Götterdämerung

The response came as you might expect in a flurry of angry tweets, but it included a cynically combative ray of hope. “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”

The Trump campaign has been compared many times in the past to a kind of fire – a dumpster fire, a tire fire, perhaps even a landfill fire. But with this great “stab in the back” by Republican leaders desperate to save their own skins there is little doubt the fire will indeed spread. Call it a funeral pyre, if you want, but eventually we can see it will ignite the highly flammable Republican panoply of Gods and Heroes alike.

We’ve seen such an epic blaze before – first in the stagecraft of Wagner and later made real through Hitler. Yes, we’ll go there. It’s all going there, all going ablaze.

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Dump Trump?

There is little question that Trump will not be elected President. The only question remaining is how terrible the damage will be to the Republican Party. It’s a big question because in order to limit that damage the odds that Trump will not survive the convention in July are increasing daily.

It’s not just the horrifically bad poll numbers. It has nothing to do with his campaign manager being fired – that may have been a good thing. Skip over Moody’s analysis that he’d throw us into recession.  It has everything to do with his May campaign finance report which demonstrates that there is no functional campaign. There is no money, and a fifth of what was spent went to Trump related businesses.

If there was ever any doubt that this guy is a total fraud, it’s been erased.

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Crossing the Line

Anything resembling an actual “election” is still months away. But the circus is running in full (questionable) colors well in advance. There is one candidate who knows a circus – not as the bland ringleader, but as the craziest clown there is.

There’s no value in naming this particular clown because he thrives on hearing his name. That’s probably what this is really all about as narcissistic politics finally crawls up its own backside to die. He was recently dubbed “White ISIS” (Whisis) by the still-excellent Daily Show for his desperate willingness to promote the main goal of ISIS – conflict between the Muslim world and the West. So we’ll use that term.

But that’s less important than the reaction to the big show because somehow Whisis finally crossed the line. That is, there is a line. We found the line!

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Read Their Lips

The long election season should, if anything, bring clarity to what we can expect starting in 2017. The next year will give us a lot of information as the campaigns coalesce. The candidates should at least give us the boundaries of what we can expect in terms of policy regardless of who is elected.

There are many things that are well known already, such as the retirement of Baby Boomers and a lot of reasons to believe that this will be a relatively good time economically. Add to that list a lot of reason to believe that taxes will rise. Why? Because the pressure is completely off the Republican Party to hold the line.

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S-s-same As It Ever Was?

September is a month of change, but you’d hardly know it this year. The weather is warm, the Fed still hasn’t raised rates, and the Republican debate still focused heavily on one person (who will remain unnamed).

But that last one is where the more things change the more they stay the same.

My famously conservative friend Mitch Berg complained on facebook about a diatribe regarding parenting responsibilities by a childless 20-something associate, which sounded like an ugly situation. Turns out it was very ugly – it started as a discussion on defunding Planned Parenthood. The young woman in question, described as normally very level-headed, had a serious fire under her that needed venting. It’s a passionate issue, for sure. Mitch and his more conservative friends rolled their eyes as well as anyone can in English prose.

But they shouldn’t have – this is important stuff. Why? Because I think we’ll see a lot more of this in coming months as the Republicans do what they have to do, thus doing a lot of the work that Democrats need to do. It deserves examination.

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Whither, Republicans?

The Democrats lost the election bigtime, far more than the Republicans won it. As a Democrat I naturally worry more about my own party and what we should be doing, but that’s far from the most interesting story. After all, the Republicans inherited the vacuum amid 37% turnout and approval ratings for Congress at around 14%.

That’s not a win, it’s a default. And it’s not good to have power without any strong mandate.

What on earth should the Republicans do about it? There are two main schools of thought. One is to show that they deserve to be in government by demonstrating competence, the other is to keep pounding the Democrats and show how bad the other guys are. Governing seems like the obvious choice, but the landscape that has to be crossed is full of landmines. This might be an interesting two years.

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Dear Republican Friends:

How ya doin’?  I know this is a tough time and the last person you want to hear from is a Democrat, but many of you are friends of mine.  Some of the kindest and most decent people I know are Republicans, and I care about you.  Much of my family were and are Republicans, too.  You have to know I write this from the bottom of my heart.

I’m really worried about you – as a party.  I think that this nation works best when there are two engaged, committed, fearless, and honest parties mixin’ it up – but also gettin’ ‘er done.  And …. well, rather than just get mad and blame you all for the very public way your party is ripping apart I thought I’d offer my support and encouragement for you to get better soon.  Really, anything I can do to help.  But let me tell you why this is so important to me.

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