Open Thread: GOP Monkeys Dance for MotU Dollars — in Public!

Never a meteor around when you need one… From that Politico story:

The gathering – which also will include former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, but notably not Sen. Rand Paul — is hosted by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the umbrella group in the Kochs’ increasingly influential network of political and public policy outfits. It represents a major opportunity for the candidates at a pivotal moment in the presidential primary…

Freedom Partners’ annual summer conference is set for August 1 through August 3, and is expected to draw 450 of the biggest financiers of the right for sessions about the fiscally conservative policies and politics that animate the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch and many of the donors in their network. Most have the capability to write seven- or even eight-figure checks to the super PACs fueling the GOP presidential primary, and a significant proportion have yet to settle on a 2016 choice, or are considering supporting multiple candidates. That includes Charles and David Koch, as well as Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and hedge fund billionaires Paul Singer, both of whom will be represented at the conference by advisers, and a number of other attendees of past conferences whose 2016 leanings are being closely watched…

In addition to meetings with donors on the conference sidelines, the candidates will appear separately on-stage in individual question-and-answer sessions moderated by POLITICO’s Mike Allen.

The sessions are the second installment this year of Freedom Partners’ Policy Leader Forum series. Like the first forum – which took place in January and featured Sens. Cruz of Texas, Paul of Kentucky and Rubio of Florida – next month’s session will be streamed online to media outlets. And, in another dramatic step towards transparency for a network that has had a reputation for secrecy, Freedom Partners plans to invite some reporters into next month’s gathering to cover the forum and other sessions…

We no longer care what you grubby peons think about us auditioning new sockpuppets for “your” Presidency. What, after all, can you do to stop us?

Notice that, for all the “serious permanent GOP establishment” money he’s raked in already, JEB!’s not too proud to hustle out there and try to persuade David and Charles to stuff a few more millions down his g-string…

… By all accounts, the Koch brothers are still considering providing financial support to Paul, as well as the four rivals attending the seminar. There’s a possibility that the brothers might donate to more than one of those candidates, Charles Koch suggested in April.

But, while the Koch operation intends to spend nearly $889 million in the run-up to the 2016 election, it’s considered increasingly unlikely that it will formally align behind a GOP presidential contender in the primary, owing partly to the divided loyalties of its member donors.

“The Kochs are really careful not to impose their preferences on the seminar, except when it comes to free markets,” said Levin. “So, when it comes to the specific presidential choices, our role is more about giving people exposure to the candidates. We know we can come together when there is a nominee.”…

Because it’s not important to the Kochs, or their robber baron peers, which candidate ends up with the “K” brand on his rump, just as long as the brand is clearly legible.

The Party Of Deportation

As Greg Sargent points out, the latest CNN poll finds Republicans overwhelmingly want to deport some 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US by a nearly 2-1 margin.

By 56-42, Americans support developing a plan to legalize undocumented immigrants over stopping their flow and deporting those already here. Independents agree by 58-39, and moderates by 59-40.

But Republicans favor stopping the flow of undocumenteds and deporting those already here by 63-34. So do conservatives, by 55-43. “Those already here,” of course, amount to some 11 million people.

Now, it’s certainly possible that GOP support for deportation is inflated somewhat by the inclusion of securing the border on that side of the question. But even when the question is framed a bit less starkly, as a recent Post/ABC News poll did, a majority of Republicans does not think the undocumented should be allowed to live and work here even if they pay a fine and meet other requirements. This should not obscure the fact that a substantial number of Republicans are, in fact, open to legalization; it’s just that more of them apparently aren’t.

And as such, what the CNN numbers again confirm is that there is a deep and intractable divide between the two parties on what to do about the undocumented population. This fundamental underlying difference matters far more than Donald Trump’s vicious rhetoric, which (assuming he doesn’t run as a third party candidate) will likely prove ephemeral.

Indeed, the CNN poll hints at the demographic challenge the GOP will face after Trump fades and the only person still listening to his bluster is his reflection in the mirror. As Brian Beutler recently observed, the GOP effort to grapple with the Trump phenomenon without alienating his supporters throws into stark relief the basic divide among the GOP presidential candidates over how to get to the White House. Some (Jeb Bush) are arguing for a genuine effort to broaden the party’s appeal outside its core constituencies, while others (Scott Walker) are seemingly betting it all on an ability to energize still more Republican-friendly white voters. As Beutler argues, the rise of Trump illustrates in particularly harsh terms that Republicans may have to choose one or the other.

