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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s a slow news day. Nothing is catching my eye.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Via Digby.

    Sununu just wrote himself permanently out of the cult

    INSIDE THE RETURN OF THE GRIDIRON — New Hampshire Republican Gov. CHRIS SUNUNU stole the show Saturday night at the annual Gridiron Club dinner by saying out loud what most Republicans in Washington *privately* whisper about DONALD TRUMP.

    “You know, he’s probably going to be the next president,” Sununu said of Trump, musing about his “experience,” “passion,” “sense of integrity” and the “rationale” he brought to his tweets. As the room quieted to see where he was going with this, he paused, then yelled: “Nah, I’m just kidding! He’s FUCKING CRAZY!” The ballroom roared with laughter. “ARE YOU KIDDING?! Come on. You guys are buying that? I love it … He just stresses me out so much! … I’m going to deny I ever said it.”

    It didn’t stop there: “The press often will ask me if I think Donald Trump is crazy. And I’ll say it this way: I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out!”

    It was just the beginning of an evening full of laughs — and, at times, cringes — that had the more than 600 journalists and VIPs in attendance reaching for more wine. For several hours, it was like the pandemic never happened, as D.C.’s high society descended on the Renaissance Hotel downtown for the first Gridiron gathering in three years.

    If you weren’t there, don’t worry, we pulled out the choicest tidbits …


    — On VIRGINIA THOMAS’ now-infamous text messages to MARK MEADOWS: “We know she may be extreme, but let’s face it: when it comes to texting, she’s no ANTHONY WEINER. And you guys thought we forgot about that freakshow.”

    — And TED CRUZ hanging out with the People’s Convoy: “Nobody really knows why [the Convoy protesters are] in Washington in the first place — which pretty much describes Ted himself, right? … What is with Ted? You see that beard? … He looks like MEL GIBSON after a DUI or something.”

    — On Trump ally and MyPillow CEO MIKE LINDELL: “This guy’s head is stuffed with more crap than his pillows. And by the way, I was told not to say this, but I will: His stuff is crap. I mean, it’s absolute crap. You only find that kind of stuff in the Trump Hotel.”

    Sununu also told a story about a time Trump visited him in New Hampshire and invited him to ride inside the presidential limo, The Beast. The then-president suddenly stopped talking and pointed out the window at people lining the road holding American flags, saying, “They LOVE me!” Only problem, said Sununu, was that the man he pointed to held a sign that read, “FUCK TRUMP.”

    More at ABC News

    At DC roast, NH’s GOP governor skewers Trump as ‘crazy’
    GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said Donald Trump is “crazy” and joked that if the former Republican president was admitted to a mental hospital, he’s not getting out

    Oh Chris, we hardly knew you! It’s been apparent that Sununu didn’t think much of TFG even when he was prez, but he was quiet about it and did the minimum when TFG came to the state. But this is wonderful! Obviously he feels pretty comfortable about reelection, or at least beating back a primary challenge. Given New Hampster-ites love them some cantankerous contrarians this likely will benefit him.

    Hopefully this will free other R’s who have been quiet on TFG it reveal their true feelings.

    Brutality on TFG and Ted Cruz in the same evening! 🙂

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: They revealed their true feelings the minute trump won the nomination in 2016. Absolute cowardice grasping for power in the service of greed at any cost. They never actually believed in any of those things they always professed to.

    Pro-Life? My ass.
    Trickle down? My ass.
    Law and order? My ass.
    Freedom of speech? My ass.

  4. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Well, there’s one bit of good news: the SC Lady Gamecocks won their second NCAA title. Kudos both to Dawn Staley and to Geno Auriemma (11 straight title game victories is nothing to sneer at).

  5. JohnSF says:
  6. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    You beat me to it! I saw that earlier this morning and was a little taken aback, not by Sununu’s bluntness by the crudity. Not that Trump doesn’t deserve it.

