Morning Ed: Entertainment {2017.01.31.T}


Will Truman

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

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139 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    Honestly, Mehta is full of crap. He is trying way too hard to draw attention to similarities between the Disney movies and the Lucas ones but this has always been a feature of Star Wars fiction. That’s what it means to expand the Universe. I’ve always thought that Lucas either was extremely lucky with the original trilogy or stole it off someone else because nothing else that he has made ever came close. Disney and Abrams are more than competent to take make Star Wars movies that all generations (except Mehta) can enjoy.Report

  2. Avatar Murali says:

    Regarding the imagination of the youth or lack thereoff, I blame a particularly common strain of 21st century bourgeois progressivism: Psychological pain is not there to be borne, endured, through which we may transform or better ourselves*. Rather it is to be assuaged through therapy which has replaced the confessional, and failing that through medication.

    *And it is never deserved or appropriate because we have done away with the concept of desert.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Adam Carrolla: I miss The Manshow. 🙁Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I listened to the Podcast for a while which you’d probably enjoy if you enjoyed the show.

      I eventually got turned off by his quasi-political rants. Not because I disagreed (I did with some and not with others) or because I found it offensive (likewise) but because it just got repetitive and hacky. We get it… you live in Southern California and have a different experience with Mexican immigrants than much of the rest of the country. There is something there that can be extracted and turned into worthwhile political or social commentary and comedy that is worth hearing regardless of if you agree or not. But when you are on year 10 or whatever of going to the “Mexicans eat tacos!” well, it’s just bad comedy at that point.

      I still have the podcast in my playlist but don’t autodownload and will occasionally listen to one if I’m interested in the particular guest.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      I miss MTV Lovelines.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    What I’m wondering is whether the rise of science fiction and fantasy has anything to do with the decline of imagination? “Write What You Know” can’t apply to works like Harry Potter, Dare Devil, or Star Wars because wizards, superheroes, and the Force don’t exist in real life. Since science fiction and fantasy are the main places where the modern imagination gets put into for most people in the form of fan fiction and fan art plus digesting original works, they assume that non-speculative fiction must be based on something about the author’s real personal experience.

    It could also be political. There was big controversy about white authors engaging in cultural appropriation in 2016. The decline of the imagination could be indirectly linked to the idea that authors should not write anything outside their background or area of expertise.Report

    • Avatar Will H. says:

      There was big [ginned-up] controversy about …

      Transmission of culture has been around since organized societies first came in contact with one another.
      Most people understand this intuitively, and to view the concept as particularly “controversial” is that buggery of reason which the Left buys into and finds makes perfect sense, while no one but those already sold are buying.
      That really isn’t the part I care about.
      I find the dynamic that the Left generates climate skeptics through hypersensitivity in other news cycles, effectively cultivating a reputation for misinformation, to be readily intact.
      I think it’s the same thing people on the left feel when watching FOX News cable programming.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        “I find the dynamic that the Left generates climate skeptics through hypersensitivity”

        It’s really

        (well, that and the as-yet unexplored sensitivity of various crop strains to increases in extreme heat)

        (oh, and needing to spend a few billion to save Florida and Louisiana)

        (oh yeah, and don’t forget the possible impact of increased ocean heat on various global fisheries).

        but beyond those points, yeah, it’s really just the Left being its usual hypersensitive self.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          10 growth days lost by 2040. 2/3rds of current American Population unable to be fed.
          Yes, these things are explored. You plan for doomsday, if you’ve got enough money.

          A few billion won’t save Miami from shitstorms. It takes a lot more than that to even bring in fresh water — the loss of fresh water will kill Florida dead. Ditto Louisiana, if I remember right. You spend a few billion to save NYC — because you’ve got solid bedrock there.Report

        • Avatar Will H. says:

          I’m just saying that, once a reputation for misstatement cultivated, it is hardly unforeseeable where persons express disbelief when told something is questionable.
          If only half the reputation for misstatement well-deserved, then the other half should suffer for it.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            That is a powerful use of the passive voice. You may, perchance, be aware that there is an entire industry dedicated to creating controversy where none actually exists.

            You are of course free to ignore the actual science and blame others for your chosen ignorance. I can’t stop you from taking that path. All I can do is point out that neither science nor logic supports your decision.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Ah. Are you a betting man, perchance, or do you merely do yeoman’s work for your bettors?

            Do me the favor of looking at ExxonSecrets — it’s a site that was rather a large bother to put together (apparently the Greens are just as much sticklers about everything must be perfect as Elon Musk).

