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Vladimir Putin’s Stock Is Rising Among Republicans

Vladimir Putin Sunglasses

YouGov’s Will Jordan noted something on Twitter yesterday that is quite striking, namely the extent to which Republican’s have come to view Russia’s Vladimir Putin more positively over a very short period of time:

This is nothing new, of course. I’ve made note of what can only be called a love affair with Russia’s authoritarian ruler on the American right several times over the past several years, specifically here, here, and here. To some extent, these positive views of a man who has denied civil liberties to his citizens, had his political opponents jailed and murdered, who continues to interfere in places such as Ukraine and Syria, and who now appears to have been personally involved in Russian efforts to influence the outcome of an American Presidential election, seem to come from conservative disdain of President Obama that has been so strong over the past eight years that they were willing to undermine his Presidency by boosting Putin. Additionally, much of the support for Putin in the West has come from cultural conservatives who bizarrely see him as some sort of guardian of Christianity largely thanks to the fact that he’s spent the last several years expanding the relationship between the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church, a view that Rod Dreher repeats in a recent blog post.

What explains the recent rise in GOP approval? Honestly, I have no idea. Kevin Drum notes that the uptick in the Republican assessment of the Russian dictator seems to begin around the same time that Trump formally became the Republican nominee, while Paul Mirengoff cites three possible factors including the fact that Russia, along with the Assad regime, has increased its attack on the city of Aleppo, the accusations that Russia was behind the anti-Hillary Clinton leaks that occurred prior to the Democratic National Convention, and the fact that Trump has a positive opinion of Putin. Mirengoff then comments:

The first development isn’t causing Republicans to view Putin more favorably. In a better world, it would cause them to view the Russian thug less favorably. It dwarfs the second and third developments.

The second development might well cause Republicans to view Putin more favorably. If GOP voters believe that Putin was trying to undermine Hillary Clinton, or even that he harmed her without wanting to, they might well give him points for this (though I don’t believe they should).

Evidence of this dynamic comes from another Economist/GOP finding. Republicans now view WikiLeaks far more favorably than before.

In the summer of 2013, WikiLeaks was viewed more negatively than positively by Republicans by a 47 point margin. Now, Republicans view WikiLeaks favorably by a 27 point margin.

This is a swing of 74 points. The swing of opinion about Trump is 56 points (assuming that the pollsters have accurately measured opinion).

The third development — Trump’s somewhat favorable statements about Putin — are also likely to have helped move Republican opinion. Many Republicans have considerable confidence in the judgment of the formidable president-elect.

Party rank-and-file should take the views of their president, or president-elect, seriously. When they conflict with one’s own view, it isn’t wrong to take a second look.

But one can look at Vladimir Putin twenty times and the view should be the same. He is a a thug, a butcher, an aggressive, serial destabilizer, and an ally of Iran.

Whatever the reason, though, it is quite an odd phenomenon, and one that makes one wonder just where Republicans are coming from these days.

Related Posts:

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:

    Can you hear Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan spinning in their graves? I can..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  2. SenyorDave says:

    Whatever the reason, though, it is quite an odd phenomenon, and one that makes one wonder just where Republicans are coming from these days.

    So a murderous thug is now rapidly rising in popularity among Republicans. This is news? I would not be surprised if he is one of the most popular world leaders among Republicans. I sometimes wonder if there is a bottom with the modern Republican party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  3. Dumb Brit says:

    Suppose that is what happens if you vote for and support an Alt-White House.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  4. C. Clavin says:

    The hypocrisy of Republicans is truly awe-inspiring.
    I never would have thought I’d be longing for a former actor with Alzheimer’s to be President.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 6

  5. Pch101 says:

    At this stage of its political (de-)evolution, a Republican is obliged to oppose tax increases, abortion and any policy that appears to disproportionately benefit minorities, while soothing male WASP egos. Everything else is fair game.

    And Putin is actually a good fit for the GOP: He struts around like a peacock while suppressing his opponents as he appeals to nationalist nostalgia and blurs the lines between church and state.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  6. David M says:

    ” today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.”

    It’s not a direct fit, but it’s close enough. If you don’t have any internal logic beyond that, the inconsistencies go away. I kind of feel like the US is starting down a very bad path under Trump, and watching the GOP go along with it is moderately horrifying. Trump is just another example of GOP inability to self-correct.

