Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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 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. Kylopod says:

    A verse from Lou Reed’s album New York. I wonder how you’d interpret this song if you heard it today without knowing it was from 1989.

    They ordained the Trumps
    and then he got the mumps
    and died being treated at Mt. Sinai
    And my best friend Bill
    died from a poison pill
    some wired doctor prescribed for stress
    My arms and legs are shrunk
    the food all has lumps
    They discovered some animal no one’s ever seen
    It was an inside trader eating a rubber tire
    after running over Rudy Giuliani
    They say the President’s dead
    but no one can find his head
    It’s been missing now for weeks

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsKwqr2SKwo

    3
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In light of the conversations in yesterday’s Police Perception and Race thread, I found this: NFL investigates claim team told Chung he was ‘not the right minority’ for job

    The NFL is investigating an allegation by the former New England Patriots player Eugene Chung that he was told he was “not the right minority” during an interview for a coaching role.

    Chung, who is Korean American, did not name the team allegedly involved. He said the comment came after he was initially told he was “not really a minority”.

    “I was like, ‘Wait a minute. The last time I checked, when I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth, I was a minority,’” he told the Boston Globe. When Chung asked what the interviewer meant he was told he was “not the right minority that we’re looking for.”

    The 51-year-old played five seasons in the NFL before serving as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.

    “I asked about [the comment], and as soon as the backtracking started, I was like, ‘Oh no, no, no, no, no, you said it. Now that it’s out there, let’s talk about it,’” Chung said. “It was absolutely mind-blowing to me that, in 2021, something like that is actually a narrative.”

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. The article closes with.

    “I’m not sitting here bashing the league at all, because there are great mentors and there are great coaches that embrace the difference,” Chung said. “It’s just when the Asians don’t fit the narrative, that’s where my stomach churns a little bit.”

    1
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sign on the door of the Kirkwood* Walmart yesterday:

    Covid vaccines available
    Walk-ins welcome

    In my travels yesterday, I heard 2 different stories about the disparities in rural/urban vaccination rates, one story noted that rural populations were dominantly Republican/Evangelical both groups being particularly vaccination averse. Both stories predicted a long hot covid summer for rural areas. I had to make a couple stops yestereve at the local feed store and Lowe’s. Could not help noticing that other than the employees, I was the only person still wearing a mask.

    Stupid is as stupid does, WASF.

    *context, Kirkwood is an STL suburb

    Also, Misery’s vaccination rate is 33.7%. There are 10 states even worse.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Heard on the radio yesterday that the New England states have all reached 70% vaccination rates. Those numbers are not reflected in the chart I linked, so it’s a little bit dated.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Pretty stark analysis here from the WaPo (but I think outside the paywall). We are celebrating and reopening based on the falling case, hospitalization and death rates, and we should be. But when you refine the data to separate the vaxxed from the nons, you find that for the former the pandemic is essentially over, but for the latter it is raging as bad or worse than it ever was.

    When the CDC announced their new mask policy I pointed out that the guidance was pretty clear, “Responsible, reality based people should no longer be inconvenienced for the irresponsible. And we Public Health professionals will only go so far in trying to convince these nincompoops, given that they are constantly attacking us and making our lives a living hell. So here’s a pro-forma, ‘If you are not vaxxed, wear a mask’, which we know they will ignore, and now a middle finger to them all.”

    1
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Republican pariah Liz Cheney has repeatedly refused to admit a link between Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud and restrictive voting laws being introduced in Republican states, telling an interviewer on Sunday night she will “never understand the resistance to voter ID”.

    “There’s a big difference between that and a president of the United States who loses an election after he tried to steal the election and refuses to concede,” said the Wyoming representative ejected from party leadership for opposing the former president.

    Laws tightening regulations on voter ID, voting by mail and even giving water to those waiting on line to vote have been passed or are close to passage in states from Georgia to Texas and beyond.

    Because of their disproportionate impact on minority voters – many of whom vote Democratic – Democrats including Joe Biden have compared such laws to Jim Crow segregation in southern states from the civil war to the civil rights era.

    Most in a Republican party under Trump’s grip reject such claims. Cheney has ranged herself against Trump but when pressured by Axios on HBO interviewer Jonathan Swan, she stayed in lockstep with her party.

    Say WHAT???? At heart Liz Cheney is a Republican who sees nothing wrong with suppressing Democratic votes??? Say it ain’t so!!!

    8
  7. Kathy says:

    Have you noticed since trump was booted off Twitter, there seem to be fewer days that end in “Y”?