            Then ask yourself, about whose reputation has been tarnished beyond repair?Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The entire idea of universe-shrinking seems more like a way to give something literary flare. A lot of literary fiction revolves around close personal relationships rather than big grand adventures. Universe-shrinking by making nearly everything a form of family conflict is a way to add this literary flare and prestige.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      Universe-shrinking can also go hand-in-hand with themes of destiny. I find it much more rewarding to see a hero do something because it’s right than because he was bred for it. The anime Bleach leaned on this heavily, well past the point of absurdity.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Destiny and the idea that you need a chosen one to be the hero or heroine really pisses me off. It isn’t very democratic and seems like it is pushing an aristocratic ethos.Report

        • Avatar RTod says:

          Destiny and the idea that you need a chosen one to be the hero or heroine really pisses me off. It isn’t very democratic and seems like it is pushing an aristocratic ethos.


          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            I guess fantasy with its gods, demons, kings, princesses, and magic gives way to this sort of thing but you would hope that Americans steeped in republican virtue could produce something more democratic and egalitarian.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          In Star Wars, destiny lies in the bloodline, so the royalist implications are pretty strong. Only Luke can save the universe, or his sister, the princess.Report

        • Avatar Pinky says:

          Destiny and the chosen one can be elements of a good story, if that’s the story you want to tell. If it becomes a crutch, then it’s an attempt to cover for bad writing. I’ve found that Japanese works rely on destiny far too often for my taste. Western works can have too much freedom for each character, but Eastern works can have too little.

          Say I wake up one morning and decide to hatchet people to death. That’s free will poorly applied. If you go into the woods and have sex then wander off by yourself, I’m going to act out my free will on the basis of your individual decision-making. If the last girl at the summer camp makes a stand, it’s not because she was destined to, but because she chose to. It’s a self-empowerment story.

          A lot of horror doesn’t involve freedom. Destiny has a similar feel to horror in that they’re both inevitable. You can have a relaxing good time watching a serial killer chase someone through the woods because anything could happen (even if you can guess that he’s going to trip on the branch and get a chainsaw through his back). Watching someone wait seven days for their death just isn’t as fun. Watching someone wait seven generations for their death is even less fun. Random horror is silly; destined horror is oppressive.

          I just stopped watching Once Upon A Time this year. They relied on bloodline disclosures a lot, which was one of the things that burned me out. It’s an easy way of making a story have emotional impact. I think sequels are prone to this kind of universe-shrinking, because they want to invoke the passion of the viewer. Batman can beat up the Scarecrow in his origin story, and take on The Joker in story two because The Joker is just that good, but story three better tie the story up and go back to the origins.

          As Scream 3 told us about trilogies: “The past will come back to bite you in the ass. Whatever you think you know about the past, forget it. The past is not at rest! Any sins you think were committed in the past are about to break out and destroy you.” Surprise relatives are a way of doing that.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      I agree with this. The ‘universe shrinking’ extraordinary coincidences in Star Wars or Harry Potter wherein nearly everyone is somehow pre-connected with everyone else is no different than the universe shrinking extraordinary coincidences of Oliver Twist, wherein nearly everyone is pre-connected with everyone else.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        (And there also exists the opposite problem in some works today, where the story is overstuffed with different characters that wind up not meaning anything to story in the long run – yeah George RR, I’m talking about you)Report

      • Not to mention “All You Zombies”.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Small worlds make better stories.
        Big worlds make better games.

        GRRM’s world makes a better story than Jordan’s ever did — but Jordan’s world had rules, and interesting systems, which made for fun games.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Star Wars shrunk the universe — this nobody turns out to be connected to everything, which he only learns much later. Harry Potter started with it preshrunk (he’s already got a scar. His ignorance isn’t everyone’s ignorance). It’s fundamentally about “the only school in England for Magic People.” So, um, yeah, of course everyone is connected to everyone else.

        … of course, if you really want to shrink the Harry Potter universe some more… make both Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy Snape’s sons.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin says:

          I found that really annoying about Harry Potter. In one moment, Cornelius Fudge is meeting with the Prime Minister (ooh exciting big universe – this matters), but then when it comes time to fight Voldemort, who plans to annihilate all Muggles everywhere, all they have is the inhabitants of a magical boarding school? Where’s the bloody RAF?Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            There’s a reason why there are fanfics for that Universe, and that they make a lot more sense sometimes than the actual stories they’re based on.

            I think the general idea is: If the muggles can just stop Voldemort, then he’s no big threat. This runs smack into the issue of “Britain has Nuclear Weapons — go hide from widespread radiation, suckers.”Report

            • Avatar atomickristin says:

              I think the fun would come in that the Muggles couldn’t stop him, and by fun I mean, fun in a “White House gets destroyed” kind of way. If the Muggles fly in ready to attack, and were to suddenly find themselves riding geese or hedgehogs or something, it adds to Voldemort’s level of threat and also to the size and scope of the universe. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I worked in the Military-Industrial Complex for a while.

