Morning Ed: Media {2018.01.24.W}

Will Truman

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

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116 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    [Me1] Disapprove? Hell, I ENDORSE this. It should be done on a regular basis.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Damon says:

      I know what you mean, but I’m not sure what the “this” in Will’s blurb refers to. The police doing it, or the reporters doing it to the government officials?

      Honestly, I’m surprised that people throw away incriminating stuff often enough to make this worthwhile. My baseline assumption is that anything I throw away could be traced back to me.

      On two separate occasions, I came home to find my apartment building’s dumpster completely buried in trash from someone who had moved (or perhaps died in the first case, judging from the records I found the first time).

      Fun fact: The city, at least the one I lived in, will not collect trash under those conditions. As it was a six-unit building with a part-time landlord, and nobody else volunteered, I got stuck clearing away all the overflow. I never did figure out exactly where it came from the first time, but the second time there were dozens of documents containing the perpetrator’s name and address, in a building across the street.

      I got his parents’ phone number from the local university’s phone directory and left a message politely asking them to tell their son to clean up his mess. They never called back, but his landlord was there cleaning up for the next tenant when I stopped by, and she paid me for my time, taking it out of his deposit.Report

      • Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        “this” was meant as the newspaper taking the “public” trash of cops/city officials/etc and going through it, then having the balls to get an interview with the people who’s trash they had and asking embarrassing questions. That’s what journalist should do: make the powerful uncomfortable.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I have heard (possibly apocryphal) stories of people who are loose-tea drinkers being hauled up on pot charges because allegedly old tea leaves resemble pot that’s been through a bong (or something, idk).

        This concerns me because I drink LOTS of loose tea, especially green tea, especially a kind that has large green leaf fragments in it, and I throw the dregs in the trash. I’d HOPE if the cops ever decided to snoop for some reason that (a) they’d do chemical tests to show that it is, in fact, nothing but Camellia sinensis and peppermint and (b) the fact that I am a friendly acquaintance with the local DA means she’d vouch for me.

        But yeah. While it seems strange people would throw out incriminating stuff, I suspect a lot of innocent stuff could be MADE to look incriminating if someone wanted to gin up a case against someone – and sometimes, that whisper of “something is wrong here” is enough to destroy a career.

        So I worry, a little, but not enough to try to bury my used tea leaves in the backyard – which would probably excite more suspicion from a particular nosy neighbor.

        We’ve had problems both on my campus and at my church (both places with unsecured dumpsters) of people coming and dumping their trash and filling it up. I assume it’s someone from outside the city (garbage collection costs are rolled into our water bill and I don’t know if you can decouple them) or someone with far more trash than would fit in a rollcart. So they’re finding a commons for their tragedy, and piggybacking on the fees other people pay. Which wouldn’t be such a big thing as trash hauling is a flat fee, except when the dumpster is full before the group that is paying gets their stuff in there…Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Me1: There was a Supreme Court case about when the police can and cannot search your trash without a warrant. It was in the 1980s. I think the general rule was no warrant required.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I suspect it was on the logic used by the cops, and then by Willamette Week. If it’s ok to go through someone’s trash without a warrant, it’s ok to go through someone else’s trash without being someone eligible for a warrant.

      (And if those who think the one don’t think the other, maybe they want to rethink the one)Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I think the logic is more like if you throw it out, you don’t really want it and therefore you waive for privacy rights to it.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Right – and to make sure that logic is sound and not based on “it’ll never happen to me so it’s fine”, it seems to me quite reasonable to have the people in the appropriate position of power to renew or overturn that logic, periodically reminded of what they’re asserting not to be an invasion of privacy, by having the contents of their garbage cataloged for publication in the news.

          If memory serves (I read that article a couple of years ago) the people in the positions of power did not acquit themselves especially well, as far as making it seem that their decisions were ones of principle, not whatever the judicial equivalent of NIMBYism is.

          Actually I thought the Willamette Week went pretty soft on them – declining to publish credit card numbers, bank balances, specific purchase records, etc.Report

  3. aaron david says:

    Me1 – I was doing some business with the Sacramento FBI once and while touring their facilities, I saw the full-size trash truck they use when the need arises. Painted up to look just like the real thing. Of course the media should do this when they think they need to. If it is legal, it is legal.Report

  4. pillsy says:

    Particularly relevant to a Media link day is this piece I randomly stumbled across about the show Cops. I clicked on it idly but then read the whole thing despite the fact that it’s roughly 73 million words long.

