Bobby Jindal has a new campaign strategy, and he’s being pretty upfront about it.

“I realize that the best way to make news is to mention Donald Trump,” the Louisiana governor and second-tier GOP presidential candidate says in a new version of his stump speech distributed by his campaign. “That’s the gold standard for making news these days. So, I’ve decided to randomly put his name into my remarks at various points, thereby ensuring that the news media will cover what I have to say.”

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Walker was asked by host Bill Hemmer about fellow GOP candidate Marco Rubio‘s comments that talking too much about Trump distracted from the real issues. “He’s right about that,” Walker said. “I mean, he is totally right about that.”

The Wisconsin governor bemoaned the fact that there was a “media frenzy” surrounding a single candidate. “For a lot of us, it’s like watching a car accident instead of focusing on the direction we should be headed,” he continued. “It’s a side issue out there. I think most of us as candidates– at least I do– want to be talking about making the country great.”

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“The truth-telling is bluster, the truth-telling is non-sequitur, it’s self-aggrandizement,” Paul said. “Is there really anything substantive coming out of saying people are fat, people are stupid?”…

On the call, Paul explained his decision to go aggressively negative on Trump, the reality television star and real estate magnate. “If no one stands up to a bully, a bully will keep doing what they’re doing,” Paul said. “And unless someone points out that the emperor has no clothes, they’ll continue to strut about and what we’ll end up with is a reality TV star as the nominee if we’re not careful.”

“I’m at the point where I’ve decided, you know what, someone is going to have to say that, “he added. “It’s high time that somebody does stands up and really call nonsense nonsense.”

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No conservative in America supports a single-payer government-run healthcare system, and yet around 25 percent of Republicans seem to favor Trump. How can this be possible? How can a quarter of the GOP support a guy who was a Republican, then an Independent, then a Democrat, and then a Republican again?…

We don’t need a bully, and we don’t need another President who thinks he is King. We certainly don’t need someone who has driven his companies into bankruptcy four times yet smugly tells us he uses our nation’s Chapter 11 laws to his own personal advantage. All well and good for him – but what of the creditors and vendors he defaulted on?…

It makes me sad to think that Tea Party awakening could be hijacked or hoodwinked by a guy who supported the bank bailouts, supported Obamacare, and continues to support the Clintons.

I was there at the first Tea Party in 2007 and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand passively by and watch the movement destroyed by a fake conservative.

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JAMES CARVILLE: Let me back up. We play just as much outrage when he said what he said about Senator McCain. Thus far, as of now it hasn’t had effect. The guy that seems to be positioning himself for the inevitable fall, which, you know, I guess it will be, is Ted Cruz. And he seems to be the person if you look at the SurveyMonkey poll, which is in corroboration with the University of Pennsylvania and there was another online poll that came out and showed Trump even stronger today.

I think Cruz has positioned himself to try to take advantage of it. Because Trump can go away but he speaks to a good 30% of the Republican party and those people are not going to go away. And they’re interested in something other than — in their mind they think the country is going down the drain and he’s the only guy that’s trying to stop it. And those 30% are going to be there whether Trump is there or not.

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The Trump virus’s primary effect is twofold: First, it implants in its hosts the unshakable conviction that one of the most execrable clowns in the history of these United States is a hero who deserves to be elevated to the White House; then, having inculcated the conceit, it removes the faculties that are necessary for its removal. The results are ruinous. As might the partisans of a deliberately unfalsifiable conspiracy theory, those who have been stricken soon come to believe in earnest that there is no such thing as a fair-minded or legitimate criticism of their swashbuckling charge, and that all embarrassments, mistakes, and inadequacies are in fact signs of imminent victory. To converse at length with a committed Trumpite is, in consequence, akin in nature to conversing at length with a moon-landing denier: Every protestation is taken as a clear indication of complicity in the cover-up; distinctions between matters of minor and major import are disintegrated at will; run-of-the-mill inquiries are received as telltale signs of “fear” or of “hatred”; and bluster and the turning of rhetorical tables (“so who do you like: Jeb?”) substitute for patience and for forthrightness. There is a certain irony in this. By their own insistence, Trump’s devotees consider themselves to be the rebels at the gates; by their dull, unreflective, often ovine behavior, they resemble binary and nuancless drones, as might be found in a novel by Aldous Huxley or Yevgeny Zamyatin…

For both the friends and the foes of conservatism, it will be tempting to conclude that the root cause of the Trump phenomenon is the rank stupidity of the voting public. This, though, would be a mistake. In truth, the Trump surge is being caused by an unwillingness on the part of his champions to distinguish between the illness that they seek to remedy and that remedy itself. Livid at the stagnation and discord of the Obama years, appalled by the dysfunction and hollowness of Washington, D.C., and dismayed by the immediate-term prospects for recovery, a number of conservatives have arrived at a reasonable prescription: that something, somewhere, needs to change in their movement, and that it may take radical action in order to provoke an alteration. Alas, in an attempt to expedite reform, many have hitched their wagons to the first sign of disruption that has come along. Given the scale of the disappointment that so many feel, one can grasp the temptation. But a virus is a virus is a virus — even when the patient is actually ill.

