May the broken be uncircled

So, the other night I’m browsing around and notice that some people seem to think Sarah Palin compared Obama to Hitler – er, advocated a Hitler/Obama comparison – well, twittered a link to an article by Thomas Sowell that mentions Nazis, Commies, and Obamis within the same virtual breath.

Since the accusers were the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Jewish Council, a bit of partisan overstatement isn’t surprising.  Having read the article in question, I think any embarrassment on Palin’s part might be more in having linked to such a trite bit of op-ediana, not in any particular violation of a polemical taboo that these days is honored only in the breach.

Sowell starts off referring to Hitler in the same way that a teenager writing a first diary at DailyKos might:  Indicting the sheeple for not paying enough attention to politics, just like all those German fools.  He then strains so hard to bring in Lenin that you can almost hear a muscle tear – misapplying the term “useful idiots,” presumably because he thought the terminology might be useful in communicating with idiots.  He proceeds to place Obama’s tactics to establish the BP $20 Billion escrow account on that famous formerly slippery slope to fascist Hell, while equating all those who disagree with his premise with the masses of idiots who, in his view, chiefly enabled Nazism and Communism.

I say “formerly slippery” because it’s my view that so many people have been trucking the slope out so much and for so long in contexts just like these on right and left that it’s completely dried out in the sun.

Sowell finally informs us that, “If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in constitutional government.”  Some may feel that reaching this rhetorical end justifies whatever polemical means – defeating end-justifies-the-means being so worthy a goal.  That kind of reasoning clearly animates Palin’s supporters at the NewsRealBlog and then at Conservatives4Palin.  In the former piece (also published at the HotAir GreenRoom), Michael van der Galien completes the circle:

[C]onservatives are engaged in a political war with progressives. Too often conservative pundits and politicians think we should be ‘civilized’. We should not, because our enemies certainly are not either. When you are engaged in a war all that matters is that you win. If this means you have to fight dirty every now and then, so be it. The Left understands this, too many on the Right do not. Let Palin’s treatment at Stanislaus serve as a wake up call for those who still believe that manners matter.

Apparently, the Left’s end-justified means – progressive students going through the trash looking for dirt on Palin – justifies similar (or worse?) means in response.  Apparently, van der Galien, and Conservatives4Palin’s Doug Brady “don’t believe in constitutional government” – though I suspect they believe they believe in Thomas Sowell, a favorite at C4P and, or course, a favorite of Gov. Mrs. Palin.

Needless to say, there’s no shortage of people on the Left, very probably many of those very students, who are operating on a parallel pretext.  Here’s a comment on the recent Dave Weigel/WaPo kerfuffle that I happened to run across the other day – the immediate context being suspicions that it was Tucker Carlson at the Daily Caller who blew the whistle on Weigel’s anti-conservative trash talk:

Maybe we should try to work with these people, who are just out to destroy!

Republicans and their supporting interests have too much money on the line to play fair, I wish dems would learn that.

It’s a few comments down beneath the top post.  But you can easily find the sentiment expressed sooner or later on busy comment threads all over the right and left and frequently at the pseudo-center even at places like Zombie Contentions… and everywhere else, too.

Now, if I were that teenager putting up my first-ever DailyKos diary, I’d crib the first couple of paragraphs from Sowell’s op-ed referring to people “who were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.”  I would then go to that Conservative4Palin post, and point to the last two paragraphs, possibly beginning with the following sentences:

The Left is well aware of the fact that Governor Palin is the one individual with the platform, gravitas[!], and determination to effectively criticize Obama’s policies. While the other so-called leaders of the opposition cower in the shadows, terrified of criticizing The One for fear of alienating the mainstream media, Sarah Palin is working tenaciously on a daily basis to lead the fight against Obama’s determination to take us down the same fiscal path as Greece or, perhaps even more dire, California.

It ends here:

[I]t certainly would be helpful if other Republicans would man up and join the fight. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that. They are far more concerned with their future prospects in the 2012 primary than something as trivial as the future of the country.

In the C4P blogger’s mind, apparently,the moderate leadership has sold out the country, but only the leader like no other can rescue us, leading the “war” that’s been forced on us by those evil ends-justified-meanies on the other side.  If I had time and space, I might even point out that, in my young lefty progressive opinion, anyone who sees “gravitas” in St. Sarah is clearly dangerously out of his mind…  That puts us right on the brutally dry slope to Naziland, doesn’t it?  Insane idiots calling for war on the basis of made-up grievances and dark betrayals, gathering around their revered leader, normal human judgment left behind at some point long ago…

What means to avoid that dire fate couldn’t be justified, fellow young progressives?  If it’s war they want…

Seems we’re all anti-fascist fascists these days.


