Late Night Open Thread: Jeez, JEB!

My wrist isn’t up to typing a full catalog, but candidate JEB! had a lousy August and it’s looking like September isn’t gonna be much happier for him.

He’s looking more and more like he only got into this poker game because “the family” couldn’t bear to have Dubya as their most enduring representative, and now he’s down to his boxers and socks and fearful of having to limp home in the morning with Trump’s NO CLASS LOSER Sharpie’d on his hairy back.








Late Night Open Thread: Bonfires of the Vanity Candidate

Ernie Boch Jr. is a mostly harmless local moke who inherited a used-car empire from his old man and has managed not to run it into the ground. Naturally, he considers Donald Trump — who vastly increased the few millions he inherited into the current showy enterprise — a Great Man, a visionary, a role model for us lower beings. Boch got a certain amount of free media over the weekend by throwing an avowedly nonpartisan, nonprofit “raucus rally” for Trump at Ernie’s bucolic estate.

Ben Jacob’s description, in the Guardian, of “Donald Trump’s Seduction: A Huge Fanbase” is too good not to share…

As Donald Trump left the stage at Ernie Boch’s mansion in suburban Boston on Friday night, attendees clawed at him, shouting for attention, for handshakes and, of course, for selfies.

Despite the requirement for attendees to make out $100 checks to his presidential campaign, the Republican frontrunner insisted the event was not a fundraiser…

Boch brought in what he called “the world’s best cover band” and provided an open bar, a wide range of entrees including lamb shanks and fish tacos, and a cake in the form of Trump’s signature baseball cap – motto: “Make America Great Again”.

In the same way their children would paw at One Direction or Taylor Swift, the mostly upper-middle-class New Englanders who made up the crowd could not hide their delight at the chance to meet the man who has upended the race for the White House.

Three days before, on a hot Tuesday afternoon in the heavily Catholic town of Dubuque, Iowa, the atmosphere was markedly less fancy. The venue, a convention center, looked nothing like Bosh’s ornate lawn party, as a largely blue-collar crowd lined up for hours to see and hear Trump speak…

In Dubuque, Bob Cooksley, a retired veteran from Sherrard, Illinois, told the Guardian: “I just like that he hasn’t been a politician, and doesn’t try to get re-elected as representative or senator or governor. He doesn’t have none of that.”…

Carl Semrow, 16, of Brodhead, Wisconsin, agreed: “He has very good American ideals to turn this country around, such as capitalism.”

On top of his business success, Trump’s bold persona steals hearts. Dino Rossi, of Newton, Massachusetts, envied what he saw as Trump’s fearlessness.

“Oh, I wish I had big nuts like him,” said Rossi. “He’s not afraid of anybody or anything. That’s pretty cool.”… Read more








Friday Evening Open Thread: Wingularity

Somewhere, Molly Ivins and Hunter Thompson are sharing a beer, shaking their heads about how easy the current crop of political humorists has it…

Jennifer Jacobs, in the Des Moines Register article:

“(Trump) left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs. … His comments reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal,” evangelical conservative activist Sam Clovis said in an email just 35 days before he quit his job as Republican Rick Perry’s Iowa chairman and signed on with Trump’s campaign.

In the emails, shared by Perry backers Wednesday with The Des Moines Register, Clovis castigated Trump for his past liberal positions and admission that he has never asked for God’s forgiveness for any wrongdoing.

In an interview Wednesday, Clovis verified that he’d written the sharply worded criticisms of Trump, including one email in which he praises Perry for calling Trump a “cancer on conservatism.”…

Clovis defected from Perry’s team at a time when the former Texas governor has been struggling to cover his campaign aides’ salaries.

Iowa Republicans said Wednesday that Clovis’ move raises questions about how he reconciles endorsing Trump with his previous stances and statements, and whether he was motivated less by ideology and more by the promise of a big paycheck from a business mogul who has said he is willing to spend as much as a billion dollars to get elected…

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Apart from wishing confusion upon our enemies (who are pretty confused already!), what’s on the agenda for the start of the weekend?








Open Thread: Rooting for Injuries?

I frankly suspect this “rally” will never happen — the Trump and Cruz camps will never be able to agree on top billing, dais placement, who gets to bloviate first, etc. But I doubt it’s only Democrats gleefully imagining the Clash of the Titanic Egos…








Long Read: “The Fearful and the Frustrated”

Evan Osnos, at the New Yorker, on how “Donald Trump’s nationalist coalition takes shape—for now“:

On July 23rd, Donald Trump’s red-white-and-navy-blue Boeing 757 touched down in Laredo, Texas, where the temperature was climbing to a hundred and four degrees. In 1976, the Times introduced Trump, then a little-known builder, to readers as a “publicity shy” wunderkind who “looks ever so much like Robert Redford,” and quoted an admiring observation from the architect Der Scutt: “That Donald, he could sell sand to the Arabs.” Over the years, Trump honed a performer’s ear for the needs of his audience. He starred in “The Apprentice” for fourteen seasons, cultivating a lordly persona and a squint that combined Clint Eastwood on the high plains and Derek Zoolander on the runway. Once he emerged as the early front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, this summer, his airport comings and goings posed a delicate staging issue: a rogue wind off the tarmac could render his comb-over fully erect in front of the campaign paparazzi. So, in Laredo, Trump débuted a protective innovation: a baseball hat adorned with a campaign slogan that he recycled from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 run for the White House—“Make America Great Again!” The headwear, which had the rigid façade and the braided rope of a cruise-ship giveaway, added an expeditionary element to the day’s outfit, of blazer, pale slacks, golf shoes—well suited for a mission that he was describing as one of great personal risk. “I may never see you again, but we’re going to do it,” he told Fox News on the eve of the Texas visit…

Trump’s fans project onto him a vast range of imaginings—about toughness, business acumen, honesty—from a continuum that ranges from economic and libertarian conservatives to the far-right fringe. In partisan terms, his ideas are riven by contradiction—he calls for mass deportations but opposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security; he vows to expand the military but criticizes free trade—and yet that is a reflection of voters’ often incoherent sets of convictions. The biggest surprise in Trump’s following? He “made an incredible surge among the Tea Party supporters,” according to Patrick Murray, who runs polling for Monmouth University. Before Trump announced his candidacy, only twenty per cent of Tea Partiers had a favorable view of him; a month later, that figure had risen to fifty-six per cent. Trump became the top choice among Tea Party voters, supplanting (and opening a large lead over) Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Governor Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, both Tea Party stalwarts. According to a Washington Post /ABC News poll conducted last month, the “broad majority” of Trump’s supporters hailed from two groups: voters with no college degree, and voters who say that immigrants weaken America. By mid-August, Trump was even closing in on Hillary Clinton. CNN reported that, when voters were asked to choose between the two, Clinton was leading fifty-one per cent to forty-five…

When the Trump storm broke this summer, it touched off smaller tempests that stirred up American politics in ways that were easy to miss from afar. At the time, I happened to be reporting on extremist white-rights groups, and observed at first hand their reactions to his candidacy. Trump was advancing a dire portrait of immigration that partly overlapped with their own. On June 28th, twelve days after Trump’s announcement, the Daily Stormer, America’s most popular neo-Nazi news site, endorsed him for President: “Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: it’s time to deport these people.” The Daily Stormer urged white men to “vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents our interests.” Read more