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AvatarComments by Michael Drew in reply to Chip Daniels*

On “From Freddie deBoer: Ending the Charade

I had to fight off the urge to tweet that I felt she should reproduce a lot of what she was getting, partly to call them out, bring Twitter's attention to them, and partly so people get a sense of what people apparently have to live with day in and day out on Twitter.

But also partly to show us the goods on it. Because she frankly has not been coming off as entirely trustworthy through all of this to me.

But I managed to get myself simply to say that it's awful, and no one who signed the letter or is broadly supportive of the concept of the letter wanted her to experience any of that. (Which I am quite confident is true, including of Jesse Singal.)


Jay, would you want to put up a separate post featuring Liz’s like this one just to achieve a nice kind of balance: two formers of ours writing two of the best essays I’ve seen about this moment, rebutting each other almost as if it was planned that way?


2nding Greg that Liz’s piece is a great companion to Freddie‘s. That’s coming from someone who sees it more like Freddie does.

Not that too many important people are tracking how we handle this, but I think just because of the opportunity for a pleasing symmetry (two prominent former OT/League mainstays weighing in with almost perfect balance on a topic du hour), I think it would be good to get a sidebar post like this up featuring Liz’s piece.

Can I get some 2nds on that?

On “Joe Biden: Staying Alive

Here’s an idea: stop thinking about it so hard and use your vote to its maximum power to remove Trump from office, regardless of how tainted it makes your white-as-snow vote feel. Just this one time. Don’t overthink it. Just do that. For your country.

On “About Last Night: Biden Dominates In South Carolina

I am going to be 40 in September and it feels like when it comes to politics, my cohort is still put at the kid’s table.

When you consider that *Amy Klobuchar* is 59(!), this takes on an even more keen resonance.


K & George -

I think he can run negative ads to his heart's content, though. Whether against Sanders or Trump.

On “Pete Buttigieg’s High Hopes

We-Hate-Creepy-Uncle-Joe Twitter certainly hated the nibble, but I didn't see it go much beyond that myself, Jay:

On “Whereas It is Fitting: Veterans Day in America

It should feel patronizing; I'm asking you to buy the notion that we should credit service members for having signed up and sacrificed to protect our freedom even if you don't really believe it.

There may be a cost of that in our debates about the missions we assign, but it is cost we really ought to be able to overcome as a polity. It's at worst a faction we really owe it to them to affirm at least to them. And I personally don't think it is that great a cost in the debates - except when people won't acknowledge the basic idea that that is what they do.

Our foreign policy debates aren't as out of whack as they are because there is an expectation that we formally acknowledge that military service at leas theoretically exists in this country to protect our freedom. It's out of what because political actors of many varieties have come to misrepresent our country's real interests so expensively that the average American can't make heads or tails of the various arguments and decide for themselves where our interests (and how best to protect our freedom) really lie. Some default to supporting the troops given that confusion, but a significant potion of them do so by supporting their withdrawal from conflicts they can't see the benefit to the country of. Others simply throw up their hands or never think about it in the first place. Very few reflexively line up behind all of our ongoing wars ostensibly on the merits out of a sense that it is the only way to support the troops. That is a caricature, and it is not how the vast majority of Americans think about war and peace. Oftentimes they have complicated thoughts about war and peace and choose to simply express support for serving men and women rather than hash their thoughts out in public. That is not the same thing.


Oscar (and InMD),

We also spent a lot on military capability and deployments to bring the Soviets to the brink in that era. Are you against that in retrospect? For my money it's a matter of vocabulary whether the men and women who maintained those non-combat deployments should be honored as veterans on Veterans' Day; I'm not in either community so my opinion is low on the totem pole, but I lean toward "yes." (But I respect the special respect that combat veterans rightly feel they have earned among their brethren.)