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41 comments on “May the broken be uncircled

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  1. Did you miss how Sowell mentioned how FDR had employed the Trading with the Enemy Act, even though there was no enemy, or we could bring up the takeover of GM, and the closing of successful dealerships, because they had contributed to McCain Palin, the vast leway given Sebelius in crafting the health care system, the almost unlimited carte blanche in the financial deform bill, or the internet
    kill switch.

    Now at the outset of the post election period, prime yachtsman Mike Murphy, captain of the Romney forces, wanted to put nearly no resistance to the Obama program, because the GOP was ‘already in an ice age’ That was the time that the RNC, NRCC, and NRSC, backed Specter, and Crist and all that other sterling lot. Well what did the stimulus get us, at least in the short run, stagnation at the
    most charitable, a third depression at the least.

  2. “Well what did the stimulus get us, at least in the short run, stagnation at the
    most charitable, a third depression at the least.”

    What it got us was NOTHING,it just didn’t do anything,it was like digging a hole,and refilling the hole,and calling it a construction project.
    However, It had nothing to do with the fact that Great Depression 2 started in July 2007(Chronology);we’re three years in,and it’s amazing how similiar the Obamaites are to the Hooverians.

  3. I don’t agree that the carry trade, as the fundamental problem, I would
    say the impact of the reset interest rates, along with the oil price spike was the catalyst and that was more into the spring and summer of 2008, then 2007. Interestingly, Lehman Bros bet correctly that it would not last, and Goldman bet on $200 barrel oil, maybe their contagion with the “Beyond Petroleum” scam led them astray on that
    score

  4. narciso wrote:
    I don’t agree that the carry trade

    Even so,within your opinion,the Stimulus was an ex post facto non-event.

  5. No, that has been the media caricature of her, the kind of thing that started with Sullivan, and carried forth by Tina Fey, after having misread Couric’s own interview, which was in itself a distortion. That was the subtext of Newsweek’s seemingly laudatory cover, but which was a distortion in itself by being so one dimensional

    Which brings me to a wider point, CK saying the path she chose was
    too self interested, well except facts always get in the way. The legal defense fund, that she had established to prevent the eventuality that she faced, was found illegal, because of legal
    advice presented to make sure, that other enterprises would not
    try to fundraise using her cause as a scam, that’s right up there
    with the West Virginia decision, that came to a conclusion, despite the plain meaning of the statute.

  6. When you outlay 862 billion, that is not a non event, particularly since it was misused so spectacularly, you have heard of ‘opportunity costs’

  7. @ narciso:
    I have no idea what you’re trying to argue, if it’s not that “self-interest” excludes self-interest.

    I was going to save this – you may see it again:

    Here’s the P.S. from Meghan Stapleton’s letter on the legal defense ruling from Palin’s famous Facebook pages:

    One last thought as we approach the anniversary of Governor Palin’s “reloading,” thank God she had the fortitude and wisdom to look down the road and see what she did – the state’s bills would have amounted to millions upon millions more and her personal legal bills would be personally insurmountable. I don’t know who would want to hold office under these circumstances and with loopholes our Alaska legislators refuse to close.

    “Fortitude and wisdom” = view of own self-interest. “loopholes our Alaska legislators refuse to close” = as governor of the state Palin was isolated and unable or unwilling to command the support to fix the “loopholes.”

    Essentially, it’s Caesar’s argument for crossing the Rubicon: My enemies forced my hand. Left aside is why his enemies had it in for him, why no other avenues were available to him if indeed that was the case – which it wasn’t and couldn’t have been. The reason that those other avenues were unavailable is that they would have required him to sacrifice his personal pride and ambition for the sake of a republic he no longer believed in if he ever had believed in it.

    The problem with her resignation is that on a fundamental and undeniable level it makes her someone who lost faith in the “system” and decided to go outside of it when it suited her needs and interests. I don’t blame her personally for it, but she must be blamed politically for it – that is, held accountable. She left unfinished and unchanged, business that was critical enough to destroy the office for her and, implicitly according to Stapleton, anyone like her. She left Alaska “broken” in some essential way, and, if she’s been doing anything to fix it, she’s been keeping it top secret…

    The image her critics and the vast unpersuaded middle have of her would not be sticking if she was doing much to alter it – if her self-presentation and actions didn’t tend more to confirm rather than shake it.

