NYT columnist David Brooks has officially reached acceptance:
This is a wonderful moment to be a conservative. For decades now the Republican Party has been groaning under the Reagan orthodoxy, which was right for the 1980s but has become increasingly obsolete. The Reagan worldview was based on the idea that a rising economic tide would lift all boats. But that’s clearly no longer true.
Thump-thump! That sound you heard was Bobo throwing Ronald Wilson Reagan under the bus. Never thought I’d see the day, honestly.
On the one hand, who cares what a toady like Brooks says? On the other, he is the toady who is officially in charge of cloaking greed and rapaciousness in the garb of morality, comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted. So at the very least, his epiphany may portend a shift in house style.
Bobo goes on, expressing gratitude that Trump came along to blow up a sclerotic party so something better can arise from its ashes. What might that look like?
Somehow the Republican Party will have to rediscover a language of loving thy neighbor, which is a primary ideal in our culture, and a primary longing of the heart.
Fat chance, Bobo. But it’s pretty to think so.
To move on to a public figure who is actually worth listening to, author Marilynne Robinson was interviewed on the Q CBC radio program that aired last night on my PBS station. Robinson talks about the rise of Trump and the related influence of hate and fear on U.S. politics. An excerpt:
There are people that have grounds for fear. There are people that don’t know how they will retire, or whether they can educate their children, or whether they can keep their house. But there are lots of people, I think, for whom fear is a hobby.
She cites Limbaugh and Fox News as media outlets that purvey fear as a stimulant — an addictive pleasure. That rings true for me, but to be honest, she made some points that had me questioning my own relationship with politics and the media when she scolded wingnut outfits for “teaching listeners that people who disagree with them are mortal enemies.”
Anyway, food for thought.
It wasn’t fucking true then, you stupid umbilical stump. How the fuck do you think we got where we are today?
/decides to do something more effective, like yell at clouds.
Interesting that one of the voices of a party that has redefined itself as a body of fear, spite, selfishness and greed still thinks that finding ways to rediscover governance, caring and community is still possible.
I don’t mind differing opinions as long as they are based in fact. Engaging with people who try to pass of lies/myths as facts is a waste of time.
I love this and plan to add it to my insult repertoire.
I read this as Brooks’ “finding the pony” moment, as in the old story Reagan used to tell about the kid who got a pile of horseshit for Christmas and gleefully starting digging through it because “there’s gotta be a pony in there!”
I’m wondering if he’s working on a post-Hillary election column that goes “I knew she would win all along.”
Good for her. It’s people who disagree with me who are mortal enemies.
puny humans. all my enemies are immortal!
The Pale Scot
Never saw em as Mortal Enemies but more as Useful Idiots for the Adversary
Are you saying you sometimes regard Repubs as mortal enemies?
I certainly vote Dem — often — because I hate those fools and their dumb ideas, but “mortal enemy” is a bit too personal, I guess. I hate them like I hate disease. Or fire ants.
Paul in KY
@schrodinger’s cat: Off topic, but in a previous thread you mentioned ‘converts’ to Hinduism. One of my professors back in college, who traveled extensively in India, not Hindu though, said that one could not convert to Hinduism. You are either born a Hindu or you are not. I asked a respected colleague yesterday, Hindu from S. India, about this & he agreed. He did say you could believe that the Hindu world view/religion was correct, but unless born a Hindu, not a Hindu.
If a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats, then it follows that not all boats deserve to be lifted.
Which boats don’t deserve a helping hand, you ask? I’m glad you asked that question. It turns out that everybody Donald Trump has been hating on is getting what they deserve, which coincidentally is the same group of folks that every conservative since Reagan has been hating on.
Brooks’ next step is to admit that Reagan was using the Southern Strategy, but that he was entirely right to do so. William F. Buckley beat him to it by about sixty years.
When it comes to the “pro-life” GOP that wants to eliminate health care for poor women, is that not what they are?
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
@Marmot: Her point was that wingnuts who once may have viewed you as an opponent have been trained over 30+ years of talk radio/TV to now see you as a mortal enemy.
When people on the opposite side of the political spectrum see you as a mortal enemy, you best take notice.
@Mustang Bobby: Brooks would have to have a transitory phase in which a certain Ni-clang was right about ” bitter guns and (one true) God clingin’ to” re rural downmarket whites.
@dr. bloor: It’s striking that Brooks would say trickle-down is no longer working — I mean aside from the fact that it never worked. I mean, coming up with such scams to cloak horrible policies is Brooks’s specialty.
How’s he gonna justify shoveling cash at the rich now? I bet he has a new propaganda line.
Brooks is right in that it would be nice if we could have a conservative party that believed in governing, or the existence of the common good, or really *anything* beyond IGMFY. Trump’s (verbal) embrace of populism is just another means to “g(e)t mine”, not a broad belief that people shouldn’t be completely screwed by society.
I could see a conservative arguing that Trump may bring this selfish nihilism to a head and could allow the Rs to evolve, but A) that means acknowledging that the 2016 election is lost, and B) Comparing Trump and his followers to a boil that needs to be lanced, a bit of scary truth that I can’t imagine any R admitting to themselves.
@Paul in KY: My Hindu husband says the same thing with the caveat that the reason there is no conversion is that everyone either is a Hindu or no one is a Hindu. Hinduism is not a faith; there are no doctrines that one must accept to join it. But it is not a hereditary community either.
It took 30 years for this dweeb of a moron to realize raygunomics was a bunch of bs and he is still being paid to spout his nonsense? only in murka.
@Baud: As they should be!!
@Poopyman: Yep, I got that part. But Betty added that that’s got her questioning her own relationship with politics and media. That what I’m asking about.
Paul in KY
@tobie: Interesting. Thank you for your response.
Grumpy Code Monkey
This is the sound of man trying desperately to stay employed. Does he believe anything that he says?
@amk: Bear in mind he was paid to spew his BS in defense of trickle down and may never have believed it, although I think it’s more likely that he never questions the precepts for which he’s paid to espouse. In that vein, I wonder if he got himself a new sugar daddy with a different set of beliefs.
Or is he just toadying up to Trump, just in case? A courtier can’t be too careful.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
Hahaha. No sooner did I post Brooks’ GBCW column on my FB page describing it in the exact same terms as you, Betty, than I clicked over here. Coupled with natural born Canadian citizen Ted Cruz’s public shaming, I’m going to need a bigger popcorn bowl.
@OzarkHillbilly: Robinson also quoted that verse. She’s a liberal Christian. She said she isn’t qualified to decide who is a Christian and who isn’t, but that the “fruits” of many of the folks in U.S. politics who are most ostentatiously Christian aren’t very, well, Christ-like. An observation all of us have made from time to time, I’m sure.
The giveaway is in the quote Betty provided, the part about “longings of the heart”, loving thy neighbor, and “primary ideal of the culture”. Brooks is no doubt going to try to steer the Republican party away from the grim, brutal, Randianism it’s been in thrall to for the past several decades, towards an equally exploitative, though somewhat less dreary, model of conservatism that pays lip service to the need for a little noblesse oblige on the part of the elite.
In the abstract, yes. But in the flesh, they are my father, uncles, aunts, neighbors, colleagues, etc.
@Marmot: Gotcha. To which I repeat my last sentence: “When people on the opposite side of the political spectrum see you as a mortal enemy, you best take notice.”
By which I mean that I understand that the political media has worked to make me the Other, and I hold no great love for the media in this country.
@Grumpy Code Monkey:
Rhetorical, I assume.
Well, they are my mortal enemies, Betty. I don’t wish them harm, really. But they most certainly do wish harm on me. So I have no second thoughts about considering them mortal enemies.
@schrodinger’s cat: Or, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan is reported to have said,
When one side deals in facts & the other in bullshit…just sayin’.
The Republican party committed the ultimate sin in politics-omitting the bread in the bread and circuses equation. When all you provide your voters with is a circus, it’s inevitable that your whole act is going to descend into a freak show.
Brooks, as well as many others, needs to receive the f0llowing gift: Dear——, Enclosed please find a rusty pitchfork. Kindly f–k yourself with it. Signed, Your Friends, working class Americans
Genius. Thank you for that.
