The Wires
The Ledes

Sunday, June 17, 2018.

NJ.com: "Gunfire blasted through a celebrated community event in Trenton early Sunday morning leaving one person dead and 22 injured, police said. The 24-hour Art All Night event is meant to honor local artists and held at the historic Roebling Wire Works building on South Clinton Avenue. The shooting erupted shortly before 3 a.m. Authorities said the shooting did not appear to be a targeted incident but a dispute between individuals that eventually led to an exchange of gunfire with police.... One of the suspected shooters is dead, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri. The 33-year-old man is believed to be shot and killed by police, Onofri said. A second suspect is in police custody. Neither has been identified."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/doral/article211406689.html#storylink=cpy

NAFTA No, NAFSA . North American Free Soccer Agreement. Washington Post: "The World Cup is returning to the United States, and this time, Mexico and Canada are along for the wild ride. A North American joint bid won the rights Wednesday to host the 2026 edition of the celebrated soccer tournament, defeating Morocco and bouncing back from an unfathomable U.S. defeat to Qatar in voting for the 2022 event eight years ago. The member associations in FIFA, the sport’s governing body, favored the North American effort, known as the United Bid, in a landslide vote, 134-65."

... Washington Post: "It was Justify’s moment, after all. In a dazzling display of power and durability, the late-blooming colt who didn’t race as a 2-year-old proved Saturday he couldn’t be worn out as a 3-year-old, thundering to victory in the Belmont Stakes to claim a place in history as the sport’s 13th Triple Crown champion. After a 37-year drought in which the feat seemed impossible, Justify became the second horse in four years to achieve it, tutored, like 2015 predecessor American Pharoah, by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Before Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, which Justify won by 1¾ lengths over surprise second-place finisher Gronkowski in a 10-horse field, the massive chestnut colt with the white blaze had won the Kentucky Derby by a 2 1 /2-length margin, becoming the first since Apollo in 1882 to win the classic without running as a 2-year-old. Two weeks later, Justify weathered torrential rain and a blanket of fog to win the Preakness Stakes, setting himself up for the Triple Crown bid."

Masha Gessen of the New Yorker on "The Americans." Mrs. McC Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen the show's finale, & you plan to, see it before reading Gessen's post.

You may want to cut the sound on this video so you don't go nuts before you get to move overseas:

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: I found this on a political Website, so that's my excuse. Juliana Gray in McSweeney's: "The Incel Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It begins,

"Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like an equal redistribution of sexual resources.
Let us go, through certain half-considered tweets
and form tedious arguments
about entitlement.

"In the room the women come and go
Talking of Maya Angelou."

Read on. Incels, in case you don't know,  (a portmanteau of 'involuntary' and 'celibacy') are members of an online subculture who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom. Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual," according to Wikepedia.

New York Times: "A thousand-year-old English castle echoed with the exhortations of an African-American bishop and a gospel choir on Saturday, as Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle, an American actress, nudging the British royal family into a new era. Ms. Markle, who has long identified herself as a feminist, entered St. George’s Chapel alone rather than being given away by her father or any other man, a departure from tradition that in itself sent a message to the world. She was met halfway by Prince Charles, her future father-in-law and presumably the future king of Britain. Prince Harry, who is sixth in line for the throne, has long called on Britain’s monarchy to draw closer to the daily life of its people. But the most extraordinary thing he has done is to marry Ms. Markle, an American actress who is three years his senior, biracial, divorced and vocal about her views. Their choices at Saturday’s wedding, many of them heavily influenced by black culture, made it clear that they plan to project a more inclusive monarchy.” ...

Serena Williams, at the When Harry Wed Meghan rites.... Anthony Lane of the New Yorker attended the nuptials & reports back: "Love, as warmly recommended by the preacher, held sway. The sole unpleasantness that crossed my path took the form of a burly fellow wearing a fascinator, with ripped jeans and mirrored shades: not an outfit that I will soon forget." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: If you are wondering what a "fascinator" is, so was I. There were hundreds of them worn to Windsor Saturday. It's a ridiculous thing that otherwise sensible women attach to their heads. We are not fascinated.

Shorter Wedding:

This is the WashPo's live coverage of the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry & American actor Meghan Markle. You can supersize it:

The Guardian is posting updates re: the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry & American actor Meghan Markle. "The Queen has announced the titles given to the married couple. Prince Harry, or to give him his formal title, Prince Henry of Wales, has been made Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel.So he will be His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and, once married, Meghan Markle will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex."

Josephine Livingstone of the New Republic reviews The President is Missing: "... there’s an ickiness to this book, and it lies in gender politics. It’s just not possible to engage with Bill Clinton as a public figure without thinking about his relationship with the 22-year-old Monica Lewinsky. America is undergoing a revision of its original interpretation of that incident, one in which people newly recognize her youth and her vulnerability. Wrong was done by her, and that is more widely understood. Clinton can’t expect readers not to think about that. And yet during the publicity tour for the book, he has responded to questions about Lewinsky with great churlishness. To boot, the book ends with the revelation that the villain all along was feminism." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This novel needed a woman's review. As for Livingstone's note about #MeToo revisionism, I was horrified by Bill's abuse of Lewinsky in real time. And I was equally horrified by Hillary's attempts to get her husband out of the jam of his own making. I didn't understand why I was nearly alone among liberals in what I found to be obvious abuses of power, but I now see it was blind partisanship, of a quality & quantity not different from stupid Trumpbot loyalty. I never thought Clinton should have been impeached; I thought he should have resigned.

