Thursday Night Open Thread: Let’s You and Them Fight!

As a famous Republican strategist would say: Let. Us. Savor…

Any chance Trump will actually offer Sean Hannity his VP ticket, or is that a dream too far for us luzers & haterz?


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Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Be of (Comparatively) Good Cheer

Yes, we must all buckle down and do our very damndest to ensure Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes our next President. But at least we’re not any of these guys!


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Open Thread: (Character) Assassins on the Loose in Indiana!

This is 2016, and #LeeHarveyOswald is trending on Twitter, because such is the state of the Republican presidential campaign. Per Politico:

Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged that Ted Cruz’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin shortly before he murdered the president, parroting a National Enquirer story claiming that Rafael Cruz was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963…

“I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?” Trump continued. “It’s horrible.”

Trump’s tangent followed his rebuke of Rafael Cruz using the pulpit to court evangelicals for his son.

“I implore, I exhort every member of the body of Christ to vote according to the word of God and vote for the candidate that stands on the word of God and on the Constitution of the United States of America,” Rafael Cruz said in a video clip aired by Fox News. “And I am convinced that man is my son, Ted Cruz. The alternative could be the destruction of America.”

Asked to respond, Trump called it a disgrace. “I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to do it. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to say it,” he said, before touting his support from Jerry Falwell Jr. and other evangelical leaders.

“You look at so many of the ministers that are backing me, and they’re backing me more so than they’re backing Cruz, and I’m winning the evangelical vote,” Trump continued. “It’s disgraceful that his father can go out and do that. And just — and so many people are angry about it. And the evangelicals are angry about it, the way he does that.”…

Failgunner Ted promptly returned fire, per the LA Times:

“This man is a pathological liar,” Cruz said. “He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”…

Cruz called Trump “a narcissist at a level that I don’t think this country has ever seen. … Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald.” Not only that, Cruz said, Trump is “utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him.”…

For good measure, Cruz also called Trump a “serial philanderer.”

“And he boasts about it … describes his battle with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam,” Cruz added…

Me, I’m rooting for injuries. But the Sad! part — to quote one contestant — is that we all know where this will devolve, once Cruz has lost his final primaries…



Sunday Evening Open Thread: (Further) Confusion to Our Enemies!

From the NYTimes, “Turbulent Race Could Mean Cash Crunch for Republican National Committee”:

Confronted with a prolonged presidential nomination fight and two leading candidates whom donors are uneasy about, the Republican National Committee could be contending with a cash crunch that limits its ability to pour resources into battleground states…

The R.N.C. reported having just over $15 million in the bank at the end of February. But at the close of the last financial reporting period about $4.5 million of that money was restricted to costs such as payments for its headquarters and legal affairs. In 2008, the party had over $21 million on hand at the same point in the race, and more than $23 million in 2012.

The money worries come as many high-level party strategists in Washington and swing states are beginning to worry that the R.N.C. will be unable to fully fund what are called “victory programs,” the money sent to the most competitive states for organizing and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Hard-fought presidential states like Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania also have Republican-held Senate seats up for grabs this year, and the results may determine who controls the Senate

Mr. Spicer confirmed that the R.N.C. is in discussions with all three Republican presidential campaigns about joint fundraising agreements, as reported by the Washington Post. But Senator Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, candidates facing longer odds, may have little incentive to raise funds for the party. And Donald J. Trump has no major fundraising network to turn to, and will have to build from scratch…

Who would ever have suspected that an exhaustively winnowed trio of IGMFY narcissists would be less than interested in providing support to lesser members of “their” party? Or that the GOP donor class, as every individual refines their very special demands, would fail to coalesce around a single candidate?

And if that isn’t enough enjoyment for a Sunday evening, Tim Mak at the Daily Beast reports on “The Secret Movement to Draft General James Mattis for President”:

An anonymous group of conservative billionaires is ready to place their bets on a man dubbed “Mad Dog,” hoping to draft him into the presidential race to confront Donald Trump.

Think of it as a Plan B should Trump be nominated by the Republican Party in Cleveland: swing behind retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis and press him into service yet again as a third-party candidate…

“Everyone is hoping that Ted Cruz pulls it out, but I think a great deal of Republicans would rally behind an American hero if the choice is between Mattis and Trump,” said John Noonan, a former Jeb Bush aide now involved in the project to draft Mattis…

The strategy would not be for Mattis to win, at least at first—the operatives behind this potential bid would only be seeking to deny Trump and Clinton the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the general election outright…

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Apart from checking the popcorn stocks, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?



Late Night Open Thread: Schadenfreude Strikes Again

As though anyone with a historical memory extending back more than six months ever expected Donald Trump to stand by a signed pledge, once it became inconvenient.

For fairness (and because I enjoyed it), Jim Newell raises the question “Why Did Ted Cruz Spend Seven Months Sucking Up to Donald Trump?”:

“If you look at a number of the candidates that took on Donald Trump early on,” Sen. Ted Cruz told Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes on Wednesday, “they ended up as roadkill.”

These comments mark the first public occasion of Cruz describing the rationale behind his roughly seven-month strategy of kissing Donald Trump’s ass. Seven months ago seems like a quaint and gentler time in American politics, considering that Trump and his allies are now, for example, pushing the message that Heidi Cruz is Thomas Eagleton without the looks. These garbage attacks, which are really happening, worked the usually self-possessed Cruz into a lather on Thursday, culminating in Cruz calling Trump a “sniveling coward.” (He was not so enraged, however, as to rule out supporting Trump should he become the nominee. Country comes first.)…

Cruz is a smart, calculating politician, and surely from the beginning he recognized that Trump was a nightmarish fraud. The reasoning here that he didn’t go after his principal rival for the nomination because he was worried about Trump trouncing him confirms cowardice on his part. It also promotes a causal myth about why those other candidates who did go after Trump became “roadkill.” Worst of all, it portrays the relationship that Cruz sought with Trump too innocently. He wasn’t making an end-run around Trump so much as he was using Trump as a tackle to clear his own lane through the field…

What’s most inexcusable and morally shameful about Cruz during this time—and he would probably agree—is the way he stood down during some of Trump’s vilest moments…

I agree with Cole that Cruz would be an even worse president than Trump, if only because Cruz has actual plans and goals were he to reach the Oval Office. On the other hand, I also think Ted Cruz is such a repellant excuse for a human being, even by Repub standards, that if a coup is attempted at the Cleveland convention the stalking horse will be “Anyone But Ted Cruz.” (Probably Paul Ryan, if he’ll offer Kasich the VP slot, although Willard Romney can never be ruled out of fruitless contention). Someone at TNR said Cruz seemed to be “fetal pig tissue grown in an old cowboy boot”, which sums up his affect nicely.



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Welcome…

gop reality mar 16 danziger

(Jeff Danziger’s website)
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Per Raw Story, Lindsay Graham reminds his fellow Repubs they had a better choice, but noooo….

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) predicted on Thursday that Republicans would “probably” lose the 2016 presidential race because both of the leading GOP candidates were unappealing to most voters.

After ending his 2016 bid for the Republican nomination, Graham begrudgingly decided to back Cruz, a man who he once joked about murdering. In fact, Graham said earlier this year that choosing between Cruz and Donald Trump was “like being shot or poisoned. What does it really matter?”…

Video at the link, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Apart from sweet sweet schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Saturday Funnies Open Thread: Trump’s Not For Dumping

trump cat swallows gop elephant toles

(Tom Toles via GoComics.com)
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There’s something in the conservatives’ favorite book about falling into the pit one has dug… The Washington Post, company paper for the town where the monopoly industry is politics, reports:

A secretive group of Republican operatives and conservative leaders convened Thursday morning for more than three hours to discuss ways to unite the right against Donald Trump, with a presentation about the feasibility of mounting a third-party challenge as well as extensive deliberations about whether a coalition of anti-Trump forces could prevent the billionaire mogul from securing the party’s presidential nomination at the July convention in Cleveland.

“It’s certainly not too late,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said as he left the session. “You could get another party on the ballot. A candidate could be picked as late as August…”…

At Esquire, Mr. Charles P. Pierce disagrees:

… What influence do these people truly believe they have? If their alternative is Tailgunner Ted Cruz, an oleaginous and friendless theocrat with a very serious political messiah complex, how dare they decide that He, Trump is outside the mainstream? If their alternative is not Cruz, then what in the hell do they think they’re about, anyway?

The notion of a Third Way candidate in Cleveland is patently absurd. For one thing, the threat of a Trump uprising is not an idle one, especially if he shows up with north of 1000 delegates. Second, what makes them think that Cruz will get out of the way for, say, Paul Ryan or, worse, Willard Romney? Even if you accept the notion that He, Trump is not the perfect manifestation of the conservative prion disease afflicting the Republicans, and I don’t for a moment accept that, you cannot deny that Cruz is an even more perfect product of the Party’s madness. After all, he will show up with a boatload of votes fairly won over the previous seven months, a legitimate claim to be the party’s second choice, and his profound belief that the Deity has marked him to lead this nation to Canaan. Who’s going to tell him he’s wrong? Quin Hillyer? And is there any doubt that both He, Trump and the Tailgunner are greasy enough to enter into an ad hoc alliance to blow the whole thing sky high if they don’t get what they want?…

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag, is even more dismissive of the “GOP Cabal”:

… This and many accounts of schemes to rig the convention against Trump — or otherwise keep him out of the White House through means other than beating him in the primaries — generally suffer from an extreme overvaluation of the ability of Republicans to reach and execute a complex coordinated strategy. If they had that capacity, would 17 people have run for president in this cycle? Would it have taken the Establishment so long to settle on a candidate that it basically did not matter? Does anyone in particular really strike you as having the power to “broker” a brokered convention, and if so, what have they been waiting for?

Some seem to put faith in the Republican National Committee and Reince Priebus to orchestrate things to a successful conclusion. And it’s true the RNC may not have a “putative” nominee telling him and the quadrennial army of convention volunteers exactly what to do every moment of the day leading up to and through the convention. But that doesn’t mean the party hacks will be free to do what they want. No, any surviving candidates, including presumably Trump and Cruz, will demand input on every single decision, no matter how minor. There will be no “private,” much less “secret” meetings at which deals go down; there will instead exist the special transparency imposed on people who don’t trust each other at all.

Right now, the only people who look likely to head to Cleveland knowing exactly what they want and being able to communicate with each other without fearing an imminent knife in the back are the candidates and their loyal retainers, for whom the elevation of their lord and god to the nomination is not just the first but the only consideration. Everyone else may well look as feckless as the conservative revolutionaries who sounded like a threat to Trump until it became apparent they couldn’t find their butts with both hands…

Politico found someone (admittedly, a self-professed Democrat) to run the numbers and deduce that “At this point in the race, it would be very hard, if not nearly impossible, to qualify a third party or independent candidate in enough states to come close to winning 270 electoral votes.”

And the Guardian has the lowest blow of all: “Who can stop Trump? Republicans may have little choice but to vote Clinton”.
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Apart from sweet, sweet schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the day?