With respect to fear, I think you’re on to something. Think of it as a gating effect. You might forget about your headache if you stab yourself in the foot. Similarly, many who are legitimately fearful about their economic future might forget that fear if you keep their attention on fear of The Other instead. That need for distraction might explain why the very people who logically should be least impressed by Republican policy prescriptions in fact embrace them. To be fair, one could say that some politicians and pundits on the left try to play the same game, but the demographics are different in a way that makes it much less effective. It’s harder to make people fearful about lost privilege when they never had privilege to begin with.
I wonder if David Brooks has ever set foot in a trailer. I wonder how many pundits and other public intellectuals have ever really tried to explore the country that exists outside their rarefied circles of upper-middle-class privilege.
This is Bobo Brooksies-baby’s yearly column when he comes out of his self-induced intellectual fog, takes a look at the world as it is, and screams.
Tomorrow he’ll back back at the same old stand, peddling the same old baloney. He is too old to get an honest job.
I’ll write in Bernie if he promises that Brooks is the first against the wall when the revolution comes.
@Paul in KY: I don’t want to step on schrodinger’s cat’s toes here, considering her clear passion and authority on these issues. But I was also raised Hindu, studied the Gita extensively when I was a child but consider myself non-religious as an adult. Neither I nor my parents feel that there’s an ethnic identifier there. My dad goes to temple and is part of a very religous Hindu family, and he attended a Catholic school in Mumbai near Shivaji Park. My mother is from Gujarat, also religiously Hindu, but follows a clearly different interpretation of Hinduism – at least culturally – at least as far the role of women in her family.
Hinduism is a big religion, and I’m sure there are many different ways that people worship, and within that, probably a large plurality of people who see Hindu as a both ethnic and religious identifier. After all, the word Hindustani came from somewhere, and I’d wager it probably has different meanings depending on cultural context.
Paul in KY
@geg6: Same here. They are trying to screw over my economic health & retirement possibilities. That’s tantamount to trying to kill me, IMO.
@Paul in KY: Not a religious expert at all but that view you stated is pretty prevalent. Hinduism accepts that there are many ways to reach the divine and does not proselytize, hence does not seek to convert. Also there is no pope or a figurehead who heads Hinduism.
However RWNJ of the Sangh who see themselves as the self appointed guardians of Hinduism are big on conversions. Make of that what you will.
@dr. bloor: Win
@schrodinger’s cat: I couldn’t agree more.
@dr. bloor: After a two hour drive to work which usually takes 30 minutes I turn on the computer, spend 5 minutes taking care of a little business, pull up BJ, read this post and get to the line you reference and had the exact same reaction (stupid umbilical stump aside). However, your term does have more flair and I humbly request your permission to use it. I have several people in mind who could be described in that manner. Although for a couple, i.e. Trump and Cruz, it might actually be more complimentary than they deserve.
Paul in KY
@WarMunchkin: Would your parents consider someone who clearly was not born of parents from Indian subcontinent (due to them looking like Sven & hailing from Iceland), a Hindu if they said they were & followed the Hindu precepts?
Thank you for answering.
Soon after his visit to room 101, David had a moment of clarity. Two plus two equaled five. He began to weep for joy.
David loved Big Brother.
Paul in KY
@schrodinger’s cat: Thank you for your response. Interesting that the RWNJs are open to ‘converting’ people into Hinduism. Must need the bodies/money.
Am off for weekend. Hope everyone has a good & safe weekend!
@Paul in KY: Yes, I feel very endangered by their economic and moralistic policies. I fear for my family’s future. Mortal enemies is only slightly hyperbolic!
Clearly someone has adjusted my man Dave’s meds. I fear, however, that his conclusions are erroneous.
Guess what – there are a shit ton of Republican voters out there (27 percent, maybe?) who are not one bit depressed about Trump, and who are indeed energized by his antics.
Um…..no. The Republican Party establishment – such as it is, and what’s left of it – has one purpose. Repeat, one. Which is, to wit, protecting the interests of the donor class. Trump’s followers have very little interest in this goal, since it has absolutely no bearing on the quality of their lives. Eliminate the capital gains tax? What is this ‘capital’ of which you speak? At least half of Americans couldn’t come up with a thousand dollars cash to save their lives.
David Brooks cannot, or has not (yet) drawn the conclusion that the interest of Republican voters and the Republican Party have fundamentally diverged, which may explain why he’s pissing on Reagan’s headstone. The greatest political/feat scam in American history was Ronald Reagan’s accomplishment of the impossible – convincing white working class voters that the Republican Party had their interests at heart.
Well duh! The entire Fox News business model is patterned on the advertising models of the tobacco and hard liquor industries except that tobacco–back when it advertised–and liquor ads even today used ads that sought to generate subconscious fear and anxiety to stimulate the urge to self-medicate, whereas at Fox, the fear and anxiety are the product.
The overt fear mongering at Fox invariably leads to periodic borderline orgasmic releases in the form of hate–sometimes almost as overt as the description of the Two Minutes Hate at the start of 1984.
But what keeps the rubes coming back for more, hour after hour, is the constant buildup of anxiety at the subconscious level, which leads them to desperately need the release of the periodic fear and hategasm.
And I’m not just snarking. Go take a look at liquor ads. Just google image “liquor advertising.” What you’ll see are lots of dark, brooding backgrounds and the highest concentration of black and white photography left in advertising. Recurring themes include lines converging to a vanishing point, photographs and layouts evocative of tombstones, watches and clocks, shattering glasses and bottles, all stuff intended to subconsciously evoke fear of mortality. And, of course, sex and sex and sex and sex, overt and covert. Spewing bottles, flesh in black and white or on those dark brooding backgrounds.
Is any of this sounding familiar? What cable news station uses brooding, dark blue backgrounds and intersperses angry old men stridently proclaiming our imminent doom with hot young, mostly blond women? Which one has constant distracting, irritating graphics swooshing in and out? Which one has that constant chyron crawl proclaiming doom and gloom even when the story is ostensibly sunny? Which one uses women who’d be attractive if their faces weren’t constantly contorted by hate and fear to deliver the temporary relief from the anxiety with an overt outpouring of fear and hatred?
Don’t think for a minute it’s not deliberate and deliberately designed by people with experience in the liquor advertising business. It’s what keeps the angry old white retired men tuned in, hour after hour, keeps them feeling anxious and out of sorts whenever they’re forced to turn it off and get out and socialize, what keeps them turning their conversations to the last fearful, hate-inducing thing they saw, and gets them rushing back to the TV as soon as their home.
The poor fuckers are continually amped up with anxiety and crave the periodic release of overt fear/hategasms the way an alcoholic craves a shot or a junkie craves a fix. And Murdoch and Aisles have deliberately poisoned our political discourse just to sell their eyeballs to advertisers.
People very, very, rarely have opinions based on fact. 68% of Americans do not accept Evolution and it is the best established, with the most supporting evidence, scientific theory we’ve got.
@Betty Cracker: I find it interesting that as an atheist I find myself quoting Matthew time and again in response to GOP/conservative BS. Really don’t know why. Has me thinking I need to study the Bible a little more thoroughly just to understand why.
ETA 4 clarity
Where would you like your internets delivered?
I’ve developed a sudden urge to sneak up behind certain North Carolinian legislators and whisper “You’re probably sharing public restroom space at this very minute with with …. Muslims! Even worse, Climate Change Scientists!” just to watch them leap and enact some more legislation. Only tricky bit is carrying in enough foodstuffs so that I don’t have to pay for snacks while on the mission.
Yes, I know, bringing my own snacks means I’m doing it wrong.
@Paul in KY: Sangh has modeled itself after European fascist movements of the early twentieth century and their world view coincides with priggish evangelical Victorians of the 19th century.
The Racism at the Heart of the Flint Water Crisis
Fear as a hobby?
How about Fear as a GRIFT.
There’s an entire GOP GRIFT based on fear.
@NCSteve: And to think that some people believe an undergraduate degree in post structuralism doesn’t have any real world value. (!)
Brooks’ column is a paean to ‘Worse is better’. But ‘Worse is better’ is a classic fallacy; the reply to an assertion that ‘Worse is better’ is ‘No, worse is worse’. If everything is going to hell, that’s not good– and, specifically, that’s not good for anyone, not even conservatives.
