Phillip Rucker

The Bobby Jindal Show (Cancelled)

No, Governor Jindal … thank YOU for being smart enough to know when you're too fucking stupid to be president.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has suspended his campaign to become the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, marking the smartest political decision he’s made over the last thirty-four months.

I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time,” Jindal said on Fox News Channel in an interview with Bret Baier. “We spent a lot of time developing detailed policy papers. Given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there wasn’t an interest in those policy papers.”

Jindal, 44, who is leaving office at the end of this year after completing his second term as governor, said he has not given much thought about whom he might endorse in the Republican presidential race. The remaining candidates rushed to praise Jindal in tweets and statements Tuesday night.

“Even though I’m not going to be a candidate for president, we had better elect the right president so that we can restore the American dream before it’s too late,” said Jindal, a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Jindal had difficulty raising money; his campaign reported on Oct. 15 that it had just $261,000 cash on hand. His advisers acknowledged Tuesday that finances influenced his decision, although they said the campaign had no debt.

(Rucker, Costa, and Fahrenthold)

(more…)

The Clown Car Breakdown

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015.

Four paragraphs from Steve Benen:

Nine candidates would be a big field under any circumstances, but in this case, just the governors alone―Bush, Christie, Gilmore, Huckabee, Kasich, Jindal, Pataki, Perry, and Walker―had enough to field a baseball team. Add Democratic governors to the mix―O’Malley and Chafee―and the number swells to 11.

And at a certain level, this is understandable. For many in both parties, it’s long been assumed that governors have the edge in the party’s nominating contests, in part thanks to history―Reagan, Carter, Clinton, W. Bush, Romney, et al―and also because of the nature of the job. Being the chief executive of a state, the theory goes, offers ideal training for being the chief executive in the White House. Governors learn how to manage and respond to crises. They learn how to oversee a massive, bureaucratic team, while working opposite a legislature. They learn how to lead.

How many sitting GOP senators have ever been elected to the White House? Only one. It was Warren Harding, who was elected nearly a century ago. This is hardly accidental―Americans tend to hate Congress, so they don’t necessarily look to Capitol Hill for national leaders.

And yet, here we are. Two of the most experienced candidates of the cycle―Rick Perry and Scott Walker, both governors―have already quit (as has Lincoln Chafee). George Pataki and Jim Gilmore were excluded from the debates altogether this week, while Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee were relegated to the kids’ table, where they joined Bobby Jindal. Jeb Bush and John Kasich made the prime-time stage, but both are struggling badly. The latter faced booing.

This is actually important in its own right; in an anti-institutional year when career politicians who achieve governorships are actually being viewed as career politicians, the landscape really does seem strange from an unradicalized perspective. Indeed, how strange might we now find the recollection that back in April, even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was pitching for senators against governors in the presidential context. Even in unhinged quarters, gubernatorial experience was actually respected earlier in this cycle.

With a flaccid RNC and impotent Congressional leadership, the anti-institutional movement driving Donald Trump and Ben Carson to the top of the polls would seem to get the nod: Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Republican Party.

Nor might we begin to speculate at what that means. Still, as Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa of the Washington Post explore the now perpetual chatter of growing discomfort and even “panic” among establishment Republicans, it is hard to fathom the idea that even in the GOP, this is starting to become an American existential question:

The apprehension among some party elites goes beyond electability, according to one Republican strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about the worries.

“We’re potentially careening down this road of nominating somebody who frankly isn’t fit to be president in terms of the basic ability and temperament to do the job,” this strategist said. “It’s not just that it could be somebody Hillary could destroy electorally, but what if Hillary hits a banana peel and this person becomes president?”

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Image note: Detail of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015

Benen, Steve. “Governors find a hostile 2016 landscape”. msnbc. 13 November 2015.

Rucker, Phillip and Robert Costa. “Time for GOP panic? Establishment worried Carson or Trump might win.” The Washington Post. 13 November 2015.

The Shadow over Indiana

22 FEBRUARY 2015: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence appears on 'FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace'.  Guest host John Roberts interviewed Mr. Pence regarding various issues, including his status as a 2016 'dark horse' for the GOP presidential nomination, and the Hoosier State's 'religious freedom' bill empowering discrimination, which Pence signed into law in late March.  (Image credit: FOX News)

“Indiana businesses can now discriminate against gay people because of the ACA’s contraception policy?”

Steve Benen

Perhaps it seems an odd question, but there is a reason, after all:

The Republican governor, and possible presidential candidate, published a Wall Street Journal op-ed overnight in which Pence outlined his plan to address businesses that exploit his new law to discriminate against gay consumers: “If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”msnbc

As Rachel joked on the show last night, “So, if you were worried that gay people might be refused service by a business in Indiana now, don’t worry. That could never happen because the state has decided to wield the grave threat of depriving businesses of Mike Pence’s personal patronage.”

In the same piece, the Hoosier State governor suggested this whole mess can be traced back to Obamacare.

Many states have enacted [Religious Freedom Restoration Acts] of their own … but Indiana never passed such a law. Then in 2010 came the Affordable Care Act, which renewed concerns about government infringement on deeply held religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby and the University of Notre Dame both filed lawsuits challenging provisions that required the institutions to offer certain types of insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.

Last year the Supreme Court upheld religious liberty in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, based on the federal RFRA. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, the need for a RFRA at the state level became more important, as the federal law does not apply to states. To ensure that religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law, this year the General Assembly enshrined these principles in Indiana law. I fully supported that action.

Hmm. Indiana businesses can now discriminate against gay people because of the ACA’s contraception policy?

This apparently wasn’t persuasive, either, leading Pence to announce this morning his support for a legislative “fix.”

The question persists: How did Pence not see this coming?

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Mitt Romney’s Wart

Mitt Romney attends the Republican National Committee's Annual Winter Meeting aboard the USS Midway in San Diego on Jan. 16. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

“If he runs again in 2016, Romney is determined to re-brand himself as authentic, warts and all, and central to that mission is making public what for so long he kept private.”

Phillip Rucker

You know, it is a bit early to break out the the full-blown morbidity of Mitt Romney dishonoring his own wife by reminding us all yet again what a godless, lying sack of excrement she married.

Then again, it’s kind of hard to forget; he’s made such a point of saying he won’t run for president. This time last year, this ws the word:

“Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. People are always gracious and say, ‘Oh, you should run again.’ I’m not running again. I will say this: It was a great experience. I loved it. It was just a fabulous thing to experience, and that’s the one thing in the film that I felt you can’t communicate — was just how honored you feel, what an extraordinary experience it is. But that being said, I loved it. But look, I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction. I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the list goes on, have a much better chance of doing that, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee.”

(Parker)

Then again, Rucker’s morbid article for the Washingont Post doesn’t just leave us chuckling at the idea that Mitt Romney’s problem is that he cannot figure a way to artificially prove his authenticity. Some of it is the sort of authenticity we just don’t want or need:

But Romney’s friends and family believe he could have overcome such character concerns by talking more about his church service.

“He just didn’t talk enough about how he, as a man, was able to do so much to help those in need,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who also is a Mormon. Being a volunteer bishop, as Romney was, is “a high calling in the Mormon church. You spend most of your time helping people with their problems — everything from financial problems to work problems to marital problems to sexual problems.”

Right. I read that, and now I’m (ahem!) paying it forward. No, no, don’t thank me.

Just remember, part of the setup has to do with watching Mitt Romney try to wriggle and squirm off the hook he set; with the November midterm drawing nigh, Mitt Romney said he wasn’t running, nor was he planning on running. Remember that. He spent last year, at least until the midterm, telling us he wasn’t running, even having Ann Romney, his wife, push the line in October.

Meanwhile, that’s all in the future. Somewhere in there we ended up with the troika of Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney, and “sexual problems”. Something about squirming goes here.

So, really, don’t thank me. But you’re welcome.

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Rucker, Phillip. “Romney, ahead of 2016 run, now calls Utah home, talks openly about Mormon influence”. The Washington Post. 27 January 2015.

Parker, Ashley. “An Interview With Mitt Romney”. The New York Times. 18 January 2015.

Bierman, Noah. “Ann Romney backs Mitt’s denial of running for president”. The Boston Globe. 14 October 2014.