It seems that Andrew may have gone further in defense of a point about wars and freedom in comments than he did in the OP, but I am going to treat his original argument as the one he is committed to. I didn't read him to be making a particular claim about a connection between particular ground wars of our era and our freedom in this era. When I read,

The veterans who are to be thanked and recognized on this day of remembrance served knowing the good and the bad of our imperfect history, knowing what those who went before did, knowing there will be others after them. Knowing they are not on a pedestal of history but living links in a chain that stretches back to before we even had a country, and would not have one without such service. Knowing that if not for them, there may well not be any other to serve in their place. While the historians and politicos can argue the good and the bad of various policies and occurrences, those debates only happen at all because of the freedom those who served to maintain provided the country in the first place.

what I see is a serviceman and combat veteran making the connection between his service and that of the earliest formations of what would later become the United States military. When the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday, there is a reason they make such a point of telling us which birthday it is: the number takes us back before independence was even declared. All members of the U.S. military similarly trace their branches' origins back to that time when the fight was indeed to secure our freedom. And while our political leaders and we as citizens are correct to debate the connection in substance between the uses of the American military that we decide on and the freedom those uses are meant to protect, that doesn't change the idea that American military service is in theory meant to be used to protect Americans' freedom, which includes helping to keep many parts of the world safe for Americans to travel freely in, where our freedom finds meaning in our ability to leave our shores and pursue opportunity in reasonable safety. (Truman and Eisenhower understood for example that more extensive Soviet domination of Europe would mean a loss of freedom not just for Europeans but for Americans as well.)

I take Andrew's point to be that, whatever our views of the connection in substance between the wars of our era and our freedom, one thing that Veterans Day (as well as the service birthdays and other dates of recognition of military service) is about is affirming that the connection between *the service and the servicemen and women* and the preservation of freedom remains intact - no matter how abstruse in argument or broken in substance political leaders render the connection between *the wars they send our service members into* and our freedom. Perhaps that is a stretch for you to assent to, but it is assent I beg of you as a fellow citizen all the same. Our constitution guarantees our freedom, and our service members swear an oath to protect the constitution. We should honor that idea whether it is being borne out by our polity's decisions about how to deploy them, or requires to take a leap of civic faith and do so, for the moment, until we, our nations's political actors, get our act together, in the breach.

On “The Spanish Civil War: A Product of Appeasement

Man. That's about as riven as a nation can be, huh?

On “Weekend Plans Post: The State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair, with its grounds a mile or two from where I type this (it's an urban affair) is A Big Deal around here - much bigger than the Wisconsin version that I've only been to maybe twice despite growing up close by as well. The Great Minnesota Get Together, they call it. We go most years. Her dad, a retired attorney, manages the ticket sellers every year. He's there 12 hours a day for ten days every August. Her mother hates it, along with football. Apple pie is nice though.

On “Distraction is the Larger Picture

Yeah, Twitter does mostly feel good to me too - until it's over and I realize how much time and energy I've wasted and can feel the stress in my joints. Which is the same as booze or pot. So it's pretty much the same. (In fact marijuana has never felt good to me, though I'm pretty much an outlier on that.)

On “Who Can Stop Biden?

The theory of smart people like Matthew Yglesias is that if it weren't for Biden who shouldn't be running, that lane - the popular policy lane - would be represented by someone who isn't a bad messenger for the moderate message, since obviously Biden overcoming a ridiculous age deficit to consistently pull support near the 2nd-place-plus-3rd-place doesn't at all suggest that possibly he might actually be as good a messenger for it as Amy Klobuchar, the 1%er about whom nobody knows anything but something gross about a comb (she's my senator and I love her and if you say anything mean about her I will take my ball and go home).


Right, North.

The same post-Debate 2 poll that had Biden at 55% AA support in SC had Harris and Booker at 1% with them combined. There's no chance what they did in those debates didn't deteriorate their position with those voters. Their approach is clearly landing with a thud in the community.

So what's their next idea? Maybe it'll be more well-received. I'd be shocked, though.


Perfectly said, LTL FTC.

On “Andrew Yang: Think. Different.

Don't disagree at all, North.