    To be fair, it is on a site called “Longreads”.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to pillsy says:

      I like watching COPS and playing the, “How long would this episode be if drugs were legal?” game.

      Not very long. That show seems like it’s 90%, “You ran! Why? Oh, because you have weed.”Report

  5. Doctor Jay says:

    [Me1] is kind of a perfect embodiment of David Brin’s The Transparent Society. Of course it’s ok to look back at the powerful using the methods they use to look at the rest of us.Report

  6. Oscar Gordon says:

    Me4 – Seems that maybe their servers are hot, and not because the server room AC is broken.Report

  7. Chip Daniels says:

    What would a post about media be, without Charles Pierce to commemorate media from the Clinton years?Report

  8. dragonfrog says:

    Re the “is it essential to live in a democracy” numbers – what does the question even mean?

    Essential to individual and/or species survival? There would be no humans if that were the case, since humans have existed longer than democracies. Something like 1/3 of the Earth’s population don’t live in a democracy right now. And they survive – so it clearly ain’t essential, for all that it’s generally preferable.Report

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    Why would you appoint a 93 year old to be head of an organization?Report

  10. PD Shaw says:

    [Me1] Apparently the trash story was from December 23, 2002, and was republished because the mayor in the story recently died. I thought the reference to the loss of civil liberties since 9/11 was odd.

    But I wonder how the appeal of the judge’s ruling went? When the prosecutor argued the judge was wrong and there is no expectation of privacy in trash left by the curb, did he point to a recent newspaper article to make his case?Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to PD Shaw says:

      If I’m not mistaken, this is the appeal finding.

      I am so not qualified to parse the text of the decision, but if I understand right:

      – The officer’s lawyers moved to suppress the evidence from the trash can, which the judge did
      – The state appealed that decision to suppress the evidence, and the above link is the judgement in that appeal.
      – The judge’s suppression of the evidence was upheld by the appeal judge.

      “In summary, defendants placed their garbage inside garbage cans, in which they retained possessory interests, and placed those cans in locations clearly connected with their residences pursuant to agreements with garbage collection companies with whom they had contracted for removal of the bags of garbage. Under those circumstances, the police infringed on defendants’ Article I, section 9, possessory interests in their garbage cans and in the contents of those cans. Accordingly, the trial courts correctly granted defendants’ suppression motions.”Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to dragonfrog says:

        You’ve got better google research skills than me. I think Saul Degraw is correct that the SCOTUS ruled in a case called California v. Greenwood (1988) that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect any privacy interest in garbage left for collection outside the curtilage of a home. This is not about property interests, but expectations of privacy.

        State Constitutions can require higher standards of law enforcement, and it appears that at least one Oregon court of appeals has decided that the Oregon Constitution protects a person’s trash up until the time the garbage truck collects it based upon the theory that it is the accused’s property up until that time. If the police convince sanitation to pick up the garbage and deliver it to law enforcement, the motion to suppress the evidence is denied.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      Too old and he isn’t going to get it. Why do you keep posting these stories Jay? There are always a lot of people “considering” Presidential runs and forming advisory committees. The advisory committee usually says no and the person doesn’t run. I just think you like to troll Democrats.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The advisory committee usually says no

        Not sure there’s any ink left in that stamp after the run-up to 2016.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Some disappointing news.

          Looks like Oprah isn’t interested in running.

          LB: And you speak for so many. How do you feel when people say, “Oprah 2020”?
          OW: [Laughs] I actually saw a mug the other day?…?I thought it was a cute mug. All you need is a mug and some campaign literature and a T-shirt. I’ve always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so it’s not something that interests me. I don’t have the DNA for it. Gayle—who knows me as well as I know myself practically—has been calling me regularly and texting me things, like a woman in the airport saying, “When’s Oprah going to run?” So Gayle sends me these things, and then she’ll go, “I know, I know, I know! It wouldn’t be good for you—it would be good for everyone else.” I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign. That’s not for me.


          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            Disappointing for whom?Report

          • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

            I tried to stay out of the "OMG OPRAH 2020" silliness, but bears noting that this "SHE SQUASHED THE SPECULATION" interview was done *three weeks before* the speech that launched the speculation.— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) January 25, 2018


            • Kazzy in reply to pillsy says:

              I’m curious…

              How much of the speculation is, “She obviously wrote that speech with the intention of positioning herself for a run,” and how much is, “Did you see that speech? She should run!”?Report

              • pillsy in reply to Kazzy says:

                I think it was virtually all the latter.

