Monday, February 7, 2022

Last Call For Hillbilly Epitaph

Over the river in Ohio, "Democrats don't know how to talk to rural America" mascot and now Republican Trump cultist and author JD Vance is running into his own ugly past, and it's leaving him stranded in the middle of the road where his fate is seemingly to get wrecked by oncoming traffic in the Ohio GOP primary in a few months.


Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance “needs a course correction ASAP” — and that’s according to the well-funded super PAC supporting him.

A 98-page PowerPoint presentation produced by Tony Fabrizio, who has been polling for the pro-Vance Protect Ohio Values super PAC since last year, paints a dire picture of the candidate’s prospects. According to the slide deck, Vance has seen a “precipitous decline” in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary since last fall, when a pair of outside groups backing a rival began a multimillion-dollar TV advertising blitz using five-year-old footage of Vance attacking former President Donald Trump.

“Driving his negatives is the perception that he is anti-Trump. This has only grown since” November, said the presentation, which is based on polling data of 800 likely primary voters conducted Jan. 18-20.

The Senate race in Ohio is a high-profile example of how Trump is dominating Republican down-ballot primaries, and how his support is seen as make-or-break for those seeking the party’s nomination. Vance refashioned himself as a Trump supporter long ago, but his past comments are sticking to him. Meanwhile, Republican candidates are welding themselves to the former president and aggressively seeking out his endorsement; last spring, a handful of the Ohio Republican candidates met with Trump for an “Apprentice”-style boardroom audition for his support.

Vance, a venture capitalist and the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” has been working to make inroads with both Trump supporters and Trump himself: Last year, Vance and his main financial benefactor, tech billionaire Peter Thiel, quietly met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in South Florida.

Fabrizio, who is also a longtime Trump pollster, wrote that Vance is “now underwater with strong Trump” supporters “and very conservative voters, groups needed to win a GOP primary.” He added that Vance’s “association as a Never Trumper has only grown since November” and that “being anti-Trump is the #1 reason voters do not like Vance.”

Several months out from the May 3 primary, the presentation says that “consideration of Vance has fallen most dramatically with those on the right: conservatives and strong approvers of Trump,” and that the “perception” of Vance “as a moderate or even as a liberal continues to steadily grow.”

“The groups where Vance has improved are those we don’t want him doing better with: Trump disapprovers and moderate/liberals,” Fabrizio wrote.

Vance’s decline follows a $2 million-plus TV ad campaign from the Club for Growth and USA Freedom Fund, outside groups that are backing Vance rival Josh Mandel, which have portrayed Vance as an anti-Trump figure. The commercials, which use footage from 2016, show Vance describing himself as a “Never Trump guy” and calling Trump an “idiot,” “noxious” and “offensive,” appear to have made a dent. According to the slide deck, “anti-Trump is by far the top thing the 50% of voters who have seen an ad about Vance remember.”

Still, the polling paints the picture of a close, crowded race. The survey shows Mandel, a former state treasurer who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 2012, out ahead with 15 percent. He is followed closely in the results by self-funding investment banker Mike Gibbons, with 14 percent, former state GOP Chair Jane Timken with 13 percent, business owner Bernie Moreno with 11 percent, and Vance at 9 percent. (Moreno dropped out of the primary last week, several weeks after the poll was taken.)
It's not a question of if a nutjob racist, bigoted, white supremacist terrorist sympathizer tries to replace Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman, it's "which one".  Increasingly, that person is looking like it may actually not be Vance, but that leaves plenty of assholes like Josh Mandel to run for the seat. 

Having said that, Donald Trump hates Josh Mandel. It's still possible that Trump saves Vance by giving him the endorsement, put at this point, Trump hasn't made his choice yet.

We'll see.

The Great Canadian Trucker War, Con't

After a third weekend of protests by Canadian Trumpists blocking highways and roads in Canada's capital of Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson has had enough and has declared a state of emergency, setting the stage for  local, provincial and federal police to step in.

The mayor of Canada’s capital declared a state of emergency Sunday and a former U.S. ambassador to Canada said groups in the U.S. must stop interfering in the domestic affairs of America’s neighbor as protesters opposed to COVID-19 restrictions continued to paralyze Ottawa’s downtown.

Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government. It gives the city some additional powers around procurement and how it delivers services, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.

Thousands of protesters descended in Ottawa again on the weekend, joining a hundred who remained since last weekend. Residents of Ottawa are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he could not manage.

