Sow They Say – Final Debate Before the Deluge OT OT and Tweet-List

CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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139 Responses

  1. Marchmaine says:

    I called his statement myopic, suggested that Trump’s people were the Left’s orphans, and predicted they would be coming for his side, too.

    If not sooner, then later.Report

    • Sanders is bad enough, but the really evil one is O’Malley. They both represent the death of civility and the end of the Democratic Party. It’s why ThinkProgress put out that special issue reading them out of liberalism.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Hmmn, I’m not sure how this relates to what I wrote, or rather quoted. During periods of realignment, if this a realignment, the emergent parties whether old, new, or reconstituted, emerge changed.

        You can believe the demographics is destiny nonsense, but do not be dismayed when the loosely coupled factions of the democratic party are also targeted. Not saying that Trump is the guy – in fact I’ve been very clear that 1) he has stumbled into this and 2) If he were a better politician, he’d be taking advantage of a bigger opportunity than he is currently exploiting – but the Neo-Con/Neo-Lib consensus is taking scrutiny that may not hold the factions together in their current forms.Report

        • Then I don’t know what “Trump’s people were the Left’s orphans” is supposed to mean. Other than being unexpectedly successful, Bernie and Trump have zero in common.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Other than being unexpectedly successful, Bernie and Trump have zero in common.

            A few months ago, somebody pointed out that the difference between the rest of the field and Trump/Bernie was that the rest of the field said stuff like “I understand why the American People are angry.”

            Trump/Bernie were saying “I AM ANGRY”.

            Additionally, there’s this feeling that the Big Donors, whomever they are, would be dropping dollars into both Jeb’s War Chest and Hillary’s War Chest and so, no matter which one of them won, they’d both be serving the interests of the Big Donors. (Or, I suppose more accurately, the Big Donors knew that they didn’t care which won, because either one would serve their interests and so they donated accordingly.)

            Neither Trump nor Bernie seem to be on the same page as these big donors.

            That’s another thing they have in common.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            I’ve always read it as “BSDI” nonsense, although I’ve seen some people claim things ranging from “The Left’s policies failed, and so there’s angry people that have latched onto Republicans” to “The Left has blocked Republican policies, so it’s made Republicans so angry they gave birth to Trump” to “They’re Democrats who became Republicans to screw with the party” to “Trump is a secret Democrat” (several variations of this, actually, including fun conspiracies).

            Most people who claim it use it as a vague, toss-away line — like it’s so obvious it doesn’t need to be explained, which is why I file it under BDSI stupidity.

            These are clearly Republican base voters voting for a Republican candidate in a Republican primary. I’m totally at a loss how you can blame the “left” without twisting things into knots, and when your logic gets that tortured it tends to say more about your priors than your results.Report

          • “Other than being unexpectedly successful, Bernie and Trump have zero in common.”

            I think the way I would phrase this is similar in scope, but different in tone.

            I think I would say that what Bernie and Trump have in common is that the unexpected success of each is a direct result of the sins of the Party for whose nomination they are running. Different sins, obviously, but still…Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        We’re definitely not there yet, but I could certainly see the argument that Sanders is the first step down a longer road to that destination. Step 1 for the Republicans seemed to be, to completely dump policy analysis in favor of fantasy. Once you have that norm thoroughly situated in the voters’ minds, every election becomes about whose fantasies are catchier, whose personality is more “inspiring” and who can most convincingly shout the party’s slogans.

        This is not where we need to go. Chipping away at the party’s ability to actually think about policy is the first scene in a movie we’ve all seen before.Report

        • Step 1 for the Republicans seemed to be, to completely dump policy analysis in favor of fantasy.

          When did we start talking about 1980?Report

          • Guy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            When the OP mentioned Reagan, maybe?Report

          • Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            I was thinking about 1980 when I wrote that. The current dumpster fire is pretty much the obvious conclusion of that trajectory since then.

            I don’t want to see the other major party end up doing the same thing. We don’t need a “transformative” candidate with fantasy based policies to come in and change the way we look at politics. I very much hope that 25 years from now, I’m not hearing Democrats argue on stage who is more like Bernie Sanders (blessed be his name and peace be upon him). One party operating that way is more than enough.Report

  2. Aaron David says:

    The problem with Corn and Chaitis, argueing wether this is R fault or D fault, is that they are all pretty partisan, and are preaching to the choir.Report

  3. Autolukos says:

    Has Glorious Leader Trump il-Sung brought these rebellious dogs to heel yet?Report

  4. KatherineMW says:

    “Left-liberal lullaby of self-congratulation?” You do realize that Conor’s not a liberal? He’s a conservative/libertarian, just one who stands out by possessing basic decency and compassion for people who don’t look like him.

    The leftist equivalent of Trump is Sanders, who is overwhelmingly more constructive and less toxic. If neoliberal Clinton Democratic politics alienate parts of the base and drive them to support more progressive figures, so much the better.Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Friedersdorf lies among the “points beyond” mentioned at the top.

      I agree with you that Sanders is less toxic than Trump. He also seems to me more dignified, kind, pleasant, and sane (not that the same could not be said to greater and lesser extents for everyone else left in the race on both sides). I would have no difficulty choosing between the two, if it came to that, whether for president or for having over for dinner.Report

    • Joe Sal in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Trump (and for that matter Cruz, and Rubio) appears to be much higher in the y-axis than Bernie. If the plots on Trump are accurate, to mirror image him to the left would land him in Stalin territory.

      Bernie from what I have seen is plotting only midway on the y-axis. Lower than both of the Bushs, pretty much on y-axis level with central liberalism.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to KatherineMW says:

      You are a lot more Bullish on Sanders than I am.

      Both Trump and Sanders are running populist campaigns that tap into the dissatisfaction of the white working class and attack the neo-liberal status quo that resulted in their present diminishment. And Trump appears to be much, much better at it than Bernie is.Report

      • North in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Trump has a more fertile field to plow. Both sides have economic dissapointments to grapple with but the left has culture war triumph, and the right has culture war loss… so it’s not hard to see which side would be angrier.Report

        • Alan Scott in reply to North says:

          In real life, though, not everyone is permanently on team red or team blue. Especially the white working class to whom both Trump and Sanders are directing their appeals. I’m not worried about which dedicated partisan supporters will be angrier: I’m worried about which guy those in the middle are going to go for when it’s time to pull the lever.Report

          • North in reply to Alan Scott says:

            Well obviously most people aren’t publicly on one team or the other- though all indications are that as a general rule the vast majority of them only vote for one side; permanent team members who just don’t admit it.Report

            • Alan Scott in reply to North says:

              Does that hold up when the sides don’t look like they normally do, though? I mean, independents who always vote democrat don’t do it because they’re loyal to the democrats. Otherwise they’d be registered Dems. They vote that way because they care about certain issues and the Democrats always go one way on certain issues and the Republicans always go another way.

              When the candidates have atypical positions on the issues that independents care about, that “independents are really just partisan” think breaks down.Report

              • North in reply to Alan Scott says:

                Well sure, but outside immigration Trump doesn’t really have much in the way of concrete policy positions other than that he wants “better” trade deals. So what’s his atypical position going to be?Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Alan Scott says:

            Actually — and I hate to be Debbie Downer here — it turns out most people ARE wedded to Team Red and Team Blue. Now true, there’s a lot of folks that call themselves “independent” — but you can call yourself anything you want. Turns out those guys are, in fact, almost as reliably partisan as the proud, open, primary-voting members of Team Red and Team Blue.

            There is a very, very, very tiny sub-segment of ‘independents’ that can be qualified as ‘vote splitters’ or ‘vote switchers’ but they’re negligible.