                Someone even polled on it.

                She did considerably better than Donald Trump, though I think that’s easily explained by the fact that she’s a carbon-based life form who is not Donald Trump.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to pillsy says:

                Since we’re still talking about her running… I’m starting to have my doubts that she would survive the Democratic primary… while the knives didn’t actually come out of their sheathes, the flashes of steel that I saw just on the rumor made me think that 25-yrs of television was not going to be kind to her in the hands of her opposition; what surprised me was how much of the opposition was on the left.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Why are you surprised? Oprah is very capitalist/neoliberal; the Bernie wing of the party which is also quite voluble on the internet (and has a general probably accurate vibe that Bernie himself is not truly viable*) is not exactly pining for another centrist ra-ra capitalist and the rest of the party that is fine with such a candidate has their own preferred centrists and isn’t in any need for an Oprah candidacy.

                *Deny it though they do I have no doubt they whisper to themselves, alone in the dark, “if only he was not quite so old and not quite so kooky”.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                I guess I’m used to seeing cudgels rather than daggers in the intramural fights.

                As far as I can tell, Bernie went so far as to restrict himself to a rolled-up newspaper (sometimes when no one was looking he dunked it in water). And in many ways I respected him more for it.

                If its true that Black Women are the core of the Democratic base (as I’ve seen said on these pages), then for the sake of your party, I hope she doesn’t run. On the other hand, for the good of both parties, maybe its best she does. Let’s get this party realignment started.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I, myself, have little beef with Bernie’s performance in 2016. Yes, when things got especially feverish he forgot why he was running in the first place and started throwing some punches but so the fish what? Politics ain’t beanbag. He dutifully campaigned and pulled for the winning candidate once he’d lost so what more could people ask of him? He’s not responsible for the behavior of some of his supporters any more than any other politician in.

                That being said he had a campaign predominantly because HRC had systematically eliminated the more substantive competition. He was not a good debater and his stock “political revolution” answer to just about every question was cringe worthy. Bernie is a nice crazy liberal-socialist uncle but he’s not going to be President and I’d be very surprised if he tries to run again because I think he knows it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                When I pointed out some of the attack surfaces she had available, I was assured that these things were not issues.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Maybe there would be a general truce during the primaries?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to pillsy says:

                pillsy: She did considerably better than Donald Trump, though I think that’s easily explained by the fact that she’s a carbon-based life form who is not Donald Trump.

                I wouldn’t be surprised if the Horta polled better than Donald Trump at this point.
                (She’s got a pretty good record on jobs in the mining industry, after all)
                (well, aside from that one time, but everyone seemed to get over it).Report

              • pillsy in reply to Kolohe says:

                Melted a great stump speech into the floor with acidic secretions, too.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Well, melted the stump, at least.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

              So maybe she changed her mind since then?Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

            Sounds like the advisory committee got to her.

            1. While I think being an effective politician is not a function of wonkiness, I do recognize that being an effective politician means learning how to be effective in a political realm… and, absent the political experience of, say, Mayor, Governor, or legislator I wouldn’t vote for said person. If Oprah were serious, I’d like to see her run for a lower office… demonstrate she understands how the rules of that game works. Why in the world, if you were Oprah, would you trade retired Billionaire for Mayor?

            2. Without the groundwork of a movement, think-tanks, academic support, and various coalitions and expert field workers, you aren’t an agent of change, but mouthpiece for the “powers that be” (RIP Kimmi). Which I think was one of your earlier points, and has been my consistent point about Trump, and, I think a partial explanation of Obama’s middling fare as Executive (Long may he live)… and before the hive attacks, I’d say he was on the way to building a movement, but launched too early… with somewhat predictable results. Future historians (the way historians do) may call him Obama the Unready, or Obama Preemie.

            3. Oprah’s demurrals are tuurribel, and show that she’s not fit to run. Talk about narcissistic; then again, see above about Billionaire life.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      He’ll never get it, and I expect a lack of fundraising to make that clear immediately.

      But, honestly, wouldn’t he be a better president than most of the alternatives?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        There are tons of people who would make better presidents than most of the alternatives!

        We don’t have time to list them.