Ha Ha. Anthony Lane of the New Yorker reviews the newly-published novel The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson. "Writing, like dying, is one of those things that should be done alone or not at all.... Bill Clinton, who can write, has hooked up with James Patterson, who can’t, but whose works have sold more than three hundred and seventy-five million copies, most of them to happy and contented customers for whom good writing would only get in the way." Lane runs down the plotline of this thriller, & he says the story includes "no sex'" even tho there as sexy female assassin (of course there is) who is after the fictional president. Lane goes out of his way to diss Patterson's writing. "Somehow, 'The President Is Missing' rises above its blithely forgivable faults. It’s a go-to read." Mrs. McC: Tho not by me.

Here's a Guardian interview of Harry & Meghan:

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling

Monday
Mar072016

The Commentariat -- March 8, 2016

Afternoon Update:

AP: Re: Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge Rebecca Bradley (see related stories linked in Beyond the Beltway): Gov. Scott "Walker on Tuesday said it's irrelevant whether he would have appointed Bradley as a judge if he had known of her college writings."

Looks like Bibi Netanyahu is up to his usual tricks.

"I Disavow." Courting the Racist Vote. Max Ehrenfreund of the Washington Post: "In the past week, Donald Trump has been asked repeatedly about the Ku Klux Klan and its notorious former grand wizard, David Duke. Trump still hasn't given voters the right answer.... He could easily make his stance on racism clear, but to this point, he has not done so."

*****

Amy Goldstein, et al., of the Washington Post: "The White House is considering nearly a half-dozen relatively new federal judges for President Obama's nomination to the Supreme Court, focusing on jurists with scant discernible ideology and limited judicial records as part of a strategy to surmount fierce Republican opposition.... The president is leaning toward a sitting federal judge to fill the vacancy -- and probably one the Senate confirmed with bipartisan support during his tenure." ...

... CW: On the upside, if Senate Republicans prevail, as they most likely will, & refuse to confirm (or even hear) President Obama's nominee, popular disgust with the Senate increases the chances that Hillary Clinton will become president, the Senate will return to a Democratic majority, & the new president can pick the nominee & new majority can confirm her.

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "In a pair of unsigned opinions, the Supreme Court on Monday restored the rights of an adoptive mother who had split with her lesbian partner and reversed a murder conviction tainted by prosecutorial misconduct." Justices Alito & Thomas whined about the Court's handling of the murder case and "filed unusual concurrences in a series of orders concerning juvenile offenders sentenced to life without parole." ...

     ... CW: Odd Men Out? Maybe we're going to be seeing a number of 6-2 decisions this term.

Matt Krantz of USA Today: "There are 27 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500, including telecom firm Level 3 Communications (LVLT), airline United Continental (UAL) and automaker General Motors (GM), that reported paying no income tax expense in 2015 despite reporting pre-tax profits, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence."

Presidential Race

Today is primary day in Michigan & Mississippi. Hawaii & Idaho are holding Republican caucuses.

As the race stands now, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, there is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience. -- Michael Bloomberg, today ...

... Maggie Haberman & Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Michael R. Bloomberg, who for months quietly laid the groundwork to run for president as an independent, will not enter the 2016 campaign, he said Monday, citing his fear that a three-way race could lead to the election of a candidate he thinks would endanger the country: Donald J. Trump. In a forceful condemnation of his fellow New Yorker, Mr. Bloomberg said Mr. Trump has run 'the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears.' He said he was alarmed by Mr. Trump's threats to bar Muslim immigrants from entering the country and to initiate trade wars against China and Japan, and he was disturbed by Mr. Trump's 'feigning ignorance of David Duke,' the white supremacist leader whose support Mr. Trump initially refused to disavow." ...

... Here is Bloomberg's statement, which appeared as an editorial in his online Bloomberg publication. His remarks about Cruz: "Senator Cruz's pandering on immigration may lack Trump's rhetorical excess, but it is no less extreme. His refusal to oppose banning foreigners based on their religion may be less bombastic than Trump's position, but it is no less divisive." ...

... A rough cut of the ad Bloomberg would have run in support of the candidacy that wasn't. Via the New York Times:

** May the Worst Charlatan Win. Josh Barro, a conservative, explains how the Republican establishment "made Donald Trump's nomination possible. And no, it's not about racism; it's about something even more fundamental: Republicans' disdain of government & other "validating institutions."

Der Fuhrer Emerges from His Mussolini Pod. Ben Schreckinger of Politico: "Donald Trump's rally [in Concord, North Carolina,] began with the candidate asking all attendees to raise their hands and take an oath to vote for him, while extended barriers cordoned off the press and plainclothes private intelligence officers scoured the crowd for protestors. These new tactics, which the Trump campaign has introduced over the past week, represent refinements by Trump and his staff in their quest to control the atmosphere and message of his often unruly rallies. They come ... at a time when the emboldened candidate has escalated confrontations with protesters, leaving his podium to stare them down at his two most recent rallies and repeatedly lamenting that his supporters cannot retaliate against them." CW: No, this is not entertainment. ...

