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“Boehner Won’t Vote For Cruz”: ‘I Have Never Worked With A More Miserable Son Of A Bitch In My Life’

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner made news last night when he made an appearance at Stanford University.

“You can call me boner, beaner, jackass, happy to answer to almost anything,” said former Speaker of the House John Boehner as he took the stage at CEMEX Auditorium on Wednesday evening. Boehner joined David M. Kennedy, faculty director and history professor emeritus, in a talk hosted by Stanford in Government (SIG) and the Stanford Speakers Bureau.

Naturally, the discussion focused on Boehner’s time at the helm of the House of Representatives, but they also discussed his view of the presidential race.

Segueing into the topic, Kennedy asked Boehner to be frank given that the event was not being broadcasted, and the former Speaker responded in kind. When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.

“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

Boehner went on to say that he’s “texting buddies” with Donald Trump, has played a lot of golf with him over the years, and that, although he doesn’t agree with all his policy proposals, he would vote for him in November. However, he bluntly said that he would not vote for Ted Cruz.

During his time as Speaker, Boehner struggled to deal with the non-reality-based Freedom Caucus rump of his party, and Sen. Ted Cruz played a big role in egging that faction on. This explains most of the animosity that Boehner is nursing now. But it would be a mistake to see Boehner as very grounded in reality himself, because he easily slips into the most submental conspiratorial gibberish.

On Clinton, Boehner’s reviews were more mixed. Early in the talk, the speaker impersonated Clinton, saying “Oh I’m a woman, vote for me,” to a negative crowd reaction. Later, he added that he had known Clinton for 25 years and finds her to be very accomplished and smart.

Boehner also speculated about surprises that could come closer to the Democratic National Convention if Hillary Clinton’s emails became a larger scandal.

“Don’t be shocked … if two weeks before the convention, here comes Joe Biden parachuting in and Barack Obama fanning the flames to make it all happen,” Boehner said.

At least in theory, the president could use his influence over the Justice Department and the Intelligence Community to turn Clinton’s email server issue into a crippling liability right before the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. He might then, in typical Frank Underwood style, orchestrate things so that Joe Biden could “parachute in” and act as the party’s savior.

But, despite Boehner’s previous seat in the highest corridors of power where he might have gleaned animosities that are invisible to the rest of us, there isn’t the slightest outward sign that President Obama is displeased to see Clinton emerge as his likely successor. The president has remained ostensibly neutral during the primaries, but he quietly got his message out that he preferred Clinton to Sanders, and that was reflected in (among other things) how the black community voted in the South and elsewhere.

It could be that the president actually would prefer Biden to Clinton, but to suggest that he would misuse his powers to sabotage Clinton at this late date in order to secure the presidency for his friend Biden is heat-fevered lunacy as far as I am concerned.

Boehner is supposed to be the sane one, and yet he’s just as infected as the rest of them.

Still, the fact that he wouldn’t vote for Cruz is a canary in the coal mine. Consider that during part of Boehner’s speakership his partner was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And McConnell stated publicly just before the New York primary that he was still hoping for a brokered convention that could stop Trump. The most obvious beneficiary of a brokered convention would be Ted Cruz.

This is the definition of a fractured party.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, April 28, 2016

May 1, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, John Boehner, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Kindred Spirits”: Trump Lies So Much Less To NY Mega-Rich

The crowd outside stretched far across 42nd Street, and police lined the sidewalk as if preparing for an invasion. The protesters called him a racist and held signs that read BEAT UP TRUMP and NO FUCKING FASCIST! Dozens of them were arrested.

But inside the Grand Hyatt hotel, the man they were raging against was hard to find.

In the ballroom, its ceiling opulently outfitted with copper-colored glass, the New York Republican Party was holding its annual gala, and Donald Trump, the first of the three presidential candidates to speak, was on his best behavior.

Maybe it was the tux.

“You know, I thought I’d do something a little different,” Trump began.

As the audience of 800 drank wine and picked at their salads, which had cost them each $1,000 and required that they go through metal detectors in their gowns and dinner jackets, Trump opted out of his usual stump speech—a haphazard string of insults, poll numbers, and tirades against the media—and instead talked for 23 minutes about the New York City he helped shape.

“I love speaking at the Grand Hyatt,” he said, “because I built it.”

