America’s Rage Puppet


I remember clearly when Donald Trump’s birther crusade stopped being funny. There was never anything truly comical about it, of course; it was always an outrageous racist lie concocted to delegitimize the first black president. But living in a nation of 320M people, a not-negligible percentage of whom are raving idiots, we learn to laugh. Baratunde Thurston taught me to stop laughing and see the tragedy of it.

When President Obama produced his “long-form” birth certificate in 2011, I perceived it as a president hilariously smacking down an absurd, malignant, preening blowhard. Thurston saw it as an affirmation that the president — and by extension Thurston himself, and all other black people — were still less than full citizens. Even with a black man in the Oval Office.

Five years later, we’ve come full circle. That very same absurd, malignant, preening blowhard — whose birther antics should have banished him from the company of serious people forever — has instead been elevated to head one of our two major political parties. And this time, he’s telling Hillary Clinton, and by extension all women, that their aspirations are illegitimate and that they are less than full citizens.

Trump’s vile misogyny and painfully obvious lack of basic human decency — and more importantly, its echoes from tens of millions of our fellow Americans — have tarnished what should have been a joyous celebration of a historical milestone. We see them. We understand the implications.


Trump had help from nearly the entire GOP establishment, the Beltway media, his abhorrent family, his pack of ghastly political operatives, the Putin-reanimated remnants of the KGB and a self-important wanker with a grudge residing in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London as a fugitive from justice.

But that’s only the latest cast of characters. The hit has been out for Hillary Clinton ever since she emerged from Arkansas as a woman with a national profile and an agenda of her own.

During the recent debate, Clinton called Trump Putin’s puppet, and good for her. It’s about goddamned time someone said as much while the country was listening.

But Trump is not just Putin’s puppet. He’s America’s rage puppet, dancing in a fury because change is coming — no, it is here. And there are so many hands on the strings. That’s the tragedy of it.

Not Ready To Make Nice

This was the first thing I saw this morning and love it. I’m still pissed about this.

There will be no recipe thread tonight. Honestly I’m not even sure where my kitchen is right now. The puppy has used up the one functional brain cell I had remaining. I’ll try for a pup and kitteh update later.

Maybe we can convince Adam to stop palling around the rich and famous and cook something up for us.

What nasty things do you have planned for today. Open thread!

Polling Goodies, Plus Right for the Wrong Reasons

New polling results released by Bloomberg today look good for Clinton:


An excerpt from the accompanying analysis:

Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Trump by 9 percentage points in the survey of likely voters, taken after a leaked video prompted a series of women to come forward alleging the Republican made unwanted sexual advances.

Support for Trump among critical groups of voters, including men and the less educated, has weakened in the campaign’s closing days, a trajectory that could translate into a landslide loss for Republicans in the Electoral College and setbacks in down-ballot races that will determine control of the House and Senate.

“This poll shows movement toward Clinton with all the right groups it takes to win—including men and those without a college degree,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey ahead of the final debate Wednesday. “Their alignment with Clinton is a formidable change in the algebra.”

And to think I used to hate algebra!

In other good news from an unexpected quarter, Lil’ Marco is apparently immune to the Assange fanboi fever that has gripped the rest of the GOP:

Sen. Marco Rubio tells ABC News Republicans are making a mistake by jumping on allegedly hacked emails released by Wikileaks to criticize Hillary Clinton. In fact, he says he won’t talk about the hacked emails at all.

“As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it,” Rubio tells ABC news. “Further, I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us.”

Now, we know Lil’ Marco lacks the courage of any conviction except his belief that he should be reelected to the no-show senate job he is on record disdaining. He has endorsed the presidential candidate he once rightly called out as a dangerous, unqualified conman in a transparent attempt to save his own bacon.

So why is he willing to indulge in truth-telling about WikiLeaks and its role as Putin’s cat’s paw as Russia attempts to interfere with a U.S. election? My guess is he’s seen polling that scares the bejeebus out of him and is attempting to micro-target specific groups in Florida.