(... Nonetheless, contributor Patrick is right about this:

     ... Shmucks!) ...

... Josh Gerstein of Politico: "The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is investigating an incident last week in which a Secret Service agent apparently body-slammed a Time magazine photographer during a Donald Trump campaign rally in southwest Virginia, a spokesman for the DHS watchdog said Monday.... The results would likely be summarized in a management advisory, rather than a full-scale investigative report." ...

     ... CW: In the wake of an different altercation in Valdosta, Georgia, the Secret Service said it only acts to protect the candidate & does not participate in removing peaceful protesters from political rallies. So how does a credentialed photographer threaten the candidate by taking pictures of Trump goons removing protesters from his rallies? The photographer wasn't anywhere near the candidate & was not at all focused, so to speak, on the candidate. ...

... Dana Milbank: After urging fans to pledge allegiance to him at his rally in Orlando, Florida, Saturday, Donald Trump "watched a supporter grab and attempt to tackle protesters, at least one of them black, near the stage. 'You know, we have a divided country, folks,' Trump said. 'We have a terrible president who happens to be African American.' Loaded imagery, violence against dissenters and a racial attack on the president: It's all in a day's work for Trump.... Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt: 'Some people didn't approve of Hitler's anti-Semitism, but they went along with it because he was going to make Germany great again.'"

... It's 1980 All Over Again. Jonathan Soble & Keith Bradsher of the New York Times: "Mr. Trump chastised Japan last week in a Republican candidates' debate, naming it along with China and Mexico as countries where 'we are getting absolutely crushed on trade.' He has previously accused Japan of manipulating its currency to achieve an unfair economic advantage, and of exploiting its military alliance with the United States to protect itself at little risk and cost. His complaints are reminiscent of another era.... Mr. Trump's ascendance has begun to cause serious unease in Japan. Even if his run ends short of the White House, the worry is that an election dominated by such talk could leave the United States more closed to trade and less willing to defend its allies." P.S. Clinton has echoed Trump's rhetoric. ...

... Paul Krugman: "Romney declares with horror that Trump would start a trade war. His economics is all wrong, which is the main thing; but it's also worth noting that thee and a half years ago Romney himself argued for exactly the same policies Trump advocates now, blithely dismissing the dangers.... Four Pinnochios on each side. Romney talks nonsense economics, and condemns as terrible the very policies he himself called for not long ago. But Trump is stuck in a time warp, making arguments that had some force when China was booming but none in the current situation."

Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News: "The daughter of a reputed New Jersey mob figure says her late father had a longtime relationship with Donald Trump that included gambling millions of dollars at one of his casinos, flying on his helicopter and partying aboard his private yacht.... When asked about [Robert] LiButti by a reporter, the casino mogul suggested he barely knew the foul-mouthed gambler. 'I have heard he is a high roller, but if he was standing here in front of me, I wouldn't know what he looked like,' Trump told the Philadelphia Inquirer in February 1991. But Edith Creamer, LiButti's daughter, told Yahoo News in two recent telephone interviews that ... Trump and her father knew each other quite well.... 'Of course he knew him. I flew in the [Trump] helicopter with [Trump's then wife] Ivana and the kids. My dad flew it up and down [to Atlantic City]. My 35th birthday party was at the Plaza and Donald was there. After the party, we went on his boat, his big yacht.'" ...

     ... Steve M.: "All this might seem appalling to general election voters. But it won't upset Trump's base at all." ...

... Kevin Drum: "Megan McArdle says Donald Trump will never run as a third-party candidate for president because he's not rich enough. It costs upwards of a billion dollars to run for president these days, and Trump doesn't have that kind of scratch. So what's he going to do? Raise it from billionaires after spending the entire primary claiming that anyone who raises money from billionaires is corrupt and crooked? Well, this is Donald Trump we're talking about, so sure.... The whole self-funding schtick won't work in a general election.... It won't work if he runs as the Republican nominee, either. He's going to have to raise money from rich people. So why haven't any of the other candidates asked about this?" ... ...

... I have the best words. -- Donald Trump. CW: If, like me, you were not "highly-educated" at an "Ivy League university" you may not know what Trump means by "the best words." Poor little dummkopf that I am, I'll guess he means either that he has command of a yuuuge vocabulary (even though for some reason he speaks in public at a third- to fifth-grade level) or that he assembles those excellent words in an eloquent manner:

Ryan Grim, et al., of the Huffington Post: "Billionaires, tech CEOs and top members of the Republican establishment flew to a private island resort off the coast of Georgia this weekend for the American Enterprise Institute's annual World Forum.... The main topic at the closed-to-the-press confab? How to stop Republican front-runner Donald Trump.... Sources familiar with the meeting ... said that much of the conversation around Trump centered on 'how this happened, rather than how are we going to stop him,' as one person put it." ...

... CW: Instead of playing golf & wringing their hands, those tech geniuses could put up some trumpforpresident.com sites featuring renderings of Trump disrobed, a la Dan Savage's santorum.com page. To save the nation. ...

