Later, John.

And then there was one, and lo, it was the orange-haired one, and there was both glee and trembling in the land.

Reader, I had a little of both.

First was of course the obvious gloating one is bound to feel when just a few months ago, the usual suspects were calling the GOP field of primary contenders the best in years. Years, they said! Such a range of philosophies and approaches to the governing of our God-given Republic, yessiree. :::Draws deeply on pipe, or whatever stupid face accessory these people favor nowadays::: It will be a bracing race, and at the end, why, the world will be ours!

Meanwhile, see Gin and Tacos for a somewhat different take on the field:

The big money and bag men in the conservative movement bet on a candidate (Walker) so marble-mouthed, uncharismatic, mean, and stupid that he didn’t even make it to the Iowa Caucus and one so fundamentally incompetent (Bush) that not even a famous name, all the money in creation, and the blessing of the entire GOP establishment could win him better than a third place finish anywhere. The field was so bad and the Republican electorate is so mentally skewed that a man with no elected experience who is quite possibly insane and who never even pretended like he was campaigning seriously (Carson) got 10% of the vote. Red-meat Bible thumpers like Huckabee and Santorum never got off the launching pad. Recycled losers like Jindal, Rick Perry, and Lindsey Graham got so little attention other than mocking laughter that they quit before they too could win their 1% in Iowa. Rand Paul proved that he has a cult following of about 8% of the GOP electorate, just like his dad, and nothing beyond that. Shockingly, it turned out that nobody in any party was prepared to take bloated live-action Nelson Muntz / Tony Soprano hybrid Chris Christie seriously, nor a hatchet-faced sociopath with literally no professional, political, or personal qualities to recommend her to serve as dog catcher let alone president. It was worse than a clown car; clowns are, at least occasionally, funny.

So there was that. And because I am deeply suspicious of victory, knowing the grinding feeling of defeat, the inevitable It Could Happen thoughts intruded, and — may I just say something about victory and defeat? There have been times, in recent years, that I’ve felt a tiny hint of sympathy for conservatives, particularly younger ones, who have never known a world without Reagan worship, when Tax Cuts = Economic Growth is as indisputable as John 3:16, or that if winter comes, spring cannot be far behind. These are the people who are bleating that the problem with people like John McCain and Mitt Romney is that they weren’t conservative enough. The twin state-level disasters of Louisiana and Kansas, and to a lesser extent Wisconsin, large-scale laboratories for this school of thought, faze them not in the least. MOAR CONSERVATIVE, they rage, and then offer up…Ted Cruz. Srsly. (If I may lard this paragraph with ‘net speak.)

Anyway, wheels turn. Today you might be feeling pretty high on that wheel. Six months from now, it could be President-elect Trump. So don’t get too comfortable.

By the way, if you didn’t read Dahlia Lithwick’s marvelous piece on being on the the college debate circuit with young Ted Cruz, do so now. I found it simultaneously irritating — jeez, do all these Ivy League pricks know each other from their summer-camp days? — and amusing, because it’s Dahlia. Funny and wise, of course:

Most of my memories of debating Ted Cruz involve being hollered at. Austan (Goolsbee) was always defter than I was at deflating that which was most infuriating about Ted—the way he’d reframe a debate topic into something he had prepared, or would become fake-angry in ways that suited a 19-year-old even less than it suits a 40-something-year-old. I do remember that he wasn’t funny, and also that he never ever seemed comfortable in his skin. He always wanted to relitigate whatever round had just been decided, even if everyone else was careening drunkenly around the quad.

I have not one single memory of a relaxed Ted Cruz, or a joyful Ted Cruz, or an unguarded Ted Cruz. In every mental snapshot he is leaning forward and importuning someone to believe he is charming.

Sounds like the child really is father to the man.

Elsewhere in politics, the president came to Flint today. He was preceded at the podium by the governor, who was roundly booed. Cruel boos; this is pretty bad by any measure short of flying shoes.

Then Obama started to speak, and at one point asked for guess-what:

Mr. Obama, who coughed occasionally throughout the speech, paused at one point and looked offstage. “Can I get a glass of water?” he asked, drawing laughs and applause.

“I really did need a glass of water,” Mr. Obama said as he sipped the water that an aide handed to him. “This is not a stunt.”

It may well have been a stunt. But last month, when the governor was telling people that filtered Flint water was safe to drink, he was asked if he’d consider drinking it himself. He said he’d be willing to talk about it. Later he agreed, but the moment had passed, the moment when you reach out, grab that glass, and chug it down.

Oh, this week is going slowly, but once Thursday happens, stuff speeds up.

Let’s hope so.

Posted at 12:28 am in Current events |

38 responses to “Later, John.”

