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“The Johnson-Weld Ticket”: An Opportunity For #NeverTrump Republicans To Save Face

Let’s face it: the #NeverTrump movement is an admission of embarrassment on the part of veteran Republicans, an acknowledgment that the Southern Strategy was suicidal, a concession that as a result of fifty years of playing to ignorant fears, the GOP base is largely comprised of people who think the term “animal husbandry” refers to bestiality. You can’t blame these veteran Republicans for wanting to wash their hands of their creation–and you can’t blame them for seeking alternate political routes:

For some Massachusetts Republicans, the return of Bill Weld — the law-and-order Yankee who charmed his way into two terms as governor of a liberal state — is nothing short of face-saving.

Finally, they have a reason to show up on Election Day.

“I think for a lot of Republicans, especially in a state like Massachusetts, it gives us an option,” said Virginia Buckingham, a Republican who once worked as Weld’s chief of staff, and will vote for him this fall. “We were kind of in a difficult position facing voting for Donald Trump.”

Weld’s reemergence as a vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian ticket with former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson has been viewed largely as another curiosity in a crazy election cycle in which, it seems, anything might happen…

Although the #NeverTrump movement isn’t beating down their door, Johnson and Weld are reaching for voters disenchanted with Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In a Web ad launched last week, Johnson and Weld presented themselves as a “credible alternative to ClinTrump.”

I have previously suggested that it is not beyond possibility for the Johnson-Weld ticket to perform strongly enough in national polls to warrant inclusion in the presidential debates. If so, the symbolism will be powerful. Think about it:  Clinton, Johnson and Trump–a Democrat demonized for decades by the demagogues who dote on the Donald, an ex-Republican who was regarded as a RINO by the same twits who think Trump is terrific, and the Orange Goblin himself, the single most unqualified individual to ever secure a major American party’s nomination, the single most irrational figure in modern politics, a hero to haters, a Jesus to jerks.

I give Johnson credit for defying both Republican and Libertarian taboos in his July 1 appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher (relevant segment runs from 3:02-5:15):

Other than former Cato Institute fellow Jerry Taylor, I have never heard anyone associated with libertarianism acknowledge that human-caused climate change is real. That’s progress. If Clinton and Johnson appear on the debate stage next to Trump and affirm that mainstream climate science is legitimate, and Trump reiterates his belief that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese government, climate hawks will be able to declare a moral victory, because the optics will not work in Trump’s favor.

The Johnson-Weld ticket is an option, and an opportunity, for veteran Republicans to save face. It will be interesting to see how many Republicans avail themselves of this option and this opportunity. Having said that, I hope Republicans who support this ticket at least have the decency to admit that men like Johnson and Weld were effectively forced out of the GOP because they were not blind ideologues, because they understood that some issues are not left or right, because they recognized that we’re all Americans first…because they were too nice, too civil, too human for the Trumpublican Party.

Clinton will be able to hold her own in a three-way debate with Johnson and Trump. She will also not hesitate to remind viewers that if the GOP had not gone grotesque, a man like Johnson–flawed but not foul, mistaken but not malicious, incorrect but not insane–would be the Republican nominee, and not a deacon of derangement like the Donald.

 

By: D. R. Tucker, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, July 10, 2016

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Johnson-Weld Ticket, Never Trump Movement | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Casual Yet Coldly Calculated Kiss-Off”: Dumping Donald Trump Would No Longer Be A Coup. It’s Just Common Sense

In a campaign season already twisted beyond all recognition, Donald Trump’s atrocious summer has offered shell-shocked Republicans a potential out: Where “Never Trump” has failed, a far more casual yet coldly calculated kiss-off could succeed.

Trump’s missteps, willful and otherwise, are now so severe that Republicans are justified — and would be legitimated — in throwing him overboard in Cleveland. Bye bye, agonized soul searching. Hello, cruel common sense.

All the GOP has to do is relax.

Throughout this presidential campaign, I’ve done my best to remain level-headed. Rather than fearing Donald Trump, rather than venting my loathing for that which is detestable about him, I have tried — and counseled others to try — an attitude of watch and wait. Trump’s pronunciations are not the surest path to civil disorder or public chaos. For that you need a critical mass of the rest of us to lose our nerve, turning panic into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Although many liberals and progressives I know have quietly shared their nightmare-like sense of certainty that Trump is going to somehow win come November, Republicans have had the hardest time trying to maintain sangfroid. Without question, the stakes are high; even a Trump win could prove disastrous to the GOP (and America, of course). And for principled conservatives, a thorny dilemma has grown around how to translate their conscience into political action, regardless of its impact on Election Day. Since Trump hit the magic number of delegates, it has seemed interchangeably counterproductive and embarrassing to field a third-party protest candidate, throw in with Hillary Clinton or perhaps Gary Johnson, or stay in bed with a bottle of bourbon and weep.

But Trump has now had his shot at rehearsing a general election campaign, and he has fallen flat on his face. It was bad enough that he blew his chance to assemble a team of respected foreign policy advisors, or that he swung incomprehensibly from pitching Latinos taco-bowl bromides to haranguing a thoroughly American judge for his Mexican heritage. These political farces were real, but they were not firing offenses. Then came June. Trump’s already discouraging campaign lurched full-tilt toward disaster, from preposterously staggering fundraising problems to public and protracted palace infighting. The kicker came when news recently broke that Trump — in addition to paying large sums to Trump companies themselves — also coughed up cash for a mysteriously inscrutable firm named after the advertising executives from Mad Men. As a matter of sheer political responsibility, nominating this man is madness.

