We had nearly-perfect weather this past weekend, so I'm just dumping a bunch of links right now while I catch up with work:
Back to the mines.
Voters in Kansas yesterday called borderline-crazy Tea Partier Tim Huelskamp home from the U.S. House:
Frustrated voters in a sprawling Kansas congressional district sent a blunt message on Tuesday that might yet break through the din of this election: At some point the government needs to do something for them.
That sentiment was delivered in the harshest possible terms to Representative Tim Huelskamp, a firebrand Tea Party conservative who lost in a primary landslide after spending most of his six years in Washington feuding with his own leaders. He was so difficult to work with and troublesome that he was kicked off the Agriculture Committee.
The loss of that crucial legislative post, and his vote against a long-term farm bill, did not endear him to the powerful farming interests in a state that likes its federal agricultural aid.
Farm groups joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and another deep-pocketed advocacy group to get behind Roger Marshall, a political novice who promised to work on behalf of Kansas rather than rabble rouse.
In other words, he got fired for lack of job performance. Good riddance. And a dozen other races in Kansas went to moderates, smacking ideologue governor Sam Brownback over the nose with a newspaper.
Could this be the beginning of the end of the crazy?
I thought earlier today that this was unique. James Fallows, who knows more about the presidency than most living journalists, agrees:
To the best of my knowledge, nothing like this has ever happened before.
Presidents of one party call nominees from the other party “bad choices” or “wrong for America” or “risky bets” or in some other way second-best options to their own preferred candidate.
As far as I am aware, none of them has previously declared a major-party nominee categorically unfit.
Again we have two possibilities. Either Barack Obama, with a career’s worth of hyper-deliberate careful phrasing behind him, has suddenly made a lurch toward hyperbole. Or Donald Trump does in fact merit classification in an unfit category of his own.
Obviously I believe the latter is the truth. We’ll get to the pushback and ramifications in subsequent installments, including President Obama’s question to the Republican leaders who “rebuke” Trump but still support him: “What does it say about your party, that this is your standard bearer?”
For now, this is one more for-the-record note of how Campaign 2016 has crossed one more previously unexplored frontier.
It's really that bad.
President Obama yesterday called Donald Trump "woefully unprepared" and "unfit" to be president:
During a press conference at the White House with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Obama posed the question to the Republican Party: "If you are repeatedly having to say what Trump says is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?"
"The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that had made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn't appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, the Middle East, Asia means that he is woefully unprepared to do this job," Obama said.
[He] continued that while there have been Republican presidents he has disagreed with, Trump's actions put him in a different category.
"What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer? This isn't a situation where you have an episodic gaffe," Obama said. "There has to be a point in which you say 'This is not somebody I can support for president of the United States."
That's an extraordinary statement from a sitting president, and may be unprecedented. I know up until the late 19th century it was common for one side to call the other side unfit—just take a look at some of the things Adams and Jefferson said about each other in the election of 1796—but a sitting president? I don't think this has happened since 1920, and even then, Wilson's slams against Cox came during his own party's nominating process.
Also consider that this president, specifically, doesn't usually get into it like that.
This evening's Times:
Back in 1968, at the age of 22, Donald J. Trump seemed the picture of health.
He stood 188 cm with an athletic build; had played football, tennis and squash; and was taking up golf. His medical history was unblemished, aside from a routine appendectomy when he was 10.
But after he graduated from college in the spring of 1968, making him eligible to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he received a diagnosis that would change his path: bone spurs in his heels.
The diagnosis resulted in a coveted 1-Y medical deferment that fall, exempting him from military service as the United States was undertaking huge troop deployments to Southeast Asia, inducting about 300,000 men into the military that year.
The deferment was one of five Mr. Trump received during Vietnam.
And he has the chutzpah to call out John McCain?
Now, I disagree with almost all of McCain's policies, but I have to say, it would make me happy to stick Trump in Viet Cong prison camp for four years and see how he turns out.
All the political norms Trump has broken, all the taboos he's crapped on, all the damage he's inflicted on the American body politic...even if Hillary Clinton wins, is she just the finger in the dam? What happens in 2020? Are we going to go through all this again?
This year's Republican National Convention is the first one in modern times after which the nominee polled lower than before it:
Gallup has surveyed on this question since 1984, and the 2016 GOP convention was the first time where a candidate ended up in negative territory.
The voters who felt less likely to vote Trump after the convention outnumbered those who felt even more motivated for the GOP nominee, 51-36, according to a Gallup poll.
The closest a convention came to such unfavorable closing percentages was the 2012 RNC, when 40 percent of adults felt more likely to vote for Mitt Romney and 38 percent felt more wary after the convention, according to Gallup.
Meanwhile, Fallows' 66th Trump Time Capsule post has so many things in it I just can't list them all right now.
Michael Moore, no friend of Donald Trump, thinks we're just stupid enough to elect him:
Here are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:
1. Midwest Math, or Welcome to Our Rust Belt Brexit. I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states – but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat). In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million). Trump is ahead of Hillary in the latest polls in Pennsylvania and tied with her in Ohio.Tied? How can the race be this close after everything Trump has said and done? Well maybe it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. Trump is going to hammer Clinton on this and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states.
He goes on from there. And he's right about a lot of it.
Hello, New Zealand?
Update: Lawyer J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, gave an interview in The American Conservative recently that echoed Moore's thoughts (but from the other direction).
Items of note:
Off to the meeting. More later.