’s going for Senate again and trying to build her popularity in CA. Not that she really needs the name recognition boost.

  10. 10
    WereBear says:

    All you Juicer Cat Fans — I’ve started my Spring Fund Drive.

    Way of Cats Donate Page

    Trying to up my game — put a little story in the page, added some new and thrilling options, etc.

    Thanks to all the BJ Commenters who asked to be alerted for next time.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    You’ve got my vote and you can have my Bitcoins, too. (Now where did I leave those…?)

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: I’d send a picture to his employer. Jerk.

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    @mdblanche: @Germy Shoemangler:
    Methinks y’all misspelled “Kochs.”

  14. 14
    Baud says:


    Thank you!

    Rest assured, I will not be worse than Bush. I will not sell you out!

  15. 15
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @WereBear: Police gave me a xerox of his insurance card. I am filing a claim. They will pay for new perennials and anything else he damaged.

    As Ceiling Cat Above is my witness.

  16. 16
    trollhattan says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:

    So now my front lawn looks like the site of a monster truck rally.

    Ugh. Technically, it’s the site of an actual monster truck rally.

    And yeah, that’s why they carry insurance. You deserve to be re-sodded, like an NFL field at the beginning of playoffs.

  17. 17
    Calouste says:

    @cat: There’s another exit poll from YouGov that has rather different numbers:

    YouGov Exit Poll:
    CON – 284
    LAB – 263
    SNP – 48
    LDEM – 31
    UKIP – 2
    GRN – 1

    Nicola Sturgeon has already said that she treats the BBC exit poll with huge caution, even though it gives her party a near complete sweep.

  18. 18
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    @trollhattan: We have all flowers: hostas, columbine, bloodroot. We’re one of those freaks who replaced the grass with flowers. Seeing those giant tires crushing everything made my blood boil.

    And then when the cop directed him out, he did it again. He literally didn’t know how to maneuver his tractor trailer.

  19. 19
    beltane says:

    @Calouste: Perhaps someone who knows more than me can explain, but it appears that there are some weird, regional things going on in this election that differ from the usual left/right split, not just regarding Scotland but also Wales.

  20. 20
    MattF says:

    The grifters are so much more entertaining than Jeb! that it could be a real problem for the Repub establishment. Who’s going to vote for boredom?

  21. 21
    mdblanche says:

    @cat: YouGov has its exit poll out now. Tories 284, Labour 263, SNP 48, Lib Dems 31, UKIP 2, Green 1. That’s more in line with the pre-election polls.

    @Calouste: ETA Beat me to it. If the BBC poll is right, it’s a big victory for the SNP. But it’s a Pyrrhic one. Hard to say if Sturgeon would want it to be right.

  22. 22
    cat says:

    I just saw those.
    Worst Exit Polling ever or Worst Exit Polling of our lifetime?
    Its going to be a very interesting election, just not in a good way.

  23. 23
    themann1086 says:

    This piece on David Brooks is gold. The intro:

    I’ve been a pretty regular reader of the New York Times columnist since before he even came to the Times, going all the way back to his seminal 2000 book Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, which revealed, to the astonishment of various residents of the East Coast media world’s upper crust, that the rich white people of the Clinton years were different from previous generations of rich white people, because they used their money to buy elite refrigerators instead of jewel-encrusted top hats.

    In the years since, he has been a reliable producer of out-of-touch, tissue-thin pronouncements on the perils of our secularized, technologized 21st century lives, virtually all of which rightly can be interpreted as passive-aggressive nostalgia for what Family Circus comics told him “outdoors” might have been like when he was a kid. You could just about set your calendar by it: In a month of Brooks, you’d get the call to begin or continue a war with Iraq or Iran, the grasping attempt to paint some cretinous Senator or presidential hopeful as the intellectual heir to Edmund Burke, and then, at last, the decline-and-fall column. You’d see a headline like “The Slow Virtues” or “The Hollow Century” or “Why the Teens Are Despicable,” and you’d know ol’ Dave’s coffee shop was out of plain croissants a week ago and the barista had a nose-ring and he’d decided he’d witnessed the death of the Western moral tradition.

    I think I got too comfortable automatically deploying this familiar way of understanding his occasional life-musings. I think that is why I missed a change in Brooks’s work. This change started some time ago, and subtly at first; I didn’t fully recognize it until very recently. Once I detected it, I went back and read through some of his older columns. Re-examined with fresh eyes, they are pretty alarming.

