Re: Things We Are Bad At

1

To be fair, during the 2008 primaries and general election, he really did give the impression of being highly competent and running a tight ship.

Campaigning and running a country are orthogonal skill sets I suppose.

Fuck it...Cthulhu in 2016! Ftaghn!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
2

Now this, this is cargo.

Well done!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
3

Now that he has lost the race for Va Gov, Ken Cuccinelli can reveal himself as ogged.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
4

And he's just so bad at some of the basics of being president. When I lamented to a friend that public education about Obamacare had been horribly neglected, my friend noted that publicity for ARRA had been similarly bad: "Stand in front of a fucking bridge, why don't you."

On this kind of thing, it seems to have been a deliberate choice that anything useful the administration gets done has to be as inconspicuous as possible. My guess is that the idea is to try and avoid specific political attacks on useful things -- if you don't have big signs on bridges saying "ANOTHER ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION". the Republicans are less likely to find some political means of destroying them.

I'm not sure that this is a good choice, but I think it's misguided rather than straightforwardly incompetent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
5

4: And there used to be signs? Like old-school NRA (the good one!) signs? One doesn't see them anymore.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
6

3: Or maybe Todd Purdum is ogged.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
7

Little enigmatic signs, IIRC. Not with memorable graphics or anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
8

7: I thought the graphics were cute -- but the signs were smallish and inconsistently displayed.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
9

Like so. But it never seemed there were many of them about.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
10

With the usual caveats that systemic factors are much more important than the character of individuals politicians, yeah, I haven't felt entirely comfortable about Obama since Shirley Sherrod got fired: a rare case of utterly inexplicable cowardice and stupidity that can only be laid on the executive and no one else...


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
11

To the OP, perhaps you are overly emotional and easily swayed by, and overreact to, extremely short term media narratives? Just spitballing here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
12

1.2: Also being good at getting government contracts and being good at actually executing the work are orthogonal. I think that's one of the reasons that healthcare.gov is such a clusterfuck. Also the lack of a single unified leadership structure with both authority and responsibility in the hands of a single person.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
13

I had a briefly puzzling exchange with a co-worker when I transferred to a locations where my commute involved navigating some significant multi-year construction. I mentioned the hassle of that, and she made some crack about Obama stimulus money to which I matter-of-factly replied that, yes, it was in part funded by the stimulus (and for some period of time was marked by one of the signs in 9). It was only later that I realized that it was supposed to be yet another reason for me to be mad at Obama. The work was long overdue, and recognized as absolutely necessary by every person who had ever taken that road. But black socialist, I guess.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
14

10: Yeah. I think that was the reason for my first harshly! worded! email! to BHO. Bah.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
15

Not that I did vote for the guy, but he fulfilled my expectations of not being McCain/Palin or Romney/Ryan. Sure the US is still declining in too many ways. Sure he didn't oppose the utterly delusional neoliberal, neocon-light elites of this august nation. But the when the GOP criticizes or proposes alternatives (the second a rare enough occurence) they're well worse than the stuff Obama does.
And if you think the next democratic president will be better, don't fool yourself.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
16

11 is my take as well. And the over-correction (i.e. this post) to the earlier enthusiasm is further evidence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
17

13: Obama's going to continue to be a disappointment until he starts helicopter-dropping in completed roads.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
18

15 is right as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
19

criticizes him or proposes alternatives to his policies


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
20

Little enigmatic signs, IIRC. Not with memorable graphics or anything.

STRETCHING FAR OUT
INTO THE MIST
THIS BRIDGE WAS BUILT BY
A SOCIALIST
NRA


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
21

Maybe I'm wrong about how horrible Obama is!

Fair point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
22

Yes, I endorse 15 as well and think maybe Ogged should realign his expectations of (the difficulties of) being president. Then again I thought the signs were fine.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
23

Just spitballing here

Your breath smells of swine, Mr. Halford.

I actually don't think that's it, for whatever my opinion of the matter is worth. More that, when some big plan is in the works, my reaction tends to be, Yeah! Shoot the moon! It's a kind of laziness, I think--wanting things to be done in a fell swoop, when they actually take decades of little steps.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
24

So good to see you back, Ogged.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
25

Maybe I just skimmed it, but I thought the ogled humbled by parenting and was just saying "I sure am wrong a lot."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
26

the ogled s/b ogged was


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
27

Do you think maybe what happens is that you trust people, and then flip hard in the other direction when you feel betrayed? With the Iraq war, trusting the people advocating for it not to be corrupt lunatics, with Obama, trusting him to be fundamentally a decent person...? I mean, I've been disappointed too, and surprised by some stuff (mostly, the indefinite detention without process is what hit me hard), but I can't say I hate him so much as disapprove of him on a whole lot of issues while recognizing that there wasn't anyone any better who could have gotten close to the Presidency, and that he's been much better than the actual alternatives. But I never got attached enough to trust him much politically.

(I still kind of crush on his family. Michelle and the girls seem so great.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
28

The oggled boggled


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
29

Yeah, I'm disappointed about his particular actions on Guantanamo and drone killings. But I'm considerably more disappointed in the American electorate.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
30

his particular actions on Guantanamo

what is he supposed to do about Guantanamo?


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
31

30. Close it, and free any poor bastard remaining who was there for no good reason.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
32

27 describes me perfectly.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
33

The things where he's been most incompetent (marketing ACA, bargaining with Republicans) don't line up with the things where he's been most awful (foreign policy). Basically I agree with 15, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
34

30: Take the legal position that we may not detain anyone other than as a prisoner of war or as a criminal defendant with the applicable procedural protections and rights of each, and process the detainees at Guantanamo accordingly, which would mean releasing everyone who couldn't be criminally convicted. Or, that's what I expected him to do, and it's within his powers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
35

It's not at all fair to blame the electorate. Most people don't know any better and those that do don't have any better choices. It's a failure of leadership. It's a failure of our elites as a class to think past short-sighted self-interest.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
36

31. And override Congress how? What Obama actually proposed was AFAIK less than what you want (and would be entirely reasonable, some cash for the wrongful imprisonment would be nice too) but Congress blocked that.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
37

What Congress blocked was using federal funds to move the detainees to the continental US, right? It didn't block trials, and it didn't block determinations that a given detainee couldn't be tried and so should be released.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
38

