Friday Morning Open Thread: Let Us Savor

Actually, I think Romney sleeps in a full business suit, because it’s what makes him most comfortable, but let’s just set that aside. Lead story in the Washington Post
Time for GOP panic? Establishment worried Carson or Trump might win“:

Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet…

“The rest of the field is still wishing upon a star that Trump and Carson are going to ­self-destruct,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former adviser to 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. But, he said, “they have to be made to self-destruct. . . . Nothing has happened at this point to dislodge Trump or Carson.”…

A reminder: That would be Eric “Etch-A-Sketch” Fehrnstrom, whose contempt for the average Repub voter did not exactly help his boss’s 2012 campaign. Not that he’d let that influence his professional opinion in 2015, of course.

For months, the GOP professional class assumed Trump and Carson would fizzle with time. Voters would get serious, the thinking went, after seeing the outsiders share a stage with more experienced politicians at the first debate. Or when summer turned to fall, kids went back to school and parents had time to assess the candidates. Or after the second, third or fourth debates, certainly.

None of that happened, of course, leaving establishment figures disoriented…

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, herself an outsider who rode the tea party wave into office five years ago, explained the phenomenon.

“You have a lot of people who were told that if we got a majority in the House and a majority in the Senate, then life was gonna be great,” she said in an interview Thursday. “What you’re seeing is that people are angry. Where’s the change? Why aren’t there bills on the president’s desk every day for him to veto? They’re saying, ‘Look, what you said would happen didn’t happen, so we’re going to go with anyone who hasn’t been elected.’ ”…

Said Austin Barbour, a veteran operative and fundraiser now advising former Florida governor Jeb Bush: “If we don’t have the right [nominee], we could lose the Senate, and we could face losses in the House. Those are very, very real concerns. If we’re not careful and we nominate Trump, we’re looking at a race like Barry Goldwater in 1964 or George McGovern in 1972, getting beat up across the board because of our nominee.” …

We promised those dumb voters every good Repub would get a pony that shat money! And now they’re screaming for their ponies, the ungrateful rubes!…

And a Canadian japester chimes in:

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Apart from enjoying the scent of schadenfreude in the morning air (smells like flop sweat, with an under-note of antacids and faint hints of currency stacks set aflame), what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Open Thread: At Play in the Fields of the Lordly

Politico spills the beans:

DEER VALLEY, Utah — Mitt Romney is working with an unlikely collaborator — Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who bankrolled Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign — in the hopes of ensuring that the GOP primary produces a mainstream conservative without any of the mayhem that marked his own race.

The two, who speak monthly, aim to convince the wealthy contributors bankrolling various candidates to work together to avoid the kind of primary election chaos that Romney believes laid the seeds for his defeat in 2012. The former Massachusetts governor is also considering endorsing a candidate to achieve his goal…

It was all on display at the E2 Summit this week, which drew around 250 of his most loyal donors and prominent supporters to the Stein Eriksen Lodge, a luxurious five-star ski resort…

For a failed nominee who waged a presidential bid that many in his party found disappointing, Romney maintains a striking degree of influence. In part, it’s because of his unique mix of business acumen and political skills, but it’s also a recognition of his deep access to the complex, jungle-like world of super PAC donors. In a party that lacks a unifying figure, he’s eager to fill the void…

As the Washington Post sees it, “Republican elite convene at Romney summit in search of a Clinton foil“:

… Republicans have 10 declared candidates and counting, but they have no front-runner — not even the descendant of the closest thing the GOP has to a royal family. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has struggled ahead of his official campaign launch on Monday, and he skipped the Romney confab because he was in Europe.

The fluidity gave the hopefuls who came — from top-tier favorites (Rubio and Walker) to dark horses (Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie) to long shots (Graham and former Silicon Valley executive Carly Fiorina) — an opening to court the business-friendly, establishment financiers who powered Romney to the nomination in 2012. Many of the donors are either helping multiple candidates or holding out until a likely winner emerges…

Looming over the three-day retreat at the Stein Eriksen Lodge was Hillary Rodham Clinton, the dominant Democratic candidate, who will kick-start her presidential campaign with a rally Saturday in New York. In hotel hallways, on ski-slope hikes and in fire-pit huddles, leading Republicans pondered how to win — and acknowledged that Clinton cannot be underestimated…

Read more



Friday Morning Open Thread: Mitt Romney Is Not Going Away

And you thought your weekend looked unappetizing. From the Time article, “Rich Republican Donors Get VIP Retreat Treatment“:

Call it Club Med for the political mega-donors…

The event offers high-profile and high net-worth individuals the opportunity to gather in picturesque Deer Valley, Utah, and the chance to meet with at least six presidential candidates.

Graham and Rubio will be joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. According to the schedule… only Rubio and Graham will lead “enthusiast sessions” — the early morning extra-curricular events for the approximately 250 attendees.

