Larry Hogan As A 2020 GOP Challenger To Trump?

Could Maryland Governor Larry Hogan be just the kind of Republican to challenge Trump in 2020?

Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan is quite possibly the most popular Republican in the country right now, and after the Inaugural Address he gave earlier this week to mark his second term as Governor, some are speculating that he could become a potential challenger to President Trump in 2020:

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is acting a lot like a guy who wants to run against Donald Trump in 2020 — and the president’s reelection team is taking notice.

The second-term Maryland governor has been implicitly going after Trump in speeches, meeting with Never Trump Republicans, and planning a March trip to Iowa as vice chair of the National Governors Association.

It’s all fueling speculation that Hogan, a 62-year-old cancer survivor who coasted to reelection in liberal Maryland and remains one of the most popular governors in the country, is open to the prospect of a long-shot primary challenge to the incumbent president. His flirtation comes at a time when Trump is facing increasing blowback over his handling of the protracted government shutdown and bracing for a potentially devastating report by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Hogan used his inaugural address on Wednesday to repudiate the “debilitating politics” of Washington — and to raise the specter of impeachment. He recalled how his father, former Rep. Lawrence Hogan, was the first Republican congressman to support the removal of Richard Nixon.

The governor didn’t utter Trump’s name, but the implication was clear.

“Despite tremendous political pressure, he put aside partisanship and answered the demands of his conscience to do what he thought was the right thing for the nation that he loved,” Hogan said of his late father.

The White House is paying close attention. The president’s political aides have been monitoring the Maryland governor for months, and several said they regarded the inauguration speech as an unmistakable act of aggression. They noted that Trump 2016 primary rival Jeb Bush was a featured speaker at the ceremony, and that Mark Salter, a longtime Republican speechwriter and a fierce Trump critic, helped craft Hogan’s address.

“Any potential challenger should understand that the Trump campaign is better organized than any campaign in history, especially with the support of the Republican Party, which is firmly behind the president,” said Chris Carr, the Trump 2020 political director.

Hogan aides strenuously deny that he’s actively exploring a White House bid and point out that he’s stressed the themes of above-the-fray moderation and bipartisanship throughout his tenure.

Yet he’s given hope to Never Trump Republicans like Bill Kristol, a high-profile conservative commentator who’s been waging a Hail Mary campaign to stop the president from being renominated in 2020.

Kristol was invited to Hogan’s inauguration — though he didn’t attend — and he’s expected to meet soon with the governor. Kristol and Hogan briefly chatted last month after the Maryland Republican delivered a speech at the Niskanen Center, a right-of-center think tank that’s been critical of the president.

“He went out of his way to be a little more forward-leaning than he needed to be. He could have given a very good inaugural speech for his second term as governor without the father, without the impeachment, without the contrast with Washington, so he knows what he’s doing,” Kristol said.

“He’s a savvy pol,” Kristol added. “He wanted people to see that he had some interest in the national scene.”


The governor is mostly playing coy about his intentions.

Last week, he hosted a handful of Niskanen Center officials for lunch ahead of his swearing-in. The discussion focused largely on policy matters, but Hogan, who’ll be termed out of office in 2022, was asked about his interest in launching a presidential bid. He did not rule out the possibility, one person familiar with the gathering said.

Similarly, when POLITICO asked Hogan in November about a potential 2020 campaign, the governor responded: “Never say never.”

Buzzfeed also has a profile of Hogan, and New York Times columnist Bret Stephens speaks positively of him as an alternative to Trump:

First is the fact that Trump is losing his showdown over the shutdown. Having volunteered — on camera, no less — that he was “proud to shut down the government for border security,” he cannot disavow the consequences.

Instead of building a wall that Mexicans will pay for, Americans are going unpaid for a wall that’s not going to be built. For Trump, it can only end with a government in crisis, surrender to Nancy Pelosi, or the declaration of a bogus “national emergency” that sets a dangerous precedent and will alienate other Republicans. Either way, it will cost the president political support that a bold primary challenger could reap.

Second, it is no longer mere wishful thinking that Trump either won’t serve out his term or won’t be on the ballot next year. Thursday’s BuzzFeed bombshell that the president directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress may prove a dud, but there is no question the president’s legal jeopardy is increasing. A Republican who challenges him early could reap benefits in fund-raising and visibility, not to mention personal honor.

Most important, though, is the future of the G.O.P. itself. Every democracy is bound to have a party that represents society’s conservative instincts. The question is: What kind of conservatism? As Jerry Taylor of the Niskanen Center puts it, “The party deserves a choice about whether it wants to continue down the path of Le Pen-style blood-and-soil nationalism or return to its noble origins as the party of Lincoln.”

Larry Hogan isn’t the only Republican who understands the need for that choice. But he is one of the few who can offer a serious and meaningful alternative to the corroded conservatism we have in Washington today. Stepping forward now would mean stepping fully into his father’s shoes.

From the perspective of Republicans who are opposed to Trump, whether they’ve admitted it publicly or not, there’s a lot about Hogan to like. He’s managed to succeed politically in a state that has been traditionally Democratic for decades. In fact, he is the first Republican re-elected to a second term as Governor since Theodore McKeldin, who served as Governor from 1951 to 1959. Additionally, although he has served with a legislature dominated by Democrats he has managed to be rather successful in getting an agenda through the legislature and getting mandatory measures such as the state budget passed with relatively little difficulty. Furthermore, he managed to do all of this during a first term during which he was forced to deal with a cancer diagnosis that came shortly after taking office for his first term. Rather than stepping aside during treatment, Hogan continued to serve and did so quite effectively to the point where he easily beat his Democratic opponent in November’s election, which he won by a wider margin than he did in 2014 notwithstanding the fact that voter turnout in November was far higher than it had been in 2014. In this respect, I suppose, Hogan is much like former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with the exception that, until now, Hogan has not received much media attention and that Hogan does not have the same bombastic style that Christie did. Instead, much like his fellow Republican-In-A-Blue-State Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who also won election to a second term in 2018 by a convincing margin, Hogan seems to prefer a more consensus-seeking approach to politics that doesn’t emphasize differences or involve victimization of one’s political enemies. In other words, not just Never Trump but the anti-Trump.

If he did challenge Trump, Hogan would face several difficulties that would make victory seemingly impossible, assuming you define victory in terms of actually winning the election.

First of all, history which shows us that there has not been a successful intra-party challenge to an incumbent President since the beginning of the modern primary era. The closest anyone has come was in 1968 in the case of Lyndon Johnson but, of course, Johnson decided to decline to run for re-election rather than actually being defeated and he actually won the primary that many people attribute to his decision to drop out of the race, the 1968 New Hampshire Primary. Other than that, there have only been a handful of challenges to incumbents, and none of them were successful in denying the incumbent the nomination. The first came in 1976 when Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination, while Reagan came close and took the fight all the way to the convention in Kansas City, he ultimately lost to Ford, although Reagan’s near-victory did mark a sea change in direction of the Republican Party. The second significant challenge came four years later when Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Once again, Kennedy put up a fight, but Carter won rather easily, although it was Kennedy who stole the show at the Democratic convention in New York City with a stemwinder of a speech that cemented him as the leader of the party’s liberal wing throughout much of the 1980s. Finally, in 1992 George H.W. Bush faced an insurgent challenge from the right in the form of Pat Buchanan. While Buchanan was never really a serious challenger, didn’t win a single primary or caucus, and didn’t even come close to defeating Bush, he did arguably weaken Bush, especially after his controversial speech at the Republican National Convention in Houston. Additionally, while he lost Buchanan’s speech was in many ways a preview of the direction that the Republican Pary and conservatism would head in the years and decades to come. Taking all this history into account, the odds are decidedly against Hogan or any other challenger to Trump except, perhaps, if he is so politically wounded by four years of opposition and investigations that he becomes easy to topple.

In that regard, though, the polls tell us that any challenger to Trump is likely to face an uphill battle. While the President’s job approval numbers among the public as a whole remain historically low, among Republicans they are historically high notwithstanding all of his political and legal quagmires. The most recent example of this can be seen in the most recent Huffington Post/YouGov poll, which finds that most Republicans do not want anyone to challenge the President. Additionally, Trump remains extraordinarily popular among self-identified Republicans in every job approval poll that is released. Indeed, given that he is extraordinarily unpopular among Democrats and upside down among Independents, it’s likely the fact that he remains so popular among Republicans that is preventing his overall job approval numbers from dropping below the 40-42% range that it has been in since he became President. As long as that’s the case, a challenge to the President would be essentially doomed.

On a final note, while Hogan has been a success in Maryland it seems clear that he is ideologically out of step with the Republican Party nationally. While he is generally conservative, Hogan is not nearly as conservative as the Republican base. In that sense, he’s in line with Republicans such as Chris Christie who, obviously, didn’t do very well in the race for the GOP nomination in 2016. While this may be the direction that the Republican Party should be moving, it isn’t the direction that it is moving. Therefore, no matter how attractive a candidate Hogan, or practically anyone else, may seem to be, a challenge to Trump would be seemingly doomed from the start.



FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. gVOR08 says:

    The fact that it’s Hogan is uninteresting. That his own Republican species of shark smell Trump’s blood in the water is.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    Any potential challenger should understand that the Trump campaign is better organized than any campaign in history

    “Organized” meant in the “Russian Mafia” sense.

  3. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yeah, that stood out to me as well. Carr’s lips may have been moving, but it was Trump speaking.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Incumbents facing primary challenges usually lose, so having a serious threat should make everyone who wants to see Trump be a one term prez should hope someone steps up. Till Hogan popped up, the assumption has been that it will be John Kasich. If both enter the damage to Tiny will be lessened.

  5. Teve says:

    OT but I’m definitely going to be reading this soon:

    One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

    by Kevin M. Kruse
    3.89 1,325 ratings 220 reviews

    We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that.

    As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of “pagan statism” that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for “freedom under God” culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

    But this apparent triumph had an ironic twist. In Eisenhower’s hands, a religious movement born in opposition to the government was transformed into one that fused faith and the federal government as never before. During the 1950s, Eisenhower revolutionized the role of religion in American political culture, inventing new traditions from inaugural prayers to the National Prayer Breakfast. Meanwhile, Congress added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and made “In God We Trust” the country’s first official motto. With private groups joining in, church membership soared to an all-time high of 69%. For the first time, Americans began to think of their country as an officially Christian nation.

    During this moment, virtually all Americans—across the religious and political spectrum—believed that their country was “one nation under God.” But as Americans moved from broad generalities to the details of issues such as school prayer, cracks began to appear. Religious leaders rejected this “lowest common denomination” public religion, leaving conservative political activists to champion it alone. In Richard Nixon’s hands, a politics that conflated piety and patriotism became sole property of the right.

    Provocative and authoritative, One Nation Under God reveals how the unholy alliance of money, religion, and politics created a false origin story that continues to define and divide American politics to this day.

  6. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    been that it will be John Kasich. If both enter the damage to Tiny will be lessened.

    I don’t know, man if one relatively unknown like Hogan enters, he might be dismissed as an oddball. if Hogan and Kasich enter people might start thinking, hey this could be an actual race. Then maybe another person or two enters? Then it looks like a vote of no confidence on Trump. Who knows.

  7. Teve says:

    “Any potential challenger should understand that the Trump campaign is better organized than any campaign in history, especially with the support of the Republican Party, which is firmly behind the president,” said Chris Carr, the Trump 2020 political director.

    I would have to see a pile of evidence taller than Olympus Mons to believe that anything Trump is affiliated with is well-organized.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    I don’t think this is how the story ends, with a suddenly sobered-up GOP making rational choices. They’re going to need a squalid, tacky ending, a shambles, with guys heading for prison and Trump trying to run again just to keep himself from being indicted. Nixon and his helicopter, Hitler and his bunker, Mussolini and his piano wire, Ceausescu and his firing squad, Saddam and his rope, Gaddafi and his bayonet enema. But given that this entire ‘administration’ has been a joke there’ll have to be a strong element of humor. Dark humor and squalor.

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It will end when a Democrat is elected President with a movement called the Shmee Shmarty that will assure us no one involved was ever really into politics before that moment and they just want the GOP to become truly conservative for once.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Thanks. Sounds like a must read. Another data point for the proverbial question, are Republican politicians worse now, or have they always been complete spitweasels.

    I’ve always found opposition to SS a little odd in that it’s funded by a separate tax they don’t pay. But I suppose it’s a replay of health insurance. As I understand it, unions started talking about providing health insurance to their members and GM bigfooted them to keep that hold on the employees themselves. Now, of course, they’ve borrowed from SS to pay for their stupid wars and don’t want to pay taxes to pay it back.

    IIRC Hacker and Pierson say corporate money became much more prominent in politics in the 70’s in reaction to OSHA and the EPA.

  11. Kathy says:

    See the post about how his base is taking Dennison’s non-offer to end the shut down. He might be challenged also by someone farther to the alt-right.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Good. Every crack counts. And, depending on how the wind blows, I expect Romney, late in the game, to declare himself drafted by acclamation.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    I suspect that if Trump runs again, he’ll win the Republican nomination. It’s Brexit all over again–wanting to “stick it to the elites!” even if it’s very obvious it will all end in tears.

    These are the sorts of idiots who are perfectly happy to set their neighbour’s house on fire even if their own house is right next door.

  14. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    These are the sorts of idiots who are perfectly happy to set their neighbour’s house on fire even if their own house is right next door.

    “What? The leak is in their side of the lifeboat.”

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Looks long.

    I’ve read the first third of a bunch of nonfiction political books lately, and I just wish there was a reasonable market for hundred page books. Or that the writers were a bit more gripping. Or that I had a longer attention span.

  16. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I’m about halfway through the new Carl Zimmer book, which is about 600 pages long and fascinating, but you’re right and I’d even go so far as to say that most books would be better off as a 10-page essay. However, I follow Kevin Kruse on Twitter, and he’s really fascinating and intelligent, so I might give this one a shot.

  17. Teve says:

    Pompeo is in discussions to leave the White House and run for Senate in Kansas

    I would say, dude it’s only been nine months, but this is the Trump White House. You should get out while the gettin’s good.

  18. Kathy says:


    Have you tried audio books? I got to them by way of history podcasts. I listen mostly while driving, cooking, or working out. Scribd lets you download unlimited amounts of books for about $10 per month, though you can keep them only as long as you keep paying the subscription, and has a 30 day free trial. Audible lets you have one book per month for $15 or so, but you can keep the books you download forever. It also has a 30 day free trial (which means just one free book).

  19. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I have audible — I find it better for fiction than nonfiction, although I have enjoyed some of the lecture series they have on there as well. My mind tends to wander a little listening to an audio book.

    I do read. I’m not incapable of reading. I just think that a good editor is as important as a good writer, and that a lot of books are just too long.

    I think that people want to feel like they are getting a good value for their money, and a slim book makes them wonder why they are paying so much, so books get padded. Or the editor doesn’t say “this is the tenth time you have said this, how about just five times?”

    I once made the mistake of reading Shakespeare for about a year — everything is so densely packed in his plays (plot, emotions, characterization) that it was really hard for me to adjust back. Recently, I made a similar “mistake” of taking careful notes as I read, and now I read everything too closely and can’t get lost in it.

    But mostly… too many books are just too long.

  20. Kathy says:


    I found audio better for non-fiction. Go figure.

    Michael Reynolds can correct me, but I think writers are often paid by the number of words they write (damned digital age is robbing us of expressions like “set down on paper.”) The incentive then is to pad the book.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I think of Thomas Pynchon, and how his novels keep getting larger and larger. Has anyone ever finished Mason & Dixon or Against The Day?

    I don’t think he has more to say than he did when he wrote The Crying of Lot 49, at least not ten times as much.

    If Ivo Andric can fit 300 years of ethnic cleansing into 300 pages of The Bridge On The Drina, then most authors can chop 20% somewhere. Also, that is the longest 300 pages I have ever read, particularly the impaling. Anyone who is reading it, just skip over the impaling.

    And then there are all the nonfiction books that should be magazine articles. The first third of Good And Mad is quite nice, but I feel it’s just diminishing returns with each additional page. Maybe there’s something later on, but I’m done.

    I would honestly be delighted with a note at the end of a chapter that says “getting bored? Skip to Chapter 12, because the next four chapters are just like the last few.”

  22. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: What makes nonfiction books a bit easier is that generally you don’t have to read everything in them. You don’t even necessarily have to read them in order, and in any case you probably won’t be lost if you skip over certain sections. If you’re listening to them being read, even if your attention flags at certain points it doesn’t mean you have to go back and listen to those sections again.

    Fiction (and narrative nonfiction), on the other hand, is much less flexible. Miss a section, and you might quickly have no idea what’s going on, or misunderstand the story. And reading it out of order is pretty much out of the question. That might explain why fiction is harder to absorb in audiobook form. Not impossible; I’ve listened to both fiction and nonfiction audiobooks many times going back to when I was a teenager. It was something very useful to do while in the car for long stretches, though it’s hard finding the time for it elsewhere.

  23. CSK says:


    For articles, yes; very often. For books, no.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: I’ve long had the theory that there is a condition called Successful Writer’s Disease, which worsens as the author becomes more famous. It causes their books to become longer and longer. I think it has something to do with winning more arguments with their editors. There is a related condition called Successful Science Fiction Writer’s Disease. In addition to their books getting longer, they end up bringing characters back from their most famous novels of decades back. In the worst cases they actual start bringing in fictional characters from other long dead authors. It’s pretty much guaranteed that if an SF novel has Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn as a character, it’s time to put out the lights.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    It’s pretty much guaranteed that if an SF novel has Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn as a character, it’s time to put out the lights.

    Really? The works of Kim Newman and Alan Moore are quite entertaining…

  26. Kathy says:


    Also, that is the longest 300 pages I have ever read, particularly the impaling. Anyone who is reading it, just skip over the impaling.

    I was never able to re-read “Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945” by Max Hastings, due to the sheer amount of atrocities contained in it.

    My problem with repetitiveness occurs more often in fiction than non-fiction. But that may reflect more my choices in reading material. I’ll admit Kara Cooney’s latest book “When Women Ruled the World,” does get a bit repetitive, but that’s because she compares the similarities and differences between the six Egyptian Queens she covers. So you get to hear again about Merneith or Nefru Sobek in the sections about Hatshepsut and Cleopatra.

    Many current or near-current non fiction books start out as magazine articles. Most of my reading, though, is of history, science, and what I call big idea books, like the one I’m near finishing, Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature,” or “The Internationalists,” by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro.

    History is where Audible is invaluable. They carry tons of Great Courses lecture series on just about every major civilization and era.

  27. Kathy says:


    Sometimes I have to fight a tendency for my mind to wonder. This happens when the material gets too dry, or when I’m more in a mood to think than read.

    I’ve only listened to one novel in audio, “Red Shirts” by John Scalzi (read by Will Wheaton). You can say Jeff Wrights podcast on the Trojan War also qualifies. That’s about it. Everything else’s been non fiction.

  28. Kathy says:


    There is a related condition called Successful Science Fiction Writer’s Disease. In addition to their books getting longer, they end up bringing characters back from their most famous novels of decades back.

    Asimov got some flack for merging the Robot Novels with the Foundation Novels. But he had a valid point: why were there no robots in the Foundation universe? Technological advances, after all, don’t get discarded until they are surpassed by something better. Ok. Sometimes they are lost for a time, or get discarded as uneconomical, but they tend to be brought back.

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I’ve always had a problem of my mind wondering, especially when I have to listen to something. It was a big challenge to me in school when it came to lectures. (I benefited heavily from the first time I got my own laptop and figured out how to use it for note-taking–as I’m a very fast typist. But I was already in college by that point and had struggled for years trying to find an effective way to take notes.) I have a short attention span, which is why I even have trouble watching a feature-length movie in one sitting.

    So how is it that I’ve managed to listen to audiobooks for so long? It hasn’t always worked for me, as I sometimes have tried to listen to one and missed a great deal of it. And yet, I figured out a system for it as a teenager. I discovered that if I played a video game at the same time as I listened to an audiobook, it enhanced my ability to pay attention to what I was listening to. That may sound strange and paradoxical, but it’s true. It had to be something purely visual, not something involving words: it couldn’t be, say, a crossword puzzle. If I just sat there and did nothing while listening, my attention was likely to flag. Driving a car was another activity that helped me focus on what I was listening to. Riding in a car was not.

    I also found that it mattered a great deal to me who was doing the reading. Typically the audiobooks are read by professional actors, sometimes even big stars (one of them I remember was read by James Woods). Occasionally the author will be the reader, and usually that isn’t a good idea. Listening to Stephen King’s nasal voice and bad acting for hours on end gets old fast.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Reminding me of how I managed to slog almost all the way through Moby Dick and gave up just before all the action starts happening at the end. (A friend informed me later.) Haven’t bothered to go back for a second crack at it. English teachers nationwide will have to continue deploring me as a Philistine. And never have been able to handle Charles Dickens outside of his shorter works. Which is interesting, because I love, love, love authors such as George MacDonald (Back of the North Wind, Lilith), E. Nesbit, and R. Austin Freeman. Oh, and Wilkie Collins.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @An Interested Party: Tom Sawyer was only in the movie version of Legion of Extraordinary Gentlemen, not the original graphic novels.

    The movie was terrible, and built up Alan Quartermain at the expense of Mina. And it had Tom Sawyer. And the villain reveal was perplexing if you didn’t already know who Moriarty was.

    I saw the movie in a movie theater that mostly catered to the black folks in the neighborhood. The other screen was one of those Barbershop movies or something. A woman near me and my friend leaned over and asked “Is that someone white people know?”

    I would reread the graphic novel, but I fear the ironic racism is just going to come across as racism. The Orange Menace has ruined ironic racism for all of us.

    (Random aside: I’m wondering if the final Peter Capaldi Doctor Who Christmas Special played better in the UK than here. I found the sexism of the first Doctor over the top, and less and less enjoyable as the episode went on. Capaldi was great, but he is just great to start with.)

  32. Gustopher says:


    History is where Audible is invaluable. They carry tons of Great Courses lecture series on just about every major civilization and era.

    They have a course on Buddhism that is utterly fascinating. But I know very little about Buddhism, so I might find a mediocre course on Buddhism to be fascinating.

    (I have surpassed Otto from A Fish Called Wanda in my understanding of Buddhism, in that I know the main message is not “every man for himself”, but I’m pretty uneducated)

  33. Gustopher says:

    Yo, Doug Mataconis, et al., we should have a book recommendation thread. Other blogs have them (all the cool blogs have them), and squirreled away in a thread about … (scroll to top of page) … Larry Hogan means most people would miss it if it evolved naturally here.

  34. An Interested Party says:

    @Gustopher: I realize that, my point has more to do with using other author’s fictional characters in one’s own fiction…the movie was hideous…so bad it destroyed Sean Connery’s career…but the original graphic novels obviously were much better and had a whole host of fictional characters from other works…not too bad for someone who has Successful Science Fiction Writer’s Disease…

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: When I was in elementary school, I used to read only certain chapters of novels for the purpose of writing book reports. I taught the technique to students while I was in graduate school, but it only works with book that are very programmatic (fortunately, a lot of popular fiction is) and have chapters that have titles. For books with numbered chapters, you end up reading so much of the book that you might as well just read the whole thing, but with chapter titles, you can read just enough to get at the conflict a couple of pieces of the rising action, the climax, and the denouement fairly easily.

    (When I became a teacher, I changed my book report format so that this skill[???] wasn’t as valuable. And, yes, I’m one of the guys who still believes that if all the teacher cares about is the plot summary, you don’t need to read the book, you need to read Cliff’s Notes.)

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: Re Alan Moore: Graphic novels are a different breed altogether. They are not even novellas in length. League was passingly interesting as a movie, but I didn’t bother to read it having seen the movie first. I did like Watchmen though.

  37. rachel says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: This is why I don’t let my students submit plot summaries as book reports.

  38. Kylopod says:

    I should mention–and I know we’re getting yet farther afield from the original topic–that whenever people ask me what the worst big-budget movie I have ever seen is, my answer has long been League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It was of course a critical and commercial disaster, it was totally disowned by Alan Moore, and as mentioned it basically ended Sean Connery’s career. But for some reason I’ve rarely seen it crop up on “worst films” lists. Those lists are typically made up of films that got a lot of hype and publicity for one reason or another–franchise-killing sequels like Jaws the Revenge, Superman IV, Batman & Robin; super-expensive flops like Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar, Waterworld; movies with big names attached that surprised everyone in how bad they turned out, like Howard the Duck (George Lucas), Battlefield Earth (John Travolta), Cat in the Hat (Mike Myers). I suppose Connery’s career had already quieted down enough by the time he made League that it just never attracted that level of attention, despite nearly everyone finding it to be a big disappointment. But it really has that level of badness–a boring, incoherent mess of a film that I almost can’t believe I finished yet like a highway pileup I couldn’t look away.

  39. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: “the movie was hideous…so bad it destroyed Sean Connery’s career…” did it really? I never saw it because the trailers themselves looked awful but I didn’t know it was that bad.

  40. Kathy says:


    I listen to audio books and podcasts almost exclusively while doing something else. The big exception is when I travel. If there’s nothing else to do, I can sit back and listen.

    I can listen while riding in a car or bus. and that’s great, because if I try to read I get car sick.

    But the big value I place on audio books has to do with work. Typically I get in at 8 am and leave at 7 pm. Add a 30 minute drive time in the morning and around 45 minutes to 1 hour in the evening, and I’m too tired to read when I get home. Listening while driving lets me read a lot in time which would otherwise be wasted.

    On weekends I spend a lot of time cooking lunch and dinner for the week, and that just adds to my reading time.

  41. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Third year of junior high school, for history class we were assigned four books. I read two, and faked the others. I read Remarque’s “All’s Quiet on the Western Front,” and Uris’ “Mila 18.” I skipped a biography of Napoleon (made the report out of the encyclopedia), and “Is Paris Burning?” (I saw the movie).

    But the best, or worst, was the second year of junior high school. we were assigned one book only. I forget the title and author, but it was a history of economics. Since I understood the subject, I just read the book’s introduction and did the report based on that. I got an A+.

    What made it “worst” was the teacher took to shaming several students who got failing grades, and pointing me out as an exemplar student who obediently reads the whole book. So I stood up and admitted to having read nothing more than the introduction.

  42. al Ameda says:


    What made it “worst” was the teacher took to shaming several students who got failing grades, and pointing me out as an exemplar student who obediently reads the whole book. So I stood up and admitted to having read nothing more than the introduction.

    On behalf of my 18 year old self …. thank you so much!

  43. JohnMcC says:

    Scanning OTB as I do most mornings I was amazed that Larry Hogan has elicited over 40 comments. Now I see he was cheating. And to return briefly to the topic, I wonder if the drift in the thread makes some sort of evaluation of Gov Hogan’s political impact.

    Now, carry on.

  44. dennis says:

    If he did challenge Trump, Hogan would face several difficulties that would make victory seemingly impossible, assuming you define victory in terms of actually winning the election.

    First of all, history which shows us that there has not been a successful intra-party challenge to an incumbent President since the beginning of the modern primary era.

    Morning Doug. I’m late to the party again.

    Just watch how many Dems and Inds cross over to primary Trump out the race. It’s not as implausible as everyone portrays it. Apart from the insane 37%, I’ll bet there are plenty of Republican voters thirsty for a sane alternative.

  45. Kathy says:

    @al Ameda:

    You’re welcome.

    It took a meeting with the principal to keep my grade.

  46. Michael Reynolds says:


    What made it “worst” was the teacher took to shaming several students who got failing grades, and pointing me out as an exemplar student who obediently reads the whole book. So I stood up and admitted to having read nothing more than the introduction.

    One of the themes running through Ender’s Game the movie is the notion that Ender must be alienated from the other students to develop his independence. Harrison Ford accomplishes this by singling him out for praise in front of competing students. Maybe your teacher was just hoping you’d some day commit unknowing genocide against an alien race.

    My version of this was speech class in 10th grade. “We can’t all be Michael,” says the oh so helpful teacher as all eyes swivel to me. I take the approach of acknowledging natural talent but praising effort. Get up and give a speech? No problem, I was born ready for that. Figure out which direction to run on a football field? Get a basketball within two feet of the hoop?
    Had I managed that I’d have deserved praise.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m rather shy, introverted (and happy about it), and very uncomfortable being the center of attention in person. That aside from generating resentment among my classmates.

    Besides, that teacher was particularly bad. For years, I hated ancient history, which was the course’s subject matter, due to how awful this woman was in teaching it (I loved modern history due to how great my other history teacher was).

    That was far from my only opportunity to get back at a bad teacher, but it was the best.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: It wasn’t terrible; it was just a mediocre one-off quasi alt-fiction mashup of several pulp fiction characters from as many genres. I saw it in Korea, where going out to see a movie was one of the things to do that didn’t involve binge drinking, but it was very much like the movies that I watch on the plane trips I take–where my reaction is “I’m glad I didn’t waste ten or fifteen dollars going to a theater to see that.”

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    So I stood up and admitted to having read nothing more than the introduction.

    Good on you!

  50. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:


    My reasoning at the time was that students are assigned that book so they’ll learn that subject, right? If I already know the subject well enough that I get an A, does it matter that I read the book or not? Didn’t I achieve the purpose of gaining understanding of the subject?

  51. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker, @Kathy: I could dash off a book report from what was mentioned in class, what was written on the back cover of the book, and three quotes (I would open the book at random, pull out ten passages, and just pick the top three). All through high school this formula worked well.

    This led to my greatest achievement, a B+ on an essay in college on some book I don’t remember, where I actually quoted the text on the back of the book, and where the professor’s only note was “Sadly, you beat the curve.”

  52. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Anyone who thinks Legion of Extraordinary Gentlemen destroyer Sean Connery’s career never watched The Avengers.

    No, not the Marvel one, the one with Sean Connery fighting someone dressed like a teddy bear.

    (It’s been so long since I have seen it, I cannot recall whether Sean Connery was dressed like a teddy bear, or he was fighting someone who was dressed like a teddy bear, but luckily the English language is imprecise enough that I didn’t need to look it up)

  53. Kathy says:


    That’s why we have Wikipedia and IMDB.

    Excerpt: “Steed and Emma follow a lead to Wonderland Weather – a business that artificially creates heat or rain with a special machine – where they discover two dead men in teddy bear suits. The members of a secret organization — led by De Wynter — all wear teddy bear suits to disguise their identities.”

    Sounds awful right there.

  54. DrDaveT says:


    Anyone who thinks Legion of Extraordinary Gentlemen destroyer Sean Connery’s career never watched The Avengers.

    Thank you.

    As a devoted fan of the original series, I considered the movie The Avengers to be a deliberate kick in the balls to me, and people like me.

    So, what was it about the 2000s that produced a slew of “remakes” of 60s and 70s TV that either clearly loathed the original, or turned it into really bad comedy? Starsky and Hutch, The Avengers, Wild Wild West, Bewitched, I’m probably forgetting a few… All dreadful. It’s a blessing that we didn’t get an Adam Sandler and Pauly Shore remake of Baa Baa Black Sheep

    And don’t get me started on the execrable Tom Hanks remake of The Ladykillers

  55. Kylopod says:


    Anyone who thinks Legion of Extraordinary Gentlemen destroyer Sean Connery’s career never watched The Avengers.

    When I stated–accurately–that League “basically ended” Connery’s career, that was not some subjective assessment of his performance in that film compared with others around the time, it was an objective statement of fact. He, literally, never appeared in another movie again (beyond a little voice-work). Granted, he was 72, but there were no reports of any decline in his health and he’s still alive and well now.

    And The Avengers (which certainly wasn’t a career-ender for its stars Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurmann) isn’t a counterpoint to my statement; it completely supports it. League was the last of a string of box-office disappointments he was involved in between the mid-’90s and early 2000s. It was, as they say, the final nail in the coffin.


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