FRIDAY, MAR 25, 2016 07:00 AM CDT
This is Ted Cruz’s last stand: Why the Wisconsin primary could be his final chance
If Cruz wants to maintain a credible shot at unseating Trump at the convention, he probably needs to win next week
HEATHER DIGBY PARTON
So far, Donald Trump has won 20 primaries and caucuses. Nobody who has won so many has ever been denied the nomination in either party. If it were anyone but him, the political professionals would pretty much be going through the motions by now, continuing to wage perfunctory primary campaigns but beginning to ready themselves for the the next phase of the campaign against the Democrats. But because Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee the party is still flailing about, trying to figure out a way to wake up from their nightmare.
Right now, all eyes are on Wisconsin which votes on April 5th. The conventional wisdom says Ted Cruz has to win there in order to even sustain the argument that he might be worthy of taking the nomination on the second ballot at the convention if Trump comes up short. This is something of a desperate gamble, but it’s all they’ve got.
Yesterday, Governor Scott Walker said he planned to announce an endorsement “after Easter” and admitted that it will either be Ted Cruz or John Kasich. The smart money’s on Cruz, as members of the establishment are all already swallowing their bile to get behind him as much as it pains them to do so.
This in-depth report from the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel calls Wisconsin “the Masada of the Stop Trump movement” with millions of advertising dollars pouring into the state and the highly influential local right-wing talk radio hosts all pushing hard against Trump. He quotes WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes saying, “the GOP’s current dumpster fire was set and largely fueled by some national talk show hosts who have decided that their infatuation with Donald Trump overrode their commitment to conservative principles.” (And yet another fault line in the conservative movement breaks open …)
@NCSteve: Your comment is an important one that has wider implications than just Fox News. It’s really not the media’s actual message that is so toxic (though it is), but the aesthetic package that message is presented in. An advertising strategy is only successful when it penetrates the most primitive regions of the human brain. This has been psy-ops on a massive scale.
@Paul in KY: They would, as would the people I learned from who teach this stuff for a living. But our bro Sven would get some funny looks, no doubt.
@rikyrah: Republican party is a con, fleecing the poor to line the pockets of 1%.
@rikyrah: I think that’s true for the purveyors — it’s definitely a grift for them. But when she referred to fear as a hobby, I believe Robinson meant the people who listen — the suddenly crabby, mean old dads and uncles, etc., that so many of us have noticed being caught up in the Fox Death Star tractor beam of fear and hate.
There is a certain amount of that in the comments here sometimes. It can be pretty depressing.
@Betty Cracker: I would say that is an addiction more than a hobby.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
Maybe not their economic interests, but the GOP certainly provided the goods when it came to keeping minorities, gays and women in their place – the relentlessness of those attempts are still evident all around us. The battleground has shifted to the state legislatures, since the presidency appears to be lost to them for the foreseeable future.
The “angry” voters of 2016 are the “values” voters of 2004. The media will keep cycling through several different euphemisms such as anger, values and so on, so that they can avoid naming them malicious, racist voters.
@Grumpy Code Monkey:
This is the sound of man trying desperately to stay employed
Ghost of Joe Liebling's Dog
How about people whose answer to the problems faced by folks without healthcare coverage was to cheer, “Let ’em die!”? Should we just consider that a disagreement? Because that sounds pretty “mortal” to me.
Can anybody translate this fucking shit for me?
I’ll be googling the name involved, but does this man have an editor?
I wish that Japanese AI that wrote the book would take over Bobos column for him.
Somewhat on topic, here are the favorable/Unfavorable differentials for each prez candidate froma Gallup poll of american jews:
@schrodinger’s cat: Robinson uses both terms in the interview, and that’s probably accurate. Some dabble. Some lose themselves in it.
@Aardvark Cheeselog: yep.
@rikyrah: FEAR as an all consuming way of life.
Brooks is working on it, brainstorming it, but hasn’t yet found the right propaganda angle yet in which to confidently attempt to repackage the bullshit into beautiful flowers. He’s just smart enough to realize that most of the ideas he’s had so far still give off a stink that can’t be disguised from the upper-middle class to the proles either one.
@Ghost of Joe Liebling’s Dog: In that vein, an ideology asserting that all us sinners are going to suffer the torments of Hell for eternity is not simply expressing a difference of opinion.
Ok, so Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist and philosopher, etc…
He was interested in cohesion of societies and positivism.
I still can’t get past the necktie part though. What the actual fuck? What do neckties have to do with social cohesion?
Does Bobo know where the bodies are buried? How did he get where he is? I’m baffled.
Guess we’ll find out in 2020.
@NCSteve: Dynamite post.
In journalism school I took a course in advertising, which posited that all ads target one of three human motivations: fear, greed, or lust. When news reporting merged with entertainment, this principle worked just as well on the viewer’s subconscious mind.
So Reagan has officially become an unperson to the GOP Partei. Wonderful. He was a morally bankrupt human being who had no business managing anything more consequential than a McDonalds.
I can has liberal media? Because PBS has become Pure BS with their both sidery nods to CW. Yesterday they had known bigot Charles Murray on.
Marilynne Robinson for President.
OT. NYT notes that fentanyl has become a super-heroin among drug users. This struck a nerve (figuratively) with me since my recent eye surgery used fentanyl as a sedative. I suppose it’s true that you need something… powerful… to make you ignore the immediate effects of eye surgery.
@Paul in KY:
The nuances of Hinduism tend vary between communities based on what part of India you are from, your native language and your caste / sub-caste, which define some of the ritualistic aspects for people, such as how your wedding ceremony will be performed; there really is no way to adopt these traditions, since they are a part of people’s culture going back a ways.
On the other hand there is nothing preventing someone from studying Hinduism, learning how to do puja’s / worshipping as Hindus do, believing in the Hindu gods / mythology, etc.
There some few Westerners, who have adopted Hinduism and developed a following.
Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, also known as Gurudeva, was born Robert Hansen, in Oakland, CA. He has a good organization in the U.S., and built a very nice temple in Kauai, Hawaii. He died in 2001, but still has a following, which funds the temple.
I wouldn’t call Republicans my mortal enemy only because a lot of them (not most) genuinely believe that their political viewpoint would do the most good for America. What I wholeheartedly agree with is that anyone who is voting for this version of the Republican party for ANY reason is not a rational voter.
That’s why trying to use reason and logic to reach Republican voters has always been fool’s gold.
@cgordon: Seconded! Have read all her novels and saw her speak at the National Book Festival in DC last summer. She is amazing.
@gene108: True, lots of regional nuances. I find that my husband’s family (Tamil Iyer) tends to be very ritualistic compared to my family.
We’d probably get that Microsoft AI that started spewing Nazi propaganda after chatting with the Internet for a day.
Somewhere Richard Nixon screams yet again at the thought of that old charlatan Reagan getting credit for Nixon’s work.
(Seriously – if Nixon’s gang of morons hadn’t gotten caught it’s very likely that we’d be talking about “Nixon Democrats” instead of “Reagan Democrats”. Reagan gets the credit because nobody would admit to voting for Nixon after he resigned, but the shift of working class white voters was all on the groundwork that Nixon started and won him two elections.)
@singfoom: I think it’s supposed to be “Emile Durkheim is about to be A Thing.” But like you I don’t get why “neckties” is what Brooks pictures as a tchotchke, unlike, say, T-shirts, in the style of Che Guevara. The only conjunction between “cultural icon” and “line of neckties” I’m coming up with is Jerry Garcia. Does Trump put his name on ties? He definitely puts his name on dress shirts.
@OzarkHillbilly: Fellow traveler here. I have no problem in acknowledging that the teachings of Jesus as presented in the Gospels are, by and large, pretty wise and intelligent. In some cases extraordinarily so. I don’t need to believe he’s the son of some god, or even for that matter that he existed at all, to be able to know and follow good advice. Matthew’s got a lot of good advice.
Thinking about getting a Jefferson Bible, Thomas had the right idea there – only the New Testament, only the words of Jesus.
Bobo via Betty Cracker @ Top:
I’m guessing that happens right around the time a unicorn wanders into my apartment with a check for eleventy-gazillion dollars from the MegaMillions Co. wrapped around its swirly horn.
Trying to use reason and logic to reach ideologues and zealots of any political persuasion is “fool’s gold.”
@Paul in KY: @Paul in KY:
Yes, but liberals want to force bakers to make cakes for gay people and corporations to subsidize birth control for their employees, so…Both Sides!