Of course, Trump critics have been saying this since almost the beginning. But until now, the case against Trump has defeated and delegitimized itself because of its ideological grounding. You can’t just stage a convention “coup” because the candidate who clinched the delegates is mean, nasty, or bigoted. You can’t do it because he disrespects NATO or badmouths free trade. And you certainly can’t do it because you despise the rubes in your party who you somehow failed to keep in a box this time around. Sad!

You can, however, dump Trump for the clinical, confident reason that his campaign is collapsing of its own weight and whim. Yes, there’s still time for a miracle turnaround. Yes, the general election is still months away. And yes, some polls show that Clinton still leads by only a handful of points. But the convention is the closest thing the GOP has to a performance review — to the tough-but-fair moment familiar from The Apprentice where, no matter what, if you’ve so far failed to produce adequate results, you’re fired.

Trump’s epic incompetence as a presidential candidate constitutes a political emergency even deeper and plainer than his jangled ideology. Any CEO, board, or shareholders would cut this guy loose and bring in someone who can close in an emergency. Trump’s failure to measure up to the minimum campaign standard — and the prospect of even more spectacular faceplants to come — is the salvation Republicans have been searching for.

All they need now is a new candidate. That’s hardly as daunting as it once seemed — because everyone should agree that almost anyone else will do.

 

By: John Poulos, The Week, June 24, 2016

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, General Election 2016, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Deceive, You Believe: A New Reality Show For Sarah Palin And Fox

I have a great idea for a new show on Fox. It would be  a reality comedy show with Sarah Palin as the host. It’s what Hollywood calls  “high concept.” The idea would be that all the Republican presidential  candidates would travel across America in Sarah’s RV. Hilarity follows.

Late night comic Jimmy Fallon put it best: “Obama was  in Ireland. He thought about buying a four-leaf clover for good luck, and then  he looked at the field of Republican candidates and decided it wasn’t  necessary.”

Dramatis personae include:

Gary Johnson—Ex-governor of New Mexico who  favors the legalization of pot. He didn’t get an invite to the next GOP debate,  but his hopes are high and he has grassroots support.

Herman Cain—Multi-millionaire and former CEO of  Godfather’s Pizza. He’s rolling in dough.

Newt Gingrich—Former speaker of the House. If he  really is a fiscal conservative, he would use his $500,000 revolving charge  account at Tiffany’s to make a payment on the federal debt. He is clearly the  jewel in the GOP crown. The former speaker is currently on a cruise with his  wife in the Mediterranean. He will return to the campaign trail after he  decides whether he supports or opposes the Ryan plan to gut Medicare. It might  be a long trip.

Palin—Can the former half-term and half-baked governor of Alaska see Russia from her magic bus? This trip is her  magical mystery tour because we have no idea where it will lead. She rained on Mitt Romney’s parade by showing  up in New Hampshire on the day of Romney’s formal announcement and popping him  for his support of a state run healthcare program in Massachusetts with a  personal mandate. National surveys indicate that twice as many voters dislike  her as like her. So, I don’t think she will get a mandate from Americans.

Michele Bachmann—Tea Party favorite and conservative  congresswoman from Minnesota. When baseball players have a short stay in the  majors, it’s a cup of coffee. She will have a cup of tea in the  presidential race. Last week, Representative Bachmann said she and former half-governor Palin were friends. That didn’t last long. This week, Bachmann’s  campaign manager said Palin wasn’t a “serious” candidate. At least the  Minnesotan and I agree on something.

Chris Christie—Governor of New Jersey. Teddy  Roosevelt described the presidency as a bully pulpit. Christie is just a bully.  Don’t be surprised if he helicopters into the race.

Rudy Giuliani—The former mayor of New York City. Why  not? He did so well last time. If he runs, he should borrow Donald  Trump’s toupee and MapQuest Iowa so he can find it this time.

Jon Huntsman—Ex-governor of Utah who served two years as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. He will charge  Obama with  incompetence. Just look at the clown the president made ambassador to China.

Bobby Jindal—The governor of Louisiana who is not  ready for prime time TV. But that hardly disqualifies him in this field.

Mitt Romney—Former governor of Massachusetts and the  father of Obamacare.  This would be the grudge match of all time. Healthcare reform 1.0 vs. 2.0. A Romney position is like the New England weather.  Don’t like it, just wait, because it changes every 15 minutes.

Ron Paul—Paul is the anti-Romney because the Texas  congressman sticks to his positions for more than 15 minutes. Actually, he  still holds Herbert Hoover’s positions. But will socially conservative voters  buy his opposition to drug laws and will the neocons accept his opposition to  the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? I don’t think so.

Tim Pawlenty—The former two-term governor of Minnesota is as  bland as his fellow charismatically challenged Minnesotan, Walter Mondale. Jay  Leno described T-Paw to a t when he joked, “You know, I don’t want to say Tim  Pawlenty is boring, but his Secret Service codename is Al Gore.” Bland is good,  though, because the other GOP candidates have enough baggage to fill a Boeing  727 headed for LAX.

Rick Perry—In 2009, the governor of Texas threatened to  secede from the union. The question is whether he wants to lead or to secede.  Too bad Jeff Davis isn’t still around to be his running mate.

Rick Santorum—Why does he torture himself with  the hope he could win? Is the GOP this desperate for a candidate? He  lost his Senate seat in a presidential battleground state, Pennsylvania, by 16 percent.

This may be  why four out of 10 Republicans in a new Pew Research Center poll say they are not  impressed with the GOP presidential candidates. But I think the reality TV show would get  good ratings hammocked between Family Guy and The Simpsons on Sunday  nights.

 

By: Brad Bannon, U. S. News and World Report, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Deficits, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Health Reform, Ideologues, Ideology, Iowa Caucuses, Neo-Cons, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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