Sunday, July 31, 2016

In the Rush for False Equivalence Chris Cillizza Contradicts Himself

These two paragraphs from Cillizza are in total contradiction.

"Trump has a very narrow electoral path."

"If Trump loses this fall, many Republicans will heap blame on him and the campaign he is running. Some of that blame will be fair. Much of it won’t be, for this reason: No Republican presidential nominee starts off with a 50-50 shot of beating their Democratic opponent because of the GOP’s huge disadvantages in the electoral map."

"Consider this: Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in each of the six elections between 1992 and 2012. They yield 242 electoral votes. There are 13 states that have voted for the Republican nominee in every presidential election since 1992. They yield 102 electoral votes. So, if Clinton wins the 18 states in the “Blue Wall” and wins Florida (and its 29 electoral votes), the election is over. She is president."

This is totally correct. But, you know Cillizza, everything has to be equivalent. You can never criticize one party or its candidates without an equal and opposite criticism of the other party and its candidates no matter how big a reach.

So then he says this:

"Clinton and Trump may be the only people each other can beat."

How is this possible after you just described the Blue Wall in great detail? If Hillary were running against another GOP candidate that would still be in play.

Cillizza just said that a big part of why Trump is going to lose is about party and not the specifics of the him as a candidate. But then he switches to a view where it's all about the candidates.

First of all, how is it that Hillary can beat nobody but Trump? Has Cillizza heard of Bernie Sanders?

Let's get specific. He says she could not beat any other GOP candidate-even those candidates all got blown away by Donald Trump who she has led pretty much wire to the wire till now-with just a couple of weeks it was a tied race after Trump first wrapped it up in early May and after the RNC convention.

So you're telling me Jeb would beat her by double digits? Jeb who can't even get past the question of what is last name is? Who can't handle the issue of whether he agrees with W on anything or not?

Ok, maybe not Jeb. Ted Cruz could beat her in a rout? Ok, maybe not Ted Cruz.

The media's darling was Marco Rubio. Surely they believe he could have wasted her. But then if Rubio is so great why did he lose by nearly 20 points in his own state to Donald Trump?

Then there was his malfunctioning moment in NH.

True, Kasich led HRC during the primary. Then again, that's always how it is. When you're not likely to be the nominee you always do better.

"Meanwhile, Clinton labors under deep doubt about her honesty and trustworthiness — concerns that were only exacerbated by her mishandling of the email controversy regarding her electronic correspondence at the State Department. Clinton has rhetorically bowed to the idea that she has work to do to convince people — “I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me,” she said in her acceptance speech at the convention — but it’s unclear whether anything she could say or do would change minds."

I'm sorry, this is just ignorant. What else can you call it? Does Cillizza honestly not know that poll numbers and favorability numbers are not static? Does he not realize that her approval rating was 64% as Secretary of State?

If her favorable numbers were stellar this recently why is it unlikely Americans change their minds again? 
And in the first two favorability polls since the DNC you see her numbers rising.
This is what false equivalence does to you. Then there's Joe Scarborough.

Defending the Indefensible Because Email Maintenance

This is the entire GOP 2016 playbook. Whatever shameful and indefensible thing Trump does next is condoned because: well Hillary had the scandal over her emails.

Marco Rubio had gone as far as saying Trump is not fit to have the nuclear codes in the primary. After Trump beat Little Marco by 20 points in his own state Rubio has now said that while he hates that Trump has white nationalists supporting him, hey, Hillary Clinton used private email at the State Department.

That most government officials in fact use private email, and that the DNC hack shows government email is certainly no panacea is something the media doesn't allow to be considered. When you are talking about Hillary Clinton you have to compare her with Jesus Christ not her opponents is the Beltway rule.

Most people are appalled by Trump's attack on Khizr Khan. This showed no appreciation for the loss of his son. But then Trump even abused a fire marshall who had earlier protected him so gratitude is another thing Donald Trump doesn't do.

"Donald J. Trump belittled the parents of a slain Muslim soldier who had strongly denounced Mr. Trump during the Democratic National Convention, saying that the soldier’s father had delivered the entire speech because his mother was not “allowed” to speak."

"Mr. Trump’s comments, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that will air on Sunday, drew quick and widespread condemnation and amplified calls for Republican leaders to distance themselves from their presidential nominee. With his implication that the soldier’s mother had not spoken because of female subservience expected in some traditional strains of Islam, his comments also inflamed his hostilities with American Muslims."

"Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, lashed out at Mr. Trump in an interview on Saturday, saying his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was too painful for her to talk about her son’s death."

"Mr. Trump, he said, “is devoid of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.”

"Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a rival of Mr. Trump’s in the Republican primaries who has refused to endorse him, castigated him on Twitter. “There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect,” he wrote, using the term for surviving family members of those who died in war."

What Trump is doing is thanking the Khans by insulting their religion.

Jeb Bush also criticized Trump:

"This is so incredibly disrespectful of a family that endured the ultimate sacrifice for our country."

But there are plenty of Republicans tacitly condoning what Trump said.

"Without mentioning the GOP nominee's name, McConnell subtly rebuked Trump's comments directed to Khizr Khan — who delivered a memorable speech condemning Trump's rhetoric toward Muslims on Thursday evening at the Democratic National Convention — and his wife, Ghazala."

"But the Kentucky Republican declined to explicitly disavow the comments from Trump, who sparked yet another firestorm when he implied Ghazala Khan had stayed silent during the DNC speech because of her Muslim faith and accused Khizr Khan of having "no right" to critique Trump over his knowledge of the Constitution."

"Captain Khan was an American hero, and like all Americans, I’m grateful for the sacrifices that selfless young men like Capt. Khan and their families have made in the war on terror," McConnell said in a statement Sunday. "All Americans should value the patriotic service of the patriots who volunteer to selflessly defend us in the armed services."

"In his own statement, Ryan also declined to name Trump."

"Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice," Ryan said Sunday afternoon. "Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice — and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan —should always be honored. Period.”

"But Democrats made it clear the tepid repudiations weren't enough. In a blistering statement Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ripped the two Republican leaders, calling anything short of withdrawing their endorsements of Trump "cowardice."

Reid invoked McConnell's swift disavowal of former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) in 2012, whose "legitimate rape" remarks during his candidacy for the U.S. Senate were widely condemned by top Republicans — and Reid said McConnell should be willing to do the same for Trump."

“This shouldn’t be hard," Reid said. "Donald Trump is a sexist and racist man who insults Gold Star parents, stokes fear of Muslims and sows hatred of Latinos. He should not be president and Republican leaders have a moral responsibility to say so."

Read more:

There are plenty of Republicans like this who say insulting the Khans was wrong, but won't criticize Trump himself and are still supporting him for POTUS.

Kelly Ayotte said this, but supports Trump anyhow because she cares deeply about email server maintenance.

