New Year’s Eve 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:

    Just finished reading Steven’ Insecurity-in-Chief post and the comments. Out of curiosity I checked out the Most Admired Man and Woman poll history, and something stuck out to me. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who in my pov has been the most reviled woman by the right in my lifetime, was the most admired woman 22 times. No other person, man or woman, comes close. Eleanor Roosevelt managed the feat 13 times. B Obama did it 12 times. Same for DD Eisenhower. Saint Ronnie and Bill Clinton only managed it 8 times.

    I’m not sure what it says about this country, but it does say something even if it is only that HRC has been politically relevant for an unusually long period of time.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    James Palmer

    3,903 deaths were reported in the U.S. today of covid.

    David Waldman-1, of Yorktown LLC™

    38% of all COVID deaths in the US actually happened AFTER Trump got his miracle “cure,” and promised to start giving it out for free, right away!

    133,636 Americans have died & 12,380,765 more have tested positive since Trump promised he’d “immediately” sign an “order” to give out the miracle cure he got at Walter Reed, for free. He didn’t even give any to Rep-elect Luke Letlow (R), who just died!

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Anti vaxxer?

    Matt Smith

    BREAKING: Advocate Aurora now says an employee at its Grafton hospital intentionally removed the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from a refrigerator resulting in nearly 500 doses having to be thrown away

    This individual should be sentenced to working the covid ward without any PPE.

  5. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I came over here to post this link about the same story.

    I think that (now former) employee should be required to reimburse the full cost of the vaccine that was damaged. What an awful person.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: One things for sure, that person will never again work in healthcare.

  7. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Jen:
    Why? Why?

  8. Teve says:

    Parler is great for brilliant medical knowledge.

    Bill Mitchell @billmitchelvii

    Have you ever had an asymptomatic case of the flu? Yeah, me neither.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If this video doesn’t give you a 6:26 minute smile, you are a broken person.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I wonder on what evidence does he base his conclusion?

  11. Left of the dial says:

    I have a number of friends who just marvel at Trump booster club member Leigh Dundas, a Scientology Anti-Masker, who has regular access to Trump conference calls. Her videos predict a wide range of executive action from Trump and Pence on January 6th. To the best of my knowledge, none of them are possible and amount to little more than Trump fan fiction.

    I’m just curious if anyone has some more background on this woman, who appears to be the latest internet celebrity to jump on the Trump bandwagon? She and another internet star, Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, who claims to have hacked the Georgia voting platforms, are at the forefront of a recent effort to provide credible sounding “evidence” in the court of public opinion where the rule of law doesn’t apply as soundly as it does in a courtroom.

    I for one, am worried about the influence these overnight Parler-stars have. There appears to be a dangerous and growing subculture of internet followers whose mission in life is to foster the suspicion and illegitimacy claims of the loser-in-chief. The audience is hungry for these guerrilla broadcasts and regularly orders a heaping bowl of the conspiracy-theory-du-jour.

    My only hope is that these die-hards break away from the GOP and splinter their voting block for decades to come. Sadly, I fear that too many of them will be inspired to take violent action as a result of the drum these sycophants beat each day.

  12. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Mitchell’s a completely batshit QAnoner who went to Parler after being banned from Twitter.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Spurs’ Becky Hammon becomes first woman to direct NBA team

    Becky Hammon would have preferred a victory over history after becoming the first woman to coach an NBA team.

    The assistant coach took over the San Antonio Spurs in the second quarter after coach Gregg Popovich was ejected in a 121-107 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

    “I try not to think of the huge picture and huge aspect of it because it can be overwhelming,” Hammon said. “I really have had no time to reflect. I have not had time to look at my phone. So, I don’t know what’s going on outside the AT&T Center.”
    Popovich was ejected by official Tony Brown with 3:56 remaining in the second quarter. Popovich screamed at Brown and entered the court following a non-call on DeMar DeRozan’s attempted layup and a subsequent attempted rebound by Drew Eubanks.

