Saturday, October 28, 2017

Are You Rooting For Either Side In The Bitter Civil War Tearing The Republican Party Apart?


It would be hard to imagine any self-respecting DWT reader rooting for the Republican establishment-- think Paul Ryan and Miss McConnell-- who we've been fighting forever. We want them to get mauled, right? And then think of Mercer's neo-fascists led by Steve Bannon and all the scary garbage that comes with him. No one's rooting for the Nazis, right? Bannon and Mercer vs McConnell and Rove (while Ryan hides under the bed peeing in his pants and shivering)... what could go wrong? Let's hope for lots of blood. And don't kid yourself for one second... this is a fight to the death, not a kiss-and-make-up family spat.

The Washington Post has its top political journalistic brain trust on the beat: Dave Weigel, Bob Costa and Mike Scherer. And didn't they have fun on Wednesday! McConnell allies declare open warfare on Bannon. Alternative title: Bannon allies declare open warfare on Turtle. Odd, though, that McConnell, who is far less popular among the GOP base and right-ing opinion leaders than Bannon, has chosen to telegraph his intentions to the whole world.
More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a ­super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect GOP incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.

Yet the retaliatory crusade does not aim to target Trump, whose popularity remains high among Republican voters. Instead, the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) will highlight Bannon’s hard-line populism and attempt to link him to white nationalism to discredit him and the candidates he will support. It will also boost candidates with traditional GOP profiles and excoriate those tied to Bannon, with plans to spend millions and launch a heavy social media presence in some states.
So, the same team and the same tactics McConnell tried using-- unsuccessfully-- to protect swamp-creature Luther Strange from Alabama neo-Nazi Roy Moore. Maybe it will work in other states? I sincerely doubt McConnell will persuade Señor Trumpanzee to jump into the fray on his side this time. In fact, in some of these races, Trump may even come out on the sider of the Nazis, as he had planned to do in Arizona before Flake announced he was retiring. What will Trump do in Nevada? And in Wyoming? And what about in congressional districts? Th establishment candidate in State Island is incumbent Dan Donovan-- but he voted against TrumpCare-- and Bannon's candidate is Mafia thug Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm, a natural Trump candidate. NY-11 was the only congressional district in NYC where Trump won. He beat Hillary by a pretty massive 53.6% to 43.8% there and even if some of his lustre has diminished, he's still popular with GOP primary voters. I suspect there will be dozens of congressional seats Bannon contests (the reason Ryan's hiding under the bed). As the Post trio wrote, "The turbulence presents a danger to Republicans’ narrow 52-seat majority in the Senate, with seasoned GOP lawmakers deciding against seeking reelection amid the political storm-- and with many GOP voters cheering the rancor that Bannon has stoked from his perch at his website, Breitbart."
Some Republican lawmakers have privately fretted that simply speaking out against Trump’s incendiary statements or the ­Bannon-aligned candidates that are rousing anger in their states will not be enough-- and could backfire-- as they try to survive the surge of grievance-driven politics that has gripped the GOP’s base.

Hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah-- Bannon’s wealthy allies-- have pledged millions to the cause, said people briefed on their plans.

Bannon’s critics argue that he is causing unnecessary internal divisions that could make it harder to pass tax legislation-- and to win general elections next fall. They also point to Sen. Luther Strange’s defeat in last month’s Republican primary in a special Senate election in Alabama as an example of a dynamic they worry could repeat itself across the next year if left unchecked. The SLF spent more than $10 million to help Strange.

...“This is a guy who is more interested in seeing his name in the headlines than he is in any kind of accomplishment for the president,” said Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to McConnell who has been increasingly outspoken in his opposition to Bannon. “It comes at great cost to the president’s term, the Republican Party and any hope they can have at working as a team.”

On Wednesday, the SLF’s Twitter account mocked Danny Tarkanian-- a frequent conservative candidate in Nevada who is challenging Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)-- for suggesting that Heller join him in pledging to oppose McConnell as majority leader.

That attack was one of a number of swipes at Bannon that have popped up as the former White House adviser has emerged as a player on the national political scene. Holmes and others have called him a “white supremacist.”

...“Do we need any further evidence than Mitch McConnell and his cronies reducing themselves to using left-wing talking points to attack Steve? It’s pathetic to watch,” said Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Great America Alliance super PAC and Bannon’s former deputy at the White House. The pro-Trump PAC is engaged in a slew of races, sending around a bus to rally activists, and counts longtime operative Edward Rollins as its strategist. “Every poll shows Mitch McConnell is an albatross on the Republican candidates,” Surabian said. “If McConnell truly cared about our Republican majority in the Senate more than he cares about his own power, then he would step down as Senate majority leader today.”

Bannon’s circle says the contents of his divorce proceedings, along with claims of racism, are unlikely to do new damage to his reputation, since he has been targeted in the past along those same lines by Democrats, and even in a Saturday Night Live caricature as an angel of death. Advisers also note that the attacks elevate Bannon’s profile, which could help carry his anti-establishment message.

In an email, SLF President Steven Law said he expects Bannon to become a liability for any insurgent candidates he supports in 2018.

“But his real impact would be felt in general elections, where Bannon’s well-documented, toxic views and alt-right paper trail could become a liability for candidates who are perceived as closely tied to him,” Law said.

According to public polling, neither McConnell nor Bannon is in good standing with voters. In an April poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, one of few to ask voters about Bannon, just 11 percent said they viewed him positively and 45 percent said they viewed him negatively. The numbers were better among Republicans, with a nine-point favorability margin.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), one of the incumbents mentioned as a possible target for Bannon in 2018, dismissed the effort to get Senate Republicans to sign pledges vowing to oppose McConnell.

