Monday Morning Open Thread: The Profitable Stigmata of Palmer Comey

After all, he has a book to sell…

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

The belief that Clinton couldn’t lose is the only way to make sense of what a lot of people said and did in October 2016. But most of them did not have as much power to derail her campaign as Comey.

Polls are usually blamed for the illusion of Clinton’s invulnerability. But for the most part, they weren’t that far off track, particularly if you recall that she won the popular vote by more than 2 percent, and prescient observers noted before the election that Trump was in striking distance based on the polls.

Perhaps all the pollsters and prognosticators who guessed wrong about 2016 are complicit in fostering the overconfidence of the Clinton campaign, Democratic voters — and yes — even James Comey. Certainly the big national news organizations whose coverage decisions reflected an apparent belief that the victorious Clinton could safely be taken down a few pegs over the email “story” have a lot to answer for. But in the end it was probably the difficulty of envisioning a President Trump that fed the overconfidence about Clinton most of all. It couldn’t happen here, until it did. And Comey is just one of the players in the political game who must now regret their lack of imagination. His mistake, however, had far bigger consequences than most.

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Creepy Evangelicals Open Thread: “Why Not Mike Pence?”

Sure, Mike’s a moron, and a very public enabler for one of the grossest public figures of our time, but Ross “Chunky BoBo” Doubthat has a dream!

In the 2016 election, once Marco Rubio was defeated and Ted Cruz dispatched, religious conservatives faced a binary choice: Vote Trump or get Hillary. One does not have to agree with the ultimate decision that most of them made to understand the logic that motivated a decision for Trump.

But the politics of the coming year, once the Mueller investigation ceases to be a black box and delivers whatever it’s going to deliver (you’ll get no predictions from me!), might offer a very different choice. If Trump were impeached and removed from the White House, the presidency would devolve to precisely the kind of man whom much of pre-Trump religious conservatism insisted that it wanted in the Oval Office: an evangelical Christian family man with a bluenose’s temperament and a boring Reaganite checklist of beliefs.

Which means that if, in what is no longer an absurd hypothetical, the president were to face real legal-political jeopardy over the Stormy Daniels business, the evangelical leaders currently fretting about Trump’s political position would face a case where doing the consistent thing — namely, returning to their Bill Clinton-era position that character counts in presidents and using illegal means to conceal gross infidelities are impeachable offenses — would actually deliver something closer to what they claimed to want, not so very long ago: not a liberal in the White House, but President Mike Pence…

A Republican Party that ran in 2020 with a boring Midwestern guy (albeit, yes, one sure to be trailed by protesters in Handmaid outfits) as the steward of prosperity would not necessarily be worse off than a party lashed to its current leader; if Gerald Ford could almost win in Nixon’s shadow, why not Pence in Trump’s? And a religious conservatism that sacrificed a lot of cultural credibility in defending Trump might regain a little by abandoning him, vindicating itself against what seem now like reasonable charges of “character for thee but not for me” hypocrisy…

I know the Repub, er “Evangelical” plan was to use Mike Pence as a catspaw cutout if/when Donny Dollhands got carted off by law enforcement, but the stench around His Vermillion Vulgarity is so intense it might even set Pence beyond the Pale. Ever-sensitive political weathervane Charlie ‘Chickenshit’ Baker, Republican governor of deep-blue Massachusetts, just made a rather public point of *not* showing up to greet Pence last night. Per the local right-wing tabloid, the Boston Herald:

The Herald reported yesterday that Baker was snubbing the vice president, who was in Boston last night to meet with local Republicans at a fundraiser for Trump Victory, a joint venture of the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign. ­Baker told reporters yesterday that he “reached out” to Pence’s office to inform the vice president’s aides that he would not be attending and that they understood his reasons.

The fundraiser at the Langham Hotel, which was expected to raise about $500,000, was closed to the press.

When first asked Monday about Pence’s visit, Baker said he had not been aware of the event ahead of time and had already committed to an appearance in southeastern Massachusetts…

Baker’s actual wording, as reported before the event:

Baker told reporters that he’s missing the Pence event “because my calendar has other stuff on it” and insisted he wasn’t trying to send a message to the Trump administration…

Yes, as a matter of fact, Baker is running for re-election this fall (don’t look at me, Massholes have a weird affectation concerning ‘moderate’ Repub governors, mostly since the office isn’t much more powerful in Massachusetts than it is in Texas). But if even Chickenshit Charlie can’t show Mike Dense a little public love, I don’t think Ross and his fellow sweaty ‘religious’ fellows are gonna have much luck pushing their Republic of Gilead dreams.

Late Night ‘If Only It Physically Hurt to Be So Willfully Stupid’ Open Thread: Tucker Carlson, Nativist Poster Child

Shorter T-Carls: Why hasn’t the trailer trash security detail evicted all these scary strangers yet?????

Let me point out: Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson was born in 1969. He does not personally remember the 1950s, and he’s more than old enough to have figured out that change is a human constant, not a personal affront.