    At some point around the new year, this powdered coffee creamer man abandoned his career-long mission of guessing at what the lives of common Americans are like, in favor of a new and more urgent mission, like an Antarctic explorer stalked by privation and death turning away from the far-off pole to race for the nearest hospitable bay, and with no less desperation. The bay is Us. We are It. He is trying to reach us before despair reaches him.

    David Brooks is telling us something dark and sad—about loneliness and the search for connection; about social desolation and sexual frustration and sadness. Something deeply personal, about discovering, too late in life, that accomplishment and position and thinkfluence are no ameliorative for the rejection of your gross old-man wiener by cute millennials. Something not about what priorities he guesses Whole Foods Uncles will take into the voting booth in 2016, but about himself.

    Oh God, I don’t think we have been listening.

    It gets better.

  24. 24
    trollhattan says:

    @Germy Shoemangler:
    That’s a damn shame, and a lot of work! Our neighbors directly across the street, another corner lot, have four years now invested in a water-smart, grassless garden of perennials, annuals, succulents and other drought-tolerant bushes. It’s a treat to see, with a different group of features every month year-round. I’d hate to see what would happen if a semi strayed across the thing, but we corner-dwellers are really susceptible to just that (not to mention drunk teenagers with dad’s F250).

  25. 25
    mdblanche says:

    @trollhattan: I was thinking of the candidates. There’s only two Kochs. Admittedly, that’s still too many.

  26. 26
    cat says:

    And YouGov just clarrified:

    YouGov has not done an exit poll. A re-contact survey today simply gave us no reason to change our final numbers from yesterday.

  27. 27
    WereBear says:

    @mdblanche: We are owed, at the least, some more Anti-Kochs.

  28. 28
    trollhattan says:

    Going to bookmark that for later. Too much goodness and dread in one package to take on in a single helping.

  29. 29
    Mike in NC says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: A few days ago a local TV news station did a puff piece on how a bunch of middle aged women — who lost their jobs during the Great Bush Recession and couldn’t find work — were going to community college to retrain as tractor-trailer operators. Decent wages and a chance to see the country, they claimed. I really felt bad for them being forced into such a lousy career move.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    How do we know they’ve not been busy cloning? Cheney’s a-new-heart-every-few-years technique is too limited (hundred-ten years, tops) for our Koch boys and I could see them unleashing new broods downstream every few years to ensure an unlimited, growing supply.

  31. 31
    mdblanche says:

    The first seat is in across the pond. Labour 55% in one of their safe seats, UKIP 22%, Tories 21%, Greens 3%, Lib Dems 2%!

    ETA: Wait. That’s more than 100%. I must have jotted those numbers down wrong.

  32. 32
    beltane says:

    @mdblanche: In that particular seat, Labour is up 5% since the last election, but UKIP is up 19%.

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:

    Here’s a fun little tidbit about the occupants of the GOP Presidential Klown Kar. They are ALL anti-science idiots.

    Last February I tallied up every potential Republican candidate for President and showed that none of them fully accepted evolution and denied creationism. The “wafflers” included those who wouldn’t take a stand, saying that creationism should be taught alongside evolution (Jeb Bush), as well as those who claimed they weren’t scientists and so lacked expertise (Christie, Cruz, Jindal, Kasich, Rand Paul, Rubio, Walker), and, finally, those creationists who flatly denied that evolution was true (Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum). They are all to a man—and they’re all men—either liars, dissimulators, or flatly ignorant, for waffling on evolution, or denying it, is like waffling about or denying the existence of atoms.

    Tuesday’s Guardian reassesses the stand on evolution of those who have now openly declared their candidacy. It’s just as grim as ever. Even more than religious belief, acceptance or denial of evolution is a test of character. For if you deny evolution is true, you are either pandering to the public even though you know better (showing that you’re ambitious but lack character), are truly ignorant of the facts (which means you can’t be trusted to be informed about crucial issues), or are a flat-out creationist (showing that you’re batshit crazy).

    Darwin help us all.

  34. 34
    Mike in NC says:

    As the passengers of the GOP Klown Kar jostle for control of the steering wheel over the next several months, expect Willard M. Romney to jump back into the race early next year. Guaranteed.

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    Nothing can excuse Carson (did he self-operate at some point?) and the rest of them can just go to the hell they all so fervently believe we all belong in.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:
    I wouldn’t be surprised, and certainly expect Walker unless he ends up indited before he has the chance.

    Rafalca rides again!

  37. 37
    beltane says:

    @Mike in NC: Romney will not be able to resist. Vulture capitalist that he is, he will see the opportunity for a hostile takeover of the Klown Kar.

  38. 38
    beltane says:

    Nigel Farage seems to have lost his seat.

