Open Thread: Will Mitt Be Donald’s New Best Friend?

Pathetic. At least there’s a crumb of glee knowing that PEOTUS Gimme-My-KFC probably didn’t enjoy his frog-legs-and-sirloin plutocratic parody dinner. From the Washington Post:

Stephen Pagliuca, who worked with Romney at Bain Capital and has socialized with Trump, urged advisers to the president-elect to press Trump to name Romney for the State Department job…

Pagliuca, a co-owner of the Boston Celtics and a Democrat, said he knew something that others didn’t. When he golfed with Trump at a Boston-area course some years ago, Trump had talked at length about how much he admired Bain Capital, a private equity firm that Romney led until 1999.

Today, as Pagliuca and other Romney backers see it, Trump, 70, and the 69-year-old Romney had far more in common than many realize: Both came to prominence as risk takers and dealmakers, and both have spent much of their lives seeking to emulate and outdo the success of their fathers. Trump’s father, Fred, was a New York City developer, and Romney’s father, George, was a governor of Michigan who unsuccessfully sought the presidency…

One of these things is not quite like the other, though it’s true that Romney has always fretted about not coming up to his sire’s standards. Also, much as it irks me to give him any credit, Romney is an actual billionaire and has prior governing experience — as if that last would mean anything to Accident-Elect Smallgloves. I can certainly see him hungering to demonstrate for the world that he’s more alpha than the Mormon on the White Horse…

And, of course, Romney is willing to debase himself in hopes of becoming the GOP John Kerry. Which may or may not work out for him:

At least Romney, while spineless and untrustworthy as an ally, is neither full-bore crazy (Bolton) nor corrupt to the bone (Giuliani). Cold comfort, eh?



Late Night Open Thread: One Could Almost Feel Sorry for Romney

… Except, y’know, the silly bastid is willfully submitting himself to this shiteshow. Per AP:

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is heading the transition effort, teased “a number of very important announcements tomorrow” as he exited Trump Tower Monday night.

Pence is said to be among those backing Romney for State. Romney was fiercely critical of Trump throughout the campaign but is interested in the Cabinet position, and they discussed it during a lengthy meeting earlier this month.

Other top Trump allies, notably campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, have launched a highly unusual public campaign to warn the president-elect that nominating Romney would be seen as a betrayal by his supporters. Conway’s comments stirred speculation that she is seeking to either force Trump’s hand or give him cover for ultimately passing over Romney.

Three people close to the transition team said Trump had been aware that Conway planned to voice her opinion, both on Twitter and in television interviews. They disputed reports that Trump was furious at her and suggested his decision to consider additional candidates instead highlighted her influence…

Trump was also considering former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for Homeland Security secretary, according to those close to the transition process. Giuliani was initially the front-runner for State and is still in the mix. But questions about his overseas business dealings, as well as the mayor’s public campaigning for the job, have given Trump pause…

Yeah, among the many things I hold against Trump is that he’s made Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney look like the good, sane alternative for a powerful political office. Mitt’s certainly touched some nerves among the Trump Crime Cartel, though…

I kinda like Josh Barro’s theory…

Remember the calculus for the C-listers who signed up with Trump early.

They debased themselves by signing up with a candidate who was widely considered ridiculous and unacceptable by Republican insiders. In exchange, they would line up — in the unlikely event Trump won — for administration jobs for which they would otherwise be considered laughably unsuitable.

This calculus seems to have worked out for Michael Flynn and perhaps Ben Carson. But a Romney appointment would be a severe threat to the dynamic the Trump sycophants depend on.

If a consummate party establishmentarian who did not support Trump — indeed, one who said Trump was “playing the American public for suckers” — can be forgiven and given a top job, what role would be left for Rudy Giuliani or Mike Huckabee?…


Read more



More GOP Debate Open Thread

Fox News livestream here.

Guardian liveblog here.



Please Proceed, Governor

I admit it. I’m only posting this so I can use that title.

Mitt Romney did his blind pig act today, speaking truth, up to a point, to the looming power that is breaking the china at what should have been the dancing-horse-rider’s-husband’s party:

“If we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished,” Romney said in a nationally televised speech at the University of Utah…

“Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark. He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong. He spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong. He saw no such thing. He imagined it…He’s not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as leader. His imagination must not be married to real power”

“Mr. Trump has changed his positions, not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign, and on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row. We will only know if he’s the real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns and his tape of the interview with the New York Times. I predict there are more bomb shells in his tax returns,” Romney said. “I predict he told The New York Times that his immigration talk is just that, talk.”

[via TPM]

James_Ward_-_Ferrets_-_Google_Art_Project

R-Money being who he is, the reason he gave for the urgency in stopping Trump was not for The Donald’s sin of describing Republican views and gut-feelings accurately, but because it would ensure a Clinton presidency — and that family is, of course, simply too gauche, too nouveau for true representatives of better-established dishonest money to accept.

But thanks anyway, [former] Governor! Plenty of good stuff there for ads in the fall.

Or, as the man said:  please proceed.

Image:  James Ward, Ferrets, undated, before 1860.



