Saturday’s Forum

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


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The closing paragraph:

    Meanwhile, hospitals are fighting to get financial help from state and federal officials. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) provides funding to help cover some Covid-related costs at hospitals.

    But state officials in Texas are denying funding requests from hospitals as cases surge across the state, after providing $5.39bn earlier in the pandemic, which was reimbursed by Fema, according to local news channel WFAA.

    I wonder when a majority of Texans will figure out the contempt with which their GOP betters hold them in.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Headline: German modern pentathlon coach thrown out of Olympics for punching horse

    There’s a Blazing Saddles joke in there somewhere.

  3. JohnMcC says:

    Amidst the furor created by Tucker Carlson’s visit to Hungary I thought I’d mention that this affection for authoritarians and fascists is not new or unusual in the so-called-conservative movement.

    L Brent Bozell is the gentleman who helped found National Review with Mr Buckley. He is the ghost writer of Sen Goldwater’s campaign book ‘Conscience of a Conservative’.
    He much preferred living in Franco’s Spain to living in the U.S. He believed that the ‘virtue’ preserved by the national government there was more essential to human life than liberty.

  4. Teve says:


    Her: Who’s your favourite literary vampire?
    Me: The one in Sesame Street
    Her: He doesn’t count
    Me: I can assure you that he does

  5. CSK says:

    The whole article is fascinating. Thanks for posting the link.

  6. charon says:

    It doesn’t matter if Trump runs or not in 2024 – his entire style has redefined the GOP for the foreseeable future. It’s like it’s 1974 and everyone’s decided Nixon should be their role model.

    By the way, the analogy here isn’t between Trump and Nixon – Nixon had many more redeeming qualities, despite his flaws. It’s the contrast between how the GOP responded to abuse of power then versus today.

  7. Teve says:
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wow, this looks really good: CODA. This interview took me to the trailer.

  9. Teve says:

    Sitting in my driveway this morning, i was scrolling through podcasts, looking for something about as long as my 20 minute drive. Ooo, The Daily, that’s the right size. What are they talking about today?

    Voices of the Unvaccinated

    Great, another Cletus Safari. Nope.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    Paul Campos has a post at LGM on Jefferey Clark’s effort within DOJ to overturn the election, partly based on internet rumors of Chinese changing vote machine tallies using special thermometers. The paragraph that should terrify you is:

    Clark btw is a 100% gold-plated establishment Republican lawyer — Harvard College, 6th circuit clerkship, Kirkland & Ellis, the Federalist Society, the second Bush administration, governing council of the ABA’s administrative law section — basically white shoe all the way. Is the fact that he’s now a lunatic Trumpist conspiracy monger hurting his standing the Establishment Republican Lawyer club? Sadly, no.

    There’s a reason we call the Kochtopus “Wingnut Welfare”.

  11. charon says:

    Breaking: Pelosi picks another GOP for the Select Committee….
    — is a former VA congressman and Air Force intelligence officer who has been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump — will be a senior technical adviser for the committee

  12. CSK says:

    I think this choice was in the works for a while. The Riggleman pick will drive the Trumpkins insane. Good.

  13. charon says:

    This gets at something that I think gets lost in a lot of the conservation about Trump these days. Dude is not really popular at all. With these sorts of numbers & the country being in much better shape than it was a year ago, it’ll be very tough for him to win a general election

    Corollary: Making yourself a Trump mini-me, using Trump as role model might be suboptimum for the general election in November.

  14. charon says:

    “Tucker Carlson is spending a week in Budapest in order to annoy Americans…who believe in the ideals of America: the rule of law, a free press, free elections, the conviction that democracy is preferable to autocracy,”

    I hear from thousands of GOP base voters every day. Here’s the thing:

    Tucker Carlson spent this past week making the case for autocracy over democracy. And while you & I are rightly disgusted by this, the GOP base isn’t. Because Tucker Carlson speaks for the GOP base.

  15. Teve says:

    @charon: Just spitballing here, McConnell could crash the debt ceiling, for realsies this time. Wreck the US economy, wreck payments to seniors, try to blame Biden for it, which Fox would help with 24/7.

  16. charon says:

    With remarkable unanimity — and a stunning lack of actual evidence — right-wing media has seized on the specter of disease-infested immigrants as the real danger to public health.

    Even as many Republicans rail against mask mandates and spread skepticism about vaccines, GOP leaders have settled on one place where they take the spread of Covid very seriously — the border.

