Republicans Consider Intervention Or Replacing Trump As Nominee

Real Presidential Candidates

While Donald Trump’s act worked better than most pundits predicted in the Republican nomination race, he is clearly not prepared for a general election campaign. He came out of his convention leading Clinton in some polls. If he had stuck to the message given at the convention (regardless of whether accurate) that he is a successful businessman who can get things done, and ran as an outsider against gridlock and against Hillary Clinton and her history of corruption, he might have won. Instead he has made blunder after blunder, leading to the point where Republicans are talking about an intervention, and possibly a change in candidate. NBC News reports:

Key Republicans close to Donald Trump’s orbit are plotting an intervention with the candidate after a disastrous 48 hours led some influential voices in the party to question whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket without catastrophic consequences for his campaign and the GOP at large.

Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among the Trump endorsers hoping to talk the real estate mogul into a dramatic reset of his campaign in the coming days, sources tell NBC News.

ABC News has looked at what it would take to replace Trump:

First, Trump would have to voluntarily exit the race. Officials say there is no mechanism for forcing him to withdraw his nomination. (Trump has not given any indications that he no longer wants to be his party’s nominee.)

Then it would be up to the 168 members of the Republican National Committee to choose a successor, though the process is complicated.

One Republican legal expert has advised party officials that, for practical reasons, Trump would have to drop out by early September to give the party enough time to choose his replacement and get the next nominee’s name on the ballot in enough states to win.

Even if they could get Trump to step down and get another name on enough ballots, this would leave the Republican Party in a very weak position. Anybody coming into the race this late would be far behind on organizing and fund raising. The party would be badly fractured, with some Trump supporters refusing to vote for anybody else. Replacing Trump might be more about preventing a loss of historic proportions and about preserving down ticket races as opposed to actually winning the general election.

It is really bad when the former president from your own party is speaking out against you as George W. Bush did on Tuesday. It is less surprising considering that Trump has (correctly) criticized Bush over the Iraq war and other policies.

Republicans are right to consider dumping Trump, or at least deny him their endorsement, and deserve some credit for this. I wish some Democrats would show some honor in also opposing the election of someone as unfit to be president as Hillary Clinton. CNBC has addressed the Democratic Party rules for replacing the candidate. Should there be more revelations which harm Clinton further (always possible) and Clinton steps down (extremely unlikely), the Democratic National Committee would chose the new candidate.

If Trump does manage to remain in the race and keep the election close, there is another twist which could affect predictions based upon the electoral college. An Republican elector from Georgia has said he would not vote for Trump. Twenty-one states legally allow electors to cast their vote different from the vote in their state, and it is questionable if laws in other states would really prevent electors from changing their vote.

In 1972 one elector voted for the Libertarian Party ticket rather than for Richard Nixon. The Libertarian Party, as well as the Green Party, could attract enough votes to affect the outcome this year with both candidates being so unpopular. There has even been speculation as to one long-shot route for Gary Johnson to become president. If he can win in some states, such as New Hampshire and western states, he might deny both Clinton and Trump a majority of electoral votes. The election would then be decided in the House of Representatives, with each state being able to vote for the top three candidates. Johnson’s hope is that Republicans who see Trump as unstable would vote for him, with Democrats also seeing the socially liberal Johnson as preferable to Trump. It is a real long shot, but so many strange things have happened this year that this cannot be entirely ruled out.

GOP Convention Day One: Plagiarism, Horrors, Nude Protests, Stephen Colbert & Jon Stewart

The first day of the convention did not go well for Republicans between having to put down an attempted anti-Trump revolt, poor scheduling, and Melania Trump’s speech plagiarizing even more blatantly from Michelle Obama than Hillary Clinton has taken ideas from Bernie Sanders. It is quite clear from the video above that portions were too similar to be coincidence. I wonder if whoever wrote this speech had studied at Trump University.

Melania also appeared to Rickroll the audience.

Actually the plagiarism might be a good thing. I see the Trump campaign as being more about ego than ideology. The more ideas they steal from the Obamas, the better.

While this probably won’t affect many votes, it is just another example of how Trump does not seem prepared to run a major presidential election campaign (or be president). Other mistakes included having Melania speak before 11 pm eastern time, leading to many people leaving the convention hall, and probably turning off their television, before the final speakers of the evening.

