Last week at this time we were all fretting over a fresh (and rather fragrant) New York Times poll suggesting Donald Trump had pulled ahead of President Joe Biden in several key swing states. This Sunday, we have some actual election results to digest, and we’re all presumably feeling better. Or at least marginally less nauseated.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, on the other hand, will be forced to explain how Republicans can possibly thread the needle on abortion when the current House Speaker Mike Johnson is promising a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a fetus in every womb.
But while Republicans are fumbling with their talking points, Democrats have their 2024 message locked down. It’s basically this:
Meanwhile, this should be the righteous response of any Democrat whose Republican opponent attempts to bullshit their way around their party’s decades-old, exhaustively documented fetus fetish:
Republicans! Just admit this has always been about controlling women and cynically trolling for votes. At least that would be honest. But enough un-appetizers. On to the main course! Let’s dig in, shall we?
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McDaniel appeared on two Sunday shows—NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” During these appearances, she tried to explain why voters should trust Republicans, who’ve spent years staking out the most draconian and extreme abortion positions they could possibly imagine on the abortion issue.
She cited Virginia Senate candidate Danny Diggs, who won his race as a forced-birther who would graciously allow abortions up to 15 weeks. McDaniel appears to think that position—the same one Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin staked his future on before discovering on Tuesday that he has no future—is the Republican secret sauce going forward. Meanwhile, she distorted the ever-living fuck out of Democrats’ positions on abortion.
MCDANIEL: “Why can’t the Democrats come to that? Why can’t they say, listen, we now know through science … a baby feels pain as its life is being taken at 15 weeks. Can’t you at least come here? Why are Democrats continuing to double down on 39 weeks, 38 weeks? What is an abortion they’re against?”
BASH: “Ronna, you know that there are, most Democrats don’t support abortions until the end ...”
MCDANIEL: “But why don’t they say it? But don’t say that.”
BASH: “… and if something like that happens that far along, it means something is really wrong. And you know that.”
MCDANIEL: “Yes, and that’s life of the mother, which is an exception. But there are states, five or six, that have it till 39 weeks, so why don’t you say, you know, if we don’t support that, let’s come to a consensus position? And that’s what this candidate in Virginia did, and he did an excellent job and he won the race.”
First of all, it’s not at all clear that 15-week-old fetuses feel pain. But that’s neither here nor there, because the prevailing GOP position on abortion has always been that it’s murder, no matter when it’s performed. Remember that “moment of conception” shtick we’ve heard ad nauseam ever since Jerry Falwell started trying to convince us that, even if he didn’t have a soul, a 16-cell embryo most certainly did? So it’s now okay to murder “unborn babies” if they’re really small and don’t yet respond to noxious stimuli like three-martini lunches and Donald Trump’s voice?
Also, as Bash noted (if only she’d done so a bit more forcefully), Democrats are not clamoring for ninth-month abortions. No one is. If an abortion is performed that late in a pregnancy, it means something has gone horribly wrong.
But what else can McDaniel say? Her party has been extreme on this issue for decades, and now it’s attempting to do an about-face, because for some reason women prefer to make personal health care decisions in consultation with their doctors—and without Ted Cruz hovering above them chanting, “It puts the ultrasound gel in the basket.”
Oh, and don’t think Republicans won’t pursue a federal abortion ban if they take control of Congress and the White House at some point in the future. In response to a direct question about a federal ban, McDaniel said, “I don’t think that you can just say it’s a states’ issue. I think we’re going to have to talk about this.”
Sorry about the quality of this video, but it’s important to grok what she’s actually proposing:
Meanwhile, if for some reason you’re a glutton for Ronna McDaniel—or if you’re low on ipecac or are suddenly overcome with a tsunami of self-loathing—you can catch her entire “Meet the Press” performance here.
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Luckily, Democrats don’t have to rifle through the couch cushions to find examples of positive election outcomes. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner joined host Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” to discuss Tuesday’s elections, whose results elicited cheers among Democrats and thousand-mile stares into a dark, pitiless, yawning void among Republicans. We Democrats have a great story to tell going into 2024, and it’s high time we tell it.
Take it away, Sen. Warner.
BRENNAN: “The Democrats were celebrating what happened in Virginia this past week with your elections. You told the White House what happened in Virginia was the first election of the 2024 national election cycle. What do you mean by that?”
