Late Night Open Thread: Trump (Further) Agitates RNC Dinosaurs

The Prolapsed Pig Rectum speaks! Ex-NH Governor & longtime Bush Crime Family associate John Sununu — never my favorite person — is not happy with the possibility that Il Trumpenfuhrer will turn his beloved “Live Free or Die Trying” fiefdom into a(n even bigger) laughing stock / political liability. The Washington Examiner is a far-right platform for loons like Byron York, but in Very Important Media Village Idiot-Persons circles, he’s respected. And here’s his latest — “GOP fear and loathing in New Hampshire”:

… At the [First-in-the-Nation Presidential Town Hall] gathering’s dinner Friday night, I sat next to former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu and his wife Nancy. When we talked about the presidential race — a race in a state whose ground-level politics Sununu knows better than almost anyone — Sununu must have said some version of “I don’t know what is going on” about a dozen times.

Sununu has not endorsed a candidate. But in a brief speech before dinner, he seemed to send a message to fellow Granite Staters to stay away from unserious choices.

Sununu’s message was that New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status is a precious gift, but it might not last forever; state Republicans could lose it if they do something crazy. “We must remember why we are allowed — and I use that word, ‘allowed’ — to be first in the nation,” Sununu said. “We are allowed because we have done a good job historically, and so we must in the next 18 days make sure we continue to do a good job.”

“You have to go out and communicate with our friends and neighbors that a primary is not to settle internal differences within a party and a state,” Sununu continued. “It’s not a get-even process. It’s not a gotcha process. It’s a process that we have a responsibility to pick the next president.” Voting in the primary is more than just voting, Sununu said: “It’s making sure that as a body, those of us who support the Republican Party, those of us who care about this country, make sure that our friends and neighbors do it responsibly.”…

This is buried in a ‘No true Scotsman’ tirade, about how none of the real Republicans, the serious GOP permanent party people, have any idea who might be voting for this parvenu Trump person. Their voters are not his voters! He has no lawn signs! He’s not spending his money on paid local consultants or ‘earned media’ meet’n’greets (with their profitable-to-local-business dining & lodging)! He dissed the Union-Leader — and seems to have gotten away with it!

The Wall Street Journal noticed this #FITN dissatisfaction a couple of weeks ago — “Former N.H. Gov. Sununu: Trump Is Rich but ‘Not Bright’”

“The guy brags that he can’t be bought and yet Putin proved the guy is the cheapest political buy in the game,” Mr. Sununu said… “Ten cents worth of flattery and he’s got Trump sucking up his butt.”

Some context for this fight: Mr. Sununu, who served as President George H.W. Bush’s White House chief of staff and was governor of New Hampshire during the ’80s, last week penned an op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader asking people to not “drink the Trump Kool-aid.”…

“Can you believe this guy?” Mr. Trump said about Mr. Sununu, who quit his White House post in 1991 after the president asked for his resignation. “He was fired like a dog and he doesn’t even realize it.”

Mr. Sununu has long been a critic of Trump the politician. In November he predicted the GOP would lose control of the Senate if Mr. Trump wins the party’s nomination. In October he said voters need to “wake up” to stop Mr. Trump’s political momentum.

One of Mitt Romney’s chief attacking surrogates in 2012, Mr. Sununu is unaligned in 2016 because his son Chris is running for governor. The former governor on Monday said Mr. Trump isn’t patient or smart enough to be president.

“You can’t be commander-in-chief with such a thin skin,” Mr. Sununu said. “He may be rich, but he’s not bright. The two don’t necessarily go together.”…

(Those of us who suffered through the first Bush presidency will remember that Sununu is inordinately proud of his ‘one in a million’ IQ scores… )

To be fair, it’s true that a President Donald Trump would be catastrophic for our Repub-weakened nation. On the other hand, there’s a good chance that even a general-election Candidate Trump would be catastrophic for the Republican Party… which I am not at all sure would be a bad thing for those of us not paid by the Republican Party.

And, as a Masshole who spends far too much time clicking away from First-in-the-Nation paid media for at least 18 months out of every two years, it would be a net positive if a Trump win in the NH primary were to destroy the enfeebled “tradition” where a small non-representative very-white state full of angry old tourist-milkers, Free State glibertarians, and social parasites commuting across the border every workday to use Massachusetts resources while avoiding Massachusetts taxes has entirely too much power to winnow presidential choices for the rest of us.

