Donald Trump seems poised to give us the general-election campaign we wanted all along, in which he goes bananas and tears apart the Republican Party before—this part is really important—losing. Yesterday, Paul Ryan told Republicans on a conference call that he would no longer campaign for Trump and direct his energy toward protecting their majority in Congress instead. Although he did not withdraw his endorsement, the announcement was widely understood to capitulate the presidency, and narrowly understood to betray the nominee. Trump himself took the narrow view. This morning, he used Twitter to issue an ominous…promise? Threat? Status update? You can decide what this is:
It is nice. I assume he means he can finally focus on detailed policy proposals and rebuilding the dignity of the working class. But maybe he’ll just bash Muslims.
Sleep, you awful giant.
If Congress does not pass a stopgap funding bill today, the federal government will shut down at midnight tonight. Conventional wisdom says that will probably happen. Once Ted Cruz (R–TX) finally stopped talking, the Senate rejected a House bill that funded the government but also defunded Obamacare, returning instead a “clean” continuing resolution with no Obamacare amendments. Beaten but unbowed, the House plans to pass another funding bill that keeps the government open but repeals the medical device tax and delays implementation of Obamacare for one year. The Senate will not pass that. As of this writing, it looks like the federal government will shut down.
Bat Boy (right) and Newt Gingrich (farther right)
The best thing about the Republican Party’s sad attempt to get over Mitt Romney through a series of superficial relationships with new candidates is that we all knew, sooner or later, they would get around to Newt Gingrich. I personally could not wait. The oddly childish former House Majority Leader has said and done so many weird things that no one who knows his career would vote for him, yet his demeanor is so smug and off-putting that he repels anyone who sees him for the first time. As Ben al-Fowlkes pointed out to me, Gingrich would stand a chance in 1840. In 2011, he seems to have staked his campaign on the twin propositions that A) he has name recognition and B) people won’t remember what he’s like. That’s a recipe for fun, right there. As if to reward us for somehow making him the Republican front-runner, Gingrich has compiled all the likely complaints against him and refuted them, point-by-point, in a 5,000-word defense on his website. The only thing he forgets to mention is that that’s not crazy at all.