Thursday, April 12, 2018

Last Call For Saving Privatization Ryan

GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan is retiring and his Wisconsin district is up for grabs, but Ryan may not make it until the end of his term before the Langoliers in the GOP fall upon his rotting political corpse and devour him.

Paul Ryan said he plans to remain as speaker and not call an early leadership election, but well-wired Republicans tell Jonathan Swan and me that Ryan may be forced out sooner. 
What we're hearing: One source close to leadership told us: "Scuttlebutt is that Paul will have to step down from speakership soon. Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is 6 months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back."

A senior GOP House member predicted this about Ryan’s future: “He will be gone by the end of July.” 
Some big donors, who have given millions to Ryan this cycle, may not want him to stay on as speaker if the entire party is taking on water. 
This is not because he’ll struggle to raise money. Enough donors from the old Romney-Ryan world will write checks to Ryan to try to save the majority. 
It’s more about certainty and stability. Members need certainty and they don’t want to operate until November in a climate where every move from every member of leadership is viewed through the prism of jostling for the speakership. 
Our sources say that could pull an already divided conference even further apart. 
So we wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan reverses himself before August, setting an early election for the next speaker...

Two observations here.

One, I think the real issue is what happens in the next month with Syria and Mueller.  If Trump makes a major military push against Assad and/or fires Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, you'll see the House GOP fall in line very, very quickly and Ryan will remain as the lightning rod. Trump's capricious petty vengeance has the added effect of focusing the mind of the problem of self-preservation for everyone around him. As long as Ryan stays around, the rest of the House GOP is off the accountability hook, and this could very well be why Ryan made the announcement now and is falling on his sword to preserve the gains the GOP has made so far.

Two, this is all dependent on somebody actually wanting to replace Ryan before the November election.  Does Steve Scalise or Kevin McCarthy want to be the new captain of the Titanic with the twin icebergs of Trump's unpopularity and the Democratic wave  in sight, or do they wait until the House GOP self-destructs so they can blame Ryan and start fresh in 2019 as the minority party?  Believe me, if Scalise or McCarthy take over the job now, they'll be the goat staked out for the T-Rex of Failure to come feast upon when the January election for leadership rolls around.

It's possible, but I'm betting the remaining players in House GOP leadership are going to suddenly discover that keeping Paul Ryan around as a human shield is much, much more preferable than drawing active fire from both the base and the Democrats, not to mention Trump spraying and praying.

We'll see.

Operation Comey Island

The Trump regime is mobilizing ahead of the release of former FBI Director James Comey's tell-all book A Higher Loyalty next week, with the intent of trashing Comey for several days leading up to the book hitting stores and e-readers

President Donald Trump's allies are preparing an extensive campaign to fight back against James Comey's publicity tour, trying to undermine the credibility of the former FBI director by reviving the blistering Democratic criticism of him before he was fired nearly a year ago. 
The battle plan against Comey, obtained by CNN, calls for branding the nation's former top law enforcement official as "Lyin' Comey" through a website, digital advertising and talking points to be sent to Republicans across the country before his memoir is released next week. The White House signed off on the plan, which is being overseen by the Republican National Committee. 
"Comey is a liar and a leaker and his misconduct led both Republicans and Democrats to call for his firing," Republican chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement to CNN. "If Comey wants the spotlight back on him, we'll make sure the American people understand why he has no one but himself to blame for his complete lack of credibility." 
While it's an open question how successful Republicans will be in making their case against Comey, given that Trump unceremoniously dismissed him last May 9, there is no doubt that many Democrats remain furious at how the former FBI director treated Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. 
Republicans hope to remind Democrats why they disliked Comey by assailing his credibility, shining a new light on his conduct and pointing out his contradictions -- or the three Cs. 
An old quotation from Clinton is prominently displayed on the "Lyin'Comey" website, with Trump's former Democratic rival saying that Comey "badly overstepped his bounds."

I assume it will be just about as "effective" as the Trump regime effort to discredit Michael Wolff before Fire and Fury hit the stands back in January, which is to say it will backfire tremendously and serve as a spectacular example of the Streisand Effect in action.

Speaking of Wolff, the little weasel takes to the Hollywood Reporter this week to make the case for his book and to attack the media again.

