The Republican Party spent decades telling its base to hate and mistrust the mainstream media. But now conservative outlets are lurching to the far right, taking the base with it and leaving the party and its brand of conservatism stranded in political no-mans land.
As [former George W. Bush speechwriter David] Frum predicted and we’ve witnessed over the years, there is not much the Republican Congressional leadership can do to satisfy these folks in the right wing media because their ratings rely on fomenting anger and threats to “blow shit up!” I suspect this is precisely why Paul Ryan resisted taking on the role of House Speaker after John Boehner was ejected from his leadership position. He knows that he is now the target and this won’t end well.
Four years ago, I wrote "this is American conservatism's immune system going into anaphylactic shock. Fun to watch, while it lasts!"
It's not fun anymore. Read the rest
The classic Roman salute, complete with a stiff quarter turn, is an entirely natural thing to do after a stirring patriotic speech in the service of an anti-immigrant populist strongman. She makes a smooth recovery, if you ask me, once she realizes what she just did. But it's the suggestion of oops that makes it: it's easy to find photos of politicians and pundits appearing to salute like this, but video showing that crisp, heel-clicking snap are magic. Some believe it was intentional, a dogwhistle a la "Sheriff's Star".
Read the rest
The Republican party platform is veering to the right as GOP delegates descend on Cleveland to produce the party’s principles document. Several positions about same-sex marriage and scientifically debunked “gay conversion therapy” passed preliminary votes today.
Read the rest
Jeet Heer explains that Republicans fell for Trump because of years of conservative policy that told them science, reason and skepticism were bad. Put simply, they were primed to be suckers: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
Conservative ideology, as Perlstein persuasively argues, is particularly vulnerable to grifters because of its faith in the goodness of business and its concomitant hostility toward regulation—which makes it easy for true believers to buy into the notion that some modern Edison has a miraculous new invention that the Washington elite is conniving to suppress. In Perlstein’s words, “The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.” There’s another factor at work here: The anti-intellectualism that has been a mainstay of the conservative movement for decades also makes its members easy marks.
Read the rest
A day after Cruz threw in the towel, John Kasich follows suit
. Trump is not officially the Republican nominee--the Republican convention this summer is when he will be anointed (or somehow shivved) by the party--but this leaves him without a campaigning rival.
Mr Kasich's announcement clears Mr Trump's path, although he was never a significant threat and only won his home state.
Earlier on Wednesday, he had released a Star-Wars themed advert describing himself as the "only hope" against Donald Trump. Read the rest
After a brutal thrashing at Donald Trump's hands in Indiana's Republican primary election today, Ted Cruz is calling it quits. Trump, reports the BBC, is now almost certainly the party's nominee for president.
"We left it all in the field in Indiana, and the voters chose another path," he told supporters in Indiana."With a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign."
I'll say one thing about Carly Fiorina, she knows how to get a company to make layoffs when it has to. Read the rest
Neither can beat him, but Ted Cruz and John Kasich are teaming up against Donald Trump in a last-ditch effort to prevent him winning the Republican presidential nomination.
The two candidates, at opposite spectrums of the Republican spectrum, still agree on enough things (e.g. that Donald Trump is bad for America) to put aside their differences and announce the collaboration. The deal will involve Kasich supporting Cruz in Indiana while Cruz supports Kazich in Oregon and New Mexico – and perhaps other states where one or the other candidate is too weak to challenge Trump.
“To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead,” wrote Cruz's campaign manager, Jeff Roe.
John Weaver, from Kasich's camp, said that they were giving Cruz “a clear path in Indiana.”
“In turn, we will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well,” Weaver wrote.
Trump hit Twitter almost immediately to denounce the deal as "DESPERATE!" and "sad!" collusion.
Read the rest
Thrashed by Donald Trump in today's Florida GOP primary election, Marco Rubio is quitting the race to be the party's pick to run for President. The NYT reports that his youth did him in.
And one crucial shortcoming was out of his control: his youth. Many Republicans were simply unwilling to entrust the presidency to a young first-term senator.
Mr. Rubio’s campaign was a cycle of high hopes and dashed expectations. He finished an unexpectedly strong third in the Iowa caucuses, only to be embarrassed in a debate three days before the New Hampshire primary, consigning him to fifth place . He came in second to Mr. Trump in South Carolina, then was y to be all but wiped out in the Super Tuesday contests 10 days later
Read the rest
Ben Carson, a Republican candidate in this year's general election, hopes to be America's first black president that wasn't raised as a white person in Indonesia.
Read the rest
…"He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch," the retired neurosurgeon told Politico's Glenn Thrush on his "Off Message" podcast aired Tuesday.
Obama was born in Honolulu to a white American mother and a Kenyan father. Carson was born in Detroit to two black American parents.
"Like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn't grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination," Carson said. "Not even close."
Salon's Heather Digby Patron summarizes the consensus opinion that the Republican party is responsible for his "creation"—but also suggests that it still doesn't understand him and enjoys little prospect of stopping him.
The assumption among the establishment types is that if only Cruz, Kasich and Carson would get out of the way, all those voters would go to Rubio and they could finally knock out Trump and carry on with the plan. Unfortunately, even if they were able to finally get Rubio a free lane in which to run, there’s no guarantee that he would be the beneficiary of all those freed up votes. That’s because Trump draws from every demographic.
Trump isn't consistently right-wing, after all. In practice, he's a mix of centrist vacillations and a few extremist stunt positions. He panders to an angry middle of people with inane and self-absorbed media-fed beliefs about politics they never cared to understand in the first place: "it doesn’t matter what he says, as long as he delivers his lines with that big swinging attitude of his."
Think of tired boomers drifting into shitty retirements and angry adolescents drifting into shitty adulthoods, and you get Trump. Say another Hitler joke. And another. And another for the road.
Read the rest
Why does United States President Barack Obama have a soft spot for homosexuals? Because he was a gay hooker in the '80s, reports Mary Lou Bruner, a Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education.
"That’s how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background."
This is only one tread among many in the bright tapestry of Bruner's moral rug.
Meanwhile, “Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate, it’s all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a HOAX!”
Salon's article offers a smorgasbord of similarly spectacular Republicans from the Lone Star State.
Correction: The headline of this article originally identified Bruner as a mayor. She is a retired teacher. Read the rest
Saturday evening's GOP debate was a shitshow for Marco Rubio, who sweated profusely and robotically repeated one line four times, even after presidential rival Chris Christie mocked his use of that exact canned point.
At 8:30 pm, Rubio said "Let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing."
Barely two minutes later, he repeated it: "Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing," and again ninety seconds on, "This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he's doing."
At that point, Christie quipped, "there he goes again," but it didn't stop Rubio from using the same line again at 9:21 pm: "I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn't doing what he's doing on purpose doesn't understand what we're dealing with here. O.K.?"
The bizarre sequence has launched a zillion mocking tweets and is being described as Marco's "Howard Dean" moment in honor of the 2004 Democrat candidate's bizarre shriek of enthusiasm. The robotic quality of Rubio's performance, however, has already launched parodies such as the RubioGlitch twitter account:
You have already guessed what is said in the rest of RubioGlitch's tweets. Read the rest
The tenor of her announcement, and of the American right in general, is perfectly summed up by this Vine video:
Read the rest
Matt Haughey (of Metafilter fame), explains his latest project: Why I can’t stop putting dildos into the hands of powerful conservatives.
It’s been hilarious to see what I originally thought might be a tiny twitter art project that would hopefully crack up my friends spread like wildfire across social networks, and later to news sites, and eventually into many other languages. Mostly people see it for what it is, a silly way to express frustration at The United States’ current endless cycle of gun tragedy followed by inaction while leaders posture with their weapons in defiance of any changes.
It's a perfect little mix of symbolism, with something for everyone: denial, pandering, sexual liberation, impotence, and the devil always having the best tunes.
Read the rest
Of course, it being on the Internet, there’s a flipside reaction as well. I’ve been asked to meet people to see their guns, and perhaps to experience getting shot by them, I’ve had people on Twitter tell me all the things they want to do with a dildo to me, and I’ve even had a guy say he’d love to shove his gun up my ass and pull the trigger so I got the full idea of how powerful his weapons are. Usually I block or mute people on Twitter that tell me stuff like that so I don’t have to see it again.
Republican presidential contender Chris Christie was told to leave a train's "quiet car" after people complained he was shouting into his cellphone, according to passenger Alexander Mann.
Mann told Gawker's Melissa Cronin that Christie seemed angry at his security detail, or something.
He got on last minute yelling at his two secret service agents I think because of a seat mixup, sat down and immediately started making phone calls on the quiet car. After about 10 minutes the conductor asked him to stop or go to another car. He got up and walked out again yelling at his secret service. He was drinking a McDonald’s strawberry smoothie.
CNN reports that New Jersey governor Christie, currently polling at homeopathic fractions, was on a 9:55 a.m. train headed out of Washington, D.C., after a TV appearance.
He walked onto the train with a McDonald's strawberry smoothie, already chewing out someone who was with him, possibly a security officer, about a mix-up in seating arrangements, according to Alexander Mann, a passenger on the same train who detailed the Christie incident to CNN in an email and in photos.
Mann wrote that just before the train departed, Christie boarded behind "two men who appeared to be Secret Service agents" -- though that's unlikely, since Christie doesn't yet have Secret Service detail; his staff said he traveled Sunday with one New Jersey state trooper -- and was "yelling at them about some sort of mixup with the seating arrangements and how they had let it happen."
The quiet car, however, is for travelers who are quiet. Read the rest