Monday Evening Open Thread: Both Sides! (Vanity Candidates *and* Media Village Idiots)

Lo, there is a great disturbance in the shallow reflecting pool of Conventional Wisdom, when those who serve the mantra that All Is for the Best in This Best of All Possible Worlds sense that they are not being taken seriously! I’m a subscriber, but I thought yesterday’s Boston Globe anti-Trump parody front page — which actually appeared on the inside weekly ‘Ideas’ section — was a moderately funny idea, but overthought in its implementation. So, it would seem, did Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

The Republican Party is in the process of ritual public suicide. There are too many chickens for the party to handle and nowhere near enough roosts. Forty years of batshit economics and dangerous demagoguery, god-bothering and otherwise, have made a liar out of the Globe‘s contention that the party’s “standard” deserves to be hoisted by anyone who is anything but a demagogue. Everybody with eyes can see this.

However, there seems to be an abject terror within the elite political media at the prospect of the Republican party’s destroying itself through the extremism that the party has tolerated for far too long. If the Republican Party goes away, whatever will we do? All of our Both Sides tropes will be instantly inoperative. Thinking once again will be required around the Fournier manse. This existential pundit panic manifests itself in a few ways: first, Both Sides can still be invoked if we can point to a rockfight on the Democratic side, too; second, we can go along with the Globe and pretend that an utterly unprincipled retread like Willard Romney, or a complete public charlatan like Paul Ryan, are “honorable and decent men,” or third, we can talk to the real crazoids and pretend that they are sensible actors in the political life of the country, and by doing that, we can pretend that the Republican Party as it currently exists is, well, sane…

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Apart from keeping our waders at hand, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Late Night Sh*tshow Open Thread: “Well, Actually… “

Aaaand so ethics in political campaigning somehow turns into yet another testosterone-sweating jerkfest…

The NYTimes is very sad that “Ordinary Voters Feel Sidelined”:

… For decades, both major parties have used a somewhat convoluted process for picking their nominees, one that involves ordinary voters in only an indirect way. As Americans flock this year to outsider candidates, the kind most hindered by these rules, they are suddenly waking up to this reality. And their confusion and anger are adding another volatile element to an election being waged over questions of fairness and equality.

In Nashville a week ago, supporters of Donald J. Trump accused Republican leaders of trying to stack the state’s delegate slate with people who were anti-Trump. The Trump campaign posted the cellphone number of the state party chairman on Twitter, leading him to be inundated with calls. Several dozen people showed up at the meeting at which delegates were being named, banged on the windows and demanded to be let in…

Javier Morillo, a member of the Democratic National Committee and a superdelegate from Minnesota, said he discovered his email posted on a website called a “Superdelegate Hit List.” The list had an illustration of a donkey, the party’s symbol, with two crossbow arrows behind its head. “I was a little annoyed,” he said…

Whew, both sides! But let’s be honest — if (when) Trump supporters set up a “Hit List” with delegates’ home addresses, we’d quite righteously call them angry tools trying to gin up violence, particularly against women. At least we don’t (yet) have to deal with lifelong professional ratfvckers…

Mr. Trump and his backers have been aggressive in criticizing the process, fanning fears that his delegates will be “stolen” at the convention, as they have put it. One of Mr. Trump’s longtime associates, Roger Stone, has made the rounds on conservative radio to urge people to demonstrate en masse at the national convention in Cleveland in July. “Don’t let the Big Steal go forward without massive protests,” he said the other day on a radio program with Alex Jones, a host who has indulged conspiracy theories about tragedies like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Sandy Hook massacre. Mr. Stone has also threatened to post the hotel room numbers of delegates who switched their votes against Mr. Trump…



Trumpenfreude (Open Thread)

The Trump era continues to be comedy gold for Saturday Night Live. Last night’s opening segment totally nails one of the more amusing Trump apologists, Scottie Nell Hughes, and mocks Trump’s leering comments about his own daughter:

Meanwhile, over at the NYT, Maureen Dowd manages to get Trump to admit it was a mistake to retweet the Heidi Cruz photo and perhaps allow that his campaign manager should have apologized to the Brietbart reporter he yanked around.

Dowd is way more fair to Trump than she is to Hillary Clinton. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who is familiar with Dowd’s oeuvre.

Anyhoo, discuss whatever!



April Fools?

I honestly don’t know if this is real or not.



Burn Down the Whole Damned Town and Start With the Media

This shit drives me absolutely insane:

During a stop at a pizza joint in New York on Wednesday, John Kasich drew the mock ire of locals and reporters on Twitter as he used a fork.

On Thursday, Kasich explained himself.