    To give him credit, Sununu has always been fairly obvious about his distaste for Trump, just not as blatantly upfront about it as Charlie Baker.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    Sununu has said he voted for TFG, unlike Baker who was clear that he voted for someone other than TFG-Clinton/Biden. Though you need to wonder, that in the privacy of the voting booth, Sununu found another to vote for.

    Yeah, the crudity was a bit surprising, and I liked Raskin’s line that he hadn’t heard so many F-bombs from an R since Nixon. I wonder how much Sununu had to drink before taking the dais.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rex Chapman@RexChapman

    · 20h
    In Denmark, there are libraries where you can “borrow” a person instead of a book to hear their life story for thirty minutes.

    Each person has a title like Refugee, Unemployed, Monk, etc.

    The goal is to fight prejudice and it’s now in 85+ countries.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Meanest TA, PhD.@MeanestTA
    Everyone on my team (5 men ages 48-75) texts me to make sure the slang they’re using is correct in context.
    In return they translate my frustrations into professional corporate.

    Me: “How do I say this meeting is a waste of my time I am not paid enough to deal with your bullshit?”
    Boss: “Can you provide me with a meeting agenda so I can ensure my presence adds value? I want to prioritize my schedule to support our most urgent needs.”

    Me: “How do I say there is no way you are this fucking stupid?”
    WorkDad: “I think there was a disconnect, can you restate your definition of this concept so we can ensure there’s no miscommunication?”

    Me: “How do I say you fucked around now you’re finding out?”
    Boss: “I think you’ll find that this outcome is in line with the predictions we made during the (date) meeting.”

    I never would have made it in a corporate environment.

  10. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: He’s the only governor in New England to have publicly backed Trump (he referred to himself as a “Trump guy through and through” in 2019), but that isn’t so surprising given NH’s status as the swingiest (albeit still Dem-leaning) state in New England. Vermont and Mass. would probably never put up with a governor who backed Trump.

  11. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Kylopod:

    Yes, Sununu did indeed see the light far later than Baker or Scott, although, like Sleeping Dog, I wonder how much of his initial enthusiasm for Trump was faked.

    I have to admit I found it funny when Sununu declined to participate in Trump’s rally on the NH seacoast sometime in 2020, using a patently feeble excuse.

  12. Scott says:

    Taliban ban poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in drug crackdown

    The Taliban announced on Sunday a ban on the cultivation of narcotics in Afghanistan, the world’s biggest opium producer.

    “All Afghans are informed that from now on, cultivation of poppy has been strictly prohibited across the country,” according to an order from the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada.

    “If anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately and the violator will be treated according to the Sharia law,” the order, announced at a news conference by the Ministry of Interior in Kabul, said.

    The Taliban banned poppy growing toward the end of their last rule in 2000 as they sought international legitimacy, but faced a popular backlash and later mostly changed their stance, according to experts.

    The overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 broke open (again) the opium trade, another unintended consequence of the Afghan War.

    I wonder if this will stick this time.

  13. CSK says:

    Two of Trump’s executives at have bailed, one Josh Adams, chief of technology, and the enchantingly named Billy Boozer, have bailed on the enterprise.

    They quit sometime after February 20, when the site attempted to launch and instead made a giant mess of itself.

    TruthSocial still doesn’t have an app for Android.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    He certainly mouthed the words, but seldom walked the walk. Early in TFG’s term, Sununu was more enthusiastic positive, but the crazier things got, the more distant he was. When Covid hit, the relationship between them went ice cold. When TFG came to town, Sununu would greet him at the airport and then disappear. Any pretense of respecting TFG probably ended when Lewandowski claimed Trump had assigned him to deny Sununu re-nomination. That’s not going well, BTW.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    An example of what can happen with hot takes.

    Revelation: 7 1/2 hour gap in Trumps call log during the coup attempt. Criminal!