    As he exited the court to applause from several of the team’s family members in attendance, Popovich pointed a finger at Hammon and had a succinct message.

    “You got ’em,” Hammon said.
    Said LeBron James: “Obviously she’s been paying her dues over the last few years and Coach Pop has given her the opportunity. … It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets. She’s very passionate about the game. Congrats to her and congrats for our league.”

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: In other words, the evidence of his own lack of sanity.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I just want to make it clear that a cynic like me does not click on dog videos and even if I did would not be smiling into my coffee the whole time. Is that understood!?

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Got it. I would not want to ever accuse you of being so shallow and soft hearted that a simple video of dogs doing doggy things and being doggy happy and doggy contented would ever give you pleasure.

  17. Kylopod says:

    Last night I took a look at some of the numbers for the Nov election in Georgia, and I noticed something that may be pertinent to the upcoming runoffs: Biden won almost 100,000 more votes than Ossoff. But Perdue only won 763 more votes than Trump.

    This suggests to me that it may be misleading to talk about the differing results as a case of “ticket-splitting.” Republican voters largely voted straight party-line–there were very few Biden-Perdue crossover voters. There was a much, much larger contingent of voters who pulled the lever for Biden but didn’t bother to cast any votes downballot, allowing the mostly unified Trump-Perdue voters to outpace them.

    What to take from that? It might be a little encouraging, actually: up to now I had the idea in my head (and I’ve seen other commentators make this point) that the split result in Nov was due to suburban voters who were consciously aiming for a Democratic president but to keep their incumbent Republican Senator(s), perhaps as a check on Biden or because they liked Perdue while disliking Trump. But the above numbers suggests it had more to do to a failure among some voters to pay attention to what was going on downballot–and that’s something that can definitely be remedied in the upcoming runoffs.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    Oh the irony.

    AOC should sit quietly at Liz’s side for a while. She may learn something about how to advance an agenda.

  19. Teve says:


    December 31st 2020 has big “just one more day until retirement” in a crime movie energy

  20. CSK says:
  21. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, now we know how Boris got his appalling coif.

  22. Jen says:

    @Teve: That’s stupidity on several levels…

  23. Teve says:
  24. sam says:
  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mariah Bell entered her seventh season on the senior level of figure skating last year with a reputation for inconsistency in the biggest moments. As she closed in on her 24th birthday, the Colorado native for all her sparkle and fight was a Betamax in a Blu-ray world: technically overmatched by the encroaching generation of youngsters whose programs are packed with point-gobbling quadruple jumps and triple axels.

    Skaters like Bell will always be the sentimental favorites of aesthetes who believe the sport has become a numbers game in the years since the judging was overhauled after the 2002 score-fixing scandal. While the changes have made the system more objective and less susceptible to corruption, critics say it’s become a jumping contest that strikes a blow at the artistry that sets figure skating apart from all other sports.

    Which is what made Bell’s free skate at the US national championships in January such an indelible moment. Set to kd lang’s elegiac cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Bell engaged with the music with the sophistication of a mature veteran while landing one clean triple after another, seven of them in all, including a triple flip and a triple toe loop. The tension-and-release redoubled with each element as the buzz in the Greensboro Coliseum – that supersensory communion between performer and audience so dearly missed in the coronavirus era – built towards the climax. And after she landed a triple lutz on the final jump of the four-minute program and the biggest roar of the night swelled throughout the 23,500-seat arena, Bell spiraled and spun to the finish with tears streaming down her face amid a standing ovation.

  26. DrDaveT says:

    The Congressional Budget Office has published a report entitled Federal Policies in Response to Declining Entrepreneurship. In its discussion of potential policy responses to declining creation of new businesses, it of course must consider the causes of declining entrepreneurship. It lists three causes, using the following world-class political language:

    The decline is frequently attributed to three types of factors, two of which are supported by strong evidence, whereas the third is uncertain.