        Lemme tell ya: those stories about how everyone is pre-connected aren’t extraordinary. Er’rybody knows er’rybody.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Let me sum this up in one little known movie quote:

      Dark Helmet: Before you die there is something you should know about us, Lone Star.
      Lone Starr: What?
      Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.
      Lone Starr: What’s that make us?
      Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.


      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        Well, a Father’s Brother’s Nephew is just Nephew, unless that Nephew is that Father’s Son… in which case, you’d probably just say Son. So we can drop Brother’s as completely redundant.

        As to the Nephew’s Cousin, that would either be the same Son again, or the Son of the Brother we dropped… so that means there’s a third sibling and we can infer he means Cousin by marriage (i.e. the spouse’s side)… else we’re just back to Nephew.

        So, the Roommate of the marital cousin of my nephew is who we’re talking about? Yeah, I’d hire him.Report

  6. Sanchez’s piece, on how kids these days just don’t understand the idea of imagination, really grated on me. What I think she’s dealing with is partially the fact that it’s too easy to trust the narrator and that students of literature usually have to learn to distrust him/her. That is how I take statements like this from her piece:

    Over the past few years, I have noticed a growing resistance in my literature students to the concept of imagination, and a concomitant certainty that everything an author writes is a cry from the inmost heart.

    And later:

    To the majority of my students, though, there is no distance between the historical person and the speaker or narrator on a page.

    It’s certainly something readers of literature probably need to go beyond. But at the same time, it seems to me Sanchez’s problem is more her students’ theory of imagination (whatever it expresses must come from something personal and within the heart/mind of the author) than a lack of imagination. Notice this:

    Everything our authors write is what they really feel, a skillfully arranged and titled page straight from their diaries. One student tells me that “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a hallucination, which he thinks fits with Poe’s opium use. Another tells me it is the record of a failed suicide attempt, and that what the narrator has killed is that part of himself he most loathed. (They remind me that Poe was a drug user and an alcoholic, therefore he hated himself and was very unhappy. Ergo…) The majority of them insist on such one-to-one correlations from biography. How could you write such dark things unless you felt such dark things?

    If “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a hallucination owing to drug use, then that’s not necessarily “straight from Poe’s diary.” It’s possibly at least one step removed from the diary. Positing such a relationship is not positing a “one-to-one correlation” from his life, but speculation about how one aspect of his life might have led him to a certain story. As to “How could you write such dark things unless you felt such dark things?,” I’d say, “how not?” I’ll submit that feeling things in order to write about them is “imagination” in action. One doesn’t have to be a murderer to write a character who is a murderer, but it helps to have felt the type of frustrations and anger a murderer presumably feels. Or you can say that that’s just empathetic imagination, but the “empathetic” part is the “feeling” part to begin with.

    However, there are things her students probably need to learn, if we can trust her examples faithfully reflect what her students are actually saying. Her students do seem to indulge a certain reductionism that is best kept at a distance. Understanding the source of something–even if the source is correctly diagnosed–does not necessarily mean you understand that something.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      It sounds to like his students have learned one quick trick to score a clever point in school and he’s tired of that approach because it lends itself away from the words on the paper into the often speculative world of biography. I try to avoid biography myself, or at least as I just did with a collection of Kipling short stories I just completed, read the introduction last to avoid contamination.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        It’s the problem of focusing on the author’s intent to discern meaning from the story, rather than using the context of the story. So if an author describes the room in a key scene, and the window has blue curtains, then there must be some deeper meaning to those blue curtains that the author intended, and we need to examine that meaning. But when you ask the author, they just say that they thought blue curtains would look nice, and no deeper meaning was intended. Then people tell the author they are wrong.

        I.E. In the author’s imagination, they wanted to flesh out the room, so they did. If you can’t fathom that they just wanted to describe what they saw in their imagination, then every detail has to have a source or meaning.

        We had a conversation some time ago about that.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I think this is part of the generalized struggle to pull meaning out of anything literature related.

      Sometimes, the gods roll dice.

      In this case, I’m speaking of a particular author I know, who rolls dice to select names for characters.

      Then someone HAD to write an article on what he pulled from the “universal unconsciousness” and exactly why he chose the names he did.

      He Just Rolled Dice.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordan says:

    Imagination piece: ooooh, a dig at STEM, pure Saul bait!Report

  8. Avatar Kim says:

    Todd needs to talk with more people who are actual writers. And to watch more netflix in general. I doubt he’s watched Gortimer Gibbons or Voltron, and those are two of the very best children’s television available to stream.