    2
  8. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: interesting about the states with the lowest vax rates:

    36. Arizona
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 2,540,723
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 34.91

    37. Indiana
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 2,301,734
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 34.19

    38. Texas
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 9,878,166
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 34.07

    39. Missouri
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 2,056,145
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 33.5

    40. West Virginia
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 600,173
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 33.49

    41. Oklahoma
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 1,311,415
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 33.14

    42. South Carolina
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 1,687,194
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 32.77

    43. Idaho
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 570,768
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 31.94

    44. Utah
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 1,002,111
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 31.26

    45. Wyoming
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 180,182
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 31.13

    46. Tennessee
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 2,112,158
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 30.93

    47. Georgia
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 3,257,623
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 30.68

    48. Louisiana
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 1,416,765
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 30.48

    49. Arkansas
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 912,124
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 30.22

    50. Alabama
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 1,407,769
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 28.71

    51. Mississippi
    Number of people fully vaccinated: 788,181
    Percentage of population fully vaccinated: 26.48

    It seems like they all have something in common, but i just can’t put my finger on it.

    4
  9. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    So…today is Tuesda?

    1
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: No, there still a lot of Republicans on twitter: Most Republicans still believe 2020 election was stolen from Trump – poll They still believe that a man who spent 97% of his presidency with just above a 40% approval rating got a majority of the vote.

    More proof that you can’t fix stupid.

    5
  11. Teve says:
  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Floriduh man has some competition on the other side of the pond: Missing man found dead inside Spanish dinosaur statue.

    “We found the body of a man inside the leg of this dinosaur statue. It’s an accidental death; there was no violence. This person got inside the statue’s leg and got trapped. It looks as though he was trying to retrieve a mobile phone, which he’d dropped. It looks like he entered the statue head first and couldn’t get out.”

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Darwin

    1
  14. @Teve:

    Of course Alabama and Mississippi are last.

    2
  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    Where have all the intellectuals gone?
    Who among today’s literary figures has any chance of being recognised as a thinker on par with a Dostoevsky or a Marx?

    “Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, Jordan Peterson, Peter Thiel, Yuval Noah Harari, Steven Pinker, Tyler Cowen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Slavoj Žižek, Andrew Sullivan, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, Peter Singer, Samantha Power.” This was New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s attempt to list the most influential, if not the highest calibre, thinkers of the new millennium.

    A rather disappointing (and US-centric) list, and this was his point. Who among these figures had any chance of being recognised, centuries on, as a world-historical thinker on par with a Dostoevsky or a Marx?

    I’d place the blame on the end of history with the ascension of the hegemony of Liberalism. The rise of authoritarianism may lead renewed intellectual vigor coming from younger generations, but for the moment we are bereft.

    3
  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: As that list makes clear, the modern Republican Party has become a magnet for irresponsible fantasists who cannot react in the public interest because they are unable to separate out meaningful information from Fox News drivel. Electing a Republican at any level is a mistake.

    3
  17. Teve says:
  18. Joe Biden’s approval is roughly 20 points higher than the Former Guy’s was at the point in this Presidency. Apparently the American people recognize the difference between competence and incompetence and is glad to having a POTUS not posting irrational Tweets.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/555144-bidens-job-approval-ticks-upward-to-62-percent-poll-finds

    5
  19. Teve says:
  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I think you have the wrong link there

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I find it extremely difficult to take such concerns as anything other than mental masturbation because I am quite confident that in 100 years there will be an answer.

    And I will be dead long before then.

  22. James Joyner says:

    @Doug Mataconis: There’s like a 1% chance that the Olympics are postponed again. With vaccinations available, there’s no reason to think otherwise.

  23. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    The longest-serving IOC member, Dick Pound, says that cancellation is “off the table.”

  24. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve:

    And West Virginia started off so well. I recall when they were held up as a good model for how to run a vaccination program.

  25. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    The athletes from the U.S.A. are still participating.

  26. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Moscow 1980 proved the Olympics can take place without America, just as LA 84 proved they can go on without the USSR/Russia.

    @James Joyner:

    As we’ve seen with various red states, availability of vaccines does not mean application of vaccines. Japan lags well behind in actual vaccinations, covering under 4% of the population so far.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: The Olympic Committee is demanding that Japan makes nearly 10K health care professionals available for the athletes. The arrogance of the self appointed Committee is just staggering. If any of my local politicians ever attempts to go after the Olympics I’ll consider it a disqualifying level of stupidity and probable corruption. The Olympics and the World Cup are increasingly awarded to corrupt and despotic regimes. And neither has any mechanism to rid themselves of the corruption and self dealing that is bringing them down.

    1
  28. Mu Yixiao says:

    @James Joyner:

    There’s like a 1% chance that the Olympics are postponed again. With vaccinations available, there’s no reason to think otherwise.

    80% of Japanese oppose Olympics

    The Japanese government is fairly responsive to the population on things like this. And the risk of the population being inhospitable to foreign guests could cause the PM and government to lose significant face.

    2
  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: Hospitals overwhelmed as Covid cases surge in Osaka, Osaka buckles under strain of Japan’s fourth COVID-19 wave

    I’m not gonna be so brave as to put forth any odds but I don’t think vaccinations will have anything to do with whatever decisions are made.

    2
  30. CSK says:

    Does The Former Guy use his Scottish golf courses to launder money?

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/05/donald-trump-scottish-golf-courses-questions

    3
  31. Jax says:

    @CSK: I’m going to go with “Yes, as well as every other property he owns”.