Forty-second and Lex was once home to the Commodore Hotel, which opened in 1919 and had, by 1976, seen better, more profitable days.

“It was a mess,” Trump told the crowd. “They had a spa called ‘Relaxation Plus,’ but nobody ever got into what the ‘plus’ meant.”

Trump bought the property and transformed it into a shiny glass behemoth—his first of many such structures in this city. (He was bought out of the building in 1996).

At another point, Trump reminisced about buying a building downtown in the throes of “the depression—literally a depression” in the early 1990s (there was no economic depression in the 1990s). “When I opened, it was like the world had changed,” he said.

Private construction is not the first topic that comes to mind when you imagine a presidential candidate’s speech. But for Trump, his buildings are evidence that he can get things done, and the context doesn’t much matter. In order to achieve success, in Trump’s view, you need to be able to measure it in stories.

Which is not to say that he shied away from politics completely.

Trump enjoys 65 percent favorability in New York, according to a Public Policy Polling poll released April 12, and a 31.9 percent lead on John Kasich—53.8 to 21.9—in the Real Clear Politics average.

The audience at the Hyatt laughed with Trump and applauded for him, but they also just seemed to understand who he is. And he understands them, which seems like the best explanation for why he did away with his usual shtick and talked to them as equals.

At one point, he did mock poor Jeb Bush, who isn’t even a candidate anymore, by saying he should move to New York City to improve his low energy, but the schoolboy humor was kept to a minimum.

Later, Trump spent some time discussing “New York values,” that unfortunate phrase Ted Cruz, his central rival for the nomination, chose to deploy as an insult against him a few months back.

“I want to just talk, just for a second, about New York values,” Trump said.

The crowd cheered.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said.

But he didn’t need to remind the audience to dislike Cruz.

When the Texas senator arrived onstage in a tux with a lopsided bow tie, some people just left.

Others talked loudly over him and clanked their silverware as they ate their entrees.

A few stared down at their phones.

“I will admit to you,” he said, “I haven’t built any buildings in New York City.”

 

By: Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, April 15, 2016

April 18, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, New York Primaries, Ted Cruz | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“International Alarm”: World Watches Trump’s Rise With Fear, Trepidation

The United States is not just another democracy on the map. Plenty of countries have elections to choose their heads of state, but given the unique role the U.S. has as a global superpower, and the effects of our policies on the international stage, a global audience keeps an eye on our presidential elections with scrutiny other countries don’t receive.

After all, we’re choosing the “Leader of the Free World.”

But just as the U.S. is not just another democracy, 2016 is not just another election. While international observers tend to watch American presidential elections with a degree of curiosity, this year, the world is experiencing a very different kind of sentiment.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tried to reassure foreign leaders that Donald Trump is nothing to worry about during a trip to the Middle East last week. “Everybody asked me about Trump in terms of policy changes. I said he is an outlier, don’t look at him,” Graham told reporters Thursday about his overseas trip.

The most serious concerns Graham said leaders from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt expressed raised were regarding Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban most Muslims from entering the United States.

The South Carolina Republican, hardly a liberal, added that many of the leaders he spoke to were “dumbfounded that somebody running for president of the United States would suggest that the United States ban everybody in their faith.” Officials abroad, he added, are “bewildered.”

There’s a lot of this going around. At a White House briefing this week, a reporter asked President Obama whether Trump’s foreign-policy proposals are “already doing damage” to America’s reputation. “The answer … is yes,” Obama responded. “I think that I’ve been very clear earlier that I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made.”

Last week, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) returned from a trip abroad and said officials in Israel and Turkey specifically pressed him on the anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Republican presidential race.

All of this dovetails with reporting from a month ago about international “alarm” over Trump from officials in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

A senior NATO official, speaking before the Republican frontrunner talked publicly about abandoning the treaty organization, was quoted telling Reuters, “European diplomats are constantly asking about Trump’s rise with disbelief and, now, growing panic.”

As we talked about at the time, there’s ample speculation about the message the United States would send to the world if Trump was elected president. But there’s probably not enough speculation about the damage the success of Trump’s campaign is already doing to the nation’s reputation.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 8, 2016

April 11, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, World Leaders | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Remarkable Success”: Barack Obama Is Looking Better And Better

President Barack Obama waves as arrives in Bariloche, Argentina, on March 24.