        I would say that the thorny issue of requiring not only people who would make better presidents than most of the alternatives but also that these same people be better *CANDIDATES* than the current crop is cutting us off at the knees.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

          That’s the point: all we talk about nowadays is the horse race, even thought the result is someone who’s worse at the job than a horse.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

          There are tons of people who would make better presidents than most of the alternatives!

          Who? Seriously. Can you name those folks? Critics of the way politics is conducted seem to have this idea that better talent is consistently overlooked or one phone call or fund raiser away from running. Who are these mysterious “better than the alternatives” alternatives?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            Who? Seriously. Can you name those folks?

            The first 2000 names in the Boston Phonebook?Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              Ahh. So no list then.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Then pick a name and write it in on your ballot. Easy peasy. All your problems will be solved.

                Do that for all the state and local races too (pick someone who lives in the Springs, of course)!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, we’re back to the whole thorny issue of requiring not only people who would make better presidents than most of the alternatives but also that these same people be better *CANDIDATES* than the current crop.

                I find that voting 3rd party is the best way to balance my competing desires.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Not really. You could draft that unknown guy from the Boston phone book, get a bunch of your like minded friends to vote for him, and elect him to office without any of you knowing anything about him.

                Oh, right, now I see your point. A whole bunch of people – call them “voters” – need to *agree* to vote for that random guy (in an “election”) but why would anyone be motivated to do so without knowing anything about him?

                Of course, the premise is that *that person* would be a better president than anyone running on the Dem ticket. So either the premise is wrong, or you need to do some better messaging to get out the vote.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                There is “being a better president” and there is “being better at doing the stuff you need to do in order to become president” and I am confident that anybody who is really good at the stuff you need to do in order to become president pretty much excludes them from being a good president at this point in the process.

                “So vote for someone who has no shot at it!”


              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                In the system of government we have the former makes no sense given the latter. We elect representatives, not functionaries.

                Unless you want to elect a functionary, of course, and think any random person would be a *better* functionary than a declared candidate. In which case you need to get out the vote for Random Person In The Phonebook, dude. Get busy!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’ll meet you halfway and vote Third Party.Report

  11. Maribou says:

    @saul-degraw Could you not complain about other commenters being trolls please? It’s a respectable link from a reputable source. He wasn’t being hateful and he’s allowed to think things are funny.

    And hey, at least Jay wasn’t arguing that the proletariat is unwilling to to do something because it requires a serious time commitment and responsibility. I mean, that’s the sort of thing that a person might think was someone trolling…Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Maribou says:

      He has a pattern and practice of doing stuff like this but never fully admitting it.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        So laugh, Saul me lad, and roll your eyes and say “That’s our Jaybird!” It’ll be good for your blood pressure and, if your assertion that he’s trolling were correct*, it’d deny him the anger that trolls are invariably drilling for and thus disappoint him.

        *I don’t think it is; he’s not trolling he’s just Jaybird.Report

        • pillsy in reply to North says:

          Sometimes it irks me [1], but just as often (including in this instance) it comes across as friendly ribbing.

          John Kerry is thinking of running for President? That is funny.

          [1] Particularly close readers of my comments may have detected subtle hints of irritation over the years.Report

          • North in reply to pillsy says:

            My own read is that he thinks that such prodding will actually be, in its miniscule way, salutary. As in the Democratic Party and liberalism in this country are functioning somewhat normal entities and ideologies that believe in what they espouse and can respond to criticism. Whereas the GOP is some kind of undead steam driven monster and we can look inside and see the conservatives burning the bones of their principles to keep the boilers going.

            Heck, I’d probably feel concerned if he started focusing his ribbing on someone/thing else.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

          I’m in Veronica’s camp here. I think Jaybird does have more right-leaning sympathies than he wants to admit more often than not and he does seem to buy into the “Democrats are out of touch elitists” narratives. So I do find his routine irksome.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Would you prefer it if I told you to read things that made you feel better?Report

        • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

          See this is the problem. This comment is snide.

          Perhaps that is not intended, but honestly, after a year of this behavior, I’m pretty darn sure it is deliberate. Many of us here have long complained about it, about how tiresome it is. You seem uninterested in change, and thus you probably intend to be this way.

          So it goes, but do not pretend you are not doing what you are doing.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

            Please understand, from my perspective, you use “snide” to describe behaviors that strike me as being similar to the child pointing out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothing.

            So my emotional reaction (since we’re talking about me, after all) is to see responses to my “snide” links to actual events that are actually happening as telling me “you are being really snide to point out that the emperor is only wearing long johns”.

            But, of course, that’s my perspective. I’ve no doubt that your perspective is different. (It’d have to be!)Report

            • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

              @jaybird — But you’re not a brave truth teller. Perhaps you like to think you are, but you ain’t and it’s tiresome.

              You are are not Socrates. (About whom, it is unlikely the real Socrates was quite the person Plato showed to us, since dialogs are a rather artificial medium.) Nor are you the “wise outsider who lobs truth bombs.”

              You are just some guy on the internet who has chosen a rather disagreeable personal style.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                Please understand. I did not claim to be Socrates. (I don’t believe that I ever have claimed that.) Neither do I claim to be a wise outsider who is lobbing truth bombs.

                I claim to be more like the kid who sees a guy in his long johns who says “look, John Kerry is putting together a committee to consider running for president in 2020”.

                And, get this, me pointing this out, this thing that is happening and is being reported by a reputable source is being called “trolling” and “snide”.

                Do you understand how wacky that must look from my perspective?

                “Here’s a story about John Kerry.”


                To be quite honest, from my perspective, the behaviors of the latter are similar to the behaviors of people who are members of a clique that pride themselves on their descriptions to each other of the lush garments worn by the emperor.

                Now, I know, you don’t see it that way. How could you?

                But can you see how *I* might see it that way?Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Just as an aside, The Hill isn’t really a reputable source. It used to be, perhaps, but over the last year or two they’ve posted a lot of real junk, some bordering on legit Fake News.

                The basic story here is plausible enough that I don’t doubt it [1], but it’s something to be aware of, and plenty of people (myself included) have been caught off-guard by its shittiness.

                [1] “Big name Democrat thinking about obviously doomed Presidential run,” is pretty dog-bites-man.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Man, “Fake News” was one hell of an own-goal.

                In any case, I’ll try to not link The Hill in the future… and I’ll try to remember to point out to those that do link it that they shouldn’t.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Is Politico a source that is better than, worse than, or equal to The Hill?Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Considerably better.

                I’m not a fan of their basic approach, but they seem to do a good job of getting the facts right.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Everything that is written regarding politics isn’t actually worth much, or any, thought or action. There are lots of “some guy said something” pieces out there. They are worth the pixels they are printed on. Wastn’t it just last week it was Oprah!!. Next week someone will be talking about the reanimated corpse of McGovern.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Do you understand how wacky that must look from my perspective?

                Right. I think Veronica is asking whether you see how wacky your comments look from her perspective.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Oh, sure. I’m positively certain that I’d find my comments infuriating from what it seems to me her perspective is.

                It seems to me that, had I had what it seems to me her perspective is, I’d be a lot happier if I didn’t have to deal with comments like mine at all.Report

      • Maribou in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @saul-degraw I’m holding a mirror up to you on this comment, with particular reference to my second paragraph of my original (moderator-hat) request above to let it go.

        Also, @veronica-d and @saul-degraw, and anyone else for that matter, I am going to ask that ALL of you not engage in struggle sessions against other commenters, especially long-term ones, especially X100 if it isn’t something completely beyond the pale, for a few days if you can resist it, both because there are other ways to address your concerns (flagging / emailing the editors), and because we’re literally having to moderate every single comment right now.

        Have some consideration for those of us working to keep the site available and commentable, please.Report

  12. Jaybird says:

    Here’s a link to a tweetstorm that, I’m sure, will also come across as “snide” to people who share a significantly different perspective than my own.

    Here’s the first tweet, to wet your whistle:

    Elite opposition to Trump is collapsing:— Will Stancil (@whstancil) January 25, 2018


    • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

      Not snide, but substantially wrong.

      Not about the New York Times, which can, as always, kiss my ass, or even about Schumer and Pelosi, but in terms of this as a trend or a collapse, yeah. The pendulum has been swinging back and forth on normalizing vs. resisting Trump since the election was called for him.

      There are dangers here, including for the Democrats, but I don’t think there are those dangers in particular.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

        Here’s the main thing that I really think that the Democrats need to worry about:

        We’ve got an election coming up. An off-year one. Over the last 4 elections, the Democrats have experienced *MASSIVE* losses on state-level seats. Like, 1000 seats.