    2-3 days later: It turns out it’s not unusual for presidents to use someone else’s cell phone to make a call, given the clunky nature of the White House phone system. Much ado about nothing!

    2-3 days after that: It turns out that this is a known thing and there are people in charge of keeping the diary. It is their job to find out what all the calls were and to whom, regardless of how they were made. The presidents staff assists in this. The Trump diarists are saying that the staff stopped communicating with them the day before the coup attempt, and completely shut them out on the day of. This had not happened before, in Trump’s presidency or in any other recent presidency. Criminal! And probably Trump’s staff were in on the crimes.

  16. Kathy says:

    There’s some early buzz about a new COVID variant thus far named XE. It seems to combine traits from Omicron and Delta. It may be more transmissible than Omicron.

    The good news is that it was detected in January, and meantime Omicron wreaked havoc. ergo XE may not be much of a worry, and is only now gaining dominance where the virus still spreads.

    The bad news is that Omicron had a similar slow start vs Delta.

    Check your mask supplies and get boosted if you haven’t already. Think hard about a fourth dose,

  17. Just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: I get it. It was irregular then and still is now. It should be illegal and FG should be prosecuted. Still, there’s no way Garland is going down that road to open that Pandora’s Box. Learn to adjust. Lower your stress levels. Chill.

  18. CSK says:

    At the rally (God, I’m beginning to hate that word because of its associations) in Michigan, Rep. Lisa McClain claimed that Trump killed Osama bin Laden.

    Apparently no one corrected her.

  19. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Remember SNL’s version of the first Obama-Romney debate in 2012?

    Jim Lehrer: Mr. President, Governor Romney has just said that he killed Osama bin Laden. Would you care to respond?

    President Barack Obama: Uhhh, no. You two go ahead. [ he returns to jotting down notes at his podium ]

  20. CSK says:

    I missed that, but memory tells me that Romney made some inconsistent statements about bin Laden.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: I suspect that it will to the degree that the “strict prohibition across the country” doesn’t impede the activities of powerful foes of which ever Taliban leader is most in charge at the moment. I would suggest a rotating administration that gives each poppy growing region approximately equal access to markets in sequence, but that’s up to the Taliban to decide.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: See? There ARE reasons to not own an i-Phone.

  23. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Indeed. Apparently Trump’s reason for not using is that he wants it to be a hit first. Given that he’s supposed to be the main draw, however, I’m not sure how it will be a hit without him.

  24. reid says:

    Being a New Mexican, I don’t really know much about Sununu. I’ve read some things here and in other places that made me think he might be one of the “decent” ones. But I just saw the tail-end of an interview with him on MSNBC, and I was not at all impressed. He smiled and laughed too much, which just made him seem un-serious. But worse, he dodged every question about his opinion of Trump, the GOP today, or even specific policies. Yeah, maybe all politicians do it, but he doesn’t seem to be any better than that. Perhaps I’m wrong.

  25. Kylopod says:


    I missed that, but memory tells me that Romney made some inconsistent statements about bin Laden.

    I don’t remember Romney ever claiming credit for capturing Bin Laden. The SNL skit was focusing on Obama tanking the first debate, based on the theory (first proposed by Al Gore) that he wasn’t himself due to the high altitude in Denver.

  26. Jen says:

    @reid: You’re not wrong. Every so often, he’ll do something outside the typical Republican nuttery, like requiring masks at the height of the pandemic before vaccines were available, or make placating noises about vetoing some anti-choice legislation. Recently, he threatened to veto some truly egregious redistricting maps that would have locked us into a 1 Republican/1 Democrat for our House seats, rather than the 1 slightly Dem/1 slightly Republican seat that we have now. Why? Well, the “slightly R” seat is currently held by a pro-business Democrat because Republicans keep running loons for that seat. They want the loons to be guaranteed a win.

    It’s sort of like McCain’s “maverick” designation. Here in New Hampshire, that allows one to be thought of as “independent!” Eh. I guess.

  27. CSK says:

    Oh, okay. That makes sense. I was aware that Romney never took credit for killing bin Laden, so the excerpt you provided from the skit didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    Trump did say in 2021 that bin Laden wasn’t nearly as bad as al-Baghdadi and Soleimani. So he wants props for taking out the two worst bad guys.

    Trump actually said that all bin Laden did was strike once.

  28. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I just brought it up because it provided yet another example of how today’s Republicans are increasingly resembling parodies of them in the past.

  29. CSK says:

    Romney strikes me as the same person he always was. Actually, so do most of the non-Trump Republicans.

  30. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I wasn’t saying Romney has changed, just that the parody of him resembles how actual Republicans are behaving now.

  31. wr says:

    @CSK: ” Rep. Lisa McClain claimed that Trump killed Osama bin Laden.”

    She also said that unemployment, currently at 3.4%, is at a forty year high. And that there was a labor shortage.

    Sometimes I think all of Trumpworld functions like the typos in a Nigerian prince letter, put there to chase away anyone smart enough to see through the scam…

  32. CSK says:

    I think they live in their own self-created reality. Trump’s the greatest president ever, Trump’s a devout Christian, Trump’s a faithful husband, Trump’s a devoted father, Trump’s a business genius…bla, bla, bla.

  33. CSK says:

    And then there’s this take from Amanda Marcotte at Salon, via Raw Story:

  34. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Cracker, here’s a reason not to move to Hattiesburg… it’s a lot closer to Florida:

    [Florida Congress-kritter Matt Gaetz] is reported to have said “the price of insulin increases as waistlines increase.

    And I thought the boys at the Home for Wayward Boys were stupid.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How bad are supply issues for Russian soldiers in Ukraine? So bad they have resorted to using MacBooks for their body armor.

    Just in case, /s/

  36. Kathy says:


    In 1984, there’s a scene of a big rally during Hate Week, where they change the enemy they all hate so much. Of course, all the banners, posters, and whatever other paraphernalia one needs for Hate Week now carry the wrong enemy’s name. So naturally it was Goldstein and his agents who tricked us all!

    When I first read this, I figured this wasn’t a real change in policy, but rather an exercise of power. In particular because the speaker currently ranting about the hated enemy has to change course mid-speech, as he’s given a note by a messenger running to the stage.

    I felt validated in this when O’Brien later asks Winston how one exerts power on a man, and Winston replies “You make him suffer,” to O’Brien’s approval.

    So this is what’s become of the Party of Lincoln.

  37. CSK says:

    The remains of the party of Lincoln appear to be pretty hapless and helpless in the face of creatures such as Trump, Greene, Gosar, Gaetz, Boebert, and now, maybe Palin.

    The interesting thing about the bizarre labor shortage/unemployment claims that McClain made is that she has a background in finance, so she should know what she’s saying is untrue.

    There’s a lot to what wr and Amanda Marcotte say about Trumpkins, but I also think a fair number of them are simply committed to saying the exact opposite of what Democrats say, because what Democrats say by definition is either evil or wrong.

  38. Jen says:

    Just about anything can devolve into a shouty-fest on the internet:

    Join for the Recipes, Stay for the Drama

    Facebook recipe groups may not be great places to learn how to cook, but they’re perfect for digital eavesdropping

    Amid the tips and tricks and weeknight dinner ideas, there is a somewhat shocking amount of fighting going on in the average Facebook recipe group. Most of these groups are moderated heavily, and operate under a set of rules that, if violated, will get you tossed out. Generally, these rules are pretty obvious — you’re not allowed to sell anything to fellow group members, you must keep threads on topic, and give credit where it’s due.

    Hm. Where does it go from here?

