Monday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    This late in the morning and I’m the first? Pity I don’t have anything to report on. Hope everyone here has a great day!

  2. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    It’s Monday and we’re having trouble getting past the shock.

  3. CSK says:

    Here’s a lovely start to your day: Trump’s clogged toilet. Actually, we had heard about this before. Nonetheless:

  4. CSK says:
  5. Mister Bluster says:

    Today’s News Quiz
    Way back in June 2022 gas was $5.299/gal for regular unleaded.
    Yesterday I paid $3.799/gal* for regular unleaded.

    a.) Me and Joe Biden worked together to make this happen!
    b.) Joe Biden and I worked together to make this happen!
    c.) Donald Trump is the real president and he made this happen!

    *The 2.2¢/gal increase in Illinois tax on gas scheduled for July 1, 2022 has been delayed by Governor Pritzker and will take effect January 1, 2023 so I guess I should be grateful that I did not have to pay more than $3.799/gal.

  6. Scott says:

    @CSK: Just finished reading the article. Besides just being depressing about the state of our Republic, it highlights how few guardrails there really are, how norms are so easily broken. This paragraph, among many, stood out to me.

    At the same time, Milley had finally come to a decision. He would not quit. “Fuck that shit,” he told his staff. “I’ll just fight him.” The challenge, as he saw it, was to stop Trump from doing any more damage, while also acting in a way that was consistent with his obligation to carry out the orders of his Commander-in-Chief. Yet the Constitution offered no practical guide for a general faced with a rogue President. Never before since the position had been created, in 1949—or at least since Richard Nixon’s final days, in 1974—had a chairman of the Joint Chiefs encountered such a situation. “If they want to court-martial me, or put me in prison, have at it,” Milley told his staff. “But I will fight from the inside.”

    At a higher level, it demonstrates that somehow we have to claw back authority and power away from the executive branch. It has gotten much too powerful and that fact alone is a danger.

  7. Mikey says:

    @CSK: My god.

    The President’s loud complaint to John Kelly one day was typical: “You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?”

    “Which generals?” Kelly asked.

    “The German generals in World War II,” Trump responded.

    “You do know that they tried to kill Hitler three times and almost pulled it off?” Kelly said.

    But, of course, Trump did not know that. “No, no, no, they were totally loyal to him,” the President replied. In his version of history, the generals of the Third Reich had been completely subservient to Hitler; this was the model he wanted for his military.

    Of course, neither his utter pig-ignorance of history nor his desire for a military loyal to him rather than the Constitution are surprising, but still.

  8. CSK says:

    I know it’s verging on the banal to make this point, but clearly, no one ever expected anyone like Trump, a person with no experience in or knowledge of government, no desire to learn about it, plus a longstanding reputation for thievery, chicanery, churlishness, and stupidity to occupy the office.

    I still have a hard time assimilating the fact that he was actually elected in 2016.

  9. CSK says:

    History, for Trump, is what Trump wants it to be and thinks it is.

  10. Skookum says:

    Deja vu all over again? General Patraeus doesn’t seemed to have learned the lessons from Viet Nam or the Soviet Union’s downfall (partly due to the cost of their adventures in Afghanistan). Thoughts?

  11. Skookum says:
  12. Kathy says:


    I still have a hard time assimilating the fact that he was actually elected in 2016.

    Going on six years afterward, I still feel sometimes that I’ll wake up and find it was all a very long, very elaborate, very unusual nightmare.

    BTW, if Benito gets elected again in 2024, you can count on a Stalin-level purge of federal employees (perhaps minus mass executions and internal exile to brutal labor camps). These would be replaced by Cheeto loyalists. They’ll be unqualified for the jobs, and insufficient in numbers.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Skookum: Patraeus is going to be defined by the failure of Afghanistan, and I think he is really fighting against that. But the reality is that the Bush Administration, the Military (including Patraeus) and the CIA decided that democracy and rapid rebuilding was more important than anti-corruption and rule-of-law, and that was going to inevitably doom the effort from the start.