    The pivot occurred quickly. This week, one Republican leader after another rushed to blame the spread of the virus, not on the unvaccinated but on immigrants.

    Former President Donald Trump put out a statement linking to a New York Post article claiming that “nearly 7,000 immigrants who tested positive for COVID-19 have passed through a Texas city that has become the epicenter of the illegal immigration surge.” (Actually, migrants who test positive are quarantined. Videos of migrants roaming free and being dropped off at bus stations turned out to be immigrants who had tested negative and were on their way out of the country.)

    But for Trump, who famously launched his presidential campaign by warning about Mexican rapists, the focus on migrants was like playing his greatest hits all over again. Think of it as the 2021 version of the immigrant “caravans.”

    With remarkable unanimity — and a stunning lack of actual evidence — conservative media has seized on the specter of disease-infested immigrants as the real danger to public health.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity declared that the border (rather than the lack of vaccinations) is the “biggest super-spreader” event of the pandemic. Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire warned of “COVID-Positive Illegal Immigrants Flooding Across The Border.” National Review insisted: “This is the reality: The federal government is successfully terrifying people about COVID while it is shrugging at the thousands of infectious illegal aliens who are coming into the country and spreading the virus.”

  17. charon says:

    More from Politico:

    Those facts, however, are unlikely to slow the GOP’s campaign to blame the border crisis. Instead, the message seems to be taking root among unvaccinated Americans. A recent Axios poll found that 36.9 percent of the unvaccinated blame “foreigners traveling in the U.S.” for the surge in Covid-19 cases. The GOP senses political opportunity in those poll numbers and even officials who have consistently downplayed the pandemic itself have quickly gotten on message.

    After President Joe Biden chided him for standing in the way of mitigation efforts, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back on Wednesday: “Why don’t you do your job?” he demanded. “Why don’t you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about Covid from you, thank you.”

    All of this is deeply cynical, but also familiar. The focus on the border allows some Republicans to fall back into their comfort zone of identity politics and the familiar narratives about scary foreigners and the need for big walls. More immediately, it gives them a cudgel to beat Biden, while deflecting attention from the failures of their own reckless policies.

    It is a well-worn playbook that plays well with the base … and donors.

    “No elected official is doing more to enable the transmission of COVID in America than Joe Biden with his open borders policies,” DeSantis said in a fundraising email that went out immediately after his press conference.

  18. CSK says:

    Interesting piece from Jonathan Last:

    It links to an even better piece:

    I thought I knew a lot about Trump, but I wasn’t familiar with his vitamin scam.

  19. Teve says:

    @charon: JKB will be here shortly, to parrot this new Republican excuse.

  20. charon says:

    Idea from Umberto Eco:

    “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders.”

  21. Teve says:

    @CSK: years ago when he first started getting attention, i started to read an interview with Rowe. I stopped a few paragraphs in when he was blaming poor people for being poor, doing “the kids these days don’t wanna work”, etc. Life’s too short. 😀

  22. CSK says:

    I’ve never seen his show. I think Rowe is a big hero over at, which figures. And…my 14-year-old nephew really wants to work, and is seeking an after-school job.

    Read the Trump vitamin scam article to which I also linked.

  23. Monala says:

    Disgusting framing by a NYT reporter Patricia Mazzei:

    As Covid Surges in Florida, DeSantis Refuses to Change Course

    Mr. DeSantis has been unyielding in his approach to the pandemic, refusing to change course or impose restrictions despite uncontrolled spread and spiking hospitalizations.

    He reopened Florida’s economy last spring and kept it that way, defying coronavirus surges that filled hospitals, and then celebrated as a statewide vaccination campaign took hold and life in Florida began to look normal.
    Now Mr. DeSantis is gambling again.

    If the surge overwhelms hospitals, Mr. DeSantis’s higher aspirations could be in trouble. If Florida comes through another virus peak with its hospital system and economy intact, his game of chicken could become a model for how to coexist with the virus.

  24. Teve says:

    @CSK: oh I did. If you post it, I read it.

  25. Mikey says:


    Those facts, however, are unlikely to slow the GOP’s campaign to blame the border crisis. Instead, the message seems to be taking root among unvaccinated Americans.

    “It’s not OUR fault an entirely preventable disease is still spreading and killing because we won’t take a free vaccine, it’s the DIRTY BROWN PEOPLE’S fault!”

    It’s like a shit sandwich except along with the shit is a rancid cocktail of racism, fascism, and ignorance.