            What produces “swings” of the “independent vote” isn’t people changing their vote. It’s when one side or another of those “calls myself independent but aren’t” is up drastically (or the other down). It looks, at first glance, quite like a good number of people switching their vote. In reality, it’s people staying home or showing up more than they usually would.

            It’s a pretty solidly researched area, for obvious reasons. But human nature is pretty simple — vote for one team two or three times, and you’re a reliable member of that team whatever you call yourself. It takes a big shock to knock you loose.

            Most of the wandering in “Democrat/Republican/Independent” numbers is entirely due to whether people feel comfortable labeling themselves as what they are — not because they’ve changed their vote.Report

            • North in reply to Morat20 says:

              Yes, this, after Bush Jr and his posse crapped all over the ideology conservatives contracted and the ranks of independents and libertarians swelled enormously but the GOP didn’t lose that many votes.Report

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    KatherineMW: He’s a conservative/libertarian, just one who stands out by possessing basic decency and compassion for people who don’t look like him.

    Ah, the old “People who disagree with me are racists” card. It’s the next best thing to having an actual argument.Report

  6. North says:

    A lot of sour grapes, but not much rebuttal. Is there some concrete argument that Trump and his supporters were not mainly fostered and cultured by the establishment right? Reading over the right o’ sphere even a lot of right wing thinkers admit that the right owns this.Report

    • Mo in reply to North says:

      Yup. Here’s one that straight up draws the line from Palin to Trump.

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      I think it’s more than the supporters were more seen as a bank of votes. Throw them some pandering from time to time, tell them what they want to hear, point out how much the other party hates people like them, ask “where are you going to go?” and reap the benefits.

      Meanwhile, the other side keeps asking “you know, they have a lot of traits that overlap with ours… why don’t those people vote for us?” not understanding that the answer to that question lies in the words “those people”.

      Trump has broken something.Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to North says:

      Is there some concrete argument that Trump and his supporters were not mainly fostered and cultured by the establishment right?

      Most of them, I’d even venture to say the vast majority of them, were born of man and woman, educated in the public schools, watched hours of TV every day from an early age, and have worked in order to support themselves, while pursuing further interests and seeking meaning for their lives in relationships and civil society. The “establishment right” played relatively little role in most of that, other than very indirectly. The people who supported or who wanted to support Sarah Palin and Donald Trump were not invented by Rush Limbaugh, and neither was the sense of grievance and alienation that the populist right in politics and culture has successfully exploited.Report

      • The people who supported or who wanted to support Sarah Palin and Donald Trump were not invented by Rush Limbaugh

        But cultivated by, given a voice by, and turned into a movement by? Absolutely. And exploited by? Yes, and they’re starting to figure out that none of the triad (lowering taxes on the rich, fighting pointless wars, or establishing religious mores they don;t actually share) does anything for them.Report

      • North in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        Oh I don’t blame Rush, Rush is just a businessman. I blame the GOP’s leadership echelons. They nurtured those elements and catered to them for decades for money and votes. Then after 2008 they very consciously chose to dismantle the GOP’s last institutional restraints against that kind of stuff to ride those people back into power as a short cut rather than dealing with the cycle in the wasteland their 2000-2008 stint had so richly earned for them.

        And then, into that environment, came Trump.Report

      • Francis in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        The establishment right has:

        — launched an utterly unnecessary war in Iraq, leading to death and injury of Trump supporters;
        — successfully rolled back taxes on the upper middle class and beyond, starving the federal government of revenue that could have gone to infrastructure investments that would have directly benefited Trump supporters;
        — promoted and encouraged (with bi-partisan support) global trade deals that offshored jobs that used to be done by Trump supporters;
        — promoted and encouraged illegal immigration (by perpetually turning a blind eye to industries — meatpacking, hotel work, residential construction — that blatantly use non-licensed labor);

        Trump’s answer to all of that is to promote the exact same policies as his competitors (as best anyone can tell), in the framework of a blustering nativist carnival barker. But at least he’s speaking to people’s legitimate concerns.Report

  7. RTod says:

    There is another and more pedestrian reason that Trump’s domination is seeds sown by the GOP: He has had the advantage of running against a huge field of extraordinarily weak candidates.Report

    • North in reply to RTod says:

      B-B-But my Tod, the GOP gloated repeatedly about the strength and depth of their bench!Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to North says:

        My perception is that two years ago, that “bench” was a group of governors who have been overtaken by events, and by closer examination. Walker is terminally boring. Louisiana’s financial problems caught up with Jindel. Christie’s abrasive NJ style didn’t play well outside of NJ. Some scandals (mostly small). Some of them faced reality and expanded Medicaid [1], which didn’t play well with the pundits and much of the Southern base. For various reasons, the supposed strengths didn’t work out on a national stage.

        [1] Reality is that the PPACA made fundamental changes in how the federal government reimburses hospitals for charity care. Before, it was direct payments. After, it was through Medicaid coverage. Governors who couldn’t afford, politically, to ignore the hospital association in their state favored the expansion.Report

        • Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Walker is terminally stupid, not boring.
          Christie’s got the same problems as Walker, except his exploded before campaign season even started. Why he’d try to run after having been tarred with scandal, I don’t even know…

          Kasich is a decent bloke, all things considered, but he hasn’t the starpower of even bush.

          The bottom line is the establishment candidates for the GOP got trolled out of existence.
          (establishment candidate is not a synonym for moderate!!!)Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Kim says:

            In my book, anyone who can get elected governor of a medium-sized state isn’t stupid. Other adjectives may apply, but not that one.Report

            • trizzlor in reply to Michael Cain says:

              …of a medium-sized state

              Gee, I wonder who that’s meant to exclude 🙂Report

            • Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

              Stupid enough to not recognize “not-Koch” on the phone when called.
              Stupid enough to not have protocols for verifying ImportantDonors Are Calling,
              even after Palin got pranked with the exact same methodology.

              And, finally, stupid enough to have Koch as a backer.

              Stupid enough to NOT PUT ANY MONEY towards TRAVEL in his PresidentialCampaignBudget.Report

    • Joe Sal in reply to RTod says:

      Could we say there were several better candidates than Trump, but there is a force pushing him higher on the ladder?Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Joe Sal says:

        Maybe, but better in what way exactly? Better in terms of how good a executive they would be if elected? Absolutely. I would want a Rubio, Kasich, Perry, Walker, or even a Fiorina to mange my country over a Trump. But better in terms of national electability? I don’t see it. I thought Rubio was going to be that guy, but having seen him in the spotlight he now seems to me to be either definitely not that guy, or not yet that guy. (i.e.: He may need more seasoning.)

        When I look at the current field outside of Trump, I don’t see a single person who could have put even a dent in the last two GOP POTUS candidates — and those two guys both got their asses handed to them.Report

        • Kim in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Am I the only person who cares more about who’s backing the idiot than who the idiot of the moment is?? I find it a far better predictor of “what they’ll want to do” AND “what they’ll actually accomplish”Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Considering the pieces you have written about the right, I would say you are seriously biased. Cause, you know, that party that is slipping away to irrelevancy, while it holds a majority of governerships, state houses, the house and senate… Gone, just gone.

          Blinders, thy name is @rtodReport

          • Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David says:

            Got it.

            From now on I will only have opinions about things for which I have previously had no opinion.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              In your defense here:

              While it’s true that nominally the GOP has entrenched tremendous power at the state and even national Congressional level since you began that series, the Rise of Trump certainly supports the thesis that substantively the GOP has sailed away to irrelevance at the presidential level. So in that (limited) sense, Trump’s success confirms your thesis, where confirmation is measured in terms of his relative “success”.Report

            • Aaron David in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              Ha Ha, funny.

