Browsing the archives for the Republican Party category.


Clash of the Unpopular Titans

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Bad Hair, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

Or, what if they gave an election and nobody voted?

It says in the Washington Post:

Never in the history of the Post-ABC poll have the two major party nominees been viewed as harshly as Clinton and Trump.

Nearly 6 in 10 registered voters say they have negative impressions of both major candidates. Overall, Clinton’s net negative rating among registered voters is minus-16,  while Trump’s is minus-17, though Trump’s numbers have improved since March.

It takes some real talent for our two major political parties to  (presumably) nominate two people most voters don’t like.

At this point, the two candidates are in a statistical dead heat among registered voters, with Trump favored by 46 percent and Clinton favored by 44 percent. That represents an 11-point shift toward the presumptive Republican nominee since March. Among all adults, Clinton holds a six-point lead
(48 percent to 42 percent), down from 18 points in March.

This data about the close race between Clinton and Trump have gotten a lot of attention, but as many rightly point out, these numbers are likely to shift significantly before the election and don’t mean that much now. I still think Clinton will beat him.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has given Clinton a stiff challenge in the contest for the Democratic nomination, enjoys the most positive rating of the three. Among registered voters, Sanders is net positive — 49 percent to 41 percent — and has seen his image improve steadily the longer he has been a candidate.

He needed more time and public exposure to introduce himself to people before the primaries started. The Democratic establishment and mass media denied him that.

But what I really want to write about is, it appears the general election campaign will be between two unpopular candidates. How did that happen? And what does that say about the status of democracy in America?

First, this tells me the political system is being played, and not by the people. An honest competition actually decided by the people ought to have given us more popular candidates. What we’re seeing is a symptom of managed democracy, a term usually aimed at Vladimir Putin’s Russia but which, many argue, describes the United States.  In a paper about managed democracy in Russia, we find,

According to Tretyakov’s definition, managed democracy is a democracy (as there are elections, voters have alternative options, there is media freedom, leaders are changing), but it is corrected by the ruling class (or rather that part of it that holds power).

Put another way, this is why we can’t have nice things. We aren’t really in charge.

See also Ted Morgan in Salon, “This Isn’t How a Democracy Should Work.”

But the managing is happening in different ways in the two parties. If anything, Trump is a management failure.  He is not the guy the ruling class wanted. The faux populism the Right has cultivated so well all these years got out of control; thus, Trump.

Clearly, the Republican Party also has lost control of the nominating process; they barely controlled it in 2012.  Relaxed campaign finance laws allowed any clown into the race who could talk a few wealthy people into bankrolling him. Candidates on the Republican side more or less were independent franchises who didn’t need the RNC.

However, it’s also the case that the guy with the biggest fundraising chops, Jeb Bush, couldn’t sell himself to voters. One does wonder if he would have done much better with fewer, and saner, competitors.

With Hillary Clinton, we’ve got the candidate the Democratic Party elite chose over a year ago, and as I’ve said many times already, if she loses in the fall, that’s on her. And on them. She is a monumentally unwise choice. Not only is she unpopular, but as Queen of the Status Quo she is just plain wrong for the public mood. Her only advantage in this election is Trump; she may be wrong for the times; she may be a bad choice; but he’s absolutely appalling.

I hope the lesson the Democrats take from this is that competition is good. In the future, please don’t presume to choose the candidate for us. Give us a slate of candidates, and let us choose.

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They Won’t Know What Hit Them

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Democratic Party, Republican Party

We’re watching the Republican Party crack up. I expect it to survive, but the party that emerges from the current implosion will likely not be exactly the same one we’ve been dealing with in recent years. A realignment will happen on the Right. I don’t expect “movement conservatism” and the influence of phonies like Paul Ryan to completely go away, but I do think, if Trump loses as badly as I think he will, the surviving Republican Party will be eager to sever any ties to teabaggerism. I also suspect that what emerges will be prepared to downplay social conservatism and “religious right” issues in favor of economic and foreign policies. That would be a “best case” for the GOP, though, and I’ll come back to this in a bit.

Meanwhile, let’s look at the Democrats. Thomas Frank wrote in exasperation about self-satisfied, complacent Democrats. Bow howdy, does he have them pegged. Party insiders and loyalists apparently think the Democratic Party has found the winning formula for glory and doesn’t have to change a thing.

For example, Rick Perlstein wrote in The Nation,

What are the prospects for a realignment of American politics? On the Democratic side, practically nil. The presidential front-runner—the one with the endorsements of 15 out of 18 sitting Democratic governors, 40 out of 44 senators, and 161 out of 188 House members—is running a campaign explicitly opposed to fundamental transformation. Her signature campaign promise—no new taxes on households making $250,000 or less—renders serious change impossible.

Note that Perlstein appears to see nothing wrong with this.

The chance for her opponent to win the nomination approaches mathematical impossibility. He is running as a “revolutionary.” But governing is a team sport. If, by some miracle, Bernie Sanders entered the White House in January, he would do so naked and alone—in command of a party apparatus less prepared ideologically, institutionally, and legislatively to do great things than at any other time in its history.

One side promises competence. The other promises the impossible. This is the Democratic Party in 2016.

The pathetic truth is that even if a miracle were to occur and Sanders won the nomination and the White House, he wouldn’t face obstruction just from Republicans. Most Democrats would probably try to destroy his administration also, to see to it that he accomplishes nothing and has only one term. Never forget that the Clintons own the DNC.

Perlstein’s comments were part of an article in which three people offered opinions on a potential political re-alignment of the two major parties. The first individual wrote about how cute it was that young people can organize using those social media things, although of course none of this will ever have any impact on the two major parties, in which the grown ups do stuff. The second comments were Perlstein’s, and the third guy, named Daniel Schlozman, apparently thinks that the future will lumber along about like the recent past.

Democrats and republicans will likely spend the coming decades as they have the last eight: fighting over the legacy of the New Deal, respectively defending and assailing its commitments to a robust welfare state and a mixed economy. …

With their own house largely in order, the New Dealers’ proverbial grandchildren watch with both fascination and horror the lurid spectacle of a Republican Party whose contradictions have, in the unlikely figure of Donald Trump, finally come to the fore.

According to Schlozman, then, the Democrats’ house is largely in order, and they are watching the Republicans crack up from a safe and secure distance.

Here’s the thing — first, all these complacent Democrats apparently are determined to overlook the fact that their darling candidate, queen of complacency and competence, has still failed to clinch the nomination with pledged delegates and will probably need the superdelegates at the convention to close the deal. And her only rival is an elderly socialist who was not a nationally recognized figure until recently and not formally part of the Democratic Party until last year.

The degree of their determination to not see the implications of this fact rivals that of General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. Never have so many eyes been so avowedly glued shut.

Since she does own the DNC, and the convention is the DNC’s party, there’s little question Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. And in Donald Trump, Hillary has hit the opponent lottery. He is tailor-made for her long-practiced shtick of feigning martyred feminist victimhood while promising testosterone-on-steroids toughness, especially on foreign policy. Even better, if his crude bigotries become the center of the fall campaign she can look principled and serious without having to defend her own record on anything. Win/win!

And, as far as the complacency crowd goes, winning the November election will be vindication that those Sanders people were just wrong about everything and need to learn their place. Which is, like, nowhere, as far as they’re concerned.

My sense of things is that the Clintonistas have persuaded themselves that opposition to Clinton is based on sexism and the many spurious charges of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Once the election is over, they think, that opposition will fade away. Obviously I disagree, but a lot depends on keeping the young folks from getting too discouraged by what’s about to happen over the next few months.

But let’s go back to the Republicans. And the Democrats. It’s obvious to me that both parties have been in locked into extreme reactive mode for some time. This is particularly obvious with congressional Republicans.  They’ve devolved to the point of having no cohesive idea how to do anything; their only function is to stop the Democrats from doing anything.

And the state Republican governments are no better. They do little but think up new ways to stop abortions or react to the conservative outrage du jour, currently transsexuals in public restrooms. Kansas has gotten so bad that even the Republican legislature is in revolt against more tax and budget cuts. That’s one of the signs of the Apocalypse, I think.

Movement conservatism as we know it very much took shape as a reaction to the New Deal and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. McCarthyism and John Birch-ism are part of its DNA as well, of course. But for the past several decades “conservatism” in America has been in a long arc of being more and more reactionary, until it’s finally reached the point of being utterly dysfunctional.

