Hillary did well so the debate didn’t matter

Look, barring some hugely unexpected developments, Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee.  Much as my students (who love Bernie) are going to be disappointed, Hillary is going to win this.  I actually only caught the last hour (while doing other stuff on-line) because it just wasn’t worth the time and I really wanted to see “The Martian” on $5 Tuesdays (yes, it was awesome) and by the time I read to kids, it was almost 10.  Anyway, as I’m sure I’ve pointed out in many debates, what I think about happened on the debate stage doesn’t matter.  What matter is what the media, pundits, etc., think.  And so far, Hillary’s had solid reviews on twitter and the post-coverage (ongoing on CNN as I type).  And that’s it.  No huge mistakes.  So nothing changes in this race.  Hillary is going to win this race and it is highly unlikely that anything in these debates (for one, she’s way better at this than those others on the stage) is going to change that.

The real problem with the “Freedom Caucus”

These people simply don’t believe in democratic governance.  And there they are in government.  Not a good combination.  David Brooks‘ latest does an excellent job calling them out for their self-defeating nihilism:

But this new Republican faction regards the messy business of politics as soiled and impure. Compromise is corruption. Inconvenient facts are ignored. Countrymen with different views are regarded as aliens. Political identity became a sort of ethnic identity, and any compromise was regarded as a blood betrayal.

A weird contradictory mentality replaced traditional conservatism. Republican radicals have contempt for politics, but they still believe that transformational political change can rescue the nation. Republicans developed a contempt for Washington and government, but they elected leaders who made the most lavish promises imaginable. Government would be reduced by a quarter! Shutdowns would happen! The nation would be saved by transformational change! As Steven Bilakovics writes in his book “Democracy Without Politics,” “even as we expect ever less of democracy we apparently expect ever more from democracy.”

This anti-political political ethos produced elected leaders of jaw-dropping incompetence. Running a government is a craft, like carpentry. But the new Republican officials did not believe in government and so did not respect its traditions, its disciplines and its craftsmanship. They do not accept the hierarchical structures of authority inherent in political activity…

If a politician lacks the quality of detachment — the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind — then, Weber argues, the politician ends up striving for the “boastful but entirely empty gesture.” His work “leads nowhere and is senseless.”

Welcome to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and the Freedom Caucus…

People who don’t accept democracy will be bad at conversation. They won’t respect tradition, institutions or precedent. These figures are masters at destruction but incompetent at construction.

These insurgents are incompetent at governing and unwilling to be governed. But they are not a spontaneous growth. It took a thousand small betrayals of conservatism to get to the dysfunction we see all around.

Yep.  And also shame on the voters who elected and re-elect them.  Sure, I get that Republicans will vote for Republican candidates, but at some point even Republicans (one would hope) should reject candidates who are basically opposed to functioning democracy.

Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s animal photos of the week.  Feels like their should be a fable or something to go with this one.

A frog enjoys life in the slow lane as he hitches a ride on the back of a snail's shell in Jakarta, Indonesia

A frog enjoys life in the slow lane as he hitches a ride on the back of a snail’s shell in Jakarta, IndonesiaPicture: Andri Priyadi / Barcroft Media


Paul Ryan, the Speakership, and his family

I think that mostly Paul Ryan does not want to be speaker because, under current conditions, it’s a thankless, impossible, horrible job.  If that weren’t enough, it’s actually got to be a horrible job for anybody who values spending time with their kids.  And I think Paul Ryan does.  Interesting piece on this in the Post:

He has reminded colleagues and reporters that he is a married man with three young children with whom, due to his existing work in Washington, D.C., he already spends only weekends. The New York Times reported that in recent years, current Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the man who wants out of the job, spent as many as 200 days a year en route to fundraisers or fundraising somewhere.

Okay, and personally, I cannot imagine taking any job that only allowed me to see my kids on the weekends.   But 200+ days of travel?  What’s the point in being a dad?  Anyway:

There’s almost nothing about Ryan’s conundrum that Americans haven’t heard before. In fact, work-life balance is about two days away from joining the list of arguably meaningless cliches. More than a few public figures — particularly lawmakers — have used the old “resigning to spend more time with my family” excuse for bowing out of some political race or office. Oftentimes, the excuse seems dubious.

And most of Ryan’s own House colleagues seemed to have all but dismissed his family life concerns. Look closely at all those stories about which lawmaker has said what to Ryan to convince him to take the job. Not many have bothered to share a thought — at least in print — on how one might be speaker and a good father to three young children. Translation: Ryan should be more like them. He should leave the bulk of family responsibilities and relationship-building to his wife or the hired help a rising career can buy.

The truth is, there’s almost nothing about Ryan’s dilemma that many working parents don’t know. The real and important difference here is that this time, this is a conversation that is kind of, sort of, being had about a man.

And, plenty more good stuff on moms, dads, and the modern workplace.

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