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“Done With Quiet Protest”: Republican ‘Takers’ Take Down The Establishment

Just as Donald Trump did a Super Tuesday stomp on the Republican establishment, the establishment showed why it deserved the rough treatment. The Republican Senate leadership yet again announced its refusal to consider anyone President Obama nominates for the Supreme Court until after the presidential election.

It is the job of the U.S. Senate to hold hearings on, and then accept or reject, the president’s choice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said they will not take on the work — while showing no inclination to forgo their paychecks.

Talk about “takers.”

Yes, talk about “takers.” That’s how Mitt Romney described Americans benefiting from Medicare, Social Security, Obamacare and other government social programs during his failed 2012 run for president. Never mind that most of the “takers” have also paid for some of what they have received.

Working-class Republicans have finally rebelled against the notion that everything they get is beneficence from the superrich — and that making the superrich super-duper-rich would drop some tinsel on their grateful heads. They were done with quiet protest and ready to take down the Republican bastille, stone by stone. And the angrier Trump made the establishment the happier they were.

The Bastille was the symbol of France’s Old Regime. The storming of the prison in 1789 kicked off the French Revolution.

Republican disrupters from Newt Gingrich on down liked to talk about a conservative revolution. They didn’t know the first thing about revolutions. This is a revolution.

Back at the chateau, Republican luminaries were calmly planning favors for their financiers. They assumed their party’s working folk would fall in line — out of both hostility to Democrats and through hypnosis.

So you had Jeb Bush amassing an armory of campaign cash over bubbly and hors d’oeuvres at the family estate in Maine. You had Marco Rubio devising a plan to do away with all capital gains taxes — the source of half the earnings for people making $10 million or more. You had Ted Cruz concocting a plan to abolish the IRS. (Without the IRS, only the working stiffs would be paying taxes, the money automatically deducted from their paychecks.)

Not much here for the alleged takers, who actually see themselves as “taken from.” Unlike the others, Trump wasn’t going after their benefits. He even praised Planned Parenthood, noting it provides a variety of health services to ordinary women.

Trump would be a disastrous president, of course. But he knows how to inspire the “enraged ones.” In the French Revolution, the enraged ones were extremists who sent many of the moderate revolutionaries to the guillotine. (The enraged ones also ended badly.)

As the embers of Super Tuesday still glowed, The Wall Street Journal published the following commentary by one of its Old Regime’s scribes:

“To be honest and impolitic, the Trump voter smacks of a child who unleashes recriminations against mommy and daddy because the world is imperfect,” Holman Jenkins wrote. Take that.

No responsible American — not the other Republicans and certainly not Democrats expecting strong Latino support — would endorse Trump’s nasty attacks on our hardworking immigrants. But large-scale immigration of unskilled labor has, to some extent, hurt America’s blue-collar workers, and not just white ones.

Democrats need to continue pressing reform that is humane both to immigrants already rooted in the society and to the country’s low-skilled workforce. Do that and the air comes whooshing out of Trump’s balloon.

Back in Washington, the Republican leaders will probably continue to avoid work on this issue or a Supreme Court nominee or anything else Obama wants. They should enjoy their leisure. After Election Day, many may have to look for real jobs.

 

By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, March 3, 2016

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Presidential Candidates, Senate Republicans | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Weakness Of President Trump”: Trump Would Be Beyond Embarrassing For The United States On The World Stage

This is happening, America.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald J. Trump—a man who has never held elected office—swept the Super Tuesday primaries last night, dominating seven of eleven contests. His authoritarian-enamored supporters remain inexorably drawn more than anything else to the candidate’s presumed strength.

That strength is supposedly a massive correction to the perceived weakness and fecklessness of President Obama on the world stage. The globe may be on fire, but it will fall in line—if only the American president would be more pugnacious and demanding towards allies and adversaries alike. In this view, Trump’s force of personality is a panacea; his self-fulfilling assurances about his own intelligence, likability, and winning record cease to be a means to policy and become the policies in and of themselves.

But what if Trump’s supporters aren’t just wrong (they are), but catastrophically so? What if that so-called strength—the forwardness, unapologetic aggression, and of course the distaste for “political correctness”—that they so love about candidate Trump turns out to be a debilitating weakness for President Trump and, by extension, our country?

