Repub Venality Open Thread: Trump Wants His WAAAAAHll & He Wants It NAOOOOW

They’re a bunch of damaged middle school boys drawing up plans for their Fortress of Evil. Disgusting as this is, take it as one more data point that Trump (or at least his smarter minions) doesn’t expect to be in the Oval Office after 2020. From the Washington Post, “‘Take the land’: President Trump wants a border wall. He wants it black. And he wants it by Election Day”:

President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project…

Trump has repeatedly promised to complete 500 miles of fencing by the time voters go to the polls in November 2020, stirring chants of “Finish the Wall!” at his political rallies as he pushes for tighter border controls. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed just about 60 miles of “replacement” barrier during the first 2½ years of Trump’s presidency, all of it in areas that previously had border infrastructure.

The president has told senior aides that a failure to deliver on the signature promise of his 2016 campaign would be a letdown to his supporters and an embarrassing defeat. With the election 14 months away and hundreds of miles of fencing plans still in blueprint form, Trump has held regular White House meetings for progress updates and to hasten the pace, according to several people involved in the discussions…

Asked for comment, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons…
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The GOP’s Leader/Base Racism ‘Dilemma’: When All You’ve Got Is A Bigot… (Part 2)

(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)
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The “adults in the room” of the Permanent GOP Party embraced Donald Trump because he seemed like a bargain-basement solution to overcoming Hillary Clinton’s predicted landslide victory. Now that Trump’s gleefully ravaging the whole party’s chances in 2020, they’re stuck — they can’t cross the Oval Office Occupant’s rabid “Base” (not to mention the GOP traitors like McConnell and Nunes, who’ve traded their souls for Russian payola and ‘red meat’ votes), but all the still-normal Repub voters and “independents” can’t stomach the stench. Let a thousand tiny, tiny violins play!


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When the Dog Whistle Is Silver-Plated & Hand-Chased: Conservative Thinking At Its “Best”

It’s all over political twitter, but the only mainstream-media pushback against Hawley I could find so far was from his hometown paper, the Kansas City Star:

The Anti-Defamation League in Missouri is calling on U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley to apologize for a speech he delivered this week slamming the “cosmopolitan elite” who “look down on the common affections that once bound this nation together—things like place and national feeling and religious faith.”

Hawley, during a keynote address at the National Conservatism Conference on Tuesday, said the “cosmopolitan agenda” drives politics on both the left and right.

“The left champions multiculturalism and degrades our common identity,” he said. “The right celebrates hyper-globalization and promises that the market will make everything right in the end, eventually … perhaps.”

He decried the “cosmopolitan consensus,” “cosmopolitan elite,” “cosmopolitan class,” and “cosmopolitan economy,” and argued that the “cosmopolitan agenda” has broken America’s national solidarity.

Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in St. Louis, said Hawley may not have intended to offend anyone with his speech. But terms like “cosmopolitan” and “globalist” have a sinister history as anti-Semitic dog whistles, and she said Hawley should apologize.

Hawley’s speech, “raised real concern for members of the Jewish community who are and should be acutely sensitive with increased incidents of antisemitism in the US and beyond,” Aroesty said. “We have asked the Senator for an apology for even unintended harm caused by the speech. For the Senator and all who have a public platform that comes with power, context matters. Words matter.”…

From the NY Review of Books, “Retrofitting Trump’s GOP with a Veneer of Ideas”:

Perhaps the most evocative and conclusive sign of Trump’s sway over the conservative movement came this week, however, when the recently established Edmund Burke Foundation in Washington held a meeting titled “National Conservatism” at the Ritz-Carlton. The conference aroused a good deal of controversy before it took place, but attracted a formidable array of conservative figureheads, including Peter Thiel, Tucker Carlson, John Bolton, and Senator Josh Hawley. The panelists included Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, Chris Buskirk, the publisher and editor of American Greatness, J.D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, Michael Anton, a former Trump administration National Security Council official who has inveighed against “birthright citizenship,” and Chris DeMuth, a former president of the American Enterprise Institute and now a distinguished fellow at the Trump-friendly Hudson Institute. The latter has recently extolled Trumpian nationalism in a lengthy essay in the Claremont Review of Books. “Harnessing today’s nationalist impulses,” DeMuth wrote, “is a task for conservatives and libertarians, who stand in the shoes of the liberal reformers of the middle and late nineteenth century.”

The event tried to do that. A July 14 invitation letter signed by David Brog, the president of the Burke Foundation and the former executive director of Christians United for Israel, noted that the conference was intended to help bring about the “revival of the unique national traditions that alone have the power to bind a people together and bring about their flourishing.” It was supposed to provide, Brog went on, “an intellectually serious alternative to the excesses of purist libertarianism, and in stark opposition to political theories grounded in race.” If nothing else, a consanguinity of thought quickly emerged.

This was a Trump-inspired counter-revolution, a conservative colloquy that aimed at creating a catechism purged of the verities of the Reagan era: a crusading foreign policy and an idolatry of free-market economics. Usually, intellectual movements precede the rise of political ones, but in this case, Trump’s camp followers are reverse-engineering an intellectual doctrine to match Trump’s basic instincts. The new national-conservatives want to form what Burke called “little platoons” to ground conservatism in what they referred to as Anglo-American traditions…
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Everything is awesome until there are trade-offs

Early this year, Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll showing Medicare Advantage was popular:

(56 percent) favor a national Medicare-for-all plan

There is a fairly typical partisan split on all of these proposals. Buy-ins are more popular than replace the entire system plans. Incidentally that is why I think a Medicare/Medicaid buy-in approach is what will be on a Democrat’s agenda if there is a blue trifecta.

However, Kaiser then did something interesting. They offered trade-offs and support for Medicare for all sank:

This is the political problem for Medicare for All proponents. It is a massive change to the system which will produce winners and losers. It upsets the status quo bias that worked against the ACA 2009-2016 and it upsets the status quo bias that worked for the ACA in 2017 to present.

Managing the transition so that there is no fear that anyone could, in anyway, be worse off or perceive themselves to be worse off is impossible. The challenge is minimizing both the number and the power of people who are worse off or perceive themselves to be worse off. And that is a tough challenge if one assumes that healthcare is, to some degree, a positional good.

Trade-offs are tough. Passing out free ice cream is easy.








Late Night Open Thread: Nice “Work” If You Can Get It…

Jon Chait, NYMag, “Why Are Republican Small Donors So Easy to Swindle?”:

Republicans have long complained, usually in private, that their fundraising apparatus is overrun with fraudsters. National Review’s Jim Geraghty has a column, “The Right’s Grifter Problem,” saying what many of them have been whispering. Many of President Trump’s most publicly strident loyalists are in the business of raising money for political projects that spend virtually all their funds on operating expenses…

Grifters go where the marks are:

A former pro football player who serves on the National Rifle Association board was paid $400,000 by the group in recent years for public outreach and firearms training. Another board member, a writer in New Mexico, collected more than $28,000 for articles in NRA publications. Yet another board member sold ammunition from his private company to the NRA for an undisclosed sum.

The NRA, which has been rocked by allegations of exorbitant spending by top executives, also directed money in recent years that went to board members — the very people tasked with overseeing the organization’s finances.

In all, 18 members of the NRA’s 76-member board, who are not paid as directors, collected money from the group during the past three years, according to tax filings, state charitable reports and NRA correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

The payments received by about one-quarter of board members, the extent of which has not previously been reported, deepen questions about the rigor of the board’s oversight as it steered the country’s largest and most powerful gun rights group, according to tax experts and some longtime members…

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