We may not yet have hit the Joseph Welch “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” moment, but with the Trump nomination we’re damn close to it, I think.

But the Democrats, too, have fallen into their own reactionary pattern. Especially since the ascension of the Clintons, the Democratic Party has been locked into the mode of reacting to the Republican Party. Everything they do — or don’t do — seems calculated with the Right in mind, one way or another.

Even as the Right is imploding, we’re lectured by Democrats that nothing can be done because of the Right, but Clinton is our best hope of getting nothing done competently. She promises little on the domestic front except to keep things from getting worse. (Supreme Court; protecting Obamacare; etc.)  As Rick Pearlstein said, what little she has promised makes serious change impossible. And the current Democratic Party considers this to be a model of success.

And yet it doesn’t occur to the Democrats that if the Republican Party changes, they will have to change also.

But how? A lot depends on how the Republicans change, and how quickly.

Best case, for the GOP, would be if a large part of them disavowed the bigots and baggers, stepped back from the extreme-right precipice, and got serious about governing. It’s a long shot, but it’s not impossible they could revert to a being a mostly pro-business party as in the old days –Dick Nixon’s “cloth-coat Republicans” from the Checkers speech, but without the red-baiting. The culture wars would be put on the back burner, if not taken completely off the stove. They’d still fight for tax cuts and against regulations, but only within realistic limits.

That may sound farfetched, but if the donors who keep the GOP going decide that’s their best option after Trump, that could happen.  In which case, how would they be much different from the neoliberal Clinton Democratic Party?

In fact, sometime down the road I could see a realignment putting neoliberal Republicans and Democrats on the Right, and democratic socialist progressives on the Left. That would be more like the political alignments one sees elsewhere on the planet.

I’ve also seen it suggested that the GOP could evolve into an isolationist and anti-globalization party that would peel anti-neoliberal pacifists away from the Democrats, but I think that’s less likely. The point is, though, that whatever happens to the Republicans will force the Democrats to make adjustments, at the very least.

It would be good for all of us if Trump loses big, and if the GOP loses control of the Senate and ends up with fewer seats in the House. This would be good for all of us even if it means watching Clinton win in a landslide and assume a mandate. The bigger the loss for the GOP, the bigger the realignment. The bigger the realignment on the Right, the more pressure on the Dems to change as well.

Or, if the GOP implodes entirely, that leaves room for a new national party. And there’s no rule that says that party can’t form on the Left..

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What’s Happening Now

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Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

Charles Pierce reports on a RICO suit filed against Michigan governor Rick Snyder. The suit takes Snyder at his word that he is “running Michigan like a business” and accuses him of racketeering in Flint. In particular, the suit says, he committed fraud by charging the people for the contaminated water they were receiving, representing it as safe to drink.

Ted Cruz, who criticized Donald Trump by saying he has “New York values,” is so not welcome in New York.

Bernie Sanders has been invited to speak at the Vatican. “The April 15th event, which will be hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, is scheduled to cover a number of the Democratic presidential hopeful’s signature campaign issues, including income inequality and the environment.”

Note that the New York primary is April 19. He is scheduled to debate Hillary Clinton on April 14 — he’ll have to get on the red eye right after, I bet. There’s a big rally in Washington Square April 13. He’s a busy guy.

Speaking of which, there’s a Sanders rally near me today, and I plan to take a bus there and try to get in. I’ll let you know if anything fun happens.

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The Candidates Respond to Brussels

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Bad Hair, Obama Administration, Sanders and Clinton, Terrorism

july4whitebackgroundAs a public service, I’ve put together a quickie primer on how the five remaining presidential candidates responded to the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Let’s start with the Republicans.

First off, let us acknowledge that Republicans are weenies. Charles Pierce reminds us that all three Republican candidates wet their pants over the Ebola terror, for example. After the attacks in Brussels, Kasich and Cruz nonsensically called for President Obama to cut the state visit to Cuba off short and fly to Brussels, as if he had any business there and wouldn’t just create more security problems. One suspects there are telephones in Cuba and that the President has communicated with European leaders as needed.

Otherwise, regarding Brussels, Kasich has been the soul of moderation compared to Trump or Kruz. In fact, I found no substantive difference between Kasich and Hillary Clinton on this issue. I’ll come back to this in a bit.

