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Chaos Continues As Trump’s Labor Secretary Nominee Withdraws

Donald Trump Shrug

Andrew Pudzer, the fast food CEO who Donald Trump had nominated for Labor Secretary, withdrew his nomination late yesterday amid controversies over tax issues, opposition from labor groups, and accusations of domestic abuse:

WASHINGTON — The fast-food executive Andrew F. Puzder withdrew his nomination to be labor secretary on Wednesday as Republican senators turned sharply against him, the latest defeat for a White House besieged by infighting and struggling for traction even with a Republican-controlled Congress.

The toppling of one of President Trump’s cabinet picks was a victory for Democrats, unions and liberal groups that had been attacking Mr. Puzder’s business record and his character since he was chosen in December. Conservative publications, including National Review and Breitbart, had also expressed resistance, zeroing in on Mr. Puzder’s employment of an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper.

And records from his 1988 divorce, disseminated Tuesday night by opponents, resurfaced spousal abuse accusations that made some Republican senators uncomfortable. His ex-wife had recanted those accusations, but senators from both parties privately screened a videotape from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that featured her laying out the charges while in disguise.

The opposition from Republicans was broad, and the reasons varied. Among the senators who expressed concerns were John Thune of South Dakota, Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Tim Scott of South Carolina, more than enough to scuttle the nomination.

A spokesman for Mr. Puzder, George Thompson, said his treatment had been “an unprecedented smear campaign.”

In a statement, Mr. Puzder thanked the president and those who supported him for their optimism about the “policies and new thinking” he would have brought to the job.

Mr. Puzder’s withdrawal came two days after the resignation of Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. Earlier this month, his nominee for Army secretary, the billionaire financier Vincent Viola, also withdrew his name from consideration, saying he could not disentangle his business connections. And his secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, was confirmed only after Vice President Mike Pence cast a tiebreaking vote.

According to some reports, there were as many as twelve Republicans ready to vote against Pudzer if his nomination made it to the floor of the Senate, but even before that happened Pudzer would have had to make it out of the committee that would have been voting on his nomination. Those hearings were set to begin this morning and promised to be quite explosive, with Democrats bringing up many of their complaints against Pudzer, including the allegations of domestic abuse that his ex-wife made some thirty years ago on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” although it is fair to note that she later withdrew those allegations and has since stated in writing that she made the allegations as part of an effort to gain leverage in the couple’s then-ongoing divorce proceedings. Whatever the truth about those allegations, though, the revelations about Pudzer proved to be one too many and it was clear that his nomination might not make it out of committee with a majority vote, and most definitely would not have succeeded on the Senate floor.

As with the issues that have arisen with several other Cabinet nominees, the information about Pudzer appears to have arisen after his name was put forward by the Trump transition team prior to January 20th and was largely unknown to both Trump and to members of the team assigned to assist with screening nominees. The main reason for this, it’s become clear, is the fact that the Trump transition team did not do very much of the traditional vetting of nominees that other incoming Administration’s have done prior to putting a nominee’s name forward. The reason for that process, of course, is to ensure that the Administration is aware as possible of anything in the nominees past that could put their nomination in peril so that they can either take steps to deal with it beforehand or give the incoming President a basis for possibly deciding that someone else would make an appropriate nominee. This is especially important largely due to the fact that losing out on any Cabinet nomination is something that is embarrassing to any incoming Administration, and especially one such as this one which is quite obviously dealing with a lot of internal chaos that has nothing to do with who the Labor Secretary might end up being.

It didn’t have to be this way. Before the transition process was taken over by Mike Pence, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the group that he was working with after the election had reportedly drawn up a transition plan that included a rigorous vetting process for Cabinet appointments. When Christie was forced to the side in favor of Pence running the transition team, the entire transition plan was essentially abandoned and the process started from scratch with just over a month left before Inauguration Day. Because of this time crunch, it now appears in retrospect that much of the vetting that would have ordinarily been done prior to naming Cabinet nominees was either done in a rapid, ad hoc, basis that skipped over important details or it wasn’t done at all. It’s not unlike how we’ve seen other things done in the Trump Administration as we approach the end of its first four weeks in office. For example, we now know that Trump’s infamous immigration Executive Order, which remains on hold thanks to two Federal Courts, was not put through the normal review process and that important players, such as the incoming Secretaries of State and Homeland Security and the lawyers at the Department of Justice, were not consulted prior to the release of the order, nor were they aware that the order was even coming. The same chaos can be seen in the Michael Flynn affair and the revelation that President Trump and his inner circle knew that Flynn had lied to them for two weeks prior to informing the Vice-President into the loop and letting him know that he too had been lied to. Every Administration exhibits some problems at the start, of course, but the past four weeks seem to make clear that the Trump Administration entered office largely unprepared for the task ahead of them, and there are few signs that they’ve learned their lesson yet.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    All this Trump “Winning” is killing me man..

    ReplyReply

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  2. JohnMcC says:

    Thank you for reminding us the VP Pence has responsibility for the transition. Simple, important facts like that are so quickly out of sight in the rear-view mirror!

    ReplyReply

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  3. James Pearce says:

    According to some reports, there were as many as twelve Republicans ready to vote against Pudzer if his nomination made it to the floor of the Senate

    This just underscores my argument that collaborating with Republicans* is going to be a more effective hedge against Trump than protest.

    We should exploit similar opportunities, and endeavor to create more.

    * And lawsuits.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  4. CSK says:

    And how does Trump address the fact that his presidency is crumbling all around him? He decides to hold a “mega-rally” in Florida so he can bask in the admiration of his slobbering acolytes.

    ReplyReply

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  5. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Er, the GOP opposition to Puzder is due to the fact that he had an undocumented worker doing his housework. The GOP base would have freaked out when it realized that their hero was putting immigrant lovers on the payroll.

    Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions’ track record with minorities was a selling point to the Republican base. The two situations are not remotely comparable.

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  6. cian says:

    @CSK: Never underestimate the American voter. If they open their eyes they’ll see they bought the con, so why open them? The Flynn debacle won’t bother them (foreign stuff) and so long as Bannon and his gang keep pushing the terrorists flooding into the country shtick, they’ll never notice the unrelenting march towards enriching the 1% at the expense of the poor, who have only themselves to blame and deserve everything they don’t get. Most of his supporters are doing fine anyway and won’t be that harmed, or at least, won’t mind so long as the ‘other’ is getting screwed.

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  7. CSK says:

    @cian:

    And to add to the hilarity, Breitbart “News” has apparently sunk its fangs into the neck of its former boss, Steve Bannon, with a report that Bannon is plotting to heave Reince Priebus overboard. Bannon’s furious at Matthew Boyle, who wrote the article. When Bannon was Boyle’s boss, Boyle was the Trump propagandist-in-chief.