Imagine the pain your average Republican must feel when he opens his morning paper. His party is not just riven by internal dissent, but looks like it will nominate a spectacularly unpopular candidate to be its standard-bearer in 2016, with a campaign that gets more farcical every day, bringing ignominy upon a party that has suffered so much already. And now, to add insult to injury, the president he loathes with such fervor is looking … rather popular with the American public.

Barack Obama’s approval ratings are now above 50 percent in daily Gallup tracking, and have been for weeks. He’s risen higher in public esteem than he’s been in three years. Every poll taken in the last month and a half shows him with a positive approval rating.

You might say that it’s no great achievement to be above 50 percent. After all, didn’t Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan leave office with ratings around 65 percent? Indeed they did. But even Clinton’s presidency occurred in a different era, when party polarization was not as firm as it is now. These days—and in all likelihood for some time to come—if a president can stay at 50 percent, he should be counted a remarkable success.

That polarization runs through everything Americans think, know, and learn about the president. There’s always been a large gap between how members of the president’s party view him and how members of the other party view him, but if you look over the history for which we have polling data (going back to Eisenhower in the 1950s), you see what has changed over time. With just a couple of exceptions, those in the president’s party usually give him around 80 percent approval, give or take a bit. For instance, Ronald Reagan averaged 83 percent among Republicans and George H.W. Bush averaged 82 percent, while Bill Clinton averaged 80 percent among Democrats.

It’s in the opinions of the other party that there has been a transformation. Presidents used to routinely get 30 or 40 percent approval from the other party; it would only dip down into the 20s when things were going really badly. But George W. Bush’s presidency and then Barack Obama’s have been characterized by levels of disapproval from the other side we haven’t seen since the depth of the Watergate scandal. This is one of the signal characteristics of public opinion in our time: negative partisanship, in which Americans define their political identity not by their affection for their own party, but by their hatred for the other guys.

In fact, Obama is the first president since polls existed to have never gone above 25 percent approval from the other side, not even in the honeymoon glow of the first days of his presidency. He could defeat ISIS, make America secure and prosperous, save a baby from a burning building, then cure cancer and invent a pill that would let you eat all the ice cream you want without gaining any weight, and no more than a handful of Republicans would ever say they think he’s doing a good job.

Which means that if his ratings have gone up, it’s because he’s doing better among everyone who isn’t a Republican. Why is that? There are multiple reasons, but one factor that always plays a key part in presidential approval is the strength of the economy, though presidents get both more credit and more blame for it than they deserve. And today, even if income growth is lagging much more than we’d like, unemployment is under 5 percent and there have been 72 consecutive months of job growth, the longest streak on record. There are plenty of things wrong with the American economy, but the most visible thing to many people (apart from gas prices, which are near historic lows) is whether you can find a job if you need one, and today you can.

And then there’s the biggest political story of the year, the Republican presidential nomination campaign. Put simply, it’s been an utter catastrophe for Republicans—and a marked contrast with the guy they’re all vying to replace. Where Obama is calm and reasonable, the Republican candidates are shrill and panicky. Where he’s thoughtful and informed, they’re impulsive and ignorant. Republicans are constantly trying to argue that Obama is frivolous—he played a round of golf while something important was happening somewhere!—but you won’t catch him arguing with his opponents about the size of their hands or attacking their spouses. You can disagree with Obama on matters of substance, but he’s nothing like the clowns Republicans are deciding between.

So juxtaposed with the freak show of the Republican primaries, Obama looks better all the time. And ironically, of all the Republicans who ran for president this year, only one almost never singled out Obama for heaps of abuse: Donald Trump. Trump says that our leaders are idiots, but he includes all kind of people in that criticism. He barely talks about Obama, unlike the candidates he has vanquished, who regularly asserted not just that Obama is a terrible president but that he has intentionally tried to destroy America, a bit of talk-radio lunacy many of them incorporated into their rhetoric back when it seemed like you could win the nomination by being the one who says he hates the president more than anyone else.

