Friday, December 29, 2017

Last Call For The Rats Jumping Ship

Republicans control all three branches of government at this point, but they are heading for the exits rather than staying to continue their rule. The reason is that when the Trump regime crashes and takes the GOP with it, these cowards don't want to be anywhere near the crime scene.

A Republican congressman said Thursday while President Donald Trump wasn't the determining factor in his decision to retire at the end of his term, which expires in 2018, he was a part of it. 
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, said Republican candidates facing re-election would have to surpass challenging hurdles, among them Trump's divisive nature as the figurehead of the party. 
"Well, at least in my case, I would say the President was a factor, but not the factor for me deciding to leave," Dent told CNN's Poppy Harlow, while a "a very challenging midterm environment" also contributed to his decision. 
"The party of the President typically loses 32 seats in a situation like this," Dent told CNN, but "of course then, Donald Trump, you know, complicates that because he's a very polarizing figure, and so I suspect our challenges will be even greater just because of that."

They know what's coming: an ass-kicking of 2010-style proportions and then some.

"One of the challenges our party has faced is it's become, we have a much stronger base with older voters, and white voters, obviously," he said. 
The moderate Republican congressman also criticized the Trump campaign's decision to solidify traditional GOP voters at the expense of newer voting blocs. 
"You clearly alienate a lot of Hispanic voters with (Trump's) comments on Mexicans and Latinos, and of course you have the Charlottesville situation," Dent said, adding that "politics and getting elected is an exercise in inclusion and not exclusion."

Dent is pretending that there's a wing of "moderate Republicans" that have been hiding out or something, and that he's not part of the Party of Trump.

Florida Is The New Alabama

With GOP child molester Roy Moore still refusing to concede the Alabama Senate special election even after Democrat Doug Jones was certified as the winner yesterday, it looks like Moore will be the gift that keeps on giving to blue states in the South.  Having not learned their lesson, Trump and the billionaires who own him are moving on to Florida's gubernatorial contest, where they plan to set up another Roy Moore-style situation in the Sunshine State.

This time, the GOP frontrunner is the state Agriculture Commissioner, Adam Putnam, who isn't crazy enough for Trump and his megadonors.  They're all getting behind GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis, currently the chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, the right-wing nutjob who's been regularly on FOX News calling for a purge of the FBI and a mass roundup of Democrats since July.

After Donald Trump appeared to endorse Ron DeSantis’ campaign for Florida governor last week, a handful of the biggest and most influential billionaires in Republican politics threw their support behind the three-term GOP congressman, upending the race in the nation’s biggest swing state.

The stable of billionaires and millionaires listed on DeSantis’ “Finance Leadership Team,” obtained by POLITICO, include casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, hedge fund heiress Rebekah Mercer, investment tycoon Foster Friess and other donors who have funded the conservative Koch brothers’ network and President Trump’s campaign. Just last week, Trump weighed in on Twitter to say that DeSantis “would make a GREAT Governor of Florida.”

DeSantis has yet to formally announce his 2018 campaign for governor, but his intentions to seek the office became clear in May after he established a state political committee, called the Fund for Florida’s Future, that’s allowed to raise and spend unlimited soft money from corporate contributors.

“This sets DeSantis apart from the rest. He will have the financial resources and the ground game and the Trump base to be an incredible statewide candidate,” said David Bossie, a DeSantis backer, who founded the Citizens United conservative group, served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager and just co-authored the new “Let Trump Be Trump” book plugged by the president.

Putnam doesn't have a chance.  He's the Luther Strange in this equation and he's going to have his career as a Republican ruined because he's not crazy enough.

In a state as big as Florida, where a week’s worth of saturation TV during next year’s general election could cost as much as $3 million, cash is king. And Putnam has so far reigned over both his likely and current Democratic and Republican rivals by raising his money from the major industries that do business in Florida’s Capitol, such as agricultural interests, the healthcare industry, power companies and Disney.

With Tallahassee’s institutional GOP donors behind Putnam, a Republican candidate can only hope to match him with outside money or independent wealth, which was a key to Scott’s success in his unexpected primary win in 2010.

Including his campaign and his Florida Grown political committee, Putnam had a total of about $15 million cash on hand at the end of last month. Corcoran, who is not yet an announced candidate, had $4.7 million in the bank in his Watchdog PAC. DeSantis had about $3.6 million in the bank between his political committee and his congressional campaign, whose donors will need to sign off on re-directing their federal contributions to his state race if he runs.

Surveys conducted by Republican pollsters show Putnam leading the GOP primary with less than a third of the vote. DeSantis, depending on the survey, trails by anywhere from 10 points to 20 points. And Corcoran is polling in single digits. More than half of Republican voters say they’re not sure about whom they’ll choose. But 80-90 percent of them back President Trump, the polls show.

Trump’s deputy campaign manager, Bossie, said Trump’s support for DeSantis and the backing of the top donors should help catch up to Putnam quickly.

So once again, Trump and his donors are setting up a hard-right primary challenge to a state party's preferred candidate, because Trump likes him.  I bet that's going to go over real well in November in Florida, especially with all the influx of voters from Puerto Rico, which has now been without power for 100 days and counting and deep in a humanitarian crisis that this regime is ignoring daily.

Democrats are running both Gwen Graham, the daughter of former Florida Gov. Bob Graham, and Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee. We'll see how this turns out, but I'm guessing that after DeSantis wins the primary for the GOP that he finds out just how much being Donald Trump's favorite is worth in November.

And it won't be much.

Trump Cards, Con't

Donald Trump's weakness is his ego.  He can't stop talking, can't stop seeking approval and accolades, he can't stop making news about himself, and most of all, he can't stop making things worse for himself.

President Trump said Thursday that he believes Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, will treat him fairly, contradicting some members of his party who have waged a weekslong campaign to try to discredit Mr. Mueller and the continuing inquiry. 
During an impromptu 30-minute interview with The New York Times at his golf club in West Palm Beach, the president did not demand an end to the Russia investigations swirling around his administration, but insisted 16 times that there has been “no collusion” discovered by the inquiry. 
“It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position,” Mr. Trump said of the investigation. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”

Asked whether he would order the Justice Department to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Trump appeared to remain focused on the Russia investigation. 
“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” he said, echoing claims by his supporters that as president he has the power to open or end an investigation. “But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.”

Remember, the clinical sign of an egomaniac is that everything has to revolve around him.  Trump could end the Mueller probe, but he chooses not to. The fact that Trump can't actually do that simply doesn't exist in his worldview.

Hours after he accused the Chinese of secretly shipping oil to North Korea, Mr. Trump explicitly said for the first time that he has “been soft” on China on trade in the hopes that its leaders will pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
He hinted that his patience may soon end, however, signaling his frustration with the reported oil shipments. 
“Oil is going into North Korea. That wasn’t my deal!” he exclaimed, raising the possibility of aggressive trade actions against China. “If they don’t help us with North Korea, then I do what I’ve always said I want to do.” 
Despite saying that when he visited China in November, President Xi Jinping “treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China,” Mr. Trump said that “they have to help us much more.” 
“We have a nuclear menace out there, which is no good for China,” he said. 
Mr. Trump gave the interview in the Grill Room at Trump International Golf Club after he ate lunch with his playing partners, including his son Eric and the pro golfer Jim Herman. No aides were present for the interview, and the president sat alone with a New York Times reporter at a large round table as club members chatted and ate lunch nearby. A few times, members and friends — including a longtime supporter, Christopher Ruddy, the president and chief executive of the conservative website and TV company Newsmax — came by to speak with Mr. Trump.

The rest of the wide-ranging interview, again, with no minders present, is here.

And it's a doozy.  I can hear Robert Mueller laughing all the way from here.
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