35 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    They should have 4 primary dates (perhaps one in February, one in March, one in April, and one in May), and rotate which states have primaries in which dates. Having Iowa and New Hampshire always being first is getting ridiculous.

  2. 2
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Jerzy Russian: I agree, I’d be fine with 5. Having lily white Iowa and New Hampshire as the initial cut really makes no sense, especially for the Dems.

  3. 3
    Ruckus says:

    I think that the primaries should all be on the same day. Maybe like Sept 1, which is a national paid election day off. Followed by the first Tuesday in November, election day which is also a national paid day off. Public service folks like cops/bus drivers will get a half day off, paid of course. Voter registration for national office will be done automatically by the federal government, same rules etc for everyone. All voting will be by paper ballot. Mail in ballots will be available for everyone.
    With no election ads/lawn signs/banners/debates, etc before July 1st. All TV/radio ads will be free to the candidates with time/amount limitations and will run randomly so there is no bias. There will be no Pacs/Super Pacs, no TV ads except for candidates.
    All of that along with term limits for all national offices. If it’s good enough for the President, it’s good enough for the other branches. The limits will be longer other than president, which doesn’t change from current practice, they could run for other national offices after limiting out. Congress/supreme court term limits 18 yrs.
    This evens out the money, it evens out the power and it gives more people a chance to run and maybe win.

  4. 4
    dogwood says:

    As far as Republicans go it doesn’t matter that Iowa and NH are white states. Republicans are only competing for white voters no matter how diverse the state’s population may be. South Carolina and Nevada come soon after the first two, and those states have significant minority populations that are key to democratic candidates. I couldn’t care less who goes first and don’t understand why it bothers so many people. Traditionally, I don’t think democrats in those two “first” states have done a bad job. And if we started off with a couple of big states like Texas and California, people would be bitching about the amount of money it would take to be even remotely competive in those places.

  5. 5
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Ruckus: Term limits haven’t worked all that well here in CA.

  6. 6
    dogwood says:

    I would also add, that Iowa, NH, and Nevada are important states for democrats to win in the general election. Early organizing in those places can pay big dividends in the fall. Democrats don’t bitch about South Carolina being early, but the fact is that state is irrelvant in the general election.

  7. 7
    Cacti says:

    Nothing about our national primary schedule makes any sense at all.

  8. 8
    Ruckus says:

    Too short a limit. Hard to get established and going before they are gone. Just suggesting that some things should have an end. Elected office for one. And yes I know we can elect someone else, that’s what elections are for but how well does that work out? Normally not all that good either. The limit could be longer. I used 18 house and 24 senate the last time I got shouted down on this. But I think a reasonable limit is not a bad thing. If you look at the longest serving senators the top 8 have all served over 40 yrs with the top 3 over 45. This list is for both houses.

    Another thing that isn’t working in CA and that’s our current primary system. Yes it works to our advantage now but it still isn’t right that the election can be a runoff of two people in the same party. Or that it is more difficult to run against someone way past prime like DiFi because the moron the other side puts up it is too risky to challenge the incumbent.

  9. 9
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Ruckus: I’m not adverse to term limits if they’re longer, I agree the ones here in CA are much, much too short. Though my Poli Sci roommate in college always said we have term limits, it’s the ballot. I’m happy to find a kindred spirit on the issue of the “jungle primary”. I think this change was totally idiotic, but folk wanted to minimize the parties to get more moderate elected officials. I don’t think it worked at all.

  10. 10
    Ruckus says:

    Yes the ballot. But how often does being the incumbent bring a huge advantage? Most all the time.
    If you look at the link I posted there are some real good names on there and I’d hate for them to not be effective in our government. But I think one of the reasons many people are so indifferent to politics is that they really don’t change, it is the same people year after year. Look how many of those people are in their 80s. How would that make your average 20 yr old feel, knowing that their government is run by people most likely older than their grandparents? Like they may want to participate? I don’t think so.

    ETA Just like you can’t run government like a business, should you run it like a retirement home?

  11. 11
    sm*t cl*de says:

    a race in a state whose ground-level politics Sununu knows better than almost anyone — Sununu must have said some version of “I don’t know what is going on” about a dozen times

    So Sununu is a senile out-of-touch old fart with only a vague idea what day of the week it is, who manifestly doesn’t know the state’s ground-level politics. Naturally we wonder why York is wasting his time shouting into the daft git’s ear trumpet, and why he is wasting everyone else’s time repeating the non-results of that conversation. But I suppose he is being paid to wrap a lot of words around the central message that Mr Sununu, he brain-dead.

