The Painfully Simple Future of Joe Biden’s Agenda

Eric Medlin

History instructor. Writer. Rising star in the world of affordable housing.

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109 Responses

  1. North
    Ignored
    says:

    Good analysis. I’m inclined to agree. It’s a pity this is what we’re stuck with but it could be a heck of a lot worse.

    The big question, of course, is do Manchin or especially Sinema have any fishing clue what they actually want? The jury is still out on that one. With Manchin, of course, there’s virtually nothing that can or should be done. Sinema is a different story. I’m no expert on AZ’s political climate but if Sinema gets too loony tunes she strikes me as a primary-vulnerable Senator. Manchin, in an R+a billion state and likely facing the end of his career anyhow, is immune to all those considerations in a way that Sinema, who’s just starting out, isn’t.Report

  2. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know if we should put the New York Times in the “helping” or “not helping category”.

    On the tweet, the title of the op-ed is “Can Biden Save His Presidency?” (don’t google “Betteridge’s law of headlines”) but, in the article on the web (and, presumably, the paper itself), it is “Another Failed Presidency at Hand”.

    It’s a good thing “But What About Trump?” works as well as it does. If it didn’t, Biden might find himself with a real problem on his hands.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      NY Times pitchbot is more accurate. But Jaybird’s passive-aggressive taking of right-wing talking points at face value to troll must continue apace.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        The “New York Times Pitchbot” is run by Balloon Juice’s own Doug J.

        Please, Saul. I don’t take the New York Times’s right-wing talking points at face value as much as I point to them and say “huh, these are the New York Times’s right-wing talking points”.

        I do kinda assume that sophisticated thinkers everywhere will adopt their own much more *NUANCED* version of these talking points leaving only the unsophisticated partisans to scream “NUH-UH!” in response. (Perhaps bring up Trump and how bad he is.)Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          You answer a charge of passive aggression by…noting that you are merely a passive observer.

          Who searches out and posts a highly partisan editorial.

          On which you have no opinion but merely to say “huh”.

          So that leaves it to the rest of to observe your post (about which we have no opinion) and say “huh”.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            No, I was answering a charge of taking the talking points at face-value.

            I assure you that I was *NOT*.

            As for “passive-aggressive”, it gets used differently than I would use it. Saul, in this case, seems to mean “someone who is talking about something that I don’t want to talk about and wants to talk about it in a way that is much different than the way that I would want to talk about it, if I did”. As such, I don’t find the charge of passive-aggression as worth addressing, particularly.

            When it comes to the meat of the take, when it comes to how awesome Biden is doing, I do think that there are things that even non-Trumpers can agree have been messed up.

            And I think that failure to recognize when mistakes have been made is one of those things that keeps bubbling up over the last 6-7 years or so and I can’t help but fixate on it when I see Democrats, once again, denying that anything beyond being too good, being too noble, and wanting too many nice things to happen might qualify as a mistake.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              You keep using the passive tense, and the objective term “mistakes”, which itself is a highly partisan and entirely subjective opinion.

              Which is fine to have, but then to draw yourself up in indignation when this is pointed out is just silly.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I had assumed that we remembered the discussions we’ve had about the issues with leaving Afghanistan.

                A bad assumption, on my part.

                Anyway, here:
                I think that leaving Afghanistan was something we should have done years ago (if not, like, in 2003 or 2004 or 2005).
                I think that the leaving of Afghanistan as it happened this year was botched.
                I think that there is a lot of room between “botched” and “perfect” and that amount of room is not anywhere near as interesting as the amount of room between “botched” and “as good as could reasonably have been expected”.
                The failures were not Biden’s. They were the intelligence agencies’ that were lying to not only him but to multiple presidents over the last many, many years.
                It’s unfair that Biden is being unfairly tarred with this particular failure when the failure was not his.
                Biden is still being tarred with this failure despite it being unfair and it is still his problem even though it is unfair.

                I do not know whether Afghanistan will matter by the time the most important election in our lifetimes rolls around in 14 months.

                I honestly don’t think that any of the above is “partisan” in any interesting way. (And by “interesting”, I mean, “any more partisan than that of the person who would be inspired to write a comment to disagree with it”.)

                My indignation is not at being accused of having a subjective opinion.

                It’s at being accused of taking the talking points at face-value.

                I assure you that I was *NOT*.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                1. You have a pattern and practice of mainly posting from right-leaning writers and/or right-leaning publications.

                2. If you post from a left-leaning publication, it tends to be the kind that hate Democrats more than they hate reactionary authoritarians.

