Saturday, April 28, 2018

Last Call For Cult Of Personality

Donald Trump skipped the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner again tonight in favor of a rally in Michigan where he could be the star without any jokes at his expense, because Trump is a bully and tyrant who cannot tolerate the notion that everyone doesn't love him.

President Donald Trump kicked off a campaign-style rally in Michigan on Saturday by taking a shot at the media as journalists gathered in Washington, DC, for the White House correspondents' dinner.

"You may have heard I was invited to another event tonight -- the White House Correspondents' dinner," Trump said, "but I'd much rather be in Washington, Michigan, than in Washington, DC right now. That I can tell you."

This is the second year in a row that the President has skipped the annual dinner in favor of rallying with his supporters.

In the opening minutes of the rally, Trump called on the crowd to "elect more Republicans so we can protect our cities, defend our borders, grow our economy, and continue to make America great again."

Trump also took aim at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who are running for reelection this year.

"The Democrats don't care about our military. They don't, and they don't care about our borders, and I don't think they care much about crime," Trump said. "Nancy Pelosi and her gang -- they've got to be voted out of office. They've got to be voted out of office."

Trump went on to say Stabenow "wants people to flow into the country. And you people just keep putting her back again, and again, and again. It's your fault. So you gotta get to the poll."

Trump is definitely going to take his attack show on the road to personally go after Democrats this summer, and it's going to be ugly.  Expect a lot more of this in the months ahead.

A Tester Of The Bully’s Pulpit

Donald Trump has found his scapegoat for the failure of Ronny Jackson's nomination for VA Secretary, and it's not Roony Jackson (or Donald Trump, who of course didn't bother vetting Jackson.)  No, the villain is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Montana's Jon Tester, who has now been targeted by Trump for complete annihilation because nobody is allowed to oppose Dear Leader, and examples must be made.

President Trump called on Saturday for the resignation of Senator Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat who helped thwart his effort to install the White House physician in the cabinet, suggesting that the president may try to exact retribution in the fall congressional elections in a state that he won by a wide margin. 
Two days after the doctor, Ronny L. Jackson, withdrew from consideration for secretary of veterans affairs amid a flurry of reports about his conduct on the job, Mr. Trump made clear he did not intend to let the matter go. In a pair of early morning messages on Twitter, the president said the accusations raised by Mr. Tester against Dr. Jackson were fabricated. 
 “Allegations made by Senator Jon Tester against Admiral/Doctor Ron Jackson are proving false,” Mr. Trump wrote. “The Secret Service is unable to confirm (in fact they deny) any of the phony Democrat charges which have absolutely devastated the wonderful Jackson family. Tester should resign.” 
He added: “The great people of Montana will not stand for this kind of slander when talking of a great human being. Admiral Jackson is the kind of man that those in Montana would most respect and admire, and now, for no reason whatsoever, his reputation has been shattered. Not fair, Tester!” 
Mr. Tester fired back a few hours later with a statement noting that Mr. Trump had signed eight of the senator’s bills to make the Department of Veterans Affairs more accountable and responsive to veterans. “It’s my duty to make sure Montana veterans get what they need and have earned, and I’ll never stop fighting for them as their senator,” he said.

The president has been sharply criticizing Mr. Tester for days, singling out the Democrat while ignoring Republican opposition that had built to Dr. Jackson’s nomination. Mr. Tester, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, took the lead in publicly questioning Dr. Jackson’s record, but he had the support of Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, the Republican chairman of the committee, who signed a joint statement with him saying the issues should be investigated. 
But Mr. Tester is from a conservative state that in 2016 supported Mr. Trump strongly, giving him 55.6 percent of its votes to 35.4 percent for Hillary Clinton. Even before the flap over Dr. Jackson, Mr. Trump and the Republicans had hoped to use the power of that 20-point margin to defeat Mr. Tester for re-election this fall and defend their narrow 51-seat majority in the Senate. 
Mr. Tester released a list of accusations this week against Dr. Jackson alleging loose distribution of prescription drugs, a hostile work environment and drunkenness.
The allegations, Mr. Tester said, were raised by more than 20 current and former military personnel who had worked with Dr. Jackson, whose White House medical unit is run by the military. 
Several of those military officials also described their experiences and concerns about Dr. Jackson to reporters, although they spoke on the condition of anonymity because of their status as members of the military.

Expect this to be Trump's modus operandi over the next several months. Republicans may not want his endorsement in November, but they'll settle for him relentlessly attacking key Democrats in Trump states and there's a damn good chance it's going to work.

Let’s be honest here, if I’m Trump’s strategist (or whatever dark corner of Trump’s brain passes as such) I’m attacking red state Dem senators as much as possible.  I treat them like I treated Hillary Clinton. I hold rallies in those states and start “Lock them up!” chants. I blame everything that has gone wrong in my first 18 months on the fact the GOP doesn’t have 60 seats in the Senate.

What’s our press going to do, call him out on it? Like they “did” in 2016?  Please.  They’re just as terrified of this bully as the Dems are, because Trump and his goons have outsized power that we give them and refuse to take from them.

Now Tester has to either keep trying to placate Trump, or stand his ground in a state where Clinton lost by 25 points. Either path is fraught with instant peril.

