Mushroom Crowd

This morning, Trump told Republican House members “these crowds” will fizzle if they don’t pass the Trumpcare bill. Via CNN:

In the single biggest political test of his presidency thus far, the President is looking to carry the Obamacare repeal and replace bill across the finish line. In a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, his message was blunt: You could lose re-election if you don’t vote for this legislation.

It was clear, lawmakers said, that Trump was energized by the supporters that had come out for him Monday night in Louisville, Kentucky. But that support may not last, he warned.

“We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” Trump said, according to a source in the room.

He later added: “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.”

What Dollar General off-brand crack is Trump smoking? GOP House members are getting crowds alright — angry, jeering mobs, even in deep red districts. I don’t know if they’ll follow the marmalade hairball over the cliff on this or not, but the crowds they’re worrying about are the irate mobs they’re ducking back home, not Trump’s idiotic Nuremburg reenactments.

Open thread.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: You Repubs Think You’re Sick of This Crap?


Apart from saying I TOLD YOU SO, what’s on the agenda for the day?

The testimony of Mr. Comey and that of Adm. Michael S. Rogers, his National Security Agency counterpart, will most likely enervate and distract Mr. Trump’s administration for weeks, if not longer… But it’s the obsessiveness and ferocity of Mr. Trump’s pushback against the Russian allegations, often untethered from fact or tact, that is making an uncertain situation worse.

Mr. Trump’s allies have begun to wonder if his need for self-expression, often on social media, will exceed his instinct for self-preservation, with disastrous results both for the president and for a party whose fate is now tightly tied to his.

And Mr. Trump’s fixation on fighting is undermining his credibility at a time when he needs to toggle from go-it-alone executive action to collaborative congressional action on ambitious health care, budget and infrastructure legislation…

The problem, from the perspective of Mr. Trump’s beleaguered political fire brigade, is that the president insists on dealing with crises by creating new ones — so surrogates, repeating talking points the president himself ignores, say they often feel like human shields….

Focus groups and polls conducted by two Democratic strategists this month have shown that many voters, even some who support Mr. Trump, have grown weary of his tweets as president. That was also borne out by a Fox News poll last week, showing that a mere 35 percent of Trump voters approve of his Twitter habits, and that only 16 percent of all voters approve of them. Some 32 percent said they “wish he’d be more careful” with his feed.

“His tweeting defines him, and not in a good way,” said Geoff Garin, a veteran Democratic pollster. “Voters not only think Trump’s use of Twitter is unpresidential, they also see the tone and content of his tweets as an indication that he is lacking in self-control.”…


Open Thread: Professional ‘Christians’, Whited Sepulcher Edition

Let it not be forgotten — Erick ‘Voice of the GOP Gated Community’ Erickson is studying for a theology degree. He knows his interpretation is the very opposite of what his professed Messiah preached, but he knows even better that the GOP leaders he’s sucking up to worship Ayn Rand a lot more fervently than that antique domestic terrorist Yeshuah ben Joseph. Nick Kristoff, in the NYTimes:

Then spoke Pious Paul of Ryan: “But teacher, is that wise? When you cure her, she learns dependency. Then the poor won’t take care of themselves, knowing that you’ll always bail them out! You must teach them personal responsibility!”

They were interrupted by 10 lepers who stood at a distance and shouted, “Jesus, have pity on us.”

“NO!” shouted Pious Paul. “Jesus! You don’t have time. We have a cocktail party fund-raiser in the temple. And don’t worry about them — they’ve already got health care access.”

Jesus turned to Pious Paul, puzzled.

“Why, they can pray for a cure,” Pious Paul explained. “I call that universal health care access.”…

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The Way We Live Now: A Simple, Marketable Primer for Dealing with the Toddler-in-Chief

Okay, President-Asterisk Trump is not working nearly as effectively as his biggest boosters hoped, in those heady days after the election. But you deal with the gulls you have, not the gulls you wished you had, so… Politico founders and self-styled machers Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen share some #Savvy in their newest venture, Axios:

Top CEOs have a new First Customer. With President Trump taking a hands-on approach to negotiations, here are five tips for surviving and thriving — based on conversations with executives, aides and friends who have battled Trump in private and found some success…

Get to the table, whether you love him or not. Trump is a transactional guy with unformed views on many topics. He frequently seeks advice and occasionally takes it. While it might feel right to buckle to pressure and refuse meetings, you lose your leverage, instantly and profoundly.

Give him something he can call a win. Trump has an elastic view of winning, as seen by his trumpeting of companies announcing new U.S. jobs that were set in motion long before the president won. He NEEDS something to tweet, but often needs the specifics filled in, several business leaders told us…

Find and exploit common ground — on people, real estate, politics or private aircraft… He has a surface-level-at-best understanding of most policies, so going in for arcane policy discussions doesn’t work.

Know he’s a vindictive guy who harbors grudges long beyond the moment. If you refuse to meet with him or put out anti-Trump messages, prepare to suffer revenge. He pays close attention to critics, and his aides hand him printouts of anti-Trump statements made by people or companies they don’t like. They have a notional enemies list that gets used for everything from rejecting appointments to key jobs, to deciding who gets a voice in policy debates.

Work Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. Both men sit it on key meetings, and often get Trump alone afterward to shape reaction and follow-up to interaction. Both are accessible by text and cell, and like playing the role of the Trump whisperer.

Then sit back and pray he doesn’t whack you with a Saturday morning tweet…

Just think of Trump as a sort of half-bright talking bear with access to vast wealth and powerful quasi-military resources. Prepare to trick him into sharing the first with you, without unleashing the second on you. Contact us for more tips and our very affordable consulting rate sheet!

This is the sort of world-weary how-it-works handout that used to be standard for business-journal articles about third-world dictators like Idi Amin or Muammar Gaddafi.


Town Hall Report

I used to have a nice, sane Democrat representing me in Congress, but earlier this year, district lines were redrawn, and we ended up with wingnut knob Vern Buchanan.

He had a town hall today. I was there. So were thousands of others. Buchanan had to switch to a larger venue due to the avalanche of RSVPs.

Here’s the line to get in:

Here’s a truly deranged asshole who was waving a Trump flag and screaming at the crowd about John Podesta being a “Satanic pedophile.”

Trumpcare would eliminate coverage for services that man desperately needs, which is one reason I oppose it! Read more

Early Morning Open Thread: Is Our Press Corpse Learning?

Interesting, if true:

Late Night TGIF Open Thread: Cartoon Villains

Long weeks and longer hours at every newsroom these days — the occupants get a little punch-drunk…

And then there’s this dude…

Per The A.V. Club:

Given that Stone was also hit by a car this week, it says something about what a piece of work he is that we don’t feel all that terrible about the days-long lampooning his Inauguration Day duds have been getting of late. Dig your way past assertions that he was in contact with Russian hackers during the election, and you still run into decades worth of racist comments, Nixon adoration, Alex Jones-guesting, and general sack-of-shittery that tempers our normally storied empathy, especially when the jokes are this good. While multiple Twitter users took their shots at Stone’s top-hat-and-goggles ensemble, it was writer @SpookPerson—a.k.a. “Goth Ms. Frizzle”—who took him on as a comedy muse, putting together 70 or so legitimately sick burns over the course of a couple of hours…

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