              What I am saying is you have opinions, but (in my view) have such a dislike of the current GOP that they have been shown (to me) to be faulty.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Aaron David says:

                Got it.

                From now on I will only have opinions about things for which I have not written about.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                It’d help if you laid out a coherent defense of the GOP. What is your counterpoint?Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                That would be assuming that I had a defence of the GOP. I don’t, I feel that both parties have lost the way. But as far as Tod posts about the GOP sailing… The exact same thing could (and should) be said of the Dems at every level outside the presidency. Which is a sure sign that the messages of both partys isn’t really working. Outside the true believers of course.

                That during this election both Trump and Bernie are doing so well really should be a wakeup call to basically all who call themselves pundits. For it isn’t one side that is missing the mark, its one class.

                The Chattering Class.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                It could be said about the Dems… except that’s something that a single election cycle could correct. It’s anyone’s guess right now if the Democratic Party is facing a genuine disconnect/crisis with voters or if they simply hit a perfect storm of bad candidates plus the backlash from the great depression combined with the GOP’s calculated seed corn eating strategy. If the extent of one’s criticisms of the Democratic party is they’re down in the election count right now that’s pretty weak tea.

                The GOP, as our Tod has explored, has some internal incoherence that suggests they’re completely detached from reality and that their home cultivated media arms are paralyzing the normal mechanisms by which they’d self correct. That’s a big problem and it’s a more fundamental one than the Dems are suffering (though Chait has suggested and I agree that Bernie has tried to peddle a left wing version of the right’s anti-empiricism though it has fortunately not sold yet).Report

              • RTod in reply to North says:

                I would (and have) argue the Dems suffer from a different affliction at the upper level. Their current bugaboo, I think, is deep seated corruption that might get in the way of them winning his year.Report

              • North in reply to RTod says:

                I’d agree emphatically; it ain’t no secret that neoliberalism/market liberalism/centrism is especially prone to corruption and revolving door-ism. I’d call that the ideology’s greatest weakness.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                ” a single election cycle could correct”

                Sure, it would only take one repub president…

                But more seriously, the problems for the dems at the local, state and national legislative levels are much deeper than a perfect storm of bad candidates. It speaks to bad ideas, at the retail politics level, of having no idea what the constituancies need to hear and see.

                I would say there a papable level of dislike for the average american on the dem side, and a dislike for those who have set themselves up as taste makers on the repub side. This has led to class warfare, of which Bernie and Donald are signs.Report

              • North in reply to Aaron David says:

                It’s possible they are, it’s possible they aren’t. What makes you think it’s the latter rather than the former?

                If I’m unpacking your last paragraph correctly you’re saying that The Democratic Party and its policies are generally and widely disliked whereas the GOP and its policies are generally liked but their current leadership elite is disliked? That is a strong claim. I’d be very curious to see how you’d characterize the respective parties and their positions.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to North says:

                To be honest @north, a lot of what we are looking at seems to be class warfare more than anything. To give an example, from where I am sitting the reason Climate change legislation has failed is more because it forces the working class to give up many of its status markers; larger vehicles, power boats etc. While at the same time doesn’t have any such effect on the left, as those objects aren’t status markers on the left. Very similar to gas taxes, if you live in a city and take public trans or walk it might seem a good idea, if you have a long commute to get to your idea of a nice home, not so good an idea.

                Because, as has been brought up more than once on these pages, the big sort is shaking out to be that there is very little contact between the two sides. Which breeds the idea of “everyone I talk to thinks its a great idea” on both sides of the fence.

                I have been working on a longer piece on Class in politics in the states, that should address many of me feeling about the two parties right now. This piece is what started the ball rolling for me, and I highly recomend it.Report

              • greginak in reply to Aaron David says:

                Interesting piece Aaron. He has some good points. But he is wrong that the “left” doesn’t talk about class. It does, all the time, mostly in economic senses which is incomplete. But class is a thing the left definitely does talk about. I think he also misses on his definitions of high and low class. Those are very mushy hard to define groups and there is a lot of crossover between the various classes.

                A lot of people go to college would be grouped in the “low” class. Sarah Palin would be an archetype i guess although in her own peculiar way. I also think he defining “high” class way to broadly. But like i said the class are pretty hard to define well and everybody brings major blind spots to that. But interesting and worthy of more discussion and grist milling.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Aaron David says:

                Another thing supporting this – polls say that a crushing majority of Trump supporters believe that the USA is still in a recession because for them, it is. The hole in growth corresponds to the aspirational working class and the middle class that has been just scraping by.

                It’s not necessarily reasonable that there is a lot of populist discontent against the urban poor, the immigrants who take lower working class jobs but are doing relatively better than those who were formerly more secure, and the coastal elites who are volubly past the whole “recession” thing. But it is rational.Report

              • greginak in reply to El Muneco says:

                If only people on the liberal side had talked about how some people haven’t been doing well over the last decades. That many people have not benefited while other have. Like some sort of …umm….anti-equal distribution of growth and income. If only….Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                It’s not the talking about that in public that changes minds on that sort of thing. It’s the not taking 7 (or is it 8?) figures from the banks for giving undisclosed speeches while you talk about that in public that helps boost confidence.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                The point is liberal types have been raising those issues for quite a while. It ain’t new to the left. That doesn’t mean right leaners will agree, however mentions of inequality by liberal seem to provoke immediate rejection by those on the right. So is it just the words: maybe, or is hills; no because it has been a topic for far longer than this campaign and by plenty of other people or is it more than just economic. Maybe there is a bit of tribal dislike or nostalgia for when things were different. And not just in an everybody can have a good job kind of way.

                And as Chip chipped in, the 99% messaging has been around for little while and didn’t seem to draw in the trumpets.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

                They would talk about those things, if the percentage of people not benefitting was high, like 99%.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to greginak says:

                Sure, there’s a cleavage point between the 1% and the 99%. But there’s also one between the 30%-50% and rest of the 99%. It’s easy to sell the 99% on “throw the bums out”. But you can also make the “some animals are more equal than others” argument, and I think that that argument is finding traction in the rise of an explicitly populist groundswell.Report

              • greginak in reply to El Muneco says:

                Yeah, its more “some animals are more equal.” It’s less economics and more tribal. That is less populist then you making it out to be. It’s my tribe (working class, poor, middle class,etc) is losing to other working/ middle class and poor folks. Not populist really at all but based on ethnic/racial/etc divisions with an economic patina that does have some basis. But they are making an argument based and hearkening back to a racially/socially different time.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to greginak says:

                Oh, yes. It’s also tribal, and it’s authoritarian. I just think that the reason the bubble is coalescing into the particular shape that it is is that for the people inside it, all the factors are pointing the same way.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                If only people on the liberal side had talked about how some people haven’t been doing well over the last decades.

                Well, yes and no, greg. We’ve had the man and woman on the street citing REAL FACTS about wage growth since the 1970s and outsourcing and offshoring and so on, but the big thinkers on the left told that street person that neoliberal trade was a winwinwin! So shadup!

                What Trump’s offering is a trade-based solution to the plight of the working class: renegotiate trade deals (??) and close the border to restrict labor supply. What Bernie’s offering is a redistribution from the big winners of neoliberal-policy to the losers stuck in wage/opportunity stagnation. Both of those are pretty radical proposals and not chip-around-the-edges incrementalism to address the downside of an issue most “smart” liberals haven’t taken very seriously over the years.

                (Remember when Stiglitz published his big critique of World Bank policies, neoliberalism, “structural adjustments” and so on? That view was regarded as heresy even within the liberal intellectual community.)Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to Aaron David says:

                Climate change legislation has the problem of what do you when millions of people want something that is good on an individual level but bad on a massive level. Like you said, tens of millions of Americans like their suburban homes with large lawns, power boats, and SUVs. They derive a great deal of pleasure from them. They unfortunately wreck havoc on the global environment with current technology. Climate change legislation will make the things that give a lot of people pleasure more expensive. There doesn’t seem to be a good solution to this.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

                If the positive feedback loops that Hansen et al talk about are real, most of us (or our grandchildren) are screwed. (In that case, pick one of the small number of places where local conditions tend to mitigate the change, and arm everyone to fend off the refugees.) If you assume that there’s time to work with…

                My complaint is an excess of straight-line thinking. Take coal, for example. Straight-line thinking is, “CO2 is bad, burning coal is a major source, if you want less of something tax it, so… carbon tax on coal.” CO2 is not coal’s political weak spot. Coal’s political weak spot is that it’s nasty, dirty stuff even without considering CO2. So, slowly and steadily make it more expensive by taking on that aspect of it: coal ash ponds, tiny particulates, acid, smog and ozone precursors, regular-sized dust. Side note: the dust aspect, often overlooked, has been played well by the West Coast port cities to effectively block the export of Wyoming and Montana coal to Asia.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Michael Cain says:

                David Brin has made a similar point in the past – a lot of the stuff to fight climate change is stuff we should be doing anyway. For example, power from renewables – even if it isn’t any cheaper (and it will be soon enough), converting simultaneously lowers the impact of exploitative resource extraction and undercuts the political influence of fossil fuel exporters, so if it’s even close in cost it’s worth it for the side benefits.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Aaron David says:

                The exact same thing could (and should) be said of the Dems at every level outside the presidency. Which is a sure sign that the messages of both partys isn’t really working. Outside the true believers of course.

                The problem with the Democrats at level below the presidency (Besides gerrymandering) is that Democrats completely fail to even *try* to win local elections in a lot of states.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to DavidTC says:

                This. The Democratic Party and even Democratic voters aren’t as motivated on the local and state level as Republican voters are for a variety of reasons. This hurts the Democratic Party because local and state politics is where you get your bench from.Report

              • aaron david in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Yes, although I don’t put as much stock in the problems of gerrymandering as some do, what I really feel is that it speaks to how both parties feel about governance in the abstract. If you believe in a very top down technology driven gov’t ensureing fairness, than you probably break on one side of the divide. While at the same time if goverance is really about getting out of the voters way, than you break the other.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to aaron david says:

                I think the real issue with the Democratic Party and state and local elections is different than the Democratic Party believes in top-down technocratic government and the Republican Party believes in getting out of people’s way, which I find laughable as a proposition. Republican leaning states and localities tend to have more counties and part time local government positions that could be used as training than Democratic leaning states and cities. Compare the number of counties in large and populous Democratic California, fifty-eight, to Georgia, 159. There are usually more local positions to go for in Republican leaning states.

                Democratic leaning areas tend to be more densely populated, a lot of the administrative positions that can be done by part time elected politicians in less densely populated Republican leaning areas needs a full time civil servant in a densely populated area. This again cuts down on the elected positions available at state or local levels for Democratic candidates.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I’ve seen some studies that attempt to correct for the effect of gerrymandering, and pretty much all of them come to the conclusion that (a) it has a real effect, and (b) even with perfectly fair districting, the way the population maps onto the existing county/state structure still puts the Ds way behind from the start. Gerrymandering just makes an existing structural problem for D organization worse.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to El Muneco says:

                People inclined to vote Democratic tend to be more concentrated geographically than Republicans. This really hurts them in a geographic based voting system. If the American voting system was less dependent on geography than the Democratic party would do better.Report

  8. North says:

    Now, to the main subject of the post: The debate. I would observe that if Trump does fail I imagine this debate would be considered the turning point. Watching it firmed up my Trump 15% number a bit for me. Trump was pummeled and he really did not accept the shots well. He bloviated, huffed and puffed but really couldn’t account for himself. In large part this highlighted how much he benefited from the divided field when everyone was avoiding him.

    I remain in my belief that Trump can’t win. Super Tuesday should tell us for sure. If Trump gets the majority of the states after turning in that performance in the debate then the GOP is cooked and they can’t stop him. If Trump, as I suspect will happen, fades badly and Rubio turns in a strong performance of wins then it’ll be Rubio for sure with the only question being what damage Trump and/or Cruz can do to him (here’s hoping a lot).

    One thing this underlined for me: If Trump somehow makes it to the general election the Democratic Party (under Hillary or Sanders) will blast the ever living crap out of him and romp to an easy win.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


      You seem to be going to counter to many other observations:

      Everyone saw Trump get attacked but most seem to think he handled it well.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It’s entirely possible that “everyone” is correct. Being as I like being right perhaps I saw what I want to see… except that I would LOVE for Trump to win the nod. Love it so much.

        But we will see soon enough. Super Tuesday will tell one way or the other.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to North says:

          Well @north some people agree with you!Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

            Well, objectively – that is, according to a definition of debating that rises above schoolyard bullying and focuses on content – Trump got his a** handed to him by Rubio. It’s just a shame – and a mystery, apparently, to many conservative pundits! – that GOP voters appear to not view debates in those intellectually pristine terms…Report

            • Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:


            • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


              This was my take. It reminds me of this old New Yorker cartoon:

              The funny thing is that Team Trump fancies itself the Realists when in reality they are the idealists. Namely because none of Trumps ideas are going to work. They aren’t even feasible. Or even possible to try in some cases.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                Trump closed last night by saying (para): “I’m gonna repeal Obamacare, and then figure out what to replace it with that’s better.” Which is an amazing thing to hear a candidate say. He has no idea what he’s gonna do*, but whatever it is it’s gonna be better than what we got right now!!

                *Well, he said that it’ll include guarantee issue and that it won’t allow people to die in the streets, which are perhaps the two biggest normative drivers resulting in the ACA (and the mandate, etc.).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, you’d tie yourself in knots too if you were trying to tell people what they wanted to hear only they didn’t really know what they wanted to hear.

                I mean, they know what they want to hear insofar as they want to hear gnashing of teeth at Obama and the Dems… but they don’t know what they actually want in its place. Up to and including Trump. One thing I’ve noticed about Trump is the tendency his supporters have to project upon him whatever they want a candidate to be. “He’s XYZ.” “What about all this evidence he’s not XYZ?” “Doesn’t matter. He’s a straight shooter. He speaks for me. I want XYZ and he’s XYZ!”Report

              • Kim in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s an open question what the republican base would think if trump passed obamacare “lite”Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Kim says:

                Hell, it’s an open question what they would think if he literally resubmitted the text of the “Affordable Care Act” with the title “Hand Up Not A Hand Out Act” (or equivalent).

                People like the health care situation now better than before(*). If the Insurance Fairy had waved a magic wand and made it happen, people wouldn’t have blinked. It’s the fact that Obama did it with a pen that gets in their craw.

                (*) Not 100%, of course. But you won’t get 100% support for “free unicorns that fart only rainbows”.Report

          • North in reply to Aaron David says:

            Yes well Bloomberg is like the upstream gravel banks where neoliberals, market liberals and center liberals swim to spawn so they would agree with me.

            But one sentence is spot on: The GOP has trained their voters to ignore the substance of most issues and it is that huge void they’ve nurtured that Trump has swum into and filled.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

      Is anyone else horrified that debate performance, which is largely the ability to say “You’re a poopy-head!” effectively, matters so much?Report

  9. trizzlor says:

    Can we define some ground rules here. What does it mean for a party to create or be responsible for a candidate? I’ve got two theories:

    * Anytime I see a pro-Trump commenter get interrogated by other republicans, the response is typically that anti-PC (culture) and anti-immigration (purity) are the only two things that matter in this election. Everything else is window dressing. The mainstream continually misses the point that Trumpniks *know* that he doesn’t parrot the GOP orthodoxy. They didn’t all somehow miss the memo that Trump is clueless on foreign policy and doesn’t care about the Christian culture wars. They don’t care because he is 100% with them on culture and purity. Now, the question of who is responsible for culture and purity getting such top billing is where the Chaits of the world make some sense. The mainstream GOP, and certainly the talk-radio right, have been hyping up these issue for a long time. So chickens roosting makes some sense here.

    * A more general explanation of Trump is that he is a European-style populist who thinks entitlements are great as long as they don’t go to “other people”. This is something new that lies in a very tense point between the two parties and allows some shared responsibility. First of all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we got a European-style population right after we got a European-style health-care system. Once you start making me pay for other people’s doctor visits, I’m going to get *very* interested in who those other people are and why they’re going to the doctor. Here the lefty “it takes a village” rhetoric and policies yield unintended consequences when it turns out that lots of people don’t want Syrian refugees and Mexican migrants living in their village. Trump is unambiguously branded as a Republican populist, but turn up his pro-choice + pro-healthcare dial and turn down his jingoism against Democrat voting blocs (Latinos and blacks are just like us, it’s those other “others” that I’m skeptical of) and he could easily be a protectionist, Clinton-style Democrat.Report

    • North in reply to trizzlor says:

      Chait’s point, and the point of a lot of centrist liberals is that the GOP has been sipping the koolaid of substance free belligerence and indignation for quite a while in increasingly large doses. See, for instance, their debt ceiling and government shut down fiascos wherein they tell their base that if they just get angry enough and want it hard enough (whatever it is) they will win. Trump’s whole candidacy has basically been that line of thought crystalized into a living breathing orange candidate.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to North says:

        Yeah, that’s a good short summary. Here’s my short take:

        In one sense the causal thread runs thru Hannity and Fox and conservamedia generally for effectively lying to its base/audience about Democratic party politics and Obama and even conservative policies (eg., Bush Kept Us Safe) along the “conservatism cannot fail” logic for purely political purposes – so the base’s anger was steeped in lies and pandering. Another causal thread runs thru the embrace of Palin as some sorta Savior within the party who could bring commonsense blahblahs (read: idiotic stupidity) to government and Washington as a check against [list of conservative talking point threats posed by liebruls and progressives].

        Couple the two and it was only a matter of time before the base – full of anger steeped in lies and encouraged to believe commonsense conservatism idiotic stupidity was the conservative solution to current problems – turned on the “masters” who were playing them like puppets for so many years.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

        Yeah, that’s definitely a problem that Republicans have.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to trizzlor says:


      Except we don’t really have a European styled healthcare system and I can’t tell if you are referring to Medicare and Medicaid or the ACA. The ACA’s individual mandate and Medicare expansions only marginally increase the costs of others. I bought a plan under the ACA when I was a contractor. I wrote a monthly check for several hundred dollars to Aetna. I also think they are missing the point of insurance. Insurance works as a pool and even when it is all done with private money, you are still paying for others in a way. Do they care if their car or home insurer also sells policies to “other people?”

      What the right-wing is doing is showing a great amount of denial about the monster they have created. They have been stroking racial resentment and rage against upper-middle class urban sophisticates for decades now. I say they started in 1968. This has been done in exchange with a few panders to socially conservative issues. This sort of rage stroking increased with the rise of Talk Radio, Fox News, and the right-wing blogs. Erik Erickson called Justice Souter a “goat fucking child molester.” How does he have a right to whine and complain that Trump is really liberal? He also lied about how his parents would not let him eat Asian food on Pearl Harbor. How is that not stroking feelings of right-wing and racist nationalism? And now he complains because he dislikes Trump.

      I don’t know how I am supposed to feel anything but contempt for people like the National Review and Erik Erikson. This is the beast they made and now they still want to blame it on the other side. The Federalist and Conor F’s articles were good realizations that Trump is a creature they made.

      The issue for Trump on the left is that I think it shows the failures of neo-liberalism and triangulation. The Free Trade agreements were supposed to be part of a grand bargain where the business elite got their NAFTAs and TPPs and everyone else got a welfare state with generous benefits and cheaper goods. We do have cheaper goods but the welfare states never materialized because of right-wing interference and/or maybe neo-liberals never really cared about welfare state programs. So you do have economically devastated communities with living memories of decent lives. You have people who used to have jobs with benefits but now have multiple part time jobs at lower wages with no benefits. It should not be hard to see why they are angry. But the neo-liberals are cut off from this anger because they have white-collar jobs, they usually benefit from the cheaper goods of globalization more, and their educations have trained them to not see anger as coherent. They see the vision of free trade in more holisitic pictures because they have that luxury.Report

    • trizzlor in reply to trizzlor says:

      I’ll also challenge anyone to compare these two stem-winders and claim that resentment and fear isn’t broadly spread across the two parties:

      It was decades of these stupid mother fuckers shouting about Obama being a secret Muslim or Hillary murdered Vince Foster and Dan Burton shooting a fucking watermelon to prove it to another melon based theory about Mexicans having calves the size of cantaloupes and women wanting to abort babies for shits and giggles and sending rock salt to Olympia Snowe and claiming there is no global climate change because LOOK RIGHT FUCKING HERE I HAVE A SNOWBALL IN FEBRUARY or convincing America that welfare and food stamps only go to young bucks buying t-bone steaks or welfare queens with big screen tv’s or that public transportation is totalitarianism or that the main cost cutting technique of health care reform will be Death Panels or that prison makes you gay or that man and dinosaurs lived together in harmony or that women can magically abort pregnancies created by rape or that scientists are genetically creating human/mice superbrains or that agribusiness is using aborted fetuses in soda or that if gay people marry pretty soon people will be marrying dogs or that Presidents Lincoln and Washington used electronic surveillance and actually writing, promoting, and believing a fucking book that said liberalism is fascism…

      ~ John Cole

      Yet for over seven years we have experienced gratuitous racial editorializing amid trumped-up psychodramas, like the silly Skip Gates beer summit, the release of the Black Panthers who had intimidated voters at polls, Attorney General Eric Holder’s serial editorializing about a “nation of cowards” and “my people,” and Obama’s periodic implications of white racism explaining criticism of his lackluster performance … Homophobic, sexist, and religiously intolerant Iranians were praised by the administration when they released American soldiers after gratuitously humiliating them; the traitor Bowe Bergdahl, not the Benghazi heroes, earned White House tributes and photo-ops. … Opponents of the Iran deal were kindred extremist spirits to Iranian theocrats. Republican opponents were veritable terrorists with bombs strapped to their bodies. Christians hop on their moral “high horses” and needed to be reminded of that chauvinism, endemic since the Crusades and Inquisition, at national prayer breakfasts. Mass shootings were blamed on the foul culture of legal gun owners and the NRA. … Obama has lost his party the Congress and most of the state legislatures. He has destroyed the centrist wing of the Democratic Party, and made his media apologists into caricatures of ministry of information megaphones. Obama ushered in an unprecedented any-means-necessary government amorality. Lois Lerner, a politicized IRS and a defunct ICE are its dividends. The secretary of Defense—four so far—is now a cabinet post designed to spawn after-office tell-all indictments of Obama. Scandals are normal now at the VA, IRS, NSA, ATF, EPA, and GSA, and from the AP surveillance and Solyndra to the Benghazi video-did-it talking points. The administration has reduced once-cherished departments such as the Secret Service, State Department, Justice Department and NASA into caricatures of incompetency.

      ~ Victor Davis HansenReport

      • Chip Daniels in reply to trizzlor says:

        Comparing the two stemwinders, I see that VDH is speaking exactly the crazed paranoid fear that John Cole mocks and condemns.

        In other words, Cole is asserting that the conservatives have become crazed and paranoid, and right on cue, VDH delivers a paranoid crazed rant.

        Liberals aren’t actually calling for Christians to be rounded up in cattle cars (despite my daily pleas to Commander Soros), but conservatives actually ARE calling for Mexicans to be rounded up.

        Liberals aren’t actually calling for Sharia law to be instituted, but conservatives actually ARE calling for Christianity to be the basis of laws.

        Liberals aren’t actually calling for death panels, but conservatives actually ARE calling for people without health coverage to be left to die.Report

        • trizzlor in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          But scandals at the VA, IRS, and GSA actually happened! Hanson is taking individual departmental scandals and using them to paint the Obama administration with a certain brush. Cole is taking the actions of individual senators or media figures and using them to paint the GOP with a certain brush. What’s the difference? If anything, I would say that multiple departmental scandals is actually *stronger* evidence of rot than a crazy Senator (Inhofe’s SNOWBALLS) or a crazy online forum (RedState’s rock salt).Report

          • Kim in reply to trizzlor says:

            Inhofe isn’t that stupid. He’s merely bought and paid for.
            Not a crime, but no fun if you don’t like who’s paying.
            Baucus is also bought and paid for.
            You wonder why Obamacare is a giveaway to corporate interests?
            Blame Baucus.Report

          • Kim in reply to trizzlor says:

            Congressional hearings on black helicopters ring any bells?
            How about wanting to eliminate hollywood, over Baby’s Day Out????
            [Yes, congress did actually consider this]Report

          • DavidTC in reply to trizzlor says:


            Scandals are one of two things. They are either something *illegal*, or they are some sort of abuse of power, or both.

            The IRS ‘scandal’ was neither. The IRS made some dumbass (But as far as anyone can tell, legal.) rules to scrutinize the flood of illegitimate non-profits, and Congressional Republicans behaved in such a way as to create the impression this was only targeted at conservative groups. (Although, technically, there was a scandal there…it was *Congress’s* behavior of abusing their investigatory power for political purposes that was the scandal.)

            And the GSA ‘scandal’ was just excessive government spending. Which is not any sort of scandal at all. (If it is a scandal, I wonder what the F-35 is? A super-duper-hyper-infinite scandal?) It was certainly something that needed to be stopped…and, of course, it was, and a lot of people got fired. But it was not a scandal.

            The only actual scandal was the VA, which *did* operate outside the law. (Or, at least, the spirit of the law.) But it is rather dubious to blame the VA scandal on Obama. The VA has been broken pretty much ever since the first soldiers started returning from Afghanistan, and no one bothered to fix it. I honestly don’t quite know what to make of it, and I frankly don’t understand why it didn’t make headlines back in 2004 or so, when it first started falling apart.

            So, basically, out of that long list of things in that rant, we have…one real, bi-partisan scandal.

            Because of this, we must conclude that Hanson is correct.Report

            • trizzlor in reply to DavidTC says:

              I see no reason why spectacularly dumbass behavior doesn’t also qualify as scandalous. Scandalous because those people should have never been hired, and protocols should have been in place to keep them from doing the things they did. That’s how the post-Katrina mismanagement was characterized as a scandal, and rightfully so.

              The IRS was dumbass behavior in dealing with a backlog of cases (including stalling on many for a year a time hoping the org would give up) and dumbass behavior in the way the story was broken to the press through a planted reporter. The GSA was certainly unethical if not illegal. On the VA we agree. The Benghazi talking points was dumbass inter-departmental CYA that lead to the public getting nonsense reporting on a major terrorist attack.

              Where you, I, and VDH disagree is in how much culpability can be laid at the White House. But that is a disagreement about our political intuitions, not on the fact that these things happened and they should not have.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to trizzlor says:

                The IRS was dumbass behavior in dealing with a backlog of cases (including stalling on many for a year a time hoping the org would give up)

                I am unaware of any of this. As far as I know, the reason they had a backlog of cases was that they were underfunded, and they were *attempting* to handle them all, hence the dumbass filter they invented. (I’ve often wondered if the filter wasn’t better described as being the *other* direction, not telling them who to pay attention to, but to let *everyone else* pass without as much scrutiny.)

                and dumbass behavior in the way the story was broken to the press through a planted reporter.

                No, that wasn’t ‘dumbass’. That was, in fact, scandalous. How the Republicans in Congress managed to set that up, and invent a right-wing myth to that story (By repeatedly deliberately asking about *conservative* groups that were ‘investigated'(1), and no one else.) that people believe *to this day*, is a scandalous abuse of power.

                The problem with that logic is that is was scandalous *on behalf of the Republicans* and can hardly be blamed on Obama.

                1) Which itself is an insane question, because groups who send in a request to have their status clarified by the IRS *before* they start are, in fact, asking to be ‘investigated’.

                The GSA was certainly unethical if not illegal.

                ‘Unethical’? Howso?

                There seems to be this weird disconnect you, and some other people, have between how you treat excessive governmental spending by various government departments (Which are given the money by Congress) which is suddenly all ‘unethical’, vs. excessive government spending by…Congress, which appears to be completely ethical? Huh?

                But wait: The GSA was *given* that money by Congress. Someone in the GSA spent it in ways allowed by law and GSA regulation, but in a way that clearly was wasteful. (Which results in both GSA regulation and law changing.)

                Wasteful government spending is not ‘unethical’. Or, if it *is* unethical, than almost every single politician in the universe should be buried under scandals. The amount of money the GSA wasted is probably less than we waste *every day* on the goddamn F-35. (Which is, at this point, *clearly* never to function in combat.)

                The Benghazi talking points was dumbass inter-departmental CYA that lead to the public getting nonsense reporting on a major terrorist attack.

                …and now you’ve brought Benghazi talking points into this. That is not even an actual thing that happened. Something happened, people wanted to know what the government thought, and the government *said* what it thought, which happened to be wrong for an extremely short amount of time. There is not even possibly a scandal there.

                A scandal is, at minimum, when the government does not do the right thing. It has to be possible to to point out *something else* they should have done instead. The VA should have asked for more money, or failing that, put people on those waiting lists, which would have triggered consequences when they were not seen. The GSA should have…just not spent that much. The IRS should have…asked for money money(1), again, or demanded some sort of clarification of the law. People calling them scandals have *something else* that should have happened.

                But the only alternative to what happened with the Benghazi statements would be *the government never tells us anything about current events*, so as to never be wrong. It’s basically demanding that, after an act of terrorism, that the government remain silent for days or weeks, until they are very sure what happened.

                This *cannot possibly* be how anyone wants the government to act. (And, just as importantly, it seems literally to only apply to this one situation.)

                1) At some point, I really have to mention the absurdity of Republicans talking about scandals, or ‘scandals’, that are entirely predictable due to underfunded government agencies unable to deal with their load.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to DavidTC says:

                >>A scandal is, at minimum, when the government does not do the right thing.

