Reince Priebus

What They Voted For: That Most Special of Interests

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Donald Trump speaks to South Carolina voters in North Charleston, 19 February 2016. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Who: Darren Samuelsohn (Politico)
What: “Trump’s kids to run businesses via ‘blind trust,’ Trump attorney says”
When: 10 November 2016

Politico offers the necessary context:

Donald Trump’s vast business holdings will be placed into a blind trust with his oldest three children in charge, according to the president-elect’s attorney.

Trump during his campaign faced questions about how he’d handle his business dealings and potential conflicts if he were to become president, saying repeatedly he’d separate himself from the company. And while his lawyer Thursday used the term “blind trust” when discussing the family’s upcoming financial arrangement, putting Trump’s children in charge of a set of assets that their father is aware of does not constitute a blind trust. Under the legal definition of a blind trust, a public official places his finances under the management of an independent party. The official would have no knowledge of what is in the trust or how it is managed. On CNN, Cohen conceded Trump would have a difficult time satisfying critics who continue to raise doubts about their plans.

(Samuelsohn; boldface accent added)

This is how Trump voters and supporters will work around the cognitive dissonance of cronyism and nepotism in their ostensibly anti-corruption, anti-cronyist, anti-Establishment, anti-institutional figurehead: Ego defense. Redefining terms like nepotism and cronyism in order to exclude what one desperately wishes to protect requires some manner of neurotic complex; there is no precise classification for cravenly making it up as you go, so denial and suppression cannot in themselves suffice, as it is not so straightforward. There is some pretense of intellectualization and rationalization, but scrambling to justify post hoc projection and displacement―while flailing into concomitant secondary denial about whatever prior sentiments and processes one is replacingα―is neither intellectual nor rational.

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Trolley Ted

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with press aboard his campaign plane, 5 September 2016, while flying over Ohio, as vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana looks on. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

Let’s just go with Russell Berman of The Atlantic, framing his “Five Reasons Why Ted Cruz’s Endorsement of Donald Trump Is Stunning”:

Ted Cruz set aside his many differences with Donald Trump on Friday to endorse for president a man whom he once called a “serial philanderer,” a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and a “sniveling coward”; who insulted his wife’s looks; who insinuated Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy; who said he wouldn’t even accept his endorsement; and who for months mocked him mercilessly with a schoolyard taunt, “Lyin’ Ted.”

There is a bullet point narrative, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews over at Vox. “Ted Cruz unhinges his jaw and swallows his pride”, reads the headline, and, certes, one might contest that he swallowed anything, sneer cruzlike at any intersection of the Texas junior’s name and the concept of pride, or point out how the unhinging is a practiced move and, you know, (ahem!) insert obviousα joke here.

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The Donald Trump National Convention (Sounds About Right)

Donald Trump speaks to South Carolina voters in North Charleston, 19 February 2016. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The lede from Jonathan Swan of The Hill might describe (ahem!) merely one small facet of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland―

A top donor raising money for Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee says he has resigned in disgust after the party muscled through a vote on the convention floor that squashed the “Free the Delegates” movement.

―but still, it seems significant of, well, at the very least, something. And maybe that sounds vague, but this is the conundrum:

Gary Emineth, the former North Dakota GOP chairman who joined the Trump-RNC joint finance committee earlier month, says he was disgusted by the floor vote and immediately texted his resignation to Priebus.

Emineth says he’s furious the campaign and RNC worked in tandem to keep delegates from voting their conscience.

Detail of 'This Modern World' by Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos, 18 July 2016.“I was on the Trump finance committee and I just resigned because that bully tactic is absurd,” Emineth said. “I just texted them right now. Why can’t the people be heard? I’ve been texting Reince for 10 minutes. He said we didn’t have the votes. We had 10, 11 states. They peeled people back. They were calling delegations asking people to step off the committee. You don’t do this in America. You do this in other countries.”

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Pretty Much a Useless Post

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) and Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision/Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, 9 March 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Roll Call offers a summary of “What We Learned From Wednesday’s Democratic Debate”, including commentary from Adam Green of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Clay Shroers from League of Conservation Voters, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Two main questions emerge:

Adam Green: From a marketing standpoint―you know, trying to hook the audience with an idea―do you think there might be a better way to say it than “popular economic populism ideas”?

Reince Priebus: I just need to know: Is there some pathological reason Republicans can no longer say “Democratic Party” properly?

No, really, if you cannot correctly pronounce the words “Democratic Party”, you’re probably not smart enough to hold public office in the United States.

Still, though, can you say, “popular economic populism ideas” five times fast?

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Image note: Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) and Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision/Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, 9 March 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Roll Call Staff. “What We Learned From Wednesday’s Democratic Debate”. At the Races. Roll Call. 9 March 2016.

A Congressional Fire Drill

Huang reflects on a mission barely accomplished. (Darker Than Black, ep. 14)

Bring your own analysis.

Roll Call has been busy trying to make heads and tails of House Republicans:

John T. Bennett: “Deputy Whip Tom Cole, R-Okla., and House Freedom Caucus founding member Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., did agree on two things. They both see Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as the leading candidate to take over as speaker. And they believe a government shutdown will be averted by a stopgap spending bill passed within the next few days.”

Emma Dumain: “Sources confirmed to CQ Roll Call Saturday afternoon that in the event Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., makes a play for majority leader, Conference Vice Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., would look to move up one slot.”

David Eldridge and Matt Fuller“House Speaker John A. Boehner has a word of warning, straight out of the Bible, for fellow Republicans: ‘Beware false prophets’.”

David Hawkings: “The trend of past three decades will surely make California’s Kevin McCarthy, or whoever ascends to the presiding officer’s chair, extremely wary about his career’s trajectory over the long term — even after this fall’s latest internal Republican revolution gets put to rest.”

Catching up with some of the details that might have slipped by unnoticed, we can turn to The Hill:

Jordain Carney: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Friday that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was ‘unable to control’ his party and that his resignation could leave Republicans increasingly ‘out of touch.'”

Cristina Marcos: “Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) announced late Friday he will run for House majority whip, just hours after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his resignation.”

Mark Meckler: “Ding, dong … John Boehner is gone. Long live the tea party movement.”

Bradford Richardson: “‘Taking care of this leadership issue was a pretty selfless act that Speaker Boehner decided to make a little bit easier for everyone,’ Priebus said told host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 New York on Sunday. ‘I might imagine he would have been able to hang on, but the truth is he’s just not the type of guy to put up with it, so he just said, ‘Forget it, I’ll move on’.'”

And a check of the chatter:

Zoë Carpenter (The Nation): “ Let’s get one thing clear about John Boehner: His problem was not that his position on abortion was too liberal.”

Heather Cox Richardson (Salon): “Movement Conservatives just claimed the head of House Speaker John Boehner. His political death was the price of preventing a catastrophic government shutdown after Movement Conservatives in Congress tied the very survival of the United States government to their determination to defund Planned Parenthood. Movement Conservatives are gunning for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next. We should be very afraid. Boehner and McConnell are not wild-eyed lefties. They are on the very far right of the American political spectrum: fervently pro-business, antiabortion, opposed to social welfare legislation. But they are old-school politicians who still have faith in the idea of American democracy.”

David Lawder (Reuters): “Thus far, a serious challenger to McCarthy has not emerged, though some Republican aides said that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling is weighing a run. A Hensarling spokesman could not be reached for comment.”

Michael McAuliff, Laura Barron-Lopez, and Sam Stein (Huffington Post): “House Speaker John Boehner may be able to leave office on a high note after meeting the pope and potentially averting another government shutdown. But his abrupt departure has many on Capitol Hill fearing it will leave Congress an even worse, more gridlocked institution.

So … right. Good luck with all that. What makes the challenge seem so daunting, of course, is that everything will be obsolete by the time you get through it all. And there is a pervading notion of futility much akin to John Boehner’s speakership; that we might know what has happened, as well as what is expected to happen, does not mean it will happen. This is your House GOP. Enjoy the show. You know. As much as you can.

Reince and the Chain Gang

'Harder boys!' (Detail of cartoon by Matt Wuerker, via Daily Kos Comics, 16 April 2015.(chortle!)

This is one of those obvious points, you know, the kind where a cartoonist like Matt Wuerker might feel somehow obliged, as a matter of simple duty, to remind that just because ideas or behavior might seem mundane cannot be taken to mean they are not extraordinary. That is to say, among works of genius we rarely place such cartoons, but neither is that the point.

“I kicked a giant mouse in the butt!” Homer declared. “Do I have to draw you a diagram?”

Yes, sometimes people need pictures.

Of course, that is the wonderful thing about human frailty, isn’t it? Certain Republicans would just be offended by the notion.

By “certain”, of course, we mean, “seemingly all of them”. Then again, that’s not exactly true either. The Republican Party and its affiliated community are not entirely devoid of minds and consciences capable of understanding the critique.

The question for them is what they can do about it. This is not an enviable conundrum.

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Wuerker, Matt. “Reince’s Women Issues”. Daily Kos Comics. 16 April 2015.

Futility (Boehner Repeat Rehash Remix)

Don't ask me, I'm just the Speaker of the Fucking House

“He’s never wanted to just be speaker. He’s wanted to be a historically significant speaker.”

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK04)

It seemed a strange enough thing to say at the time. Consider that John Boehner’s historical significance as Speaker of the House might well be that he is the worst Speaker in history, at least until another Republican holds the job. Mr. Cole spoke of his friend and colleague just last November; Republicans had won a bicameral majority, and the article from Carle Hulse and Jeremy W. Peters is significant to this moment, opening:

John A. Boehner does not want to be remembered as the Shutdown Speaker.

As Congress returns from recess on Monday facing a Dec. 11 deadline for funding the government, Mr. Boehner and his fellow Republican leaders are working to persuade the rank and file — furious over President Obama’s executive action on immigration — that engaging in a spending confrontation is the wrong way to counter the White House. That would set the wrong tone, they argue, as Republicans prepare to take over Congress and fulfill promises to govern responsibly.

And, well, as matters of House leadership go, kicking the can so we can do this for another week works, but the question of tone and avoiding a spending confrontation over immigration worked out just about as well as you might expect.

That is to say, Nancy Pelosi bailed Mr. Boehner out, and all she really gets in exchange is to do this again later this week.

And all of this leading to Josh Hicks’ headline today explaining “Why a DHS shutdown won’t stop Obama’s immigration orders”.

While Boehner’s allies in the House explain, as Jesse Byrnes reported yesterday, that the Speaker’s job is not in jeopardy, it’s worth noting that when Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH04) “repeatedly denied” the prospect of an ouster, it would seem someone was asking him directly.

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Your Republican Party: Equal Rights Edition

Republican family values

“They seem to understand the problem, at least on a national level. But they seem to think this problem is simply one of tone and messaging. It goes way beyond. It’s a problem of policy.”

Maria Cardona

File under “O”, for obvious; Emma Margolin strikes a nearly Revolutionary tone:

RNC Chair Reince Priebus tried to do some damage control on Thursday, telling msnbc host Chuck Todd that neither “party can do a victory lap here.”

“The poll’s gist wasn’t, ‘Oh, the Republicans are stuck in the past,'” he said. “The gist of the poll was, 50% of women are saying they have a negative view of the Republican Party and 40% of the women are saying they have a negative view of the Democratic Party.”

But any way you spin it, the message is clear: Republicans haven’t done enough to close the gender gap that’s plagued their party since the Reagan Administration. And that could spell trouble for their hopes to take over the Senate in November and win the White House in 2016 – especially if Hillary Clinton throws her hat into the ring.

“This is a ‘good news’ story for the Democrats – period,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University. “It becomes even more of an issue if Hillary Clinton is running for president. She will mobilize women to be engaged.”

Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. With the gender gap, the GOP can certainly cross that one off the list, having published a comprehensive “autopsy” report last year that prioritized female voters, who chose President Obama over Mitt Romney 56% to 44%.

But if recovering the women’s vote – and in turn, the White House – involves its own 12-step program, it’s steps two through 12 that pose a bit more of a challenge for the GOP.

(Boldface accent added)

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A Memo to Reince Priebus

MEMORANDUM

To: Reince Priebus, Chairman, Republican National Committee

re: I beg your pardon, but what?

While it is not quite a Don Young style misfortune, your RedState rant about Planned Parenthood also is not an accidental mistake. The Alaska congressman’s slip of the tongue certainly was unfortunate, but slips happen, everyone chuckles, and it just happens to be really bad timing for the GOP’s effort to improve its standing in minority communities.

Your tantrum, Mr. Priebus, about Planned Parenthood and media conspiracies, however, is no accident; and yet, it is a mistake.

Not once in her testimony did the Planned Parenthood representative say the newborn baby has a right to life. Not once did she say anyone has a duty to care for the child. Whether the living, breathing child survives is up to the adults in the room because, as we now know, Planned Parenthood doesn’t believe the baby has rights.

Reince PriebusPlanned Parenthood is an organization that receives taxpayer funding, including millions from the federal government. They also enjoy the unwavering support of almost all elected Democrats.

The President, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Democratic Leader, and the Chair of the Democratic National Committee (in whose home state this hearing occurred) made funding Planned Parenthood an issue in the 2012 campaign. They should now all be held to account for that outspoken support. If the media won’t, then voters must ask the pressing questions: Do these Democrats also believe a newborn has no rights? Do they also endorse infanticide?

Certes, ’tis a dramatic presentation. But it is also a bit of a stretch.

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