Late Night Open Thread: No Thanks, Mr. Koch

Former College Republican & current ABC News shill Jon Karl got himself an invite to Charles Koch’s sanctum sanctorum, and he could not be more impressed:

Charles Koch says he won’t “put a penny” into trying to stop Donald Trump, that there are “terrible role models” among the remaining Republican presidential candidates, and that his massive political network may decide to sit out of the presidential race entirely.

“These personal attacks and pitting one person against the other — that’s the message you’re sending the country,” Koch said in an exclusive interview with ABC News that aired Sunday. “You’re role models and you’re terrible role models. So how — I don’t know how we could support ’em.”…

“We haven’t put a penny in any of these campaigns, pro or con,” Koch said. “That’s not what we do. What we’re trying to do is build alliances to make the country better.”

Instead Koch said he and his brother plan to stay out of the party’s nomination fight…

Koch went so far as to say the GOP nightmare of another Clinton presidency might be a better alternative to the remaining Republican candidates at this point.

“It’s possible,” he said…

You can watch more of the interview at the link, but it’s basically 75% arse-covering (not our fault! you can’t prove one cent came from us!) and 25% complaining that you just can’t buy good help any more (seventeen GOP candidates and not one worth a bucket of warm spit!). That parvenu Trump is sucking up all the attention, Ted Cruz couldn’t sell meat to a hungry dog, and some pissant casino mogul is getting more attention than True American Heartland Job Creators(tm) like you-know-who. And despite what Dick Cheney might think, there’s still no cure for mortality…
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The inanity, it burns

Two very dumb things are making the rounds today.  The first is from Tad Devine, Sander’s campaign manager:

 

This actually makes some sense if we are to assume that the Sanders campaign is fundamentally a message and viewpoint campaign. Those campaigns are a valued part of the American political process and most cycles will have a couple of single issue candidates run in order to air their ideas to a much wider audience and hopefully get their party’s front-runners to bend their positions more closely to the single issue priority. If we analyze the Sander’s campaign in this fashion, then the statement makes a lot of sense and the Sanders’ campaign has been successful.

Maximizing a message opportunity is a very different objective than maximizing the probability of winning sufficient delegates to be nominated.  Hillary Clinton is running on a delegate optimization mode as she is running to actually be nominated.  That was her theory of her campaign in the spring of 2015 (and spring of 2007).  She needs to campaign everywhere to get delegates, while Sanders needs to stay plausible enough to get a microphone so spending resources and losing minimizes the microphone opportunity.  Two very different beasts being run with very different optimization functions.

But saying this outloud while still proclaiming that Sanders is running an actual campaign to get the nomination is stupid.

And now the other piece of stupid from reactionary anti-health policy “wonk” Michael Cannon:

There is no sense in marking the ACA’s anniversary, however, because the ACA is no longer the law.

Realizing the law he signed was unconstitutional and unworkable, President Obama and the Supreme Court have since made a series of dramatic revisions that effectively replaced the ACA with something we now call “Obamacare.”

Unconstitutional does not mean what Mr. Cannon thinks it means.

Unconstitutional does not mean “I don’t like this” and “the embedding of liberterian doctrine into a document written at least three generations before the first liberterian thinkers has been obstructed”.  Unconstitutional does not mean that something is stupid or venial.

Unconstitutional means what five justices on the Supreme Court thinks that means. So far, there have been at least five justices who have said that PPACA is fundamentally allowed under our governing constraints.   Constitutionality does not in and of itself imply that an act is wise, good, desirable or prudent.  In this case, I think those descriptors are fair descriptors of the ACA, but those can be up for debate.

Constitutionality is not at this point.



Three ways in the House

Reading the Huffington Post, I saw this political bodice ripper and I still can’t figure out how to make the mechanics of the piece actually work in our shared reality:

Suddenly they realize, “holy shit, what if we could stop Donald Trump and keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

So they run a moderate establishment Republican as a third-party candidate — 100 percent as a spoiler candidate. Worst case scenario oh, they prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. Best case scenario they pull enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to prevent her from securing the necessary majority of 270 electoral votes.

Then the election goes to a House of Representatives ballot presided over Speaker Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s former running mate in 2012.

If neither candidate gets 270 electoral college votes, Congress picks the president. And he will be called President Mitt, the one who is laying the groundwork for this doomsday electoral scenario.

The basic theory is that a third party candidate who is Generic Republican Establishment (no not Pawlenty) would be able to do three things at the same time:

  • Insure that Trump does not get 270 electoral votes
  • win at least one electoral vote
  • Insure that Hillary Clinton does not get 270 electoral votes

In an alternative universe, that could work, but in this universe, I am having a hard time seeing how to actually make it work with a generic Republican running as a non-Trump alternative.

