Thursday, June 09, 2016

Go French Yourself

Hi Campers—When word came from Steve that he was heading out of town, I happened to be working on something I thought you all might like:

Namely, this weird little confluence of developments: on the one hand the remarkable story that came out in USA Today this afternoon—

Donald Trump casts himself as a protector of workers and jobs, but a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation found hundreds of people – carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers – who say he didn’t pay them for their work.

—and on the other (h/t Alex.S in comments at Lawyers Guns & Money) a peculiar little news scoop from an organ that doesn't exactly do news, Dr. Kristol's Weekly Standard, which reveals that even though Senator Marco Rubio supports the presidential candidate of Donald Trump, as he announced a month ago now, he still believes what he said about Trump last February:
"I stand by everything I said during the campaign," the Florida senator told THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Thursday when asked if he still believes Trump cannot be trusted with access to the country's nuclear weapons codes.
Sure I think he's an "erratic individual" and "someone who's spent his entire career sticking it to working people" and "a con man", but does that mean I wouldn't vote for him?

And here's the peculiar part: the language in the February CNN report to which the Weekly Standard links for those quotes anticipates today's USA Today story in a remarkably prescient and precise way:
"Donald Trump has spent forty years sticking it to the little guy or longer. And every time one of those businesses of his failed, you know who ["how" in the badly edited original] didn't get paid? The little guy that was working for him."
You bet. As we read in USA Today:

a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.
Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.
And there's lots more where that came from.

Little Marco (I don't know why I keep doing that—oh yes I do, it's the Cuban Heels) isn't at all interested in talking about these things; he's taken a sudden liking to doing some of that senatoring stuff:
"I just don't have anything new to add to the campaign. When I'm here in the Capitol I'm trying to focus on my work," Rubio said. "Now I'm focused on [things] like Zika. Write a story on Zika."
Bizarrely, he actually seems to be telling something very similar to the truth on this: Miami is "ground zero" for an outbreak of the Zika virus in the US, and Rubio is literally running around Washington defying the McConnell consensus according to which no Republican should cooperate with President Obama even to save citizens and their babies from this terrifying new health threat. And he's been saying it for weeks. Which is—I hasten to add—not a bad thing in itself

I have no doubt he's sincere on this, too, but he is also doing some very elaborate positioning here, displaying himself as to some tiny extent in a real national emergency like the kind of Republican old Tom Friedman was begging for the other day, who has some minimal interest in, like, governing. Not too much! Only for totally insidious and inexorable plagues! But all the same open to the concept that government can be used for stuff voters need, in very special circumstances.

Which is also, as it happens, where the Weekly Standard faction is, more or less, and has been for a couple of years at least. And Rubio was always that program's beloved baby boy, though of course you didn't see much of that during the primary campaign, when he was working to make sure everybody saw him as just as anarchical as the competition.

Anyway I'm wondering if this isn't all some kind of Kristolline anti-Trump orchestration going on—if Rubio is getting—ah—Frenched, so to speak. It looks a little too skillful for a Kristol product, and yet just as doomed to failure as if it were all his.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.


Unknown said...

"It looks a little too skillful for a Kristol product, and yet just as doomed to failure as if it were all his." Has anything ever been said on any subject with a greater veracity I am not aware of it? Kudos.

Victor said...

Yeah, that line is perfect!

Feud Turgidson said...

Fine, NOW I'm compelled to agree with Victor AND the Daryls' brother.

IMO Rubio is in a win-win here: he's either re working Nixon In Exile like to regroup fo 2020 or 2024, as the GOP's My Favorite Hispanic, just in time to blunt the Dem party's inevitable move next to that strategy, or else the Weirdness Tour continues and somehow the garden gnomes line up for him to be handed the caretaker role for the November beatin, but with watered down dignity and more traditionally establishment GOP lies (of which the second I see as way ore remote than those who break bread with Kristol and French).

Ten Bears said...

There are still percentage points out there on some variation of Jeb v Jeb in a Dress. Slim, but still out there.

jabberwocky said...

L'l Marco's concern about the Zika virus is easily understood. He's scared. When Zika-infected pregnant women seek abortions, Marco and his life-begins-at-conception a-hole anti-abortion comrades are going to become very unpopular.

Jim Snyder said...

Both good stories ... the USA Today article is getting column inches across the leftie blogosphere, with different blogs are excerpting different anecdotes.

But I'm not getting why the somewhat tenuous connection with Rubio and Zika (again, a good story in itself) is interesting. Probably just me.

I don't see how the GOP dumps Trump ("French-ifies") unless Trump pisses off the TeaBagger base. Trump's running the most counter-intuitive general election campaign that I can remember, so ... mebbe ... but he's an entertainer, he has an audience, he knows how to juice that audience, so I don't think "counter-intuitive" stretches far enough to cover pissing away his audience.

If that's correct, seems like dumping Trump at the Convention would enrage the TeaBaggers and lead to an even more debacular GOP debacle in November, no? (Worse than the debacle that's beginning to take shape now, I mean.)

@jabberwocky: that seems too rational (for Rubio); isn't the refrain always a pious "God will provide"?

Yastreblyansky said...

@Jim, I'm sort of wondering if Kristol/Rubio could have any connection to planting that story in USA Today.

Yastreblyansky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Snyder said...

@Yastreblyansky: yes, but ...

Hillary's people could have leaked to USA Today, as they have motive and oppo research files; or the USA Today reporters could have searched legal records ... heck, this sorta thing is their business, not that that seems to have motivated the LSM.

Maybe it's the #NeverTrumpers positioning themselves (as you say/said) for a Trump implosion that detaches Trump from his fan base ... but absent that kind of implosion (which seems unlikely to me), the GOP train wreck has already left the station.

I guess what I'm missing is why "Kristolline anti-Trump orchestration" would be surprising and/or interesting. I mean: Kristol does what Kristol does, which is mostly "be wrong about everything."

Maybe I'm too focused on the pragmatic question "does this help or hurt Hillary (or Trump) in November?" The USA Today story helps Hillary and hurts Trump. Rubio & Zika seems to me to be a "don't care".

Jim Snyder said...

@Yastreblyansky: Perhaps "surprising and/or interesting" sounded condescending.

That wasn't my intent.

In my line of work ("for some definition of 'work'") we generally ask, "what difference is [the proposed approach] likely to make to the outcome?" In this instance, suppose Kristol / Weekly Standard is / are trying to orchestrate a Dump Trump movement at the Convention, and he / they see promoting Marcus Rubius as serving that effort...

How will their promotion of Marcus Rubius affect the outcome? Any outcome?

Hope that's clearer.

Yastreblyansky said...

@Jim, thanks for that. I did get a little taken aback.

I guess blogging is not "my line of work", i.e. not what I get paid for, and sometimes I do stuff just for shits 'n' giggles. As a snarkist I really miss Rubio, who provided me with a lot of material nobody else could do as well. Whereas virtually anybody can mock Trump.

More seriously, I'm interested in what's happening to the Republican party over the long term, and if it's really collapsing like the Whigs what happens to its voters. The resurgence of Rubio, who hates the Senate and seemed to be dropping out just a couple of weeks ago, and now claims to be interested in being a Senator, would be interesting in that connection. If it's just Kristol playing his games, assuming he lost all his actual influence after the Palin debacle, well, that's interesting too. No consequence for the fall campaign, most likely, but something to pay attention to. If there's a serious effort to preserve the Reformy Cons as a pseudo-intellectual AND pseudo-political force, I want to spot it in advance. I don't consider it likely, but I want to know.

Jim Snyder said...

@Yastreblyansky: Nah, my bad... my poor social skills are showing. I don't have the hang of this commentin' thing ... I lurk, perchance to snark. Speaking of which, compliments to your blog ... came across it only a year or so ago. Thanks for fighting the good fight (along with Rude Pundit and driftglass and others) to take down the detestable Brooksie. It's a hard and thankless job, but someone has to do it!

Back circa 2008 I wrote at my own tiny blog, and hooboy, it was work ... so I appreciate those who slog on thanklessly.

To your points ...

I guess I still wasn't clear. I meant: "At work I have developed the habit of asking 'how would X affect the outcome?'", so much so that the question is automatic, even at blogs.

"snarkist": I would be more amused by Gooper pols if they weren't all so goddam hypocritically serious. (And did I mention "seriously hypocritical"? No one ever expects the Replicant Inquisition!) It's a gift to be able to laugh at them rather than stew over the insanity. I don't have that gift. My reaction is more "the gob, she is smacked" (h/t Pierce, needless to say.) And: "they look human."

Rubius, I assumed he's re-enamored of Senatus Americanus because it's a gravy train. Seriously, has Rubius ever done anything that didn't involve having a sugar daddy? And what value would Rubius be to a sugar daddy were Rubius distant from levers of power? (And no, if I'm wrong, I don't want to know. Gotta protect my illusions ...)

It's an Occam's Razor sorta argument.

Zika and Rubius, I really dunno what that's about. His ticket back to the Senate? He's actually concerned about his constituents and their as-yet-unborn zygotes?

Hahahaha... I know, I know. I jest.

I forget where I saw the comment, so no link, but someone ... made the observation that these guys (Kristol, Rubius, and #NeverTrump more generally) have yet to demonstrate an ability to organize their way out of a wet paper bag.

(David French?!? Are you fsckin' kidding me?!? The guy who thinks that white blue collar workers are morally depraved?!?)

That said, "what is the likely trajectory of the GOP over the next 10-20 years?" is one of the most interesting political questions of our time, second only in the sheer terror it provokes to "will Trump win in November?"

If you can provide insights that read on either question we'll all be in your debt. (I mean, if I should move to Canada, I'd like to know sooner rather than at the last minute, since setting up the details at the last minute might be inconvenient ... )

Never Ben Better said...

Meanwhile, in NeverTrumpLand, the not paying workmen story is getting legs; I've seen it on CNN's home page and a piece on it ran during the political roundup segment of NECN's regional (New England) broadcast yesterday. (New England Cable News is owned by MSNBC.) Today CNN's home page has a story about the Florida AG getting a Trump campaign donation and not pursuing Trump University complaints. It's right under the link to the lengthy story about Romney's latest slams on Trump.

Methinks the MSM may be scenting some tasty blood in the water.

Jim Snyder said...

@NeverBen: Confusion to the enemy!