    NATO becomes nothing but a protection racket where we shake down the other members for cash. Taiwan is just a bargaining chip to be traded away to China for a better trade deal. Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Crimea are given the green light as long as Exxon can get paid. Combine those with Trumps stated goal of forcibly taking other countries oil* and belief that other side needs to lose for a deal to be good…and how far are we behind before we start actually taking actions that would have been unthinkable up though mid January 2017.

    *yes, it’s unspeakably stupid, but it’s one of his few consistent beliefs

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    So is today “We should be terrified of Trump because he’s gonna start a nuclear war with Russia” day or “We should be terrified of Trump because he’s a Russian spy and will not go to war with them” day?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 25

  8. David M says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    They aren’t mutually exclusive. Trump’s only their useful puppet until he isn’t anymore. Then he’s still the same amoral faux-billionare, and we’re supposed to think he won’t totally overreact and FUBAR the situation?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I cannot recall a greater humiliation in the history of the United States. We were beaten by a shambling wreck of a country run by a KGB thug.

    I’m ashamed of my country, of its decrepit and undemocratic system, of the disgustingly debased Republican Party, of the weak and trivial Democratic Party, of recklessly stupid voters and non-voters.

    We will have:
    1) The most corrupt president in American history.
    2) The least prepared president in my lifetime and perhaps in all of American history.
    3) The most intellectually and emotionally unsuited president since what, Andrew Johnson?
    4) A president clearly compromised by, and IMO likely blackmailed by, a hostile foreign power elected by a minority of voters.

    Now we have no real alternative to enduring at least four years of the worst person to ever hold the office of president. But he will never be the legitimate president. Legal, yes; legitimate? No.

    You know how sometimes you get a splinter and you can’t get it out with tweezers? The flesh gets red and swollen, the immune system goes to work, and eventually the system disintegrates and effectively ejects the foreign body. That should be our model for dealing with the foreign body who will soon be president.

    Trumputin should never be accepted by the American people. We did not vote for him, the electoral college did, in part at least because of a foreign intelligence operation run by the KGB thug Putin, the fugitive rapist Assange, and the clueless and incompetent Mr. Comey.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 6

  10. Slugger says:

    Here is how things work these days:
    Some guy sneaks into this country from Mexico to mow lawns for $5 an hour. This is a grave danger to the country.
    The intelligence service under the control an Russian despot meddles in our election. This is nothing to worry about.
    I hope you all get this.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 2

  11. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Apparently, it’s “conservatives make bad points” day. In other words, same old same old.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  12. KM says:

    It’s actually fairly simple to understand: they view Putin as an example of machismo par excellence. He’s the badass they all secretly think they are – the Boss just like they’ll be when they eventually take over the world. These are the types of people who flatter themselves with terms like “alpha” and insults others as “beta” (completely misunderstand pack dynamics in the process). They worship authority and mistake assholery for dominance. He’s Daddy and they love it.

    Once it became obvious Trump was the (R) nominee, it became OK to publicly adore this kind of persona. Previously, there was a social stigma to stating your politically preference to have a Daddy but hey, we’re about to elect a wannabe so why not offer respect for the real thing? An interesting correlation is the group that still uses Commie as a grave insult to Putin-lovers. The fact that he was most certainly a Commie (and still is by their internal definitions) just whizzes right on over their heads.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  13. Lit3Bolt says:

    See Cleek’s Law:

    Whatever conservatives want is the opposite of what liberals want; updated daily.

    Hence all the “Obama should ban the chugging of Draino…” jokes…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  14. sherparick1 says:

    @David M: For 25 years, and particularly the last 3, Hillary has been painted as the most sinister, evil, corrupt, unfeminine woman, in history, who personally order the deaths in Benghazi (or did nothing and went to sleep despite desperate pleas for help (I once pointed out that Libya was 7 hours ahead and that by the time Hillary went to bed at midnight Eastern Standard Time the incident was essentially over, the surviving personnel rescued, and the bodies recovered. He continued to insist she went to bed in the middle of the attack. So if ultimate evil is defeated, all is good.

