Thursday Night Open Thread: Let’s You and Them Fight!

As a famous Republican strategist would say: Let. Us. Savor…

Any chance Trump will actually offer Sean Hannity his VP ticket, or is that a dream too far for us luzers & haterz?

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Long Read: “A Most Hated Man”

He gets a little too lit’ry in spots, but professor of philosophy Clancy Martin has an excellent TNR essay on “the virtues of being Ted Cruz”:

Cruz and Trump are in fact appealing to different segments of the Republican Party, and they know it. Trump is the candidate of the disoriented, the confused, the needy; Cruz is the candidate of the dogmatist, the moralist, the convicted. Trump gets the voters who fear and adore; Cruz gets the voters who hate and resent. Trump is all show; Cruz means what he says. Trump wants to be everybody’s boss; Cruz wants to be everybody’s master. Ted Cruz is much, much more dangerous than Donald Trump.

But I only realized this after following Ted Cruz for a month or two. I began with an uninformed repugnance for his views, with which I had only a vague familiarity; then I got to know him, a little bit, as an unlikely presidential candidate, a probable third or fourth place finisher; I watched the dark horse win in Iowa; and somewhere along there I came to understand that, in my opinion, no one currently running for president would be worse for the country than Ted Cruz. Not necessarily because there’s something wrong with his policies, though I consider them to be completely misguided. But because there is something frightening about this person, and there is something frightening about the way he can make people feel…

At 4:30 p.m. on the eve of the caucus in Marion, Iowa, a side door opened to the assembly room of Grace Baptist Church, and Ted Cruz entered along with a chunky bodyguard and his thirty or so of his team members in their signature dark navy blue jeans. Cruz stood quietly as the pastor introduced him. He wore a blue zippered sweater over a button-down shirt, brown leather work boots, and new-looking Levi’s jeans. A few people in the first pew, near the door where Cruz stood, rose to shake his hand. Some handed him campaign posters to autograph. One parishioner passed up a leather-bound Bible and Cruz took time to write something long in the front pages. A second Bible was handed to Cruz, who again paused to write something thoughtful. More posters and more Bibles were passed up, and Cruz didn’t have time to write a message in each Bible, so he started simply signing them on the page that was held open for him: on the fly page, where a book’s author would sign…

Cruz took the stage. In the friendly, intimate atmosphere of the small church, he was comfortable. I’d been to many Ted Cruz events in the past couple of months, and it was the only time I’d seen him genuinely at ease. He seemed happy and not at all exhausted from the grueling schedule of his 99-county Iowa tour. Though rested, his face had an unfortunate lizard quality to it—adult Ted Cruz can never overcome the Komodo dragon quality of his skin and chin—but he wasn’t repellent. He spoke with the almost squeaky register he adopts in a religious setting, waving his arms evangelically when appealing to Christian scripture and stabbing his finger down in his debater’s manner when making a political promise. He didn’t have the chip-on-my-shoulder-but-quick-on-my-toes expression that he wears during televised debates, and he was neither obsequious nor smarmy, two typical Cruz styles I’d come to expect since following him.

“When I’m president you can bet there’s going to be some changes in Washington! On day one in the Oval Office we’re going to prosecute every member of Planned Parenthood who has committed criminal acts!”

“Yes!” the husband of the woman in the tall leather boots shouted, pumping his fist in the air and rising to his feet…

“If we get a president who appoints a left-wing judge…” Cruz said.

“Stone him!” came a voice from the crowd.

“I’m a true conservative!” Cruz shouted. Suddenly I understood something about Ted Cruz and his followers that I hadn’t clicked into before: The proof of Cruz’s merit, as a candidate, was that he he ought to be at the bottom. The proof of being “a true conservative” is that everyone is against him. Being hated is a mark of entitlement.
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Thursday Morning Open Thread: Some Folks Don’t Learn

scotus refusal burns gop eagan

Timothy Eagan via

Yet Dana Milbank is fretting…

… In his introduction of Garland, Obama quoted past praise for the nominee by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the longest-serving Republican on the Judiciary Committee. Hatch supported Garland’s nomination to the circuit court two decades ago. He has since said that Garland would be a “consensus nominee” to the high court and that there’s “no question” he would be confirmed. Just last week, Hatch predicted Obama wouldn’t nominate Garland, because he’s too moderate.

But minutes after Obama nominated Garland, Hatch told reporters that he would continue opposing consideration of any nominee until after the election. And McConnell said Obama “made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize for purposes of the election.”

Obama had done just the opposite: He picked an old white guy whose centrist views do not excite the Democratic base — an olive branch to conservatives in (vain) hopes that they would relax their lock-step objections. In the process, he antagonized allies on the left, raising the possibility that Democrats won’t get a political benefit from the standoff — and that Obama still won’t get his nominee confirmed…

I have not always been serene in my faith regarding the Eleventh-Dimensional Chess Master, but let’s give President “Rhymes with Bucket” Obama some credit here, okay? There are already ads on my tv (Boston being what passes for a NH media market) attacking Kelly “Handmaiden of Gilead, also of McCain/Graham” Ayotte for ‘refusing to perform her Constitutional duty’ when it comes to scheduling a hearing for Judge Garland. I’m sure Grassley and the other GOP senators running this year are watching similar ads and popping antacids. Either they stand on their principles, such as they are, and give both-sides! voters another reason to sit on their hands come Election Day… or they break down, let President Kenyan Muslim have his lousy “hearings”, and risk getting primaried by an even further-right purist next time. Not to mention the rich pickings any such hearing is liable to provide for future attack ads, per the last eleven hours of Benghazi-gate.
Apart from rolling our eyes, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Open Thread: Not Much Daylight Between Trump & Cruz

Meanwhile, per the NYTimes:

BALLWIN, Mo. — A brief accounting of Senator Ted Cruz’s arguments against Donald J. Trump on Friday evening:

— He “affirmatively encourages violence.”

— He “disrespects the voters.”

— His campaign is “facing allegations of physical violence” against a reporter.

— He has created an environment that all but ensures future clashes.

And so, Mr. Cruz was asked on Saturday morning, can you still support Mr. Trump if he is the Republican nominee?

“My answer is the same: I committed at the outset,” Mr. Cruz told reporters, before a rally inside a high school gymnasium here. “I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is.”

On Saturday, when asked again about Chicago, Mr. Cruz began by criticizing “protesters that resort to violence” in a bid to “silence speech that they don’t like.”…

Asked again to explain the prospect of eventually supporting Mr. Trump anyway, Mr. Cruz walked away to begin his rally.

Yeah, Cruz would accept Trump’s VP offer in a heartbeat. A racing, accelerated heartbeat:

President Obama Pranks the GOP (SCOTUS/Sandoval Edition)

Seems like there may be another Democrat besides Obama crossing goals off his “rhymes with bucket” list, and his name is Harry Reid…

From the Washington Post article:

The White House is considering picking the Republican governor from Nevada to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, scrambling political calculations in what is expected to be a contentious confirmation battle in which Senate Republicans have pledged to play the role of roadblock…

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday he would not comment specifically on whether the administration was considering Sandoval because he did not want “to get into a rhythm of responding” to every report on a potential nominee. But he said that Obama was committed to finding “the best person to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court,” regardless of party.

“The president’s focused on criteria that, frankly, is more important, and that is that individual’s qualifications, and their experience and their view of the law,” Earnest said. “That will take precedence over any sort of political consideration.”…

Cue the usual suspects:

Excellent visual there, Senator. Wonder if the makers of that new prescription laxative are looking for celebrity spokesmodels?

Nevada polical expert Jon Ralston, in the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Sandoval has talked privately about going back on the bench, which he left six years ago to save the state from Jim Gibbons II. He is a judge at heart, a guy who likes to weigh many pieces of evidence before making a decision. As much as he loves being governor, his temperament is more suited to a black robe. Will he ever have a better chance to reach the judicial pinnacle than this moment?

Would President Obama nominate him? The president might get blowback from some Democrats who want someone else. But he could make a strong case, politically, I suppose, that Sandoval could get confirmed.

But could Sandoval get through, especially after Republicans say they won’t hold hearings? This is where Prince Harry comes in. How delicious for him in his legacy year to get a Nevadan appointed to the high court by putting the Republicans in the position of trying to deny it to one of their own, and a Hispanic to boot? Peak Prince Harry

Didn’t take long for the Washington Post — reminder: Company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics — to spot the theatrical possibilities

Is floating Brian Sandoval’s name for SCOTUS just an elaborate troll of Senate Republicans?
… Sandoval’s name out in the ether — a Hispanic Republican who is widely liked within his state and the broader GOP — makes it very hard for Republicans up in 2016 in blue/swing-y states to hold the line. For people like Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), there is real electoral danger in being seen as part of a too-radical or too-obstructionist Republican party in Washington. By floating a pick from Republican ranks, Obama/Reid back these GOP senators into a rhetorical corner. Trying to explain why you are flatly rejecting the possibility of a sitting Republican governor being appointed to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president is not any easy thing for even the most adept politician…

Always nice to share a win-win political story!

Aux Armes, Citoyenes!

It’s just being reported that the GOP caucus in the US Senate has decided that Presidenting while Democrat and/or Black is not to be allowed to happen.

That is — the majority party in The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body™ has decided that it will not entertain any piece of President Obama’s nomination for the still dead Scalia’s Supreme Court seat.  Zip, zero, nada, nothing:  no hearing, no vote, no respect for whatever jurist Obama chooses; for Obama himself, obviously; for the office of the President, clearly; and ultimately for the Constitution so many of those prating thugs assert they hold above all else.

To which my response is:


Thank you.

You couldn’t have done a greater service to the Democratic Party’s hopes in November, and thus to the country.

It’s hard usually, as readers of this blog know, to cut through the noise of political blather and the insistent demands of daily life.  But this is one of those moments when stakes and character become clear — enough, I deeply hope, to move the dial in November. Most simply, if there were any enthusiasm gap between the parties, it’s going, going, gone now.

We have two jobs:  for one, elect the Democrat, whoever that may be, to the Presidency.  I’m more a Hillary person than a Bernie one, but I’ll pound the hills of New Hampshire for either one this coming fall, every damn chance I get.

The other:  these embarrassments as Senators must go:  Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Portman, Ayotte.  The Florida open seat, and as distant hopes, McCain and Burr too.  I’ll be up in New Hampshire (as I may have mentioned a sentence or two ago), pounding the hills for Governor Hassan, every damn chance I get.  If you can get to a race that’s in the balance, do so.  If you can’t, do whatever else you can.

One last thought: I didn’t think that anything the GOP could do — especially an act as predictable as this — would do more than deepen my weary sense of “they are who we thought they were.” But this feels like a last straw. I’m just done with allowing any framing of this as “just politics” or what have you. I and a majority of my fellow citizens voted President Obama into office twice. The disrespect to him is something he can handle (better than I ever would). But it’s the delegitimizing of my vote, my choice, my place in American democracy that has just gotta stop. The current Republican Party has to be destroyed, root and branch. They are blight on policy, and a boil on the body politic. Time for them to go.

Open Thread: Snapshots from the Great SC Dumpster Fire

Yeah, I know it’s getting ragged, but for a lifelong connoisseur of self-destructive infighting, last night’s GOP debate was a non-stop banquet of gaffes, spite, own goals, stupidity & cupidity. Keep in mind that some of the snarkiest comments below are from Republican supporters and sympathizers…

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