I think the first part is achievable.  However, the third party Republican spoiler is not needed.  Continual video playback of Trump’s speeches to non-Trump fans will isnure that.  If the Republican establishment decided it needed at least one electoral vote, it’s sock pocket could probably win Utah or a Congressional district in Nebraska.  Worse comes to worse, an elector could be a faithless elector.  I’ll concede the mechanics on this one.

The problem with this pre-emptive pants shitting is the third part.

Read more



Open Thread: Could Be Worse, You Could Be A Republican

The above tweet made me curious enough to check the source. Allahpundit’s very first line:

I can’t shake the nagging suspicion that not only isn’t this guy [Trump] conservative, he doesn’t much respect conservatism either when you come right down to it…

… Some voters, as Shapiro says, don’t care about conservatism in the first place; either they’ve been centrists for years or they’ve drifted towards nationalism in frustration with the GOP. But others probably do still identify as conservative yet have no problem identifying Trump that way too because their definition of conservatism is thin and consists in great part of opposition to the left…

… The true risk to Trump in lumping conservatives in with Beltway Republicans is that it makes the right’s incentive to go third-party stronger if he ends up as nominee. If conservatives are part of the problem that a Trump-led GOP is trying to overcome, why would they stick around and support him in the general? Better for that 20 percent of the party to go indie and vote for Romney or whoever, even at the expense of electing a Democrat, since it would force nationalists to recognize that they can’t win without conservatives any more than conservatives can win without them…

I keep thinking of the punchline to the ancient joke about an overbearing bully confusing Raisinettes and rabbit pellets: See — you’re getting smarter already!

Apart from schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda as we start the (long for some) weekend?
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Late Night Open Thread: Trump (Further) Agitates RNC Dinosaurs

The Prolapsed Pig Rectum speaks! Ex-NH Governor & longtime Bush Crime Family associate John Sununu — never my favorite person — is not happy with the possibility that Il Trumpenfuhrer will turn his beloved “Live Free or Die Trying” fiefdom into a(n even bigger) laughing stock / political liability. The Washington Examiner is a far-right platform for loons like Byron York, but in Very Important Media Village Idiot-Persons circles, he’s respected. And here’s his latest — “GOP fear and loathing in New Hampshire”:

… At the [First-in-the-Nation Presidential Town Hall] gathering’s dinner Friday night, I sat next to former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu and his wife Nancy. When we talked about the presidential race — a race in a state whose ground-level politics Sununu knows better than almost anyone — Sununu must have said some version of “I don’t know what is going on” about a dozen times.

Sununu has not endorsed a candidate. But in a brief speech before dinner, he seemed to send a message to fellow Granite Staters to stay away from unserious choices.

Sununu’s message was that New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status is a precious gift, but it might not last forever; state Republicans could lose it if they do something crazy. “We must remember why we are allowed — and I use that word, ‘allowed’ — to be first in the nation,” Sununu said. “We are allowed because we have done a good job historically, and so we must in the next 18 days make sure we continue to do a good job.”

“You have to go out and communicate with our friends and neighbors that a primary is not to settle internal differences within a party and a state,” Sununu continued. “It’s not a get-even process. It’s not a gotcha process. It’s a process that we have a responsibility to pick the next president.” Voting in the primary is more than just voting, Sununu said: “It’s making sure that as a body, those of us who support the Republican Party, those of us who care about this country, make sure that our friends and neighbors do it responsibly.”…

This is buried in a ‘No true Scotsman’ tirade, about how none of the real Republicans, the serious GOP permanent party people, have any idea who might be voting for this parvenu Trump person. Their voters are not his voters! He has no lawn signs! He’s not spending his money on paid local consultants or ‘earned media’ meet’n’greets (with their profitable-to-local-business dining & lodging)! He dissed the Union-Leader — and seems to have gotten away with it!

The Wall Street Journal noticed this #FITN dissatisfaction a couple of weeks ago — “Former N.H. Gov. Sununu: Trump Is Rich but ‘Not Bright’”

“The guy brags that he can’t be bought and yet Putin proved the guy is the cheapest political buy in the game,” Mr. Sununu said… “Ten cents worth of flattery and he’s got Trump sucking up his butt.”

Some context for this fight: Mr. Sununu, who served as President George H.W. Bush’s White House chief of staff and was governor of New Hampshire during the ’80s, last week penned an op-ed in the New Hampshire Union Leader asking people to not “drink the Trump Kool-aid.”…

“Can you believe this guy?” Mr. Trump said about Mr. Sununu, who quit his White House post in 1991 after the president asked for his resignation. “He was fired like a dog and he doesn’t even realize it.”