    I hear (from writers who’ve had television published) that the expectation is of 5 episodes per viewing for a 30 minute show. This isn’t a “watch the whole thing.”Report

  9. Avatar atomickristin says:

    A lot of people argued that the shrunken universe made Luke Cage much less enjoyable than it might have been otherwise. Diamondback was not only Luke Cage’s half brother but had also arranged to have him framed and somehow was ALSO in charge of everything going on in Harlem?? Luke was in Harlem seemingly randomly, through Reva’s connections, and not through Diamondback’s machinations, so unless there’s an explanation forthcoming, it seems just a very improbable coincidence.

    I enjoyed the show but that part of it was really nonsensical.Report

  10. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    RE: American Airlines Entertainment.

    So basically they’re putting in the same package that Southwest already offers; free TV over wifi, and paid-for internet access (with blocks on streaming services).

    It’s amusing that the author wishes that “…the onboard Wi-Fi service will work better than the Wi-Fi services now available on many airlines, which can often be excruciating slow”, because GoGo internet *is* what other airlines are already using.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Looks like the Supreme Court Pick is *NOT* Janice Rogers Brown but some guy called Neil Gorsuch.

    He’s from Denver.

    Here’s the reason for you to go nuts over him: He’s not yet 50 years old.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Let’s get to the issues: “I do know he’s a double-black diamond skier,” said former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis. “I have that on good authority.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Here’s what the WaPo has to say about him.

      As far as I can tell, this is a really good pick for Trump to have made. It’s nothing but red meat for the base. It’s someone that the Democrats have to oppose on principle but, at this point, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of stuff to attack him on that will stick to undecideds enough to get them to call their Republican senators and get them to oppose him like what happened with Bork.

      The article talks about how he’s likely to rule on abortion cases, but he hasn’t ruled on an abortion case yet to confirm one way or the other. He did write about the Hobby Lobby case, but he seems to be well within acceptable tolerances there.

      We’ll see how the opposition to Gorsuch goes… But I’m not sure I know how to tell “oh my gosh, this guy is actually dangerous” resistance from “oh my gosh, Trump did a thing” resistance at this point.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        If the Democrats don’t push back hard just on the basis of tit for tat game theory, then they deserve a generation or more of Scalia:TNG.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          The only stuff I’ve really gamed out involves the issues of whether to push back hard here, on “Scalia’s” seat or whether to wait until RBG retires to go nuclear.

          And I can’t decide which is smarter.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko says:

            I seriously doubt that it matters. If voters cared about supreme court shenanigans in any way beyond wanting judges they agree with to be appointed, then the GOP wouldn’t control the Senate today. Just say that it’s Merrick Garland’s seat and that they’re happy to consider Trump’s pick for the next vacancy, and then make McConnell go nuclear.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I can see the appeal.

              The question then becomes something like “is setting this as the baseline for what Democrats ought to do a good way to set ourselves up for (yet) (another) disappointment?”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I know that you know that Trizz said this on the twitters, but I wanted you to know that I knew that you knew.

                Paul Ryan is about to submit a massively unpopular agenda, but let's first nuke the filibuster on a well-regarded moderate GOP judge— trizzlor (@trizzlor) February 1, 2017

                It’s a pretty decent take.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                This is a fight Trump would probably really like to have. He just bought himself a lot of good will with the party.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Which is exactly what makes me wonder if kicking the nuclear can down the road to the inevitable RBG retirement isn’t the smarter play.

                I can see both plays as more likely to go less wrong than the other.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                If it is, McConnell has demonstrated that there’s an easy way to get it off of the TV: don’t participate. Garland hearings would have gotten coverage and controversy. The complete absence of Garland hearings, which was far more radical that holding hearings and voting him down, barely made the news at all.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Not sure why he would want it off the TV.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                I’m saying that the Democrats could get it off the radar by boycotting the hearings.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:


                The first thing I looked up was this.

                quorum – The number of senators that must be present for the Senate to do business. The Constitution requires a majority of senators (51) for a quorum. Often, fewer senators are actually present on the floor, but the Senate presumes that a quorum is present unless the contrary is shown by a roll call vote or quorum call.


              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Yes, but a half-full room of Republicans lobbing softballs at their nominee is a snoozefest.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The point of a 49 year-old Supreme Court Nominee is not the interesting questions The People will hear during the Senate’s nomination process.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Certainly. These are very low-stakes arguments, because the Democrats lack the power to make more than minor, symbolic decisions on the matter and everybody knows exactly what the GOP is going to do.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                Do Democrats have any reason to think that future filibuster nukings will be averted because of this? I don’t see it; no reason to think McConnell will ever allow them to filibuster a SCOTUS nominee, and the legislative filibuster is a separate procedure, so McConnell only kills it if he was going to do so anyway. It seems to me that the filibuster is either living or dead depending on the Senate majority’s mood, regardless of what the Democrats do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Do Democrats have any reason to think that future filibuster nukings will be averted because of this?

