Quick hits (part II)

Sorry for the delay.  Loss of power due to Hurricane Matthew.  Fortunately, most of it was while we were sleeping and we got it back before too long.  My FB feed is filled with photos of trees on roads and powerlines all over the area.  Anyway…

1) Chait on reasons to stop freaking out about Obamacare.

2) An English professor says we are teaching composition wrong.

3) Chris Cilizza (before last Friday) refers to Trump’s lack of debate preparation as “the single most remarkable thing I have read about Donald Trump in a very long time.”  Seriously?  Is he in a coma?  Good take on it, nonetheless:

The problem for Trump is that a presidential general election campaign isn’t analogous to anything else he’s done in his life. You can’t wing it in a debate in front of 80 million people against someone who has spent virtually her entire life preparing for this one moment. You can’t ignore the advice of people brought in to give you advice because you are convinced you know better. In short, you have to pay attention.

That Trump couldn’t bring himself to do that in a moment of such critical import as the debate on Monday night is the only evidence you need of something I have been saying for a while now: There is no other Donald Trump. No new leaf. No pivot. No 2.0. This is it — take it or leave it. Trump is absolutely convinced that who he is — before he reads a single policy paper or briefing book or participates in a single mock debate — is good enough to win. That’s the most risky bet he’s ever made.

4) A cognitive bias cheat sheet.  Handy.

5) Chait on the myth of the change election.

6) Did not know how far the literary establishment was taking this “cultural appropriation” stuff.  Apparently, for some, if you are a white middle-aged man, that’s all you can write about in your fiction.  Ugh.

7) This Nate Cohn piece is from a bit ago, but it’s a nice explanation of key differences between public and private polls.

8) How Howard Stern owned Trump:

This much-craved publicity, of course, came at price: Stern has long had a devilish talent for lulling guests into a false sense of security—and then luring them into rhetorical traps. He casts his guests in a burlesque he scripts for them, and cattle-prods them into playing their parts, first fawning over them until they feel like celebrities, then bringing down the hammer of humiliation. He’s a diabolically domineering scene partner. No interviewer has ever been as adroit with treacherous leading questions in the vein of “When did you stop beating your wife?” Stern, in other words, gets people to publicly embrace their worst selves—and say things they live to regret.

That’s exactly what happened with Trump. Today, as the Republican nominee, he may fashion himself as a boss and a master of the universe. But what comes across in old tapes of the show, resurfaced recently by BuzzFeed and other outlets, is that Trump, like many of Stern’s guests, was often the one being played. By nailing him as a buffoon and then—unkindest cut—forcing him to kiss the Howard Stern ring, Stern and his co-anchor, Robin Quivers, created a series of broadcasts that today showcase not just Trump’s misogyny but his ready submission to sharper minds.

9) Atlas Obscura asks if there’s such a thing as too many blueberries.  They say “yes.”  I say, “no” until I can buy them fresh for <$3 pint year round.

10) It seems quaint now to talk about how Trump got rich in Atlantic City by ripping off people who invested with him.  But, it should not be forgotten.

11) Interesting interview with editor of NYT about the challenges of covering Trump and more good stuff.

12) Harsh take: Colombia’s referendum rejecting peace deal is proof democracy does not work.

13) Rob Christensen is back in the Sunday N&O writing about the NC Republicans’ massive miscalculation on HB2.

14) Somehow missed this from the summer.  Andrew Gelman on why political betting markets are not as reliable as they used to be.

15) It’s obviously been eclipsed by other news, but Trump digging in on the Central Park Five really is disgusting (but not at all surprising).

16) Frum argues that the GOP should learn from what Trump got right:

Trump saw that Republican voters are much less religious in behavior than they profess to pollsters. He saw that the social-insurance state has arrived to stay. He saw that Americans regard healthcare as a right, not a privilege. He saw that Republican voters had lost their optimism about their personal futures—and the future of their country. He saw that millions of ordinary people who do not deserve to be dismissed as bigots were sick of the happy talk and reality-denial that goes by the too generous label of “political correctness.” He saw that the immigration polices that might have worked for the mass-production economy of the 1910s don’t make sense in the 2010s. He saw that rank-and-file Republicans had become nearly as disgusted with the power of money in politics as rank-and-file Democrats long have been. He saw that Republican presidents are elected, when they are elected, by employees as well as entrepreneurs. He saw these things, and he was right to see them.

The wiser response to the impending Republican electoral defeat is to learn from Trump’s insights—separate them from Trump’s volatile personality and noxious attitudes—and use them to develop better, more workable, and more broadly acceptable policies for a 21st-century center-right. That doesn’t mean inscribing Trumpism as the party’s new orthodoxy. The GOP needs less orthodoxy, not more! What a wiser response to the defeat does mean is joining what can usefully be extracted from Trumpism to the core beliefs of the Republican Party: individual initiative, a free enterprise economy, limited government, lower taxes, and a proud defense of America’s global role.

Okay, finally post-Friday open tabs…

17) We’ll start with Yglesias‘ defense of Hillary Clinton’s speeches, etc., in the email hack:

Clinton, precisely because of her vast experience in government, is completely non-credible as a bringer of drastic change and systemic reform. She is, quite clearly, a creature of the system who is comfortable with it and intends to work within it. That is the “secret” revealed by every hacked email and every leaked speech, and it is also the completely obvious fact of the matter that is readily apparent to anyone who takes an even cursory look at her biography. It’s exactly what her allies are bragging about when they talk about how qualified she is.

Amidst all the other remarkable aspects of the 2016 campaign, this is a thread that tends to get lost but Clinton is asking the American people to do something they almost never do — admit that the American political system fundamentally is what it is, and so you might as well elect someone who’s good at operating it in rather dream of someone who’s going to show up and clean up the mess in Washington. Fundamentally, the only message of the secret speeches is that Clinton is exactly who we thought she was — someone who’s been around a long time, someone who knows a lot of stuff, someone who’s cozy with the established players, and someone who doesn’t really embrace good government pieties.

18) I think he’s basically right.  We didn’t really learn anything new about Clinton more than we learned anything new about Trump with the latest revelations.  That said, Jordan Weissman with a fair take on why Clinton surely did not want this stuff getting out.

19) I find Scott Adams‘ (The Dilbert guy) ongoing defense of Trump’s powers just amusing.

13. My prediction of a 98% chance of Trump winning stays the same. Clinton just took the fight to Trump’s home field. None of this was a case of clever strategy or persuasion on Trump’s part. But if the new battleground is spousal fidelity, you have to like Trump’s chances.

20) Jonah Goldberg just unloads:

Character is destiny. The man in the video is Donald Trump. Sure, it’s bawdy Trump. It’s “locker room Trump.” And I’m no prude about dirty talk in private. But that isn’t all that’s going on. This isn’t just bad language or objectifying women with your buddies. It’s a married man who is bragging about trying to bed a married woman. It’s an insecure, morally ugly man-child who thinks boasting about how he can get away with groping women “because you’re a star” impresses people. He’s a grotesque — as a businessman and a man, full stop.

21) Libby Nelson’s headline says it all, “Mike Pence enabled Donald Trump. Stop saying he’d make a good president.”

22) This whole “as a father of daughters,” etc., is just stupid.  Satire:

Listen, as a father of daughters, I’m really against this kind of behavior, this kind of treatment of women. The kind where they get hurt or they can’t vote or we don’t give any money to them. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind I don’t want my daughters to experience, and then I just sort of extrapolate out from there.

It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to only have sons. Things sure were different then. How merrily I used to drive down country lanes in my old Ford, periodically dodging off-road to mow down female pedestrians (you must remember I had no daughters then). Was what I did wrong? How was I to know? I had no daughters to think of.

Before I had daughters — Stimothy and Atalanta are truly the apples of my eye — I would follow women into voting booths and knock their hands away from the lever whenever they tried to engage in the democratic process. Who knew having daughters would change all that? Not I.

And Dara Lind, “You shouldn’t need a daughter to know Trump’s behavior is disgusting and wrong.”

23) Great Molly Ball article on Trump and women:

It is tempting to see the maleness Trump represents as a relic of an earlier time. But Trump is not really that, as David Brooks observed a few months ago: “It’s not quite right to say that Trump is a throwback to midcentury sexism,” the New York Times columnist wrote. “At least in those days negative behavior toward women and family members was restrained by the chivalry code.” Trump represents a more brutal, primal, animal version of the male id, one that mates and slays and subdues unrestrained. One that dominates. One that refuses to be humiliated, that always lashes back against the forces trying to subdue it.

24) Not surprisingly, Yglesias‘ take is great (read it in full!):

But what Republican Party leaders — from formal party leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to lesser elected officials and quasi-party people like the Chamber of Commerce — should be learning this weekend is that they were wrong.

Not that Trump made a mistake and he needs to apologize, but that they made a mistake and need to apologize. The evidence was there, in spades, all along for anyone who wanted to see. But partisan and ideological incentives made them not want to see. The audio is vivid and stark and cuts through that fog of wishful thinking and self-deception. The people whose eyes its opened shouldn’t be demanding apologies from Trump, they should be offering apologies for their role in letting him get much closer to the White House than he ever should have.

25) And Jamelle Bouie with a great take:

The same Republican leaders who rushed to condemn Trump for his remarks on a hot mic were silent about his continued attacks on these men [central park five], which stretch back to the original event in 1989, when he placed an incendiary ad in New York City newspapers against the then-teenagers. “Bring back the death penalty. Bring back our police!” said Trump. “[M]uggers and murderers … should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”

Republicans didn’t say anything because Trump wasn’t attacking Republicans. The ground didn’t shift for the GOP nominee until he did. His “grab them by the pussy” comments don’t just threaten his own bid at the White House; they threaten the whole Republican political apparatus. They undermine party enthusiasm. They give millions of Republican-voting women a reason to stay home. And what happens if they do? Suddenly, the House and Senate are at risk. Suddenly, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are leaders of a minority party…

But of course the GOP could tolerate his place at the top of the ticket so long as he restricted his threats to groups outside the party. President Trump, after all, would nominate their judges, sign their tax cuts, and affirm their plans to gut the social safety net. Ryan, the House speaker, said as much in his endorsement. “For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I—and my House colleagues—have invested so much in through the years,” he wrote in June. “It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead. Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.” For him and many Republicans, Trump’s frank advocacy of racial repression is a small price to pay for their expansive reversal of liberal social policy. It’s hardly even a price…

In fact, we now have a list of all the things the Republican Party will tolerate solely for the sake of the White House and a continued congressional majority. It’s a long list.

The Republican Party will tolerate racist condemnation of Mexican immigrants and Latino Americans at large. It will tolerate the same racist condemnation of Muslims, even as both attacks feed an atmosphere of paranoia, distrust, and violence.

It will tolerate a policy platform that treats these groups—and Syrian refugees to the United States—as a dangerous fifth column. In Trump’s vision of America, Latino immigrants, when they aren’t “stealing jobs,” are the vector for crime and disorder, plunging towns and cities into lawlessness. It’s why Trump wants to root them out with a new “deportation force,” home by home, person by person. And it’s why he wants a wall on the Mexican border—a concrete prophylactic to keep those dark-skinned migrants from reaching our borders. [emphasis mine]

 

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

3 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Seems to me that the reason Obamacare isn’t working as well as it should is because the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out. Just as individual mandates were necessary for Obamacare to work, it was also necessary that all states participate for maximum success. Of course, most of those with Republican governments opted out.
    The Supreme Court strikes again, a very good reason to vote for Hillary Clinton.

  2. itchy says:

    4. Thank you! I’m saving this one.

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