Giuliani Speech

Melania was preceded by speakers including Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani was terrifying to listen to, and it was even worse in the original German. Maybe they knew what they were doing here. After this, Donald Trump will look sane. While Giuliani looked rabid, Donald Trump made his entrance (to introduce Melania) with his version of an imitation of God:

Trump Convention Entrance

Besides Rudy Guiliani, it was a big night for war mongers, making it feel like Hillary Clinton should have been the keynote speaker. Of course she was mentioned frequently. While the Republicans did a poor job of raising her real faults, they did exploit the suffering of the mother of one of those killed at Benghazi, while remaining loose with the facts.

Other Republicans were on-message for interviews. For example see Steve King explain in the video above how whites are the master race. The Republican world view explained briefly.

GOP Nude Protest 1

There were protests outside, including one hundred naked women greeting Donald Trump:

For Cathy Scott, a Republican, being here is a message directly aimed at her party’s presumptive nominee.

“Donald Trump has said so many outrageous, hateful, inflammatory things,” Scott says. “He underestimated his female, Republican vote. I feel like he shot himself in the foot a little bit. I don’t think he knows there’s a black, single, 35-year-old mom, like me, who is listening to what he’s saying. I don’t think he knows I’m in his political party—and that’s unfortunate.”

GOP Nude Protest 2

Monica Giorgio, a 19-year-old nursing student who came straight from the night shift still wearing her teal scrubs, adds: “Because of his negative views on women. I think this is a great way to contrast that.”

“For me, it’s less about Trump and more about creating positive energy around the RNC and to create light where there maybe isn’t as much,” says Sabrina Paskewitz, 23, a student who’s done nude modeling.

Stephen Colbert turned to Jon Stewart to try to figure out how Donald Trump could be the Republican nominee.

Colbert revived a segment from his previous show, The Word, to explain Trumpiness.

Colbert also took his Hungry for Power Games character to the site of the GOP convention.

Seth Meyers Responds To Giuliani and Walker Regarding Obama’s Love For America

It is never good for a politician to become a frequent punchline of the late night comedians. Seth Meyers had the above response to Rudy Giuliani’s false claim that Obama does not love America, along with Scott Walker’s difficulty in responding to a question as to whether he agreed. (Media and graphic below via Mediaite).

Walker is complaining of being hit with gotcha questions but  he has made two major errors which a serious candidate for the presidency should not have made. At this stage in what used to be called the invisible primary, but now is very open, questions serve the purpose of dividing out the serious and not serious candidates. On the one hand a candidate does have to be able to handle difficult questions, including questions which might not be fair. On the other hand, in an era of 24/7 news and Twitter, it is hard for anyone to go for a couple of years without giving a poor response and seeing it spread instantly.

Walker’s problem is that he has recently given two bad answers which shouldn’t have been that difficult. He will face far more difficulty, and potentially unfair, questions if he runs for president. The worst response from Walker, to me, was on evolution. On the other hand, questioning evolution is a common view among Republican primary votes so it might not hurt him. The Democrats are not effective enough politically to capitalize on that in a general election.

The question of whether Obama loves America was also not difficult. Other Republicans have given answers along the lines that Obama loves America but his policies are bad for America. Obviously I disagree, but I see that as a good answer politically for a Republican. Most of the base will not object as they are still critical of Obama, and sane people will not see them as kooks for saying this.

It is still early and I doubt that this will be enough to derail Walker’s campaign. Plenty of other candidates will have bad moments before the first primary. This will only hurt if it is a trend which continues, in which case many Republicans will question whether he is ready for a national presidential campaign. If he continues to make such unforced errors, this will start to become how Walker is known by the general public and the campaign sign made by Seth Meyers will then stick:

Scott Walker I Dunno

Poor Endorsement For Romney From Giuliani

It looks like mayors from the east make poor surrogates. Rudy Giuliani had his Cory Booker moment today on CNN”s State of the Union:

“Well, I mean, there’s a certain amount of personal ego in that — at that point, I was probably comparing his record to my record,” he said about his dings at Romney. “And maybe it was circumstances or whatever, but I had massive reductions in unemployment. He had a reduction in unemployment of about 8,10 percent — I think it was 15 percent. I had a reduction of unemployment of 50 percent. He had a growth of jobs of about 40,000; we had a growth of jobs of about 500,000. So I was comparing what I thought was my far superior record to his otherwise decent record. … That’s all part of campaigning.”