Okay, you win. QFT
@NCSteve: Very well said.
Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class
@the Conster, la Citoyenne:
Here’s my thing about Cruz not being any kind of a man:
Trump insults how Cruz’ wife looks (I’d have gone with “she willingly fucks Ted Cruz, what’s wrong with her”, but different strokes for different folks when playing the dozens; the game does account for differences in style). Cruz gets on a national news organ, shakes his finger at Trump on camera and then calls him a sniveling coward in a way that sounds like an invitation to a slap fight.
Then, when posed a direct question point blank on whether he will support Trump if he’s the nominee, he dissembles and slithers around.
So who is the sniveling coward? Why not be a man and say “you’re goddamned right I’m not supporting him if he’s the nominee – he crossed a line with me, and I can’t forgive, forget or let that slide.”
Nixon won on a law and order, peace with honor platform. He never tried to make an economically elitist argument to the working class masses. Reagan, with the help of conservative media propaganda convinced millions of working class people that giving rich people tax cuts was the path to general prosperity.
Now truth be told I have my doubts on how many people truly believed in supple side economics, I think it was more shorthand for “niggers won’t get your tax money”, but the fact is Reagan massively cut taxes for the wealthy and was rewarded with an electoral landslide.
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: Why are you associating being brave and principled with being a man?
This is heresy to the right. There is nothing new under the sun. Gimme that old economics … and everything else. The only issue is putting the right kind of people back in charge.
I am a huge Robinson fan and have been since “Housekeeping” was published. Listened to her long conversation with President Obama, who is also a fan, and thought the most profound thing she said was that we are living in a time when the worst thing we say about anyone or anything is presumed to be the truest.
I hate most conservativism like I do raw sewage – as something offensive, unhealthy, and toxic, that smells like shit.
But I suppose I regard the conservative billionaires who fund the GOP, Tea Party, and other right wing astroturf groups as more in the line of mortal enemies – though that could be because their opposition to social services does, in fact, end up killing people.
@JGabriel: In the conservative world, love thy neighbor generally means beating them about the head and shoulders with the Bible.
For practical purposes this is the quintessence of what draws Republicans to their party still.
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: I’m thinking that you probably don’t want to see Ted Cruz actually lose his temper. There are probably excellent reasons why he never really ‘lets go’.
True, but the only ideologues and zealots in the entire Western World with any real political power are American conservatives.
@Paul in KY: I always considered Hinduism similar to Shinto in Japan. Heavy doses of ancestor reverence.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: It’s not the advice that’s the problem. It’s the dogma.
@Ghost of Joe Liebling’s Dog:
It does, and it’s appalling. I took Robinson’s point to be that it’s not a good idea to demonize opponents to the extent that their death becomes desirable. I’m not telling anyone else how to feel, BTW…just explaining how her words resonated with me.
@FlipYrWhig: I guess I can buy that. Brooks with his hilarious effeteness would chose neckties over anything else. More proof of him being out of step with the common man.
He might as well wear a fucking monocle and a top hat.
It’d at least be more honest about what view he’s representing. Not that there aren’t plenty of tells anyways…
If only some prominent Republican had ever given wise counsel about being touched by the better angels of our nature, they would have some idea how to proceed.
Just Some Fuckhead
Brooks is one of the acolytes who euphorically witnesses the birth of the monstrous anti-Christ in the slime chamber in the church basement, then gets massacred first, not having time to lose his look of wonder.
Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class
THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!!!!
I think we need to acknowledge that this is more than conservative media. I cringe every time I see liberals sharing from sites like, usuncut or huffpo. Many of the people loved on the left for “reporting” are people who hit the right fear notes: gov is spying on everything you do, Shillary is stealing the AZ primary because the DNC controls red states (?), donations from corporations mean the establishment is corrupt (see chart from source that explains it’s a breakdown of employers from single donors and not direct corporate donations). This election in particular is turning into rational liberal versus I Want To Believe liberal. Not to piss on the point and laugh party, but, this is a universal problem.
@Marmot: I don’t think it’s out of line to hate some individuals within the conservative movement. In general I don’t hate my fellow citizens who vote Republican but I bemoan what I see as their motivation.
As for the Kochs and their ilk, I do fucking hate them. They’re already worth $16 billion dollars and it’s always increasing. When I was a teenager they had more money than they could possibly ever spend in their lifetimes and they’ve got more now.
Even with tax rates what they were back in the day, their wealth is truly beyond measure. And yet, they have poisoned our entire Republic with a galaxy of think tanks and grifters and wingnut welfare recipients to repeat the big lie that their interests coincide with those of an average joe making minimum wage.
That the “others” are the takers rather than these rapacious bastards who want to fuck the rest of us over so they can keep another couple hundred million for…..reasons.
yeah, good luck with that.
Between this observation and that newly-priceless coinage “umbilical stump”, I’ve reached my Quotable Quotes Quota for the day in *one thread*. Thank you.
Could not agree more. I’ve become almost more disgusted with some of My Fellow Liberals this time round than with the Radical Republicans, and that’s saying something.
Ghost of Joe Liebling's Dog
@MattF : Fair enough, but I tend toward a more direct concern about temporal mortal threats than about predictions of my eventual horrible spiritual fate.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
the Conster, la Citoyenne
This election cycle has taught me that there are just as many left wing nutjobs as right wing nutjobs – lack of critical thinking skills coupled with tribalism. When it became clear to me that Hillary was more likely than Bernie to put Obama’s winning coalition back together and that having the support of a party infrastructure in a national election is a big deal, I’ve watched otherwise rational friends become these Bernfeeling conspiracy theorists no better than Breitbart or Red State in their malevolence and lockstep parroting of the evils of Hillary Clinton. I absolutely despise conspiracy theories, and the required failure of reason and the demonization it takes to believe in them. I sure didn’t start out as a Hillary fan, but Bernie’s worshipers really turned me off – I sure as shit won’t stoop to the levels of some of the folks on “my side”.
@amk: David Brooks is an effete snob born with a brass spoon in his ass. To think he has any idea what ordinary Americans are like is silly.
I expect that at some point, Reagan will be denounced as a liberal.
Except for the fact that the gov is spying on everything you do, Shillary did steal the AZ primary because the DNC controls the red states, and donations from corporations do mean the establishment is corrupt :-)
It is a universal problem. There are plenty of people on the left who want a liberal version of Scalia on the court. They want an unprincipled asshole and would love every minute of it. The country is lucky that liberal talk radio and msnbc as the left’s version of fox didn’t really pan out. By ceding party leadership to talk jocks and Internet conspiracy nuts, elected republicans have no power to govern. I’m reminded of a story about Bob Dole and George Mitchell striking an essential deal in the Senate over some important legislation. When it was done both leaders told their party that anyone who used this vote in the upcoming election against an opponent would not receive any funding or support from the DNC or the RNC. Those guys had the luxury of actually being party leaders. Ryan, McConnell? They’re followers. I’m not interested in some democratic model that mimics the republican approach. It doesn’t end well.
That’s because he only let’s go when he’s safely inside that secret room in his basement. The one with the diapers and man-size crib.
@WarMunchkin: Hindustani was the name given to Indians by the Islamic invaders, the inhabitants of the lands of river Sindhu (Indus) which is now in Pakistan.
@ruemara: Both sides do it blah blah blah. I call bullshit.
Two points I’ll make here:
1. I think there’s an internet effect here – more people have more outlets by which to voice and share opinions, and that means that you’ll see more stuff that’s a bit out there.
2. I’d argue that there is a significant structural difference between right and left-wing media (of both the respectable and not-so-respectable kinds for each). Right wing media is much more entrenched or, dare I say it, established into mainstream American life than is left wing media. There’s no left wing equivalent to Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. Right wing media has greater institutional support than does left wing media, which is really important for extending the reach of right wing media and proliferating right wing ideas.
James E Powell
@Grumpy Code Monkey:
I’d like to see Bobo – or anyone – say that in a speech to a Republican audience.
@dogwood: Can you name some of these god-awful liberal initiatives that are as heinous as their conservative counterparts? I’m just trying to follow the ‘both sides’ meme here.
@Betty Cracker: Sigh. They’re my relations too, so I get the conflict. One of ’em is an actual enemy, the rest I consider afflicted.
