A Governor Breaks Up With Trump
Sanctions for genocide?
“This is how the Russian state will now be perceived. This is your image. Your culture and human appearance perished together with the Ukrainian men and women to whom you came.” —Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
As the world learns of the magnitude of Russian atrocities in Bucha, a reminder:
Responding to the images from Bucha, at least three top European officials — European Council President Charles Michel, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and the European Union’s economic commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni — said they planned to impose tighter economic sanctions against Russia.
A fundamental problem, however, remains the billions of dollars’ worth of Russian oil and gas that the world continues to buy, giving the Kremlin a direct financial lifeline.
A thought: Perhaps acts of genocide require a more robust response than economic sanctions.
The Trump joke
There is a widely circulated, but likely apocryphal, story that Trump was inspired to run for president after he was mocked and humiliated by Barack Obama1 at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
“On that night, Trump’s own sense of public humiliation became so overwhelming that he decided, perhaps at first unconsciously, that he would, somehow, get his own back — perhaps even pursue the Presidency after all, no matter how nihilistically or absurdly, and redeem himself.”
Ah, well, perhaps not. The story is thinly sourced and likely an exaggeration. But Trump is a narcissist, and it’s fair to say that very few narcissists enjoy being laughed at, or made the butt of jokes. Whatever the political fallout from the night, it is not unreasonable to assume that a good time was not had by The Donald as he was repeatedly skewered not only by the sitting president of the United States, but also by comedian Seth Meyers, who wielded a scalpel that was unusually sharp for such events.
Indeed, Meyers joked about Trump being a joke (“Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican — which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke”) . . . which in retrospect is both ironic and morbidly funny.
I mention all of this as background for this weekend’s interlude of Trump-based humor. ICYMI: New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu roasted Trump at Saturday’s Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C., although “roasted” may too tepid a word.
'You know, he's probably going to be the next president,' Sununu said of Trump, before going on to sarcastically comment on the ex-president's 'experience' and 'sense of integrity.'
'Nah, I'm just kidding!' Sununu broke out and was met with laughter before saying' 'He's f***ing crazy!'
'Are you kidding?! Come on. You guys are buying that? I love it,' he continued. 'He just stresses me out so much.
'I'm going to deny I ever said it,' Sununu said of his comments about Trump.
He also clarified: 'I don't think he's so crazy he should be in a mental asylum. But if he's in one, he's not getting out.'
Unlike the 2011 dinner, Trump was not in attendance. But I think it’s fair to assume that he’ll hear about it. And this:
Also at the dinner, Sununu told a story about a time Trump visited his state of New Hampshire and invited him for a ride in The Beast.
During their discussion, Trump stopped talking and pointed out the window at people lining the road holding American flags.
He said: 'They love me,' according to the GOP governor.
Sununu said the only problem was that the man the then-president was pointed at was holding a sign that read, 'F*** TRUMP.'
Exit take: It was just a joke, right? But, if history is any guide, the Orange God King will be not amused.
As for Sununu and Trump? In the immortal words of Taylor Swift: "We Are Never Getting Back Together Again.”
Update on the Anti-Anti-Putin Right
Confronted with the grim consequences of their Putin-ophilia, conservatives held an “emergency summit” in D.C. to rethink their position on Russia and Ukraine.
Just kidding. They doubled down.
[Joe] Kent is a 41-year-old former Green Beret running for Congress against Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler — one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in 2021 over the Jan. 6 insurrection.
By contrast, Kent, who has received Trump’s endorsement and received financial support from Peter Thiel and Stephen Wynn, spoke at the “Justice for J6” rally in September in Washington, where he declared, “It’s banana republic stuff when political prisoners are arrested and denied due process.” He says that he is running against “the establishment” and frequently appears on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show and Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast.
Addressing the conference via video, Kent explained, “Our political establishment is dead set on driving us into a catastrophic conflict with Russia.” More lethal aid to Kyiv and cyberattacks on Russia are a path to war.
“We must be pragmatic,” he said. His pragmatism appears to consist of granting Putin what he covets: “Putin has laid out what he wants in Ukraine — a decent starting point,” and his demands for control over Donetsk and Luhansk are “very reasonable.”
The circle is complete
“Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big,” Trump said in a statement Sunday. “Now, it’s my turn!”
Interesting factoid: There are more than 50 candidates in the race.
ICYMI: From Sunday’s Morning Shots:
Once the most embarrassing figure in the GOP, Sarah Palin looks around her — sees Matt Gaetz, MTG, Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, and TFG — and says to herself: I’ll fit right in here.
And she’s not wrong.
The SAT Isn’t What’s Unfair
But the income-related disparities we see in SAT scores are not evidence of an unfair test. They are evidence of an unfair society. The test measures differences in academic preparedness, including the ability to write a clear sentence, to understand a complex passage, and to solve a mathematical problem. The SAT doesn’t create inequalities in these academic skills. It reveals them. Throwing the measurement away doesn’t remedy underlying injustices in children’s academic opportunities, any more than throwing a thermometer away changes the weather.
Why the Dems failed to modernize elections
Insider look by the Intercept on Congress’s botched efforts to increase election funding. “At the center of the failure was the Brennan Center, which bucked local election officials and told Congress to focus on matters other than election funding.”
In a letter sent to congressional leadership in late July, a coalition of 19 national advocacy groups, including the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Mi Familia Vota, urged Congress to allocate $20 billion for election infrastructure, citing the hundreds of local election officials, mayors, and secretaries of state who had begged for that amount earlier in the month. “As the individuals and leaders closest to the administration of fair and secure elections, they have collectively called for federal support in meeting the immense needs they face,” the national groups wrote. “We write to add our voices to that important ask.”
The Brennan Center declined to sign.
“It was one of the most jaw-dropping moments of my professional life,” said one election reform lobbyist whose organization signed the letter and who requested anonymity to describe the coalition’s private discussions.
Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center, said his organization “felt that the dollar amount that the letter was asking for did not make sense based on our expertise and research and policy analysis … that it was too much,” though he could not say what a better figure would be…
The timing of the ask also didn’t strike them as appropriate, Waldman said. “It was in the heat of the fight for the [For the People] Act, which we regard as the most important voting rights legislation in half a century. … I thought that [the request] was a distraction and a detour from the very hard fight needed to pass voting rights legislation.”..
Speaking of moving Dems to the center
Via Politico: “Adams makes the case for a centrist approach to national crime wave.”
NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday painted himself as a compassionate but tough-on-crime Democrat as he looks to build his national profile amid a rise in gun violence across American cities….
Adams has declared himself the “new face of the Democratic Party,” and a model for how the party could reclaim an authoritative position on public safety issues that Republicans tend to dominate.
1. David Perdue, Trump’s Sacrificial Lamb
He’s killing his career in honor of Trump’s election grievances, writes Amanda Carpenter.
The thing about sacrificial lambs is that they can only be sacrificed once. What makes David Perdue’s political career unique is that, in honor of Donald Trump’s 2020 election grievances, Perdue is killing it twice.
2. Hungary’s Autocrat Orbán Fends Off Opposition Challenge
For Orbán’s American fellow travelers—some of whom have been grappling awkwardly with their movement’s kind words for Vladimir Putin—Orbán’s victory will be taken as a confirmation that he is the man of the moment. Here, for example, is Rod Dreher:
Never mind that on the issue animating and uniting the West right now, Putin’s invasion of Hungary’s neighbor, Orbán has been very far from the Western mainstream. Never mind that, within Hungarian history, the populist (népi) tradition that Orbán claims to represent frequently saw itself at odds with the West—even in a time when no one talked about transgender issues.
“Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald,” Obama said. “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
“But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ — at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.”