The spring, before many are paying attention, is providing both campaigns with a period in which to look at potential surrogates and decide who might be helpful to the campaign. Of course Giuliani is generally a more effective speaker when ranting against liberalism, especially when he delivers his speeches in the original German.

Rick Santorum Becomes Eleventh Candidate To Lead GOP In Polls With Mitt Romney Severely Facing Problems

Although the conventional wisdom has been that Mitt Romney is the probable Republican nominee, he is certainly having a hard time establishing himself as a front runner. Before today’s poll came out, Nate Silver listed ten previous front-runners  in alphabetical order, including some Republicans who led in the polls without being a declared candidate: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. Today, Public Policy Polling makes Rick Santorum the eleventh. Santorum leads at 38 percent. Romney trails at 23 percent, with Gingrich at 17 percent and Ron Paul at 13 percent.

Rick Santorum does even better if he does not have to divide he conservative vote with Newt Gingrich. If Gingrich were to drop out, the poll shows that 58 percent of his supporters would go to Santorum. In a such a three way race, Santorum get to 50 percent, while Romney would be at 28 percent and Paul at 15 percent.

Leadership in the GOP race has not meant very much to date, but falling behind at this stage does create problems for Romney. He might go negative against Santorum as he did against Gingrich, but his negative ads are starting to backfire. Some suggest that instead of going negative against Santorum, Romney must convert to a positive campaign. I’m not sure how a man who lacks any core beliefs or convictions can do this.  His strongest pitch is that he can make up the biggest lies about Barack Obama.

The Maine caucuses conclude tonight with a two-man race between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. There is speculation that Paul might be able to pull an upset victory. If you cannot beat a crackpot like Ron Paul, it is hard to see victory for the nomination as inevitable.

There’s another potential embarrassment for Romney. Public Policy Polling is also seeing the start of a surge for Santorum in Michigan. A loss in Michigan would be devastating to Romney, both for losing his home state and because of reinforcing Santorum’s dominance over Romney in the Midwest. Perhaps Romney will try to flip-flop on having been born and raised in Michigan. Would Mitt Romney’s birth certificate then become an issue?

CPAC is also conducting their straw poll. To paraphrase Jay Leno, Romney is promising to change his views to whatever views CPAC members desire. Romney pandered before them, claiming to be “severely conservative.” The word severe might sound out of place here, unless you see it as an honest admission from Romney, such as “I am severely insane” or, at very least, “I am severely out of touch with the voters of this country.”

Rudy Giuiliani Had Same Mind Wiping As Dana Perino

It was bad enough when former Bush press secretary Dana Perino claimed, “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term.” After all, anyone speaking for George Bush couldn’t be expect to have that great a grasp on reality. What is surprising is that Rudy Giuliani made the same mistake. That’s Rudy Giuliani, who can hardly say a sentence which is not made up of a a noun, a verb, and 9/11. That’s Rudy Giuliani, who has to wear depends because he pees in his pants every time anyone looking vaguely like they might be a Muslim walks by.

Giuliani must have lost hims memory as on Good Morning America he said, “What he [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did — one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.”

His spokesman tried to clarify this:

The Mayor’s spokesman says that the remark “didn’t come across as it was intended” and that Giuliani was “clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil.”

There’s three problems with this. First, it is not what Giuliani said. Second, it hardly makes sense to ignore the big one. Third, it is not even true when limited to post-9/11. There were the more prominent examples such as the anthrax attacks, the DC Sniper, and Richard Reid, along with a number of less discussed examples such as this.

Guiliani May Run For Senate


The New York Daily News reports that authoritarian war monger Rudy Guiliani plans to announce that he will not be running for Governor of New York as many have speculated. They report that instead he will announce plans to run for the Senate. A Senate seat might be used as a spring board for a future presidential run.

There’s no word as to whether Giliani’s announcement will be in English or German. The speeches he gave at the Republican National Convention in 2004, along with many of his subsequent speeches, did sound much better in the original German.

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Sarah Palin Used To Support “Death Panels” (If She Is Being Honest Today)

Add Sarah Palin to the list of Republicans who have flip-flopped on end of life counseling. Yesterday I noted that Newt Gingrich supported end of life counseling similar to that which is in the House health care reform bill in an article in July but now claims this would bring about “death panels.” Think Progress has found that Sarah Palin had endorsed this type of counseling back in April, 2008.

Either Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are former supporters of “death panels” or they are being dishonest now in claiming that this is what is contained in the House bill.