    Will Breitbart now turn against Trump? Stay tuned…

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  8. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101: John McCain is going to vote against Trump’s OMB nominee Mike Mulvaney. Thad Cochran is also reluctant to support Mulvaney, and if those two guys vote Nay, Mike Pence is going to need to break the tie for the second time in American history.

    Protesters are interrupting the hearing for David Friedman’s nomination for ambassador to Israel. They’re already in handcuffs and are being led out. Rand Paul again has his hand up, saying “Yeah, I’m not sure I can vote for this guy,” and if Friedman goes down, it will be due to a mostly party line vote that’s broken, once again, by Republican defectors.

    It’s too bad the progressive left is too lazy and too unimaginative to exploit that opportunity.

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  9. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Shouldn’t the not-so-progressive left have sufficient Googling skills to know the difference between GOP sentiments toward Sessions vs Puzder and to figure out why they are different?

    You might want to realize that Republican senators are willing to oppose only some of Trump’s nominees, not all of them. But you’re too busy whining about protesters to do your homework and know the basics.

    And again, you take Rand Paul at face value. How naive can you possibly get?

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    These cabinet appointments are taking up enormous amounts of floor time in the Senate. And in turn, that means there isn’t time for anything else. And so the Republicans are looking to Trump’s executive orders to implement their agenda. Think about that: the Republicans, with both houses safely under their thumb along with a Republican president who will basically sign anything put in front of him, cannot pass any meaningful legislation.

    This is all Newt Gingrich’s fault. Seriously. If we go back before his time, there were Republican Congress critters interested in, say, defense or finance or infrastructure. And there were Democrats in the same vein. And they knew that if they were going to promote their interests over the long term they had to develop a network of allies in both their own party and in the opposition, so as to keep their agenda moving despite the vagaries of one election cycle or another. Reagan wouldn’t have proposed a defense secretary or a SALT treaty without running it by Democrat Sam Nunn first. And if Sam Nunn and a couple of other Dems were on, there would have been a couple of hours of hearings and a quick vote to confirm. But Gingrich believed it was all about Party. And if you cooperated with the Dems you were just weakening your bills. After all, with the Republican Party moving ever rightwards, any adjustment in favor of a Democratic House or Senate member simply meant weakening this.

    So today we have a Republican Party that literally cannot consult with the Dems (lest they be branded traitor and primaried out of existence), or in fact cooperate on anything at all. Years ago if Trump really wanted Pudzer, his Chief of Staff would have horse traded on an infrastructure bill, or a finance regulation and gotten enough Dem votes to push it through. That is an impossibility now.

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  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Pch101:

    And again, you take Rand Paul at face value. How naive can you possibly get?

    So what do you think is up with Paul?
    [edited]
    Ah, I missed the comment above about Paul pretending he had misgivings. I agree. Paul often pretends to be the thinking man (TM) for the benefit of the gullible press. But he always knuckles under in the end. I think that, as hard as it is to believe, he still has aspirations for the oval office.

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  12. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The Master Negotiator really doesn’t understand the first thing about negotiation, does he?

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  13. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Oh for God’s sake. You think that’s what we’re fighting for? The ability to stop one bad appointee so he can be replaced by another bad appointee? Resulting in?

    You’re not really getting any of this.

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  14. CSK says:

    Slightly OT, but Mick Mulvaney has been confirmed as director of OMB.

    ReplyReply

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  15. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce: what, precisely, is the opportunity?

    Right now, the Republicans are marching in lock step on almost every nominee, with only a few breaks in their ranks. They have the majority. So, nearly every nominee gets through on a mostly party line vote.

    I don’t see any real opportunity there.

    The complete chaos and ongoing disaster of the Trump administration and the Republican senators getting an earful from their constituents are the main things making the Republicans hesitate.

    ReplyReply

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  16. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    This just underscores my argument that collaborating with Republicans* is going to be a more effective hedge against Trump than protest.

    We should exploit similar opportunities, and endeavor to create more.

    * And lawsuits.

    You say that as if:
    1. The three are mutually exclusive. They are not. As an example, the ACLU is currently lobbying Republican Senators, deploying strategic lawsuits, and dumping money into grassroots advocacy to build up their ability to hold protests, get supporters to town halls, etc. They aren’t dumping money into grassroots organizing because they love setting money on fire. They are doing it because its clearly become an effective tool.

    2. That GOP Senators who are voting against Trump nominees are doing so purely because something something working together, despite those Senators being very open about why they have opposed Trump nominees. To whit:
    -Murkowski, et al, stated they opposed Devoes because of the protests and calls from their constitutents.
    -The Dirty Dozen against Pudzer have stated they are against him due to revelations about his home life. Nothing about the comity of working with Democratic Senators changing their minds.

    3. That there is some overarching leadership of the ‘progressive left’ that can say “no more protests, now we are switching to lobbying.” There isn’t. The Woman’s March was started by a random pissed off woman. Ditto the scientists march.

    4. That there is a clear cut plan that, if we follow it, GOP Senators will suddenly change course from the last half decade and start being responsible adults. There isn’t. There is only history as a guide. And recent history tells us that protests and obstructionism work.

    5. That your argument has been well thought out and argued. It hasn’t been. Consistently you’ve stated that the left is ‘doing it wrong.” When asked to outline your strategic plan, either you’ve been silent or its come down to “work with Senators and lawsuits,” which is not a plan.

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  17. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Pearce has yet to figure out that one lousy cabinet appointee will be replaced by a different lousy cabinet appointee. It’s not as if we were going to do without an attorney general for the next four years.

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  18. Pch101 says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    That sound that you’re hearing is your comment soaring above Pearce’s head.

    ReplyReply

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  19. Pch101 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Rand Paul positions himself nationally as a libertarian, yet he has to please his run-of-the-mill Southern Republican state. As a result, there will invariably be contradictions between what he says to the libertarian blogosphere and what he does to appeal to the voters who keep him in office.

    Paul blaming his votes on Democrats is ridiculous. Nothing is stopping him from voting nay or present as he denounces both the nominee and Democratic party rhetoric.

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: While I agree that Gingrich played a big role in bringing the GOP to its dysfunctional state today, the Gingrich Congress still had many specific, concrete policy goals; it’s part of what made it possible to pass substantial legislation under Clinton. One thing that makes the current situation different is that in the past eight years the GOP has committed itself to a range of goals that are not just unrealistic but downright incoherent.

    What, for instance, does “repealing Obamacare” even mean at this point? Most Americans who claim to hate the law don’t have the faintest idea what the law actually does. In the universe of GOP propaganda, “Obamacare” is the name of a singular, identifiable policy that constitutes a government takeover of the health care system and which has made costs soar and caused millions to lose coverage. Meanwhile, Trump goes around claiming that he will replace it with “something wonderful” that brings down costs and leaves nobody without coverage–despite the fact that Republicans haven’t come close to coalescing around a real replacement plan and all the plans they have put forth would lead to higher costs and fewer with coverage. So their very description of the terms is pure fantasy. There’s no philosophical debate going on about the role of government, in fact there is no consistent policy position being advanced at all–most of it boils down to hatred of the president whom the law was named for, and politicians hoping to capitalize on that for their own purposes.

