Archive for October, 2015

Good Lord. Put CNBC together with the Republican presidential candidates and what do you get? A circus. Clowns on stage, clowns asking the questions. My God.

A few observations:

  • There’s no way Carly can get elected. She has no likable qualities whatsoever. That’s kind of important when you’re running for president.
  • Let’s remember What Chris Christie stands for: “As reported Sunday by Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, Christie met with 200 citizens at the Jersey shore last week and, regarding state worker retirement benefits, declared: ‘Promises were made that can’t be kept… Welcome to the real world, folks.'” Those were pensions that were earned. They weren’t gifts. Christie doesn’t give a shit.
  • Trump: “I used the bankruptcy laws to my benefit.” We get it, Donald. You use everything to your benefit. Never mind anybody else who got screwed because you welched on your debts.
  • Huckabee is always angry. It’s not a good look for a candidate, if you ask me. But then, conservatives in general seem to always be angry with, well, everything.
  • A note to Marco Rubio: A good, polished answer to the now oft-asked question about your mismanagement of your personal finances. However: I didn’t inherit any money, either. My Dad disappeared when I was a kid. My mom worked a full time job to raise her kids. I had to work to pay for my schooling, too; nobody gave me a single penny of help. On the other hand, I didn’t borrow money to do it. I didn’t buy a second house to have it foreclosed. I didn’t buy extravagances like speedboats that I couldn’t afford. I haven’t raided my IRA. I’ve never intermingled business and personal funds. You did. I’m not impressed.
  • Carson claims he’s had nothing to do with fraudulent Mannatech? Um… Ben Carson: “The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that they recognize that when God made us, He gave us the right fuel. And that fuel was the right kind of healthy food. You know we live in a society that is very sophisticated, and sometimes we’re not able to achieve the original diet. And we have to alter our diet to fit our lifestyle. Many of the natural things are not included in our diet. Basically what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore natural diet as a medicine or as a mechanism for maintaining health.” See him talk about the virtues of snake oil Mannatech here
  • When asked about H1B visas, Rubio says we need “reforms.” What he means is, we need regulations. He even went on to list a few. For example, before you hire anyone from abroad, you would have to advertise the job for 180 days. You also have to prove that you would pay these people more than you would pay someone else. It cracks me up to listen to these guys claim regulations are from satan while at the same time citing the need for regulations. And then he linked H1B visas to a lack of vocational education. We’re not bringing in auto mechanics on H1B visas, Marco.
  • In addition to the regulations boogeyman, there’s the timeworn conservative complaint that Democrats simply promise freebies to people. So it was interesting to hear Jeb! crow about how his tax plan gives $2000 to every family. On the other hand, Jeb! is toast. Done. Remember when everyone told us he was the smart brother? Maybe, but he’s a terrible politician. But at least his fantasy football team is seven and oh!
  • And another thing. These guys constantly complain that everyone–everyone–is smarter than us hapless Americans. ISIS, Mexico, Iran… Even more amusing is the fact that conservatives actually believe they’re the dumbest of dumb Americans. How many times do we hear about how smart and shrewd those dirty, rotten liberals are–out-manuveuring conservatives at every turn? Why, it’s the reason the liberal agenda is winning. (Oh, sorry, I think I read this type of whining at BV4.)
  • Jeb!: We need regulation for fantasy football because “they can’t regulate themselves.” Dammit! I though regulations were bad for America.
  • Rand Paul: It’s the greatest generation’s fault that Medicare and Social Security are broken, because they “had too many damn kids.” Way to throw the Greatest Generation under the bus, Rand! My son watched that part, then turned and left, muttering, “He has no chance to be president.” Couldn’t agree more.
  • Ted Cruz: Let’s go back to the gold standard!
  • Carly: “We need a proven leader who produces results.” Better start looking for him (or her), Carly, because you haven’t produced any results ever.
  • Trump: “I’m such a great negotiator that I coerced CNBC to cut the length of the debate by an hour! Imagine what I could do for America!”
  • Is CNBC really a part of the “mainstream media”? I think this is the first time I’ve ever watched it. Doesn’t seem very mainstream to me, and judging by their on-screen personalities–clowns like Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli–it’s hard to imagine anyone considering them mainstream.
  • Honesty was almost as big a loser at the third Republican debate as Jeb!. Kevin Drum offers just a few examples.
  • To me, Marco Rubio is the most formidable candidate of the bunch. My money’s on him to get the nomination. Carly has no chance, as noted above. Huckabee is just an angry old man who has no chance. Kasich doesn’t play to the base; he has no chance. Jeb! is just a terrible candidate; Rubio ate him for lunch. Can we just trim the field now?
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So the third Republican debate is coming to a TV near you tomorrow night. Candidates and their teams started to arrive in Colorado today. Some of them weren’t too impressed.

“Campaigns erupt over greenrooms at third GOP debate,” reads one headline. “Aides to Chris Christie and Rand Paul complain their work spaces look like bathrooms.”

Just hours before GOP candidates take the stage here Wednesday night, tensions over the Republican National Committee’s handling of the debates are flaring anew.

At issue this time: greenrooms.

During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

The drama began Tuesday afternoon as RNC officials led campaigns on a walk-through of the debate site. After touring the stage, candidates got a peek at what their greenrooms looked like.

Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theater-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi.

Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.

“This is ridiculous,” fumed Christie’s campaign manager, Ken McKay. “We’re in a restroom.”

Oh, boo hoo. How about garnering enough interest to be relevant? Of course, if Christie’s green room is really that small… well, let’s just say he may not be able to use it.

Another installment of the travails of the Republican “deep bench.” How deep is it? “I am running for president, so get over it!” Yes, that deep:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) doesn’t seem to be having a lot of fun running for president.

The Kentucky senator live-streamed an entire day on the campaign trail on Tuesday, but things went a little awry when Paul answered questions that people had Googled about him.

Paul did not seem too amused when he answered those who used a Google search to ask whether he was still running for president.

“I don’t know. I wouldn’t be doing this dumbass live streaming if I weren’t. So yes, I still am running for president, get over it.”

“This is live, we can’t edit this right?” Paul continued.

Even though Paul’s campaign touted the live stream as a way to get behind-the-scenes access to Paul, the senator himself didn’t really seem to understand why it was being done.

Asked by a reporter why he was live-streaming the entire day, Paul said that he wasn’t quite sure.

“I wish I knew,” he said. “I’ve been saying, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this and now we’re doing this,” he said, according to The Washington Post.

Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Paul’s campaign said that the comments were meant to be taken as a joke and that the senator was poking fun at himself.

“Context is important, and Senator Paul was reading mean tweets and taking other questions when that question came up, most media outlets realize he was being playful and trying to make a joke,” he said in an email. Gor also included a link to Paul’s website, where his campaign is now selling T-shirts making fun of his comments.

According to HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates publicly available polling data, Paul has the support of 3.5 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Politico reported last week that Republicans are putting pressure on him to end his presidential campaign and focus on keeping his Senate seat in Kentucky in 2016.

His campaign is now selling T-shirts making fun of his comments. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Not that McCarthy had distinguished himself as anything other than a partisan hack–and not a very good one–but good grief. The Republicans are in total disarray. They can’t even work amongst themselves, let alone members from another political party. And these are the people we want running the country? They can’t run themselves.

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy on Thursday abruptly took himself out of the race to succeed John A. Boehner as House speaker, apparently undone by the same forces that drove Mr. Boehner to resign.

Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy was damaged when he suggested in an interview on Fox News last week that the House committee investigating Benghazi had the political aim of damaging Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

As shocked members left the room there was a sense of total disarray, with no clear path forward and no set date for a new vote. Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, said that in dropping out of race, Mr. McCarthy told the room, “I’m not the one to unify the party.”

A group of about 40 hard-line House conservatives announced Wednesday night that they would support Representative Daniel Webster of Florida, making it unclear whether Mr. McCarthy could assemble the 218 votes on the floor that he would need to be elected later this month.

Representative David Jolly, Republican of Florida, a member of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, which opposed Mr. McCarthy, was asked how the party could unify. “It’s going to take a hard family conversation,” he said.

*UPDATE*

Shortly after posting this, I heard one congressman explain that McCarthy is actually one of the few Republicans capable of working collaboratively. (He said Paul Ryan was another, but Ryan is smart enough to avoid the speakership as well.) So maybe McCarthy would have been the best choice of a sorry lot. But then he made his Benghazi gaffe. (Is a gaffe a gaffe when you merely state the truth?) Anyway, this is what happens when you elect a bunch of clowns who don’t know how to govern. Thanks, Tea Party!

That Republican bench is awfully deep, so we’ve been told ad naseum. Today we bring you Ben Carson, currently second in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination. Once upon a time, Carson was a highly respected medical doctor. Now he seems to be trying to prove just how ill-informed a medical doctor can be in every other part of life.

His comments in the aftermath of the Oregon mass shooting are idiotic enough, but today he demonstrated that he does not understand what the debt ceiling is. That would seem to be kind of important for someone managing the federal government.

Ryssdal: As you know, Treasury Secretary Lew has come out in the last couple of days and said, “We’re gonna run out of money, we’re gonna run out of borrowing authority, on the fifth of November.” Should the Congress then and the president not raise the debt limit? Should we default on our debt?

Carson: Let me put it this way: if I were the president, I would not sign an increased budget. Absolutely would not do it. They would have to find a place to cut.

Ryssdal: To be clear, it’s increasing the debt limit, not the budget, but I want to make sure I understand you. You’d let the United States default rather than raise the debt limit.

Carson: No, I would provide the kind of leadership that says, “Get on the stick guys, and stop messing around, and cut where you need to cut, because we’re not raising any spending limits, period.”

Ryssdal: I’m gonna try one more time, sir. This is debt that’s already obligated. Would you not favor increasing the debt limit to pay the debts already incurred?

Carson: What I’m saying is what we have to do is restructure the way that we create debt. I mean if we continue along this, where does it stop? It never stops. You’re always gonna ask the same question every year. And we’re just gonna keep going down that pathway. That’s one of the things I think that the people are tired of.

Ryssdal: I’m really trying not to be circular here, Dr. Carson, but if you’re not gonna raise the debt limit and you’re not gonna give specifics on what you’re gonna cut, then how are we going to know what you are going to do as president of the United States?