Can you judge a man by the way he wears his hair?
Can you read his mind by the clothes that he wears?
Can you see a bad man by the pattern on his tie?
Well then Mister, you’re a better man than I
Yeah, Mister, you’re a better man than I
Oh, Mister, you’re a better man than I
Yeah, Mister, you’re a better man than I
James E Powell
“Has become”? PBS has been that way since the Reagan days
@WarMunchkin: You studied the Gita? In Sanskrit?
Might it be that there is no left wing equivalent to Rush Limbaugh or Fox News for a philosophical reason, such as that the left wing is not that mendacious? Hope and fear may be diametrically opposed, but one is indeed better than the other.
If partition or secession comes (again) the enemies in the flesh become mortal enemies. See India/Pakistan, Bosnia, Maryland (1860). I hope it never comes to that but these times look a lot like the 1850s to me.
@schrodinger’s cat: I read the Bhagavad Gita while sitting on the toilet. Does that count?
@C.V. Danes: Where do you think the term “Bible Thumpers” came from.
@retiredeng: Also reverence for knowledge and your teachers.
@frosty: That is the scary thing about this election. There’s a lot of Trumpers out there, and they’re heavily armed.
James E Powell
Donald J Trump ties are the pinnacle of fashion – I own one
I agree that there’s a temperamental difference, generally speaking, but I also think the fact that the left end of US politics (in the broad sense) is more diverse than the right end in terms of ideas, interest groups and constituencies, etc. That is a strength, but it also makes it a little harder to coalesce behind a specific set of ideas that are easily communicated.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: I think it’s all that debate team shit. Real trial lawyers get a sense of what’s effective (or they don’t stay trial lawyers long). As you know, appellate stuff can be done (imho not as well, but that’s my bias showing) with that debate team canned argument approach.
OT: Hey girl – we’ll be in your town next month for a concert. Dinner recs?
@C.V. Danes: Why not? Gita is another obsession of Sanghis, who had Bible and Koran envy so they designated Gita as “the book” when it is just one of the many books of Hinduism. Many scholars of Mahabharata think that it was tacked on later.
I have been having the strangest feelings of ‘nothing changes’ lately and while doing some research about a 13th Amendment project I am working on, I came across this:
Abraham Lincoln before the Civil War
Damn, that’s good.
No one cares.
James E Powell
I did a fair amount of door-to-door for Carter in 80 and Mondale in 84. Both times in what are generally called white middle class suburbs. I can attest that the understanding of Reagan’s economic policies that you describe so vividly in the your second paragraph was the understanding shared by the nominally Democratic voters I met and spoke with during those two campaigns. In fact, the words you put in quotes were words I often heard when I asked them to give me the number one reason for their support of Reagan.
Villago Delenda Est
“Conservatism” has always been about defending the privileges of a selfish, parasite few from any change in their status. What is new is getting those whose blood they suck to defend their vampirism.
@Linnaeus: Agreed. I believe Sigmund Freud referred to the phenomenon as the “narcissism of small differences.” You see it a lot here on the BJ comment threads :-)
On the conservative side, they mostly agree because they’ve banished the ones who don’t.
@schrodinger’s cat: I just said that because I do a lot of my philosophical reading (and thinking) while sitting on the pot :-)
Last night on Larry Wilmore, talking about a similar subject, Mike Yar quoted Maya Angelou; “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
@C.V. Danes: There are some parts of Gita that are sublime, while some that sound overly lawyerly like Krishna is hedging his bets and wants Arjun to pick up his arms and fight, so he will do and say whatever it takes to make him do that.
I love the Mahabharata, its complex and there are no real heroes, as everyone has feet of clay.
There is always, without fail, an attempt to delegitimize an election from the fringe. You’re exposed to it – and you get to magnify it – and treat it as your strawman – because you’re on the internet, which by design allows you to hear from marginalized voices. Remember that in 2004, there were a whole bunch of people, hardly a leftier than thou fringe, who thought Diebold stole the election from John Kerry. Same for state-level races in 2010 and 2012. Same for Clinton in Obama v. Clinton 2008. People who are passionate about their candidates and success inventing their own realities aren’t new, especially when losing. See Clinton, Bill in 2008 around this time.
The donations from corporations bit is misevidence and histrionics that hides the real critique of democracy that a democracy working for the connected few instead of the many is harmful for regular people.
There are always emotional people, who, bit by bit, get pushed to believe more extreme narratives, especially when truth is distributed. There’s no reason to let them turn into your heuristic. What are you doing to bring people back into the fold?
@schrodinger’s cat: I did the chants in anglicized sanskrit (and I’ve long since been unable to read Hindi, Maharati or Gujurati), but we discussed their meaning and context in English.
Where did I say anything about heinous liberal initiatives?
@NonyNony: Not necessarily true. In “Nixonland” Rick Perlstein makes the point that Reagan was both Nixon’s student and teacher. Nixon modeled his 1968 presidential campaign to a large degree on Reagan’s 1966 campaign for governor of California…
this “people who disagree” is a bogus argument – that is NOT what the situation is today. Today’s republicans live in a manufactured realty that has no fundamental resemblance to actual reality – and NO its not my reality vs theirs. There are facts and truth that are not negotiable – “truthiness” does not actually exist.
You cannot disagree with someone that is in a different reality; you can only disagree with people using the same fact and truth-based reality. Its like playing a sport with someone located on a different field – you can’t.
Today’s republican upside downism: climate denial, good guys with guns, the 2nd amendment has an individual right to own guns, discrimination exists against Christians and whites, all Muslims are terrorists, women are inferior to men, all of it does not in fact exist in real-reality, it only exists in republican/conservative reality.
So anyone making the people should be able to disagree in reference to today’s re[publican/conservatives is full of shit – that is not the situation at all.
It’s really come into sharp relief in this primary that political beliefs are circular, not a straight line. The fringes on each side have more in common than those closer to the middle and tend to believe similar things.
I also think I’m right about conspiracy theorists: they may say they hate and fear the conspiracy they believe in, but they find it strangely comforting to think that *someone* is in charge, because the hugeness and randomness of the universe is overwhelming to them. To realize that no one is in charge and we’re all just stumbling through our days is scary as hell.
To bring up a current movie, that’s the most frightening part of “The Big Short” — the characters realize that no one is in charge of the financial system and they’re about to blow it up because nobody knows any better. Hank Paulson and Alan Greenspan aren’t clever puppet masters who are keeping an eye on it all — they’re just as clueless as everyone else about what’s really going on.
A thousand points of light, compassionate conservatism, etc, etc. The language of loving thy neighbor is very, very different from actually loving thy neighbor. Their policies will still boil down to punishing *those* people, but they’ll claim it’s for their own good.
Also, speaking of Marilynne Robinson, a few months ago the New York Review of Books ran a two-part “conversation” between her and President Obama. Worth checking out if you are a fan of either of them…
@WarMunchkin: I have not formally studied Sanskrit, although I can read and write in the Devnagari. My Sanskrit diction is so so. Sanskrit and Urdu are the two languages I would love to learn. They are both beautiful.
I can think of one: vaccine avoidance. Some homeschooling right-wingers have joined in, but most of the push for it has come from the left.
Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class
I’m mentally imagining maniacal screaming and chest-smeared feces.
@Mnemosyne: Oo Oo! I have a great Greenspan quote when he was testifying before Congress which proves the language obfuscation and insanity of that time:
@sunny raines: Robinson’s point isn’t that both sides of any particular argument are equally truth-based — quite the opposite if you listen to the interview.
@Lurking Canadian: Little Bo-Bo has always loved Big Brother.
@ruemara: Some people really like to feel persecuted because it means they must be important and/or dangerous enough to be worth persecuting. This describes about half of the Bernie-smitten academics on my FB feed.
@Goblue72: of course you do. You believe your own bullshit.
@Linnaeus: Much of the written content I see shared is angry and yes, fearful. Hillary will start WWIII! Primaries are messed up due to DNC plots! It doesn’t have the reach mainstream media does but it does reach enough people on the left and muddy the damned waters to the point that you cannot reason with them at all. Fear works. And it is as toxic to the supposedly reality based left as it has been on the right.
@Matt McIrvin: Ah, Microsoft. The poster corporation for unintended consequences.