  1. David C. said on May 5, 2016 at 6:29 am

    What’s tRumps convention is going to look like? Right now, the only think I can imagine will be something like “In the Flesh” from “The Wall” only garish in a way only a guy who lives in a house decorated like a upscale Kansas City whorehouse could make it. It would probably be amusing if only it wasn’t true.

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  2. adrianne said on May 5, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Gail Collins, my favorite New York Times columnist by far, has her usual devastating take on the presidential race today. My favorite line: “His (Trump’s) chief opponent held a press conference to announce that Trump was an “utterly amoral” narcissist and friend to rapists who was “proud of being a serial philanderer.” Armed with that information, Indiana voters raced off to the polls and awarded Donald a huge win.

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  3. Suzanne said on May 5, 2016 at 7:58 am

    You are spot on about the young conservatives. I’ve mentioned my 30 something Cruz supporting, Beck & Limbaugh devotee co-worker. It’s kind of amazing to regale him with stories of life in the past (his eyes nearly popped outta his head when I told him I saw Monty Python’s Holy Grail when it was new. In the theater), but his knowledge of the past is shallow, at best. We were talking about pharmaceuticals one day and he was shocked-SHOCKED! to hear me say that back in the day, drugs were not marketed; not on tv, not in print, not on radio. He could not comprehend a time when profit was not the main motive in the healing arts. Same with lawyers, I told him. No ads. He was dumbfounded.

    Competition, my man. Doesn’t solve every problem in the universe, does it?

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  4. alex said on May 5, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Here’s Fort Wayne’s Spanky the Clown, as it were… the Dem candidate for Congress who won simply because the party offered up no credible candidates otherwise and no one knows who he is.

    I saw that interview taking place yesterday in an alley downtown, where he was quaffing beers when the TV crew caught up with him.

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  5. Dave said on May 5, 2016 at 9:53 am

    And such is northeast Indiana. I remember one of my senior co-workers from forty years ago now, who was a very strong, pro-union, Democrat, who would go and check the posted precinct results in his precinct and would be always disappointed at the lack of votes supporting whatever Democratic candidates had been running that year. Such is Fort Wayne but to think that there are enough people registered Democratic who would vote in someone like that is very disappointing. Was his name first on the list of candidates?

    I would confess to not always knowing who all the candidates for school board, for example, were, but a congressional candidate? Never.

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  6. alex said on May 5, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Not sure if his name was first, but it was the most generic, ordinary name of the bunch. When he won the Dem primary for city council in 2011 it was speculated that it was because his name wasn’t as ethnic-looking as the others.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on May 5, 2016 at 10:25 am

    This article also attributes it to the name being used in several businesses in Columbia City and thereabouts:

    David Roach also had his name on the D ballot in a couple of places, and I was very careful not to vote for him either. But I don’t think the local party did a very good job of publicizing their choices, and the JG never only ran R endorsements this election. That was odd.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on May 5, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Oh, and it was last on the ballot, since it’s alphabetical.

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  9. brian stouder said on May 5, 2016 at 10:26 am

    If this wasn’t a presidential year, I’d have grabbed an R ballot, so as to affect who we get stuck with – since (as friend-of-nn.c ‘Mark the Shark’ would say) our Republican brothers and sisters would elect a giraffe, if it had the R nomination

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  10. Deborah said on May 5, 2016 at 10:46 am

    When I vote and am not familiar with the name on the ballot I always vote for the woman if there is one or the person with the MOST ethnic sounding name.

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  11. Judybusy said on May 5, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Speaking of economic policies, KS and MO have been battling it out over jobs, providing ever-increasing incentives for companies to move across state lines in Kansas City. About a half-million dollars have been spent in recent years with these incentives, which have involved about 10,000 jobs. This of course, has been happening when they are cutting revenue resources, so all these incentives are coming at the cost of things such as education and police. Short audio story here: Marketplace also has a longer podcast.

    I am not at all complacent that Clinton will win the general. I really don’t have a sense of how many people are Bernie or Bust. Most of my friends will vote for whichever Dem is on the ticket. From time to time, I see comments on other friends’ FB posts with such pithy comments as: “Do not agree.[That Clinton is less of a threat to American values than Trump] He [Trump] will surround himself with adults; she [Clinton] is so pathetically insecure she’ll surround herself with toadies. She has learned nothing, as she is too weak she ever admit she failed.” With this imbecelic level of “analysis,” we might be in for a hard ride.

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  12. brian stouder said on May 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I take absolutely nothing for granted, in politics.

    That said – Team Hillary will have a dedicated, determined, truly motivated corps of smart veterans from previous national campaigns, while the Donald will have hangers-on and people who really don’t like/trust (or even really know) the guy….so there’s that

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  13. ROGirl said on May 5, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I can’t get it out of my thoughts. It’s not a joke any more. It’s real, it’s really happened. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President.

    Autocomplete wrote the sentence for me after 3 letters.

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  14. Connie said on May 5, 2016 at 11:51 am

    What ROGirl said.

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  15. Heather said on May 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    My coworker told me she was chatting with some guy on a dating app and mentioned she was making food for our office’s Cinco de Mayo party today. The guy was like “I don’t get into those holidays . . . do you think they celebrate 4th of July in Mexico?” Her response: “Angry Trump supporter?” Of course he was.

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  16. MichaelG said on May 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Brian @12: Like Debbie Wasserman Schultz? I’m scared.

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  17. brian stouder said on May 5, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    MichaelG – good point!

    James Carville (et al) was front-of-mind for me, as we watched him speak along with his wife Mary last month.

    The takeaway was – Mary was unafraid to flatly state that Trump is not someone she respects or like, nor could she work to help elect him; while James’ blood was up, and he was ready for the scrap!

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  18. Julie Robinson said on May 5, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Just came across this quote from the author Richard Russo: “Donald Trump is speaking in a less coded way than some others in the Republican Party, but he’s saying Make America white again, not Make America great again. And I think, unfortunately, working class people have bought that. And that’s why my heart is broken.”

    On Morning Edition they trotted out cranky old man Pat Buchanan on much the same theme. It was a naked version of the world has changed and I don’t like it so it has to go back, because I want it that way. Specifically the danger of those of European descent becoming a minority. He wants “an America like I grew up in, which was a pretty good country.” Listen if you don’t value stable blood pressure.

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  19. Andrea said on May 5, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    So this is what I’ve been working on since December.

    Let this be a warning to all who think electing an independently wealthy business man with no experience in elected office or governing, who will run government “like a business”, who can self-fund his campaign and therefore is not “beholden” to anyone, is a good idea.

    It is not.

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  20. Jakash said on May 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    The Know Nothing folks wanted to “make America great again” in the 1850’s, though the people that they were most upset about were Irish and German immigrants. If only we could have kept all of them out! (Well, I wouldn’t be here writing this, so that would have been a plus, at least…)

    One thing that’s pretty certain is that most who believe that America was greater in 1840 or 1940 than it is today are white guys. How any women manage to convince themselves that voting for Trump is in their interests boggles my mind. He literally could not be any more clear about his attitude toward women. I thought people didn’t like bullies, but that’s his main calling card. And it seems that much of his support is from people struggling economically — so they think a multi-millionaire casino grifter who’s gleeful catch-phrase is “You’re fired!” is the guy to get things back on track? Sheesh. I’ve seen some terribly wrong-headed voting these last few decades, but if 50.1% or more of people turning out actually go for this charlatan, it would be the worst yet. Turnout, turnout, turnout! The only way he can win is if Bernie supporters and Obama supporters don’t see the importance of voting for Hillary in November, whatever her flaws.

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  21. Scout said on May 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I hope that the polling which shows that women and minorities (in extremely large numbers) are vehemently opposed to Trump will continue. Since he is on video repeatedly confirming his misogyny and racism in multiple ways, I hope Hillary and her surrogates bludgeon him with his own assholishness. The pundit class seems pretty convinced he can’t win the electoral college… but these are the same people who never thought he could win the nomination. We cannot take this election for granted.

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  22. alex said on May 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    My workplace is generally pretty polite and subdued when it comes to religion and politics, so I got quite the double whammy today when I overheard one brassy brown-noser who went to the local National Day of Prayer celebration over her lunch hour and came back to give a gushy report to one of the firm partners about all of the right-wing political talk there.

    They say you shouldn’t shit where you eat, but come on folks, at least shut the door when you shit.

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  23. Sherri said on May 5, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    If The Donald’s support had been mostly among the white working class, he wouldn’t be the presumptive nominee. The white working class, those people who lost those manufacturing jobs and are either working low-paying service jobs or are on disability or not working, don’t vote. The median income of a Trump voter in the primaries so far is about $71K, well above the national median of $56K. The median income of all the candidates’ supporters is above the national median, with Clinton and Sanders much closer to the national median and Kasich way above.

    It would be better if his support were only the white working class. That would make him easier to defeat. His base, unfortunately, consists of authoritarians, who don’t care that much about what he says but love the way he says it because they’re pissed off that the country has been moving away from a state where people “know their place.”

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  24. LAMary said on May 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Deborah, I do that too. We always have ridiculously long ballots here with lots of propositions and candidates for community college board trustees. I’m not diligent about community college board trustees candidate research, so I vote for women with ethnic names.