WARNER: “Well, I meant that while there was a lot of focus on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, the Ohio abortion question, in Virginia, a purple state, where not only abortion, gun rights, voting rights were all on the ballot in terms of Democrats’ positions versus the Republicans, and I think it sets the stage well for the president. And I think one of the things that has not gotten into the analysis—I mean, clearly abortion was a big issue—but I also think Virginia, very reliant on the federal government, on a lot of defense establishment, a lot of federal workers, I think the overall craziness that’s come out of the House of Representatives left a message that, even when the Republicans in Virginia would try to appear moderate, I think Virginians were afraid if they got total control of the state government, it would be the extremists, the MAGA crowd, that would drive the bus the same way that’s happening, unfortunately, at the national level. And I think that played into the Democrats’ taking back the House, keeping the Senate, and stopping some of that agenda.”
In other words, we’re in decent shape going into 2024, so everyone just chill. All we have to do is paint Republicans as extremists—which, at this point, really just means buying a Hieronymus Bosch paint-by-number kit from Amazon—and the rest should work itself out naturally. (Note: That doesn’t mean we don’t have our work cut out for us, so let’s leave it all on the field, eh?)
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Vulgarly racist See ‘n Say Donald Trump isn’t exactly a fount of original ideas. My mom, a lifelong Republican, once had a book called “The Wit & Humor of Richard Nixon.” You could open it to literally any page, plop your finger down on a random passage, and your eyes would start to age exponentially faster than the rest of your body before molderiing into dust and tumbling into your lap. Who knows what was in the book? I never got past the first “witticism.”
That said, Nixon was a regular Voltaire compared to Trump. Someday, someone may release a book called “The Wit & Humor of Donald Trump.” It would likely include bons mots like “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?”
Well, former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen recently discovered that there’s actually a method to Trump’s merde-ness. During an appearance on “The Katie Phang Show,” Cohen revealed that Trump puts about as much thought into his rants and insults as he does his “policies.”
PHANG: “So there’s an old, tired page in the Trump playbook, which is blame everybody else, which we just talked about. But there’s also this plug-and-play that can happen. And you recently discovered a handwritten note, written by Donald Trump, and we’re going to put it up on the screen for our viewers. It basically shows, Michael, that you can plug in somebody else’s name and that person ends up being the bad guy. So you can take Obama, which is on the note that we see on the screen right now. You can put Biden in, you can put Comey in. You can put, you know, anybody else’s name in, including Michael Cohen’s name, right? But it shows it’s the same repetitive attacks that are made by Donald Trump. So what does that tell you then, Michael, about the nature of the Donald Trump defense over and over and over again over the years.”
COHEN: “He’s the victim all the time. He’s always using somebody else as the reason why he’s in these troubles. Always the victim, it’s always somebody else’s fault. You know, I said when I was testifying before the House Oversight Committee—and I don’t want people to lose track, that was only one hearing out of seven that I gave testimony to—that Donald always plays the victim. It’s always somebody else’s fault, and he’s never to blame for anything. In fact, none of us have seen [him] over the four-year period when he was president take accountability for anything. This playbook is easy to understand if you look at Donald’s history. Plain and simple.“
And here’s a closeup look at that note:
So, yeah, as you may have suspected, Trump’s scintillating put-downs are mostly just cut-and-paste jobs.
Trump attorney Alina Habba, whose law office is about 10 months away from being converted into a Spirit Halloween store, appeared on Fox News’ How the Hell Does Maria Bartiromo Still Have a Show? Show.
Trump’s goose is so thoroughly cooked in the New York civil fraud trial against his eponymous real estate company that AG Letitia James may start showing up to court every day with a gravy boat and a Fiat-load of cranberry compote.
In fact, he’s so screwed, even his lawyers can see it, so they’ve been poking at Judge Arthur Engoron and his law clerk with irrelevant nonsense in a clumsy attempt to force a mistrial.
BARTIROMO: “You have been complaining about the judge’s clerk. And you say that the judge is compromised and the clerk appears compromised. Tell me why.”
HABBA: “Well, I actually can’t tell you why because I’m gagged. I can tell you that, you know, we’ll be filing papers to address all of those issues, but the fact that, frankly, Maria, I can’t even discuss it with you and I’m his spokeswoman, I’m his attorney, says a lot about … the state of our judicial system right now.”
BARTIROMO: “I think I did see that there were donations that the clerk had given very supportive to the Democrats, that was one issue. Are you going to file to get a mistrial?”
BARTIROMO: “When will you do that?”
HABBA: “Soon. Very soon.”
Breaking news! Trump’s legal team, such as it is, is going to ask for a mistrial! Because the judge’s assistant keeps passing notes to him. Which is ostensibly her job. Which she’s entitled to do without getting violent threats from devil-may-care fascists. But never mind any of that. As we all know, Trump is very special, and so the usual laws and social graces don’t apply to him. Or so he thinks, anyway.
But wait! There’s more!
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.