Trump and Cruz, of course, both went into crazy overdrive. Trump continues to believe that Islamic terrorists (like the Ebola virus) are swarming across the U.S. Mexican border, and that the first order of business must be closing that border, along with banning Muslims from entering the country anywhere. He also promises to do lots of waterboarding and has not ruled out using nuclear weapons on ISIS (which Juan Cole tells us we should be calling “Daesh”).

But who knows what Trump would do? Here’s a snip of a recent interview with the Washington Post, courtesy of Mother Jones:

RYAN: You [MUFFLED] mentioned a few minutes earlier here that you would knock ISIS. You’ve mentioned it many times. You’ve also mentioned the risk of putting American troop in a danger area. If you could substantially reduce the risk of harm to ground troops, would you use a battlefield nuclear weapon to take out ISIS?

TRUMP: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting [MUFFLED]…

RYAN: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?

[CROSSTALK]

TRUMP: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?

The word deranged does come to mind.

Ted Cruz famously promised to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” Like treating innocent people like criminals wouldn’t radicalize them. Like Trump, Cruz thinks the southern border must be closed to prevent Muslim terrorists and their Ebola virus allies from entering the country, because obviously there is no other way for them to get in other than to sneak across the Rio Grande. It’s not like we have other borders or international airports or anything.

He also declared that “for years, the West has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear.” It is an article of faith on the Right that President Obama refuses to acknowledge that Daesh and other radical jihadist groups even exist. But, of course, the Right is wrong. (See also.) Wingnuts think that fear itself has power and that hysterical rhetoric and ignorance make one stronger, which is why they don’t know what to do with President Barack “the Ice Man” Obama. And which is why their approach to terrorism would be a disaster for the entire planet.

Here is Cruz’s statement, in full:

“For years, the west has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods. We will do what we can to help them fight this scourge, and redouble our efforts to make sure it does not happen here. We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized. We need to secure the southern border to prevent terrorist infiltration. And we need to execute a coherent campaign to utterly destroy ISIS. The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we can be are at an end. Our country is at stake.”

In short, booga booga booga.

Both Clinton and Kasich emphasized strengthening alliances and working with strategic partners to root out terrorism. Kasich (who, notably, did not mention Islam):

“Along with every American, I am sickened by the pictures of the carnage, by the injuries and by the loss of life,” said Kasich in a statement sent to reporters. “The wave of terror that has been unleashed in Europe and elsewhere around the world are attacks against our very way of life and against the democratic values upon which our political systems have been built. We and our allies must rededicate ourselves to these values of freedom and human rights. We must utterly reject the use of deadly acts of terror. We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil. We must strengthen our alliances as our way of life and the international system that has been built on our common values since the end of the Second World War comes under challenge from these and other actors of evil.”

Clinton:

Former Sec. of State Clinton said in a statement, “Terrorists have once again struck at the heart of Europe, but their campaign of hate and fear will not succeed. The people of Brussels, of Europe, and of the world will not be intimidated by these vicious killers. Today Americans stand in solidarity with our European allies. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded, and all the people of Belgium. These terrorists seek to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our alliance and our way of life, but they will never succeed. Today’s attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.”

However, here is where Clinton fell short, and where I would have wanted a more substantive answer. On the Today Show, she was asked explicitly what she might do about the “root causes” of terrorism.

Clinton responded that we need to tighten our security, bringing up a “visa system and passenger record system” she advocated as secretary of state. She also said Europe needs to fall in line behind the US in adopting our surveillance measures:

“When I was secretary, we often had some difficulty with our European friends because they were reluctant to impose the kind of strict standards we were looking for. After Paris, that has changed, and we need to do more to tighten things up.”

She did not address any of the actual root causes of terrorism.

I believe President Obama would have had a better answer.  This blind spot in Clinton is  worrisome, especially considering her record as a “regime change” hawk.
Finally, we come to Bernie Sanders:

We offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this barbaric attack and to the people of Brussels who were the target of another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times.

Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue. (see also)

He went further talking to Jimmy Kimmel (because news media ignore him):
‘”I think people get afraid, and for good reasons. ISIS is a disgusting, barbaric organization. We’ve seen what they’ve done in Paris, what they’ve done in Brussels. People are afraid of an attack in the United States. But I think what we have to understand is we’re not going to undermine the Constitution of the United States of America in order to effectively destroy ISIS. At the end of the day, we cannot allow the Trumps of the world to use these incidents to attack all of the Muslim people in the world. That is unfair. To imply that if somebody is a Muslim they’re a terrorist, that is an outrageous statement.”
Sanders generated a lot of derision when he linked terrorism and climate change awhile back, but lots of experts say it’s a serious contributing factor. Drought in Syria has a lot to do with migration into Europe and elsewhere.
Like Clinton and Kasich, he has emphasized international cooperation regarding security. I believe he has gone further than Clinton or Kasich in declaring that the United States isn’t the world’s police and that other nations, especially those in the Middle East, need to step up. He also has pledged to not use military force except as a last resort.
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Oh, Wait …

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Bad Hair, Sanders and Clinton

Yesterday’s upset in Michigan has the FiveThirtyEight crew reeling. The polls said that Hillary Clinton would take Michigan by at least 20 percentage points, if not 30. But she lost. The algorithm gods were wrong.  I dare say Nate Silver and crew have never been off by that much. “Sanders’s win in Michigan was one of the greatest upsets in modern political history,” said one.

And I must say I was surprised, too. During the two Michigan pre-primary debates/town halls/whatever, Hillary Clinton had attempted the Karl Rovian trick of saying  Sanders had voted against the auto bailout bill, leaving out the part about it being part of the TARP bill. Clinton did carry Flint and Detroit, but, glory be, the rest of electorate didn’t fall for it.

It’s possible Michigan was a fluke. It’s also possible that what happened in Michigan could happen in Ohio and Illinois next week. If the Dem establishment were smart — and I don’t think they are that smart, frankly — they would be paying attention to what Sanders supporters want, and taking it seriously.

I like what D.D. Guttenplan wrote in The Nation:

…what Michigan shows is that Bernie’s voters are every bit as important to a Democratic victory as Hillary’s. Especially if, as the Michigan results also suggest, those voters include an increasing number of African-American voters. Perhaps instead of telling Sanders voters to “get in line” behind the inevitable nominee, Clinton supporters should tell their candidate to stop telling lies.

We’ve all read thousands of words about how Bernie needs to respect Hillary, and how the Bernie Bros need to lay off Hillary supporters (much of which I agree with). And as the veteran broadcaster Salim Muwakkil pointed out recently on Facebook, Sanders needs to keep listening and learning to correct his racial blindspots—“and his supporters must not rush to keep [those] blinders intact.”

But we also need to say clearly that the Hillary supporters need to stop denigrating Bernie as a racist or sexist when he clearly isn’t, stop condescending to his supporters for wanting fundamental, rather than cosmetic, change to our rigged economy and corrupt politics, and stop using the kind of underhanded, Nixonian tactics that seem designed to keep Sanders voters home in November.

Meanwhile, as Sanders pulled off what was arguably a historic upset, the cable news networks were glued to Donald Trump’s utterly surreal victory speech. In a way I don’t blame them; it was so bizarre it was hard to not watch. Here’s just a bit:

And Mitt got up — and he really shouldn’t have done it, it wasn’t becoming, honestly — and he talked about the water company. Well, there’s…

Trump steaks — where are the steaks? Do we have steaks? We have Trump steaks. He said the steak company, and we have Trump steaks. And by the way,…

We have Trump Magazine. Let me see the magazine. He said Trump Magazine is out. I said, it is? I thought I read one two days ago. This comes out and it’s called The Jewel of Palm Beach and we…

So — and the airline, by the way, I sold the airline. You know, he said Trump Airline. Well, I sold the airline and I actually made a great deal,…

And by the way, Trump University, it’s — we’re holding it. When I win the lawsuit, which I’ll win, the — they did an ad — Rubio did an ad…

And I’m — I just want to explain. I — and the United States should be this — I don’t settle lawsuits, very rare, because once you settle lawsuits,…

So when I saw the different things — and by the way, the winery, you see the wine, because he mentioned Trump vodka, it’s the largest winery on the…

And so I just want to — so I want to put that to rest. So you have the water, you have the steaks, you have the airline that I sold. I mean, what’s…

That’s copied directly from the CSPAN transcript. He went on like that for nearly an hour.