Mr. Sununu has long been a critic of Trump the politician. In November he predicted the GOP would lose control of the Senate if Mr. Trump wins the party’s nomination. In October he said voters need to “wake up” to stop Mr. Trump’s political momentum.

One of Mitt Romney’s chief attacking surrogates in 2012, Mr. Sununu is unaligned in 2016 because his son Chris is running for governor. The former governor on Monday said Mr. Trump isn’t patient or smart enough to be president.

“You can’t be commander-in-chief with such a thin skin,” Mr. Sununu said. “He may be rich, but he’s not bright. The two don’t necessarily go together.”…

(Those of us who suffered through the first Bush presidency will remember that Sununu is inordinately proud of his ‘one in a million’ IQ scores… )

To be fair, it’s true that a President Donald Trump would be catastrophic for our Repub-weakened nation. On the other hand, there’s a good chance that even a general-election Candidate Trump would be catastrophic for the Republican Party… which I am not at all sure would be a bad thing for those of us not paid by the Republican Party.

And, as a Masshole who spends far too much time clicking away from First-in-the-Nation paid media for at least 18 months out of every two years, it would be a net positive if a Trump win in the NH primary were to destroy the enfeebled “tradition” where a small non-representative very-white state full of angry old tourist-milkers, Free State glibertarians, and social parasites commuting across the border every workday to use Massachusetts resources while avoiding Massachusetts taxes has entirely too much power to winnow presidential choices for the rest of us.



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Spaghetti Plots of Doom

gop doomsday spaghetti polling toles

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)

I went looking for some information on this, and it’s all over the Twitchyverse but nowhere else I can find. The wingnuts are plenty bitter, if RedState is any indication

Sarah Palin Expected to Continue Endorsing Sarah Palin Today
Donald Trump has been teasing a “major endorsement” that he is scheduled to release today in Iowa, and the rampant speculation is that it will be Sarah Palin’s. I don’t really know if this particular speculation is true, but I do know that if Palin doesn’t endorse Trump today, she will endorse him eventually. At this point, only a particularly aggressive hair splitter would concede that she has not endorsed Trump already.

The last few months have not been pretty for conservatives who have long denied with angry vehemence the allegation that many of the leading figures in the conservative movement were only in it for the money and/or the attention. Liberals have long claimed that this was true about people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and a long list of others, especially including Sarah Palin…

The going narrative in and around DC is that the Trump assault has been an eye-opening phenomenon to the GOP Establishment. Maybe, maybe not. I have my doubts about Mitch McConnell and gang’s ability to learn anything, and they are moreover already cozying up to the Trump organization anticipating that he will win the nomination.

On the other hand, it has been an alarmingly eye-opening phenomenon to millions of ordinary conservative Americans who enjoyed consuming talk radio and the serial works of conservative authors, under the (apparently naive) belief that they meant what they said. Because when Trump – who spent his entire life believing in none of those things – came along and started getting ratings, almost all of them to a man jumped on board the train, because the Trump boomlet was so easy to monetize…

… Palin was a tremendously powerful force for good as recently as 2010, in helping many conservatives to oust moderates whose anti-conservative heresies paled noticeably compared to Trump’s. Somewhere along the way, though, Palin realized that there was a lot of money to be made by presenting herself as the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by a so-called “smart set,” which she in her wily caginess was always able (in her own mind) to outsmart…

Say what you will about Palin, but she is no dummy. She’s smart enough to realize which side her bread is buttered on and it is the side that increases her personal profile by siding with Trump. What she is doing is a rather shrewd way to keep her personal profile high.

It may not be especially principled, or honorable, or in keeping with anything she has professed to believe in since she burst onto the national scene in 2008, but it isn’t stupid…

***********
Apart from waiting on tender hooks (/snark) for the next clown shoe to drop, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Blow It Up, Burn It Down

Meanwhile, outside the boat in dangerous, scary places:

Capture

Well, there must be a reason why the GOP hasn’t done this rather than the current strategy of “We won’t take any responsibility for this Iran deal whatsoever but we’re specifically not going to stop it and in fact we’ll basically make sure we can’t do so” but I haven’t figured out what it is yet.

In fact, by getting rid of the filibuster, the GOP-controlled Senate could make things extremely difficult for President Obama and force him to veto all kinds of things, but for some reason they haven’t decided to go this route.

It’s almost like they don’t want to do that.