    And that’s how they got into the bind they’re in now. Much of their “agenda” isn’t a specific set of positions on the issues but simply a stream of unmitigated spite and hatred. Their challenge isn’t just to implement unpopular policies, but to figure out what policies they actually want to implement.

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  21. CSK says:

    Breaking: Alexander Acosta is Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor. This may not go over too well with the Trumpkins, since Acosta has a history of defending the civil rights of American Muslims. Trump may not know that. I wonder who picked Acosta for him?

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  22. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:

    Feels like a Reince move, but it’s hard to keep up with the Trump regime kremlinology.

    ReplyReply

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  23. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’ve always thought that being one of Trump’s advisors must be like being a courtier to one of those bed-tempered, dim-witted, hydrocephalic, six-toed, grossly inbred European princelings who flew into homicidal rages and ordered the death of the head gardener and all his staff if a flower arrangement was microscopically askew.

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  24. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “It’s too bad the progressive left is too lazy and too unimaginative to exploit that opportunity.”

    Sure. And if the Democrats had only gotten one more Republican vote, they could have blocked DeVos!!!!!

    That is, if you are completely naive. The fact is those two Republican senators were allowed to vote against DeVos because everyone knew their votes were meaningless. If they had actually wanted to stop her, they would have voted against her in committee and that would have killed the nomination. But they didn’t want to stop her — they wanted to look good when they’re up for re-election.

    Same with Rand Paul and all the rest.

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  25. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    And again, you take Rand Paul at face value.

    No, I see him with his hand out and I say let’s put something in it. We don’t need to take him at face value. I think the word I used was “exploit.” Consult the dictionary if you’re confused as to what that means.

    @michael reynolds:

    You think that’s what we’re fighting for?

    TBH, I have no idea what progressives are fighting for. A Grammy for Beyonce? The careers of Bush-era Democratic incumbents? A record year for NY Times subscriptions?

    I’m not even sure we should classify what they’re doing as a “fight.”

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t see any real opportunity there.

    I did use the word “unimaginative,” didn’t I?

    ReplyReply

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  26. grumpy realist says:

    Trump seems to be more interested in talking to people about how wonderful his campaign was rather than dealing with the actual situation at hand. I wonder at what point people around him are going to tell him to put a sock in it and yeah, he won the election back in 2016 but what has he done recently?

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  27. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I think the word I used was “exploit.”

    You are really gullible. There is nothing to exploit.

    Paul was never going to cast the vote that you want. Never. He’s just rationalizing his decision to his critics, trying to blame the opposing in the process. The Democratic dog ate his homework.

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  28. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. I have this mental image of everyone on Trump’s staff, with the exception of Ivanka, Jared, and Bannon, tiptoeing around the West Wing with a bottle of Xanax in one hand and a bottle of Maalox in the other, washing down fistfuls of the former with gulps of the latter.

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  29. Neil Hudelson says:

    @James Pearce:

    TBH, I have no idea what progressives are fighting for. A Grammy for Beyonce? The careers of Bush-era Democratic incumbents? A record year for NY Times subscriptions?

    I’m not even sure we should classify what they’re doing as a “fight.”

    Cool. So your strategic plan is forthcoming anytime now? Or do you need to punch some more hippies before letting us know your secret plan on how we can all do better?

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  30. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    TBH, I have no idea what progressives are fighting for.

    And yet you have the amazing ability to advise us on how to achieve objectives you admit you don’t know.

    This is why no one is taking you seriously, dude. The concern troll act is just puzzling and ultimately pointless.

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  31. Jake says:
  32. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  33. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    My word, McDowell is a charmer, isn’t he?

    ReplyReply

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  34. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jake:
    You do realize that Rasmussen is not a credible polling organization, don’t you?

    ReplyReply

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  35. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    OT…
    Did you see, or read about, the so-called Presidents press conference today?
    The man-child has lost what there was of his tiny little mind.
    Ludicrous, desperate, sad.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Did you see, or read about, the so-called Presidents press conference today?

    I had it on in the car for maybe five minutes and it was excruciating. He sounded like such a wannabe high school smartass. You know, the kid who thought he was coming across as tough and clever, but whose entire spiel consisted of variations on “I know you are but what am I?!!”. And then he started telling us that he would be a “pretty good reporter”. Everything is about him, all the time. He is literally having his kickoff re-election rally tomorrow. But his supporters will no doubt lick it up.

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  37. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Here’s my favorite line:

    “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

    You may now collapse in uncontrollable laughter.

    ReplyReply

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  38. Pch101 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    As the target of the attack was the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue, I would expect the Breitbart headline to be along the lines of “Dark-Haired Terror Suspect’s Plan to Attack Conservatives.”

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  39. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    @Jake:
    You do realize that Rasmussen is not a credible polling organization, don’t you?

    538 gave them a C+ and ranked them as one of the most Republican-skewed pollsters.
    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/pollster-ratings/

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  40. grumpy realist says:

    I suggest that one of the rooms of the White House be lined with a lot of mirrors with gold-leaf frames and someone get sewing up a replica of Napoleon’s coronation regalia. Then we can carefully lead Mr. Trump into said room and lock him in. As long as piped applause is continually fed in and he can continue admiring himself in the mirror as Emperor Trump, he’ll be happy. Then the rest of the U.S. can get on with actually keeping the country going.

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  41. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  42. Moosebreath says:

    @CSK:

    “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

    I thought it was running like a well-oiled salad.

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  43. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Hahahahaa…
    Trump asked April Ryan, a long-time WH reporter, to set up a meeting between him and the Congressional Black caucus because…I guess…she is black too.
    Unfrigginbelievable……………….

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  44. Mikey says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: My most conservative friends loved it. They think he kicked the media’s ass and it’s great that he talks directly to the American people and they believe him rather than the corrupt media.

    The ignorance of history required to see these as positive things, rather than indications of an intended authoritarian takeover of America, is breathtaking.

    On the other hand, research has shown the single most reliable predictor of support for Trump is the desire for authoritarianism, so I guess it’s not actually breathtaking, but predictable.

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  45. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    He’s just rationalizing his decision to his critics

    As the expert on, well, everything, please tell me more about what Rand Paul is thinking…

    @Neil Hudelson:

    So your strategic plan is forthcoming anytime now?

    Neil, I respect you immensely. But I have to say, whenever I –a curmudgeonly blog commenter — get challenged to provide the strategic vision for the progressive left, I do not feel put on the spot or pressured or “Ugh, good one, ya got me.”

