Sunday Four-Play: DeSantis-bot glitches out, and ex-Trump aide says the former guy is ‘slowing down’

If you somehow missed Thursday’s big debate between Govs. Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis, well, don’t fret. For one thing, Newsom didn’t debate DeSantis so much as curb-stomp him over and over like an increasingly shopworn series of Cabbage Patch dolls.

Secondly, DeSantis is still running for president, so he’s not going anywhere. Other than nowhere, of course. Unless third place in the Iowa caucuses is now considered some kind of milk-and-honey-festooned promised land.

Yes, DeSantis-bot glitched out several times over the course of the debate. It was like watching a deer caught in a car’s headlights … then a car’s grille … then a car’s windshield … and finally a car’s trunk, where the Flailing Florida Man struck a dashing pose alongside the still-purpling corpse of Scott Walker. Take, for instance, this exchange, previously highlighted by Daily Kos’ Walter Einenkel:

Wow. That was something, huh? How are the smiling lessons going, Ron? Looks like you’ve finally mastered “constipated prairie chicken.” Next stop: “inflatable car wash dancer.” 

Of course, we may not have DeSantis to kick around much longer, so we better kick him now. (Figuratively, of course.) And this week he’s on the OG Sunday political show, “Meet the Press,” which promises to be a barrel of awkward, off-putting laughs.

So let’s see how that went, shall we?

Off we go!

1.

Have we mentioned how utterly screwed Republicans are on abortion? Oh, yes, we have, haven’t we? Well, they are, because they don’t have anything that approaches a consistent or coherent message. Democrats do: We need to codify Roe and ensure that private reproductive health care decisions are made by women in close consultation with their doctors. Democrats can look voters square in the eye and tell them that simple truth.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates are continually asked where they stand on federal abortion bans, and it’s like asking Louie Gohmert how the CERN supercollider works. Or Legos. Or underpants, for that matter. In other words, they don’t have the slightest clue what to say.

DeSantis appeared with Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” to discuss a campaign that’s shrinking in inverse proportion to his pupils whenever he gets asked about this stuff.

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WELKER: “You signed a six-week ban in the state of Florida, so voters want to know, people of Iowa want to know, where do you stand on this issue? Would you sign a six-week federal ban if it came to your desk? If you were president?”

DESANTIS: “But we signed a legislation to stand for a culture of life that was done by the Florida Legislature. I mean, this was them bringing the will of the people …”

WELKER: “So is that a yes? Is that a yes?”

DESANTIS: “Well, Congress is not going to do any type of abortion legislation. They haven’t done abortion legislation—the only thing that’s impacted abortion on the federal level, I think the last thing is Obamacare in 2010. So we understand that, and so part of me promoting a culture of life is to do things that are achievable and that obviously would have consensus. No taxpayer funding for abortion. We’re going to eliminate the abortion tourism policy of the Department of Defense, and we’re going to protect the rights of states to enact pro-life protections.”

“Come on, now! Congress won’t pass abortion legislation! Nothing has been done on abortion since 2010. And nothing of note has changed since then. Nope. Not a single thing. It’s moot. Next question! Wait, Dobbs? What is Dobbs? Now you’re just making baby noises. Can we get back to my talking points, please? Lavish Broadway musicals have gone woke!”

Good Lord. Honestly, he’d be better off appearing on these shows wearing an “Ask Me About My Boot Lifts” button.

BONUS!

DeSantis has a really hard time condemning Donald Trump’s use of the word “vermin” to refer to one’s political enemies. Must be tough trying to continually walk that tightrope between full-blown Nazi rhetoric and the kind of stuff Hitler just randomly thought of in his shower.

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Geez, Ron, grow a pair. Of eyes, I mean. Can’t you see how hopelessly behind you are? Newsom was right. You need to drop out, ASAP.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Republicans are completely screwed on abortion, and Trump (hearts) fascism

2.

Master projectionist Donald Trump has lately been trying to claim that President Biden is actually our nation’s biggest threat to democracy—not the guy who literally tried to end America. And he’s giving extremely low-energy speeches to make his point.

Former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin joined “State of the Union’s” expert panel to discuss this frothy nonsense, telling host Dana Bash that she’s noticed Trump is “slowing down.” Which is the worst euphemism for “turning into a Nazi Chucky doll” anyone’s ever heard.

TRUMP (AT RALLY): “But Joe Biden is not the defender of American democracy, Joe Biden is the destroyer of American democracy. … So if Joe Biden wants to make this race a question of which candidate will defend our democracy and protect our freedoms, I say to Crooked Joe—and he’s crooked, the most corrupt president we’ve ever had—we will win that fight and we’re going to win it very big. Very big.”

BASH: “Welcome back to ‘State of the Union.’ My panel joins me now. Alyssa, this is probably one of the least surprising things you’ve seen Donald Trump do. Right, I mean, if, if—I don’t want to call it ‘evil genius’ because, I don’t—but it’s so classic. To have something wrong with him, a negative, and he says, no, it’s the other guy.”

FARAH GRIFFIN: “And just tries to flip it on its head and you heard the audience eat it up. It’s kind of remarkable—I was watching some of the clips from Trump’s visit to Iowa, and I’m stunned, having spent a lot of time with him in 2020 and years before, he is slowing down. There is a lack of sharpness in what he is saying, and a lack of kind of clarity. There’s another clip where he basically says he’s going to overturn Obamacare but then also says that he’d fix it. Just complete inconsistencies. And for Republicans, our strongest case against Joe Biden is, you know, the age and the decline that some of us have seen. And if I’m being honest, head to head, I’m not sure which is struggling more.”

You’re not sure who’s struggling more? Trump. Trump is struggling more. Biden looks slightly bent over when he walks and occasionally elides or butchers a word or two. He doesn’t continually claim he ran against George W. Bush, brag about passing preschool-level dementia tests, and confidently assert that windmills are murdering whales.

Then again, Farah Griffin is a Republican. Who worked for Trump. Sometimes the deprogramming takes a while to fully kick in, apparently.

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Biden delivers results, Christie swats at Trump, and Musk tanks Twitter

3.

The fake Biden impeachment is still a hot topic over at Fox News, and veteran journamalist Maria Bartiromo is all over it. There’s no need to rehash how empty and cynical this endeavor is. You can simply read this fact check or this Daily Kos liveblog of Republicans’ September impeachment hearing. Or you could just stare into House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer’s eyes for 30 seconds and see for yourself that there’s nothing behind them but insensate evil and pingpong balls. 

But Republicans are determined to go ahead with the charade—so long as the people they’re accusing aren’t allowed to share their stories with the same public Comer, et al., have been dishonestly working into a lather for the past two years.

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BARTIROMO: “[We want to] understand why you have had to take so long to actually get a vote to impeach, get this impeachment inquiry going. Do you feel that you have the votes within the House right now to get a formal impeachment inquiry?”

COMER: “I do, and I had a reporter ask, well, what’s changed? You know, because the press has been writing we didn’t have the votes forever. And I said, well, I tell you one thing that changed. We were in Washington, D.C., for 10 weeks, and there were about 15 or 20 moderates that they really worry about what CNN says or what the Washington Post writes, and they were getting in their heads, Maria. But a great thing happened during Thanksgiving. The members went home—many of them for the first time and circulated for the first time in over 10 weeks—and they met people in Walmart and people on Main Street, and they’re like, what in the world have the Bidens done to receive millions and millions of dollars from our enemies around the world, and did they not pay taxes on it? So they heard from their constituents—yes, we want you to move forward, we want to know the truth. And we expect the Bidens to be held accountable for public corruption.”

Got that? Those vulnerable House Republicans who represent Biden-leaning districts stopped reading The Washington Post for 10 days and started listening to the constitutional scholars picking out hydrogenated pie toppings at Walmart. Case closed. Joe Biden is as good as gone. Now they can finally go through Kamala Harris’ purse to see how many Sweet ‘N Low packets she’s stolen from IHOP since the inauguration.  

RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel tries to appear ‘moderate’ on abortion, fails miserably

4.

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby appeared on “Meet the Press” with Kristen Welker to discuss the Israel-Hamas war and a recent New York Times report alleging that Israeli intelligence obtained the battle plan for Hamas’ October terrorist attack more than a year before it occurred.

So why, Welker wondered, didn’t U.S. intelligence have any inkling of this? Isn’t Israel supposed to share intelligence with us?

I suspect you know the likely answer—even if Welker doesn’t. We’ll see if you’ve got your thinking caps on. The big, startling reveal will come … after the jump!

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WELKER: “John, I have to ask you about this New York Times reporting which found that Israeli officials received Hamas’ specific attack plan over a year ago. Was the United States aware of this intelligence, and if not, why not?”

KIRBY: “The intelligence community has indicated that they did not have access to this document. There’s no indications at this time that they had any access to this document beforehand.”

WELKER: “Should they have, given how closely U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials coordinate, or are supposed to coordinate?”

KIRBY: “Intelligence is a mosaic, and sometimes, you know, you can fashion things together and get a pretty good picture, other times there’s pieces of the puzzle that are missing. As I said, our own intelligence community said that they looked at this. They have no indications at this time that they had any advance warning of this document or any knowledge of it.”

WELKER: “John, very quickly, was this a failure on the part of Israeli intelligence and U.S. intelligence?”

KIRBY: “I think there’s going to be a time and a place for Israel to do that sort of forensic work. I mean, Prime Minister Netanyahu has already spoken pretty candidly about this, calling it a failure on their part. They’ll take a look at this at the right time. They need to do that. Right now, though, the focus has got to be on making sure that they can eliminate this truly genocidal threat to the Israeli people.”

Gee, why wouldn’t Israel want to share intelligence with us? What might have happened in the past several years that could have given them pause? It’s a huge fucking mystery, isn’t it? 

This one is a Video Daily Double:

Oh, you need it spelled out? Okay, then.

Foreign Policy, May 2017:

Just days before President Donald Trump’s arrival in Tel Aviv, Israeli intelligence officials were shouting at their American counterparts in meetings, furious over news that the U.S. commander in chief may have compromised a vital source of information on the Islamic State and possibly Iran, according to a U.S. defense official in military planning.

“To them, it’s horrifying,” the official, who attended the meetings, told Foreign Policy. “Their first question was: ‘What is going on? What is this?’”

[…]

[B]ehind the public display of harmony, Israeli intelligence officers are angry and alarmed over the U.S. president revealing sensitive information in a May 10 meeting in the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

Well, maybe Welker doesn’t read Foreign Policy. Or NBC News. I’m pretty sure People magazine covered it, too, alongside Sergei Lavrov’s favorite braised turnip recipes.

But wait! There’s more!

That’s it for today. Hope you’re all enjoying this joyful War on Christmas season. See you next week!

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

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