    The two that are supported by evidence are the recession and a decline in the age 35-54 workforce. The third, clearly imposed on the authors by their political bosses, is excessive regulation.

    I’m sure you will all be shocked (shocked!) to learn that “increasing wealth inequality” is nowhere discussed as a possible causal factor…

  27. Teve says:
  28. DrDaveT says:


    critics say it’s become a jumping contest that strikes a blow at the artistry that sets figure skating apart from all other sports

    While I am a fan of figure skating, and in particular of the artistry that is now so rare among top competitors, I think this phrasing misses the point. The importance of artistry is what sets figure skating (and ballet, and ballroom dancing, and rhythmic gymnastics, and synchronized swimming, and…) apart from sports. Just because an artistic endeavor requires tremendous physical skill and athletic fitness does not make it a sport. If you need judges to decide how well you performed*, it isn’t a sport. If the fastest/strongest/highest sometimes loses on style points, it isn’t a sport.

    *As opposed to umpires/referees/officials to decide whether you were cheating or not. “Did you foul that other player?” is not the same category as “was this one more graceful than that one?”

  29. Mikey says:

    @Teve: If insufficient staff is a problem, why can’t we just hire people–or even ask for volunteers–simply to administer the vaccine? Have them supervised by medical staff, of course, but trained to do nothing but draw out doses, swab arms, and stick.

    Another thing we could potentially do is call up the logistical units of our Reserve and National Guard forces, and have them coordinate–Reserve for the federal level of distribution, and Guard for each state–to push vaccines to as low a level as possible.

    We should be throwing everything including the kitchen sink at getting people vaccinated, because that is the only path back to normalcy. Going from 100 million promised to less than 3 million actually vaccinated is not what we need to be doing.

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Gee, if only we had a Public Health Service or something…

  31. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: big boxing matches have 3 ringside judges.

  32. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m not sure what it says about this country, but it does say something even if it is only that HRC has been politically relevant for an unusually long period of time.

    It just shows what I tried to say in the post: that the poll simply tells us who has the most name recognition with a few ancillary variables thrown in. She was First Lady, Secretary of State, and Dem nominee for president, hence a lot of name recognition.

    Plus, keep in mind, she was top of a big heap with percentages in the mid-teens to low 20s (and least in the later 2000s).

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yes you are correct of course. But I was also referring to the rather jarring contrast to being the most reviled person (subjected to a 20+ year RW smear campaign) and the most admired at the same time.

    It suggests a political schizophrenia that I wonder at the roots of and whether it is survivable. Are white men’s egos so fragile?

  34. CSK says:

    It wasn’t just the right wing. I knew some left-liberals who couldn’t stand HRC either–to the point that some of them wouldn’t vote for her.

    I’ve never understood this. Granted, HRC may not be the most warm and charming individual ever to stride the planet, but so what? I don’t vote for people based on whether I’d like them as a friend. I prefer competence.

  35. dazedandconfused says:


    Politicians need to be competent campaigners, which is kissin’ cousin to leadership skillz. All she had to do was tell the rust-belters she felt their pain, stridently lay out a plan and keep repeating it. Instead she allowed the press to paint her as telling them simply ‘..those jobs aren’t coming back’. Essentially: ‘Tough luck.’

  36. Teve says:


    I am fully aware of the onslaught of attacks being made against me based on my revelations about Chief Justice John Roberts. Before attacking me, maybe fair-minded people would first ask Roberts to tell the truth.

    Or ask Jeffrey Epstein. He is alive.

  37. steve says:

    Part of the problem is that we need to vaccinate at the same time we have record numbers of patients. Just to illustrate how bad it is right now, we have been offering nursing staff a $50/hour bonus, on top of regular pay and their overtime, to help cover night time and evening overflow patients. We are still having trouble finding enough staff. (In case you are interested, we have offered the vaccine to all of our staff. About 50% have accepted.)