I’m gonna give Brooks a break and let him and those like him, some room to reposition themselves into reality. After this next election, if all goes well for our “side”, the aftermath will require us to rethink ways we reach out to and connect with “the other”, which are gonna be some pretty upset people. We can’t make them our brothers and sisters in one leap, but we can start by making peace within our liberal/left/progressives. If we continue to demonize each other and hold certain memories strongly, we will make it very difficult to move forward — which is what we need to do. The work of continuing to build our nation is more difficult now in the time of the internet and 24 hr news cycle populated by sensation seekers. We truly do not know our neighbors anymore, making it so easy to flip them into “the other”. The southern strategy used by Nixon and others worked very well but became political suicide because its inherent nature was to continue to magnify differences and competition instead of finding ways to come together. It is very important that progressives find a way to undo that and pull everyone back together. We need new language and ideas to counter the damage of those years and instincts. I begins, I think, with how we treat each other on the left side of things. Its a lesson I have to think about myself… It will be the massive challenge before us in about 8 months if not before…. We need the long view and we will need short memories about settling scores…..
@Anoniminous: This sad fact, and the existence of the 27% authoritarian followers and 5% sociopaths does make one question the enlightenment project; it was based on flawed assumptions about human behaviour, and about the distributions of characteristics within the population. Kinda like rational choice theory, but even wronger.
I don’t think any of the methods of government we’ve come up with to date can deal with the inevitable accumulation of wealth seeking political power coupled with a built-in 30% of the population who can easily be led to support the return of jack-booted feudalism; who long for it, in fact.
At the congressional level, that attitude can be traced to Gingrich, who as speaker told his caucus that they should consider Democrats their enemies, not their opponents, and should avoid even talking to them as much as possible.
@Mnemosyne: I’ve been surprised how popular Benghazi has been with supposedly left Sanders supporters. There really is a branch that believes HRC is going to jail. And the idea that the DNC is controlling ballot amounts. Aiyaiyai.
I understand Bobo went from comfy solid middle class to a striver’s version of paradise via good academics and the time-honored strategy of marrying money.
He has since divorced and has done of lot of screaming into the void. Too freakin’ late, Bobo. Either look up some kind of religious retreat or continue to feel your soul die by inches.
To echo your point from above, I’d say that a majority of the left is reality based. But there has always been a loud, woo woo contingent of the left too.
The anti-vaccination movement is another example of ideological overlap on the irrational left and right fringes, born of fear, and stoked by the disinformation campaign of its celebrity proponents.
@schrodinger’s cat: My sister is huge on languages. She went through a phase trying to learn Sanskrit. This conversation is a bit ironic for me, because I spent a fair amount of time (and still do) running away from my racial/ethnic identity, want nothing to do with it. But I have appreciation for history.
This. Explains. So. Very. Much.
@The Pale Scot:
Rank and file Republicans, yes. As for GOP elected officials, since I have friends who would probably be alive today if they hadn’t opposed health care reform for decades and they’d gotten the preventive care they couldn’t afford, yes, enemies.
People who caused the deaths of my friends are my enemies. I’m not going to apologize for that.
That being said, there’s enough security holes in those machines that the possibily of hijinks, true or not, was disturbing.
@rikyrah: It’s a breath mind and a candy mint!
I almost gave myself a concussion by slapping my forehead during the Arizona freak out. Really, it was Hillary’s people who made sure there weren’t enough ballots, not the fucking Republicans that fucking control everything in fucking Arizona?!?
Now that’s a circular firing squad — ignoring the bad actions of the other side just so you can build a flimsy case against people on your own side.
I’m not saying the people like you’re seeing on your Facebook feed don’t exist, but I’m cautioning against a reaction that makes such folks out to be more representative than they actually are. I think we should be careful not to confuse symptoms with causes.
Social media craziness that we see could also be an epiphenomenon of a broader trend in US political culture (and one that I think we’re seeing in the Democratic Party more specifically) in which people are becoming a little more open to left/liberal ideas. On the whole, I think this is a good thing and I think the proliferation of outlets that express these ideas (and the reinvigoration of older outlets) is a good thing. Yes, you’ll always have the diehards that you can’t reach, but you’ll have many more that you can, even if those folks don’t agree all of the time.
I just don’t think that left wing craziness in the US is symmetrical with what we’re seeing on the right.
It is not a universal problem, and there is no liberal version of Scalia.
Actually you can, and we even have a name for it: War.
I don’t know that the fringe of the left and a good share of the right actually believe the same things as much as they share a temperament. Luckily for liberals most people with that tendency toward fear and anger are drawn to the Republican Party. Democrats can’t compete with the racism, sexism and religious intolerance that republicans offer as a bonus
That’s heirloom quality stuff right there.
Funny, but I often find myself thinking the same thing about those afflicted with religion. Perhaps there’s a parallel there?
James E Powell
I don’t know how you can say that it became political suicide. It’s been very effective for the GOP and with Trump & Cruz leading the primaries, it doesn’t look like they are going to abandon it any time soon.
@Mnemosyne: You got me on that one. Exception to the rule!
I wouldn’t say it’s symmetrical, but I do think it’s a problem that comes up every 4 years, particularly during primary season. I remember it in 2008 and 2004 as well. Conspiracy theorists suddenly pop up on the left to tell us the “real” story about what happened.
And what drives me absolutely up the frickin’ wall is that they IGNORE the actual conspiracies (like coordinating gay marriage initiatives in 2004 or voter suppression in 2008 and now in 2016 Arizona) in favor of their pet conspiracies about why the Democratic establishment are the REAL bad guys, not the Republicans. I hate people who are contrarians for the sake of being contrarians, and that’s how it usually comes across to me.
@Linnaeus: I agree. My most vociferous pro-Bernie anti-Hillary friend started posting about politics on Facebook with a list of “reasons” Hillary was terrible that included every bullshit GOP non-scandal, up to and including Benghazi. It bugged me until I realized that she wasn’t a Democrat before, she was a libertarian (possibly a Paulite, though I’m not sure.)
If she realizes that stopping Trump or Cruz is important enough to cut it out after the primaries and grudgingly vote for Hillary (if she’s nominated) that’s one more vote. If not, we haven’t lost a vote we were getting before.
Yes, you’re correct — it’s temperament I’m talking about, usually not actual beliefs.
@C.V. Danes: Now, see, if Cruz needs a dominatrix, I’m sure there are ladies who would perform as a free service.
@James E Powell:
I definitely think its the basis for the fracturing of their party… The racism is ultimately their undoing. It is a movement designed to prevent its own growth since only certain whites are ok. The demographics and economic realities in the US and the world, make that ultimately counterproductive for its people.
Been reading the book “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. Very enlightening as to how few of our actions are driven by conscious thought. We really are in autopilot most of the time, even when we think we aren’t.
@James E Powell: The flaky pastry irony is that that is indeed what happened. Except that tax money did not flow into the linty patched pockets of lower-class white bigots, but whispered into the money chests of the likes of the Koch Brothers and the Walmart clan.
Congratulations, you have put your finger in yet another similarity between the left and the right. The only real difference between fundamentalist believers and fundamentalist atheists is that the atheists have had less luck getting their beliefs written into law. But when both groups are calling for Muslims to be slaughtered or that women aren’t as smart as men, it’s hard to tell what the moral difference is supposed to be.
Yes, that 30% or whatever, accounts for some of the entropy in any “system”. But if you can keep the other 70% awake, alert and building on itself, instead of finding ways to carve it up in stupid ideologies, you can keep the wobble of the 30% from destroying the whole thing. (My theory any way :-))
Just reread this and I think it may just qualify as the Post of the Day.
Sadly, I’ve come to believe that in a thatched pub circa 1100, there was a bunch of fellows who agreed that Sir Rapacious put on a most generous Christmas feast and was far better than the Lordling two fiefdoms over.
Asskissing is darn near genetic with some strains of human.
@schrodinger’s cat: Yes. And now that I think a bit more about it a deep reverence for nature.
@Mnemosyne: I’m quite certain that I probably fall into the fundamentalist atheist category, and I have never advocated for either of those things. Perhaps those are stories that fundamentalist believers use to scare their children into worshiping every night, lest the athiest boogyman get them in their sleep?
“. . . those afflicted by religion.”
If those black Christians and Latinos along with white liberal Catholic, Protestants and Jews would just stop being “afflicted”, we would get the revolution.