  14. Beth says:


    They’ll be unqualified for the jobs, and insufficient in numbers.

    To them, that’s a feature, not a bug. The Republicans have been huffing St. Ronnie’s fart that government is the problem for so long they actually believe it’s correct.

  15. CSK says:

    I vividly remember waking up the morning after election day 2016, looking at the news on my laptop, grabbing my phone, calling a friend, and asking “What the hell happened last night?”

    I was so sure Clinton would win that I didn’t bother to watch the returns.

  16. gVOR08 says:


    General Patraeus doesn’t seemed to have learned the lessons

    Petraeus’ piece is the standard issue, “We didn’t get enough support from the civilian leaders.” To which the reply should be, “JFC, we gave you twenty years and two trillion dollars!”

    He accurately describes the key failings, the initial lack of a clear mission and subsequent loss of interest in favor of Iraq. But while he names Obama for faint praise and a lot of blame, he fails to mention Bush by name. Or Trump. He also holds Iraq up as an example of success, which seems to me dubious.

    Back when there was some reason to care what Petraeus thought I made it a point to read his counterinsurgency manual, which was being hailed as a work of genius. I read it with a question in the back of my mind, “I’m a newly arrived intelligence, operations, or commanding officer. What do I do?” I never found out. What I found was a load of pop sociology and business jargon. I thought military manuals were usually a collection of very practical instruction. Apparently not always. I’ve since had a rather jaded view of Petraeus as a “warrior-intellectual”. His real forte seems to be PR.

  17. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    For the “no collusion” fans out there…Manafort has now, finally, admitted to passing polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence asset.
    According to US Treasury the data, described as “sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” then made it’s way to Russian intelligence services.
    The polling data related to Trump’s popularity in several swing states and showed that Clinton was vulnerable.
    It’s been previously reported that Russia targeted certain states with mis-information via Social Media.

  18. Kathy says:


    More like they’ve acted against effective government and governance for so long, they self-fulfilled their own prophecy.


    I was certain Clinton would win, but had a sense of foreboding she might not. I skipped watching the returns because I did not want to agonize late into the night over every red state voting stupid.

    Then I got up around 3 am to use the bathroom. I turned on the TV (for illumination purposes), and they were declaring El Cheeto the winner. I went back to sleep thinking I’d dreamt the whole thing. Then I saw the news after waking up at 6 am…

  19. gVOR08 says:


    I still have a hard time assimilating the fact that he was actually elected in 2016.

    GOPs like to justify the Big Lie by saying Ds called TFG illegitimate. Nobody serious claimed he wasn’t legally elected. But it was blatantly obvious he was unqualified and unfit. Which I think contributed “bigly” to his win, “Hillary has it in the bag, so I can vote for the Idiot as a protest.” That attitude certainly contributed to Comey’s ratfracking, and NYTs willingness to obsess over HEREMAILS!!! and the squeaky clean Clinton Foundation.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    For @DeStijl. Wondering if you already know about these two acts I’ve recently gotten into. (I assume you do.) Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, lovely blues guitar. Very Buddy Guy. And Amyl and the Sniffers, which is just stripped down, blister-your-ears, old-school punk complete with videos that cost 20 bucks to make.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Electing him didn’t surprise me as much as his deciding to go all the way with running. My mistake was not realizing that the institutional procedures that others had felt they should follow–actual blind trusts and the like–were as weak as they are. He had a predator’s sense of the terrain well in hand. It was too bad for him, and fortunate for us, that he’s such a crappy and incompetent predator.

    I think that if Ivanka’s elevator could ever become able to “get to the top floor” that she would become formidable. Fortunately, genetics is (are?) not her friend.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Skookum: General Petraeus wasn’t the only one who didn’t learn anything from Viet Nam. There’s a whole cohort of us in Congress who kept shouting “No, no, no! This is COMPLETELY DIFFEERENT!!”