    What we are seeing in my state is that the vaccines have largely gone out to hospitals and other healthcare facilities so far, plus to some of the big chain pharmacies. Hospitals are getting their people finished quickly but then arent sure what to do next. This should have been planned out long ago.


  38. CSK says:

    True. But I never said she wasn’t a lousy campaigner. Actually, I’d heard the comments from liberals about her disagreeableness before 2016.

  39. CSK says:

    Quote of the day:

    “In the words of an unnamed Trump aide: “Some people seem to think Trump’s playing chess, when most of the time the staff are just trying to stop him from eating the pieces.'”

    — David Frum, citing a Trump aide.

  40. Moosebreath says:

    In case you want to see something other than a ball drop at midnight tonight, there are a wide variety of alternatives in Pennsylvania. My favorite is at the end:

    “Lower Allen Township Pants Drop

    Pants, or yellow breeches, if you like. The yellow trousers are a shout-out to nearby Yellow Breeches Creek, purportedly named by British soldiers after their white pants turned yellow when washed in its waters. A special ceremony for children occurs earlier, but as the township promises, “the breeches come down at midnight.”

    This year: Virtual. The celebration will take place on the BreechieLAT YouTube page (–U5mbG4muDA). Just before midnight, tune in to find a video of the yellow breeches getting ready to be lowered. “Little Breechie” will drop at 10 p.m. for the kiddos to watch.”

  41. CSK says:


    Is Wood insane? Evil? Both?

  42. Kathy says:


    He has nothing to fear. Let me reassure him: Donnie, of course your influence is waning. You’re out of power.

    Who does he think he is, Solon? The number of influential former rulers is tiny. Even St. Ronnie served more as a symbol. No doubt Donnie the One Term Loser won’t fade gently away like his predecessors. But if he wants to regain his full influence, he needs to run for election in 2024 and win.

    Otherwise his strongest influence will be when Biden or some other future president, hopefully Harris, calls him to ask for advice. Don’t laugh! Trump’s advice would be the most valuable. He’s the one source fount of knowledge of what NOT to do. Literally priceless.

  43. CSK says:

    Somehow, he’s the only ex-president I can imagine whose advice no one will ever seek.

  44. Teve says:


    CSK says:
    Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 12:38

    Is Wood insane? Evil? Both?

    IDK. People have spent thousands of hours on the evil/stupid/ignorant/lying/etc question. Maybe we just need a catchall term. Non-Specific Conservative Brain Syndrome or something 😛

  45. DrDaveT says:


    big boxing matches have 3 ringside judges

    Yes, but their job is to determine questions of fact — did the blow land or not, with the legal part of the glove — not questions of aesthetics. If their job could be automated, as it has been for fencing, they would do that.

  46. CSK says:

    I don’t understand what’s in this for Wood, unless he’s taking donations the way Sidney Powell is.

  47. Kathy says:


    He’d be the first i ask.

    I’d put him on speakerphone with all my relevant staff around, and tell them to pay close attention. before hanging up, I’d tell them “Ok. you heard what Trump advises. Now, as usual, anyone doing any of that will be shot. Thanks, Donnie. Bye!”

    On other things, I’m thinking of mixing strawberry jello (for use with milk) with atole (flavored cornmeal). the thing is I have coconut and vanilla atole available. each makes one liter, and doing both in one liter would be too thick, I think.

    I find the idea of a thick jello appealing, so I may try 1.5 liters of milk. We’ll see how this comes out.

    Oh, and some coconut flakes mixed in, of course.

  48. CSK says:

    I can see putting him on the speakerphone for comic relief during a tense meeting. It’d be a real thigh-slapper.

  49. Teve says:

    “The problem with…elected officials such as Josh Hawley is not that they are crazy, or that they don’t know any better; it is that they are cowards, and that they are weak.”

    The Unbearable Weakness of Trump’s Minions

  50. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: rather than say judges are the distinction, I think you mean awarding aesthetic points is the distinction. I’m fine with that. I mean, there’s no cello competition in the Olympics.