Donald Trump's standard operating procedure of conflict, insults, reversals and dismissals — fire and fury, if you will — is still reported by the news media with breathless surprise. The most obvious man on Earth is yet, to the media, always astonishing. Whose fault is that? Covering a train wreck requires different skills from covering politics. But political reporters continue to apply the hyper-rationality of political life and its heightened sense of cause and effect to Trump and his White House. Power, in this view, necessarily has logic and purpose. 
Earlier this year, The New York Times broke a story about how, in June, Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. True enough — except that the Times story implied the culmination of a decision-making process and certain calculated intent. In fact, for most of June, Trump, in wounded-beast fashion, demanded every day that Mueller be fired. The difference, not at all fine, is between being in control and out of control, between a plan, however wicked, and a meltdown. Similarly, The Washington Post recently tried to explain Trump's legal team's worry about his testimony before the special counsel as having to do with "lack of precision in his speech and penchant for hyperbole." That's a significantly more comforting interpretation than that he has no ability to adapt to any standard measure of language and reality. 
By insisting that Trump merely refuses to conform or doesn't care to conform, the media misses the far more novel and alarming point: that he can't conform.

And while Wolff's relationship with the truth puts him firmly in the category of "opportunistic bastard" he's not wrong when it comes to Trump's trashing of norms: he can't conform to any because he's a serial narcissistic sociopath.

It's important to keep that in mind.

Three People Outside Jefferson City, Missouri, Con't

Missouri's GOP Gov. Eric Greitens is facing the very real prospect of impeachment after a scandal involving sexual abuse and blackmail of a mistress surfaced in January

It got worse when it quickly became apparent that Greitens wanted state legislators to protect his private texts from investigators, and when that failed police found ample evidence to indict the governor on felony charges in February as state lawmakers launched their own impeachment probe.

Now, six weeks after Greitens's indictment, Missouri state lawmakers have released the findings and testimony of their probe, and it is devastating to say the least.  The description of what Greitens allegedly did is graphic, fair warning.

When she tried to leave, sobbing after a non-consensual sexual encounter, she says the man who would be governor physically stopped her.

What happened next, she testified under oath to a Missouri House committee investigating allegations of misconduct against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, is spelled out in graphic detail in a 25-page report and transcripts of testimony that the lawmakers released Wednesday.

It’s the first time the public has heard sworn testimony from the woman at the center of allegations of misconduct against the governor.

The woman told lawmakers that in March 2015, as she tried to leave the basement of his St. Louis home, Greitens grabbed her in a "bear hug" and laid her on the floor. Then he started fondling her, pulled out his penis and coerced her into oral sex while she wept “uncontrollably.”

The woman told the committee that Greitens had led her down to the basement, taped her hands to pull-up rings, blindfolded her, spit water into her mouth, ripped open her shirt, pulled down her pants and took a photo without her consent.

He threatened to make the photos public if she ever told anyone about their encounter, and called her "a little whore," the woman told lawmakers.

After her hands were freed, she said she felt she had no other choice but to perform oral sex if she was going to get out of the basement.

The woman and Greitens had several sexual encounters over the next few months in 2015, she testified. Some were consensual. Others were not.

On at least three occasions he hit her.

The explosive allegations were among the findings of the bipartisan investigative committee of the Missouri House that has been looking into allegations of wrongdoing against the Republican governor. The committee also interviewed two of the woman’s friends who say she told them a similar story at the time, as well as the woman’s ex-husband.

The committee – five Republicans and two Democrats – concluded that the woman's testimony is credible.

The calls for Greitens to resign were coming from Missouri Democrats before.  Now they are coming from Missouri Republicans as impeachment is now moving forward.

Republican legislative leaders — including House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard — announced the report was enough to warrant a special session to consider disciplinary actions, including impeachment.

Attorney General Josh Hawley later issued a statement saying Greitens' alleged conduct detailed in the report "is certainly impeachable," and he called on the governor to resign.

Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said the testimony in the report "is beyond disturbing. He later added: "The power given to the Missouri General Assembly to take disciplinary action or remove elected officials from office is one of the most serious and consequential powers the Constitution grants the legislature. We will not take that responsibility lightly. We will not act rashly, but we will not shrink from it."

The full report is online here at the KC Star, and it is utterly astonishing.  Greitens is done, the only question is how he chooses to go out, with whatever minuscule shreds of personal dignity he can muster, or like a petulant child in the age of Trump's petulant childishness.

Again, when your own party has a near 75% super-majority in both chambers of the state legislature and a three-fourths vote is needed to call a special session, and the legislature basically has the votes to do that should it be necessary (the current session goes through May 18) with the only issue being the timing of when impeachment and/or your resignation takes place, then you're basically a walking political corpse.

We'll see what happens, but there's a very good chance that Greitens doesn't survive the month as governor, let alone the week.


Related Posts with Thumbnails