Politics postsTuesday February 20, 2018
Under the Influence
He really is just an astonishing piece of shit.
Paul Ryan's Jerk Reactions to Mass Killings
‘It doesn’t seem to matter to our government that children are being shot to death day after day'
“Nothing has been done. It doesn't seem to matter to our government that children are being shot to death day after day in schools. It doesn't matter that people are being shot at a concert, in a movie theater. It's not enough, apparently, to move our leadership, our government, people that are running this country, to actually do anything. That's demoralizing.
”But we can do something about it. We can vote people in who actually have the courage to protect people's lives and not just bow down to the NRA because they‘ve financed their campaign for them. So, hopefully we’ll find enough people, first of all, to vote good people in, but hopefully we can find enough people with courage to help our citizens remain safe and focus on the real safety issues. Not building some stupid wall for billions of dollars that has nothing to do with our safety, but actually protecting us from what truly is dangerous, which is maniacs with semi-automatic weapons just slaughtering our children. It's disgusting."
“Back when he was president, Barack Obama told me that only two people treated any interaction with him as a zero-sum game. One was Vladimir Putin, the other congressional Republicans. Both behaved as if there was no such thing as a win-win situation: Any gain for Obama was a loss for them, and any gain for them must also entail a loss for Obama. The moment that the Russian president or congressional Republicans saw he wanted something, they went to work trying to keep him from getting it even if it was something they might otherwise have approved of.”
Michael Lewis, “Has Anyone Seen the President?,” Bloomberg News
I‘ve long loved Lewis, and much of the piece is Lewis, George Plimpton-like, or maybe Joan Didion-like (“Insider Baseball”), giving the unvarnished, vaguely absurd details of the process from within the process: a White House Press briefing; a late night, cursory press conference after Trump returns from Davos, from which Lewis gets off a great line, playing off one of Trump’s idiot lines: “I try and fail to imagine anyone in Davos saying to Trump 'I want to bring my money to your country.'”
But much of the piece is about the when and where of Steve Bannon. He's still in D.C. Is he on a lone island now? He's got a Man Friday anyway. He's also got acolytes, and thoughts and ideas; he sees where the country is heading. “Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls,” he says, and maybe his fear is that the anger is now on the other side, particularly with the #MeToo movement. He says as much. But nowhere does Lewis mention the Mercers, who bankrolled Bannon's 11th-hour triumph, and who, after the release of Michael Wolff's book, have supposedly cut him off. How is he doing all this without them? How is he living in Georgetown, with his Man Friday, on his island of Regnery books, without them? Not a word.
But the lede above is killer: a good distillatiion of where we are. Putin and Republicans: together again.
GOP: 'A Threat to National Security'
“If Democrats ever needed proof for the midterms that the GOP is a threat to national security and is unfit to govern, [the issues surrounding the Nunes memo] should do it. The Republicans cannot with a straight face claim to be the party of national security while carrying on in such fashion. And even if a congressman in Iowa or Michigan were to say he played no part in Nunes's conduct, his or her reelection by definition would help return Nunes to the intelligence committee chairmanship and Ryan to the speakership. In short, Democrats can argue that if you vote for anyone with an 'R' after his or her name, you are voting to hobble the FBI, expose our secrets to our enemies and help Trump escape the consequences of possible wrongdoing.”
— Jennifer Rubin, “The Nunes fiasco grows more preposterous by the hour,” The Washington Post