I’m pretty sure Trump’s rise shows that the Republicans can very much win as the party of deportation, demonization, and derangement. The anger stoked by decades of Republican “us vs them” rhetoric hasn’t just magically vanished now that Obama isn’t running, folks.

The appeal to “energize still more Republican-friendly white voters” is absolutely the ticket for these guys. “Those People(tm) are taking your jobs, your health care, your culture, your country, your taxpayer dollars, when will we get rid of them?” has been pretty effective throughout American history, guys.

There’s every reason to believe that this is where the GOP is now and will be for the rest of my lifetime, at least.

Open Thread: May This Internecine GOP Warfare Never End…

So, apparently one of Scott Walker’s fundraisers (as opposed to Scott Walker’s funders, David & Charles) called The Donald a hurtful name. Mr. Trump would not let this calumny stand. As reported by Dave Weigel in the Washington Post:

On Saturday Trump went for the hat trick, gleefully insulting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker because one of Walker’s fundraisers called the billionaire real estate mogul ‘DumbDumb.’

“Finally, I can attack!” Trump said at a packed rally at Oskaloosa High School. “Wisconsin’s doing terribly. It’s in turmoil. The roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them. They’re borrowing money like crazy. They projected a $1 billion surplus, and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2 billion. The schools are a disaster. The hospitals and education was a disaster. And he was totally in favor of Common Core!”

The mention of the state-driven education standards — from which Walker, like many Republican governors, has walked away — incited a prolonged boo. That was not enough for Trump, who told a story about Walker giving him a “beautiful plaque” out of gratitude for campaign donations and wondered if “Wisconsin paid for it.”

Republicans’ hopes of banishing Trump from their presidential primary may have wilted in the heat of the Iowa summer. On his first visit to the caucus state since the McCain insult, Trump drew a crowd of 1,300 in a city of 11,463. He cleaned up his remarks about veterans, from the stage and in the crowd. He talked with characteristic gusto about “killing in the polls and” securing a spot in the party’s first sanctioned debate, scheduled for Aug. 6.

“I’m going to be there,” Trump told reporters, “much to the chagrin of many people.”…

None of them Democrats!
The bit I highlighted would make a great campaign commercial — for the DNC. It is, after all, the truth. (Also, Walker calling anyone else dumb is a page right out of Rove’s playbook, but it would seem the Kochs haven’t been able to hire ratfvckers who can successfully override the perception that Scott Walker always looks and usually sounds like he’s just taken a 2×4 to the back of his head.)

And he (probably) can afford it, too — the Washington Post looked at the numbers, such as they are. Doesn’t mean Trump can win, of course (although anyone old enough to remember “No, no — Gary Cooper for President, Ronald Reagan for best friend!” will never say never to the American voters’ potential for inexplicable choices), but the more the “serious” GOP candidates insult him, the more incentive he has to keep running just for spite.

Open Thread: On Repubs (Not) Facing Down Trump

The NYTimes, at its most mealy-mouthed:

For all of Mr. Trump’s rivals, working hard at traditional political events runs the high risk that they will come across as, well, traditional politicians — the very sort he and many of his admirers are rebelling against in the race for the presidential nomination…

But those other candidates and their strategists say that they have little alternative right now to their current course. Lacking Mr. Trump’s attention-generating celebrity, wealth and chutzpah, they say they cannot beat him at his own game. Their best shot, they say, is in patiently and painstakingly organizing voters, raising money, preparing for debates and qualifying for all the primary ballots in the coming months to achieve what it takes to win the nomination….

Jeb Lund, at Rolling Stone:

..[W]hat really blows the GOP 2016 primary apart is something called Worthington’s Law, which states that “more money = better than.” The Republican Party has spent so many decades asserting the inerrant truth of financial social darwinism that Donald Trump is immediately the most important, smartest, wisest and best man for America out of all of them. If he weren’t, how did he make all that money? My god, just think of all the jobs he’s created via golf courses, casinos, exclusive USDA Prime Angus steakcraft, mattress sales, TV production and hotels. And what can they claim? Scott Walker’s basically a career government sponge. Marco Rubio’s cup of coffee in the private sector was a political favor, before he became a government sponge aided by a conservative sugar daddy. Ted Cruz was a lawyer and a government sponge. Jeb Bush? Ahahahaha, you didn’t build that.

Even the other candidates’ appeals to taste and professionalism fall flat. You can’t argue Donald Trump shouldn’t be making policy just because he’s rich when you’ve pushed for and won the complete gutting of the campaign finance system so rich people can write “FOR ZERO DERIVATIVES REGULATION” in the memo of a massive check. This is the system working. How is Trump any less qualified to determine policy than Sheldon Adelson, who may have mob ties in China, who likes to quash marijuana referenda to keep people away from vices that aren’t gambling, and who dictates our position on Israel? How is Trump less qualified to talk about abortion than ten-gallon shithead Foster Friess? Why is his money dirtier than the Kochs, whose exploding pipelines kill people? Hell, if anything, his candidacy cuts out the middleman. My god, think of the savings

We have to enjoy that kind of lunacy, because the underlying revelation is just too depressing — that all his antics and bloviation aside, Trump is the dark heart of the Republican Party in Carrara marble and brass… Nothing about Trump is new. His brutish, demonizing nativism merely echoes the last decade’s virulence and traces its roots to the “othering” aspects of the Southern Strategy. His twinned aggression and ignorance of foreign policy joins a proud tradition that started sometime around the moment the first conservative hijacked the Dolchstoßlegende to show how “liberals” lost us Vietnam after they lost us Cuba, China, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and — fuck it, why not? — Iran. Donald Trump is going to make us great and strong again without it costing a thing, just like the Eighties and the 2000s. His crass merchandizing and hucksterism falls right in with movement conservatism’s direct-mail history, and his claims to innate wisdom superiority as a wealthy dealmaker can be traced from the Gilded Age right up to Citizens United…

Open Thread: Trumpenfreude!

t-rump gop luckovich

(Mike Luckovich via

Okay, yeah, Trump’s the political equivalent of HFCS-frosted doritos with a side of low-fat ranch dressing, but for us Dems and devout cynics, he’s also the gift that will not stop giving. Like the herpes your cheating college ex just picked up during his late-night bar crawls, the more grief The Donald gives “his” party, the harder it becomes to hide our smirks. Could not happen to a more deserving bunch. This latest POLITICO cri du coeur “memo to Trump’s super fans” from “national Republican message and media strategist” Rick Wilson actually made me LOL…

Don’t be fooled by Trump’s double-digit lead in a new poll: He is not going to win. He’s not going to win the primary. He’s not going to win the general. He’s not going to win a third-party bid. Sure, he can damage the GOP ticket badly enough to guarantee Hillary’s election, but he can’t win. He’s too flawed, too liberal, too undisciplined and too afflicted with verbal dysentery when even slightly provoked. He lacks the fundamental presence and gravitas of a commander-in-chief…

Trump will lose, and Trump supporters will wake up with a combination I call “herpes and a hangover.” They may have had fun the night before, but they’ll regret the hangover for a day. However, if Trump’s games in this campaign lead to the election of Hillary Clinton, they’ll regret the herpes a lot longer.. Here, Trump enthusiasts, is what I’m hearing you say, and why you’re Hillary Clinton’s new best friends:

1. You’re angry as Hell, and by God, you’re going to teach the GOP a lesson. Even if it means (and it well may) that Hillary Clinton sits in the White House, names 3 or 4 Supreme Court justices and lets Bill run around the East Wing molesting the help, you’re going to teach the hated Establishment a lesson by becoming Trump Super Fans, even if he runs as a third party candidate and guarantees Her victory…

Brian Beutler, at TNR, on “Why Donald Trump Truly Terrifies Republicana“:

…[Some] Republicans hew to the theory, expressed numerically by RealClearPolitics analyst Sean Trende, that making inroads with minorities is not important. The key to winning, they believe, lies with activating a large block of the white electorate that has stood on the sidelines, but would find a natural home in a Republican party if it were led by someone who could channel the political mood of the white working class.

Donald Trump is currently performing the hugely important political task of adjudicating this intra-GOP debate. Running as a Republican, Trump has made both factions’ goals—and the overarching goal of winning the presidency—more elusive. But by stitching together all the performative qualities Republicans have nurtured on the right over the years—pomp and property worship, xenophobia and anti-establishmentarianism—he’s also showing us what it takes to stir the passions of these missing white voters. Most Republicans, quite sensibly, are horrified by what they see.

In years past, Republicans didn’t think of Trumpism as a liability so long as Trump was outside the tent pissing further out… Read more