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How to Kill a State

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Republican Party

There’s a devastating article in the Washington Post about how falling oil prices and Bobby Jindal’s policies have pretty much destroyed Louisiana.

The math is daunting: For the fiscal year that ends June 30, Louisiana is facing a $940 million deficit, roughly one-eighth of what the state typically doles out from its general fund in a year. For 2016-2017, which begins July 1, the gap is $2 billion.

“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal and now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”

Of course, the shit is hitting the fan just as a Democratic governor is taking office. Watch the Republican Party blame Louisiana’s pain on John Bel Edwards. And then they’ll persuade voters that the way back to prosperity is to run the state the way Bobby Jindal ran it. They might not use his name, but it’ll be the same Ponzi scheme.

And then there’s Chris Christie.

What Christie did when he endorsed the brashly divisive billionaire is between him and his conscience. How he got there is the more interesting question.

When this whole process started eons ago, many experts predicted that voters who found President Obama’s experience lacking would find executive records appealing. And indeed, the field filled with governors, not just Christie but Florida’s Jeb Bush, Texas’ Rick Perry, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich and of course, Louisiana’s own Bobby Jindal.

Turns out governing experience what not what most primary voters wanted. 

…There are many reasons this is so, but one could be how these governors have behaved in office. Rather than show the world what they could do by running a state well, Jindal and Christie in particular tailored their policies and priorities to sell on the national stage.

And both paid the price back home. Jindal left office in January with stunningly low approval numbers, and anger over his fiscal irresponsibility is about the only thing Republicans and Democrats in Baton Rouge have in common. Christie too is deeply unpopular in his own state. After he shocked the world by signing on as a Trump surrogate, six New Jersey newspapers published a joint editorial calling him to resign.

“We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance,” the papers wrote. “We’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy.”

I don’t think we yet know how much damage Christie did to New Jersey, although NJ’s proximity to New York City tends to buffer it from total ruin.

Perhaps Jeb Bush didn’t destroy Florida, but Jeb wasn’t quite as “conservative” as his successor Rick Scott.  From what I can see from here, Scott and Rick Perry of Texas are very much alike. They can both pull all kinds of statistics out of their butts to show how their policies helped their states, but when the dust settles somehow low- and middle-income people are still getting poorer and poorer.

And what can one say about Scott Walker, except … damn, what a maroon. See Scott Walker destroyed his state’s economy and A closer look at Wisconsin’s economy under Gov. Scott Walker, which begins,

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is looking for a new job but, unfortunately, so are too many of his constituents.

At least Sam Brownback, who destroyed Kansas; and Rick Snyder of Flint, Michigan lead poisoning fame are not running for President.

And now we get to John Kasich, the allegedly “centrist” Republican still running for President. You can find a lot of puff pieces about the wonderful things Kasich has done for Ohio, but others are not so sure. Ohio has mirrored the national recovery rate; Kasich takes credit. However, for 32 consecutive months, the state has trailed the national average for monthly job growth, says an article published in August 2015. About the best thing one can say about Kasich’s Ohio is that it doesn’t seem to be as bad off as Kansas. Or Louisiana. Or Wisconsin …

In short, if you really want to destroy your state’s economy, elect a Republican governor. That’ll do the job.

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My Advice to the GOP Establishment Regarding Donald Trump

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Bad Hair, Democratic Party, Mittens, Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

Hoo boy, this is rich:

Mitt Romney and John McCain Denounce Donald Trump as a Danger to Democracy

Yeah, I’m sure the baggers supporting Trump will see this and say, “Really? Gosh, I didn’t know, but if Senator McCain and Governor Romney say so, it must be true!”

Snort. Baggers hate McCain, and I assume they don’t have a lot of use for Romney, either.

Oh, wait; I just did a quickie tour of some right-wing blogs. Reactions to Romney’s speech today denouncing Trump ran the gamut from derision to more derision.  However, one fellow pointed out that the GOP candidates are debating in Michigan tonight. Romney’s father was a governor of Michigan and remembered fondly, I understand, even if there is less love lost for Mittens. This might have an impact in the upcoming Michigan primary.

From Matt Yglesias at Vox:

And Romney isn’t alone. A bevy of prominent Republican foreign policy hands — most though by no means all hardcore neoconservatives — signed a letter today in which they slammed Trump’s honesty, his trade policies, his commitment to torture, and his views on Russia while stating plainly that “as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head.”