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  25. brian stouder said on May 5, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    …and if it’s a “pick three” (or some other multiple) – often there will be one person that I “know” – and that person will get my one and only vote.

    In that way, you don’t dilute that person’s vote, and it is the same effect as giving them multiple votes

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  26. brian stouder said on May 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Y’know – my opinion of Paul Ryan is rising.

    And if the pathetic Senate Republicans go ahead and approve Garland, I’ll be both happy and sad (sort of like when Dorothy discovers her house fell onto the Wicked Witch of the East).

    President Obama’s moves (both overall, and recently) are looking all the more impressive (both for the day-to-day news, and the history books)

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  27. brian stouder said on May 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    (forgot the link)

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  28. Jerri said on May 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    My opinion of Paul Ryan hasn’t changed. He said he’s “not ready” to back Trump, which means that when Donald either offers him something that he wants or affirms his respect for conservative principles, Ryan will fall in line.

    I just finished Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. That book made a difference in 1935 but Sherri’s right about this one. We can’t take it for granted.

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  29. alex said on May 5, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I’m taking Hillary’s win for granted. Life’s too short to spend it worrying about dumbshit clickbait on Salon and Slate that hasn’t been competently copy edited, much less thought through in the first place. Does anyone really expect women, Hispanics, blacks and anyone with greater than a two-digit IQ to have a sudden epiphany that Trump’s their man? I don’t, and unless someone is planning for the mass annihilation of the three-fourths of this country’s population who wouldn’t vote for Trump if you put a gun to their heads, Trump’s presidency just ain’t happening. But the media have to have something to prattle about so the horse race narrative isn’t going away.

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  30. Scout said on May 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you alex@29! I agree with you; you said what I’m too superstitious to!

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  31. Scout said on May 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Here’s what CPP thought of Ryan’s interview:

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  32. Deborah said on May 5, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Andrea, good for you. My husband hasn’t been paid for design services he performed for some state college facilities, it has been months and months, and we’re pretty much resigned to the fact that he’ll never get paid. Legal follow through is just so expensive, it makes it impossible for a small design practice.

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  33. Deborah said on May 5, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Alex, thanks for that reminder that “the media” has to make it a horse race to get attention. Let’s all take deep breaths and calm down. But by all means vote blue no matter who. And personally I think Hillary is a pretty smart cookie and I’m with her all the way.

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  34. Suzanne said on May 5, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    The Paul Ryan translator! LOL!
    In other words, he’s still trying to wrap his head around the idea that the electorate just is not buying the tea party policies but only the racism.
    This won’t help:

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  35. Dexter said on May 5, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    They put Ronald Reagan into the governor’s chair in Sacramento and somehow got that broken-down B actor into the White House, where he got off free from any prosecution because he testified he had lost his mind and could not recall anything. He supported a crazy “star wars” missile defense that no science fiction writer would try to make the most gullible child believe in. Reagan left us with the great legacy of invading Grenada and all sorts of muddled muddied situations in Central American. He was a disaster saved only by an adoring msm who canonized him. Later they gave us the wonderboy, George W. Bush, a fine leader , who made shit up left and right and the media and most democrats believed that crap, and he emptied the US treasury with help of cooperating democrats and funded an endless pair of wars that destroyed so much and made America look like fools and world-bullies, and drew global hatred.
    And now we are indeed faced with another…Donald J. Trump. Nixon, Reagan…George W. Bush…each one progressively worse in the worst-president-ever derby. And now make room for daddy, the potential king of them all. The man who will make Richard Milhous Nixon look like a left-wing rabble rouser.

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  36. adrianne said on May 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    My favorite description of Paul Ryan comes via Charles Pierce, political blogger for Esquire:

    “Zombie-eyed granny starver.”

    ‘Nuff said!

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  37. Suzanne said on May 5, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Oh, Lordy! I just saw a clip of Paul Ryan’s interview in which he said he wasn’t quite ready to support Trump. The conservatives STILL don’t get it!!! Same old, same old. Limited government, tax cuts, blah, blah. How do they not get that it’s not that the conservative message isn’t getting out, it’s that people don’t buy what they are trying to sell. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

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  38. St Bitch said on May 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    This blog/chat room is my go-to therapy for the “gleebles” (Nancy’s glee and trembling)…a chronic emotional sea-sickness. I wish I could be more detached. To that end I run the Alex@29 mantra through my mind…over and over. And yet…and then…I run across a perfectly affable and seemingly reasonable Iowa business-owning couple who supported Marco Rubio, but who will vote for tRump because he’s the R nominee.

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