“Look, look, the pizza came scalding hot, OK? And so I use a little fork,” the governor of Ohio told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “You know what? My wife who is on spring break with my daughters said, ’I’m proud of you. You finally learned how to use a utensil properly.’ But I mean — not only did I eat the pizza, I had the hot sausage. It was fantastic.”

Kasich, apparently recognizing his error, finished up using his hands, although he did not fold over the slice, as is customary.

I personally don’t give a god damned how Kasich eats his fucking pizza. I don’t care if he even eats pizza. What I do care about is the fact that this election cycle the media has given almost as much attention (and in some outfits, far more) to Kasich’s pizza choices than they have his horrifying record in Ohio with unions, gay people, and abortion, as well as what he did to teachers.



Everything Old is New Again

I’m in a more dyspeptic mood than usual today, so when this came across my news feed I almost went into Cole SMASH mode:

Hillary Clinton’s entourage — four big black cars plus her top aide Huma Abedin — was spotted outside Bergdorf Goodman on Wednesday morning waiting as the presidential hopeful got her $600 haircut.

According to one witness, “Hillary’s entourage was blocking traffic early this morning, and waiting as Hillary got her hair done before heading up to do an event at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.”

Clinton gets her hair done at the John Barrett Salon by John Barrett personally, who we previously reported charges $600 for a haircut, plus an extra $600 for color.

It’s not clear how much Clinton pays for a private audience with Barrett, and her reps didn’t respond to requests for comment. But usually, the store closes off a private entrance and elevator bank for her arrival.

They’re quite literally recycling anti-Clinton stories right now:

It may have been the most expensive haircut in history.

Two of Los Angeles International Airport’s four runways were shut down for nearly an hour on Tuesday, some incoming flights were delayed and Air Force One sat on the tarmac with engines running — all so that President Clinton’s Beverly Hills hairstylist, Chistophe, could come aboard and give Mr. Clinton a high-price trim before he took off for Washington.

Questions about Mr. Clinton’s runway razor cut dominated the White House news briefing today, with the communications director, George Stephanopoulos, scrambling to explain why the populist President tied up one of the country’s busiest airports to have his hair trimmed.

The author of that second piece on Bill Clinton- none other than Tom Friedman.

The simple fact of the matter is that no matter where the President or those under secret service protection go, it fucks things up. Blaming the protected for snarling traffic is just a lazy hit piece. She could have had her fucking hair cut there by me after a bottle of bathtub gin for the price of six bucks and a pokemon card and it would have fucked up traffic. It’s just how it is.

I hate our media.



Pre-Masticated GOP Town Hall Musings

When I was in eighth grade, a school administrator punished me for some transgression by handing me a putty knife and ordering me to scrape gum off the undersides of the lunchroom tables after school. That probably wouldn’t happen today for fear of injury, disease transmission or lawsuits.

There were many tables in the lunchroom, so I asked my tormenter if she expected me to scrape the gum off every one of them or a set number. She considered that for a moment and then asked me to bring 30 separate blobs of gum to her in a bag, at which point she’d consider my sentence completed.

I approached last night’s Republican town hall in the same spirit in which I tackled the gum-scraping job so many years ago. And just as the dean of girls counted each blob of gum before setting me free, I’ve considered each nugget that fell from the lips of the three candidates last night before identifying the choicest for your consideration. Don’t thank me; it’s just something I do.

Anyhoo, the thing that seems to be getting the most play in the post-town hall media analysis is that all three candidates walked back their earlier pledges to support the eventual nominee. I found that neither surprising nor remarkable. But Trump’s flailing on a simple question from an audience member was revealing:

If you can’t watch the video, there’s a transcript of this particular exchange at the wingnut Free Bacon rag. To summarize, Trump is asked to name the top three functions of the US government, and he says “security, security, security” and then adds healthcare, education and housing to round it out, which of course flies in the face of wingnut orthodoxy about the proper role of government.

Anderson Cooper does feebly attempt to pin Trump down on how the federal government comes into play on these issues, but Trump just sprays pre-chewed talking points (“Obamacare is a disaster,” etc.) and mostly gets away with that. He bullshits his way through his ill-considered initial response mostly successfully, I guess, because his heresy hasn’t made many headlines.

Well, not so far, anyway: Maybe Trump’s opponents will yet make an issue of this if they recognize Trump’s ramblings as a metaphorical putty knife they can use to scrape a particularly stubborn and obnoxious orange gum blob off the Table of Conservatism.

But what in the actual fuck was Trump trying to say? I don’t think even he knows. He has no clue how the federal government operates, but he wants the personal validation of being elected as its head. And if Trump has set his sights on Lady Liberty as his next trophy wife,* who are you losers to deny him his prize? It’s really that simple.

*Metaphor borrowed from Colbert, I think.