Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who's The Trumpiest Of Them All?


Do we need more like this in Congress?

Georgia is lousy with white Trumpists-- especially outside the Atlanta Metro, where Hillary did even better than Obama had. Trump won the state's 16 electoral votes 2,089,104 (51.05%) to 1,877,963 (45.89%). Even during the Republican primary, Trump won every single one of Georgia's 159 counties except 4 in the Atlanta Metro plus Clarke County (Athens), all of which were won by Rubio. In the general, 6 rural counties Obama won in 2012-- Baker, Dooly, Early, Peach, Quitman and Twiggs, swung over to Trump. White rural Georgia is still Trump Country, even if his favorability has sunk significantly in the suburbs and among minorities.

Jenna Johnson,writing for the Washington Post, used the Georgia GOP gubernatorial runoff primary to demonstrate how 2018 candidates are mimicking Trump's worst characteristics on the campaign trail. She started her report by pointed out that "In last week’s debate between Georgia’s Republican candidates for governor, policy was quickly abandoned as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp lit into one another with a familiar slate of accusations. Kemp called Cagle a liar at least a dozen times. Cagle accused Kemp of conspiring with another Republican to release a recording of an 'out of context' private conversation. Kemp accused Cagle of spreading 'fake news' to Georgians, and Cagle repeatedly refused to apologize for saying what he says."

The two very right-wing candidates argue of who's Trumpier, bicker "over which of them has supported the president for the longest or who would most warmly embrace the Trump agenda" and have both started acting like the repulsive jackass themselves, "using some of his nastiest campaign tactics." But, unfortunately, Georgia isn't the only place this is happening.
In races across the country, other Republican candidates-- and some Democrats-- also are branding their opponents with unflattering nicknames, tweeting in all caps, refusing to apologize for things that politicians once apologized for, being proudly politically incorrect, circulating false information, calling their hometown newspapers “fake news,” releasing damaging information about their opponents and generating controversy to get headlines, even unflattering ones. A Republican candidate for California’s state legislature, copying Trump’s foray against President Barack Obama, has even launched a birther movement, demanding proof that his Democratic opponent is a legal citizen of the United States.

“Trump’s style was such a departure from anything we were used to seeing in a presidential campaign-- his willingness to just go all-out and criticize heavily someone, call them names and engage in schoolyard talk,” said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. “Candidates this year are more willing to go there out of a sense that a precedent has been set or that it works or why not do it in my race.”

But it’s unclear if the tactics will work for many candidates other than Trump, who had a cache with his voters unmatched by most seeking office.

“I don’t like when candidates overly emulate the president. There’s only one Donald Trump,” said Harlan Z. Hill, a conservative consultant working on several midterm races who is also involved with Trump’s 2020 campaign. Hill said he gets frustrated with candidates who use gimmicky nicknames like the president does.

“My biggest problem with this is that it sort of reflects a wider problem in the Republican Party right now, where people are paying lip service to the Trump movement, the America First movement,” he said. “They really don’t understand it, so they’re just emulating the superficial aspects of it. I think voters see right through that.”

But it can be difficult for voters to know whether candidates are emulating Trump out of belief or ambition.

Former soap-opera actor [and gay porn star] Antonio Sabato Jr.-- who spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention and is now running for Congress in Southern California-- has called for Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a Trump nemesis, to be locked up because he believes she is a “hustler of hate” who “wants to tar and feather anyone different from her.” In Indiana, Trump-endorsed Senate candidate Mike Braun cast his primary opponents as “Todd the Fraud” and “Luke the Liberal.” Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann has nicknamed a Democratic congressional candidate “Absent Abby,” in hopes of drawing attention to her statehouse attendance record. Meanwhile, the Maryland Democratic Party has nicknamed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan “Hidin’ Hogan” while accusing him of hiding his conservative positions.

Some of the Trumpiest candidates-- the sort who were early supporters of the president’s campaign and decided to run for office themselves-- aren’t making it past the Republican primaries.

In northern Ohio’s 16th Congressional District, state lawmaker Christina Hagan was inspired by Trump’s 2016 victory to run for Congress, but she lost the primary to the Republican establishment’s favorite, former football star Anthony Gonzalez. One of Hagan’s commercials featured the same out-of-context footage of people rushing a Moroccan border that Trump used in one of his anti-illegal immigration campaign commercials. She also tweeted a news article about a suspect with a name similar to her opponent’s who had been charged in connection with what she called an “illegal immigrant drug ring”-- ignoring calls from fellow Republicans who asked her to delete the tweet.

In New York’s 11th Congressional District, which includes Staten Island, former congressman Michael Grimm challenged Republican Rep. Dan Donovan but lost the primary. Grimm labeled his opponent “Desperate Dan” and “Dishonest Dan,” and compared his own felony conviction for federal tax fraud to the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign worked with Russia in 2016, a probe Grimm considers unfair and politically motivated.

The Trumpiest candidate in the Georgia governor’s race was Michael Williams, a state senator who was one of the few elected officials in the country to endorse Trump in 2015. In the final days of the primary campaign, a struggling Williams received a burst of local and national attention for driving a “deportation bus” around the state, sparking a string of protests. It was a stunt that surprised some of Williams’ supporters, who compared it to Trump purposely generating controversy so that he could dominate the news.

Williams finished last in the primary, even losing the county where he lives. Cagle earned the most votes but not enough to become the party’s nominee, so he and Kemp face a runoff on July 24. A poll released by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News on Friday shows Kemp with a slight lead.

Voter turnout for primaries is often low-- and it’s often even lower for runoff elections, especially those held in the dead of summer. Local strategists and political scientists say that voters who do show up will likely be the party’s most loyal and most conservative members. That explains why Kemp has done so many ads featuring his guns and pickup truck, which he claims in a southern drawl could be used to “round up criminal illegals.” And it explains why Cagle is now catering to the far-right edge of the party.
They're probably the only Republicans in the country who are pissed off that Sacha Baron-Cohen didn't interview them for the upcoming show he did about insane bloodthirsty Republicans advocating arming toddlers in kindergarten. It's worth watching-- released just a couple of days ago, three-and-a-half million people have already watched the YouTube version.

“It’s literally been hilarious to watch” said Seth Weathers, a former state director for Trump who worked on Williams’ campaign, describing what he said was Cagle’s transformation from moderate to Trump mimic.

“Just be who you are,” he said, adding: “No one is Trump.”

Soon after the May primary, Cagle met with one of the Republicans he beat, Clay Tippins, for a frank conversation that he hoped would lead to an endorsement. Tippins recorded the conversation and has been releasing parts of it. First came audio of Cagle saying that a bill providing public funding for private schools was “bad public policy” but he supported it to prevent a rival from gaining financial support from charter school supporters.

Last week, Kemp’s campaign released a snippet it had received from Tippins in which Cagle says that the GOP primary came down to “who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck and who could be the craziest.”

Kemp says that Cagle was trashing conservative voters with the comment, comparing it to Hillary Clinton describing Trump’s supporters as “deplorable.” Cagle’s aides said he was pointing out how crazy Kemp has made this race.

By way of timing, the audio controversy echoed the release in the presidential contest of a 2005 Trump interview with Access Hollywood in which he bragged about grabbing and kissing women without their consent.

Although Trump weathered that crisis, the polls here have tightened. Cagle recorded a new commercial last week that was staged to look like a Trump rally. He stood in front of an American flag, surrounded by supporters, and yelled out his beliefs to a cheering crowd.

“I’ll never apologize for outlawing sanctuary cities or stopping liberals from taking the values that make our country great,” he said, lines familiar to any Trump rally veteran. “The time for conservatives getting kicked around is over.”

Cagle tweeted out the ad with a claim that his opponent was “in cahoots” with the media to push “fake news.”

In the Thursday night debate, many of the buzzwords reflected 2016: “Colluding.” “Lies.” “Never going to apologize.” “Hypocrite.” “Despicable.” “Fake news.” After the debate, it continued as the candidates answered questions from reporters.

“Casey Cagle’s getting to be like Hillary Clinton now,” Kemp said. “He’s gone after my ‘crazy’ supporters that have guns, trucks and chain saws. He’s saying I’m colluding, and he’s saying I’m sexist. That’s the same thing that Hillary Clinton said about Donald Trump. I think Georgians know better.”

Minutes later, Cagle complained with a line that could have come straight from Trump. No one could hear about his record as Georgia’s lieutenant governor, he said, because “the only thing that my opponent can talk about is a tape-- a tape!”
Of course, after Trump's horrifying display of treasonous behavior in Helsinki yesterday-- and with even allies like Fox, seeming to turn on him (albeit not ass-licks like Hannity or Carlson)-- how soon will it be before GOP careerist candidatess start to realize that being the Trumpiest candidate is a hinderance not an attraction? This is how Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen put it at Axios early this morning:
Trump sucking up to Vladamir Putin after the summit in Helsinki yesterday was such an unbelievable, indelible moment that many deflated White House officials didn’t even bother to defend or explain it.

