Wednesday’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. de stijl says:

    A few nights back a tree in the neighbor’s yard directly across the street from from me lost a huge limb that took out power lines on the way down.

    Cops showed up, then electric utility repair dudes showed up with lift trucks.

    The cool thing was that the utility dudes had these awesome hats I had never seen before. From across a five lane street they looked like pith helmets (like in old timey movies set in Africa and all the English dudes wore them. Think that jerky assholish guy in Jumanji.)

    They looked like pith helmets with super bright LEDs stuck to the brim. Spaced an inch apart around the whole brim. If they were facing in my direction it was all bright white lights, and if facing away all the LED lights were bright red.

    I assume it is so motorists can see them. Very cool. Super bad-ass. Extremely fancy. I want one.

    They got the power back on by 4 AM. Took ’em maybe 5 hours total.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dan Primack

    Tesla lost around $47 billion in market cap today. Or, put another way, it lost more than one full Twitter.

    Elon Musk becomes first person ever to lose $268b

    Nobody has ever done that before. He must be some kind of genius.

  3. Rick DeMent says:

    I was watching live coverage of the Speaker vote yesterday. I was curious about some of the reporting from the insurgents complaining about about Kevin McCarthy being untrustworthy . Is this something new (I mean untrustworthy is kind of on brand for the GOP these days )? Did McCarthy screw some of the MAGAts over at one point? Wasn’t he the one who lead the charge in the Benghazi smear campaign that weakened Clinton that helped Trump? I’m kind of wondering why the MAGAts would want such a public floor fight when that have such an ambitious agenda despite their razor thin majority.

    I can understand why Democrats wouldn’t trust him (hell I wouldn’t be surprised if his own mother wouldn’t trust him), but it seems like the MAGAts want to weaken him to the point were he is nothing more then a gavel banger. Again seems odd when the majority is so tenuous.

    Also, the discipline on the part of the Dems is nothing short of a miracle. We may never see this again in our lifetime 🙂

  4. Scott says:

    Russian soldier gave away his position with geotagged social media posts

    A Russian volunteer in eastern Ukraine has single-handedly justified every U.S. military commander’s fear that American troops could unwittingly reveal their position to the enemy by posting selfies on social media.

    A Russian volunteer posted photos on VK in Sahy, Kherson Oblast with member of the GRU’s 10th Spetsnaz Brigade. He left the location tagging on, which makes it very easy to geolocate the Grand Prix country club from the tiles.

    On Dec. 20, the Ukrainians destroyed that country club, and while it is unclear whether Russian Carl’s OPSEC failure was directly responsible for the Ukrainian attack, he was kind enough to post video of the ruined building afterwards, providing Ukrainians with a battle damage assessment that showed their strikes were successful, Lee said

  5. Scott says:

    It is mountain cedar season in South Texas. The tree is actually an Ashe Juniper. Its pollen buds at this time of the year and causes untold misery on millions.

    Nose running, pounding headache, with the sinus infection right around the corner. Busily doing the saline sinus rinse to hold that off. Right now, I’m thinking I’d rather have COVID.

    My whine for the day.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    chatham harrison is tending his garden

    What are you supposed to do when one of your country’s parties considers a nonfunctional federal government a good thing?

    Olivia Beavers
    One House Republican: “I love shit shows and this is a shit show to behold.”

  7. KM says:

    @Rick DeMent:
    He’s “untrustworthy” because he’s not one of them and they rightly noted he’s caved under the pressure to give in to their every unreasonable demand. He was late to the J6 party and is making quite the spectacle of himself trying to get power he’ll have to fight hourly to hold. Nobody likes him, he can’t command them to do squat and he’s rapidly approaching the point of openly begging or offering liberals favors to get in.

    Would you trust such a person to not betray your cause (aka work with the Dems), knowing what little it took to extract concessions out of him? They want one of theirs and since he’s already shown to be will-willed, why not bully him out of the Speakership he’s clearly unfit to hold? The plan was always to be rid of him as the demand to lower the threshold to replace the Speaker drastically was one of the first things on the table; they just figured it would be easier to test the waters and see if they can do it now. That’s why Jordan had Getz toss his name out to gauge what level of support he’ll get….

  8. Kathy says:

    Benito’s backing Kevin.

    Normally I wouldn’t care, but his long trajectory of backing losers and losing major elections seems poised to continue.

  9. de stijl says:

    Every idiot knows that if you jack up the base too high you can blow the speaker.

  10. steve says:

    I think most of them are too afraid of Trump to not support McCarthy. Trump may not be able to help some people win, but a bad word from Trump would be a killer since Trump still has a devoted base. The handful who got elected by being even Trumpier than Trump seem to think they are pretty safe and they might be right.


  11. de stijl says:

    I have never been so happy about chaotic in-fighting amongst a governing body.

    The shape of things to come. Guaranteed.

  12. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @steve:

    How do the MAGAs reconcile their love of Trump with their hatred of McCarthy?

  13. Kathy says:


    All I know is that when they figure something like tripleplusundoublegood, it means their tripledoublethink is malfunctioning.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    The headline that owns today’s internet.

    GOP learns the hard way: Turning the base up too high blows out your Speaker

    The article isn’t bad either.

  15. CSK says:

    Isn’t this about 54 years too late?

    ETA: I don’t know what’s wrong with the URL.

  16. steve says:

    CSK- I confess that I dont really understand cult behavior even though I pretty much grew up in one. Its pretty clear, I think, that McCarthy was not initially on the Trump bandwagon. Then when he was scared for a few days around 1/6 he showed lack of total fealty. I think those 2 things have made some people decide he is not a true believer and not sufficiently devoted to the cause. To be sure this is also true fo some others but they arent running for Speaker. There also seems to be some magic way that they all decide who are true converts and who are not. Flubbing the secret handshake or inadequate groveling? I have no idea but it seems to be something they can detect.