  39. 39
    Betty Cracker says:

    I brewed some chocolate milk stout a couple of months back and am enjoying the fruits of my labor. Damn, it’s good!

  40. 40
    Calouste says:

    @beltane: Not really, he didn’t have one. He’s a member of the European Parliament, not of the UK one.

  41. 41
    WereBear says:

    @themann1086: It’s gold, Jerry, gold!

  42. 42
    beltane says:

    @Calouste: OK. So he was not the incumbent anyway.

  43. 43
    srv says:

    MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent $85,000 in public money to entertain in luxury boxes at sports venues between 2010 and early 2012, when state Republicans started to pay for the expenses and reimbursed the state for those already incurred.

    The money came from an account, worth $95,000 a year, that Christie can use to pay for official entertainment or other expenses associated with his job. The details of spending from that account were obtained by The Associated Press via the state’s open records law.

    Probably less than Obama’s lunch money on AF1

  44. 44
    beltane says:

    BBC is now doubting the veracity of their exit polling:

    “Clusterfuck” must be part of the special relationship between the US and the UK.

  45. 45
    WereBear says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m so pleased it is coming along. Seems like just a short time ago you announced this new hobby.

  46. 46
    Calouste says:

    Losses for the Tories and big wins for UKIP in the two constituencies declared so far. Makes you wonder if there haven’t been a number of UKIP voters who said “Tory” at the exit polls.

  47. 47
    beltane says:

    @Calouste: Something is awfully strange here. It will be a long night, I think.

  48. 48
    Betty Cracker says:

    @WereBear: Thanks! I’ve made three batches so far: IPA, honey cream ale and the stout. All were good. Next up: Irish red ale!

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Calouste: Everyone seems to be doubtful about the BBC poll.

  50. 50
    danielx says:

    As always, this is good news for John McCain.

    I know, I know, I just couldn’t help myself.

  51. 51
    Fair Economist says:


    BBC is now doubting the veracity of their exit polling:

    A second safe Labour seat, Sunderland Central, just declared with a 4.3% gain for Labour. Just two ridings, safe Labour and so not representative, blahblahblah, but, still, this is looking like the pre-election polling with a slight shift to Tory, not the BBC exits.

  52. 52
    craigie says:


    It’s all absolutely fabulous. My favorite bit:

    Like David Brooks, the ancient Israelites were haunted by fear. Bedeviled and bound by it. It enfolded their lives, not unlike David Brooks is enfolded by the filthy shower curtain he wears around the house like a toga while he sobs and eats ice-cream sandwiches and leaves anonymous nasty comments on Paul Krugman’s blog.

  53. 53
    geg6 says:

    I have decided that Lovey’s father must have been a min pin. Two people who recently met her have asked, with no prompting, if she has min pin in her blood. Both said it’s her face and ears and coloring that made them think this. None of us see any sign of poodle. Poor Ginger’s genes must all be recessive.

  54. 54
    jake the antisoshul shoshulist says:

    I need to write a book.
    The Grifters: How a Neo-Noir Film became a Political Documentary.

  55. 55
    Mike E says:

    @jake the antisoshul shoshulist: Your prologue can be tonight’s Tory victory in the UK.

  56. 56
    JustRuss says:

    @themann1086: Looks promising, but I must take points off for failing to use quotes when referring to Brooks’ “work.”

  57. 57
    WereBear says:

    @geg6: I’m thinking the poodle genes are in there… lurking… up to something.

    After all, her brother is a slipper stealer!

  58. 58
    geg6 says:


    Ha! So is Lovey! She loves my slippers and sticking her face in my shoes after I take them off. I blame Cole.

    In fact, my John and I blame Cole for all of Lovey’s bad habits.

  59. 59
    beltane says:

    Labour has lost every seat it held in Glasgow to the SNP. Every seat. The United Kingdom does not seem so united tonight.

  60. 60
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @geg6: I have a YorkiPom; I usually get the comment: “What kind of dog is that?”.

  61. 61
    karen marie says:

    My thought after reading the Cassidy article was that you could draw a Venn diagram of the “two primaries” and it would be one circle. I defy anyone to seriously argue that anyone in the GOP clown car is running because they think they have a snowball’s chance in hell.

  62. 62
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @geg6: As you should! Speaking of your John, how’s his daughter doing?

  63. 63
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @beltane: link?

  64. 64
    Fair Economist says:

    Well, the UK election is not looking good. Labour gained in those 2 safe Labour seats, but it actually *lost* votes in Swindon North, which used to be a marginal and just delivered a Tory landslide.

  65. 65
    NotMax says:

    Repeating from earlier for nighttime crew.

