January 28, 2016


“If you nominate Trump and Cruz, I think you get the same outcome. Whether it’s death by being shot or poisoning doesn’t really matter. I don’t think the outcome will be substantially different.” --Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

"As far as what Hillary Clinton has done, she has actually been the only -- the only -- candidate, whether we're talking Democratic or Republican, to reach out and talk with us about, 'What can I do? What kind of help do you need?'" she added. -- Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (D) repeatedly thanking Hillary Clinton for the work she and her campaign have done on the water crisis facing the Michigan city.

“The reason why he (Donald Trump) attacks me is he’s scared of me. He’s insecure. He doesn’t believe that he can take me on.” — Jeb! 1/20/16.

He’s very concerned because his poll numbers are going down and he looks very, very nervous. Everybody dislikes him. I mean, he’s a nasty guy that everybody dislikes.” -- Donald Trump about Ted Cruz. 1/20/16.

“Right now the Washington establishment is abandoning Marco Rubio, they made an assessment that Marco can’t win this race, and the Washington establishment is rushing over to support Donald Trump. We’re seeing that happen every day and Mr. Trump is welcoming the support of the Washington establishment.” -- Ted Cruz 1/20/16 


“I question his (Sen. Cruz) allegiance to the party. I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” -- Former Sen. Bob Dole.

“I think he’s just living in an alternative universe.” — Former Ben Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett, about his old boss.

Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.” -- National Review editors. 1/21/16

“That soft flapping sound you hear is the Grand Old Party waving the flag of surrender to Trump. Party elites — what’s left of the now-derided “establishment” — are acquiescing to the once inconceivable: that a xenophobic and bigoted showman is now the face of the Republican Party and of American conservatism.” -- Dana Milbank 1/22/16

“Just watched Jeb’s ad where he desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb, mom can’t help you with ISIS, the Chinese or with Putin.” — Donald Trump@realDonaldTrump about Jeb Bush’s new ad featuring his mother.

“What may lie at the heart of the tragedy, though, appears to have been a certain contempt. It was as if state officials thought that it was all a cultural problem, poor people being frivolous instead of drinking water that had long been, as one memo put it, “perfectly fine.” Really, what did they expect?_ -- Amy Davidson in the New Yorker
on Flint Michigan. 1/22/16


With Palin and Trump, a failed reality star and a successful one, gall is divided into two parts. There has been a lot of talk this campaign season about how women pols bring superior qualities to the table: collegiality and listening skills. But Sarahcuda shows that we are truly the equals of men, capable of narcissistic explosions, brazen hypocrisy and unapologetic greed.” -- Maureen Dowd 1.23.16

“What seemed impossible now seems more than plausible: Donald J. Trump, the self-referential deal maker, could pull off a hostile takeover of the Grand Old Party. — David Axelrod, writing for the New York Times.

“[I]n Washington right now they are being buried in a snow blizzard. Which means that, like, federal agencies, were not able to work all day yesterday and issuing new regulations. Apparently Barack Obama’s executive order pen has frozen. So come to think of it, it’s probably one of the best things to happen to the republic in quite a while.” --Marco Rubio celebrating a natural disaster that left at least 30 people dead – bizarre, especially for a presidential candidate.

“Yes, we will raise taxes. Yes we will.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders. 1/25/16

“Have they found him guilty? I don’t think they’ve found him guilty. They say a lot of things about me that are untrue, too. If he did it, fine. But I don’t know that he did it.” -- Donald Trump on the British public inquiry’s allegation that the Vladimir Putin “probably approved” of a 2006 killing on British soil. 1/26/16

“What we ought to do is bring the guillotine back. We could have public executions and we could even have which hole it falls in.” -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), supporting public executions of drug traffickers. 1/26/16

“Nobody gets along with Ted. At least some people like Obama. Nobody likes Ted.” —Donald Trump

“People are out there making threats and promises that are totally unrealistic, totally unattainable. Either they really believe what they’re saying or they’re cynical and opportunistic and, in a way, you hope it’s the latter, because God forbid they actually believe some of the things that they’re saying.” -- Former Defense Secretary Robert Gatesderiding the Republican party’s candidates for an understanding of national security issues that “would embarrass a middle schooler.” Guardian reports.

