Epic Read Open Thread: “Get to Know Marco Rubio… “

All praise to Adam Weinstein at Gawker for his epic sandbagging of “the biggest idiot running for President“:

… Rubio’s entry in the 2016 presidential race will fuck up his hitherto inexplicably promising career. It will cost the Republican Party dearly in Florida and in Washington. It will prove to be one of the dumbest moves in the dumb history of politics. This will happen because Marco Rubio is that rare youthful combination of un-telegenic bumbling incompetence and malign corruption only Florida can nourish to maturity.

Rubio has two major political achievements. First, he was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives—an annual beauty pageant of ugly Republicans, by ugly Republicans, for ugly Republicans, so that ugly Republicans shall not perish from the earth. Second, he took an election from political changeling Charlie Crist, something that a reanimated pygmy skink could do, and has done. The thickest section of Rubio’s resumé is his involvement in some truly ghastly internecine political and financial corruption. But he’s running against a Clinton, a Bush, and a Texan. So much for that advantage…

Rubio… is skipping a run for reelection to the Senate next year. So in order to kiss an Iowa state-fair butter cow and hope it convinces enough slackjaw racist-emailing state delegates to rush over to his corner of some god-forsaken parqueted gym floor in Dubuque, he will have to give up a job he could have held for life as a United States senator in the union’s fast-growing, third-largest, politically up-for-grabs state. A job that could have positioned him well for 2020 or 2024 or the governor’s mansion or Fox News, after he’d had a few more seasons to learn to talk with his tongue in his mouth.

More to the point, Rubio’s decision is going to cost Republicans hundreds of millions in critical political money at best, and lose them a previously safe Senate seat at worst. He was uniquely positioned to hold his seat in a presidential election year, which typically favors Democrats in Florida. Thanks to his blandness and his refusal to do, like, policy, his approval numbers and net positives beat those of any other state politician. No other Republican comes close…

… [W]e are talking about Marco Rubio… because his waifish, manufactured brand appeals to a small number of highly influential idiots with billions of dollars to spend fine-tuning a plutocratic system that’s immediately responsive to most of their whims—but not yet all of them. These are the Koch-heads, the sugar barons, the neocon casino magnates, the football-and-car-dealership tycoons, the i-bankers and hedge-funders looking for a soft, supple hand to stimulate their sacks of cash with a youthful wink and a nod to old-fashioned values. Or just opportunistic contractors who see the wisdom in investing a little campaign money now to build billions worth of Coast Guard cutters later

Apart from admiring the half-brick-in-an-old-sock work, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Down with the Kidz

I’m old enough to be Marco Rubio’s older sister, and he better thank merciful Christ I’m not because I would have stolen our dad’s lighter and melted the head off his Skeletor action figure and threw his Tonka trucks into the canal and buried his Mr. Microphone in the cat’s litterbox. And when he started blubbering about that, I would have dangled his head in the toilet and flushed it repeatedly while saying, “Whatcha gonna do about it, huh, crybaby?” Ask my siblings!

But we’re all grown up now. More than grown up, in fact — middle-aged — and while we’re not grandparents like the Clintons, Marco and I aren’t spring chickens either, and thus we’re prone to embarrassing errors when we try to act all hip and edgy, as Wonkette observes:

[Rubio] is going to be president (no he’s not), but not just any president. He is going to be president of A New American CenturyTM, because he is young and hip and SO down with the kids these days that he doesn’t even need to capitalize his name. THAT is how hip he is. Unlike some candidates (Hillary Clinton), who are really old (Hillary Clinton), and represent yesterday (Hillary Clinton).


And then, as any young, super edgy candidate for the next generation does, he encouraged people to go to his website….

And, FAIL:

Seriously, 50K hits and it crashes? To put that in (wildly misleading!) context, Balloon Juice currently averages about 47K page views per day, and FYWP only shits on roughly a third of your carefully crafted comments. And we’re not running for president. I get that there’s a difference between unique visitors, page views, temporal anomalies, traffic spikes, etc., but FFS.

And speaking of temporal anomalies, “New American Century”? I’m way old enough to remember the campaigns prior to 2000 and much yammering about “building a bridge to the 21st century.” That was lame, but it made a sort of sense because we were on the cusp of a “new” century according to how most of us reckon time.

In light of the fact that it’s currently 2015, how is this “New American Century” supposed to work? Is Rubio saying we got off to such a shitty start with Dubya that we have to roll the odometer back? Or is America just so exceptional that we can declare a new century 15 years into the current one?

The latter explanation appears to be the answer, based on the abysmally edited blather on Rubio’s now operational site, which is probably tallying tens of hits right now. The loser stink is strong with this one.

Open thread.