    Also, members of parties take their cues from their leaders, and Trump is the biggest Alpha male in the Republican universe right now. If he says Russia is good and Putin wonderful, his followers will follow his lead, which is now seen in the poll results.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  15. michael reynolds says:

    This:

    Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in the US presidential election popular vote has soared to 2.8 million – despite her losing the overall election.

    The Democrat has seen her winning margin continue to rise as the last remaining postal votes are counted, more than a month after the November 8 polling day.

    According to the Cook Political Report, Ms Clinton has now polled 65.8 million votes to Mr Trump’s 63 million.

    She now has just 200,000 votes fewer than Barack Obama received in 2012, when the current President comfortably saw off Republican Mitt Romney to secure a second term in the White House.

    Donald Trump, meanwhile, is losing the popular vote by a much bigger margin than any other president in history.

    Analysis that starts with an implicit assumption that Clinton was rejected, need to walk that back because it is simply false. In fact, the American voters rejected Trump. The system elected him, the people did not.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 5

  16. reid says:

    Two things I can think of:

    1. Republicans love a tough-guy daddy figure. Trump also tries to put forward this image. (I think it’s partially a result of taking the opposite approach to the imagined liberal, intellectual, diplomatic, peace-loving, effete image.)

    2. Putin proved that he’s on the Republican team (for the moment). Therefore, it’s okay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  17. Lit3Bolt says:

    @KM:

    It underscores that the GOP, by and large, holds a serf mentality. They worship authority because it will never be used on them, it will only be used on “those people.”

    Trump, and by extension Putin, are being used as vehicles to restore cultural dominance. Rod Dreher is perfectly happy to accept a libertine like Trump and dictator like Putin if it means his religion and culture can be state-sponsored and state-imposed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  18. MarkedMan says:

    This is just further proof that the modern Republican party literally stands for nothing. There are no values, no line that can’t be crossed, no center that holds. They no longer accept reality in any shape or form. The only benefit of the this election is that I don’t even have to pretend to listen to an evangelical prate on and on about how its important our leaders are moral men, or some conservative talk about being tough. Like most people who spend all their time blathering about how important some issue is, who remonstrate all those around them for their lack of backbone, it turned out to be just more BS papering over their own failings. Evangelicals fell over themselves to vote for the most immoral presidential candidate ever paraded before the country, and the conservatives fell all over themselves to vote for someone with the mind and willpower of a teenage boy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  19. al-Alameda says:

    Doug Mataconis :

    To some extent, these positive views of a man who has denied civil liberties to his citizens, had his political opponents jailed and murdered, who continues to interfere in places such as Ukraine and Syria, and who now appears to have been personally involved in Russian efforts to influence the outcome of an American Presidential election, seem to come from conservative disdain of President Obama that has been so strong over the past eight years that they were willing to undermine his Presidency by boosting Putin.

    This truly is a measure of just how deep Republican dislike and disdain for Barack Obama truly is. The bottom line is that they (Republicans) were willing to completely sell out in order to win this election.

    Hypothetical: What if it is disclosed in the next year that Trump is in deep to Russian financiers, and that he knew that there were going to be damaging (to HRC) disclosures that were Russian in origin? Do you think the GOP would initiate hearings? I most certainly do not.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  20. jd says:

    No clue how this happened? As they say, if you don’t see the sucker, you’re it.

    I suspect the Russian chatbots got to work in earnest after the nomination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  21. jd says:

    Missed the link for chatbots.

    Here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Anonne says:

    This election more than anything else shows the lack of human decency of the Republican Party and that ignorance and apathy that enables it. There is no real care for human rights, and now no moral authority to intervene in any conflict. We will stand by as people are butchered and oppressed worldwide because hey, we made it more difficult to have an abortion here. There is not even the slightest veneer of democratic values any longer.

    As to the particular phenomenon that is the subject of this thread: this derives from what I call the “cult of leadership,” that is, that there is no problem that enough American Leadership™ can resolve. Every war is winnable, with enough American Leadership™. Because they obsessively portrayed Obama in particular and Democrats in general as weak and feckless, they elevated “strong” leaders like Putin and now a “strong” leader of our own, despite the fact that he is the most thin skinned ninny we have seen in politics. It is the slippery slope of American Exceptionalism: that there is nothing that we cannot achieve if we have strong enough leaders, that there is ultimately no limit to American power or influence, if only in the right hands.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  23. Scott says:

    Historically, this may be nothing new. During the 30s, the right wing of this country (including the wealthy) were pro-fascist and pro-Nazi. It is a history that is pretty much buried but it true none the less. The 30s also were a time of economic stress (real stress then, unlike today). So I think there may be an historical analogy here. Unfortunately, analogies can only go so far.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  24. CSK says:

    This is not a joke. Repeat, this is not a joke:

    Trump has asked Sylvester Stallone to be head of the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The system elected him, the people did not.