    5
  32. CSK says:

    Despite the fact that he’s not registered to vote, and has been banned from the state capitol grounds, Ammon Bundy is going to run for governor of Idaho.

    2
  33. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    Does The Former Guy use his Scottish golf courses to launder money?

    As Jax noted, the answer is almost certainly yes. The more interesting question: Who’s money?

    In other words, it seems pretty obvious that Trump makes his money by laundering other people’s money. Who are those other people?

    2
  34. CSK says:

    @Jax: @MarkedMan:

    To paraphrase an old song: “Nobody knows the rubles I’ve seen.”

    4
  35. OzarkHillbilly says:
  36. Kathy says:

    The urgency to stage the Olympics seems to be that next year China will host the Winter Games.

    Let’s not forget for decades both games were held in the same year, until they were staggered at two year intervals in 1994.

    It won’t kill anyone to do so again once. Whereas people will die of COVID if held this year.

  37. @Kathy:

    @CSK:

    @James Joyner:

    Perhaps they will take place but it’s brong suggested that most events will take place without spectators

  38. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Interesting piece. I have a lot of thoughts. Let’s start with Douthat’s list.

    Ibram X Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, Jordan Peterson, Peter Thiel, Yuval Noah Harari, Steven Pinker, Tyler Cowen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Slavoj Žižek, Andrew Sullivan, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Peter Singer, Samantha Power, my colleague Thomas Friedman… and now we’re back at the turn of the millennium.

    Burns’s piece leaves off Friedman and the religious thinkers Douthat lists. Curiously, his religious list includes Pinker, Kendi, and Dawkins, but not Harris. I can’t imagine that most people know Harris for his work in ethics. Anyway, yeah.

    Yes, this list is anemic. Even on this list, some are clearly much more influential than others.

    -Sullivan and Friedman are way past their influence prime, as Douthat acknowledges wrt the latter.

    -Pretty sure Singer is as well.

    -Do people consider Thiel an intellectual? If they do, wouldn’t there be other Silicon Valley figures that fit the criteria of influential intellectual better? Like, I dunno, Bezos or Musk? Or even Zuckerberg? I mean, of those Musk is probably most considered to be a public intellectual. The others, like Thiel, are just businessmen.

    -Power fits the rubric under intellectual, but is she all that well known?

    -Alexander is somewhat influential in the sense that mass incarceration as the new Jim Crow is a a prominent issue. But I don’t know that people really associate that with her.

    Names left: Kendi, Peterson, Harari, Pinker, Cowen, Coates, Žižek, Dawkins, and Harris.

    -Žižek: I think he’s more known for his antics and provocation than his thought.* Unless there is a movement of neo-Lacanians running around that I don’t know about.

    -Dawkins and Harris: check and check. Though Harris is the runt of the 4 horseman–clearly intellectually inferior to Dawkins and Dennett; less famous and influential than Hitchens.

    -Kendi and Coates: check and check.

    -Peterson: He is a clearly step down from the finalists here in terms of intellect, unless self-help is now the province if intellectualism. But yeah, dude is influential. He’s probably somewhat fortunate that the geneticist Weinstein twin is too committed to decorum give him what he deserves.

    -Harari: is he influential? If he is, Gladwell a better fit?

    -Cowen: I guess. I think he’s only really known among economics people though, right? Maybe I’m wrong.

    *The man compared 9/11’s impact on the American psyche to a camera on the end of a dildo. If he had any widespread influence at all, that would still be discussed on FNC anytime Carlson picks a fight with Duckworth.

    More later…

  39. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    This reminds me of the time years ago when some sage on Ricochet earnestly described Bristol Palin as an up-and-coming public intellectual.

    Seriously.

    3
  40. Biden and Putin to meet next month, probably in Geneva.

    One good thing is that we won’t see Biden kiss Putin’s ass like Trump did when he met the Russian dictator in Helsinki.

    https://thehill.com/policy/international/555248-biden-putin-to-meet-in-person-on-june-16

    2
  41. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Bien should be generous and bring the Orange Ass along, perhaps on a leash. He hasn’t seen his owner in over a year, and surely he misses him.

    4
  42. gVOR08 says:

    NYT has a column by Dr. K titled The Banality of Democratic Collapse. He notes we’ve always had a lot of paranoia and conspiracy theory in this country, but now Republican elites embrace the nonsense.

    Or to put it another way, the fundamental problem lies less with the crazies than with the careerists; not with the madness of Marjorie Taylor Greene, but with the spinelessness of Kevin McCarthy.

    Krugman notes the difference in party structures, that Democrats are a collection of interest groups while Republicans seem to embrace an ideology,

    although given the twists and turns of recent years — the sudden embrace of protectionism, the attacks on “woke” corporations — the ideology of movement conservatism seems less obvious than its will to power.

    IIRC Hannah Arendt notes that “movements”, e.g. the pan-Germanism that fed Hitler, don’t have ideologies, they can change positions on a dime without losing adherents, they have no goal, because achieving the goal would be an endpoint and the movement can’t end. All that counts is loyalty to the movement. Sounded awfully familiar. And Dr. K makes the point that although the niche for what they’re doing may have been opened by factors outside their control, they’re still assholes for occupying it.