The worst of all case of false equivalence came from Morning Joe Scarborough:

"Donald Trump's entire interview with @GStephanopoulos was breathtaking even by Trump standards. Trump & Clinton. Wow. What a year."

Does Morning Joe not see that by right away saying 'But Hillary is just as bad because emails' he is actually condoning and normalizing what Trump said?

Then Republicans wonder how Trump took over their party.

Looks Like a DNC Bounce

Nate Cohn says based on a bounce in Obama's popularity, it looks like a DNC bounce.

Obama approval now at 54% in Gallup--tied for highest since early 2013. Looks like a DNC bump.

Nor does Cohn believe it's necessarily temporary.

"An observation: in both 2004 and 2012, the conventions lifted the president's approval and it never really fell back

Huffpollster now has HRC up by 4 points in average.

We haven't seen enough polling yet-and usually you get a better idea after the weekend on a bounce, but it is looking like she got a decent bounce. 

Pollfish, who use a different model show Trump getting zero bounce at the RNC and HRC getting a sizable one. 

"The Pollfish survey, a weekly survey of 1,000 American voters, shows a very different trend from the general election polling of traditional surveys. Pollfish showed no Republican Convention bounce for Donald Trump and a solid Democratic Convention bounce for Hillary Clinton. In contrast, traditional polling, aggregated on Huffington Post’s Pollster, showed a bump for Trump of historically average magnitude coming out of his convention. We are still waiting for the polling from the Democratic Convention, which will come out in the next few days."

Let's hope Pollfish has the best model!

Maureen Dowd is So Mad at President Obama

She's upset with Obama for endorsing Hillary so full throatedly, for speaking up for her, for 'the hug.'

"An army of idealistic young people had moved to Iowa in 2007 to help Obama beat seemingly impossible odds. But in this election, Bernie Sanders’s idealistic young people were cast as unrealistic dreamers who wanted free stuff or, according to Gloria Steinem, dates."
There she goes again. That's classic Dowd. She dismisses Hillary as being from a boomer generation we should turn the page on, while Dowd herself is the worst kind of a certain female boomer type.

Maybe she and Camille Paglia can cry over their wine or something. And whine.

Dowd mentions Steinem in a classic two step. She raps Ms. Steinem's knuckles for allegedly disrespecting young women when Dowd represents an older anti feminist line. Dowd's whole purpose of being at the Times was to to make the kind of attacks on Hillary Clinton no man could ever get away with.

Steinem may have used a poor choice of words when she said that young women were following their boyfriends into feeling the Bern. But I get her frustration. Young women are quite frankly sadly ignorant of history.

This is not in any way shape or form a post gender campaign. Dowd and Camille are only too happy to skate from the old anti feminist boomer line to an allegedly hip post feminist line while opposing feminism in root and branch at every step of the way.

Camille Paglia says she voted for Obama in 2008. Of course, he beat That Woman. Then in 2012 she voted for Jill Stein and presumably will do the same again. In 2000 she voted for Ralph Nader. Yet Paglia claims she's a 'life long Democrat.'

Let's be clear. For Ms. Dowd, what made her personally hopeful about Obama is that his 2008 win would prevent That Woman from ever getting in the WH on her own rite.

Greg Sargent:

"This @NYTimesDowd column doesn't inform or illuminate. It just tells us how angry she is that DNC was success."

Barry Friedman:

"Is pragmatism a crime in politics? This is the year to think so; but history says otherwise. Eg FDR, Lincoln."

Maureen Dowd never understood what Obama's vision was about. It was not that of a Bernie Bro or Camille Paglia: where the only goal is to destroy Hillary Clinton full stop.

That might be what he meant to Dowd, but this just shows that Dowd never got it and never will.

Dowd's Hillary Derangement Syndrome is so bad that compared to Lady McBeth, even Rahm Emmanuel along with Donald Trump come across sympathetically .

"Besides Biden, Obama threw another loyal former lieutenant, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under the bus."

"In the D.N.C. video introducing Obama at the convention, the president was built up as a hero on health care. It said Emanuel went to the president and said, “You’re going to have to pull the bill, because if you push this legislation, you will lose in 2012.”

"Emanuel, who was hosting a party at the convention that night, was rightfully upset. It was his job to warn the president of the political consequences, and after Obama decided, it was Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi who had to arm-twist the bill through with no Republican votes."

"Before he died, Beau Biden told his father he wanted him to run partly because he didn’t want the White House to fall back into the miasma of Clinton family values.

"The president made his vote-for-Hillary-or-face-doom convention speech only 22 days after his F.B.I. director painted Hillary as reckless and untruthful."

"He argued that there is no choice but to support Hillary against a “self-declared savior” like Donald Trump, perhaps forgetting that Obama was once hailed as such a messiah that Oprah introduced him in 2007 as “the one,” and it became his moniker."

"In the end, Obama didn’t overthrow the Clinton machine. He enabled it."

"It turns out, who we choose is not really about our souls. It’s just politics, man."

Well, maybe Dowd will become so disillusioned she will never write again. We can only hope.

Bernie Delegates Fault Him for not Preparing Them for What to Expect

They fault him for not preparing them for the reality check waiting in Philly. They really went there still thinking they had a chance.

"A handful of Bernie Sanders’ delegates are placing part of the blame for Monday night’s revolt on the Vermont senator, saying his campaign did not properly communicate with the legions of politically inexperienced delegates who went into the convention with unrealistic expectations."

"The first night of the Democratic National Convention was a raucous scene in which boos overwhelmed speakers at seemingly every mention of Hillary Clinton’s name, creating the image of a party in chaos."

"The discord was partially fueled by the leak of a trove of emails showing that the Democratic National Committee actively tried to undermine Sanders during the primary — evidence that vindicated seething Sanders supporters convinced the system was rigged against them."

"But it was also the result of some dumbfounded delegates who went into the convention thinking Clinton didn’t have the nomination sewn up, and that there was still a path for Sanders."

"The first day proved to be a rude reality check."

“The Sanders campaign was doing an excellent job on negotiating on the platform and the shape of the convention, but it could have been a lot better in preparing the delegates,” said Daraka Larimore-Hall, a Sanders delegate from California. “People had all kinds of misunderstandings of what to expect at the convention.”

Read more:

Speaking of which, some Berners still don't seem to understand:


He is-or was-a friend. Doubt we could have a civil conversation today. 

In other news, Bernie reveals he's still an independent. 

"Do you consider yourself a Democrat?"

"Right now, I am a Democrat obviously and we’re going to fight as hard as we can to transform the Democratic Party. So that’s where I am right now."

"Right now?"

"No. It’s fair to say that’s where I am and that’s where I’ll stay."

"Does that mean you're going to be changing your website?"

"No. I was elected as an independent from Vermont in this cycle and I will certainly stay that way for the next two years."

"And then when you come back, it will say D-Vt?"

