Manchin 2024? Hogan 2024?

The market for competent centrists.

WaPo (“Larry Hogan won over Democrats in Maryland. Could he do it nationwide?“):

As he left office Wednesday, it remained an open question whether the skills that catapulted Hogan to unusual popularity as the Republican governor of a Democratic state could be sold to a fractured Republican Party.

Any presidential bid would be built on his tenure in Maryland, where he forged rapport with the electorate through his handling of crises and a skilled public relations operation, deploying populist policies such as cutting tolls and putting air conditioning in schools.

Pragmatism drove him to embrace issues many other Republicans did not — early and widespread mask mandates, new taxes on insurance companies to keep down the cost of Obamacare policies, gun-control laws and a ban on conversion therapy for gay teens, all while staring down cancer and clashing with his own party as a leading voice during the pandemic. He delivered tax relief for retirees in his final year in office and presided as federal pandemic aid bloated the state’s balance sheets with multibillion-dollar surpluses.

Hogan used that popularity as a weapon and a shield.

It insulated him from the fringes of his party, allowing him to largely sidestep culture-war issues that marked the GOP, instead appealing to the ideological middle. He both cajoled Democrats to his side and shrugged it off when he alienated others, particularly in Baltimore.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who built a friendship with Hogan, described the governor as an executive who “put the interests of Marylanders over his own party’s interests.”

Hogan’s strategy also elevated his own interests, raising his national profile as an early and sharp anti-Trump voice willing to criticize the party’s embrace of Trump’s rhetoric. Hogan’s approach politically benefited just himself, and did not build up the Republican Party in Maryland. But he nonetheless opened a narrow lane in the national conversation about a future direction for the GOP, one that appeals to conservative Democrats and independents.

Business Insider (“Sen. Joe Manchin says he hasn’t ruled out a presidential bid in 2024: ‘Everything is on the table’“):

Sen. Joe Manchin has not ruled out a presidential run in 2024, nor has he committed to remaining a Democrat.

The senator from West Virginia remained noncommittal on his future plans while speaking with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning.

“I haven’t made a decision what I’m going to do in 2024. I’ve got two years ahead of me now to do the best I can for the state and for my country,” Manchin said. “Everything’s on the table.”

Manchin, a moderate who has at times been labeled an obstructionist by his party, specified that a bid for governor of West Virginia is not on his horizon, leaving only the presidency, as Todd noted on Sunday.

“So everything on the table,” Todd said. “There’s basically only one other thing, the presidency. Is that something you would do outside the Democratic party if you did?”

“The only thing I can tell you is what I will do is whatever I can when I make my decision what I think is the best that I can support and represent the people of West Virginia but also be true to this country and the constitution of this country,” Manchin replied. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that, when I make my decision, I make it based on what’s best, what I think I can do to support and best for my country and my state.”

Todd noted that Manchin wasn’t denying the possibility of a presidential future, but he pivoted to asking whether the senator would support a reelection bid from President Joe Biden, who turned 80 years old in November.

“He’ll have to make that decision,” Manchin said, withholding his immediate endorsement. “I haven’t decided on anything I’m going to do until I see what the lay of the land is going to be at that time because this country needs to unite. We need to come back together. We’re not coming together. And it needs to be somebody that can bring this country together.”

Let’s leave aside Manchin’s multiple conflicts of interest and the degree to which Federal cash made Hogan’s job easier. Those are the sorts of obstacles that most candidates would have to deal with.

Fundamentally, there’s an appeal to these guys as Presidential candidates. Both are relatively centrist figures who have run states where the opposite party is dominant. That means they have developed the ability to work across the aisle, forge coalitions, and get things done.

But that very thing makes it hard to envision either of them getting their respective parties’ nominations for President, given that the path to doing so is to win over primary voters, who are extreme partisans.

Indeed, I see no path whatsoever to either of them getting the nomination of either party.

Hogan is popular in Maryland and might well have won a third term as governor were he not term-limited. Even the state’s Democratic leaders seem to like him. And he’s forged a strong relationship with his own party’s governors from across the country, who elected him vice chair and chair of the Republican Governor’s Association. But his strong anti-Trump credentials make it impossible for him to win his own party’s nomination and yet he’s too conservative to win a Democratic primary.

Manchin’s path is even more unlikely. Even leaving aside that the incumbent Democratic President is quite likely to get the 2024 nomination, the West Virginia Senator has alienated just about everyone in the Democratic Party with his leveraging of just about every key vote to strong-arm concessions favorable to his constituents or his financial backers. He’s more popular with Republicans but not enough so to win Republican presidential primaries. (He’ll also be 77 on Election Day in 2024; to the extent Biden has been pushed aside for a younger model, Manchin would barely qualify.)

