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AvatarComments by Saul Degraw in reply to JoeSal*

On “The Democratic Debate: Houston Has Problems, Plans, and Candidates for President

I'm going to issue a very civil but firm dissent (largely):

1. HRC did win the popular vote by several million. Yes, she was not the most popular candidate in the world and turn out in places like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh but if anything it was more of a failure of the electoral college being able to produce wildly undemocratic results than anything else. But dealing with electoral college reform is hard, blamming HRC is easy especially for guys who spent their adolescence and twenties during the 1990s as the Clinton Hate Machine was at full force. We are the same age but you probably grew up in much more conservative corners.

2. I strongly disagree on 2018. How to say this? I think there is a certain type of person and this person is usually a white guy that seems to think it is inconceivable and/or impossible for Democrats to do anything well or intentionally. Every victory is a fluke for a Democrat. But this is not true. I think Trump is turning off a lot of people from the GOP/conservatism especially white women. And more demographics.

One poll I saw this week on New York's daily intel bar said that the only group that approved of Trump by more than 50 percent was guess what? White men. At 54 percent.

3. I agree that AOC types are not largely representative of the freshman Democratic class but it is important to note that 2019's moderates are not the moderates of the Clintion 1990s. They are further to the left and more firm on being pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-LBGT rights, and protecting the ACA, Medicare, and Social Security. This is not third way DLCism anymore.

3a. We discussed this a while ago but I think a lot of these people might call themselves moderates more for aesthetic reasons than anything else. Are they to the right to AOC? Probably. But "moderate" is a term used because they think it sounds sensible and above the fray. Not because it has any meaning ideologically.

3b. I think you are kind of proving my point by noting a lot of the freshman were more moderate than AOC.

3c. California is instructive of how far the GOP has gone off the deep end. This used to be a state with a very Republican history and was Republican friendly more than not. This is the state that produced William Knowland, Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson, Richard Nixon, etc. But now the GOP is a rump party and seems incapable of moderating to be competitive. If the California GOP could say turn themselves into Jacob Javits Republicans, I think they would be successful. Instead they would rather "own the libs" and troll. That is not the sign of a healthy political party.

4. What I see are a lot of guys (often white guys) who learned about politics from the Reagan ascent and 1994 Republican revolution. To them, anything but voting Republican is like being from Saturn. But the smartest among them see that the tides are changing and instead of adapting, they just decide to dig in with minority rule techniques like gerrymandering. See how the Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina GOPs deal with being in states that are more Democratic friendly than they want. They can only stay alive because of gerrymandering, not because they win in the realm of ideas.

5. Suppose the American public is more liberal than you are. Does that pose an existential threat? For a lot of conservatives (and white guys), the answer seems to be yes. We are entering a time when white guys might not be the default catered to American anymore and that scares the hell out of a lot of them.

Most of the music I listen to is indie rock, jazz, and classical. These are niche genres these days. Pop and hip-hop are dominant. I am curious about this but it is not an existential threat to me. But for a lot of guys my age to 20 years older or so, they are really panicked that the rock they listened to in the 1980s and 1990s is no longer popular and they react accordingly.


Oh ha! There is probably more disagreement between North and I on healthcare policy than in the entire right side of the spectrum. The only acceptable right-wing position on healthcare is to end it all and set the market FREEE!!!

Or by moral position are you annoyed that Democrats don’t give space to fascists that want to jail and hurt drag queens? Great hill to die on.


I just think a lot of people on this blog are dumb struck at the idea that Democrats believe in things and don't worship at the feet of Saints Ronnie and Rand. Plus the way people act on this blog, as noted above, you would think Donald Trump is super-popular and Democrats suffered major defeats in 2018.


Meanwhile in the world of actual Democrats:

Warren got the best performance reviews last night. Castro the worst. Biden and Sanders underperformed. O’Rourke and Beto over performed:


Meanwhile AOC is allegedly the Khemer Rogue except not:


I meant good as in numerically significant. At least a sizeable minority. Maybe more.


This is for Jaybird because the reply button is silly:

It looks like a good part of the conservative coalition via people like Sohrab Ahmari are ready and willing to use the federal government to crack down on things like Drag Queen Story Hour. So how is it that the GOP is anti-government and anti-tyranny?


She was a Romney fangirl and Mitt "self-deport/Paul Ryan is my veep" Romney was no moderate. The only reason Romney could not pull it off was because he speaks in full paragraphs and looks like a country club Republican out of central casting.

Trump is a blowhard at a bar.


I think he is being sarcastic. Jennifer Rubin by this point is a moderate Democrat and possibly the only sincere #NeverTrumper.


At least Beto's answer was bold and considering the very real tragedy that happened in his hometown, heartfelt.

In terms of who belonged on stage, I would say that the three big frontrunners are Biden, Warren, and Sanders. There are theoretical Hail Mary ways that Harris and Booker could win the nomination. The other candidates do not have snowball chances in hell and should probably not be allowed on the debate stage anymore.

These debates are for the Democratic Party faithful. The ones that will vote in primaries. Unlike the GOP which seems to have fallen for the orange fuhrer and is cancelling primaries in the name of fealty and fellatio to him.

This poll came out a week ago. The polls show a steady wise for Warren. The really interesting question was which candidate do you think would be the best President for the country. Biden got 24 percent, Warren 20 percent, and Sanders 16 percent. I think Warren has proven herself to the Democratic base through campaigning and the debates. Lots of people still think Biden is overwhelming one most likely to beat Trump but Warren is making her points.

But there are still lots of right-wing Boomers and early Gen Xers around that are shitting their pants that the Democratic Party is moving to the left and refuses to bow in fealty to Republicans. Kind of amusing I think.

On “Choose Your Own Narrative: NC-09 Special Election Edition

Let's talk about something more important: who in hell is the audience for this?

This is the third Politicon, so apparently there is an audience. I'm a political junkie but I would rather undergo emergency root canal than go to this.

Politicon to me is representative of everything wrong with politics. It treats politics as just another variant of sportsbowl where the sparring combatants probably get beers after arguing on MSNBC or CNN. Instead of being about policies that can influence or change millions of lives for better or for worse (depending on ideology). This is kind of politics is the horserace and if you care about anything else, well "whatever nerd."

There are some good names here like Elie Mystal and I am perplexed by his appearance.

On “What Is the Purpose of Primaries

This poll might be instructive:

Biden, Warren, and Sanders are the top three candidates. There is a question here about which candidate the respondees feel can beat Trump. Biden holds a huge lead in that question with 45 vs. 14 for Sanders and 12 for Warren. However, the most intriguing question is which candidate do you think will make the best President for the nation. Here, Biden still leads but it is much smaller: 24 percent, with Warren at 20 percent, and Bernie at 16 percent.

In short, the primary is allowing Warren to slowly and surely prove her merits and rise among the Democratic base/faithful and she appears successful so far. Enough to overcome Biden and cinch the prize? I don't know but certainly enough to be a serious contender.

On “When New York Pizza Became Better than Chicago Pizza

A Chicago "pizza" is not a pizza. It is a casserole.

On “The People Problem of Fast Food Labor

When I was out of college, I taught English for a private company in Tokyo. The companies economic model depended on a steady stream of college grads from the Anglophone world that wanted to spend a year or two in a largely Mickey Mouse job for okay but not great wages and a good time.

This worked well enough until other things caused the company to go bust.

My understanding is that there is a cultural disconnect on these kinds of jobs. Lots of people imagine fast food jobs are held by teenagers looking for pocket money but that is just not true. Now the jobs are held by adults trying to live on the income.

On “Dirty Politics

I think the tweet shows why there is a push to get rid of the bozo now. Negative partisanship is quite high and no one knows how to reduce it or get rid of it. Well maybe there is some clutching of the tea cups and saucers and misremembered nostalgia of Tip and Ronnie banging out a solution over whiskey.

But the issue of the fact is that hatred of the other party runs high. Odes to the ballot box often feel like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.


The expression I have seen used is “every accusation is a confession.” I don’t know how one would study it except for statistics purposes. I suppose you can see if the people who do this would submit to psychological profiling and neurological evaluation. I doubt they would though.

On “Wait. Gillibrand Is Running?

The man is so awful he deserves credit for nothing.


You can make this point without including the orange shit.

She was never a favorite of mine but she is not bad as a Senator. More people need to drop out. Right now, the serious politicians are the ones that are doing so.

On “Movie Notes: First Reformed

But this kind of creates a paradox of left politics, doesn't it?

The promise or fight of left-politics for much of the 19th and well into the 20th century (or 21st) was about getting more for workers. More stability, high wagers, better hours, better housing, health insurance, etc.

This long struggle eventually produced good results in the mid-20th century and then left-wing politics (or a certain portion of it) decided "maybe we should more acestic.

I find that kind of strange. Meanwhile there is still the fight for 15 here.

On “A New Group Puts “Principles First.”

Today in stupid:

Yesterday there was a news story about a bedbug infestation at the NY Times building. A GW professor made a joke on twitter about how the bedbug was NY Times op-ed writer Brett Stephens. This tweet got a grand total of nine retweets. Brett Stephens sees it, announces he is leaving twitter, e-mails the provost of GWU, Streisand's the whole thing, goes on TV to complain, and then gets invited to GW by the provost to talk about "civility in the digital age."

How the hell did the rich and powerful get so thin-skinned and yet they get away with it?

On “Movie Notes: First Reformed

The big question which very few people (liberal and conservative, American, European, Asian, etc.) want to address is how much does fighting climate change call for drastic changes in our way of life. It might very well require it.

The left does not want to admit this because they fear or know that drastic changes to ways of life might make the task of fighting climate change either harder. What does it mean? How does it effect the economy? Who has to bear the burden? Example, a lot of law firms in California handle litigation all over the state or Pacific Northwest. They can do this partially because of phones and e-mail but also because daytrips are easy. I have gotten on early morning flights to Los Angeles or San Diego. Done a court hearing, mediation, deposition, and then be back by the evening on a late afternoon flight. I could probably do Seattle or Portland in the same way if I wanted.

But this requires lots of flying and that is a huge carbon emitter. Now add all the other business travel and the high flying executives and consultants who are in Europe for the first part of the week, Boston and Chicago midweek, and then back home in the west for the weekend. There are lots of fliers like this.

How much will fighting climate change cause firms to cast smaller nets and lose money? How many areas will go underserved because they lack professionals willing to live there but are willing to travel there.

Now how about developing countries that need to catch up with the West and SE Asia development wise. Do you tell them tough luck but you need to stay a backwater?

Suppose for the sake of this thought experiment the answer is yes to all of the above.

On “A New Group Puts “Principles First.”

I think LeeEsq and Andrew get it right. This is a lot like the "problem solvers caucus" or the "no labels" caucus and is largely doomed to failure.

On “Joe Biden’s ’68 Throwback Special

According to one recent poll (but from a reliable outfit) Biden, Warren, and Sanders are essentially tied for first place and Biden continues his tradition of gaffing himself out of a lead. I admit that the poll had a margin of error of 5.7 percent and Biden probably still has commanding leads among older African-American voters (though apparently Warren is rising with this group).

Biden is very old. Trump is very old. I think Trump is showing clear signs of dementia and decline. Papa Trump had Alzheimer's so there is a pattern. I think a lot of Biden's gaffes might be the sign of the same cognitive decline but in a less asshole, stupid, and evil form.

In my ideal world, there would be nothing wrong with discussing whether someone is too old for a leadership position in politics, business, professions, academics, etc. But the Baby Boomer generation gave us "hope I die before I get old" and the conclusion then is don't die. There are lots of silent generation and baby boomer types who are old but clearly do not want to retire anytime soon or hand over reigns of power to the next generations.

I also maintain that Biden's strong lead so far is not because many Democrats agree with him policy wise (sorry North!) but because he is a known quantity and a lot of Democrats just want Trump gone. This is causing all sorts of calculations on removing risk factors and I think a lot of voters might look at 2016 and determine being a woman is a risk factor. This is changing though.

Also compared to Trump's decree by tweet, temper tantrums, and clear corruption (let me profit from the next G7 meeting!), Biden's memory gaps and flubs seem harmless.

On “Maybe Forgiveness After All

Responding to Jaybird's list, looking at that list you have some:

1. A few elite universities (Vanderbilt, Penn and Chicago) that are very selective and known for academic rigor (Chicago's motto is "where fun comes to die.");

2. A lot of flagship level public universities that are or are close to public IVY status. Some of which are also major athletic powerhouses;

3. A handful of private and public second or third tier universities using athletic facilities to attract students that can pay full freight tuition probably: SF State, Northeastern, Pepperdine)

A lot of these schools especially those in 1 and 2 have excellent endowments as well.


Problem, seems to have corrected itself.

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