Category Archives: Pence

Dumping that guy

  I could blog about this insane election. Or I could binge watch “Outlander” and just cross my fingers that we all survive another 30 days…oh, who am I kidding? I can’t stop myself. Every day some new  revelation come out about the Slime Mold with Toupee who is running for President and people ask me, “Didn’t that thing about Trump disgust you?”

My dears, it ALL disgusts me–I’ve had decades of practice. He has disgusted me long before mainstream America discovered Disgustrump on The Apprentice. Long before his pathetic banter with shock jock Howard Stern when he was scrabbling for news coverage in the 90s. Since he defaced Fifth Avenue with his brass and glass ode to greed and ostentatious bad taste in the 80s he has disgusted me. Because he has ALWAYS BEEN Donald Trump. The ugly has been right there for everyone to see. Right there. What really appalls me is that it seems to have taken nothing less than him bragging about sexual assault to make some people wonder if, well, maybe, just maybe, he’s not such a nice guy. 

It’s been a fascinating week to say the least. More revealing about what it takes for people to repudiate the Donald than anything else. Racist? Eh. Retweeting Mussolini? Hah.  Insults military and Gold Star family? Meh. Publicly demeans Miss Universe and calls her fat? Whatevs. Loses nearly a billion dollars in a single tax year? Pah.

I mean, seriously, what does a guy hafta do to get dropped from a ticket around here? Hang out with Billy Bush? Ahhhhh…

Let’s be real about this for just a moment. This is a man who was not having a little private joke –harharhar–with a buddy. He knew he was on mic and being recorded and since this kind of talk is so normal to him, he said it all anyway. As Natalie Morales in USA Today points out:

What transpired next, she says, was not a conversation between two men left alone during a long break in production who forgot their microphones were still hot.

“There were seven other people on the bus with Mr. Trump and Billy Bush at the time,” Morales explained. “They were the two person camera crew, the bus driver, an Access Hollywood producer, a production assistant, Mr. Trump’s security guard and his PR person.”

The fallout from this video has meant that Republican leadership are heading down the ropes to abandon ship like hasty vermin. But guess what? His name is on all the ballots … at the very top. They won’t be able to replace him with Pence, Cruz or any other of the innumerable ugly candidates at their disposal. Tens of thousands of early votes are already being cast. Too late. As one of my friends posted: “Hey, GOP-You asked for him. You weren’t responsible enough to prevent him. You have to carry him to term. How does that feel?”

Needless to say, I am looking forward to this debate with both bile rising in my throat and a sense of hollow glee. I hope that Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper have agreed to nail him to the wall. Please let him have to answer to a woman. Face to face. With no bathroom breaks.  And speaking of answering, I really hope that 6-year old Sophie Cruz got picked to ask her question:

“If you deport my parents, what happens to me?” she asked in a message posted on PresidentialOpenQuestions.com with the help of the pro-immigration group Define American. 

Looking for something to call Agent Orange? Here is a helpful list of monikers for the Angry Creamsicle. 


Early Voting in California starts this week

Do you live in our sunny nutty state? Early voting starts this week (various dates for various counties, so check the local election site for your county.) San Francisco voting at City Hall opens Tuesday and we are wading through the props tonight –we believe in maximizing our frustration and outrage–while watching the debate. I’m happy to share our decisions and the line of reasoning behind them once we have gotten through the behemoth voter information tome. 

And speaking of Tuesday, October 11 marks 29 days before Election Day (!!!) and for many states, including swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona and Texas (yes, I said Arizona and Texas–hi there trending blue-ish) voter registration ends on that day. Got friends in those states? Tell them to register to vote and check their registration now! 

I leave you with the happy image of the current standings on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight predictocon.

See you after the debate!

  

Advertisements

Party Like It’s 1984: The GOP Convention Day 4

  Thank God it’s Friday. Really. The convention is finally over. Now begins the long national nightmare of the campaign. 

I know that some of you are probably thinking that nutjob Donald Trump is still at the podium in Cleveland wrapping up his acceptance remarks. Maybe he is. That was an excruciatingly long speech and it seemed like it would never end. (It clocked in at 75 minutes making it the longest  acceptance speech ever. Is there hope he will just bore voters to death?)