                3. If it is a “neutral” journalist, it tends to be one pushing a “Democrats in disarray” narrative because a two-term back bencher is voicing concerns.

                4. You never post Republicans in disarray narratives.

                5. You have posted what you perceive to be brutal takedowns of middle-class Democrats before and with the same venom that the leftier than thou set has for “Park Slope Wine” moms. This happened right after Trump received his freak electoral college victory.

                So yeah, I think you have a bias against Democrats that you refuse to acknowledge.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, Saul? Is that what was bugging you?

                I cheerfully acknowledge my bias against Progressives.

                To the extent that they overlap with Democrats, that is absolutely and certainly something that exists and I acknowledge.

                I find my bias to not be particularly interesting, though. (And by “interesting”, I mean, “any more partisan than that of the person who would be inspired to write a comment to disagree with it”.)Report

              • JS in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                He stirs with a much shorter spoon than he imagines.

                I mean I get trolling — some people find it fun.

                But I don’t know why he bothers here, or why he thinks people don’t notice.

                hell, he once told someone they just be thrilled he trolled them, because it “tightened their rhetoric”.

                It’s like melding the worse aspects of a would-be professor, overly enamored with his own intelligence, a poor understanding of the Socratic method, and a belief that his attention is all the reward one could hope for in this life.

                He’s teaching us all, one random tweet at a time.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m also learning! Sometimes.

                For the most part, I like when I consider a point, think “what is the most likely response to this point I’m making?” and then add a sentence or two to address that point, and then one of the first responses responds as if I hadn’t added those two sentences.

                It means that I’m getting a grasp on something close to the thought processes involved.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to JS
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                says:

                Jaybird is just asking questions, man….Report

              • JS in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                My question is why he thinks that schtick convinces anyone.

                I mean you can see the bad faith as he dodges to avoid making a point. I’ve seen politicians do less work to avoid being pinned down.Report

              • Pinky in reply to JS
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                says:

                Glass houses, dude, unless you actually want a “rate the commenters” page.Report

              • JS in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                if I don’t correct him, how will he ever tighten his rhetoric?Report

              • Pinky in reply to JS
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                says:

                If you want to help him, you could do so by elevating your game. You could do this by staying on topic, and stopping the personal attacks.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                “You could do this by staying on topic, and stopping the personal attacks.”

                but it feels so good to be angry and mean, and how can something that feels so good be bad?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to JS
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                says:

                “Pinned down”

                See, here’s what’s weird: I don’t think that my own opinions are *THAT* interesting.

                Like, go up there. Here.

                That’s my take on the whole Afghanistan thing.

                I don’t think that my opinion on Afghanistan is *THAT* interesting. Indeed, my takes strike me as being fairly obvious and banal.

                It’s not that I don’t want to be “pinned down”. It’s that my opinions aren’t interesting enough to pin.

                Now the opinions of people who believe that we’ve made no mistakes, Biden didn’t do anything wrong that anybody else wouldn’t have done (within normal parameters), and people who are complaining are doing so in bad faith?

                *THOSE* are interesting opinions, in my view. For one thing, they strike me as being obviously wrong. Like… partisanly wrong. And seeing the justifications people give for hodling (sic) them? That’s endlessly fascinating.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You equate “interesting” with “obviously wrong” and “partisanly wrong” while declaring your own opinions uninteresting.

                That’s, um, interesting.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, go up to my opinions on Afghanistan. How interesting are they?

                Am I correct in seeing them as banal?

                If they are, instead, obviously wrong, say “hey! That’s wrong! We *SHOULD* have stayed in Afghanistan at least until Bin Laden was confirmed dead!”

                Or something. I dunno. I don’t see my opinions as being interesting enough to argue against passionately. They strike me as dull… that is, even if one wouldn’t agree with them, it’d be simple to see how someone could hold them without, like, being crazy or anything.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”-Jean Paul-Satre, Anti-Semite and Jew.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Saul, I’m not sure that my pointing out that Biden is having a rough time in the press ought to be compared to anti-semitism.

                I don’t say this because I am recoiling from being called an anti-semite, mind…

                But because I’m somewhat of a supporter of Israel and one of the things that vaguely irritates me is the recent watering down of accusations of anti-semitism to include “freaking anything”.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not saying you are an anti-Semite but I think you are acting in bad faith and when called out on it, you double down or try to move things on just like that qoute.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                I think you’re acting in bad faith.

                Is that the subject?Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I think you are
                a bad faith roght-wing troll too and I am
                not convinced by your arguments.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Saul, the handful of questions that I’d have involve stuff like:

                Would you say that you’re pretty left for where you are in San Francisco?
                Would you, instead, say that you’re pretty centrist?
                Would you, instead, say that you’re one of the right-wingers in your circle?

                Because, and this is just a guess here, that you’re in a place where your views don’t get a whole lot of pushback from people to your right in your day to day interactions.

                Is my guess a good one?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t notice this post before I posted my reply to Saul, but I think it’s interesting. I don’t see a lot of self-patrolling on the left on this site or in the country generally. Attacks for perceived deviations, yes, but not calm 10,000 mile checkups. It’s next to impossible to hear a political opponent’s warnings, but someone on your own perceived side can call you out. I wouldn’t say we’re on the same side, but there are times when you’re in such an obscure misinterpretation spree with an OT liberal that I feel I’ve got to show a yellow card.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I ask because he sees such things as “You have a pattern and practice of mainly posting from right-leaning writers and/or right-leaning publications” as a particularly interesting criticism.

                Not observation: CRITICISM.

                As someone who is quite regularly the leftmost guy in the room, I find this sort of thing hilarious.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Does that mean all conversation has to shut down, though? There aren’t many people I’ve ignore-clicked, but that’s an option on this site. Downvoting isn’t. But bellyaching about someone’s commenting style takes the worst of both those worlds and adds a potential loss of credibility, a distraction for others, and often a borderline violation of etiquette.

                Jaybird is a trip. Either go on the trip or don’t.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, whew! Yeah, normally when I see “Anti-Semite and Jew” quoted by someone of Jewish extraction to a non-Jewish person, it’s in other circumstances. Now that I see that it’s useful for general accusations of bad faith, I’ll add that to arguments when I see someone playing with words. Thanks for the technique!

                Down to the meat: I see that the accusations of bad faith in this case are red herrings. My main interest, mind, is “what is likely to happen?” and “how can we tell what is going to happen?”

                If I see something that strikes me as a pretty strong indicator, the fact that it strikes me as a pretty strong indicator doesn’t go away when someone immediately changes the subject to how big of a jerk that I, personally, am. I see it as “them preferring to talk about how big of a jerk Jaybird is to wrestling with something like the NYT op-ed page calling Biden’s presidency a failure by September”.

                Biden getting pilloried in the NYT is interesting, to my mind, because it’s an indicator of the bumpy road that Biden is on.

                Do I think that it’s fair? Unfair? I can’t think of something less interesting than my own personal opinion of whether it’s fair or unfair.

                Do I think that the general public will see it as far? Unfair? Now *THAT* is interesting!

                And when people say that I’m arguing in bad faith because I don’t want to be “pinned down”, I see that as them engaging in one of the least interesting things that we could possibly be arguing about: My own opinions. My own opinions are boring. If you want an example of them, they’re up there!

                Now the impulse to attack people who are noticing such things as the NYT really turning the guns on Biden?

                Part of me wonders if it’s an attempt to socially sanction people criticizing Biden.

                As someone who was hanging around during 2015 and 2016 in the run-up to the Trump vs. Clinton election and was attacked for noticing Clinton making what I thought were mistakes, I can’t help but think that we’re, once again, in a situation like 2015 and 2016.

                And the more I get attacked for exploring that sort of thing, the further away from disabused I get.

                But thanks for the quote from Sartre. It seems like a useful tool to use against people who are playing with discourse.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If I see something that strikes me as a pretty strong indicator, the fact that it strikes me as a pretty strong indicator doesn’t go away when someone immediately changes the subject to how big of a jerk that I, personally, am.

                I’m reminded of the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode where Ted, a bundle of nerves over his upcoming marriage to Georgette, asks Lou for advice:

                Lou: Ted?
                Ted: Yes, Lou?
                Lou: You know the way you always are?
                Ted: Yes, Lou?
                Lou: Don’t be like that.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                “You mean that I shouldn’t bring up Bulverism?”
                “Yes.”Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s a fallacy only if you’re purporting to make an argument. “Jaybird is being a jerk again” isn’t
                a fallacy unless followed by a “therefore.” It’s just an observation, which can be true or false but not fallacious.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Is “you would demonstrably rather talk about how I’m a jerk than about the contents of the article” an observation or is it merely a fallacy?Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                An observation, of course. Did you actually not know that or were you just being a jerk?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m one of the jerks who thinks that “you’d rather talk about me than the article” is more interesting than the topic of “me”.

