Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Your Premise Is Bad Edition

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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110 Responses

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    Takes guts to run an editorial advocating the reelection of Trump after seeing what the woke-offs at the NYT did when Bennet ran Tom Cotton’s editorial.Report

    • CJColucci in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      No it didn’t. Hewitt is part of the Post’s regular stable, this column is consistent with his regular output, and nobody who had any editorial or supervisory role has copped to a firing offense like not reading it before OKing publication.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Something I didn’t know until recently:

    The Robber’s Cave experiment was actually *TWO* experiments.

    The first one had this happen:

    After losing a tug-of-war, the Pythons declared that the Panthers were in fact the better team and deserved to win. The boys concluded that the missing clothes were the result of a mix-up at the laundry. And, after each of the Pythons swore on a Bible that they didn’t cut down the Panthers’ flag, any conflict “fizzled”. By the time of the incident with the suitcases and the ukulele, the boys had worked out that they were being manipulated. Instead of turning on each other, they helped put the tent back up and eyed their “camp counsellors” with suspicion. “Maybe you just wanted to see what our reactions would be,” one of them said.

    The counsellors refined their methods for the second experiment. The second one is the one that everybody knows about.Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    What both the Trumpists and NeverTrumpists have in common is they lack any political theory of governance. They don’t have a motivating theory that ordinary citizens can grab hold of and support.

    Like I mentioned the other day, the old animating politics of the Cold War are gone. The Democrats are slowly developing a theory based on quasi-New Deal economic ideas, and are centered on equality and justice issues. They aren’t there yet, but they have the core of an idea.

    The Trumpists have become entirely motivated by racial hatred and cultural revanchism. But the Never Trumpers seem to have just assumed that stripped of his corruption, treason and incompetence, the Trump Administration would be just dandy.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Gotta say, “Remember 1948? We should do that!” is a better gameplan than “Remember 1968?”Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Labour did control the UK government from 1974-1979 before entering a 17-year exile but during this time, they were more of a party not knowing what to do. At one point Harold Wilson basically said he only had the same old solutions to the same old problems in private conversations. He did not know how to handle the problems Britain faced in the 1970s or growing desires of the British population which went against the Clause IV socialism of a good chunk of Labour supporters.

      I think a lot of NeverTrumpers are like this. They were products of the Reagan revolution and learned about politics when Reagan and Thatcherism were hot commodities and the spirit of the New Deal seemed bloated and complacent but it hardwired their brains for always thinking that government is a problem and that deregulation is always the answer. There are a few people who manage to escape the narrow view like Jennifer Rubin but more are probably like Kristol who miss a part at the head table.

      I’m probably pretty ideological compared to most people but the big problem with ideology is that it seems to create a situation where the only tool for someone is a hammer.Report

      • Just an announcement since it’s mentioned here, We have a feature piece on UK government, and parliament vs executive in particular, that will be up in just a few minutesReport

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        One of the criticisms I heard about the Democrats in 1979 was that they always campaigned like it was 1936 or something where the problem was economic depression and the answer was always more stimulus spending and government regulation.

        What I notice about the Republicans now is they always campaign like it is 1976 and the problem is economic stagflation and government overregulation.

        In both cases the underlying charge is that the ideology is exhausted, offered as a rote catechism without an underlying grasp of the problems we face, and an original idea of how to fix them.

        I don’t see any evidence the hot young stars of the GOP like Charlie Kirk and Ben Shapiro or anyone at The Federalist have done any original thinking besides memorizing the Reagan talking points from 1980. They sound like those young evangelical child preachers who are always the darlings of the older set, because they faithfully parrot back to the parents the things the parents long to hear.
        In this case the parents are the deep pocketed financiers of the right wing like the Mercers and Rick Uihlein, who I see this morning is being reported as the money behind the Federalist.Report

        • Your last paragraph there is harsh, but I think very fair and accurate.Report

          • JS in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            I mean part of the Senate’s latest corona-virus package is…allowing 100% deductions on business meals?

            Starting with “unrelated” and moving straight into “literally the opposite of helping combat a virus that spreads happily through travel and in-person dining”.

            A payroll tax cut was also suggested — definitely the thing to help in 10%+ unemployment, a minimal tax cut that only applies to those who have a job.