    Yesterday I linked to a Digby post referencing Mann and Orenstein’s 2012 WAPO essay Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.. Trump is just a symptom, the rot started decades ago.

    Dr. T teaches us that the structure of our institutions drives our current situation, which is certainly true. But I have a question. With the rather notable exception of the Civil War, this kluge the founders put together seemed to more or less work for 200 years. I have to ask what changed? What come immediately to my mind is:
    – Greatly increased scale
    – Age, leading to scleroticism
    – Nationalized media and politics
    – Big money in politics

    Anything else? I tend to largely blame big money. Much of what we see flows from movement conservatism which has influence largely because of big money. Hannah Arendt also observes that government depends on the acquiescence of the mass of citizens who are indifferent to politics, and “movements” mobilize them. Again, sounds familiar. Lewis Black had a line about the Tea Party and their funders, something like, ‘Tens of thousands of people without a pot to piss in take to the streets to protest raising taxes on billionaires. Now that’s leadership.’ As I’m sure Black knows, that’s really money. It’s also, of the items on my little list, one we could actually do something about. Difficult with the current Court, but maybe not impossible. May I quote Joel Gray and Liza Minelli?

    Money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money.

    1
  43. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Also I doubt Biden will seize the translators notes.

    1
  44. Kathy says:

    BTW, in aviation news, the FAA is going to downgrade Mexico to category 2 safety rating. This is due to alleged deficiencies in oversight by Mexico’s civil aviation authorities, not by any implication that Mexican airlines are unsafe.

    It’s also not such a big deal. It happened before in 2011. The main consequence is that Mexican airlines can’t add new routes to the US, and some complications with code shares. They can fly existing routes indefinitely.

    As is common by now, the pandemic adds a new wrinkle. What are the existing routes? While travel between Mexico and the US never stopped for the trump pandemic, frequencies and some routes were pared back. If frequencies are increased or suspended routes revived, are these new routes or existing ones?

    This should be resolved in a few months, unless His Trumpiness Manuel Andres I wants to make a big deal about this and stage some fight he’s going to lose. Nevertheless, it could affect summer travel options.

  45. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    That wasn’t the only thing Trump tore up. He had a habit of ripping up all his papers at the end of the day, and a special team of people had to be sent into his office to empty the wastebaskets and piece everything together.

    3
  46. dazedandconfused says:

    @gVOR08:

    I think he’s not wrong but IMO the careerists only pander. Consider what brought down the Weimar Republic, poverty. “Everybody is seven missed meals away from a revolution” and “all politics is local”. I believe the pundits tend to overthink things.

    The rural and blue collar urban people have been getting poorer over the last couple decades, this is a change they really do believe in. They see bleak prospects for their kids too, which is dangerous. After being indoctrinated by the FOX Newsies that this is entirely due to their money and jobs going to people of other races and places, and that part about places isn’t all wrong. They have begun to flirt with the notion we need a strong man to “drain the swamp”. I suggest it’s all really that simple.

    The Dems would be well advised to pay the working poor bigoted white people some serious mind. The more they allow themselves to be perceived as strictly the party of gays and blacks the more they will wonder how it was that an abhorrent personality like Trump could get four years as POTUS, damn near another four.

    4
  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: The Dems would be well advised to pay the working poor bigoted white people some serious mind.

    They do. Time and again they propose and try to pass policies (sometimes succeeding- the ACA for instance) that would help the “working poor bigoted white people” and time and again the WPBWP spit on the DEMs because the GOP tells them it only helps “those people”. If they ever actually looked in the mirror they would see “those people” but instead all they see is their white skin.

    The Medicaid expansion in the ACA is the best thing possible for rural hospitals at a very limited cost to MO taxpayers. Here in Misery the voters passed an initiative making it law because the GOP Lege refused to do it. Guess what? The GOP lege gutted it in this legislative session again. Basically said “F*#& YOU.” to the voters. Guess what will happen in 2022? MO voters will send them all back to Jeff City again.

    Biden’s infrastructure bill? Right in the WPBWP economic wheel house. Do you think they will punish the GOP in DC for blocking it? Hell no. Guns, Jesus, and “those people” are all they care about.

    5
  48. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Raising the minimum wage, supporting unions, making gig economy companies treat their employees as employees.

    I’m sure there’s more.

    1
  49. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    There was sort of the opposite situation in Massachusetts. The white ethnic working class would complain endlessly about how the government was giving all their hard-earned money to the n*****rs and the sp*cs. And then they’d traipse off to the polling place to vote for the most liberal Democrats on the ballot.

    Voting for a Democrat was ancestral, not ideological. Their grandfathers voted for Democrats (because the Republican Party was then an exclusive blueblood WASP fraternity), so they did too.

  50. gVOR08 says:

    @dazedandconfused: You have a good point. I have myself commented in these threads that the base is right to feel our elites have failed us. But they do seem to have a problem properly identifying the responsible elite.

    @OzarkHillbilly: sees this as more rural issue. I think there are two issues, first the disconnect of wages from productivity which goes back to the 70s, and second the decline of rural economies. The first is as much a result of our political dysfunction as a driver, and flows from “big money”, but I would accept adding “economic inequality” or “economic stagnation” to my list. The second, rural decline, I fear is largely inevitable. And neither is inherently a partisan issue, but Rs have done a good job of exploiting them. And the country has gone through many episodes of a poor economy in the past without the government becoming dysfunctional.

    I see a lot of discussion as to whether Ds should address issues as a matter of race or class. I tend to come down on the class side. As a matter of good politics, and truth, make it clear that government benefits go more to poor whites than to minorities. However, that’s touchy. People don’t want to be identified as poor. It’s maddening that poor whites want help, but they don’t want to think of themselves as being helped. WV coal miners don’t want charity, they want the mines back. Well, the mines aren’t coming back, so how do we help them without helping them?

    I agree with Ozark that Ds do try to address these issues in a real way, but they fail to address them effectively as political issues. The Rs address the resentment politically very effectively, while doing nothing. Ds should go after the stereotypical blue collar white Trump voter. But the prosperous country club Republicans are also GOP base Trump voters, and educated white suburban Republicans are probably an easier get.

  51. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Voting for a Democrat was ancestral, not ideological. Their grandfathers voted for Democrats (because the Republican Party was then an exclusive blueblood WASP fraternity), so they did too.

    It’s interesting to me that, unlike in the South, this did not cause the state to turn red. MA is one of the bluest states in the country and one of the few states where every single county is solidly blue as well. And it didn’t shift even slightly to the right in the Trump era the way that, say, New York did; indeed, Biden had the best showing in the state since LBJ.

    (And in case anyone is wondering, I don’t think NY’s (small) red shift was due to any favorite-son effects, as Trump still did poorly in NYC; his improvements relative to the Obama era were mostly in the mainland, and a reflection of the broader shifts toward Republicans in rural areas and the Rust Belt.)

  52. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Yet Massachusetts Democrats seem very happy to to elect Republicans as their governors. This despite the fact the the Congressional delegation is entirely Democratic, and the state legislature 80.6% so.

    What startled me in 2016 is that 50+% of the Republican voters in the presidential primary went for Trump. I think that was the highest percentage of votes he got in any primary in the country. If not, it was certainly among the highest. Of course Trump never bothered to campaign here, given that there are only 600,000+ registered Republicans in Mass. Still, you’d think they would have held their noses and run screaming from him. He is definitely not a New England-style Republican.

  53. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    I’m surprised he didn’t post “Tony’s Workout Videos” on Facebook.

  54. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Yet Massachusetts Democrats seem very happy to to elect Republicans as their governors.

    That isn’t what I was talking about. In the modern age there are so many examples of governors elected from the opposite party of the dominant one in a state that I think gubernatorial elections should be placed in their own category. They certainly seem more immune to partisan effects than federal offices, or even most state offices.

    I was talking more about the general shift among blue-collar white voters to the Republican Party, which has caused many other traditionally Democratic states to shift rightward but has not had that effect on MA.

    What startled me in 2016 is that 50+% of the Republican voters in the presidential primary went for Trump. I think that was the highest percentage of votes he got in any primary in the country.

    It was not. Trump didn’t win an absolute majority in any state until New York more than two-and-a-half months after the primaries started. Then he started winning majorities in other states. MA voted much earlier, on Super Tuesday, and he got 49%–not quite a majority, but still his best state before the late stages of the race.

    Still, you’d think they would have held their noses and run screaming from him. He is definitely not a New England-style Republican.

    We’ve had this conversation before. My theory is that he benefited from a perception of being the most secular Republican running that year.

  55. CSK says:

    My comment about Mass. Democrats electing Republican governors was an observation more than a response to you. I know it happens elsewhere.

    As for Trump being the most secular candidate, thus his appeal to Mass. Republicans: that’s as good an explanation as any, I suppose. I don’t know if it’s the whole truth, but no other reason for his popularity here comes to mind. Some Trump voters liked him for his boorishness, but that doesn’t really fly here.

    It’s ironic that he appealed so much to Protestant fundamentalists, who have sort of retrofit him into a devout Christian, if still a baby one.

  56. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    It’s ironic that he appealed so much to Protestant fundamentalists, who have sort of retrofit him into a devout Christian, if still a baby one.

    In a weird way it’s one of Trump’s most traditional traits as a politician: the ability to maintain contradictory coalitions, like the mid-20th c. Dems who drew in both blacks and white supremacists. Trump’s entire public image prior to entering politics was blatantly, boorishly secular. Yet his appeal to evangelicals didn’t come out of nowhere. He actually had a familiarity with evangelical culture–the style if not the ideology. He’s been involved with Paula White since the early 2000s. In many ways he resembles a televangelist–the crooked kind satirized all those years ago in the Phil Collins song “Jesus He Knows Me.” Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee may be better versed in the ideas, but Trump got the feel down to a tee. He appealed to the sense of grievance and alienation that’s pervasive among that crowd, giving them a sense that he would actually be more reliable on the issues they cared about than the other candidates despite all his past inconsistencies and laughable Biblical ignorance, simply because he signaled to them that he was someone who never apologized, and always doubled-down. Perhaps a President Cruz or Huck or Pence would have given them the same stuff or more, but Trump’s presidency has definitely convinced them they made the right gamble, and they may be correct in that assumption.

    1
  57. Kathy says:

    Remember around, I think, late spring and early summer of last year (which seems to have been far longer ago), there was much worry about how long immunity would last on recovered COVID patients, and whether reinfection was possible?

    I mention this, because now the worry is how long vaccine immunity will last, and whether breakthrough infections are possible. The more things change…

    There are many people who recovered from COVID who insist they don’t need a vaccine, including the crazed ignoramus from Kentucky. Many health authorities recommend vaccination even for patients recently recovered, more so for those who recovered over a year ago. I mean, I doubt Rand Paul has periodic checks of his antibody levels.

  58. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Does former guy launder money through (any or all of) his golf courses? Do bears live in forests? Is the sky blue? Is snow cold and wet?

    1
  59. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod:

    it’s one of Trump’s most traditional traits as a politician: the ability to maintain contradictory coalitions

    Perhaps. But this type of thing comes up a lot. (“Why do people vote against their best interests?” “Why do fiscal conservatives seem to be okay with the endless Republican debt?”) A much simpler explanation is that what people say is important to them is not what is actually important to them. I think it is more productive to suss out what is actually important to these supposedly disparate groups and see where Trump fits into that.

    1
  60. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: Psaki handled it well when she chased a reporter’s “Many people say…” down to TFG had said something, then gave the reporter a response something like, “We don’t take advice or counsel from former President Trump on foreign policy.”

    Let him rot in Mar-A-Lago. Throw him no crumbs.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hey. As long as the nKLAAAANNNNGGGG downstream doesn’t have a box to shelter in, a fire to stay warm by, a curtain rod to cook on, or food to cook on it, my packing crate is just fine, thank you. 🙁

    1
  62. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t find the common argument that many Republicans “vote against their interests” very useful, because it begs the question of what their interests are. Instead, I believe–and I wish there was more research into this–that a substantial chunk of Republican voters are deeply misinformed about what they are actually voting for.

    There’s polling data as well as anecdote to back this up, where you find many R voters claiming to support higher taxes on the rich, some form of universal health care, a higher minimum wage, strong union rights, and more. One might argue they’re aware the GOP doesn’t support those things and that they simply prioritize other issues–guns, abortion, or whatever. I’m sure that’s even true in some cases. But it’s also very evident that the entire messaging of the GOP is a sustained attempt to fundamentally mislead people about their agenda and make it seem like the two parties’ positions are practically the reverse of what they actually are.

    For example, since the passage of the ACA the GOP’s pervasive message–sometimes explicit, sometimes less so–is that the law would threaten the health care people already had and that the GOP would restore it or even increase it. There is plenty of legitimate debate to be had about the strengths and flaws of the ACA, but the GOP never made a serious attempt to engage in that debate; their arguments were nothing but a pack of lies designed to invert the parties’ relative positions on the issue in the minds of the public, making them the champions of greater coverage and the Dems the ones who threatened to end it.

    Their current fake war against “big tech” is just the latest example where the party of tax cuts and deregulation pretends to be the enemy of corporations and friend of the working person.

    If it’s accurate to say that GOP propaganda has been effective at altering reality in the minds of GOP voters, it should go without saying that a lot of those voters don’t have the faintest idea what policies the people they vote for are actually putting into place.

    4
  63. Jax says:

    @Kylopod: Anecdotally, I tend to agree with you on this. I am surrounded by Republicans and I spend a lot of time trapped in vehicles listening to political discussions amongst cowboys. There IS a lot of inherent racism involved, but also a tremendous amount of not understanding what exactly what NAFTA was or how it’s different from Trump’s NAFTA 2.0, what exactly constitutes a trade war and who pays for tariffs in the long run, what NATO actually does, what Medicare for All actually means, the differences between Communism/Marxism/Socialism (All the same, to them)….shit, some of them don’t even seem to understand the difference between the debt and the deficit. Many of them believe the talking heads on the teevee because they grew up with 3 main news stations, and they were to be trusted. At this point, they’ve reached the time in their lives where they are the “elders”, so they’re not going to change their minds.

    2
  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: sees this as more rural issue. I think there are two issues, first the disconnect of wages from productivity which goes back to the 70s, and second the decline of rural economies.

    Having lived and worked out here for the past 20 years I have to repeat, it’s 3 issues: Guns, Jesus, and N*gg*rs.

    People want to dress it up in all these shades of red, white, and blue, (and the GOP have defined that language) but it all comes down to G, J, and N.

