Friday, January 29, 2016

Desperate GOP Establishment Still Hopes Paul Ryan Will Save Them From Herr Trumpf


The Republican establishment-- weepy (and alarmed) that their relatively mainstream candidates are attacking each other instead of Herr Trumpf-- still hasn't given up on their dream to pull a fast one in July when they have their convention in Cleveland. They're laying plans for a deadlocked convention that can result in the nomination of Paul Ryan. Ryan has been busy trying to shore up his tattered credibility with the base-- after he betrayed them in the budget negotiations at the ned of 2015. He keeps issuing meaningless statements about so-called "pro-growth solutions" and unifying conservatives-- always with him at the center. And yesterday our friends at SocialSecurityWorks reminded us that last year, in a cynical move, Ryan and his colleagues attempted to force cuts to Social Security disability insurance. The Republican 'divide and conquer' strategy of pitting current and future retirees against people with disabilities almost succeeded, but progressives fought back hard and squashed yet another Republican attempt to cut our Social Security benefits. This was typical Ryan. And while most of us are focused on the media circus around the presidential election and the upcoming Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, Ryan is busy as a beaver locking down financial support from his Wall Street allies by introducing policies in Congress that benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else.

George Pataki's endorsement of Rubio may seem meaningless but the establishment is desperate to prevent Herr Trumpf from reaching the magic number of delegates to win a first ballot nomination. To do that, they have to make sure Cruz, Rubio and even Jeb and the other also-rans have 51% of the delegates between them. Pataki's statement warned Republicans that "if Donald Trump is our party's nominee, then Hillary Clinton will be President. Fortunately, Republicans who want to win have a conservative alternative in Marco Rubio-- a person who will not only unite our party, but defeat Hillary Clinton in November." Rubio isn't going to be the nominee but he can be part of the plot to derail Trumpf. Former Senator John Kyl of Arizona also endorsed him this week, which may not interest as many people as Jewish porno star Jenna Jameson's Rubio endorsement, but says a lot more about where the Republican political establishment is. (Jameson always backs conservatives-- Hillary in 2008, Romney in 2012.)

An even better indication of where the GOP establishment is, would be an examination of the money flow from billionaires into Ryan's coffers. November and December FEC reports showed him taking in more cash than many of the presidential candidates, primarily from megadonors who had been backing Jeb Bush and Scott Walker (accounting for $16.6 million in money to them and other failed GOP presidential nominees this year).
Marquee 2016 donors like Diane Hendricks and Marlene Ricketts, who both gave millions to the super PAC backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker before his campaign sputtered and died last fall, and 2014 megadonor Cliff Asness each gave $244,200 to Ryan’s JFC, Team Ryan.

Twenty donors gave the committee more than $100,000 apiece, for a sum of about $2.9 million. The JFC received about $2.7 million more from other large donors and corporate political action committees.

Team Ryan split the funds between its three partners. Records show $2.9 million went to the National Republican Congressional Committee, $830,372 was transferred to Ryan for Congress and $508,048 made its way to Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity Action.

That’s how a JFC works since the Supreme Court removed certain contribution limits in 2014: Major donors use them as a simple way to cut a check to multiple lawmakers or political committees at once. Ricketts, Hendricks and Asness-- a wife and a widow of successful businessmen and a hedge fund manager, respectively-- each gave $244,200 to Team Ryan. Had they instead sent the funds directly to candidates, they would have written a lot of checks: Each could have maxed out to 24 Republican lawmakers in both their primaries and their general election contests in 2016. (Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, that would have been impermissible.)

...Ricketts and Hendricks, for example, were the seventh- and eighth-largest political donors early this cycle — together, they gave more than $10 million to Unintimidated PAC, which planned to spend that money supporting Walker. It’s unclear (until next week, anyway) whether their money was refunded or directed elsewhere after Walker’s candidacy took an early trip south.

Most of the other top donors to Ryan’s JFC threw their money into Jeb Bush’s cash-vacuuming super PAC; that was before it was clear that generating excitement among the Republican primary electorate would prove to be so difficult for the former Florida governor. Goldman Sachs executive Muneer Satter, for one, gave $550,000 to the super PAC, Right to Rise USA, before last July. He dropped $100,000 into Ryan’s JFC; so did his fellow Right to Rise donors Craig Duchossois, Hushang Ansary, Thomas McInerney and Trevor Rees-Jones.
Let's skip back to Rubio's failure to catch fire for a moment. NY Times resident wing-nut, Ross Douthat, can't figure out while the dishonest, billionaire ass-kissing slimy little philanderer isn't the apple of the eye to GOP base voters. "[H]ere we are just days from Iowa," he wrote, "and prominent Republicans are variously frustrated and confused, resigning themselves to Trump-versus-Cruz or attempting complicated bank shots to take one or both of them out … instead of doing what many people expected and simply rallying to Rubio.
He’s no Ted Cruz, whose naked self-promotion and penchant for making enemies has left him effectively running against the entire institutional party. But as Matt Yglesias of Vox notes, Rubio’s ascent has been marked by repeated acts of rebellion and opportunism-- many of them successful, all of them quite normal for politicians, but condensed into a relatively narrow span of time.

The G.O.P.’s history as a royalist party is somewhat exaggerated, but it has repeatedly handed nominations to elder statesmen in years when it seems to be their turn, and the royalist tendency is naturally strongest in the party elite. It may not be only Jeb Bush’s inner circle that regards Rubio’s rise as a little swift, and his decision to run as a little premature, even arrogant. There may be a sense that he needs to prove himself with voters, to actually win a caucus or a primary, before he can lay claim to wide support.

...[I]n this election, many Republican voters seem to be looking for a Richard Nixon-- a hard man for hard times, you might say, which isn’t really a slogan that fits the boyish-looking first term senator.

This is why perhaps-- just perhaps-- Rubio’s strategy of avoiding conflicts with Trump has been a strategic error. A young politician can try to project toughness all he likes, but the only way to actually prove your toughness is to fight the battle that’s right in front of you.

And for Rubio, sooner rather than too late, that might mean finding a way to fight with Donald Trump and win.
I'm sure Trumpf is quaking in his booties... oops, it's Rubio who wears the high-heeled booties, not Trumpf. Perhaps Rubio should have taken the pressing concerns of voters in Florida seriously before embarking on his presidential quest.

I wonder why PPP and the other polling firms haven't included Ryan in their head-to-head match-ups with Bernie and Hillary. They should start soon, shouldn't they? Oh... speaking of Bernie: don't forget.

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