I guess I would question how much of a problem that is. Like you, I find unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and contrarianism for its own sake annoying and unproductive, but I think the voices on the left that traffic in that kind thing are pretty marginal. They come out during election time because it’s, well, election time, but I don’t see them as having a significant effect. The so-called fundamentals were against Kerry in 2004 and for Obama in 2008 (also, Obama is a more gifted politician than his opponents were and Kerry was less so compared to Bush).
The American left (both the non-crazy and crazy versions) doesn’t have the “transmitters” (to borrow a term from Dave Neiwert) that the right has, so the crazy ideas don’t get mainstreamed. I think that will continue, because of the structural advantages that right wing media have.
I’m of the opinion that few people grow out of the opinions that have hardened by the age of five. That’s why the first few years are so important. Like Sunday School.
@C.V. Danes: I have concluded that for many people, especially those raised in Authoritarian homes, the most frightening thing on earth is the prospect of changing their own minds.
The D. Brooks piece is interesting, and positive. There is an opening window of opportunity to rebuild the Republican Party and, to a lesser extent, American “Conservatism” in general, and anyone can participate. I’d start with working to excise the very clearly counter-factual parts of the American right-wing belief system, e.g. that human-caused global warming is not real and that any effective prevention efforts would be economically costly. (There are other such parts.)
That is based on a belief that the demographics will stay the same — but they won’t. Sure, the right can keep up an enclave within its shrinking sphere of influence, but it will continue to shrink. All the “goodies” — jobs, a future for your kids, will be in the other group and in the broader world they have been taught to fear. Sure, they can be milked for a while longer, but I truly think it will dwindle, not strengthen. Indeed, I see the current crisis with Trump as not a sign of the movement’s vigor, but of its weakeness and inability to bring its people to the right place for success. Most of these followers will be dead in the next 20 years. Our challenge is to reach their kids…
@dogwood: Sorry, but the elitist in me believes that the need for a supreme being is an artifact of the fact that we are only once removed from the chimps.
Bad shit happens simply because bad shit happens. There is no Galactic Overlord.
@Redshift: There is a not entirely insane reason to believe that the miasma of scandal hangs around Clinton, EVEN THOUGH the “scandals” are entirely made of bullshit.
If every Republican says “BENGHAZI!!!! She got brave Americans killed!” and every talking head on TV says “Well, hard to say what really happened, irresponsible not to speculate etc”, it’s not impossible that it could stick.
They made Swift Boat out of whole bullshit too, and that worked after all.
“Indeed, I see the current crisis with Trump as not a sign of the movement’s vigor, but of its weakeness and inability to bring its people to the right place for success. ”
For what it’s worth, this guy appears to agree with you…
Look up Sam Harris on Muslims and Richard Dawkins on women in science. But I guess Harris and Dawkins aren’t Real True Atheists if they believe things that you don’t, amirite?
Since my right-wing conservative (step)mom is a lifelong atheist, I have no illusions that merely being an atheist makes one liberal, or even rational. Atheists are just as prone to the common delusions of our society as everyone else.
Out of curiosity, is that a common doctor joke, or is it original as The Google suggests? Win either way.
(If I were D. Brooks I would cherish that insult. :-)
Sure, that’s a good point. I’m not saying that right wing political power will necessarily continue as it has, but I do think that it’s generally easier, in a structural sense, for the more extreme right wing ideas to be communicated than those on the left. That’s still a big challenge.
@WereBear: That’s because to change their minds would be to admit that the dogma of autocracy they have been subjected to their whole life might be wrong. That cannot stand in an autocracy, hence why unsanctioned thinking is not allowed.
The Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver is already trying to move in this direction with his “oh, sorry about that makers vs. takers stuff. That wasn’t very nice” faux-contrition.
All Bobo is saying is that they need to find a new series of talking points along the lines of “compassionate conservatism” that GOP ghouls can start reciting whenever they get confronted with the cruelty of their “starve the poor so the rich can buy more yachts” economic policies (which will not change) and change the subject.
That was the idea of Little Marco’s candidacy, after all:
“Senator Rubio, your economic plan calls for a tax cut that would overwhelmingly favor the already-obscenely wealthy and require cuts to any and all aid to the poor and elderly. WTF is this?”
“My dad was a bartender and I have an aw-sucks naivete thing going for me, so obviously I love the poor and shame on you for citing so-called ‘facts’ about ‘policy’ to suggest I don’t. Blah blah blah opportunity blah blah blah free enterprise.”
Bobo is just saying the marketing needs updating.
@NCSteve: The year is barely a quarter over, but I’d like to flag this as a Comment of the Year candidate.
They’re free to believe what they like. You’re free to believe what you like. I like to live in an evidence-based world. I personally don’t see the utility of worshiping a stick figure and hoping it rains. Some people get value from that, because the thought of having to move to where it rains more is too difficult to contemplate. Whatever gets you through the day, as long as you don’t expect me to worship sticks, too.
@C.V. Danes: And to follow up, the universe is a big place. We only understand a fraction of it. But there is no spookiness to the universe. If something seems spookie, it’s because the science is not understood. Nothing more; nothing less.
(And the rest) Bravo!
I completely agree. The next several years in the U.S. will be a time for building bridges, and mending them.
(Still true though much scarier if the Republicans somehow win the presidency in 2016; not completely sure the U.S. would survive that, long term.)
@ruemara: A friend of mine has been trying to reason with a Sanders supporter on Facebook who is straight-up relaying anti-Hillary smear videos from Breitbart. That this thing is coming from a well-known lying right-wing smear factory doesn’t bother him, nor does the fact that the video apparently leads with somebody cracking a sexist joke; he insists that’s all irrelevant and the accusations still convince him that Hillary Clinton should be in prison.
As long as you don’t think that atheism is a belief system that automatically confers rationality, then we’re probably fine. If you’ve never met an atheist with irrational beliefs, you may need to get out more. I get really tired of atheists who sneer at all believers but insist that “science” proves that women aren’t as smart as men and that’s why fewer of them are in STEM fields. Irrational beliefs are irrational beliefs no matter what your professed belief system is.
John M. Burt
Bobo has touched upon two points which I have been talking about a lot in various venues: the disillusionment (finally!) of people with voodoo economics, and the aftermath of the death of the former party of Lincoln:
Nor has it ever been, of course, as Kansas is learning to its terrible cost.
I doubt this can happen, but I do think there is a good chance for a good outcome in the short term: that the Republican party will quickly finish its self-destruction, allowing the Democrats to resume their traditional position as the nation’s conservative party, while a healthy new party emerges to the left of the Democrats.
I will vote for Democratic candidates until this comes about — paint the electoral map blue, folks, and then we can start painting it green.
Thanks, Miss B… I have saved it and will read.. I skimmed it for now… a lot of good stuff in it.
@Bill Arnold: It’s not 2016 I’m worried about. It’s 2020.
There is going to be a not significant percentage of left-leaners who will be terrified enough of Trump to come out in droves, hold their collective noses, and vote for Hillary. I fully expect Clinton to demolish Trump in the general. But come 2020, most of these people are going to be reminded full well why they dislike Hillary, and without a Trump booogyman to scare them to the polls, the Republicans could very well squeak in a president due to low Democratic turnout.
Not saying it would be different under Bernie if he were to get elected. Just sayin’.
James E Powell
I remember all kinds of conspiracies and plots alleged against Al Gore by Naderites – quite a bit about Conoco for some reason – and the occasional “libertarian” complaining about Tipper Gore’s plans to censor everything on the internet.
@Mnemosyne: I agree that atheism does not confer rationality. I would also say, however, that rationality may lead someone to atheism, or at least agnostic :-)
@dogwood: My acquaintances who are posting that pic of Bill and Hill and Trump and Mrs? I don’t know that they’re thinking that far ahead. Nobody has seemingly asked them, “Hillz’ appointee would be the same as Trump/Cruz’s? The executive orders from a Hillary WH would be just the same as GWB or Kasich? Reeeeealllly?”
They’re Bernie or Busting right past the point of, say, “Scalia passes and all of a sudden Dow Chemical pays $900M to not call the Supremes’ bluff”. Because Hills’ court appointees would be the next Alito, they think.