            Then there was my favorite, a GOP Senator actually suggested just giving people 6000 dollars as long as they used it for a vacation. I thought it was a joke, but nope. She wanted to give them money to travel and ‘take time off’. During a pandemic.

            What’s the joke that’s been floating around? The GOP response to an illness is “Take two tax cuts and call me in the morning”?

            Who knew that was actually true….Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to JS says:

              We would be a vastly better place if the Republicans were a purely venal party that would do anything to get a vote. We aren’t in that place. The Republican Party and many of its’ voters believe that we can use our freedom-loving American spirit to override Covid-19. There is a meme they share of American soldiers invading Normandy on D-Day and a man in a mask hiding behind a coach. Like we can just power through this virus.

              Republicans also believe that if you cut off all the aid and force people back to work than the economy would mystically and magically rebound securing their re-election chances. They do not believe spending any government money on the people helps.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Cite on the Federalist funding?

          Younger conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk perplex me because I wonder where they learnt it from and in ways that are so out of step with their generation overall. Politics now seems to have a geographic component where people with grow up in GOP strongholds maintain the reactionary line.

          My alma mater has been parodied for left politics on the Simpsons (“Non-conform with me!!!) but even back in the 1980s had lots of Reagan and Bush I voters if you look at the year books) Now being GOP at it would be weird.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            The New York Times has reported on Dick Uihlein being a funder:

            Critics have asked who is funding the site, since ad revenue alone wouldn’t be enough to sustain its staff of 14 and political websites often rely on wealthy donors for support. The Federalist has not disclosed its supporters, leading to criticism that it is not being transparent about its agenda. But according to two people with knowledge of its finances, one of its major backers is Dick Uihlein, the Midwestern packing supply magnate and Trump donor who has a history of giving to combative, hard-right candidates, like Roy S. Moore of Alabama, who make many Republicans squeamish. (After Mr. Moore was accused of assaulting underage girls in 2017, The Federalist ran an opinion piece that defended men who dated young women as a practice with a long history that was “not without some merit if one wants to raise a large family.”)

            Through a spokesman, Mr. Uihlein declined to comment.

            Of course, you should read the story for yourself and come to your own conclusions.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I think the New Theory of Republican politics is that government still doesn’t work accept as a way to enforce reactionary White Protestant morality.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

        What’s truly ironic is that a lot of Democratic elected officials like Gov. Jerry Brown here in CA, and Barack Obama actually governed according small-c conservative principles.

        They were fiscally prudent, cautious about executive power, respected established norms and traditions and behaved as responsible stewards of power.

        Even the newer crop of Democrats like AOC are only radical by today’s standards; Most of what AOC says wouldn’t have been out of place in a Roosevelt or Truman administration.

        The current Republican ethos is something radical a pre-New Deal, pre-civil rights sort of mashup of Wm. Randolph Hearst jingoism, Jim Crow, and Gilded Age economics. These are things that no one, not Shapiro or Kirk or Tucker Carlson ever experienced, but only fantasize about like eager ISIS recruits.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          How many times did Obama explain that he wasn’t a king before he went ahead and did the thing that he said he didn’t have the power to do because he wasn’t a king?

          And AOC is only non-radical by Khmer Rouge standards.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    It turns out that #neverTrump Republicans are at their strongest when they decide to support the real viable alternative to Trump, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency. Funny that.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    Trump does not have many abilities but he does have one.* This is that he some how convinces most of his supporters and/or detractors that he is wildly popular. It is a Sisyphean task to convince anyone that Trump is massively unpopular, he has never had an approval rating north of 50 percent. For most of his Presidency, his approval rating has been closer to 40 percent than 50 percent.

    Yet there are lots of smart people who seem to think that Trump is going to rocket past a 60 percent approval rating any day now and win a reelection through something like Lyndon Johnson in 1964 or Reagan in 1984. This is absolutely nuts. If Trump wins reelection in 2020, it will be another lightening strike where he loses the popular vote but manages to hold on to the electoral college.

    *There is still the issue of whether this is unique to Trump or he is just the beneficiary of increasing negative partisanship.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      So the Democrats played a game where they said that “We don’t accept the results of the election” was seen as a good move?

      Well, so long as they’re saying “we don’t accept the results of the election” for a good reason and not a bad one.Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, Saul linked to the article. People who care what’s so can read for themselves.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

          Here’s the part of the article that I read for myself:

          That scenario seemed highly far-fetched, but it envisioned a situation in which both sides may have incentives to contest the election.

          “There is a narrative among activists in both parties that the loss must be illegitimate,” he said.


          • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

            As I said, the article is there and it speaks for itself. On past form, anyone who cares what it says is well advised to read it and develop his or her own take.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to CJColucci says:

              Brother, you have got an entire comments section to explain what’s wrong with his statement, and you can post here all day long.

              Or you could do the thing you usually do, where you’re so scared of getting dry-gulched that you do nothing but mumble platitudes.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Forget it Duck, its Trollucci town.

                The bot is a shyster through and through.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

                It’s better to talk about arguments than to talk about people personally, I find.

                Talking about the arguments might actually unearth something interesting.

                Talking about the other people directly strikes me as not only Mean Girls-level bullshit but *OBVIOUS* Mean Girls-level bullshit and a huge amount of people who have directly experienced Mean Girls-level bullshit will immediately respond viscerally to it (consciously or unconsciously).Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                Normally I would agree with you, and it is generally how I go about commenting and reading comments here.


            • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

              Do you support the idea of people commenting on what they read or, in your view, should they just keep it to themselves?Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                What I support is that, when someone has proved to be an unreliable reporter of what he says he has read or said or written, people are well advised to read for themselves and make up their own minds. You’re not against people doing their own reading and making up their own minds, are you?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                I’ve done the “hey, you should read this!” thing.

                It doesn’t work as well as you’d think it would.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                Thank you for yet another example.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                If someone is repeatedly irritating, wrong, and argues in bad faith, after a while people will begin to see such a person as an annoying troll who wants to suck up the oxygen in the room. It’s less about argument and more about attention seeking behavior.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                Would you expect such people to have blind spots?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                I didn’t see much reason to look beyond the URL. “…bipartisan group secretly [verb]…” A bipartisan group can’t secretly [verb], so whatever it is, it didn’t happen. Further, if there’s a story about it in the press, then “secretly” is obvious false.Report

              • JS in reply to veronica d says:

                Some people delight in clear communication. Others delight in preventing it.

                Why waste your time with the latter? What could they possibly offer? Even if they have something to say, their natural inclination means they’ll make sure no one understands it.

                And yet they often talk so very much….

                An irony, I suppose. So many words to convey nothing. Silence would have been more efficient in getting the point across.Report

              • veronica d in reply to JS says:

                There is a ton of discourse on “feeding the trolls.” The problem is, while any one person might ignore the troll, almost always someone will take the bait, and then the conversation degrades. As I said, it “sucks the oxygen from the room.” Moreover, when you can see what they are doing, the tactics they use, it’s really tempting to point out those tactics. Certainly I think discussing the tactics used by bad faith actors is useful. Pointing them out in specific cases seems similarly useful.

                Anyway, file under “we can’t have nice things.”Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                It’s like how when someone posts an essay about action figure prices a commentor rolls in and starts yelling about how capitalism is an evil fiction, and when the OP asks why that’s relevant, they reply “I just don’t understand you.”Report

              • CJColucci in reply to DensityDuck says:

                I see you’ve caught Jaybird’s reading comprehension problem. But anyone who cares can read for themselves.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                A fine idea.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                Or, perhaps, when someone writes an essay about how they’ve worked with employees to communicate the need for proper PPE use and a culture focused on safety-promoting behaviors, and a commentor comes in saying “that all sounds like baby-talk! And anyway, what about conspiracy theories?”Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Personally, I’m impressed that the Dems gamed this out. I criticize them early and often for appearing to be caught with their pants down, so from my pov, this is good news.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

          A good point. This is vastly superior to the “nobody worth listening to is arguing that Trump is going to get more then 240 EVs” thing that 2016 had going on.

          That said, the narrative that we can trust the system and the narrative that we can’t trust the system require two very different types of seeds to be sown and the “we can’t trust the system” seeds are much, much stronger.

          You don’t want to have sown those if you end up winning.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Jaybird says:

        They played games where both sides said that. Read into that what you will, but I, for one, am not looking forward to America becoming a banana republic.Report

  6. Saul Degraw says:

    I always thought the point of the Lincoln Project was to needle President Orange. Though it does look like some ads could convince people to vote for Biden in November. I have no problem with this.Report

  7. Michael Cain says:

    In the opposite of harshing my mellow, I guess, yesterday the Nevada legislature passed a bill, which the Democratic governor is expected to sign, that will make them the seventh western state (of 13) to send essentially all registered voters a ballot by mail this November. Voters who register after the mail deadline will have to vote in person. Eighth state if you include Arizona at 80% of registered voters. Ninth if you include Montana at 70%. Tenth if you include New Mexico at 60%. Nevada’s change only applies during a declared emergency. If vote-by-mail is as popular in Nevada as it is in other western states, the emergency requirement will be dropped.Report

  8. Marchmaine says:

    I think that’s a pretty sober reflection on the NeverTrump business model.

    On the one hand, of course the Republican party will simply return to the hands of Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and George T. Conway III… but isn’t the simple explanation that RW, SS and GTC3 are wishcasting? There’s no political future for a party based on the ‘ideas’ of RW, SS and GTC3… but those three need the status quo ante to continue to be relevant.

    What I find fascinating about NeverTrump.. which you correctly point out… is the assumption that the Party of W/McCain/Romney is going to reconstitute itself like some modern day Humpty Dumpty. There’s a chance that the ‘Republican Party’ does revert to type… but I don’t think that party wins an election until RW, SS, and GTC3 are set-aside.

    There was an interesting article yesterday in The American Conservative written by a National Review editor(!!) arguing that Fusionism is still alive… and not only that, but that Liberarians aren’t merely part of the coalition – but essential(!). [pace OT Libertarians, I come in jest]

    I’ll willingly plead ignorance to the future of the Republican party… but I’ll certainly be against any future that is the fusionism of National Review plus RW, SS and GWT3.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I meant to write “bet against any future” … but I’ll likely ‘be’ against it too, so maybe a distinction without a difference.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      This reminds me of the essay that Scotto wrote about how the Electoral College could still be used to install a president other than Trump. You get California and New York to vote for Rick Perry and Texas follows suit.

      Easy peasy.

      But the problem with multiple defections in such a short amount of time is that while the incentives are there to collaborate if the other guy collaborates, there’s no reason to believe that the other guy won’t pull the football away. Freaking again.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think I’d put that more in response to HM1 rather than HM3… right now Biden is running a sort of “Silent National Unity” campaign. Lots of folks can project a certain sort of presidency that may or may not emerge.

        My unpopular take is that *if* Biden loses the election, it won’t be because he, let’s say, refers to his VP pick as the ‘smartest dame he knows…’ but rather because he says the quiet part out loud of some extreme leftist views… not that he believes them (sorta like Trump aping pro-life rhetoric wrongly) but to signal that he’s on that team. It’ll shatter the illusion of National Unity. That’s the Biden gaffe in the making.

        Right now I’d put it this way… there’s a lot of uncertainty that Biden has the minimal strength to reach is ceiling of barely adequate. Don’t shatter that fragile illusion.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

      The Republican party will not reconstitute itself in the mold of either of the tripartite groups you mention, as that is the paradigm of a Republican party for a liberalism transcendent period. We are no longer in that period and haven’t been since Obama’s first term. Any attempt to recreate the past is always doomed to failure.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Aaron David says:

        Right… which begs the question whether NeverTrump see’s itself as Quixotic, Cynical or Sacrificial. Personally, I lean towards cynical where they are burnishing their reputations for future non-Republican-endeavors post-Trump. But I can’t claim any deep reflection on it more than a hunch.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I would say Quixotic with a tinge of the Mercenary.

          But that might be a rephrasing of what you are saying…Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

          My guess is a combination of expressed guilt at destroying the Party and a desire to remain relevant. That led over time to them actually finding their footing as relevant (they do much better attack ads on the GOP and Trump than Dems could ever hope to produce) and subsequently leveraging that for cash (not necessarily the grift yet!) since their one true and lasting commitment is to destroy Trump and Trumpism for ripping the lid off the cynicism upon which they’d built their careers and reputations.

          Whatever hope they have of becoming leaders of a future Republican party hinges on how well they play the role of antagonist to (what they view as) ignorant conservative populism.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

            Ouch, Bitter Cynical it is then.

            Though I wonder in passing can there even be any hope of electoral success without the Bitter Clingers, er, Ignorant Conservative Populists, er, base?

            Unless you’re suggesting the true future winners of realignment: the Neo-Liberal Left/Center governing coalition? Establishments without the ugly commitments owed to either base?Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

              This assumes the populist voting base of the left is disaffected from the leadership/elite center leftists which, I think, assumes facts not in evidence. There is/was a rift that existed between the GOP’s leadership elite and their voters that didn’t/doesn’t exist (or at least not remotely in the same degree) on the Democratic side.
              If the Democratic elite were dominated by market/neo liberals (they aren’t) or social justice activists (they even more so aren’t) then maybe they’d have the same problem; but they aren’t, so they don’t.

              If I had to bet on a realignment (and I am really bad a predicting politics), I’d think the right has to ditch either their economic populists or their libertarians with the ditched constituency ending up gravitating to the left.

              But with the never Trumpers specifically we should keep in mind that they represent a bunch of career political operatives and media voices. I don’t know that there’s any evidence to suggest they represent a voting constituency that is much larger than the number of votes they individually can cast.

              As to where they go? I think it depends on this election. If the GOP is utterly routed then maybe the never Trumpers will try and rebuild the George W Bush GOP in its ashes (which I doubt they’d succeed at). If the GOP merely loses or narrowly loses the never Trumpers are just gonna be a fading voice loosely attached to but exercising very little pull on the Democratic party until they fade away to nothing.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                The Democratic elite isn’t dominated by market/neo liberals? Hmn… I suppose we’ll have to parse ‘elite’ and ‘dominated’ and ‘market’ and ‘neo liberal’ to squeeze that into the box we’d like to squeeze it into… but I’m sure there’s a way to parse it just so.

                But at any rate… no worries then; everyone in the coalition is happy with the direction and leadership. Especially once Trump is gone.Report

              • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I grant that neoliberal is a rather ambiguous term meaning different things to different people; but however one parses it the Democratic elite doesn’t universally fit the bill. They’re market friendly- not anti-capitalist; but they aren’t libertarians by any stretch of the imagination nor are they even in spitting distance of the same. That happens to describe a very large majority of the Democratic voting base. One certainly could say I’m wrong and that there’re big gaps that make the Dems dysfunctional in a way similar to the dysfunction of the GOP but I would expect them to be able to name specific examples.

                The left is pretty damn massive and unwieldy right now, spanning a huge spectrum of political real estate from the Never Trumpers on the right up to the Berniacs on the left who’re just barely willing to get with the program which leads to an odd situation where damn near no one is exactly delighted with the party and yet no one can honestly say it’s terrible enough to want to go somewhere else. And I’d readily grant there’s gonna be some knife fights once the particular unifying factor of Trump is out of the picture but, again, that’s just politics as normal; not the remarkable moment of crisis I see in the Republican camp.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

              The NeverTrumpers want the Ignorant populists to go back to believing *their” lies, not Trump’s lies.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well of course that. But if your path to power relies on the people behind the curtain jumping in front of the curtain to tell the ignorant populists that they are doing it wrong? That’s not the start of something, it’s the end of it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                It’s the end of it if you think the IC populists will control the party going forward. IF they don’t, ICP antagonists will be well positioned to get feet into doors and hands into pockets.Report

  9. Oscar Gordon says:

    HM2: Shallow patriotism, like shallow religion.

    If your patriotism is so offended by a person kneeling for a drinking song, I bet your faith is seriously threatened by two strangers of the same sex getting married.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      “If your patriotism is so offended by a person kneeling for a drinking song”

      If it’s just a drinking song then why do you think it matters that anyone knelt for it?Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to DensityDuck says:

        Didn’t say that I did. My patriotism isn’t shallow. I give a shite what anyone does during the playing of the national anthem, as long as they do it quietly.Report

      • Pihlip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

        The song, like the flag, are symbols of the nation. They are no more or less immune to peaceful protest that any other symbol. And remember, prior to the 1970’s none of these professional sports teams came out before the anthem. So it’s not that hallowed a tradition. Also remember that Kapernick took his knee on the advice of a white Army vet who said he (the vet) felt kneeling was a respectful way to protest. The fact that the National Anthem was built of the frame of drinking song is mildly humerous.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Pihlip H says:

          “The song, like the flag, are symbols of the nation. They are no more or less immune to peaceful protest that any other symbol.”

          Well, sure! And the rest can be upset at the arrogation of those national symbols for someone’s personal drama! That’s how a conversation works, it’s not a series of flat statements that everyone else who’s Good nods along with and “amen”s at the end.

          “it’s not that hallowed a tradition”

          Philosophically, I don’t think “respecting the symbols of national unity isn’t and shouldn’t be a tradition at public events” is as killer an argument as you seem to imagine.

          And practically, 1970 was fifty years ago, you tool, two generations of America have grown to adulthood with this being a thing, it isn’t exactly some Johnny-come-lately idea.Report

          • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Ah where to begin . . .

            I was born in 1971, and I don’t think this appropriate. So it is possible to be in those generations (and actually its now three that are adults in that time span) and also come to believe the tradition of teams on the field all standing hand over heart needs to go. Its forced patriotism, paid for by DoD as part of rehabilitating their post-Vietnam image.

            The big, aircraft carrier sized piece of this you are avoiding is those are not actual symbols of national unity for many people. Kapernick knelt (which was so badly ballyhooed back in the day but sure seems better then current alternatives IMHO) precisely because he and other black athletes decided to use their very public platform to call attention to an injustice that still effects millions of our fellow citizens. Just today there was a story in NPR about black State Department diplomats being harassed by CBP and its predecessor agencies, and black family was forced to sit handcuffed on hot pavement over the weekend at gunpoint because the Aurora Colorado police couldn’t figure out the SUV they were in was one the police had recovered and returned to this same family back in February.

            He isn’t arrogating these alleged symbols of national unity for his own ends, he’s engaged in peaceful protest which is protected speech under the First Amendment. Way more peaceful in some people’s eyes then blocking Interstates and marching in city streets. And again, he chose to kneel after talking to veterans about what he might do.

            Finally – calling people names – even here – is the mark of an intellectually lazy person who is EXTREMELY insecure in their position. Its what the Tweeter In Chief does. Be better then that would ya?Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H says:

              “The big, aircraft carrier sized piece of this you are avoiding is those are not actual symbols of national unity for many people. ”

              two comments back, from me: “If it’s just a drinking song then why do you think it matters that anyone knelt for it?”

              You can’t have it be both a silly useless pointless waste of space and time that was sleazed into existence by cynical manipulators and shouldn’t be respected and have protesting it carry a deep meaning that we should all think about. If protesting it matters, then it’s because the symbol matters, and protesting it is going to get pushback from people who think using it to push your own personal hobbyhorse is immoral.

              “He isn’t arrogating these alleged symbols of national unity for his own ends”

              He is absolutely doing that. You might think those ends are important but you ain’t everybody He might think his point is worthy but the speaker does not control how the audience interprets their speech, as dudes like you just love to point out when, e.g., a white guy describes a black politician as “clean and well-spoken”.

              “[Kaepernick] and other black athletes decided to use their very public platform to call attention to an injustice that still effects millions of our fellow citizens.”


              “Its what the Tweeter In Chief does.”


              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

                You seem to be intentionally missing the point. so I’ll break it down for you into smaller chunks.

                1. The National Anthem and the flag are symbols of our nation. No more no less.

                2. Those symbols are open to being used in protest of the things our government at all levels does. They are not sacred texts nor are they imbued with supernatural powers.

                3. Having professional athletes present and saluting the flag during the anthem is a modern invention that was funded by the government to change how people viewed said government. It is this “tradition” that I believe is a “silly waste of space,” not the playing of the anthem itself.

                4. Kneeling in protest to injustice done under that flag is not a disrespect of the flag or the anthem. Its a disrespect of the injustices committed by agents of government under color of the flag and anthem. choosing to conflate the two – especially when the kneeler has been very public and consistent as to why he’s doing what he’s doing is to try and delegitimize his argument because you don’t want to engage with it.

                5. Since the Right has objected strenuously to the form of the protests following Mr. Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis by government agents acting under that flag and that anthem, the Right now appears hugely hypocritical for saying that Mr. Kapernick’s kneeling was some sort of horror show.

                6. That the National Anthem was built on the bones of a drinking song further reinforces the point that Mr. Kapernick’s kneeling in protest was a very civilized approach to the issue, in as much as he’s showing respect for the musical descendant of a drinking song.

                7. Since his kneeling – and the kneeling of others remains – so patently offensive to you, how would you suggest he protest? As I recall you don’t like blocking interstates or shouting chants at courthouses or pretty much any other form tried so far by impacted people and communities to call attention to this issue.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H says:

                “You seem to be intentionally missing the point.”

                Oh no no no, I’m not missing it, I’m refusing to accept it as valid. I know how old-guy brains get calcified but do try to keep up.

                And it’s interesting how you insist that I’m Intentionally Missing The Point when your only response to my argument has been to restate your own.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Well if you aren’t going to accept it as valid then why bother trying to refute me? seems a waste of your apparently too valuable time.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      “Shallow patriotism”? Says who? Maybe a shallow dimension of patriotism, just like not calling the missus a “c” is a shallow dimension of marital love, but it says something about the kind of person who would break that norm. Our patriotism shouldn’t be simply shallow, but small gestures aren’t meaningless.Report

      • The question in reply to Pinky says:

        “my country right or wrong” is where so many good people go wrong and just never managed to get turned around when you go down there.

        I mean if you’re anything but a native American you’re living on stolen land in America and you got to remember that we basically killed 95% of the existing pre landing population in the name of religious freedom and manifest destinyReport

      • Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

        If your patriotism is such that a single black man kneeling during the national anthem – or the whole NBA which is predominantly black kneeling – causes you to boycott sports, burn your expensive shoes and hurl epithets online and on video at the kneelers, you possess shallow patriotism. You don’t want your country to be better – that takes critical thinking and both self and national examination. You want symbols to be immutable, no one to protest or speak up and everything to remain static.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H says:

          “Look at this person destroying their possessions and angrily denouncing people in response to an insult! They very clearly don’t take this thing seriously.”Report

      • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

        Sorry for returning late to the party. Computer issues. Both The question and Philip H write as if my patriotism is only for show. There’s no reason for that assumption. Patriotism is not confined to respect for symbols, but it is a part of it. Have I said “my country right or wrong”, or that I don’t want my country to be better? Nope.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      The great Mike Royko wrote a column 35 years ago anticipating this.


  10. DensityDuck says:

    Kaepernick kneeling has been an enormously successful grift.Report

    • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

      NO more or less so then the Pentagon paying the NFL and NBA and MLB to do the whole teams on the field for national anthem stunt to try and rehabilitate its image post-Vietnam.Report

  11. George Turner says:

    I could easily imagine Never Trump Republicans as The Downton Abbey elite. They seem convinced that only someone of proper breeding and manners can be in charge, someone they’d invite over for tea or go fox hunting with. The idea that some ruffian is President, well, it strikes them as something far worse than having some butler or footman ascend the throne, because at least the servants are part of the proper hierarchy. To them, Trump is a direct threat to their status, privilege, estates, and carefully refined culture with its complex rules of etiquette. He’s the worst thing to happen to their kind since the Vikings attacked Lindisfarne or Oliver Cromwell started collecting heads.

    The trouble is, nobody has need of any Downton Abbey elites. They never do anything other than cluck their tongues over cocktails, and they never take a stand on anything, unless of course it gives them an opportunity to posture, preen, and deliver a condescending lecture to prove how well bred and well educated they are.Report

    • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

      To them, Trump is a direct threat to their status, privilege, estates, and carefully refined culture with its complex rules of etiquette. He’s the worst thing to happen to their kind since the Vikings attacked Lindisfarne or Oliver Cromwell started collecting heads.

      He certainly has managed to savage their pocketbooks and investment portfolios.Report

  12. Damon says:

    If Trump would go full on 100% tweeting out annoying things to the Twitterverse and causing every liberal to suffer TDS, I’d vote for him..just to piss off the sanctimonious lefties off. His admin might then get something done while he was tweeting. Sadly, that level of effort for me is too much It’s just not worth the effort anymore. 🙂Report

    • Philip H in reply to Damon says:

      His administration has gotten a bunch of stuff done – overpaying for ventilators that won’t be here for a year, rolling back environmental regulations; taking money from military construction to build a border wall, and allowing Mitch McConnell to confirm 200 or so federal judges.

      Of course, with the tanking of the economy none of that matters much.Report

  13. Marchmaine says:

    [HM2] I’ve always been an agnostic American… just passing through, really. So can’t say I’ve had strong opinions on the song.

    However, historically, my interest is piqued on its move to Sports. My recollection is that the Anthem was played for kids’ sports during Tournament Championships (Hockey)… including Canada if the tournament was cross-border. It was echoing the “big leagues”. And, I recall the Anthem being played before pro games, but just for us fans… the players were still in the locker rooms- for Hockey and Baseball (??). Players only took the field for the Anthem during play-offs and/or tournament scenarios. I’m not sure I see much of a reason to even play the Anthem at sporting events outside of times of war and/or national tragedy. Or, maybe, during special occasions like Championships as a momentary symbol of unity?

    In some ways, making the Anthem mundane made it less symbolic… and therefore easier to ‘protest’ since it wasn’t really a symbol of a unique thing, but rather a recitation of a common thing.

    Am I misremembering?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      From the greatest sports movie ever:

      When I was a kid, the arcade had an industrial strength slide rod hockey game where red players would play against blue players (warning: PDF). The game started with the last two seconds of either the American or Canadian National Anthem (which could be ended prematurely by someone pressing the “boo” button). Less interesting to point out that the players were already on the ice for that, though.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah… I should have mentioned my hockey childhood was in the 70s/80s and existed under the shadow/hagiography of Slap Shot. I still don’t remember regular games sending out both teams for the Anthem… but eh, I don’t remember a lot of things about the 70s/80s.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          The whole “starting a brawl before the national anthem” joke is one of the funniest hockey jokes of all time.

          But its impact would be severely lessened if they didn’t send the players out until after the anthem.

          Now I have to do some independent research…

          Found my answer.

          The relevant portion starts here, at 2:46.


          • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yeah, but that’s the Cup final… I remember the anthems during the finals… its the regular season games I can’t remember. That’s what made going to the finals as a kid so cool.

            And the Canadian one should always be in French.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

              Oh jeez. I missed that.

              And there don’t seem to be full games from the era on the youtube.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Part of the problem is that we only really have pop culture and they smear everything together.

                The Naked Gun, for example, has the greatest National Anthem gag ever and the players were on the field. (Those were the semi-finals though, I guess.)

                I remember in The Dream Team (not available on Netflix) that our first encounter with Stephen Furst is when he’s watching the ball game on the television and singing along to the National Anthem… so they were, at least, playing that for the people at home (dunno if the players were on the field… nor if the game was part of the playoffs… though I can’t imagine their shrink would take them to a playoff ball game… not that the plot matters *THAT* much to a movie like that…).

                I am distressed that we don’t have documents from the past.

                This should be findable.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Found a 1979 regular season hockey game… it started with the starting line-up on the ice during the anthem.

                Found a 1979 regular season Cubs game… it started with the anthem for the fans only (belting out the words, too) and an empty field (see 6:00 mark)

                That squares with my recollection for baseball that the anthem was just for the fans.

                Maybe the hockey thing was more of an ‘international’ gesture by singing both anthems… note that the game is US only teams, but they start with Oh Canada.

                Nowadays, the Blackhawks only play the US Anthem when at home vs. other US team. I suppose just to honor Patrick Kane… 🙂

                My unresearched personal recollection is that the Anthem was re-totemized after 9/11. It ebbs and flows.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Hrm… in the ball game, though, the players seem to be in the dugouts. (I’m looking at the knees of a number of guys as the special guests at the game that day run out to Home Plate to wave.) Does that count?

                I don’t even know.

                I’ve lived my whole life in a world where the National Anthem was part of sporting events.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Linky jailReport

  14. North says:

    I find Hugh Hewitt’s article oddly reassuring. I mean, if that is the full extent that a Trump sycophant like HH can inflate Trumps record then Trump is indeed in dire straits. For fish’s sake HH actually tried to give Trump and the GOP credit for the Dems’ coronavirus relief package even as the GOP is, in real time, refusing to re-authorize it.

    Seriously, this is the guy who wrote this after Biden’s win in South Carolina.
    Anyone who’s this reliably wrong bears paying attention to.Report