        There are a lot of reasons for this (which include both regression to the mean from the historic 2008 election as well as gerrymandering from the 2010 one) but it also includes reasons such as “voters choosing Republicans rather than Democrats”.

        I have no idea what is going to happen in November. My head says that, hey, the pendulum swings and regression to the mean *ALONE* will give the Democrats a huge amount of seats.

        But I also know that “regression to the mean” is not a plan and when I look at the tenor of the middle of flyover vs the tenor of the coasts, I think that it’s possible that some sort of equilibrium has been achieved.

        Now, November 6th is 40ish weeks away and assuming 2.5 news cycles between then and now we’ve got 100 news cycles between now and then. (And that’s a *LOW* estimate of news cycles, going by the last year.) On top of that, I know that only the last, oh, 10 news cycles really mean anything.

        The thing that I think that democrats need to worry about is making some big wins on a national level (maybe even retaking the House!) but not really moving the needle on the state level.

        And stuff like John Kerry announcing looking into running in 2020 is, on one level, a fluffy story about an also-ran who still thinks about what he could have done better. Hey, he said something and some news site covered it. Who cares?

        On another level, however, John Kerry is one of the elder statesmen of the Democratic Party and he doesn’t seem to recognize what his role in the party ought to be, given the last 4 elections or so (should we also add the 2004 one or would that be unfair?).

        And if John Kerry is representative of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party has a problem.

        And while I would be interested in an argument that says that John Kerry is no longer representative of at least one of the major wings of the Democratic Party, I’d need that argument made rather than merely assumed by everybody participating in the conversation… because it seems to me that, like it or not, he’s representative of one of the major wings of the Democratic Party.

        Though I can also see why pointing out that he’s representative of one of the major wings of the Democratic Party would come across as “snide”.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

          So there are two things here. One is that state elections and midterm elections happen at the same time in most places. The exceptions are Virginia and New Jersey, where they’ve already happened. NJ the Dems just rolled over any opposition, but it’s NJ.

          Virginia is… interesting. Because the Dems did really well there, and substantially improved their position, but still couldn’t quite win the House.[1] Oh, they got a decisive majority of House votes, but due to the disadvantage they were at in terms of districting, they lost it by a single seat on a literal coinflip.

          So that worries me a bit. Not overwhelmingly so, because picking up governor’s mansions is no small thing, but a bit.

          As for John Kerry, I think he is representative of more moderate, “mainstream” [2], hawkish and FP-focused part of the Democratic Party. He wouldn’t be a completely write-offable possible nominee except that if he sees a chance, so will Joe Biden, and Biden represents the same people while being more popular with the rest of the party, more charismatic, and more impressive in terms of his resume.

          I worry about Joe Biden because I think his age makes him a poor choice for President, and because I think his victory would further delay a much-needed party consensus on just how “neoliberal” the Party should be which will hinder its ability to govern after 2020.

          I don’t worry about Joe Biden because I think he would be a bad general election candidate or a bad party leader. I think if Biden somehow winds up the nominee he will be very well-positioned to beat Trump.

          All in all, I think John Kerry 2020 is a silly story that’s worth a chuckle. Even though he is an elder statesman [3], it seems like elder statesmen frequently misunderstand their role and overestimate their relevance.

          [1] Some part of my brain is twitching that the lower chamber of they VA lege is called something other than the House, but I’m feeling too lazy to Google at this second.

          [2] The mainstream of te party has moved a lot, so I’m not sure John Kerry is really part of it any more. Still, it’s a big enough chunk of voters and donors that I’m not going to write them off.

          [3] Surely there’s a more euphonious gender-neutral term than “elder statesperson”, which is almost painful to so much as type.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to pillsy says:

            We used to have a gaggle of Burgesses… then we upgraded to a romp of Delegates.

            “Surely there’s a more euphonious gender-neutral term than “elder statesperson”

            An Oprah?

            {guess my html googling didn’t work… the last should be in very small difficult to read font}Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’m not getting “snide”, but more of the inside the Beltway Politico cult-of-the savvy horserace “good news for John McCain” stuff I hear on Sunday chat shows.

          Historical data, regression to the mean…this is the sort of stuff that proves that the Cubs cannot possibly take the pennant, or proves that they are a dead lock on it.Report

    • aaron david in reply to Jaybird says:

      Reminds me of something… Oh yeah!

  13. Jaybird says:

    And back to the topic of “Media”: