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Whodunnit?

Some great reporting from Roll Call's Emma Dumain that sheds new light on the Confederate flag fiasco the House GOP brought on itself Wednesday night, more or less under cover of darkness.

We have some of the highlights, but the gist is that the move was carried out by the highest levels of House GOP leadership and that many of the rank-and-file members, including some who would normally be in the loop, were caught completely off guard.

Key line about what happened on the floor that night: "The real red flag was the sudden appearance of leadership staff, namely senior aides for Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio."

So it's a little rich that Boehner went before reporters for his weekly press conference less than 24 hours later and commenting on the Confederate flag said, "I do not want this to become some political football."

You Really Need To Follow This Maine Story

This thing going on in Maine is wild, as so many things tend to be with the marvelously unhinged Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

As you may have seen earlier in the week, LePage seemed by all accounts except his own to have catastrophically botched vetoing nearly 20 bills the legislature had already passed, many or all of which he vehemently opposed.

In LePage's telling, this was all part of his plan, not a botched veto, but a particular interpretation of the Maine constitution that should be obvious to anyone. Except it wasn't obvious, and hasn't been the custom or practice in the state. His interpretation smelled very much like an after-the-fact legal rationale to try escape the bind he put himself in.

But now LePage is going one step further.

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Will He Buckle?

Here at TPM we've been wondering: how much is Donald Trump's business being harmed and could the damage get severe enough that he'd shift gears and try to reverse the damage. We talked to the author of a soon-to-be-released biography of Trump to get some insight on that question. Check it out.

For me it's a fascinating question because I think Trump really, really likes being not just rich but among the super rich. And I suspect he'd do anything not to face the humiliation of major financial reverses. But he's arrogant and headstrong enough that I think it's almost impossible to imagine him going into damage control or 'crisis communications' mode and begging forgiveness or trying to shift gears.

We shall see.

Trump, the Rebel Flag and the Hoofbeats of 2016

Some things are not related, except they are totally related. Witness today's news that GOP Chair Reince Priebus felt compelled to reach out to peak GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and beg him to tone down the Stormfront.org-like attacks on Mexican immigrants - and just as notably to leak to the press that the call had happened. Trump is now out denying the reports, claiming that Priebus had told him he was doing great and had struck "a nerve" with his rants. For my part, I think both reports may well be true. If you're someone of Priebus' relative stature, approaching someone of Trump's arrogance and buffoonery, who is insulated from all of the pressures usually used to bring politicians to heel, you're not going to say, "Dude, STFU or else." I think you're probably to say something like "Dude, you're killing it. You've really struck a nerve. But a party can only handle so much of your awesomeness at once. Let's try to tone this down a bit."

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We've Met the Doofus. And He is Jeb

It goes without saying that it's probably not good politics to say your plan to move the country forward is that everyone needs to work longer hours. It approaches 47% level toxicity. Even more damning is that it makes zero sense in policy terms. Indeed, Jeb's 'work harder' prescription provides harrowing look at the level of derp that can be produced when you take a guy who isn't all that bright and push him to the head of the national leadership line without ever having put in an honest day's work or support himself in his life.

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