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Comparing Trump’s Not-So-Super VP Candidates

Donald Trump is in the middle of a tough search for a vice president — any vice president. No one seems to want the job, and Trump is scrambling to show the world a ticket that makes him look like anything other than a crazy reality star who’s been wandering onto the wrong cable channels.

He’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel, so we at The National Memo decided to put together a little tip sheet to make his choice easier.

Newt Gingrich

Renamed by Trump: “Spanky”
# of Wives: 3. Can you believe it?
Likelihood of Hair Plugs: 85%
Relationship to White House: Has been waiting outside since the 1990s
Biggest Strength: That no-longer-relevant vibe that Trump supporters seem to love!
Biggest Weakness: He would be the “smart one.”

Chris Christie

Renamed by Trump: “The Quiet One”
# of Wives: 1, but he’d leave her in a second for Bruce Springsteen.
Likelihood of Hair Plugs: 28%
Relationship to White House: Kissed it goodbye forever after Bridgegate.
Biggest Strength: Loyalty and dead-in-the-eyes look of a very large dog.
Biggest Weakness: Ate all the M&Ms.

Mike Pence

Renamed by Trump: “Gary Indiana”
# of Wives: 1, unlike those dang homosexuals.
Likelihood of Hair Plugs: That’s between Pence and the Lord.
Relationship to White House: Recites Pledge of Allegiance in its direction whenever he has impure thoughts.
Biggest Strength: Fridge is full of cake confiscated from same-sex weddings.
Biggest Weakness: As a devout Christian, may not work well with the Devil.

Gen. Michael Flynn

Renamed by Trump: “Army Man”
# of Wives: Just his duty. Oh, and also Lori.
Likelihood of Hair Plugs: Classified
Relationship to White House: Already spent years there failing to solve the Middle East.
Biggest Strength: Has the wartime expertise to set up a military dictatorship
Biggest Weakness: Pro-choice. For real.

Ben Carson

Renamed by Trump: “Dr. Naptime”
# of Wives: 2 conjoined twins he keeps separating and sewing back together.
Likelihood of Hair Plugs: 3%
Relationship to White House: Believes it’s filled with grain.
Biggest Strength: Every Great American Hero needs a nerdy sidekick.
Biggest Weakness: Working with Trump might spoil their friendship.

Sarah Palin

Renamed by Trump: “The Midnight Rambler”
# of Wives: Does Alaska count?
Likelihood of Hair Plugs: All-natural pageant queen
Relationship to White House: Buried John McCain’s career on her way there.
Biggest Strength: Can defuse any political debate with a string of nonsensical folkisms.
Biggest Weakness: Even Trump’s afraid of her.


Photo: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks in a press conference at the State House in Trenton, New Jersey, March 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

This Week In Crazy: Rush To Delusions

Hypocrisy, zealotry, and gobbledygook. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. David Daleidan

The mastermind behind the fraudulently shot and deceptively edited videos meant to smear Planned Parenthood into oblivion is now complaining about unfair treatment.

David Daleidan was head inquisitor (or, as Fox News characterizes him, citizen journalist) behind the Center for Medical Progress — the contemptibly misnamed anti-abortion outfit that released films which supposedly exposed the non-profit women’s health care network as a trafficker in human remains. Several state investigative probes and a congressional investigation later, and the only indictments handed down have been against Daleidan himself and his accomplice.

That indictment came in Texas, but it seems like California is potentially about to follow suit. The Washington Post reported:

Investigators with the California Department of Justice on Tuesday raided the home of David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist behind a series of undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood, the activist said.

Authorities seized a laptop and multiple hard drives from his Orange County apartment, Daleiden said in an email. The equipment contained all of the video Daleiden had filmed as part of his 30-month project, “including some very damning footage that has yet to be released to the public,” he said.

Daleidan and his conservative supporters have been quick to condemn the raid by officials as a politically motivated action. His own outside-the-law actions, of course, remain inscrutably righteous.

Next: Tennessee

4. Tennessee

The curious habit of state legislatures enshrining Official State Things is innocuous enough for the most part. Lately, though, Tennessee has been taking the practice to bizarre extremes.

Recently, the Volunteer State elected to make its official state firearm one of the most deadly weapons available for civilian use — so powerful it can down a commercial airliner, apparently. And then, as an encore, the legislature voted to make the Holy Bible the state’s official book.

As reported by The Tennessean

After nearly 30 minutes of debate, the state Senate on Monday approved the measure, sponsored by Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, with a 19-8 vote, sending the legislation to Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk.

While proponents stressed the historic significance of the holy book and its religious meaning, some opponents argued that the bill trivializes something they hold sacred while others stressed constitutional reservations.

Lowering the Bar helpfully notes that this is both plainly unconstitutional and stupid — and furthermore that Tennessee isn’t even the first state to try to do this. In Louisiana, LTB writes, “the debate was not over whether to do it but over which version of the Bible would be appropriate.”