    To the contrary, I think it exposes the emptiness of the progressive movement, that deep down, there’s a kernel of doubt, a growing sense of unease that maybe, just maybe a change in approach is indeed warranted and would be/should be welcomed.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but are there not white nationalists whispering in the president’s ear now? Pretty sure that wasn’t happening a few months ago….

    @michael reynolds:

    This is why no one is taking you seriously, dude.

    Sure seems to me like you and PCH and several others have been taking me seriously…even if you don’t find what I’m saying very persuasive.

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  46. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Pearce:

    Neil, I respect you immensely. But I have to say, whenever I –a curmudgeonly blog commenter — get challenged to provide the strategic vision for the progressive left, I do not feel put on the spot or pressured or “Ugh, good one, ya got me.”

    Then you admit you have no point, are unperseudable, and are just being a curmudgeon.

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  47. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Mr. Hudelson is challenging you to put up or shut up because your repeated failure to deliver makes clear that Emperor Pearce is wearing no clothes.

    You’re just whining because you enjoy hearing the sound of your own shrill voice, even when it isn’t saying anything substantive. Mike Bunge has a twin.

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  48. James Pearce says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Then you admit you have no point, are unperseudable, and are just being a curmudgeon.

    No.

    Did any of you see Donald Trump’s press conference today? Oh my god, it was absurd. How does it feel knowing you have built a movement that’s unable to stop this clown?

    Republicans are asking themselves, “When should we pull the plug?” Democrats are asking themselves, “Where is the plug?”

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  49. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    I did use the word “unimaginative,” didn’t I?

    Then, please, regale us with your imaginative solution.

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  50. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Mikey:

    My most conservative friends loved it.

    No doubt. I’m sure they also believe he won the election by a landslide, his administration is running like a well oiled machine, and that he is not a bigot. They also likely believe that tax cuts pay for themselves, climate change is a hoax, and Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
    People like Guarneri are never going to be convinced.

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  51. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Mr. Hudelson is challenging you to put up or shut up because your repeated failure to deliver makes clear that Emperor Pearce is wearing no clothes.

    I am not your Chief Strategic Officer. I’m not your guru. I’m not your drill sergeant or your mommy.

    I am one dude who holds my own opinions and your calls to “put up or shut up” –or as Neil put it the other day, to “STFU”– are not about coming to a better understanding of my point…which according to some accounts, apparently doesn’t exist…or even about gathering enough information to refute it.

    They’re just about getting me to shut up. Real enlightened, guys, real enlightened.

    ReplyReply

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  52. J-Dub says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Trump asked April Ryan, a long-time WH reporter, to set up a meeting between him and the Congressional Black caucus because…I guess…she is black too.

    He literally said “Are they your friends?”

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  53. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jake:
    Here is polling from a far more respected outfit…with Trump’s approval falling into the 30’s.
    Not the comparison to every single other president at this point in time.
    http://www.people-press.org/2017/02/16/in-first-month-views-of-trump-are-already-strongly-felt-deeply-polarized/1_1-12/

    ReplyReply

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  54. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: TLDR : I like concern trolling because it’s much easier than actually coming up with a coherent plan.

    Is this going to be your shtick from now on? You used to be somewhat interesting to read but anymore I just skim your posts because it’s always the same thing. At least Drew and some of the others mix it up some…

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  55. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You keep claiming that you have all of these wonderful, creative ideas. Yet there is no indication that you have any ideas at all.

    You keep claiming that you have a great deal of wisdom. Yet you appear to lack a grasp of basic facts, let alone even a rudimentary knowledge of the political process and game theory.

    The skepticism that you’re seeing comes from the profound disconnect between your sense of self and the reality that is James Pearce. If you were a stock, then I would short you.

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  56. CSK says:

    Robert Harward has turned down Trump’s invitation to become Trump’s national security advisor.

    Is it possible he watched today’s press conference? The one that the Trumpkins claimed was the best press conference in human history?

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  57. Matt says:

    @Pch101:

    If you were a stock, then I would short you.

    HA now I know what happened to TSAR..

    ReplyReply

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  58. Pch101 says:

    @Matt:

    If you are suggesting that I posted under that handle, then you are incorrect.

    ReplyReply

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  59. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    I like concern trolling because it’s much easier than actually coming up with a coherent plan.

    It’s your movement. Come up with your own plan.

    My plan is not low-cost and commitment-free. It’s an unnatural fit for the progressive left.

    You used to be somewhat interesting to read but anymore I just skim your posts

    Is that supposed to hurt my feelings?

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  60. Jake says:

    The Truth

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJf3GwrLAWM

    ReplyReply

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  61. Paul Hooson says:

    Today’s wacky and rambling news conference was more proof of this trainwreck administration and hardly the “well oiled machine” as claimed.

    ReplyReply

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  62. Jake says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    Biggest electoral college win since Reagan.

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  63. Jake says:

    If the vote was today he would win by more. A is A

    ReplyReply

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  64. Pch101 says:

    @Jake:

    I realize that you aren’t bright, but I’m curious to know how you convinced yourself to believe something that is so obviously false. Remarkably dumb, even for you.

    ReplyReply

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  65. Jake says:

    @Pch101:

    Hint Trump won and you lost. Good luck with your hate.

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  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    Still making it up as you go along, I see.

    Trump received 304 electoral votes.

    1988 – George H.W. Bush – 426 electoral votes
    1992 – Bill Clinton – 370 electoral votes
    1996 – Bill Clinton – 379 electoral votes
    2000 – George W. Bush – 271 electoral votes
    2004 George W. Bush – 286 electoral votes
    2008 – Barack Obama – 365 electoral votes
    2012 – Barack Obama – 332 electoral votes
    2016 – Mango Mussolini – 304 electoral votes

    So, as you can see, literally every president since Reagan other than Bush II outperformed Trump with respect to electoral votes by a significant margin, and outperforming Bush II isn’t exactly an achievement.

    You should head back to your treehouse for morons now & reload on more BS talking points for us to eviscerate.

    ReplyReply

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  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    You’re evidently confusing hate with ridicule.

    We don’t hate you. We just enjoy ridiculing you. You’re the guy at the poker table who keeps getting his ass handed to him but swears he’s ahead. That’s priceless.

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  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    Yea, he’s falling apart. A few more weeks of this and he’ll be curled up in the corner & crying like a baby.

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  69. Jake says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    what type of person puts Harvard in his handle. Doubt you ere educated anywhere.

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  70. Matt says:

    @James Pearce:

    My plan is not low-cost and commitment-free. It’s an unnatural fit for the progressive left.

    AKA you don’t have a plan. Well other than concern trolling this site for the foreseeable future.

    Is that supposed to hurt my feelings?

    It was an attempt on my part to get you to realize you have not been providing anything useful to the various conversations that occur on this website.

    I had no idea you relied so much on your posts here to boost your own ego. Maybe you should consider shifting to activities in your daily life for that boost.

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  71. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I wonder, sometimes, if this was the basis for a gamble by Mike Pence. Did he think to himself: “Okay, I’ll accept the vice-presidency, because the odds are that this buffoon will either be impeached, or–more likely–he’ll fold quickly under the pressure and quit, and then I’ll be president without having to run for office.”

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  72. Pch101 says:

    @Jake:

    The right-wing definition of “hate”: Someone who didn’t fail grade school arithmetic.

    Conservatism in the US is no longer a political movement, but just a social club for stupid people.

    ReplyReply

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  73. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    Hint Trump won and you lost. Good luck with your hate.

    You’re not one of those whiners who resorts to calling those who disagree with you’re unsubstantiated assertions “haters,” are you?

    Did you know that Trump received 2.9 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton? There, you learned something

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  74. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    Ooooo, you got me with that one pardner …

    Helpful hint: I’m a white shoe partner on Wall Street, so I have an ego as big as Alaska and then some. Trust me when I tell you that a treehouse nimrod trying to poke holes in it is wasted effort.

    But do keep babbling your talking points. We all need to laugh from time to time. :-)

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  75. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “TBH, I have no idea what progressives are fighting for. ”

    Piling on ’cause you deserve it – I agree, you have no idea. You just have reflexes.

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  76. Mikey says:

    Trump’s choice to replace Flynn as National Security Adviser, retired VADM Robert Harward, has respectfully declined the offer.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/robert-harward-turns-down-national-security-adviser-job/

    Apparently Harward wanted to form his own team of actually competent people rather than keeping loony Fox News contributor K. T. McFarland on to serve as his deputy, and Trump balked.

    Harward would have been one of Trump’s best choices for a cabinet post. Of course, given that few people worthy of the job would actually want to serve in Trump’s utter shitshow of an administration, it’s not surprising he said no within a day.

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  77. Paul Hooson says:

    @Jake: That’s simply not true. Trump 2016, 304 electoral votes won. Obama 2012, 332 electoral votes won. Obama 2008, 365 electoral votes won. Bush 2004, 286 electoral votes won. Bush 2000, 271 electoral votes won. Clinton 1996, 379 electoral votes won. Clinton 1992, 370 electoral votes won. Bush 1988, 426 electoral votes won. Reagan 1984, 525 electoral votes won. Reagan 1980, 489 electoral votes won. Carter 1976, 297 electoral votes won. Nixon 1972, 520 electoral votes won. Nixon 1968, 301 electoral votes won.

    Trump’s electoral college win was only comparable to Nixon’s 301 electoral vote win in 1968 in many ways. Nixon garnered only 43.42% of the total vote, while Trump’s 304 electoral vote win only won 35.94% of the votes cast, as well 2,868, 519 less votes than Hillary Clinton.

    Absolutely nothing factual here suggests any sort of a landslide or substantial win by Trump. He did manage to flip three industrial Midwest states by a total of less than 90,000 votes. But, even that was far below the margins that Obama and many others had won by in the past. With a slightly better effort in the Midwest, bringing out more voters, the Clinton Campaign would have won this election.

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  78. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @CSK:

    Will Breitbart now turn against Trump? Stay tuned…

    Of course they will.

    Because he’s not a REAL Scotsman.

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  79. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    I wonder, sometimes, if this was the basis for a gamble by Mike Pence.

    As I understand it, Pence was simply bailing. It didn’t look like he had a shot at retaining the governorship and Senator was even less likely. He was pretty unpopular in his state. It’s much more likely he simply jumped onto this rock in the middle of the stream and figured he’d improvise once he got on it.

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  80. Jake says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I sure your parents are proud they raised a bully and loser in life.

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  81. MarkedMan says:

    Hooson and Harvard: You’re fighting the good fight in bringing out the facts to show Trump up as lying yet again. I realize you know nothing will ever get Jake to accept reality, but it’s a valiant effort nonetheless.

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  82. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    If the vote was today he would win by more. A is A

    O RLY? :-)

    ReplyReply

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  83. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jake:

    Biggest electoral college win since Reagan.

    Oh…that’s one of them alternative facts the Trumpkins like.

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  84. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    You poor thing …

    They’re dead, but they certainly were. I mean, what’s not to be proud of?

    (Oh, they were Jewish too [like me]! I know how much your people just LOVE my people and all, so I thought I’d share :-) )

    If you can’t handle the deep end of the pool, put your floaties on and head back to your shallow end treehouse.

    :roll:

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  85. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Honestly, it’s sort of sadistic, like pulling the wings off of flies or roasting ants with a magnifying glass, but what the hell, as long as he’s here … :-)

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  86. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:
    I’m starting to wonder if Pearce is a bot.

    ReplyReply

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  87. rachel says:

    @Pch101:

    Emperor Pearce is wearing no clothes.

    This is a surprise? You have seen his avatar, right?

    ReplyReply

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  88. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Thanks for the support in calling out The Conservative Nuthouse. I thought I was the only one doing this.

    @MarkedMan:

    You are right, but both theories could apply.

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  89. Jake says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You’re a fraud .

    ReplyReply

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  90. Pch101 says:

    @rachel:

    I do my best to avert my gaze.

    ReplyReply

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  91. Pch101 says:

    We’ve had 14 elections with 538 electoral votes. The number of electoral votes received by the winning candidate:

    1984 – 525
    1972 – 520
    1980 – 489
    1964 – 486
    1988 – 426
    1996 – 379
    1992 – 370
    2008 – 365
    2012 – 332
    2016 – 304
    1968 – 301
    1976 – 297
    2004 – 286
    2000 – 271

    If Jake received a public school education, then we have a serious problem. How does he not know that 304 is a lower number than 525, 520, 489, 486, 426, 379, 370, 365 and 332?

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  92. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    You’re a fraid :-)

    ReplyReply

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  93. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    Thanks for the support in calling out The Conservative Nuthouse. I thought I was the only one doing this.

    No problem. I shared the link with the other partners so that my peers could enjoy the commentary. I haven’t heard that much laughter since I saw Robin Williams live.

    My favorite one is still:

    He could possibly go over SCOTUS and bring it to FISA Court

    If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear on a stack of Torot that those guys were engaging in caricature, but it seems that they actually are just that stupid.

    :roll:

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  94. JohnMcC says:

    @Jake: Please, please keep going with this. I’ll rush to the popcorn machine! Be right back.

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  95. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    AKA you don’t have a plan.

    AKA you don’t want to hear “my plan.” You don’t want to follow “my plan.” You want to take “my plan” and stick it down my throat so you won’t hear my mewling criticisms anymore.

    Well, Matt, you’re right. I don’t have a “plan.” I’m a network engineer, not a political strategist. I only have advice, which it would appear, is of no use to reasonable people such as yourselves. I must really look foolish now.

    @rachel: I laughed with a snort. Good one.