Rubio is walking a tightrope over twin vats of boiling acid — the Trumpenproletariet in the Florida interior and panhandle on one side and reflexive Cold Warriors in South Florida on the other. He dares not offend the former by repudiating Trump and is attempting to curry favor with the latter by taking a shot at the revanchist Putin.

Lil’ Marco might also be optimistically calculating that when he runs against President Hillary Clinton in 2020, Putin might prefer to continue to deal with the incumbent rather than a callow, empty suit who built his political identity around a phony “Cuban exile” story. Ironically, Rubio may be the rare case where WikiLeaks apologists like Greenwald and Billmon, who like to tar fellow Democrats with the “red baiter” brush, might actually have a point.

But however he arrived at it, Rubio is correct to reject attempts by a foreign power to screw with our election. So is the nation of Ecuador, which has done us the favor of putting the proper name to that exercise while our own Beltway press mostly ignores Putin’s brazen power play in favor of hunting bits of salacious political gossip.

Late Night Farce Open Thread: Another Brilliant Trump Ploy

At this point, I figure the kids are giving Deadbeat Donnie free reign, so that after the November 8th fiasco they can use his actions to sue for a medical conservatorship.

(Next fun chapter of this Dickensian saga involves Ivanka & Jared tussling expensively with Don Jr. & Eric over who gets the keys and the twitter passwords… with Melania, standing in for Barron, in a supporting role. Key question: Which party gets custody of Mark Halperin?)

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McCain’s Own Goal

Walnuts has today’s dumbest unforced error and wins the Ted Cruz medal for negative political acumen. Attempting to fire up his base, he said the following:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested Monday that the Republican party’s months-long refusal to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court could extend into the next administration if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said on WPHT Philadelphia radio in an interview first flagged by CNN. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority.”

Realizing that was absolutely insane, his staff quickly walked back the remarks:

McCain’s office walked his remarks back hours later, saying he would vote for individual nominees based on their record and experience.

“Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees,” communications director Rachael Dean told TPM in a statement. “That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career.”

So now, he’s said something insane, alienating moderates, and said something sane, alienating the Trump voters who already hate him and have threatened to not support down ballot candidates who aren’t with Trump. Considering Arizona is possibly in play, this might be the end of Walnuts. He’s up 15, but you never know in a wave election.

The Battle to Liberate DC Has Begun

Well, battle plans are being drawn, anyway. Please forgive the Politico link:

As Democrats aim to capitalize on this year’s Republican turmoil and start building back their own decimated bench, former Attorney General Eric Holder will chair a new umbrella group focused on redistricting reform—with the aim of taking on the gerrymandering that’s left the party behind in statehouses and made winning a House majority far more difficult.

The new group, called the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was developed in close consultation with the White House. President Barack Obama himself has now identified the group—which will coordinate campaign strategy, direct fundraising, organize ballot initiatives and put together legal challenges to state redistricting maps—as the main focus of his political activity once he leaves office.

It’s hard to overestimate just how B a FD this could be if PBO and AG Holder put their considerable talents and influence behind it — and get the rest of us onboard, as a good community organizer will surely do. I know several of you have joined me in hoping that President Obama would choose something huge and truly change-making to focus on when he leaves the White House as a relatively young man with enormous popularity.

I was thinking voting rights, which could certainly fall under the purview of the initiative described above. What are these feels I’m feeling? Could it be…hope?

Early Morning Eye Roll Open Thread: Trump’s Not on Drugs, He’s Just Lost His Tiny Mind

Was just re-reading an old Agatha Christie mystery where a rich, dishonest businessman is murdered by one of his kids, before he can dissipate the family fortune as a result of suffering from “general paralysis of insanity“. That diagnosis has fallen out of general use, because it’s the result of third-stage syphilis, and (for the moment) we’ve got drugs to forestall its progression. But maybe Trump wasn’t kidding when he referred to his 70s-era sexual predations as “my personal Vietnam”