The conference was born in 2012 as a way for donors to mingle with Romney, the then-presumptive Republican presidential nominee…

… but this year, it’s the official rich-WASP GOP-Establishment “Anybody But That Bumbling Retread JEB” donor symposium. Rubio’s handlers will attempt to burnish his shadow-JFK cred with a dawn game of flag football, Graham will attempt to burnish his macho cred by shooting skeet, Mitt will introduce the rising generation — both his son Tagg and Gilead Handmaid-in-Waiting Kelly Ayotte — to his fellow Wall Street machers during forced marches dawn hikes. And Anne Romney will lead the well-toned wives in Pilates, with the assistance of quasi-journalist and premier Media Village Idiot Mark Halperin. I’m rooting for injuries, or maybe just expecting them (c’mon, Marco playing tackle? Lindsey with a gun? Crazy-Eyes Taggart on a lonely trail with a bunch of jetlagged, hungover hedge fund managers?… )

For the less athletically inclined (or physically capable), Scott “Sockpuppet” Walker will be given a fair chance to assure the assembled moneybags that he’ll show them the same level of care & consideration he’s notorious for providing the Koch brothers, while Fiorina, Christie, and Kasich serve as comic relief / backup pole performers.

Or maybe…



Late Night Open Thread: Dolla, Dolla

“If those tacky Clintons want to attract a little tax-deductible funding at their family charity, why can’t they find a more tasteful way of soliciting?”

CNN notes that Romney demonstrated some skill at “ducking and dodging”, but they didn’t make the obvious political jokes.



Friday Morning Open Thread: Fairy Tales Can Come True…

gop slather on science block luckovich

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
.

Or: What if they announced a horse race & nobody came? Dylan Byers, Politico‘s most gullible staffer, prayerfully calls upon the mighty powers of social media:

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second: This is Hillary Clinton’s election to lose. On Nov. 8, 2016, Clinton will start — start — with a minimum 247 of the 270 electoral votes she needs to win…

The conventional wisdom among Clinton’s supporters is that Clinton is invincible, because she has already weathered all the storms of media scrutiny… This argument overlooks two important factors: First, the national media have never been more primed to take down Hillary Clinton (and, by the same token, elevate a Republican candidate)…

Second, the media environment is radically different from the 1990s or even the 2000s. The power and volume of social media means that controversies can be both disseminated and elevated to unprecedented levels. In today’s media environment, nothing with even a whiff of gunpowder comes across the transom without blowing up, because blowing stuff up is what the media do. Or, as Daniel Henninger notes in today’s Wall Street Journal, the “electronic elements have reached critical mass … [and] the new political media that will drive the 2016 presidential contest are like the surface of the oceans — huge, always moving, unpredictable and potentially destructive.”…

And right on cue (creative disruption!), a Washington Post exclusive: arising from the political depths

Mitt Romney, who earlier this year decided against a third presidential bid after briefly flirting with a run, will jump back into the national political scene next month when he hosts GOP presidential hopefuls and some of the party’s biggest donors in Utah…

Confirmed speakers from the likely 2016 Republican field include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, long seen as a Romney rival due to tensions between their camps, was invited but will not attend…

Yeah, ’cause somebody has so much dough of his own that he needn’t risk getting the luzer stink on him, not to mention the best advisors

One of Jeb Bush’s top advisers on Israel: George W. Bush
After spending months distancing himself from his family’s political legacy, Jeb Bush surprised a group of Manhattan financiers this week by naming his brother, former president George W. Bush, as his most influential counselor on U.S.-Israel policy.

“If you want to know who I listen to for advice, it’s him,” Bush said Tuesday, speaking to a crowd of high-powered investors at the Metropolitan Club, according to four people present. The Republicans in the room spoke on the condition of anonymity to divulge information about the private meeting….

Oh, c’mon — if it weren’t for nepotism, John Ellis Bush would be, at best, a mid-level vice-president in a Miami real estate development empire.
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Apart from SODH (shaking our damn heads), what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya…

One suspects he’ll recover, somehow [warning: Politico link]:

… The Republican made his name in politics working for George H.W. Bush in the 1980 presidential campaign. He was, in the parlance of Bushworld, “With Bush Before Iowa,” meaning he was on board before the long shot even won the 1980 caucuses. Kaufman went on to serve as political director in the Bush 41 White House and has remained close email buddies with the former president. He’s deeply involved in Bush’s presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M.

In recent years, he has mixed rainmaking lobbying with his RNC work, fundraising and Romney advocacy. When Romney was the Massachusetts governor, Kaufman effectively served as his liaison to Republican Washington. As early as 2005, Kaufman was squiring the governor around the capital and helping him secure support for an eventual White House bid…

As Driftglass would say: There’s a club; you’re not in it.



Open Thread: Mitt-igating Circumstances

Romney

 

“What do you mean ”you’re not running again”, Dad?”

Open thread.