Re: @dscotto10’s GOPocalypse, Part 2: The Upstart – Ordinary Times

Rubio, of course, could have slammed the door in Chris Christie’s face with an ad-libbed answer about the number of canned lines and repeated themes that Christie used (did you know that Chris Christie was a federal prosecutor?), but instead, he tried to “take the high road” and avoid attacking Christie. In other contexts, Rubio proved that he’s actually pretty good on his feet, but in the New Hampshire debate, he slavishly adhered to an overly-cautious strategy that utterly destroyed him.(Here, it is important not to blame Christie; his attacks should have been anticipated and should have been parried.)

A stronger performance at that debate might have meant a vastly different outcome.

Why should the Daddy Party settle for “the Bubble Boy” when they could have “Daddy” himself? All else was secondary, this time around.

If and when the Republicans or the Right or Conservatives, not always the same thing, develop or re-develop a credible praxis for national governance, then one or another individual will step forward who seems to possess sufficient rationality, or to offer a rational choice, along with the requisite phallic energy or aura.

The role of leading the Republican coalition during this conjunctural nadir for it on the national level fell to a towering and bellowing parody of machismo who promised ecstasies of overcompensation: Political-ideological Viagra. Republicanism or American Conservatism has been strong on every other level, and may retain its blocking position on the federal level, but it is specifically and significantly in relation to national politics and national leadership, the positive purposes, if any, of the American state, that its core premises fail or that, for now, its natural coalition fails to coalesce.

Modern Republicanism needs a greater enemy than ISIS or the Clintons to force its factions together and undermine their domestic adversaries. Rubio’s neoconservatism referenced bygone and imagined new eras of dominance, but Rubio’s campaign and against Trump and Christie Rubio himself expressed, embodied, and seemed even to undergo, or perhaps to re-enact, its emasculation.


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President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.

The allegations, if true, would appear to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics, even as US-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million (£8 million) annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP.

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The texts, posted on a darknet website run by a hacktivist collective, appear to show Manafort’s family fretting about the ethics, safety and consequences of his work for Yanukovych. And they reveal that Manafort’s two daughters regarded their father’s emergence as a key player on Trump’s presidential campaign with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.

In one exchange, daughter Jessica Manafort writes “Im not a trump supporter but i am still proud of dad tho. He is the best at what he does.” Her sister Andrea Manafort responded by referring to their father’s relationship with Trump as “The most dangerous friendship in America,” while in another exchange she called them “a perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs,” and asserted “the only reason my dad is doing this campaign is for sport. He likes the challenge. It's like an egomaniac's chess game. There's no money motivation.”

By contrast, the Manafort daughters and their mother seemed much more unsettled about Paul Manafort’s work as a political consultant for Yanukovych’s Russia-backed Party of Regions, which is a subject of renewed interest among investigators probing possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

In one March 2015 exchange that appears to be between the two sisters, Andrea Manafort seems to suggest that their father bore some responsibility for the deaths of protesters at the hands of police loyal to Yanukovych during a monthslong uprising that started in late 2013.

“Don't fool yourself,” Andrea Manafort wrote. “That money we have is blood money.”

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If there's anything mitigating the bad news for the White House here, it is that Comey may have also sent subtle signals that the matters under investigation are not principally about the personal conduct of Trump himself. While this is speculation, I do not believe that if Comey had, say, validated large swaths of the Steele dossier or found significant Trump-Russia financial entanglements of a compromising variety, he would have said even as much as he said today. I also don't think he would have announced the scope of the investigation as about the relationship "between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government" or "coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts"; these words suggest one step of removal from investigating the President himself. If the latter were the case, I suspect Comey wouldn't have used words suggestive of the Flynn-Manafort-Page cabal.

But that's reading a lot into a relatively small number of tea leaves. What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that's going hang over Trump's head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed.

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bob
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+ Yeah, I read C's comments as trying to do a variety of things at the same time, having the effect of making interpretation more difficult. Any [. . .]
Benjamin Wittes: How to Read What Comey Said Today – Lawfare
bob
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+ Sure, so why do they have "work Phones" they take home? Even if they don't have fate of the world responsibilities, who they work [. . .]
Isenstadt and Vogel: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House – POLITICO

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