Late Night Open Thread: CPAC 2016 – There Will Be Blood Sweat &Tears

Professional cynic Jim Newell, in Slate, “CPAC Is Irrelevant”:

… To look at the schedule for the three-day conference is to look at a movement in denial. There’s no indication on paper that a television-performing nationalist is overthrowing conservatism as the engine of the Republican Party. One early Thursday panel, “Three Approaches to Conservatism,” featuring Sen. Ben Sasse, Rick Santorum, Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of staff, and libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, is probably not going to delve into the conservative literature behind Donald Trump’s approach of calling his rivals mean names on television. Speaker Paul Ryan’s session about conservative approaches to poverty will offer few ideas that migrate into Donald Trump’s nonexistent policy platform. The panel on “How to Grow Conservatism” will have its work cut out for it, now that Trump’s candidacy has revealed how the real motivating force behind the Republican Party is nationalism and #winning instead of ideological conservatism…

Expect Trump to be greeted with some coldness at CPAC when he delivers his speech Saturday morning. He will throw out some sops to conservatives, mostly about his immigration proposals. But he doesn’t need to. The conservative movement’s opinion is of little value to Trump. That is going to make this CPAC at once a historic snapshot of a movement in existential crisis, and unusually irrelevant to the outcome of the Republican presidential race...

Politico, of course, is extremely interested in the stage machinery behind Trump’s CPAC speech…

Donald Trump’s speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday is prompting an acrimonious backlash from the conservative critics desperately trying to mount a last-ditch campaign to block the GOP presidential front-runner from winning the party’s nomination.

A top aide to Trump rival Marco Rubio has accused CPAC organizers of being in the tank for Trump and clearing the way for his acceptance into mainstream conservatism, while an anti-Trump super PAC is pressuring organizers to rescind their invitation to the surging GOP front-runner.

Potentially complicating matters further, sources tell POLITICO that Trump has made multiple donations ― including a $50,000 check last year ― to the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC. That dwarfs the amounts donated in recent years by allies of Trump’s rivals, all of whom are also scheduled to speak at the annual gathering, and seems likely to fuel already percolating suspicions among his opponents that the ACU has its thumb on the scale for Trump.

Even by the standards of CPAC, which over the decades has been in the middle of more than its share of contentious fights about the future of the conservative movement, the one brewing around this year’s gathering is shaping up as historic ― and historically nasty…

Yeah, CPAC’s always been pay-to-play — but that Drumpf guy can afford to buy up all the slots! My heartstrings remain unplucked; if Donald Douchenozzle takes down the ACU on his voyage to damnation, that would be one small credit in his favor.

Today’s hot Repub topic Mitt Romney, Man on a Dancing White Horse, will not be at CPAC. Per the Boston Globe:

Mitt Romney is planning to give a speech on Thursday morning about the “state of the 2016 presidential race,” a further reflection of the 2012 Republican nominee’s efforts to influence a presidential contest that has been rocked by the rise of Donald Trump.

Romney is planning to speak from the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah at 11:30 a.m., hours before the Republican presidential candidates gather in Michigan for another debate. It also comes two days after Trump swept up many state contests on Super Tuesday, including Massachusetts, where Romney governed for four years.

A source close to Romney said, “this is not an endorsement or announcement of candidacy,” adding that the former Massachusetts governor wanted to speak about “the state of the 2016 presidential race and the choices facing the Republican Party and the country.”…

The only actual sources I can find on Romney’s purported candidacy announcement are gauzy some people say wishcasts from the NYTimes and a frenetic “bombshell” from Infowars tying him to the Koch Brothers (which does not seem plausible, just from the personalties of the billionaires in question). Maybe my Google-fu just isn’t strong enough…



Open Thread: Return of the Romney-ites

The people behind the ad, per Politico:

With less than two weeks until the Iowa caucuses, a new super PAC has formed with the intention of taking down Donald Trump.

The group, which is called Our Principles PAC, is founded by Katie Packer, a veteran Republican strategist who served as deputy campaign manager on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign…

Packer declined to say whether she had spoken with Romney about the group. The 2012 GOP nominee has been privately expressing worry to former aides about Trump’s ongoing lead in the primary.

With the start of primary voting just days away, much of the talk in establishment GOP circles about mounting a sustained anti-Trump campaign has dissipated. Castellanos, a veteran GOP ad man, recently said that it was “too late” for those concerned about Trump to begin a media campaign against him…

So like the R-Money people, to show up with a high-dollar product just a little too late to do any good.

Although it’s probably just as well for us Dems that this ad didn’t show up sooner, because the guy they quote would’ve made a pretty good progressive candidate, and that would confuse the simple honest Iowa caucus-goers.



Open Thread: Ted Cruz, Hoist by His Own Wet Fart

Dana Milbank, in the Washington Post, “Ted Cruz gets burned by the birther fires he stoked”:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) last week made his latest appeal to the U.S. nativist fringe by naming Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) as a national co-chairman of his presidential campaign. King, called a “courageous conservative” and “incredible leader” by Cruz, is the anti-immigrant hard-liner who spoke of Mexican immigrants having “calves the size of cantaloupes” and who was a prominent birther.

Raising raised questions about President Obama’s birth certificate, voiced doubts that Obama had been born in the United States, floated the idea that Obama’s birth announcement in Hawaiian newspapers may have been placed “by telegram from Kenya,” and alleged that Obama “was not raised with an American experience.”

So we’re entitled to savor some schadenfreude now as Cruz himself gets caught in the birther web. Donald Trump’s questioning of Cruz’s status as a natural-born American and, therefore, his eligibility to be president is rough justice. Cruz, like Trump, has stoked the fires of resentment and xenophobia, so it’s entirely fitting that he gets burned…

Like Cruz foe John McCain (the 2008 Republican presidential nominee said Cruz’s eligibility is a “legitimate question”), Democratic leaders have been happy to see Cruz twist in the wind. “I do think there is a distinction between John McCain being born to a family serving our country in Panama and someone born in another country,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Thursday…

Of course this charge is going nowhere, except to the wilder fringes, but — as in the famous LBJ anecdote concerning a whispering campaign that his opponent enjoyed sexual congress with barnyard animals, “We can make him deny it.” Read more