35. It's not entirely unfair either. The are all for social democratic policies, but oppose SOCIALISM. But you're right it's mainly a decadent, degenerate elite not only in the US but most of Europe, too.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
39

The Senate specifically blocked Obama from closing GTMO or transferring any prisoners held there. There were 90 Senators on board for that, with six opposing. This really is an area where he's gone about as far as he can, I think.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
40

The dude has yet to use his eyebeams even once.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
41

What elites? This is a functioning democracy, people here are getting the leaders they deserve. Anyone who doesn't know better is an ostrich.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
42

37 to 39 and 40: What I want is not only the right thing to do, it is absolutely within the executive power, and Congress would have a hell of a time blocking it. It would probably be wildly politically damaging, but those are the breaks -- Obama can claim the right to keep people locked up indefinitely without process because his political fortunes demand it, but I don't have to approve of him for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
43

I don't think marketing has been the only ACA-related failure. I'm still amazed that the federal government was unable to match the IT wizardry of Kentucky. If it's not made functional soon it could really do lasting damage to the prospects of any new social programs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
44

33: Incompetence in bargaining with Republicans seems to me a harsh judgement. The Republicans have been throwing a tantrum of relentless opposition to everything he does, and are quite open about it. I don't think there's much room to bargain there.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
45

Looking at Wikipedia, I see that you're right. Though the question is also what would 've Congress done if Obama ordered or suggested trials. But of course he didn't do any of that.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
46

Agreeing with everyone else that the OP seems . . . overstated.

This part seemed particularly unwarranted:

Before healthcare.gov went live, I thought if this site isn't ready for every last person on earth to access it the moment it goes live, they should just impeach the man. You'd think he would have cared enough about his signal legislative accomplishment to make his way down to whatever sub-basement these folks were hidden in, take someone aside, and note that he is "really good at killing people," "shrug tilt smile."

Because, as far as I can tell, there's nobody in the world who has the ability to consistently make large software projects deliver successfully on a fixed schedule.

Also, tangentially, the closing line made me think of Robin Williams' bit about having Regan and Gorbachev sit down with, "a couple of guys with the middle name 'the'."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
47

45 to 37


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
48

It is pretty shocking that a constituency composed of accused terrorists from poor countries and a smattering of legal and humanitarian activists did not prevail in the American political system.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
49

41: That was sarcasm, right?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
50

What elites?

The people whom anyone hoping to be elected to national office must beg for money.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
51

An ostrich never forgets.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
52

Before healthcare.gov went live, I thought if this site isn't ready for every last person on earth to access it the moment it goes live, they should just impeach the man.

I doubt it. I think you're exaggerating in retrospect. Did you blog it somewhere at the time?
In any case, that would be a really silly thing to think.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
53

Guantanamo detainees are having trials. KSM's trial will probably start next year.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
54

You're of course right, cleek. I have no high hopes that 'll be a trial worth its name.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
55

53: Obama's been president for getting up to five years, the detainees have been at Guantanamo for well over ten years, and there are people there who we have no stated intention of ever trying or releasing. All three are obscene, the last the most so, and the fact that any given individual detainee is being tried doesn't improve matters much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
56

Hasn't Obama even fought court orders to release people, which (at least on the individual level) Congress couldn't have done anything about? "His hands are tied" seems quite contrary to fact if so.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
57

Is this post really about Obama? My first read was that Ogged was complaining about the quality of his sex life as a father.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
58

Yes SP and he blames Obama for it, too.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
59

Agreeing with everyone else that the OP seems . . . overstated.

Not everyone else.

Wildly understated, I'd say. I hated the fucker in 2007.

And the worst thing is, Obama is indeed better by factors than Republicans, and very likely the best we are ever going to get...

...until we burn it all fucking down.

(But honestly, the posh socialists versus the prole fetishists battling it out for the vestigial British left is more fun)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
60

Shorter version: Obama didn't bring cargo.

Longer version, other than some civil liberties stuff, if you're surprised you didn't bother paying attention to what Obama was saying in 2007-8.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
61

59: Didn't ogged call you a troll for that? Anyway he certainly was in the habit of calling you that. Not that there is anything wrong with trollhood.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
62

The dude has yet to use his eyebeams even once.

Assumes facts not in evidence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
63

Oh, I think we'd know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
64

Congress should be blamed for playing cheap domestic politics with GTMO, but the President was deeply complicit in that (beginning in May 2009) *and* has failed to use the authority he unquestionably has to reduce the population there down to the 20 or fewer that are ever going to have trials.

What he's been doing on GTMO may well be, and probably is, smart domestic politics. But no one should be blaming anyone else for his decision to play smart politics with other people's lives.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
65

62, 63: He used them to look at the lady's ass that one time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
66

And override Congress how?

Consent to the fucking writ. It really is that simple, since all the congressional restrictions to date make an exception for release by court order.

Congress did not require the President to contest the legality of detaining individuals that the various agencies (DOD, CIA, FBI, etc) had unanimously decided that there was no national security reason to continue to detain. (Nor, obviously, did Congress direct the President to appeal each and every grant of the writ, even in cases of people that all the agencies had decided need not be detained further.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
67

And really this was an internal change in 2009. To say one should have known this is what would happen, one has to go the full mcmanus and say that the man was always a liar, not merely that whirlly eyed bots were hearing what they wanted to hear. (Which latter is the case imo for people who are mad that the war with Iraq didn't end in 2009 or the war in Afghanistan is continuing today).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
68

65: Hindsight.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
69

If you were a person who had no health insurance and your job search was going exceptionally badly would you want/need to go ahead and sign up for Obamacare? I didn't bother to find out about this because I assumed my degree and ten years of experience were worth something, ha ha ha.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
70

You've got another two months where it won't do you any good. May as well wait a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
71

69: I assume COBRA wouldn't work for you for some reason? (Past deadline, useless where you live now, etc.) If it would and you're nearing the deadline for electing to be covered, you might want to compare rates in case COBRA is cheaper. If not, what 70 says.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
72

Yeah, I don't know if I could get COBRA anymore. And I have the impression there are few or no providers out here.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
73

COBRA would have the same health care providers as whoever you saw while insured at your last job. Which, maybe be an issue because of distance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
74

Right, my former PCP (an idiot, but a free hand with the Rx pad) is 2,500 miles away.