                Though I could see wanting to talk about whether the observation that someone else is a jerk is a fallacy or not would be a fun little path to wander down as well.

                (“Changing the subject” is not a fallacy, for the record. In case you wanted to take the opportunity to hammer down that it wasn’t.)Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m not going to argue about a matter of taste. Whether what you have to say is more interesting than how you go about saying it is a matter of taste.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                My main interest, mind, is “what is likely to happen?” and “how can we tell what is going to happen?”

                This is also known as the “Cult of Savvy”. It goes by other names such as “Barstool Sports” or “Horserace Tout”.

                The biggest practitioners of it are media outfits like Politico or The Hill, or individuals like David Gregory and Chuck Todd. Their primary interest is in portraying themselves as clever political prognosticators who can tell us what will happen.

                Its insulting and offensive for a couple reasons.

                One, it takes us the audience for a pack of fools.

                It assumes that the speaker is a Savvy Expert Observer of some grand game and is filling us the audience in on some special knowledge.

                But the special knowledge is just the conventional wisdom of the David Gregory and the folks he hangs out with. Chuck Todd’s perspective isn’t any better than ours, and the “Objective mistakes” are really just something that they don’t happen to like.

                Second, and much more importantly, the Cult Of Savvy is offensive for its nihilism of assuming that serious matters of democracy, things that literally mean life or death, are just trivialities.

                Even worse, it assumes that everything is relative, everything is equally good or bad, true or false.

                David Gregory is actually on record as saying that his job isn’t to assess the truth or falsity of government statements but merely to report on them.
                Politico’s signature “Win the morning” stuff is premised on the idea that its is irrelevant whether Biden’s agenda is enacted or not.

                The Savvy person is Nate Silver, the clever statistician who can tell us what percentage of hits are gained by left handed blonde Ohioan third basemen, but has no clue how baseball is played.

                He sees all the action on the field but has no idea what it means.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, that’s not why I do it. I do it because I think that being able to figure out whether something is going to work is really important for, like, actual advancement (I’m deliberately not using the word “progress”).

                And if something fails, I think it’s important to know why it failed.

                One good way to hammer that out is stuff like saying “this is what’s going to happen” or “this will fail to happen” and then when it either happens or doesn’t, we can hold up our thinking at the time before the fact with what happened and get better at thinking about things before we try something else.

                Seriously: Being able to figure out whether something is going to work (or fail) beforehand is REALLY IMPORTANT.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This fails even under its own terms.

                Horserace color commentary on politics has absolutely no value in assessing policy outcomes. It has never predicted anything or provided any guidance for alternatives.

                However, it does actively erode the ability of free citizens to participate in their own governance by encouraging them to view themselves as detached and passive observers of their own fate rather than active engaged participants.

                The Beltway reporters I mentioned are like courtiers excitedly exchanging gossip about the Duke and Duchess. They fancy themselves to be insiders to something important but are ultimately helpless and insignificant.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You keep seeing it as “horserace”.

                I’m not seeing it as “horserace” but as “will the dog eat the dog food?” or, in somewhat more serious cases, “will the truck make it under the bridge?” (and, in extreme cases, “will the truck make it over the bridge?”).

                It’s not “will my team win?” but “do I understand how teams end up winning?”

                That’s not a horserace.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s color commentary, and fails even at that.

                I mean literally imitating the behavior of sports announcers excitedly postulating on whether the ball will go into the net. It’s Nate Silver telling us the odds, while having no understanding whatsoever of what it means.

                And even on its own terms, it fails, consistently.

                No one has ever provided a clear explanation of “how teams end up winning”. Your very own commentary after 2016 shows that.

                After all the endless essays written by clever Savvy folk who confidently told us why and how teams win, no one was more surprised by the election than the Savvy.

                The Savvy were completely unprepared for every major political development of my lifetime, from Reagan’s first victory to Occupy to the Tea Party to Trump.

                But they have managed to make us collectively more cynical and stupid.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s color commentary, and fails even at that.

                It fails at being color commentary because it is not color commentary.

                No one has ever provided a clear explanation of “how teams end up winning”. Your very own commentary after 2016 shows that.

                It’s a gradient, not a binary.

                It might never be possible to be absolutely right, but it is possible to be less wrong.

                After all the endless essays written by clever Savvy folk who confidently told us why and how teams win, no one was more surprised by the election than the Savvy.

                Yes. But there were also people who were less surprised. They were the ones who said stuff like “I don’t think that that truck is going to make it under the bridge” before the fact.

                The Savvy were completely unprepared for every major political development of my lifetime, from Reagan’s first victory to Occupy to the Tea Party to Trump.

                This seems like a good reason to not think like the Savvy do.

                But they have managed to make us collectively more cynical and stupid.

                Whenever someone makes statements about a group that doesn’t immediately mesh with my understanding of any given situation, I switch their “we” statements to “I” statements and it usually clears things up.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Who were these people who predicted 2016 and how has their track record been, before and since?

                What insights can they offer about this current moment?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                There are plenty of predictions from 2015 and 2016.

                The ones that said “huh, Clinton appears to be making mistakes” and the ones that said “Trump won’t get 240 EVs”.

                There were the ones that said “this is going to be razor thin” and others that said “quit saying that this is going to be razor thin!”

                As for their “track record” (this isn’t a horserace!), one of the things that I look for is people who veer towards “holy crap, I got that wrong!” rather than “well, technically, I was wrong but I was right to be wrong. Others who may have been closer to right than I was were wrong to have been closer to right.”

                What insights can they offer about this current moment?

                The ones who have never acknowledged being wrong about stuff? Even after changing their minds about it?

                The main insight I gather from such folks is which way the wind is blowing. (And, to some extent, the directions that they think will not be blowing anytime soon.)

                As for the ones who tinker and refine how they think about things periodically, I look in the direction of where they see stress points where, under their old abandoned viewpoints, they weren’t looking.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Who?
                Who are these insightful people, so we can learn from them?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                You must have read some analysts who thought Trump could win in 2016. I mean, even Michael Moore predicted it. But since most people don’t like to throw away their votes, I’d guess that a lot of Trump 2016 voters thought he could win. You should talk to those within your circle.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                They’re everywhere, Chip.

                Some of them are even in the comments here.

                But, for example, if you want someone who said “if Trump gets more than 240 EVs, I’ll eat a bug”, there is Sam Wang. In the interview where he ate the bug, he explained that he would rather talk about Trump than waste time on eating the bug (though, indeed, he ate it). A lot of people got it wrong, he pointed out.

                Indeed they did.

                I’m interested in the ones who say “here’s where I screwed up and how” rather than “well, you have to understand… I was just agreeing with everybody else”.

                The former are more interesting because they might actually be *USEFUL* to figure out what will happen next time.

                The latter? Well, I’m pretty confident that they’ll agree with everybody else next time too.

                And use similar excuses. “A lot of people got this wrong”, they can point out.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                They are everywhere, but you can’t seem to name any.

                You can’t seem to articulate any insight from them or why any of it matters or how it can help us understand current events.

                And neither can any of the clever pundits who accidentally predicted 2016.

                This why I have such scorn for this type of “analysis”.

                It’s a pantomime of thinking, playing out the motions without actually getting anywhere.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Chauncey Devega would like a word . . .Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                They are everywhere, but you can’t seem to name any.

                Chip.

                I included a link with video in the comment that you’re replying to. I put the guy’s name in there as well.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Sam Wang is your guy with insight??

                After I sarcastically referenced Nate Silver as a guy who knows all the stats but has no understanding, you name Sam effing Wang as an exemplar?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                You’ve changed your phrasing.

                You’ve moved from “what insights can these people offer?” (a question I answered) to “this is your guy with insight?”

                You’ve noticed that, right?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Ok fine.
                Now that we’ve clarified that Sam Wang is the guy with insight, what insights does Sam Wang offer?

                Can you articulate them in your own words?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, we haven’t clarified that.

                This is another case where you say “we” when you mean “I”.

                My clarification is that they give insight. Not (necessarily) that they *HAVE* it.

                Here. I will copy and paste the relevant section from above again:

                You asked: What insights can they offer about this current moment?

                I answered: The ones who have never acknowledged being wrong about stuff? Even after changing their minds about it?

                The main insight I gather from such folks is which way the wind is blowing. (And, to some extent, the directions that they think will not be blowing anytime soon.)

                As for the ones who tinker and refine how they think about things periodically, I look in the direction of where they see stress points where, under their old abandoned viewpoints, they weren’t looking.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                So you can’t name any of these insightful people other than Sam Wang?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”-Jean Paul-Satre, Anti-Semite and Jew.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                ” I don’t know why he bothers here, or why he thinks people don’t notice.”

                Maybe he just likes watching liberals angrily epitomize every criticism ever leveled against them.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                “1. [Jaybird, you] have a pattern and practice of mainly posting from right-leaning writers and/or right-leaning publications.”

                the New York Times is right-leaning now?Report

    • Eric Medlin in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Bret Stephens has won multiple awards for being unhelpful. But that’s a good point, Trump running creates this dynamic where the Republican crushes a weak Democrat and does well across the country but sputters in suburbs and can’t beat a strong Dem. That may be Biden’s best chance IF he doesn’t pass anything more this year.Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Exhibit # a billion that the NYT and the rest of the main stream media, while they may have some overlap with liberals on principles and morals, are media aligned first, foremost and exclusively. They are not the media arm of the Democratic Party the way Fox is for the GOP (or arguably the way the GOP is the political arm of Fox).Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not sure what anyone can infer about the NYT from a Brett Stephens opinion piece though.

        Slightly more substantively, I’m honestly not sure if the NYT is still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up or if they’ve entered a sort of Democratic dotage where they think they’re on team FDR/JFK but no one else around them knows who those people are or cares.Report

        • North in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          My own personal bet is they’ve become a non-profit NGO type and haven’t realized it. This is not to say that there has been any legal change per say but if you are looking to turn profits then media isn’t it. So the NYT is sustained primarily on the prestige of who and what it is. Likewise people who go to work for the NYT are people who aren’t worried about money very much.

          So we have a very odd entity where the old timers at the top are very very obsessed with trying to appear even handed in the dumbest ways while the young folks actually working the trenches are upper class extremely woke yuppies who’s parents pay the rent on the Manhattan Loft and contentedly tell their friends “Oh Sarah/Sammy work at the New York Times!” Then management is trying to ride herd on this crap show and keep it from blowing sky high.

          So it’s a very drunk and confused sort of media beast, and ironically, one of the healthier ones fiscally speaking.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Very plausible.

            But doesn’t suggest that there’s any particular ethos that will see it through the next 10-20 years… the siren song of moving from NGO to GO Media arm may only get louder. If only to resolve the crap show…Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              Well heck, if I could even imagine a really plausible way forward for media I could probably make myself a rich rich motherfisher. This internet thing feels utterly unprecedented to me. Biggest thing since, what, Gutenberg? Bigger? Maybe bigger and I’m not being ironic when I say so.

              My only guess is that we can/should see a return to some serious unapologetic yellow journalism. I just can’t even wrap my brain around what it will evolve into. Even in the last ten years we’ve seen so many media brand attempts evolve and dissolve in the internet churn. Everything is customizable to individual tastes. That’s great for individuals but it really fractures the idea of any collective narrative. On the right it’s especially glaring as we literally are watching Fox scramble as they get outflanked, on the right, by further fringier competitors.

              But how can you make a business providing information when everyone is eager to provide “information” for free as a side gig? Especially when “information” sells better than information.

              Second guess: a lot of this is parasitical in nature. Opinion and advocacy is cheap and fun (I do it after all!) but the core stories we all talk about are coming from primary sources that originate in old legacy media. If those media beasts collapse, as they have been doing, entirely then what happens next? Lefties coo wistfully about public funding for media (I can think of few dumber ideas) and righties just hope it happens sooner than later but I have an inkling that the old media has to actually die first before the new can be born.Report

  3. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    1. Joe Manchin often says this stuff to get attention and then goes along with almost everything.

    2. Joe Manchin is the only Democrat who can get elected to state wide office and he knows it and this gives him a lot of power and attention.

    3. He is likely dead in water in 2024 if he tries for reelection.

    4. The media and armchair pundits everywhere are addicted to Democrats in disarray narratives in ways that would make a heroin addict say “hey man, do you want to cut it back a bit.”

    5. Trump and Trump Jr are providing “color commentary” on an Evander Hollyfied fight on Saturday, September 11th. Anti-mask COVID idiots disrupt school board meetings to troll, laugh, and harass people who discuss loved ones who died from COVID exposure because of anti-mask mandates. Frankly, the GOP has become a party of decadence and bad-faith trolling but everyone still gives them way too much credit because it is a two party system and no one knows how to just tell them to buzz off and they get way too much credit for being the fiscally serious party.Report

  4. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    1. Can we STOP trying to figure out if a President has succeeded or failed less then a year in to his term? I know EVERYONE likes the horserace political mode, but frankly its annoying at best.

    2. Manchin and Sinema have an an outsized influence. If I had to pick I’d be far more interested in Arizona since it is more purple then it used to be. I agree that Manchin is probably near the end of his career – he’s already been governor afterall.

    3. While this is correct:

    Those on the left want Biden to go big, pass two significant bills funding traditional and human infrastructure, and then pair those achievements with a number of structural reforms designed to aid Democrats in future elections. Moderates want to stick with the traditional infrastructure plan and perhaps a limited reconciliation bill with an eye on inflation and the whims of Republicans.

    Its also not thorough enough. Republicans have made it plain they will not work with Biden, so there’s no good reason to try and accede to their whims. They will, and are, and have been, actively antithetical to any and all Democratic proposals etc. They don’t want Democrats to be legitimate governors of the US. And more to the point, what the left is demanding is not something the Democratic Party has ever tried. Which means the moderates are arm waving on vapors.Report

    • North in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      What it means is that the whole matter has to happen as an intra-party discussion between Manchin and the rest of the Senate caucus while the GOP just gibbers on the sidelines.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        I think that this whole thing would have benefitted from a lunchtime meeting at the White House between 4 or 5 people that included Biden, Manchin, and Pelosi.

        Find out Manchin’s price and then pay it.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          You and I both but we don’t know how it actually goes. Maybe Manchin doesn’t like being so overt about it. Maybe he likes stringing matters along. No idea how the dynamic works with the Senates collegiality. I’m certainly not going to panic until there’s reason to panic.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          In all likelihood, Manchin’s price is “Take out the several hundred billion dollars for green energy.” He seems to want to run again, and my impression is he doesn’t think he has a chance if he supports electric cars and funding for renewable electricy for those rich snobs in California and Colorado.Report

          • North in reply to Michael Cain
            Ignored
            says:

            Guh, I hope that’s not his ask since they’d have to give it to him.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              They can either give it to him smoothly or they can give it to him in circumstances exactly like these.

              They choose poorly.Report

            • InMD in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              You’d hope they can find a way around. The green infrastructure is one of the more policy critical parts of this. Maybe some kind of pork to buy off his local opposition. Or I guess he could just do the right thing.. crazy I know.Report

              • North in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                For sure, but I’d rather take half a bill that passes than a whole bill that founders (and endangers the infrastructure bill on top of that).Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Just a note in passing, the highest wet bulb temperature recorded in the US happened in Minnesota. A couple of unofficial higher readings were taken in Wisconsin.Report

              • North in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                That is very interesting. Go MN *feeble cheer*.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                My assumption is that The Green New Deal will be pulled off about as deftly as Rebuilding Afghanistan following the defeat of the Taliban in 2002.

                This makes my uncertainty about what “the right thing” is very, very high.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Even if you’re right, which is a very very big if*, the spillover of all that wasted money would at least be reaching Americans rather than building villas and bank accounts across the Middle East.

                *Because building something that’s never been built in a mountain wasteland on the far side of the world is /sarc slightly \sarc harder than building a bunch of stuff here at home.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Would it be less risible if I said that I expected it to go about as well as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I would say so since the ARRA accomplished generally good stuff which was in line with its intended purpose. It didn’t kick off a roaring economic boom but it did lead to a slow steady recovery unlike the austerity fueled debacles the Europeans suffered during the same period.

                In contrast, rebuilding Afghanistan was an utter waste and accomplished pretty much none of its goals. So the two policies are worlds apart in outcome.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                This particular New Deal won’t be trying to overcome The Great Recession, though.

                It’ll just be Reinvesting in our Infrastructure.

                It’s that part of the ARRA that I think that GND will most likely resemble.

                When it comes to throwing money at the middle class and up, though, yeah. I think it’ll do pretty good at that in the worst case.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, so either it’ll do general good, build and repair a bunch of infrastructure and accelerate the process of transitioning away from carbon intensive practices or, at worst, it’ll cause inflation and get siphoned off by various American actors. I’m dubious we’ll see a stagflation reprise.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                “I would say so since the ARRA accomplished generally good stuff which was in line with its intended purpose.”

                Really?

                “It didn’t kick off a roaring economic boom…”

                …which was, I recall, its intended purpose.

                More of the money than I thought did actually get spent on projects, but it was mostly “providing full funding for partially-funded activities” or “turning an eight-year project into a four-year project”. Not “we are building a completely new bridge that we weren’t going to build until the ARRA”, not “we are building a downtown light-rail network that we weren’t going to do before the ARRA”.Report

              • North in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                If you have the ARRA in one hand and you say “We wanted to spend this much money and get X much result and instead we only got 1/2 of X result” that’s not spectacular in isolation.

                But if you look in your other hand and have Afghanistan and say “We spent this much money and ended up kicked in the balls and with a sucking chest wound, also we got a finger cut off.” Well the ARRA looks pretty damned good in comparison.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Lets also remember that the bulk of the ARRA money was done as tax breaks and other “investments” trying to kickstart the economy in ways that weren’t big infrastructure. Because neoliberal economics demands recovery be engineered through tax incentives that don’t ever do what is advertised.Report

        • Koz in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I think that this whole thing would have benefitted from a lunchtime meeting at the White House between 4 or 5 people that included Biden, Manchin, and Pelosi.

          Find out Manchin’s price and then pay it.

          Push comes to shove that’ll probably be what ends up happening, but it’s not ripe yet. There’s an important thing that’s been flying under radar over the last 2-3 months, and that is, there is no “soft” or “human” infrastructure bill, or even a comprehensible program really. All there’s been so far is topline numbers. Over the next week or three months, exactly what’s in the reconciliation bill will have to be hammered out. As part of that process, every Demo Senator or Congressman will have his own set of asks and red lines, and they all have to be heard.

          As far as what Manchin in particular wants, he’s been very consistent for the entirety of the Biden Administration: figure out how much revenue you think you can raise, and how you intend to get it, then come back to me. As far as program details go, he’s pretty agnostic so far, except that he’ll probably balk if the climate change stuff is strongly prejudiced against coal or other legacy energy. We don’t really know that yet, because nobody knows what the climate appropriations are yet. But it’s a pretty good guess, Manchin being Manchin.Report

  5. Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    For the first time, Biden is staring at the plausible vision of a failed presidency.

    On the contrary, failure to enact his profligate agenda is the key to a successful presidency. As with Clinton and Obama before him, being forced into fiscal responsibility is the best thing that could happen to his legacy.Report

  6. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    DINOs, DINOs, everywhere.

    If you are inclined to ask “why should I care what some DINO from some crazy state has to say about anything?”, you may find it interesting to learn that Stephanie Murphy is on the Ways and Means committee.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Because one Congressperson voicing concerns is going to sink the whole thing in Jaybird land? Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are better politicians than people give them credit it for. Prove your case that this is just not another example of Democrats in Disarray as a media trope.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        No, one Congressperson voicing concerns is not going to sink the whole thing.

        However.

        I do think that one Congresswoman on the Ways and Means committee publicly announcing her intention to vote no on it passing Ways and Means indicates a handful of things.

        Maybe Pelosi has run the numbers and looked at the coming election and figured out that she has the Congresspeople to spare and Murphy is too powerful to lose in the upcoming 2022 midterms and so it’s, like, 13-dimensional chess.

        That is an option. Absolutely.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Your implication here is that one vote is going to gunk things up. There is an 8 vote Democratic majority on the ways and means committee. This tweet assumes that Chairman Neal is not going to be able to persuade her to do anything but a roadblock.

          You are very transparent.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            My implication here is that a democrat on the, and let me turn my caps key on for this, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE has indicated that she is not intending to vote for it to leave committee indicates, at the very least, a wobbliness.

            But, as you say, maybe it’s a gimme to her (there is, after all, an election coming up).

            And, as you say, they’ve got plenty of votes.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      So near as I can tell, her complaint isn’t so much about how much is being spent, it’s that the bill is bypassing regular order. Under RO, the other committees would all write their parts, including CBO evaluations, and then Ways & Means would take care of any last funding details before sending the final bill back to the House as a whole.

      A rush job outside of RO was sort of implicit in the deal that Pelosi struck with her caucus a couple of weeks ago. She had to promise one group of moderates a guaranteed vote date for the infrastructure bill (Sep 27). A group of progressives have sworn they will not vote for the infrastructure bill unless there’s a finished budget bill (the $3.5T one). I may be misremembering, but I think the infrastructure bill needs to be passed by the House by midnight Sep 30 or there are procedural problems. So, W&M is approving a bill without all the final estimates on how much will be spent or where the money will come from.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        And that doesn’t mean it’ll fail!

        It allows her to communicate that she takes her job seriously and if it passes anyway, hey. She took her job seriously.

        “I voted against it before I voted for it.”

        No problem.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s a lot of inside baseball at the moment. I’m not gonna say it’s normal though. Pelosi, Schumer and Biden are trying to accomplish a LOT with not a lot of votes to spare. It’s going to be tough sledding. I’m still glad they’re attempting it.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      INOs really are the best of both parties.Report

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