  8. Today in Contentions,Tobin on Lieberman,but no mention of Lieberman’s plan for the two state solution. George J,are you present today?

    Lieberman’s Truthful Indiscretion
    Jonathan Tobin – 06.29.2010 – 4:55 PM
    Avigdor Lieberman is in trouble again. The Israeli foreign minister was quoted at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, as saying that he thought there was “absolutely no chance of reaching a Palestinian state by 2012.”
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/tobin/322141

    “Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s far-right foreign minister, set out last week what he called a “blueprint for a resolution to the conflict” with the Palestinians that demands most of the country’s large Palestinian minority be stripped of citizenship and relocated outside Israel’s future borders.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/cook06282010.html

    (also in Recommended Browsing)

  9. Yes you would rather have the state waste time and money, pursuing
    nonsense charges, let the abuse of the system continue, it is regretable that they in the Sorosphere, chose to wreck everything
    they lay their hands, with the willing complicity of the press, that has not yet begun to hold this pitiful montebank of an administration accountable

  10. They posted this latest effusion from the stalinist org that is Counterpunch, Cockburn does have the advantage of having been a
    AGW skeptic, but little else, In so far as Hamas seems to be most able
    to take charge of the situation, what is the advantage of a Palestinian
    state, for Israel

  11. narciso wrote:
    They posted this latest effusion from the stalinist org that is Counterpunch

    I understand that Narc,but is that Lieberman’s plan,TRUE or FALSE? Don’t confuse messenger wit message.

  12. Seeing the way that Jonathan Cook, phrased it, probably substantially
    false, besides is that Netanyahu’s plan, not than can be ascertained, By contrast, Mashaal’s approval of rocket attacks from the West Bank is true, but there will be little notice of that

  13. narciso wrote:

    Yes you would rather have the state waste time and money, pursuing
    nonsense charges, let the abuse of the system continue,

    Who cares whether the state of Alaska wastes several millions of dollars? It’s a big, rich state. No one was going to starve as a result. That is the phoniest possible answer. “I’m not going to put my state through that.” Please. That explanation is for children.

    If “the state” cared, it could have done something about it. Neither the people of Alaska nor its duly elected representatives cared very much. If Palin was such a reformer and idealist, why wasn’t it worth her time, energy, and attention to bring the flaws in such a system to light. According to Stapleton, the situation is the same now as it was then. Instead of running around endorsing “Mama Grizzlies,” why isn’t Palin making sure that her state never has to go through anything like that again? Or is the truth that it will never happen again because any governor for whom the governorship was an end in itself, and was a real “Mama Grizzly” about her responsibilities, and willing to put everything else on hold in order to deal with them, could have overcome the challenge?

    Palin put her national ambitions and personal opportunities first. There are reasonable arguments for her to have done so. Instead of making them, she offers up self-serving, logically inconsistent, and and transparently incomplete explanations.

  14. I find that suggested Olive Branch to Lavrov, kind of amusing. The Russians blow up exiled Chechen leaders in broad day light in Doha,
    they obliterate the Fortress, literally Grozny, that they built in the early 1800s, yet they are all of a sudden the champion of the Palestinians. True, Arafat, was a valued asset of Sakharovsky of
    the GRU,

  15. Did you like miss this part, Rex:

    rritories to create two largely homogeneous states, one Jewish Israeli and the other Arab Palestinian. Of course, this is not to preclude that minorities will remain in either state where they will receive full civil rights.

    There will be no so-called Palestinian right of return.

    Just as the Jewish refugees from Arab lands found a solution in Israel, so too Palestinian refugees will only be incorporated into a Palestinian state. This state needs to be demilitarized and Israel will need to retain a presence on its borders to ensure no smuggling of arms. In my opinion, these need to be our red lines.

    We have seen that history is moving away from attempts to accommodate competing national aspirations in a single state. The former Yugoslavia was broken up into many separate states. Czechoslovakia was split into two, and even in Belgium there are strong voices who wish to see that nation broken into separate Walloon and Flemish territories. The precedent of creating new states based on ethnic, national and even religious boundaries has been established in the international community and is becoming the trend.

    With all the difficulties involved, this is the only solution that ensures long-term stability in the region.

    In most cases there is no physical population transfer or the demolition of houses, but creating a border where none existed, according to demographics.

    Those Arabs who were in Israel will now receive Palestinian citizenship.

