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      This is pretty much the exact sort of behavior that people are talking about with the whole “white male power structure” critique. “My good friend Fred Upton” who, incidentally, isn’t good at all. Some of us remember when he flip-flopped on climate change so that he could head the Energy and Commerce Committee, and simply by being a member of the Republican Party in a competitive district he quite literally empowered the Trump Administration’s war on reproductive rights, the environment, public education, et al. But he has a good position on one non-politicized issue so he’s a great guy! Also Trump isn’t the real Republican Party, as I’m sure that Biden has said before (really no need to google that to find a quote). The real disgrace in the story about Anita Hill was that intra-white guy chumminess—particularly on Biden’s part—led to a wholly avoidable tragedy and it’s obvious that the man didn’t learn a fucking thing from that situation. Gonna be hilarious when he tries to get his side of that story out there.

      Though Loomis is right that Beto’s sin is much, much worse, and he doesn’t have the excuse of being incredibly old and set in the ways of long-outmoded partisanship.

      Lev filed this under: ,  

      Not sure what else the big MSM climb down on the MAGA kids is supposed to say. Nothing to worry about because THE CONTEXT says something or other. Their most disgraceful performance since last week.

      Really though, “this is normal” is pretty much the idea the media has been trying to incept into us from the start of this thing. Think this country is running straight into a whirlpool of hate that resulted in the election of a wannabe fascist? Nah. They’re just harmless, crusty old guys, those Trump fans. Enjoy fifty thousand profiles of them. Also the adults are in charge and isn’t that Milo just such a naughty boy? What about Richard Spencer’s natty threads? Also, Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss think you’re the real asshole for being a liberal. Et cetera. To be fair, they have also output some stuff that has been good! But they simply cannot both maintain their both sides fetish while also seriously holding a light to Trump and what he represents. This most recent incident poignantly shows this.

      We have been down this road before and, as always, you alone must decide if this essential “this is normal” perspective is worth supporting financially. You know what I say. The real question I still have is: how sustainable is this? I mean, it was a bunch of white bros literally echoing the president in trying to intimidate a person of color. They reported it accurately and withered under the flak, retreating to comfortable both sides territory. But if this sort of thing becomes a durable part of our society (and I sadly would not bet against it), how will the media cover it? How long can they keep up with these feeble excuses?

      The answer is: they don’t fucking know! The old white guys running this industry are just trying to get through this a day at a time with “both sides” intact, hoping that they’ll keep hold of enough self-hating liberals’ wallets to stay afloat. My guess is that it’ll work…for a little while longer.

      Lev filed this under: ,  

      Literally the only thing Theresa May cares about is keeping the nationalist right inside of her party. This is often expressed as “avoiding a party split” but it means the same thing. Since those people want no deal, that’s what is going to wind up happening to avoid a split. She’s wasting everybody’s time with her middle option but she’s been in over her head since day one, so why stop now? That she genuinely seems to think it has a future shows how delusional she is. Nobody wants to eat their vegetables, they want either zero-calorie ice cream or they’re not hungry!

      My guess is that May will succeed in avoiding that party split she so fears. It won’t be worth as much as she thinks. Good luck winning an election after your party is identified with turning a rich nation into a third world basket case for no reason.

      Lev filed this under: ,  

      This. I mean, I knew this sort of stuff was coming, and has already a bit with Kasich, but the obtuseness here is simply insane.

      It amazes me just how many people insist that “Donald Trump is not the Republican Party” or some variation thereof. Some of these people are putatively liberal, some are on the right, as in this case. But this is just nuts. Trump is not only a producer of the contemporary GOP, he is also a product of it, and as his durably high approvals among Republicans show, he is very much in sync with its all-important demographic of “old men who watch FOX News all day.” The only person who could beat Trump in a Republican primary is somebody who can out-drama, out-demagogue, and out-resent Trump, and while there may be such a person out in the world, that person isn’t Larry Hogan, mild-mannered governor of Maryland. Just imagine being such a dope that you think that the Republican base wants a decent man with a passion for public policy over Trump. Imagine going through the past three years and believing that. Admittedly it’s hard to actually think of anybody in recent years who has run for the GOP nomination who fits that profile even a little (Jon Huntsman maybe?), but that in and of itself is telling. Republicans wanted that in 2016 like Democrats wanted Jim Webb.

      That said, given that primary challenges tend to damage the presidents who draw them, I strongly urge Hogan to do it. America (well, its elite class anyway) wants a reasonable Republican daddy, and you sir are clearly the best option! Your country needs you.

      Lev filed this under: ,  

      I just got nothing. Shutdown’s not ending because Republicans wouldn’t piss on federal employees if they were on fire and the Trump reality show has descended to its pettiest nadir. Most sites are all over shit like this but honestly I have the hardest time saying stuff when there’s nothing to say, and while I have no sense of superiority over the usual daily bullshit, you sometimes just have to give yourself a break when it’s at its most idiotic if you want to survive the next two years.

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      Theresa May’s Brexit dies but she somehow survives. Incredible.