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There’s a larger picture here in which Trump is playing a part, though he may personally be oblivious to it. The two parties are redefining themselves. For decades, Democrats were a coalition party, Republicans a consensus party.

Democrats remain a collection of interest groups – labor, liberals, feminists, minorities, etc. – but they’re no longer ideologically diverse. Conservatives aren’t welcome and moderates are barely hanging on. Left liberalism has triumphed in the Democratic party.

Republicans have been a consensus party, generally agreeing on issues, for roughly a half century.  Despite this, factions are now growing – that is, factions that don’t get along with each other.  Grass roots conservatives, egged on by talk radio, loathe their leaders. Social conservatives feel slighted.  Libertarians are scarce in senior GOP circles.

Obama united Republicans early on. But the failure to derail his initiatives now divides them, mostly on tactics and strategy.  Trump divides Republicans all the more. He’s a one-man wedge issue.

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The recent intramural war was shocking becuase conservative media usually easily unites around partisan memes. Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comment was a version of an idea popularized by RedState editor and talk radio host Erick Erickson, who created a blog titled “We Are the 53%.” In 2009, shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, Karl Rove created the meme that Obama had conducted an international “apology tour” for America’s sins, and it’s never died. Mitt Romney titled his 2010 campaign book No Apology; in May, Mike Huckabee announced he was running for president and declared, “I will never, ever apologize for America!” But Donald Trump, a sort of living meme, has caused conservative media to turn on itself.

Trump is a symbol of an idea with a lot of emotion but not much depth: that if Republicans had the courage to be more mean—less politically correct—they could will their preferred policies into existence. Trump’s great draw—as expressed by both pundits and voters—is that he says what he thinks, without fear of offending people. “He doesn’t know what ‘PC’ means,” a man said at a Trump party in New Hampshire in June. But being un-PC actually means you have the correct political opinions and offend an approved list of targets—Mexican immigrants, Rosie O’Donnell, feminazis, etc. This is why the Trump war got so ferocious. He started picking on someone who was not in the list: Megyn Kelly, one of the brightest stars of the Fox universe.

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Here’s the thing: Trump isn’t getting out of this race any time soon. He’s having WAY too much fun.

Think about it. Trump l-o-v-e-s being the center of attention. And the only thing better in his mind than being the center of attention in the business world is being the center of attention in the business AND political worlds…

Trump, the ultimate believer that all publicity is good publicity, is in heaven right now. And, he’s not shy (is he ever?) about making clear how much fun he’s having. “We’re doing fantastically well with the campaign,” he told ABC’s George Stephanapoulos on Sunday. “The numbers are incredible.  And you know that better than anybody, because you report them. And no, it’s full speed ahead.  I’m having a good time.  I really love it.”…

As for Matthews’ conclusion that Trump will fade, I am slightly skeptical.  Ask yourself this: What would a Trump implosion look like? I struggle to think of what he could say or do at this point that would make people who support him jump off his bandwagon.  I mean, if you’re still on board at this point, you are probably in it for the long-ish (or at least the medium) haul.

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In essence, Trump is wealthy and reckless enough to be immune from public opinion. It’s not that he has nothing to lose, it’s that he doesn’t care if he loses. Even if he weren’t polling so well, his campaign could go on for as long as he wanted it to, and continue generating headlines. If he doesn’t win the presidency (which seems likely), he’ll probably go back to raking in the cash, with a nest egg of several billion to sit on.

In other words, when Trump said no one could buy him off as president because he’s “really rich,” he had a point. His campaign doesn’t need donations, so he’s free to offend special-interest groups and other traditional kingmakers. Even if he’s not winning in the polls, his gift for incendiary gab will still grab headlines, so he can afford to alienate some voters without fearing the loss of relevance…

I don’t agree with most of what Trump has said. I don’t think he’s going to win the Republican nomination. I’m not even sure how long he’s going to stay in the race. But I know this: I’m glad he entered it. If anyone can brave the slings and arrows of American Bulverism, it’s Donald Trump, and maybe, just maybe, if he manages that, we’ll stop wringing our hands over the existence of ideas and actually go back to the hard work of refuting them.

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[I]n his three policy answers last week, Trump offered no evidence to support his absurd claims about Mexican immigrants, he offered a qualified embrace of single-payer health care, and took political incoherence to levels not seen in recent memory.

And that’s the big point. Despite the claims of his supporters, Trump isn’t so much a departure from politics-as-usual as he is a sort of mutant, exaggerated version of it.

He does the same things they do, only bigger and more outrageously and, on occasion, more luxuriously. He flip-flops like an everyday politician and he whines like an everyday politician. He evades questions like everyday politicians and makes up statistics like everyday politicians. He uses strawmen like everyday politicians and misspeaks like everyday politicians. He craves media attention like everyday politicians and lies like everyday politicians.

Trump isn’t the solution to our broken politics so much as he’s the outsized avatar of it. 

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RUSH: Okay, now, look: This dust-up stuff that happened and continues to happen since the Fox News debate — I’m sorry, the presidential debate — on Fox News on Thursday night.  A piece of advice that nobody’s asked for, for Mr. Trump: Mr. Trump, get back to the issues.  That’s why you’re where you are.  Get back to the issues.  Get back to immigration. Tell us what you think about whatever the issues are.  That’s what put you on the map.  Even despite the polling data, I would give that advice…

Then the whole RedState thing with Trump being disinvited, people weighing in on this.  It has veered away from things that campaigns are usually about (i.e., issues and substance) and has become totally devoted and about various personalities, which, in the American pop culture is a winning formula these days.  I have to tell you, folks, it’s uncharted territory for me, anyway.  I can’t come here with a firm, “This is what I think about this or that,” ’cause I really have to sit here and just observe more of it as it plays out…

He can see to it that this stuff is left in the dust if he wants to.  But I know he enjoys this, he has fun with it. As far as he’s concerned, he’d look at the polls and say I don’t know what I’m talking about. He’s doing everything right and winning. I don’t know what I’m talking about but he does. Look at his poll numbers. I totally understand that, but I’m thinking long-term here for him.  

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That may seem like a good thing — all the attention is on him now. But tabloid coverage is not the coverage one needs when running for President. Tabloid coverage is about the candidate himself, not his issues…

The longer Trump is talking about Megyn Kelly, me, blood, or himself, he is not talking about Mexico, immigration, foreign policy, the national debt, the other candidates, etc. The very issues that brought Trump to prominence, as they fade from his voice, give other candidates opportunity to pick them up in their own voice and run with them while Trump is bogged down in the August doldrums.

Trump’s high polling will linger on awhile, but if another story does not come along to push stories about Trump personally off the front pages and lead stories of the television news, he will just be another in the long list of political stories that flare up and fade in the August doldrums of American politics.

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The billionaire real estate developer was swiftboated Thursday night. He was effectively tried and convicted of displaying grotesque sexism by Megyn Kelly, co-moderator of the first prime-time debate for the 2016 GOP presidential candidates…

Minutes later, she asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker if his opposition to abortion, even for pregnancies resulting from rape, incest or in instances in which mothers’ lives are at risk, is too extreme a position for most Americans. But she seemed to accept his suspect argument that about all women’s lives can be saved without abortions.

For at least one woman, nasty utterances pose more of a threat to her and her sisters than the possibility of losing their medical privacy…

When judging Trump, I would suggest we all man up. Look at his record of hiring, and firing, females. I’ve not heard of him called out for underpaying, overworking, failing to promote or laying hands on women in his employ.

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Even in what Rush likes to call an utterly chickified political culture, you’d be hard put to improve on the Republican Party’s leading presidential candidate being taken out by an intercontinental ballistic tampon…

The sheer stupidity of the last 48 hours ought to be embarrassing to any self-governing people. Once the fake-o vapors of the Age of Outrage go bipartisan you might as well forget about America’s future. Even if you think Trump did intend it as a time-of-the-month innuendo, so what? Who cares? I don’t want Erick Erickson’s old-time menstrual show trying to outbid the left in shriveling and narrowing the bounds of what’s “acceptable”. Because in the early 21st century the shrill little twerps shrieking “You can’t say that!” are a far bigger problem than the stuff they object to. Let’s suppose Erick Erickson got his way – and that for the first time in the history of the republic or indeed any other free society the leading candidate of a major party was destroyed by one highly ambiguous supposed menstrual crack. Is that likely to improve the quality of either public life in this country or those attracted to it? Or would it lead it to American politics becoming even more weird and detached from reality and just a con-game for freaks, hangers-on and the consultant-industrial complex?

So far, though, the menstrual show doesn’t seem to be working. Judging from that hit parade above, you might even get the impression that it’s all those people piously insisting “this has no place in our party” who have no place in our party.

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Here’s the sole way you’ll know Trump is getting serious: He’ll foreclose the option of running as an independent, and say he’s committed to the Republican Party. In Trump fashion, he’d say it’s because he’s the party’s front-runner, with a double-digit lead nationally and in key states. He and his aides continue to leave open this possibility. It wouldn’t cost him anything: We’re told from the inside that because of ballot complications, he’s unlikely to run independent, anyway.

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