“I see you Joe Ricketts. And I know exactly what you’re up to. #ToddAkin Don’t fall for it Iowa Dems,” -- Claire McCaskill@clairecmc https://twitter.com/clairecmc/status/691827221359677444 on the Republican mega-donor investing in a faux attack ad on Hillary Clinton to help Sanders win because he sees Sanders as easy to beat in November. -- Steve Benen 1.24.16



1. GOP Grapples with Prospect of Trump as Nominee
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
5. RNC is #feeling the Bern!
6. The Borowitz Report: Millions Resent Being Put in Horrible Position of Siding with Megyn Kelly
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. Emails: Officials Scoffed at Flint Fears
9. The legendary Sarah Palin is baaaack!
10. Conservative Principles PAC: The Trump Tapes: Vol. 1
11. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Austerity Man
12. With Donald Trump Abandoning Its Debate, Fox News Scorched By Its Own Chicanery


1. Ryan Grim and Sam Stein: The GOP Establishment Has Found The One Thing That Can Make Donald Trump Palatable: Ted Cruz
2. Doyle McManus: Democrats must decide between a revolutionary and a pragmatist
3. E.J. Dionne: The Whole GOP Goes Rogue
4. Jonathan Martin: Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat
5. Michael Goldfarb: Donald Trump and the politics of paranoia
6. Sahil Kapur: Republican Operatives Try to Help Bernie Sanders
7. Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard: The Nominee We Deserve?
8. Frank Bruni: Our Insane Addiction to Polls
9. David Axelrod: The Obama Theory of Trump


1. GOP Grapples with Prospect of Trump as Nominee

The GOP Establishment Has Found The One Thing That Can Make Donald Trump Palatable: Ted Cruz

Beyond his weird politics -- Ted Cruz backs returning to the gold standard (!) and flat-out abolishing the IRS -- he is the first presidential candidate in modern history to acknowledge that he is an unpleasant person to be around. And he did so, appropriately, in creepy fashion. "If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy," Cruz said at a debate. "But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done and I will get you home."

That off-putting personality that Cruz so proudly owns makes him, in the eyes of many Republicans, a truly horrifying standard-bearer. “If he’s the nominee, we’re going to have wholesale losses in Congress and state offices and governors and legislatures,” said Dole.

Among some seasoned Republicans, the animus towards Cruz is so strong that a schadenfreudian hope has begun to emerge. In a contest against Trump, the thinking goes, it might be best for Cruz to win the nomination, only to suffer a lopsided general election defeat, proving once and for all the true limits of his appeal. It is taken for granted that the party under Cruz cannot win. And, in Washington, life will go on. Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-establishment-donald-trump-ted-cruz_us_56a058e0e4b0404eb8f04d0a?haqvvx6r



34 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports across the country, during the week of December 11-17, 2015.

23 people accidentally shot themselves and eight kids were accidentally shot. Enough for nine fatalities. Seven people accidentally shoot family members or significant others. Five people were shot in hunting accidents, for four cops were involved in GunFAILs, and three people accidentally fired guns they claim to have been cleaning. In other words, an entirely typical week, the sorry-ass results are detailed athttp://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/18/1460240/-Waistband-ninja-in-Target-I-was-just-walking-with-it-the-stupid-went-off-GunFAIL-CLXXII


"I’ll tell you, you know who one of those millions of Americans is who’s lost their healthcare because of Obamacare? That would be me," he told an audience in Manchester, N.H., according to Politico. "I don’t have healthcare right now." -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 1/22/16


