Monday, January 15, 2018

Last Call For That Poll-Axed Look

Republican voters are now happily chugging the "Trump is a success!" Kool-Aid and have basically forgiven Trump since the Tax Scam passed.

About six in 10 Republicans (61%) say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. -- the party's highest level of satisfaction since February 2007. This latest uptick comes on the heels of a major victory on tax reform for the president and congressional Republicans at the end of 2017. 

Current GOP sentiment about the direction of the U.S. is a major turnaround for a party that suffered depressed levels of satisfaction earlier in the year after a number of legislative setbacks and various challenges to Trump's White House in its first year. After bottoming out at 38% in October, the party's rank and file became gradually more satisfied with the nation's trajectory in the final quarter of 2017. Independents, too, have become more satisfied since October, after hitting a 2017 low of 20% that month. Currently, 31% of independents report satisfaction with the way things are going for the country. 
Meanwhile, Democrats have dipped to a new Trump-era low in satisfaction with the nation's direction. The current 7% who are satisfied is slightly lower than the 9% to 16% range previously registered since the president's inauguration. 
The latest figures are from Gallup's first measure of the question in 2018, recorded Jan. 2-7. Nationally, 29% of Americans are satisfied with the direction of the U.S., which is on the high end of the 21% to 32% range recorded since Trump became president. Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) are dissatisfied.

Whaddya know.  Even Republicans were pissed at Trump until the Tax Scam suddenly  and magically fixed the "broken" economy.

Go figure.

Trump Cards, Con't

As we celebrate Dr. King's legacy today and are abruptly reminded of how far America has to go towards bending that moral arc towards justice, Republicans have now rallied around the fiction that Donald Trump never said his now infamous comments on Haiti and African nations being "shithole countries" and are now taking great umbrage that Trump is being openly called racist, resulting in Trump falling back on his default petty vengeance mode where he punishes anyone who defies him in public, this time the victims being the Dreamers and perhaps all of America.

After three days of denunciations from around the world, President Trump declared that he is “not a racist” on Sunday, even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the capital, including efforts to protect young undocumented immigrants and avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Trump also insisted that he had not made the inflammatory comments in a White House meeting on Thursday, part of a newly aggressive defense and a counterattack on Democrats by the president and his allies. But his remarks on Sunday were a departure from the White House’s initial statement last week, which did not deny the comments.

“I’m not a racist,” Mr. Trump said on Sunday night as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in Florida for dinner with Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader, who attended the meeting last week and has not spoken publicly about it. “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.”

His comments, while extraordinary coming from a president of the United States, echoed reassurances Mr. Trump has made several times before.

Earlier Sunday, Mr. Trump declared on Twitter that the Obama-era program shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation was “probably dead,” while a Republican senator who attended the Thursday meeting where the president discussed immigration denied that Mr. Trump had used the word “shithole” in describing African nations.

The senator, David Perdue of Georgia, also accused another participant in the White House meeting, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, of a “gross misrepresentation” of what the president had said at the session.

Mr. Perdue and another Republican senator at the meeting, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, had previously said they did “not recall the president saying these comments specifically.” But by Sunday, their recollections appeared to have sharpened, and Mr. Cotton joined Mr. Perdue in disputing Mr. Durbin’s account. The two senators’ latest assertions also seemed to conflict with the account of another Republican senator who was at the meeting, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Mr. Trump alluded to those two senators on Sunday night when asked about his immigration remarks. “Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?” the president asked. “They weren’t made.”

The rift over Mr. Trump’s comments, and how they have since been recounted, risked further eroding trust between Democrats and Republicans at the beginning of a critical week for Congress. Government funding is set to expire on Friday, and lawmakers will need to pass a stopgap spending measure to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday.

So, Trump has decided that if the government has to be shut down, it's because Sen. Dick Durbin "lied" about his comments last week, so somebody has to pay.  As I've said before, the primary motivation for Donald Trump is to never let a slight go, real or perceived, and to use that to justify not only breaking his word but further bad behavior on his part designed to punish whoever he can.

It's a classic narcissist defense mechanism and one that's worked for the GOP for years, taking offense at being called out for bad behavior and claiming they are the real aggrieved party whenever they don't get 100% of what they want.  The false outrage/fainting couch/victim complex dance is standard operating procedure these days, and Trump is the perfect avatar for such infantile behavior.

But the practical upshot of all this is that it yet again normalizes Trump's original bad behavior.  As House Speaker 25 years ago, Newt Gingrich was laughed out of Congress when it became clear he shut down the government in 1995 over seating arrangements on Air Force One.  In 2018, it looks like Trump and the GOP are going to shut down the government over being called racists when Trump's said racist things and taken racist actions for decades and the country will just shrug it off.

He also does it to distract from new scandals, in the last seven days the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump paid off a woman in October 2016 to keep quiet over an affair, the New York Times reported that Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner got $30 million from an Israeli firm ahead of Kusher's May 2017 visit to Tel Aviv, and BuzzFeed reported that Trump made billions over several decades selling real estate to unidentified buyers who paid cash in obvious money laundering schemes, all three scandals should have ended Trump's presidency immediately but at this point it's just overload and background noise.

Besides, some people called Trump racist, the worst offense known to Republicans, so now America has to be punished for that, you know.


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