Tuesday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    On an earlier thread Steven, Miami and I have been discussing the extent of the Republican Party Leaderships ability to influence opinions and behavior in the Republican electorate. I’ve argued that, due to a confluence of reasons, the party leadership is at a historic low point in terms of ability to influence, and instead these purported leaders are being led, no, dragged by the most committed of the base. My basic argument is that for many of the most pressing issues the party officials have little to no influence and if they try to sway the highly committed voters they will soon find themselves fighting for their political lives. This Politico article about Georgia is a good illustration of what I am talking about. A typical quote:

    As party activists vented at their county convention, the chair of the Cobb County Young Republicans, DeAnna Harris, stewed in the parking lot of her local party office. “Huge mistake,” she said of the hostilities directed at Kemp and the reliving of 2020. “We’ve got to get out of this mindset. It’s almost like insanity.”

  2. Teve says:
  3. @MarkedMan:


  4. MarkedMan says:

    Just realized “Mimai” autocorrects to “Miami”. Steven and I were not having a conversation with a Florida city…

  5. Northerner says:


    I’ve thought that as well — and not only for your Republican party. I have the feeling that for many supporters of many political parties not currently in power, its similar to the fans of a losing sports team — they still want their team to win, but think the coaches/star players/owners are idiots and don’t trust anything they say. They don’t even think their team is the best or the most deserving team to be champions.

    But they still want their team to win, because they identify as a Yankee’s fan or Cowboy’s fan or Maple Leaf’s fan.

  6. KM says:

    The cop who shot Adam Toledo was listed as the victim in an incident report about the shooting. Not the kid he killed, the asshat is claiming to be a victim somehow because he claims Toldeo had a gun and that “traumatized” him.

    An attorney for Stillman said in a statement to The Daily Beast last week that it “is amazing and disheartening is that very few have asked about the welfare of the officer.”

    Specifically there is very little interest in the wellbeing of the officer and the impact experienced by the officer who was required to use deadly force in the line of duty,” the lawyer said. “The officer involved has served his country and his city with honor and deserves our support.”

    Of course no one gives a damn. This MF *KNOWS* this was a bad shoot and is trying to gin up sympathy by asking why nobody cares he was “traumatized” by killing an innocent kid. Guess what – nobody really cares how you feel when you murder someone and realize how badly you’ve screwed up. Even other cops are calling this one out as evidence of a bad shoot since this is a known tactic that gets employed to invoke false sympathy.

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Well, the lawyer does have a point. For example, I have little interest in the wellbeing of a trigger happy asshole who shot a 13 year old for the combined provocations of being out after dark and walking while black. On the other hand, perhaps if the precinct had paid better attention to how he was responding to the stresses of the job, they’d have put him on the graveyard shift at the property room, and the stress he’s feeling about the shooting wouldn’t be a problem.

  8. Kathy says:


    A cop who can be traumatized by a gun, even one pointed at him*, is like a surgeon who faints at the sight of blood.

    *I’ve had a loaded gun pointed at me.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Northerner: With respect to officials losing all control over the direction of the party, I can think of a couple of occasions in my lifetime where it came close, but none to the extent of the current national and state Republican situation.

    It’s a bit before my time, but I would think that in, say, 1970, the highly motivated Democratic base would bring down any politician who was pr0 Vietnam War.

    By Reagan’s time, it was impossible for a Republican to be pro-civil rights and retain office, but that was the inevitable outcome of decisions the party officials themselves had made back during the Goldwater era.

  10. CSK says:

    I was wondering if you’d been listening to that old song “Moon Over Mimai.”

  11. CSK says:

    Donald Trump announced last night that he is “beyond seriously” thinking of running in 2024.

    In a rerun of 2016, Trump also told Sean Hannity that South and Central America are sending us rapists, murderers, and drug dealers.

    He also repeated the notion that the J&J vaccine was paused because Biden is in league with Pfizer.