      Lev filed this under: ,  

      It hasn’t been said directly so far that I’ve seen, but that Obamians (including the man himself!) are working hard to get Beto O’Rourke to run for president just reeks of desperation. Now look, like all Democrats I like Beto. I do! He ran a good race in Texas that didn’t make me ashamed to be a Democrat (unlike coughcough Claire McCaskill) and did better than any Democrat did in 30 years there. That’s pretty impressive. But for president? They don’t even know his views! Nobody does. It would be richly ironic if the big Obama bundlers got him to run and then he wound up in the Warren/Sanders/Booker ideological zone, at which point they’d have to cue that “The Price Is Right” trumpet fail clip. It’s not at all impossible! But even short of that, man, it’s just so desperate. The only idea, for lack of a better term, that they seem to have is summarized as “Obamism without Obama.” The thing is, these folks had a decade to find another Obama. They failed entirely! Frankly we could have used another Obama in 2016. But now they’re going for a—and look I do like the guy—largely unknown and untested commodity with a not great voting record who fell into their laps. Sounds like a real good plan to just throw him out there, instead of having him try for governor or senator in Texas again. But we can’t do that, because the presidency is the only thing that fucking matters to Democrats! And this is all only just because he sort of has an Obamaesque charisma. It’s sad.

      Not surprising why they’re courting him so heavily, though, because the next best alternative for the centrists is Joe Biden. And I like Joe Biden too! He seems like a fun person to hang around. But even the Obama people seem to recognize that there’s little hope for him. Nobody thinks those early polling leads are going to hold up, and while Biden largely kept his foot out of his mouth as the veep, you gotta figure this is because he was carefully handled, and I wouldn’t count on him exercising that sort of discipline next year. Also he has tons of baggage and is provably not good at this! He’s supposedly good at winning over the hard hat types but he couldn’t fucking win them when the Democratic Party actually was largely hard hat types the first time he ran in 1988. So yeah, nobody except for Joe Biden thinks a 2020 run is a good idea. It’s only a matter of time until that number is zero.

      I am kidding a little bit here: there are going to be a few other options for centrists. Your John Hickenloopers and Michael Bennets and John Delaneys and all that. But I follow these things closely and I have no idea what any of these people stand for, other than “we’re not scary Democrats.” Somehow I don’t think being a self-hating white guy Democrat is going to spur a lot of interest among primary voter types (predominated by people of color and white liberals). Probably can win, like, the Oklahoma and Kentucky primaries if they even get that far (they won’t). Hickenlooper is supposed to be the strongest of the group, but honestly, the only reason why anybody should support him is the reason he’s repudiated. Not so worried about him.

      Also, Kamala Harris was a pretty bad D.A. This is why she’s not my first choice. But her ideological makeup is pretty damn desirable right now. Perhaps she can promise to appoint an attorney general that’s, like, not similar to what she was a decade ago.

      2020 fever! It’s on!

       

      I said it before and I’ll say it again: the current longest-ever government shutdown is merely a warmup for the next time there’s divided government under a Democratic president (my guess would be 2023). They will do this again, only in a different context which will more easily lend itself to both-sidesery, after the luster of the new Democrat has worn off and people return to being mad about the bullshit not going away. While I’d like to think that the next Democrat will implement effective, even radical solutions that will take effect almost immediately, in?all likelihood the next Democratic president isn’t going to be the leftist hero of our dreams. S/he will most likely be a coalition-builder who is broadly acceptable to all Democratic groups including the bipartisan fantasists (but who will, most likely, be substantially to the left of where the Obama/Clinton party line was). Some incremental gains are unlikely to prevent the typical midterm losses. At any rate, the current shutdown is unlikely to result in a generational repudiation of the conservative movement (nor is the Trump presidency, for that matter), so the idea that Senate Majority Leader Ted Cruz won’t pull this shit in five years on President Cory Booker is…optimistic. Indeed, Cruz by that time may well be a relative moderate in his caucus. Under McConnell, no deals were made with Obama on substantive legislation, but so-called mandatory, “keeping the lights on” legislation was ultimately passed and often without major incident. I wouldn’t count on it remaining uncontroversial in the future. There remains a strong need for Republicans to find ways to differentiate themselves as “more conservative” than fellow Republicans, and virtually none of them have any interest in governing. Few seem to care much about the effects of the shutdown. It’s obviously going to head in this direction, and while Democrats could attempt to pass a law to eliminate shutdowns to the effect that the failure of a new spending bill perpetuates the status quo, I’d be surprised if they did, for the same reason I’d be surprised if they passed a law to abolish the debt ceiling. The reason why one would pass such laws would be a thoroughgoing understanding of the increasing impossibility of cooperation with the GOP, and many of the elderly nostalgics who run the party are extremely resistant to this fact. This will correct itself in time, but in how much time?

      Increasingly, the scenario I see for the collapse of the Madisonian system is a Republican-initiated government shutdown that never actually ends. Goes on for months, years, just never ends. In the meantime, individual states assume more of its functions and keep federal tax receipts for themselves, and a new de facto?system is created with a still technically existing federal government shell that does nothing. I don’t see this as a good outcome but it’s increasingly plausible.

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      Lev filed this under: ,  
       

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