"Cruz is still eligible for the government’s employer subsidy of up to 75% of his health insurance premium. He has said he wouldn’t accept the employer share, which makes his complaint about his cost of insurance just a teeny bit more dishonest because he’s the one driving up his own premium." -- LA Times columnist Michael A. Hiltzik
NOTE: Ted Cruz has health insurance, and he had it all along, his campaign said Friday night, reversing what the presidential candidate said a day earlier. http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/01/22/in-twist-campaign-says-ted-cruz-has-health-insurance-no-coverage-gap/



Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today announced the endorsement of Mike Bickle, Founder and Director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, an evangelical missions organization based on prayer. -- Right Wing Watch 1/22/15


Bickle, unsurprisingly is a demon-fighting radical who believes that gay marriage is "rooted in the depths of hell," that homosexuality "opens the door to the demonic realm" and that Oprah Winfrey is a forerunner of the Antichrist: -- Right Wing Watch 1/22/15


The Right to Rise super PAC helping Jeb Bush is airing an ad in South Carolina that includes a photo of Terri Schiavo, the brain dead Pinellas County woman who died 10 years ago despite Bush's efforts to halt the removal of her feeding tubes. -- Right to Rise TV ad 1/24/15


"Using his disgraceful intervention in our family’s private trauma to advance his political career shows that he has learned nothing. [...] What the campaign video shows is that if he ever got his hands on the power of government again, he would do the same thing again, maybe next time to your family." -- Michael Schiavo, who has never forgiven Jeb! for turning his wife's condition into a three-ring circus. 1/26/15

4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Fox Pundit Blames The Victims Of Water Crisis: "The People Of Flint Should Have Been Protesting In The Streets"http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/01/21/fox-contributor-blames-the-victims-of-water-cri/208088

Fox News Spent Nearly Three Hours Promoting Michael Bay's Benghazi Film As A Threat To Hillary Clintonhttp://mediamatters.org/research/2016/01/21/report-fox-news-spent-nearly-three-hours-promot/208075

Fox's Watters Uses Flint Water Crisis To Mock "The Left" For Fighting For Clean Drinking Water -- Jesse Watters: "It's Turning Into Mexico, You Can't Drink The Water And The Government Is Corrupt"http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/22/foxs-watters-uses-flint-water-crisis-to-mock-th/208131

Fox's The Five Launches Tirade Of Anti-Hillary Clinton Conspiracy Theories. Co-Hosts Claim Clinton Helped Muslim Brotherhood, Sent And Received Classified Emails, And Lost $6 Billion In State Departmenthttp://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/22/foxs-the-five-launches-tirade-of-anti-hillary-c/208127

Fox News Cites Poll Supporting Abortion Restrictions But Fails To Disclose Anti-Choice Group That Commissioned It http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/01/22/fox-news-cites-poll-supporting-abortion-restric/208113

GOP StrategistAlex Castellanos on his part: "We Appeal To Only Cranky, Old White Guys"http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/24/gop-strategist-blames-right-wing-media-for-trum/208132

Fox & Friends Helps Gov. Snyder Blame Flint City Council And "Civil Service People" For Water Crisishttp://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/25/fox-amp-friends-helps-gov-snyder-blame-flint-ci/208140

NY Post Pushes Dubious Claim That Clinton Aides Improperly Circumvented Email Classification System. Writer Has A Long History Of Islamophobia, While Only Named Source Has Done Work For Anti-Clinton Grouphttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/01/24/ny-post-pushes-dubious-claim-that-clinton-aides/208136

5. RNC is #feeling the Bern!

RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer: “Most people agree, @Berniesanders won https://gop.com/what-they-are-saying-sanders-blowout/ … #demdebate” https://twitter.com/seanspicer/status/688934990709657600

RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer: “Post #demsdebate what they are saying https://gop.com/what-they-are-saying-sanders-blowout/… Pretty clear @berniesanders was the big winner”https://twitter.com/seanspicer/status/688934261467017216

