Wednesday Morning Open Thread: The RNC Clown Show Continues

gop 2016 convention condolences davies

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)
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The people responsible for writing the 2016 GOP platform are… divided. Per Buzzfeed:

[A] growing number of delegates — unofficially labeled as “the brevity caucus” — [have become] frustrated with the volume and complexity of its party’s platform. These delegates believe the more than 60-page draft platform is straying from its original purpose of communicating the party’s principles to voters and veering off into unnecessary, wonky debates.

“There’s two main camps right now: There’s a small group, who want to use this for door-knocking,” said Ben Barringer, a delegate from Iowa. “The other groups wants to use it to holding legislators accountable. They want to be more verbose.”…

Graves later told BuzzFeed News in an interview that the platform committee included “frustrated policy wonks” and that the platform was getting too long and complicated to share with the average voter.

“It needs to be more of a communications tool and not the Magna Carta,” she said. “I don’t know who reads these many, many pages.”…

Checking off every single ideological box is a trademark of parties whose members feel doomed to minority status, and this year’s Repubs have a long, long list of boxes to check.

Per the Washington Post:

The Republican Party on Tuesday moved closer to firmly embracing a series of staunchly conservative positions on abortion, gay rights, gun rights and immigration reform in a platform document that takes sharp aim at Obama administration policies and reinforces long-standing party orthodoxy on major issues.

Among the specific policies the platform committee endorsed here is a “border wall” that would cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”…

There was widespread agreement on the party’s position on economic and national security issues and the tougher stance on social issues reinforced the party’s conservative view despite Trump’s calls for relaxed abortion restrictions and his support for some rights for gay and transgender Americans.

Trump was barely mentioned by the 112-member platform committee, composed mostly of longtime conservative activists. The candidate and his team had little presence during the discussions, ceding the details of the platform to party faithful…

And then the last Republican president showed up on everybody’s social media feeds, just to remind us how bad things were, and could be again…


(via The Hill)

Solemn, formal occasions have always been difficult for Dubya to endure, but trying to start a line dance at a memorial service is… special.



Late Night Cast-A-Cold-Eye Thread: Monitoring the GOP Platform

It’s a political truism that presidential party platforms are only useful for two reasons — to pacify the fringe elements lest they become disruptive during the convention proper, or to provide material for the other side’s oppo research teams. From the reports I’ve seen, so far the DNC has achieved the first goal, and the RNC is busy #WINNING the second.

Reid Epstein, in the Wall Street Journal. “Republicans Descend on Cleveland: What to Watch”:

… After 19 months of intraparty campaigning, the coming fortnight figures to be a break from the quadrennial made-for-TV events to which American political conventions have evolved. There are for the first time in generations serious questions about what the GOP will stand for, in addition to whether it will indeed nominate Donald Trump as its standard-bearer…

The platform discussions that begin today will offer the first signals of Mr. Trump’s hold on the party he aims to lead. The New York businessman is of course under no obligation to follow the GOP platform. Past nominees including Mitt Romney, John McCain and Bob Dole have ignored or disagreed with large portions of the official platforms when they ran for president.

But with Mr. Trump thumbing his nose at leading Republicans on a host of issues – trade, gay rights and immigration, to name three that are expected to be flash points this week – the GOP platform is an opportunity for activists to either embrace his positions as the new stamp of the party, or offer a formal resistance. Activists who dedicate their careers to specific issues have descended on Cleveland already to make sure they have input on the party’s platform…

And so far, according to TIME, the revanchists and Talibangelicals are firmly in control:

As GOP delegates gather in Cleveland to formulate the party’s principles document, social conservative priorities have dominated the discussion, with several provisions opposition same-sex marriage and endorsing controversial conversion therapy passing preliminary votes Monday. The platform committee approved several of the measures in a sometimes-heated discussion between social conservatives and more moderate Republicans that represent a more conservative shift from the draft platform authored by Republican National Committee staff and outside advisors. But the platform committee softened language calling for legislation in opposition to transgender protections pushed by the Obama administration.

Among the provisions is an assessment that internet pornography is a “public health crisis.”…
Read more



Monday Morning Open Thread: Onwards!

mr mack companions

From commentor Mr. Mack:

Can’t have a preponderance of cat pics, amirite?

Back in the political world, the Washington Post is tired of trying to reason with some people

Both are unpopular. Only one is a threat.
…[T]he two major-party candidates for president are historically unpopular. But if this election is unusually bad, it is not because both parties chose bad candidates. There is no equivalence between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — as even responsible Republicans should be able to recognize.

Ms. Clinton is a knowledgeable politician who has been vetted many times over. She understands and respects the U.S. Constitution. She knows policy. She can cite accomplishments in the public interest, such as pressing through an important children’s health insurance program during her husband’s administration. As a senator, she was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She completed four years as secretary of state to generally positive reviews. She began her presidential campaign by rolling out a series of serious policy papers…

Mr. Trump, by contrast, has waged a campaign based on bigotry, ignorance and resentment. He has no experience as a public servant, and his private record of bankruptcies and exploitation should be disqualifying. He regularly circulates falsehoods. He has no dis­cern­ible interest in or knowledge of policy…

…[T]o equate the two candidates as indistinguishably unqualified products of a rigged or failed system only feeds public cynicism while blurring distinctions that should not be blurred. Ms. Clinton is a politician, long in the arena, whom you may or may not support. Mr. Trump is a danger to the republic.

Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?



Open Thread: President HRClinton Promises Ponies All ‘Round

but no unicorn ponies! (Why does she hate progressives who love unicorns?!?)… Given the NYTimes‘ reflexive anti-Clinton (and anti-Obama) bias, this isn’t too bad a profile:

Should she win the presidency, Hillary Clinton would quickly try to find common ground with Republicans on an immigration overhaul and infrastructure spending, risking the wrath of liberals who would like nothing more than to twist the knife in a wounded opposition party.

In her first 100 days, she would also tap women to make up half of her cabinet in hopes of bringing a new tone and collaborative sensibility to Washington, while also looking past Wall Street to places like Silicon Valley for talent — perhaps wooing Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, and maybe asking Tim Cook from Apple to become the first openly gay cabinet secretary…

Her opening might be a narrow one. She faces skepticism on the right about her willingness to compromise and her potential use of executive actions, and there is outright suspicion on the left that she might sell out progressive goals for the sake of bipartisan action with Republicans.

Still, Democrats close to her say she has a real touch with power brokers in both parties that could yield surprising results…

Her calculation is that she will be dealing with a Republican Party that is deeply fractured and demoralized after the defeat of Mr. Trump, whose leaders will be searching for ways to show they can govern and to court Hispanics if Mr. Trump loses badly with them. Mrs. Clinton also thinks a huge Democratic turnout this fall would put the Senate back in her party’s hands, while Speaker Paul D. Ryan and the Republicans would have a reduced majority in the House.

What Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Clinton do not know — but regularly explore in conversations, according to friends — is whether Republican leaders, even if their power is diminished, would be in a mood to cooperate…

Mrs. Clinton has assigned three top aides — Ann O’Leary, Ed Meier and Sara Latham — to oversee transition planning, reporting to Mr. Podesta. Clinton advisers say they do not expect Mr. Clinton to be constantly visible in the early months beyond whatever duties Mrs. Clinton gives him on economic policy and foreign affairs. The Clintons’ priority is that he does not do anything that distracts from her agenda or overshadows her as the country gets used to having a former president (and a man) in the role of first spouse…



Late Night Open Thread: President Obama on Populists (& Nativists)

Via persistent commentor JPL. It seems to have gone over well with the audience…



Elizabeth Warren & Hillary Clinton in Cincinnati

Let’s see if this CNN clip will work (looks fine on my screen, but who knos the ways of FYWP?). Just in case, here’s the link.

Separate videos (where I saw this first) available at Mother Jones:

Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren took a little trip to Ohio today to see the sights, do some antiquing, and eviscerate Donald Trump…

They have a pretty good buddy cop situation going on here. Maybe Clinton will make her VP after all?

Sigh. Why must y’all keep trying to steal my senior Senator? (Yes, I will most certainly reconcile myself if necessary, but I’d love to see Senator Warren leading the Senate under President Clinton.)

Local news outlet Cleveland.com:

Standing under large art deco murals of workers at Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, Clinton and Warren called for regulations on Wall Street, punishing companies that send jobs overseas, making college debt-free and raising taxes on the rich…

“We’ve got to go big and we’ve got to go bold,” Clinton said to a crowd of hundreds, their loud cheers amplified in the cavernous terminal lobby. “We need to take the frustration, the fear, the anxiety and yes, the anger. And after we have vented it, we’ve got to work together.”

Clinton pledged: “I will not raise taxes on the middle class. But we are going to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy.”
Read more



Sunday Evening Open Thread: Fun with Numbers

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?