    TCM alert. All times Eastern.

    Friday, 11:30 a.m. – Purple Noon. Stylish French thriller with a very young (and very shirtless) Alain Delon, lovingly photographed Italian scenery, and the sprightly music of Nino Rota. Later remade in Hollywood as The Talented Mr. Ripley (the title of the original novel).

    On Monday, a trifecta present for NotMax’s birthday, back-to-back-to-back Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple treats.

    6:45 a.m., Murder She Said
    8:15 a.m., Murder at the Gallop
    9:45 a.m., Murder Most Foul

  66. 66
    geg6 says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Thanks for asking. She’s a mess. Which is what she was before hooking up with the bastard who broke her heart, so…back to normal, I guess. ;-)

  67. 67
    mdblanche says:

    @Fair Economist: It sounds like things are consistently going worse than the already hard to believe exit poll predicted. It’s fucking Israel all over again.

  68. 68
    Sherparick says:

    @Calouste: Well, a shift of a few points at the end, the disaffection of English Liberal Democratic voters with their party and a Labor Party dependent on the SNP, apparently has given the Conservatives a tremendous victory in as far as parliamentary seats are concerned. The Guardian shows them at 325 with 323 needed for an out right majority (Sinn Fein’s members from Northern Ireland don’t vote because they reject the UK on principle; they won 4 seats in this election, bringing the actual voting numbers in Parliament to 646 and the Tories are likely to get the regular support of the 10 DU and Unionist members from Ireland in return for some goodies). The Liberal Democrats pretty much destroyed themselves joining the Conservative Government. Cameron won by playing up English Nationalism and promising his right wing a referendum on EU membership and by having the good fortune of an economic recovery resulting from a pull back in austerity along with a housing boom driven by the fact that it appears every rich person in the world wants to have a London residence.

    I hope Cameron enjoys his moment as the terms of his winning will likely come back to haunt him (for one thing the elimination of the Liberal Democrats will mean the Conservatives will no longer have the Nick Clegg spear catcher protecting them from the disaffection of the voters). He will still have only a one or two seat majority out of the 650 seats in Parliament. That means that he is only one or two by-elections from becoming a minority government increasingly dependent on Irish votes. The EU referendum will be real problem for him as nothing divides the Tories like Europe (the Business wing of the party loves the EU and the Nationalist/Empire Nostalgia/White Supremacist wing hates the EU). Also, next March, Osborne will release a budget that will fulfill all his Randite, Thatcherite, dreams of drowning the UK’s post-WWII Welfare State in a bath tub (the love of low taxes and hatred for those next down on the social ladder being what unites the two wings). Osborne and Cameron will then have take the blame the resulting economic catastrophe.

    Finally, although they have a a majority of seats in Parliament, the total vote for the Conservatives in the whole U.K. was probably less than 40%, and even just with England and Wales, probably well under 50%. So most of the people in the UK are going to get a Government, good and hard, that they did not vote for.

  69. 69
    Sherparick says:

    It will be interesting to see what the surviving rump of Liberals will do. In the 1980s, when reduced to a similar rump, they merged with disaffected group of right wing Labor, the Social Democrats, to form the current party. Will they take a turn to the left and merge with the Greens, who have a far more dynamic leader? The Labor Party’s move to the right under Blair, and away from Trade Unionism and equality, while promoting “Liberal” values in my mind eliminated the British Liberal Party raison d’etre (e.g. a Left of Center Party that promotes reform and moderation of the Capitalism negative consequences and a humane, anti-militaristic Foreign Policy). That raison d’etre completely disappeared when it joined a coalition of austerity with the Tories and Clegg and his Parliamentary colleagues got the defenestrated as a result.

  70. 70
    Sherparick says:

    One final comment, the role of Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch’s media championed Cameron and savaged Milliband and Labor. Although right wing, he does this kind of thing always with the view of promoting his own interests and views. In the nineties, Murdoch was anti-EU (they were imposing rules restricting his satellite broadcasts on the Continent) and wanted UK withdrawal. Now, he is using the EU to fight Google and Microsoft and perhaps feels that Cameron can open up the Satellite market for him with the EU. His papers have been chauvinistically anti-EU for years, but of course will turn on a dime if he says “jump.” The other thing that interests Rupert now is his adoption of full scale adoption of Climate Denialism. So he will expect the new Cameron Government to promote fossil fuel and defund alternative energy in the UK. Rupert’s role in UK is more dominate then here in the U.S., but not as dominate as it is in Australia. The phone hacking scandal apparently has not brought him down, more the pity.

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