  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    MAGAts need hate. It’s all they have. Their hates didn’t win the mid-terms for them, which in the mind of a fanatic points invariably to betrayal from within, a stab in the back – and I guess there aren’t enough Jews in the Republican caucus to shoulder the blame – so they’re down to generally hating each other.

    All that rage and fear needs an outlet and Kevin McCarthy is the guy in the barrel. Does it have some greater meaning? Nah. Haters hate, it’s what they do, it’s all they are. This was always going to happen. Purges are the order of the day among authoritarians and fanatics.

    Nancy Pelosi with the same narrow margin passed reams of important legislation because Democrats have actual beliefs and goals and policies. Which, BTW, goes to the false equivalency between the Democratic and Republican fringes: the progressives have been very well-behaved through this last congress. Note the unanimous vote for Hakeem Jeffries. Why the Democratic unity? Because both liberals and progressives have things they’re trying to accomplish in the real world, and after a rough start, libs and progs realized they only attained goals when united. Of course that requires goals, something we have and they don’t.

  18. CSK says:


    All true, but the MAGAs still have to deal with the issue of why their Lord God Trump is supporting
    McCarthy, and supporting him now.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:


    I confess that I don’t really understand cult behavior

    There are the Miscaviges and Cruises in any cult, and then there are the poor dumb saps handing over their cash. MTG et al see the cult in terms of personal power. They are ambitious to become the MAGA Miscavige, pretenders to the throne as L. Ron Trump slowly fades.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    I had the same thought as well.

    I remember that became a HS English dept field trip to see the film. Lots of horny 16 year olds anticipating that nude scene. The scene came and went, and our collective thoughts were, is that all there is.

    Can’t imagine the local HS having a trip like that today,

  21. dazedandconfused says:

    The problem with coaching people to believe bullshit on the idea they will be a manageable herd is unless you can strictly control the BS they’re being fed you’re highly likely to wind up with an unmanageable one. North Korea can do that, but here? Not a chance.

  22. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Evil always turns on itself. For the sorts of people like the dissenting 20 no one else is ever as “pure” as themselves, thus it’s inevitable that even their closest allies will do something that they think of as a stab in the back. And since nothing hurts worse than that, they inevitably turn on each other. See MTG and Boebert.

    Not that they are wrong that McCarthy is a spineless POS who can’t be trusted. But since they aren’t interested in actual governance they literally don’t care that Congress is effectively shut down. Isn’t that the end goal of “drowning it in the bathtub”? Stupid people believing their own stupid BS, inmates running the asylum, etc etc etc. The GOP did this to themselves.

  23. Kathy says:

    Headline: Moscow blames its troop’s use of mobile phones for Makiivka missile strike

    My first reaction: is there a Gofundme collecting money to provide Russian troops with phones?

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I suspect Trump is done. Oh, they will continue to sing his praises, but he will be ignored. Unless he can pull off a serious primary effort he will be praised from a distance.

  25. dazedandconfused says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    There may be an awareness they are doomed unless they can get positions of prominence at work here. And an awareness that McCarthy is all about becoming speaker and having a generally viewed-as-positive speakership. He can not be trusted to let the loonies run his asylum, so he will back-bench them, and his lack of personal honor is obvious so his word means nothing.

    There is no such thing as bad press in show business and since the control of campaign funding has slipped out of the hands of party leadership…it’s all about being in the news. Committee chairs are always in the news when they want to be.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    The subject line for The New Republic’s daily news brief reads “Kevin McCarthy has lost control of the House GOP.” I’m not sure that headline is really accurate given that it’s not clear that he had control of the House GOP to begin with. Sure, he was the House minority windsock leader, but what does that mean given that they call the person the leader because no one will take the job of “House Minority Designated Blamee.”

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Ah, I see it now. Try

    The missing “s” in “https:” looks to be the culprit.

  28. CSK says:

    Thanks. That wasn’t a mistake I made. This site failed to provide it.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You don’t need a trip to see a film anymore. Your teacher can order it delivered to his desktop for projection on the smart screen. If I have a hot link or a good URL, I can even do it when I substitute for the teacher (but the smart ones leave it already cued up, because it’s probably unwise to trust me to do it–especially in classrooms where there is one “invisible” screen in the system that ONLY projects onto the smart screen.)

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: “North Korea can do that, but here? Not a chance.”

    North Korea certainly does better at it than the US (in my opinion, part of the benefit of having a real cult as opposed to a pseudo one like Evangelicalism). But even related to NK, there’s plenty of footage out there showing ajummas and halmanis striking police officers and the like while shouting the Korean equivalent of “whataya gonna do, lock me up?”

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: One thing that I do when I use the link button is copy the whole URL in the window/box/bar that shows where you are and paste it into the source box (?) at the link place. When I paste my URL in, it overwrites the “http:” in the original box.

    ETA: Of course in my case, being able to just highlight the actual “www.” address is an open question. I don’t recall ever having had enough motor control to do that recently, and even highlighting, clicking, and copying the whole line sometimes takes several attempts–and sometimes more than one page reload.

  32. Beth says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I figured it was better to answer here than derail the other conversation.

    I’m having a rough day today. I felt a dissolvable suture give way while dilating, that was unpleasant. Then I, well, let’s just say I had something happen that was gross and freaked me out. I’ve spent the rest of the day feeling like my nerves are on fire. I’m just holding on until I can medicate with an edible.

    In general I think things are doing well. I just need the swelling and nerve zaps to go away.

  33. Kathy says:

    Good News, Everyone! Season 2 of The Bad Batch is out.