  12. 12
    David *Rafael* Koch says:

    IA & NH won’t lose first status as long as they are swing states in the general election.

    Put together they’re only 10 electoral votes, but in a tight election nobody wants to piss them off.

  13. 13
    David *Rafael* Koch says:

    Iowa Poll — Fox — Jan 18-21

    🍁Rafael Cruz🍁……23%

    Looks like going birther on Cruz worked like a charm.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    I think it doesn’t matter what I think.

  15. 15
    Zinsky says:

    Sununu is like Trump with a better IQ score – a boastful, unproductive waste of good oxygen. Fuck him. Who has the first caucus or primary is really irrelevant. What we need is a national holiday for federal (read, presidential) elections. Do that and the Republicans wouldn’t win back the White House for generations or until they became sane again.

  16. 16
    rook to queen's 8 says:

    @Ruckus: [regarding term limits]

    Too short a limit[…] I used 18 house and 24 senate the last time I got shouted down on this. But I think a reasonable limit is not a bad thing.

    Those also sound too short to me. You could probably convince me that 18 years (9 full terms) for the house would be okay, though my gut says a higher ceiling would be better. But 24 years (4 full terms) as a ceiling for the senate definitely seems too short to me. The house is supposed to be the raucus chamber, attuned to the flighty winds of the times, while the senate is supposed to be more staid (in my understanding of Founders’ Intent), with a stronger institutional memory and watching out for the long-term implications of policy.

    Another thing that isn’t working in CA and that’s our current primary system.

    Could you cite examples of races that the current CA system that demonstrate that it isn’t working?

    …[it] isn’t right that the election can be a runoff of two people in the same party.

    Why not? Assuming that we’re taking it as a given that we’re using a system where there is a primary and then a run-off, what exactly is the problem if the two most popular vote-getters in the primary happen to be from the same party? Now, I am aware of more generic flaws with the whole primary-plus-runoff vote structure (things like range voting would be better), but I’ve never understood what others treat as the “self-evident” flaw of allowing the runoff to be between same-party candidates.

    Or that it is more difficult to run against someone way past prime like DiFi because the moron the other side puts up it is too risky to challenge the incumbent.

    How does it matter if the primary is by-party or jungle style? It seems to me that either way the R’s are going to put up someone unacceptable to the general election voters (at least until the next realignment), and D party loyalists are going to want to avoid rocking the incumbent’s boat.

  17. 17
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Trump does have lawn signs! The corner of NH nearest to me is filled with them, and there are a goodly number in my Massachusetts town. Whenever I see people in New Hampshire asking “where are all these Trump voters?” I just want to tell them “Rockingham County, that’s where.”

  18. 18
    beltane says:

    @Matt McIrvin: In New England, I have not seen support for any Republican candidate but Trump. While Trump will probably not win any of these states in the general, he has certainly captured the hearts and minds of the grouchy, the racists, and the incoherent among us. His ability to speak the language of stupid people would put even Lee Atwater to shame.

  19. 19
    Chris says:

    “You can’t be commander-in-chief with such a thin skin,” Mr. Sununu said.

    Well, our last Republican president said that the worst moment of his presidency was that time Kanye West called him a name. Make of that what you will.

  20. 20
    Kropadope says:


    In New England, I have not seen support for any Republican candidate but Trump.

    The first time I encounter a presidential campaign headquarters in my hometown and it has to be Trump.

  21. 21
    Wag says:


    The Supreme Court isn’t an elected body. Having term limits for the justices would require a Constitutional amendment.

  22. 22
    NonyNony says:

    @Ruckus: Legislative term limits are horrible. The length doesn’t matter – the problem with them is that they are:

    a) inherently undemocratic – if you have a legislator who is doing good work there’s no reason to NOT continue sending them back. Removal from office is supposed to be the stick that voters hold against their elected representatives. if you have a person who knows that they’re only going to get 8 years or 12 years then you have a person who doesn’t have to care much about what the voters want. If you extend those limits to 16 or 20 years then term limits become a solution in search of a problem – a bad legislator term limited out after 20 years is probably going to be replaced by someone equally bad. Because it’s the district that sends him back term after term that is the problem, and you can’t term limit the voters.

