There’s nothing like bombing the shit out of something to bump up your approval ratings. As shown below, Donald Trump is familiar with the concept. And it almost always works – even the historically unpopular Trump got a small boost from the pre-disclosed (to the Russians of course) cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase. Fivethirtyeight has Trump’s composite approval/disapproval ratings now at 41.5% approval against 52.5% disapproval – still a negative 11 point spread. The numbers may be somewhat skewed by the outlier Ipsos poll which has Trump with a favorable 2 point spread.
United Airlines called in the goons when a passenger on a flight in Chicago refused to voluntarily give up his seat. UA wanted the seat for its employees who needed to reposition for future flights. Of course other passengers recorded the forced removal of the man who was injured by the Chicago Airport Police. Passengers were almost uniformly horrified by the brutal treatment and reportedly heaped abuse on the UA employees who took the passengers’ seats.
Faced with an unfolding PR disaster, United managed to make it worse by releasing the following statement from CEO Oscar Munoz:
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.”
Red hasn’t been reaccomodated like that since a bar brawl in Wichita Falls in the 70s.
Red will be cutting up his United miles credit card and will never fly United again unless there is absolutely no other choice. Red suspects this may be the beginning of the end for the carrier that is consistently ranked at the bottom.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (TP) really, really wanted a vote on one of his pet projects – school vouchers. After getting the increasingly right-wing Texas senate to pass a bill that would create education savings accounts allowing parents to remove children from public schools and send them to private alternatives, and provide tax breaks for businesses offering donations to help pay for private schooling. The measure went down in flames in the Texas House – about the last bastion of occasional sanity in GOP-dominated Texas politics. The House voted 103-44 to reject Patrick’s plan. Democrats and rural Republicans torpedoed any chance of passage. Republicans wonder how they sell a bill that would reduce public school funding to parents who actually like public schools and have a harder time selling Patrick’s patchwork plan to rural voters where the public schools are the only option.
On to the bathrooms!
From the Annals of the Halls of Congress – In 1913, Sam Rayburn of Windom took the oath of office as a member of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Sam, as he was known, was to serve in Congress from the presidency of Woodrow Wilson until that of John F. Kennedy. Rayburn rose to majority leader in 1937 and was elected Speaker of the House in 1940. He remained Speaker until his death in 1961. Rayburn was a master politician who helped negotiate the Roosevelt-Garner ticket in 1932 backing his friend John Nance Garner for Vice-President. He worked tirelessly to pass New Deal legislation and as chairman of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee in the 1930s he oversaw legislation that established the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. He worked closely with Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s and Texas benefitted greatly from have the two pillars of power working in D.C. Rayburn was married only briefly and said that his greatest regret was not have a tow-haired son to take fishing. The Sam Rayburn Reservoir and several schools in East Texas are name after Mr. Sam. He was the longest serving Speaker in U.S. history.
From the Annals of the Artists – In 1911, friends of sculptor Elisabet Ney founded the Texas Fine Arts Association and the Elisabet Ney Museum to honor the late artist. Ney had immigrated to Texas in 1872 and was one of the first professional sculptors in the state. In 1892, Ney built her impressive house and studio, Formosa, in the Hyde Park area of Austin. Ney is famous for creating the sculptures of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston on display at the Capitol and the tomb of Confederate Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston at the Texas State Cemetery. After her death in 1907, her friends Bride Neill Taylor, Julia Pease, Emma Cherry, and Emma Kyle Burleson decided to use Formosa as a the annual meeting place for the new association and as a gallery for its exhibitions. In 1941 the city of Austin assumed ownership of the Elizabeth Ney Museum. It remains a popular tourist destination to this day.
The latest Quinnipiac University Poll has Donald Trump at a 35% approval rating -with 57% of Americans disapproving of the neophyte president. The negative 22 point spread is unprecedented for a president less than 3 months into his first term. Trump only seems to be holding on to the hardcore GOP base with 79% of Republicans still approving of his job performance. Overall, he is underwater with men, women, whites, non-whites, Democrats, Independents and people with brains. Other than Republicans he still has support from Russians, alien smugglers, polluters, Israeli settlers, late night comedians desperate for material, golf course designers, the criminally insane and anyone predicting that the end times are near.
Even more troubling for Trump are poll numbers showing that –
64% think he is not honest (Red can’t imagine where they get that idea)
66% think he is not level-headed (Well how could he be with that hair?)
55% think he is not a strong leader (Can’t even get wife to live in the freaking White House)
57% think he does not care about ordinary Americans (It’s difficult to really care about ordinary Americans when you have never actually met one)
It is really hard to make a comeback when 2/3rds of Americans think you are a liar and there is objective proof to back that up.
Last week Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D- El Paso) announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate seeking to unseat “Lying” Ted Cruz (TP-Texas). O’Rourke comes from a political family – his father was El Paso County Judge. O’Rourke himself has been in politics for about 12 years – first serving as an El Paso City Councilman and then barely unseating 8-term Congressman Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary in 2012.
O’Rourke carries some baggage from his days as a rock musician and two arrests – neither of which resulted in a conviction. Since then, he has operated a successful business – making enough money to venture into politics. His legislative track record is light, but that would be expected from a Democratic Congressman from Texas serving in a GOP dominated House of Representatives.
O’Rourke has taken strong stands on legalization of marijuana and protecting LGBT rights, but he kicked off his “campaign” when he and Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) embarked on a 3 day road trip to D.C. when airline flights were cancelled. The two representatives live-blogged their discussions as they drove east and created remarkable internet buzz by rationally and civilly discussing the issues.
It is worth noting, that no one from El Paso has ever been elected to state-wide office and that O’Rourke is a long shot against the Cruz publicity and money machine. The only hope would be that Cruz’s overweening ambition and narcissism will turn off enough moderates to consider making a switch. Still it would be remarkable if O’Rourke could crass the 45% threshold. But when faced with a choice of “Lying” Ted or a long shot, Red is not afraid of big odds. Red is fully on the Beto Bandwagon.
If you are interested in O’Rourke’s campaign, you can find out more at betofortexas.com.