RNC HEADLINE, 1/17/2016: “What They Are Saying: A Sanders ‘Blowout’!” https://gop.com/what-they-are-saying-sanders-blowout/

RNC HEADLINE, 10/14/2015: “Why Bernie Sanders Won Last Night’s Democrat Debate” https://gop.com/why-bernie-sanders-won-last-nights-democrat-debate/

Republican Senator Tom Cotton: “For many months, I’ve been strongly in favor of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.” https://www.hillaryclinton.com/briefing/factsheets/2016/01/20/republicans-are-aiding-senator-sanders-candidacy/

More at: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/briefing/factsheets/2016/01/20/republicans-are-aiding-senator-sanders-candidacy/

After CMP Indictment, Seth Meyers Slams Republican Candidates For Turning Edited Tapes Into "A National, Political Scandal" - GOP Made These Lies Part Of Their Campaigns, Even As Journalists Fact-Checked Them, And They Were "Repeatedly Proven False" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/01/27/after-cmp-indictment-seth-meyers-slams-republic/208195

6. The Borowitz Report: Millions Resent Being Put in Horrible Position of Siding with Megyn Kelly

Millions of Americans are expressing their resentment and outrage at being put in the appalling position of siding with the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, a state of affairs that many are calling “intolerable.”

“Never in a million years did I envision a situation where I would be on the same side as Megyn Kelly,” Tracy Klugian, of Butte, Montana, said. “Now that I find myself in just such a situation, let me say this: it’s horrible. Truly horrible.”

“Putting people through the ordeal of siding with Megyn Kelly could be the worst thing Donald Trump has done in this campaign,” Jervis Kentwell, of Norwalk, Connecticut, said. “I know he thinks he’s invulnerable or whatever, but it’s hard to see him recovering from this.”

Carol Foyler, of Tacoma, Washington, worries about the “long-term implications” of being forced to side with Megyn Kelly. “Is there some scenario where I might be forced to side with Bill O’Reilly, or Hannity?” she asked. “It’s a goddam slippery slope.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Yesterday in Iowa, Sarah Palin gave a 20-minute speech to endorse Donald Trump for president, while Trump stood off to the side. Palin described Trump as a great leader, while Trump described being quiet for 20 minutes as the most painful experience of his life." –Jimmy Fallon

"Last night, C-SPAN aired a debate in New Hampshire among 23 'fringe presidential candidates.' The fringe candidates included a Libertarian, a white supremacist, and Jeb Bush." –Conan O'Brien

"Critics are calling Sarah Palin's endorsement speech of Donald Trump 'bizarre,' 'meandering,' and 'mystifying.' In other words, she's still got it." –Conan O'Brien

"Bernie Sanders is having a very good week. He doesn't know how to use email so that's not a problem." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by 27 points. Bernie is very well liked among Democratic voters. Among those likely to vote in the primary, his favorability rating is 91 percent — that is incredibly high. As are many of his supporters." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Senator Lindsey Graham said this week that Donald Trump is the 'most unelectable' Republican he has seen in his lifetime. Then he walked by a mirror and said 'whoops, never mind.'" –Seth Meyers

"This morning, Twitter went down for almost three hours. It wasn't good — in fact, I heard Donald Trump actually had to FAX his insults to people." –Jimmy Fallon

"In a new interview with Time Magazine, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said that he's never worn a tuxedo in his life. When asked what he got married in, Bernie said, '1879.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"Today, Donald Trump got the endorsement of Sarah Palin. When he heard, John McCain said, 'Well, then you're all set.'" – Conan O'Brien


"During last night's debate, Hillary Clinton said her husband would serve as her 'kitchen table' advisor. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders said his wife would serve as his 'hand rails in the bathroom' advisor." –Conan O'Brien

"During the Republican debate Ted Cruz accused Donald Trump of having 'New York values.' Trump said that's ridiculous, then, overcharged Cruz for a bagel." –Conan O'Brien

