Friday Morning Open Thread: Falling into the Pit They Dug Themselves

trump ceremonial dumpster lighting luckvich

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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A little schadenfreude for breakfast, from the Washington Post“Did Paul Ryan just predict that Clinton will win in a landslide?”:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) sent an urgent fundraising appeal Thursday evening that warned: “If we fail to protect our majority in Congress, we could be handing President Hillary Clinton a blank check.”

Whether or not it was intentional, the phrase “blank check” has a political echo — one that suggests a deep fear by congressional Republicans that a sinking presidential candidate could take their majorities in the House and Senate with him, and that they are getting ready to desert him.

It goes back 20 years, to an infamous chapter in internecine Republican politics. In the weeks before the 1996 presidential election, as it became clearer and clearer that GOP nominee Bob Dole would not defeat incumbent president Bill Clinton, Republican operatives began urging their struggling congressional candidates to begin making the argument: “Let’s not give Clinton a blank check.”…

For Dole, the implication that even his own party had given up on him was a devastating blow.

One of Dole’s top strategists that year was Paul Manafort, who is now Trump’s campaign chairman. Dole’s personal assistant was Michael Glassner, who has worked for Trump’s campaign for more than a year. A number of other Dole staffers now work for Trump…

In the 1996 election, Republicans lost nine seats but managed to hold the House, the first time they had done so in consecutive elections in more than 60 years. This year, Republicans have a bigger cushion — their strongest House majority since 1930.

However, they also have a standard-bearer who is far more toxic. In 1996, Dole was viewed positively by most voters, even as he lost. Trump, on the other hand, has the most unfavorable ratings of any candidate ever to lead a major party ticket since the advent of polling…

I don’t know if this is actually Ryan trying to gin up the remaining hardcore Repub base, or just an accident of phrasing coming back around to bite him in the butt. Either way, I applaud anything that sparks further infighting and mutual recriminations among the Disloyal Opposition…

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Apart from spectacular dumpster fires — at GOP headquarters, or in Rio — what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?

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Late Night Open Thread: Real Billionaires Won’t Let Donald Sit at Their Lunch Table

Nothing personal, Donny. It’s just — let’s be honest — you couldn’t keep up with us. Not to mention that you’re poison on the markets…

All Donald has ever wanted is a little respect, his place in the spotlight, the chance to bask as a BMOC. This whole “I’ll run for President, *then* you’ll see, you’ll finally have to acknowledge me as one of your own” scheme just isn’t working out like it always did in his fantasies…
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Wednesday Evening Open Thread: To the Lifeboats! (Whaddaya Mean, ‘There ARE No Lifeboats’?)

Donald Trump’s campaign sent out an email to surrogates this week titled “URGENT PIVOT” as the campaign seeks to control the damage from Trump’s war of words with the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq.

The memo, obtained by The Hill, asks surrogates on Capitol Hill to coordinate messaging and push back on attacks on Trump.

“All — As usual, the media is working against our efforts and our messaging specifically as it relates to the tragic death of Capt. Humayun Khan,” Scott Mason, Trump’s director of congressional affairs, wrote…

Mason’s email, which was also sent to Trump aides including Rick Dearborn, MacKenzie Smith, Jeff Freeland and Adnan Jalil, demonstrates how serious Trump’s team is treating fallout from the Khan controversy…

Looks like that memo went out no later than Monday, so it’s not as if his team can realistically blame “the media” for keeping Trump’s insanely self-destructive behavior in the news.

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Apart from cheering (continued) confusion to our enemies, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Late Night Open Thread: Citrus Samson in the GOP Phillistines’ Temple

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Let a celebrity “billionaire” waste his own money & credibility running against Hillary Clinton in what looked like an election that was the Democrats’ to lose. If only those oh-so-religious Repubs had paid a little more attention to the stories in that Old Testament they’re so fond of selectively quoting…

With Ryan’s Wisconsin primary scheduled for next Tuesday, Trump praised the House speaker’s underdog opponent, Paul Nehlen, for running “a very good campaign.” Trump said that Ryan has sought his endorsement — an assertion that a Ryan spokesman denied later Tuesday — but that as of now he is only “giving it very serious consideration.”

“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump said. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”…

In making his comments Tuesday, Trump may have been seeking retribution for Ryan’s dragging his feet about endorsing Trump in May. Trump’s phrasing of his uncertainty about Ryan — “I’m just not quite there yet” — echoes what Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a May interview about endorsing Trump: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.”…

Ya think?


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Monday Evening Open Thread: Debating the “Master”

It was an actual “talent” when Trump was working to gin up publicity for one of his dubious business ventures, from his first slapdash condo developments up to his reality-tv triumphs. As a method for quashing discussion of his many many political gaffes, not so much…

Clinton’s campaign manager:


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