Three ways in the House

Reading the Huffington Post, I saw this political bodice ripper and I still can’t figure out how to make the mechanics of the piece actually work in our shared reality:

Suddenly they realize, “holy shit, what if we could stop Donald Trump and keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

So they run a moderate establishment Republican as a third-party candidate — 100 percent as a spoiler candidate. Worst case scenario oh, they prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. Best case scenario they pull enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to prevent her from securing the necessary majority of 270 electoral votes.

Then the election goes to a House of Representatives ballot presided over Speaker Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s former running mate in 2012.

If neither candidate gets 270 electoral college votes, Congress picks the president. And he will be called President Mitt, the one who is laying the groundwork for this doomsday electoral scenario.

The basic theory is that a third party candidate who is Generic Republican Establishment (no not Pawlenty) would be able to do three things at the same time:

  • Insure that Trump does not get 270 electoral votes
  • win at least one electoral vote
  • Insure that Hillary Clinton does not get 270 electoral votes

In an alternative universe, that could work, but in this universe, I am having a hard time seeing how to actually make it work with a generic Republican running as a non-Trump alternative.

I think the first part is achievable.  However, the third party Republican spoiler is not needed.  Continual video playback of Trump’s speeches to non-Trump fans will isnure that.  If the Republican establishment decided it needed at least one electoral vote, it’s sock pocket could probably win Utah or a Congressional district in Nebraska.  Worse comes to worse, an elector could be a faithless elector.  I’ll concede the mechanics on this one.

The problem with this pre-emptive pants shitting is the third part.

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Schvantz Truthers Unite!

Not so very long ago I remember this guy, funny hair, blocky, ungainly posture, brash fantasist — a Noo Yawk equivalent of those our Texan friends describe as All Hat; No Cattle — infesting the green rooms and bloviator sets of Fox News, talking about President Obama’s birthplace and demanding the infamous “Long Form Birth Certificate.”

Well, we’ve got a new controversy now, a puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma:  can the Republican front runner boast masculine sufficiency — or is he a little leaguer, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.*

Given Donald Trump’s distinguished record as a campaigner for truth and unvarnished, unequivocal, impossible-to-falsify empirical evidence on the matter of our current president’s citizenship, there really is only one way forward.

Show us the long form!

Tizian_085

Or rather…please don’t.  Not ever.

Or to put this another way:  perhaps the most remarkable thing about the GOP race this year is the way the Republicans have figured out a new and truly innovative way to kill American jobs.  After last night’s debate, any market for political satirists is dead.  Imagine the writer’s room at The Daily Show right now:  why bother with new copy when you can just revoice that transcript?

This thread?  It despairs of our democracy.  And it is open.

Image: Titian, The Rape of Europa, 1560-1562**

*With absolutely no offense intended to those young ‘uns who actually, you know, swing small bats and run around bases.

**A local favorite — check it out at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum should you ever happen to have a moment in Our Faire Citie



Open Thread: GOP Realizes Its Stalker Is Calling From Inside the House

Hard for us cynical sane people to credit, but it would seem like the Establishment GOP really didn’t understand, until after South Carolina, that the Trump-Monster emerging from fifty years of Repub propaganda about undeserving moochers, atheists, and subhumans was not going away because they ignored / mocked / threatened him. They had a lovely big-budget musical planned… Springtime for Patricians, featuring a third-generation celebrity, a tiny ethnic sidekick, a creepy rival to better highlight the lead, and a backup cast of goofy stereotypes for the audience to mock. Then this yammering BRUTE appeared out of nowhere, tearing up the pretty sets, pissing on the terrified prop crew, tearing some of the cast members limb from limb. Trump is their history made visible, a nightmare from which they are fruitlessly attempting to awaken…

From the Guardian liveblog, last night:

Who is doing best so far? Jeb Lund thinks Marco Rubio is putting on a good performance – but should stop laughing at his own jokes:

Marco Rubio is doing very well. He hit Trump smartly on apt points, and he even had a good punchline. Cruz isn’t doing as well as Rubio, which should probably be alarming for Cruz supporters, because he’s the one who should be tap-dancing around everyone on stage. Kasich seems pleased to talk when people remember him and just as pleased to watch when no one does. Ben Carson was let out by the roadside to run free through a meadow as mom and dad peeled off in the car…

.