                How much effort do you want me to put into “any”?

                Because that’s what I’d be leaning pretty heavily into.

                The importance of maintaining the norms is an argument that might move people after RBG retires. RBG’s seat is the one that might be protectable by a good Borking.

                I don’t think that Scalia’s is.

                (Of course, the above will not move you at all if you see that seat as Garland’s seat (without getting into whether Garland would have survived a confirmation vote).)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                RBG’s seat is the one that might be protectable by a good Borking.

                What evidence do you have for this?

                I don’t see any evidence that RBG’s replacement would be treated one bit differently, by any of the parties involved.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Evidence? Merely the evidence that there are a surprising number of arguments that seats ought to be sat in by reincarnations of their former asses.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Are any of them valid?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                If you are a liberals then all the arguments seem to be valid. We must have a female seat, a black seat, a black female seat, blah blah blah. God forbid we choose based on qualifications. Thomas is black but was pilloried by the left for not being the right kind of black, i.e., a lefty.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                It is hilarious that you use Thomas as a counter example of nominating a “black seat”.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I mentioned Thomas not for the black seat issue but for the liberals BS of focusing on him not being the right black b/c he isn’t black enough and not a lefty.

                Liberals wanted a liberal preferable a black liberal for their reserved seat. They got a black guy and have been whining about it since then.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                We don’t despise him for lack of blackness.
                He just makes lousy decisions, as predicted.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Valid… you mean “emotionally valid”?

                Insofar as emotions are valid, I think that you will be able to get more people on board a nuclear exchange for “RBG’s seat” than you will for “Scalia’s seat”.

                And, in the short term, the main question is “how important is getting other people on board?”Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                I do see these, but they always seem to be made about justices the arguer likes. They strike me as transparently motivated reasoning that will be jettisoned at the first opportunity.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yes, and they are that.

                But there are multiple competitive motivated reasonings going on.

                The motivated reasoning to not see oneself as partisan or biased or, God help us all, “Republican” is also out there.

                Now, I’m not arguing “if you do this, victory is assured!”

                Maybe it’s not. Maybe Trump puts Janice Rogers Brown in “RBG’s seat”. JRB’s ass is not the reincarnation of RBG’s ass. Not by a long shot.

                It’s just an issue of “on which nomination are you most likely to get The American People to make enough of a stink to call their Republican senators in anger and their Democratic senators in righteousness?”

                If the goal is to prevent Trump from seating a justice, it seems like that’s something that would be within grasp for “RBG’s seat” when it isn’t for “Scalia’s seat”.

                Now maybe that’s not the goal. Maybe the goal is to galvanize the American people or some crap like that and let them know that the Democrats are fighting back like the Tea Partiers! Quick! Get the Dixie Chicks on the phone!

                If that’s the goal, use the nuke now. Have a free concert on the mall. Throw a brick. Start a fire. Buy a gun.

                If the goal is merely to prevent Trump from stealing a seat? I think that using the nuke strategically will work better than using it early.

                And, hell, maybe the House and Senate flip in 2018 and we can impeach Trump and then impeach Pence and put Pelosi in the White House.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                If you can read Schumer’s mind on where he intends to pretend the GOP is a normal party, let me know. All I can say is what the dems do and don’t gain from various approaches and how the GOP will respond.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko says:

        It’s not like the case against Garland ever had the slightest bit to do with Garland’s qualifications as a judge. Dems should either un-selfconsciously parrot last year’s bullshit GOP talking points or just say that it’s not Trump’s vacancy to fill. It won’t stop his confirmation, but at least force them to abolish the filibuster to do it.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        Aside from being annoyed that one of Obama’s nominations was stolen and wanting to exact some sort of revenge, I don’t see a lot of reason for opposition here. I expect conservative presidents to nominate conservative justices.

        We should all just be happy that he didn’t nominate Simon Cowell or one of his kids.

        Is Judge Dredd available?Report

        • Avatar Don Zeko says:

          The reason to oppose is that, as Mitch McConnell has helpfully demonstrated, the public doesn’t care about obstructionism no matter how unreasonable it is, and the media criticizes parties for formally breaking the rules. If the Dems obstruct, the filibuster will be abolished and Gorsuch will be confirmed. If they don’t, Gorsuch will be confirmed and the GOP will filibuster the next time a Democratic President nominates a justice and the Dems control the Senate. And for the record, “annoyed” doesn’t even begin to describe it.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

            I get that all norms around Supreme Court nominations are officially gone and from now on, nominees will only be confirmed when the Senate and White House are controlled by the same party. I just don’t see much to be achieved here aside from a show of anger. The Dems don’t have enough power to obstruct anything, so I’d take it it as a win that he nominated somebody who wasn’t absolutely beyond satire.