"If I come back. You’ve gotten me elected already and you’ve got me running. But we’ll see."

So maybe he doesn't run in 2018.

I do like this comment by Bernie on how essential it is to defeat Trump:

I’m Jewish. My father’s family died in concentration camps. I will do everything I can to rid this country of the ugly stain of racism."

Donald Trump is Truly a Man Without any Sense of Shame

Who knew Dilbert is a fascist? Scott Adams has become Trump's Joseph Goebbels. 

"I’ve been watching the Democratic National Convention and wondering if this will be the first time in history that we see a candidate’s poll numbers plunge after a convention."

"On the surface, the convention is going great. Michelle Obama made a speech for the ages. Bill Clinton was his masterful self. Bernie gave a full-throated endorsement of Clinton. The whole affair has been a festival of inclusiveness. The media is eating it like cake. All good, right?"

"That’s how it looks on the surface. And if you’re already a Clinton supporter, it probably looks great all the way down."

"But if you’re an undecided voter, and male, you’re seeing something different. You’re seeing a celebration that your role in society is permanently diminished. And it’s happening in an impressive venue that was, in all likelihood, designed and built mostly by men. Men get to watch it all at home, in homes designed and built mostly by men, thanks to the technology that was designed and built mostly by men. I mention that as context, not opinion."

Adams likes to fancy himself some sort of master hypnotist with all this deep insight into the human psyche. But he outs himself pretty transparently here.

He sounds an awful lot like Trump who claims Hillary is 'always shouting.'

He's arguing that the men of America are going to backlash big time. I'd like to believe better of my fellow males.

I certainly didn't feel diminished by any of it but found the entire production very inspiring.

Matt Yglesias seemed to like Fight Song. So not all of us guys are like Trump, God forbid.

But Trump's attacks on Khir Khan are truly a new low.

Trump also says Khan's father "has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution."

This right is literally in the constitution

This tweet by Trump says it all:

"Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about RADICAL ISLAMIC TERROR and the weakness of our "leaders" to eradicate it!"

Why is a conversation about captain Khan and his father's tribute to him about Islamic terror?

He's now slurring Khir Khan and his wife and their deceased son because of their religion.

"Khan responds to Trump, telling ABC: “running for President is not an entitlement to disrespect Gold Star families and [a] Gold Star mother”

Turns out Real Billionaires Don't Like Fake Billionaires

Michael Bloomberg got under Trump's skin so badly that he literally threatened to strike the former NYC Mayor.

"Donald Trump’s critics are starting to get under his skin. Speaking at a rally in Davenport, Iowa, on Thursday, the GOP presidential nominee fumed about the criticism he was receiving from speakers at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia."

“I mean, the things that were said about me,” Trump told the crowd. “I was going to hit a number of those speakers so hard their heads would spin, they’d never recover!”

"What began as Trump griping, however, quickly turned menacing."

“I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin. He wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

"Trump never named his target, but he seemed to confirm in a tweet Friday morning that it was former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the DNC speakers."

And Bloomberg said Trump wasn't fit for office.

Now another real billionaire is throwing shade at the fake billionaire.

"Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban officially endorsed Hillary Clinton at a surprise appearance during a rally here Saturday night, where he also railed against Donald Trump."

"Cuban, who first said he would vote for Clinton via tweet Saturday, opened his remarks by saying "hello" to Trump in Russian. He then bragged that 'Shark Tank,' a television show he invested in early on, "kicked 'The Apprentice's' ass."

"During his introduction of Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, Cuban went after Trump and got a huge reaction from the crowd of 5,100 when he used a Pittsburgh slang term that means someone who is inept to describe the Republican nominee."

"You know what we call a person like that, you know, the screamers, the yellers, the people who try to intimidate you? You know what we call a person like that in Pittsburgh? A jag-off. Is there any bigger jag-off in the world than Donald Trump?" Cuban said.

"The Pittsburgh native later told CNN that he decided to support Clinton because Trump "scares" him."

"Initially, I really hoped he would be something different, that as a businessperson, I thought there was an opportunity there. But then he went off the reservation and went bats--- crazy, Cuban said.

"He also mentioned that he had met with Trump in recent months and told him "at some point you have to learn, at some point you have to read."

It will be interesting to see if Trump goes after Mark Cuban next. Cuban has been telling everyone that Trump only has about $165 million dollars-his father gave him $200 million in 1974-in 2016 dollars. 

386 and 915: the Two Numbers That Say it all About the Two Conventions

GOP convention speakers mentioned Donald Trump 386 times while Dem convention speakers mentioned HRC 915 times. Al Sharpton pointed this out on his show this morning.

This is why according to a PPP poll, Trump got little bounce in his unfavorable rating while HRC got a significant bounce.

Clinton's favorability now 45/51, compared to 39/54 pre-convention. Trump's is 36/58, compared to 35/58 before."

This is the GOP illusion that Jennifer Rubin criticized.

This has been the entire GOP playbook until now. Demonize Hillary as 'unlikeable' and a 'terrible candidate' and this is enough to guarantee victory. 

So their entire argument is: Vote for Donald Trump he's not Hillary Clinton. 

This is particularly weak sauce as many believe Trump is a literal aspiring fascist and that even if you don't love HRC, she won't end the Republic or end elections for all time, or bomb Russia once Trump realizes Putin is just using him as a patsy. 

Because Trump is such a trainwreck, the Dems had a lot more time to reintroduce Hillary to America, to build her up, and correct the record. 

And Mitt Romney doesn't sound so #NeverTrump himself even though he's not voting for Trump. 

"To be honest, it’s very possible in my view that Trump wins,” Romney said. “I wouldn’t think it’d be by a landslide, but I think he could win. I think he could lose, I think he could lose by a landslide. But, I don’t know which it’s going to be and a lot of that depends on what happens to Hillary Clinton. Is there a meltdown moment, or some implosion of some kind?”

"The former GOP nominee went on to say that he finds Clinton inauthentic, and that she is attempting act like her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in order to gain votes, calling her an "awful candidate."

“You can’t forget that Hillary Clinton is a player as well, and she’s an awful candidate. People don’t trust her, they don’t like in my view she comes across as not being at all authentic," Romney said.

“There are serious women leaders who don’t go into an audience and put their arms up in the air and make a big guffaw kind of smile," he said. "It’s almost like she’s acting like she’s Bill Clinton and she’s not Bill Clinton. Nonetheless, it doesn’t come across well.”

"Romney said he will still not vote for Trump or Clinton and would write in another Republican's name if he doesn't like the choices of third-party candidate."

1. Romney calls her 'inauthentic' but the only example he gives makes it sound like what he means by inauthentic is 'unbecoming a woman.'

2. He too is selling the GOP lie that she's an awful candidate.

3. Which makes you wonder if he's really #NeverTrump. He sounds more like #NotVoting4TrumpThoughCoolWithHimWinning.

You want my guess a lot of them are. With President Trump they could get a lot of things they want like the end of Obamacare, huge tax cuts for the rich and they could destroy Planned Parenthood.

