You haven’t done nothing

A great summary of the scam Mitch McConnell ran on media establishment stooges:

His failure to log even a single major achievement is without precedent in recent American history. It’s not like he hasn’t had the opportunity: Not only has McConnell enjoyed 250 days of unified Republican control in 2017, he also led a GOP majority in the Senate for the previous two years, paired with a solid Republican majority in the House. But under McConnell’s leadership, even bills backed by strong bipartisan support, tagged as likely to pass by seasoned Hill observers and likely to be signed by Obama, languished.

[….]

So where does the Myth of McConnell come from?

The Myth is manufactured out of a deeply cynical but highly effective public relations insight that McConnell exploited to maximum effect: If he simply labeled everything Obama and Democrats tried to do as “partisan,” regardless of the merits, then invented institutionalist-sounding reasons for his opposition, and conveyed those reasons in polished speeches delivered from the Senate floor in his rolling Kentucky drawl, the news media and the commentators would eat it up. He realized that he didn’t have to be a bipartisanship-seeking institutionalist—he could just play one on TV, giving him cover to push partisanship to the hilt in private.

All that said, at least we don’t have to hear about his piercing blue eyes and P90X workouts all the damn time.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Angry Incompetents

It was last Thursday, and Sessions and one of his former aides, Stephen Miller, who now serves as Trump’s senior policy adviser, tried to get into the Oval Office to see Trump and talk again about their opposition to protections for Dreamers, according to a person familar about the situation. They saw the president wavering and wanted to remind him of the legal argument and the stakes.

Kelly stopped them.

Kelly, the former secretary of homeland security, had a solution in mind aimed at allowing Trump to fulfill a campaign promise while easing the president’s clear misgivings about ending a program geared toward children — many of whom had no idea they were being brought to the country illegally. Delay the program’s end by six months, Kelly told Trump.

There was a practical benefit of this approach too; it would give Congress time to devise a legislative fix to protect nearly 800,000 Dreamers.

“General Kelly either wants a delay on the decision or to keep DACA, and is very frustrated by the attorney general and his former staffer Stephen Miller’s efforts to pursue their own agenda, given the president told his staff in the past he wants to keep DACA in place,” according to a person familiar with the situation.

Kelly used the weekend to call congressional leaders and lock in support. As details leaked, the administration’s decision was now set…

“Former Secretary of Homeland Security” and ICE defender Kelly is hardly a big fan of open borders, but he can spot an oncoming FUBAR with the best of them. Yes, the Malevolent Leprechaun has gotten his perverse jollies by announcing the Trump maladministration’s big plans to punish non-white people. But he clearly didn’t get to enjoy his ‘triumph’ much… the big-business donor base of the GOP are publicly renouncing the “rescission” in all available media. And every pundit with an IQ higher than cottage cheese is pointing out how one more ugly, ultimately unwinnable battle is *just* what the Repubs needed when they’ve got a heaping platter of legislation to deal with before they can get to the really important goal (more tax cuts for millionaires). Not to mention that Paul Ryan is already sweating like a cardsharp caught with a fifth ace and a little stash of counterfit chips — anything that makes Paul Ryan miserable has to be good for America.

Now it’s our job (and the Chamber of Commerce’s) to fight this xenophobic bullshit until Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and his fellow racists are driven back under their white hoods.



Are they going to say he was a kind man? He was a wise man?

We heard the same bullshit when Rove did the anti-gay ballot measures in 2004: “W doesn’t want to do this, he has gay friends and he’s a nice guy, but he will because he’s savvy”.

The tongue job the Times is giving Trump over DACA is even worse.

I s’pose it’s so they can keep getting the sweet Javanka leaks.



Slap you on the back and say “please, please”

David Von Drehle has written the most idiotic centrist hot take in the history of idiotic centrist hot takes. Some highlights:

Wanna-be Nazis parading by torchlight through Charlottesville was a radical moment. Masked leftists marauding through Berkeley was another radical moment. Radical politics are the most dangerous kind, whether they arise from the right or the left.

[….]

The ostensibly conservative Republican Party was taken over by a man who stands against core conservative values such as prudence, order, tradition and free markets. Meanwhile, the ostensibly liberal Democratic Party was nearly hijacked by a socialist.

[….]

Principled liberals and conservatives need to wake up to this peril. The solid center that has defined American politics for generations is under assault by empowered radicals on both sides.

And closes with a predictable Houston-themed cliche:

There’s no time to waste. The water is rising.

Top this one, Ron Fournier. I don’t think you can do it.



Wanted by the evil forces

By the time W’s presidency was over, all the centrists and tote-baggers hated him so much that I felt like a W apologist when I talked to them, but now there’s a lot of weird W nostalgia. People say shit like “I’d be so happy to have Bush instead of Trump”.

I’m here to tell you that there’s not that much difference, that “alternative facts” and “fake news” aren’t that different than what went on under Bush. You all know the original “reality-based” quote, but here’s another one, from Mark McKinnon, the faux cowboy “centrist” asshole who now wanks around with Mark Halperin:

And for those who don’t get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. “You think he’s an idiot, don’t you?” I said, no, I didn’t. “No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don’t care. You see, you’re outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don’t read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it’s good for us. Because you know what those folks don’t like? They don’t like you!” In this instance, the final “you,” of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

You may also remember this, from David Broder:

We cannot yet calculate the political fallout from Hurricane Katrina and its devastating human and economic consequences, but one thing seems certain: It makes the previous signs of political weakness for Bush, measured in record-low job approval ratings, instantly irrelevant and opens new opportunities for him to regain his standing with the public.

(To his credit, Broder later said he as appalled that he’d said this.)

The same dark forces are at work again trying to prop Trump up. They changed the headline but Brian Beutler has a screeshot.



All around the world, statues crumble for me

Whenever I bring up the looming constitutional crisis of Trump firing Mueller or pardoning himself, people think I’m either being too flippant or too doom pr0nographic. But I don’t see how we can ignore it.

I think something changed last week after Charlottesville. I don’t think — never thought really — that Trump will be able to turn Confederate statues into a wedge issue that appeals to the NASCAR dads in the I-20 corridor or however Chuck Todd would describe it. And I now think something I never thought before: that the media’s (justifiably strong) reaction to Trump’s repulsive comments is a sign that they won’t go easy on Dolt 45 when he fires Mueller or pardons himself. I still don’t think Republicans will do anything to Trump if/when he does this, but I now think they’ll pay a big political price for refusing to do so.

What do you think? Am I being too optimistic here?



I’ve seen your picture, your name in lights above it

Even the liberal MSNBC network:

Peggy Noonan, a conservative columnist at the Wall Street Journal, has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a contributor, the cable channel announced Sunday.

Right now, MSBNC is beating CNN and Fox in terms of ratings. But Andy Lack (who’s rocking the Steve Bannon look in his Wiki picture) is determined to change all of that.

I hate most of the people on MSNBC except Rachel Maddow. I don’t object to having conservative guests. But if I wanted to listen to washed-up vodka drinkers defend Trump, I’d turn on RT.