Category Archives: 2016 Election

Beyond Trumperdome

This kind of talk, from a WashPo piece quoting supporters at yesterday’s rally, is what powers the Trump machine:

Cheryl Burns, 60, was on a road trip from California when she heard that Trump would be in Alabama. She turned her car around and got in line, warning people of what happened to states when liberals took them over.

“There is no more California,” Burns said. “It’s now international, lawless territory. Everything is up for grabs. Illegal aliens are murdering people there. People are being raped. Trump isn’t lying about anything — the rest of the country just hasn’t found out yet.”

Various online commentators have suggested that the two attackers of a homeless Hispanic man in Boston, who cited Trump as their motivation, are the forerunners of American Brownshirts. And, certainly, Trump’s weak initial reaction was yet another indication of his general ugliness. Trump did get around to a proper condemnation of the attack after two days; either Trump didn’t want to upset his base, or (equally likely) he’s terribly staffed: either is pretty bad.

As a big fan of It Can’t Happen Here, I’m always alert for those brown signals, but I didn’t find nearly as strong signal in the actions of a couple of thugs (so long as it remains just a couple…) as I do in quotes like the one above. If large numbers of voters are living a reality-distortion zone in which California is now Mad Max land, anything is possible.

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Two Best Summaries of Last Night

Bernie Says

And TPM:

Foxbots to Trump: Are you not a fraud, a cretin and a scoundrel.

Trump: I’m very rich. Fuck yourself. I have no time for your nonsense.

Crowd: Cheers wildly.

(Although I myself heard a lot of booing too.)

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Dream ON

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Warring Columba Bush Profiles

Amazing contrast between today’s NYT and today’s WaPo treatments of Jeb Bush’s wife, Columba. And surprisingly, it’s the NYT that does the puff piece, so puffy as to be a whitewash. And it’s the Post that does the journalism.

In the very long NYT article, you get down about 2/3 of the article — a long way from its front-page start — before you read this sympathetic portrayal of smuggling:

But Mrs. Bush also found the public spotlight searing. Returning to the United States in 1999 from one of her regular trips to Europe, Mrs. Bush lied to customs officials about her overseas purchases: She said she had spent only $500, but receipts were found for $19,000 in clothes and jewelry. A spokesman for Mr. Bush said at the time that she had underreported the goods because she did not want Mr. Bush to know how much she had spent. (Mr. Bush is known among his friends as frugal with his own clothing, at least.)

The episode only increased Mrs. Bush’s reluctance to deal with reporters, and her desire to withdraw from public scrutiny.

And then it’s back to all her charitable works and home making — which, oddly, doesn’t include cooking as the article mentions, literally in passing, “Mr. Bush usually made the family dinners, because she rarely cooks.”

Contrast this to the Post, which leads with this,

In 1999, Columba Bush, the famously private wife of then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was detained and fined by federal customs officials for misrepresenting the amount of clothing and jewelry she had bought while on a solo five-day shopping spree in Paris.

The incident left the Florida first lady deeply mortified and her husband politically chagrined. Jeb Bush said the first lady had misled customs officials because she did not want him to know that she had spent about $19,000 on the trip.

“The embarrassment I felt made me ashamed to face my family and friends,” Columba Bush said in a July 1999 speech to the Central Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation, not long after the incident. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

The ordeal did not stop her from spending freely, however. Less than a year later, she took out a loan to buy $42,311.70 worth of jewelry on a single day, according to records filed with the state of Florida by Mayors Jewelers.

That purchase was part of a pattern by Columba Bush of borrowing to buy tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry at a time from the South Florida store over a 14-year period.

Paging Newt Gingrich.

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Florida Matters

“You cannot draw a map that a Republican can win the presidency without Florida. It can’t be done. You can draw a map that the Democrats can win without winning Florida, but not very often…Florida is Ohio on steroids. Ohio is 18 (electoral votes), Florida is 29…They’re not comparable swing states any more.”

James Carville | Tampa Bay Times.

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Salacious?

Today’s Miami Herald leads with a big article about Jeb! Bush’s $570,000 haul as a director and consultant with InnoVida. The gig lasted until shortly before the firm’s CEO got arrested and eventually sent away for almost 13 years.

On the one hand, Jeb! clearly was being (over?)paid to lend his name to InnoVida’s credibility and to make introductions. On the other hand, so what? Like lots of former office-holders Jeb! tried to cash in on his connections.  It’s not like he went to work for a firm he’d done favors for as Governor, nor is it a classic revolving door story.  It does seem from the article that Jeb! made some significant efforts to look into the company’s bona fides before signing on, even visiting its factory in Dubai. And plenty of folks got fooled including Chris Korge, who invested millions.  On the Richter scale of sleaze in these corrupted times, this story rates about a 2.9.

Thus, why exactly this story merits top placement on page one and consumes all of page two is slightly baffling. But even more baffling is the second of these two paragraphs which appeared near the start:

Bush, who also served on InnoVida’s board, was never accused of wrongdoing in Osorio’s Ponzi-like swindle that prosecutors said netted him and other co-conspirators about $50 million. But InnoVida occupies noteworthy real estate in the broad landscape of Bush’s business dealings, since it’s the only one to have ended in the kind of full-blown scandal that occurs when a CEO is led away in handcuffs.

InnoVida’s salacious finale is drawing renewed attention as Bush readies for a presidential run. The Republican touting the power of free enterprise in his “Right to Rise” campaign served on a corporate board that presided over a venture fraught with bogus accounting statements and fictional business deals.

Salacious? As in “arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination“? I know sojeb!me people find money sexy and all that, but even so.

Very odd word choice if you ask me.

(Note: “Jeb!” is not a typo. It’s reference to his old bumper stickers when he ran for President in 2008.)

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Dynasty Fatigue

When half a dozen voters in a conversation say they would back a law that would ban any Bush or Clinton from running, it makes you sit up and take notice.

Bush, Clinton and the Fatigue Factor – NationalJournal.com (via Political Animal).

The prospect of HRC (her royal Clintonness?) being the Democratic party’s nominee fills me with no joy and some dread due to her foreign policy views (too much support for invasions). The Wall St. stuff is bad too, but it’s possible that there might be a populist turn during the campaign…although how much that would translate into governing is a question.

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