Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Buh, Bye Ted

Ted Cruz is arguably the most loathsome politician in the country.  It's still arguable whether or not Donald Trump is a politician or a reality TV star.


Conservative activists are often the people most guilty of the crimes they rail against.  The only people committing in-person voting fraud are activists showing that it possible to do so.  The fact that it doesn't happen, because it is largely pointless doesn't matter.

Now, we have (presumably) heterosexual men entering women's bathrooms in order to prove that heterosexual men can enter bathrooms in Target stores under their policy that allows transgender people to use the bathroom that they identify.

Look, assholes, there are very few transgender people in the world.  And chances are they have been using the bathrooms they want all along.  If you're a trans woman - someone assigned male at birth - and you identify, dress and present as female, then you have been using the women's room all along.  And no one knew about it or cared about it.  I mean, there are stalls in there for FSM's sake!

So, once again, the conservative fever swamps have created a crisis where none exists (Shariah law!) and have now proceeded to create the problem that only they think exists in the first place.

What are the media going to talk about when it becomes apparent that Trump can never get elected?

I mean, of course, he can get elected.  It's within the realm of possibility. But in reality, he can't.  He's toxic, and he's incapable of keeping his foot out of his mouth.  In fact, he mistakes the bounces he gets with the GOP electorate for being an asshole with actual campaign acumen.

The horse race is over, so all we will have is the reality show, which will both help and hurt Trump.

If the media feels bad about elevating this orange-tinted sack of bile, they could focus on the actual issues this fall.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Party Does Matter

One thing that differentiates Clinton and Sanders supporters - or Trump and anyone else's supporters - is how they feel about the party.  Clinton is a Democrat, Sanders is barely one.  Clinton is raising money for candidates across the board, Sanders is not.  That's why she has the Super Delegates sewn up and will be the nominee.

This article by Scott Lemieux explains well why party matters more than the candidate.  Especially in a time of parliamentary levels of party loyalty and polarization, the party you choose to run for matters a great deal.  Lemieux's example of Terry McAuliffe is a great one.  He was a hack, he probably still is a hack, but like any good hack, he can tell which way the wind is blowing.  This makes the differences between Clinton and Sanders actually appear quite small within the possible range of policies that they might actually be able to enact.  They may quibble on the margins of what they can and cannot do, but they agree fundamentally on the direction.

What worries me more and more is that there is a flip-side to this partisan loyalty.  The GOP tends to fall obediently behind their nominee, but this year they have been fighting like hell to stop Trump.  Given their tendency to fall in line, they really don't have any mechanism to stop him though, which has led to all those sad, failed Stop Trump efforts.

When Trump becomes the nominee, he becomes the face and voice of the party.  This scares Republican leaders, because Trump's economic and foreign policy positions are so heterodox.  The good news is that Trump might move the GOP away from it's panty-sniffing moralistic efforts to regulate bedroom and bathroom behaviors.  He's also expressed interest in infrastructure spending.

The worrisome part, of course, is that Trump represents the sneering, angry bigotry that many Americans still have towards minorities and women.  As he descends into the gutter to attack Clinton, he will unleash more misogyny and more racism.  And that will become the GOP position.  Millions of Americans will take their cues from the party and adopt Trump's voice as their own.

Maybe this leads to the creative destruction of the old GOP.  Maybe it just coarsens our discourse for a season.  Or maybe it unleashes some rough beast upon the land that cannot be returned to it cage in early November.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Except that Obama elevated the White House Correspondent's Dinner as he did so much else.

I'm really going to miss that guy.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mark Halperin Is The Biggest Hack Alive

Seriously, this guy makes as much sense as a Mad Lib written by a Howler Monkey.


I'm admittedly ambivalent about the efficacy of protest.  I think in certain cases it's essential and in others it's counterproductive.  The problem is that it's nearly impossible to tell which is which.

This article highlights all the problems with protest culture.  Ultimately, it's about moral imperatives rather than tactical and strategic vision and achievement.  Protesters feel good about standing up to what they perceive as a moral failing.  However, in an age of polarization, they can often force people to take the side they oppose out of partisan loyalty.  Trump's biggest selling point seems to be his assault on "political correctness" (really, just not being an asshole), and the protesters can often reinforce that message and add to his strength.