    (Wait, was I describing the unvaccinated’s rationale or the entirety of the modern GOP? Who can tell?)

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Monala: That last paragraph is what I was responding to late yesterday in the 100K New Cases thread,

    The hospitals will survive, with heroic efforts, and the economy isn’t really under threat. The only downside is another few thousand Floridians will die for Ron DeSantis presidential hopes.

    And they’ll have the decency to die out of sight in ICUs and the average Floridian will be asking what all that COVID stuff was about, he doesn’t see it. We’re screwed.

    Elsewhere yesterday I noted our FL hospitals are having an oxygen shortage. There’s plenty of oxygen, but under normal work rules a shortage of available LOX tank truck drivers. DeSantis could, as he has before, issue an emergency order to allow more flexibility, but he hasn’t.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    A recent Axios poll found that 36.9 percent of the unvaccinated blame “foreigners traveling in the U.S.”

    Well of course they do. Who else are they going to blame, themselves? [eyeroll] What’s really surprising about the Axios poll is that the number is so small. Come back in a week.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    Yesterday on the open forum there was a discussion about conservative pundits and I made a couple of points that, coincidentally, are illustrated by a post Drum put up today. The first was that one way to evaluate a pundit was to look for stuff they had written about something you knew, and see how accurate that was. The second was that I didn’t feel you could get worthwhile information from intellectually dishonest sources and, at least for me, it wasn’t worth reading such people.

    The post is about a 15+ year drug approval by the FDA, and he tells it in three parts. First, what the pundit said. Second, what a reporter who actually did a lot of research on this learned and put in the public record before the pundit had written anything. Finally, what the pundit said when he was challenged.

    I’ve worked with the FDA for a couple of decades and have had multiple things approved (devices, not drugs) and the pundits story just did not match with my dealings with them. Nevertheless, he was supremely confident that this proved the eternal idiocy of them in all things everywhere. Supremely confident. You know where this is going. The reporter who did the actual investigation concluded that there were a lot of reasons it took so long but the FDA was actually pretty helpful in the process and did nothing to inhibit it along the way. In fact an example given of FDA malfeasance, a too narrow indications for use approval, was exactly the opposite. The manufacturer submitted too narrowly and the FDA urged them to change it during the submissions process. All in all worth reading the Drum report.

    So do I cast this pundit out for all time. Well, he did grudgingly admit mistakes when pressed, so I don’t know. I certainly won’t seek him out though.

  29. CSK says:

    Well, thanks.

    Am I the only person here who distinctly remembers Trump claiming, in the spring of 2020, that he was popping hydroxychloroquine pills daily as a preventative?

    P.S. Yep. I was right. He announced that he was taking the stuff on May 18, 2020. His doctor prescribed them.

    Didn’t work so well, did they, since he ended up almost dead of Covid.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: The more interesting thing to me was watching the video/pitch for the pyramid scheme multi-level marketing enterprise. How does one go about rounding up that many marks and getting them all into one place? That’s a skill! (And the guy who’d been involved in 18 (?) MLMs and “this is the biggest one ever?” Can we clone this guy?)

  31. Kathy says:

    It’s about time to try the Bugs Bunny solution for Florida.

  32. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I couldn’t stand to watch the whole thing; your stomach must be stronger than mine. I wonder if some of those shills were actors.

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: You’d think there’d be some interest in assessing how accurate pundits are. But the only study I recall seeing on the subject was done by a HS Civics class many years ago. A quick Google didn’t find it, so I’m working from memory. They read old columns and culled all the verifiable predictions they could find, then ranked them by what percentage turned out to be true. Krugman did best and I think it was Cal Thomas who did worst. There was a correlation with how much money they made. A negative correlation. Cal Thomas made a lot more money off punditry than Krugman. The upshot seemed to be that the path to success for punditry is to find an audience, then tell them what they want to hear without worrying overmuch about reality.

  34. DrDaveT says:


    The first was that one way to evaluate a pundit was to look for stuff they had written about something you knew, and see how accurate that was.

    This is less useful than it might be, unfortunately, because as best I can tell all reporting is significantly inaccurate. Every time I have read an account in the open press of something I have insider knowledge of, it has contained major errors of fact leading to even larger errors of interpretation. This is true even of trade press stories in my field of work.

    That doesn’t mean I throw up my hands and say “all sources are unreliable” — but it does make your second criterion, regarding deliberately misleading narratives, even more important.