3/4-OT, while googling "rohypnol" and "fear of flying" I discovered there is a benzo called bromazepam and it is making me laugh.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
75

Your old insurance probably had some provisions for medical care outside of the area that didn't involve flying back home. It's just probably much more expensive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
76

I was thinking if you had something like BCBS with a national network, it would be OK if you were within the sixty day deadline. I think when I did it, I could just change my PCP to a local one in their network without much trouble. Just figured I'd throw it out there in case you hadn't thought of it.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
77

They totally should have made some part of the ACA have the acronym GIJOE.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
78

These Obama conversations always boil down to whether the glass is a quarter-full or three-quarters empty.

I say a quarter full! Obama will never get credit for his biggest accomplishment: the non-invasion of Iran. And people have become shockingly complacent about what a groundbreaking thing it still is to have an African American president.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
79

And people have become shockingly complacent about what a groundbreaking thing it still is to have an African American president.

Well, some people don't seem all that complacent about it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
80

the non-invasion of Iran

This is the sort of thing that it's hard to give credit for, but I agree that it's real. One thing about the detainee issues that I get all bent out of shape over, is that the absolute numbers are pretty small. Same with drone strikes -- very upsetting, but the numbers of casualties are also fairly low.

So, incredibly disappointing and enraging, yes. In terms of actual human misery caused, not anywhere near the same ballpark as the people responsible for the Iraq war.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
81

As far as the last two paragraphs, I should probably paste something raging and despairing from Jacques Ellul. Or Roddy Piper. I ran across a deep reading of that movie this month. Somewhere. Ellul in 1964 was way ahead of his time, saying that even withdrawing and getting cynical is playing right into the bastards' plan.

It takes a fuckton of alienation to be free.

I am also reading about ideology, but the whirly eyes was more a matter of propaganda. Like I said, I am very interested in the way Laurie Penny, Richard Seymour, and China Mieville are bullshitting their way to the top of a very small British mountain.

A Discourse on Brocialism read as propaganda

Pushback at Counterpunch

Russell Brand The Posh Left and the Politics of Class

Will this move to America? Women and people of color at long last grabbing open control of the Democratic Party? And no, ObamaClinton are not that. Yet.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
82

78 -- I'm on board with quarter full. Maybe even 3/8ths. All the more reason, though, not to be giving credit that's not deserved. The ACA website thing should have been done differently. And indeed, whoever thought up the 'you can keep your plan' thing was a dope. Making health plans cover older kids, pre-existing conditions, and mental health wouldn't have led a casual observer (much less experts) to think they'd end up being changed and repriced?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
83

I guess I could link to the Russell Brand that fueled the pre-existing fire.

There is some wit and snark in all those links.

I felt pretty embarrassed that my involvement was being questioned, in a manner that is all too common on the left. It's been said that: "The right seeks converts and the left seeks traitors." This moral superiority that is peculiar to the left is a great impediment to momentum. It is also a right drag when you're trying to enjoy a riot.

Perhaps this is why there is currently no genuinely popular left-wing movement to counter Ukip, the EDL and the Tea Party; for an ideology that is defined by inclusiveness, socialism has become in practice quite exclusive. Plus a bit too serious, too much up its own fundament and not enough fun.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
84

The "you can keep your plan" though dates back to when he was running for election the first time. I'm kind of loathe to hold that over his head, like Bush Sr.'s "no new taxes!" or whatever stupid other things get thrown around during campaigns.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
85

My natural inclination is to argue with everybody, but in all my years here, I don't think I changed one person's mind about anything.

I thought we might get an interesting discussion of the types of error in judgment, but if that's not happening, I'd be content for LB to share the worst thing she's ever done.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
86

He shouldn't have been repeating it in 2012, but should instead have been saying you can keep it unless it's seriously deficient, or your insurance company has failed to comply with the requirements for the grandfather.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
87

Oh sure. For someone who is an unparalleled genius at running a campaign (or picking people to run his campaign) he sure as hell falls apart on messaging once he's in office.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
88

Lots of presidents have not invaded Iran.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
89

Didn't the "you can keep your plan" thing usually include the condition "if you like it"? (I wasn't paying close attention at the time.) Maybe the administration's mistake was in underestimating how many people liked their terrible plans.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
90

It also bears remembering that the economy is still shit, and Obama bears more and more of the responsibility for that. I think perhaps the most damaging thing he ever did was buying into the Republican anti-deficit fearmongering.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
91

90 is very true, and important.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
92

90: I think you're right, but I also think that one wasn't a bait-and-switch -- we knew he was 'business friendly' when we elected him.

85: The 'types of error in judgment' sounds like an interesting issue, but at 42 I still don't have myself busted. I get things wrong out of ignorance or inattention all the time, but if I have a characteristic wrong direction to jump in, I haven't spotted it yet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
93

we knew he was 'business friendly' when we elected him.

I don't think "business-friendly," though accurate as a description of Obama, really accounts for his failures in economic policy. Business would love a stronger economy than this one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
94

I think the problem is more that he's surprisingly susceptible to ridiculous ideas about fiscal policy that are very popular among DC insiders.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
95

You'd think they would, but aren't they in practice lined up behind fiscal austerity? I don't get it myself, but it seems to be how US politics works. (Speaking of which, Yggles is back from vacation and has already enraged me. I should write a post of complaint for tomorrow morning.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
96

89: Yes, and as I mentioned here before, the part of the people who "liked" their plan thing that is annoying to me in not getting mentioned even by the more progressive media, is that even for those who are paying more for the same or "worse" plan* (sometimes for years) is that their ability to stay on the good side of adverse selection was subject to change. By a very bad health event. That they would be covered through the year, but no guarantees beyond that. It is a variant of the most fundamental kind of insurance fallacy--"it's worked well for me so far." A years is short and life and health are long.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
97

You'd think they would, but aren't they in practice lined up behind fiscal austerity?

Not really, or at least not consistently. They're very much in favor of tax cuts, for example.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
98

That said, there's an important distinction between "business" and "politicians who portray themselves as pro-business." The latter are the ones who tend to favor austerity.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
99

But only if the tax cuts decrease the progressivity of the tax system. So they're only in favor of the tax cuts that provide the least possible economic stimulus.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
100

90-93 -- Just as I don't want to blame Congress for what the President could have done but hasn't, I don't think we should blame the President for policies that would have been better than those enacted, but could not have gotten through Congress. No one actually wanted the ACA, it's just the best that could have been done at the time. Ditto the half-stimulus. And after 2010, there really hasn't been much ability to do anything. And it's not like railing against Republican obstruction would've shamed the House into passing legislation: they are doing exactly what their constituents want them to do. And the President has fairly limited powers on big picture stuff.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
101

99: Right; they favor tax cuts for selfish reasons, not because of their effects on overall macroeconomic conditions. Similarly, they support specific government spending programs when they benefit from them and not otherwise. None of this is the same as supporting austerity, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
102

And 94 applies fully to intelligence/national security policies as well.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
103

100: That's true, and Obama probably couldn't have gotten better economic policies through Congress, but it never seemed like he even really tried. Instead he spent his time on stupid things like that whole "Grand Bargain" fiasco.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
104

Yggles is back from vacation and has already enraged me.

It was remarkable how much better Slate's business coverage got while he was gone.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
105

If you want to keep cutting taxes forever, you eventually need to cut spending. It's important to do that during democratic administrations because it's unpopular. So austerity during democratic administrations, so that you have room in the budget for giant tax cuts during republican administrations. The Clinton era balanced budget was necessary for the Bush tax cuts.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
106

95.last, I'm guessing the post about how it would be bad to reduce inequality because then all those people calling for funding things (preschool, health care) by increasing taxes on the rich would have to instead also tax the middle class which isn't politically feasible, so let's keep screwing the bottom 90% so we don't have to raise their taxes.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
107

103: Yes, endorsing the messaging of the entitlement creeps* was not good.

*Which seems to include almost the whole Beltway power elite.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
108

106: Right. He also gored my ox about talking about the contrast between neoliberals who want to provide cost-effective public services by outsourcing them all to vendors like the wizards who brought us Healthcare.gov, as opposed to populist liberals who don't care about services and want to use the public payroll as income support for featherbedding civil servants.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
109

95.paren: If you're thinking of his Warren / de Blasio thing, I'm pretty sure responding to that counts as feeding the trolls.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
110

Ditto the half-stimulus.

I tend to find that the blame-Obama-for-everything crowd pretty boring, but I've been telling myself for years that the original stimulus was, in fact, a case in which the president didn't do nearly as much as he could have to make things better: especially in the case of more money of infrastructure and direct aid to states. The story I've been telling myself is that he wasn't ready for a huge fight -- he wanted to keep lots of political capital in reserve -- and didn't yet understand the depths of the GOP obstructionism he would face, but that he could have, had he been willing to do a better job negotiating/bluffing, gotten a much better deal. Is that wrong?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
111

Oh, sorry, missed 106/108.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
112

Speaking of linkbait, headline on the front of NYT: Female Orgasms Rare in Casual Sex. Evolutionary biologists are involved, of course.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
113

I guess we should have expected O to be pretty deferential to the Villagers on economics -- I don't recall him saying much in 2008 that would've led me to think different. I guess I thought he'd have some better luck with a handful of Republican moderates (and writing that made me think of the Iranian moderates Reagan and Bush I went to such lengths to locate and placate) than turned out to be the case. There are Republicans who wanted the Grand Bargain too -- there are Republicans who would've signed on for the ACA if there hadn't been horse's heads in beds. I think O was way slow off the mark realizing that the opposition wasn't going to be able to deal.

Now with Gov. Christie standing in for the Village's wish to declare the TP fever broken. O is going to have to resist the temptation to believe them. Luckily, the TP will drag everyone right back ro a constitutional crisis soon enough.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
114

103: based on some reasonable evidence, I tend to think Obama really hoped to be a transformative (into a tractor trailer? a hummer? a tank? or maybe, like we all wanted, a prius?) president, and a Grand Bargain was (and maybe* still is) part of the transformation he had in mind.

* As ever, who knows?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
115

The Administration's economic policymaking has been consistently inept.

At the beginning, they mismanaged expectations about the size of the stimulus. It was clear that whatever number the Administration announced, the Senate would cut that number down to pose as "responsible". Rather than annouce a dramatic number, like 3 trillion dollars, the Administration pre-negotiated with itself to get the number below 1 trillion. The structure of the stimulus was also ill-conceived, in that it was heavily weighted towards tax cuts rather than spending.

The Administration consistently underestimated the size of the economic crisis, when it was obvious they should have been thinking about the possibility of a repeat of the Great Depression. This led to the too-small stimulus, to the talk of "Recovery Summer," to the pivot to austerity.

The Administration has made poor personal choices for economic policymaking. Gene Sperling has been a disaster. Tim Geithner has been a poor Treasury Secretary. They dawdled in appointing people to the Federal Reserve, and their actual choices, such as Jeremy Stein, have been pretty shitty. They had to be bullied into choosing Yellin over Summers for the next chair.

The Administration blundered into the last debt ceiling crisis by aiming for a completely unnecessary Grand Bargain. They then fucked up the resolution by proposing the sequester.

All in all, it's a poor record.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
116

114: This is where my best evaluation of the limited evidence I have gets me to a conclusion that's completely at odds with everything I think I know about people. Looking at how Obama keeps on acting, it looks as if he does think that negotiating with Republicans in good faith and meeting them in the middle will lead to a change in the poisonous political atmosphere in DC and make our government work again. But other than that, he doesn't seem to be mentally deficient. I can't see how he could have stayed so clueless for so long on that point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
117

115 -- I don't actually think we've got much in the way of disagreement here on the economics. It's the right-most 60th Dem vote in the Senate that defines how much can be done, and the initial proposals on stimulus and ACA were designed to keep senators 55-60 firmly in the tent.

Lots of folks disagree with Villagers about the economy, but no one can have been, or was, I suppose, surprised that people like Sperling and Geithner would be the ones listened to. Mistake, yes. Immoral, no.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
118

116 -- Even if he doesn't think they're ever actually going to deal, he still has to act like he thinks they are going to deal, because that's what the right 15% of his coalition [more heavily represented among the funding community] wants him to be.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
119

117 - If conventional wisdom dictates that you listen to generals who are inept, and this means you lose the war, are you an inept leader? Yes, you are. Failing conventionally is still failing.

