This shutdownfeels different from the previous ones, doesn't it? More serious. More dangerous.
Before going any further, let's make one thing quite clear: Of course I support DACA, and I oppose the wall. In fact, I oppose pretty much everything the Trumpers have proposed.
Nevertheless, I feel that the Dems have overplayed their hand. Doom is nigh. The all-important goal of recapturing Congress may be in danger.
(You didn't come to this blog expecting to hear from Dr. Pangloss, did you?)
Yes, it is true that polls indicate that more people blame Trump and/or the Republicans than blame the Dems -- at least, that was how people felt yesterday. But until this morning, that poll question was just another way of asking: "Do you like Trump?" Most average American won't give the shutdown much serious thought until they've taken in this day's news and commentary.
I also know that polls indicate that most Americans support DACA. But the only poll that counts is this one:
With hours to go before a midnight deadline for Congress to fund the government or shut it down, most Americans say avoiding a shutdown is more important than passing a bill to maintain the program allowing people brought to the US illegally as children to stay, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.
That's it and that's it and that is it. Nothing else matters.
The Republicans can now frame the situation thus: "Dems proved that they care more about illegal immigrants than about...[fill in the blank with the government program of your choice]."
And you know what? It's an easy frame to construct, because it's made out of truth.
Okay, it's not completely true. There are always complexities. Trump said (in essence) "I'll sign any bipartisan deal that you present to me," but when just such a deal was presented, Trump went back on his word, probably because Ann Coulter and other deplorables said mean things.
So the "Blame Trump" argument has some force behind it. Nevertheless, the Republicans are going to marshal all of their considerable media forces to convince the population that Those damned Dems diddit.
Never forget that the Republicans control the most powerful news netowrk in the country, along with many newspapers, nearly all of talk radio, and much of the internet. They (and their Russian buddies) still control a massive troll army which can drive the narrative on Facebook and Twitter. They upload YouTube videos constantly. The bots can commandeer the comments sections of every website that will allow that sort of thing to happen.
Within recent memory, the right-wing propagandists managed to convince the country that Benghazi and Emailgate were something other than bullshit. The right's media empire won't have much trouble convincing people that Dems care more about illegal immigrants than about, say funding CHIPS or paying benefits to war widows or keeping the National Air and Space Museum open.
Weaver weighs in. To prove my point once and for all, go here and read Jeff Weaver's praise of Democratic "purity" on DACA. Jeff wants the Dems to be ever more intransigent, because political suicide in the name of progressive purity is no vice. 'No compromises! Ever!' says Jeffy-poo, even if a hardline stance means that the Dems have to give up all chance of regaining the House.
Weaver is, of course, the demon who transformed the Bernie campaign (which began on a reasonable note) into an orgy of Hillary-hate. Remember?
The theft of highly valued, early state Hillary Clinton voter data by the Bernie Sanders campaign was unethical, absolutely worthy of DNC sanction, and possibly criminal.
The Sanders’ campaign response to the exposure of getting caught was, on the other hand, surprising and, regrettably, worse than the theft itself. Instead of quickly taking responsibility, mitigating damage, and moving forward, Bernie himself was nowhere to be found [Update: directly challenged at the debate, Sanders apologized], while Jeff Weaver relished the role of a Democratic Karl Rove, projecting the fault of the accused onto the accuser.
Worse still, Weaver carried this message of reverse victimization to Sanders’ supporters, creating an epistemic closure narrative worthy of the worst of conservative media.
Remember when the Sanders campaign created a fake version of the Confluence website, filling it with anti-Hillary vitriol? This unwanted "facelift" proved quite surprising to fans of the real site, which happens to be the place where the PUMA movement was born.
Do I blame Weaver for that? You bet. See the video at the bottom of this post for a shocking reminder of Weaver's dirty tricks. The guy was and is every bit as shameless and disgusting as Roger Stone is.
We now know that the Bernie camp's cyber shennanigans had plenty of help from the Russians. I have no doubt that Jeff Weaver, if pressed, would insist that he had no knowledge of what the Russians were doing. Can't you just imagine his reaction? "No collusion! No collusion! Collusion is dead! Believe me!"
Trump's lover. Last night, Michael Wolff told Bill Maher that Trump is, or until recently was, having an affair in the White House. Wolff also alleged that there is a paragraph toward the end of his book which subtly hints at this situation.
(By the way, Wolff displayed great comic timing and delivery during that segment. He reminded me of Wally Shawn, who proved that a man of letters can have a second career as a screen funnyman. Perhaps Wolff can follow his lead?)
Most people suspect that Trump's mistress is Hope Hicks. Maybe, but...naah. She doesn't have my vote. Why not? Same reason I never wanted Deep Throat to be Mark Felt: Too obvious.
Others believe that the paragraph in question pinpoints Nikki Haley.
Wolff said that the paragraph in question was “toward the end” of the book. Here’s what we’ve found on page 343, which very near the end of the book: “By October, however, many of the president’s staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley – ‘as ambitious as Lucifer,’ in the characterization of one member of the senior staff – had concluded that Trump’s tenure would last, at best, a single term, and that she, with the requisite submission, could be his heir apparent.”
The book goes on to say that “[Haley] had become a particular focus of Trump’s attention, and he of hers.” It then ends with “The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One.” Again, we’re not making any accusations or assertions here. We’re simply attempting to figure out which paragraph Michael Wolff is referring to as part of his assertion that Trump has been having a White House affair.
Nikki Haley, as UN Ambassador, does not work in the White House. However, Wolff did point out that pretty much anyone can be snuck into Trump’s chaotic White House without garnering a lot of attention.
A lot of this makes sense. But I'd like to mention another possibility.
During the "shithole" controversy, Alex Jones offered a rant in which he denied that Trump could be a racist because he (Trump) has had a secret black lover. Jones even hinted that this news could be made public soon.
Mind you, I'm going on memory here. Please understand that something like four million "shithole" articles have passed before my eyes, so there is some possibility that I've confused one shithole reaction with another. Yeah, I know what you want to say right now: "Well, go find the actual article and provide a link." Have a little pity, willya? Nobody wants to begin his day poring through the wit and wisdom of Alex Jones.
Bottom line: I'm fairly certain that AJ said words to that effect. If I'm right -- and if he's right -- then we have one obvious candidate for Trump's mystery date: Omarosa Manicault Newman.
According to reporter April Ryan, the general was warned, “all hell will break loose” if Newman lost walk-in privileges.
Kelly reportedly responded, “Okay, all hell is going to break loose.”
And all available accounts suggest Newman lived up to that promise. She reportedly screamed, cursed, and tried to get into the residence to see the president, even setting off the White House security system in her attempts.
Omarosa says it didn't happen that way. In fact, she says that she quit.
Perhaps so, but the earliest reports all agree that she somehow made her way up to Trump's bedroom, which is a very unusual thing for a West Wing staffer to do. A Chief of Staff and a few others might venture up there in an emergency, but most people working in that building simply would not dare.
If April Ryan had the story right, then it makes sense to presume that Omarosa had also gone up to the residence on previous occasions. Perhaps the sight of her heading in that direction didn't seem so unusual to those guarding the hall.
The main problem with this theory is that Omarosa receives but one mention in the Wolff book, about 1/3 of the way through. Hicks and Haley are both mentioned toward the end.
Needless to say, Jones is wrong: Sleeping with a black woman does not automatically make one a non-racist. As most of you know, I once researched the life of Aleister Crowley. He had at least one black lover -- plus a number of Asian lovers and Hipsanic lovers and male lovers and... Hell. Let's just say that Crowley was the kind of guy who could lay a brick. Yet he still felt comfortable using the word "nigger" and other repellent terms.
Lots of plantation owners had sex with their slaves.
And now for the video I promised you. It's short and definitely worth a re-watch...
There's no reason for Donald not to have had two or more affairs. The man deserves to enjoy the perks of his new position of authority doesn't he? A hard core racist won't have sex with a black woman? Conservatives have never been bothered by cognitive dissonance. Why start now? Just ask Strom Thurmond's black daughter. It's always been this way.
posted by Anonymous : 11:38 AM
Great post, Joseph. So much to think about.
The Dems haven't figured out that they are playing in a crooked house against a stacked deck, with as you keep pointing out, insiders working against them.
I have no doubt that whatever the Dems did, there will be plenty of GOP flacks, NYT front page stories, op-eds by all the usual suspects to recall the unending treachery of the Dem party.
Not sure how they can get out of the trap, but going along quietly as the sober player at the table isn't it.
posted by Tom : 2:08 PM
Nah, Dems are winning and are going to win this shutdown fight. It's because as this drags on, it's impossible not to blame Repubs as they control everything, and it was instigated by Trump. How can you not keep the government open when you control everything? But more importantly, Republicans have never offered a clean funding bill. If they were willing to offer that and Democrats opposed it then there might be an argument. But that's not what's on the table.
I was with you until a week ago when the Republicans made it plainly clear after reneging on the bipartisan deal that they were going to use a government shutdown to try and blame Democrats for getting rid of DACA and CHIP. So the way I see it is that if Republicans are going to shutdown the government anyway, Democrats should use it to stand for DACA, CHIP, and military pay (shrewd on McCaskill's part). Just like they did against Obama and Clinton, Republicans are using a government shutdown to try and get rid of programs they don't like but are popular.
posted by nemdam : 2:46 PM
nemdam, I really hope you're right. The Dems should win, they have decency and facts on their side.