  35. JohnMcC says:

    @CSK: Was just watching a PBS documentary on Franco that I’d recorded. (After reading the linked article and while waiting for MLB to get started, discovered it on my DVR menu.) From 2017, in a series called ‘The Dictator’s Playbook’.

    Seems that there are more hidden mass graves in Spain than in any country except Cambodia. Not merely from the 1937-39 Civil War but from the 40s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
    I guess the Generalissimo was determined to be thorough.

    Gave me a new appreciation for the late Mr Bozell.

  36. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08: There have been a handful of studies that I can find. Here are a couple of links:

    Expert Political Judgment (Tetloch)

    The Predictive Power of Political Pundits: Prescient or Pitiful?

    …and of course there is

  37. CSK says:
  38. CSK says:

    In the article to which you linked, there was mentioned the fact that Bozell became obsessively, fanatically Roman Catholic–converts are often like that–believing it to be the only real form of Christianity. I wonder if a great part of Spain’s appeal for him was Franco’s extreme devotion to rigidly conservative Catholicism.

  39. Teve says:

    “I am not vaccinated. I am not a sheep.”

    Weeks before dying from COVID, MAGA radio host Dick Farrel called for Dr. Fauci’s arrest, referred to COVID vaccines as “poison,” and declared, “I know I don’t need it nor ever will.”

    — P A T • L E E (@pat_lee) August 7, 2021

  40. Teve says:

    @Teve: that guy loved posting ‘ARREST FAUCI’ memes and calling us ‘dummy craps’.

  41. dazedandconfused says:

    Re: J&J.

    I’m anecdotal evidence of that. Had the J&J and got the delta. Shortest and mildest cold I’ve ever had.

    The J&J is looking more and more like a winner in the adverse reaction category too, just a handful of blood clots in 7 million doses. That study said there were only two cases of that in South Africa and both recovered. Conversely there seems to be somewhat more reactions with the others. Statistically still small but cases like Eric Clapton’s are rather weird and worrisome. Nothing like that reported with the J vaxed.

    What handicapped the J is a rather hasty study done early on which suggested the J might not be as effective, and a few production issues. However the evidence mounts that it’s as effective as everybody else’s.

  42. CSK says:

    As I’ve mentioned, I too got the J&J, and suffered absolutely no side effects.

    I’m very glad that if you had to contract the Delta, at least it was an extremely mild case. Chalk one up for J&J.

  43. Mu Yixiao says:


    The first was that one way to evaluate a pundit was to look for stuff they had written about something you knew, and see how accurate that was. The second was that I didn’t feel you could get worthwhile information from intellectually dishonest sources and, at least for me, it wasn’t worth reading such people.

    Ah. I see the disconnect in our arguments from yesterday (you may have responded there, but I rarely go back to old forums).

    I don’t read “bad” pundits because I think they’re somehow correct*. I read read them to understand the
    opposition (see Sun Tzu quote from yesterday). And I’m an opinionated asshole, so… pretty much everyone who fails to bow to my view of the universe is “the opposition”. 🙂

    * I assume all pundits from all sides are, by default, wrong. It’s simpler that way.

  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    Because I’m a sadist…

    I won’t be back until Monday, but I leave you with this:

    Terrain Model Refutes Germ Theory

    Listen up, sheeple: COVID-19 doesn’t exist. Viruses don’t cause disease, and they aren’t contagious. Those doctors and health experts who say otherwise don’t know what they’re talking about; the real experts are on Facebook. And they’re saying it loud and clear: The pandemic is caused by your own deplorable life choices, like eating meat or pasta. Any “COVID” symptoms you might experience are actually the result of toxic lifestyle exposures—and you have only yourself to blame.

    (Yes, that’s Beth Mole, the health reporter for Ars Technica (Beth Mole, PhD in Microbiology from UNC) taking the piss.)

    Enjoy! {insert evil cackle here}

  45. JohnMcC says:

    That story about the $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey? You knew that was just the beginning didn’t you:

  46. Mister Bluster says:
  47. dazedandconfused says:
  48. Monala says:

    Ugh. For whatever reason, the Ohio-11 special election is causing the hard left to have a meltdown. They have created their own version of “the Big Lie,” and are spreading it. Cornel West was interviewed saying the election was rigged by the Jews (yes, he said that!). And Bernie Sanders tweeted today, “I’ve heard a lot from the punditry as to why Nina Turner lost her race in Ohio. Well, maybe it had something to do with drug companies, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry spending millions trying to defeat her. Is that the kind of Democratic Party we want? I don’t think so.” This, even though Nina Turner spent twice as much as Shontel Brown, and had all the celebrity endorsements. Brown was actually the local, grassroots candidate.

    I wonder why this election is causing such a meltdown. I’m beginning to think Mike is right, it definitively proves their theory that Americans are waiting for a socialist revolution wrong.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: They certainly could have been paid endorsers (somehow, I can’t imagine Trump putting up money for stuff he can get for free, but the other’s might have, who knows?). Additionally, that would explain the “I’ve been in a lot of these and this is gonna be huge” guy. Are there any laws for infomercials of this sort requiring distinguishing between paid endorsements and customer comments–like for the reverse mortgage ads featuring Tom Selleck and others? (Would Trump follow the law even then?)

  50. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    When I see a commercial with people who look like just regular folks–not celebs such as Selleck who are instantly recognizable–there’s usually a disclaimer in the bottom left corner that these are actors. I don’t know if that was the practice when Trump was shilling his vitamin pyramid scheme. I can say that of course he wouldn’t have identified them as actors. Didn’t he do the same thing when he organized a bunch of people in NY to parade around outside Trump Tower begging him to run? They were actors who got 50 bucks for the gig.

  51. Teve says:

    actual chyron on Hannity yesterday:


  52. Monala says:

    @Monala: I saw a great response to the whole Ohio-11 primary today in Twitter:


    I can’t believe I’m watching BernWorld go full QAnon over the OH11 primary. Do you think a single house race so important that the the DNC, Dark Money, & the GOP conspired to keep Turner from going to DC. Hell, she couldn’t get Bernie elected and he had a half billion dollars.

  53. Jax says:

    I’ve trimmed 18 gallons of rhubarb off Rhonda the Rockin Rhubarb so far this summer, and there’s probably another 10 gallons still out there if we don’t get any frosts or freezes.

    At this point I’ve added rhubarb to everything I could think of. Stir fries, all kinds of chicken, lamb and beef roasts, all kinds of veggies, cheesecake, pies, crisps, cobblers, syrups, I think next I’m going to actually put them in cinnamon rolls. 😛

  54. Teve says:

    @Jax: Rhubarb jam?

  55. Kylopod says:


    Statistically still small but cases like Eric Clapton’s are rather weird and worrisome.

    The vaccine turns you racist?

  56. Jax says:

    @Teve: Yep, we tried some with strawberry and some with strawberry/jalapeno. It’s interesting with the jalapeno….not my favorite, but still good!

  57. Jax says:

    @Teve: My faves as far as the meats were definitely the chicken and lamb. Hunting season is about to start, I’m anticipating trying it with some deer, antelope and elk if the plant holds that long! We might get our first frost Monday, so she might be done.

  58. Teve says:


    Tucker: “I love America, I think my country is the best in the world. But don’t tell me America is more free than Hungary.”

    Then Dreher approvingly linked to a VDare column by John Derbyshire, who we all remember was fired from National Review for urging children to stay away from Blacks because they’re violent and intellectually inferior.

  59. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: VDare is a white nationalist group.

  60. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: yep. Derbyshire was welcomed there with open arms immediately after Rich Lowry had to fire him.

  61. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: The piece which got him fired was published in Taki’s Magazine, where Richard Spencer (though not at that time) was co-editor for a while, and it’s there where Spencer first coined the term “alternative right.”

  62. Teve says:


    Some of the names of the commenters take me back. 😀

  63. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Some of the commenters also brought up what we’ve been discussing now: National Review’s long history of racism. They’ve always been playing this game, where every once in a blue moon they engage in some gate-keeping so they can maintain a semblance of respectability. In his column announcing Derb’s dismissal, Lowry pretty much admitted they were okay with his racism up to a point:

    “Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation.

  64. Jax says:

    @Teve: OMG….Ron. I miss Ron! He was a good one.

  65. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: yeah, that’s why i phrased it as “after Rich Lowry had to fire him.” 😛

  66. dazedandconfused says:


    I have no idea how you reached that conclusion. My reference to Eric Clapton is about his bad reactions to the vaccine, which led to him insisting his shows be open to the unvaccinated. How does that make Eric a racist?

  67. Kylopod says:

    @dazedandconfused: I was just snarkily referencing Clapton’s past history of racist remarks, as well as alluding to Roseanne Barr’s “ambien made me racist” defense. (The one upvote suggests at least someone here got the joke.)

  68. de stijl says:


    I got the joke. Made me lol.

    Btw, Morrissey is also a racist asshole.