Open Thread: Return of the Romney-ites

The people behind the ad, per Politico:

With less than two weeks until the Iowa caucuses, a new super PAC has formed with the intention of taking down Donald Trump.

The group, which is called Our Principles PAC, is founded by Katie Packer, a veteran Republican strategist who served as deputy campaign manager on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign…

Packer declined to say whether she had spoken with Romney about the group. The 2012 GOP nominee has been privately expressing worry to former aides about Trump’s ongoing lead in the primary.

With the start of primary voting just days away, much of the talk in establishment GOP circles about mounting a sustained anti-Trump campaign has dissipated. Castellanos, a veteran GOP ad man, recently said that it was “too late” for those concerned about Trump to begin a media campaign against him…

So like the R-Money people, to show up with a high-dollar product just a little too late to do any good.

Although it’s probably just as well for us Dems that this ad didn’t show up sooner, because the guy they quote would’ve made a pretty good progressive candidate, and that would confuse the simple honest Iowa caucus-goers.



Open Thread: The Capitulation Continues…


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Open Thread: The Party Decides… That Ted Cruz Is A Creep

People just don’t like Ted Cruz! It seems that practically everyone who’s spent so much as a long weekend in his company can’t abide him. Even other Republicans…

Whether they first met him decades ago…

…. worked with him, per the NYTimes, as he first entered the DC establishment

… In Mr. Cruz’s time as a Supreme Court clerk, a coveted step in a legal career that he had meticulously plotted out, he showed his now familiar capacity to infuriate colleagues. He also worked hard to please his boss, delved into the nuances of constitutional law for long, grueling hours and sought to smooth over harsh feelings at clerk happy hours. But when he left, he was most remembered by his fellow clerks for his fervor for capital punishment cases, a cause that would define his legal career and help him break into politics…

During his clerkship, he presented his boss with a caricature of him and other clerks pulling a stagecoach driven by the judge. According to someone who saw the illustration, there was a graveyard behind them with headstones representing the number of people executed in their jurisdiction that year…

… Or have more recently been forced to deal with him…

The NYTimes reports, “Bob Dole Warns of ‘Cataclysmic’ Losses With Ted Cruz“:

“I question his allegiance to the party,” Mr. Dole said of Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” Instead, Mr. Cruz uses the word “conservative,” Mr. Dole said, before offering up a different word for Mr. Cruz: “extremist.”

“I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress,” he said. “Nobody likes him.”…

(CNN)It was no accident that two Iowa GOP icons — Chuck Grassley and Bob Dole — attacked Ted Cruz the day after Iowa’s Republican governor said a vote for the Texas senator would be bad for the lead-off caucus state.

It is part of a fascinating and once unthinkable calculation by leading establishment figures that Donald Trump is the lesser of two evils at the top of the Republican presidential pack — and defeating Cruz in Iowa is now part of this strategy…

One leading GOP strategist involved in the effort put it this way: “If Trump loses we wash our hands of him. Cruz will think we need to be more crazy and be a long-term nightmare.”…

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Late Night Excellent Reads: More on NR’s Jihad Against Trump

Jeb Lund, in the Guardian:

National Review, a Thurston Howell impression on print and with staples in it, published a special edition yesterday titled Against Trump. Not Stop Trump, or Dump Trump or even Chump Trump. “Against Trump.” Toward a Normative Understanding of Trump Negation. Whatever.

I’m sure it will be very effective with all 5,000 subscribers who are not conservative thinktanks. There is definitely no way that the snob mouthpiece of the Republican party rolling out a coordinated attack on Donald Trump will backfire…

What makes this especially fun is that everything that makes Donald Trump a runaway success is a creation of conservatism. He is their Be Careful What You Wish For candidate…National Review can stand athwart history and yell stop, but they’re standing in front of a snowball they’ve been pushing down a hill for the last half-century. Even the hand-wringing that Donald Trump is such an ugly and hateful candidate is hilarious from a rag that started out defending liberty and segregation…

The number-one rule of conservative mass politics and virality is always punch down. If that’s not possible, weigh the value of punching sideways. You don’t even have to get into some abstract discussion of the Southern Strategy to know that constantly pwning noobs, enemies and the teeming Other in the Republican field gets you clickthrough. If the National Review is going to be mad at Trump for this, they should at least be honest and admit they’re mad because he’s so much better at it….

Tom Scocca, for Gawker“The National Review Makes Its Case Against the Republican Party”:

There are, at this point, two fairly straightforward thoughtful arguments that a conservative publication could make against the rise of Donald Trump. One would be a pragmatic or tactical one: Despite his theatrical contempt for liberal elites, Trump is unpredictable and insufficiently committed to the conservative movement’s plans and goals. Where a President Ted Cruz would fill the federal bench with names from a Federalist Society spreadsheet (or a spreadsheet Cruz himself had prepared for the Federalist Society), for all anyone knows, a President Trump might appoint Nancy Grace to the Supreme Court. That would surely make liberals mad, but it wouldn’t get the big job done. Read more



Open Thread: Real-World Impact!

National Review‘s latest standing athwart history yelling stop” effort has been a feast of gleeful schadenfreude across the political spectrum. But now Ye Editors can claim their fearfulsome efforts had an actual real-world effect, at least on their publication:

Curated selection of NR/Trump abuse below the break, because honestly, could you resist?

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Open Thread: Queen of the Klown Rodeo Finds Her King

Olivia Nuzzi, at the Daily Beast, “Sarah Palin Backs Donald Trump, Murders Irony”:

… Dressed in a black overcoat and blue tie, the GOP frontrunner walked onstage at Iowa State University and gripped the lectern stamped with his name. “Wow, look at the press out there! They must think that a big event’s gonna happen today,” he said. “Wow! That’s a lot—it’s like the Academy Awards!”…

Trump persists because he defies parody. He, like Palin, is in on the joke that is his public persona. The difference is he’s better at telling it than any lowly scribe or comedian. And he tells it not with a device as obvious as self-deprecation but with subtlety in his every decision, minor or Yuge, in his official capacity as The Frontrunner for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Which is where Palin comes in…

As surreal as Tuesday’s performance felt at times, it was guided by a certain logic. Even Palin, who flailed her sequined arms in the air for the crowd, equal parts pep and menace in her voice, sounded a nuanced battle cry. “You ready for a commander and chief who will do their job and go kick ISIS ass?” she screamed at one point.

But then she explained her plight, and the plight of all Trump true believers.

“Trump’s candidacy: It has exposed not just that tragic ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enabled it, OK?” she said. “He’s been able to tear the veil off this idea of the system, how the system really works.”…

“Funny, haha—not funny,” she said, seemingly out of nowhere. “But now what they’re doing is whaling on Trump and his Trumpeters, ‘Well, they’re not conservative enough’—Oh my goodness gracious, what the heck would the establishment know about conservatism?”

She said she, Trump, and those like them were “right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our god, and our religions, and our Constitution.”

“Doggone right we’re angry,” she said. “Justifiably so!”…

Ed Kilgore, in NYMag, explains “The Inevitability of Palin’s Endorsement of Trump”:

Notwithstanding the howls of pain and rage from supporters of Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin’s decision to endorse Donald Trump for president makes perfect sense when you think about what she has distinctively represented in the Republican Party. Yes, she’s a “conservative” in the sense of standing for maximum confrontation with Democrats and constantly accusing the party Establishment of acts of betrayal. But no, there’s nothing particularly ideological — or, for that matter, intellectual — about her approach to politics or issues. She represents almost perfectly the passion and resentment of grassroots cultural-issues activists…

… In a very real sense, she was the authentic representative of those local right-to-life activists — disproportionately women — who had staffed countless GOP campaigns and gotten little in return (this was before the 2010 midterm elections began to produce serious anti-choice gains in the states) other than the thinly disguised contempt of Beltway Republicans. And after 2008 she generated a sort of perpetual motion machine in which her fans loved her precisely for the mockery she so reliably inspired…

