Tag Archives: GOP Leadership in a bind

Day 66: POLITICO panel of “expert GOPs” see Trump’s trip as a success

There’s never been any question that something’s seriously awry with the perceptive capabilities of the entire Grand Old Party about its own successes and failures — most recently, 2012’s “skewed polls” nonsense and Mitt Romney’s belief in his bad polling and Karl Rove’s Election Night meltdown live on FOX News over Ohio being called for Barack Obama.  Now we have further evidence: the professional GOP evaluation of Donald Trump’s disastrous trip to Mexico.

You recall this week’s trip?  Where Donald Trump was contradicted about illegal immigration, in Spanish, by the President of Mexico, from an adjacent podium?  Where Donald Trump was rebuked by the Mexican president for his lies about whether the ‘paid-for-by-Mexico wall’ even came up?  Where Donald Trump traveled afterwards to Phoenix to give the darkest speech yet of his presidential campaign?

POLITICO has a panel of professionals in eleven swing states.  Some are Democrats; some are GOPs.  They have been surveyed throughout the campaign for their opinions about the state of the race.  And the panel of GOPs was just surveyed for their opinion of Trump’s trip.

How did a large majority of these professional Republicans characterize his trip?


Two-thirds of GOP members of The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, operatives and strategists in 11 key battleground states — rated the Republican nominee’s meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, followed by an evening rally in Phoenix in which he reiterated his robust immigration proposals, as hugely or moderately successful, despite the potential contradiction between the two events.

These are the people running the GOP in the few swing states that left in this election.  They consider this trip, the presidential “summit” in Mexico and the Phoenix speech, a great  success.


“A week after teasing a softening, Trump went full Viagra in his Phoenix speech, burying the crowd in red meat as he returned to his portrayal of America as a dystopian wasteland ruled by criminal aliens,” one Iowa Republican said. “


“He’s like a kid who takes Ritalin in the morning, and it wears off in the late afternoon,” said a New Hampshire Republican. “The result is two totally different kids in the same day. His parents are constantly monitoring how long it’s been since he took his last dose.”

But one Virginia Republican disagreed. “No one will remember the speech in a week,” the Republican said. “The visual of him with the Mexican president will be in peoples’ minds.”

For Democrats, Trump’s day was almost unanimously a failure: Only a combined 17 percent rated it moderately or hugely successful.

I don’t know if the Republican or Democratic experts are right.  But their perceptions sure are different, and GOP perceptions have been very wrong recently.  It’s almost as if they don’t have their finger on the pulse of the *entire* electorate, only a sliver of it.

As long as these incorrect perceptions are reaching the top of the Trump campaign, I think they’ll make the same mistakes Mitt Romney made: belief in their own victory, despite reality’s known liberal bias.



Day 96: “What is this, an intervention?”

Yeah, we’ve all heard it.

In popular culture, we’ve seen it in the movies or on television, or we’ve read it in books or even in magazine headlines at the checkout stand.  Some of us have even been on one side or another of that question ourselves in real life!  And the answer — if the adoring assembled don’t immediately yell “Surprise! Happy Birthday!”–  usually is, “Yes [yournamehere] it is.  We care about you and we’re worried.”

Who to include is always a challenge.  You want to bring close friends and family members who will model good behavior as you work through the challenge of getting the object of the intervention to recognize, acknowledge, and agree to face the issues.  Not everybody who participates needs to be always-sober, or currently drug-free, or completely free of anger issues (depending upon the reason for the intervention).  But you need some stalwarts who can help steer the ship.

Key Republicans close to Donald Trump’s orbit are plotting an intervention with the candidate after a disastrous 48 hours led some influential voices in the party to question whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket without catastrophic consequences for his campaign and the GOP at large.

“Influential voices” you say?  So who has RNC chair Reince Priebus corralled into being a part of this admittedly very challenging assignment?  What upright, steady, forthright citizens among party elders does the RNC chair want to have next to him when he faces Donald Trump about his “issues?”

Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among the Trump endorsers hoping to talk the real estate mogul into a dramatic reset of his campaign in the coming days, sources tell NBC News.

Because when I think of without-ego, selfless, steady-headed public servants, these two guys spring to mind.

Good luck, Reince: you’ll be lucky to come out of that room alive.



Day 97:”If Obama’s for it, we’re against it!”


Trapped in a very sticky wicket of their own design since the early years of the health care debate in Obama’s first term: GOP leadership and officeholders reflexively oppose anything Obama proposes.  A Grand Bargain to cut Social Security benefits while reforming the tax code and reducing the growth of public debt?  “Never!”  Punish Syria with bombs for its use of chemical weapons on its own citizens? “Nope!”   Even the public/private hybrid health care insurance delivery proposal that became the ACA, then “Obamacare” — despite its birth pains at the Heritage Foundation — did not get a single GOP vote in either house of Congress.

Charlie Pierce thinks today’s announcement by the President that Donald Trump is “woefully unprepared” is only the latest example of Obama being Obama in his last year in the office:

The president keeps looking into that big bag of fcks and, dammit, as The New York Times reports, if he still doesn’t find it to be empty.

I think there’s more here than meets the eye.

In his strongest denunciation of Donald J. Trump so far, President Obama on Tuesday said Mr. Trump was “unfit to serve as president” and urged the leaders of the Republican Party to withdraw their backing for his candidacy.

….  “The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Mr. Obama said at a news conference at the White House.

Got it?

It’s President Obama’s suggestion that the GOP leadership withdraw their support of Donald Trump.  It’s Obama’s idea now.   The President has skillfully used the GOP leadership’s mantra about himself against them.  The Republican National Committee  cannot now meet in secret — whether at the Skull and Bones treehouse in New Haven, or the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, or Reince Priebus’s Tardis — to Dump Trump.    Having asked them how they can denounce Trump but still support him, the President has boxed them in: Priebus, McConnell, Ryan, Christie, Rubio, McCain, Cruz, Walker, every Bush, every GOP Senator and every GOP governor and every GOP congress critter.  All of them.

They can’t very well Dump Trump now, no matter what outrages he commits tomorrow or next week.  It was the President’s idea!  Get it?

Since nothing President Obama suggests can be adopted by the GOP, it’s toxic.  It’s toxic if it’s got his name on it, and Dump Trump is now Obama’s suggestion.  With a headline like this one in today’s New York Times, how can they?

Obama Says Republicans Should Withdraw Support for Trump


The very last thing any Republican leader can do now is withdraw support for Trump; they’ll be named and shamed as Obama’s stooge.  What are they going to tell their party base?  “Oh, well, once the President suggested it, we thought we ought to go ahead and Dump Trump….”


They’ve spent almost eight years explaining to their party loyalists that *anything* this President proposes, they’ll oppose.  If he’s for it, they’re against it.  Even if they were for it yesterday (cf Grand Bargain, Syria bombing, health insurance hybridization) they are against it now that it’s Obama’s idea.

Anything.  Even a suggestion of a sane, good-faith effort to save their party in November.

So, Mr Pierce, there’s one more fck in that bag in the Oval Office after all: it’s “let me endorse that idea for you!”  President Obama used it very wisely today; lucky for us all, it’s not one-use-only.  I expect we may very well see him roll it out, with grave intonation and with the best intention, to great success, until his successor is inaugurated next January.