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Yes, Guys, You Actually Built This

It’s simply amazing to me that the media is sitting back and not pointing out to America that as the establishment GOP collectively loses their shit over Trump winning, they simultaneously are encouraging unprecedented obstruction of a Supreme Court appointment (although I still think they are going to fold). The latest public freak-out comes from the NRO, whose special edition anti-Trump issue a month ago probably netted Trump about 50 delegates:

It’s Time for an Anti-Trump Manhattan Project

by Charles C. W. Cooke February 24, 2016 4:51 PM

For the last eight months or so, a significant portion of the Republican party’s voters have been in thrall to a bizarre, Occupy-esque conspiracy theory, which holds as its central thesis that sabotage and pusillanimity are the root causes of the Right’s recent woes. In this mistaken view, the conservative movement’s failure to counter all of the Obama era’s excesses is not the product of the crucial democratic and structural factors that prevent any one faction from ushering in substantial change, but of a lack of will or desire. Sure, the advocates of this view will concede, the shutdown of 2013 was doomed from the start, in large part because the public sided with President Obama. But if the GOP had just held out a little longer, they imagine, the “power of the purse” would have prevailed and the popular dynamics would magically have shifted. The same insistence obtains elsewhere: Sure, there is no precedent in which a second-term president willingly repeals his centerpiece legislative achievements simply because the legislature has elected to play hardball with its powers. But somehow, the critics believe, this time would have been different. Why, they ask repeatedly, didn’t the Republican party just “fight” harder?

Given how broadly this opinion is held, one would have expected the 2016 primary season to reveal a penchant for purity that redounded to the favor of a candidate such as Ted Cruz. And yet, oddly enough, quite the opposite has happened thus far. Led by Donald Trump, the most frustrated voters have instead put their efforts behind a well-telegraphed attempt to burn down the whole political edifice and reconstruct it from scratch. Because it has been imperfect, the GOP must be destroyed.

Either they are too stupid to recognize it, or they don’t want to take the blame, or some combination of both, but they built Trump. It was decades of these stupid mother fuckers shouting about Obama being a secret Muslim or Hillary murdered Vince Foster and Dan Burton shooting a fucking watermelon to prove it to another melon based theory about Mexicans having calves the size of cantaloupes and women wanting to abort babies for shits and giggles and sending rock salt to Olympia Snowe and claiming there is no global climate change because LOOK RIGHT FUCKING HERE I HAVE A SNOWBALL IN FEBRUARY or convincing America that welfare and food stamps only go to young bucks buying t-bone steaks or welfare queens with big screen tv’s or that public transportation is totalitarianism or that the main cost cutting technique of health care reform will be Death Panels or that prison makes you gay or that man and dinosaurs lived together in harmony or that women can magically abort pregnancies created by rape or that scientists are genetically creating human/mice superbrains or that agribusiness is using aborted fetuses in soda or that if gay people marry pretty soon people will be marrying dogs or that Presidents Lincoln and Washington used electronic surveillance and actually writing, promoting, and believing a fucking book that said liberalism is fascism and running this person as a Vice Presidential candidate to claiming with no scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism.

My bad. That last one is a Democrat. Fuck you, Robert Kennedy, you fucking stain on our party and your family name.

But that list is real. I didn’t make any of it up. And that’s just a list of things they BELIEVE IN, and not a comprehensive list of the stupid shit they’ve actually done or the vile things they have said. That’s just too depressing to actually tabulate.

So yeah, Mr. Cooke, while you are calling on a Manhattan Project to defeat Trump, maybe you should sit back and reflect on just how the fuck this train got so far off the rails. If this list isn’t comprehensive enough, I’ve got another something that may convince you. Something that appeared just this fucking morning in your own god damned magazine:

gitmo

Fuck you, Charles Cooke, and every one out there like you. You made this fucking mess.

*** Update ***

Cooke responds.



He’s Got the Electrolytes We Need

With little commentary, I present this, Del. Azinger (R-Wood County), explaining why he voted for the WV RFRA pro-bigotry bill:

I got nothing. Well, this:



Open Thread: “Cowboy Socialism”

I prefer “welfare ranchers”, but that’s because as a citified coastal elitist I have no allergy to the word socialism. Excellent read — even if you know all this already, it’s nice to have all the links in one place. Ryan Cooper, at The Week, on “The secret history of cowboy socialism”:

Bundy’s ideas are nonsense — but they’re no more wrong than the entire creation myth of the American West. Though there have been Americans who could survive completely unaided in the West — men like Kit Carson and Jim Bridger — there were only a handful of them, and most were at least half-crazed. No society on Earth has ever functioned wholly on self-interested individualism — and that holds doubly true for the West. From the very start to the present day, Big Government has been the very bedrock of the settlement of the American frontier.

Before the West could be won, it first had to be stolen. Mexico still claimed sovereignty over most of the territory, so U.S. President James Polk ginned up a quick war to steal half of the unlucky country. Even afterwards, there were still tons of Indians living in the conquered territory, so U.S. authorities had to undertake a general program of ethnic cleansing to make way for white settlers. Smallpox had done the bulk of the heavy lifting there, but extensive white settlement still required the first major domestic government program in the West: the Indian Wars

Once the Indians had been driven out (save for a few pitiful reservations composed of the most unproductive land in the region), white settlement was stoked with the first example of genuinely socialist policy: free land. A long series of laws gave sizable chunks of land (classically a quarter-section, or 160 acres) to individuals subject to proof that they were putting it into agricultural production. Railroads also got vast chunks as a way to fund new transportation, and mining companies could claim smaller bits with mineral reserves.

This was socialist both in the “free stuff from the government” sense and the Soviet sense, in that the land programs were conceptually unworkable, catastrophically mismanaged, and riddled with fraud…

As Marc Reisner details in his history Cadillac Desert, this is the basic problem with Western politics, even up to the present day. It has been from the very start handicapped by the reality that only extensive federal government projects could possibly facilitate the settlement and development of the region, but it has been too wedded to the cowboy mythology to admit it…

Read the whole thing, it’s not long but it’s very nutritious!
***********
Apart from mocking the Scrubland Revolutionaries, or whatever they’re calling this round of gun-fondling cosplay, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?



Terrifying Team Trump Tales

CNN decides to take a look at people who support The Donald and discovers that the people who support The Donald are pretty much exactly who you’d suspect of supporting aforementioned Donald.

They are showing up in droves to see Donald Trump: Men and women, overwhelmingly white, frustrated with the country’s first black president, fearful that they are being displaced by minorities and immigrants, and nostalgic for the way America used to be.

And Trump is thriving, tapping into the fears and anxieties that have erupted into the open in an extraordinary presidential campaign.

The voters pledging their allegiance to the Republican front-runner hail from all corners of the country. They work on farms, in nursing homes and run small businesses; they’ve voted for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and participated in the tea party movement; they are high school students who will vote for the first time this November and retirees and veterans who came of age during World War II.

In Trump, these people see the next president of the United States.

His attitude, one voter said, is that he “seems to just not give a f—.” Trump’s nativist rhetoric and hardline immigration stance is a relief for those who see a segment of the population “getting away” with breaking the law. Post-San Bernardino, the candidate’s promise to “bomb the sh– out of ISIS” exudes an uncomplicated confidence rare in other politicians. His accomplishments in the business world offer reassurance that he’ll “put the economy back where it belongs.”

Perhaps most important is Trump’s imperviousness to the typical boundaries around race. He has made provocative remarks on the subject since the earliest days of his campaign — and his supporters are listening. They are rowdy, and at times, even violent. On more than one occasion, they’ve accosted protesters, lobbing racial slurs and physical abuse.

There is a significant bloc of voters who want payback, folks, for slights real or perceived over the last 8 years, folks who want to punish Obama supporters relentlessly and leave them crushed, broken, and forever powerless, never to dare challenge them.

They want someone to put them back on top to “make American great again.”

They’ve found their guy who they think will do it and to hell with everyone else. The mob is coming and they are pissed.

“I got mine, fuck the rest of you” as a worldview?  Really is that simple.

And they’ll vote.