Think Progress also reports that Rudy Giuliani is the latest demagogic  Republican to claim that the bill will lead to “death panels.”

Republicans are willing to fabricate any claims in their attempts to stop health care reform. The fact that they resort to such fabrications rather than discussing the real content of the health reform legislation is good evidence that they realize the American people would never agree with the Republicans in an honest discussion of health care reform.

Obama and Drug Policy

NORML provides an unfortunate progression in Barack Obama’s statements on drugs:

“The war on drugs has been an utter failure. … (W)e need to rethink and decriminalize our (nation’s) marijuana laws.”
-Barack Obama, January 2004 (Watch the video here.)

“I inhaled frequently, that was the point.”
-Barack Obama, November 2006 (Watch the video here.)

Q: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?”

A: “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”
-Statement from, the official website of President-Elect Obama, December 15, 2008

I’m not at all surprised that Barack Obama is not publicly coming out in favor of legalization of marijuana at this time. What is said now and what happens over the next four or eight years is a different matter. It is premature for titles such as the one at Talk Left which reads Another Change You Won’t See From Obama. He hasn’t even taken office yet. It is too early to say with certainty which changes we will see.

Most likely we will not see legalization of marijuana and a total end to the drug war in the next eight years, but a brief denial of interest in such a controversial subject at this time can not be taken an absolute prediction of what will happen. More importantly we are likely to see more progress in reforming drug policy than we would see if Hillary Clinton had received the nomination, and see a considerable improvement over the status quo.

After the selection above, NORML also quotes Obama on medical marijuana:

In fact, Obama essentially said as much earlier this year when asked about the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Obama: “When it comes to medical marijuana, … my attitude is if it is an issue of doctors prescribing marijuana, … I think that should be appropriate. … Whether I want to use a whole lot of political capital on (this) issue; the likelihood of that being real high on my priority list is not likely.” (Watch the video here.)

This is not going to be overly exciting to those who rank legalization of marijuana as a top issue, but this leaves open a far greater chance of at least seeing legalization of medical marijuana than under the Republicans. At least we are likely to see an end to the type of insanity I reported here and here.

Under the Bush administration the federal government has ignored Republican principles of federalism by using the DEA to take action against those using medical marijuana even in states where it is legal. Obama was the strongest opponent of this policy of the major candidates this year. Last year I linked to videos showing the major Republican candidates dodging the question or outright supporting continuation of the raids on marijuana clinics and arrests of patients.

While the greatest differences between the candidates was between the major Democratic and Republican candidates, there were also significant differences between Obama and Clinton on drug policy. For example, Obama has supported needle exchange programs while Clinton has been opposed. They also differed on the drug war with Obama supporting sentencing reform which Clinton opposed.

It is disappointing that Obama is not going further on drug policy, but he is also the best candidate we were likely to see elected. We will still need to push Obama on this issue. It is understandable that this is not at the top of his priority list, but he is sympathetic to scaling back the drug war and making real changes. There is also hope that once his presidency is more firmly established he might be willing to go even further than he is at present.

Don’t Panic About Palin 2012–Yet

The winner of the 2008 election hasn’t even taken office yet but CNN is already polling for 2012. The results:

  1. Mike Huckabee – 34%
  2. Sarah Palin – 32%
  3. Mitt Romney – 28%
  4. Newt Gingrich – 27%
  5. Rudy Giuliani – 23%
  6. Bobby Jindal – 19%
  7. Charlie Christ – 7%

Note even all conservatives are thrilled with this. Hot Air writes, “Tough choice. Do we go with the blue-collar populist social con who’s soft on immigration? Or do we go with Huckabee?”

Fortunately a poll this far before 2012 is primarily a test of name recognition and has little predictive value with regards to who will actually win. After the 2000 election Joe Lieberman led many polls for Democratic nominee in 2004 due to having been on the ticket, but he went nowhere once people actually started campaigning and voting. Having been on the ticket in 2004 didn’t help either John Kerry or John Edwards compete in 2008.

What is distressing is that sixty-six percent support the top two candidates who are from the religious right. Huckabee, who does have increased name recognition after running in 2008 even edges out Palin (but within the margin of error). The rest aren’t exactly social liberals either (considering the compromises Giuliani made in running this year). As I discussed yesterday, the religious right is currently the base of the GOP. A candidate they support will receive a boost in support, but also alienate far too many people for such a candidate to be likely to be viable in a national election.