    I think of it more as “the populous parts of the country elected Hillary, but the rural parts exercised their veto power”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  26. Scott F. says:

    @al-Alameda:

    This truly is a measure of just how deep Republican dislike and disdain for Barack Obama truly is. The bottom line is that they (Republicans) were willing to completely sell out in order to win this election.

    I don’t know if the disdain is solely for Obama or toward the left more generally, though undoubtedly the Kenyan Usurper’s election dialed the fever up to 11.

    But, wow, the power of that disdain. Millions of people in this country were willing to throw their affirmative support to a vile incompetent TV personality and then accept getting into bed with “a thug, a butcher, an aggressive, serial destabilizer, and an ally of Iran” just so they can stick it to the Dems and the minority groups they tend to champion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  27. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    This is not a joke. Repeat, this is not a joke: Trump has asked Sylvester Stallone to be head of the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Of the nominations so far, Sly is well above the median in terms of qualifications for his appointment. Perry can only dream of being as qualified to be Secretary of Energy as Stallone is to head the NEA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  28. Lit3Bolt says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Rick Perry got a D in “Meats” at Texas A & M.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. Gustopher says:

    Trump helped them win the White House, and there are credible reports that the Russians were involved in leaks aimed at downticket races as well.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/house-democrats-hacking-dccc.html?_r=0

    What is there for a Republican not to like?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  30. Terrye Cravens says:

    The bizarre affection that some on the right have for Putin is just one of the reasons I left the party. The man is a thug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. stonetools says:

    Putin must be laughing his Russian a$$ off. He got a long shot candidate for President, who probably owes Russian banks millions of dollars, elected President. He has the Republican Party, formerly Russia’s greatest enemy, running interference for any attempt to assess their role in the election. The American public has no idea if what Putin has on Trump ( and he surely must have something)because we relied on “norms” instead of laws to get Presidential nominees to disclose finances, and Trump simply ignored those norms-to the consternation and confusion of the press, who simply stopped asking him after a while. ( HIs opponent was far more transparent, and the press repaid her by hounding her to defeat over non-existent charitable foundation conflicts).

    To quote a line from one of Doug’s favorite movies, Putin has what the Russians have always wanted-partnership with the US government. Now he can go about his goal of reconstituting the Russian Empire, untroubled by thoughts of what the US will do. Next year, look for the appearance of “little green men ” in the Baltics, after he has secured Russian interests in Syria.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Funny how Russia is always the foil of the Party—out of Power. For the Party in power, they are tolerated or ignored.

    At any rate, Im less sympathetic of Russia hacking the DNC and/or RNC. Last i checked those aren’t government entities–each of them deserve any bad press they get. BTW–influencing elections is geopolitics 101. There are no glass houses among 1st world countries because everyone throws stones. This should be a lesson for those 2 organizations to tighten up their computer and communications security. If Russian state actors did this–it would be impossible to know from computer forensics after the fact. Countries mimic the techniques of actors all the time to throw them off the trail. Still think the Sony Hack was North Korea? Ha ha ha. Silly Americans.

    As far as Im concerned, this is not different than Oppo research by the parties against each other. Frankly, there wasn’t anything daming in the leaked emails–other than it showed how elites use their personal connections to position their kids into cushy entry-level jobs. Joe 6-pack does the same for his kids as well. Democrats made a list of strategic mis-calculations that cost them the election. Period. Now if a foreign actors had hacked voting machines and/or supervisors of elections–we’d have a real problem

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I agree that the content of the hacked emails was a collection of trivia, I don’t think the average voter knew that. They didn’t pay any attention to details. They didn’t apply any critical reasoning. All they heard was, “HILLARY…EMAIL”. So yes, I think it had an effect.