    b) incentives to bad behavior – if you have a legislator who knows that they’re only going to 8 or 12 years to make their mark it encourages a lot of bad behavior because there’s no reason for them to work to become good at their job. It encourages “up or out” for starters – legislators who are more worried about positioning themselves for their next office instead of focusing on being a good legislator in the present and doing what’s best for their constituents. In Ohio we see this all the time – members of the general assembly are either focused on getting into the Senate, or they’re making rich guys happy to line up a job with them after they leave office. You lose an entire class of people who just want to be “good legislators” because there’s no future in it – they know that they’re going to be kicked out of that job in 8 years, and 8 years is far too short a time to enact real change in any organization the size of a state, so why even run for the office? Better to spend their time and effort in political activist organizations or charity organizations where they can have long-term jobs to work on that long-term change.

    c) loss of expertise – related to the above, when you kick a legislator out after 8 years you’re kicking them out right when they finally get a handle on how the system operates. Even if you extend this to 12 years, it’s still too short. At 12 years they’re probably finally ready to start mentoring younger legislators who come into the fold – kicking them out at either point is losing that expertise before they can pass it on. 20 year term limits would void this, but again – if you’ve got a bad legislator that the voters haven’t removed after 20 years, then the problem is likely the voters and you’re not going to get much better with term limits.

    We’ve seen all of this bite us in the ass here in Ohio. The only group that has benefited from term limits are rich Republican constituencies – because the legislators basically are always too green to do much more than get a lot of “guidance” from their lobbyists and keeping those guys happy so that there will be a job waiting for them when they get kicked out of office. Our legislature has gone from one of the more knowledgable and professional leges in the country to a bunch of easily led nitwits. Part of that is just the shift in the GOP, but a lot of the fault lies with term limits.

    (Part of that has to do with the fall of the Democratic Party in this state, but I gotta tell you – I blame a lot of THAT on term limits as well. Points (b) and (c) up there apply here too – our Dem Party apparatus has almost no long-term expertise because the politicians who should be party leaders just don’t exist in the numbers that they should. Because term limits prevent anyone from building up the kind of expertise and mentorship experience to be able to pass on information, or from being in a position where people recognize their expertise. Term limits have led to shallow benches and shallow thinkers – both of which benefit the GOP but crush the Democratic Party, which relies on wonks and expertise far more than the Republicans do.)

  23. 23
    Ken says:

    Could the Republican Party unilaterally change NH’s election date? At the least, wouldn’t they need the Democratic Party to agree? And to agree which state takes its place?

    I suppose the mechanism would have to be juggling the convention delegate counts, as they do with the other states now – “if you vote before date X, you lose 50% of your delegates.”

  24. 24
    shomi says:

    Never ceases to amaze me how often ball juicers get it wrong year after year, election after election.

    Trump will not win the primary…mkay. The only reason the big money is worried about Trump is that now they have to spend money to bring his numbers down. Money they want to save for the general election.

    Also, they would be just fine with him winning the primary if they knew he could win a general election. However, they know that is impossible.

  25. 25
    shomi says:

    One more thing. Bernie Sanders also will never win the primary. Mkay. Put down the crack pipe and get real. Stop reading….ie dailykos. It will never happen. NEVER! Even if Hillary dropped dead tomorrow they would find someone else.

  26. 26
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Ruckus: Some of your ideas I’d sign up for, others, bother me.

    Like Bill said, term limits have problems. We have them in VA – the governor can only serve one term. That means that the parties try to rotate people from Attorney General to Lt. Gov. to Governor to Senator. It just locks people into the important seats in a different way.

    Putin can only serve two terms at a time, also too…

    The way to ensure that someone doesn’t park themselves in office is to make sure the parties are strong enough. That means non-partisan redistricting. That probably also means modifying the state constitution in many cases to better balance the legislative / executive balance. (E.g. the Speaker of the House of Delegates can throw out a Governor’s veto on his say-so, without an over-ride vote.)

    The “no ads” stuff is probably unconstitutional, as appealing as it might be.

    Term limits (18 years? 24 years?) for federal judges is probably a good idea. A job for life has outlived its usefulness – especially given the pace of change these days.

    Ending elections for judges at all levels is probably a good idea. There have been too many examples of ad money buying an election and that judge then rewarding the donor.

    Maybe the national parties shouldn’t be allowed to be non-profits any more (as I assume they are). Tax them and the candidates on the money they raise, and use that for a general fund for voter access, public service political ads for down-ballot candidates or something, etc. If the Koch’s want to spend $1B on their issues and candidates, fine. But take, say, 20% of that and spend it to counter-act their attempts to tilt the table.