Imagine, for a moment, how President Trump would actually function on the world stage.

Imagine President Trump listening to speeches at the United Nations General Assembly. Say another foreign leader bruises his ego, perhaps with a well-intentioned joke or a purposefully mocking barb. President Trump will not be able to sue, so where will he turn next? From denouncing the leader with juvenile insults to espousing racist sentiments on the world stage, the consequences are sure to be embarrassing.

Imagine President Trump’s childish demands falling on deaf ears in the international community. Suppose Mexico refuses to pay for his luxurious wall, or that allies like Japan and Germany decline to pay tribute for hosting U.S. military bases on their soil. President Trump will not be able to bend them to his will through endless bloviating, so what will become of American credibility? From the alienation of longtime U.S. allies to a full-scale evaporation of U.S. soft power, the consequences are sure to be crippling.

Imagine President Trump in top national security briefings, surrounded by patriotic men and women trying desperately to educate and advise him on the nuances of U.S. foreign policy. If he makes good on his campaign promises, he’ll be ordering them to pursue catastrophic escalations with rival states or execute war crimes against civilians and combatants alike. President Trump will not be able to force them to abide by his un-American dictates, so what will happen to our nation’s civil workforce? Whether we see mass resignations or a full-scale revolt by the people who spend their professional lives working to keep us safe, the consequences are sure to be disastrous.

There are plenty of policy-oriented reasons to decry the prospect of Trump as commander-in-chief—he has a childlike understanding of the world around him, including an astounding ignorance of the details about our enemies, the value of our allies, and the capabilities of our own country. There are obviously moral arguments against him too, among them his unabashed support of torture and his coziness towards any dictator that bats his eyes in Trump’s direction. But perhaps more than anything else, it is Trump’s temperament that disqualifies him from leadership: The “strength” he loves to flex to raucous applause would leave the United States weaker, isolated, and sapped of all credibility.

Trump would be beyond embarrassing for the United States on the world stage. His gaffes, infantilism, and self-assured ignorance would, intentionally or not, systematically destroy our reputation as a world leader, taking down the international order that the greatest generation raised from the ashes of World War II along the way. Trump’s unpredictable and fragile ego — the ego of a man who sends rebuttals to his “losers and haters” signed, literally, in gold sharpie—would become the proxy for how the United States is perceived in the world.

Since 1990, Trump has bemoaned that America is “laughed at” around the world. It is an emotional sentiment that resonates well with his base, but the joke is on them. Should President Trump make his way to the Oval Office, there is little doubt the world will be laughing even harder.

 

By: Graham F. West, The National Memo, March 3, 2016

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, National Security | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Time For Media Reassessment”: After Super Tuesday, It’s Time For The Press To Drop Its Doomsday Clinton Coverage

The time has come for the campaign press to finally pack away its Hillary Clinton doomsday script.

Since the new year, much of the Clinton campaign coverage has revolved around trying to detail her weaknesses, stitching together scenarios where she would fail, and just generally bemoaning what an awful campaign she was supposedly running: She’s too loud! And “everything” is going wrong.

In fact, the primary season has unfolded in the way level-headed observers suggested it might: Iowa was close, Sanders enjoyed a clear advantage in New Hampshire, and then Clinton started accumulating victories. But instead of telling that sober story, the press opted for a far more tantalizing tale — a Clintoncollapse! A 2008 repeat! Even when Clinton did win, the press often stressed how her victories weren’t really victories. (Politico claimed Clinton was “stung” by her narrow Iowa win.)

The narrative has been tightly knit: Voters don’t really like her.

“In reality, nobody is that excited about Hillary Clinton, and young voters, women and men — the foot soldiers of any Democratic Party movement — aren’t coming around,” BuzzFeed reported. Days later, Clinton won women voters in South Carolina by nearly 50 points.

Keep in mind, Clinton’s win-loss primary record today doesn’t look that much different from Donald Trump’s. Yet his coverage is delivered in the glow of a celebrity; of a candidate who’s enjoying an astounding run of unmatched victories. Instead, the tone and tenor of Clinton’s coverage this year often mirrored that of Jeb Bush’s — the guy who ran a historically futile campaign and dropped out without winning a state.

