Quick hits (part II)

1) Paul Waldman is confident Hillary Clinton will not face any criminal charges over email (and that the media won’t really care):

That point about her intending to break classification rules is important, because in order to have broken the law, it isn’t enough for Clinton to have had classified information in a place where it was possible for it to be hacked. She would have had to intentionally given classified information to someone without authorization to have it, like David Petraeus did when he showed classified documents to his mistress (and then lied to the FBI about it, by the way). Despite the enormous manpower and time the Justice Department has devoted to this case, there has never been even a suggestion, let alone any evidence, that Clinton did any such thing.

But when it comes to the presidential campaign, that isn’t going to matter. Republicans already know what they think: Hillary Clinton is a criminal whose every thought and action is vile and despicable, so of course she broke the law…

And the media, always operating on the rule that when it comes to the Clintons any smoke should be treated as fire — even if there’s a bunch of Republicans operating a smoke machine in full view — will offer endless breathless stories about the “scandal” and how it just shows that people don’t trust Clinton. [emphasis mine]

2) Want a spouse way more attractive than you?  Have a long-established friendship first.

3) It’s no accident that Oxycontin is so addictive.  It’s actually related to the evil venality of big Pharma.

4) Julia Azari on why Bernie shouldn’t drop out and hotly-contested primaries.  I particularly liked the citing of this research by my friend:

In a 1998 study of presidential elections, University of New Mexico political scientist Lonna Atkeson challenged the theory by suggesting that divisive primaries occur when the party is already divided. In other words, divisive primaries are the symptom, not the disease. We’re in the midst of an open primary, but take recent incumbent presidents as an example: Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992 ran into trouble in the general election, but not because they were challenged in the primaries. They attracted challengers in the primaries because they were already in political trouble. Controlling for factors that account for this political trouble — the strength of the economy and the president’s popularity — Atkeson found that the effect of divisive primaries on how well the nominee does in the general election drops out. In other words, divisive primaries don’t make the incumbent party vulnerable; the causation runs the other way.

5) Jeffrey Toobin says the Supreme Court seems ready to legalize corruption.

6) You are probably no more surprised than me that teenagers who take “purity pledges” are more likely to end up pregnant.

7) The one about the ethnic-looking man taken off a plane for doing math.

8) Trump’s electoral map challenge.

9) The most highly-compensated occupations taking local cost of living into account– e.g., live like a king as a surgeon in Oklahoma.

10) Obama’s latest ideas for reducing crime.  Evidence suggests more cops works, but a lot of people are uncomfortable with that idea.  Here’s my proposal– more cops with much better training.

11) I imagine beef can actually be raised in a way that is sustainable and good for the planet, as argued here.  That said, I also imagine that 90+%  of beef is currently raised in ways that are not good for the planet.

12) Poor Heidi Cruz:

Heidi Cruz has a formidable résumé: Armed with an MBA from Harvard, she is a former director of the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council (where she reported to Condoleezza Rice), a former director of the Latin American office of the Treasury Department, and presently, a director at Goldman Sachs (where she is on leave). She was even an economic adviser to a leading Republican presidential campaign—it just happened to be Bush 2000, and not Cruz 2016.

And yet most of Heidi Cruz’s time on the trail was spent performing genial if largely forgettable duties: the wife as helpmeet. Her most memorable campaign performances included recounting a story about her husband’s purchase of 100 cans of Campbell’s soup when they were newlyweds, and assuring the American public that he is not, in fact, the Zodiac Killer.

13) Rather than implementing proper regulations to protect drinking water where I live, NC Republicans tried a shortcut that scientists assured them wouldn’t work.  After a year with no success from this shortcut and plenty of wasted money, the Republicans have finally admitted it won’t work.

14) Toddlers keep shooting people with guns.  Gun advocates keep insisting smart guns would be a horrible idea.

15) The Law School Admissions Council is evil.

16) Mark McKinnon on the GOP’s failure on issues of equality.

17) 8 years ago this week I was on the CBS Early Show.  I lost any link to the video until FB “On This Day” brought it back to me and the link still works!  And, yes, I did look younger 8 years ago.

18) More Republicans need to be saying stuff like this:

From 2006 to 2009, I worked in the White House for George W. Bush. As an actor and writer in New York, this isn’t always a popular thing to tell people. But I do, because I am proud to have worked for a president who led with principle and conviction. As a West Wing staffer, I saw firsthand that President Bush’s sole motivation was to do what he thought was best for our country. People may have disagreed with his policies, but they couldn’t disagree with his intentions.

