Paul Ryan’s failure

Why pick on Paul Ryan?  Because even though the media has an over-inflated sense of his policy seriousness (he has such a low bar being compared to the typical Republican politician), he really is better than most and a pretty good example of the kind of thoughtful Republican I wish we had more of.  Therefore, his failure is all the more magnified.  Will Saletan:

In his address to the Republican convention on Tuesday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan accused Democrats of inciting ethnic resentment. “Let the other party go on and on with its constant dividing up of people, always playing one group against the other, as if group identity were everything,” Ryan charged. “In America, aren’t we all supposed to see beyond class, see beyond ethnicity? Are all these lines drawn to set us apart and lock us into groups?”

 It was a remarkable sermon, delivered on behalf of the most egregious racist nominated to the presidency by a major party in at least half a century. Ryan spoke every word with his usual earnestness, unencumbered by shame. Looking back at history, we tend to focus on villains, men like Donald Trump who use hatred to gain power. We forget the importance of cowards. [emphases mine] Every Trump needs his Ryan.

I’ve always liked Paul Ryan. He talks about opportunity and empowerment, not scapegoats. He focuses on fiscal responsibility and self-reliance, two of my favorite Republican themes. He strikes me as constructive and sincere. It’s not his fault that the Republican Party, during his tenure as speaker, nominated Trump.

But Trump’s nomination confronted Ryan with a terrible dilemma. As the head of the Republican Party, Ryan had to decide whether to reject Trump and lose the election, or embrace Trump and lose the party’s soul, as well as his own. Ryan made the wrong choice. He decided that the Republican Party would criticize race baiters, but it would also tolerate and support them…

Ryan, unlike Romney, didn’t see racism as a character issue. He treated Trump’s latest slur as a mysterious outburst. It “was out of left field, [to] my mind,” Ryan sputtered in a radio interview on June 3. “It’s reasoning I don’t relate to.” Sometimes, Ryan conceded, Trump “says and does things I don’t agree with.” But Ryan stuck with him, arguing that Trump would sign Republican bills into law…

Ryan, like Romney, offered three arguments about race-baiting. But Ryan’s arguments weren’t for banishing it. They were for tolerating it. First, Ryan said it was unacceptable to divide the GOP…

These three arguments guarantee that the Republican Party, under Ryan, will accept bigots. They might be criticized or chided, but not excluded, even from the top of the national ticket. To exclude them would divide the party. It would disrespect the Trump-friendly voters who now control the Republican nominating process. It would impose absolutist judgments on a party in which the taboo against ethnic and religious slurs has been set aside as just another form of “political correctness.” …

“Everyone is equal,” he said. “Everyone has a place. No one is written off, because there is worth and goodness in every life. … That is the Republican ideal. And if we won’t defend it, who will?”

Indeed, who will? Not Paul Ryan. Not the party of Lincoln. Not anymore.

Advertisements

Photo of the day

Wired’s photo of the week:

sakurajima_02.jpg

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN/GETTY IMAGES

MOUNT SAKURAJIMA ERUPTED in Japan on Tuesday, sending a plume of smoke rising more than 16,000 feet into the air. It was an astonishing sight, followed by something equally amazing.

This remarkable image shows a dirty thunderstorm raging within Showa crater on the southeastern side of the 3,665-foot volcano. Such storms occur when immense bubbles of gas pop inside the volcano, causing small but powerful explosions of incandescent rock and ash that fly hundreds of feet per second. All that ash creates friction, which creates static electricity. And that is what causes the lightning encircling the eruption.

Dirty thunderstorms typically are rare, but they’re common at Mount Sakurajima. The volcano has been at alert level three (out of five) since February, when authorities closed a 1.2-mile radius around the crater, and has seen nearly 50 eruptions this year. So the odds are it won’t be long before the mountain puts on another amazing show.

Lies, damn lies, and NC Republicans on voter ID

Rick Hasen highlights the response of NC Senate leader Phil Berger:

Here’s the inflammatory statement:

Since today’s decision by three partisan Democrats ignores legal precedent, ignores the fact that other federal courts have used North Carolina’s law as a model, and ignores the fact that a majority of other states have similar protections in place, we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election. [emphasis mine] We will obviously be appealing this politically-motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”

Seriously?!  That is just offensive.  Republicans pass a law that by every metric has the potential to disproportionately affect the voting of Black citizens of the state and undoing it they go right to stealing elections.  And, of course, the Court ruling was quite clear that this whole fraud(!!) issue is created almost entirely of whole cloth.  If actual in-person voter fraud were a thing, I’d be fine with a reasonable Voter ID statute that did not seem designed to disproportionately impact certain groups.  However, that’s not a thing and that’s not how the law was designed.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Watched “This is Spinal Tap” with David last weekend.  Very pleased to report he very much enjoyed it.  First time I saw this movie– in college– I’m pretty sure it’s the hardest I’ve ever laughed watching a film.  Somehow, I’ve never seen the full video for Hell Hole.  “Folks lend a hand in a hell hole.” :-).  Brilliant satire of 80’s music videos.  Nice Mental Floss piece on the movie.

2) Diane Ravitch column bashing the Common Core, but most of her complaints are about standardized testing (which is still the legacy of NCLB) and she doesn’t actually have very much bad to say about the actual standards at the heart of it.

3) Thought-provoking post from Conor Friedersdorf on HRC and working-class white men:

The framework of white privilege can be invoked with insight and subtlety, or with myopia and exaggeration; but either is a lot easier for white people to hear and to assimilate into their worldview if they’re college graduates who anticipate rewarding careers and stable family lives and mostly socialize with the similarly advantaged. They’re told that they ought to be thriving given their race … and they are thriving!

But imagine that you’re a white man from a working-class family who dropped out of college because you couldn’t swing the tuition. You worked construction, but that dried up—you’re presently unemployed, with child-support payments piling up, a sister addicted to pain pills, and a brother who is in jail again for felony drunk driving. You drive a beat up car with a broken turn signal that you can’t afford to fix. You get pulled over regularly, and you’re often harassed by the cops, who hate your tattoos. Would you identify with a coalition that alighted on white privilege as the center of its cultural outlook and that mostly disseminated that worldview through people with more educational, social, and financial capital than you’ll ever have?

Of course you wouldn’t. To do so would seem at odds with all the struggling white people in your familial and social circles. It would seem to imply that failing despite having all the advantages in the world makes you a special kind of loser. It would seem to focus on race to the exclusion of other hugely important factors. And as far as you can tell, when a white family gets their door kicked down and their dog shot in a drug raid, or when a white high school classmate of yours commits suicide, no one in the world of national media much cares.

Then you watch the DNC, where Michelle Obama, Cory Booker, Eva Longoria, and numerous other black and brown people who are much more successful than anyone you know take the stage. This needn’t feel threatening in and of itself to cause alienation. All it takes is being told that you’re the privileged one.

4) I think the season 3, episode 4, “Fish out of Water” of Bojack Horseman may be the single most impressive piece of 30-minute television I have seen.

5) Nice essay on thinking about the changing nature of Hillary hatred and what it all means.

6) Jordan Weissman on Green Party Jill Stein’s anti-science, economically ignorant platform.

7) Toobin in the emails:

Do these e-mails strike anyone as appalling and outrageous? Not me. They strike me as . . . e-mails. The idea that people might speak casually or caustically via e-mail has been portrayed as a shocking breach of civilized discourse. Imagine! People bullshitting on e-mail!

But that is what people do on e-mail. They spout off, sound off, write first, and think later. Of course, people should do none of these things. They should weigh carefully the costs and benefits of each e-mail that they write, and consider the possibility that someone might make the e-mails public someday. (They should also change their passwords regularly and get lots of exercise.) Last year, unfiltered talk on e-mail also got several people in trouble during the notoriousSony hack. But the real question is whether any of these e-mails really matter. Do they reveal deep-seated political or philosophical flaws? Do they betray horrible character defects? In the case of the Democrats, it seems clear that the answer to these questions is no. The vast majority of the e-mails contain normal office chatter, inflated into a genuine controversy by people who already had axes to grind.

8) This Trevor Noah segment on the absurdity of all Christian-based support for Trump is terrific.

9) Great Paul Waldman column on what the Republican backlash to Michelle Obama’s speech says about our disparate takes of race and American history.

10) I don’t suppose Khizr Khan’s denunciation of Trump will change many votes, but damn is it edifying.

11) NBC Headline, “Mike Pence: Politics is No Place for ‘Name Calling.'”  Seriously?  Mike Pence– biggest sellout in political history?

12) Love this– it strikes me as so true– Ray Kurzweil says “the world isn’t getting worse; our information is getting better.”

13) Obviously, one of the great lines from the Democratic convention was, “Imagine—if you dare, imagine—imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”  James Fallows points out that Trumps response the following morning shows just how true this is.

14) From Quartz— what Amazon’s homepage looked like when it was new, 21 years ago.  I don’t remember this, but I was probably on Amazon 20 years ago.

15) Really interesting take from a new book on “hillbillies” on “how the white working class lost its patriotism.”

16) Isaac Chotiner with a great interview on Trump, modern media, email hacks, etc., with Glenn Greenwald— lots of interesting back-and-forth.

17) Former McCain economic adviser sees Trump’s economic plans as disastrous and Hillary’s as pretty darn good:

Moody’s Analytics estimates that if the Democratic presidential nominee’s proposals are enacted, the economy would create 10.4 million jobs during her presidency, or 3.2 million more than expected under current law.

 The pace of GDP growth would also accelerate to an annual average of 2.7%, from the current forecast of 2.3%.

“The upshot of our analysis is that Secretary Clinton’s economic policies when taken together will result in a stronger U.S. economy under almost any scenario,” Moody’s writes in its report.

Moody’s Analytics is an independent research group, but the lead author of the report on Clinton is Mark Zandi, who donated $2,700 to her campaign last year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics…

Moody’s published a similar analysis of Donald Trump’s plans in June. It concluded that the Republican presidential nominee’s policies would result in an economic downturn that would last longer than the Great Recession. About 3.5 million Americans would lose their jobs, unemployment would jump to 7% and home prices would fall. [emphasis mine]

The reports are based on a forecasting model similar to those used by the Federal Reserve and Congressional Budget Office.

That’s got to make into an ad– doesn’t it?

18) Just in case you didn’t hear about how the NC Republican Party’s official twitter account called Tim Kaine “shameful” for wearing a Honduras flag pin instead of an American flag pin.  Whooops, actually a blue star service pin in honor of Kaine’s son deployed with the US Marines.  What I do appreciate is that the executive director of the NC GOP issued a full-on apology (unlike the tweeter).  We need more of that in American politics.

19) Chait says that Hillary Clinton is running as the candidate of democracy itself.  Whereas Ezra says this election is between normal and abnormal.

%d bloggers like this: