The continued dominance of Donald Trump and Ben Carson has GOP elites panicking. Also, a wingnut wonders if Democrats have no middle-aged candidates because they were all aborted. Yes, really…. (More)

“I’m not a happy camper”

We’re halfway through November and polls show that Donald Trump and Ben Carson still dominate their rival WHannabes. And the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report that GOP elites are starting to panic:

Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

This isn’t mere idle worry. More worrisome, it’s about idleness:

Still, the party establishment’s greatest weapon – big money – is partly on the shelf. Kenneth G. Langone, a founder of Home Depot and a billionaire supporter of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said he is troubled that many associates in the New York financial community have so far refused to invest in a campaign due to the race’s volatility.

“Some of them are in, but too many are still saying, ‘I’ll wait to see how this all breaks,’ ” Langone said. “People don’t want to write checks unless they think the candidate has a chance of winning.” He said that his job as a ­mega-donor “is to figure out how we get people on the edge of their chairs so they start to give money.”

Many of Romney’s 2012 National Finance Committee members have sat out the race so far, including Peter A. Wish, a Florida doctor whom several 2016 candidates have courted.

“I’m not a happy camper,” Wish said. “Hopefully, somebody will emerge who will be able to do the job,” but, he added, “I’m very worried that the Republican-base voter is more motivated by anger, distrust of D.C. and politicians and will throw away the opportunity to nominate a candidate with proven experience that can win.”

“Republican elites may be on the verge of their biggest repudiation in decades”

Some of those elites want to draft Mitt Romney for another run, and that leaves The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison sputtering:

Bringing Romney into the race would be a terrible idea and would almost certainly drive more people toward the “outsider” candidates, but it is a remarkable vote of no-confidence in the current “establishment” candidates that such an option is even being considered. That they would contemplate a “draft Romney” effort is indeed a sign of just how desperate and unimaginative these people are. If there are party elites that think they have a better chance with a third Romney campaign than with any of the other alternatives available, they clearly don’t think very highly of the political talent of the candidates in the current field.
The lack of a consensus “establishment” candidate has apparently stopped many donors from giving to anyone, and that in turn feeds the overall weakness of the various “establishment” candidates. Republican elites may be on the verge of their biggest repudiation in decades, and they are fast running out of options to stop that from happening.

“A basic responsible concern for the welfare of the country”

Booman Tribune’s Martin Longman thinks normally GOP-leaning big business types may abandon their party and instead support Hillary Clinton:

Another way of putting this is that the political concern is in jeopardy of getting trumped by a basic responsible concern for the welfare of the country. I think we saw some of this back in 2008 when Barack Obama was able to capitalize on a combination of the complete implosion of the Bush administration on every level and concerns about the temperament and suitability of both McCain and Palin to peel off traditionally right-leaning elites. It wasn’t just Colin Powell who defected, but William Buckley’s son and the offspring of Dwight Eisenhower and many big-name investors and capitalists.

There’s a point where folks will actually give up on the GOP and vote for the Democrat, and it’s really not that big of a leap to put your trust in the Clintons. You kind of know what you’re going to get and they’ve got a record of basic competence.

“How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

I think Longman’s hopeful prospect is a bit of a stretch, especially as Donald Trump had a complete meltdown last night:

For an hour and 35 minutes, Republican front-runner Donald Trump vented about everything that’s wrong with this country and this election.

He said he would “bomb the s–” out of areas controlled by the Islamic State that are rich with oil and claimed to know more about the terrorist group than U.S. military generals. He ranted about how everyone else is wrong on illegal immigration and how even the “geniuses at Harvard” have now backed his way of thinking. He accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of playing the “woman’s card,” and said Marco Rubio is “weak like a baby.” He signed a book for an audience member and then threw it off the stage. He forgot to take questions like he promised. And he spent more than 10 minutes angrily attacking his chief rival, Ben Carson, at one point calling him “pathological, damaged.”

Gone was the candidate’s recent bout of composure and control on the campaign trail. As Trump ranted on and on, campaign staffers with microphones who were supposed to take questions from the audience instead took a seat, trying to cheer their boss here and there. The audience laughed at times and clapped for many of Trump’s sharp insults. But an hour and 20 minutes into the speech, people who were standing on risers on the stage behind Trump sat down. The applause came less often and less loud. As Trump skewered Carson in deeply personal language, a sense of discomfort settled on the crowd of roughly 1,500. Several people shook their heads or whispered to their neighbors.

Trump was especially enraged by the Carson’s rise:

“Carson is an enigma to me,” Trump said. “He said that he’s ‘pathological’ and that he’s got, basically, pathological disease… I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease.”