From 2009 to 2010, I spent a year working for Congressional Republicans. In contrast to my time at the White House, I saw that many in Congress put their personal and partisan interests ahead of the country’s needs. Many times, the GOP’s only agenda was to defeat Barack Obama at all costs. It didn’t matter what Obama’s policy was; all that mattered was winning and eventually regaining power for the GOP.

This desire for control of the presidency, and the belief that any Republican is better than any Democrat, is why many Republicans are now embracing Trump. They claim that the GOP needs to coalesce behind Mr. Trump because he is a better alternative than Hillary Clinton. He is not. ..

While I disagree with many of Hillary Clinton’s policies, she is clearly qualified to be president. She possesses judgment and self-restraint. She does not have a track record of irrational, risky, and unsound business decisions and public comments. She has a long record of public service. She can be trusted with controlling our military and nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump cannot.

Any Republican who claims that it’s better to elect Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton either lacks proper judgment, or has become so blinded by partisan ideology that they have lost objectivity. [emphasis mine]

19) Just because you want to raise a child with grit doesn’t mean they can’t quit things.  You just need to be smart about it. And, I just ordered Duckworth’s new book.

20) When it comes to Trump vs. Paul Ryan, Yglesias argues that Trump has hand.

Throughout his rise to domination over the Republican Party, leaders in Washington have indulged the fantasy that somehow if Trump won the nomination he would become morereliant on them than he was on the campaign trail.

The exact reverse is the case. Precisely because Trump isn’t a professional politician and has no particular personal, emotional, or intellectual investment in larger Republican Party projects, it’s not so bad for him if the whole thing goes down in flames. The party’s institutional leaders and rank-and-file apparatchiks, by contrast, have a great deal of personal, emotional, and intellectual investment in the larger project. The costs of defecting from Team Trump are very high, most of them won’t do it, and Trump knows it.

Throughout his rise to domination over the Republican Party, leaders in Washington have indulged the fantasy that somehow if Trump won the nomination he would become morereliant on them than he was on the campaign trail.

The exact reverse is the case. Precisely because Trump isn’t a professional politician and has no particular personal, emotional, or intellectual investment in larger Republican Party projects, it’s not so bad for him if the whole thing goes down in flames. The party’s institutional leaders and rank-and-file apparatchiks, by contrast, have a great deal of personal, emotional, and intellectual investment in the larger project. The costs of defecting from Team Trump are very high, most of them won’t do it, and Trump knows it.

21) Donald Trump and the history of Paleoconservatives.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

10 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. Jon K says:

    5) I could not disagree more with Tobin, and I suspect he is motivated largely out of partisan disdain because the case both involves precedent from Citizens United and a Republican. McDonnell never provided any tangible benefits to the individual in this case. The University of Virginia wasn’t pressured into working with the company, and this is obvious because nothing ever came of the company’s attempt to have the university partner with him. There’s a huge difference between hosting a lunch and twisting arms. I think all reasonable people can see the difference. Had the McDonnell really wanted to force a benefit for the company he would have brought much more power and influence to bear. He was after all the governor. He could have twisted arms and done a lot more had he wanted to do so. Just look at the mess Ken Cucinelli was able to cause with his politically motivated actions in the ‘Climategate’ case, and he wasn’t even the governor.

    Second, the prosecutors gave immunity to the other party in the case. He very much indicated at the trial that he was the one with the impure motives in this case. He had a history of questionable conduct, and he was probably more deserving of scrutiny than the governor. Despite this, the prosecutors would get a more salacious and potentially career advancing target if they went after the governor. So for this reason they let a dirt bag have immunity. The government was aware how tenious their case was against McDonnel. Consider that according to the Washington Post “authorities proposed that then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plead guilty to one felony fraud charge that had nothing to do with corruption in office and his wife would avoid charges altogether”

    In addition, the Washington Post also pointed out – and this was later clearly shown in the trial – that “the couple’s attorneys have told prosecutors that Maureen McDonnell at times actively worked to hide Williams’s generosity from her husband.” It isn’t reasonable to expect that a husband will have complete knowledge of what his wife is doing, especially when she has gone out of her way to hide her conduct from her husband’s knowledge. Being unaware of what your spouse has done should not be grounds for a felony prosecution.