  16. Incidentally, what does it mean to say that Counterpunch is “Stalinist”? Do they have little portraits of Uncle Joe in all of their offices? I don’t recall Rex ever linking to articles praising “democratic centralism,” “socialism in one state,” the Party as people’s vanguard. Nothing about how great the Gulag was and how the Berlin Wall was necessary. Did the KGB put up seed money once upon a time?

  17. Yes, I read the articles,both by Cook and Lieberman,Fine, I hope it happens. What I want to see is the pundits at CONTENTIONS discuss this aspect of Israeli strategy. I have never heard the PODs or Rubin et al even mention this. EVER.

  18. CK MacLeod wrote:
    Incidentally, what does it mean to say that Counterpunch is “Stalinist”? Do they have little portraits of Uncle Joe in all of their offices? I don’t recall Rex ever linking to articles praising “democratic centralism,”

    Good Point,Actually.all I am is a throwback,a 1950s style American Capitalist/Progressive. And that makes me appear like a Stalinist???

  19. We have seen that history is moving away from attempts to accommodate competing national aspirations in a single state.

    That’s false, of course – or at any rate very one-sided: History seems to be moving in both directions at once. On the one hand we have the break-up of Yugoslavia. On the other hand we have the European Union. We have economic and political forces transnationalizing on some levels, localizing on others.

    His “red line” plan requires a significant and indefinite sacrifice of full national sovereignty on the part of Palestinians that may be necessary and justifiable, and would arguably represent terrific political progress, but still amounts to a version of “limited autonomy” within a virtual bi-national state. In a very real sense, true sovereignty would remain Israeli.

  20. One can be critical of the performance of American financial institutions like AIG and Goldman, without resorting to a publication that would certainly have been on a HUAC list. In addition to it’s solicitous nature toward anti Zionists, but rarely any equal anger
    at Salafi elements

  21. As for Van der Galien, I’m a little surprised at his attitude, he was very skeptical back around April of 2009, then he slowly changed his mind
    as her moves against on cap n trade, and ‘death panels, had their effect. as for Frum, it’s a free country, so one can cogitate on the lost age of Scranton and Lodge, but don’t pretend that is anything resembling modern conservatism. He says he was for a more private
    sector dependent health plan, but his instinct was to wish that a competitor be silenced, in the broadsheet of the Obama media.

  22. narciso wrote:

    without resorting to a publication that would certainly have been on a HUAC list.

    Wow.

    So, in other words, you had zero justification for referring to Counterpunch as Stalinists. They come across to me more as more of a far left grab bag, more Trot and New Left then anything recognizable as Stalinist – and vaguely similar to the milieu that the founders of certain neo-conservative journals of opinion emerged from…

    In general, you don’t seem to care at all about defaming people and declaring their views taboo as long as you perceive them to be on the other side, or connected to people on the other side, or connected to people connected to people on the other side. But it’s the people who criticize Sarah Palin or support Obama who don’t fight fair and are guilty of unthinking allegiance to narrow, untested ideas…

    I have a feeling that there’s some basis – an indirect factual basis, not the same as a justification – for the charge that Frum wished “that a competitor be silenced.” Because he criticized Limbaugh maybe?

  23. Maybe because we have seen how the media has handled the situation say in my own community, where there has been nary a real substantive criticism of how they exalt dictators like Fidel and Ortega,
    there’s been a little pushback on Chavez, who nonetheless presided
    over a disaster that makes Katrina look small, but you wouldn’t know
    it from Penn and other sycophants. Or the glorification of a butcher like Che, the wiki on Counterpunch treads lightly on their antiZionism
    that leads into antisemitism,.

  24. publication that would certainly have been on a HUAC list. In addition to it’s solicitous nature toward anti Zionists, but rarely any equal anger
    at Salafi elements

    You still haven’t commented on Lieberman’s plan for the Arab citizens of Israel, and how would I have found out about this idea from the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel,I didn’t hear about it at NRO,WSJ,Washington Times,NY POST,Weekly Standard,or Drudge or any other Conservative Journal,maybe it’s not newsworthy,or maybe it’s antisemitic to post his article.

  25. Seeing how the first I saw of it, was on Cockburn’s site, with possibly
    the most inflammatory spin imaginable, I tend to discount it, seeing as
    he is from Moldova, he knows that sovereignty is not always a certain
    thing. But I guess he has to be the heavy, not Ahmadinejad whose
    actions and words, have to be watered down, to make a bad policy
    more acceptable, not really Arafat who was giving a Nobel Prize, for
    choosing to stop killing for a while, or Hamas, there always has to be a rationale for their butchery

  26. Anti-Zionism is racism, eh?

    Again with this “they.” Have you ever seen an article at Counterpunch – (are they “they”?) – “exalting” Fidel or Ortega? The coverage of Ortega is negative to decidedly negative in the articles I’ve sampled. Another search of the site reveals numerous articles by Fidel himself, as well as a few extolling the virtues of Cuban socialism, and another just taking a critical view of US policy going back 50 years, but there was also this rather thoughtful piece on the prospects for change in Cuba: http://www.counterpunch.org/habel02062009.html Now, you may hate Fidel, but in my vision of a free society, Fidelistas and Fidel himself get to state their views, too – as do critics and skeptics.

  27. A decent piece from Le Monde, almost makes for Ramonet’s slavish bio of Fidel, I say almost. This argument that I want to censor opposing points of view, no I want them ignored specially when their factual
    record has been faulty. There’s only so much black humor you can
    get from Yahoo’s umpteenth ‘unemployment rose unexpectedly’ this week. Or the latest burbling from Halperin or Klein (either one)

  28. narciso wrote:

    A decent piece from Le Monde, almost makes for Ramonet’s slavish bio of Fidel

    http://bl.ultramaxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/frog.JPG

    The training went well this morning & this afternoon’s opening remarks were interesting. I met this woman Traci and she and I became immediate friends. She works at the Pentagon – married with 2 kids. Boy have we laughed. We went downtown for a walk along the shops. Sissy, I found this frog for you but he’s too big to bring home. His name is Fidel.

  29. narciso wrote:

    This argument that I want to censor opposing points of view, no I want them ignored

    Well, you’re obviously not completely closed-minded, because you’re still here – yet you consistently argue in favor of mind-closing, usually on the basis of some version of classic ad hominem, putting the identity of the author, or of the author’s associates, or associates’ associates, or of people siimilar to the author’s associates’ associates’ associates, ahead of the argument itself, whatever it is or was…

    What would be achieved by getting us to “ignore” everything at Counterpunch?

  30. NARC/”I don’t agree that the carry trade, as the fundamental problem, I would
    say the impact of the reset interest rates, along with the oil price spike was the catalyst and that was more into the spring and summer of 2008, then 2007. Interestingly, Lehman Bros bet correctly that it would not last, and Goldman bet on $200 barrel oil, maybe their contagion with the “Beyond Petroleum” scam led them astray on that
    score”

    Unfortunately,the Core problem is deeper,our paper is diminishing in value and increasing in volume. Anyway,I called the beginning of Great Depression 2 in July 2007,and even in Depressions,there are ups and downs. If you check the Chronology of GD1,you will see that GD2 has an disturbingly similiar shape to GD1. So three years in,its 1932 in a GD1 time frame. BTW,I called the 2007/2008 meltdowns accurately in the sense that I attributed overuse/misuse of Derivatives to be the trigger. There were very few who believed that Derivatives could bring down a $16 Trillion GDP,but there were a very few who knew that the “REAL” GDP was much smaller than the Govt figures. Anyway again,A # of “REAL” economists now believe that we are moving towards a Depression;they don’t want to admit that they are three years behind my curve. Here’s the thing,my competence is understanding MacroEconomic trends,because common sense,and ordinary logic work very well to comprehend large events. Microeconomics is a different skill set,as is actually making money from the market,a skill which I remain clueless, The Macro Side is about long time frames,so I knew,back in 1971,when we went to a Fiat Currency,and we floated our currencies against each other,and we forced the price of oil up x4,and we developed derivatives to take the disorder out of currency trading,everything was in place for GD2,it was a matter of 36 years for the dominos to fall. Everything for GD1 to happen started at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Events take a little time to consumate. However,it’s no fun whatsoever being a Cassandra,so I am posting the following to show that at the moment I’m not the only one at the party.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/23-doomsayers-who-say-were-heading-toward-depression-in-2011-2010-5

    One more note,The Stalinst Rag CounterPunch has three excellent Economic Analysts,two of which are listed in the above,Peter Morici,and Mike Whitney. Mike Hudson,who is very astute,is not mentioned but should have been.

  31. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    The Stalinst Rag CounterPunch has three excellent Economic Analysts,two of which are listed in the above,Peter Morici,and Mike Whitney. Mike Hudson,who is very astute,is not mentioned but should have been.

    Plus we should never fail to note, comrade, that Josef Stalin was certainly the greatest economist of all time.

  32. Plus we should never fail to note, comrade, that Josef Stalin was certainly the greatest economist of all time.

    Well,he was certainly one of the greatest NUMBER CHRUNCHERS,#s of people that is.

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