    Most of these arguments are incredibly petty, but it is also true that many posts in online recipe groups are objectively bad — they’re clueless, or perhaps are accompanied by terrible photos of truly unappetizing food. In the Instant Pot Community, a group run by the company that makes the cult-favorite pressure cooker, somebody asks seemingly once a month or so whether they can cook a cut of beef like prime rib or filet mignon in their Instant Pot; these queries are immediately met with hundreds of horrified commenters shrieking “don’t do it!”

    Ha. Well, legitimate ‘beef.’ IMHO.

    While perusing a group for easy air fryer recipes about a week ago, a recipe for a seafood boil made with kovbasa, a type of Ukrainian sausage, crossed my timeline. Clicking through to the comments, I noticed that there was controversy brewing over if there was actually such a thing as Ukrainian sausage, or if the poster was just sharing this recipe to drum up political drama.

    Um, what?

    The conversation devolved from there, and moderators deleted several offensive comments. Some members shared support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, while others insisted that calling the sausage Ukrainian was a virtue-signaling co-opt of Polish culture.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I don’t even see how it can become a hit with him, so maybe that’s why he’s backpedaling.

  40. CSK says:

    Madison Cawthorn defines what a woman is: “XX chromosomes, no tallywhacker.”

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: The way that your friend was describing it, I was under the impression that it was significantly farther north in Mizippi than it is. Also, I already live in a college town that has a similar population size and is probably just as red politically, so I don’t need to move to be (metaphysically) close to Florida.

  42. Kathy says:


    the problem with these very simplistic definitions is not only that they confuse sex and gender, but that they very casually assume the human brain is neither part of the human body nor a constituent of human anatomy.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Why are you assuming that lying to people should be a disqualification for running for office? Republicans don’t think that way. Steely pragmatists all the way. Only the objective matters.

  44. CSK says:
  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Certainly, one CAN cook any cut of meat whatsoever in an instant pot. The thing I’m wondering is if these people are so stupid that they think they can get the SAME EFFECT from (essentially) boiling a piece of meat that they get from roasting it, or are they just trolling the other people on the site?

  46. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: @Kathy: I was sure I remembered reading about cases of people with XX and a penis, and a quick search brought me to this Wikipedia page, which I was initially skeptical was real. I wondered if it was Wiki-vandal-trolling. You’ll see why in a moment.

    XX male syndrome, also known as de la Chapelle syndrome, is a rare congenital intersex condition in which an individual with a 46, XX karyotype (otherwise associated with females) has phenotypically male characteristics that can vary among cases.

    It’s named after Finnish scientist Albert de la Chapelle.

  47. Kathy says:


    This is what I mean when I say biology is messy.

    There are also cases of XXY and XYY males, and XY females. Not to mention defective genes of all sorts that can affect development in the womb, nor factors in the womb’s internal environment which can affect different organs.

    Reducing something as complex as gender to chromosomes is not only simplistic, but way, way wrong.

  48. Kylopod says:


    Reducing something as complex as gender to chromosomes is not only simplistic, but way, way wrong.

    It also implies gender couldn’t be known until the 20th century.

    Another stray thought: The old credo “Be a man”–which is exactly the sort of thing conservatives traditionally embrace–shows that even they haven’t always reduced concepts like “man” and “woman” to sex chromosomes or reproductive anatomy.

  49. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yes. I sometimes wonder who his 88 million Twitter followers were. Bots?

  50. Kathy says:

    Very late reply to @gVOR08:

    Sorry, I tend to miss posts alter on Sunday.

    A second half-built AN-225 has languished for years, hoping for the funding to finish it. Some has materialized sporadically, but the plane still lies there unfinished.

    IMO, it may not be cost effective, even if it’s rather unique in what cargoes it can move. The first one was paid for by the Soviet government, so Antonov didn’t have to finance it. Having the plane on hand, it was cost effective to run it and pay for fuel and maintenance (otherwise it would never have flown), but not if one has to finish a half-built plane or build one from scratch.

    It’s too bad they couldn’t move it out of harm’s way in time. But, as you note, among the greater losses of the Ukrainian people, ti is a footnote.