    (And the late Generation Xers and their close contemporaries in the next cohort will shout the same things next time when THEY’RE old and senile, too. 🙁 )

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Living on the Left Coast, I was able to see the late returns–I only turned them on before I went to bed. IIRC, I said, “Son of a gun, he pulled it off.”

    I knew it would be a clown show, but I had no idea of how fwkt up the GQP already was and really thought that Mitch or someone would pull the trigger. As clown shows go, though, it exceeded my wildest imagination, so there’s that, at least.

  24. Joe says:

    @CSK: I watched the 2016 returns on PBS. I recall very clearly the minute their anchor realized that Trump was going to win. Well before the race was called, she read a state update and just got this look in her eyes and I knew we were screwed.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    Just watched the John Oliver piece on Monkey Pox and, while there was a lot of good stuff in it, I felt he missed a few big things.
    – He called the vaccines the “monkey pox” vaccine over and over. It is actually a small pox vaccine, and one of the reasons we don’t vaccinate for small pox anymore is because the vaccine has rare but serious, some times fatal, consequences. A general public vaccination campaign covering 10’s of millions of people would result in more people with severe reactions or a fatality from the vaccine than would be ever likely to happen via even a wide spread of monkey pox. The reason we even have the vaccine in the first place is in case a weaponized small pox virus is used as a bio-weapon and we need to deploy a vaccine quickly. Given that small pox is much, much more fatal than monkey pox, the trade off of deaths is clearly worth it in the small pox case.

    – He repeatedly talked about how “we let 20M doses expire”. OK, we can take that as shorthand for what really happened, which was much more complicated but, yes, ultimately short sighted. But he repeatedly stated we should have given those doses to be used in Africa. See the comment above. How do you think it would have gone over if we had encouraged African countries to start injecting millions of people for a usually non fatal illness, resulting in serious side effects and even deaths?

    – He talked about an existing drug that shows promise for treatment of money pox but hasn’t been approved for that purpose, implying that the FDA should just skip all that approval nonsense and approve it. Or perhaps just tell people it’s okay to use an unapproved drug?

    A couple of things he did really well:
    – He pointed out that the only existing test for monkey pox required open lesions being swabbed and so you shouldn’t put too much faith in them. He didn’t come out and say this, but while the results of such a test can be helpful to Public Health workers, anyone who has a painful oozing rash that might be monkey pox should just assume it is monkey pox at this point, because almost all suppurating rashes are transmissible by touch. If you have a rash, you shouldn’t be touching anyone.

    – He gave good advice on how to avoid getting it or transmitting it.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    David McCullough, iconic Pittsburgh native and the ‘gold standard’ of narrative historians, dies at 89
    Despite the national and international acclaim, Mr. McCullough said his greatest honor was accorded in his hometown in 2013, when the 16th Street Bridge was renamed for him, the only Pittsburgher to be so honored in his lifetime.
    “No pat on the back has ever touched me to the heart, to the depths of what I am, the way this announcement of a bridge named in my honor has,” he said at the ceremony July 7, 2013, his 80th birthday.

  27. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: Aside from Trump’s poor grasp of history, something else leaps out at me: As a rule of thumb, if you’re reaching for a historical analogy, you shouldn’t use one that makes you Hitler.

  28. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Amyl and the Sniffers, what a phenomenal band name.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: IIRC, the smallpox vaccine is tested against monkey pox on primates, because we control the last bit of smallpox so stringently.

    So, technically, wouldn’t that make the smallpox vaccine really a monkey pox vaccine?

  30. MarkedMan says:


    wouldn’t that make the smallpox vaccine really a monkey pox vaccine?

    Yes! But the difference is that it was devoloped decades ago, and today is managed and stored and administered as a smallpox vaccine in case of bio-terrorism, not as a vaccine for a mostly non-fatal disease like monkey pox. There are huge plans and resources to treat a sudden outbreak of smallpox, basically assuming that millions are at risk of dying and we need to get shots in arms as quickly as possible, and we are willing to take a small percentage of vaccine induced complications and fatalities to stop the dying. (Whether these extensive plans will survive contact with the real world or not is another question.)

    I certainly think Public Health officials could have done better with the monkeypox response, but I also think the public has a very unrealistic view of what is possible with monkeypox, having been primed by the amazing set of COVID vaccines that have almost no side effects.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    Ratso Rizzo is 85 today.

  32. Kathy says:


    I think the fatality rate from the smallpox vaccine, the older one with the bifurcated needle that pierces the skin, is about 1 per one million patients.

    This makes sense given the death rate of smallpox, when it was eradicated in the late 70s, was around 30% (and it left survivors disfigured and often blind as well).

    It makes less sense for monkeypox, though the risk is still very small.

  33. Stormy Dragon says:


    The vaccine the US stockpiles for smallpox (ACAM2000) is not the same as the one everyone is trying to get for monkey pox (Jynneos).

  34. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Thanks for the tip…just downloaded a Kingfish album.

  35. Jen says:

    Oh, wow. Olivia Newton-John has died, age 73. 🙁

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: But, wait… Isn’t she just this old?

  37. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: Oh, I guarantee he has great admiration for Hitler, as do many of his supporters.

    For all his failings, and they are many, it must be said he knows his audience.

  38. CSK says:

    @gVOR08: @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Joe:

    I was reading about the election of 2016, and was reminded that Trump complained about voter fraud back then. Apparently he was particularly irate about New Hampshire and Virginia.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I think you are on target for the fatality rate. So if we did 100M doses, that’s 100 people dead who might have never gotten monkey pox. And the fatality rate for monkey pox is very low and the way to avoid getting it is pretty straight forward, so we wouldn’t have 100M cases of monkey pox without the vaccine, but rather a small fraction of that. It’s also worth noting that according to what I’ve read, the fatality rate for immune-compromised patients is significantly higher, so AIDS patients, cancer patients, etc may die at rates well north of 1 in a million.

    FWIW, my understanding is that the serious side effect (requires treatment or hospitalization) is 1 per 1000, so a lot higher.

    It’s even more complicated than that though. Because of the side effects, the US government had a more modern vaccine developed, manufactured in Europe. A large test batch has been produced and can be used provided the the plant and its processes passed final FDA approval, but that was delayed due to COVID and the difficulty of sending inspectors over and just finally happened a few weeks ago. Prior to monkey pox, it wasn’t considered urgent enough to send someone over with special exemptions because we already had the old vaccine and, well, smallpox not monkeypox.

    It’s actually even more complicated than that but you get the idea. Bottom line, it’s far easy to use the “everybody is an idiot” mode of analysis than to actually try to understand what is going on.

  40. Kathy says:


    Damn. She was one of my all-time favorites.

    I count myself lucky I was able to see her live in Vegas.

  41. Mu Yixiao says:
  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I read in one of the obits that she wasn’t willing to take that role until after she screen tested it and could see that she wasn’t “too old” to play a teenager. Apparently, she wasn’t a believer in willful suspension of disbelief.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Isn’t that like Strat-O-Matic baseball–that game that was played by the guy who wrote space alien porn and was disinvited here because of a meltdown early in the Covid pandemic?

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I have to admit I’ve never seen it. If it wasn’t for my wife I would never see a musical on stage or screen. I have nothing against them, except for the singing and dancing.

    Exceptions: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (that one scene), “Simply Ballroom” and any movie that is actually about music rather than having people start singing for no reason. Hmmm. Priscilla and Ballroom actually fall into that category. So – I like movies with music and singing and dancing, but not musicals, if that makes sense…

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I forgot about the space alien porn thing (as one does). What was his/her screen name again?

  46. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: That was Bill. I quite liked that ol’ guy, I’ve always wondered what set him off, if it was some kind of health issue or something.

  47. CSK says:

    I think Bill kept complaining ceaselessly that Steven Taylor didn’t give him credit for citing an article when Dean Taylor used it as the starting point for one of his posts. So Bill got bounced.

    I believe he wrote LGBTQ science fiction.

  48. Jax says:

    @CSK: Yeah, I remember it being something he thought Dr. Taylor didn’t give him credit for, but it came on suddenly (it seemed to me, anyways….maybe I missed the initial come apart) and lasted two or three days where he was on it nonstop before he got warned and bounced.

  49. Kathy says:


    The German generals that turned on the civilian population weren’t in the Wehrmacht. They were in the SS.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump says FBI raided Mar-a-Lago
    “My beautiful home Mar A Lago in Palm Beach, Florida is currently under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a statement.
    “After working and cooperating with the relevant government agencies, this unannounced raid at my home was not necessary or appropriate.”
    “They even broke into my safe!” he added.

    I wonder if they found any Stormy tapes.

  51. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: Hahahahaha……that’s the best news I’ve heard all day!

    Every shoe that drops, we get a little closer to him possibly being indicted for at least one of the crimes he committed.

  52. Scott says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Mister Bluster: It would’ve only be better if they slammed him to the floor and put their jack boots on his back.

    Oh, and ask DeSantis if all crimes be prosecuted.

  53. Jen says:

    Popehat’s Twitter account is dissecting the legal process that the FBI had to go through to secure the warrant.

    It seems likely that Mr. Trump should be taking this rather seriously.

    Grab your popcorn.

  54. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: LOCK HIM UP!

  55. CSK says:

    Apparently Mar-a-Lago has been raided by the FBI. Trump is upset that they broke into his safe.

  56. Jax says:

    @Jen: There will be ketchup on the walls tonight at Mar-a-Lago.

    I mean, after they get done searching and he’s let back in.

    Seriously, this is the best news I’ve heard all day! 😛 😛 😛

  57. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I’ll still take Solon’s advice: count no one happy until Benito wears the best orange jumpsuit.

    Remember we were let down when he got COVID.

  58. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Mmmm….now that you say that, I’ve never wished monkeypox on someone so hard. It’s probably not gonna kill him, but the fact that he has it will explode his poor little mind.

  59. a country lawyer says:

    I checked over at Fox News to see how it was handling the search at mar a logo. There was some blonde screaming about-you guessed it- Hillary’s e-mails.

  60. MarkedMan says:

    Just spitballing here, but perhaps the importance of the unreturned documents is that the Feds have evidence that he’s been selling them, or sharing them with enemies of the country? It seems a stretch that they would go after him just for not returning documents…

  61. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Or some other evidence has indicated that there were documents that they weren’t already aware of etc. There are a few things that could be possible here, but they would not have been allowed to execute the search warrant (according to Popehat) without providing very specific information on what they were looking for, and where they wanted to look.

    All so very interesting. I guess we’ll learn more later.

  62. gVOR08 says:

    @a country lawyer: I looked at the FOX “News” website. The articles are bad. The usual trick of not reporting “the FBI did this”, but “Republicans criticize FBI actions”. And the comments are insane. Literally. There are an awful lot of people living in an alternate reality.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Ten minutes into Priscilla Queen of the Desert I figured out that it was probably the worst movie I’d seen in a long time and stopped watching. Tastes. Everybody has their own and needs to go wherever their muse takes them.

    ETA: That said, I’ve never watched Grease all the way through, but I think I’ve seen almost all of it. (It has to do with watching whatever is on in English when you watch TV in Korea. Even if you’re starting to watch halfway through.)

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Then he should have complied with the warrant and opened it for them. Boo hoo. If you don’t want your stuff broken, then unlock it.

  65. mister bluster says:

    Trump is in New York.

  66. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I just want to say, I am so fucking happy tonight. =)

  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    I was just about to write the same thing. Documents sold or traded, to Saudi or Russia? Or documents he was holding onto for blackmail purposes? If it was evidence against him he’d have flushed it long ago. No, I’m thinking a copy of something known to be in Trump’s possession turned up somewhere it isn’t supposed to be.

  68. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’ll be interesting watching which Republicans rush to Trump’s defense and which maintain a discreet silence.