#Tea Party

American conservatives

The war the fellows in the Minuteman costumes thought they were fighting was already lost generations if not centuries ago.

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, Political Philosophy, Politics, US History Tagged with: , ,

Repealing Godwin’s Law

As a matter of history, the administrative state, the FDR state, that the Tea Partiers are glad to shut down temporarily, and that some would like to shut down permanently, is the same state that arose contemporaneously with the fall of the Weimar Republic, in relation to common and overlapping challenges, and that was consolidated in political competition and eventually at war with its immediate successor (which technically still functioned under the Weimar constitution). A serious discussion of an actual or potential crisis of liberal democracy in the leading liberal democratic nation-state, and on the system level – the level of basic responsibilities and assumptions of government – cannot help but take into account prior, concretely related crises, even if particular circumstances initially appear vastly different.

Posted in Featured, History, Internet, Neo-Imperialism, Politics, The Exception Tagged with: , , ,

The Theory of O

For present purposes, it may well be that nothing as ideologically coherent as an authentically left program or for that matter as Tea Party “federalism” (or Romney-Ryan free market devolution) can be implemented in the United States of America. The Theory’s very adequacy to the political moment may therefore be identical with its inadequacy to greater challenges that the American political system, maybe the American nation-state itself as presently constituted, cannot even recognize, much less successfully confront. From this point of view, the apocalypse would be not what was avoided via the Showdown, but what the showdown showed us through a crack in the blinds, something that cannot forever be voted in or out or up or down, hidden under a “tarp,” or put off until another year or two for further putting off for another year or two…

Posted in Books, Politics Tagged with: , , ,

Exploding on the leftist launchpad, again

Sloppy self-indulgence will not aid anyone who hopes to reconstitute some version of an authentic American left.

Posted in notes, Politics Tagged with: , ,

Newt: The Establishment Nightmare That Could Come True

Conservative activists have a different view of the risks and opportunities of 2012 than either establishment pooh-bahs or the pundits. What looks to some like a winnable-or-losable general election looks to ideologues like the best chance in decades to replay 1964 and repeal the Great Society and the New Deal.

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , ,

Dreaming of an O landslide

If this tantrum lasts through the election, and if 2012 is for the Republicans what 1984 was for the Democrats, then finally our polity stands a chance of functioning again. The Tea Party will be dead and buried.

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , ,

Conservative Politics as Warfare

The most dangerous group of political extremists today is not the grass roots supporters of the Tea Party. It is the major sector of the Republican financial and ideological elite who have embraced the philosophy of “politics as warfare.”

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , ,

Here’s my suggestion for a Tea Party anthem

I’m not kidding.

Posted in Music Tagged with: ,

The Head Decapitant

The TPers think they’re fighting to save capitalism, American freedom as ordained by God, before it’s too late, “too late” amounting to “any day now” by their variously innumerate and fantastical pseudo-calculations. Yet, in a way, kind of a park

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , ,

Understanding the TP

I’d meant to cut this one down, and save it for future reference and re-editing, but instead accidentally published the whole thing at Jonathan Bernstein’s (great) “plain blog about politics.”  It’s kind of embarrassing to be caught depositing long, pretentious

Posted in Economics Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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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