  12. Scott says:

    I was in 10th grade when this happened. I remember very clearly. Ashamedly, I remember thinking that maybe they deserved it. An unformed conscience I had.

    The Girl in the Kent State Photo

    In 1970, an image of a dead protester immediately became iconic. But what happened to the 14-year-old kneeling next to him?

  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Teve: All I can say is that I spent a considerable amount of time in the “evangelical” movement in the 70’s, and nobody ever talked about penises in any way, shape, or form. And they were more inclined to talk about how nice it was to have men participating rather than just staying home watching football.

    This is not to say this happens everywhere, of course. I’m quite certain that some of you have had toxic experiences associated with evangelical churches and/or churchgoers. Just wow, I don’t like propagating stereotypes and neat answers.

  14. Jen says:

    Apparently, all of Georgia’s 10 million residents lost ten jobs due to MLB moving the All-Star game out of the state, according to Sen. Grassley.

  15. Michael Reynolds says:


    *I’ve had a loaded gun pointed at me.

    Me too. I was graveyard manager at Sambo’s (think Denny’s) in Concord, CA, sitting at the counter eating eggs, when one of my waitresses said, quite calmly, ‘Michael, there’s a guy with a gun who wants the money.’

    I got up. Walked over to the register. Large caliber automatic pistol leveled at my face. And gave him the money. I was only really concerned after the fact. At the time it was all handled quite calmly. We watched where the guy ran, called the cops, and I finished my eggs waiting for them to arrive.

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Depends on who you regard as the leadership of the Republican Party. McConnell, McCarthy, Kemp, et al do appear to be getting carried places they may not want to go. But Trump, Murdoch, Hannity, Carlson, Q, and Charles Koch’s checkbook seem to be able to exert great influence on R voters.

    It feels like pressure is building and GOPs are on the verge of a blowup. But it’s felt like that for years. Ever since the rise of the (Koch funded) Tea Party there have been predictions the inmates would take over the Republican asylum. Maybe it’s actually happening. Going back to yesterday’s Big Business/Republican Split post, the crazies may be driving out business donors. Hopefully the Chairwoman of the Cobb County Young Republicans you quote is rethinking her life and her loyalties. As after W, there seem, anecdotally, to be a lot of defections from the Rs.

    Despite it having felt like this for years, it feels like the Rs are at a tipping point. With Trump fading, do they try to appeal to Latinos and get suburban voters back by reverting to being a more reasonable, broad based, conservative party funded by business interests? Or do they go full nativist faux populist funded by Koch and by conning old people and depend on vote suppression, the Senate, the EC, the Supremes, and gerrymandering to retain power with a minority? The only thing I’m sure of is that no matter how much division and infighting the Republicans engage in, the supposedly liberal MSM will run far more stories on Dems in Disarray.

  17. MarkedMan says:


    He also repeated the notion that the J&J vaccine was paused because Biden is in league with Pfizer.

    This shows a level of sophistication that I thought was beyond Trump. He and his cronies have been furiously ret-conning Operation Warp Speed into some amazing and competent program rather than what it was: a) a contractual commitment to buy vaccines from several producers if they were successfully developed (but note that OWS didn’t have anything to do with the development itself), just as dozens of other countries did, 2) once the vaccines were developed they committed to tell the manufactures which states to ship them to (and did so in a chaotic a very-sketchy fashion). Note that their responsibility ended when the highly volatile vaccine was delivered to a state airport, 3) contract with 2 major pharmacies to directly inoculate patients in nursing homes.

    That third thing was the odd man out, as it was an actual commitment to get needles in arms. It appeared to be done in the typical Republican fashion of awarding lucrative contracts to private industry with no oversight, which resulted in a very slow and wasteful process. Remember the reports of vaccines going bad? That was mostly from this program. The states that got the nursing homes done the quickest were the ones that opted out of the federal program.

    Trump in his lizard brain seems to understand that the success of the Pfizer vaccine gives the lie to the attempted rewriting of history. Pfizer and Moderna have been equally successful, and while Moderna was part of OWS, Pfizer didn’t take any OWS money, only the guarantees, and it was available just as quickly as Moderna. If OWS should be credited for speeding up vaccine development how do you explain the other vaccines that were not part of it, some of which actually reached market before any of the OWS vaccines? And of course J&J, the veritable poster child of OWS, took longer to get to market, had confusion surrounding its clinical results, and has had several significant problems. Most recently, 15 million doses were disposed of because of manufacturing quality control issues.

    Remember, Jared Kushner was in charge of OWS. It astounds me that even after all this time gullible reporters still answer his calls and buy his fantasies of competence.

  18. MarkedMan says:


    But Trump, Murdoch, Hannity, Carlson, Q, and Charles Koch’s checkbook seem to be able to exert great influence on R voters

    Yep, in my back and forth with Steven I said that if he wanted to blame Fox, I would buy it, but that the Party officials either get on board the crazy train or are gone.

    It feels like pressure is building and GOPs are on the verge of a blowup.

    I don’t think organizations this large blow up. I suspect it will advance along the Californian or Oregonian lines: increasing extreme partisans drive away the reasonable people and attract the loons until they lose all meaningful power and are left baying at the moon.

  19. KM says:

    @Jay L Gischer :
    A question – did they speak about gender roles and how important it was to God’s Plan that we conform to them? How women are to be helpmeets and men the Head of the House? How a woman should defer to a male no matter what as that’s part of their special destiny granted to them? Well… what makes one a man in (Evangelical) God’s Eye then? What’s the difference between men and women that’s so important we must base several strict dogmatic theme about?

    Perhaps they didn’t use the word “penis” but it was baked in there to the foundations of the theology. Hell, even the OT got specific about it when they declared you weren’t a man and fit into the congregation if your wee-wee wasn’t perfect. Deuteronomy 23:1 – “He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the LORD.” If you define someone’s existence and worth to the Almighty by the possession of a body part, it’s going to be subconsciously there for your entire life. You’re going to care in ways you may not even realize and it’s going to be expressed in notions like “real men” and what they do.

    We don’t talk about air either in church, you know. Being able to breath is just assumed to be a fundamental thing. It doesn’t come up unless maybe someone speaks about the “birds of the air”. However I bet you everyone there will react if something happens to affect the air quality like smoke or if someone lets a nasty one rip during services. Deviates from the norm get noticed; assertive women, non-traditional male behavior and even biological issues like “low T” get picked up on as concerning deviations from the perceived norm.

  20. Northerner says:


    Possibly its less common in the United States. Its happened in Canada many times federally and provincially, often just before a party splits (for instance the Reform Party splitting away from the Progressive Conservative Party in the early 90’s). A parliamentary system makes that easier, and I’d guess proportional representation even more likely. I believe its happened frequently in Germany as well.

    But my impression from outside is that there’s a lot of division among Democrats as well, between the progressives and the centrists, and many are only going along to support the team. In fact, my impression was that Biden was largely chosen because he wasn’t seen to be on either side of that dispute and so could unite the party against Trump (a very good thing I’d say). But having beaten Trump, will that unity hold?

    Right now in Canada, of the five major parties (Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, BQ, Greens), only the BQ leader is popular among all party members — and the Conservatives, NDP and Greens all are facing large internal divisions.

    I note in passing that visiting both left and right wing websites (say Slate and National Review), supporters on both sides think the other side is far more unified than their side — I don’t see a lot of unity in either though.

  21. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Oh, you’ve attended a Dornbecher Conference weekend, too? Talk about Crazy Train!

  22. Sleeping Dog says:
  23. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: I haven’t had one pointed at me, but when I worked on the 2010 Census, a property owner met me at his driveway, shotgun in hand.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: ? The google gods didn’t help, unless this is a children’s hospital reference…

  25. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Robbed coming out of a bank, with company money.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: W’s in the news a lot lately. Apparently he has a book to sell. I’m failing to understand why anyone should care what he has to say about anything. But I am enjoying the irony of his return to the public eye the week Biden announced the end to W’s 20 year war.

  27. Mikey says:

    “I didn’t think leopards would eat MY face,” sobs has-been rock star who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.

    Ted Nugent tests positive for COVID-19 after saying it’s ‘not a real pandemic’

  28. Mimai says:


    This is all very triggering for me. Please continue…

  29. Michael j Reynolds says:

    I hope you gave it to them promptly. I assume so, given that you’re alive.

    I wasn’t going to risk anything for Sambo’s money, particularly given that our district manager had instructed us on how to short the till to pay labor off the books and hype our numbers, and I was embezzling both for the company and for myself.

    I wonder though if it bothered you more later, after it was over. That’s generally been my experience.

  30. Mimai says:


    And with @Michael Reynolds’ reference to Denny’s, I’m finding myself oddly craving some shitty late-night/early-morning food.

  31. CSK says:

    What’s triggering you? “Moon Over Mimai” or Trump’s antics?

  32. Teve says:

    Moderna #2 tody#


  33. Mimai says:


    The former.

  34. CSK says:

    That’s funny, because ever since was a kid I’ve found “Moon Over Miami” unendurable–the sappiest, corniest song ever written.

  35. CSK says:

    I suppose you could say it triggers me.

  36. @Sleeping Dog:

    The Republican Party is now a Trump Cult.

  37. Kathy says:

    @Michael j Reynolds:

    I manged to deceive them as where all the money was. they left like half behind.

    I wasn’t very scared, either at the moment or later. Still, for months I went nowhere near that particular bank. I’d drive two or three times as long to avoid that branch.

  38. Mimai says:


    Ha, yes, that sappiness is partly to blame! Also the repeated misspelling of my pseudonym, which is something I live with IRL. And also the Denny’s breakfast sandwich reference — flashback inducing. And then the parallel discussion of guns in faces.

    It was too much, and I just had to drop a “triggering” note into this mix. As with most things, this was 99% for self-amusement.

  39. It is inappropriate for a President to root for a particular verdict in an ongoing trial.


  40. Jen says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Yeah, I kind of wish any elected official would take a step back and just wait until the verdict has been handed down. It just seems like it’s asking for a mess.

  41. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The Republican Party is now a Trump Cult.

    Michael Reynolds just fell off his lounger laughing.

    Steven vs Doug, fight! 🙂

  42. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    The best thing any politician can do for our country today is basically shut up. About everything.

    Sadly, most politicians are attention-seeking whores, so that ain’t gonna happen.

    Really starting to think we need to craft a free speech exception that implements a gag order on public comments by anyone about an ongoing trial of any kind.

  43. CSK says:

    Well, as Judge Cahill himself pointed out, this is grounds for an appeal.

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    Yes, I’m looking forward to that tussle.

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

    @Doug Mataconis: Or did Trump shape his message to what the Republican Party is?

  46. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    As I and others have pointed out, Trump followed Sarah Palin’s playbook and ramped it up considerably. To her ignorance and incoherence he added a unique blend of churlish malevolence. Obviously that resonated with a lot of people, who deluded themselves that he was a fighter standing up for them.

  47. JohnMcC says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Nixon made a remark to the press about the Manson trial during the actual proceedings. Somehow Manson got a copy of the LATimes with the big headline “Manson Guilty, Nixon Says” and held it up for the jurors to see as they filed in the next morning. Caused quite a stir; don’t recall any effect on the trial.

    Agree with all concerned it’s a more than an outrage, it’s a mistake when politicians speak up like Ms Waters and Mr Biden seem to have done.

