My Advice to the GOP Establishment Regarding Donald Trump

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.

Opposing Income Inequality Is the New Black

It was funny enough when Rick Santorum tried to rebrand himself as an economic populist. But you’ll never guess who’s getting on the “we are the 99 percent” bandwagon. Well, unless you’ve already read this.

Mitt Romney, sudden champion of Americans trying to make ends meet — it’s coming off to progressives and veterans of President Barack Obama’s winning reelection campaign as a little too rich.

The 2012 Republican nominee’s sudden return to presidential politics already had them dusting off old attack lines. His reinvention Friday night as an anti-poverty warrior has them in a frenzy of excitement, even glee, at what they see as the Democratic Party’s stroke of good luck.

Yes, children, Mittens now fancies himself to be the Savior of the Downtrodden. This is something like making Ronald McDonald the poster boy for heart-healthy diets.

His message, or as much as I can glean from news stories, is this:

  • Mittens really cares about poor people. He knows this because his wife Ann says so.

“She knows my heart in a way that few people do,” he said. “She’s seen me not just as a business guy and a political guy, but for over 10 years as you know I served as a pastor for a congregation and for groups of congregations… She’s seen me work with folks that are looking for better work and jobs and providing care for the sick and the elderly. She knows where my heart is.”

  • Liberal policies haven’t worked. Of course they haven’t actually been tried for decades because they’ve been obstructed by conservatives, but let’s not quibble. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer, and this must be Obama’s fault. The fact that the rich have been getting richer and the poor poorer since the Reagan Administration is water under the bridge.

“Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty than ever before,” Romney said. “Under this president, his policies have not worked. Their liberal policies are good every four years for a campaign, but they don’t get the job done.”

  • Mittens has a plan, something bold and original that hasn’t been done before. He explained to Republican National Committee members,
“The only policies that will reach into the hearts of the American people and pull people out of poverty and break the cycle of poverty are Republican principles, conservative principles,” Romney said to no applause from the Republican crowd.

I’m sure they forgot to applaud because they were struck numb by the boldness of Romney’s plan. And maybe he could get Gov. Sam Brownback to serve as an economic policy adviser.

Snark aside, it appears income inequality is going to be a big issue in 2016. Hillary Clinton also has been making noise about it and trying to tie herself to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a long-time friend and alleged progressive. Opposing income inequality is the new black.

But hearing it from Romney, de Blasio said, is a sign that income inequality has really arrived as the defining issue of the 2016 campaign.

“This is on the minds of more and more people around the country, because income inequality is basically the touchstone of what we’re dealing with right now,” de Blasio said. “It is very telling that a guy who’s trying to find his way back to political relevance will grab onto it.”

It is telling, and it suggests the 2016 election campaigns will be a ton of fun. But if we end up with an HRC-Jeb Bush general election choice the terrorists will have won.

Trick or Treat

Wow, the sun is out, the sky is blue. Haven’t seen than in a while. Still no heat, but it’s not that cold outside. Washed my hair in cold water and am now awake.

Anyhoo — more details are coming out about Mitt’s “relief” party.

The plan was for supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies to the event, and then deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman. To complete the project and photo-op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside.

But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it “did donate supplies to the relief effort,” but would not specify how much it spent.)

Zombie Eyes had his own “relief” events in Wisconsin, where people had to hold up work so there’d be something left for the candidate to do when he showed up. No more washing clean pots!

This is so stupid. It may cost more to truck the stuff from Wisconsin than the stuff is worth. And I bet most of these donations are just going to sit on a loading dock for weeks until someone gets around to dealing with them. Eventually they’ll probably end up in a “free food” pantry for the poor after things are more back to normal.

And they really do have lots of grocery stores in New Jersey. Many are closed, but you can check the Twitter feed #njopen to find out where to get stuff. People without power or Internet need generators more than they need cans of corn.

Joan Walsh:

It’s impossible not to see that this storm has devastated Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy. The response to the hurricane has seemed like one long dramatic Obama campaign commercial, a lesson in “We’re all in this together,” while Romney, the man who said he’d dismantle FEMA, flails on the sidelines….

…I can’t be sure whether or how much disaster relief will matter to swing state voters outside of the hurricane zone, but I am stranded (on a blue island) in the swing state of Wisconsin, where people are tuned in to the storm and the government response. No one can be reassured by Romney’s empty posturing. Unless there is some government-abetted or neglected further disaster, I think Obama will be reelected next Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy has reminded us what’s at stake.