I also flat out refuse to believe that US Senators are numerate enough that they know the difference between 1 trillion and 3 trillion. Whatever number the Administration announced, they would cut down by 30% or so.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
120

Yggles is back from vacation and has already enraged me.

I enjoyed how the sentence "Matthew Yglesias is on vacation." was not offset from the contributors' articles in any way, such as being put in italics, or being separated by a line, or being followed by "This piece is by guest contributor Paul Pogba".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
121

I think CC is right in 118, Obama understands that the Repubs are effectively off the table, it is the media, consultants, the centrist Dems that he is playing to by pretending to play to the Repubs. I'd love to see "I welcome their hatred", but can see where that would not work. Maybe someone could break out of "Washington always wins" but it ain't this guy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
122

"Matthew Yglesias is on vacation.
It's a sad day for hipsters, though probably not unexpected."

"Matthew Yglesias is on vacation.
Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced 204,000 jobs were added to the economy in October, surprising analysts, many of whom anticipated only 120,000. "

"Matthew Yglesias is on vacation.
Lego is thriving over its competitors, and 3D printing may have just crossed a critical threshold. Here's how they're related."

"Matthew Yglesias is on vacation.
Europe isn't happy with the U.S. at the moment. "


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
123

116: my slightly informed guess is that either he really believed that he could be a transformative figure (note to Barack and his successors: given the structural and institutional constraints, absent a World War or the like, there isn't any such thing) or he liked the politics of pretending that he believed he could be. The difference probably matters a lot in terms of policy outcomes -- or at least I can make that case -- but I'm not sure we'll ever know which was true.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
124

118, 121: This I agree with. Given that it's clear to everybody except the media that Boehner can deliver precisely nothing, it requires no effort from Obama to prevent a deal from happening.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
125

I turned on Obama late in 2007 when I saw he was serious about his "tax cuts for the middle class" And that ate up the ARRA, didn't it?

Democrats raise taxes big time when entering office, like Clinton. Remember Baucus and his billion dollar payoff? Democrats need money to bribe Senators, who almost always can be bought.

Republicans cut taxes because the apparent politics of scarcity ends up screwing the powerless. Senators have to have pork. Farm subsidies over food stamps.

Obamareagan. Evil motherfucker. Aw hell, University of Chicago. How the fuck did we get this guy?

Hmmmm?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
126

120: I wouldn't have figured you for a Serie A fan.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
127

Why I want a Hillary blowout of Goldwaterian proportions is so I can eat my centrist Dem shit straight without always doing the what-if speculations. And it will suck, but it will be marginally better than what we have now*.

*And then in 2024 or so or so we flirt with going full retard what with the demographics and other stuff. I'd peg hostile US use of nukes in the 2020s at 25%.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
128

Looking at 118 and 121, I think that's where the smart money is. I do wonder, though, if he didn't have a moment at the start of his presidency when he thought he could be that guy. Again, the smart money says no, not even then, but I don't think we'll ever know for sure.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:29 PM
horizontal rule
129

They'll let Lara Logan ceremoniously hit the button that takes out Karachi.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:29 PM
horizontal rule
130

Business would love a stronger economy than this one.

Not it it means a stronger labor market. Do not forget that business profits are at records highs. I think business interests as a whole are perfectly happy with the state of our "recovery".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
131

Or at least she'll report that she did on 60 Minutes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
132

119 -- Inept, yes. Conventionally. There may be a world in which the Admin could have come out for 3T hoping for 1T. In the one we live in, there would be a flurry of leaks about how only 1T was needed, that the sensible people in the admin had repeatedly told the president that, and that he was going off the rails because he's insane and wants to create the USSS described above. Maybe you end up with 1T, maybe .5T, but you get a lot of blood on the floor, and this ends up being the only thing you can get passed for a year. So they thought the smart politics was playing it fairly straight, and it probably would have been if the economists had been right about where things stood.

That is, I think the most important foe here, in the first 2 years anyway, wasn't the opposition, or even senators 55-60, but people inside the admin who could get to those senators (and maybe the Repubs if it looked like the pres was going to win over those senators). Now, true, I hold this view most strongly wrt security/intelligence matters, but I think it applies to the economics as well.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
133

118, 121: I lost a comment somehow -- you might be right, and I don't have the details at my fingertips to argue it well. But if 118 were the real story, I'd expect a kabuki Plan A (desirable, but not a real hope) put forth in the hopes of Republican support, and then a smooth pivot to Plan B when they won't cooperate at all, with Plan B having been the real plan all along. Instead, he looks genuinely wrongfooted every time they screw him over. Like the debt ceiling fight. That should have happened once, not twice, because he should have known that anything other than total refusal to negotiate would have invited repetition.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
134

To put it another way, I can see that he has to keep running at the football, but I don't see why he falls so hard every time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
135

115 is completely true and really all that needs to be said.* My extreme annoyance at "OMG a website's failure to work immediately upon launch means that any progress on healthcare is doooooooooooooomed " doesn't mean that the real story isn't a significant failure by Obama to do the most important job the times called upon him to do, namely manage a terrible economy.

(Although he still did significantly better than any Republican alternative might conceivably have done, has some impressive legislative accomplishments behind him and if we ever get a Republican president again all of you miss him.)

*except for the failure to press immediately forward with climate change legislation, political consequences be damned, for the maybe 2 month window where that was a conceivable possibility. Not saying he would have succeeded, but if ever a cause required making an immediate effort, that was it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
136

132: They chose to listen to the most optimistic economists.

Also, where do you get your secret knowledge of counterfactuals, so that you can say with 100% certainty what will happen? Do you have a palantir?

I don't remember the fact that Romer called for 1.5 trillion, and Summers cut it down to under 1 trillion leaking until after the stimulus was passed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
137

133 doesn't take into account the inability to control the bureaucracy (or allies on the Hill). If he had a real plan B, it's existence would be revealed, and the Village would pronounce plan A to be bad faith.

I'm talking myself into being kind of alarmed at Gov. Christie. Sure the rightwingers can and probably will kill him off in a few years, but he's providing a peg for the Villagers to resist declaring Republicanism terminally irrelevant.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
138

134: but I don't see why he falls so hard every time.