                On the IRS, here are the findings of the Treasury Inspector General:

                The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention. Ineffective management: 1) allowed inappropriate criteria to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, 2) resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications, and 3) allowed unnecessary information requests to be issued. Although the processing of some applications with potential significant political campaign intervention was started soon after receipt, no work was completed on the majority of these applications for 13 months…. For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications [reviewed in the audit] as of December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to 1,138 calendar days (some for more than three years and crossing two election cycles)…. Many organizations received requests for additional information from the IRS that included unnecessary, burdensome questions (e.g., lists of past and future donors).

                If the IRS had gotten a sudden influx of #BlackLivesMatter groups asking for non-profit status, it would not be okay for them to (1) use social-justice keywords to select these groups for additional scrutiny; (2) demand unnecessary information to stretch out the process; and (3) deep-six more than half of the applications for as long as three years in the hopes that they would withdraw. None of those things should have happened. Yes, the appropriate response would have been to go to Congress and say they are underfunded and can’t handle all the applications but also to not do all of the other things they did. There are things a representative of the state doesn’t do regardless of how strapped for resources they are; they – or whoever hired them – should have known better

                On Benghazi, here is the timeline of talking point changes made after the attack ( ) . You can see that the initial summary is a reasonably detailed and accurate description of the events and the final summary removes nearly any factual statements. The administration then hyped up the video angle even more when summarizing the talking points to the public. When an attack like that is unfolding, the admin has two options: (1) say that they are still investing and nothing else; (2) present the best summary of what the intelligence agencies know at the time. If there is disagreement between the agencies over what the truth is, then they stick with (1). It is nothing but misleading to put out the most appealing story as “what we know right now”.

                On the GSA scandal, one of the guys involved was indicted and plead guilty ( ) so I don’t see what the argument is here. There is a huge difference between going over budget and spending nearly a million dollars on a fake conference for you and your friends.

                There are instances where institutional failures happen due to underfunding. In fact, the reason the Benghazi *attack* was so disastrous is very likely because of underfunding and lack of Congressional interest in foreign services (this is also the reason there have been more hearings about Clinton’s private emails than about the damning State Dept report on post security). But these specific examples are just bad people, in the wrong position, who should have known better.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to trizzlor says:

                If the IRS had gotten a sudden influx of #BlackLivesMatter groups asking for non-profit status, it would not be okay for them to (1) use social-justice keywords to select these groups for additional scrutiny;

                And now I’m begining to think the problem here is you literally do not understand what was going on.

                The IRS did not use anything to select any groups. The IRS was asked, by specific groups, to pre-clear them. They *normally* would have subjected all those requests to ‘additional scrunity’, which is what they are supposed to do when you *ask them to look look at you*.

                But they had too many (They normally receive almost *no* requests of this kind) to handle, so instead, they invented a dumbass filter.

                (2) demand unnecessary information to stretch out the process; and (3) deep-six more than half of the applications for as long as three years in the hopes that they would withdraw.

                There is absolutely *no* evidence in anything you cited that there was a deliberate attempt to draw anything out. None at all. Not a single tiny hint of that. This is you trying to invent ‘abuse of power’ in a place it doesn’t fit.

                You *also* are using the wrong word. The word is not ‘application’. Those organizations did not need the IRS’s permission to do *anything*. They were asking for *pre-clearance* on how to file their taxes.

                Likewise, I am baffled as to you thinking there is such a thing as ‘withdrawing’, and you seem very confused as to what was actually happening. In those ‘three years’, those organizations *filed taxes as non-profits*. The organization’s request to be ‘pre-cleared’ were actually somewhat moot after the first year.

                And, to repeat: Absolutely no one has to go through this process in the first place. At all. The IRS failing to respond did not harm them.

                The reason *these* organizations did is that they, literally, were in fact *breaking the law* (Creating a 501(c)(3) non-profit for political purposes), but not breaking the interpetation that the IRS had been using, which was that if less than 50% of it is political, it’s okay. So they wanted a letter from the IRS that said their behavior was okay.

                IRS Conclusion: Not a government scandal, government department mismanagement that was *pretended* into an abuse-of-power scandal by Republicans.

                If there is disagreement between the agencies over what the truth is, then they stick with (1). It is nothing but misleading to put out the most appealing story as “what we know right now”.

                Aaaaaaand here’s the conspiracy bullshit rearing its head, the idea that for some reason the administration didn’t *want* to call it terrorism, because [insert made up reason that the US government is pro-terrorist].

                The problem is…that stuff in those early talking points? The stuff they removed? That stuff was *false*. (Or just completely irrelevant, like talking about how many weapons there in Libya.)

                What was provided was, literally, ‘the best summary of what the intelligence agencies know at the time’.

                There have been *multiple fucking Congressional investigations over this*, and no one has been able to demonstrate *any* deliberate lies presented at any point in time.

                Bengazi Conclusion: Not a government scandal, normal government operation and confusion in that was *pretended* into a Obama-is-pro-terrorists scandal by Republicans.

                On the GSA scandal, one of the guys involved was indicted and plead guilty

                Yeah, which was actually a miscarriage of justice.

                That guy did not break the law. He really didn’t. Trying retroactively pretend that what he was doing wasn’t officially government business and thus be broke the law by filing those forms is bullshit. It was official government business. He made it so. It *shouldn’t* have been, but it was.

                And, in what is perhaps more to the point, this nonsense was caught *by his own agency’s inspector general* and they fired him for it. *Government* scandals have to be something that *the government*, or some part of it, does, not when some employee of the government rips the government off and the government gets really really pissed about it, to the extent of making up a crime to charge him with!

                GSA Conclusion: Guy steals from the government, gets caught, for some reason everything claims this is a government scandal.

                Next government scandal: Postal worker steals from mail! Why is Obama stealing our mail?!

                And, just for the record:

                VA Conclusion: *Actual government departmental scandal*.

                But, you know what? I’m done with this nonsensical gish gallop of ‘scandal’, almost none of which are scandals, but, boy, if you keep repeating them, they sure sound like a lot.

                Hey, does anyone want a list of *actual* governmental scandals under Bush? Like, actual real abuses of power and actual lawbreaking by done by the government itself?

                Fun fact: Did you know that *his* GSA *head of staff*, David Safavian, was arrested for his part in the Jack Abramoff scandal? You know, an actual scandal? Although his conviction got mostly overturned, but he still got a year in jail. And then *another* GSA head, Lurita Doan’, got fired for using the GSA for partisan purposes, telling the staff it was their job to help candidates win elections. And note these are *heads* of the GSA, people Bush himself picked, unlike Jeff Neely, who just worked his way up the civil-service ladder. In fact, David Safavian had moved on from the GSA to being in charge of setting purchasing policy for the entire government by the time he was arrested.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to DavidTC says:

                So you’ve gone from arguing that these things never happened, to arguing that they happened but it was a good thing? If condemnation from the Inspector General and an indictment are not enough to convince you of wrong-doing then I don’t think we’re going to come to any consensus.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to trizzlor says:

                So you’ve gone from arguing that these things never happened, to arguing that they happened but it was a good thing?

                In your universe, bad thing apparently equals government scandal.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to DavidTC says:

                Well, what was the original point? VDH says that under Obama a bunch of bad things happened in various departments, attributes it to Obama. My point is that the statement up to the comma is mostly true.Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to trizzlor says:

                If the alleged bad thing is using directing the apparatus of the state to behave in politically motivated ways in order to harass your political rivals, I would say that intent matters quite a bit.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to Don Zeko says:

                Well, do we have evidence one way or the other that Obama intentionally established a culture where unscrupulous people get hired and are permitted to do unscrupulous things? VDH is saying “look at all this bad stuff that happened, my intuitions tell me that it’s because of the Obama culture of corruption and the Chicago way”; you’re saying “look at all this bad stuff that happened, my intuitions tell me that they are isolated incidents”. My point is that both conclusions are based on intuition.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:


        I don’t see resentment or fear in Cole’s description, myself. I mean, I see some anger, but that’s probably because he was card carrying Red State type conservative until the lies and hypocrisy became too much for even him to overlook.

