Republican Leadership Face Tests with Cheney and Greene

Mitch McConnell is testing out his spine again.

WaPo (“Senate Republicans move against ‘nutty’ House member in widening GOP rift“):

A growing number of Republicans took sides Tuesday in a brewing House battle over the shape of the GOP after the Donald Trump presidency, amplifying pressure on Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as he decides this week whether to sideline conspiracy theorists and secure a place for anti-Trump voices in party leadership.

Leading the charge was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who made an unusual detour into the other chamber’s affairs by denouncing the extremist rhetoric of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene while offering a gesture of support for Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House GOP leader, who voted last month to impeach Trump.

He was joined Tuesday by several other Republican lawmakers, as well as pillars of the conservative establishment, who together warned that sidelining Trump critics from the party while tolerating purveyors of social-media-driven paranoia would spell long-term disaster — a “cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” as McConnell put it.

McConnell displayed flashes of courage in the aftermath of the election, refusing to go along with efforts to reject the Electoral College vote, and especially after the 6 January storming of the Capitol, condemning President Trump’s role in inciting the rioters and even hinting that he might go along with convicting him in the impeachment trial. But, ultimately, he backtracked when his caucus applied pressure. So, there’s certainly reason to doubt his steadfastness here.

Still, McConnell is nothing if not a shrewd, calculating politician. He likes being Majority Leader and he rightly believes Trump, Trumpism, and general kookiness are why he is giving up that title. If he wants it back in two years, he needs a party that can attract more than the hard-core base. (And, indeed, it might not even have managed that in the Georgia runoffs.)

He has, well, at least one supporter in the Senate:

Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), a McConnell confidant who recently ended a stint as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Greene “nutty” and “an embarrassment to our party.”

“The people of her congressional district, it’s their prerogative if they want to abase themselves by voting to elect someone who indulges in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and all manner of other nonsense. But I’ve got no tolerance for people like that,” he told reporters. “In terms of the divisions within our party, she’s not even part of the conversation, as far as I’m concerned.”

Of course, being crazy has worked well for her so far.

Greene, meanwhile, boasted of raising more than $85,000 in the 24 hours following McConnell’s statement late Monday and fired back at him on Twitter: “The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully.”

Regardless, the GOP Congressional leadership has some choices to make.

The debate over the future of the GOP comes a day before House Republicans are scheduled to meet privately to debate whether Cheney (R-Wyo.) — the daughter of a former vice president who has spent a lifetime in Republican politics — can continue in her role as GOP conference chairwoman.

They are also facing pressure to swiftly remove Greene (R-Ga.) from two House committees after the unearthing of social media posts in which she endorsed the assassination of prominent Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi; promulgated conspiracy theories involving the same; and claimed mass shootings in Las Vegas and Florida were “false flag” operations staged by supporters of gun control.

At the center of the pressure is McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has maintained his position as the top House Republican leader by hewing closely to Trump and an evolving GOP electorate that eagerly embraced the former president’s hard-edge populism while casting aside much of the party’s conservative orthodoxy.

After unexpected GOP gains in November’s elections, McCarthy is well-positioned to succeed Pelosi as speaker in the upcoming midterm elections, but he is now facing an intraparty crisis following the Capitol riot — one that some Republicans say has been exacerbated by McCarthy’s own vacillations in the four weeks since.

After publicly holding Trump at least partially responsible for the events of Jan. 6 and endorsing a first-ever presidential censure, McCarthy later tempered his criticism — culminating in a meeting with Trump last week at his Florida estate. The two agreed to work in tandem to win the House back for Republicans in 2022 — an outcome that could vault McCarthy into the speakership and demonstrate the durability of Trump’s appeal to GOP voters.

But the fracture inside the party of Cheney and Greene could throw that plan into doubt — and it is in McCarthy’s hands to navigate a path through the turmoil. On one side are Trump loyalists who make up the bulk of the House GOP — two-thirds of whom voted to reject state electoral votes and endorse Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims — while a significant minority are eager to move the party away from Trump and toward a more policy-driven foundation.

In an ideal world, someone other than McCarthy would be the House Republican Leader at this point. He’s lost his integrity card. I would love to see Cheney take over for him and signal a line in the sand. But that’s not going to happen.

In the latter camp are many Republicans who see the moment as akin to the mid-1960s reckoning when journalist William F. Buckley Jr. and key GOP politicians banded together to marginalize the anti-Communist extremism and conspiracy-mongering of the John Birch Society. The echoes of that moment could be heard in the statement from McConnell, who dismissed Greene’s statements as “loony lies” that have “nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 GOP leader, said House Republicans faced a simple choice: “Do they want to be the party of limited government . . . or do they want to be the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon?” he asked, referring to the extremist ideology that Greene embraced during her campaign and has been linked to violent incidents culminating in the Capitol riot.

Said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), “Our big tent is not large enough to both accommodate conservatives and kooks.”

Robert Doar, president of the American Enterprise Institute, which has historically enjoyed close ties with Republican policymakers, said it was incumbent on the GOP to accept Trump critics like Cheney into the fold and root out extremists or watch the party’s electoral coalition continue to unravel.

“The risk is that they’ll drive reasonable people who would likely be supportive of right-of-center policies away because they don’t want to be a part of a party that has those elements in it,” he said. “What will happen is that the substance that you really care about — a certain kind of tax policy, a certain kind of budgetary policy, an approach on issues concerning cancel culture and identity politics — will lose.”

This isn’t the mid-1960s, alas. Gone are the days of the smoke-filled rooms. As noted in a recent post, it’s not at all clear how the Republican leadership can cast out the kooks. Greene wasn’t chosen by “the Republican Party” but rather by those who showed up to vote in a multi-candidate primary race in an extremely safe Republican district.

But, certainly, the leadership can marginalize her by refusing to give her influential committee assignments. Theoretically, they could expel her altogether, although I’m not sure there’s precedent for doing so on the basis of outrageous statements made before being elected to office.

But the other camp, largely consisting of newer Republicans who came to power with Trump, see establishment figures as attempting to pull the party back to its Reagan-Bush days.

“If I was a Republican at risk of losing a primary, I do not know that Mitch McConnell’s endorsement would be the first I would seek,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), first elected alongside Trump in 2016, told reporters Monday evening. He flew to Wyoming last week to campaign against Cheney.

“I listed Mitch McConnell right along the establishment figures like Joe Biden and Liz Cheney and Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney who want to return our government to its default setting of screwing the American people to their benefit,” Gaetz said of his trip to Wyoming.

There are at least two “Republican Parties” in Congress right now. And it may well be that the “kooks” outnumber the “normal” ones at this point.

Next week, the Senate is set to try Trump on the impeachment charge that he incited the Jan. 6 riot by inviting his supporters to rally in D.C. as Congress tallied the electoral votes after spreading the false claim that he did not lose the November election.

But because most Republican senators have signaled that they plan to sidestep the question of Trump’s culpability and acquit him on constitutional grounds, the fates of Cheney and Greene have become the most important proxy battles for the party’s future.

Ultimately, the unprecedented step of convicting a President for his malfeasance while in office, would be a much stronger signal than marginalizing a backbencher. But it’s clear there aren’t seventeen votes for that.

Cheney’s fate as a GOP leader will be debated in Wednesday evening’s private meeting of Republican lawmakers. While some Trump loyalists have made clear they intend to turn the meeting into a session to air long-simmering grievances, it will be largely up to McCarthy how the challenge will be resolved. Many Republicans say he is likely to bottle up any motion to dismiss Cheney in a committee of party leaders rather than put her service up for a vote.

This, too, is rather spineless. He should force Members to go on the record.

But avoiding accountability for Greene could be much more difficult. House Democrats have announced plans to move forward with a resolution removing Greene from her two committees unless Republicans act first.

In recent history, a House majority has never removed a minority member from a committee without the minority’s consent. But Democrats say they are on firm political ground given the nature of Greene’s comments — and many Republicans acknowledge that the rarity of the move won’t shield them from electoral repercussions.

“That puts every single member of our conference in a very difficult position — having to take an up-or-down vote” on Greene, said one House Republican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about internal discussions. “The worst-case scenario is to take this to the floor.”

I don’t love the precedent of the majority party expelling a member of the minority party from Congress on the basis that they think she’s a kook. Ultimately, the people of a district deserve to be represented by their chosen candidate. But, if it’s ever going to happen, a conspiracy theorist who has advocated violence against other Members of Congress seems like a reasonable starting point.

UPDATE: Just after publishing this, I see that the WSJ Editorial Board (“House Republican Reckoning“) agrees, if only on purely pragmatic grounds, on Cheney:

If bowing before all things Trump is the litmus test for being a loyal Republican, the party should get used to continued losses in the suburbs. Mr. McCarthy should be defending his colleague’s vote as a matter of principle, even if he disagreed with it, rather than living in fear of the wrath of Mar-a-Lago.

They’re more equivocal on Greene:

Ms. Greene somehow won a crowded primary, then a runoff, in her heavily GOP district. But it’s not clear how tuned-in many Georgians were to her wilder views. John Cowan, the Republican she beat, recently said voters wanted a flamethrower. Now, he added, “A lot of people call me and say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know she was really going to be this way!'” Mr. Cowan could have used more help from the rest of the party.

But Ms. Greene won, and she deserves to be judged on how she handles herself in office. Democrats also have their share of cranks in the ranks. “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar once wrote. After being elected, she explained her view of why Congress backs Israel: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

California Rep. Maxine Waters urged people to harass Trump Administration officials at restaurants or gas stations, and she now runs the Financial Services Committee. The point is that ousting a Member of Congress has usually been left to the voters, with the exception of criminal behavior.

The House GOP could deny Ms. Greene committee assignments, as it did with former Iowa Rep. Steve King in 2019. But Mr. King had spent years in Congress making noxious racially tinged statements. Iowa voters defeated him in a primary. Ms. Greene has been in the House for only a month. Mr. McCarthy’s best option for now might be to warn her about future comments and behavior, and if she crosses a line he can then strip her of committee slots. Voters in her district will get another chance in 2022, and Georgia Republicans could also reconfigure her district based on the 2020 Census.

Congress has had many oddballs over the decades, but in our social-media age the opposition will try to turn the words of even a single Member against the whole party. That’s the GOP’s Marjorie Taylor Greene problem. Congress today also has many Members like Mr. Gaetz, who view the House as a platform for their personal political brand rather than a place to legislate.

The main goal of the House minority is to become the majority, and in 2022 Republicans should have an excellent chance. But they’ll squander it if they purge serious Members like Liz Cheney and let themselves be defined by conspiracy theorists and Parkland truthers.

I’ve always thought Waters a lunatic but she’s at least motivated by legitimate rage over generations of wrongs perpetrated against her community; Greene is a privileged narcissist. Regardless, though, the GOP and its infotainment complex has spent decades portraying her and other fringe candidates from unrepresentative districts as the face of the Democratic Party. Of course Democrats will do that with Greene.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Congress, 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. wr says:

    Republican what now?

    2
  2. de stijl says:

    You think Maxine Waters is a lunatic?!

    JFC

    32
  3. KM says:

    Mitch and McCarthy need to watch their backs. This incoming generation is gunning for power and clearly doesn’t care who they step on to get it. Attention whores and self-promoters like their Master, they’re out to build a brand and take a shot at the MAGA throne. Hawley clearly thinks he’s going to be POTUS in a decade or two, while Boebert and MTG seems to want to rule as the new High Priestesses. Ordinarily I’d say the GOP would get them in line ASAP as that’s their norm but now? Being the minority means the newbies can showboat and make a scene all they want. How can you enforce conformity on someone who’s brand is screaming about space lasers and picking on school shooting survivors?

    Mitch may well regret his victory* and new term. It might have been better for him to go out at the height of power rather than let Trump surrogates chip it away and ensure Dem control for the next few years…..

    3
  4. James Joyner says:

    @de stijl: My first impression of her was her outrageous justification of the LA riots.

    8
  5. CSK says:

    @KM:
    If Trump does run in 2024, I can see Marjorie Taylor Greene as his VP candidate.

    6
  6. de stijl says:

    @James Joyner:

    You consciously chose the word “lunatic”.

    22
  7. SKI says:

    Maxine Waters on the LA Riots:

    “If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable.”

    @James Joyner: You consider the above comments to be an “outrageous justification”?!?!?

    Really? WTF

    30
  8. Pete S says:

    I don’t think the Republican leadership is facing a test at all. Well maybe they are but they don’t care. Those in the chamber that have no responsibility for her are criticising freely to keep the media and donor class on board. House Republicans either completely support Greene or at best are determining who brings more votes to the party, Greene or Cheney.

    No inclination to take the test at all, just basic accounting with no thoughts of right and wrong. And not remotely surprising for the GOP of the last half century.

    6
  9. Pylon says:

    Over 138 out of 211 Rs in the House voted to accept challenge to the PA election results. Over 120 Rs rejected the Arizona result. It’s Trump’s party.

    10
  10. gVOR08 says:

    From the linked WAPO story,

    the former president’s hard-edge populism

    There is “populism” as practiced by the Prairie Populists and William Jennings Bryan, a politics that seeks to benefit the common people. Then there is faux populism which seeks to exploit the common people for the political benefit of an elite. This commonly incorporates racism as a way to split the populi. Admittedly the distinction is blurred by populism as practiced so often being faux populism. But still I wish WAPO and others could bring themselves to use a qualifier when referring to Republican “populism”: false, faux, right-wing, fake, pretend, race-based. Something to distinguish benefitting the base from exploiting the base. “hard-edge” doesn’t really do it, does it?

    9
  11. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Maxine Waters is not a lunatic. James – the 1980’s are gone, middle-aged white fogies don’t get to label everyone with arrogant assurance anymore and have it stick. Try to put yourself in the shoes of other Americans occasionally.

    McConnell’s problem is what someone above hinted at: he can’t negotiate with people who don’t share his values or goals. What incentive does Greene have to co-operate with anyone in the GOP House or Senate clubs? They didn’t approve her nomination but she got it anyway; good luck getting it away from her again. If she’s making things bad for regular GOP in their districts, that’s the feature, not the bug.

    McConnell has waited too late to confront the crazies because they’ve got him figured out.

    24
  12. Teve says:

    AOC thinks Americans should have healthcare. MJG thinks Democrats should be murdered. Both sides!

    34
  13. gVOR08 says:

    There is a growing literature on the “war”, really a minor rear guard skirmish, within the GOP party. Best I’ve seen is Paul Campos at LGM, extensively quoting Julia Azar of 538. They view this not as a fight between Trumpistas and establishment GOPs, but between the full on nutter Trumpistas and the “respectable” Trumpistas who want to get on Meet the Press and not be described as white supremacists. (Because the MSM feel a compulsion to pretend there are respectable GOPs, not because they’re respectable.) Campos sees the anti-Trump GOPs, Romney, Liz Cheney, Sasse, as not recognizing they’re already marginalized.

    Azari has a good concise definition of Trumpism,

    politics based on grievance, especially when linked to white identity

    As to how they manage Trmpism without Trump,

    I tend to agree with Azari that there’s no compelling reason why Trump himself necessarily has to play a major factor in this going forward. People who cite his “charisma,” and the purported lack of it among his epigones, are in my view just using a magic word to explain what seems like an otherwise inexplicable attraction to a completely repulsive human being.
    Whatever successor manages to seize the mantle of Trumpism in 2024 will suddenly seem plenty charismatic to the people who voted for Trump, and more important, to the propaganda apparatus that decided that Trump was a uniquely charismatic figure among our many aspiring leaders of authoritarian ethno-nationalism.
    The basic problem is that what Trump voters found “charismatic” about Trump was not so much Trump as Trumpism: He was the only candidate willing to sell the pure product that the rest of the GOP pretenders were cutting with a whole lot of respectability politics filler. But that’s all over now.

    8
  14. de stijl says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    I am beyond flabbergasted.

    Lunatic?

    That was apex white privilege shit.

    15
  15. Scott F. says:

    John Cowan, the Republican [Greene] beat, recently said voters wanted a flamethrower.

    Greene: “The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully.”
    Gaetz: “I listed Mitch McConnell [among figures] who want to return our government to its default setting of screwing the American people to their benefit.”

    Romney’s splitting the GOP tent into “kooks” and “conservatives” provides a safe place for establishment Republicans to position themselves while they avoid what is really going on in their party. It’s better to dismiss the kooks than to try to figure out where they’re coming from.

    As Georgia’s Cowan notes, the Republican base is pissed off. It is an inchoate rage, so where the anger is directed is malleable. The Republican’s go-to target for the base’s rage is the Other (liberals, POC, ‘elites,’ etc.) and that has worked for a long time. But, what if the base is starting to figure out that being pissed at brown people and eggheads hasn’t gotten them anything they need? They need/want good healthcare, financial security, and a route to the American dream and (Lo and Behold) the Republicans don’t have a plan to give them any of that.

    So, they start to figure out that it’s not the Other that’s keeping them down – uh, oh, now they’re starting to direct their rage at other Republicans. Better to call them ‘kooks’ says the GOP establishment.

    To be clear, this GOP rage is incoherent (lashing out at even the wildest theoretical enemies and clearly without the legitimacy that animates the rage of someone like Maxine Waters), but it is real. There are two Americas with a widening financial divide and the playing field is not remotely level. There are a lot of the population is stuck with no discernible path to a better life. The Angry don’t know why this is or who is to blame. Of course, they don’t see any of their personal accountability. But, their America should be Great and it ain’t.

    Trump and Gaetz and Greene are telling them they are right to be angry. And they are blowing smoke like ‘kooks’ so the rubes don’t figure out who they should really be angry with.

    14
  16. Gustopher says:

    I would be moderately amused if somehow the result of this was that McConnell lost the Senate Minority Leadership for taking a mild stand against crazy women spewing different lies than the rest of the party.

    They want to strip Cheney of her position for voting to impeach. So, this wouldn’t be too ridiculous of an outcome.

    5
  17. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    AOC thinks Americans should have healthcare. MJG thinks Democrats should be murdered. Both sides!

    I think there is a reasonable compromise to be made — lethal injection for Democrats, in a hospital setting.

    6
  18. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: She defended the murderous rioters over and over again. She defended those looting Korean-owned grocery stores.

    5
  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Maxine Waters thing exemplifies why I am asking @Steven and @Joyner (to Steven’s irritation) to take an honest look at their own complicity in creating the disaster that their former party has wrought. If in 2021 you think Maxine Waters is a lunatic, you haven’t done as good a job of cleaning out the attic as you might think.

    For the record, I respect and like both men. I admire their learning and their accomplishments. I appreciate their tolerance of me. But they voted for a party they both knew full well relied on racist votes, relied on bigots, to gain power. They helped build the monster.

    I also helped build the monster by voting for Nixon in 1972, by wasting a vote for John Anderson, and then by being such a sociopath I made it impossible for myself to vote for 20 years. Mea culpa.

    I’m very glad James and Steven were allies in fighting Trump. Now I want to know why they ignored decades of warnings from liberals that their party was authoritarian, racist, bigoted and misogynist. Why did it take Trump for them to separate themselves from the party of the southern strategy, abortion-is-murder, welfare queens in Cadillacs, and the rest. Why did it take them so long to see what every liberal saw a long, long time ago?

    20
  20. SKI says:

    @James Joyner: Can you actually point me to quotes?

    I haven’t found any language to that effect. Closest is this – and it doesn’t say what you indicate she said.

    The descent into anarchy seemed to puzzle Rep. Maxine Waters, a Jackson ally whose congressional district was ravaged. Her first response to the riot was to join Jackson in lobbying the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against the four policemen. Not only is this unlikely to succeed, but Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner says in the long run it would not truly restore civility and understanding here. Jackson and Waters, blaming the riots on Gates and Bush, flew here as the police finally started arresting looters. Waters promptly took exception to Mayor Bradley’s verdict that the rioters were “criminals” and “gangsters.” Waters insisted on calling their handiwork “an insurrection.”

    Frankly, your characterization comes across as a conservative talking point – which you were immersed in at the time.

    11
  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    …a significant minority are eager to move the party away from Trump and toward a more policy-driven foundation.

    Well and good. Let’s see the policy…

    “The risk is that they’ll drive reasonable people who would likely be supportive of right-of-center policies away because they don’t want to be a part of a party that has those elements in it,” he said. “What will happen is that the substance that you really care about — a certain kind of tax policy, a certain kind of budgetary policy, an approach on issues concerning cancel culture and identity politics — will lose.”

    Got it! Tax cuts for the rich, vaporware deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility, and the right to say the racist and bigoted stuff out loud. This is the “policy” the “significant minority” is pining for.

    “Second verse, same as the first.”

    6
  22. charon says:

    @gVOR08:

    Campos sees the anti-Trump GOPs, Romney, Liz Cheney, Sasse, as not recognizing they’re already marginalized.

    The MTG/McCrthy/DJT is on its own path to marginalized. Perhaps they just see no point to staying aboard the crazy train to cray-cray town.

    2
  23. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: Women definitely get the crazy label long before men do. I’d have trouble distinguishing the words of Michele Bachman from a lot of the men who didn’t get as much attention, but only Bachmann was considered a loon. (And Palin)

    But to be a woman and black! And angry! And be speaking from a different perspective! Oh, shivers, it’s like she’s from an entirely different reality than the starched-white-conservative world our friend Dr. Joyner has constructed around himself. As different as Greene’s Q-inflected world.

    I don’t just want to pile onto Dr. Joyner, but also point out that we dismiss those we don’t understand far too quickly.

    Bachmann and Palin spoke of a feeling of disrespect in the rural communities, but in a language that was completely foreign to anyone else (and sometimes to grammar…), and they were both completely dismissed on the left and held up to ridicule.

    The Democrats haven’t had a plan for revitalizing small communities, and still don’t, and it hurts us. Beyond the policy itself, there’s the level of respect that even having any real plan confers — recognition, and treating them as important rather than the bizarre fauna of the area we drive through as quickly as possible.

    And it hurts America because only one party wants to govern, and the anger and frustration in rural areas is metastasizing into something far more dangerous as it mixes with the racism and country bumpkinism.

    Angry blacks burn down a CVS. Angry whites elect QAnon freaks. We disregard and ignore the anger at our own peril.

    I’m not comparing Maxine Waters to Marjorie Taylor Greene — there’s a world of difference between the two, as Greene no longer believes in reality. But, I am willing to compare Maxine Waters to an earnest, less-grifty and smarter version of Palin who can actually string two sentences together without descending into word-salad*.

    *: I rewrote that sentence to avoid calling the black woman “articulate”, because it’s a word that comes loaded with racism. But, Palin really was inarticulate.

    7
  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @SKI: Well, she didn’t say “call out SWAT and mow ’em down in the streets.” That makes it just like she was standing side-by-side with them on the ramparts shouting “burn the sucka to the ground.”

    4
  25. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Palin’s inarticulacy was a major selling point to her fans. They continually praised her for talking “like a real American.”

    I sometimes wonder if Trump saw how well the ploy worked for her and adopted it himself.

    4
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: “[a fight] between the full on nutter Trumpistas and the “respectable” Trumpistas who want to get on Meet the Press and not be described as white supremacists.”

    Boom! I would have added “even though they have no particular quarrel with White Supremacy,” but everyone already knows that I’m unreasonable. It was probably better that you leave that part out.

    3
  27. de stijl says:

    Um, all of them, Katie.

    We dodged a bullet.

    But caught a howitzer from Trump.

    History does not repeat, but it rhymes.

    2
  28. charon says:

    @gVOR08:

    Best I’ve seen is Paul Campos at LGM, extensively quoting Julia Azar of 538.

    As Trump gets nuttier, stupider, and less powerful, there will be the group that wants Trumpism but with Trump excised from being its avatar. But, Trump has a powerful personality cult of dead enders who will never abandon him. So, there may be a split severe enough to make for a non-viable situation – with Cheney et al around to pick up the fragments.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “If in 2021 you think Maxine Waters is a lunatic, you haven’t done as good a job of cleaning out the attic as you might think.”

    What makes you think he cleaned the attic, as opposed to being angry about Trump revealing that it was full of crap?

    9
  30. Jen says:

    And it may well be that the “kooks” outnumber the “normal” ones at this point.

    Indeed. That’s what happens when a party doesn’t pay attention to the ground the headcases have been taking. This has been a steady creep for two decades. You can draw a direct line from the poisonous, hypocritical language coming from Newt Gingrich to the Matt Gaetz’s of today.

    5
  31. SKI says:
  32. SKI says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    What makes you think he cleaned the attic, as opposed to being angry about Trump revealing that it was full of crap?

    To be fair to James, IIRC, he moved away from the GOP pre-Trump.

    4
  33. de stijl says:

    It has to sting.

    I appreciate Joyner’s transition. That takes guts cuz ya know old allies and “friends” will call you out and shun you. I respect his act in that manner a lot.

    I do not respect his characterization of Waters.

    1
  34. EddieInCA says:

    @James Joyner:

    James Joyner says:
    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 12:39

    @SKI: She defended the murderous rioters over and over again. She defended those looting Korean-owned grocery stores.

    There was much more nuance to her position than you give her credit for.

    Waters described the riots as a rebellion, saying “If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable.” In her view, the violence was “a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice.”

    (Emphasis mine)

    And…

    America has seen iterations of this play out in Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri, and Charlotte, North Carolina, in recent years, with a similar narrative. Though Los Angeles of 1992 saw much more blood and destruction ― more than 50 killed, 2,000 injured, 9,500 arrests and $1 billion in property damages ― the reality of black Americans being denied justice when brutalized by the state strings these events together. But Waters said the L.A. uprisings were a milestone in the history of black people demanding justice.

    “These were people who had been basically forgotten,” Waters told HuffPost in March. “And because of Rodney King’s beating and the current emotion that was stirring in that, it was like people were saying, ‘We’re here. You can’t do this to us. Look what you’re doing, look how you’ve been. Not only have you been with this consistent police abuse but the same people don’t have access to opportunities and jobs and health care and on and on.’ So it was a defining moment in this country and I think a defining moment in the way that black people resisted.”
    “When the insurrection broke out, I rushed to L.A. and went straight into public housing developments,” Waters recalled. “The streetlights were out, the stores were closed down. [I was] working to try and get food to children and milk to kids and diapers.”

    Waters, who represented California’s 29th District at the time, held a press conference the day after the acquittal. At that point, the death toll was at nine and dozens of people were injured. Waters gave context to why residents had a right to be mad and criticized investigators for not handling the case with urgency and failing to persecute the officers involved.

    “There are those who would like for me and others and all of us to tell people to go inside, to be peaceful, that they have to accept the verdict,” she said, standing alongside representatives from the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP. “I accept the responsibility of asking people not to endanger their lives. I am not asking people not to be angry.”

    She continued: “I am angry and I have a right to that anger and the people out there have a right to that anger. There are some angry people in America and young black males in my district are feeling, at this moment, if they could not get a conviction with the Rodney King video available to the jurors, that there can be no justice in America.”

    Nuance.

    15
  35. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m pinin’ for the fjords.

    3
  36. dazedandconfused says:

    In an internal conflict of the GOP it seems to me Newcorp has the power to make the choice. They almost can’t help but be the deciding factor. As they go so goes the battle, most likely. Honestly don’t know which way they will go. Greene has learned the Michele Bachmann lesson: The craziest person gets the press, and there is no such thing as bad press in showbusiness. Michele was the biggest GOP fundraiser for quite some time. This is the same lesson FOX has learned, and bigly: Crazy Pay$. They make their coin whether or not the GOP is a minority or a majority. However much they are aware there are limits it’s not an easy call.

    It’s hard to imagine a GOP leadership that is at odds with FOX News.

    2
  37. @Michael Reynolds:

    The Maxine Waters thing exemplifies why I am asking @Steven and @Joyner (to Steven’s irritation) to take an honest look at their own complicity in creating the disaster that their former party has wrought. If in 2021 you think Maxine Waters is a lunatic, you haven’t done as good a job of cleaning out the attic as you might think.

    Sigh.

    If it makes you feel any better, I came to the realization a while ago (and without prodding from the Inquisitor General) that my views on Maxine Waters over the years have been almost entirely shaped by right-wing media. As a result, I currently have no actual opinion about Representative Waters.

    Do I get absolution for my sins, or what?

    22
  38. @Steven L. Taylor: Put another way: I would appreciate it if you want to drag me on stuff, drag me on what you know, not what you think you know.

    I have been blogging for 18 years now. I honestly don’t think I have ever mentioned Maxine Waters (I certainly have no recollection of so doing).

    10
  39. EddieInCA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Do I get absolution for my sins, or what?

    As my former priest** would say “Say two Hail Mary’s and two Our Fathers and I’ll you on Sunday”.

    **When I was 8 years old, I was still a Catholic. I left the church at age nine.

    3
  40. EddieInCA says:

    SEE you on Sunday. Ugh.

    3
  41. MarkedMan says:

    I questioned putting this post’s headline in the future tense:

    Republican Leadership Face Tests with Cheney and Greene

    But certainly by now we can all agree that it should read “Republican Leadership Fails Tests….”? After all, McCarthy just came away from his meeting with Greene and tried to negotiate on her behalf with Democrats, offering to have her move from the Education Committee to another committee, and keeping her seat on the Budget Committee.

    The modern Republican Party. Profiles in Decency and Courage.

    4
  42. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I got the Lutheran thing where you had to be your own confessor. It didn’t take.

    Poorly educated in that, I would add. Mom always was looking for a dodge-out.

    I got asked to not come back after raising a pantheistic argument that Christ was similar to other deities and perhaps there was a larger God than Christianity imagined. It did not go well. I stood my ground.

    Not a bad argument for a pre-teen kid. Standing my ground was the unforgivable sin. I did not obey. That is disruptive.

    3
  43. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Regardless of anything else, let me give you credit for a wonderfully sarcastic subtitle James. Made me laugh at least. 🙂

    4
  44. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    Sitting in a pew at St. Ignatius when I was nine, I turned to my mother and said “Mom, if God is everywhere as you the Nuns say, why do we have to come here every Sunday?” My poor mother didn’t have an answer for me, literally.

    I never went back to church except to accompany her for specific weddings and funerals. I became an athiest at 14. Too many science books. That was not a popular position to have in a very large Catholic family, neighborhood, and school. Never have gone back.

    The irony is that I LOVE historic old churches. I’ve been to ancient churches, mosques, temples in Italy, Slovenia, France, Thailand, Africa, Morrocco, Sweden, and too many other countries to list. While I do not follow any religion, I do value the historical importance of said churches and religions.

    3
  45. Owen says:

    @James Joyner: I was a teen in New Jersey when the Tawana Brawley incident blew up, and I remember Al Sharpton leading the charge in indignation. I thought at the time he was a fool, and this was confirmed when the case fell apart. But since then I have become more familiar with blatantly evident disparities in how people are treated in this country based on race, which I was not exposed to in High School in a very white town, as a result my perception of Al has evolved.

    Yes, it is easy to look at the situation around the Rodney King verdict and make assumptions about commenters sanity, but by virtue of the fact that for the last four Congresses Maxine Waters has been the ranking member or chair of the Committee on Financial Services (and has always appeared to handle her self adeptly in this and other committee assignments) indicates that it might be limiting to dismiss her as a lunatic.

    6
  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would appreciate it if you want to drag me on stuff, drag me on what you know, not what you think you know.

    I have been blogging for 18 years now. I honestly don’t think I have ever mentioned Maxine Waters (I certainly have no recollection of so doing).

    I’m not dragging you on anything, Steven, and as you know, my remark here is a continuation of a previous ‘Grand Inquisatorial’ attack on another thread, this is not about Maxine Waters. It’s about how you failed to see what you and your fellow Republicans were doing. That’s it: I’m asking whether you acknowledge that you knowingly supported a bigoted, racist party.

    It’s your blog, if it offends you that I ask you to reconcile your past and your present, I’ll stop. But I don’t think the question is at all improper. I don’t think I’ve been rude or disrespectful. It’s a perfectly legitimate question. If I were one of your students in one of your classes I’d ask the same. If I were hiring you, I’d ask the same. If you were running for office, I’d ask the same. And I am baffled and surprised that you won’t address the question without sidestepping or snark.

    10
  47. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Put another way: I would appreciate it if you want to drag me on stuff, drag me on what you know, not what you think you know.

    Based on personal experience, Michael has never been able to do that. He’s absolutely certain, for example, that I like Trump and was nicer to Trump than I was to Obama. Of course, when given ample opportunity to back up such claims, he can never produce any proof.

    3
  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    The Democrats haven’t had a plan for revitalizing small communities, and still don’t, and it hurts us. Beyond the policy itself, there’s the level of respect that even having any real plan confers — recognition, and treating them as important rather than the bizarre fauna of the area we drive through as quickly as possible.

    I’d point out that Dems aren’t the only party lacking a plan to revitalize small communities. The Rs have been peddling gays, god and guns to small town America for decades as a distraction from the real problems.

    In many ways “small communities” is a skewed framing. Many, if not most small communities that are within a few hours drive of major metro areas are doing quite well thank you. The small town problem is geographical rather than a matter of size and there is aren’t many good solutions. Of course the Poppers had one.

    3
  49. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The words Republican and Leadership used together…that always cracks me up.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl: @EddieInCA:

    I got there via a sort of 16 year-old’s definitely non-STEM version of physics. If God is unchangeable – as per my Lutheran instruction – how does one account for relativity? God’s power cannot be fixed unless every other power in the universe is also fixed. If homo sapiens moves from .001 on the great cosmic power scale to .002, does that not inevitably mean that God’s power is reduced relative to humanity?

    If God is outside of relativity, then by definition we have no relationship. If OTOH God is within relativity, within the actual universe, his power cannot be ultimate but only very great. In which case, hell, he’s just a fuckin’ alien.

    Of course I was 16 and stuck in a Greyhound station in Youngstown, Ohio being eyeballed by pervs. Later I simplified by simply noting that there is simply zero evidence of God and I can hardly go around believing things without evidence.

    2
  51. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    What makes you think he cleaned the attic, as opposed to being angry about Trump revealing that it was full of crap?

    I’d say nearly everything he has written about race or minorities in the past few years, where he has stopped to think about it beforehand has been worlds better than what came before.

    His old, unexamined views from decades ago… they pop up in moments like these where he hasn’t considered them. The man’s a work in progress, as we all are (unless we just give up and stop progressing)

    5
  52. @Michael Reynolds: My annoyance at this is multiple. And it is less that I object to being asked about past views as it is the way you are doing it, which is problematic to me in a number of ways, including (but not limited to):

    1. It is grossly simplistic.
    2. How I voted in 2004 really doesn’t change whether my analysis is right or wrong in 2021 (or, really, whether what I wrote in 2004 is right or wrong).
    3. You ask not as someone who really wants to know, but as someone laying out a rhetorical trap.

    For example,

    I’m asking whether you acknowledge that you knowingly supported a bigoted, racist party.

    I think that is an illegitimate way to ask that question, and therefore will not answer it as formulated.

    9
  53. Kurtz says:

    @gVOR08:

    Azari is my favorite of the 538 folks.

    The basic problem is that what Trump voters found “charismatic” about Trump was not so much Trump as Trumpism: He was the only candidate willing to sell the pure product that the rest of the GOP pretenders were cutting with a whole lot of respectability politics filler. But that’s all over now.

    This is the specific reason I roll my eyes at the insistence at referring to Trumpism as a cult of personality. He was just willing to make the bet that media developments and sharpened political tactics since the 80s made Atwater’s abstractions (once again) unnecessary.

    The cult of personality angle gives him way too much credit. The man doesn’t have ideas or shame, only gall and gumption. 30+ years of Limbaugh and his television cohorts paved his way. It’s not a cult, just radicalized wing nuts. They internalized the abstractions to the point that the explicit views could return with support.

    8
  54. gVOR08 says:

    @EddieInCA: You quote Maxine Waters saying,

    I am not asking people not to be angry.

    But you’re only allowed to be angry if you’re Economically Anxious(TM).

    9
  55. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher:

    The Democrats haven’t had a plan for revitalizing small communities, and still don’t, and it hurts us. Beyond the policy itself, there’s the level of respect that even having any real plan confers — recognition, and treating them as important rather than the bizarre fauna of the area we drive through as quickly as possible.

    No.

    Sorry.

    What exactly do you mean by “a small community”? Because I’ve been working around this country for the last 10 years, and any “small community” I go to, whether it’s rural Georgia, rural Texas, rural Florida, it comes down to “Gays, Gods, and Guns”. While that’s an oversimplification, it’s the overwhelming defining and driving factor in determining their votes. Education is frowned upon.

    I’ve been to MTG’s district. I know more than a few people in Dalton and Chatsworth, GA. Each one of them is a racist, but they’d deny it to their dying breath. Each one of them is a homophobe, under the guise that it’s “un-Christian”, but they “don’t have a prejudiced bone in their body”. In Calhoun, GA, I’ve been told to “Speak English. This is America.” while speaking Spanish to my mother on the phone.

    No. F that. “Small communities” are refusing to join the 21st Century. That’s on them.

    14
  56. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz: I fully expect Trump to follow Palin’s trajectory. For awhile FOX will stenograph everything he says and he’ll be able to run a bigger grift and longer, but ETTD. I expect in two years it’ll be Donald Who? The competition for the Trumpist lane in 2024 is fierce and already started.

    2
  57. @Michael Reynolds:

    It’s your blog, if it offends you that I ask you to reconcile your past and your present, I’ll stop. But I don’t think the question is at all improper. I don’t think I’ve been rude or disrespectful.

    TBH, yes, it comes across as rude. And here’s why. You aren’t asking me: why did you vote Republican? or did you not realize, X, Y, or Z? about being Republican. Or, even, why did you stop voting Republican?

    Your questions are phrased like indictments and they come across as judgments not attempts at communication.

    Worse (in some ways) you pull them out as though they are directly relevant to some analytical point being made that has nothing to do with how I may have voted over a decade ago. It is kind of maddening.

    Good Lord, I am a white male born in Texas into a middle-class (very pro-business) family, raised a Southern Baptist, and moved to Orange County, CA in the mid-80s. Is it that big of a shock that I once voted Republican? My formative political memories are gas lines, stagflation, and the Iranian Revolution/the hostage crisis. No reason any of that might of led to being sympathetic to a GOP affiliation.

    Was I naive about race? Absolutely. Translating that into “knowingly supported a bigoted, racist party” is a stretch.

    It is possible for a person to have thought that of the two choices on the menu, that one thought, rightly or wrongly, that choice R was better on taxes, the Cold War, and some other set of policies.

    26
  58. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I also helped build the monster by voting for Nixon in 1972, by wasting a vote for John Anderson, and then by being such a sociopath I made it impossible for myself to vote for 20 years. Mea culpa.

    I’m very glad James and Steven were allies in fighting Trump. Now I want to know why they ignored decades of warnings from liberals that their party was authoritarian, racist, bigoted and misogynist.

    What about what you do right now? Using your platform to call all Republicans idiots and bigots, to disparage people of religious conviction, and to suggest that everyone outside the cities is worthless?

    There are a lot of people in this country who feel dismissed, ignored and hated. And you dismiss them, ignore their concerns, and hate them. You are literally part of the problem.

    You say they’re voting against their interest because they’re stupid, ignorant mouth-breathers who believe in the fantasy of a sky god and so will believe in anything. You say that here, and you say that on Twitter where you have a larger influence. (Not a massive influence, but larger.)

    Black folks burning down things in their own neighborhoods isn’t really in their interests either. You give them a bit of a pass because you have an inkling of understanding of the anger they feel at generations of systemic racism. You’re opposed to setting neighborhood stores on fire, but you understand.

    Small cities and rural areas have been basically collapsing in this country, and the people who live there — the white, Christian people — are ostensibly the most privileged people, but ultimately have no power against the forces destroying their lives. They look for someone to blame, and… they see other white, Christian folks and so keep looking until they decide it’s the minorities, the coastal elites in big cities, or until they make something up about Jewish space lasers.

    Part of the reason they hate you is that they’ve had their fears exploited by demagogues. But another part of why they hate you is that you clearly hate them.

    8
  59. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: [Preface: this is not meant to pick a fight. I’m just musing out loud]

    Too many science books

    I’ve never understood the “Science vs. Religion” thing. Science is about accurately observing the world. If I have a religious belief predicated on, say, all animals having heterosexual relations only, then yes, pointing out the two male penguins constantly doing it “goes against my religion”. But it’s not because it’s “Science” but because it is “Reality”.

    I’m more of an agnostic Jesuit myself. Observe the world and let it inform you about God’s will, rather than the other way around. Or, as I have observed on more than one occasion, the thing that makes so many fanatically religious people ridiculous is that they are constantly trying to tell God how to behave.

    8
  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    1. It is grossly simplistic.
    OK, it’s simplistic. And?

    2. How I voted in 2004 really doesn’t change whether my analysis is right or wrong in 2021 (or, really, whether what I wrote in 2004 is right or wrong).

    Yes, it does directly: I’m asking if your analysis in the past was wrong. And if wrong, why? And if wrong, how has your analytical process changed? Is that not a legitimate question to ask of an analyst? If my financial planner refused to answer questions about past performance, would you not advise me to find another?

    3. You ask not as someone who really wants to know, but as someone laying out a rhetorical trap.

    Not true. Asking on-point questions about the topic at hand is not a hostile act. I am genuinely baffled by your anger. I have no problem discussing past conclusions of my own, in fact I deliberately point to past errors so that people reading my words know to consider those facts. I want the reader to know my limits because I want the reader to have the truth. I could come here under a different name and claim credentials and expertise and push my opinions, but I choose to be honest and to own my fuck-ups. I think most commenters here do the same.

    I don’t understand what’s so hard about saying, ‘This is my analysis, this is how I got there, and this is what I learned from my past errors.’ Or, you could say, ‘You know, in the past I put too little emphasis on race, and that led me to conclusions I now question.’ Or how about, ‘I was part of the problem. I didn’t intend to be, but I was. And now with that in the rearview mirror, I think I see more clearly.’

    You’re not infallible, and no one here thinks you are. No one will be shocked if you admit you’ve made mistakes. We all do that, even professors. And the discussion of past error would be informative, no? Do you not in your job regularly look back at poli sci treatises written by your peers and look for the reasons for mistakes they’ve made? Don’t you look at the Founders and point to mistakes they made? And doesn’t knowing the how and why of their mistakes educate you?

    4
  61. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    I don’t think Trump necessarily has to have any cogent ideas or ideology. His followers certainly exhibit a lot of the traits common to cultists:
    1. Their commitment to him is total and unquestioning.
    2. They won’t tolerate even mild criticism of him.
    3. They believe that only he can save them and the country.
    4. They punish, or try to punish, anyone who has doubts about him.

    5
  62. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kurtz:

    Being a charismatic cult unto himself and being liked for his general ‘tudes aren’t mutually exclusive. Brains and ideas are not what defined a great many charismatic cult leaders, gall and shamelessness are more common to the beasts. How so many people manage to find it unimaginable that a prancing preening egotistical jackass could be a cult leader I don’t know, as most of them are. However it is true dismissing it all as mindless cultishness is shallow. He’s playing a tune that people liked before they ever heard of him.

    2
  63. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    There are a lot of people in this country who feel dismissed, ignored and hated. And you dismiss them, ignore their concerns, and hate them. You are literally part of the problem.

    One thing I’ve tried to point out to Michael many times over the years is that this is not a very effective way to get people to change their views. I’m not sure what the purpose is. It’s like pretending that the Westboro Baptist Church is going to convert atheists.

    Also, his ability to piss off and alienate people who agree with him on policy 80% of the time really says it all.

    4
  64. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Yeah, you’re right, I’m the reason for the attack on 1/6.

    These people and places you think I ignorantly denigrate have been much more present in my life than in yours, I suspect. Niceville, Florida. Urbandale, Iowa. Newport News, Virginia. Johnson City, Tennessee. Ocean City, Maryland. Crockett, California. And why not include Fouras, France. Where do you think I’m from, Park Slope? You know what my bedroom was like, growing up? It was a hell of a lot like a couch in the living room. I was fifteen before I had my own room. Ten years a waiter, two years cleaning toilets, living on the streets looking for dimes in laundromat washing machines so I could buy a day old donut. There are maybe three people here who have any claim to being part of the underclass and I don’t think you’re one of them.

    I’m not criticizing ‘those people’ from my ivory tower, those people are me. I suspect I know a hell of a lot more at the really visceral level about the lives those people lead, so maybe don’t need a lecture from the college kid. But I don’t condescend to them, I assume they have agency, I treat them like grown-ups who are responsible for their actions and for their beliefs. I don’t accept the idea that because their feelings got hurt by city slickers they get to be assholes, because that would be arrogance, that would be dismissive and patronizing.

    6
  65. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’ve never understood the “Science vs. Religion” thing.

    Religion often mandated explanations about the nature of the world, which science proved to be untrue, flawed, or plain ridiculous. Like whether the Earth orbits the Sun, whether people are part of the animal kingdom, etc. There were even religious objections to the presence of Sun spots on the face of the Sun.

    Also, science proved adept at dealing with symbols of divine power, such as lightning. The humble lightning rod, a boon to humanity, was opposed by religious figures in America. Anesthesia was opposed as well, particularly if used in childbirth.

    But the way to attack religion effectively is with philosophy, not with science. Most of the world’s Christians are not American-style Fundamentalists. Catholics don’t deny evolution or modern cosmology, for instance (the deny many other things, though).

    What I wonder is how religions that believe their deity created the universe especially for humanity, square that with such a large setting full of other worlds. The day we discover extraterrestrial life, and eventually,one hopes, alien civilizations, these people will lose their marbles.

    4
  66. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Most people, exposed to similar experiences and upbringing would come to similar conclusions and perspectives. I recognize that in white men–indeed all men. But what I expect from the conservative colleagues in my social circle is that they understand the same is true about me–placed in my shoes they would have very different conclusions about life and society than they now have. That’s all I ask. I don’t even expect for them to change their conclusions because truly–only above average humans have the ability to do that. Empathy is a power up you gain along the path of life–you don’t start the game with it.

    16
  67. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No one is interested in participating in your struggle sessions. You talk a lot of shit about authoritarianism and the evils of religion, but you’ve adopted the methods and language of authoritarianism and religious zealots. All one has to do is confess misdeeds as defined by Saint Fucking Michael. You’re mirroring the behavior you claim you hate.

    12
  68. EddieInCA says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Hey. I don’t take anything about religion personally. Easy to do as a non-believer. I’ve stated on this blog, and others, how much I actually respect those people who live by biblical teachings. Catholicism is still HUGE in my extended family. My mother is still a regular churchgoer.

    But for me, it simply comes down to “Believe what you want. Just don’t try to convert me, and don’t proselytize to me.” The moment you do that, we have a problem, because I’m never going to shove my atheism in your face.

    6
  69. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Religion often mandated explanations about the nature of the world, which science proved to be untrue

    Oh, yeah, I get it. People have a hard time separating the important concepts of an all-knowing deity from the trivial imaginings made up in the moment about such a being, and when those trivial realities are shown to be false they react as if you are claiming that the important concepts must go out the door too. And in fairness, and awful lot of people in the sciences actually make the same mistake.

    I’m with the late Stephen Jay Gould: Science and Religion are non-0verlapping magesteriums. They really don’t have anything to do with each other, despite the fact that both encompass literally everything. But they are fundamentally different because that posited all powerful deity has the power to change the universe. Science can only observe.

    I think that all-powerful dieties are unlikely, but I’m not very invested in that. I recognize that like the dog whose owner tried to teach calculus, there are things my mind simply cannot grasp, but that doesn’t make them false. On the other hand, I think that all the specific religions I’ve come across are extremely unlikely and am more than happy to bet my eternal soul that they are just the meanderings of people with too much imagination and time on their hands.

    4
  70. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: There is no necessary conflict between science and religion, as witnessed by the huge number of religious scientists, many of them Jesuits. That there is a necessary conflict is largely another lie pushed by GOPs who need evolution, AGW, and other issues, as culture war wedge issues. I see some atheists who buy the lie. I find that both counterproductive and disappointing.

    4
  71. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I actually respect those people who live by biblical teachings. Catholicism is still HUGE in my extended family. My mother is still a regular churchgoer

    I hear you. I think of my mother as an everyday saint. Not the praying and preaching type (although I’m sure she does the praying part of that, to herself), but the BEING type.

    4
  72. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I agree, but it’s also true that this is a case where both sides do it. There are many, many science-y people who believe that acceptance of the scientific method means the end of religion. Gregor Mendel, amongst many others, would disagree.

    1
  73. EddieInCA says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I think of my mother as an everyday saint.

    Ditto. My mother is the closest thing I have to an idol. Raising my sister and I with little knowledge of english, working menial jobs, with zero government help, makes her my freaking hero.

    8
  74. @Jim Brown 32: I agree with these sentiments. But, in fairness, have I ever implied, let alone said, otherwise?

    4
  75. @Michael Reynolds: I don’t have time for a lengthy reply at the moment, but thanks for the elaboration as it helps me understand what you are asking.

    I will try and respond later.

    3
  76. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    My view is that if a deity’s knowledge of the world is exactly that of the people alive at the time the holy books were written, then they were most likely written by people. And if a deity’s knowledge of the world is so wrong, then what do they know about more complex matters like ethics and morality?

    This doesn’t mean the people who wrote the Bible, Quran, Popol Vuh, or any other works of mythology, have nothing useful to say about ethics or morality. It does mean they don’t have any more intrinsic authority than others not claiming divine sanction, like most philosophers that ever lived.

    To expand a bit, what whoever wrote Exodus, for instance, knows about the world is what was known about it in their time. What they knew of ethics is the same. The world knowledge was limited, but a deity, especially and all-knowing one, would not have such a limited, erroneous view.

    One can, and should, judge such matters, not take them as unerring commandments one must obey without question.

    4
  77. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I lived in an abandoned machine ship for 5 months in the ass-end of industrial park St. Paul in winter.

    We peed outside and pooped into a bucket. The girls peed in the bucket. Little known fact: you can get a toilet to “flush” by pouring several gallons of liquid / semi-liquid into it.

    If you had any cash or means you were obliged to bring back water after you went out. Beer was cool too. Calories.

    Sunshine even in January can warm a building up slightly. Plus bodies emit heat. Tents set up indoors trap body heat. You need a solid layer below you. The comfort is nice, but mostly to prevent the surface from sucking up your body heat.

    I worked at a pizza delivery joint crewed mostly by stoners and hard core addicts. Like, serious fucking hard-core addicts. Two or three orders would get fucked every night and I would bring them home. Manna from heaven. I was the calorie king.

    Plus I had access to hot water and soap. No one gave two shits if I washed out my shirt or basically bathed in the sink. Hot running water is a miracle.

    Wrangling homeless youths is the most difficult management job I ever held and I rose fairly high up the corporate ladder later in life enough to have fancy initials after my name on my business card and a crazy stupid budget.

    Easily the most heartbreaking. I had a legit pizza joint job that did not require what amounts to rape for dollars. I knew many where that was not on the table. Fucked up kids getting fucked literally.

    I will never forget that.

    Six months later I was attending university on scholarship. Life changes fast.

    If you have the means and inclination, consider donating to a homeless shelter. Cash always works, but socks, underwear, street clothes, and work clothes will always be appreciated. Toiletries, too.

    Cull your closet. Give it to people that need it.

    Every now and again slip a twenty to a kid on the street you walk down. They’ll likely spend it on booze or drugs, but maybe food too.

    5
  78. Chip Daniels says:

    Re: Maxine Waters

    I know that a lot of decent people of all political persuasions like to claim support for protests against injustice while denouncing chaos and violence.
    Which is perfectly logical but not when combined with apathy and tacit acceptance of injustice whenever the city is not on fire.

    For decades, longer even then the Watts riots in 1965, the Black community and people like Ms. Waters protested peacefully, lobbied, pleaded and did everything right, and yet were largely ignored by the white community.
    It was only when the White community becomes terrified of being dragged out of our cars and beaten do we suddenly decide that yeah, injustice exists and should be fought.

    Even the framing of this- the desire, no the demand that people like Ms. Waters denounce violence are disingenuous. Where were the denunciations of police violence, of the random stop and frisks, the everyday brutality and humiliations and indignities?

    11
  79. Kurtz says:

    @CSK:

    1. Their commitment to him is total and unquestioning.
    2. They won’t tolerate even mild criticism of him.
    3. They believe that only he can save them and the country.
    4. They punish, or try to punish, anyone who has doubts about him.

    You described a significant percentage of partisans, some religious people, and a few Dodgers fans.

    Trump said what people were thinking when they watched Fox and listened to Rush.

    Does he have unique charisma? Yes.

    Does he fit with the poorly educated? Yes. (Lots of people with degrees, including advanced and professional ones, are poorly educated.)

    Pointing out some behaviors that are cultish is quite different from how that view has been used here for the last year or two.

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Yeah. The whole not obeying thing is big. I remember getting called in to visit the pastor in my teenager years and being told that I was dangerous because I was “one of those” people who thought that they could just read the Bible and decide for themselves what it meant (without asking him).

    I went away thinking that if mine was the most dangerous intellect he’d ever encountered that he must have lived a pretty sheltered life.

    6
  81. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    they were most likely written by people

    Like I said, I think any specific religion I’ve ever come across is almost infinitely unlikely to be true. That said, the Catholic faith I was raised in runs on a wide road. There are many on that road who believe that the Bible’s books were most certainly written by actual men and so of course only contain what they knew, as was true of the men who sorted through the various writings and books available after the first few centuries A.D., separating the wheat from the chafe and compiling them into the New Testament. But they also believe that God played a hand in their inspirations and choices, and if we read carefully and think deeply we can discern some of God’s wisdom and mercy amidst the words.

    I don’t believe that myself, but I don’t belittle them for doing so.

    2
  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Owen: In this case though, “lunatic” simply means doesn’t respect that she’s not sposta talk back about race to the white folk.

    4
  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Your point is real and strong, but I’m sorry; the fact that bigoted people in small towns refuse to enter the 21st Century does not excuse either the Democrats or the Republicans from an obligation to try to come up with a plan for rural America beyond “F that, that’s on them.”

    2
  84. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    If you behave like someone in cult, you probably are in a cult.

    There have been a number of political figures who’ve been liked, even loved. But I’ve never seen any of them adored the way Trump is by some of his base.

    5
  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah Gustopher. Michael is the recognized expert on humanity and you’re not! So just STFU and learn your place!

    And the same goes to all of you other disbelievers out there!

    /s

    2
  86. EddieInCA says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Just nutha ignint cracker says:
    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 19:25

    @EddieInCA: Your point is real and strong, but I’m sorry; the fact that bigoted people in small towns refuse to enter the 21st Century does not excuse either the Democrats or the Republicans from an obligation to try to come up with a plan for rural America beyond “F that, that’s on them.”

    Okay. I’ll bite. What does a plan for small towns look like from a federal or state level? What’s different that what Democrats propose for all? Do people in small towns not want affordable healthcare? Good schools? Do people in small towns not want better Covid policies?

    Many of these small downs voted against the unions that kept thier jobs in place. Many of these small communities refuse to allow people of color to feel comfortable in their communities. Many of these small communities refuse to get educated, start businesses, or create the economic conditions that would allow them to thrive. This causes a brain drain as their young people, after college, have no desire to live there.

    So how does support of the 2nd Amendment, support of anti-abortion policies, or support of anti-gay/trans policies help them thrive in their small communities? On another thread Mu said that, basically, Democrats have to be more like Republicans in order to win over those small towns (I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.). F that.

    I’m not trying to be snarky, but I’d love to know what a plan looks like to save “small communities”.

    10
  87. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I don’t belittle them, either. But I also do not accept any moral or ethical pronouncement or interpretation simply on the basis that their deity says so, or that their deity inspired it, etc.

    1
  88. @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m asking if your analysis in the past was wrong. And if wrong, why? And if wrong, how has your analytical process changed? Is that not a legitimate question to ask of an analyst?

    This the crux of my annoyance, and perhaps of the miscommunication between us. This is the first time in this back and forth wherein you have asked about past analysis (at least this is the first time I have understood this to be the question).

    When you state above this does not sound like a question about past analysis (indeed, it isn’t a question):

    The Maxine Waters thing exemplifies why I am asking @Steven and @Joyner (to Steven’s irritation) to take an honest look at their own complicity in creating the disaster that their former party has wrought.

    Or

    But they voted for a party they both knew full well relied on racist votes, relied on bigots, to gain power. They helped build the monster.

    Can you see, perhaps, how none of that sounds like a question, let alone about my past analysis?

    Or, later in the thread:

    I’m asking whether you acknowledge that you knowingly supported a bigoted, racist party.

    Again, not a question and not about past analysis (save my personal partisan preferences).

    All of the above sounds to me like simply an indictment of past voting on my part and a demand that I confess and repent.

    Can you not see how that might be offputting?

    I don’t understand what’s so hard about saying, ‘This is my analysis, this is how I got there, and this is what I learned from my past errors.’ Or, you could say, ‘You know, in the past I put too little emphasis on race, and that led me to conclusions I now question.’ Or how about, ‘I was part of the problem. I didn’t intend to be, but I was. And now with that in the rearview mirror, I think I see more clearly.’

    The issue here is straightforward talking past one another. You are more directly connecting my past analysis (which I take to mean professional work) and my choices at the ballot box.

    Those are a lot less connected, especially when I was younger, than you might be assuming.

    That is to say, there was no direct connection to past professional work and why I voted R and did not vote D.

    Although I would say that my ongoing work on democratic governance and electoral systems is one of many things that has shifted how I vote–although really I would say my political science work has informed my views on reform more than it was directly responsible for how I vote, per se.

    If I had to pick two big variables that have changed how I vote over time:

    1. Moving to Alabama in 1998.
    2. Blogging.

    A third has been the evolution of the GOP (W.’s presidency provided a host of empirical reasons to reassess my connection to the party, but Palin just confirmed this). Of course, a lot of that was coming to terms with things I thought were true about the party (but weren’t), and part of it was me changing my mind on a host of matters.

    (And, as I keep harping on: there really are only two choices).

    Elaborating on all of that would take a lot more words than I have at the moment.

    Does that help (both in terms of explaining myself and why your approach has been vexing)?

    11
  89. @Steven L. Taylor: Also, I reject this framing:

    But they voted for a party they both knew full well relied on racist votes, relied on bigots, to gain power. They helped build the monster.

    The monster of racism and bigotry is not just a Republican problem, it is an American problem and that observation is neither a dodge nor both-siderism. It is just true.

    And, indeed, when I was forming my early political views in the late 1970s and into the 80s in TX and CA, the part of the country I live in now was Democratic (and solidly so—indeed a lot of older Trump fans around me were definitely voting Democratic at some earlier point in their lives). When I first starting voting in AL in 1998, most local elections and state level elections were still dominated by Democrats. The full flip didn’t come for a few more years.

    None of this is anywhere near as easy the story of good v evil that you are making it out to be.

    None of this is simple.

    8
  90. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Not at all Dr Taylor. Just sharing my general personal view.

    1
  91. EddieInCA says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I appreciate your candor and respect your evolution.

    Mine was slightly different, and for different reasons. My first vote for President was Ronald Reagan when I was 20. My next vote was also for Reagan. Then Bush over Dukakis. Why? Because Carter, to 16-20 year old me, was a failure. It was easy for me to vote for Reagan. Mondale was weak and milquetoast, so I voted for Reagan again. Dukakis was a joke, so I voted for Bush.

    In 1992, I voted for Bill Clinton and permanently left the GOP. Why? Pat Buchanan. As a person of color, his speech at the 1992 convention left me shaken. It showed me, in 1992, what the GOP was totally okay with a complete racist as a possible office holder. Then Gingrich came along and it’s been super easy for me to stay a Democrat since. Sure, there have been Republicans I voted for in local and state elections, but all that stopped completely after Pete Wilson’s BS in California. The California GOP turned a very moderate San Diego mayor into a xenophobic, racist asshole. Why? Because that’s where the GOP votes were. Nothing has changed since then other than the racism becoming less cloaked and more out in the open.

    In certain parts of the country, racism is a feature, not a bug. Sad, but true. That so many refuse to even acknowledge it is what pisses me off more than anything.

    11
  92. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher: @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Andy:

    I’m not trying to be snarky, but I’d love to know what a plan looks like to save “small communities”.

    Anyone?

    3
  93. Owen says:

    @EddieInCA: I think the natural progression will be a general migration of the majority of inhabitants of those small communities to larger metropolitan areas as the gradual transition away from fossil fuel vehicles makes it too challenging to live away from services. The remaining inhabitants will be some wealthy folks who can afford it, and those directly involved in agriculture, mining and forestry work, all three of which industries are continuing to undergo increasing automation. Already, if you look at places like Michael Reynolds favorite town in Texas, Muleshoe, the population has continued to decrease for the last 90 years.

    So in a nutshell, there doesn’t need to be a plan.

  94. @Jim Brown 32: Gotcha. Thanks.

    1
  95. EddieInCA says:

    @Owen:

    Owen –

    Thank you for the response, but you basically made my point for me. The aforementioned trio, have said, in different ways, that Dems have to come up with a plan for “small communities” other than “F Them”, which is my position.

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: I’d love to also–mostly because I’m living in one. But since I’m no smarter than you are, I guess we get f them, they brought it on themselves–and whatever the consequences of that are. Good choice.

    1
  97. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: I don’t think there can be a plan at the federal level to save small communities. What I think there can be are plans to level the playing field. Reasonable and universal fast and cheap internet, similar to the rural electrification program. Applies to poor city neighborhoods too. Plans for promotion of state colleges similar to the supercomputer initiatives of the 80s. And yes, universal primary and secondary school testing to insure that everyone knows where their schools really stand. The fact that more than half of Alabamians and Mississippians are under the delusion that their schools are equal to those anywhere else in the country just sucks the life out of parental pressure to reform. (Their schools actually trade place for 49th and 50th worst out of fifty.)

    1
  98. EddieInCA says:

    @MarkedMan:

    MarkedMan says:
    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 22:49

    @EddieInCA: I don’t think there can be a plan at the federal level to save small communities. What I think there can be are plans to level the playing field. Reasonable and universal fast and cheap internet, similar to the rural electrification program. Applies to poor city neighborhoods too. Plans for promotion of state colleges similar to the supercomputer initiatives of the 80s. And yes, universal primary and secondary school testing to insure that everyone knows where their schools really stand. The fact that more than half of Alabamians and Mississippians are under the delusion that their schools are equal to those anywhere else in the country just sucks the life out of parental pressure to reform. (Their schools actually trade place for 49th and 50th worst out of fifty.)

    I agree with everything you wrote above. But those things cost, and the “small communities” are the ones most likely to frown upon such items due to taxes. How do we help those communities that don’t want help?

    Furthermore, which is the party that is constantly trying to level the playing field – but are held back by voters pushing Gods, Gays and Guns? Which is the side the is trying to help the little guy, whether it’s health care, minimum wage, job security, job safety, pensions, etc? Seriously, Which party???

    I’m tired of being told that because I made something of myself that I’m somehow and “elite”. I grew up poor as heck, and I want others to have what I had – an opportunity. But one party keeps making other poor people think that their problem is brown and black people, not the billionaires screwing them over.

    10
  99. EddieInCA says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Best of luck to your community. And I mean that sincerely, with zero snark. Stay safe.

    2
  100. EddieInCA says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    But since I’m no smarter than you are,

    C’mon man. We’ve both been here long enough to know that you’re probably much smarter than I am.

    2
  101. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    stuck in a Greyhound station in Youngstown, Ohio being eyeballed by pervs.

    See what happens if you hangout in bus stations in Youngstown !

    2
  102. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I was at Mondale’s concession speech. It broke my heart, but it made me stronger.

    Years later I met and befriended two of his kids basically by accident. Serendipity.

  103. de stijl says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    The Mountain Goats have a genius new song called Pictures Of My Dress that directly addresses pervs in parking lots.

    It is so beautiful. (It hurts so very hard too.)

    1
  104. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    If you like Pictures Of My Dress check You Were Cool by the same band.

    1
  105. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA:

    No. F that. “Small communities” are refusing to join the 21st Century. That’s on them.

    How do you think they could join the 21st century? Literally what steps would they have to take, and can they take those steps on their own?

    We make communities bid on jobs by offering tax breaks to prospective employers, which leaves them (hopefully) less worse off than their neighbors, but which ultimately brings everyone down in a race to the bottom.

    I don’t want to say they’re just “economically anxious”, but scared people are much more easily angered, and much more easily led to scapegoat others. You can’t solve the problem of them being a bunch of bigots who are acting out when they’re scared. It’s a component.

    So, I’d address the economic problems, and hope someone smarter comes along to fix the inbreeding.

    1. Use the buying power of the federal government to favor suppliers that employ people in small cities, and surrounding areas. Cities, even in more rural areas, are the drivers of the economy, but they can also support the areas around them.

    2. Tax cuts for job creators. Not Republican style “cut the capitol gains tax” tax cuts, but a percentage of the salary/health-care for full time employees. Revenue neutral by raising taxes on Capitol gains. It can be rejiggered to prefer small employers, areas with high unemployment, etc., but at a basic level subsidize jobs. I would love to make it contingent on not accepting state or local tax deals.

    3. Vigorous anti-trust enforcement. When companies merge, there are layoffs as “redundancies” are eliminated. We want those redundancies. And we want the jobs. And the competition and innovation.

    4. Prosecute employers who hire undocumented workers. Multiple reasons, from a zero-sum goal of freeing up jobs for Americans to just changing the villain in the illegal immigrant story.

    5. This one might be a stretch, and we might want to find this through means other than the government, but… freely available pornography that promotes social values. Grandpa may be calling a spade a spade, but if little Bobby is beating off to interracial porn, featuring a surprisingly butch woman, his racial views will be a lot better than grandad’s. I’m convinced the availability of lesbian porn is a large part of what made everyone quickly accept gay rights overnight in this country.

    6. We need to figure out wealth inequality. I don’t have an answer there, but we’re going to have to do something positive here.

    Granted, that last one might be crazy talk.

    But, we can’t give up on dragging the smaller communities into the 21st century because they vote, and they have disproportionate voting power. For all the times people try to say that the constitution is not a suicide pact, it really kind of is.

    3
  106. flat earth luddite says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Thanks for the clarification. I don’t know if @Michael Reynolds will agree that the two of you were talking past each other, but that’s how it most of it has read to me over the last few days. Entertaining (to me, YMMV) but no doubt frustrating to both of you.

    I appreciate your description of the evolution of your opinions and beliefs. You’ve obviously thought deeply on the topic, and also care deeply about the country we both live in. As others have commented, it’s important for us all to remember that we come from different backgrounds and different perspectives.

    If people really want to jump up and down and denigrate others for their past, y’all are welcome to it. Not gonna go there. Already own the hat, t-shirt, and souvenir beer cozy. Bought a 5-year E-Ticket on that ride. I may flip you s*** over a current comment or belief, but I won’t look to or criticize your past. Gorn knows I certainly don’t want anyone looking at mine.

    6
  107. EddieInCA says:

    @Gustopher:

    Every thing you list, except #5, has been proposed by Democrats in almost every state at some point or another. In some Blue states, some have passed. But most “small communities” are against the very things you describe.

    I thank you for your response. You have some good ideas. I wish the “small communities” would listen to you, and not me.

    5
  108. FWIW, in regards to the debate about “small communities” and whether they are a) deserve their circumstances, and b) if they all vote Republican, I would note that in the southeast a lot of these communities have significant Black populations and also vote heavily Democratic.

    5
  109. james hunt says:

    @Pete S: she is a lot more dangerous and should be impeached!! Promotes violence and plenty of proof on line and SHE IS A RACIST!!!1 Cheney and Greene are examples of most Americans who are frustrated with the Democrats and spineless Republicans like McConnell, Graham, Cheney and all the RINOS make them Swamp Creatures!!! We are going to get rid of each and everyone of them!!!!Go Greene we are behind you and “LIKE” Conservative!!! Go Trump we are with you ,and I hope the people that did vote for Biden- Harris see what “FOOLS” they are and can see the last 13 days what a mindless puppet of the far left can do, killed over 100,000 jobs ,unsecured the boarders, killed oil, coal, and plain as sight is in bed with “CHINA” Go Trump, GO American Patriot Party!!! We will OVERCOME!!!!!

  110. charon says:

    I see the Trump/Trumpist attack on Liz Cheney has crashed and burnt.

    Not exactly helpful to Trump’s goal of dominance by fear.

    My guess Trump is moving on the path to being a spent force.

    2
  111. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @MarkedMan: While you were honest and said you don’t believe that any longer, that is pretty much my view of the Bible.

  112. ptfe says:

    @EddieInCA: Reading your comment reminded me of the healthcare debate where Republicans are constantly selling “access to insurance” as The Way Forward instead of offering universal care. One problem small communities always suffer from is lack of immediate resources. The promise of access is playing off the urban/rural duality, where “access to insurance” to an urban voter simply means yay I can get insurance but the same to a rural voter is intended to scan (and did so successfully) as “access to healthcare” == closer to what they’re worried about.

    It’s easy to sell a bad idea of you can threaten that the local clinic will go out of business and leave a small community stranded – service is free, but you’ll have to get to it first.

  113. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @james hunt: @james hunt: You can’t overcome being a natural loser playboy. Repeat after me–the average white man will no longer be given a boost over exceptional “coloreds”. Now go sit in the corner and count Trump face shots til 100. Run along Don Jr.

    2
  114. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Im sorry for feeding the Troll. I’ve been reading about the Tuskegee airmen this morning so Im not feeling up to suffering these seditions. I’ve toted guns for this Country in hostile territory so none of these insurrectionists are going to take anything back from me. Not today–not ever. USA! USA! USA! USA!

    6
  115. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: nah. He’s closer to Eric. 😛

    2
  116. Andy says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’m not trying to be snarky, but I’d love to know what a plan looks like to save “small communities”.

    Anyone?

    I’m skeptical of central planning, so I don’t think a plan exists to “save” small communities for the same reasons I don’t think a plan exists to save rust-belt cities like Detroit.

    I much prefer bottom-up solutions to these problems rather than top-down federal solutions. For small communities or rust-belt cities, what they need is agency, a greater ability to control their own destiny, and a level playing field. Communities can then figure out what is best for their own future.

    And not all small communities can be saved. I’m from Colorado and the history of our state is one where communities have literally died out in a few months due to changing economics and other factors. That’s going to happen and federal and state governments should not try to prop them up. But federal and state governments also should not hasten that along, nor should they make it more difficult for viable communities to survive by implementing one-size-fits-all policies that are primarily targeted at urban and suburban problems.

    And that is where I have a fundamental philosophical disagreement with the Democratic party and the political left in general – they are strongly biased towards federal top-down policymaking. And given that the core base of their political support is urban areas, it’s no surprise that their policies focus on those interests. This is all fine, but I think the problem with trying to have unitary solutions to complex problems that affect a huge and very diverse population and communities should be pretty obvious.

    And I think a lot of Democrats mistakenly assume that their policy preferences just inherently benefit small and rural communities – hence the frequent arguments that suggest people in small communities are stupid and don’t know what’s best for them or what their interests are. Leaving aside the efficacy of trying to get people to support your policies by insulting and patronizing them, I don’t think the premise is true.

    And there are also differences in social and cultural issues. Democrats don’t help their case there either, both in terms of messaging (also insulting and patronizing), as well as policy. And I think that is particularly dumb because it makes it easy for GoP to exploit the cultural divisions. There ought to be a lot more “live and let live” attitude toward other Americans and less of a desire to force compliance through the state.

    3
  117. Grewgills says:

    @CSK:
    Send your mind all the way back to the dark ages of 2002-2006. Remember the cardboard cut outs of W in church camps? Watch Jesus Camp.

  118. dazedandconfused says:

    It’s odd that Rs all talk about not using top-down methods except when someone with the correct letter behind their name uses them. Trump was going to save the coal miners, et al, and the Rs love him for it. “The left” may be much much bigger than they suspect. Farm subsidies to save the farmers from the tariffs they impose? Socialism! Whoops…We did it…Nevermind.

    1
  119. Andy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    It’s odd that Rs all talk about not using top-down methods except when someone with the correct letter behind their name uses them. Trump was going to save the coal miners, et al, and the Rs love him for it. “The left” may be much much bigger than they suspect. Farm subsidies to save the farmers from the tariffs they impose? Socialism! Whoops…We did it…Nevermind.

    If this response is aimed at me, I would just point out that I’m not (and never have been) an “R” and I also am very skeptical when the “R” side resorts to top-down approaches. That’s why I have fundamental disagreements with partisans generally – they seem obsessed with trying to shove their particular worldview down everyone else’s throat. It’s all so self-serving in my view.

    1
  120. dazedandconfused says:

    @Andy:

    I prefer pragmaticism. Some problems call for top down, some for bottom up. Ideology is frequently counter productive, both in defining problems and in solving them.

    1
  121. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    And that is where I have a fundamental philosophical disagreement with the Democratic party and the political left in general – they are strongly biased towards federal top-down policymaking.

    Does, say, Newburgh, NY have the power to fight against the trends of globalism and the concentration of wealth and opportunity in the largest cities? It’s a small city on the Hudson River 2.5 hours north of NYC, 1 hour south of Poughkeepsie.

    It has advantages other small cities don’t: a really nice airport, good, old housing stock (beautiful mansions), and has been “up and coming” for decades. A lot of empty light industrial space. It also made the mistake of being on the wrong side of the Hudson, as Metro-North and Amtrak are on the East side, while it is on the West side — something that makes the decision to build a great airport there rather perplexing.

    I’d argue that it doesn’t have enough power on its own to forge its own path. Even with all its advantages, it can’t fight the concentration of wealth into the largest cities.

    And if Newburg can’t do it, what hope does Centralia, WA have, or Podunk, IN? One size fits all won’t help everyone, but it will help a lot. A looser program, with a mix of central and local planning could help more.

  122. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    Clearly, not all issues are best managed at a single level of government – it’s why we have federalism and at least some subsidiarity. Even authoritarian countries push some decisionmaking to lower levels.

    A looser program, with a mix of central and local planning could help more.

    I agree with that as a general principle, but I don’t think that models is what the Democratic party favors on most of the issues the party actually prioritizes.