Public bathroom predators!

The absolute dumbest thing about the supporters of NC’s HB2 is line they keep pushing that Charlotte’s ordinance would have allowed male sexual predators free rein in women’s restrooms simply by declaring the identified as a woman.  This is just so absurd.  And this Media Matters video does a good job of unpacking the absurdity.

Kasich for the win

I’ve long been saying a variation on “if Republican primary voters had any sense, John Kasich would be running away with the nomination.”  Here’s the latest polling on the matter:

Most of these head-to-head polls that favor Kasich are conducted nationally, leaving little nuance to explore beyond the top-line results. You can’t pick out the battleground states. You can’t predict electoral totals.

New data could clear some of that up. A study released today by polling and media firm Morning Consult used more than 44,000 responses to model Kasich’s performance against Clinton in every state, showing where the Ohio governor performed best or fell short. Combined with similar analyses pitting Clinton against Cruz and Trump—though Sanders was left out—the report paints a compelling picture. Kasich appears to be the only Republican left on the field who could win the general election, and he’d prevail by courting Midwest states no other Republican can touch. [emphasis mine]

I don’t think these head to head polls mean he’s have a clear advantage over Clinton.  I do think they show he’s be a way better candidate than Cruz or Trump (and I think Rubio, too, for that matter).  Of course, it all comes back to that “if Republican primary voters had any sense” :-).

Paul Ryan is really smart and really conservative

So, Paul Ryan seemed to make it pretty damn clear yesterday he will not be the Republican “savior” and accept the nomination for president from a contested convention:

WASHINGTON — After a month of speculation and pleas ranging fromcomic to mildly desperate, Speaker Paul D. Ryan held an unusually formal news conference Tuesday afternoon to rule out what he has always said he would not do: serve as the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

“Let me be clear,” Mr. Ryan said, addressing reporters at the Republican National Committee’s headquarters. “I do not want, nor will I accept, the nomination of our party.”

He then offered a strong opinion to convention delegates about how they should proceed in the case of a contested nomination: “If no candidate has the majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only turn to a person who has participated in the primary. Count me out.”

Why wouldn’t he want to be the nominee?  Short of a total implosion by Hillary, or dramatic, unexpected macroeconomic or political events, the Republican Party is going to lose the election.  That does not help Paul Ryan’s political future.  Pretty much any standard-bearer of such a divided party is going to have a really, really hard time in a general election.  Paul Ryan as the nominee of a unified party– maybe in 2020– has a real chance.  Paul Ryan in these circumstances?  He’s too smart to be a sacrificial lamb and hurt his long-term future.  Even though it wouldn’t be his fault, it’s a rare presidential loser who doesn’t get a lot of blame.

And, since I’m on Paul Ryan, here’s a Wonkblog post on his conservatism that I’d been meaning to get around to.  Chait has made the point surely dozens of times, but it is worth repeating that despite being the “smart,” “serious,” “wonky” Republican, his policies are only mildly less delusional than Trump’s:

In other words, Trump would only have $6 trillion to pay for $21 trillion—and that’s assuming he eliminated the rest of the federal government other than Social Security, Medicare, and Defense. That means no more spending on roads, bridges, schools, scientific research, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or Obamacare subsidies. That’s not a plan. It’s a joke.

But it’s the kind of joke that Republicans have been telling themselves for awhile now. Especially House Speaker Paul Ryan. He wants to slash the top tax rate to 25 percent, doesn’t want to cut Social Security or Medicare for today’s seniors, actually wants to increase defense spending, and still wants to get rid of the deficit (though not the debt) in the next 10 years. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Trump has just taken this and turned it up to 11…

Let’s back up a minute, though. How does Ryan think he could pull off his own slightly less unrealistic plan? Easy: with magic. Ryan’s first trick is to assume that his tax cuts wouldn’t cost a thing instead of the $5.7 trillion that the Tax Policy Center says they would, since he would supposedly close enough tax loopholes to pay for them all. Of course, he doesn’t actually say which ones he’d get rid of. All he says is that he wouldn’t touch the charitable tax deduction. The only problem, as the Tax Policy Center’s Howard Gleckman puts it, is that it’s “hard to imagine” that this is even possible. You’d have to go sacred cow hunting, with the mortgage interest deduction among the likely casualties. Not only that, but this kind of cut-tax-loopholes-to-pay-for-tax-cuts plan couldn’t help but lower taxes on the rich at the same time that it’d raise them on everybody else. No wonder Ryan doesn’t want to spell this out…

In short: Ryan’s plan uses a magic asterisk to try to cover up how politically impossible it is, while Trump’s plan is a magic asterisk that doesn’t come close to covering up how economically impossible it is.

But here’s the irony. Ryan’s unspecified savings and implausible assumptions have somehow turned him into the GOP’s intellectual authority at the same time that Trump’s have turned him into a laughingstock. Why is that? Well, Trump’s mistake has been saying that he could achieve the impossible in 8 years instead of 35. The smaller your budget window, the harder it is to hide that your math doesn’t work because it has to be an order of magnitude crazier. [emphasis mine]

Yep, there’s your serious intellectual of today’s Republican Party.

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