Schlock Monster Movie Open Thread: It Came From the Republican Id

Dave Weigel, at the Washington Post: “Political data gurus wrote off Trump. Here’s how they’re defending that.

… In a rough year for polling analysis, the Trump surge stands out. The first-time candidate whom so many people wrote off has done for 2016 what Isaac Asimov’s Mule did for the psycho-historians of Foundation — a conquest from out of nowhere, unpredicted by any of the calculations, turning his enemies’ blasted palaces into new (and classy) throne rooms…

That might mean that the days of writing off Trump are over. His fate is not predetermined by polls or by prior right-wing insurgencies. The press may actually have to cover a campaign….

Professor Krugman:

So now the conventional wisdom is that we’re witnessing a temporary triumph of style over substance; Republican voters like Trump’s bluster, and haven’t (yet) realized that he isn’t making sense.

But if you ask me, the people who are really mistaking style for substance are the pundits. It’s true that Trump isn’t making sense — but neither are the mainstream contenders for the GOP nomination.

On economics, both Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are into deep voodoo. Bush takes his experience of presiding over a giant housing bubble in his state, as proof that he can double America’s underlying growth rate. Walker is Brownback-light: his governorship on Wisconsin was premised on the proposition that tax cuts, spending cuts, and union-bashing can create an economic miracle, but the reality is budget deficits and subpar growth, lagging in particular the performance of neighboring Minnesota…

So why is Trump regarded as ludicrous, while Bush and Walker are serious? Again, on the substance they’re all ludicrous; but pundits are taken in by the sober-sounding personal style of the runners-up, while voters apparently are not…

Late-Night Horror Host Open Thread

I can’t play Vampira, much less Vampirella, but with enough green body paint I can fake a pretty good Broom-Hilda. In the spirit of past-its-sell-by-date late-night schlock, some recent ‘Hail to the Hairpiece’ cheez…

Matt Bai, at Yahoo Politics, “Donald Trump Amuses Us to Death“:

… This was back in 1999, just like the Prince song, when I was a junior political correspondent at Newsweek, and Trump was pretending to run for president for the very first time. His venue then was a complete train wreck called the Reform Party, which for a brief moment, believe it or not, was a pretty big deal in American politics, but by that point was ripping itself in half.

Founded by Ross Perot in 1995, Reform was then led, nominally, by the wrestler-turned-Minnesota-governor Jesse Ventura, a populist libertarian with whom I spent an inordinate amount of time in those days. But Pat Buchanan, the disenchanted social conservative, had decided to stage a hostile takeover so he could use the party’s ballot line to run for president again — an eventuality Ventura was so determined to stop that he would have gladly thrown his support behind any half-wit degenerate who came through the door with some cash and a plausible resume.

And in walked Donald Trump…

Marcy Wheeler, at Salon, enjoying the show:

… While once thought of as a flash in the pan, Trump’s candidacy has proven to be a far bigger problem for the Republican Party than establishment figures ever expected. In coping with such a colossal headache, the Party seems to be following the Kübler-Ross model of grief — the model frequently used to describe how people come to grips with the death of a loved one.

Most institutional Republicans still appear to still be in the denial stage: “He doesn’t really want to be President, he just wants to run and get lots of attention doing so.”… “As soon as yet another imagined dream candidate gets in the race he’ll start eating into Trump’s lead.” “He — or an staffer — said something so offensive it will make him toxic.” Curiously, this latter form of denial always seems to focus on what Trump said, not what he did.

It’s that series of things that Trump has said, starting with the claim that immigrants are rapists,, which Republicans (fairly) worry might damage the party brand, that has led them to start lashing out — although the response was muted, as anything short of full-blown nativism risks damaging the national prospects of GOP candidates these days…

As Trump’s continued strength — and decisive pull in any third-party bid has become clear — the focus has shifted to securing assurances that he won’t withdraw his considerable fortune from the GOP and run on the Donald Trump Party ticket…

Open Thread: “He Doesn’t Play By A Set of Rules”

Sorry, Mr. Todd, it’s crazy all the way down. And they like it that way!

Apart from Media Villagers being oblivious, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Open Thread: TROMPED!

The carnival can’t go on forever (can it?) but while it lasts I’m gonna enjoy every pratfall and sad trombone. Gabriel Sherman, in NYMag, on “The Roger Ailes Primary“:

At the start of his career, not long after he helped Richard Nixon win the 1968 election, Roger Ailes boasted to a reporter that television would one day replace the political party as the most powerful force in American politics. If there is any doubt that the Fox News founder has largely made that prediction come true, it should be erased by the panic that next week’s Fox debate is stoking inside the GOP. In a year that features the largest primary field in modern history — not to mention Donald Trump as a front-runner — campaign strategists worry that Ailes’s debate, which is likely to attract the biggest audience in cable-news history, could define the race more than five months before the first votes are cast.

As everyone knows by now, Fox has said that only 10 of the 17 declared candidates will be allowed onstage for the prime-time debate… Contenders for each event will be selected on August 4 from an average of five national polls chosen by Fox. But which polls the network will use remains an open question and a source of controversy.

The candidates with the most on the line are Rick Perry and John Kasich. As things stand now, both are in contention to land the tenth and final prime-time spot, depending on which polls are averaged…

… For the campaigns that do make prime time, there’s another wild card: Trump. Fox told campaigns this week that the candidates will be lined up onstage according to their poll numbers, with the leader in the center and the others to his left and right. That means if current numbers hold, Trump will be in the center flanked by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. “There’s a lot of nervousness about where he’s going to be placed and who will be next to him,” one adviser said. In any normal debate, candidates would obviously fight to be in the middle, but being center stage next to Trump could be as much of a liability as an advantage. Who knows what he might do? “It’s almost like you don’t want to be too close,” one campaign adviser says, “in case he self-combusts.”…

The NYTimes is visibly torn between its big-money hometown boosterism and its repugnance at the outer-borough guy’s antics — “Stakes for Donald Trump in First G.O.P. Debate (in a Word): Huge“:

The most pressing question that Donald J. Trump could face next week in the first debate of the 2016 presidential race may not be about Iran or immigration, but this: Can he deploy enough adjectives (“huge!”), superlatives (“the worst!”) and invectives (“loser!”) for him to use up his time without being challenged successfully on the substance of policy?… Read more

Birth Certificate Watch: Day 1566

Why has Donald Trump not released his long form American birth certificate?

Rabid Pomeranian Hairpiece

On April 15, 2011, I mentioned, in passing, that Trump was not eligible to become President of the United States of America, by reason of:

(a) having been born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to my friend Mary Anne ‘Bitsy’ MacLeod Trump – a single, unnaturalised Scottish immigrant mother engaged in a bigamous marriage with Donald’s father, an American man called Frederick Christ Trump; and

(b) therefore, being either British or Mexican-born.*

This lead to a flurry of correspondence with lawyers; the sending of a laxative-laced fruit cake which cleared out the entire litigation group of Jarndyce and Jarndyce for about a week and a half; a futile threatening visit from two large men with too many knuckles and Carhartt tattoos (seen off by two randy pugs, a limpy chihuahua and several madwomen with canes and dodgy colostomy bags); the jogging forth from my aged memory of an anecdote about Bitsy Trump’s Christmas party and a quite lovely story in which Donald gets chomped on his ample balls by a pissed off pekinese called Frou-Frou; and further and extensive legal correspondence, culminating in the execution of a Deed under which I promised not to tell you all about the time that Donald was trapped in a steam room in Aspen with Joan Collins and her flatulent Burmese hairless, and Donald made me a small payment of damages that I blew on three weeks in Bermuda, a parking lot attendant named Juan and a kilo of blow.

The subsequent quiet, if uneasy, truce has been sullied only by my bribery of Donald’s maids to slip a few blueberry and ipecac muffins into the breakfast buffet every couple of months.

Just the other week, however, I received a call from my lawyer. He just wanted to note that the deed which Donald and I signed contained strict terms under which neither of us were ever to discuss Mexico or anything that ever happened there, up to and including the very existence of Mexico itself. Interestingly, my lawyer added, the fact that Donald has spent the last few weeks suggesting that all Mexicans want to come here and steal our women and fuck our jobs means, under the old legal maxim feci coram eo feceris,, that I can talk about whatever I damn well want. Read more