Old thoughts (26 October 2008):
A McCain defeat is likely to be paired with significant defeats downstream from the Presidential race. This would portend a period of bloodletting within the Republican Party and among conservatives more generally. Since Republican Party partisans have been prone to high levels of symbolic violence directed at Democrats (and supporters of Democrats), this propensity to demonize the Other will likely be turned inward. This seems to have begun already (see the leaks coming from the McCain and Palin camps). On a more general level, it seems that an open war is breaking out between evangelicals and nativists, who have been the shock troops of Republican success since 1980, and the conservative “intelligentsia” (op-ed writers and professional political strategists) over both the content and tenor of Republican/Conservative politics. Not only may evangelicals be closed out of power in the Congress and Executive branch, but they have not yet reaped any concrete benefits of 28 years of loyalty to the Republican brand: Roe v. Wade hasn’t been overturned, no “right to life” amendment has been ratified, and the latest threat to humankind, “gay marriage,” has become more acceptable to the public. Nativists are also unhappy as the issue of “illegals” has not been a campaign theme for McCain (who once upon a time championed a form of immigration reform that boiled the blood of the vigilantes patrolling America’s southern border). The conservative intelligentsia is weary of the narrow-mindedness and anti-intelletualism of the Republican Party base: it realizes that Republicans will become a permanent minority party if they continue to cater to the exclusionary preferences of this base. This split could materialize in struggles over the soul of the party waged by Huckabee and Palin (on the one side), and Romney, Jindal, and Ridge (on the other side). Forward thinking Republicans will be more welcoming to people like Bloomberg and Weld as candidates and policy-makers; backward looking Republicans will continue to take marching orders from Limbaugh, Hannity, and the God Squad (Dobson and Perkins).
Enter the Tea Party in 2009.
New thoughts on the controversy over the label “progressive” and the Clinton and Sanders campaigns:
An analogous situation arose in 2008. Republicans questioned Mr Obama’s “character” by raising his “association” with Bill Ayers (“paling around with terrorists”) and his membership in the church of the firebrand Reverend Wright. In the end, the strategy of character assassination failed. In the present circumstances, Mr Sanders would do better to stick to substance (differences in policy).
The search for ideological purity is why the Republicans are a risible circus today. Mr Sanders should be wary of taking the Democratic Party (of which he’s never been a member) down this road to political perdition. It will only end in tears.
Numerous bankruptcies and numerous ex-wives: this makes one a leading Republican candidate for President.
As for Mr Trump’s attacks on Mssrs McCain and Perry: it’s basically one clown calling the other clowns to order.
I’m surprised Mr McCain hasn’t called for the bombing of Trump Tower.
Trump will turn Karl Rove into a whirling dervish given how much spinning the latter will have to do.
American popular culture has always been a counterfeit form.
Royals are more attractive today than they were in prior centuries.
The archbishop of Dublin is saying the Church must do a better job of indoctrinating children. This is an example of how medieval monotheism loses the plot in the modern world.
In breaking news, John McCain is angry. Again.
Politics isn’t rocket science. It’s easy to spot a political buffoon.
As news meanders across the political media universe that Jeb Bush’s email dump revealed sensitive personal information about 12,000 people, raising the spectre of another incompetent Bush in the White House, one wonders how he would be able to navigate a successful primary run for the Republican nomination. The Republican Party is not a single entity but rather an unappetizing ragout of functionally incompatible factions:
1. A tiny rump of reasonably rational Republicans, the so-called Establishment which caters to Wall Street and maintains a respectable 10 handicap.
2. A Tea Party faction that is the driving force in Republican political psychology. The Tea Party has several wings:
(a) a wacky libertarian wing (e.g., Rand Paul) comprised of Isolationists, Anti-Vaxxers, the Gun Lobby, and Gold Bugs.
(b) a social conservative, religious wing (Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin) that is
obsessed about addicted to talking about gay sex.
(c) a bandit wing (e.g., Cliven Bundy, paranoid militias and survivalists living in fortified bunkers, White Supremacists in Idaho) that is ready to engage in the violent overthrow of the US government.
(d) a classic poujadist wing comprised of people who want free services from government but don’t want to pay taxes.
3. A “Bomb Iran” caucus (e.g., John McCain and Lindsay Graham), which sometimes overlaps with the “Bomb Moscow, But Make Putin Our Presidential Nominee First” caucus (e.g., John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Franklin Graham, Steven Seagal, etc.), and the “Bomb Everyone We Dislike to Show We’re Manly Men” caucus (e.g., John McCain and Lindsay Graham).
2016 may not be the year for another RINO, which is the tag of death for a moderate Republican like Mr Bush.
Wake me when Shadow President McCain has volunteered to fly sorties over Moscow.
No matter what one sees on Portlandia: Buy and consume whatever you desire.
What’s wrong with journalism today? Take the following example. The New York Times‘ Ginia Bellafante wrote an article on Mayor de Blasio’s ten day vacation to Italy. She writes:
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been unable to avoid criticism about his plans to travel to Italy with his family for nearly 10 days so early in his tenure …
Unfortunately, the article cites only one critic of the mayor’s trip, Rudy Giuliani, whose political conflict of interest remains unstated. But the phrase “Many people quickly took issue with the vacation” appears as a stand in for evidence of (missing) masses of outraged citizens. (Another variant of this rhetorical tactic is the interrogator’s question prefaced by “Some say …”, which should always be translated as “I say …”). Bellafante’s article is organized around a pseudo-controversy driven by the journalist’s own professional imaginary. The pseudo-controversy is one of journalism’s go-to tricks. I wonder if it is taught at journalism schools.
If Spain wants to save its Monarchy, it should place images of the new Queen front and center (see England).
Pope Francis says cats are nice, but children are better and that childless couples will live out their final years lonely and bitter.
I think the pope is admitting that he’s lonely and bitter in his old age.
The Roman Church could follow the model of St Francis and give its billions in wealth to the poor in Africa and around the world.
I rather like the meme “John McCain was swapped.”
The Sin City sequel poster is a distraction from Benghazi.
Yoko Ono is the most talented Beatle.
On the talk show Generations Radio, Kevin Swanson and his co-host, Steve Vaughn, took Disney to task for “leading the charge” in promoting a “pro-homosexual” agenda in “Frozen.”
Christian wingnuts are amusing. The rest of us are immune to their foolish film criticism.
Facebook surveillance is a threat to the internet.
Senator McCain has always sought to escalate US military involvement in every imaginable international conflict, even those in which the US has no immediate strategic interest. He’s no longer credible as a political pundit.
Tony Benn was a beacon of light for the left during the dark night of the 1980s.