Donald Trump is being called out by Republicans

The New York Times is reporting a major breach between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP. An event was held by Mitt Romney during which Meg Witman likened Trump to Axis leaders. Good for her.

Excerpt:

Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and a major contributor to Republican candidates, railed against Mr. Trump on Friday at a closed-door meeting of Republicans in Park City, Utah, comparing him to the Axis leaders, according to several people in attendance who declined to be identified because the discussion was private.

The comments, first reported by The Washington Post, came at Mr. Romney’s annual retreat of Republican donors, leaders and business executives. Mr. Trump’s candidacy, and the divisions it is causing among leading Republicans, was an undercurrent of the gathering. Mr. Romney has been outspoken in his refusal to support Mr. Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, even as other party figures have grudgingly fallen into line.

No one has personified the party’s divisions like Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, and the pressure on him intensified this weekend. At the Utah retreat on Friday, Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor, pressed Mr. Ryan on his decision to support Mr. Trump, according to an attendee, saying she did not know how to explain it to her children.

Then, on Saturday, Dan Scavino Jr., a senior adviser and the social media director for the Trump campaign, criticized Mr. Ryan on Twitter, linking to an article on a conservative website that accused him of harming his party, complete with the headline “Paul Ryan Is the Reason the G.O.P. Is Losing America.”

The discord appeared to bring a quick end to a period of relative peace in the party that began Tuesday when Mr. Trump issued a statement in which he backed away, slightly, from remarks accusing a federal judge of being biased against him because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump did not apologize but said his remarks had been “misconstrued.”

* * *

A representative for Ms. Whitman did not respond Saturday to a request for an interview about her comments. Ms. Whitman, according to one of the people present, did not stop at comparing Mr. Trump to Hitler and Mussolini. She also warned the gathering that if Republicans compromised on their principles to win an important election, they would be entering fraught territory.

“What happens next time?” she asked, implying that it could lead to more compromises and more candidates like Mr. Trump.

Jeb Bush echoes attitudes of Mitt Romney

Yesterday, at an event in in South Carolina, Jeb Bush was asked by a white man in the crowd how Bush would appeal to African-Americans on the campaign trail. Bush’s response:

Our message is one of hope and aspiration. It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.

“Free stuff”? Here is what Romney had to say on the issue when he was running for President:

Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.

Why do rich Republicans, i.e., Romney, Bush, find it impossible to understand poverty in America, especially after years of zero wage growth?

More at the New York Times.

A Romney post-mortum

The Boston Globe is reporting a detailed view as to what caused the Romney campaign to fail.

To this day, Romney’s aides wonder how it all went so wrong.

They console each other with claims that the election was much closer than realized, saying that Romney would be president if roughly 370,000 people in swing states had voted differently. Romney himself blamed demographic shifts and Obama’s “gifts”: ­federal largesse targeted to Democratic constituencies.

But a reconstruction by the Globe of how the campaign unfolded shows that Romney’s problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate’s defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama’s operation.

One of the gravest errors, many say, was the Romney team’s failure, until too late in the campaign, to sell voters on the candidate’s personal qualities and leadership gifts. The effect was to open the way for Obama to define Romney through an early blitz of negative advertising. Election Day polls showed that the vast majority of voters concluded that Romney did not really care about average people.

Worth a full read.

Political quote of the day

Thank goodness … for Mitt Romney, who in a conference call with donors said he got beat and beat bad, that his campaign was lacking, that his gut on the big issues was probably off, that he shouldn’t have allowed his campaign to become (in the grandiose, faux-macho lingo of campaign consultants … ) an air war and not a ground war, and that they were smoked in get-out-the-vote. He added, with an eye to concerns larger than his own, that he wanted to help the party analyze and define what didn’t work in 2012 so it would be stronger in 2016.

Sorry. Kidding! He didn’t say that.

Peggy Noonan

Political quote of the day

… I think we may be in even new territory with Mitt Romney’s shuffle off the national stage. It’s not too much to say that Romney is now uniting the country across party lines that he’s someone who should leave as soon as possible and not say anything publicly again. Actually scratch that. Democrats are starting to think that having Romney around and continuing to dump on a broad range of Americans might be pretty awesome.

More seriously, it goes without saying that Romney was never more than a tolerated transplant among professional conservatives. His bonafides were doubted. We know all this. So it’s ironic that Republicans are uniting in calls to get off the national stage once and for all precisely because he’s continuing to make the kind of makers-and-takers type statements you might hear on a particularly feral and untethered rightwing blog.

It’s an amazing denouement. It puts the whole race in a new, if not surprising, perspective.

Josh Marshall, describing Mitt Romney as the gift that keeps on giving (to the democrats).

John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

Political quote of the day

You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family in perpetuity, I mean this is huge.

Mitt Romney, claiming that a number of “gifts” from Obama are responsible for his victory. However, why are large tax cuts for the wealthy (like the extensions of the Bush tax cuts) not considered “gifts” to the wealthy? After all, those tax cuts must have saved Mitt Romney an amount of taxes at least 100 times greater than the figures he calls out for health care. And the bailout of the banks was a massive gift as well, that benefited primarily the wealthy and Wall Street Bankers. The simple fact of the matter is that the middle class and the poor in this country have been shafted for years.

By the way, this kind of statement from Romney does the republican party no favor, given that they certainly need to revise their focus to remain competitive nationally.

Political quote of the day 2

Team Romney has every reason to be shellshocked. Its candidate, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing.

Mitt Romney is the president of white male America.

Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace, an elevator for the presidential limo, and one of those men’s club signs on the phone that reads: “Telephone Tips: ‘Just Left,’ 25 cents; ‘On His Way,’ 50 cents; ‘Not here,’ $1; ‘Who?’ $5.”

In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy was so hard core, so redolent of country clubs and Cadillacs, it made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points.

Maureen Dowd

Political quote of the day

The country has a larger problem—“intellectual nihilism,” as the writer Noam Scheiber recently labeled it. Since 9/11, often but not always under the right’s aegis, truth has been destabilized in America. The Bush administration’s contempt for what it dismissed as the “reality-based community” was vindicated when it successfully ginned up a war by convincing Americans that the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis and that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Our susceptibility to elaborate, beautifully wrought myths remains intact—whether we’re being spun by politicians, captains of finance pumping up a bubble, or sports heroes like Lance Armstrong and Joe Paterno. The news business, which we once counted on to vet hoaxes and fictions, is now so insecure about its existential future that it was cowed to some extent by the Scarboroughs, Noonans, and Roves, with most of the networks, not just Fox, ignoring the statistical data of Silver and others and instead predicting a long, nail-biting Election Night. (In reality, the election was called for Obama at 11:12 p.m. EST on NBC, just twelve minutes after it had been in 2008.) Our remaining journalistic institutions have even outsourced what used to be the very core of their craft, fact-checking, to surrogates relegated to gimmicky sidebars (awarding Pinocchios and “pants on fire”). The fact-checkers have predictably become partisan targets, only further destabilizing the whole notion of what is meant by “news.”

Frank Rich

Romney barely beat McCain

McCain lost big in 2008. But Mitt Romney barely received more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. Compare these numbers:

Total votes for McCain in 2008: 58,343,671
Total votes for Romney in 2012: 58,488,199

Difference: 144,528

If a candidate cannot do significantly better than McCain did, in a country with a larger number of total voters, that candidate is indeed a loser.