I have no highlights for you. The entire affair was a discouraging bombastic exercise in self-aggrandizement. I really want to have as much fun with it as the Twitterverse does, but I’m so demoralized. Still, it did cheer me up to read some of the best tweets:

“I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the last 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian,” tweeted Russian chess great Garry Kasparov.

“So @medeabenjamin got into the hall and onto the floor twice? This is the party that’s going to lockdown our borders?” tweeted writer Gregg Levine.

  Hilariously, Trump extended some Big Tent love to Bernie Sanders supporters. Sanders, who is handy with Twitter himself, retorts “Those who voted for me will not support Trump who has made bigotry and divisiveness the cornerstone of his campaign.”

Anyway, there are fact checkers who are going to do better than I ever could with the barrage of claims he made in his hour-and-fifteen diatribe. But what’s staying with me is how hard it is to explain Trump. 

The daughter of a good friend staying over last night. She’s eight years old and very bright, loves to read, but is an expat living outside the country in Central America. I was explaining words to her like “demagogue” and “egomaniacal.” But what really struck me was when she asked what would happen if Trump became President. I was a little flummoxed because where do you even start? Does the earth split open and swallow us up whole? Do we lose all civil rights? Are we engaged in a ground war with Iran? Are people of color rounded up without regard to rights or status and taken off to prisons or just shot in the spot? 

How do you explain why starting a trade war with China is a horrible idea? How do you explain that the Arab Spring had nothing to do with Obama or Clinton? How do you explain that a man up there spouting self serving platitudes and half-truths is a fraud and has been for thirty years?

This is a guy who can’t be bothered with getting details right. Look at the handling of Melania Trump’s speech. People on the Democratic and Republican sides are aghast at how slipshod the preparation was--not even basic checking seems to have taken place. But that’s typical of Trump’s shoot from the hip style. “Don’t bother me with the details. I build towers.” 

To many Republicans, the lapse seemed frustratingly inevitable from a candidate who has not just eschewed the backstops of a major political campaign — he has mocked them as a waste of money. His campaign slogans, “America First” and “Make America Great Again,” echoed Pat Buchanan and Ronald Reagan. His social media graphics were crowdsourced on Twitter and Reddit by an aide who formerly managed Mr. Trump’s golf club in Westchester.

  And that results in I’m-simultaneously-laughing-while-crying kinds of gaffes. Like that time that Donald Trump tweeted an inspiring photo of himself and an American flag…superimposed over a photo of Nazi Waffen-SS soldiers

You’ve gotta ask, is his campaign really that phenomenally incompetent or is this just one big amazing piece of performance art? 

I mean look at this image from The NYTimes last night.   

Is it not pretty much this image?

 
Trump is offering to create a perfectly Orwellian dystopia for America and PEOPLE ARE EATING IT UP. 

If you haven’t had a chance, read the New Yorker article on Tony Schwartz, who ghostwrite The Art of the Deal. I want to excerpt the whole thing, but let’s start with this.

“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.

“Trump stands for many of the things I abhor: his willingness to run over people, the gaudy, tacky, gigantic obsessions, the absolute lack of interest in anything beyond power and money.”

This is the self-serving charlatan who’s running for president. 


Jokers Wild: The RNC Convention Day 3

TedCruz-smugWell, that was fun.

Top moment of the RNC convention so far? Ted Cruz being booed from the floor as conventioneers realize that he will not say the words, “I am in bed with Donald Trump.”

No seriously, this is the kind of petty infighting usually reserved for Democratic Party contests… and it’s giving me no end of pleasure to watch it unfold. Last night on the NPR/PBS coverage, one of the male commentators who clearly thought he was off-mike could be heard muttering “…so undisciplined…” I really hope it was David “No, not Trump, not ever” Brooks.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 7.40.14 AMSo as Ted is wrapping up his “Vote for me in 2020” speech, as the crowd is unleashing a spectacle of boos and “Endorse Trump” shouts,  the Donald himself sweeps in on his Trump-copter and strides into the arena like this is “Wrestlemania 23: Battle of the Billionaires.” He joined his family in the VIP boxes and TOTALLY upstaged Ted as everyone flipped back and forth between him and Cruz.

Donald-TedScowlingRNC

Win Mcnamee/Getty

In the end, it started feeling ugly and Ted’s wife Heidi had to be escorted from the Convention space (by “Never Trump” proponent Ken Cuccinelli, no less). She could be seen wildly gesticulating as the crowd yelled “Goldman Sachs!” at the Goldman Sachs private wealth investment manager and she shooed at them like mayflies. (These are the folks you’re hoping will support you in 202, Ted?  Hooo-kay.)  I could sense the feed producer cutting from camera to camera with glee as they split-screened Ted’s big finish being booed with Donald Trump scowling from the sidelines.

 

 

Ted exhorts us to get out there in November and vote our conscience and it’s not clear if he is saying, “Vote for Hillary,” or “Vote for Gary Johnson.” Or maybe “Vote for Lucifer,” just to stick it to Ben Carson. And then he blessed us and scurried off the stage, no doubt thinking he was being a hero. He certainly thought he scored some points because this morning he doubled down on the non-endorsement: “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” even though he was reportedly kicked out of Sheldon Adelson’s luxury suite after his little display.

Ah, that was bracing.  I missed the apparently hilarious spectacle of Newt Gingrich trying to get things back on track by translating Ted’s remarks into their proper obsequious tone.  I know I ask this every year, but why the hell is ANYONE listening to Newt Gingrich anymore? Oh I know, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for speakers this year–heck, Marco Rubio didn’t even bother to show up in person, but sent in a milky taped endorsement that came across like a cheap late-night infomercial. But can I just mention once again that Newt was forced to resign as Speaker of the House when he admitted to having an affair with intern while married to his second wife AND while pursuing impeachment against Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky?? He comes up this year as a Veep possibility when the man was fined for ethics violations by the House of Representatives. What the hell? how is it that people are going on about Hillary and Benghazi, but conveniently forgetting Newt and his affairs??

Trump-Pence

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Anyway, there’s no one who can really out-do Cruz. Trump’s VP nom Mike Pence gave us a pretty solid, if smarmy speech, full of all the right notes for a Republican also-ran. And Trump appeared upstage of Pence during the bows — literally upstaging him–because there can’t be a nanosecond of time that isn’t All About Trump. Reports came out later that up till midnight Trump was still trying to “get out of” choosing Pence as his VP, but Pence seems to have soldiered on like good cannon fodder.

Only one more day to go! Phew!

If you haven’t watched Laura Benanti on Colbert with a spoof of the Melania Trump speech, you must.  It’s a side-splitter!

Up next: The Republican platform (yes there really is one).

 

 


Rules Are for Other People 

 Have I mentioned that I’m tired? No, it’s not that I’m weary from carrying a toddler all weekend. Not just weary from the constant barrage of tragedies that seem to unfold daily on our TV screens. I’m weary from all the mental energy expended–wasted really–on Donald Trump. Wondering how he got this far. Wondering how  it is that he can bully and bluster and foment divisiveness while calling it unity, racism while calling it patriotism and inchoate rage while calling it populism— and get away with it. Wondering who those people are on that convention floor cheering him on with their brains fully switched off. Wondering if this really is who we are as a nation? Good God, I hope not. 

He is the definition of the word demagogue. Look it up: 

  

Yeah, this is me, collapsed on the couch watching the GOP undertake a useless shouting match on the floor over rules while a crude, loud mouthed, xenophobic, misogynist know-nothing glides into the nomination. 

Center Square But hey! Today’s celebrity A-list lineup includes that guy from “Duck Dynasty,” Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr.  It’s like watching Hollywood Squares. 

They have pithy things to say like, “It’s been a rough year for the media experts–I don’t even know if they know how to talk to people from Middle America … who like to hunt, and fish, and pray and actually work for a living,”(clearly since I only hit one out of four, I am not ‘Murican enough) and “Is Donald Trump the Messiah? No, he’s just a man… a man doing this out of the goodness of his heart, because he wants to help.” (If you believe that, I have some old steaks and bad vodka to sell you. Possibly an airline and a university too.) And I believe I actually choked audibly when Sabato said, “Donald Trump believes in one America.” (N.B. it looks white, has bad hair and paints everything in gold.)

Yeah, go ahead and take a moment. I’ll wait while you get “goodness of his heart” unstuck from your craw and roll your eyeballs out from the back of your head. This is the kind of quality you get when Tim Tebow and Don King aren’t available to speak at your convention. But hold onto your hats, people, Ultimate Fighting Championship prezzie Dana White hits the podium on Tuesday. 

In the mean time, we have possibly the most disorganized, off-message slate of speakers on a convention day 1 that I’ve ever seen. Who were the two Benghazi survivor guys who reminisced up there like they were on a poorly attended Comic-Con panel? I kept falling asleep before I could read their names. 

And then there’s Michael McCaul. I’m wondering who the heck this guy is and why he gets a slot when he’s nattering on about “And Donald will never allow terrorists to gain ground against America — he will shake the ground they walk on.” Then he says, “I’m proud to serve as part of Trump’s national security team” and I can’t stop the hoot from exploding from my mouth. This nincompoop is your national security advisor?

  “I don’t know how much more of this I can deal with,” says Eric flatly. I think he’s worried that early exposure to all this bigotry and rabble-rousing pseudo-patriotism will ruin our daughter neurologically. 

“We’ll watch through Giuliani and then switch to something calming like ‘Orphan Black,'” I assure him. 

So we grit our teeth and hang on til Giuliani appears, looking wider than usual, or maybe that’s just the aspect ratio in my TV being off. He proclaims that what he “did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.” Immediately, I flash back to the 90s in Spanish Harlem when I walked daily through police checkpoints on the street –they stopped every black resident to demand ID (even from old ladies) but never once glanced at me, the whitish-Asian chick. Yeah, he’s not lying, Donald Trump would do that for America. 

In the end, we were weighed down by the sheer volume of shite–“I don’t know, honey. Is a firkin of shit bigger than a crock of shit? Maybe it’s a methuselah of shit. And do you use liquid measure for that?” In any case, flattened by despair, we watched Melania –hey what the heck is Donald doing introducing her when no candidate ever shows up on day 1–Trump. 

Her speech is so surreal as to be otherworldly. Caring for the poor?? When has he ever cared about the poor?? Then the NY Times reported on passages from her speech that were weirdly similar to Michelle Obama speech at the 2008 convention. Ah, that’s why it’s surreal–it was someone else’s speech. Hey, Mel, plagiarizing ideas doesn’t mean you’re unifying them. 

Ugh. Okay, we turned it off after that. Maybe Bob Dole danced naked on the 50-yard line afterward (though I doubt it) but we didn’t see it. 

The polling sez so

So here we are with two of the least liked, most unfavorably rated candidates ever. One has a resume that includes “member of Congress” and “Secretary of State” and the other has a string of failed businesses, a loud mouth and a Twitter account. So naturally, we will evaluate them based on the traditionally accepted standard for American politicians, which is whom you would most like to have a beer with. No, scratch that. Trump is a notorious teetotaler and Hillary enjoys craft beer, so by that standard she should be way ahead. Nope. I just don’t know why the polling is so close. 

Regardless, I’ll just remind everyone of a few things:

In this modern age when people mainly have cell phones and won’t talk to pollsters, you have to ask if polling is dead in the water from the start. 

Polls leading up to and following conventions always show a “bounce.” There’s still four months of shenanigans to watch after that, so don’t worry, the numbers will be up and down much more than you’re seeing today. 

Poll trends that take in many polls and not just one are far more interesting, which is why I’ll be following aggregators like Electoral-Vote.com

  And speaking of electoral votes, for better or for worse, that’s pretty much all that matter ultimately. So I’m less interested in hearing about the 52%-48% split nationally than I am about how candidates are faring in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. I’ll also watch FiveThirtyEight. Yes Nate Silver got blindsided by the Trump juggernaut, but I believe he’ll adjust accordingly and take the crazy pants seriously in his future calculations. Who knew you had to pay attention to a snake oil salesman with no political experience whatsoever. 

Well, that’s all for now, folks. Tune in again to watch us foam at the mouth some more. Does anyone here know first aid?


And so it begins…

Fired up? Ready to go? Or just tired of the insanity before we even get to the first convention?

The rookies

Oh wait, sorry, let me introduce myself. I’m  M.E. and it’s been four years since my last confession… drink… political convention… blog post. Take your pick. 

Important housekeeping notes: I’m posting on a new app and so there will be glitches as I get this blog going again. And will I be producing the epic 10,000 word rants that I put up in 2008 and 2012? Probably not. I have a toddler, people. Still, I can think of no more fitting occasion for a return to the blogosphere than the run up to the Republican National Convention which starts well, now. 

Though no one can replace the beloved Grousy Cat, our wide-eyed Rookie Correspondents Messi and Xavi have agreed to take on the daunting task of leading us through this election year. Thanks for joining!

Feed the birds, Tuppence a bag

So yeah. Trump. Helluva thing. Let’s dive right in. 

A friend of mine remarked on Faceplace that she will forever think of the Trump-Pence ticket as “tuppence.” Well, that makes me think of an old 18th century London ad for gin: “Drunk for 1 penny, Dead drunk for tuppence, Straw for nothing.” Dead drunk. I’ll keep working that in as we navigate Cleveland this week. 

Seriously, though. I know that the questions about the insanity of the race didn’t start this weekend, or even last May when Trump clinched the nom. But let’s start with who is on the Donald’s marketing team?  

This is the logo of someone trying very hard to make himself a laughingstock. Pro tip: before releasing your new branding, put it in front of a focus group of teenage boys for evaluation. 

Speaking of laughs, the lineup for the GOP Convention is out (Watch it live July 18-21. Order your Ativan ahead.) Big surprise, nobody really wants to put themselves out there on national TV for Trump.  As the Melissa Warnke puts it in the LA Times, “Tune in on Monday night to see two intimate apparel models and zero Latino people take the stage. Only in Trump’s America.”

And journalists are gearing up for the big event with gas masks and bulletproof vests, because while tennis balls and tuna cans are not permitted in the “event zone” in downtown Cleveland, guns are A-ok (open carry state, folks.) Fasten your flak jackets, people, it’s going to be a bumpy week. 

Redefining Success… Or Huckster Extraordinaire

But back to The Donald. Because we can never get away from talking about the Donald. (Do read Vox pundit Ezra Klein’s take on Trump’s intro of Mike Pence last week: “…It was the single most bizarre, impulsive, narcissistic performance I have ever seen from a major politician.”)

I thought I’d drop in a list of highlights from this oh-so-successful businessman’s career. (release your tax returns, Donald.) Check out Rolling Stone for a more comprehensive take–these are just my faves. 

Trump Entertainment Resorts: I’m going to quote Rolling Stone because this is pretty succinct. 

Trump has filed for bankruptcy on his Atlantic City properties alone three times. First was the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991 — which was $3 billion in debt after just one year in operation. He was back in bankruptcy court in 2004, and not just for the Trump Taj Mahal but for the Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos, which along with a riverboat casino in Indiana had a debt burden of some $1.8 billion. After the bankruptcy, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts reorganized as Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. Four years later, Trump Entertainment Resorts missed an interest payment on a $53.1 million bond; the company declared bankruptcy, and this time Trump stepped down as its chairman.

Trump Airlines: borrowed $245 million to buy Eastern Airlines, outfitted the planes with gold faucets and the flight attendants with pearl necklaces…and in two years had defaulted on the loan. 

Trump Steaks: yep, this was a thing. As was Trump Vodka, Trump Wine and Trump Ice (water).

Trump-the Game: launched the board game at the height of the Gordon Gecko 80s. Out of circulation by 1990.

Trump University: the fraudulent for-profit school Trump started that is currently facing two class action suits.  

In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.

 Rookie 1 The Rookie sez: I’m not eating that stupid Trump Cat Food and what is wrong with you humans anyway?

Up next time: polls and polling


%d bloggers like this: