Morning Ed: United States {2016.12.22.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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35 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Almost 100 years ago the US elected Warren G. Harding, a man widely remembered as the worst US president in history

    Warren The OG isn’t in the top 3 for worst presidents. He isn’t even the worst president that died because of utter negligence about his own health.Report

  2. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    Re Warren Harding: This is just silly: “Harding’s policies contributed?—?directly or indirectly?—?to the great depression, rise of the Nazis in Germany, and the current immigration crisis.” The narrative appears to go out of its way to score points against Harding that are attributable to Woodrow Wilson (Birth of a Nation, imprisonment of Eugene Debbs (sentence commuted by Harding), passage of the Espionage Act of 1917, and passage of the Sedition Act of 1918, repealed under Harding)

    Maybe Trump is the next Woodrow Wilson?


    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:


      I think when it comes to legitimizing racial discrimination, curtailing civil liberties, and getting us into disastrous and unnecessary wars, Wilson does indeed represent what we have to fear from a Trump administration, if he’s as bad as some of us fear.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

        I should edit that a bit. Racial discrimination was already “legitimized” in 1913. Wilson just made it worse in a way that his immediate predecessors had not.Report

  3. Avatar notme says:

    We’ve worried that Trump might be Hitler, Mussolini, Burlusconi, and David Duke,….

    Who is this “we” you are talking about? The great unwashed liberal masses?Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Alaska is even larger than Texas.

    Harding was a rather corrupt President but like Kolohe said, he wasn’t that bad of President. He really didn’t do anything that rivaled Buchanan’s negligence leading up to Civil War or Nixon’s Watergate or LBJ’s Vietnam War.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    I’m thinking that Trump will, more likely, be the Teddy Roosevelt of the 21st century.

    Military adventurism is passe these days, but there are other opportunities for self-dramatization; like creating your own TV show that you’re the star of.

    Both Roosevelt and Trump railed against entrenched interests who’d choked down middle-class economic growth through a combination of regulatory capture and bureaucratic inertia.

    Both were swept into office on a raft of populist fervor that none of the party establishments predicted and immediately began railing against the businessmen with whom they were supposedly so chummy.

    Both espouse an active, virile concept of masculinity which had fallen out of favor with the intellectual elite but played very well to the middle and labor classes.

    I guess that the next step is for Trump to not get nominated as the Republican candidate in 2020, run as a third party, split the vote and get Hillary Clinton elected, after which World War III will start.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      In fact here’s a really good essay about Roosevelt that could, with a few name changes, be written about Trump:

      No attention is paid to the impulses that assured Roosevelt’s success (while it lasted): the fascination with virility and vitality, the reverence for action as an end in itself. These notions were pervasive during the early twentieth century among middle- and upper-class white men—among the electorate, in other words…The strategy suited his temperament, but it also resonated with widespread popular longings. Mania was the mood of the moment, a recoil from the specter of “neurasthenia”—the immobilizing depression that observers called “the disease of the age” among the white-collar classes. It is impossible to understand the appeal of T.?R.’s relentless activism without taking these cultural currents into account.


    • Avatar Gaelen says:

      Both appointed more billionares to their cabinet then the last 10 presidents combined.

      Wait, that’s not right.

      I think you might be taking the popular rhetoric Trump used to get elected as something he actually believe/will act on.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Hillary is entirely done though, you won’t see a Clinton near the levers of power in the Democratic Party until, at the soonest, when Chelsea’s kid grows up. You don’t come back from losing to Trump.Report

  6. Avatar El Muneco says:

    A kind of benign fifth-bottom like Harding (and in very very similar ways) is what I’m hoping for on optimistic days.
    What I suspect we get is a combination of the worst parts (poor reaction to economic crisis) of the Grant (Gilded Age corruption) and Carter (loss of American prestige through Foreign Policy blunders) administrations without their personal virtues (say what you will about both, even their biggest detractors will admit that both were among the best men to hold the office).Report

  7. Avatar J_A says:

    Bayley’s Appalachia article is quite powerful. And it includes a bit about what can we do for people when the coal mines won’t reopen (or the still open ones won’t hire).

    Right now, the patchwork of different welfare tools available introduce way too many distortions. Residency distortions that force you to stay put because if you move you lose your benefits, income distortions that mean than a little work is worse than no work at all, family distortions that make it preferable for parents not to marry…. it goes on.