  48. Kylopod says:


    This shows a level of sophistication that I thought was beyond Trump

    I’m not a fan of the genre of depicting Trump as some kind of misunderstood political mastermind. But he is fairly skilled at branding and sloganeering. OWS is a good example of that. (Yes, I know the phrase itself came from an FDA official who was a Trekkie, but Trump okayed it, and I’m sure he understood from the get-go how good a name it was for his purposes.) And while some people overestimate his intelligence, I think some people overstate his level of unawareness of what’s happening. I remember one of the late-night hosts commenting that you knew he had financial stakes in hydroxychloroquine since he seemed consistently able to pronounce it. (Whether that’s actually the case has been disputed, but the point is that he has a tendency to get a bit more sophisticated than he gets credit when he sees something as in his interests.) I bet he does have basic knowledge of which of the vaccines are more connected to OWS. It’s not complicated.

  49. Mikey says:

    The jury has reached a verdict in the Chauvin trial and it will be read between 4:30-5:00 (Eastern time).

    That was quick.

  50. CSK says:

    We know it’s not a hung jury.

  51. Mikey says:

    @CSK: Conventional wisdom is a verdict this quick is nearly always a conviction, but we’ll see. Also interesting is the jury did not present any questions to the judge during deliberations.

  52. steve says:

    Been stabbed, shot at and opened door to find a gun in my face, but I was young and single. Didnt really believe I was not immortal back then. Intellectually sure, but at the gut level didnt think it could happen to me. I think that if it happened when I was older and had kids it would have been much worse.

    Grew up in evangelical culture, nearly cult level. I would say that in the 60s and 70s there was no need to talk or worry about penis size as women clearly knew their place. It just wasn’t threatening to them then. Heck, at all the family gatherings, church gatherings, etc we broke into male/female groups and the women waited on the men. Almost none of the women worked though nursing and teaching were kind of acceptable.


  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Still, not as much “a Trump cult” as putting a Trump face on what was already there. Just another branding project–Trump steaks, Trump suits and ties, Trump vodka, now Trump politics. He already gets too much credit for being a branding genius; we should stop joining in the game. It only encourages him.

  54. Sleeping Dog says:


    It is a book of his art work and interestingly, the subject is immigrants and what they have contributed to America. H#ll, W is probably a Biden Republican!

  55. JohnSF says:

    I’m going to more or less repeat a comment from a year or so ago:

    I don’t know about parties structures in Canada but IMHO the main difference between US party systems and those of Europe is that Europeans parties are private organisations, largely self organized.

    Certainly in the UK:
    – People sign up for membership, usually on a contributory basis.
    – They can be expelled for breaches of party rules and discipline.
    – Only party members select their candidates (in fact the candidates may be pretty much nominated by the party HQ, but that’s another matter). “Open” primaries are alien.

    The difference being, parties structured this way can resist a take-over.
    For instance, the UK Labour Party several times in the past purged communists/trotskyites and the UK Conservatives have occasionally expelled fascists.

    Absent something like this, what is to prevent a swam of MAGA-types taking over any successor, even one that starts out as explicitly against them?
    I’ve read plenty of criticism of the Republican’s being open to racist in the post-CRA era; but how could they have stopped them?
    Honest question BTW: is their any mechanism in American politics that could have stopped them?

    (But not funny) – What would prevent a swarm of party-less Trumpkins taking over the Democrats in a “Red” state?
    Just as the “Dixiecrats” were dominated by segregationists until they departed of their own accord.

    Post-war UK and German party systems have generally been pretty stable.
    French and Italian parties have been far more mutable, but IMHO generally due to faction-fights within the political leaderships, rather than grass-roots upheavals.

    The closest to “grass roots” movements have been the temporary ascendancy of the Corbynites in Labour, and the domination of the Conservatives by the UKIP/CON crossover Brexiteers.
    And in both cases it was largely an alliance of base movement (Brexiteers/Momentum respectively) with internal faction (ERG/Tribunites+Unison) and an “insurgent” leadership (Corbyn/Johnson).

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @steve: “Almost none of the women worked though nursing and teaching were kind of acceptable.” Office clerical work, too. And retail in some departments. Grocery cashiering was an emerging opportunity as grocery chains tried to push back against wage growth, too.

  57. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I think when he ran in 2016, he never expected to win, and didn’t really want to win. It was his ultimate branding exercise.

    Trump hated the work (what little he did of it) involved in being president, but he adored being the center of attention and being called the most powerful man in the world.

  58. Sleeping Dog says:



  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: As far right as conservatism is drifting, Dubya could well be a Biden DEMOCRAT.

  60. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Pissah, even.

  61. Kathy says:

    Jim Steinman has passed away at 73.

    He was a master with lyrics, many in his best known works like Bat Out of Hell, Faster Than the Speed of Night, I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That), etc.

  62. Mister Bluster says:

    Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

  63. Mister Bluster says:

    Bail is revoked! Defendant is remanded to custody!

  64. Sleeping Dog says:

    The lesson learned today by police, is don’t murder the citizen on camera.

  65. flat earth luddite says:

    Sorry PBKAO. Should have referenced Dorchester Conference.

    The Dorchester Conference, launched in 1965 at the Dorchester House in Lincoln City, is the oldest annual political conference in the United States. Its founder was Robert Packwood, then a thirty-three-year-old state legislator. Packwood was unhappy with the conservative direction of the Republican Party, which had nominated Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater for the presidency in 1964…

    In recent years, the Dorchester Conference meetings have reflected the more conservative political tone of the state’s Republican Party.

    Although given the increasingly rabid party planks that have come out of this meeting, they may want to rename it the Children’s Crusade. Or the Whining Incoherents Crusade.

    Apparently my early celebratory tipple of Elijah Craig and my inability to speak coherently led my voice technology to substitute. Mea culpa.

  66. Mu Yixiao says:

    Before I head out to buy some scotch so I can sit through a city Common Council meeting (as a reporter, on Zoom), I thought I’d share a little good news.

    My best friend just became a grandma (both mother and daughter doing well). She’s had far too much shit happen to her over the past 10 years (including a child dying), and has worked so hard to help people (She’s a 911 dispatcher), and is working hard to gain what she wants (starting college in her late 40’s–with a teenager and a 20-something still at home, and working full time).

    I hope this little bit of happiness shines bright in her life.

  67. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: Steinman also produced this incredible piece of proto-Goth awesomeness.

    The Sisters of Mercy – This Corrosion

  68. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mu Yixiao:..I hope this little bit of happiness shines bright in her life.

    By the time this girl child is 80 years old she will see the dawn of the Twenty Second Century!
    May she live long and prosper!

  69. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah, my two comments to my husband were: “what would have happened if a 17 year-old didn’t have her cell phone out recording,” and “the real indictment here is that we’re surprised and pleased with this super-obvious and clearly logical verdict.”

    One small step, I guess.

  70. Jax says:

    Both my asthmatic teenager and my “3 different comorbidities” mother got their second shots today, Pfizer and Moderna, respectively. I feel like a great weight has been lifted for me, mentally and particularly emotionally. I no longer have to worry QUITE so much. I guess I hadn’t realized how much the worry was weighing on me.

    I feel like I can finally take my Christmas tree down. See, last year we got busy and didn’t take it down til spring break, then lockdown happened, and I always kinda felt like I jinxed us by taking the tree down, I should’ve just decorated it by closest holiday. So we haven’t take ours down yet, we’ve decorated it for Valentine’s, St Patty’s Day, and then Easter. Was gearing up for May Day and then the 4th!! 😛

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: When I clicked on your link, I got blocked. Now I’m REALLY curious.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    then the 4th!!

    Take it outside, put sparklers and roman candles on it with the finale strapping it to a skyrocket? (Maybe, you should not do the last part, come to think of it.)

  73. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I actually don’t even feel like “celebration”, per se. Just….relief. And a realization that it’s been a REALLY long year, carrying that much stress. I’ve had terrible nightmares of losing them both to COVID and ventilators.

  74. Mikey says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Wow, strange. It blocked me too. Try this one.