Miscellany

Obama’s done pretty alright, but liberals are incapable of being realistic about him

Liberals are dissatisfied with Obama because liberals, on the whole, are incapable of feeling satisfied with a Democratic president.

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This is your brain on Breitbart

“*sniff* *sniff* There’s just something about a police baton swung towards the skull of #OWS that *sniff* chokes a man up. #ItsSoBeautiful” and so on, and so on…

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Wal-Mart Torquemadas

Pelley just looked at his watch, said to himself, “Fk this shit,” and gave up and went and got hammered in the hopes that he would not have to ask any of them a question about torture ever again.

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About that “media bias,” or Ombudsman Ombud Thyself

Had Jennifer Rubin promoted (and admitted agreeing with) such disgusting bile toward Jews and Israelis, as expressed by Rachel Abrams (neoconservative royalty) her journalism career would have been over, but because it was directed at Palestinians, it continues to thrive.

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Why They Fight

Confident conservative white men, as a group, were almost six times as likely to believe climate change “will never happen” than the rest of the adults surveyed.

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9 Foreign Policy Questions for the GOP Candidates

1. Mexico is being torn apart by a civil war to control the drug routes to the United States. Many Mexican leaders urge drug legalization in the US in order to move the drug trade away from violent criminals to legitimate business. If a Mexican president asked you to consider such a step, what would you answer and why?

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What Europe’s Problems Do NOT Tell Us

The idea, presumably, is that the crisis countries are in trouble because they’re groaning under the burden of high government spending. But the facts say otherwise.

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Defining Conservatism II – Facts on the Ground

A party that gives a motivational speaker ten times the support of a two-term governor of Utah, re-elected with 84 percent of the vote, with strong bipartisan credentials and an even stronger tax reform plan … well, it’s a party in free-fall that also doesn’t understand that it is.

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Defining Conservatism

Robin frames right-wing ideologies as impulses “to defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality.” These fighting words were taken up by Daniel Larison, writer and editor at the American Conservative,

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irrelevantly

Speaking as a male-bodied “person”

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From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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