And then Trump will move on to his next Democratic prey, maybe Claire McCaskill, maybe Joe Donnelly, maybe Joe Manchin or Heidi Heitkamp.  Yes, I know I said earlier today and it will be easy to bring Trump into any race as Republicans with primary challengers will, but it doesn’t mean that’s a winning strategy fo Dems in a state where Trump is at 55 or 60% approval.

Remember that these are the same Dems that had to balance on a tightrope in 2012 and won for various reasons, and yes, sometimes those reasons were outright running as a check against Barack Obama.  I didn’t like it then, but your alternate choice was someone like Todd Akin or another lunatic Republican and I’ll take the Democrat every time rather than somebody I know who will be proud to vote with Trump 96% of the time.

Does that make me a pragmatic son of a bitch?  It does.  But that pragmatism is the only way we get to 51 senators and kicking Mitch McConnell out of the Senate majority leader’s office.

Like it or not, the Senate system massively favors small red states just like the House massively favors large blue ones.  We have to play both to win both. And that means backing Senate Dems, even the Manchins and Heitkamps and Testers.

The Party Of Trump, All Day, Every Day

Democrats running in 2018 don't have to lift a finger trying to tie Republican candidates to Donald Trump, the GOP is scrambling every day to do it themselves.

Congressman Robert Pittenger couldn’t go 30 seconds without mentioning President Donald Trump.

At a church 5K run and a local Republican convention, an early voting station and a panel discussion hosted by a pro-Trump group, the GOP congressman in the midst of a primary battle typically waited between five and 30 seconds before invoking the president as he campaigned last weekend—and often, the favorable comparisons to iconic conservative President Ronald Reagan weren’t far behind.

It was a constant reminder of the lengths Republican candidates are going to embrace Trump this primary season, from here in Pittenger’s district to Senate races in West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana, all places where primary Election Day comes May 8. It’s more evidence of the president’s grip on the GOP base—and of the perils facing any Republican candidate in a conservative area who is perceived as insufficiently supportive of Trump.

“You can’t be against the president and make it work,” said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who hails from another conservative North Carolina district and is familiar with the dynamics in Pittenger's Ninth District stretching from suburban Charlotte east to the Fayetteville area. “Yet at the same time, you have to be true to who you are and hopefully make a compelling case on how you’re going to be representative of the people.”

In Pittenger’s primary, there is no doubt that the animating issue of the campaign is support for Trump—and he and his most prominent opponent, the deeply conservative Mark Harris, are taking increasingly extreme measures to prove their Trumpian bona fides.

They have fought over the timing of their Trump endorsements in 2016 (a matter of weeks, according to PolitiFact), featured Trump in their campaign materials, run ads questioning the other’s support for Trump, in Pittenger’s case—or Trump’s support for Pittenger, in Harris’s case—and dropped the president’s name at every opportunity.

As GOP activists arrived at their tables for a lunchtime gathering of the Ninth District GOP convention here on Saturday about an hour outside of Charlotte, they found cards at their places, informing them that “just like he did on the campaign trail in 2016, Mark Harris will stand with President Donald Trump” on issues such as "build the wall" and "repeal Obamacare."

And as they pulled back their chairs, they were greeted by an image of Trump— posing on another, larger placard, next to Pittenger. “Congressman Pittenger: Working with President Trump to deliver conservative results for the 9th District!” read the missive.

“You get endeared to Reagan because he’s a national treasure, we had him longer,” Pittenger said when asked about his favorite president. But, he added, “Frankly, Donald Trump has already begun endearing himself to people because he is so principled.”

As he offered those reflections, Pittenger stood near a table stocked with his campaign literature, including a flier that touted his “pro-Trump voting record.” The original number, a 95.7 percent rating, had been crossed out by hand, and now read, in large pink penmanship, “97 percent.”

Grown men falling all over themselves to be Donald Trump, because the primary voters demand it.  They demand his racism, his misogyny, his ignorance, his hatreds, from every candidate.  They want to take a sledgehammer to every liberal in America and keep smashing and smashing and smashing until we stop existing.

The GOP is the party of Trump, all day, every day, and this primary season will prove that there's no room for anyone but Trump in the party.

There are no "moderates" left in the GOP, in case that wasn't painfully obvious.  and after this spring, there will only be Trump and the people howling to serve him as Dear Leader.

Might want to take that into consideration.

Bloodbath At RedState

Our old friend Erick Erickson has discovered that all whining about lefty purity pogroms just means you get narced on first when the Stasi comes 'round looking for insufficiently being loyal to Dear Leader.

Salem Media, owner of the influential conservative outlet RedState, froze the site on Friday and dismissed many of its writers. 
Bloggers were locked out of their accounts -- some just temporarily, while the cuts were made, and others permanently. 
Erick Erickson, who founded the site 13 years ago, and left in 2015, tweeted about what he called the "mass firing" on Friday morning. 
"Very sad to see, but not really surprising given Salem's direction," he wrote. "And, finally, after all these years, they've turned off my account." 
Multiple sources told CNNMoney that they believed conservative critics of President Trump were the writers targeted for removal. 
"Insufficiently partisan" was the phrase one writer used in a RedState group chat. 
"They fired everybody who was insufficiently supportive of Trump," one of the sources who spoke with CNNMoney said, adding, "how do you define being 'sufficiently supportive' of Trump?"


Only state media is approved, Comrade.
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