By all indications the Democratic primary contest will march on, and Clinton remains a ways away from securing the delegates needed to officially secure the nomination. But in the wake of Super Tuesday and Clinton’s widespread primary success, this seems like a good time for the press to reassess its coverage; to maybe reset how it sees the campaign, and specifically adjust the at-times comically doomsday coverage it continued to heap on the Democratic frontrunner.

Request to the media: Please take your thumb off the scale. In fact, please take both thumbs off the scale.

Trust me, critics of the Clinton coverage aren’t looking for the Democratic frontrunner to get a free pass. Close observers of the Clintons over the years know that’s just never going to happen. They just want a fair shot. They’d like the press to go back to its job of simply reporting and analyzing what’s happening on the campaign trail and to get out of the narrative-building business. Stop with the hyperventilating that every Clinton campaign speed bump seems to produce, and stop trying to force-feed voters a story that’s not actually happening.

The cyclical waves of she’s-doomed coverage have become as tiresome as they are predictable:

*During Clinton’s summer of 2014 book tour, which the press announced was a complete “disaster.”

*During March of 2015 when the Clinton email story broke.

*During the Clinton Foundation witch hunt in May of last year.

*During renewed email fever last September when the Washington Post averaged more than two Clinton email updates every day of the month.

On and on this production has run.

But was it really that bad this winter? Consider that this was an actual headline from a February Washington Post column, “Clinton email scandal: Why It Might Be Time For Democrats To Draft Joe Biden.”

Yep. Democrats might need to replace Clinton.

On the eve of the Nevada vote, Vanity Fair insisted Clinton allies were “panicking,” and that anything short of a “blowout” win would be “disastrous” for her campaign. Indeed, when Clinton won by five points, Vanity Fair announced she had lost “her narrative.”

Author Gail Sheehy, writing a piece for The New York Times, claimed Baby Boomer women weren’t supporting Clinton’s campaign, when in fact Baby Boomer women are among Clinton’s most ardent supporters.

And reporting from South Carolina, the Post stressed that Bill Clinton was causing all kinds of “headaches” for the campaign by being caught “on the wrong side of the headlines.” Critiquing his campaign persona, the Post insisted “he seems to lose it,” pointing to his “apparent vitriol.” Hillary Clinton’s subsequent 47-point victory in South Carolina raised doubts about the paper’s claim that Bill Clinton was hurting the campaign.

Meanwhile, Post columnist Kathleen Parker, leaning on the she’s-doomed narrative, painted an extraordinarily negative picture of Clinton’s chances of winning in the Palmetto state. Parker claimed Clinton was entering “troubled water” in South Carolina and “particularly among African Americans.”

Fact: Clinton won 86 percent of the South Carolina African-American vote. As a pundit, it’s hard to be more wrong than Parker was.

Can you imagine scribes typing up articles and columns this winter about how Bernie Sanders was having trouble attracting young voters and arguing that if he couldn’t tap into the enthusiasm of millennials his campaign was doomed? Of course not, because that would have made no sense. Yet that didn’t stop people from writing about how Clinton was struggling with women and black voters, even though the premises were so easily debunked.

Those are the Clinton Rules: Anything goes. There’s no penalty for being wrong about the Clintons, which of course only encourages people to be as illogical as they want when chronicling her campaign.

But now as the contours of the looming general election race come into view, it’s time now for an honest media reassessment.

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters For America, March 2, 2016

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Press, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Super-Duper Tuesday”: March 15 Could Be A Bigger Deal For The 2016 Presidential Race Than Super Tuesday

A few weeks ago, I began to map out the March Madness that is the race for the White House. There has been a lot of focus on yesterday’s March 1 Super Tuesday line up. On the Democratic side after all, 859 delegates were at stake, roughly 20 per cent of the total. Republicans had about 25 per cent at stake.

For both parties, things shook out more or less as expected: advantage Clinton and Trump. But, given the results, one can argue that the lead up to March 15 and that big day may be even more critical.

For the Democrats, 11 states are up in the next two weeks with nearly 1,000 at stake, more than yesterday’s total. Three of these are caucuses – Maine, Nebraska and Kansas – and the rest are primaries. Michigan next week has 130 delegates, Florida has 214, Illinois has 156, Ohio has 143, North Carolina has 107 and Missouri has 71. As we know with the Democrats, there are no winner-take-all primaries and delegates are awarded proportionately.

For the Republicans, one can argue that the winner-take-all primaries of Florida and Ohio are now looming as critical to any effort to stop Donald Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio has to win Florida and Gov. John Kasich has to win Ohio. If Trump wins those states, plus does well in the other 13 contests, he will be well on his way to securing a majority of the delegates.

Clinton is piling up large delegate leads in states with very diverse populations, especially in the South. She stands to not only win Louisiana and Mississippi handily in the next couple of weeks but also could score big victories in Illinois (with a 43 percent non-white Democratic primary electorate), North Carolina (38 percent non-white), Florida (34 percent non-white), and possibly Michigan (28 percent non-white) and Ohio (24 percent non-white).

Sen. Bernie Sanders can not win enough delegates by scoring victories in caucus states like Maine, Nebraska or Kansas. He must win the big states and Michigan is the first up on March 8. He has the money to stay in and compete but this is now about the math. He can’t continue to lose major delegate-rich states, especially by large margins.

So, the next two weeks and March 15 will be very important for Clinton’s march to 2,383 delegates and Trump’s effort to amass 1,237. Unless Sanders can show that he can win in a number of these big delegate-rich states, he will not be able to overtake Clinton, especially with her huge lead with the 712 super delegates. Also, Republicans’ efforts to stop Trump may rise or fall in the next two weeks.

There will be more to come, but we may be talking about the Super-sized Tuesday come March 15.

 

By: Peter Fenn, Democratic Political Strategist and Head of Fenn Communications; U. S. News and World Report, March 2, 2016

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Democratic Presidential Primaries, Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“We Can’t Do The Rubio Thing Anymore”: More Bad News For Marco Rubio: He Just Lost The Support Of Fox News

In his role as the donor class’s darling, Marco Rubio has enjoyed support from the Republicans’ media arm, Fox News. Throughout the primary, Fox provided Rubio with friendly interviews and key bookings, including the first prime-time response to Barack Obama’s Oval Office address on ISIS. Many of the network’s top pundits, including Stephen Hayes and Charles Krauthammer, have been enthusiastic boosters. Bill Sammon, Fox’s Washington managing editor, is the father of Rubio’s communications director, Brooke Sammon.

But this alliance now seems to be over. According to three Fox sources, Fox chief Roger Ailes has told people he’s lost confidence in Rubio’s ability to win. “We’re finished with Rubio,” Ailes recently told a Fox host. “We can’t do the Rubio thing anymore.”

Ailes was already concerned about Rubio’s lackluster performance in GOP primaries and caucuses, winning only one contest among the 15 that have been held. But the more proximate cause for the flip was an embarrassing New York Times article revealing that Rubio and Ailes had a secret dinner meeting in 2013 during which the Florida senator successfully lobbied the Fox News chief to throw his support behind the “Gang of 8” comprehensive immigration-reform bill. “Roger hates seeing his name in print,” a longtime Ailes associate told me. “He was appalled the dinner was reported,” the source said.

Already, there are on-air signs that Fox’s attitude toward Rubio has cooled. This morning, anchor Martha MacCallum grilled Rubio about his poor Super Tuesday performance. “Is that a viable excuse at this point?” she asked, when he tried spinning his second-place finish in Virginia.

Fox’s corporate support of Rubio has also been a growing source of tension with the network’s more conservative talent. Sean Hannity was furious that the Times article reported how he went along with Rubio’s immigration proposal. During an interview with Trump on Monday, Hannity barely defended Fox while Trump trashed Rubio backers like Hayes. “He shouldn’t be on the air,” Trump said. The best Hannity could muster was to change the subject. “Have you ever watched MSNBC?” he said. “They suck.”

Ailes is now back to searching for a candidate the channel can rally behind. “He’s thinking, What do we do about the whole damn thing?” one of the news executive’s friends said.

Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti did not return a call for comment.

 

By: Gabriel Sherman, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, March 2, 2016

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Fox News, GOP Campaign Donors, Marco Rubio, Roger Ailes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

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