Monday, February 1, 2016

And They’re Off

So tonight is the first event in the long road to next November.  And I’m already tired of this election.  Or, as someone somewhere noted, I am really running short of damns to give.  I just want it over with.

Don’t get me wrong: I care very much who wins the election.  A great deal is at stake as it is with every election.  The next president will probably choose at least one or more Supreme Court justice, and even a cursory glance at the rulings over the last five years shows just how important that selection can be, from Citizens United to Hobby Lobby.  Letting someone like Ted Cruz or even John Kasich choose a lifer for the court is enough to make Oliver Wendell Holmes spin in his grave.

What I object to is the way this campaign has become little more than a reality show on crack.  Even serious attempts by candidates to talk about the job that they will take up has been overwhelmed by the bullshit and infantile back-and-forth that would make a middle school bully proud.  I really don’t care if Ted Cruz is Canadian or Chris Christie has a large waistline; I even don’t care if Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server was in her basement or if Bernie Sanders is a socialist.  None of that will matter when war breaks out someplace in the world, a hurricane hits Miami, someone shoots up the Mall of America, or the economy takes a nosedive.

It would be really easy to blame all this on the media and the pundits, but we brought this on ourselves; if we didn’t want it, they wouldn’t sell it to us in between the commercials for adult underwear and cholesterol medicine.  I would hope that at some point we would rise up and say “Enough!” but given our penchant for ballyhoo and bunkum — there’s one born every minute — I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime between now and next November.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friday, November 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Call Me Maybe

Paul Ryan plays the reluctant hero.

Ryan spoke to the House GOP behind closed doors Tuesday and said if all factions can share his vision and he can get the endorsement of the major caucuses, then he will serve as speaker.

The news was confirmed by his spokesman Brendan Buck, who said according to reports, “If he is not a unifying figure for the conference, then he will not run.”


Ryan held a brief press conference after the meeting to lay out his vision for the speakership, if he were elected.

He said Republicans needed to move from being “an opposition party to an proposition party.” He also said he would seek updates to the House rules — a common demand by the conservative hardliners that roiled Speaker John Boehner’s tenure — “so everyone can be a more effective representative.”

He also said he would not sacrifice his time with his family and young children, a concern that had been raised by his allies as the speaker often spends weekends fundraising for members. He said he was still worried about the toll the role would take on his family, but added, “My greatest worry is the consequences of not stepping up.”

The 45-year-old Ryan, under intense pressure to seek the post, gave his colleagues until Friday to express their support.

That’s it; play hard to get.  That’s how Newt Gingrich got the job.  (Or was it his third wife?)  Anyway, Mr. Ryan is making it extremely easy for the hard-core right wing to flip him off and stick with Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), who thinks that subservient wives and flogging is the American Way.  So this whole “unity” thing; good luck, Paul.  The only time the GOP has ever been unified is when they’re determined to blow something up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Prediction

CLW has some thoughts on what’s going to happen to Donald Trump.

People keep referring in this to “the Trump campaign” like there’s a brain trust of strategists saying “OK, now we’ve done a great job ginning up support among anti-immigrants, now let’s stir up the anti-gay crowd by going after xxx, after that it’s the anti-gun nuts, then it’s the anti-China crowd, then…”.  I don’t think so.

I’ve been around more than a few people like Trump; he’s a whirling dervish.  He reads something or gets some tweet and it sets him off on some tangent, and then he goes out on his next event and goes wild on it.  In meetings with his people, doing his “management” as he calls it, he simply sucks the air out of the room.

He listens to no one, that’s why you keep hearing “the blacks/Latinos/Chinese/<whoever>, they love me!”  Because whenever he’s around people like that he never listens to a word they say.  He can’t hear their objections, or they are simply dumbstruck, and he interprets that as “love.”

The people on his “campaign” are simply holding on for dear life while he wheels from one thing to the next.  Just trying to make sure the hall is ready, and the frigging microphones work.  Because he decided last night, “hell with Des Moines, tomorrow we’re going to Albuquerque!”  No one is guiding this campaign, it’s just a personal crusade.

This may well be why it dies.  Could be after the primary, he could get nominated.  But when the campaign gets formal, when there needs to be some structure and discipline, when the carefully orchestrated and well paid-for attacks eventually come, his “campaign” won’t have a structured response.  Because he won’t let them prepare a response to the inevitable.  He’s saying “BS, we don’t need to worry about that look at the polls!”

So they’re down from 20+ opponents to just a couple, and when the attack comes he will flail.  He’ll get a calm, reasoned, and focused attack in a debate, and will go randomly off tangent.  Something in this painful, slow, and deliberate process will trip up his circus act.  And that will show that, indeed, the emperor has no clothes.

He’ll get pushed back on his heels, and then come out swinging wildly.  That won’t have the desired effect, and he’ll get more extreme.  That will only get a worse response, and he’ll finally say something really, really terrible — like call Obama a nigger, or Hillary a fucking bitch, or something just way over the line.  Reasonable people will say “no, really, you need to dial it back a notch”, and he’ll just go further.  Then he’ll become a cartoon of himself.

With any luck, this implosion will be “yuge” and the shrapnel will be widely dispersed — and since the party will have followed him down this rat hole, they’ll get painted with the same brush.  He’ll set the republican party back decades.  The down-ticket candidates will suffer, and maybe, just maybe we’ll get the congress back.

Fingers crossed that we know how to take advantage when it does happen.

Vis on this: his lack of a reasoned response to the inevitable “favorite bible verse” question.  Seriously?  If you had ANY kind of a campaign staff, that would be number one or two on the list for a person seeking a Republican nomination.

It would take ten seconds.  Some campaign adviser says “OK, let’s pick one, how about the golden rule?  Sound good? OK, so when that question comes that’s what you say.  Got it?  Good.  Now…”

But when the adviser comes in, he says “screw that, I’m good, have you seen the polls?” and blows them off.

And the softball goes un-hit.

If a year from now we are still talking about Donald Trump in any other fashion than “Hey, remember him?” I won’t know whether to be delighted, mortified, or scared shitless.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015