            It seems like the best they can do is vote unanimously and symbolically against him and then follow up with blocking 100% of Trump’s nominees if they get a majority in 2018. That’s the new reality.Report

            • Avatar Don Zeko says:

              I think the logic of the optics of opposition applies. If the Democrats act like the nominee is acceptable, that means there must be something wrong with him in the eyes of the uninformed swing voter. If they don’t, then it looks like Trump nominated a reasonable compromise pick. It’s not a big PR deal either way, but I think the Dems win modestly by forcing the GOP to nuke the filibuster over their loud protestations. The well’s already as poisoned as it can possible be on this one, so I don’t see any other considerations that matter.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                IMO, the Dems need to feed some red meat to their base. They need some bombthrowers and outrage generators.

                The people I interact with are in deep need of a leadership that leads, and expresses the same level of horror and outrage.

                Especially given that the Dems have no power to force their way, there isn’t any upside to moderation or reasonableness.

                The troops are ready, they just need someone to lead the charge.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                I disagree. The Demo base needs to be hippie-punched, so that the the Demos in the Senate can demonstrate some cred with the rest of America and maybe save some of their very vulnerable seats in 2018.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Welp, I’m certainly convinced that this is good advice, offered from a place of deep sympathy for the causes that Democrats care about.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                As if. This is just the lay of the land as it stands today. We’ve got the high ground, our guns are loaded and aimed, and you have no cover. By all means don’t surrender if you don’t want.

                Another day it will be different.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Forcing the GOP to nuke the filibuster is part of how Dems get back into power. Flagellating themselves for the misdeeds that GOP partisans perceive ain’t going to win any elections.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                Lib, keep working this angle, we’ll have 60 Senators and we won’t even need to nuke a filibuster.

                LOL, libs.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                You may be the most enthusiastic Me The People user I have ever encountered on the internet.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Koz, there’s something that you haven’t really taken into consideration: 2006.

                Bush and his team was spanked back pretty hard in 2006. The House flipped and, get this, the Senate flipped.

                That was 12 years ago. And the states that were up for election? The exact same ones that are now.

                It’s more than possible that the Republicans play the next two years poorly. Or, at least, more poorly than the Democrats play them.

                Trump is a lot of things… but what he’s not is a friend to Republicans (in the way I understood that term in the early oughts.)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                As it pertains to the Senate, you’re looking at it 180-degrees the wrong way. The Democratic wave in 2006 and strong performance in 2012 make them more vulnerable rather than less in ’18. They’re overextended and going to be playing defense in Missouri, Indiana, and more.

                A great Senate election always creates heartburn six years later.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                This is right and Jaybird is being overly optimistic, but I’d still say Koz’s 60 seats prediction is a fantasy unless something changes very dramatically.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Agreed. If they gain more than a couple seats, that will be a real victory for the GOP (and cause for consternation for the Democrats, unless they rock the gubernatorial (which they might).Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic.

                I’m merely looking at how quickly things can turn around.

                In 2004, could you have possibly guessed the 2006 would have happened? We were at peak “Permanent Republican Majority”, do you remember?

                While the lay of the land for Democrats in 2018 looks crappy just by the numbers today… I have *ZERO* confidence in my ability to guess who will be triumphant and who will be running scared at this point next week, let alone in October of 2018.

                I think that Trump might have broken something and might be forging a New American Baseline.

                Of course the possibility exists that Clinton was merely a historically awful candidate and, by 2018, enough people will be no longer interested in explaining that she was actually really awesome to actually vote against Team Trump.

                I don’t know yet.

                But I do know that Koz hasn’t demonstrated that he knows how to read the electorate worth a damn.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                That’s true, but the GOP advantages as it pertains to this nomination go deeper than that.

                Basically, a substantial meaning of the last election was a repudiation of the Demo Establishment as people. The American people may or may not have liked Demo policies, but they especially did not trust Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Demo Establishment to be square with them.

                And since Trump was elected, the libs have shown a profound disregard for American people and their desire for prudence and stability, over and above Donald Trump as POTUS even which was a known bug.

                The inaugural protests, the EO, Gorsuch, everything the Demos have done and said carries an underlying message “Fuck the election, we’re still in charge at least collectively, and if Trump is POTUS, the trains may not be running on time because we reserve the right to rip out the tracks at a time and place of our choosing.”

                In this context, the path of least resistance for the American people is to keep the Republicans in power (they have may have already been inclined to do that anyway). But if they weren’t before, they have to be awfully hesitant to vote Demo now. Can you imagine what our politics would look like today if the Demo’s controlled one or both houses of Congress? With the ferality of their opposition to Trump, I don’t see the Demo’s as being capable of acting in the basic interest of the American people in kind of measured, rational way.

                I have forgotten all about Merrick Garland already. The Demos would be better off if they did the same.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                This is about as nonsensical as the people who want to say hillary won the popular vote.

                When you win by a hairsbreath and a nose, you don’t get to say you trounced the other side.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                I’m not trying to say that. What I’m trying to say is that at least a substantial part of the voters who did put the Republicans in power were motivated to repudiate the Demo Establishment personally, ie, in addition to or opposed to their policy ideas and inclinations.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                When you win by a hairsbreath and a nose, you don’t get to say you trounced the other side.

                You especially don’t get to go around saying “The American people sez…”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Yeah, I remember 2006. Specifically, I remember the folks doing yeoman’s work for that election. They managed to pull the rug out of gerrymandered districts. And made a nice fine moneytrap in Tennessee.

                We got any more black men willing to run for Senator in the South? (Come on, I know we got someone from Georgia on this board…)Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              I got a better idea. Sometime, maybe a week from now, Chuck Schumer should corner Mitch McConnell and tell him that he’s got some number of Demo Senate votes for Gorsuch, 20, 25, 30, whatever it is. And in return McConnell signs the GOP caucus to do something irrelevant, like have a Sense of the Senate resolution saying that travel restrictions shouldn’t apply to greencard holders or the like, with the idea of driving a wedge between the Administration and the GOP caucus of the Senate.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                So the GOP should keep collaborating while the GOP keeps defecting, in exchange for a pat on the head on some side issue? Hell, even if they wanted such a deal, I have no idea why Senate Democrats should believe a word that comes out of McConnell’s mouth.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                I can assure you Mitch McConnell does not carelessly go back on promises he makes to other Senators, GOP or Demo.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                No, he probably doesn’t. But I can tell you that he cares more about you and I not knowing what makes him randy than about any fucking promise to another politician.

                Blackmail’s a funny thing, isn’t it?Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            “The reason to oppose is that, as Mitch McConnell has helpfully demonstrated, the public doesn’t care about obstructionism no matter how unreasonable it is…”

            This is what scares me a bit.

            We already saw that some left-ish people were willing to avoid Hillary because of her complications.
            We already saw the Republicans act like they did for the past 8 years and seem to suffer no harm.

            What if we are at a point where — for whatever reason — one side is more turned off by their own bad behavior by another? What if one side enjoys its own misbehavior? What if the Republican voters reward bad behavior amongst GOP leaders while the Democratic voters punish bad behavior amongst Dem leaders? Because I fear that might be a dynamic we’re approaching and I just don’t know how to correct for that.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              Are you hearing from Dems who are wanting to punish “bad behavior” by the Dem leaders?

              All the folks I see are talking about torches and pitchforks, and want to punish the quislings.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                There has been hand wringing and navel gazing about whether they should obstruct or reach across the aisle or listen or ignore or double down or have an autopsy.

                True of false: Liberal-minded people didn’t vote for Hillary because they were turned off by her “bad behavior”?Report

              • Avatar Koz says:


                That’s an odd word to describe Americans presumably loyal to America.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I first learned that word from Erick Erickson at Redstate, in 2011 in reference to Olympia Snow, as a collaborator with Obama on the ACA.

                Its not like we are mailing bags of rock salt to people or something.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                I must not have been reading RedState that day. But no matter, I’d just keep going with that train of thought. There’s no circumstance where me or any of the other Republicans can figure out a way to leverage it against you.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Stolen? Stolen by whom? Saying it was stolen implies ownership of a thing. Did Obama or the Dems own it? Please, they should go back to whining about something else.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        For whatever it’s worth Gorsuch is way more popular (or less unpopular) among libertarian-right folks that the widely-reported runner up.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        But I’m not sure I know how to tell “oh my gosh, this guy is actually dangerous” resistance from “oh my gosh, Trump did a thing” resistance at this point.

        Why are you focusing on the resistance? Remove that word from that sentence and that’s what you should be focusing on, IMHO.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Because the resistance is what will determine whether the guy gets seated or not.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            That doesn’t follow. If you really can’t tell the difference between resistance for cause and resistance because, then why would either make any difference in regards to efficacy?