...A former senior White House official, who worked closely with Trump, immediately texted us: “Need a shower.”

One of Trump's own former National Security Council officials texted: “Dude. This is a total [effing] disgrace. The President has lost his mind."

CBS Face the Nation anchor Margaret Brennan, who was in the audience, told AP she was messaging some U.S. officials during the speech who said they were turning off the television.

...Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the Pentagon and CIA, told Brian Williams on MSNBC: "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. Today's Donald Trump lost the post-Cold War for the United States of America."

...Newt Gingrich, one of the most vocal Trump backers among establishment Republicans, tweeted: "President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected-- immediately."

Republican congressional leaders said they believe the intelligence community.

Drudge, usually a Trump champion, bannered: "PUTIN DOMINATES IN HEL."
Smart Democratic congressional campaigners jumped on this immediately, contrasting themselves with Republicans foolish enough to stand with Trump's treasonous lunacy. Harley Rouda is running for an Orange County seat against Putin's favorite congressman. Rouda's statement to the media last night: "Dana Rohrabacher has once again proven that he's unfit to lead. In interviews today, he has apologized for Vladimir Putin's attack on our democracy during the 2016 Presidential election. He has insulted the patriotic, diligent men and women of the U.S. intelligence community by impugning their work. And finally, he has gone to the radical extreme to suggest that the U.S. has committed crimes far worse than Russia's despicable attack on our election. Dana's actions today may play well in Moscow, but they aren't befitting a member of Congress who swears to serve the Constitution and to defend our nation against all adversaries."

Progressive Democrat JD Scholten makes the point that his opponent, Steve King (R-IA) was Trumpy when Trump was just some "reality" show TV host. "King," he said, "is one person who actually make Trump look tame. He's tweeted at Trump for not going far enough or fast enough on things like immigration and abortion. Steve King was the Donald Trump of the political world even before Trump was elected."

Goal ThermometerThomas Guild is the progressive organizer and Berniecrat in Oklahoma City who I thought about immediately when I saw Jenna's Johnson's piece in The Post, since his opponent is such a pure Trumpist. He agrees. "Steve Russell," he told me this morning, "carries water for Trump on virtually every issue. Russell voted for the Trump tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and big corporations while blowing a huge $2.2 trillion hole in the national debt. He ran as a deficit/debt hawk and now has voted to add many trillions to the national debt and exponentially expand deficit spending for as far as the eye can see. I guess we will have to demote Russell to the rank of fiscal tweety bird (apologies to you-- tweety-- I’ve always liked your cartoons). Trump is a nemesis to the LGBTQ community and Russell has offered legislation to explicitly discriminate against individuals and companies doing business identified as LGBTQ. Trump has pursued questionable and racist policies and Russell has dragged his feet on important issues of equity like strengthening voting rights under federal law. Both Russell and Trump would likely break out the champagne and spontaneously jump for joy if Trump’s next SCOTUS appointment casts the deciding vote to overturn the longstanding precedent Roe v Wade, that protects women’s health and privacy and their right to make their own intimate personal decisions free from governmental interference. As they say in the Sooner State if it acts like a duck, and walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it must be a duck! What do you have to say about that Mr. Russell-- Quack! Quack!!"

Last word on the efficacy of trying to be the Trumpiest candidate in town-- Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman addressed Trumpanzee directly: "Mr President, you should be ashamed. To deny your own country and government in favor of a foreign leader whose country has, for decades, tried to undermine the United States is irrational and dangerous. Please step down, you are not fit to lead this great nation." Still no comments from Casey Cagle or Brian Kemp yet.

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At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's impossible to say anyone is the 'trumpiest'.

62 million evil motherfuckers voted for a serial sex predator, fraud artist, 6-time bankrupt money launderer, thrice married asswipe of a bipedal ape. It's a tie.

Now that he's eschewed both trade and defense alliances with western democracies *AND* aligned his puppet nation with Russia, north korea and wherever else there is a despot who has power he craves, the 62 million SHOULD be screaming for his impeachment... but they are 90% with him still.

The democraps haven't had a collective ball for decades. And lefty voters are dumber than shit. So we cannot expect anything from them either.

So it looks like we're going to lose our final war (and our like 8th in a row) without even picking up a weapon... kind of validating Kruschev...

The lesson here is that if you want the usa and its alliances to self-immolate, all you have to do is spend a lot of money in the right places to get a Nazi Caligula elected... The Nazi Caligula will destroy everything for you.


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