    My $0.02.


  27. 27
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Er Koch’s Kochs.



  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    Thanks for your comments.
    Every time I propose these I get the same results. Some like the ideas and some hate them.
    So I must be somewhere about right.
    Yes term limits as they are used today are way too short. One term? That’s ridiculous, why would anyone bother?
    There has to be somewhat of a career path or selecting politics won’t happen except for the grifters. And I stated that yes there are drawbacks, there are to any and all political concepts. (“A democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Someone rather astute once said that.) So let’s have a democracy. One where more people get a shot, maybe it will work better. What we have today is not really working all that well. And there are a number of reasons. These are not necessarily in order.
    Wealth inequality, and allowing that money to affect politics.
    Responsiveness to the governed. See above.
    General interest in politics. We ain’t got much, outside of a relatively small percentage of us.
    Education. Also see above.
    Government is the problem. It isn’t of course but that’s a huge perception among the citizens and there is a reason. Money is part of that but so is lack of participation. And many don’t think that it makes any difference. And I’m not sure they are wrong. Their approach is wrong for sure, destroying something is not the only way or best way to fix it. But those who gain by destroying things seem to be some of those with the money, who have a vested interest in having just less than the minimum necessary government for the rest of us to live and prosper.
    A small list, it is not nearly complete.
    How do we fix these and maintain the goals of what started the thing in the first place? Adam stated last night that maybe we should join the 21st century and I think he’s right. We are a big country and not just 50 states lumped together. We all need an equal voice, one that gets heard, not just the wealthy or the best armed or those………. We will never be able to include everyone, some don’t want to be included and we will never satisfy everyone, for the same reason but we should at least hear the voices. Mine is but a whisper now, how about yours?

  29. 29
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @shomi: What’s your scenario for Trump not winning the primary? Who does win? The establishment guys actually hate Ted Cruz more than Trump, and none of their guys are getting any traction at all even with massive spending.

  30. 30
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I agree, by the way, that Sanders is not going to win. I think Clinton v. Trump is by far the most likely scenario at this point.

  31. 31
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @beltane: I saw Ben Carson signs and bumper stickers in New England before I saw them for anyone else in this cycle. Carson had this not large but early and devoted fandom, kind of like Ron Paul in the past couple of cycles. I guess he still does, even though his time in the spotlight was short-lived.

    But lately the bumper-sticker action around here is all Bernie, and the lawn-sign race is all Trump. This can be highly misleading: Mitt Romney carpet-bombed the place with lawn signs in 2012, and going by lawn signs you’d have expected a Romney win in Massachusetts, let alone NH. But at least it indicates that Trump supporters exist.

  32. 32
    Peale says:

    @David *Rafael* Koch: Happy enough about that. Because if true, it means Cruz won’t be “next in line.” in 2020. Or 2024. Or 2028. Or 2032. There is nothing he can do to change the fact that he was born in Canada and kept his dual citizenship. He will always be an “asshole.” But his ambitions have just been capped and there’s nothing I like better today than the idea that Cruz will never be President.

  33. 33
    karen marie says:

    Sununu … seemed to send a message to fellow Granite Staters to stay away from unserious choices.

    In other words, stay home on election day? Which of the GOP candidates could be considered a “serious” choice? Bush? Hahaha. Christie? Rubio? No and no. Cruz is hated more than Trump by many spending money. Certainly none of the others can be considered as “serious.” I really should have bought shares in popcorn.

  34. 34
    OneMadClown says:

    While I agree with AL’s general sentiments toward’s NH’s first-in-the-nation status, as a NH resident, I feel it important to point out that many of us don’t work in the tourism industry, aren’t Free State idiots (at least 3 of us are actual Democrats), and in fact work within our own state borders. As a matter of fact, NH residents that work in MA are required to pay MA income taxes.

    But since it’s more fun to just sling NH vs. MA stereotypes around: every human being that lives in Mass has the same incredibly stupid sounding accent (Mahhky Mahhk has shahht little T-Rex ahhms) and drives like they’ve suffered severe head trauma.

  35. 35
    priscianus jr says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Whenever I see people in New Hampshire asking “where are all these Trump voters?”

    They’re not actually Trump voters before they actually vote. Until then they’re just lawn-sign posters.

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