            You can claim that there’s no difference or you can claim that one works better than the other, but you can’t credibly claim both.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Let me try to clarify:

              Let’s say that the Democrats come out and say that they oppose Gorsuch because Gorsuch is anti-Woman, anti-LGBT, and anti-Minority…

              What conclusion can I reach about Gorsuch when it comes to women, LGBT issue, and minorities?Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                I honestly don’t understand why you need Democrats’ reactions to reach conclusions about Gorusch. He is a sitting appellate court judge. He has a record that you can go and look at yourself.

                I go back to my original comment and say replace this:

                But I’m not sure I know how to tell “oh my gosh, this guy is actually dangerous” resistance from “oh my gosh, Trump did a thing” resistance at this point.

                with this:

                But I’m not sure I know how to tell “oh my gosh, this guy is actually dangerous” resistance from “oh my gosh, Trump did a thing” resistance at this point.

                And things get a lot clearer. So I ask again, what does focusing on the former instead of the latter get you?

                I used to think that that people who cared about politics, policy and economics cared about politics, policy and economics, but often let identity politics and group virtue signalling get in the way. I am starting to realize that I’ve gotten this backwards.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Because I don’t really care about Gorusch? Everything I need to know about him is wrapped up in the “red meat for the base” statement?

                What I care about is the resistance to him and whether it will be effective and, if so, how effective.

                Will the Democrats crumple?
                Will the Democrats make a deal and say something like “Well, for Scalia’s seat, this is okay… but you’d better believe that RBG’s replacement will be a Kennedy or better?”
                Will the Democrats actually be able to force the Republicans to abandon the filibuster?

                I suppose I should wonder how he would have ruled on the Raich case… as far as I can tell, he might have been better than Scalia on that one…Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Seems like a very strange deal to me. The Democrats barely have any power at all, so can only offer symbolic concessions.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If they make a symbolic concession and it backfires, they can play the “How could we have been so naïve? He stabbed us in the back! WE HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND!” card. And, hell, maybe they’ll get enough moral credit on their moral credit card to use it again.

                If they make a symbolic opposition and get rolled, what then? They have *NOTHING* to bargain with. Nothing to offer.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                This assumes that these symbolic good citizen tokens have value. I don’t think they do. If you look around this site, you’ll see that whenever the issue of who plays dirty pool with nomination politics is an almost perfectly even partisan split (despite the fact that I think one side is about as clearly at fault as they could possibly be). On a process issue like this, the resistance to any frame but the normal one (GOP says Dems are evil, Dems say GOP is evil, centrists say BSDI) is so strong that you aren’t going to break it by playing nice, because what you try to signal and what people hear will be very different.

                if you defect, at least you convince your riled up supporters that you’re taking Trump seriously. it isn’t much, but it’s something, and the rewards of cooperating on this make the morning mist look solid and dependable.

                The traditional reward for playing nice is that you get a system that works better, but that’s gone and nothing Dems do here will bring it back.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This assumes that these symbolic good citizen tokens have value.

                if you defect, at least you convince your riled up supporters that you’re taking Trump seriously.

                And now we’re stuck wondering which tokens are less worthless.

                The fact that we’re having this conversation at all strikes me as being a bad indicator from the get-go.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                Well we’ve got to eat the shit sandwich either way. Might as well find something to argue about before we do.Report

              • Avatar Brent F says:

                My look at the lay of the land is that Gorusch is pretty much a lost cause unless you can find some dirt on him that lets him get Borked (unlikely).

                So the nominantion fight is lost and irrelvant. The Garland gambit won and retaliation has to come in future times because it can’t now.

                All that’s really relevant is the oppurtunity to create good political theatre out of the nomination hearing (the vote and the number of votes he gets is irrelevant). Look for the best way to use the media event to hurt Trump on other fronts or make yourself look good in a way that might matter for latter.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This strikes me as having a robust sense of reality.

                All that’s really relevant is the oppurtunity to create good political theatre out of the nomination hearing (the vote and the number of votes he gets is irrelevant).

                My first thoughts involve asking Gorsuch stuff like “What was your opinion of what was done to Merrick Garland?”

                My second thoughts involve stuff like gaming that out and wondering how it will look in, say, March.

                Look for the best way to use the media event to hurt Trump on other fronts or make yourself look good in a way that might matter for latter.

                I am no longer confident in the Democrats’ ability to use the media to hurt Trump on other fronts.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Let’s say that the Democrats come out and say that they oppose Gorsuch because Gorsuch is anti-Woman, anti-LGBT, and anti-Minority…

                What conclusion can I reach about Gorsuch when it comes to women, LGBT issue, and minorities?

                You can concluded that liberals are mouthing their usual slander points.Report

        • Avatar Koz says:

          Actually, that seems like the key word for me.Report