Arguably, either a President Hogan or a President Manchin would be better than what the primary process is likely to give us as options.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. de stijl says:

    No hard-core R would vote for Hogan, and no D would vote for Manchin.

    This (original article) is rampant bullshittery. No one is pining for those particular fjords. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Hogan is not physically attractive enough to be presidential material. Modern Americans prefer good looking candidates. At least a 7 on the silver fox scale.

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  2. Chris says:

    Hogan can only win a Republican nomination if there are numerous right wing kooks running in the Republican presidential primary throughout the entire contest, which is not likely over the long haul. Hogan might be interesting as an independent, but there is no precedent for this kind of winning candidacy. Manchin is a non-starter in a Democratic presidential primary or as an independent, as he is radioactive to Democrats outside of West Virginia and has toxic business ties, including family associations, that will turn off too many other voters.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    . No one is pining for those particular fjords.

    Gave you a thumbs up just for that

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  4. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: From Al Franken’s Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, referring to Phil Gramm’s 1996 presidential run:

    “I’m going to test whether, in the age of television, someone as ugly as I am can get elected President.”

    That’s likeable. But consider for a minute that Gramm wasn’t referring to mere physical ugliness.

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  5. @de stijl:

    No hard-core R would vote for Hogan, and no D would vote for Manchin.

    They would in the general election (in a heartbeat, in fact). But getting the nomination, as James notes, is the issue.

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  6. BTW, narratives about how a given governor can work across the partisan aisle in a given state say more about a given state’s politics (and about state-level politics in general) than it does about how a given moderate would be able to operate in Washington.

    Go back and look at the coverage of Governor George W. Bush of Texas, as an example.

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  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Hogan is not physically attractive enough to be presidential material. Modern Americans prefer good looking candidates. At least a 7 on the silver fox scale.

    How do you explain trump???

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  8. MarkedMan says:

    Hogan is a Republican cast in the old Northeast mold, or what used to be called a Rockefeller Republican. He’s been my governor since I moved to MD in 2015 and he’s proved a competent one, spending the vast majority of his time on governance rather than politics. My only real gripe against him, and it’s a serious one, is that he made an early decision to run against Baltimore City as a way to appeal to basic GOP racist values. As a political calculation it made an unfortunate amount of sense, and I wouldn’t care (much) if he just badmouthed us, but early on he pulled state funding on a much needed public transportation system, causing the city to also lose billions in Fed money that had taken years to get. Oh, his mouth moved a lot and all kinds of words and explanations came out, but the real reason was that it was a way to demonstrate to the Republicans in the state that he wasn’t going to spending any of their tax dollars on the types of people in Baltimore that need to take public transportation, and we all know who they are [wink].

    Manchin? Manchin is a joke. Competent centrist? He was a lousy Governor and a lousy Senator. When he was doing his drama queen thing I read an interview with a long term West Virginia political journalist who pointed out that he had never had any real issues or policies that he championed but rather flitted late in his term to whatever he thought would excite the voters. The legislation he championed was poorly written and, if it passed, ineffective. According to the journalist he more than once actively campaigned against legislation he had championed just a few years before, as his upraised index finger detected a shift in the winds.

    Manchin?! For crying out loud James, the point of the tale of Solomon and the two women wasn’t that the woman who agreed to cut the baby in half was a sensible centrist.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    (My kingdom for an edit button!)

    [ED: Got it!]

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I took it that de stilj was talking about the Primaries. If so, he was correct.

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  11. Kylopod says:

    @Chris:

    Hogan might be interesting as an independent, but there is no precedent for this kind of winning candidacy.

    That’s why people threaten candidacies like that a lot more often than they follow through. It’s costly to the candidate but gets them very little in return, since if they’re sane they know they can’t win. It’s not even an effective form of grift. Of the established third parties, only the Greens and Libertarians ever seem to nominate anyone remotely prominent. But neither seems a particularly good fit for Manchin or Hogan.

    Perot in 1992 was lightning in a bottle, and even he didn’t really come close to winning in the end (it’s a good question what would have happened if he’d stayed in the race the whole time). And I’ve still never figured out what John Anderson thought he was doing in 1980, even though my parents have told me he’s the only non-Democrat they’ve ever supported in a presidential race.

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  12. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I could vote for Hogan. But, as others said, he won’t get thru a Republican primary.
    Manchin is NOT a moderate. He’s nothing but a shill for the fossil fuels industry. And most of his other stands are either nonsensical, or outright lies. And if you are aiding the Republicans obstructionist and radical agenda, then you are a radical obstructionist.

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  13. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Believe it or not, a fair number of hardcore Trump fans insist that he’s still very goodlooking, though it’s hard to see how anyone could make this claim with a straight face.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    Hogan is not physically attractive enough to be presidential material.

    Someone years ago observed we don’ t so much elect someone to be president as cast someone to play the role of president. Isn’t there a rule the taller guy usually wins? As to Trump, a lot of people seem to have weird ideas about what’s presidential. And he is tall, with lifts. You couldn’t comfortably walk down a ramp in his shoes either.

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  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    We have ample proof that the MAGAts are delusional, so they may as well be deluded by his appearance.

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  16. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Look up Clark Kent and ask him about Bizarro World.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, these are the same slobbering nitwits who also claim that Trump is a devout Christian, a faithful husband, a devoted father, and the G.O.A.T. president. Deep down they probably know differently, but that’s their public posture.

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  18. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    How to explain Trump?

    Roughly 40 million American women would gladly marry Donald Trump in a heartbeat.

    Why? No clue. But, they would. I don’t pretend to understand why, but it’s true. The man who has seemingly the least emotional attachment to any of his wives of any American alive.

    If an ambush reporter asked Trump what the first name of his current wife was, I reckon he would take at least eight seconds to answer. And fifty/fifty if he answered correctly.

    He thought a picture of E. Jean Carrol was his ex Marla Maples in a deposition.

    Imagine the psychological baggage of being Mrs. Trump. That’d be spooky!

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  19. Kylopod says:

    This whole discussion about Trump and physical attractiveness might be deeper than it seems on the surface. It points to the weirdness of the Trump movement. I often compare him in my mind with certain dictators who were, if not ugly, funny-looking, from Hitler to Qaddafi to the Kim Jongs. I think it’s at least partially a result of surrounding oneself by yes-men. When you’ve got no one to give you constructive criticism and you’ve already got a deeply deluded self-image, you wind up overcompensating for your physical flaws (combovers, odd facial hair, bad dye job, heavy makeup, long neckties) and you get into bad habits in diet and personal hygiene.

    Of course none of that explains why people would follow such a guy. But the Trump cult has always been driven by insecure people (especially men) who are drawn to his nouveau riche vibes—John Mulaney hit the nail on the head years ago when he described Trump as a hobo’s idea of a rich person. His fans live vicariously through his being a misfit to his own class.

    And let’s face it, he does have that wacky charisma where no matter what you think of him, you can’t look away (in the NASCAR, rubber-necking sense).

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  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    I didn’t realize that many women were so desperate. I believe you’re overestimating.

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  21. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: From Dave Barry’s 2006 book Money Secrets:

    “Why is money valuable? Why are people willing to work so hard for it, lie for it, cheat for it, go to prison for it, fight for it, kill for it, give up their children for it…even marry Donald Trump for it?”

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  22. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Manchin is a joke. Competent centrist? He was a lousy Governor and a lousy Senator.

    He got elected and re-elected governor and then elected, re-elected, and then re-elected again to the Senate, all by pretty wide margins as a nominal Democrat in a Republican state. He’s a pretty good politician.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  23. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Why?

    Scatophilia.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    all by pretty wide margins as a nominal Democrat in a Republican state.

    I think he was kind of caught in WV’s transition from very Democratic to very Republican in an astonishingly brief amount of time by historical standards. When he was first elected governor in 2004, the state had already begun its shift, but it was still at least nominally D-leaning at the state level (the legislature didn’t flip until 2014) and the presidential margins weren’t that wide by comparison to later on. I think Jay Rockefeller, whose final reelection was in 2008, was somewhat to Manchin’s left.

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  25. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Hey, now!

    He’s possibly a billionaire, maybe.

    And that is a rank unproven rumor. Like the Russian model pee tape. Kink shaming is wrong. (Wink)

    If you want to go down that path is Trump a pitcher or a catcher in that scenario? Inquiring minds want to know.

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  26. al Ameda says:

    Manchin will be 77 years old in 2024.
    Just say ‘no’

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  27. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Trump will maintain that he’s irresistible to women, although, like his fans, he probably knows better.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I agree with you.

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Remember what he said about Conor Lamb?

    “I hear he’s nice looking. I think I’m better looking than him. I do. I do. I do.”