Next: Andrea Tantaros

3. Andrea Tantaros

Fox’s Andrea Tantaros earns her seat on the Outnumbered couch by being progenitor of some fairly outlandish — and incorrigibly ditzy — Obama conspiracy theories

Tantaros is what happens when you cross Dale Gribble from King of the HIll with Helen Lovejoy from The Simpsons, by which I mean she manages to somehow hybridize the dopiest bromides of a self-righteous PTA meeting with the conspiracy theories of Alex Jones.

Here is the Fox News luminary in her own words, speaking about Barack Obama on Tuesday’s show:

Why would the administration give cover to ISIS? Is it about his legacy? Some people are asking the question, is he covering for ISIS? Why would the administration be pressuring these agents to not give us the facts on the ground?

Video below, courtesy of Media Matters.

For another example of super-sleuth Tantaros in action, check this out.

Next: Rush Limbaugh

2. Rush Limbaugh

You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Rush Limbaugh, patron saint of shock jocks, is quite flexible.

That’s judging by his catalogue of contortions this week, which included the talk radio host defending Trump’s obscene remarks about “punishing” women, then defending his remarks defending Trump by saying that he was not, in fact, defending Trump, while still defending them… his remarks, that is. Like I said, he’s flexible. Being spineless can do that.

First, there was Limbaugh blasting MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for “setting up” Trump with a hypothetical question. He also tried to explain Trump’s answers away by blaming New York City liberals for inculcating poor Donald Trump’s brain with horrible caricatures of conservative ideologies, which he had little choice but to parrot on national television.

Then, there was Limbaugh asserting that Trump was technically correct in his assessment that, if you believe abortion is murder, then yes the woman should be punished. Trump’s only error was that he was “politically” in the wrong. (Side note: Take a moment to relish the editors at DailyRushbo’s decision to describe Limbaugh’s characterization of Trump’s comments as “politically wrong,” and not “politically incorrect,” because, you know, thesauri have a well known liberal bias.)

Then there’s the delicious not-about-face about-face the shockmeister performed over the next several days: pushing back against accusations that he was defending Trump, then recalibrating to explain that he had merely wanted to limit the damage Trump’s comments had done, whining:

It wasn’t pandering, it wasn’t an excuse.  It was an attempt to explain to people who want to support Trump why he might have screwed it up.  It was an attempt to explain to people who don’t want to support Trump why it might not be what you think it is.

Who are you going to believe — Rush, or your lying ears?

Next: Her again? 

1. Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin’s style is much more conducive to dittohead rallies than stately functions. No crowd seems to work as well for her as a throng of Tea Partiers cheering and sloshing around their drool buckets every time she says something like “No-Bama.” This was most cruelly illustrated this week by her insane, nonsensical — even by the extremely relaxed standards of the Alaskan governor — speech this week at a Wisconsin Republican function.

It was as if each word was plucked from her own worst game of Boggle. Palin’s latest bag of dictionary confetti impelled even the journalists in the room (who you’d think would be inured to her antics after all these years) to start caustically live-tweeting the event. The governor’s penchant for internal rhyme and folksy nonce words was in evidence, making the 20-minute monologue resemble nothing so much as a Wasilian riff on “Jabberwocky.”

If you don’t have the stomach or time to endure Palin’s 20-minute monologue resembled, you can view the best bits edited together in the following video (courtesy of Mediaite):

Sarah Palin Goes on Bizarre RambleSarah Palin went on a truly bizarre and rambling 20-minute speech in Milwaukee on Friday. Here are the highlights.

Posted by Mediaite on Monday, April 4, 2016

It demands a response, and this was the best one I could find:

Image: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

Ben Carson And Sarah Palin Are Awful Trump Surrogates

Two of Donald Trump’s most prominent endorsers, Ben Carson and Sarah Palin, haven’t been doing a very good job convincing voters to support him. The pair have spent much of their time since endorsing Trump either publicly regretting the choice or passing off verbal streams of consciousness as speeches.

Take Ben Carson’s constant wavering between building up Trump and resuscitating his own newly-damaged reputation.

Here’s Carson on The View with Whoopi Goldberg, who harangued him for his Trump endorsement. Carson stood firm on his belief that Trump’s sexist and racist remarks were exactly the sort of thing his party needed. “When you’re very nice, you’re very respectful, you talk about the real issues and not get into all these issues, where does it get you? It gets you where it got me: nowhere, okay?” he said.

That wasn’t the first time Carson was somewhat ambivalent about his endorsement. In an interview with Newsmax, a conservative online publication, he said, “Is there another scenario that I would have preferred? Yes. But that scenario isn’t available.” He went on to insinuate that Trump promised him some sort of position of influence in return his endorsement, resulting in an ethics complaint against Trump.

Carson’s every line is a gem: “Even if Donald Trump turns out not to be such a great president, which I don’t think is the case, I think he’s going to surround himself with really good people,” he explains. “But even if he didn’t, we’re only looking at four years.”

And just yesterday, Carson appeared on The Cats Roundtable, a radio program, to say that Trump “has some major defects, there’s no question about it — just like the rest of us.”

Carson could very well end up having the last laugh, having feigned defeat by endorsing Trump only to sabotage his campaign from the inside. Or, equally likely, he’s being dead serious and is completely unaware of how bad of a surrogate he really is.

Sarah Palin is a different story, as she was incredibly enthusiastic in endorsing Trump when he first marched her out during a campaign event in Iowa in January. She most recently appeared in Wisconsin to speak on Trump’s behalf, a poor choice on his part, especially in light of the substantial lead Ted Cruz is commanding in the state.

“What the heck are you thinking candidates?” Palin said. “What are you thinking when you go ahead and you’re actually asking for more immigrants, even illegal immigrants, welcoming them in, even inducing and seducing them with gift baskets. Come on over the border and there’s a gift basket with teddy bears and soccer balls. What are you thinking? It’s just inviting more. Yeah. Candidates they can say anything they want to about immigration, amnesty.”

Once again, the media were forced to let out a collective “huh?”

This was not Palin’s only screw up on Trump’s behalf, obviously. During the run up to the Iowa primaries, Palin joined Trump in casually insulting the state, namely the popular Republican congressman Steve King, while Trump just went for the throat and told Iowan Republicans that they were “stupid.” Below is a segment of that incident, after which conservative news site RedState described the crowd as “dead silent.”

This week has not been a good one for Trump. He faces a crucial primary in Wisconsin tomorrow, where polls show him trailing Cruz. The handiwork of his two most important campaign surrogates has done little to change that.

Defeating Trump Won’t Erase The Forces That Made Him Possible

We should probably start thinking about what we’re going to do after Trump.

Of course, if the nation decides it really does want a vulgar, narcissistic bigot with the impulse control of a sleep-deprived toddler as its 45th president, the options left to thinking Americans will be few, but stark:

Either curl up in a fetal ball for four years or jam the pedal to the metal on the northbound interstate and don’t stop till you see moose. Try to get there before the Canadians build their border wall.

If, however, the more likely scenario prevails and the electorate rejects Donald Trump, we will face a different set of options. The first is to finally take a stand against the forces that brought us here.

Those forces — economic insecurity, ignorance, bigotry and fear — are hardly new. Many observers, this one included, have bemoaned them for years. Trump’s innovation has been to drag the last three into the light, to render dog whistles and codes obsolete with his full-throated, wide-open embrace of all that is ugly and shameful about us.

Assuming his rebuke in November, the natural tendency will be to mop the brow and sigh in relief at the bullet we just dodged. This would be a mistake. Defeating Trump would not erase the forces that made him possible. As the last few years have shown, those forces, like some virulent cancer, tend to redouble after setback and return stronger than before.

You thought George W. Bush was a piece of work? Meet Sarah Palin. You think Sarah Palin was scary? Meet Trump. It would not be a good idea to wait around and see who trumps Donald four years from now. So after Trump, there are things we must do:

1. Confront economic insecurity. We need to elect leaders who understand that corporations are not people; only people are people and they are struggling. Their wages are stagnant, their finances precarious and the wealth that is supposed to trickle down from the grotesquely overfed money pigs at the top always seems to evaporate en route. It is time for this to change.

2. Confront ignorance. It is no coincidence Trump is especially popular among the less well-educated. The less you know, the more fearsome and confounding the world can seem, and the more susceptible you are to the authoritarian figure who promises to make everything all right again. Education must be rescued from the anti-science, anti-history, anti-logic, anti-intellect agendas of conservative school boards around the country. Knowing things is important. Facts matter.

3. Confront bigotry. Stop pretending it doesn’t exist, stop making excuses for it, stop acting as if it will go away if you only ignore it. In our schools, civic groups, mosques, churches and synagogues, we must evolve some form of truth and reconciliation that allows us to walk through disparate pain up to common ground. Only in this way can we diminish the power of bigotry as a cudgel.

4. Confront fear. Fear is bigotry’s firstborn child. Both are heightened in an era wherein the majority feels itself, its position and prerogatives, under siege by the ascendance of various minorities — racial, religious and sexual. So it becomes ever more important to find strategies that help us to locate in one another our shared humanity.

And oh, yes…

5. Confront apathy. Vote.

This is how we can change the paradigm, cool the temperature, drain the swamp.

Or we can pretend this temper tantrum, this national nervous breakdown, means nothing once Trump is gone. But to embrace that option is to miss the point. Donald Trump is a reflection of the ugliness within us, but only that. The ugliness itself is ours and we are long overdue to face it.

The day after he is gone would be an excellent time to start.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at


Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses to look at a demonstrator behind him during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake