This month, GOP Congressman Erik Paulsen’s website asked visitors their thoughts on a question vexing Minnesota’s most financially available congressman:
“Do you believe President Trump should order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller?” Respondents picked from “Yes,” “No,” or “Unsure/Don’t Know,” with a space provided for “Additional Comments.”
Critics howled. Paulsen was treating a looming constitutional crisis the same way Buzzfeed asks “Which Sex and the City drink order are you?” (Paulsen—light, expensive, and regrettable—is a Bellini.)
The critics are wrong. Paulsen’s on the cutting edge of focus-group politics, a burgeoning movement for vulnerable Republicans who have one position—they want to get reelected—and will compromise all others to make it happen.
City Pages has obtained a leaked copy of a set of policy questions that will soon appear on Paulsen’s website:
Should President Donald Trump dissolve the F.B.I. and replace it with a secret police that answers only to Jared Kushner?
C.) Unsure/Don’t Know
If Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refuses to fire Robert Mueller, how should President Donald Trump refer to Rosenstein in a tweet?
A.) Deputy Dog
B.) Deep State Rotten Roddy
C.) Little Rosie
If House Republicans impeach Rosenstein, who should be hired to oversee Mueller’s investigation?
A.) Rudy Giuliani
B.) Michael Cohen
C.) Sean Hannity
D.) That creepy old bald guy on TV. No, not Giuliani. The one who said Cohen would be some guy’s “wife” in prison.
Do you believe President Trump was aware of a meeting between his son, his campaign chairman, and Russians in a building owned by President Trump?
C.) Trump Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Manhattan
If President Donald Trump cheated on his wife with an adult film star, what would be an appropriate response?
A.) Apologize to his wife and seek therapy
B.) Confess to the sin of adultery and seek forgiveness
C.) A threat of violence in a parking garage and $130,000 oughta take care of it
Do you remember that time Republicans passed a health care plan—one that I championed—that would have kicked at least 10 million Americans off their insurance?
B.) Sure don’t
C.) Dean Phillips was hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi!
How often should a congressman meet with constituents?
A.) Never after 2012
B.) As often as necessary, until both the constituent and his wife have reached the $5,200 maximum campaign donation for that election cycle
C.) What about these website questions? Isn’t this practically a meeting?
What part of Michael Cohen facilitating a secretive $1.6 million payment to a Playboy model to keep quiet about having an abortion concerns you most?
A.) The possibility of blackmail by an agent of a foreign government
B.) Abortion should be illegal
C.) That’s way too much! Why hire an attorney named “Cohen” if the bribe’s still gonna cost a million six?
If Michael Cohen took money from AT&T, a pharmaceutical company, a defense contractor, and a Russian oligarch in exchange for access to President Donald Trump, does that seem like corruption?
A.) When you put it that way... still no
B.) No, the only way to drain a swamp is to flood it first
C.) What about Benghazi?
Should EPA director Scott Pruitt dump fuel from his private jet while it’s flying directly above Lake Minnetonka?
C.) Unsure/Don’t know
If President Donald Trump calls some immigrants “animals,” and says others come from “shithole countries,” do you still think we need a border wall with Mexico?
A.) Yes, and Mexico has to pay for it
B.) Yes, and California has to pay for it
C.) No, but Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo must change his name to “Andy Wayzata” and renounce his past affiliation with the sport of soccer
Should Paul Ryan have forced out Rev. Patrick Conroy as House Chaplain for praying the Republican tax bill would bring “benefits... shared by all Americans?”
A.) Yes. Sharing with the poor doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know.
B.) “All Americans”? Even Democrats?
C.) My attorneys have advised me not to put any reference to my taxes in writing.
How has the burdensome medical device tax affected you personally?
A.) My congressman won’t stop emailing me about it
B.) Shareholder profits are down slightly, and we held our last quarterly board meeting at a second-rate Napa winery
Should Education Secretary Besty DeVos personally carry out a school shooting, just to show how much safer students would be at private schools staffed by heavily armed teachers?
C.) Unsure/Don’t Know
Did you support the tax law I voted for, which eliminated state and local tax deductions, which really screwed states like Minnesota, even though we already pay more into the federal budget than we get back?
A.) Yes, anything the hosts of Fox & Friends like must be good.
B.) Those other states won’t need as much once you finally privatize Medicare.
C.) As CEO of U.S. Bank, I, Andrew Cecere, anticipate making upward of 90 percent of my compensation in stock options, and therefore was more interested in cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. My donation is in the mail.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey! We at Team Paulsen value your input! Please use the blank space below to leave additional comments, legal advice, lobbying requests, SuperPAC bank account routing numbers, embarrassing photographs of Bob Mueller, alternate routes to get to and from my Capitol office without bumping into protesters, or job offers.
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