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  29. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    And Trump is only 38 years older than Lamb.

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  30. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: Re-elected =/= good. Or to put it differently, good politician =/= good public servant. Hell, DeUseless is a successful politician.

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  31. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Most Americans are quite stupid.

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  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    I wouldn’t take Manchin seriously simply because he’s in such bad odor with Democratic primary voters these days. I don’t think they see him as a deal maker, I think they see him as a deal killer.

    Hogan has a different problem. I expect R’s see him as a deal maker. And a substantive fraction of them think that’s bad. Holding out with drama seems to be what they think gets the absolute best deal for them. You know, “fighting”. That’s what Trump did, and they loved it.

    I personally think deal making is a good thing. I think it takes a longer view, and moves things forward, which is something I like. One never can have everything one wants.

    That said, I’m not sure what horrible nominee the Democrats would have to make to persuade me to vote for Hogan in the general. If he wants to act like a Democrat, why not be a Democrat?

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  33. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    When Trump looks in the mirror, he sees not an old, obese, pig-eyed, anus-mouthed, slump-shouldered human tangerine, but Ben Garrison’s cartoons featuring Trump as a golden-haired, bronzed Adonis.

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  34. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The people bowed and prayed
    To the neon god they made

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  35. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I take a wider view of this paraphilia to include all things gross and disgusting.

    Benito is the stuff.

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  36. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: By the way, this here is a supposed portrait of Trump. I remember seeing it for the first time around a decade ago and how it not only made me laugh, but struck me as a perfect illustration of his self-delusion. Of course, it should be noted that the painting is from the 1980s, and he was not such a bad-looking dude back then. But he still looked nothing like that picture.

    I agree with your earlier comment that Trump, at least to some extent, knows better. I think the core of narcissism is deep self-loathing. People with a truly positive self-image don’t need to tell everyone how great they are. Trump knows better than anyone that he’s a pile of human garbage. His entire life has been one pathetic, desperate, laughably unconvincing attempt to hide that obvious truth from the world. It explains all his behavior. It’s play-acting to convince the world the turd is a diamond.

    And his one and only strategy for achieving this goal is simply to assert that it’s true, over and over and over. You say black, he says white. You say blue wave, he says red wave. You say he’s an unstable moron, he says he’s a very stable genius. He seems to have no idea how to persuade people by building a case for what he wants them to believe. Instead, it’s just his version of a Jedi Mind Trick. He says his preferred narrative, then just expects that he can make other people believe it through sheer force of will.

    What I’ve continually found baffling is how ineffective this is–or should be–as a method of persuasion. We have a lot of social conventions in our culture that lead us to treat grandiose claims a person makes about themselves as automatically suspect. A few years ago Paul McCartney was on Colbert, and Colbert noted his own musical background, before asking McCartney why McCartney became McCartney, while Colbert is simply Colbert. McCartney began talking about his family’s musical background and how he was taught these skills from a young age. Then, he added, “Plus, I’m a genius.” He said this very matter-of-factly, without a hint of a smile.

    Articles covering the interview later described McCartney’s statement as him “joking” or “deadpanning.” But I don’t think he was. McCartney’s one of the few musicians who can get away with a statement like that (imagine Kanye saying it) without being seen as a braggart or narcissist. But even if you agree with his self-assessment, it still takes you aback. We’re trained, as a society, to view statements like “I’m a genius” or “I’m a really handsome guy” with skepticism if not automatic derision–even when those statements are arguably accurate. And the weird thing about Trump is that he doesn’t appear to have any understanding of this social convention. He thinks the most effective way to make people think his farts smell like roses is to say, “My farts smell like roses.” And he seems to have a compulsive need to reach for the most outlandish and implausible claims about himself, when he’d actually be more persuasive if he was sticking to more modest claims.

    That’s why it’s tricky to describe how self-aware he actually is. I think his self-delusion doesn’t come from his actually believing his own bullshit, but rather his belief that just saying these things is the best path to making them real in the minds of others.

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  37. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    You’ve really nailed it here. This is Trump in a nutshell.

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  38. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    And here’s a pic of the REAL Trump in tennis clothes:

    http://www.knowyourmeme.com/1271921-donald-trumps-tennis-photo

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    He’s a pretty good politician.

    Yes. (Although the bar is low in WV.) But I never said anything about his ability as a politician. I said he was a lousy governor and a lousy Senator.

    West Virginia is f’ed. They have the same cultural attitudes as Mississippi and Alabama, i.e. the most important thing the government can do is keep the poors from getting above themselves. They had exactly one thing going for them: Robert Byrd’s gravy train. Joe Manchin has never approached that level of pork, even though he had almost infinite negotiating power for a couple of years. 99% of West Virginians got nothing from Joe Manchin’s tenure as governor, as schools got worse, mines closed – replaced by nothing, and the environment, one of the most beautiful in the nation, continued to be passed around like a… well, I’ll let you fill that in. But he protected the mine owners, since he was one, and got his Maserati.

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  40. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    When Trump looks in the mirror, he sees not an old, obese, pig-eyed, anus-mouthed, slump-shouldered human tangerine, but Ben Garrison’s cartoons featuring Trump as a golden-haired, bronzed Adonis.

    I doubt that’s true. Simply because I doubt he knows who Adonis was.

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  41. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    Oh, I have no doubt Trump has no idea who Adonis was. The image wasn’t Trump’s; it was mine.

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  42. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    Someone years ago observed we don’ t so much elect someone to be president as cast someone to play the role of president. Isn’t there a rule the taller guy usually wins?

    This is why I think we need to get George Clooney to run. By and large, America wants a spokesman.

    As to Trump, a lot of people seem to have weird ideas about what’s presidential. And he is tall, with lifts.

    I have a very different view of Trump than Clooney (as one should).

    Angry people like ugly things. They want to make a mockery of what angers them.

    Think of punk rock. It’s raw and angry and ugly. People were rejecting what was being held out as acceptable — trite ballads about falling in love that could be played on the radio without making one think. It’s a rejection of the platitudes and the form that the platitudes typically came in.

    Punk also has traditionally had a Nazi problem. In a crowd of angry people, even people angry about social injustice and things that they should be angry about, it’s a little hard to spot the Nazis because they’re angry too.

    I don’t think it’s a surprise that the best known punk band is the Sex Pistols, or that Sid Vicious probably wasn’t wearing a swastika “ironically” or the Johnny Rotten is a Tory.

    Yes, you also have the Dead Kennedys with “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” and while that attitude has mostly won within the punk scene, it’s a constant battle.

    Donald Trump is the Nazi punk who didn’t fuck off.

    When people claim he is attractive, pleasant, beautiful or presidential, they are just taking a shit on the idea of presidential.

    (And people like Matt Tiabbi went to a punk show for the politics, grew to love the form more than the message, and got recruited by the Nazis using that form — anger junkies who stopped caring about what made them angry)

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  43. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I think part of what happened with ’70s punk is that they became fixated on the idea of taboo-breaking as an end in itself. Breaking taboos can be fine, and has been essential in some of the most important social movements. But the punks wanted to tear everything down, and that included any admonition that a certain behavior or symbol was offensive. So when Malcolm McLaren (himself partly of Jewish extraction) handed out swastikas to the Sex Pistols, he saw it as a way of saying FU to respectable society. The idea was that it didn’t signify an embrace of Nazi ideology–or any other ideology–but rather a rejection of conventional society’s telling them what they could and couldn’t do.

    Of course some of the musicians flashing swastikas were, in fact, actual Nazis. And it wasn’t always easy to tell the two apart. The Dead Kennedys did their anthem as a reaction to the fact that some of those Nazis were showing up at their performances. And part of that was that some listeners misunderstood their left-wing anti-fascist lyrics like “California Uber Alles” or their use of the N-word to mock a privileged white teen’s condescending attitude toward black music in “Holiday in Cambodia.”

    Over the past decade, much of the alt-right weaponized the notion of ironic racism and ironic Nazism as a way of cloaking their true intentions. The whole business with the “OK” symbol (used most recently by George Santos) is a prime example of that strategy. Trump himself may not have that level of sophistication, but he still gets a lot of his rhetorical mileage from the underlying attitude where indignation at being called a bigot and actual bigotry are nearly indistinguishable.

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: To some degree, the fact that Dr. Joyner identifies Manchin (pseudo-D Fossil Fuel Oligarchia) as a moderate/centrist explains the problems the country is facing for the future. [sigh…]

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: While I see your point, Trump at least had what appeared to be a full head of hair, the fact that his hair was nominally red made it lean white rather than dirty grey, and his attire/general appearance passes the automobile 30/30 test (what does he/it look like from 30 feet away driving by at 30 mph). Beyond that, he fulfilled the need of his constituency to feel that their rage was being addressed by enough of a tough guy to act on the rage they felt. (That factor was simply a figment of their imagination, but in the fashion of toadies to bullies everywhere, the notion has shown remarkable staying power.)

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  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: ” He’s a pretty good politician”=/= “a competent centrist/moderate.” Just sayin’. After all, Trump must have been “a pretty good politician” (at least, by your suggested measure), even “better” than Manchin considering that Manchin’s never been Prez.

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  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Your picture didn’t show up by clicking your hotlink, so I’ve found the PERFECT Trump tennis picture. Said to have come from the US Open.

    https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/donald-trump-attends-u-s-open-tennis-tournament-on-august-news-photo/514146750

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  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Don’t forget the boat/houseboat-live abord/yacht/whatever.

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The f is wrong with you!!?? I’ll never get that out of my mind!

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  50. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    That pic is indeed repellent, but the one to which I tried to link had Trump’s gigantic buttocks in the foreground.

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  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s a gift. A penchant for finding the absurd in life. 😉
    @CSK: I looked up the picture you were going for. Some of the versions of it have been photoshopped. You see it when you look at a collection of pix of the same/similar poses.

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  52. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    Punk rock is not ugly.

    I invented a punk cover version of Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers when I was 16 and it was fucking beautiful. A simple enough song so it was playable at our skill level.

    If you handed a guitar, cold, right now, I could passably play that just by muscle memory and I could instantly recall most of the lyrics and magically produce them out of the deep recesses of my brain.

    S A T U R D A Y night! (You have to intensely punch/belt out the “night” bit for good punk effect.)

    Punk is beautiful. I took a thing that annoyed the crap out of me when I was younger and turned it into something I unequivocally loved wholeheartedly. My original songs were crap and boring. I could not write a hook to save my life, but I could steal one. My taste in cover songs was spot fucking on!

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  53. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    Getting rid of Nazi punks in a scene is surprisingly easy.

    Social shunning. Don’t go to their shows or parties. Don’t invite them to yours. If they show up “gently” escort them out with the help of four friends. Tell them why they are not allowed. If most everyone they know hates them and shuns them, won’t have sex with them, they drop their flags right quick.

    Social shunning is shockingly and remarkably effective if everyone is on board. You can clean up a scene in a few months just by social shunning. I realize the same tactic could potentially be used for a bad purpose. It’s powerful.

    They’re still there but isolated, frustrated, and stymied. A lost, dead end. Perpetually ignored and shunned. It worked in 1980 like a charm. Kill the oxygen and you kill the infection. It’s epidemiology 101. Isolation. Prevent vectors. Inoculate the best you can.

    Have you seen Green Room? That’s an underrated, interesting, arguably great horror movie. Plus, Patrick Stewart as the big bad!

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  54. Ken_L says:

    I’m bemused by the suggestion a President Manchin would be better than another Biden term. Manchin is inconsistent, ornery, uninformed about most issues (when did he say anything remotely original and insightful about foreign policy, for example*?) and not very bright. He represents a state with roughly the same population as Phoenix, Arizona, and has rarely demonstrated any interest in working on a broader canvas.

    Fortunately, there’s zero chance he would get any significant support if he ran, for either party.

    *The nuanced Manchin foreign policy:

    From the Islamic State to Iran, there’s so much turmoil in the world today and so many opinions in Congress on how to handle it all. But one man has a a very simple foreign policy proposal for it all: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

    “If you screw with America, we’ll kill you,” he said Tuesday at luncheon in West Virginia, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

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  55. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Writing lyrics is really fucking easy. Any reasonable idiot can do it. Basically, poetry to a beat.

    Writing a good song is really fucking hard. Entirely different thing.

    I just can’t unless it is blatantly stolen which made me really uncomfortable. Covering, totally cool, stealing, uncool. Songwriting, to me, is like advanced math. Whoosh, right over my head. Doesn’t stick, does not compute. A gap I cannot compensate for.

    People who can write good songs are geniuses and I envy them greatly. I appreciate those that can. It’s damn hard.

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  56. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: I don’t know why my comment didn’t appear. Let me try again.

    I’ve had the opposite experience from you: I find composing tunes fairly easy, writing lyrics much harder. Of course you said “good songs,” and I can’t vouch that my music is any good; I’m just an amateur.

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  57. James Joyner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Objectively, Manchin is pretty non-ideological and centrist. Do I think he’s done a lot of self-dealing while in office? Yes.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The houseboat is interesting. It’s not particularly large; indeed, boatheads scoff at the notion that it’s a “yacht.” It’s basically a decent floating apartment that’s likely cheaper than a comparable non-floating apartment that close to Capitol Hill would be.

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