Because that's part of pretending to run at the football...

Actually, well said, and I somewhat agree, but I also think trying speculate on what an Administration (and the people in it) are actually doing and thinking while riding the tiger is pretty fraught all around.

The intensity and politicization of it is surely far, far beyond any of our experience. When friends co-workers ask me "why X?" about some weird national political/electoral thing, I generally try to frame it by saying, "Think of the most political thing you've ever been involved in at work and how decision-making got done during that, and then multiply that by a whole bunch." Becoming and staying President is some weird shit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
139

136.3 -- Yeah, and? Leaks happen because someone sees an advantage. Two someones: the leaker and the person who decides to publicize the leak. No benefit to either LS or his Village friends to revealing this until after the bill was passed.

136.2 -- My ass, of course. I'm not going to say I'm some kind of anthropologist, but I feel like I've spent enough time with Villagers to understand the mindset. Or understand what other people think the mindset is.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
140

I agree generally with 138, too. But I think the conclusion to be reached from that is that, aside from looking at obvious structural factors, most process-analysis is likely to be wrong. So, I don't think micro-analyses of negotiation strategy are very helpful or likely to be productive.

At the same time, I do of the problem is that the bench of establishment Dems who weren't severely corrupted by 90s centrism was very thin, and the times really really didn't call for 90s centrism. The failure to recognize that the rules had basically changed, and to recognize that quickly, was IMO Obama's greatest failing, even if it's an "understandable" one.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
141

he's providing a peg for the Villagers to resist declaring Republicanism terminally irrelevant

The status quo is working just fine for them. They were never going to push for anything that might yield lasting changes in the political landscape. Also, relatedly, they need a horse race to make their horrible lives seem worth living -- and to sell ad space.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
142

It's the right-most 60th Dem vote in the Senate that defines how much can be done

Don't get me started on Democratic acquiescence to filibuster abuse.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
143

135.*: I don't know if significant climate change legislation was ever a real political possibility -- but if it was, or could have been, then the first-term decision to push for health care reform instead may turn out to dwarf every other error mentioned on this thread.

(I recognize that I say that as a financially comfortable white person who would have had health insurance regardless.)


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
144

Anyone thinking, "Gee, I bet Von Wafer is supposed to reading a very boring book for a very boring review essay he's writing that's due very soon." is very right.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
145

Today I read a paper concerning Bolivian exports of tin in the 1970s. Did you know they had 15% of the market between 1972 and 1974, which was second in the world, behind Malaysia?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
146

141 -- Status quo is fine for them, yes. Is the TP a greater threat to the status quo than O? Only if the TP can't be contained.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
147

139: But in the real world, nothing did leak about inter-Administration disputes over the size of the stimulus until after the fact.

Even if I grant that leaks always happen, Romer called for 1.5T in stimulus, which the administration people cut down before it even got to the Senate, since they love to pre-negotiate with themselves. If they had gone with their actual plan, and listened to their actual economist who did the actual economic forecasting, they would have taken a bigger number to the Senate, and there would have been nothing to leak.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
148

146: I doubt they know (nor does anyone else) how much of a threat the Tea Party is to the status quo. All they know is that Christie is what passes for a centrist Republican these days and that he's colorful/profane/overweight enough to help them sell ad space. He's their guy.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
149

Christie is going to be an interesting phenomenon. I think there is a fair chance he comes up a total cropper. I just think it is going to be very hard for the Repub base to go with a "moderate" for the third time in a row when the first two couldn't even beat the black guy with the Islamic name. Christie running and winning shoves their Goldwater out until 2024.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
150

I wonder how much real relevance the concept of the "Village" has in today's Washington. The old David Broder/Sally Quinn bipartisan world that spawned the phrase seems pretty much done. People I know who work in Washington are all hyper-partisan, and the town (and Congress) are socially and structurally divided. Of course, there are tons of opportunistic centrist Democrats, and plenty of straight-up grifters, but I'm less and less impressed with the usefulness of the "Village" shorthand.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
151

I'll repeat what I said about Giuliani -- I really don't think Republicans in the rest of the country have room in their hearts for an NY metro area guy. And Christie, much as I despise him, is clearly one of us. If he makes it past the first day with a bunch of primaries, I'll be shocked.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
152

Christie is an asshole. Republicans love them some assholes. The tea party will come around.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
153

147 -- We'll never know, obviously. I can see people leaking that they think the number too high. I don't understand why you think that a victory of Faction A over Faction B internally means that Faction A would've calmly accepted a victory of Faction B internally. Am I just more cynical about the rightward edge of the coalition than you?

What was the point of the leak, when it came out? To show to the people that matter that Faction A was more powerful, more reasonable, and more savvy, wasn't it?

Only you (we) non-Villagers think it showed that some folks had a better understanding of the economy than the 'savvy' ones.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
154

150: I think it depends whether you believe the Sunday shows and the op-ed contributors at The Times are relevant these days. I think they're not, except maybe insofar as they shape sound and fury a narrative that, more and more people seem to realize, signifies nothing at all.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
155

152: Some kinds of assholes they love. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But I'm sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
156

151: I'm torn on that--he can certainly do the fried butter at an Iowa county fair thing better than Giuliani, but not sure he can calibrate his base level of NYC/NJ abrasiveness that well.

152: If he did make it, he will pivot to full Tea Jerk even faster than Romney.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
157

Bush was hardly the biggest asshole/most conservative of the Republican hopefuls in 2000. GOP voters coalesced around him because they thought he could win the general election -- and because McCain's apostasy was seen as beyond the pale. I think this comment supports LB's position, but I can't really tell. I'd better get back to work.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
158

And I think the Repub base is desperate to have their Goldwater moment. A Christie candidacy is threat to that in 2016 and 2020.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
159

I note with amusement that Santorum has been travelling to Iowa.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
160

Actually, no, my previous comment doesn't really support either LB or Spike. I tend to think it will matter who's running. If Christie stands the best chance of winning, JP's right: I'm guessing he'll cast himself as conservative enough to capture the Tea Party. Whether neo-Confederate fuckwits can then get beyond the fact that he's from New Jersey -- "He's practically a Jew!" -- I have no idea.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
161

Asshole/non-asshole isn't the relevant metric. It's that standing in a room full of people he thinks are hicks, who are sensitive about Northeastern elites making fun of them, they're going to know he thinks they're hicks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
162

Wait, do Republicans not like Giuliani anymore? I thought he imploded because he imploded, not because Republicans decided they couldn't handle a New Yorker.

It's that standing in a room full of people he thinks are hicks, who are sensitive about Northeastern elites making fun of them, they're going to know he thinks they're hicks.

You're basing this on the fact that instead of nominating Giuliani they nominated Willard (Mitt) Romney?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
163

Isn't Christie's embrace of Obama after Sandy basically fatal to him in Republican primaries? I just don't think the GOP base is going to get over that one.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
164

160: But he can withstand a massive drop-off from the goobers* in the general if he stays more competitive in PA/Ohio/Michigan and the like (I doubt he would win NJ). But I actually think he will probably get scraped off in the primaries.

*And if it's Hillary she will discover her inner cornpone in an attempt to pull red state women in. I believe Christie v Clinton would lead to the biggest gender gap in presidential results ever. (It might be that way for any opponent of hers given current politics.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
165

Whatever failings you think Giuliani has, surely "not being enough of an asshole" isn't one of them.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
166

A noun, a verb and Hurricane Sandy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
167

163: George W. Bush ran with a reputation as a "compassionate conservative" most famous for having compromised effectively with Democrats while he served as governor of Texas. Not to mention, his dad was TRULY reviled by movement conservatives (George H.W. Bush was Pontius Pilate to Reagan's tax-cutting Christ or some bullshit). But W seemed like he could win and used the right dog whistles (and Dick Cheney) to get the base to heel. Republican voters fell in line. Maybe things are different now. Maybe JP is right and it really is time for Goldwater Cruz or Paul.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
168

I thought we might get an interesting discussion of the types of error in judgment, but if that's not happening

Be the change you wish to see in the world, ogged.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
169

164: you saw the cross-tabs from VA, right? Married women and young people went for Cuccenelli. What does this have to do with a prospective Christie-Clinton contest? Nothing, I suppose, other than stating the obvious: the electorate can't be trusted.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
170

Christie could do well in Iowa, and he would probably win in NH. He'll loose SC, but could be strong in Florida and Nevada. He can ride that well into round 2 of the primaries, where he will be up against whichever one is left standing of the Cruz/Santorum/Huckabee types, and probably Rand Paul. I think his chances against that lot are pretty good.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
171

167 has force, I admit. That said, GWB's reputation was for compromising with Texas conservatives, which is a far cry from having (in the view of the movement/base) helped Obama win reelection. Even taking into account the feeling towards GHWB, I still think Christie has further to go.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:00 PM
horizontal rule
172

Since I have so little intellectual empathy, and since there's not much data, I have no idea whatsoever how one would handicap the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary. They're all a bunch of insane nutjob goobers. Who the fuck knows what a bunch of insane nutjob goobers will or won't do?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
173

This morning I had a conversation with a taxi driver that reminded me that the political opinions of ordinary Americans who don't live on blogs are often really hard to pigeonhole into left-wing/right-wing/Democrat/Republican/etc boxes. </Thomas Friedman>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
174

Specifically, an African-American cab driver who is pro-reparations, anti-Social Security, pro-personal-responsibility, strongly pro-traditional-families, ambiguously anti-welfare-state, strongly anti-capitalist, and... I think I'm missing a few things. I was scrambling to keep up over the course of a fifteen minute cab ride.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
175

From reading Red State comment threads it's pretty clear to me that while the Tea Party contingent is not at all happy with the idea of Christie as the nominee, for the most part they don't actually hate him, a sizable minority have some niggling doubts about Cruz' electability, and they'd fall in line without any problem if Christie is the nominee. He's no Giuliani on social policy (pro-life vs. pro-choice and pro-civil union/anti gay marriage in 2016 is rather different than in 2008, even among that crowd). They really, really hated on Romney in the primaries and ditto for McCain back in 2008. The biggest issues they have with Christie are his Obama hug and immigration.

162.2 There's a difference between cookie cutter financial elite right winger and pure unadulterated (greater) New Yorkese.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
176

That is a lot of running.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
177

174: I dunno I think that might be a type. I guess the anti-capitalism doesn't exactly fit?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:20 PM
horizontal rule
178

176 to 174.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:21 PM
horizontal rule
179

They really, really hated on Romney in the primaries and ditto for McCain back in 2008.

Right. Romney had about a half-dozen qualities, starting with the M-word, that rendered him unable to capture the GOP nomination, and yet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:21 PM
horizontal rule
180

Masshole?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
181

I think if Jeb doesn't run and there's no consensus insane person and Christie manages to stay disciplined enough for his temper to serve as an advantage rather than a liability then he has a very good chance.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:25 PM
horizontal rule
182

180: you take that back.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:25 PM
horizontal rule
183

From reading Red State comment threads

My sympathies.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:27 PM
horizontal rule
184

182: Sorry. Truth, hurting, etc.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
185

184: not even standing up for the massholes but it just doesn't make sense. Not everybody you don't like who has lived in Massachusetts gets to be a masshole. It would be weird. Andrew Sullivan? Total masshole. Matt Yglesias? Masshole. Mike Bloomberg? Eh, I could see making a case.

Now, Marky Mark, yes, no doubt. But until Romney has beaten up a septuagenarian while screaming racial epithets in a hilarious accent he'll have to just stay a regular asshole.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
186

Prescriptivist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
187

an African-American cab driver who is pro-reparation

I was surprised to see that reparations is a pretty big issue down here in the Caribbean. There was just a big reparations conference in St Vincent. The goal is to get reparations out of European countries.

I was a bit skeptical, but someone made the point that Haiti really ought to be due some reparations from France.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
188

"Elected by Massholes"?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
189

One thing worth noting about Christie as his star rises is that he's actually been a terrible governor. He did a good job with the hurricane, and he's a skilled politician so he was able to do a lot with that, but overall he's spent most of his time picking random fights with his opponents and burnishing his national reputation.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
190

188 is probably fair. "Massachusetts townie Republican" is not a terrible synecdoche for Masshole.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
191

He did a good job with the hurricane because what kind of a fucking idiot is unable to take advantage of the political goldmine that is a hurricane hitting during your term. Oh, oh right, yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
192

181: I think if Jeb doesn't run and there's no consensus insane person and Christie manages to stay disciplined enough for his temper to serve as an advantage rather than a liability then he has a very good chance.