4. Romney is the wrong person to call someone inauthentic. He has not had an authentic moment since he started running for President nine years ago.

In 2012 he ran against his own healthcare law. He now rightly demands Trump releases his tax returns. But in 2012 Romney was very reluctant to do the same. Finally he did it late in the cycle, and even then, only for two years.

While he criticizes Trump, remember that Romney was the hardliner on immigration in 2012-though not anywhere near as far as Trump would go.

Romney's gendered attack on Hillary reminds us that Trump did not win the GOP nomination in some vacuum somewhere. The GOP leaders like Romney, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio, created this space.

We Saw This One Coming

I've never been at all sure Donald Trump would debate. You already have pundits looking to the debates now.

This piece by John Kass I find irritating on many levels. He is trying very hard to draw false equivalence between the two candidates.

And his claim that it all comes down to the debates is totally ahistorical. Name me the last campaign decided by debates? I guess 1960. But none since then.

Debates are overrated. Kass dismisses the conventions but conventions have more impact on the race than debates do.

Anyway Trump is already making his first salvo to get out of the debates. Not even in August yet.

"Donald Trump says he wants three presidential debates. But he stands by his complaint that their scheduling is rigged to favor Hillary Clinton."

"In an interview to be aired Sunday on ABC News' "This Week," Trump said: "Well, I'll tell you what I don't like. It's against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, "This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against--" 'cause the NFL doesn't wanna go against the debates. 'Cause the debates are gonna be pretty massive, from what I understand, okay? And I don't think we should be against the NFL. I don't know how the dates were picked."

"Pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on the dates, he said: "Hillary Clinton wants to be against the NFL. She doesn't, maybe like she did with Bernie s-- Bernie Sanders, where they were on Saturday nights when nobody's home. But they're against the NFL."

"I saw the dates. Two-- I think two of the three are against the NFL. So I'm not thrilled with that. But I like three debates. I think that's fine. I think it's enough. If somebody said, "one debate," I'd rather have three. I think they'll be very interesting."

Read more:

"So Trump wants credit for 'wanting three debates'-but there usually are and Hillary is fine with three, so why does he deserve credit for saying he's willing to do what most candidates usually do without needing to be praised over?"

"An NFL spokesman confirmed the NFL did not send a letter to Trump, but added "obviously we wish they were not scheduled at the same time as two of our games."

Read more:

So, in other words, Trump lied again? Hillary didn't set these dates.

"Trump late Friday accused Clinton of intentionally stacking debates against primetime programming to “rig” the election process, despite the fact that the schedule has been set since last September."

Read more:

But Trump is trying to appeal to the Berner Bros with this silly 'rigged' line. What we learned from Bernier is the system doesn't have to be 'rigged' for them to keep claiming that it is.

As Josh Marshall suggests part of this is Trump trying to control the parameters of the debate. The details don't matter so much as that he wants to establish dominance over the process.

Marshall speculates that Trump will demand that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson participate:

"The requirement is simple: get out of the debates, make them not happen without seeming to be the one who's running away or tanking them. Here's how. I suspect Trump will start claiming that that the process is "rigged" because Gary Johnson and Jill Stein aren't included. For better or worse (I think better), the debate commission rules are crystal clear: You need to hit 15% support in a certain number of major polls to be included. It's highly unlikely Johnson will meet that threshold; it's almost impossible that Stein will. Inclusion over exclusion has an inherent logic to it even if it's obviously self-serving and not appropriate in this case. So I think Trump will find this a comfortable position from which to attack the debates themselves."

"Trump does better in multi-person debates than one-on-ones. They're much less debates in any real sense. They're more like parallel taunt contests. The multi-person format also makes it easier to avoid policy detail. What's more, Stein would certainly work with Trump in tag-teaming Hillary Clinton, putting her under fire from both the left and right. Johnson's role is more uncertain. He less of an attack dog by temperament. And who he'd have more interest in attacking is less clear than it might seem. I'm sure Clinton would weather such a debate. But it's clearly a less attractive option for her that a one on one with Trump."

"What's more, agreeing to such a debate in contravention of the debate commission rules and at Trump's demand would show her giving into to Trump's bullying, which would be extremely damaging quite apart from whether two person or four person debates are better in the abstract."

"The other thing to remember is that for all their flaws, presidential debates are fairly substantive. They have high caliber moderators like Jim Lehrer. Candidates are pressed on real questions. It's nothing like primary debates with a dozen or more participants. Trump's major liability is that a substantial majority of the public either believes or is inclined to believe that he is temperamentally unfit to be president. His natural path will be to try to bully or overwhelm Clinton. It's the essence of his political mode and message. But Clinton does not rattle easily. He'll have a very hard time throwing her off balance. Precisely the things he'll try to do are the kinds of things likely to reinforce the perception that he simply lacks the temperament to be president."

"Trump has many reasons to want to avoid the debates, especially three one-on-one engagements. But by every measure, neither Clinton nor the debate commission seem likely to give in to his demands. He'll have the active support of Stein and Johnson (which makes sense), make a stir of fighting for a 'non-rigged' process and then simply refuse to participate. For anyone really paying attention, it will be obvious what happened. But for his supporters, it will be enough of a hook to pretend he didn't chicken out."

"There's another thread to this story, which cuts slightly against this picture but is broadly part of the same one. Trump didn't so much debate in the Republican primaries as use them with some skill to enact a series of dominance rituals at the expense of his opponents. Indeed, this is the key to understanding virtually everything Trump does. Whatever is actually happening he tries to refashion it into a dominance ritual or at least will not engage before performing one. You saw that in those numerous examples where he said he would participate in a debate but only after the other party wrote a major check to charity. It's primal. He needs to dominate before he will engage.

"Characterologically, Trump needs tension and drama. Fresh out of the conventions, he now needs to create a drama out of the debates. Like a bad seed kid, he can't help picking fights. He needs tension both to satisfy inner needs and to deal with other people. But even if he eventually agrees to participate in one or more of the debates, he will try mightily to force some change or break some dishes in order to assert dominance over the process. He'll insist someone needs to be included, some part of the format has to change, some location isn't sufficient. The substance will always be secondary to the need to impose his will. His initial volley making the non-sensical claim that Hillary Clinton scheduled the debates during football games is just the beginning."

I agree that Trump is trying to establish dominance over the process and very may well duck out of one or more debates as he did in the primary. 

As Marshall says, Trump is at a disadvantage in a one on one for his lack of knowledge. But being that it's against a woman, he won't be able to stop himself from saying something really, really stupid. 

I don't know what the odds are for each of the possibilities:

1. That there are all three debates. 

2 That was have two.

3. Just one.

4. Or none. 

I definitely think 2 through 4 are all nontrivial possibilities. 

The Republican Governor of the State Trump Can't Afford to Lose

John Kasich has a slightly different reaction to the story of Khir Khan than Donald Trump does

"Republican governor of a state Trump cannot afford to lose >

"There's only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect. Capt. Khan is a hero. Together, we should pray for his family."

But just when you thought Trump couldn't sink any lower:

"Donald Trump responded to the moving speeches of the father of an American hero at the Democratic National Convention by questioning why his wife stood at his side but did not speak."

"The remarks were clearly intended to question whether the couple’s Islamic faith precluded her from speaking so publicly."

For the record, Ghazala has no problem with speaking in public as she did on Friday night on Lawrence O'Donnell.

Khir Khan further revealed that his wife was the one who convinced him to speak publicly and that he only felt comfortable doing this publicly with her standing next to her.

Donald Trump is the last person to talk about how you treat your wife. We know his modus operandi: throw your wife overboard after a few years for a younger model. He has more than once been accused of rape.

His jokes about wanting to date his daughter don't seem like jokes when you see the way he touches her.

And then look at how he treats Melania. It seems that he blames her for the plagiarism of Michelle Obama's speech on night one.

The final explanation of the campaign was that she herself wanted to use Michelle's speech.

Trump even said 'The media has been so nice to Melania, no one has blamed her.'

But then he went on to suggest that it should blame her. And he has the gall to knock how Mr, Khan treats his own wife?

It's like Trump projects unto Muslims his own vile sexism.

Speaking of sexism, Mitt Romney engages in some of his own. He's gotten credit for being #NeverTrump. But let's not give him too much credit.

"To be honest, it’s very possible in my view that Trump wins,” Romney said. “I wouldn’t think it’d be by a landslide, but I think he could win. I think he could lose, I think he could lose by a landslide. But, I don’t know which it’s going to be and a lot of that depends on what happens to Hillary Clinton. Is there a meltdown moment, or some implosion of some kind?”

"The former GOP nominee went on to say that he finds Clinton inauthentic, and that she is attempting act like her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in order to gain votes, calling her an "awful candidate."

“You can’t forget that Hillary Clinton is a player as well, and she’s an awful candidate. People don’t trust her, they don’t like in my view she comes across as not being at all authentic," Romney said.

“There are serious women leaders who don’t go into an audience and put their arms up in the air and make a big guffaw kind of smile," he said. "It’s almost like she’s acting like she’s Bill Clinton and she’s not Bill Clinton. Nonetheless, it doesn’t come across well.”

Romney said he will still not vote for Trump or Clinton and would write in another Republican's name if he doesn't like the choices of third-party candidate."

You can't help but notice that by Romney 'inauthentic' seems to mean 'unwomanly.'

Like Trump he is also calling the kettle black. As you don't get more inauthentic than him. An awful candidate as opposed to himself in 2012?

In fact everything about Romney is inauthentic. He ran against his own healthcare plan in 2012. He's been castigating Trump for not releasing his taxes-and rightfully so.

Still, we can't help but remember that he was very slow to release his own-he finally released a couple of years.

And Romney made very nice with Trump in 2012. So let's just remember how Donald Trump took over the party. The utter failure and yes, inauthenticity, of the Establishment GOPers.

Trump simply took what Romney and friends was doing to that next logical step.

If Romney truly saw Trump as an existential threat he wouldn't say that about Hillary-even if he really did believe it. He'd do like Jennifer Rubin does. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hillary's Approval Rating Gets Post Convention Bounce

I had argued that this would be the case in an earlier post today.

As for Hillary's numbers I think you might see them rise again as we ascertain her bounce after the weekend."

In any case, as Jennifer Rubin says the GOP is kidding itself that it can win solely by demonizing her.

I get why they focus on this so much. It's the only thing they have done with any success in this campaign. As Kevin McCarthy said, the point of all the Benghazi and Emailgate was to make her 'untrustable' and drive down her poll numbers.

This has been successful on the question of favorability and trust-thanks to the complicity of the MSM to once again fan the flames of scandal with zero sense of proportion.

But it's not nearly enough for Trump to win. His convention was much more focused on her than Trump. At the DNC because Trump disqualifies himself every time he opens his mouth, the Dems could spend a lot of time building up Hillary and correcting lies and distortions.

Now we have some post convention numbers that show my guess was right:

Clinton's favorability now 45/51, compared to 39/54 pre-convention. Trump's is 36/58, compared to 35/58 before."

I figured this for a few reasons. While some Beltway pundits sneered that she was a lot less popular than the other high ranking Democrats, that's just it.

You would rather have popular party leaders endorsing you than less popular ones.

You had a number of very popular Democrats say very positive things about her: not to be exahusitve but President Obama, Michelle Obama, VP Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, etc.

You also had a number of nonpoliticians talk about all the good she has done for them.

Beyond this, because the anti Trump case is so obvious-you don't have to argue with anyone, just simply point at what he's said-they had a lot more time for building up Hillary.

In any case, the idea that she is this horribly dishonest, unlikeable person is based on lies and distortions. The media should be ashamed of itself for letting sorry invention of the Right wing take hold uncritically. Yellow journalism from hucksters like Edward Klein are who we have to thank for this false narrative.

Overall, PPP finds pretty good news for HRC:

"PPP's new national poll, taken completely after both party's conventions, finds that Hillary Clinton emerged with a much more positive image than she had a month ago. Donald Trump meanwhile is just as unpopular as he was before the conventions."

"Clinton's net favorability improved by 9 points over the last month. She's still not popular, with a -6 net favorability at 45/51, but it's a good deal better than the -15 spread she had at 39/54 a month ago. The gains are particularly attributable to Democrats increasing in their enthusiasm for her, going from giving her a 76/15 rating to an 83/12 one. Trump, on the other hand, is at a -22 net favorability with 36% of voters seeing him favorably to 58% with a negative one. That's barely changed at all from the 35/58 standing we found for him in late June."

"Clinton leads the race with 46% to 41% for Trump, with Gary Johnson at 6% and Jill Stein at 2%. In a head to head just between Clinton and Trump, Clinton hits 50% and leads Trump 50-45. A month ago Clinton led 45-41 in the full field contest and 48-44 in the head to head so there hasn't been much change. But not much change is good news for Clinton. We've been writing for months that this race is shaping up pretty similarly both nationally and at the state level to the margins Barack Obama won by in 2012- not a huge landslide by any means, but a solid victory. The conventions have passed without any change to that big picture, and that leaves Clinton as the favorite going into the final three months."

"It's also important to note that most of the remaining undecided pool is very Democratic leaning. They give Barack Obama a 55/33 approval rating, and they'd rather have him as President than Trump by a 59/10 spread. If they ended up voting for Clinton and Trump by those proportions, it would push Clinton's lead up from 5 points to 8. But they don't like Clinton (a 4/83 favorability) or Trump (a 2/89 favorability). A lot of these folks are disaffected Bernie Sanders voters, and even after the successful convention this week they're still not sold on Clinton yet. She and her surrogates will have to keep working to try to win those folks over and if they can the election enters landslide territory."

"Democrats are coming out of their convention with the public having a much better view of their party (45/48 favorability) than the Republicans (38/55 favorability). By a 50/40 margin voters say they see the Democratic convention as having been more of a success than a failure, and the major speakers from the convention generally have a positive image with voters. Michelle Obama is the most popular with a 56/39 favorability rating, followed by Joe Biden at 50/39, Bill Clinton at 48/45, and Chelsea Clinton at 45/31. Barack Obama has a 50/47 approval rating, and voters say by a 53/44 spread that they'd rather have him as President than Trump- that metric suggests the possibility for Clinton to grow her lead further if she's able to win over some of those folks who prefer Obama over Trump but aren't with her yet."

"The Vladimir Putin/Russia issue has the potential to cause Donald Trump a lot of problems in the weeks ahead. Only 7% of Americans view Putin favorably to 69% with a negative opinion and only 14% see Russia as a whole favorably to 52% with a negative view. By a 47 point margin- 5% more likely, 52% less likely- voters say they're less likely to vote for a candidate if it's perceived Russia is interfering in the election to try to help them. And by a 26 point margin- 9% more likely, 35% less likely- they're less likely to vote for a candidate seen as being friendly toward Russia. If Democrats can effectively leverage this issue in the weeks ahead it has the potential to help turn this into a more lopsided race."

"Also problematic for Trump is that the issue of him releasing his tax returns isn't going anywhere. 62% of voters think he needs to release them to only 23% who think it's not necessary. That includes Democrats (85/8) and independents (60/22) overwhelmingly thinking Trump needs to release them and Republicans (37/43) being pretty evenly split on the issue."

In the Rabba poll she got a big an election bounce of 10 points. That poll had her at 46-31, so the big difference between that and PPP is they had a lot fewer Trump supporters.

The Fastest Way to Turn a 57% Disapproval Rating into a 57% Approval Rating

This has been on my mind this year as the Beltway has made such a big issue over Hillary's low favorability numbers.

Obviously, in a perfect world you'd like them higher. But the media acts as if there is something metaphysical about Hillary Clinton that tattoos this number on her for all time.

In point of fact these numbers are not static, they're subject to change and fluctuate over time. In HRC's national life she did have weak numbers for a FLOTUS in Bill's first term, but they came back in the second term.

She won a NY Senate seat twice by landslide margins and was a popular Senator. Even at the nadir of her tough campaign against Obama in 2008 her personal approval numbers never got beneath 48 percent.

Then as Obama's Secretary of State she was more popular than he was at 64 percent. Indeed, we forget now, but in 2011 members of his campaign team were seriously considering dumping Joe Biden and replacing him with Hillary for VP. Which by the way would have been a big mistake, as this would come off as Obama repudiating his own term.

Now since she's started running in the 2016 race her numbers have taken a real hit, worse than 2008. She has routinely been in the low 40s-sometimes in the high 30s even.

President Obama, who was himself in the low 40s or even high 30s during much of 2013 and 2014 is now the popular one again.

So what gives? Basically this: you're more popular when you're not running for anything. When you are a nonpartisan figure, the press is not relentlessly negative and even the other party dislikes you less.

Also on a psychological level, a lot of people seem to distrust you once you admit the desire to be in charge. Maybe they like to think of themselves as against the powerful, etc.

But take LBJ. He was terribly unpopular in late 1967 and 1968. Everyone was mad at him over the war: the Left wanted to get out of Vietnam, the Right wanted to win-and felt we needed to escalate.

The conservatives hated the Great Society and there were riots and protesters asking him how many kids he killed today.

Then at the end of March: he quit and chose not to run a second term. Overnight his 57 percent disapproval rating became a 57 percent approval rating.

See, once he wasn't running anymore, they liked him again.

As for Hillary's numbers I think you might see them rise again as we ascertain her bounce after the weekend.

In any case, as Jennifer Rubin says the GOP is kidding itself that it can win solely by demonizing her.

I get why they focus on this so much. It's the only thing they have done with any success in this campaign. As Kevin McCarthy said, the point of all the Benghazi and Emailgate was to make her 'untrustable' and drive down her poll numbers.

This has been successful on the question of favorability and trust-thanks to the complicity of the MSM to once again fan the flames of scandal with zero sense of proportion.

But it's not nearly enough for Trump to win. His convention was much more focused on her than Trump. At the DNC because Trump disqualifies himself every time he opens his mouth, the Dems could spend a lot of time building up Hillary and correcting lies and distortions.

In Rabba Research Poll Hillary Clinton Gets a 10 Point Convention Bounce

To be sure, all the usual caveats apply. It's just one poll. We'll have a much better idea with polls released starting on Monday.

But it is the first poll conducted totally DNC and it's certainly encouraging.


7/12: Clinton +12.

7/23: Clinton +5.

Now: Clinton +15. …

"Inside new RABA poll: Clinton w/ massive 22-point lead with women, gets 14% of GOP voters, & 8-point lead w/ indies."

. …

Again, it's about averages. This poll does seem to have a Hillary house effect. It tends to show Hillary at the high end in her numbers.

On July 12 her lead in the averages was more like 3 to 4 percent. And after the RNC it was a tied race in averages.

Still, it's about the trend. RABA showed a clear 7 point Trump RNC bounce and now a 10 point DNC bounce for Hillary.

Unless this poll is completely worthless it suggests Hillary got a significant bounce.

Again, it's about the averages. So if she is +10 in Rabba, to believe she really got no bounce you'd need to see her with a -10 bounce in the next poll which I think it's fair to say we won't see.

Nate Silver says it's a relatively new pollster but no reason not to trust it:

"They're new-ish so don't know much about em. They polled the Missouri primary and did fine; hadn't heard of them before that."

"Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has opened a significant lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump, now leading him by 15 points, according to a new online nationwide survey conducted on Friday, July 29th by RABA Research, a bipartisan polling firm."

"Among likely voters, Clinton garners 46% support to Trump’s 31%. Libertarian Gary Johnson now captures 7% of the vote, while Jill Stein sits at 2%."

A RABA Research poll conducted the day after the Republican convention showed a tighter race, with Clinton at 39% and Trump at 34%. Johnson was at 8% in that survey, while Stein found 3% support.

What this shows is that the main part of the bounce is pro Hillary. Trump was already only at 34% before the DNC.

The big move is towards Hillary whose support jumped by 7 percent. This was what the Dems aimed for. Trump sort of discredits himself with everything he says and does.

Most of Hillary' ads just show Trump taking. Just showing him saying what he says.

So the important objective was reintroducing her to those who thought they knew her based on GOP lies that the media has credulously repeated.

Again, the key is not to get stuck on is the house effect. The poll clearly seems to be among the most optimistic of Hillary's lead. What matters is the bounce. It shows Trump with a 7 point RNC bounce then HRC with a 10 point DNC bounce, leaving her in better shape than when the conventions started.

Now on Monday we'll have to see if other polls show this. My guess is you will see this broad trend towards her and you might start to see those trustworthy numbers rise.

A large Philly crowd of 7.500 cheered a man who screamed 'We trust Hillary."

Did Donald Trump Violate the Foreign Agent Act?

The NY Times article about Trump asking Russia to hack Hillary's emails was the most commented on Times article ever with 9200 comments.

Legal scholar Laurence Tribe stated last night on Lawrence O'Donnell that Trump's surreal request to Russia is a violation of the Foreign Agent Act. The FAA makes it criminal to work with foreign powers to influence an election.

Then there's the fact Trump continues to solicit foreign donations.

He also, argues Tribe, may have violated the Logan Act.  DailyNewsBin has more on the Logan Act:

"Republican nominee Donald Trump seemed to commit treason in the practical sense of the word this week when he publicly asked Russian hackers to continue interfering with the Presidential election he’s currently running in – but it left the nation scratching its head and trying to figure out if what he had just done was an actual crime. As it turns out, the law he broke has been on the books since before Donald Trump was born – and it’s a felony."

"If you haven’t much about the Logan Act lately, that’s because it was first signed into law a by President who is no longer in office; his name was John Adams. Initially aimed at preventing private U.S. citizens from interfering with government business by negotiating directly with hostile governments (which in 1799 was France), it also applies equally to a U.S. citizen who happens to be running for President while negotiating with a hostile power like Russia."

"The catch is that Donald Trump has to have been attempting to negotiate with the government of Russia, and not merely some random Russian criminal hackers. There is already strong evidence that the Russian hackers who got into the DNC emails were in fact agents of Vladimir Putin’s government. If Trump was already aware of this fact when he went before reporters today and asked these hackers to continue doing his bidding, then he undeniably violated the Logan Act of 1799."

"If any argument were to be made that the Logan Act might be too obsolete to be applied practically in modern American society, that argument goes out the window once one learns that it was legally amended as recently as 1994. In other words, unless it turns out Donald Trump somehow wasn’t aware that the Russian hackers he was appealing to weren’t a part of the Russian government, he did in fact commit a felony today under federal law."

For more:

"An amazing debate is taking place among serious analysts and journalists in the United States regarding the relationship between the Republican nominee for President and the Russian state."

"This debate is not taking place on the fringes, or in internet comments, but instead in the pages of the New York Review of Books, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Slate, and elsewhere. The participants are undeniably substantive—editors of famed magazines, Pulitzer Prize winners, and authors of esteemed books on Russia, its leader, and its history."

"This high-power group is debating whether Donald Trump is a tool, wittingly or unwittingly, of Russian President Vladimir Putin."

"On the “yes” side is a remarkable lineup of intellectual firepower. There’s this remarkable essay by Franklin Foer; there’s this piece from Anne Applebaum; there’sthis one from Paul Krugman; and there’s this from Josh Marshall. On the other side of the ledger, in addition to the weird comments both from official Russian sources and from Trump himself, is this essay by Putin foe Masha Gessen, who sees the entire Trump-Putin meme as a distraction from the deeply American dangers of Trump."

So you have this amazing Unholy Trinity of Putin, Wikileaks, and Trump

Rush Limbaugh Explains Trumpism

Often you hear conservatives say that President Obama is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.

That is totally false. Obama is not in any way responsible for it. But it is true that the rise of Trumpism is a reaction, a major anxiety formation against President Obama.

I've argued that this election is a referendum on President Obama, on Obama's America. After eight years do Americans have regret? This is the wager of Donald Trump.

Please understand: the rise of Trump is no accident and it's not about one man. Others had tried to fill this same space: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, most of the GOP candidates.

None of them resisted Trumpism and all had tried to be it's leader. Trump is just better at it and took it further than they ever envisioned.

It's amazing that Ted Cruz, the man who singlehandedly forced a government shutdown in 2013, ended up being the Establishment candidate late in the race.

But Trumpism was there. I suspect it will be after November even if Trump is defeated-which is likely though not guaranteed; so we must be vigilant.

The NeverTrumpers are disgusted by Trump and recognize him for what he is: a clear and present danger to the very Republic.

Benjamin Franklin had said 'A Republic, if you can keep it.'

They get that he's the America Caesar. The question, is why do so many other Republicans and conservatives support him?

I think Rush Limbaugh has the reason:

"But I do want to take the time here to remind you of something. And that is this. I warned everybody that Donald Trump does believe in using government. You can't avoid this. And one of the dangers -- I chronicled this, too, and I shared with you the people that have this fear -- one of the dangers that people have in supporting Trump is as a result of what Obama's done."

"Obama has used the government and has pretended the Constitution isn't there in order to enact his agenda, and his supporters have eaten it up and they've loved it and they haven't cared. They haven't cared the Constitution gets stepped on. They haven't cared the guy disrespects it. They only care about their agenda being done, implemented; and if Obama has to do whatever it takes, fine and dandy. The danger is that Obama's opponents are gonna feel comfortable authorizing the same kind of extra constitutional power and behavior to fix all of this."

"Illustration: Obama does not have the power to ignore the immigration law and the courts have said this. He does not have the power to implement executive orders allowing uncontrolled immigration from illegals across the border. He doesn't have the power to do it. Yet he's doing it because nobody's stopping him, other than one judge."

"Well, by the same token, Donald Trump doesn't have the power to come in and write an executive order and erase whatever it is the Democrats have implemented by way of legislation. Just because we don't like it means we can't come in and use almighty executive power and erase it and fix it that way. For example, we cannot legally, constitutionally come in and pass a presidential executive order that does away with Obamacare. And yet people would be perfectly happy if that happened, even though that is a great example of the vast overreach of executive power, as defined by, permitted by Constitution. Just can't do it. "

"Obamacare was passed by the House of Representatives. It was passed by the Senate and signed by the president. Appealing this, getting rid of it has to come from Congress. I don't care who the president is, he can't go in there and wave a magic wand and sign a document that says Obamacare dies as of tomorrow morning at 6am. But one of the fears people had, and these were anti-Trumpers on the Republican side, one of the fears they had was that because Obama has made such a mess of everything and it's such a crisis, that it's so disastrous that people would unwittingly support the same kind of extra constitutional behavior in a Republican president to get rid of this stuff, which would not be good, either, particularly if you happened to be a constitutionalist."

"Now, I don't expect everybody to remember the number of times that I raised this, but I guarantee you're gonna see people writing about it after Trump's speech last night, because he clearly laid out that whatever is wrong, he is gonna fix it. (imitating Trump) "I'm gonna make sure that no country can take jobs out of America without consequence." I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way. But a lot of people want him to be able to. And the reason a lot of people want him to be able to is because the Democrats have gotten away with doing that kind of stuff that screwed everything up. And so the fix is necessary, and it's immediate, and it's urgent. So if that's what it takes to fix this and stop this rot and get rid of this poison then by God do it."

Now, note, Rush also blames Obama for the rise of Trump. What he's saying-and many Republicans and those on the Right-are saying is Obama has destroyed our country. He has destroyed its institutions ignored the constitution, basically America is destroyed.

The only way to get it back means that the Right has to come to embrace government. More than simply embrace it they need a dictatorship. For those groups of angry white folks, those who feel that cultural change has been too much too fast, the only way to get it back is to elect a Caesar.

Peter Thiel, the Trump supporting billionaire in 2009 declared that he no longer believes in democracy.

"I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible," Thiel wrote in a 2009 essay explaining the ideas behind Seasteading. He evidently believed it would be easier to build a new society from the bottom up than to fix the problems with the American political system."

It's not at all an accident that he wrote that after Obama's win. A lot of conservatives and libertarians really went off the deep end after Obama.

Basically the only way the same people who used to dominate America can continue to do so is via a Trumpian style dictatorship.

The First Female Nominee and the First Authoritarian Nominee

Hillary and we have made history. It is a wonderful moment in American history in our slow evolution towards a more perfect union.

But of course, Donald Trump is not impressed. He, not surprisingly, thinks it's all about him.

"Donald Trump said Friday that it would "have been cool" had Hillary Clinton congratulated him for doing something in the presidential election that nobody has ever done before."

“I was curious to see whether she’d do a class act and not mention my name,” the Republican nominee said at a rally with supporters in Colorado. “Or mention it with respect, like, say, ‘I’d like to congratulate my Republican opponent for having done something that nobody has ever done in the history of politics in this nation.’”

“See, I thought she might do something like that. I thought she'd give me a big fat beautiful congratulations. If she did that, would that have been cool? Would that have been great?,” Trump said.

"Clinton spoke Thursday night after becoming the first woman in U.S. history to win a major party's presidential nomination."

Read more:

And I guess, this is a year of firsts with Trump as well. He's the first candidate for dictator. The American Caesar is on the ballot.

I really like what Hillary said at the Philly bus tour yesterday:

As heckler interrupts, Clinton says founders "expected a kind of raucous debate in America. But at the end...we have to come together."

Since the late 1960s after LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act, we've been a divided country. Divided on racial lines, religious lines, gender lines, cultural lines. What the Democrats are calling for now is a new kind of national unity: the unity of post Obama's America, a diverse America, that is like Hillary puts it 'Stronger together.'

Bill Maher about the new, great Hillary ad:

"Voters don’t want America’s nicest grandma. They want the wolf with bits of grandma in its teeth. #NotoriousHRC

If you want to see what 'Stronger together' actually looks like the Dem convention is the gauge.

Do Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan Have any Sense of Shame?

Conservative anti Trumper Max Boot:

I want to belong to Party of Khizr Khan not Donald Trump."

Khizr Khan was on Lawrence O'Donnell last night. Sadly, he gives the two GOP Congressional leaders way too much credit. They will never put anything before party loyalty.

At the height of the Great Recession, Mitch McConnell was saying his number one priority was making Obama a one term President. And after all, a weaker economy makes that more likely.

So, unfortunately, Khan's stirring appeal is going into deaf ears. Neither Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan has any shame whatsoever.

"Praising Ryan and McConnell each as patriots and decent human beings, Khan said it was time to demonstrate that leadership by putting aside potential political fallout to follow a “moral imperative.”

“Isn't it time to repudiate Trump, what he has said, what he has threatened to do? This is a moral imperative for both leaders to say to him that enough,” a visibly shaken Khan said. “You are about to sink the ship of the patriot Republicans.”

"Noting Ryan and McConnell’s reluctance to fully embrace Trump’s policies –- despite their public endorsements of the Republican nominee –- Khan said the party's leadership needed to take more decisive action in opposing his candidacy."

“They have disagreed with his practices, his threats to minorities, disrespect to the legal system, legal institutions,” he said. “If your candidate wins and he governs the way he has campaigned, my country, this country will have constitutional crisis that never before in the history of this country.”

"Despite acknowledging the political hurdles that would be faced by Republican leadership openly challenging their own nominee, Khan said it was time to denounce Trump, for him, Ryan and McConnell alike."

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin had a piece yesterday about the possibility of Paul Ryan and Hillary Clinton working together in 2017.

"House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) implausibly — and contradictorily — insists that he agrees more than he disagrees with Donald Trump, and besides can stop the long list of nutty stuff Trump wants to do. In fact, the two differ on entitlement reform, trade, immigration, Russia, NATO and much more. The really nutty stuff Trump may do — disregarding treaties, wrecking alliances, cozying up to Vladimir Putin, ignoring court decisions, fueling bigotry, provoking a standoff with our military, ruining America’s international image — Ryan would be hard-pressed to stop."

"Listening to Hillary Clinton’s speech, however, the reverse may be true. Ryan and Clinton might agree on some big things, while Republicans could block or reduce portions of her agenda they find unwise. As to the latter, Congress can decline to pass many items on her wish list (mandatory paid leave, expansion of Social Security, “free college tuition”). Other items simply are not going to happen (e.g., a constitutional amendment to repealCitizens United). But there are things they can agree on: Spending on infrastructure, promoting alternatives to four-year college, reform of legal immigration, corporate tax reform, redoubling efforts against the Islamic State, and military assistance to Israel."

I agree with her that they could find some common ground.

Right now with the clear Democrat demand for a higher MW, if Paul Ryan where smart, he'd do a Scott Sumner and offer a higher Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
That's been the trouble with the GOP in the Obama years. Their refusal to compromise with Obama has left them worse off. Like they could have had corporate tax reform, chained CPI for Social Security, the Medicare retirement age pushed up to 68 and the Bush tax cuts expiring for those who make more than $1 million per year. 
Now entitlement reform is DOA-the Dems want to raise not cut Social Security benefits-and in 2013 the Bush tax cuts expired for everyone who makes more than $450,000. When you say my way or the highway you usually get the highway. 
For my part as a liberal I'm glad: I didn't want any of those things. If Ryan is smart he should start trying to meet Hillary in the middle next year; I'm presuming she wins and doesn't disappoint Obama's faith in our country. 
However, I do think that Paul Ryan is tarnishing himself by his embrace of Trump even if it's kind of qualified. 
And the fact is, if Trump did win-God forbid-then Ryan would very happily work with him to destroy Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and install some very conservative justices on the Supreme Court. 
So unfortunately Khiz Khan gives these two GOP leaders too much credit.