...Also the protection against creditors should be attached. ...But again, if it weren't, worst case folks are still making progress against their debts or at least their monthlies with dollars they didn't have before. They still had that overhang

If anything, UBI with or without a garnishment ban should probably be seen as one of the most debtor-favorable policies in the tool kit (and, yes, creditors would probably benefit a lot too). So what's not to love?


I mean most of the candidates really aren't focused on that stuff that much more than Yang. They have their plans for helping the material needs of Americans, and that's mostly what they focus on, too. And Yang has stuff to say about that stuff as well.


Fwiw, I understand the concerns here, but from where I sit the worst outcomes of securitization and creditors seizing UBI payments are still preferable to no UBI.

I mean maybe not a buncha 18-y-o millionaires running around, but broadly if they have a business idea I don't think it would be the worst thing. I think the extent of it will be limited. If you're smart enough to become aware of and execute the idea you're smart enough to see how much of a greater value it is to have the safety net under you, generally.

I should add that in terms of old-age poverty, Yang has recently made the rather major tweak to his plan to separate it from Social Security. (It's rather amazing that wasn't how he introduced it, but as far as I understand right now, it wasn't). So the choice is between life-long income-qualifying benefits like SNAP, etc. and UBI, but not Medicare or Social Security, which stay in place. So if able-bodied kids securitized it and lost it, that would just leave them roughly where they are now.

But I agree, that condition should be attached.


So what ideas does a candidate *have* to be focused on to be focusing on the right ideas for this political moment (apparently to the exclusion of UBI)?

Your experience point is valid; my blue-sky vision for the trajectory of Mr. Yang this cycle would be that he gains enough support to force some of the experienced, top candidates to at least start to have to talk about some of the crap-ass reasons they have for not having this proposal themselves, and perhaps be offered a position of some kind in an administration or support for future political endeavors which could lead to the experience that could fill in the gap that you aren't wrongly concerned about.

On “Actually, the Film Was Better Than These Books

I'd put Zorba The Greek out there. What a slog that book is. Also agree with Zhivago.

2001? Jurassic Park, though the book is very good? Howard's End/The Remains Of The Day? Atonement? A Room With A View? Just throwing out ideas.

What about nonfiction? All The President's Men? All Quiet On The Western Front?

A related question: what remakes (or reboots or retoolings) of earlier films ended up better than the originals or previous versions? The best? The aughts Batman franchise? Oceans Eleven? True Grit? (There are many.)


Agreed North, in fact I would argue that the films, certainly the first, represents an important (and contested) political-cultural marker of our era. I just cannot help thinking that the extreme depiction of oppressive inequality and out-of-touch elites was a crystalizing moment for a lot of viewers with any political bent at all, and the film does a good job (if it is a good thing) of making its social critique available to any side sympathetic to that vision of society's ills.

On “The Work: Trump 2020 Reveals Its Strategy


Isn’t this where someone says that at the relevant point in the 2014-15-16 timeframe (we may be past the analogous point in this cycle now; the relevant point was when The Party was deciding whether they were going to in fact go ahead and make her the kind of favorite she would go on to be), “being HRC” was #hashtag #actuallygood as an electoral matter - that it was at least not a liability and perhaps an asset compared to the identical version of her with a different name who had never been married to a previous president. ...That she was #actuallypopular?

...Like, isn’t your line supposed to be that she was in fact popular in say 2014-15 at the crucial deciding moments for the party, and that the process that eventually made her the second least popular major party nominee ever was entirely illegitimate mostly in that it was about 90% a playing out of pure gender bias in the portrayal and perception of politicians while the other 10% (or 80/20 but in any case adding up to 100 or at least 99%), while it’s true that it’s part of politics to have your mistakes or unpopular actions used against you, in her case the particulars on the bill that was used for that were in each case not legitimate reasons to come to dislike her?

On “The House Knocks Back

If Pelosi doesn't have the votes (and couldn't get them if she were whipping it) it doesn't much matter what she personally thinks, but for what it's worth I absolutely think she's wholeheartedly with the cowards.

She's not a secret impeacher who's just letting her caucus get there on its own time. She's a no. She's been signaling that since November 2006.

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