Weird Wacky Whipsaw Week Open Thread

The big story kicking off this week — putting aside the Middle East and the Trump Organization trial — was that a New York Times poll showed that Trump would defeat Biden in each of the five battleground state that Biden won in 2020 except for Wisconsin. This would very likely doom Biden’s chances in the 2024 election, leading many Democrats to conclude that Biden was too old to win against a man three years his junior, and leading them to adopt Letitia James’s desired penalty in the Trump civil case — disgorgement — although in this instance it did not refer to ill-gotten gains from fraudulent representations but everything they had eaten for the past two days and portions of their lungs. The presumption that Trump would lose if “he knocked off a bank,” to use a phrase that Doonesbury applied to Richard Nixon during Watergate 50 years ago, had lost its power: Trump essentially did that by lying about his personal loan guarantees and property valuations in order to get more favorable interest rates, and yet here he reportedly was, positioned to win.

The problem for Biden is that especially young voters want him (1) to live up to his promises regarding matters like climate change and immigration and (2) want him to stop funding war crimes in Gaza (and, less vividly at the moment, the West Bank. The problems for Biden on climate change and immigration is that (a) he doesn’t have control of the legislative branch to get the legislation he would want, and (b) he doesn’t have control of the Judicial branch, which keeps on ordering to comply with rotten obligations persisting from the Trump administration. This is hard for people to understand — especially when we can all see that if Trump were the one facing them, he would just spit on the obligations, and then stomp on them, and then some other stuff I’m not going to describe. The problem with cutting off all aid to Israel is that hardcore Zionist Jews and Christians have way more power in our political system than do Muslims and progressives — both when it comes to funding and institutional influence — and doing what Biden threatens to do could cost him the election. So in his caution, Biden has managed to fall way behind in Michigan with both Muslim voters (because he won’t enforce international law) AND strong Zionist voters (because he is pressuring Israel not to break international law — which is quite the feat. The thinking has been that both groups will probably return to Biden once they focus on the constitutional democratic republic challenges raised by resuscitating Trump, but — WILL THEY, though?

So Sunday and Monday and the first half of Tuesday were dark times for Democrats. And then, in Tuesday’s smattering of state elections, Democrats clobbered Republicans all over the place, so badly that the “bolt from the blue” alternative moderate-ish Republicans had been hoping would step into the race and coalesce opposition to Trump, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (right) — lost all of its power. (Trump is, without a doubt, the luckiest Presidential sumbitch since Ronald Reagan, and my hat is off to the fleet of demons to which he has pretty obviously sold his soul.) So now Republicans are sweating because it looks like opposing almost all abortion is not the popular move they assumed it would be and they are in trouble. (The bad news is that the Supreme Court could make this all go away by declaring fetuses “persons” under the Fourteenth amendment — which would be nonsense, as if that would stop them — and therefore the only way to get abortion back would be to retake the Supreme Court, which does not seem likely until Justices Alito and Thomas are gone, itself unlikely because did I already mention demons?

Before I go, I want to make one important point about biased media coverage — biased, in this case, against Vivek Ramaswamy.

In the Presidential debate presumptive Republican nominee (if Trump craters) Nikki Haley said to Vivek Ramaswamy “you’re just scum” because, she said, he had attacked her daughter for using TikTok.

No. He was attacking Haley for being a hypocrite!

Let’s review: Haley had previously attacked Ramaswamy for campaigning on TikTok, which she apparently believed was “undignified” or “appealing to young people” or “of Chinese origin” (which it was, but is now only 20% owned by Chinese company ByteDance) or some other such insinuation. Ramaswamy defended TikTok on the grounds that Haley was and old fart who was not appealing to the young people, and that her own 12-year-old daughter had been using TikTok for at least several months.

Now think about that for a moment.

Was Ramaswamy attacking Haley’s daughter for using TikTok — which he thinks is good? Obviously not.

Was he attacking Haley for letting her daughter use TikTok? Maybe — but not likely.

Is attacking someone for using TikTok while they let their own pre-teen daughter use TikTok, if it’s so awful, hypocritical?


And yet somehow, Haley — with startling quick-wittedness — not only turned this implicit attack on her (Ramaswamy had someone not managed to spit out the word “hypocrite” before he was verbally knifed) as an attack on her daughter — oddly enough, by paraphrasing Will Smith’s thread before he got up and slapped Chris Rock!), but she got all of the late-night shows and (less importantly) the whole rest of the world to buy the slick spin swirlie that Ramaswamy attacked her daughter! (Calling him a “scum” was, it must be admitted, true — but that’s not because of this!)

Anyway, keep a close eye on this one, because she is a total ninja who can emerge from the arterial spray wide-eyed and clutching a posey of daisies. And that might be why the media is buying her take on this attack — because they desperately want a Republican who is not Donald Trump to have to chance to win the nomination, and after Wednesday night she is pretty clearly their best hope. And oddly enough, I think that Biden would stack up against her better than Kamala Harris would. While Kamala is smart enough she is not the verbal jouster that Biden has shown he can still be at his best — and, in fact, is does not have much in the way of chops at all when it comes to improvisational wit. (Remember what Tulsi Gabbard did to her in the first Democratic Presidential debate in 2020, spewing rapid-fire attacks at her until she looked like Lucille Ball fake-crying. Kamala needs set-pieces, like her “and that little girl was me” attack on Biden in that debate — and Haley black-belt Mean Girl skills would lacerate her into ribbons.

(And don’t get started on talk about Gavin Newsom stepping in. He cannot run for President until his ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle — Donald Jr.’s fiancé! — loses both her shouting voice and her sex-appeal.)

Haley will be tough to beat — even though she’s a warmongering corporado fake-moderate fake-fiscal conservative who is out of step with both her base and social policy — and I’m not sure what Democrat (who hasn’t already been President or is Bernie Sanders) could keep up with her. Maybe it is time for Amy Klobuchar after all!

Anyway, this is your Open Thread, and we hope you act nicely, keep it non-destructive, and enjoy it! Otherwise, you’ll get — plagued by demiurges! Worse, demiurges using TikTok!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)