... Julia Preston of the New York Times: Many Latinos who are legal residents of the U.S. are applying for citizenship in the hopes of becoming naturalized in time to vote against Donald Trump. "While naturalizations generally rise during presidential election years, Mr. Trump provided an extra boost this year.... This year immigrants seeking to become citizens can find extra help from nonprofit groups and even from the White House. Last September, President Obama launched a national campaign to galvanize legal residents to take the step.... The majority of Latinos are Democrats, and some Republicans accuse the White House of leading a thinly veiled effort to expand the ranks of the president's party. But administration officials argue the campaign is nonpartisan...." ...

... CW: Excuse me? Republicans have a candidate who asks voters to raise their arms & swear to vote for him specifically, & Republicans are complaining that the White House is helping people become citizens? IOKIYAR really has gone too far too often. ...

... Travis Gettys of the Raw Story: "A Holocaust survivor and longtime watchdog of right-wing extremist groups said Donald Trump is playing a dangerous game by leading followers in a Nazi-style pledge. Abraham Foxman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League, harshly criticized the Republican presidential candidate for asking supporters to raise their right hands in salute and promise to vote for him in the Florida primary election.... 'We've seen this sort of thing at rallies of neo-Nazis. We've seen it at rallies of white supremacists. But to see it at a rally for a legitimate candidate for the presidency of the United States is outrageous,' Foxman said." ...

... Trump runs a slightly negative ad in Florida against Rubio. He shoulda gone for the demon sheep:

... Charles Pierce (March 6): "Trump is an opportunist who saw a chance and half-ran, half-stumbled toward it. Cruz is someone who's had his eyes on the prize since before Princeton and Harvard Law loosed him upon the world. Trump is a man of grandiose, hopelessly vague promises. Cruz is dead-serious about hauling the country into retrograde theocracy and Gilded Age economics. Trump places his faith in Two Corinthians, which I believe is a pizza and sandwich joint on Staten Island. Cruz considers himself to be both a vehicle for political extremism and the instrument of the living God. You decide which frightens you more."

CW: One big reason Trump is trumping Rubio & Cruz: In the eyes of GOP voters, Trump is a real American, while Rubio & Cruz are "ethnic foreigners" or something. As Brian Beutler points out, Trump voters scoffed at Rubio's win in Puerto Rico, declaring that Rubio won the territory "because he promised them amnesty & citizenship." If he had made such a promise, of course, Rubio would have no trouble keeping it: Puerto Ricans are already U.S. citizens so they don't need "amnesty." White nativism doesn't just run deep in the Republican party; it is the Republican party. Nearly every one of policy prescriptions is a reflection of that "white American exceptionalism," from their "small government" mantra (no aid to no-account blacks & Latinos) to military adventurism: annihilate all the "others."

Mitt Tips His Hand. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Offering Senator Marco Rubio of Florida a much-needed boost, if not an outright endorsement, Mitt Romney has recorded get-out-the-vote calls for Mr. Rubio's presidential campaign that are being sent to voters in the four states voting on Tuesday. Mr. Romney indicates, at the beginning and end of the message, that he is calling on behalf of Mr. Rubio but only urges voters to cast ballots for 'a candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton and who can make us proud.'... 'If we Republicans were to choose Donald Trump as our nominee, I believe that the prospects for a safe and prosperous future would be greatly diminished -- and I'm convinced Donald Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton,' Mr. Romney says in the call."

Understanding Republicans. Contributor Janice linked to this perfect coda to a brief discussion we had in today's Comments thread:

Gail Collins & Arthur Brooks discuss the state of the presidential race. Collins: "The idea that a blast from Mitt Romney is going to mute the Trump boom at this point in the game is pretty hilarious. I am tempted to say that Romney's only chance of having an impact would be to tie Donald to the roof of his car."


Amy Chozick
of the New York Times: "On Monday, [Fox 'News'] hosted a forum at which the host, Bret Baier, grilled both [Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton] on topics that seldom come up at Democratic events, including abortion rights, the national debt and the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East.... Pressed on his budget-busting plans for universal health care, Mr. Sanders reiterated his belief that health care is a right for all people. 'Excuse me, where does that right come from, in your mind?' Mr. Baier asked. 'Being a human being,' Mr. Sanders replied, 'being a human being.'... Mr. Baier aggressively questioned Mrs. Clinton on her handling of the 2011 intervention in Libya that is widely credited with the current instability in the region." ...

... ** Jamelle Bouie: "... the Flint debate ... illustrates an important difference between Clinton and Sanders that's often overlooked.... Hillary Clinton is running to lead Democrats, and Bernie Sanders is running to lead liberals.... Hillary Clinton, a prominent leader from the ideological center of the Democratic Party, is running to lead the Democratic coalition as it exists.... Bernie Sanders, by contrast, comes from the left wing of American politics with a nominal attachment to the Democratic Party -- until his run for the presidency, he didn't identify as a Democrat. He's not as concerned with the usual party building and coalition maintenance. He wants to change the ... Democratic Party and put ideological liberals at the fulcrum of Democratic politics...." ...

