PPP Poll Shows HRC improved favorability by 9 points

Kind of a big deal. A post DNC poll from PPP showed Hillary’s favorable/unfavorable at 45-51.  Surprised that’s not getting more play on TV this weekend (not really surprised).

And her national lead over Trump is back to around 5 points in a race that includes Stein and Johnson. Just head to head Hillary hits 50% (50-45). For what a national poll is worth.

PPP is one of the good polling organizations, so there’s that.

 

Rainy Sunday Thoughts

Just saw Avik Roy, former Romney spokesperson say the GOP is in a death spiral. Hm, who else has said that?  Here, here, here and here, and many more time going back to the beginning of this blog and the 10 years before that to anybody who would let me bend their ear.  When a party expels their managers and experts and becomes a slave to talk radio nonsense and repudiated ideologies they cease to be a party. Not so tough to predict.

I think this works: What’s conservative about choosing the least proven commodity for the most important office?

Something else that works is asking Trump supporters exactly what policies he will enact to “make America great again.”  Even his spokespersons on TV are gobsmacked by that question (not that that’s a high bar) because he has made no actual proposals. On Facebook and other social media, it does shut them up for at least as long as it takes for them to realize they have nothing to say.

For the Trump supporters that just want change – it’s like when your group is looking for a restaurant, someone suggests you should do something different and one of the group suggests eating  garbage from a dumpster, because that change would be refreshing and see where eating in restaurants have gotten us!

(h/t to the person who said the choice between Ds and Rs today has become so weird that it’s like trying to figure out where to eat with your partner and you suggest Italian and they say they’d like to eat rusty hub caps. )

Just some rainy day thoughts.

 

The Power of Khan

It’s not entirely comfortable, but from the standpoint of political stagecraft, watching a Democratic National Convention that adopted the most progressive platform in the last 100 years also snatch the images of patriotism and military service so effectively away from the GOP is pretty goddamn cool.

The power of some of it is lost on many of us.  There’s no question that watching a woman accept the nomination and give a speech that portrayed her as every bit the POTUS had to be especially powerful for woman who have had to deal with the restrictive power of sexism.

And for many Americans who were not born here, even those who are not Muslim, the words of Khizr Khan were extremely powerful. My very nice friend from the Philippines was in tears this morning talking about that speech. He just signed the papers for his 17 year old son to join the National Guard. So he can easily imagine himself in that place that Mr. Khan is in, having sacrificed his son for his adopted country, and yet having his loyalty questioned.

“You have sacrificed nothing.”

My friend showed me that he keeps his passport with him at all times in his wallet, in addition to his driver’s license, because he’s scared.  Trump’s rhetoric has a real effect on our fellow Americans who don’t necessarily look or sound like somebody’s idea of what an American looks or sounds like. It’s easy to forget how very personal this is for some people.

Trump’s America is not the America that they adopted.

We cannot repeat enough, with heartfelt sentiment, that this is not the America we know.

 

The Most Important Story Right Now Is This

Update below:

In a very news heavy time, sometimes the big story goes under reported, or just under appreciated.  But Russia’s (read Putin’s) connection with Trump is more than just a conspiracy theory wet dream.

The FBI suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on Friday. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach.

The thing about this is that it’s not hard to understand at all.  Nor is any of it any sort of reach. It actually explains some things that kind of confound explanation otherwise.

Why would Trump’s people work to water down a GOP plank in favor of arming the Ukrainian forces against Russia?  Well, this answers that.

Why would an American candidate for President say anything nice about a murderous strong man like Putin?

Why would said candidate break with 70 years of tradition and question our commitment to our NATO partners sending all the previous presidents, living and dead, spinning?

Could it have something to do with Paul Manafort’s connections to Putin and Putin supporters?

Would it be hyperbole to say that this is how deals with the devil get done?  Ask Paul Manafort, who has made plenty of deals with devils.

Just for example, when Manafort worked for Reagan, he went to the Philippines and made deals with Marcos.  He denies it now, but he had told a story where Marcos gave him a suitcase with $3M in cash for Reagan, which would have been an illegal contribution. So Manafort just kept the money. Problem solved.

After largely disappearing from the U.S. political spotlight for the past 20 years to build to a portfolio of foreign clients, Manafort reemerged in late March as a key adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He was quickly promoted to chief strategist and chairman, and has been working to put his international affiliations behind him (when POLITICO asked him to describe his relationship with Marcos, he laughed and said, “I’ve got to go”).

Suffice it to say, this is all quite disturbing.  The FBI is now investigating the hacking of the DNC, took them long enough to get to that. It will be interesting to see where that leads.

On MSNBC Martin O’Malley made the connection between this electronic robbery of the DNC and the break in of the DNC offices at the Watergate Hotel way back when.

With regard to the hacking, the burglary, albeit a digital burglary, of the DNC, let’s be really clear here. Virtually all of the experts who look at this say that this was, that these were not just leaks obtained by, or rather, e-mails obtained by Wikileaks. This was the intentional act of the Russian government, if we want to call it a government, of Vladimir Putin, who is trying to affect the outcome of this race and embarrass the Democratic nominee on the eve of our convention.