    Correcting those distortions will require, among other things, an enormous paradigm shift with respect to the relationship between the individual and the federal and state and local governments. Otherwise, if will be very difficult for poor people to move to follow economic opportunities.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      One of the things we need to take out of the last election is that “welfare” is a political loser, ironically more so among many who need it most.
      The people who don’t believe that computer programmers do honest work(*) are too proud for straight handouts. It has to be cast as relocation, or retraining, or the like. And preferably within the existing industrial paradigm. Even an old school New Deal make-work project would do better politically than the w-word.
      (*) c.f. Franklin Graham, 2016/12/13Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Yep, thats my take; Trump voters and conservatives in general would love to have a big fat stimulus program.

        Maybe like some infrastructure program that pays more than the market rate, but allows guys to work on construction.It would be the WPA, but under a different name- “Trump Youge Classy Jobs Program” or something.

        It could come with health benefits, utility assistance, the works.Report

        • Avatar Joe Sal says:

          Meh, he’s going to call it the Bolivarian 2.0 plan it will be yuuuuge with the left. Everybody on board and in lockstep. Well, almost everybody.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Even an old school New Deal make-work project would do better politically than the w-word.

        That is a pretty accurate description of Social Security.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        El Muneco: It has to be cast as relocation

        I don’t think it’s groked enough that the areas like the one profiled in Bailey’s article have indeed depopulated over the last half century. You look at the wiki artices for many of the counties in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, and most of them have a population peak between 1950 and 1960, then as much as a 25% decline during the 80s and some close to 50% off the peak today (some of them being no more populated than when the counties were founded in the early 19th century.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Interestingly, exactly the same thing can be said for a whole list of Rust Belt cities. As extreme examples, Detroit and Youngstown have both lost almost two-thirds of their peak 1950 population. Most of the people who had reasonable other options are gone.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          I’m pretty sure it came up in an earlier post-election thread, but it might be possible to shift some of the population – not to urban centers per se, but town-ish clusters which keep most of the traditional values, but still have enough critical mass that it could provide counter-suck in the jobs department.
          And you might feel better sending your kid an hour away for college as opposed to six…Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


            Maybe but I am not sure. On LGM, a commentator mentioned that some of his clients missed admin hearings and court dates because they found cities like Medford, Oregon were too large and urban for their comprehension.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      You know why they really cancelled the play though? The school deemed that all that time spent on silly useless stuff like the theater arts needed to be spent on STEM.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Even more reason to hate the story!!!

        I am not opposed to Christmas plays in school or secular-enough holiday music. A elementary school concert should not have a performance of Little Drummer Boy. But I would not object to Silver Bells if combined with some Hannukah music on the program.

        Ecumencalism for the win.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          The far-right ADL is trying to squash the story:

          “News reports alleging that a Jewish family has ‘fled’ Lancaster County are untrue and damaging,” said Nancy Baron-Baer, ADL Regional Director. “We spoke with the family, who explained that they went on a previously-planned vacation for the holidays. Stories like this can sow fear in the Jewish community and beyond, and it is important to stop the spread of misinformation.

          “There is no truth to the rumor that the school cancelled A Christmas Carol at the request of parents. The Hempfield School District released a FAQ clearly stating that the play was cancelled due to the inordinate amount of class time taken up by rehearsals. We commend the district for setting the record straight.”


          • Avatar Francis says:

            **pedant rant**

            QUASH. The word you want is QUASH, as in “suppress”. Not “squash” as in squeeze or compress.

            **end pedant rant**Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko says:

            And now I’m seeing tweets from the reporter in the area saying that the story IS true. Why, it’s almost as if trying to react to things in real time makes it really easy to jump to conclusions off of wrong information. What if we just waited a day or two so that we knew one way or the other with confidence?Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          Nothing should have a performance of the little drummer boy.Report

  8. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    I hadn’t even known that Marcus Garvey had been convicted of anything – I’d only known of him in the Jamaican-national-hero context.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Pew had a poll.

    97% of people polled said that they would vote the exact same way today that they did on Election Day.

    99% of Trump voters would vote for him again.

    96% of Clinton voters would vote for her again.Report

  10. Avatar Gabriel Conroy says:

    I’m late to this discussion, but I agree with most of the people here who don’t like the comparison to Harding. He certainly wasn’t the best president ever, but he wasn’t most of what that article makes him out to be. (Strangely, I don’t recall reading anything in that article about Teapot Dome or the type of cabinet-level corruption that would make Harding most resemble Trump.)

    PD Shaw above noted that most of the bad policies that that article talks about had their origin in Wilson and not Harding, and that Harding scaled back some of those policies, maybe not out of the goodness and liberalism of his heart, but scaled back nevertheless.Report