... A Lead-Pipe Clutch. Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post: "Flint resident Lee-Anne Walters didn't like Bernie Sanders' response to her question about lead pipes during Sunday night's Democratic presidential debate in Flint. But she really didn't like Hillary Clinton's response.... 'It actually made me vomit in my mouth.'" ...

... Janell Ross of the Washington Post: "Why, at this late date and this many debates into the 2016 presidential election cycle, has Sanders made demonstrably little to no effort to alter the way he interacts with the woman he at least strongly suspected he would be running against him from the day he declared his campaign?... Does Sanders have the capacity to recognize the way these moments look or think deeply about the degree to which sexism propels his debate-stage performances? Whether that chauvinism is real or imagined or even toyed with by his opponent for political gain, why can't Sanders find a better way to manage these moments?" Here's the moment:

     ... CW: Except for the difference in accents, Bernie sounds just like my late husband telling me to zip my lips so he could continue lecturing or scolding me. That's where I would get right up & leave the room (which is not an option Hillary had). I'll bet a lot of wives & other female partners have been there.

Beyond the Beltway

One Wisconsin Now: "Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote a series of hateful and venomous attacks on gay people and people living with HIV, according to articles obtained by One Wisconsin Now. The hate speech in the articles disqualifies Bradley from continuing to hold office and should result in her immediate resignation from the state Supreme Court, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross...." ...

... Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Newly appointed state Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in a student newspaper 24 years ago that she had no sympathy for AIDS patients because they had effectively chosen to kill themselves, called gays 'queers' and said Americans were 'either totally stupid or entirely evil' for electing President Bill Clinton.... Bradley declined an interview request, but in a written statement said she was embarrassed about the pieces she wrote "as a very young student.'... One Wisconsin Now ... distributed them Monday..., four weeks before voters decide whether to give Bradley a full 10-year term on the court in the April 5 election.... GOP Gov. Scott Walker acknowledged Monday he was not aware of her Marquette University writings before he appointed her three times to judicial positions."

Sunday
Mar062016

The Commentariat -- March 7, 2016

Lou Cannon of the New York Times: "Nancy Reagan, the influential and stylish wife of the 40th president of the United States who unabashedly put Ronald Reagan at the center of her life but became a political figure in her own right, died on Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ... ...

... Nancy Reagan's Los Angeles Times obituary, by Elaine Woo, is here. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Presidential Race

Rebecca Traister of New York looks forward to a Clinton-Trump general election: "It's hard to imagine there are many voters who are really undecided between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Clinton supporters want a president to be competent, capable, to understand how to work the levers of political power. The Trump supporters want a president to give jeering voice to their fury, a character through whom they might vent their frustration.... The contest will really come down to who can persuade more of their deeply divided constituencies to come to the polls. And this is the dynamic that should give Democrats chills; because the carnival barker's job is knowing how to draw a crowd." ...

... CW: Still, unless all the rational voters sit this one out, it's hard for me to believe that "undecideds" will decide they want a vulgar, name-calling, bigoted, unstable bully ostensibly running the country.

Todd Spangler & Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press: "With Michigan issues consuming much of the back and forth in a spirited debate Sunday night between the Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton surprised rival Bernie Sanders by accusing him of failing to support the 2009 auto rescue and joined him in calling for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to resign or be recalled as a result of the Flint water crisis." ...

... Anne Gearan & Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: "The session included the sharpest exchange yet between the Democratic presidential candidates over their economic plans and records. It included a heated argument over the auto industry bailout...." ...

     ... CW: Clinton clearly got the better of Sanders in the exchange; besides Bernie's rudeness, his argument on the substance was wrong. Although the government did lose money on the auto bailout ($9.3BB) part of TARP, that bailout arguably saved millions of auto industry jobs, thus "making" more than $100BB in industry-related worker-paid taxes. So a big net gain. I'm looking for Krugman to have more to say on this. Clinton cast the right vote on TARP; Sanders did not. That's a problem.

Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders debate at 8:00 pm ET Sunday night in Flint, Michigan. Noah Weiland of Politico: "CNN hosts and plans to distribute half a million water bottles to four locations around town before the debate." ...

... New York Times reporters are liveblogging the debate.

Maine Democratic Caucuses

The Washington Post has projected Bernie Sanders to be the winner of the state's caucuses, with 74 percent of precincts reporting. Sanders currently has about 64 percent of the vote; Clinton has 36 percent. ...

... Manuel Tobias of Politico: "Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic caucuses in Maine, according to the Associated Press. The Vermont senator's victory is his third of the weekend, along with wins in Kansas and Nebraska on Saturday, and his eighth state overall." ...

... Kevin Miller of the Portland Press Herald: "U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders won Maine's Democratic presidential caucuses Sunday, defeating Hillary Clinton by a large margin on a day that saw unprecedented turnout statewide. But waits as long as four hours in Portland prompted one Democratic leader to suggest it's time for Maine to replace caucuses with primaries.... Democratic officials estimated that 46,800 people participated in Sunday's caucuses held at more than 400 locations around the state, beating the previous record of roughly 44,000 participants in 2008. The Democratic turnout also dwarfed the 18,650 Republicans who participated in that party's Maine caucuses one day earlier." ...

... Jonathan Swan of the Hill: "Bernie Sanders wheeled out an endorsement of his presidential bid from one of Flint's celebrated political sons just before Sunday night's Democratic debate in that Michigan city plagued by a toxic water crisis. Don W. Riegle Jr., who served in the House and Senate over his career, endorsed Sanders in a press conference held about an hour before the CNN debate between Sanders and presidential rival Hillary Clinton in Flint, Mich. "[Sanders] stands head and shoulders above all the other candidates in either party," Riegle said.... Riegle, who grew up in Flint, used the press conference to attack Bill and Hillary Clinton, saying their policies were bad for his hometown. Former President Clinton's policies 'destroyed the Flint I loved,' Riegle reportedly said."


The Angst of the Elite. Jonathan Chait:
"The secret fear lying beneath Rubio's accurate depiction of Trump as a 'con artist' is that Republican voters are easy marks. The Republican Party is constructed as a machine: Into one end are fed the atavistic fears of the white working class as grist, and out the other end pops The Wall Street Journal editorial-page agenda as the finished product. Trump has shown movement conservatives how terrifyingly rickety that machine is and how easily it can be seized from them by a demagogue and repurposed toward some other goal."

Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "Senator Marco Rubio of Florida won the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday, The Associated Press reported, giving him a much-needed victory after a string of losses that threatened to push the Republican presidential nomination further out of his reach." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Maybe that's because Marco is such a good friend to Puerto Rico. Also from Parker's report: "Puerto Rico is embroiled in a debt crisis, with the territory facing a deficit of more than $70 billion. Mr. Rubio took a tough line on the matter in Congress, urging Puerto Rico to focus on improving its economy and fixing its troubled fiscal situation rather than seeking bankruptcy protection."

... Ed O'Keefe, et al., of the Washington Post: "Party leaders, donors and other supporters of Rubio portray a political operation that continues to come up short in its message, in its attention to the fundamentals of campaigning and in its use of a promising politician. The failures have all but doomed Rubio's chances of securing the GOP nomination, leaving him far behind Trump and Cruz in both delegates and states won." CW: Also, could have something to do with the fact that Marco is an obnoxious, preening pipsqueak. But I'd still vote for him for class president if Trump, Fiorina & Cruz were his opponents. ...

... The Smug Factor. James Poulos of the Week says it better: "... Rubio proved that there's something much worse in this populist season than being born on third and thinking you just hit a triple. However subliminal, his sense of upwardly mobile entitlement was weirdly off-putting and perversely reminiscent of the entitled yes-kid who thinks he should get what he wants because he knows exactly how to give his teachers and school administrators exactly what they want. Rather than embodying the 20th-century Republican story of increase earned through luck and pluck, he became an avatar of the 21st-century striver whose stock in trade is his special snowflakehood."

Matt Flegenheimer & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Republicans hoping to halt Donald J. Trump's march to their party's presidential nomination emerged from the weekend's voting contests newly emboldened by Mr. Trump's uneven electoral performance and by some nascent signs that he may be peaking with voters. Outside groups are moving to deploy more than $10 million in new attack ads across Florida and millions more in Illinois, casting Mr. Trump as a liberal, a huckster and a draft dodger. Mr. Trump's reed-thin organization appears to be catching up with him, suggesting he could be at a disadvantage if he is forced into a protracted slog for delegates."

Forgot to post this yesterday morning. SNL does a pretty good job in capturing the essence of last week's presidential primary races:

** "American Demagogue." David Remnick of the New Yorker: "As early as 1988, Trump hinted at a run for the White House, though this was understood to be part of his carny shtick, another form of self-branding in the celebrity-mad culture. And now here we are.... Pull the camera back, and Trump can be viewed as part of a deadly serious wave of authoritarians and xenophobes who have come to power in Russia, Poland, and Hungary.... The Republican Party, having spent years courting the basest impulses in American political culture, now sees the writing on the wall. It reads 'Donald Trump,' in very big letters."

... This SNL-produced ad features Donald Trump voters at their best. Hey, it's who they are:

Ted Cruz? An inspiration to every kid in America who worries that he'll never be able to run for president because nobody likes him. He's running. -- Joe Biden, at the Gridiron dinner Saturday

(... Here are a few more jokes made at the Gridiron dinner. The link above includes many of Vice President Biden's remarks.)

Isaac Chotiner of Slate: "Ted Cruz's twin victories on Saturday night in Maine and Kansas -- coupled with his strong second-place finishes in Louisiana and Kentucky -- likely mean he will emerge as the long-discussed, as-yet-unglimpsed 'non-Trump' Republican contender.... But Cruz's excellent night is also good news for Donald Trump. Cruz will not only have more trouble solidifying an anti-Trump coalition than Rubio -- or at least a better version of Rubio -- would have. Cruz's success may also mean that the GOP establishment, which despises the Texas senator, will not go all out to stop Trump.... Rubio's campaign ... is almost dead...." ...

... It's a Media Conspiracy! Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) said on Sunday that the media is sitting on explosive negative information about front-runner Donald Trump with plans to run it later in the year to tear the candidate apart.... Cruz called out the media, saying one of the reasons they want Trump to be the eventual nominee is because they know he can't beat Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. 'Hillary would wallop him,' Cruz said." CW: The idea here is that the media are holding back reports on Trump, which they'll wait to dump until after he's the nominee, to make sure Clinton's general election opponent is the weakest GOP candidate. I guess the media cabal is run by some real dopes; they should have been boosting Bobby Jindal or Jim Gilmore. Those guys are really duds.

Rebecca Savransky: "Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Sunday via Snapchat and at a rally."

Callum Borchers of the Washington Post: Mitt Romney is "leaving the door open -- just a crack -- to the possibility of being drafted by his party at a contested convention in July. 'I don't think anyone in our party should say, "Oh no, even if the people in the party wanted me to be the president, I would say no to it,'" Romney said Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press.' 'No one's going to say that.'" ...

... Paul Krugman: "The good news is that there was a real [economic] policy debate going on within the G.O.P. last week [between Romney & Trump]. The bad news is that it was junk economics on both sides."

CW: If the Republican party wants to save itself from massive embarrassment, it should nominate Jim Webb for president. He's a DINO who used to be a RINO. Sure, he'll say stupid Republican things, but he's a Democrat now, giving the GOP plausible deniability on all fronts. No coattails, of course, but Republicans can sit on the sidelines & laugh their way to oblivion as two Democrats tangle. And who knows? Republicans might rise from the ashes of the flameout.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "The United States launched a series of airstrikes on an al-Shabab training camp in Somalia Saturday, killing 150 militants and averting what a Pentagon official described as an 'imminent threat' posed by the group to both U.S. and African Union troops stationed in the war-torn country."

AP: "Jimmy Carter announced Sunday that he no longer needs treatment for cancer, less than seven months after revealing he had been diagnosed with melanoma that spread to his brain. Carter, 91, shared the news at one of his regular Sunday School classes at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia."

Sunday
Mar062016

The Commentariat -- March 6, 2016

Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "Senator Marco Rubio of Florida won the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday, The Associated Press reported, giving him a much-needed victory after a string of losses that threatened to push the Republican presidential nomination further out of his reach." ...

     ... Maybe that's because Marco is such a good friend to Puerto Rico. Also from Parker's report: "Puerto Rico is embroiled in a debt crisis, with the territory facing a deficit of more than $70 billion. Mr. Rubio took a tough line on the matter in Congress, urging Puerto Rico to focus on improving its economy and fixing its troubled fiscal situation rather than seeking bankruptcy protection."

Lou Cannon of the New York Times: "Nancy Reagan, the influential and stylish wife of the 40th president of the United States who unabashedly put Ronald Reagan at the center of her life but became a political figure in her own right, died on Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94." ...

... Nancy Reagan's Los Angeles Times obituary, by Elaine Woo, is here.

Forgot to post this this morning. SNL does a pretty good job in capturing the essence of last week's presidential primary races:

... AND this ad features Trump voters at their best. Hey, it's who they are:

 

Presidential Race

Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders debate at 8:00 pm ET tonight in Flint, Michigan. Noah Weiland of Politico: "CNN hosts and plans to distribute half a million water bottles to four locations around town before the debate."

Maine's Democratic primary caucuses are today. Republicans vote in Puerto Rico.

Saturday's Primary & Caucus Results

Where Have You Gone, Marco Rubio? Jose DelReal of the Washington Post: "Sen. Ted Cruz's bid to become the chief alternative to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump gained steam Saturday, as he secured commanding victories in the Kansas and Maine caucuses while Sen. Marco Rubio withered with a string of third-place finishes.... Taken together, the results marked a devastating rebuke of the Republican establishment, which has settled on Rubio as its standard-bearer. He not only failed to win any states Saturday, but he also finished in third place in every state that voted Saturday except Maine, where he was projected to finish fourth behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich.... Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders defeated former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the Kansas and Nebraska caucuses. But Clinton's forceful projected win in delegate-rich Louisiana keeps her vast delegate lead for the Democratic party's nomination intact."

The New York Times has full, updated results here.

Democrats

Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, energized by victories Saturday in Kansas and Nebraska, declared that people should not 'write off' his campaign and that the caucus wins show that he has the momentum to gain the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Sanders, in an interview from the hotel where he is staying in Detroit, said he won Kansas by a 'pretty good margin' (indeed, it was 2-to-1) and that he expected to do well in contests in Maine, Michigan, California, New York, Oregon and Washington."

Kansas. Sanders won the state with 68 percent of the vote, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.

 

Louisiana: Clinton won with 71 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

 

Nebraska: Sanders won with 56 percent, with 89 percent reporting.

 

Republicans

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Mr. Trump's losses underlined his continued vulnerability in states that hold time-intensive caucuses: He has lost five of seven such contests. He has performed far better in states holding primaries, which require less organization, and some of which also allow Democrats and independents to vote in Republican races.... A notably restrained Mr. Trump, addressing supporters and reporters in West Palm Beach, Fla., called on Mr. Rubio to withdraw from the race. 'I want Ted one-on-one, O.K.' Mr. Trump said.... The results on Saturday represented another stinging setback for Mr. Rubio.... Mr. Rubio, who backed out of trips to Kentucky and Louisiana on Friday to make three stops across Kansas, has an increasingly narrow path and is confronting the prospect of a humiliating loss in his own state next week. He has won just a single state, Minnesota, and lags well behind Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz in delegates." ...

... Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "... Marco Rubio downplayed his performance in the four states that held GOP caucuses or primaries on Saturday, saying that he had had long known 'this would be the roughest period of the campaign.' Speaking primarily in Spanish at a press conference in Puerto Rico, where voters will head to the polls on Sunday, the Florida senator noted that the contests in Kansas, Maine, Kentucky and Louisiana are proportional, saying he'll leave them with more delegates than he started with. But so far on Super Saturday, Rubio has failed to meet the threshold to qualify for any delegates in Louisiana and Maine." ...

... CW Translation: I lost all but one one of the first 22 states to vote or caucus, but just you wait. ...

... Jonathan Swan of the Hill: "... Marco Rubio on Saturday declined to say whether he will drop out of the race if he loses his home state primary in Florida. 'Well, I've never based my campaign on one state, but I can tell you this, we will win the state of Florida,' Rubio said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)."

Kansas. Cruz won the state with 48 percent of the vote, 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Trump was second with 23 percent, 100 percent reporting.

 

Kentucky. Trump won the state with 36 percent of the vote, 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Cruz was second with 32 percent, 100 percent reporting.

 

Louisiana. Trump won the state with 41 percent of the vote, 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Cruz was second with 38 percent, 100 percent reporting.

 

Maine. Cruz won the state with 46 percent of the vote, 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Trump was second with 33 percent, 100 percent reporting.

CW: So in a brokered convention, somebody tell me how the boys in the back room would justify throwing the nomination to Rubio when perhaps two-thirds of the voters & caucus-goers will have chosen Trump or Cruz. Dream on, Marco. I have seen the future, & it is a confederate think-free tank.

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump said he would seek to 'broaden' laws regarding the torture of terrorism suspects, a day after he said that as president he would be 'bound by laws and treaties' that he would not order the military to violate." ...

... Maureen Dowd thinks it's "wicked fun" watching Trump & his adversaries. I wrote a comment (and a so-far unpublished follow-up noting Haberman's report linked above) on one aspect of the "fun" in the Comments section of Dowd's column on one aspect of the "fun." ...

... Heil Drumpf! Janie Velencia of the Huffington Post: "On Saturday..., footage surfaced of Trump at a rally in Orlando, Florida, that was eerily reminiscent of 1930s Nazi rallies. Toward the end of his speech, Trump can be seen addressing the crowd forcefully. He tells them to raise their right hand and asks them to repeat after him that they will vote for him for president, no matter what." Thanks to MAG for the link. Here's the video:

... Marianne Zumberge of Variety: "In a Saturday morning email blast announcing the sixth episode of his web series 'Horace and Pete,' [comedian Louis] C.K. included a lengthy postscript urging readers not to vote for Trump." CW: The P.S. is pretty good & might have more resonance with Trump voters than would Mitt Romney's complaints about Trump's random thoughts on international trade. ...

... Dylan Byers of CNN: "Donald Trump consulted with his campaign manager during the first commercial break at Thursday night's Republican debate, violating ground rules from Fox News stating that candidates would not be allowed to have contact with their campaigns, rival campaign sources told CNNMoney. While that exchange was the clearest violation of debate rules to date, the sources said, it followed a pattern: At multiple debates, Trump has consulted with his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski backstage even though it was expressly forbidden by the networks." CW: I'm sure everybody is shocked that Trump cheated on his debate test.

Kyle Cheney & Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Cruz and Trump ... agree on one thing: It's time for their other rivals to drop out.... Now, Cruz is pouring resources into Rubio's home state of Florida, where polls show Trump leading -- and where a Rubio loss would effectively end his campaign. Cruz's maneuvering is even more striking because he's is unlikely to compete for a win in Florida, which awards all of its delegates to the top finisher. Instead, his decision to open 10 offices there on Friday seems aimed at suffocating Rubio's support and knocking him out of the race." ...

     ... CW: Not sure how great a tactic this is, at least in terms of crushing Rubio. It seems to me the Tailgunner is likely to take more votes from Trump than from Rubio. Both Cruz & Trump are courting the angry-nut voter while Rubio is pretending to be the moderate, establishment candidate. ...

... Eliza Collins of Politico: "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday. Cruz was named the winner with 40 percent of the attendees' support, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio came in second place with 30 percent. Donald Trump, who was scheduled to speak at CPAC on Saturday morning before pulling out, came in third place with 15 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich had 8 percent." ...

... Frances Langum of Crooks & Liars: "A sizable number of attendees at a Ted Cruz speech booed and then walked out when the Texas Senator criticized Donald Trump. Trump didn't attend the conservative convention this year...."

Thomas Kaplan of the New York Times: "Gov. John Kasich of Ohio released partial tax returns on Saturday showing that he and his wife earned more than $5 million from 2008 through 2014. Mr. Kasich follows two of his Republican opponents, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who released partial tax returns last weekend. Their actions, followed by Mr. Kasich's disclosure on Saturday, add to the pressure on Donald J. Trump to release his returns."