The “freedom truck convoy” has attracted support from many U.S. Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”

“Canada US relations used to be mainly about solving technical issues. Today Canada is unfortunately experiencing radical US politicians involving themselves in Canadian domestic issues. Trump and his followers are a threat not just to the US but to all democracies,” Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador under President Barack Obama, tweeted.

Heyman said “under no circumstances should any group in the USA fund disruptive activities in Canada. Period. Full stop.”

After crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it would refund or redirect to charities the vast majority of the millions raised by demonstrators protesting in the Canadian capital, prominent U.S. Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis complained.

But GoFundMe had already changed its mind and said it would be issuing refunds to all. The site said it cut off funding for the organizers because it had determined the effort violated the site’s terms of service due to unlawful activity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called it an occupation.
Hopefully order will be restored in the city, I suspect that the last holdouts however may turn to violence. We'll see how this story ends, but I'm honestly surprised it took this long for Watson and the city to respond.

The Vax Of Life, Con't

Another governor is ending school mask mandates across the state having arbitrarily decided that the pandemic is "over", only this time it's a Democratic governor in New Jersey's Phil Murphy.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat who has imposed some of the nation’s most stringent pandemic-related mandates, will no longer require students and school employees to wear masks, signaling a deliberate shift toward treating the coronavirus as a part of daily life.

Mr. Murphy, the vice chairman of the National Governors Association, said on Sunday that he would officially announce the elimination of the mandate on Monday afternoon. The new policy will take effect the second week of March, two years after New York and New Jersey became early epicenters of a virus that has since mutated and resurged, killing more than 900,000 people nationwide.

The debate over mask wearing in schools has proved one of the most divisive issues in the pandemic, embroiling parents, school boards, teachers and elected officials in caustic clashes over academic loss, protecting public health and individual choice.

Mr. Murphy’s move follows a decision last month by the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, to rescind his state’s school mask mandate. The Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut also said last week that they were re-evaluating school mask mandates that are soon set to expire.

An average of 78 New Jersey residents died each day from Covid-19 in the last week, contributing to a daily nationwide death toll of 2,600, a per capita rate that far exceeds those of other wealthy nations.

But new cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant are plummeting in New Jersey and across the country.

Last week, after meeting with President Biden at the White House during an annual governors conference, Mr. Murphy suggested it was time to reconsider how to manage the virus. “The overwhelming sentiment on both sides of the aisle,” he said on Wednesday, “is we want to get to a place where we can live with this thing in as normal a fashion as possible.”

Deaths are still above 2,500 per day from the virus and we're above 900,000 total deaths and counting, with tens of millions suffering from Long COVID symptoms of fatigue, memory loss, chronic pain, heart and lung problems and more, but both Republicans and Democrats have decided that this is the new normal.
Most of all the behavior of White House staffers on the pandemic hasn't changed at all from the Trump era.

President Joe Biden’s top science adviser, Eric Lander, bullied and demeaned his subordinates and violated the White House’s workplace policy, an internal White House investigation recently concluded, according to interviews and an audio recording obtained by POLITICO.

The two-month investigation found “credible evidence” that Lander — a Cabinet member and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy who the White House touts as a key player in the pandemic response — was “bullying” toward his then-general counsel, Rachel Wallace, according to a recorded January briefing on the investigation’s findings.

Christian Peele, the White House’s deputy director of management and administration for personnel, said that the investigation also concluded that there was “credible evidence of disrespectful interactions with staff by Dr. Lander and OSTP leadership,” according to the roughly 20-minute briefing, which included a representative of the White House Counsel’s office.

There was also “credible evidence” that Lander had spoken “harshly and disrespectfully to colleagues in front of other colleagues,” Peele said, according to the recording. “The investigation found credible evidence of instances of multiple women having complained to other staff about negative interactions with Dr. Lander, where he spoke to them in a demeaning or abrasive way in front of other staff,” Peele said in the recording.

In an office of roughly 140 people, 14 current and former OSTP staffers who worked under Lander this past year shared similar descriptions of a toxic work environment where they say Lander frequently bullied, cut off and dismissed subordinates. Nine of those current and former OSTP staffers said Lander yelled and sometimes made people feel humiliated in front of their peers. Most were granted anonymity because they feared retaliation from Lander.

The behavior is at odds with Biden's Day-1 warning to his political appointees that anyone who disrespected their colleagues would be fired “On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.”

This is the sort of idiotic nonsense that we used to hear about Trtump's pandemic response team. To see the exact sort of foolishness play out under Biden is just damning.
Live with the lethal virus, folks.
That's the Democratic platform in 2022.
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