Trump repeatedly said he doesn’t believe there’s any cure for such a disease, and he said he doesn’t believe that Carson was truly changed by divine intervention, as he writes in his book.

“If you’re a child molester – a sick puppy – a child molester, there’s no cure for that,” Trump said. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure. They can’t stop you. Pathological? There’s no cure.”

And yet Carson is doing well in the polls, Trump said in disbelief.

“How stupid are the people of Iowa?” Trump said. “How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

Maybe that was about Carson’s polling, or maybe it was simply that Carson’s book leads Trump’s new book on the New York Times bestseller list. Regardless, a meltdown like that would doom any other candidate … and it may finally knock the shine off Trump’s turd.


“I’m not married to this position, but….”

Meanwhile, at the New York Times think-tanker Mark Schmitt ponders why this year’s Democratic presidential candidates are so old:

Where are the national Democratic politicians in their 40s and 50s? At 52, Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, is this year’s lone exception. Does it say something about the party, or about the generation, that other than President Obama (born at the tail end of the baby boom), national candidates from this age group are rare? If Hillary Clinton is elected and serves eight years, by 2024, the oldest of the millennials will then be hitting their mid-40s, ready to take over. The generation of Run-D.M.C. and Winona Ryder might miss its chance altogether.

Setting aside the fact that President Obama is from the very generation Schmitt claims is “lost” to Democrats, there are plenty of prominent Democratic senators and other noteworthy Democrats in the age range he mentions. But they didn’t want to challenge Hillary Clinton. Schmitt offers no good reason to reach beyond that specific dynamic of this election and speculate about a “lost generation” of Democrats.

But Moe Lane finds a reason … abortion:

Now, to be fair: I would hardly say that abortion can fully explain why there’s a sudden trough in the Democratic trough, there. There are so many other things that could also be factors in the Democrats’ problems, starting with the way that Barack Obama offered up the putative best and brightest – and electorally weakest – of the Democratic party as a sacrifice to Obamacare. But flip it around. Are you going to tell me that Roe v. Wade didn’t have an effect? None at all? Because that sounds even less likely than the suggestion that legal abortion can neatly explain the Democrats’ young-politician problems in one handy nutshell.

All in all: to quote somebody or other … I’m not married to this position, but I’d argue it over a beer.

I suppose that sounds convincing to those who believe italics and boldface strengthen an argument. But speculation bolstered by typography is still paper-thin, as Lawyers, Guns, and Money’s Steve M explains:

Let’s look at the youngest people in the Republican presidential field: Ted Cruz (born 1970), Bobby Jindal (born 1971), Marco Rubio (born 1971).

Do you notice something about all of these guys?

They were all born before the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. That was in 1973, Moe.

Or is your argument that, after Roe, abortion providers culled the field of 2016 Democratic presidential aspirants by going back in time?
Also: The highest-polling Republican candidates for president are a 64-year-old retired neurosurgeon and a 69-year-old real estate mogul? Just sayin’.


“Being against whatever Clinton is for. And whoever she is.”

And because it’s almost the weekend and squirrels like to giggle, here’s a bonus nut from the New Republic’s Elspeth Reeve:

Imagine a police sketch artist drawing a picture of Hillary Clinton based only on descriptions from the Republicans at the Fox Business Network debates on Tuesday night. The sketch would be unappealing, obviously, but also weird and contradictory. According to the collective wisdom of the GOP crowd, Clinton is a power-mad monster who is nearly unstoppable, but she’s also weak. She is afraid of debating Republicans, but Republican debates are making her stronger. She is a hard leftist who hasn’t been shaken from her mission to drive America into socialism, but also a flip-flopper who only recently began capitulating to the left. At one point in the undercard debate, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal summed up the theme: “Look, we all agree Hillary Clinton is bad.” But how is she bad? Let us analyze.

Reeve offers a delightful summary of the GOP’s This-No-That caricature of Clinton, and concludes:

Their bizarrely contradictory portrait of Clinton points to what’s confusing in the Republicans’ own message. They know Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are on the other team; what they don’t know is why the GOP team is better or more noble, or what exactly binds it together. They can’t agree on what parts of the old GOP platform should be thrown out – Santorum says Republicans should pander less to business owners than to the people who work for them, Paul suggests ditching some social conservatism and hawkish foreign policy, Bush says lose the hostility to immigrants, and Trump says cut entitlements. But they do agree on what to keep: being against whatever Clinton is for. And whoever she is.

It reminds me of the GOP’s previous nemesis: the atheist-Muslim-socialist-crony-capitalist-wimpy-tyrant who currently occupies the White House….


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Good day and good nuts