Alec MacGillis:

… to the extent that the race was still an open question, with some voters still making up their minds or willing to change them at the last instant, it is hard not to believe that the storm has helped the president. Put simply, it has brought the race back closer to first principles. For most of the year, Obama had successfully framed the election as a choice between two approaches, one favoring the Bain Capital upper crust, the other geared toward the broad middle—the 99 percent and, yes, the 47 percent.

We’ve still got SIX DAYS to go. By this weekend, people still without power (or hot water!) will be very cranky, and Fox News will be talking about “Obama’s Katrina.” So the President has to stay on his toes. But right now, from here, Sandy looks like “Mitt’s Waterloo.”

Stuff to Read and Watch

I need to crank out as much of the work I get paid for as I can this weekend, in case Frankenstorm knocks out the power. But here are some links to other stuff —

Righties have come up with a new excuse for being outraged over Benghazi. John Cole smacks them down.

Charles Blow argues that we know Romney by the company he keeps.

Remembering the time Mittens lied under oath.

Good segment from last night’s Maddow:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Another video:

Reality and Its Detractors

There possibly is no clearer measure of the difference between the U.S. Right and Left than the way we react to bad news. Righties immediately scream that the whatever-they-don’t-like is a lie, because it doesn’t fit what they think reality is supposed to be. And they blame somebody else, usually news media, or Democrats, or anybody but them. The whatever-it-is is never their fault.

Lefties accept the reality, sometimes perceiving the reality as even worse than it is. Then we blame ourselves (or at least each other), and form circular firing squads.

(It really does resemble the dynamics of domestic abuse situations, in which the abuser is perpetually flying into rages because the world isn’t the way he (or she) wants it to be. And then he (or she) concocts some reason to blame the significant other, or the kids, and takes the rage out on them. The abusee, all too often, blames her/himself and accepts the abuse.)

This week a Gallup daily tracking poll showed a significant lead for Mitt Romney. Nate Silver calmly and rationally explains why there is reason to think the Gallup poll is wrong. In a nutshell, the Gallup daily tracking poll has a history of swinging wildly in ways that don’t show up in other polls, and whenever that happens Gallup usually is wrong. See Nate for the wonky details; Business Insider provides a simplified version of what Nate wrote for those of us who don’t speak wonk.

Predictable headlines from rightie blogs:

“Nate Silver Blows Gasket as Gallup Shows Romney Pulling Away in the Presidential Horse Race” (American Power)

“Nate Silver Asks: Whose Shark Is This, and Why Do I Feel a Need to Jump It?” (The Other McCain)

“Romney Surges In Polls, Nate Silver Hardest Hit” (The Lonely Conservative).

That last headline is especially off, because the other polls, as in plural, are mostly showing Obama making a small gain over Romney (see also Sam Wang’s latest figures). It’s just the Gallup poll that shows a “surge.” Oh, and a Pew poll taken before the Tuesday debate shows Romney looking better on foreign policy. But that’s about it.

Speaking of foreign policy, Mittens hasn’t been talking about Libya lately. I wonder why?

Mitt’s Mendacious Math

Mitt has a five-point plan that will create 12 million jobs in four years. He says this over and over. And multiple headlines today say Mitt’s math is malarkey.

Dana Milbank wrote, “the source the Romney campaign provided for the jobs figure was a trio of studies that either didn’t directly analyze Romney’s policies or were based on longer time horizons than four years.”

In brief, Milbank says that (a) some independent economists think that if the economy stays on its current trajectory, it will add 12 million new jobs in the next four years, never mind who wins the election. And (b), those studies that the Romney camp claims to be about his particular plan don’t say what he says they say.

In a recent ad, Romney, speaking to the camera from a factory floor, says his “energy independence policy means more than 3 million new jobs,” his tax plan “creates 7 million more,” and “expanding trade, cracking down on China and improving job training takes us to over 12 million new jobs.”

But when Kessler asked for substantiation, the campaign referred him to a Rice University professor’s study for evidence that Romney’s tax plan would generate 7 million jobs — which turned out to be a 10-year number. The evidence for the energy policy creating 3 million jobs comes from a Citigroup Global Markets study that did not analyze Romney’s plan and was assuming an eight-year horizon. The remaining 2 million jobs, Kessler wrote, were justified by a 2011 International Trade Commission report that also didn’t analyze Romney policies.