However, ten years ago, I would have been telling marriage equality advocates to chill out, because they were pushing too hard, too fast.  They made a moral case and won.

Trump could be in for an historic drubbing, but I wonder if "heightening the contradictions" will make that more or less likely.  If the protests degenerate into violence that includes the protesters, that will only empower Trump, exactly the opposite of what should be their goal.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

In Vino Veritas

John Boehner got liquored up and spilled the beans about what we already know to be true.

As the article notes, this gibes with Ornstein and Mann's critique of the GOP as an "insurgent outlier" that was so ideologically extreme, that it made governance impossible.  They wrote this almost four years ago to the day, and nothing that has happened in the intervening years has done anything to soften this criticism.  The GOP simply refuses to compromise out of ideological purity.

The prevailing fiction that exists within polite DC society is that "each side is to blame equally" for the country's dysfunction.  Ornstein and Mann ripped this pretense to shreds, but it still surfaces in places like when Politico's founder starts babbling about a third party of technocrats ohmygodmakeitstop.  Because "each side is to blame" the criticism - despite being coauthored by an American Enterprise Institute scholar - could be dismissed as a liberal hit piece.

As the Vox piece points out, Boehner basically confirms Ornstein and Mann's criticism from within the Conservative Movement.

The sad reality is that the GOP is fundamentally broken, and the ascension of Donaldus Magnus is a prime example of this. The party elites have been sending extreme messages to the Base - impeachment, Birtherism, ACA is the end of freedom - and now the Base have internalized that extremism and coughed up the living, breathing Id of their party.

I've expressed before my sympathy for Boehner, who I think wanted to govern, but was not allowed to by the caucus.  However, we have reached a point where the GOP's ideological intransigence is threatening the well being of the Republic.

What is even scarier is that Trumpism is likely to become the default ideology of the GOP faithful.  As Trump wins the nomination, the GOP will dutifully fall in line behind him, because that is how the GOP do.  This could lead to more ideological polarization, and if the Democrats can't win back the Congress, a fundamental collapse in the ethos of separation and sharing of powers.

Shit IS fucked and broken.  But only one side broke it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Trump moved from the hostile ground of Wisconsin and hit his home turf in the Northeast.  He killed it tonight, sweeping the GOP primaries.  He still probably won't get to the magic 50%+1 of delegates, but he honestly could.

Maybe...maybe...if Kasich or Cruz wasn't in the race, Trump could have been stopped.  Kasich's continued presence in the race is such a mystery.  I guess he's waiting for the convention.  But that's not going to happen if he stays in the race.  A Catch-22.

But if Trump builds momentum, maybe he could clinch in California.

Clinton wins Maryland and Delaware so far.  I guess those are Southern and don't count.

Do What We Say, And No One Gets Hurt

Cleveland has to pay the family of Tamir Rice $6 million for shooting their 12 year old boy in a misplaced rush of adrenaline, testosterone, racism and idiocy.  The head of the police union hopes they use that money to educate the "youth of Cleveland" that any child who wants to survive better not do anything provocative like play in the streets.

We live in a country where white assholes parade open carry long guns in Chipotles, but a 12 year old black kid gets a death sentence for playing in a park.  And the police think it's the kid's fault.

This is an egregious incident of victim blaming that illustrates the fact that the police have become so insulated from the repercussions of their actions, that they are not only beyond the law, they have moved beyond basic morality.

Hey, Stephen Loomis?  Your cop executed that kid for playing in a park.  Until you realize that this is YOUR problem, nothing gets better.

Monday, April 25, 2016

You're Adorable

Cruz and Kasich have banded together to...I'm not sure exactly.  How, exactly, do Kasich voters in Indiana suddenly vote for Cruz?  Or Cruz voters in New Mexico vote for Kasich?

This is the myth of tactics.  Campaigns think they can make a masterful tactical move to save their campaign, when really it's about the bigger strategy.  Tactically, all you can hope for is not to screw up.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


I have to recommend the film, "Pride," about a group of gay rights activists who support the British coal miners' strike of 1984-85. It's a formulaic fish-out-of-water story, but it's so much better than it sounds. Yes, there's a formula, but it's so heartfelt and well done that's impossible not to get swept away.

Watch next weekend for May Day. Bread and Roses.