    Guns now rival the cross as a religious icon. Jesus is… Well, Jesus. Never mind what he was, what he said, what he did, he’s Jesus now and what ever that means to a person, forget the Bible. N*gg*rs? Say no more.

    1
  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: My theory is he said the quiet parts out loud.

    1
  66. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Trump is now Jesus, so they can get rid of that pesky What Would Jesus Do? crap and just do what Trump would do.

    1
  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: @Jax: but also a tremendous amount of not understanding what exactly

    And who’s fault is that? So now we are back to James’ post about speaking Hebrew or Yiddish. At some point we have to acknowledge that people hear what they want to hear, and whether it’s Hebrew or Yiddish matters not near as much as Taylor’s point of who is speaking it.

    3
  68. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Most days I think @Teve is correct in that we (The United States of America) is not going to survive right-wing media.

    3
  69. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I think that’s it: Trump did a wonderful impersonation of a televangelist. But it still doesn’t explain why he did so well in the Massachusetts primary. Televangelists aren’t big in these parts.

    @just nutha:
    It was purely a rhetorical question.

    1
  70. CSK says:

    A special grand jury has been convened by the Manhattan D.A.’s office to decide whether Trump should be indicted.

    1
  71. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    I don’t find the common argument that many Republicans “vote against their interests” very useful, because it begs the question of what their interests are. Instead, I believe–and I wish there was more research into this–that a substantial chunk of Republican voters are deeply misinformed about what they are actually voting for.

    These don’t necessarily contradict, you can vote against your interests while simultaneously not understanding what you are voting for.

    I’d pose the question as, do they know they are voting for evil things, or have they been mislead into thinking they’re voting for good?Malicious versus ignorant, in other words.

    1
  72. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    I think that’s it: Trump did a wonderful impersonation of a televangelist. But it still doesn’t explain why he did so well in the Massachusetts primary. Televangelists aren’t big in these parts.

    I was giving alternate explanations for both: he appealed to New England Repubs because of his secularism, and to the South because of his quasi-evangelism. It sounds strange and contradictory, but I believe it’s true.

    1
  73. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    But it still doesn’t explain why he did so well in the Massachusetts primary.

    One of the most malignant creationists you’ll ever encounter is a fellow named Joe G, who lives in a podunk town in Massachusetts. In his last monologue against me, he referred to me as an Ignorant Faggot.

  74. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    These don’t necessarily contradict, you can vote against your interests while simultaneously not understanding what you are voting for.

    I agree: these aren’t contradictions. I just think the statement that they vote against their interests is too vague and presumptuous. If someone believes strongly that abortion is murder, who am I to say that it isn’t their “interest”? I don’t feel the need to define what someone else’s interests are for them, but I can spot concrete areas where they’re misinformed and therefore have an inaccurate perception of the consequences of their vote even if we take their assessment of what their interests are at face value.

  75. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I think people saw in him what they wanted to see.

    @Teve:
    Well, Joe sounds like a delightful chap, doesn’t he? Of course there are Bible-thumpers in Mass. But not nearly as many as in, say, Alabama.

    What’s Joe G.’s podunk town?

  76. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I’ll believe that’s the purpose of the grand jury when I see the indictments.

    We’ve been disappointed before.

  77. Jax says:

    @Kylopod: That’s what gets me on the abortion front. These Catholic/Mormon/Christian women that I know in person will be against abortion very publicly, until they need one, then they get one, and they’re still very publicly against abortion. How does that even compute?!

    1
  78. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    We can hope. Keep your fingers crossed. Keep your toes crossed. Keep your legs crossed. Keep your eyes crossed, if that’s what it takes.

  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I daily remind myself that there have been innumerable times when we have been in similar or worse straits. It doesn’t always help, quite often I feel like I am whistling into the wind, but it’s still true and that fact allows me to take a breath, still my anger, and retain hope.

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Trump did a wonderful impersonation of a televangelist.

    How many times did he quote from the Bible? Televangelists do that on a regular basis. Did trump ever?

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Malicious versus ignorant, in other words.

    For some reason or other I think that is a distinction without a difference.

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: If someone believes strongly that abortion is murder, who am I to say that it isn’t their “interest”?

    And yet these are the same people who think middle aged to older folks dying for the economy isn’t murder and is in fact in their interests.

    F*ck them.

    1
  83. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    What’s Joe G.’s podunk town?

    it was somewhere near Ashby, Massachusetts, IIRC.

  84. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    And yet these are the same people who think middle aged to older folks dying for the economy isn’t murder and is in fact in their interests.

    Some think that way. Others don’t believe Covid is as serious as has been claimed, to the point of unwittingly putting their own lives on the line when they gather maskless or refuse to get vaccinated. Which just goes back to my point of how much their behavior and beliefs are rooted in misinformation.

  85. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    He claimed to be an evangelical back on the campaign trail. And remember when he lumbered in front of the parish house of St. John’s Episcopal Church and held up the Bible?

    As for his impersonation: He had the shameless, sleazy, oleaginous manner of a tv preacher.

    3
  86. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    And of course there was the famous reference to “Two Corinthians” at Liberty University.

    2
  87. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: How does that even compute?!

    I read a story of anti abortion protestors inside abortion clinics to get abortions (my google-fu is lacking, can’t find it again). Among them was a woman who brought her daughter in and while waiting for the procedure to be completed she was handing out anti-abortion literature in the waiting room.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Words defy.

    3
  88. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: You give them way too much credit. I can only repeat: F*ck them.

    @CSK: remember when he lumbered in front of the parish house of St. John’s Episcopal Church and held up the Bible?

    You mean when he couldn’t even hold it right side up? So the F what? I’m an atheist and I actually read the damn thing from time to time. I have to say that I can’t help but notice that you did not answer my question: How many times did he quote from the Bible?

    As far as

    his impersonation: He had the shameless, sleazy, oleaginous manner of a tv preacher.

    I gotta call bullshit. His performance was so lacking he couldn’t even cite a passage much less quote the Bible, a thing every TV preacher can do.

    BUT it becomes obvious you are missing my point. My criticism is NOT of his performance (which was ludicrous to the Nth degree) but of Evangelicals and their fellow travelers acceptance of it.

    Their faith is every bit as shallow and full of bullsh*t as his performance. They disgust me.

    1
  89. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    You mean when he couldn’t even hold it right side up? So the F what? I’m an atheist and I actually read the damn thing from time to time.

    I’m in atheist, and i’ve read the Bible for two reasons. One, you can’t write down 1000 pages of accumulated cultural stories without having at least a few wise things to say. Two, so I can enjoy Shakespeare’s references and the lovely humor of PG Wodehouse.

    After the thing was all over, when peril had ceased to loom and happy endings had been distributed in heaping handfuls and we were driving home with our hats on the sides of our heads, having shaken the dust of Steeple Bumpleigh from our tyres, I confessed to Jeeves that there had been moments during the recent proceedings when Bertram Wooster, though no weakling, had come very near to despair.

    “Within a toucher, Jeeves.”

    “Unquestionably affairs had developed a certain menacing trend, sir.”

    “I saw no ray of hope. It looked to me as if the blue bird had thrown in the towel and formally ceased to function. And yet here we are, all boomps-a-daisy. Makes one think a bit, that.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “There’s an expression on the tip of my tongue which seems to me to sum the whole thing up. Or, rather, when I saw an expression, I mean a saying. A wheeze. A gag. What, I believe, is called a saw. Something about Joy doing something.”

    “Joy cometh in the morning, sir?”

    “That’s the baby. Not one of your things, is it?”

    “No, sir.”

    “Well, it’s dashed good,” I said.

    1
  90. Moosebreath says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “And yet these are the same people who think middle aged to older folks dying for the economy isn’t murder and is in fact in their interests.”

    And that decriminalizing some types of vehicular homicide is being pro-life.

  91. Teve says:

    Some new research showing that misophonia is a real thing.

    We are not yet at a reasonable point where somebody chewing with their mouth open or clicking a pen nonstop can be indicted for felony war crimes, but hopefully we’re coming closer.

  92. Teve says:

    Ronny Chieng on why we need an Asian president.

    “ every nine months in this country there’s like a congressional gridlock, people threatening to shut down the government. Government shut down? There’s no government shut down with Asian people in charge. We don’t shut down for anything. We don’t shut down for Christmas. We work through public holidays. Any city in America, it’s 3 AM and you’re hungry, where do you go? You go to Chinatown. We don’t shut down for anything.”

    1
  93. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    I see a lot of discussion as to whether Ds should address issues as a matter of race or class. I tend to come down on the class side.

    Pourquoi non les deux?

    Seriously, these are two separate issues, with separate pathologies and separate treatments. You might be able to treat them separately, but that would mean putting one set of legitimate grievances on hold, which is probably not wise. Of the two, race has by far the most urgent and profound claim — which is not to say that the claims of class are not also urgent and profound.

    I vote we be up front and explicit about both, and avoid conflating them under some vague umbrella that can then be dismissed as “PC” or “woke” or what have you.

  94. Teve says:

    @gregkellyusa

    Hey you guys want to hear something really WEIRD? @barackobama and LEE HARVEY OSWALD lived very close to each other on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Obama at 339 E94th Street and Oswald at 325 E92nd Street. But it’s unlikely they ever crossed paths given numerous “factors”

    I just looked up the dates on Wikipedia. Obama was 2 years and 3 mos old when Oswald died.

    You don’t have to be mentally disabled to be a Republican, but it sure helps.

    4
  95. Jax says:

    @Teve: There’s a Criminal Minds episode about this, “False Flag”. First aired in 2017, I cell phone recorded the crazy dude talking about how he could sell all his followers all the crazy things, if he just worded it the right way in his podcasts. Sent it to a real life friend who had recently been bombarding me with Q bullshit.

    I never heard from him again after I sent him that clip. 30 freakin years, we’ve been friends. All it took was Q to break it.