See also Glenn Kessler (since when has Kessler given a Republican four pinnichios?), Joe Conason, and Don Lee in the Los Angeles Times.

I also like what E.J. Dionne says

Under pressure this time, the former Massachusetts governor displayed his least attractive sides. He engaged in pointless on-stage litigation of the debate rules. He repeatedly demonstrated his disrespect for both the president and Candy Crowley, the moderator. And Romney was just plain querulous when anyone dared question him about the gaping holes in his tax and budget plans.

Any high school debate coach would tell a student that declaring, “Believe me because I said so,” is not an argument. Yet Romney confused biography with specificity and boasting with answering a straightforward inquiry. “Well, of course, they add up,” Romney insisted of his budget numbers. “I — I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years, and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and balanced the budget.” Romney was saying: Trust me because I’m an important guy who has done important stuff. He gave his listeners no basis on which to verify the trust he demanded.

If you think about it, Romney probably hasn’t had to justify himself to anybody since he became head of Bain Capital in 1984. Must be a shock to his system.

Membranous Mendacious Mitt, Morloch of the Midwest

Charles Pierce:

Those of us who lived under the barely distinguishable leadership of Willard Romney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (God save it!) know very well that the emotional membrane separating Lofty Willard from Snippy Willard is thin indeed, and that the membrane separating Snippy Willard from Dickhead Willard is well-nigh translucent. Both of those membranes were tested fully here on Tuesday night by the president, by Candy Crowley — who has clearly had enough of your bullshit, thank you very much — and by the simple fact that certain members of The Help tested the challenger’s ideas and found them wanting and, my dear young man, that simply is not done. And both of those membranes failed like rotting levees in a storm….

…But not even I expected Romney to let his entitled, Lord-of-the-Manor freak flag fly as proudly as he did on Tuesday night. He got in the president’s face. He got in Crowley’s face. That moment when he was hectoring the president about the president’s pension made him look like someone to whom the valet has brought the wrong Mercedes.

Really, I’m sorry I missed it. Pierce finished the post —

Put all those Romneys together and that’s what they sound like, even when they’re talking to the president of the United States. It’s the voice of the bloodless job-killer, the outsourcing Moloch of the industrial midwest, and the guy who poses with his Wall Street cronies with dollar bills in his mouth. People who claim to be interested in “character” should remember that.

The best part is not just that Mittens looked bad, but that he looked bad in ways that most folks who didn’t watch the debate are going to hear about. For example, the moment when Candy Crowley corrected Mitt on what the President said after the Benghazi Consulate attack was replayed on every news show on television, network and cable, I believe. It’s all over the Web as well. You’d have to be cloistered to miss it.

The Right, of course, thinks Crowley was behaving disgracefully by not letting Mittens get away with lying. Some are still arguing that the President didn’t say the consulate attack was an act of terrorism in his Rose Garden speech. Oh, sure, he said,

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.

… but, they are whining, he didn’t explicitly say “The attack on the Benghazi Consulate was a terrorist act.” When he said “acts of terror,” he might have been referring to the 9/11 attacks of eleven years ago. And he said “terror,” not “terrorism,” so it doesn’t count.

Seriously. That’s what they’re going with. And then they get mad when normal people make fun of them.

Reminds me of …

Update: Josh Marshall found another rightie quibble

Now Romney’s allies are trying to recover the fumble on his behalf by saying well, sure he uttered the word ‘terror’. But that’s just a word. Look at the context. He also mentioned the video. And videos don’t have anything to do with terror! In other words, but, but, but … the video!

More —

Through the lengthy and squalid effort of the Republican party and its press allies to exploit the attack last month in Libya, the centerpiece has been the alleged magical powers of the words ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist’. It’s reminiscent of Rudy Giuliani’s endless yakking in 2008 that the biggest problem with his Democratic opponents was that they didn’t say “9/11” enough, as though one grapples most effectively with the threats to the country by the endless repetition of buzzwords. … The Romney camp’s angle has been that Romney is Churchill incarnate because he’s saying terror, terror, terror and is too big a man to try to get a read on whether the video played any role.

Live by the buzzword, die by the buzzword. It’s been a nonsensical proposition from the start to imagine that foreign policy seriousness is defined by being the first one to hit the ‘terror’ buzzer like you’re a contestant on Jeopardy. But the Romney camp laid the trap. And tonight Mitt walked right into it.