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The Mug, Part II

Fox anchor Eric Bolling dug up Sarah Palin to interview as Señor Trumpanzee was being booked on Thursday evening. She fulminated about “those who are conducting this travesty and creating this two-tier system of justice,” reciting the GOP talking points and threatening violence and disunion. I want to ask them: What the heck? Do you want us to be in civil war? Because that’s what’s going to happen. We’re not going to keep putting up with this. We need to get angry. We do need to rise up and take our country back.”

According to a new poll by Ipsos, most Americans don’t see things the way Palin does. The pollsters found that 61% of voters feel Señor T should stand trial for his failed coup attempt before the Republican primaries or, at least, before the 2024 general elections. Worse for Trump is that 63% go independents want to see Trump stand trial before they vote. And a majority (59%) agree that “The Justice Department’s decision to indict Trump in the 2020 election subversion case was based on a fair evaluation of the evidence and the law.” The poll also found that just over half the country (51%) feel Trump is guilty— including most independents— and just 26% feel he’s innocent. And unlike what Trump and his team and supporters are pushing, just 13% of respondents said that a conviction would make them more likely to support Trump. If he’s found guilty, what should happen with him?

  • Prison- 50% (including most Dems and most independents)

  • No penalty- 18% (including a plurality of Republicans)

  • Probation- 16%

  • A Fine- 12%

Data for Progress released a different kind of poll yesterday— one that asked voters what they thought of the proposals the presidential candidates made during the debate. Shut version: thumbs down. Most sane Americans— albeit not Republicans— oppose shutting down the Department of Education (a loser by a net of 43 points); breaking up the teachers unions (a loser by a net of 30%); invading Mexico (a loser by a net of 16%); pardoning Trump (a loser by a net of 12%). Just among independents most oppose shutting down the Department of Education (a loser by a net of 45 points); breaking up the teachers unions (a loser by a net of 26 points); invading Mexico (a loser by a net of 28 points); pardoning Trump (a loser by a net of 20 points). And despite Pence’s spurious claims that 70% of Americans support a 15-week abortion ban, the polls found that voters oppose establishing a 15-week national abortion ban by an -11-point margin with only 37% supporting a ban.

I didn’t make a big effort to find Trump’s chat with Tucker Carlson and I haven’t seen it. Writing for far right outlet, the National Review, Mark Antonio Wright reported on what a dud it was. “Trump looked old, tired, and frail. He spoke softly. He rambled and meandered through stories, anecdotes, and nicknames for which— if you weren’t deeply engaged in right-wing cable-news chatter— you’d need a guidebook in order to understand the references. He didn’t effectively defend his record or prosecute any arguments. He told the same old stories, he had the same old lines— but the humor is gone. He just talked… for 45 minutes.”

"Donald J Trump Mugshots" by Nancy Ohanian

Hopefully yesterday’s Tom Nichols’ piece in The Atlantic will put the topic to bed. He acknowledged the consensus that it was a good night for Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley but that “the supposed Trump-slayer, Ron DeSantis (who once again stood awkwardly alongside other human beings while seeming not to be one of them)… woefully underperformed; if his goal was to “hammer Vivek” and “defend Donald Trump,” he did neither of those, instead resorting mostly to canned snippets from the stump that seemed unconnected to the room.”

He noted that the debate showed that as a party the Republicans the Republicans don’t care much about policy— possibly explained by their understanding what voters think about their agenda, as demonstrated in the Data for Progress polling. “The candidates who tried to talk about policy got nowhere. Sure, for a while the contenders made some hazy arguments about spending. (Haley landed a glancing blow by noting that Republicans are now the big spenders in Washington, D.C., but no one took that bait.) Immigration and drugs allowed the contestants to play a few rounds of “¿Quién Es Más Macho?,” with Ron DeSantis apparently pledging to go to war with Mexico. Climate change appeared and disappeared. Two issues did generate the danger that actual ideas might get a hearing: abortion and Ukraine. Both of those moments, to take a line from Roy Batty, were quickly lost like tears in the rain. Haley blasted her colleagues for their heartlessness on abortion and noted that there were many ways Americans might reach agreement on sensible abortion policies. Pence swooped in to chide Haley that ‘consensus is the opposite of leadership.’ Scott demanded that the federal government stop ‘states like California, New York, and Illinois’ from offering abortion until the moment of birth (which they do not allow anyway). Only Doug Burgum noted that using the federal fist to impose moral choices on the states is not exactly a conservative idea. No one cared. On Ukraine, it was heartwarming to a 1980s conservative like myself to see GOP candidates reminding Ramaswamy (who was not even born until Ronald Reagan’s second term) that standing against Russian aggression is not only a necessity for U.S. national security but a duty for America as the leader of the free world. Haley slammed Ramaswamy for ‘choosing a murderer over a pro-American country.’ Ramaswamy shrugged it off.

But the few minutes of policy discussion were mostly half-hearted and desultory. After all, why would anyone onstage care about policy? The Republican base hasn’t cared about that for years, and in any case, the putative candidates did not appear all that interested in winning the nomination. A few were there to deliver a message (such as Christie and Hutchinson). The others seemed to be running vanity campaigns, perhaps meant to protect their viability in 2028.
And was anyone really in the audience to choose a president? Trump is holding a historically unassailable lead, and he is the almost-inevitable nominee. When the Beatles were just kids playing in cheap bars in Hamburg, a club owner would push them onstage and yell “Mach Schau!,” meaning something like “Give us a show!” That’s what happened last night: Fox and the audience turned on the lights, hollered “Mach Schau!” and let it rip.
No one was better suited for this inane spectacle than Ramaswamy, whose campaign has been a fusillade of high-energy babble that has often veered off into conspiracy theories. Ramaswamy has perfected MAGA performance art: the Trumpian stream of noise meant to drown out both questions and answers, the weird Peter Navarro hand gestures, the cheap shots sent as interruptions to other candidates while whining about being interrupted himself, the bizarre and sometimes contradictory positions meant only to provoke mindless anger.
And the crowd loved it. (So, apparently, did a CNN focus group.) But none of this is a surprise.
The GOP has mutated from a political party into an angry, unfocused, sometimes violent countercultural movement, whose members signal tribal solidarity by hating whatever they think most of their fellow citizens support. Ukraine? To hell with them! Government agencies? Disband them! Donald Trump? Pardon him!
Ramaswamy gained an advantage last night by leaning into the amoral vacuousness of his positions. The other candidates, however, were all trapped in the same thicket of cowardice that has for years ensnared the entire GOP. In a telling moment, one of the moderators, Bret Baier, asked who would support Trump in the general election if he were convicted of crimes. Four hands shot up almost immediately in response to the question. (So much for the principled conservatism of Haley and Burgum.) DeSantis made the worst call of any of them: He looked around, took stock, and then put his hand up just before Pence, making it 6–2.
Fox clearly had its thumb on the scale for DeSantis— for all the good it did him. The debate opened with bizarre videos that included the faux-populist anthem “Rich Men North of Richmond,” and Baier’s first question was a fluffy marshmallow lobbed at DeSantis, asking him why the song has struck such a nerve in America. (DeSantis whiffed on the opportunity.)
Christie was then asked about New Jersey’s floundering finances.
In other words, Florida’s governor was asked to burnish his Real American credentials while New Jersey’s former governor was told to explain himself for letting his state become a hellhole. Later, the other moderator, Martha MacCallum, gave Christie a chance to shine by asking him about … UFOs.
And so it went. By the end of the evening, the moderators had lost control of the whole business. But again—perhaps I have mentioned this— no one onstage or in the audience seemed to care. Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee, and none of the people at the debate in Milwaukee had a clue what to do about that.

Oh... and here's the bond that was paid for all the Fulton County case insurrectionists:

  • Señor Trumpanzee- $200,000

  • Giuliani- $150,000

  • Meadows- $100,000

  • Eastman- $100,000

  • Jeffrey Clark- $100,000

  • Jenna Ellis- $100,000

  • Kenneth Chesebro- $100,000

  • Sidney Powell- $100,000

  • Pastor Stephen Lee- $75,000

  • Trevian Kutti (Ye’s former publicist)- $75,000

  • David Shafer (GOP chairman)- $75,000

  • Cathy Latham (Coffee Co. GOP chairman)- $75,000

  • Ray Smith- $50,000

  • Robert Cheeley- $50,000

  • Michael Roman- $50,000

  • Shawn Still- $10,000

  • Scott Hall- $10,000

  • Misty Hampton- $10,000

  • Harrison Floyd- no bond


Aug 26, 2023

american media... what can you say.

interviewing caribou barbie about ANYTHING is just letting one of the dumbest bipedal hominids ever created (by your "kind compassionate loving" god?), a truly empty vessel, have a platform from which to spew stupidity.

kinda the same as polling voters who know that we need a lot of major reforms about which person and/or party that will never do any of them they will be voting for.

it all adds up to a vast fetid shithole of our own making.

Aug 27, 2023
Replying to

Yes, SS, it is part of the "media" landscape. They have an audience. So does murdoch, musk, sinclair, clearchannel and the rest (snicker!).

And until the rest of you vote the way you claim to "think" (snicker!), I'll call you what you deserve to be called.

If you were truly committed to saving the shithole, you would not be promoting half of the political landscape that has made it a shithole.


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