…[I]n many respects, the Trump campaign is the presidential campaign Palin herself might have aspired to run if she had the money and energy to do so. Her famous disregard for wonky facts and historical context is but a shadow of Trump’s. His facility with the big and effective lie can’t quite match Palin’s, who after all convinced many millions of people in a Facebook post that the Affordable Care Act authorized “death panels.” And both of them, of course, exemplify the demagogue’s zest for flouting standards of respectable discourse and playing the table-turning triumphant victim/conqueror of privileged elites. Read more



Dropping the Seventh Veil: Christianists Embrace Trump

Why should the other bigots have all the fun? In case Sarah “Bible Spice” Palin’s endorsement wasn’t enough to make it official, the Grey Lady lifted her soiled skirts and stepped into the morass, to explain how “Evangelicals See Donald Trump as Man of Conviction, if Not Faith”:

Brash, thrice-married, cosseted in a gilded tower high above Fifth Avenue and fond of swearing from the stage at his rallies, Mr. Trump, who has spent his career in pursuit, and praise, of wealth, would seem an odd fit for voters who place greater value on faith, hope and charity.

Yet polls increasingly show Mr. Trump well in front of the crowded Republican field among white evangelical voters, despite competition including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, whose father is an evangelical pastor; Mr. Huckabee, the 2008 Iowa caucus winner; former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Roman Catholic whose story of raising a daughter with a disability struck a chord with voters and helped push him to victory in the 2012 Iowa caucuses; and Ben Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist who brought prayer into the operating room as a neurosurgeon and has spoken frequently about his Christian beliefs as a candidate.

A New York Times/CBS News poll last week showed Mr. Trump, a Presbyterian, dominating the field with 42 percent of evangelical voters; Mr. Cruz was second with 25 percent.

In dozens of interviews with evangelical voters in 16 states, from every region of the country outside the Northeast, those supporting Mr. Trump sounded a familiar refrain: that his heart was in the right place, that his intentions for the country were pure, that he alone was capable of delivering to a troubled country salvation in the here and now

And on Monday, Mr. Trump spoke at Liberty University, the Lynchburg, Va., institution founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Mr. Trump has been wooing Jerry Falwell Jr., and Mr. Falwell lavished praise on him, comparing Mr. Trump to Jesus and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for voicing unpopular thoughts…

Rev. Hucksterbee and Rick Sanctorum — let’s face it! — are luzers, and nobody likes that guy Cruz. Their god is a strong god, a winning god, one never hesitant to rain down destruction or crush another horde of unbelievers. Their god is YOOOOOGE.

And the Trumpenfuhrer is ready to lead them to glory, per NYMag:

“Christianity, it’s under siege,” the GOP front-runner said at the Evangelical college’s morning convocation. “We don’t band together. Other religions, frankly, they’re banding together … we have to unify. We have to band together, we have to do really, in a really large version, what they’ve done at Liberty.”…

The mogul further argued that “the Bible is the best,” though he had some difficulty in trying to quote it.

“Two Corinthians 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame. ‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,’” Trump said, inspiring chuckles from an audience that knows that chapter of Scripture by its god-given name of “Second Corinthians.”…

“In my opinion, Mr. Trump lives a life of loving and helping others … as Jesus taught in the New Testament,” Falwell said on Monday…

Second-gen religious hustler knows: Hustler Trump got serious game.

Our own Siubhan Duinne linked to Daniel Danger‘s amazing Storify post, “I went to a Donald Trump rally and saw a man wearing a plastic bag as a shirt”:

… I picked seats on the floor, partially to commit to simply being a bit more “in the shit”. I chose an aisle seat that had a clear open line of sight to the podium, and also offered a moderate amount of “phone privacy” by having an empty space to my right. Which turned out to be useful because the people behind me were actively trying to read my phone all night…

I missed who the speaker was, but he went on a whole bit about how there were Democrats hiding in the audience, and they probably wouldn’t/shouldn’t identify themselves due to “past incidents”, and because they were basically outnumbered in the room. And this was said in a joking manner to get a laugh from the room. Perhaps “past incidents” referred to Trump supporters beating and kicking a Latino man at a rally in Miami, The Black Lives Matter protester kicked and beaten at a Trump rally in Alabama, or the Trump supporters beating and peeing on a homeless Latino man because “Donald Trump was right.”… Read more