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class:
That insult swings in both directions with these two. IIRC, Trump got into some sort of Twitter war with (I believe) a reporter, one of whose comebacks was “Your wife is just waiting for you to die”. Trump completely lost his shit.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There are a surprising number of people out there who substitute their belief in God for a belief in aliens or ghosts or some such without much of a variation. And even “rational” atheists like Richard Dawkins often have irrational blind spots you can drive a truck through.
On the other side, you have the Vatican Observatory doing real science despite their continuing irrational belief in God. There are more shades of gray than you seem willing to recognize.
Myself, I’m on the agnostic side, because I don’t think anyone really knows what happens after we die. It could well be nothing, and I get why atheists have made that decision and moved on rather than dwelling on it. But there’s really no way to know until we’ve actually done it, is there?
I have done a fair bit of that, but with Modi’s government in power and idiots like Rajiv Malhotra running around and defining for the world at large what being of Indian and Hindu heritage means. I feel like I need to take a stand and not let them define it for me by default.
James E Powell
I’m an atheist and neither of those two things ever occurred to me. They must be aspects of the people with whom you are dealing, not aspects of atheism.
@C.V. Danes: Agreed. The game is so screwed up that any decent refereeing would mean better results for the idea of the capital-L Law, and also us on the Left.
Baud, I have an appointee for you:
Silverman for Judge: Because Adam’s Not Buying Your Lame-Ass Dive!
@Immanentize: Okay, that quote is just begging to go into the rotating tagline collection.
I agree actually, at least with mostly linear extrapolations (*) from now. Any ideas for how to get past 2020 in such a scenario? e.g. pulling the Democratic party back together?
(*) I believe that surprises will be frequent. Scandals, possible exogenous events, maybe the beginnings of panic about global warming, an AI summer appears to be starting with who-knows-what effect on the world’s economies, etc.
@schrodinger’s cat: That’s fair, but I don’t think Modi is even close to who people think of when they imagine the typical Indian. Well, I grew up in New York, anyway.
I mean, when Hurricane Sandy hit, I remember trying to get gas at the station (which was out), and immediately as I got out of my car, a whole bunch of people swarmed me and asked me where the gas was. And I wish I had a picture of the look on my face, because it took me a whole ten seconds for me to figure out that these people thought I worked at the gas station. (Because of my race).
So typically, I don’t think Indian political figures, right-wing or not, represent the typical heuristic towards South Asians. It’s more male cab drivers, male 7-11 owner stereotypes in media, doctors, businessmen, men in IT, etc. (Very deliberately dropping the gender modifier there). And nevertheless, I still wanted to run away from that – hell, I spent most of my childhood wishing I could be like all the white kids and wondering why they seemed like they had such “natural” lives.
As a queer brown woman, it is hard for me to not see the GOP as a mortal enemy. They loathe my very existence. They spend all their time trying to get government to punish me and interfere with my life. Their indifference to me would be a Godsend, and would get them off my enemies list. I’d still hate the nonsense they spout about economics and foreign policy, but until they stop actively waging war on my existence, I’ll consider them mortal enemies and not feel bad about it. I’ve always said, they declared me the enemy first, it would be stupid of me not to consider them my enemy in return.
@James E Powell:
Harris and Dawkins defend their irrational beliefs about Muslims and women using atheism. But just as not all believers are monolithic, neither are all atheists.
Given the various irrational atheists I know, I get annoyed with claims that believers are all stupid and irrational and only atheists have any claim to rationality. That’s all.
Currently, no. But wherever you land, there will be nothing spookie about it :-)
@Bill Arnold: My opinion, the more we can keep Hillary looking left, the better off we’ll be. If she follows her instincts and moves right, then things will not be so good. Thus, progressives will need to keep the heat on :-)
I don’t know what the stats are, but suspect that Trump’s followers are spread across all age groups, not just the Faux News geriatric set. There’s no upper or lower age limit for believing utter nonsense.
Come 2020, the American public will have seen four years of competent and able leadership from President Hillary (well, that’s my hope; I know you have different hopes) and she’ll be running as an incumbent. It’s well known that she is more popular as an officeholder than as a candidate.
Well, if you get there before me, let me know. ;-)
Oddly, the science of perception is another thing that doesn’t let me go all the way atheist. Colors … don’t actually exist, despite the fact that we all spend a lot of time teaching our kids about the difference between red and green. In fact, there are some cultures where certain colors don’t exist — I think the one I read about was one where they don’t differentiate between blue and red, but they could easily distinguish between very subtle shades of green. Culture shapes perception far more than we realize. So it would not surprise me at all to find out that certain people are sensitive to something that science can’t measure (yet), or that certain personality traits (like higher than average empathy?) leads people to perceive things differently.
I will say that sometimes talking to militant atheists is like talking to someone who’s red/green colorblind and insists that they aren’t separate colors at all, and anyone who sees them otherwise is deluded.
@Mnemosyne: Indeed. There are those who only believe what they can see, and leave no possibility for anything else. I at least entertain the possibility that there are things going on outside my perception, understanding that there is still a scientific basis for it, which we as yet don’t understand. Like the force that causes some metals to attract. We used to think it was spooky, now we understand it as magnetism. There may be a force that allows someone to read someone else’s mind. Right now we think its spooky. Later on, once we remove all the charlitanism, there will undoubtedly be a scientific explanation.
I can’t find the specific article I’m thinking of, but this one seems to have similar information about the study.
Trump’s “I’d do a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” sounds like a good start, amiright?
Folks, the Republican party is the party of hate…the party of lynching…the party of legalized loansharking, the party that applauds when a presidential candidate at CPAC says that people who can’t afford to buy health insurance need to die in the streets.
The language of “loving thy neightbor” died out of Republicanism sometime around 1906, when Teddy Roosevelt was doing his trust-busting.
I don’t even mind differing opinions when they’re based on unverifiable preferences, provided the person with that different opinion doesn’t try to deny the facts.
When someone tells me “2 + 2 = 5, and that’s my opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion!” my response is: bullshit, nobody is entitled to the opinion that 2 + 2 = 5.
On the other hand, I was talking to a seemingly-sensible guy the other day who wound up saying he was going to vote for Trump. I told him I was going to write in Bernie Sanders. He said “Then I have to vote for Trump in order to cancel out your vote.” My response? “Great, that’s what democracy is all about.”
Somebody who evaluates Trump’s public statements and decides to vote for the guy because they love bullies and like sadism and ignorance doesn’t bother me. The world is full of these kind of characters. The rest of us will run roughshod over ’em and they will be left to the garbage pail of history. That doesn’t worry me. What bothers me is somebody who says he’s going to vote for Trump because Hillary’s e-mail scandal involves a cover-up for her lesbian-orgy sex ring that caused her to murder a bunch of people in the State Department order to cover it all up.
KS in MA
Thanks for the link to the Robinson interview, Betty. It’s a good ‘un!
They do love their neighbor, if their neighbor is rich. Tax cuts for that sort of neighbor, to show their love.
@Amir Khalid: I that would be optimum. And if we can give her a Democratic Senate to work with, then her job will be easier.
@rikyrah: Yesterday, Governor Scott Walker said he planned to announce an endorsement “after Easter” and admitted that it will either be Ted Cruz or John Kasich. The smart money’s on Cruz, as members of the establishment have already written off Scott Walker as a dead-eyed hasbeen presiding over a massive, multi-year red state budget disaster.
Why folks like Bobo think the GOP stands for anything is beyond me. Reaganism has been proven wrong time and again, most plainly this cycle with Louisiana, Kansas and Wisconsin all suffering terrible under “pro growth” tax cuts. HW Bush was right … voodoo!
@WarMunchkin: I am not that concerned about what other people think, or how they see me, its more about finding and in some cases reconnecting to my own upbringing and heritage.
@Marmot: She was talking about the Dittoheads, not you, sleepyhead.
I just had a brief run in when I tried being civil with a wingnut leaderess over on Americans For Freedom, which poses as Heritage-y, but is currently at least a sulphurous bubbling hellhole of anti-“pro-bort”-ists.
“Mortal enemy”? Whew! That’s just fer their appetizers. No idea what the red meat course might look like. I didn’t stick around to be their tartare.
John M. Burt
I recommend that people read this, if they haven’t already:
A savage yet surgical takedown of David Brooks and the party he rode in on.