Nineteen Months To Go

Hillary got a Chipotle burrito bowl for lunch yesterday. I know this because this vital information made the goddamn New York Times.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign is all about “everyday Americans,” she made clear in announcing it on Sunday.

On Monday, she showed how unassuming she herself could be.

Driving to Iowa for her first campaign swing, Mrs. Clinton’s van — with two aides and Secret Service agents aboard — pulled into a Chipotle restaurant for lunch in Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo.

And no one recognized her.

Maybe it was the dark sunglasses. Or maybe she had a certain je ne sais — qui?

But nobody took notice of the celebrity in front of the counter. Fellow patrons paid her no more attention than a driver would get from a toll taker.

Nor did the restaurant’s staff notice Mrs. Clinton, until this reporter, tipped off that she had dined there, telephoned.

Nineteen more months of this.

You know the part in Roald Dahl’s Matilda where the young heroine is so frustrated by the abject stupidity of the world around her that she actually manifests telekinetic powers as a result?

I figure 2016 campaign reporting means that I’ll be up to full-blown pyrokinesis by January, maybe some Green Lantern stuff by next Easter.  I’m hoping for all-out Time Lord goodness by July 2016. That’ll be fun.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread

lies are still effective pett

(Joel Pett via GoComics.com)

Professor Krugman, sensible as always — “It Takes A Party“:

… [T]here has never been a time in American history when the alleged personal traits of candidates mattered less. As we head into 2016, each party is quite unified on major policy issues — and these unified positions are very far from each other. The huge, substantive gulf between the parties will be reflected in the policy positions of whomever they nominate, and will almost surely be reflected in the actual policies adopted by whoever wins.

For example, any Democrat would, if elected, seek to maintain the basic U.S. social insurance programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — in essentially their current form, while also preserving and extending the Affordable Care Act. Any Republican would seek to destroy Obamacare, make deep cuts in Medicaid, and probably try to convert Medicare into a voucher system

Any Democrat would try to preserve the 2010 financial reform, which has recently been looking much more effective than critics suggested. Any Republican would seek to roll it back, eliminating both consumer protection and the extra regulation applied to large, “systemically important” financial institutions…

Now, some people won’t want to acknowledge that the choices in the 2016 election are as stark as I’ve asserted. Political commentators who specialize in covering personalities rather than issues will balk at the assertion that their alleged area of expertise matters not at all. Self-proclaimed centrists will look for a middle ground that doesn’t actually exist. And as a result, we’ll hear many assertions that the candidates don’t really mean what they say. There will, however, be an asymmetry in the way this supposed gap between rhetoric and real views is presented.

On one side, suppose that Ms. Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee. If so, you can be sure that she’ll be accused, early and often, of insincerity, of not being the populist progressive she claims to be.

On the other side, suppose that the Republican nominee is a supposed moderate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. In either case we’d be sure to hear many assertions from political pundits that the candidate doesn’t believe a lot of what he says. But in their cases this alleged insincerity would be presented as a virtue, not a vice — sure, Mr. Bush is saying crazy things about health care and climate change, but he doesn’t really mean it, and he’d be reasonable once in office. Just like his brother…

One thing is for sure: American voters will be getting a real choice. May the best party win.

Sidebar: Jared Bernstein, who may be as close to a DFH as is permitted among professional economists, is pretty happy with what he perceives of Hillary Clinton’s economic policies.
Apart from complaining that we have to spend the next nineteen months hashing this over, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Late Night Open Thread: Another Democrat Who Will Not Be Running in 2016

Like fellow Bay Stater Senator Warren, our most recent ex-Governor has decided his talents can be put to better use than the current primary race. From his hometown paper, the Boston Globe:

Deval Patrick is joining the Boston investment giant Bain Capital, where the former governor will start a new line of business, directing investments in companies that produce profits but also have a positive impact on social problems.

Patrick, a Democrat who led the state of Massachusetts for eight years, joins a firm founded by his Republican predecessor in the State House, Mitt Romney.

It marks a return to business pursuits for a high-profile former governor whose plans for the future were fodder for intense speculation in political circles…

Patrick has long said that he wanted to return to the private sector after his second term as governor, even as observers wondered if he had designs on Washington. He has considered academia, running a corporation, and starting his own venture capital firm…

The new fund is not philanthropy, Bain executives said. There will be significant pressure on Patrick to find strong investments, companies that can both address major social needs and produce profits, though not necessarily on the scale Bain typically expects of its multibillion-dollar private equity deals.

Investment funds at Bain typically run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, but raising that kind of money should not be hard. Bain Capital executives will invest some of their personal money in it, as they do with all their funds. And there is a growing appetite for so-called impact investing, from pension funds, endowments, and nonprofits such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…

For Bain Capital, the Patrick hiring goes beyond the common practice of giving a politician a desk and a rainmaker’s role between elections. It is a way for a firm known for hard-core business deals to provide clients such as pension funds and wealthy individuals with a social outlet for their money…

[Patrick] would not say whether he had signed a contract to stay at Bain for a certain period of time. Bain executives indicated they would not have entered into this arrangement for only a brief stint…

Boger suggested it is probably at least a three- to five-year investment: “This is not the kind of thing where you make three phone calls, get two people together, and get a reward for it.’’

Patrick’s been saying for months that he intended to stick to his promise to his wife to get out of politics once he left the governor’s office — which hasn’t stopped people from believing that he might yet be persuaded to run, if there was an opening. He’s still a young man in political terms, but we might as well cross him off the list for 2016.

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

The GOP clown car is preparing to officially disgorge another occupant: Marco Rubio. Some analysts question the 40-something freshman senator’s decision to run for president this year, but he knows it’s now or never.

Rubio’s chief selling point has always been his symmetrical features and crisp haircut. But since he got to the US Senate, his hairline has been retreating faster than CIA operatives under fire at the Bay of Pigs, so he must strike while the iron is…hirsute. (For the record, I think bald is beautiful as long as the shiny pate doesn’t enclose a wizened lizard brain.)

Hillary Clinton’s announcement yesterday preemptively stomped Rubio’s big reveal today, turning his Twitter account into the saddest feed emanating from that platform — like a determinedly chirpy recitation of positive affirmations prior to an epic pantsing. Rubio even pathetically retweeted the following tidbit from a local reporter earlier today:

More than 3,500 people wanted tickets to see Marco Rubio’s presidential announcement on Monday — requests that came in from every state except Vermont, aides say.

The Freedom Tower room Rubio is using in Miami only holds 1,000 people. To accommodate others, the campaign will bring out a jumbotron at a location across the street.

I don’t know what’s sadder — that he booked a room that only holds a thousand people or that his aides are mentioning the 3,500 alleged ticket-coveters as if flashing bank from a Bieber-One Direction reunion show. But CNN is happy to hold Rubio’s jock, at least for now:

The adviser said Rubio did a call with donors Monday morning where said he was running. Rubio is scheduled to publicly announce his bid later tonight to offer a pitch supporters say only he is qualified to give: a promise to restore the American Dream, from a son of Cuban exiles who’s lived it.

Only Rubio’s parents aren’t exiles at all, as was revealed after Rubio built a political career in South Florida with that falsehood as its centerpiece. The senior Rubios were economic refugees who fled the plutocratic US-backed Batista regime — two years before Castro ran it off the island.

There’s nothing in the world wrong with the senior Rubios’ immigrant story (if you’re a Democrat, anyway). But maybe CNN should call out the “exiles” lie since it’s bullshit on stilts? If they’re not too busy chronicling the evolution of Hillary’s hairbands or something?

Anyway, Rubio — running! Latino friends have been telling me for years that white Republicans are making a huge mistake if they think nominating a so-called Cuban exile (a fake one, as it turns out) would be effective outreach to Hispanics. That theory will be put to the test now that the GOP has two on the hustings! I look forward to the Cruz vs Rubio steel-cage Fidel Castro hate-off.

Rebuilding The Farm System

This effort may be far too late in a lot of ways, but at least Dems are finally realizing that winning nationally (for offices other than President) and putting an end to the GOP’s “meth labs of democracy” plan requires actually winning at the state level.

A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.

The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats’ top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality.

“People have gotten a wake-up call,” Gara LaMarche, the alliance’s president, said in an interview. “The right is focused on the state level, and even down-ballot, and has made enormous gains. We can’t have the kind of long-term progressive future we want if we don’t take power in the states.”

The five-year initiative, called 2020 Vision, will be discussed this week at a private conference being held at a San Francisco hotel for donors who participate in the Democracy Alliance. Leading California Democrats are scheduled to make appearances, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The alliance, which does not disclose its members, plans to make some of the events available to reporters via a webcast.

The gathering coincides with the long-awaited launch of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid, infusing the event with buzz about the 2016 race. Clinton, who was invited to attend, will instead be on her debut campaign swing. But her campaign chairman, John Podesta, who has worked closely with the alliance, is set to participate in events celebrating its decade-long history.

I’m at least pleased that the Dems with the big money have decided that fighting fire with sternly worded vision statements is a good way to get covered in third-degree burns, as 2010 and 2014 showed.  States like Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida that vote for Dems at the presidential level are under total GOP control at the state level , and dozens if not hundreds of state legislature seats across the country are being filled every two years by Republicans running completely unopposed.  That’s the kind of stuff we have to fix if we want any chance at staving off the crazy.

What kind of ideas do the assembled have for improving the Dems chances where you live at the state level?