    BTW if anyone hasn’t yet watched that Mariah Bell routine, do yourself a favor and watch it.

  51. DrDaveT says:


    rather than say judges are the distinction, I think you mean awarding aesthetic points is the distinction

    Exactly — I thought I’d made that clear, but apparently not. I don’t care what you call them; the question is whether they are enforcing rules or making aesthetic judgments.

  52. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: for all of December I’ve abstained from cigarettes, alcohol, and replaced coffee with Earl Grey. So I’m disjointed. 😀

  53. JohnMcC says:

    Amusing story from AFP, covered by Rawstory, in which PM Boris Johnson’s father is applying for citizenship in France. I guess his mother and granddad were french. “I’ll always be a European” he says.

  54. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: “Disjointed” is either a brilliant way of explaining just which cigarettes you’ve abstained from or possibly an innocent remark that just triggered some synapse left over from when I was definitely NOT ‘dis-jointed’.

  55. JohnMcC says:

    Just one more completely unimportant and meaningless comment: I see from the Bing facepage news feed that the Army is changing regulations on haircuts. We discuss the changes to uniforms from time to time. I wonder if we’ll venture into soldierly grooming?

  56. a country lawyer says:

    I was out of pocket yesterday and didn’t get a chance to read or comment on the Nashville bomber thread until last night. But as a criminal defense attorney with a substantial practice in both the state and federal courts in Nashville I may have some extra insight into this event. First let me say I agree with what my brother in the crimson tie wrote. I am confident that none of the U.S. Magistrate Judges who I know well, would have issued a search warrant based on the information which was then available. It is possible that one of the state general sessions judges would have, although I believe that is doubtful.
    The catastrophe was not the result what any individual officer or officers did or failed to do, but the structure of the system itself. First, patrol officers’ jobs are to enforce the law and have only limited investigatory responsibility. Patrol officers never seek search warrants. That is the job of the detective division and few city police departments have a division devoted to investigating bomb making unless it happens to involve some other division such as homicide. MNPD is no exception. It appears from what is reported in the press that the MNPD did what procedure called for in the circumstances. A report was taken from the ex-girlfriend and her lawyer and followed up by multiple trips to Warner’s home which were fruitless in either meeting Mr. Warner of obtaining permission to search. At that point they had no probable cause to either conduct a warrantless search or get a search warrant.
    The police then did what procedure called for – they pushed it upstairs to the detective bureau, where it ended in the special investigations section, a unit that investigates cases that don’t fall into the routine areas such as homicide, burglary drugs, etc. Special Investigations officers went to Warner’s house with sniffer dogs which it is reported, did not alert to explosives. Had the dogs alerted to explosives that would have provided the extra information necessary for a warrant. Metro officers at that point didn’t have any other options except to refer it to the Feds who have much greater resources. Metro sent it to the FBI which except for checking on Warner’s record took no further action.
    Sending the case to the FBI was curious choice because investigations involving explosive devices falls within the purview of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms). The ATF has the experience and resources to investigate bomb making and explosive devices including tracking explosives and explosive precursor material. The FBI usually only investigates a crime such as this if it falls within an area of concurrent jurisdiction such as terrorism. Had the case gone to the ATF it’s possible a more vigorous investigation might have resulted. Perhaps what is needed in the future is a method of closer coordination between the Feds and the State. The Vice Squad has such a relation with the local DEA when drugs are involved. There’s no reason some better method of communication couldn’t be developed.

  57. DrDaveT says:


    We discuss the changes to uniforms from time to time. I wonder if we’ll venture into soldierly grooming?

    There is some subtext there. At least some of the changes are in part motivated by racial bias in the existing rules.

  58. ImProPer says:


    “Mary Ann Has died of Covid.”

    So sad to hear. I used to live in the same small community as her, just outside of Jackson WY.
    She was a wonderful lady, very gracious to her fans (thank you very much), and worked tirelessly to give back what she could, to young people wanting to enter the film business, via
    The Idaho film and television Institute, which she advocated and built with an admirable ethic.

    RIP. Dawn Wells, and peace to her loved ones.

  59. JohnSF says:


    Stanley Johnson’s mother, Irene Williams, was born in France to an English father and a French mother (whose own father was German).
    I must suppose a single grandparent qualifies you to claim.

    Surprised he didn’t try for Turkish citizenship.
    (Well, actually, not that suprised.)
    Stanley Johnson’s father is usually recorded as Wilfred Johnson; but until 1914 he was named as Osman Kemal, son of the Turkish journalist and politician Ali Kemal Bey, Turkish Minister of the Interior in 1919, and Winifred Brun.
    The surname Johnson was derived from Winifred’s mother, Margaret Johnson.

  60. JohnSF says:

    Reposting this here: a reply to Steven L. Taylor on yesterdays “Insecurity-in-Chief” which has probably gone dormant now, reply late (time-zones and such)

    Steven L. Taylor says:
    “I cannot see how any patriotic American can now continue to support the Republican Party”
    Why did half of voters in the UK vote for Brexit?

    My impulsive, and frankly bad tempered response (not in bad tempered in regard of you; in regard of them and our departure from the EU economic arrangements as of 24:00 today):
    Because they were bloody idiots.

    I have a lot longer and more nuanced analysis, if you want it; but that’s what I both think and feel, at base.
    Uncharitable, I know, but right now, for charity, I’m really not the retailer of choice.

    However, I would not say that it is unconscionable to support the Conservative Party.
    I will certainly never vote for them again, short of a miraculous return to the Party of pre-2016 and the purging of the ERG and the KipperCons.
    But they have not, despite playing games with Parliament that bode to turn a Parliamentary governmental system into Executive/Party one, abandoned the fundamental rules of constitutional propriety.

    That is what the Republicans are doing, or at least failing to condemn.
    I would, before November 2020 have regarded them as grievously mistaken, but not beyond the pale.
    Their reactions since November to what has been, however fatuously inept, a conspiracy to overturn the constitution of the United States, are a different matter, making the party complicit at least by default.

    I do not say, no patriotic American could have been a Republican, or voted for them.
    Or even that they can be now; a lot of ordinary decent Republican voters, and even party activists and politician, are probably rationalising their response, or lack of one, in various ways.
    Dangerous ways, in my opinion: self-delusion is a road without many happy destinations.

    That is why I believe it sensible for their opponents to try to address the concerns of at least some of their constituency.
    I say that I would find it impossible to overlook post-November Republican complicity in a fundamental breach of the norms of US civic order and to continue to support them now.
    But that’s just me.

  61. ImProPer says:


    Bill Mitchell, like all the other great parlor prophets, are actually sages that happen to have been born about 600 years too late, doncha no

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Why would increasing wealth inequity be cited as a cause of declining entrepreneurship? It’s almost like you think that people need money to start new businesses or something. Surely, that can’t be right.

  63. JohnSF says:

    Happy New Year to all here, from GMT! (plus 32 minutes for drinking with family! Via Zoom. And watching fireworks being let off.)

  64. Teve says:

    The assmonkey who left 500 vaccines out to rot overnight has now been arrested. The goal was to put them back in the fridge before anyone noticed so people would think they were vaccinated but not be vaccinated.

  65. JohnSF says:

    There are times when I think Vlad the Impaler was a tad too lenient…

  66. Teve says:

    @Teve: @JohnSF:

    Early reports, which could be wrong, suggest that before everything was figured out, 57 people were injected with the spoiled vaccine. I think overcharging is a big problem in this country and I think prison sentences are way too long and prisons are too harsh, but I am suspending all those beliefs in this particular case.

  67. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was disappointed that the NYT obituary for Dawn Welles did not refer to the classic adolescent boy meme “Ginger or Mary Ann?” — and the invariable reply (at least among my friends): “Duh. Mary Ann.”