I agree with Steve M that the Establishment hopes that Trump will still be short of delegates needed for the nomination at convention time, and then of course no one would mind if the convention ignores the will of voters and settles on someone else.  Right? All those Republican primary voters will just fall in line behind anyone the GOP chooses, right?

Actually, they might. The headline of Yglesias’s column is “Trump needs to unify the GOP to win in November. This week suggested he can’t.” No, he probably can’t. But there is someone who can.

Hillary Clinton.

The baggers would trip all over themselves rushing to the polls to vote for the Devil himself to prevent Hillary Clinton from being President. She could prove to be the Great Uniter of the Republican Party.

There you go, GOP establishment. Go ahead and broker your rigged convention, and give the nomination to whomever you please. Then make sure Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.  Problem solved.

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The Fruit Salad of Their Minds

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Bad Hair, Republican Party, Sanders and Clinton

They had a tenth Republican debate last night. Only the tenth? I would have sworn there’d been a couple of dozen by now. There seems to be a consensus in the media that Rubio “won,” but I cannot discern why the bobbleheads think that. He certainly impressed Juan Cole — with his robust display of derp. Professor Cole tells us that Rubio has become Sheldon Adelson’s sock puppet.

I did find a highlight film showing Rubio going after Trump fairly aggressively. Maybe that’s what impressed the pundits.

More videos here, if you want to watch them.

Best comment I’ve seen so far is from John Cole: “You know how sometimes in a city you see someone disheveled and crazy looking walking along talking to themselves? I think Ben Carson is having the other half of the conversation with them.”

Carson also inspired the title of this post. When asked about how he would choose Supreme Court nominees, he said, “The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.”

Someone has calculated that Donald Trump has a 90 percent chance of winning the GOP nomination.

March is still promising to be a rough month for Sanders supporters. I already wrote that if he’s still in the race by the end of March he’s got a shot at the nomination. But that’s a big if. He’s likely going to be slaughtered in South Carolina tomorrow.  Super Tuesday is not looking good. The most recent polls have Clinton winning everything except Vermont. Massachusetts remains close, though.

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The Crumbiness of Toast!

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The Smarter Brother

Speaking of being out of touch with the times, consider the politician formerly known as “the smarter brother” until he embarked on a national political campaign and we all realized he isn’t.  In truth, Toast! is in some ways a more pathetic doofus than Dubya, if that’s possible. Just goes to show how nepotism and cronyism can carry one way beyond his level of competence.  #Jeb!

Anyway, Toast! dropped some jaws yesterday when he praised Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for his handling of the Flint water crisis.

I’ll pause a moment to let that sink in.

Toast! blamed the crisis on too much government regulation, and then praised Snyder for stepping up to solve the problem. Seriously; he did that. I’m not sure even the rubes will buy that one.

A few days ago the Toast! campaign — no, he actually hasn’t dropped out yet — released his education platform. It includes lots of “school choice” rhetoric and stuff about “expanding charter schools.”

Although charter schools still have a lot of supporters, my sense is that the once soaring idea is quickly becoming a lead balloon. It’s like privatizing Social Security; the more people look at it, the less popular it gets.  And it opens Bush up to additional scrutiny about his absolutely awful charter school failures in Florida. See, for example,

The Big Jeb Bush Charter School Lie

Florida’s big charter school problem (which Jeb Bush manages not to talk about)

Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé

Testing Time: Jeb Bush’s Educational Experiment

That last article proposes that Toast!’s charter school initiative was supposed to be his answer to Dubya’s “no child left behind” program. We might also remember that one of Dubya’s claims in 2000 was the story of the “Texas miracle,” and how his reforms had so improved Texas schools. And then we found out the “miracle” was based on phony numbers. But that didn’t become public knowledge until after Dubya was selected. Toast!’s claims are already thoroughly debunked.

Not that it matters, since nobody is paying any attention to Toast! any more.

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The Cruzes of Canada

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Republican Party

With a big, honking caveat that this could be a bureaucratic mistake, there is reason to question Ted Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency.  If it turns out that his mother was a Canadian and not a U.S. citizen when he was born, then Cruz is, well, crust. Josh Marshall explains.

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