Repub Venality Open Thread: The Permanent GOP Sidles Away from Its Dear Figurehead Leader

If you are old & cynical, like me, you will remember that by the time Nixon coptered off the White House lawn, many Very Serious Persons (looking at you, Bob Woodward, not to mention Henry Kissinger) were informing us that Tricky Dick was a rogue psycopath — a lone gunman, even! — who wormed his way into the all-too-innocent Republican Party and corrupted a bunch of trusting younglings (like Dick Cheney) with his wicked political perversions.

Now cometh rumbles, amid the pleadings & sentencings of a new generation of Repub grifters, that the current Oval Office Occupant will be getting sent to the same Potemkin Coventry.

Today, for instance, Big Oil lifer Rex Tillerson trudged out in front of an audience to share horror stories of serving under the Squatter-in-Chief…


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Rev. Strangechirothecœ: How I Learned to Love the White Supremacy, a Reflection by Pope Douthat

Someone tell Douthat the cilice is supposed to go around his thigh, not his neck, and he’s cutting off the oxygen to his brain:

The nostalgia flowing since the passing of George H.W. Bush has many wellsprings: admiration for the World War II generation and its dying breed of warrior-politicians, the usual belated media affection for moderate Republicans, the contrast between the elder Bush’s foreign policy successes and the failures of his son, and the contrast between any honorable politician and the current occupant of the Oval Office.

But two of the more critical takes on Bush nostalgia got closer to the heart of what was being mourned, in distant hindsight, with his death. Writing in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart described the elder Bush as the last president deemed “legitimate” by both of our country’s warring tribes — before the age of presidential sex scandals, plurality-winning and popular-vote-losing chief executives, and white resentment of the first black president. Also in The Atlantic, Franklin Foer described “the subtext” of Bush nostalgia as a “fondness for a bygone institution known as the Establishment, hardened in the cold of New England boarding schools, acculturated by the late-night rituals of Skull and Bones, sent off to the world with a sense of noblesse oblige. For more than a century, this Establishment resided at the top of the American caste system. Now it is gone, and apparently people wish it weren’t.”

I think you can usefully combine these takes, and describe Bush nostalgia as a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate, and that inspired various kinds of trust (intergenerational, institutional) conspicuously absent in our society today.

Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

Look I’ll just stop there because it’s quite clear that Douthat completely misses the point. First off, there is not widespread nostalgia for Bush, as I know quite a few people who are not too nostalgic for him whatsoever, and they’ve spent the last week being tone policed about not speaking ill of the dead. So we can dismiss the notion of universal remorse for the days of yore. Any nostalgia over Bush, such that there is, is rooted in one simple thing- that the current Republicans, as embodied by Trump, are so much worse than the deeply, deeply flawed Reagan/Bush/Quayle/Bush Wasps.

That’s fucking it. Let me explain this with a tweet:

And another thing- the assumption here is that white people have stopped running the show, and that minorities and more secular and diverse people have been running things, and have not lived up to the WASP standard. I hate to break it to Pope Douthat, but white people are still running (ruining?) shit, and this current mess is on them. I mean jesus tapdancing christ.

I could go on, but why? That is it. The End.



Late-Night Reiteration #1,357 Open Thread: Bernie Sanders Has Exactly *One* Principle

“What’s in it for me, Bernie Sanders?”

Now that Bernie has all-but-officially launched his 2020 candidacy, he’s gonna be waaay too busy collecting tributes from his cultists to actually spend time or prestige on the job he’s already got…

Sanders outranks Manchin in seniority on the committee and could block him. But the Vermont independent has shown little inclination to leave his perch as the ranking member of the Budget Committee — even though he made climate change and clean energy a major plank in his 2016 presidential run and plans a national town hall on the issue Monday…

Sanders, who is exploring a 2020 presidential campaign, wrote in an email to POLITICO on Wednesday evening that he is proud of his work on the Budget Committee, where he’s been for his past two terms, and suggested he’d likely stay.

“As ranking member I have helped fight for budget and national priorities, which represent the needs of working families and not just the 1 percent. I look forward to continuing the fight in the new session for social, racial, economic and environmental justice,” he said…

Manchin’s critics aren’t explicitly pressuring Sanders to seize the Energy spot. Some say it’s up to Schumer to reassess seniority rules or do whatever necessary to prevent Manchin from moving up. Other committee Democrats who are more senior than Manchin and could step into the role include Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who are currently ranking members of the Finance and Agriculture committees, respectively….

Stabenow would also have seniority over Manchin and could face pressure, though she expressed happiness with her current top slot on the Agriculture Committee this week…

Ron Wyden, as we know, has been an Intelligence workhorse for keeping pressure on the GOPers trying to hide Trump’s crimes. And the Ag Committee also controls food stamp regulation, where Debbie Stabenow has done important work protecting Michigan farmers and those who most need government support.

Unless I’ve missed something — feel free to update me! — all Bernie has done on the Budget Committee is make finger-wagging, social-media-friendly speeches complaining that none of his fellow members appreciate Bernie Sanders’ brilliance.

And I guess that’s all the “help” environmentalists should expect from Bernie Sanders, now or in the future.



John Kelly’s Excellent Adventure at the Hague

These STASI motherfuckers need to go to jail:

The White House late Tuesday signed a memo allowing troops stationed at the border to engage in some law enforcement roles and use lethal force, if necessary — a move that legal experts have cautioned may run afoul of the Posse Comitatus Act.

The new “Cabinet order” was signed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, not President Donald Trump. It allows “Department of Defense military personnel” to “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary” to protect border agents, including “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”

There are approximately 5,900 active-duty troops and 2,100 National Guard forces deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Some of those activities, including crowd control and detention, may run into potential conflict with the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. If crossed, the erosion of the act’s limitations could represent a fundamental shift in the way the U.S. military is used, legal experts said.

WTF is a cabinet order for military force?



To the pain

Susan Collins thinks her supporters are suckers.

We don’t.

Let’s make 2020 as unpleasant as possible for her.

CrowdPAC has been fundraising to support a general election challenger with almost $2 million dollars in pledges being held contingent on the Kavanaugh vote. Let’s go.

And also the core organizing principal should be that “these go to 11” in a world where “51 and Fuck you” is the most recent precedent:



I’m In A Foul Mood So Here Is Something Positive

I am in a really dark mood right now. Kavanaugh is going to be confirmed, and I think Democrats are overestimating their turnout and underestimating Republican turnout, and we are not going to take back the House and will lose Senate seats (Nelson, Manchin, and Heitkamp). I don’t think people realize how awful so many of their fellow citizens are. They like this shit. They think everything is going great. Best ever.

Here is something positive. One of my favorite decisions in the new house is to use these reclaimed blue and white tiles in the kitchen:

I like that they are hand made and thus imperfect- each one is slightly different in size and shape, so they don’t line up perfectly:

That’s it. That’s my best shot at positivity.



Because of Course It Fucking Is

I am now performing voodoo rituals and whatever black magic is necessary to put the kaibosh on Hurricane Florence:

Best case scenario is for it to die at sea. Next best case is for it to turn sharply north and die down. Best case scenario FOR ME PERSONALLY is for it to turn south and take out Florida, but that would be horrible (although let me check the polling on the Nelson/Scott Senate race).

SHOO FLORENCE.

God damnit. I have the insurance but I really want a week in the sun.