I encourage you to click over & read all of Michael Harriot’s hilarious excoriation of the “sentient celery stalk” at The Root:

Here we should point out that Hispanic immigrants have not pushed out Hazelton’s white population. There are just as many, or more white people in Hazelton as there have always been. There are just more Hispanics now. Hazelton just grew. Hazelton’s white residents are free to have as many white friends as they always had. For them, absolutely nothing has changed except they are now outnumbered. There’s a name for people who want to hold on to that kind of society:

White supremacists

Carlson’s entire argument is based on the fact that he doesn’t want to live around brown people. More pointedly, he doesn’t want to be a minority. But if—like Tucker often claims—he’s not a bigot and racism is overblown, why would he have any problem being a minority? After all, he’d still be white…

But he’d never know what those “Hispanics” were saying to each other, in their weird inscrutable furrin languages. They might even be laughing at him!

(Spoiler, Mr. Carlson: Even us monolingual White people are perfectly capable of laughing at you… )

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Spartans Reject Nazis

I spent fifteen springs at MSU, so this story called up memories. From the Chicago Tribune:

Fights broke out between white supremacists and protesters Monday as anti-fascist activists, students and community members converged in and around Michigan State University to counter a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer…

As some of Spencer’s supporters and people planning to attend the speech arrived on campus, masked protesters shouted obscenities at white supremacists and at police. A group of white nationalists marching down the road toward the speech venue – Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education – were blocked by protesters. Shouts turned to punches thrown at protesters, but the group was forced by protesters away from the pavilion where Spencer later spoke…

The MSU campus is on spring break this week, which is not a coincidence. The timing and the venue of the speech were chosen to minimize the risk of violence and disruption to campus, according to university officials.

The Pavilion for Agriculture is a small arena well south of the campus’s developed core. Beyond it is farmland used primarily for research.

Nice subtext (P.A.L.E.) from the university management. Unless things have changed a great deal since we left in 1989, it’s just about the right time for the extension farms to have started the annual process of recycling a winter’s worth of barn manure to fertilize the experimental field crops. So for once, the sinus-clearing aroma surrounding Spencer and his marks supporters would not have been metaphorical bullshit / chickenshit / pigshit…

(Per the tweet pics: Spencer claims that 150 advance tickets were given out, but the fearsome protestors discouraged his valiant supporters from showing up. Sad!)

NRA Open Thread: Is It Worse to Be A Blood-Hungry True Believer, or Just A Grifter Riling Up the True Believers for the Money?

Much applause from the fellow-grifter seats (remember Erickson’s ‘send Olympia Snowe bags of rock salt, but do it through my Amazon link cuz I need the commission’ days of yore?)…

Turns out, her boss had already shown her the way…

Open Thread: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s “Anglo-American Heritage”


We’re gonna have to turn into a public utility, at this rate:

On 12 February 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a speech to the National Sheriff’s Association at their winter meeting, praising state and local law enforcement while advocating for reduced federal interference in their work. In remarks that diverged from the speech as presented on the Justice Department website, Sessions closed by invoking the “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement”…

The prepared remarks from which Sessions strayed included an omitted reference to tribal law enforcement, and they did not mention the purported Anglo-American heritage of the Sheriff’s office:

I want to close by reiterating my deep appreciation and profound thanks to all the women and men of law enforcement — federal, state, local, and tribal. I want to thank every sheriff in America.

Since our founding, the independently elected Sheriff has been seen as the people’s protector, who keeps law enforcement close to and amenable to the people. The Sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage.

Critics have suggested that Session’s use of “Anglo-American” implies that law enforcement is inherently the purview of individuals of white European Christian decent — a perception helped along by the speech’s primary focus on the merits of removing so-called “illegal immigrants” to curb violent crime…

General Repub Malfeasance Open Thread: I’m *Not* Gonna Start Saying Nice Things About Mitt Romney

He *looks* the part of a TV-drama senator, and is not sufficiently interested in human interaction to have committed sexual battery! Yay for our side! Since Navarro is not an idiot, I have to assume this is sarcasm on her part.

It is useful, because a Romney run — and victory — could set an example for other congressional Republicans to follow when it comes to acting as a check on Trump’s many excesses, from his dangerous international bluster, to his self-dealing and corruption, to his contempt for norms and the rule of law. If they don’t follow that example, their enabling of these Trump excesses will be thrown into sharper relief.

That is, this might be the case, if Romney is true to his own past statements about Trump. Let’s not let this get memory-holed: In his big March 2016 speech against Trump, Romney flatly and unequivocally declared Trump unfit to serve as president. Will Romney reiterate this sentiment, when he’s running for Senate?…

Spoiler alert from a Masshole, Mr. Sargent: Nope! Willard will fold like a cheap lawn chair, because that’s his signature legislative tactic. Although he will look very stateman-like as he makes his excuses for letting Trump and the Oval Office Trumplodytes do whatever they damned well choose.