Morning Ed: Politics {2017.03.26.Su}


Will Truman

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

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86 Responses

  1. Avatar Murali says:

    The last article is so wonderfully dismissive. There are good arguments for some Tory economic policies. And Tories, by and large, are not that socially conservative anymore (there are still many such conservative MPs, but the platofrm as far as I can tell does not reflect their views). For instance, in the West Midlands (which is where I am right now) the Tory candidate for Mayor is an openly gay person. This is not your republican party. Yet, many of your colleagues will openly call you stupid and evil for even thinking of voting Tory. The strength of the anti-Tory sentiment seems out of proportion to any honest assessment of its merits qua party or platform or for that matter the candidate himself. And moreover, it is psychologically painful to be in an environment in which people are openly contemptuous of you. So, there does seem to be a genuine complaint here: People are hating on Tories disproportionate to any reason someone could have to hate them and that is hurting people.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      How long ago did the Tory platform decide that anyi-gay was toxic? It can take time for a shift to work through a public awareness.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Most of the other parties went pro ssm in 2009. The labour government dithered over actually lifting the ban. The tories said that they would consider legalisation if elected. And when they did win the election got it done in 2013. The thing is, no one thinks the Tories are socially conservative, at least not in the major cities. Its the non-socialism that gets academics so angry.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t know how people even start to believe in stuff like Pizzagate.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        When it comes to illicit sex things and minors, people will believe crazy stuff.Report

        • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

          Not just minors. There was a case here of an 18 year old woman who claimed “kidnapping and rape!” and the news accepted it unconditionally and widely publicized it, and rumors got started that there was a “criminal gang” here grabbing women up and….I don’t know.

          I mean YES, Law enforcement needs to take a woman coming forward and claiming she was raped seriously and investigate it – but it was kind of disgusting how the local news ran with it and made it sound like there were “white slavers” operating in the area.

          the fact that there were no women reported missing was not considered.
          (I don’t even know if the original alleged victim agreed to a “rape kit” because….some days later she reported she made it all up. Apparently because she lost her engagement ring and wanted a “good” explanation as to why to her fiance. Who is now her former fiance….)

          I don’t understand people.

          But yeah, sometimes when it’s “vulnerable appearing potential victim” people tend to turn off critical-thinking facilities.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            I think it speaks to something deep in the human psyche. We don’t have trolls or witches or other supernatural bogeymen to come take children and virgins anymore so we come up with these bizarre conspiracies. Of course it doesn’t help that there’s a salacious media driving moral panic and whole political/academic industry pushing the idea that there is an epidemic of sex crimes.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              You sound like you don’t take child prostitution very seriously. There’s no need for an epidemic of sex crimes because they were always quite high.
              Besides, there are entire countries whose economies run on child prostitution from American tourists.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            Yeah, well, there ARE white slavers in this country.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Is it any different than believing Operation Jade Helm was designed to impose martial law on southern states and was obstructed only due to the heroic vigilance of True American Patriots?Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Like the pre-school Satanic sex cult moral panic that happened during the 1980s. People are protective of little kids. Thats generally good but when it can take some bad turns in some instances like going into moral panics about anything.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Just this past week there was a big thing about 14 black kids going missing the same day in DC*. Naturally, “sex trafficking” was one of the first things to come up.

            * – The girls did go missing, but over a period of time that indicated no increase in missing persons.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          And to be fair some time conspiracies do exist. See the Roman Catholic Church sex scandal and the covering up the crimes of Jimmy Seville.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            In the Catholic Church case, tho, the conspiracy was the coverup. And that seems like an important distinction to me since what lots of people want to conclude from those events is that the Catholic Church is fundamentally corrupt and the conspiratorial nature of the coverup constitutes further evidence for that conclusion.

            Which is just a massive confusion unless one of the priors is that the Catholic Church is fundamentally corrupt. And as I said, lots of people want to believe that. (History doesn’t help in suggesting otherwise… 🙂Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

              The conclusion I drew is that the Church hierarchy cared more about protecting the Church from scandal than in protecting its parishioners from harm. That’s a serious corruption of “least of my little ones” even in the gospel according to Erick Erickson.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Meh, sadly the church, or rather the people that make up the church, acted like folks usually do in that they protected the organization bc they had the most to lose.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              Of course the Catholic Church is fundamentally corrupt (Hi! I’m Jewish. Please no take offense until you hear me talk about Orthodox Rabbis.). That’s why they fought so hard against gay marriage — it takes away a good deal of their ability to armtwist for funds.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I don’t know how people even start to believe in stuff like Pizzagate.

        1. Liberals are the political arm of neo-Marxisist forces intent on destroying our institutions from within.
        2. New World Order institutions like the UN and the US Democratic party are morally corrupt and therefore filled with morally bankrupt people.
        3. The Clintons are obviously morally bankrupt liberals.
        4. Ergo, Only a FOOL doesn’t see the obvious truth that Hillary Clinton is a morally bankrupt neo-Marxist member of the New World Order intent on destroying our institutions from within.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          There isn’t a part of that equation that is not batshitReport

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            The issue isn’t whether you think it’s batshit insane, but whether you can demonstrate that the premises are wrong without begging questions. Cuz that’s the trick. We see that all the time with notme, actually: posit a crazy view and demand that other people refute it without having offered an substantive evidence to believe it in the first place. (Trump does this all the time, and with tremendous political success.)

            In conspiracy land, the burden shifts to proving that something isn’t the case rather than that something IS the case. Hence, alternative facts and liberal media and liberal bias in academia and so on. The normal rules of discourse and belief justification have been turned on their heads.

            So I’d invite you to actually engage in the exercise. It’s not at all easy to do in real time against a live-action interlocutor without both parties accepting some basic rules of the game. For example, what constitutes an empirical claim about the world, and what constitutes an justification for those claims. And since folks increasingly inclined to answer the question of “what constitutes a fact” and “what constitutes evidence” and “what constitutes a justification” in purely ideological terms, the hopes for agreement even on the basic rules grows increasingly dim.Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

              The part I don’t get is that even stipulating for the sake of discussion that Hillary Clinton is a morally bankrupt neo-Marxist member of the New World Order intent on destroying our institutions from within, how does it follow that she would engage in a very high risk pizza/pedophilia operation? How does this further her goal of destroying our institutions such that it is worth the risk?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You’re thinking too narrowly. The goal is the action itself. She wants power to do more stuff like that.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                These people really live in a cartoon universe.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You are right, those folks are just so deplorable.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                I’d say “deplorable” is a good description of the people who make that stuff up to confuse the stupid/gullible. As for the people who actually believe it, it’s more sad than anything else.

                I’m lucky enough to work with a lot of smart people, but talking to them also makes me a little sad because I know that for each one of them there’s a person on the other side of the bell curve that gives it that symmetrical bell shape. That’s kind of a bummer. I guess it’s good for the conspiracy theory web site business, though.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Hannity: “You think I’m bad for America?”

                Ted Koppel: “Yeah.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Then Hannity asked Koppel to explain and interrupted him twice when he tried.

                I am not making this up.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Jon Stewart got there first, when the stakes weren’t nearly as high.


              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                That’s a classic, but Stewart going after Tucker Carlson is like when Kramer was the top tae kwan do student in a class of nine-year-olds.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                That made me very, very happy. There is still some good in the world.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                The pedophilia ring was a key part of her blackmail of key Democratic politicians.
                …no pizza involved, sorry TMNT.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              What crazy views have I posited? Please name a few?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          And worse still, they put pineapple on the pizza!Report

  2. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    I….find myself slightly agreeing with Heaton. I’ve thought from time to time that maybe we need to go so something like a system with a Foreign Minister and Home Minister (someone once pointed out to me that the various state governors could fill the role of Home Minister(s)). And then have a figurehead figure who throws state dinners and goes to funerals of foreign dignitaries and the like.

    I don’t know if we could afford it, though – the various Ministers would require security details and salaries and the like, and then our Figurehead would require a security detail, and a budget for a let’s-impress-the-foreign-leaders dinners, and the like.

    And yes, we would have to choose *very* wisely, but our culture being what it is, I would not be surprised, if we went down that path, to wind up with someone like the most outrageous reality tv star or the like as our Figurehead Figure. (Though Kelsey Grammar, yeah….I kind kind of see it, but then I’ve always sort of liked Kelsey Grammar.)

    But the potential of a hereditary monarch with lots of power – not just no, but Hell no. (I am beginning to lean towards the idea that we should have another Amendment – like the one limiting Presidents to two terms – but one saying no brother, sister, son, daughter, father, mother, or spouse of someone who was once president should be permitted to run; we’ve come dangerously close to “legacy” families there)Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Andrew Heaton deserves repeated punches in the face. Not because his points on monarchy are incorrect but because he is projected how Republican voters treated Republican Presidents onto Democrats. The Republicans treated GWB the same way until the near end of his presidency and many of them worship Donald Trump as God-Emperor. Let us all not forget the Cult of Saint Ronaldus Magnus. Only JFK and FDR have the same cult like status.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I agree that it’s not partisan, but Republicans loved W the way Democrats loved Clinton. Obama was something different. Trump is something different still.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I’m not sure if liberals really did treat Obama differently than any other Democratic President. He certainly got his fair share of criticism for many of his policies like drone warfare on liberal blogs that I read.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          I think over time you’re right but there was a little bit of a cult of personality in 2008. Remember the whole women fainting during his speeches thing?Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          Did you see how Saturday Night Live treated Obama the last weekend of his presidency?Report

          • Avatar dhex says:

            and the date movie!

            and the showtime series about his law school days.

            and most disappointing of all, they didn’t name the showtime thing “the barry diaries” because that would have been funny.Report

            • Avatar Jesse says:

              I just want a ruling on the field –

              If we nominate a boring egghead like Al Gore, we’re slammed for thinking we know everything.

              If we nominate a charismatic bastard like Clinton, we’re slammed for supporting an obvious corrupt lout.

              If we nominate a classy young-ish guy (by politician standards) with an interesting background and an awesome marriage, we’re slammed for worshiping him too much because a movie about his life doesn’t include, I don’t know, enough criticism of his drone policy?

              So, just who are we supposed to nominate? Asking for a friend.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                You’re misunderstanding the criticism. SNL (to use my example), never had a problem ‘going after’ Al Gore or either Clinton (or both of them at once) (or Bernie for that matter). But after two years of campaigning in the public eye, and eight years of presidenting, the Not Ready for Prime Time gang could never get a comedic edge on Obama. And wrapped up his tenure literally as schoolgirls with a crush on their teacher.

                That’s a ridiculous amount of hagiography But to be clear, not universal. Stewart and to a lesser Colbert (because of his schitck) were both able to get a bead on Obama.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                Is it possible the decision was largely artistic/commercial?

                Obama is not without his faults. But what line of comedy can you target at him that would resonate with their target audience? Dad jeans? As a sketch show, their approach is very different than the late night guys.

                Clinton, Gore, Sanders, and now Trump have tons of fodder for sketch comedy. Obama just didn’t.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Or maybe the simpler answer is that they didn’t want to mock him him. Wow, what an idea.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Ah yeah, I remember that one. That was good.

                Too bad they fired Jay Pharoah at the completion of the following season from when that aired.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Allow me to break it down further. (and really, this is almost entirely directed at Saturday Night Live than ‘liberals’ or the ‘entertainment industry’, or anything else)

                Clearly, their artistic muses failed them. At least a 100 person-years of comedy writing effort, and they couldn’t come up with a single running joke. That’s a rather large failure, but, yeah, they all can’t be hits. I would note that Key & Peele are effective sketch comedy writers & performers and *did* come up with an effective line of comedy on Obama.

                A ‘commercial’ decision to not be able to take on Obama is a lot less forgivable. First of all, SNL is pretty much a fiefdom all its own. Network pressure certainly exists, but is minimal. Lorne Michaels has enough money, enough of his own production company to tell NBC to pound sand if push came to shove, and NBC doesn’t have many other options. (it’s not like they’re going to bring back Saturday Night’s Main Event).

                A commercial decision where pressure is coming from underneath, from the audience, is also not a very good excuse. SNL is on at a late hour with a very young skewing audience (for network TV). Their whole thing is (or at least used to be) avant garde taste making to *get* their target audience to aligned with them (i.e. they don’t go to the audience, their audience comes to them)

                Finally, even if they never got a chance to take their shot, they never got tone like a Top Gunner on a MiG, they did not merely go weapons safe.

                The Hillary Hallelujah cold open was right on the edge, but even though it was pretty much the same sort of schema they use after a terrorist attack or some other tragedy, it did incorporate the thru lines of a few running gags and other meta-textual commentary. So, OK.

                But then, a few months later, two of the (better) actresses perform “To Sir With Love” with a picture of Obama behind them, straight up, unironically, in the 10 to 1 spot.

                When SNL went reverential towards power, *that* is an unforgivable sin. Especially in comedy.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                What jokes did K&P do at Obama’s expense? The ones I remember were mocking Republican opposition and the coded ABM thing, neither of which were mocking Obama as I saw them.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                It’s not about ‘mocking’ Obama. It’s getting *any* sort of comedy angle on him, which the anger translator bit does.

                Even SNL’s current take on Trump should be stronger. Baldwin has a very good core performance (because Trump’s early professional life is Baldwin’s character from Glengarry Glenn Ross, and Trump’s later professional career is Baldwin’s character from 30 Rock), but the writing staff is already running out of ideas, recycling Will Farrell era Dubya jokes but putting Trump in that spot.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Which sort of goes to my point: this was as likely a failure of imagination as a political decision.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                Obama is pretty boring for a president. Seriously, he is.
                Trump? can’t go wrong with trump.Comedians love trump.
                GWB? Nothing like a drunk to make good comedy.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Kimmi: Obama is pretty boring for a president. Seriously, he is.

                So make that the joke. The generic sit-com model these days is the lone sane person surrounded by wacky characters.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi says:

                That… woulda been great with Rahm around.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Obama crashing the girls’ sleepover in dad jeans and lame dad jokes, desperate for approval (maybe he takes a poll, reading stories in the Obama voice, speaking differently to the white kids vs the black kids coulda played.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Sure, they could even have used him as a foil to make fun of the republicans… there could have been an ongoing skit around “Obama attempts to make friends with Republicans” gag – which would have echoed one of the [soto voce] complaints I heard about Obama for 8-years.

                Skit 1: Obama plans a tea party…

                Good satire is about something you love… Portlandia is much funnier for poking fun at Liberals than if it went after Conservatives.

                I can’t say why, precisely, Obama was mostly ignored… but he was. I suspect that the simple answer is probably the best answer: any attempt at humor would have diminished him (at least a little bit), and that was not a strategy the team wanted to pursue.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Liberals and nationalism: There are some liberal and libertarian ideas that they have never be able to convince the majority of like Freedom of Movement and Freedom from Capital. I suspect that these happen because the benefits to the masses seem defuse and most people don’t want to move. They want to stay in their area generally. Provincialism is real. Freedom of Movement also seems to mainly benefit the very poor and the very well off more. Your average American can’t afford much international travel and doesn’t have the time for it.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Full employment: I am for it but it is a political non-starter. There interesting thing is that even government employees can rail aganist other government employees for just collecting pensionsReport

  6. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Re Brexit… Official Article 50 notification is supposed to happen Wednesday, and the EU expected to acknowledge receipt by Friday. There seem to be a surprising number of Labour MPs that still think they can vote to call the whole thing off down the road if they don’t like the terms. Haven’t they read the treaty? Part of me still expects the Trump Administration to announce next week that they’ve got the UK’s back in its struggle against the Continent, and will fast-track a free-trade agreement to take effect as soon as the UK is officially out of the EU.Report

  7. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    That Chicago Tribune article on Minnesota liberalism being good for the economy is supposed to bolster Illinois Democrats as they look into the abyss. A lot of cherry-picking in that article.

    Minnesota is not the most liberal state in the Midwest. Illinois’ Democratic House Speaker is about to set the record for the longest duration as a House Speaker in the United States (34 years). Until last Fall, Democrats had veto-proof supermajorities in both legislative chambers for the past 14 years.

    His claim that liberal “tax and spend” policies are good for budgets is also refuted by Illinois, which raised income taxes at about the same time as Minnesota with a 66% temporary tax increase to get the budget under control that reveted to a smaller permanent tax increase. The budget did not balance with tax and spend policies, and now more income tax increases are required and Democrats wouldn’t pass tax increases after squandering the last tax increase just a few years previously.

    Illinois is now continuing a national record of years without passing a budget. Perhaps the author means that Minnesota Democrats are better than Illinois Democrats, which is probably true. And this is partly the fault of the newspaper coverage at the state level, which is usually flippant at best.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Some sort of seperation between Head of Government and Head of State in increasingly looking like the best way to do things.

    There is also an option of breaking up the Imperial Presidency by more national elected positions with specific enumerated powers (and no loopholes)Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      It would need to be something like that because instituting a monarchy at this stage in the game seems like an obvious non-starter. Keep the elected position of President* but strip it of any real power, sorta like the governor of Texas, so it becomes mostly about the pomp and ceremony.

      ETA: The Trump administration may very well prove out to be the impetus to move in that direction.

      * A title consciously chosen because it was so pedestrian and unimpressive.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        1. Make the office of President ceremonial.

        2. Reform Congress so its actually fairly elected. Increase the number of seats at the same time.

        3. Give the Speaker of the House the same powers and responsibilities as a Prime Minister.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        reducing the imperial presidency is indeed one decent reason to have voted for Trump.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Apparently, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

    They talk about this in Revelation.Report