    I’m all for prosecuting genuine corruption where there is clear evidence of a verifiable quid pro quo. I’m not at all in support of federal prosecutors giving white collar criminals immunity from prosecution so they can gain headlines “taking down” a governor.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    Re:McDonnell: So he took the money and didn’t perform? As they say, an honest politician is one who takes the money and does the job. Of course he did the job as much as he could by skirting the law, blatantly taking the loot and virtually giving his endorsement and more to the donor.
    McDonnell represents the public perception of what politicians do that has caused so much anger in so many voters.

    • Jon K says:

      He didn’t do most of the “taking” his wife did. And if you look at what came out in the trial she very much wanted to have an affair with the guy. The governor thought the guy was a friend. I myself have had friends who were massively wealthier than I am. When I was in boarding school my roommate invited myself and three others to come with him back to Chicago over easter break. Not only did he buy my plane ticket, let me stay at his house in Lake Forest and his apartment in downtown Chicago, he picked up the check at every expensive restaurant we ate at over the entire trip. It was no big deal for him, and there’s no way I could have spent the over 1000 my part of the trip probably cost. Sometimes wealthy people take care of their friends and don’t ask for anything in return because they are friends. Why is it do difficult to, in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, accept that he legitimately thought that they were friends?

      That’s why quid pro quo is so important. Intent matters.

  3. R. Jenrette says:

    McDonnell’s donor knew the guv was flaunting his goodies. In some circles, it’s hard to miss a Rolex on the wrist. You think he’s not guilty because his wife took most of the stuff? (It’s the wife’s((woman’s)) fault? Anyway that is saying that he did take some of the stuff. He called a state official and set up a meeting on state time with a state employee. The message was given and heard that the governor is interested in the man, the donor, and his product.
    As for your trip paid for by a wealthy friends, were you a public official at the time?
    If McDonnell was such a naive person that he didn’t suspect that maybe his friend wanted something from him after lavishing him with cash and loot, there was no hope for his survival in politics. It had to come to a bad end.

    • Jon K. says:

      The watch was a christmas gift from his wife.

      I blame his wife because it was her conduct that was primarily questionable.

      From USA today

      The gifts included about $20,000 in designer clothing and accessories Williams purchased for Maureen McDonnell during a Manhattan shopping spree and an engraved $6,500 Rolex watch she gave to Bob McDonnell as a Christmas present.

      • Jon K. says:

        From Roll Call:
        Bob McDonnell spent years in the public eye, which came with a reasonable expectation he would be familiar with ethics rules and hire a staff suitable to the job; his wife had no such expectation. She lacked in the areas that could have protected her: She did not have the background or understanding to prepare her for the very public role of being Virginia’s first lady, and she was said to be difficult to work with and distrustful of staff,
        leaving them unable to advise her when she showed poor judgment.

        Maureen McDonnell was hardly an ethics attorney. Her résumé includes working part-time at the State Department and attending community college (and yes, being a cheerleader for Washington’s professional football team). She had five children and credit card debt.

        She felt extreme pressure to dress well for the inauguration, but was concerned about how to pay for designer gowns. She alienated her staff, inundated them with petty requests (one report has her undressing and scrubbing the floor to show how it should be done properly), and was scared to go out in public. One email from a senior aide suggests the agoraphobic first lady needed “crazy pills.”

  4. R. Jenrette says:

    “…a senior aide suggests the agoraphobic first lady needed “crazy pills.” That’s what they say about all the political wives who ruffle the feathers.
    Made me think about poor Martha Mitchell. RIP.

    • Jon K. says:

      I followed the trial very closely and her issues were clear and significant. This isn’t a crap on women thing. She was quite frankly borderline nuts.

  5. R. Jenrette says:

    Whatever Mrs. McDonnell did doesn’t take the guv off the hook for what he did. Don’t tell me he didn’t know who paid for that Rolex.

    • Jon K says:

      I believe that he might not have known. You seem to be able to get into other people’s heads much better than I can. I require evidence that proves someone is a crook not just the appearance of a questionable situation. In the past I have been burned by people jumping to conclusions that were incorrect about me. I also give the same benefit of the doubt to HRC on her questionable, but unproven, conduct.

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