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  96. Paul Hooson says:

    @MarkedMan: In all honesty, I did make one typo. Trump actually garnered 45.94% percent of votes. – But, I deeply appreciate your encouragement. My hope is that Jake will not always take the word of Trump as the Gospel truth and learn to question some of the myths he circulates.

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  97. de stijl says:

    I just watched the video of the Trump press conference. Just wow!

    Shakespeare had an advantage over us modern folks.

    He understood, like all people at the time, that there was a ~25% chance that the monarch could an utterly incompetent buffoon. That was the natural outcome of the hereditary system.

    Yet not even Shakespeare imagined a character like Trump.

    Unprepared, unfit, thin-skinned, temperamentally unsuited, pouty, simultaneously self-pitying and self-aggrandizing.

    (And I’m not even addressing the insanely weird antisemitism denial and the Congressional Black Caucus exchanges – my god “Do you know them? Can you arrange a meeting?” What the hell was that? Does he think that all black people know every other black person and can arrange a sit-down? Unbelievably bizarre. My brain can’t process his behavior.)

    I’m re-reading the Game Of Thrones books and every Joffrey passage just jumps off the page:

    Prince / King Joffrey = Donald Trump

    We’ve have never had a President like this. We’ve absolutely never had a Presidential press conference like whatever that was today. In the darkest days of Watergate Nixon was never that unhinged (in public anyway). And we’re not even into the second month of his presidency.

    I know that my policy preferences will not be served by this President and this congress, and given the next appointment, the Supreme Court. That’s okay – it’s the nature of the system. I have to live with that – we all have to. Trump won the EC vote and the Republicans won the Senate and the House.

    At this point I’m much less worried about policy preferences than the continued existence of the institutions that stabilize our nation. We have to do our best to mitigate deep damage to the
    country. Thankfully, the utter tactical incompetence of congressional Republicans will hopefully mean there will be less damage to undo. The Russian Connection issue will absorb most of their attention and, therefore, their advantage. It will be investigation after investigation.

    In 2018, the situation will change. Unless this administration rights the ship forthwith, the R’s will get annihilated in 2018.

    The likelihood that Trump rights the ship are as close to zero as to be negligible. He is hard-wired to fail at this. It is inevitable.

    The likelihood that Ryan can manage the House R caucus is zero. It is a zoo. Monkeys flinging poo

    The Senate will be the crux. McConnell is close to powerless and their margin is small. McCain and Graham have already essentially bailed. They are not my favorite senators, but they are patriots, and in this instance it seems like they value their country over their party.

    The smart ones already know that hitching their wagon to Trump will hurt them in 2018. Re-election is the cast-iron rice bowl and they didn’t get elected by ignoring which way the wind blows. Trump is a sinking anchor. The dumb ones will grab the chain.

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  98. de stijl says:

    I realized that it could seem like I was comparing Shakespeare to George R. R. Martin and favoring Martin. Martin gets the modern concept of politics because of the time period in which he lives.

    Other than politics, at which he excels, Martin writes entertaining and competent high medieval fantasy. Martin cannot write a believable female character to save his hide. He has a weird fixation on sigils and banners and armor…:

    Ser Prince of House Purplerain bore a kite shield emblazoned with an ambiguous admixture of male and female carnal symbology in burnished silver upon a field of deep royal purple surmounted by a brace of flushing doves cast from rippling Valyriam steel folded one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine times and quenched in the sacred waters of Lake Minnetonka. Shimmering in the early autumn morning godfingers of sunshine, his prancing chestnut destrier was caparisoned in plate enameled in purple chased with …

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  99. rachel says:

    @de stijl:

    Yet not even Shakespeare imagined a character like Trump.

    Unprepared, unfit, thin-skinned, temperamentally unsuited, pouty, simultaneously self-pitying and self-aggrandizing.

    Sounds a bit like Shakespeare’s Richard II, actually.

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  100. CSK says:

    According to CNN, Robert Harward refused the job of national security advisor because it’s a “sh!t sandwich.”

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  101. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    what type of person puts Harvard in his handle. Doubt you ere educated anywhere.

    Your handle is “Jake” and it just as easily have been “NotAcceptedAtTrumpUniversity”

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  102. CSK says:

    Annndddd…..the next three contestants on Celebrity National Security Advisor Apprentice will be Gens. David Petraeus, Keith Alexander, and Jim Jones.

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  103. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: It’s worth keeping in mind one of the central aspects of Joffrey’s character: while a psychopathic monster, he’s too stupid and immature to wield any real power and ends up as a puppet to the people surrounding him.

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  104. Lit3Bolt says:

    @rachel:

    Omg, this is a perfect comparison.

    Especially since Trump will enjoy his downfall as much as his rise, just like Richard II.

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  105. Lit3Bolt says:

    @de stijl:

    I think Martin tries to write female characters for the times he’s dealing with…remember marriage dramas were de riguer for what was assumed to be women’s thinking for most of human history.

    Now ideally, we should be past all that…

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  106. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Pearce:

    First post: “Let me tell you what you should do.”

    Next to last post: “Don’t ask me what to do!!!”

    Please, embarrass yourself further.

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  107. Kev says:

    When reality violates your ego that rudely, you either have to rewrite the movie in your head to recast yourself as an idiot, or you rewrite the movie to make yourself the hero who could see what others missed.

    I see you as idiots. Sorry trump won

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  108. michael reynolds says:

    @Lit3Bolt:
    It’s not just about gender roles in an imaginary time, most male authors simply cannot write women characters. I’m not sure why, and it interests me because one of the nice things people say about me is that I write women well. In fact, for part of my career I passed myself off as a woman writer writing women.

    I suspect the answer is that they are writing ‘woman’ instead of ‘character. . . who is a woman.’ Specificity creates authenticity and you don’t get to the specifics if you start by seeing a category. Start specific and add gender rather than starting with gender and trying to reach specifics.

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  109. reid says:

    @Kev: Join the club. We’re all sorry that Trump won, too. The man is an ignorant, arrogant buffoon.

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  110. wr says:

    @Kev: “I see you as idiots. Sorry trump won”

    You, like Trump, seem to believe that his winning has some powerful magic now. It doesn’t. He brags about the election wherever he goes, and it makes him look like an idiot — because while winning was impressive in the context of being a civillian, it is not at all impressive once he’s president — because winning the election is the necessary prerequisite to holding the job. Everyone who holds this job has done the same thing. (Yes, with a vanishingly small number of exceptions.) And all the foreign leaders he brags to have also won their elections.

    Winning the election put him into office. It doesn’t define his term there at all.

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  111. James Pearce says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    First post: “Let me tell you what you should do.”

    You put quotes around a paraphrase –a paraphrase that does not reference anything I’ve actually said– and think you’re embarrassing me?

    I thought there was strength in numbers….

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  112. Pch101 says:

    Pearce:

    This just underscores my argument that collaborating with Republicans is going to be a more effective hedge against Trump than protest.

    vs. Reality:

    Until recently, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tolerated Trump’s turbulent debut because they agreed with the direction the White House was heading — or were confident they could nudge it in the desired one…

    …But the newfound partnership is showing signs of serious strain. Growing discomfort about the Trump team’s ties to Russia, daily dramas at the White House and the increasing unrest at town hall meetings with constituents back home have prompted second thoughts about the alliance.

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-congress-trump-tensions-20170217-story.html

    Reality scores another goal against Team Pearce’s hapless offense.

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  113. de stijl says:

    @rachel:

    Sounds a bit like Shakespeare’s Richard II, actually.

    Spot on.

    I’d been wracking my brain for a Shakespearean comparison to Trump and my brain failed me.

    {Mutters to self “Stupid brain”, sticks hands in pockets, kicks rock, walks silently away}

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  114. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Reality scores another goal against Team Pearce’s hapless offense.

    A town hall meeting is not a protest, no matter how many Code Pink cat ladies are yelling as they’re dragged out.

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  115. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Your attempts at logic are on par with Jake’s arithmetic.

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  116. Matt says:

    @Pch101: I always find it interesting and incredibly frustrating that what works great for right wingers is TERRIBLE FOR LEFT WINGERS TO TRY…

    Tea party = GREAT ushered in big wins for the GOP putting them into the position they are now. Granted they did lose out because of some primaries from the right but overall it’s been a huge win.

    Lefties engaging in town halls and protests= terrible because reasons!!!!

    Blocking traffic/people from going to work is bloody stupid but showing up at your congress critter’s town hall and confronting them in an non violent manner is well within bounds.

    It’s clear that the so called “liberal media” is going to try to spin everything the left does as EVIL so people need to be careful. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be voicing our opinion or engaging the system.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/huntingon-beach-police-respond-rohrabacher-protest-staffer-injury

    Is being reported in some areas as the staffer being attacked by a mob that knocked her unconscious. In reality the staffer accidentally hit a 2 year old with a door and then fell while trying to slam the door shut to avoid helping the child or answering questions.

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  117. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    …most male authors simply cannot write women characters. I’m not sure why…

    Specifically, with Martin, he chooses one, perhaps two major personality traits for a female character and then describes what she’s wearing at the time. Those personality traits are then highlighted again and again. Thus the character is brittle and predictable. I swear that Hodor has more depth than Sansa, in this instance, and Hodor only says “Hodor”, but he says it with style.

    And that’s for the major females characters who have chapters devoted to them.

    One-dimensional people are inherently uninteresting and telling us that she is wearing (a la Martin’s obvious fixation) doesn’t make her whole.

    In his defense, he is writing genre fiction and he has about eighty billion characters to juggle. I’d imagine that his writing room wall is dense with maps and Post-Its and genealogy trees.

    Generally, to your point about male authors writing women characters (and the larger point which I’ll circle back to later), I have an ill-formed theory: dominant cannot write minority but minority can write dominant

    In other words, if you are male in a male-centric / male-dominated culture it is damnably hard to write an accurate female character. And if you’re white, in a white-dominate culture, it ‘s wicked difficult to write a believable non-white character.

    The flip side is that is much more likely that a woman can write a believable male character and a Hispanic or black writer can craft a complete white character.

    The minority understands the dominant much more so than the dominant understands the minority.

    The minority has to. It is part and parcel of daily life – navigating day-to-day interactions with others and the institutions of the culture teaches you early and clearly how to get along and what makes people of the dominant culture tick.

    That’s the theory for now.

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  118. Matt says:

    @Pch101: You really should just ignore him. He’s turned full troll (lol code pink reference) and has no interest in a real conversation. I’ve tried multiple times in this post alone to get him to give us somewhat of an outline for what strategy he think is the way to go. He of course refuses to give any real details of his strategy and instead attacked me.

    He might of been a serious poster once upon a time but no more.

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  119. Pch101 says:

    @Matt:

    I’m mocking him.

    It amuses me.

    Pearce is not entirely wrong. Liberals do need to be careful to protest in a such a way that it does not appear that liberals are not just a coalition of fringe groups.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people on both the left and the right and at home and abroad believe that “real” Americans are redneck Bible beaters. We need to change that perception and wave the flag our way.

    The real America tries to inspire and learn from the world, not intimidate or withdraw from it. The real America has been a financial center and technology innovator, and creates much of the world’s culture and entertainment.

    If some right-winger tries to tell you that this country does not belong to you, then kick him in the crotch. Don’t tolerate that crap, not even for a minute.

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  120. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    I’ve tried multiple times in this post alone to get him to give us somewhat of an outline for what strategy he think is the way to go.

    I’ve been very clear that my “strategy” is direct engagement with the political process rather than protest, and turns out I’ve been arguing with people who maybe can’t tell the difference?

    The Code Pink reference is not trolling.

    You’re at a town hall meeting. You have the opportunity to take the mic and ask your rep a question. But if you’re in Code Pink, you don’t do that. You start chanting and waving signs until security comes over and escorts you out. Some people think that behavior is heroic. I consider that behavior kind of pointless, not to mention it’s a missed opportunity and a wasted effort.

    You guys have a different opinion? Fine. That doesn’t mean you’re an asshole. Nor does it for me.

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  121. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Yeah, Rosa Parks was a real idiot, MLK was a dope, and Gandhi had nothing on you.

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  122. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Yeah, Rosa Parks was a real idiot, MLK was a dope, and Gandhi had nothing on you.

    Got any heroes of a more recent vintage?

    Protest is like antibiotics: Overuse leads to a decrease in effectiveness. Go boycott Target over their bathroom policies. See if they even notice.

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  123. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You wouldn’t know an effective form of protest if it kicked you in the head.

    Of course, you have a master plan to make Rand Paul stop behaving like Rand Paul.

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  124. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    You wouldn’t know an effective form of protest if it kicked you in the head.

    Yes. YES.

    Now you get it.

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  125. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s worth keeping in mind one of the central aspects of Joffrey’s character: while a psychopathic monster, he’s too stupid and immature to wield any real power and ends up as a puppet to the people surrounding him.

    Tywin Lannister brought in Tyrion (God bless Peter Dinklage BTW – he always rocks) in the second book to steady the council as his stand-in “Hand.”

    There is no Tywin nor Tyrion nor Cersei in the Trump scenario.

    Trump is Joffrey unbound.

    Thus, Steve Bannon will behead Nancy Pelosi on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    (Okay that analogy got weird.)

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  126. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’ve been very clear that my “strategy” is direct engagement with the political process rather than protest, and turns out I’ve been arguing with people who maybe can’t tell the difference?

    In the Trump America, protest is the soil within which direct engagement germinates and grows.

    Protest is not an end, it’s a means–a means to motivate people, to get them together, to help them understand they are not a lone voice in the wilderness but part of an overwhelming movement, to create engagement. Some people can do that sua sponte, but others need the push. We’re all motivated in different ways, you know?

    And there’s also the bonus that protest lets the Trumpists know there is a vocal and able and very large opposition.

    We will gain political power, in time, but right now we must exercise the voice of those who are out of power and protest is that voice.

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  127. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’ve been very clear that my “strategy” is direct engagement with the political process rather than protest

    What you seem unable to understand is that protests help recruit people to directly engage in the political process. Every protest since the inauguration that I am aware of (have either attended or know people who have attended) has had sign ups for letter writing and phone banking and other direct contact with representatives to put pressure on our elected representatives to oppose Trump in general to friendly representatives and opposing specific policies to less friendly representatives. They all have provided avenues for people to learn how to better directly engage locally, at a state level and nationally themselves and through organizations like the ACLU. Most of these protests had a visible ACLU presence and have been a big part of raising record donations to the ACLU and other groups fighting Trump’s policies in the courts. You want more direct action, you want more effort going into legal efforts, then support the method that brings more people into direct action and more money to fight in court; that method is protest. That you hate hippies and SJWs doesn’t mean everything they’re involved with doesn’t work. Take a moment and take in the arguments people are actually making and look at the effects of the protests rather than reflexively hippy punching.
    As far as making common cause with republicans like Paul, that won’t help in the long term. We might avert one terrible nomination, but another one will follow that will also be terrible and they won’t vote against the second. What our goal needs to be is to increase base energy and activity to drive wins in local and state elections and turn 2018 into a wave election that hamstrings Trump. The only way we get a wave election is to tie all elected republicans inextricably to this dumpster fire and have our people mad enough to turn out in every election between now and then. Bitching about your allies hats isn’t the way to do that.

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  128. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:
    @Grewgills:

    Pearce isn’t one to allow reality to get in the way of a good argument.

    He is convinced that protest only works if it changes the minds of opponents. He simply doesn’t comprehend why that’s a bogus claim, nor will he.

    Instead of learning from history, he’s relying on his gut feelings, which apparently mean a lot to him but aren’t worth a damn to anyone else.

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  129. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    I think there’s a lot to that.

    I think the reason it’s not hard for me is that I don’t identify as white or male. Obviously I am white and male, and I acknowledge the huge advantages those two facts have brought me. But I’ve a had an almost freakishly disconnected life – I don’t have a home town, I have no friends, hang out with no one and ignore extended family. No memberships, no clubs, no sports, no hobbies, no church, no school ties. I have my wife and my kids and any other relationships are work relationships. And that’s the way I’ve always been. I suspect that having no ‘fixed location’ so to speak makes me part of a tiny minority of one, and all people regardless of race or gender are equally ‘other.’

    It’s led to some fights between me and some of the SJWs out there who keep insisting that it’s terribly hard for white to write black, for male to write female, while I keep saying, ‘No it’s not.’

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  130. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    In the Trump America, protest is the soil within which direct engagement germinates and grows.

    I may be wrong and I may be generalizing, but it seems to me that some of the protesters don’t even follow politics that much and that they don’t actually have faith in the political process. Rather than being a gateway drug to more engagement, protest is their engagement.

    That may be unfair to a large portion of protesters at any given protest, but it’s a stereotype I think a lot of people live up to.

    But you have made the case beautifully, and yes, I do know.

    @Grewgills:

    The only way we get a wave election is to tie all elected republicans inextricably to this dumpster fire and have our people mad enough to turn out in every election between now and then.

    Account for the possibility that in 2018, all elected Republicans might want to be inextricably linked to the dumpster fire, and that our people, mad yes, may not actually turn out.

    @Pch101:

    He is convinced

    When you get the offer letter, then you can be my spokesman.

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  131. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: I help my wife with the vegetable garden. Not every seed we plant grows. But enough do to provide plenty of tomatoes.

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  132. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    If you’re going to post comments on the internet, then you shouldn’t be shocked when other folks on the internet have the audacity to understand what you’re saying and dismiss it for the tripe that it is.

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  133. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101: If you’re going to post comments on the internet, you should be prepared to have your ideas challenged (You’re not) and you should be prepared to defend them (You’re not).

    Also, there will be no points dispensed for beating up a straw man. Every time —every time– you start a sentence with “Pearce thinks” or “Pearce is convinced,” you have never once attempted to actually describe my views. Instead, you stubbornly insist on confronting a caricature and you actually think you deserve a championship belt?

    @Mikey:

    Not every seed we plant grows. But enough do to provide plenty of tomatoes.

    Extending the garden metaphor, my point would be that, yes, we need to grow the tomatoes. But we also need to pull the weeds.

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  134. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I apologize for the super late response. Real Life intruded, but this an important exchange to me. I’ll poke you on another thread if need be.

    But I’ve a had an almost freakishly disconnected life…

    I kinda think that that is the key. That feeling of “Otheredness” is the precondition to creating and then to creating something worthy enough to let others see. Obviously, you have to choose a worthy story and people it with true characters. But the impetus would be much less so if the author/creator thought of themself as a safely ensconced member of society.

    Obviously I am white and male, and I acknowledge the huge advantages those two facts have brought me.

    Moi, aussie, but add “single” to the list on my part. I think this is the appropriate time to address the elephant in the room: in no way does being white or straight or male or queer or female or Indonesian preclude us from writing anything we want to, but we have to take great care when we step out of that box.

    Cognitive bias is a subtle weasel with a huge blindspot.

    It’s led to some fights between me and some of the SJWs out there who keep insisting that it’s terribly hard for white to write black, for male to write female, while I keep saying, ‘No it’s not.’

    Keep fighting that fight because it’s important. The implication is that gay white men can only write gay white characters and bisexual Chinese women can only write about bisexual Chinese woman etc, etc, etc. which is rank foolishness. That notion needs to nipped down forthwith.

    But, also, do not dismiss those accusations altogether; that push-back comes from a real space – ugly and demeaning caricatures exist and are still being created.Take care in crafting a character and not a “type.”

    And that applies to all of us doing this work.

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  135. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Trump is Joffrey unbound.

    Maybe…but even Joffrey at his worst never figured out how to do anything with his power beyond killing and torturing people. He had no idea how to run the kingdom, so that task was always going to fall back on those around him. He was like a rabid dog where the only question was how effective his owners were at keeping him from biting other people.

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  136. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    in no way does being white or straight or male or queer or female or Indonesian preclude us from writing anything we want to, but we have to take great care when we step out of that box.

    I’m reminded a bit of Stephen King’s discussion about how he tossed the first few pages of Carrie into the wastebasket and only chose to continue after help from his wife, because he felt ill-equipped to write a book told from the perspective of a teenage girl. Come to think of it, has King ever written a book with a female protagonist since? (I used to be a huge King fan as a teenager in the ’90s, but I later lost track of his books.)

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