        Second, the context of Cole’s comment is The Rise of Trump as the anticonservative conservative and atttempting to provide an account of that reality. If he just launched into the same critique as a general indictment of conservatism, then yeah, you might have a point. But he didn’t. He’s answering a question here: why Trump? That Victor dude isn’t answering any such question. He’s just railing.Report

        • trizzlor in reply to Stillwater says:

          Well, the interesting thing is that VDH is also describing The Rise of Trump in that article, but as a response to Obama. Both of them have memorized a litany of grievances that they now see as justification for pretty much anything bad that happens (in this case, Trump). Moreover, they see the sheer *number* of grievances, no matter how individually petty (some Senator threw a snowball!), as indication that the other side is evil. My point is that the argument that Republicans are the only ones who wind up their base about petty things the other side has done is complete unsupported.Report

          • greginak in reply to trizzlor says:

            I think the issue is in seeing both sides being riled as equal instead of assessing the validity of the complaint. If you want to see both sides as equal then any emotion by either is just more of the same. But hanson is pushing some far out complaints and fear mongering. Inhofe really did bring a snow ball into the congress to show how global warming isn’t real. And he has done a lot of prevent any action on GW. Is that stupid and silly; well yeah. But that is part of the point but it is also the reality of how actual policy is being made. All sides are always riled. But conservatives can’t seem to let go of the Obama is destroying the nation and the sky is falling faster than ever.Report

            • trizzlor in reply to greginak says:

              Sure, but the bulk of things that VDH mentions actually *did* happen (Solyndra, IRS, VA, GAO, etc.). These aren’t made up occurrences, it’s just debatable how representative they are of the Obama administration. In the same way it’s debatable how representative Inhofe’s style is of the GOP.Report

              • greginak in reply to trizzlor says:

                And vince foster and bengazi and O’s birth certificate.

                You are correct in a way that it is about how representative of each party. But it really does seem like you sidestepping the issue of judging what is and isn’t’ actually representative. If you think Hanson’s view is correct, that is fine, i would disagree but at least that is a pov.Report

              • trizzlor in reply to greginak says:

                I think the first half of VDHs list consists of entirely ordinary things a president does that piss off crazy partisans because they’re crazy partisans. I think the second half (“Lois Lerner, a politicized IRS and a defunct ICE are its dividends. The secretary of Defense—four so far—is now a cabinet post designed to spawn after-office tell-all indictments of Obama. Scandals are normal now at the VA, IRS, NSA, ATF, EPA, and GSA, and from the AP surveillance and Solyndra to the Benghazi video-did-it talking points.“) are entirely ordinary institutional failures that do not reflect poorly on the president *but are actually bad things that happened*. It’s really a bad thing that the IRS targeted political groups based on non-neutral criteria (even though it’s an isolated incident); it’s really a bad thing that State and the CIA manipulated the Benghazi talking points until they were meaningless (even though Hillary didn’t kill Amb Stevens); etc etc. I also recognize that my conclusion that all of these things don’t – in sum – reflect poorly on Obama is a purely political conclusion, based on my intuitions about the Obama white house and the way government works. Just as VDH’s opposite conclusion is a political one. Just as Cole’s conclusion that Liberal Fascism / James Inhofe / Erick Erickson’s rock salt campaign reflect poorly on the GOP is a political conclusion based on his intuitions about how the GOP works. In both cases, VDH and Cole assume the worst about their enemies and then conclude that their enemies are the worst.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:

            Well, the interesting thing is that VDH is also describing The Rise of Trump in that article, but as a response to Obama.

            Ahh. OK, then. I see what you’re getting at. I’ll read it when I get a minute, but it seems strange to pin the rise of Trump on Obama when he rails against Obama less than the other candidates (in my opinion) or current GOPCCers. It’s an interesting hypothesis, to be sure, and is certainly possible. It just doesn’t pass the Occam’s Razor test, in my view. I mean, Cruz and Rubio have been railing adamantly about how bad Obama’s been for the country in much plainer and more aggressive language than Trump has, seems to me. So on a first pass I’m not sure what could refute the view since the causal links connecting anti-Obama hatred to Trump aren’t readily apparent.

            (I’ll give it a read in a bit.)Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              Well VDH can’t blame Trump on the right, so of course he blames him on Obama. Heck, he blames Obama if he stubs his toe when getting up in the morning; why wouldn’t he blame Obama for Trump?Report

              • El Muneco in reply to North says:

                VDH is like Chomsky, in a way. He’s an expert in his field who has done some legitimately fine work. So he has Dunning on his right shoulder and Krueger on his left whispering in his ears “you’re a smart guy – how hard can it be to figure out what’s going on with politics?”Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

              {{Turns out I already read it. No linky.}}Report

            • trizzlor in reply to Stillwater says:

              Oh no, I definitely don’t recommend reading it unless you just want two additional pages of VDH doing his imitation of Family Guy – string together a bunch of references and assume you’ve made a point. I just happened upon the two pieces in the same day and was struck by the similarity of the style: here’s a bunch of individually insignificant or more-nuanced-than-they-seem examples … now let me pile up so many that you get angry just from the sheer volume.

              If we’re being generous to the underlying point though, it’s that Obama had promised a novel, transparent, and technocratic kind of governance and he has instead delivered broad institutional failures. This has turned people away from well-intentioned technocrats who work within the system and towards nihilist bomb-throwers such as Trump. Cruz and Rubio may pretend to be outsiders, but voters are so burned by this pretense (Clinton, Bush, and Obama, if not others, all played this game) that they are turning to someone who *indisputably* is not a member of the political machine.

              The more I think about it, the more it seems like VDH and Cole are actually saying the same thing. VDH thinks the Obama record is so disastrous that he has driven Republicans to nihilism, Cole thinks the GOP establishment has painted Obama’s record as so disastrous that it has driven Republicans to nihilism. In turns, Cole responds by painting the GOP record as being disastrous.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:

                No, I’d rather not read any more, all things considered…

                VDH thinks the Obama record is so disastrous that he has driven Republicans to nihilism, Cole thinks the GOP establishment has painted Obama’s record as so disastrous that it has driven Republicans to nihilism.

                Regarding the first part: If that’s VDH’s claim it makes no sense. Seems to me that a disastrous Democratic regime would, barring confounders, lead to increased support for a GOP presidency amongst conservatives. But that’s not happening. So, why not? That is, what are the confounders? The suggestion is that the GOP, via their own political machinations, have poisoned the well with at least a third of their base. So it’s not Obama that’s created Trump…

                Regarding the second part: I don’t think Cole is criticizing the GOP for painting the Obama admin as bad (that’s just politics) but the senselessness of the criticisms, which the base has in parts both internalized as well as rejected, and as a result is now actively rejecting the GOP establishment in favor of an outsider who exemplifies, in their view, all the properties internalized/rejected, respectively.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to trizzlor says:

        Sure, but only one of them is simply stating self evident facts about the situations.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

          No, not self-evident facts. One is trying to provide an account of Trump (if I’m remembering Cole’s post correctly); the other is providing a critique of Obama and Dems fully generally. Both may be wrong, of course…Report

      • Aaron David in reply to trizzlor says:

        Wow, I think Cole got some spittle flecks on my moniter.Report

      • Cole knows he’s sitting on the porch in front of the general store, amusing himself and his cronies. Hansen, God help him, thinks he’s a serious political philosopher.Report