Yet none of the Republicans make for a clearer contrast with Obama than Trump, the buffoonish vulgarian who wouldn’t know class if it hit him in the head with a gold-plated hammer. And while the Republicans talk endlessly about what a cesspool of misery and despair America is, Obama looks to be chugging toward the end of his presidency with most Americans thinking he’s done a pretty good job.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, President Obama, Republicans | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The GOP’s Disgraceful Misogyny”: The Effect Of Their Positions And Policies Have Been Disastrous For Women

As the 2016 election season has trundled along, we’ve spent a lot of time examining the racism, xenophobia, and bigotry so bountifully demonstrated by the GOP presidential candidates. Extraordinary anti-Muslim animus, callus dehumanization of immigrants, demonization of African-American activists, and cries to revoke the civil liberties of LGBTQ Americans — it’s all stock-in-trade for today’s Republican Party.

We’re right to be alarmed by all of it. There is, however, another form of bias equally on display that doesn’t get nearly as much attention: the Republican Party’s overwhelming misogyny.

We occasionally talk about the sexism confronting Hillary Clinton. Abortion comes up now and again. Then there was that time that the leading GOP contender reminded us that many 21st century men are still skeeved out by women’s reproductive cycles. So it’s not like the misogyny has gone entirely unremarked — but given that these are attitudes that affect fully half of America, we really ought to be talking about it a whole lot more.

Maybe we’re so used to women being considered lesser-than that misogyny’s ubiquity fails to register. Maybe it’s so deeply embedded in our psyche and policies that it’s hard to pin down. And maybe, like with the word “racist,” we’re hesitant to use the word “misogynist” (or the slightly-less freighted “sexist”) because it raises unanswerable questions: Does that person actually hate women? All women? Can we really know what’s in people’s hearts?

So perhaps, to borrow from Jay Smooth, we should focus less on what people are, and more on what they do. We needn’t concern ourselves with politicians’ feelings about women — our concern needs to be the effect of politicians’ words and actions.

In that light, Republicans’ positions on Americans’ constitutionally-mandated right to terminate a pregnancy become even more problematic. When government decides for a citizen that she must carry a pregnancy to term, it’s making a decision with long-term financial, professional, and health repercussions — and that’s just for women who are full-grown adults with careers and good insurance. For any other woman — the poor, the young, the un- or under-employed, the sexually-assaulted, the victim of domestic violence — the damage goes deeper and lasts longer. The fight to deny any woman her (constitutionally-mandated!) right to abortion is a fight to force all women to accept and shoulder these consequences, absolutely regardless of their own desires — a misogynistic effect if ever there was one.

This is equally true for a vast number of other, less obvious positions and policies, as well. Repealing ObamaCare? The effect would be a return to “gender rating,” by which insurance providers regularly treated breast cancer and domestic violence as “pre-existing conditions” and refused to cover Pap smears, a cancer screening test unique to women.

Months and months of lying about and then defunding Planned Parenthood? The effect has been the failure to provide thousands and thousands of Pap smears and breast cancer screenings — and let’s not mince words: We’ll never know the number of women for whom that has proven a literal death sentence.

And oh, it goes so much further than women’s health issues: What about the GOP’s opposition to a higher minimum wage? Women are disproportionately effected, because two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. What about the GOP’s refusal to deal with the college debt crisis? The gender wage gap means women are saddled with that debt for much longer than men (particularly if they happen to be Latina or African American). What about the relentless drone of comments from would-be leaders and their supporters that dismiss women, disparage our needs, and reduce us to our potential as sex partners or breeders? A study released just this week has found a “surprising durability of basic stereotypes about women and men over the past three decades, not only in the global traits of agency and communion but in other domains such as physical characteristics, occupations, and gender roles as well.”

Why, it’s almost as if words have consequences.

Republican leaders (including everybody’s favorite “moderate,” John Kasich) have spent their careers telling America that 50 percent of the citizenry cannot be trusted with their own bodies. They’ve pursued policies that consistently produce roadblocks to those citizens’ advancement, and they persistently belittle, demean, and express genuine doubt as to those citizens’ essential equality.

Do these politicians and pundits hate women? I don’t really care. I care that the effect of their positions and policies has been disastrous for women. I’m terrified to consider what it will mean if we do nothing about it come November.

 

By: Emily Hauser, The Week, March 11, 2016

March 12, 2016 Posted by | GOP Presidential Candidates, Misogyny, Planned Parenthood, War On Women | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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