That, frankly, Thomas, outrages me far more than any petty chatter that was going on between DNC staffers. Look, they never write the rules in ways to make it easier for challengers in either party, but this is outrageous. This hasn’t happened since Watergate, that the DNC headquarters and communications have been burglarized, and this time it happened, not by people domestically, but it happened by the Russians, and it happened to affect the outcome of this race for their lapdog boy, Donald Trump.

I Do Understand Your Anger

I know I didn’t post anything about Donald’s speech, the end of the RNC. What else can anybody say about the second coming of Il Duce?

But after Day 1 of the DNC there’s much to say.  I’ll start with the pain of the Bernie Babies.

I get it.  I don’t share it, but I get it, and the way I understand it is to think back to the first time my heart got crushed.  It’s always about context, both political context and emotional context, and for young people what they lack is context. It’s the combination of youth and angst and having your emotions toyed with, without the context of having lived through it before to buffer the pain and allow you to accept the half a loaf and be satisfied.

For those of us who were Bernie guys with some tread on our tires, it was easy to move on when the outcome was inevitable.  It’s easy for me and Mrs. Polislice, almost everyone I know of my age group who lived through the 2000 debacle, and saw how Ralph Nader gave us President George W. Bush and Nader’s legacy was profoundly tarnished.

Even if you have the context of understanding that the stakes in November are way too high to just take your ball and walk away. That there is no real choice here – you have to support Secretary Clinton and get her elected to have even a glimmer of a chance to see the policies Bernie Sanders stands for get any sort of hearing. Even if you do register that the fight wasn’t completely lost, that Bernie won the platform fight. His voice was heard! Your voice was heard in the halls of power.  It really was!

Even if you do understand that, you may well still be suffering with a simmering anger and feeling of betrayal.  These Bernie Babies, like Bernie, did not start as Democrats. And they may well lack the historical context to have positive feelings towards the party. They just see it as the entity that screwed Bernie and screwed them, and Hillary was the beneficiary of the malfeasance and betrayal.

So I do understand the anger and the pain, even if I sound like I’m a little impatient with it. That’s just my crustiness speaking. Sorry, if I called you a brat last night.

However, if you’re there in the room heckling the people on stage, your anger does not excuse your boorish behavior.

If you’re there and you do not understand, like a few very young and naive people interviewed last night, that the roll call is Tuesday and the results are already known to all, then you need to get educated. You need to speak to people who do have context and not disrespect them. People who are trying to teach you are not  condescending to you, they’re helping you.

If you think they disrespected Bernie by giving him the last speaking spot of the night then you may be beyond teaching. Facepalm!

Likewise, if you listened to Bernie last night say “vote for Hillary” and you say “I’m not convinced yet,” it’s not about Bernie, it’s about you.

I’ll give you time to process your grief.  But understand that if in November you decide not to vote or vote for anybody other than Hillary, if it doesn’t work out, you will have to live with it just like the people who voted for Nader in Florida in 2000 have to live with the legacy of Iraq and Justices Alito and Roberts.  Your great intentions will not have mattered one jot.

Then, your voices and Bernie’s voice will have truly been silenced and irrelevant.

Texas is going blue, it really is, even george Will thinks so now

Watching Texas turn blue has been like watching the melting of the ice in Greenland, it’s happening, it’s just happening so slowly that it feels like it’s not, but global sea level is rising and Texas will… turn… blue.  Sooner or later this boy who cried wolf  will be able to point to a Democratic win in TX and shut up the nonbelievers (as if demographics was something you can choose to not believe).

George Will took notice because a very republican former GOP chairman in TX is alarmed, so George is also alarmed.  Because very simply, Texas is the only mega state safely in the red column.  As it is they’ve lost 5 of the last 6 elections in the popular vote and 4 of the last 6 in the electoral college. Texas doesn’t even have to go solidly blue to mortally wound the GOP as a national party.  Even if it’s just purple and up for grabs, forcing the GOP to spend money there and compete for its 38 (and rising) electoral votes, it changes the already tilted map so that the Dems could recreate the dynasty they had between 1932 and 1968, winning 7 of 9 elections.

State wide, Republicans haven’t lost since 1994, but their margin of victory has been shrinking and everybody recognizes that the fast growing Hispanic portion of the population could turn everything on its head today, if they just voted.

Texas is not wide-open spaces filled with cattle and cotton fields. Actually, it is 84.7 percent urban, making it the 15th-most urban state. It has four of the nation’s eleven largest cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin. Texas’s growth is in its cities, where Republicans are doing worst.

Between urban college educated young people, the Hispanics and the Asians, Democratic groups are growing as Republican cohorts are dying off.

Republicans risk protracted losing in a center-left country, which America now is, and in a purple Texas, which soon could be.

Will admits what a lot of Morning Joe Democrats will not – that this is a center-left country based on what people believe about social issues and the place of government in people’s lives.  For better or worse though, a lot of those center-left people are not one issue voters.  Often they’re not voters at all.  So the parties and pundits treat America like a center-right nation because of the vehemency of angry white people, the NRA and evangelicals who do vote and will do so on single issues pushing a very clear agenda.

A motivated, engaged and registered Latino electorate in Texas could make 2016 competitive – but nobody is holding their breath.  By 2020 Texas will be in play and the GOP, if it still exists at all as a national party, will be even further behind the race even before it starts.

 

3rd Night of GOP Wake Gets Really Irish

Uncle Ted showed up at the wake and instead of being reverent to the deceased, forgetting all past trespasses and letting bygones be bygones, he could not hold his tongue.  Or if you want to go with a wedding analogy, he could not hold his peace on this marriage from hell. However you want to characterize it, Lyin’ Ted Cruz would not endorse, which given how acrimonious the campaign was, what Trump said about his wife and father, you could applaud Ted for keeping his balls intact.  Certainly Christie handed his balls over to Trump only to have Trump sit on them.  “Little Marco” Rubio didn’t exactly hand his over, with his tepid video endorsement, but he did put them in a blind trust to capitulate like that.

It surely was the only real excitement in the hall of the entire 3 days so far.  Amazing how angry people get when they’ve bitten off, chewed and swallowed shit and then somebody stands there and says, “no thanks, I will not partake.”

It really had a wrestling vibe to it, didn’t it?  With the two arch enemies, supposedly burying the hatchet, but NO! Ted, the villain betrays Don, the villain (no honor among villains, ya know).  Then Donald shows up in the hall glaring down at Ted, his family stretching their botoxed faces to capacity with their grimaces.  I just wish Ted had grabbed a chair and smacked Donald over the head with it starting a real donnybrook in the hall! Melania, clad in gold thong, pulls Heidi’s hair!

This was so easily avoidable that either 1. Trump and his people showed just how deep their amateurism and incompetency go in this national campaign thingy (completely believable) or 2. it really was a set up for the waking up a somnambulant convo and the publicity, as he’s said over and over there’s no bad publicity (also really believable given who we’re talking about).

Everything last night other that that drama was the usual, typical, bunch of predictable lies, half truth and obfuscations that pass for inspiring rhetoric from a group of people living in a bizarro world where a story being debunked is never a good enough reason to waste it.  If you ask these people we’re less respected in the world than when Bush was president, the budget deficit has grown, unemployment and crime are up, we’re at war and Isis was Hillary Clinton’s fault.  George Bush destabilizing the entire region doesn’t enter into it, even when you add in that it’s confirmed that much of the Isis commanders were Baathists in the Iraqi army who were tossed out on their ears in 2003.  But that was 13 years ago, you elites and their details.  We’re common sense working people who  are tired of your elite central planing being handed down from ivory towers.  You can keep your elitist facts, we’ve got our bullshit that we accept as common sense even though it’s not at all common and quite a bit nonsensical.

Mike Pence gave a speech that would have sounded great in 1984 when conservatives were ascendant and still had the Soviet Union to rail against. Before Reagan and Bush I and II’s policies showed how bankrupt their policy proscriptions really were.  Before California, Oklahoma, Kansas (and most of the South) were left scraping the bottom of the economic barrel by those policies and California rebounded after repudiating and reversing them.

“conservative principles work every time you put them into practice.”

It sounds good until you actually enumerate those principles: outsourcing, anti-tax, anti-union, anti-public employees, anti-equal rights, anti-voting rights. They make it sound pretty sunny, but it’s a long list of negatives.  And they never work, ever, unless your goal is to hollow out economies, then they work like a charm.

To Pence, whose re-election as governor was iffy although he claimed Indiana is in an unprecedented renaissance (it’s not), conservatism has never been wrong and is working miracles all the time.  He probably sees angels everywhere too. He claimed the largest tax cut in Indiana history, but that’s easy since there have only been two… in the state’s history!  And that best credit rating in the country he touted (actually one of 15 states with AAA) was achieved before he became governor.

Pence epitomizes conventional GOP thinking from 1984 and that’s why he’s on the ticket with Trump unifying a dysfunctional party, Cruz notwithstanding.

While Pence was saying how Trump would always stand with our friends and against our enemies (because Hillary would do the opposite, we all know) Trump had given an interview to the NY Times in which he alarmingly stated he would not necessarily stand with our friends. As The Atlantic states, Clinton is actually running against Putin because Trump is aligning himself with the Russian strongman in weakening NATO and softening a plank in the GOP platform about providing lethal aid for Ukraine in their struggle against Russia.

The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower.

This interview is so disturbing and will be the story for the foreseeable future, stepping on Trump’s speech tonight. But that’s the way it goes with these people.  Let a businessman run the country, let an outsider take over for a change.

It’s like sending your just out of high school recruit up to bat in the World Series.  Even if you thought he was extremely talented, you would never do it, the stakes are too high. They don’t know what they’re doing.