"During the Democratic debate Martin O'Malley looked like the kid forced to choose between his parents at a divorce hearing." –Jimmy Kimmel

"In a sense the debate was a victory for Bernie Sanders. He made it through the whole thing without dying." –Jimmy Kimmel

8. Emails: Officials Scoffed at Flint Fears

Correspondence unveiled in 274 pages of emails released by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder paints a picture of dismissive state leaders who deflected responsibility and ignored scientific evidence regarding the lead-poisoned drinking water in Flint. Top aides scoffed at people voicing questions about the water quality “anti-everything,” and findings reported by a concerned pediatrician were dismissed as simply “data.” The emails, which were handed over in the governor’s effort to provide transparency, show that months of complaints did not prompt action until late 2015.1/21/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/us/flint-michigan-lead-water-crisis.html?_r=0


9. The legendary Sarah Palin is baaaack!

SNL Cold Open: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pinZNYxQeo

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: https://youtu.be/_LPR7DktumA

"The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/npva03/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-the-legend-of-sarah-palin

The Nightly Show w/Larry Wilmore: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/8krkkk/the-nightly-show-with-larry-wilmore-her-again----sarah-palin-exploits-her-son-s-arrest

10. Conservative Principles PAC: The Trump Tapes: Vol. 1


11. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Austerity Man

https://vimeo.com/fiorecartoons/austerity man

12. With Donald Trump Abandoning Its Debate, Fox News Scorched By Its Own Chicanery

Donald Trump backing out of Fox News' debate is a damning indictment of the creature that the right-wing media helped create and that the rest of the media enabled for far too long.

Not only did Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media manufacture many of the lies that serve as the refrain of Trump's campaign, but they also fomented much of the racial antipathy and sexism that Trump is using to fuel his campaign.
In this conservative universe, facts don't matter. Which is exactly why Donald Trump can claim that he is backing out of the Thursday's debate due to the fact that Fox News doesn't treat him well, despite the fact that Trump has appeared on Fox News at least two and a half times more than any of his GOP primary opponents. (I'll save the irony of Fox News being burned by the same kind of fact free attacks that the network conditioned its audience to respond to for another day.) 1/26/16 Read more athttp://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/01/26/with-donald-trump-abandoning-its-debate-fox-new/208193


1. Ryan Grim and Sam Stein: The GOP Establishment Has Found The One Thing That Can Make Donald Trump Palatable: Ted Cruz

The Republican establishment has spent the last few months warning that the rise of Trump's presidential candidacy represented a grave threat, not just to the party, but to the country itself. That may still be the case. But in recent weeks, the GOP brass has come face to face with the one man who could make Trump begin to appear appealing: Ted Cruz.  

There is ample reason for Republican insiders to feel more affinity to the real estate mogul than to the brash Texas tea party senator. As Shirley noted, Washington has spent decades doing business with Trump, if not personally begging him for checks.

But, mainly, the reason that Republican leaders are moving toward Trump has nothing to do with him. They viscerally, unashamedly loathe Cruz.

Donald Trump: Racist, sexist, fascist -- and the darling of the GOP establishment. Read more athttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-establishment-donald-trump-ted-cruz_us_56a058e0e4b0404eb8f04d0a?haqvvx6r


2. Doyle McManus: Democrats must decide between a revolutionary and a pragmatist

Sanders has an ambitious proposal for a European-style, government-run health insurance system (known to policy wonks as “single payer”). Clinton, meanwhile, merely aims to make the Affordable Care Act, based on private insurance plans, work a little better.

Abstractly, that's an easy choice for most liberals and progressives (not to mention socialists): Most of them prefer single payer. A well-designed government-run system works better and far more cheaply than our crazy patchwork of public and private plans, as Sweden and other countries with single-payer systems have shown.

How does Sanders intend to enact his audacious program? He says the answer is simple: He'll build a grass-roots movement so powerful that voters will sweep the GOP out of power.

For progressives, Sanders is the political equivalent of a Powerball ticket: The payoff is huge, but there's only a small chance of winning. (For Sanders, remember, the revolution requires not only the presidency, but Congress too.) Clinton is more like a money market fund: not very inspiring, but you're less likely to lose the grocery money.

Like Obama in 2008, Sanders is saying: Yes, we can. Clinton is saying: No, we can't — not all of it, anyway. Read more athttp://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0120-mcmanus-sanders-clinton-revolution-20160120-column.html

3. David Axelrod: The Obama Theory of Trump

Mr. Trump has found an audience with Americans disgruntled by the rapid, disorderly change they associate with national decline and their own uncertain prospects. Policies be damned, who better to set things right than the defiant strong man who promises by sheer force of will to make America great again?

Yes, we can? Hell, no!

Just leave it to me, Mr. Trump says. Yes, I can!

The robust condemnations Mr. Trump has received from media and political elites have only intensified the enthusiasm of his supporters, many of whom feel disdained and forgotten by the very same people who regularly mock and chide their man for his boorishness. To his base, he’s a truth-teller, thumbing his nose at conventional politicians, whether they are liberal or conservative. Rebukes from fact checkers and purveyors of civil discourse? They’re just so much establishment claptrap.

Relentlessly edgy, confrontational and contemptuous of the niceties of governance and policy making, Mr. Trump is the perfect counterpoint to a president whose preternatural cool and deliberate nature drive his critics mad. 1/25/16 Read more athttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/opinion/campaign-stops/the-obama-theory-of-trump.html

4. Jonathan Martin: Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Republicans Argue Over Who Is Greater Threat

“Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot on behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as The Donald himself,” the National Review said in an editorial accompanying the manifesto, titled “Against Trump.”

Peter Wehner, a longtime conservative writer, said: “He’s not a conservative, he’s an angry populist. It would be dangerous if the party or movement hands control over to him.”

Yet many members of the Republican influence apparatus, especially lobbyists and political strategists, say they could work with Mr. Trump as the party’s standard-bearer, believing that he would be open to listening to them and cutting deals, and would not try to take over the party.

Of course, this willingness to accommodate Mr. Trump is driven in part by the fact that few among the Republican professional class believe he would win a general election. In their minds, it would be better to effectively rent the party to Mr. Trump for four months this fall, through the general election, than risk turning it over to Mr. Cruz for at least four years, as either the president or the next-in-line leader for the 2020 nomination. 1/22/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/us/politics/donald-trump-ted-cruz-republican-establishment.html?emc=eta1


5. Michael Goldfarb: Donald Trump and the politics of paranoia


The simple four-letter word that works if you want to get elected. Political professionals know that playing on people's fears - going negative - is the way to win.


A somewhat fancier word that is used to describe excessive, irrational fear and distrust. It, too, works from time to time - in American politics, at least.

This current presidential season is one of those times. Donald Trump has surged to the front of the pack competing for the Republican Presidential nomination by giving voice to outsized fears many in America have - of illegal immigrants, of Islamic terrorists, of free trade agreements shipping American jobs to China.

Trump promises to make America Great Again - as if the US somehow was no longer the most powerful country in the world - by simple solutions: deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the US, and forcing the Chinese government to back down through tough talk.

The phrase "paranoid style in American politics" was coined by the late historian Richard Hofstadter. He defined the Paranoid Style, "an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent." 1/25/16 Read more at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35382599

6. Sahil Kapur: Republican Operatives Try to Help Bernie Sanders

Republican operatives are having a strange crush on Bernie Sanders.

During Sunday night’s Democratic debate, the Republican National Committee made the unusual move of sending no fewer than four real-time e-mails to reporters defending the self-described democratic socialist from attacks by Hillary Clinton or echoing his message against her. Based on their content, one could be forgiven for thinking the RNC communiques came from the Sanders campaign.

One RNC e-mail, which was titled “Clinton’s Misleading Health Care Attack,” defended the Vermont senator from what it described as “the Clinton campaign’s inaccurate remarks on Sanders’ single-payer plan,” and quoted news articles that featured rebuttals of her arguments. A second message countered Clinton’s attacks on Sanders over gun control by pointing out her gun-friendly statements in the past. Two other e-mails sought to bolster Sanders’ case that Clinton is too close to Wall Street and the drug industry.

Sean Spicer, the chief strategist and spokesman for the RNC, spent much of the evening tweeting Sanders-friendly commentary on the debate, often with the pro-Sanders hashtag #FeelTheBern. At one point, Spicer gently chided Sanders for what he deemed a poor response to a question and added, “come on we are trying to help u.”

Meanwhile, American Crossroads, a group co-founded by Karl Rove, is airing an ad in Iowa bolstering a core tenet of Sanders’s case against Clinton: that she has received large sums of campaign contributions from Wall Street, and therefore can't be trusted to crack down on big banks. “Hillary rewarded Wall Street with a $700 billion bailout, then Wall Street made her a multi-millionaire,” a narrator in the ad says. “Does Iowa really want Wall Street in the White House?”

These Republican operatives are attempting to pick their Democratic opponent in the general election, and they’re making clear they’d rather face Sanders than Clinton. It is age-old political manipulation tactic, typically used with some subtlety. It comes as recent polls show Sanders as competitive in Iowa and leading in New Hampshire, where back-to-back Sanders victories could endanger Clinton's national lead.

Republican candidate John Kasich indicated in a debate last week that he'd love to face Sanders. “We're going to win every state,” he said, “if Bernie Sanders is the nominee.” 1/18/16 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-01-19/republican-operatives-are-trying-to-help-bernie-sanders

7. Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard: The Nominee We Deserve?

Do Republicans deserve to lose? Consider the state of play as we write this in late January, just days from the first GOP nominating contests.

The Republican frontrunner is a longtime liberal whose worldview might best be described as an amalgam of pop-culture progressivism and vulgar nationalism. His campaign rallies are orgies of self-absorption, dominated by juvenile insults of those who criticize him and endless boasting about his poll numbers. He’s a narcissist and a huckster, an opportunist who not only failed to join conserv­atives in the big fights about the size and scope of government over the past several decades but, to the extent he was even aware of such battles, was often funding the other side, with a long list of contributions to the liberals most responsible for the dire state of affairs in the country, including likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In short, he's an opposition researcher's dream. But Republicans have spent tens of millions of dollars on political advertising this cycle and virtually none of it has targeted Donald Trump. He is poised to glide into the early-state contests having largely avoided the kind of sustained paid-media attacks that bring down candidates with far fewer vulnerabilities.

Who is to blame? Virtually everyone. 1/24/16 Read more at http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-nominee-we-deserve/article/2000692


8. Frank Bruni: Our Insane Addiction to Polls

Over a monthlong period ending Thursday night — a monthlong period, mind you, that included the Christmas and New Year’s break — there were 11 polls in Iowa, 10 in New Hampshire and nine nationally. There were polls focused on 10 different states.

And their findings were often treated as breathless news. On Wednesday evening, I visited the home page of the Politico website — I’m using Politico as a random example — and spotted four stories that were essentially about poll results.

I’d say that we’re in a period of polling bloat, but bloat is too wan a word. Where polling and the media’s attention to it are concerned, we’re gorging ourselves into a state of morbid obesity.

But it’s not the crazy bounty of polls that fascinates me most. It’s something else.

“There seems to be an inverse relationship between the preponderance of polling and the reliability of polling,” Reed said, nailing one of the most illogical, paradoxical dynamics of the 2016 election so far.

We’re leaning harder than ever on polling precisely when that makes the least sense. We’re wallowing in polls even as they come to wildly different conclusions that should give us serious pause. 1/23/16 Read more athttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/opinion/campaign-stops/our-insane-addiction-to-polls.html