Thursday Morning Open Thread: Same Stuff…

As BettyC so kindly pointed out, there was another Democratic debate last night, this time on Spanish-language Univision in cooperation with the Washington Post. New and intelligent questions were asked, and both candidates responded in an adult fashion, much to the disappointment of the Media Village Idiots.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign manager seems to have manhandled a female reporter from “the famously Trump-friendly Breitbart News… and her employers signally failed to support her. In case anyone needed a further clue as to Repub social values…
Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

gop flasher convention wilkinson

(Signe Wilkinson via

Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Farce, Another Concept Which ‘Conservatives’ Fail to Grasp

And then, per Mother Jones, “Ted Cruz Hits Miami with One Cruel Goal”:

… Florida is a winner-take-all state, and Cruz is not seen as a strong bet to beat Trump there. Under conventional calculations, there would not be much reason for Cruz to spend time and resources in the state. But Cruz apparently has another goal in mind: to take away votes from Rubio and crush the Florida senator’s last-ditch hopes to win his home state and remain a player in the presidential race.

At the rally, Cruz let his opening act handle most of the knife-work. “Floridians are abandoning Marco Rubio,” declared Miami-Dade GOP vice chair Manny Roman, a Cuban American who was censured by his local party committee last year for breaking ranks and endorsing Cruz. He rattled off the results of Tuesday’s elections and said, “I’m calling on Marco Rubio, especially after last night, to suspend his campaign and endorse Ted Cruz.” The crowd roared with delight…

Cruz announced the presence of a special guest: a former Republican presidential candidate with business experience and a long record of talking about foreign policy. No, it wasn’t Mitt Romney, but onetime Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Before dropping out of the race, Fiorina once observed that Cruz was someone who “says whatever he needs to say to get elected.” But that has since been forgotten. She was greeted warmly by the Cruz supporters…

Apart from making yet another batch of popcorn, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Shamwow. Did That Really Happen?

trump infomercial

Did you see the Trump products infomercial last night? After winning the MS and MI primaries, Trump called another mock-press conference at one of his tacky properties, which was again done up to look like a White House briefing room, complete with a phalanx of flags behind the podium.

But instead of talking about his plans for the country, Trump delivered a rambling, incoherent paean to his own wealth, business acumen and general awesomeness and bullied and abused journalists who asked him questions. It was a truly bizarre display.

Many observers have noted the event’s resemblance to a QVC segment because Trump aggressively touted his self-branded products throughout, even abandoning the podium at one point to go fetch a magazine to wave before the cameras and toss into the audience:

Trump attempted to portray each product as a going concern, but he appears to be lying or at best misleading people about some of them. As the staging crew was setting up the steak display, observers noticed that the steak packages were branded (ironically) “Bush Brothers.” The water company and magazine seem to be small vanity businesses that supply Trump’s own properties, not the public.

The winery is real enough; Trump drove a distressed property owner into foreclosure and picked up her award-winning vineyard for a fraction of its value. Then he gave it to one of his sons to run.

However, the products weren’t the real commodity being hawked. The whole surreal production was a long-form rebuttal to Mitt Romney’s recent denunciation of Trump as a fraud and failed businessman. Romney’s criticism clearly got under Trump’s paper-thin skin, prompting last night’s display of overweening self-regard.

During the Democratic debate the other night, Hillary Clinton said, “I think Donald Trump’s bigotry, his bullying, his bluster, are not going to wear well on the American people.” I think she’s right. Only the assembled lickspittles at the event and the very worst elements of the US population, i.e., the Republican Party base, could have found such a display attractive.

So Trump has telegraphed his weakness for all to see. He can’t leave any criticism of his own all-important self unanswered, and now we know that the response will be to hold a public exhibition on the ravages of narcissistic personality disorder. It’s shameful that such a character is on the verge of clinching the nomination of one of our two major parties, but here we are.

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Congratulations, Sen. Sanders!

Yeah, the MAJOR! BREAKING! news from the Tuesday primaries is that Bernie Sanders won Michigan, which a lot of very smart well-informed people (as opposed to Very Serious People) said was impossible. So the #Berniacs get bragging rights on that one. Political horse-race tout Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post:

… [I]n the bigger and high-profile state of Michigan, Sanders heavily overperformed polling that showed Clinton ahead by 20 points or more. Winning a big Midwestern state is of deep symbolic importance for Sanders, who was on the verge of being cast as a nuisance candidate by many Democrats.

Sanders may have also found an issue where he can do real damage to Clinton as the campaign goes forward. Almost six in 10 Michigan Democratic primary voters said international trade takes away U.S. jobs, according to exit polling. Among that group Sanders won by roughly 20 percentage points over Clinton. That could — and should — bode well for his efforts in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and other states where international trade has ravaged the economy. “What tonight means is that the Bernie Sanders campaign … is strong in every part of the country,” Sanders said in brief remarks in Florida Tuesday night. “We believe our strongest areas are yet to happen.”

Sanders had previously pledged to stay in the race through the June 7 primaries and, as I’ve noted, he has plenty of money to do so. Now he has even more reason to do so…

Apart from the anti-trade-agreement voters, Sanders won about twice as many Arab-American votes as Clinton. (I think we can safely assume those voters will *not* throw their support to Trump in the general, be they never so disappointed in Clinton’s foreign policy ideas.) There was also anecdotal discussion of Democratic voters satisfied with either Clinton or Sanders in the general election “crossing over” to cast spoiler votes for Kasich against Trump. The nut graf remains: Sanders got the win, and he’ll do his best to parlay that in future primaries.

Meanwhile, in the Repubs in Disarray! clown show…
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Open Thread: Repubs Turn Their Lonely Eyes to… ‘Satan’?

And yet
Politico, this afternoon:

Ted Cruz on Tuesday nabbed an unlikely endorsement: the backing of a Bush.

Neil Bush, a brother of George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, was listed (along with his wife) as one of 13 new additions to Cruz’s national finance team. The campaign said the new additions are all former supporters of other candidates, including Bush, Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio.

This follows the release last week of a list of several other previous Jeb Bush backers now supporting Cruz, whose hardline conservative approach is generally at odds with the one Jeb Bush took…

That would be Neil ‘Silverado-Ignite!’ Bush, runt of his litter. The GOP “Establishment” — such as it remains — lunges for what it perceives as the least worse choice. Another ‘risky’ tactic in a season of increasingly wild swings. Per Bloomberg View:

… The bad news [for the RNC] is that the vehicle of Trump’s defeat is turning out to be Senator Ted Cruz. With his faux-folksy recitations of Dr. Seuss and “The Princess Bride,” his singular insistence that Obamacare could be repealed, and non-stop obstruction fueled by his self-regard as the only principled man in Washington, he helped grind governing to a halt in recent years. One of the few points of bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill is antipathy to Cruz. Vice President Joe Biden captured the feeling at the annual Gridiron Club dinner on March 5, joking that if President Barack Obama really wanted to put his mark on the Supreme Court, he should name Cruz to the open seat. “Before you know it, you’ll have eight vacancies.”

The emergence of Cruz as the savior of his party offers the painful choice between a fast death by gunfire (Trump romping to an unbeatable plurality of delegates within days) or a slow one by poison, as Cruz chips away at Trump’s lead with his latest wins in Kansas and Maine. But there’s no time to waste. The most super of Tuesdays is coming up on March 15 with the winner-take-all contests in Ohio and Florida. If Trump were to win both, the fat lady has sung.
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