David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Here's my question: Is calling the people of Iowa "stupid" while at a campaign rally in Iowa the sort of break-all-the-rules move that finally pushes Trump over the edge? Or is that not substantively any different from calling America a bunch of pitiful losers who need a strong man like Trump to make them winners again? Because that message -- you're a chump, but I can lift you up and make you more than a chump -- has been the core resonance of the Trump message (along with the dark undertone of a promised revenge against the people -- Mexicans, elites, media, Wall Street -- who've been treating you like a chump.)

Kevin Drum called last night's Trump speech "a 95-minute meltdown." It's true that when you watch the snippet of Trump fooling around with his belt to cast further doubt on Ben Carson's stabbing story (those last 15 words standing as a lasting tribute to the 2016 GOP presidential primary), it does give you pause. But more than anything, the Trump schtick -- I'm a winner and I can make you a winner again! -- doesn't resonate the same way when Trump himself is losing to a Mr. Magoo like Carson. That's just a hard sell, even for the "stupid" people of Iowa.

Fox Business determined not to get caught in the conservative crosshairs like CNBC was for the last GOP debate. It's culture of dependency, crushing federal debt, and out of control taxes as the premises -- often stated -- for the questions from the moderators so far in the undercard debate.

In our rundown of conservative reaction to the Ben Carson's false West Point story, pay particular attention to the U-turn crowd (they're toward the bottom) for a primer in how conservative media operate.

Just as Jeb was bottoming out in his psycho-political identity crisis along comes Jon Meacham's new bio of George H.W. Bush featuring the elder Bush personally critiquing George W. for letting the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis run roughshod over him. This should open up a delightful new line of questioning for Jeb on the campaign trail.

In the early days of Obamacare, conservatives howled at the prospect that new customers would get to register to vote when they enrolled in the program. It was going to be like another ACORN, god forbid.

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The only mystery of any consequence remaining about the budget deal and Paul Ryan's ascension to speaker was whether Ryan would vote for the budget deal, or leave all the dirty work to John Boehner. Now we have an answer. Or as Greg Sargent put it: "Paul Ryan’s transformation from safety-net-obliterating, Ayn Rand-worshipping conservative hero to RINO squish Obummer-enabling sellout is complete."

Other than the World Series, this week's best spectator sport is watching Republicans pretend that the budget deal is all John Boehner's doing, Paul Ryan bears no responsibility for it, and it's the result of a process that "stinks." Everyone gets a little something out of maintaining these fictions, and there's just enough plausible deniability to pull it off. But it's still an elaborate fiction that helps ease the way for the GOP's big surrender from its crisis-threatening brinksmanship.