“No, I haven’t signed pledges. I didn’t sign Grover Norquist’s pledge,” Barrasso said on Wednesday, referring to the anti-tax advocate’s famous pledge. “I’m not a guy that signs pledges, and I’m going to vote for whoever I believe is in the best interests of the people of Wyoming.”

...McConnell’s polling among Republicans has tumbled since the start of the year-- a fact that Bannon has used to his advantage. On Tuesday, Bannon’s Breitbart website reported that a Harvard-Harris poll found 56 percent of Republicans in favor of dumping McConnell as leader. That same day, at a media roundtable organized by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a reporter for Breitbart asked members of the House Freedom Caucus to respond to the poll number.

“It was that high?” scoffed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), wondering jokingly about why it wasn’t even higher.

GOP donors who are friendly with McConnell welcomed the effort to thwart Bannon’s attempts to shape the 2018 contests and rattle McConnell as Senate Republicans are trying to work with Trump.

“Absolutely. Why not?” said Al Hoffman, a major Republican donor and McConnell ally. “You’ve got to get rid of the Bannon banner.”
Mainstream Republicans-- i.e., non-fascists-- are panic-stricken that the Mercer-Bannon brand will destroy the Republican Party. McConnell-- through SLF's Steven Law-- is getting the message out that "In states where Trump is popular, Bannon gives Democrats an alternate pathway to fire up their base and appeal to swing voters who support the president but recoil at Bannon’s racially-charged worldview." Yeah, well that's one way to put it. But a better way to put it is that independent voters-- who decide the winners in almost every non-Confederate district in America-- are repulsed by fascism and by Bannon (and by Trump).

The Fox News poll is not a poll of Fox viewers. It's a non-partisan poll of normal registered voters. They just released a new one that shows Trump with his highest ever disapproval in their polling 57% disapprove (10 points worse than last February). Trump's approval is an anemic 38%, his lowest ever in their polling-- also 10 points worse than last February. Trump is underwater on every single issue: the economy (44% approve, 49% disapprove), taxes (37% approve, 51% disapprove), North Korea (35% approve, 59% disapprove), Iran (34% approve, 55% disapprove), health care (33% approve, 60 disapprove). This is what Republican congressional candidates going into the midterms will have hung around their necks. Fox also asked respondents "If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate in your district or the Republican candidate in your district?" They've been asking this question since June 2010 but in all those 17 years there has never been a number with the Democrats so high (50%) and the Republicans so low (35%). When people say they see a tsunami forming up, this is what they're talking about. These numbers-- if they hold up, and there's more reason that they will get worse for the GOP than better-- indicate not just the House Republicans being pushed out of power but the end of political careers for Republicans once considered "safe," from Paul Ryan (WI) to heavy duty committee and subcommittee chairs like Ed Royce (CA), Fred Upton (MI), Rodney Davis (IL), John Culberson (TX), Lamar Smith (TX), Elise Stefanik (NY), Virginia Foxx (NC), Pat Meehan (PA), Chris Smith (NJ), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), John Katko (NY), Dan Donovan (NY), Peter King (NY), Pete Sessions (TX), Steve Chabot (OH), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Duncan Hunter (CA), Peter Roskam (IL), Devin Nunes (CA)-- a virtual decapitation of the congressional Republican caucus. Bannon can only play one role-- making every worse-- much, much worse-- for the GOP in 2018.

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At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either side? They're both the same side. One group is OPENLY racist. The other group is a bit more subtle about it.

What 2016 proved is that the Rs CAN be openly racist and still win due to gerrymandering, vote suppression and some other shit that democraps never fixed when they should have. Their "populism" is just a democrap-like lie they use to flip a few hundred thousand of the dumbest lefty voters.

But it's hard to take this piece seriously, not just for the above, but for this: "Mainstream Republicans-- i.e., non-fascists..."

Mainstream Rs are the ORIGINAL fascists who serve ONLY the interests of the moneyed elite. The democraps only reverted to this faith in about 1982. And, yeah, the democraps are more effective at this point. But saying they're non-fascists is either a naked lie or an admission that the author has no clue.

Bannon is doing nothing if not serving the ambitions of a certain slice of the moneyed elite -- the mercers. They are not alone, but that's the name we all recognize.

If and when bannon, trump and the mercers replace several old dusty Rs with new ones, believe me, they'll all unify in congress to serve their masters. The tax cutting and legislated killing of certain hated demos will continue and probably accelerate. But the hate and ultranationalism and even Christian caliphatism will be a little more emphasized. Same old Rs but with more nuance.

Their voters won't give a shit. They'll always vote for whoever has that R label, as their continued brain dead support of the baboon's ass in the WH proves.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I have no rooting interest for either of them but if Bannon causes the GOP seats with his insane mouth in next year's election & beyond then that's a big oopsy on him.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are You Rooting For Either Side In The Bitter Civil War Tearing The Republican Party Apart? "

Not just "NO!", but "HELL NO!"

I plan on emulating Eisenhower in 1945 Germany and let the Nazis and the Corporatists duke it out and weaken them both while I sit and watch so I don't get my gold stars and scrambled eggs dirty.

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the premature death of the Rs being declared in 2008 also. But who rode in to rescue them (because they NEEDED the Rs to block all the voters' mandates so they could pretend to try and fail to pass stuff their donors forbade)? Obamanation primarily, but harriet reid and Pelosi both played parts.
The charade failed to persuade 20% of the 2008 D voters who stayed home in 2010 but their efforts DID resurrect the Rs from near corpse back to permanent majority... except they're more evil than they were.

So there's that...


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