    It seems a risky thing for Putin to have done. It was likely Hillary would win. So it was likely the plan would fail and there would be retribution. Why did Putin take this risk? Was it personal hatred of Hillary? Seems unlikely, Putin’s evil, he’s not stupid. Does he have enough of a hold on Trump to make the risk worth while? Is he desperate enough that any throw of the dice seemed worth it? Or did he simply not realize we’d ID the perpetrators?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  34. Guarneri says:

    Well, I’m afraid to go out during daylight since Trumps election. The self preservation instinct is strong, and I’ve taken these dire predictions here to heart.

    But you guys clearly need to move to New Zealand. Pronto.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:
    Of course he knew we’d figure it out, he thinks it’s tit-for-tat as a result of sanctions. He has no respect for democracy so he miscalculated the effect at least at the upper levels of American society. And can we stop acting as Putin is some geopolitical genius? He’s got a piece of Ukraine and an angry border there, a piece of Syria which he is more than welcome to. Had he not managed to install a tool in the White House he’d be a mid-sized irritant.

    What he’s done is fall back on his KGB roots, and as far as that goes he will be legend. Not since the Rosenberg’s has the KGB comes close to this size coup, and I’d argue this is an order of magnitude bigger than that. He has delivered a catastrophic blow to American power and prestige, and he did it without a shot fired, using just the American media and idiot voters to do it. As an intelligence op it was genius.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  36. Guarneri says:

    I suspect Republicans have been waiting until after the election, when they would have “more flexibility.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  37. Davebo says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It’s a Smörgåsbord Stormy!

    Dig in! Peas and Carrots and all that.

    Seriously though, history shows you can troll better than this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. Neo says:

    WikiLeaks claims that they got the emails from an “insider”, while intelligence sources believe they came from the Russians.

    What if they are both right ??
    Is there a Russian mole in the DNC ??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    and one that makes one wonder just where Republicans are coming from these days.

    I’m unsure of where they are coming from, but I know with certainty where they are going: Straight to Hell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of course he knew we’d figure it out, he thinks it’s tit-for-tat as a result of sanctions.

    I think that’s pretty much it. Back when Carter boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, every ex-Russian I knew (quite a few dissident engineers actually) not only predicted that the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles would similarly be boycotted (an easy call, I think most people knew it was coming), but felt it was absolutely necessary for Russian self respect to do so … and these were people who’d fled the USSR because they hated the system.

    As soon as the sanctions were enacted it was inevitable that Russia would have to even the score. If it wasn’t this it’d have been something different.

    In terms of the Republicans I think it doesn’t have much to do with Putin himself; its more like a team sport. Someone who helps your team is momentarily your friend. The second Putin does something that hurts the GOP they’ll be against him again.

    The really interesting thing is how, at least temporarily, the roles between Democrats and Republicans have changed regarding Russia/USSR since the cold war. Or maybe its not so interesting, I guess it’s been over a generation now since the cold war ended, new people have new attitudes. Geeze, I’m getting old.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @gVOR08: Its not risky at all.  Frankly, he’d be stupid not to do it if he anticipated a Clinton victory.   What better way to send a warning shot over the bow of your incoming adversary by weakening them politically in their home country?   There is an expectation of proportionality as countries play this game so the downside for Putin is the US tries to undermine him. Guess what?  We’re already doing that (which by the way is why he’s so popular with Russians).  Much like politicians Stateside run against the evil press–foreign leaders position themselves as the foil of the “Evil USA” to bolster their support.  Arab and South American dictators have make a living staying in power using this technique.  This is a win/win for Putin (whether Russia is involved our not).  He gets to be a tough-guy by poking the USA in the eye with a stick and our direct “boogey-manification” of him boosts his approval numbers at home. 

    The whole Trump/Putin puppet attack is dumb.  Trump is now the President of a country with a larger economy, broader geo-political access, more powerful multi-national banks, and the best military in the world.   Who do you think has leverage in that relationship?   Trump can’t simultaneously be the raging egoist who takes second to no one AND a lackey sock puppet.  Which is it?

    Democrats better get their head in the game–Trump has applied a Chinese finger trap.  Their standard attacks and criticisms aren’t going to work on him.  They make him more popular–a lot like our efforts to delegitimize Putin have made him more popular at home.  They need to go radio silent for a while test out some attack angles with some focus groups and come back with something Trump ISN’T expecting and must scramble to defend himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  42. Mikey says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Trump has applied a Chinese finger trap. Their standard attacks and criticisms aren’t going to work on him. They make him more popular

    Buddy, you nailed it. Even during the campaign, Clinton’s intendedly-negative ads actually boosted Trump’s numbers among his supporters.

    What we on the left saw as undeniably awful, Trump’s supporters saw as awesome aspects of his incredible manliness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    I’ll bet you a dollar the FSB and thus Putin has video of Trump with his hand down the pants of some underage Russian sex worker. Trump is a pig and the honey trap is KGB classic. You think Trump’s smart enough to turn down a 15 year-old who looks arguably 18 when all made up at some party? I don’t. I mean, come on, we the general public have him talking sexual assault, you think it was never anything but talk? You think the FSB in the hands of kleptocrats wouldn’t be looking for a handle on some ass-clown like Trump?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  44. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’ll bet you a dollar the FSB and thus Putin has video of Trump with his hand down the pants of some underage Russian sex worker.

    I’ll bet you two they have video of him with other parts in other parts. They wouldn’t stop at his undersized hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael–you’re a pretty smart dude. Think about it. The time to weaken Trump with the attack you described would have been BEFORE he got elected. He’s now the President. He has control of an global intelligence apparatus complete with spies, double agents, collection platforms, and people that can disappear you.

    HE KNOWS (or will know) where MOST of the bodies on all the world players are buried–he’s now got leverage and is insulated against a simple sex scandal. If you are going to go after a POTUS–you have to come with something YUUGE because the POTUS can retaliate–on a massive scale. Ask Saddam Hussein–Im convinced that his assassination plans for GB Sr factored into Jr’s decision to invade Iraq.

    The sex attacks that can get him would be outright child molestation or if he drugs or beats unwilling/ unsuspecting women for sex. Chump smashing a willing Russian whore–even a teen one–won’t do him in. Maybe if she–or he– were kidnapped and forced to be a prostitute–but its unlikely people in Chumps income bracket are patronizing this low-level of brothel/sex worker.

    No–Trump is like your septic tank pumper. Does anyone care about the morals of the septic tank guy? No–you smell $h!t in your house or see $h!t backing up into the sinks and shower–and you want someone to come vacuum the $h!t out of your Septic tank and unclog any blockages. The only attacks that are going to resonate are those that attack his ability to: “punish” Washington, punish the Finance Industry, and punish Corporations for off shoring jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  46. Mikey says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Well, he’s doing a pretty crap job of punishing the financial industry, given his selection of several prominent representatives of that industry to high-level cabinet posts.

    His blather against Goldman Sachs et al. during the campaign was just a play to get votes. Now he can do whatever he wants and his supporters will still follow, rationalizing away the fact he flat-out lied to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. al-Ameda says:

    Trump is now completely co-opting those conservatives who voted for him but had reservations about him.

    His important (high profile) administration and cabinet appointments are completely consonant with base and alt.right Republican desires to cut personal and corporate taxes, make real budget reductions, make progress toward privatization of social security and medicare, eliminate/replace ACA with a private for-profit system for insuring the uninsured, forcefully address our current (net zero) illegal immigration problem, return reproductive rights to the states, and many many other items that represent a reactionary restoration of bygone halcyon days.

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  48. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Mikey: Then Democrats should be hammering away about how Trump and his banker buds are leaching money out of the real economy to buy politicians and rigg the economy against them. He was the bankers Manchurian candidate.

    In fact, the Dems 2020 candidate should say that BOTH Trump and Clinton were the bankers picks to guarantee the House won….again.

    However, there is a chance that Chump actually does throw bankers under the bus. They stopped loaning him money (right, wrong, indifferent) and forced him to borrow from foreign bankers. He might seek payback. Also, Trump is a construction guy…not a markets guy. There is a chance he favors his industry over finance. We’ve haven’t had a real economy businessman president in a while so we’ll have to wait and see.

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  49. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They have something. It is more likely financial.

    Russia may have lent Trump millions of dollars & helped him bounce back from his bankruptcies.Given his opaque finances, we just don’t know how much he owes the Russians. Of course, the Russians may have other Kompromat on Trump. He loves him that East European tail. That seems to be his sweet tooth.

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