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The Great Republican Normie Hope Kind of Sucks
Nikki Haley tells us who she is.
Alert: C-SPAN has handed off their 9am hour on Saturday to me, Tim, and Sarah. It’s a Next Level takeover. We will be taking calls. I will have to interact with Average Viewers. I’ve been told that I’m allowed to do certain characters on the show, like Skinny Joey, from Jersey. But not Cletus. Or Foghorn Leghorn.
C-SPAN has made a huge mistake, so be sure to tune in.
Saturday, 9am in the East, on C-SPAN.
1. Nikki, Nicky, Nikay
Remember the Republican debate? Nikki Haley established herself as the Great Normie Hope with a strong performance in which she (a) defended aid to Ukraine; (b) blamed both Democrats and Republicans for excessive spending; and (c) said that Donald Trump was the most unpopular politician in America.
She excited various Never Trump types (including me) and earned a second look from voters.
Let’s check in to see how that second look is going!
Ruh-ro. You may remember Don “The General” Bolduc from such hits as Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, his 8-point loss in the 2020 New Hampshire Senate Republican primary, or his 9-point loss in the 2022 New Hampshire Senate general election.
Not a great sign!
What else has Nikki been up to? Well, last weekend she hit the Sunday shows to give all the second-lookers a good ol’ gander at what she’s selling.
Let me translate that for you: Haley says that yes, she will support Trump even if he is a convicted criminal. But only because she signed a pledge to do so. And not to worry, because nobody else in America will vote for him, so her support for the criminal won’t do any damage.
Leadership for a New Generation: Vote Nikki!
So we’ve seen how Haley handled her second look at the organizational level and with the media. How about with actual voters?
You should watch the video. What happens is that a voter asks her about her debate moment when she raised her hand saying that she’d support Trump even if he was convicted of crimes. This voter was very concerned by that.
Because this gentleman was worried that she was lying at the debate and wouldn’t actually support a convicted, jailed Trump.
Voter: You said some pretty harsh things about President Trump on that debate stage. And so, people are wondering if you were lying when you raised your hand to say you would support him, even if he were in jail.
Haley: I raised my hand on that stage—
Voter: Could you raise your hand with us to say that you would support President Trump even if he was in jail?
Haley: I raised my hand on that stage. I raised my hand because the Republican nominee is better than a President Kamala Harris. And I will say that every day of the week.
So much for being the grownup in the room.
Thus concludes Nikki Haley’s second look. The hunt for the Good Republican continues.
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Sarah and I just finished taping The Secret Podcast. The show will be out in a few hours but I want to address a great point Sarah made about the weirdness of obsessing over whether or not Republicans will support a Trump who is convicted of crimes.
Because think about how far these goalposts have already moved.
We’ve spent the last seven years asking Republicans, Would you support a candidate who:
Was caught on tape bragging about sexual assaults?
Has been impeached?
Refuses to promise a peaceful transfer of power?
Failed to concede his election loss?
Attempted to overturn a lawful election?
Incited a violent insurrection?
Was impeached a second time?
Has been indicted on 91 criminal charges?
With Trump, we’ve been posing hypothetical “would you support a guy who has done Bad Thing X” since 2016 and the answer from both elite and rank-and-file Republicans has been “Hells, yeah!” Every. Single. Time.
Why would “Has been convicted of crimes” suddenly produce a different response?
Let me tell you what will happen if Trump is convicted: The goalposts will move to “Is in jail.”
Because if Trump is convicted, he won’t go directly to jail. He’ll be released on bail pending appeal and Republicans will say:
The legal process is still at work!
There were a number of irregularities in the trial!
His case is under appeal and he’ll be vindicated!
The jury was rigged!
He’s not even in jail yet, so he hasn’t really been convicted!
And if, by some miracle, Trump does wind up in jail, they’ll move the goalposts again. For people like Nikki Haley, there is no hypothetical scenario in which Trump can do something so awful that they refuse to bend the knee to him.
Because these Quislings understand very clearly what their people demand of them. And they would die before they took sides against their tribe.
I’ve been gently hinting about my suspicion that tennis has a PED problem for some time now: 30 years ago it was not uncommon to have teenaged champions and players rarely won majors after age 27. Today, Top 20 teenagers are rare and both men and women win majors well into their 30s.
Novak Djokovic has been more dominant as a 35-year-old than he was as a 25-year-old and he’s not the only one.
I’m sorry, but “nutrition and physio” only get you so far.
The other reason I suspect tennis of sweeping PEDs under the rug is that the sport has had a massive match-fixing problem for ages. And it has done everything possible to keep this problem a secret.
On the morning of his arrest, Grigor Sargsyan was still fixing matches. Four cellphones buzzed on his nightstand with calls and messages from around the world.
Sargsyan was sprawled on a bed in his parents’ apartment, making deals between snatches of sleep. It was 3 a.m. in Brussels, which meant it was 8 a.m. in Thailand. The W25 Hua Hin tournament was about to start.
Sargsyan was negotiating with professional tennis players preparing for their matches, athletes he had assiduously recruited over years. He needed them to throw a game or a set — or even just a point — so he and a global network of associates could place bets on the outcomes.
That’s how Sargsyan had become rich. As gambling on tennis exploded into a $50 billion industry, he had infiltrated the sport, paying pros more to lose matches, or parts of matches, than they could make by winning tournaments.
Sargsyan had crisscrossed the globe building his roster, which had grown to include more than 180 professional players across five continents. It was one of the biggest match-fixing rings in modern sports, large enough to earn Sargsyan a nickname whispered throughout the tennis world: the Maestro.
Read the whole thing. A sport that doesn’t make an example of athletes monkeying with the integrity of the game for betting purposes is going to do everything possible to turn a blind eye to PEDs.
Nota bene: I’d still take Nikki Haley over Trump or DeSantis. Without a doubt. If Nikki were the Republican nominee, I’d sleep well at night and be hopeful for the future of America. It would be great.
But we can dispense with the idea that she’s actually the great, normie savior.