Late Night Las Vegas Horrorshow Leftovers Open Thread

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Schadenfreude Read: “Republican Billionaires Just Can’t Seem to Buy This Election”

Unlike the Blogmaster, if I can’t have a responsible press corps covering our politics — and of course we all know that’s not happening any time in the foreseeable future — I want them to take up as much space as possible detailing exactly how YOOOOGE a collection of idiots, losers & haters now populate the GOP’s Disloyal Opposition. Here’s an excellent example, from Gabriel Sherman for NYMag:

Rove’s 2012 crash is having profound effects on the 2016 Republican primary. To begin with, George W. Bush’s Brain is no longer considered much of a brain. “I gave Rove $500,000. What did I get for it? Nothing!” Langone told me. Two of Rove’s most generous 2012 funders, Texas billionaires Bob Perry and Harold Simmons, have since passed away, and their heirs have turned off the cash spigot. “Everyone is still shocked Romney lost,” says Simmons’s widow, Annette. “I haven’t committed at all.” So far this year, Crossroads has raised just $784,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Rove insists he’s still a player. “We’ll be involved in the Senate races,” he told me. “Depending on who the presidential nominee is, we may be involved in that, but that’s a long way off.” What Rove is not is anywhere near the center of the Republican Party. “But for his perch on Fox News, Karl would be in political Siberia,” says a top Republican strategist. “The going joke is that he must have a picture of Roger Ailes in his underwear to keep his contract.”

It’s not just that Rove is personally marginalized. Donors have awakened to the realization that topflight consultants can earn millions from campaigns regardless of whether they win. “It bothers a lot of people that politics has become a cottage industry. Everyone is taking a piece of this and a slice of that,” says California winemaker John Jordan, a former Rove donor. “Crossroads treated me like a child with these investor conference calls where they wouldn’t tell you what was really going on. They offered platitudes and a newsletter.”

Working under the assumption that they can support a campaign better themselves, donors are building their own organizations, staffed by operatives who report to them…

If you read the whole thing, you’ll see that (so far, at least) these billionaires are learning what billionaires usually learn whenever they step outside their own narrow fiefdoms: Winning always looks easier in retrospect, when you don’t see the frantic marathons, the near-misses, the many times competitors came thisclose to taking the medalist down. Who knew that a band of professional grifters calling themselves “campaign operatives” would be well-positioned to take advantage of every half-bright moneybag who strolled into their office with a grievance and a checkbook?….

Open Thread: What News of Ted Cruz, Stealth God-King Candidate?

Per the NYTimes, “Ted Cruz Questions Donald Trump’s ‘Judgment’ to Be President”

… [I]nside a conference room Wednesday in a Madison Avenue office, with about 70 people pressed around a table, Mr. Cruz gave his assessment of the race, lumping Mr. Trump with another candidate whose supporters the Texas senator hopes to poach, Ben Carson.

“Both of them I like and respect,” said Mr. Cruz, according to an audio recording of his comments provided by one attendee. “I don’t believe either one of them is going to be our president.”…

On the audio, after he described the “challenging question” facing Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson, Mr. Cruz went on to explain: “So my approach, much to the frustration of the media, has been to bear hug both of them, and smother them with love.”

He added: “People run as who they are. I believe gravity will bring both of those campaigns down” and “the lion’s share of their supporters come to us.”…

Mr. Cruz, questioned about the remarks on Thursday after a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, said he was “not going to comment on what I may or may not have said at a private fund-raiser.”…

In a decent world, that audio clip would be the 2016 version of Mitt Romney’s “47 Percent” fundraiser speech, if only because listening to Ted Cruz for even five minutes is an ordeal, and not just because of his revolting politics.

Unless, apparently, one is a Talibangelical hustler drafting on Rep. Steve ‘Pig Muck” King’s slice of the electorate: Read more

Dispatches From Bevinstan

The Kaiser Family Foundation discovers the problem with Kentucky and Medicaid expansion here now that Matt Bevin has taken office.

Majorities of Democrats (89%), Independents (75%), and even Republicans (54%) want to keep the state’s Medicaid expansion as is.

Of the people who voted for Matt Bevin last month, 50% want him to cut Medicaid.

My problem is with the 42% of Bevin voters who expect Bevin to keep Medicaid as is.  “Bevin won’t take coverage away from me“, they said. “Just, you know, those people.”  And Bevin may in fact figure out a way to do it.

But my guess is there’s going to be a substantial chunk of Bevin voters who are going to find out the hard way that when politicians tell you exactly who they are, you should believe them…

Late Night Open Thread: He Is Their Frontrunner

luck i am your frontrunner luckovich

(Mike Luckovich via

Jeb Lund, in the Guardian:

Trump cannily recognizes that his extremism bedevils establishment Republicans. Publicly saying things a chunk of the conservative base yells at reruns of Cops is bad form. It mars the high-class brand…

More pointedly, Trump shrewdly shifted the discussion from his polls to his policy. On Monday, Monmouth University published a poll showing Trump falling behind Texas senator Ted Cruz in Iowa. What would be a temporary setback for most candidates challenges Trump’s core appeal: that he is the strongest, most luxurious candidate in the field. You can’t trail when you sell invincibility, especially when the equally shrewd Ted Cruz makes no secret of drafting behind you in hopes of picking up your followers and refuses to give you any material by attacking you.

So the horserace journalism goes: Trump again leapt to the right, leaving establishment Republicans well to his left and daring real conservatives Cruz and Marco Rubio to either compromise their identities and follow suit or risk staying put and looking like centrists. If political cleverness is the widest setting on your moral aperture, this is great.

The shrewd left doesn’t do much better. The argument you will hear is that shutting our borders to all Muslims only aids Isis by feeding into their narrative of an America at war with Islam itself and, by extension, all Muslims. They aren’t wrong. That’s a persuasive argument, but if that’s America’s default appeal, we all need to put on a chain mail suit, run through the rain and try to make babies with an electrical transformer. We’ve outlived our decency.

Sometimes it’s enough for an idea to merely be stupid, wretched, inhumane and, if we need a fourth for bridge, unconstitutional. Sometimes a refusal to be morally impoverished is reason enough. Sometimes, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, we can point to a meringued trash golem effervescing with sewage ideas like Donald Trump and say: “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”…