I keep coming back to the question whether NJ state sensibilities nationalize at all well. This was a problem for Rick Perry: it turns out the rest of the country doesn't speak Texas quite as much as you think it does. May be true for New Jersey as well. (Aren't there swathes of the country that put a high value on politeness, courtesy, a generally retiring/demurring air, as opposed to in-your-faceness?) I haven't looked in any detail at the voting patterns in the recent NJ gubernatorial election, which demographics Christie took and which he failed in; and what was the turnout like?

Interesting about the Red State mood regarding Christie.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:53 PM
horizontal rule
193

||
Got my Xmas shopping list done for the year.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
194

I was hoping for a picture illustrating its use as a standard pillow.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 6:58 PM
horizontal rule
195

174: He should meet the cab driver I've had a couple of times now who is white, anti-capitalist, anti-government, anti-immigrant, pro-black people, pro-smokers-rights, etc. etc.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
196

193 - That pillow seems perfect for keeping people from bothering you when you are sleeping.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
197

I don't see Christie winning Iowa if Santorum or another fundie contests the thing. It's a small self-selected electorate, tailor made for non-establishmentarianism. Maybe Rand Paul could beat Christie there as well.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
198

I guess I would actually be too embarrassed to wear it, but it seemslike it could be really useful for air travel, plus scaring the living fuck out of your copassengers is a feature not a bug.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
199

Cop-assengers?


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
200

Am I the only one who thinks it looks like some component of a bondage scene also involving a slanket?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
201

No. The rest of us were just ashamed to say it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
202

Guillermo Del Toro's Naptime


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
203

Furry cosplay bondage?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
204

Please, daddy, I'll be good. Can I get out now?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
205

204 Inflates by mouth or with pump


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
206

Sorry, 204 is AWESOME.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
207

How many?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
208

This is just a foul, foul catalog.

Natilo, I'm surprised at you, bringing filth like this onto a nice clean blog.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
209

On the Masshole issue, I should like to point out that we from the 413 (1) don't have that accent and (2) rarely if ever see our comically corrupt and incompetent state politicians.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
210

Flip, be serious: everyone knows that Mass. = greater Boston.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
211

209: I was born in the 413. It does not lack for Massholes. It's like you've never even been to the Big E.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
212

Am seriously considering showing up at Thanksgiving (29 people! Many children, most around 4 years of age!) with 204.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
213

Or 420, in case the turkey is dry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
214

How many 5-year-olds in child-piloted tumblers could you beat up?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
215

Christie is being underestimated here. The Tea Party is basically 99% ressentiment, and Christie is really good at that.

The fact that he cozied up to Obama only works in his favor. This shows what a genuine moderate he is. He won't be running against Obama, but when he calls Hillary a communist, it will carry so much more force than if some rightwing nut said it - even among rightwing nuts.

Every racist on my Facebook feed loves nothing better than to find an African American to say something hideous about black people. Christie has established his bona fides as a non-hater, and that makes him much more credible when he spouts hate. When he calls for Obama to be lynched, the Tea Partiers will tell themselves that it must be because Obama really, really deserves to be strung up - and a chunk of the media will concur.

Tea Partiers are all about obedience to authority. They grumbled some, but when the party apparatus said to support Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney, that's what they did.

The Tea Partiers supposedly hate Obamacare so much that they were willing to take the economy hostage to get it repealed. These are the same people who turned out to support the guy who pioneered Obamacare in Massachusetts.

Maybe the Republican establishment can't ordain a nominee, but it can certainly veto unacceptable candidates. For those of you who are running down Christie's chances, my question is: Is there a Tea Party favorite who is more likely to receive the nomination?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
216

Born out in a dead man town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the 413, I was born in the 413


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
217

Tea Partiers are all about obedience to authority. They grumbled some, but when the party apparatus said to support Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney, that's what they did.

That's projecting current things back to a time when this stuff didn't exist in the same way. For example, huge numbers of these people were racist Democrats who voted for Nixon and Reagan against the apparatus of the party to which they belonged at the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
218

Tea Partiers supported Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole, and Bush? Do you mean movement conservatives?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
219

This is becoming a thing, Mobes. Maybe cool it a bit with the pwnage?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
220

Also, I'm pretty sure that Hillary has been called a Communist so often that nobody is going to change their mind when they hear it again. Her holiday cards have Santa saying, "To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
221

219: Limp faster.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
222

217, 219: Yeah, sure, it's oversimplifying to extend these things back to Nixon. There have been a lot of changes.

But while the "Tea Party" is a new phenomenon, that phenomenon is largely a branding thing, not a substantive change in ideology. If you want to call them "John Birchers" or "Moral Majoritarians" or whatever, that's all right with me.

220: Right. The only thing that matters is Christie's willingness to engage in that sort of namecalling. He's not going to convince another Tea Partier that she's a commie; he'll just convince them that he has the right values.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
223

No. It's very different in how they are treated. The Birchers were denounced by nearly all mainstream conservatives seeking office, including Goldwater. Because they were fucking crazy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
224

In looking up to be sure Goldwater didn't support Birchers, I see that the second leader of the Birchers was shot down on KAL 007. I'm pretty sure that didn't help calm them down.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
225

223: Certainly the treatment of the Hard Right has changed - by everyone. However, I'm not seeing how you mean to differentiate Tea Partiers from Birchers by saying the Birchers "were fucking crazy."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
226

My point isn't that the Tea Party is a model of sanity relative to the Birchers*, but that you can't argue that the Birchers were the ones who elected those previous Republican presidents. Depending on how you define things, the Tea Party is one or two orders of magnitude larger the Birchers. Previously Republicans deliberately distanced themselves from Birchers to get mainstream votes and did not seek them out. FFS, G. H. W. Bush gave a very prominent speech about working to establish a "new world order" and that's the phrase Birchers used (use?) for a one-world socialist government.

* Tough they almost certainly are. I just don't know how to prove it. Ask how many Tea Partiers think Ike was a communist?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:16 PM
horizontal rule
227

Politico writer Mike Allen's father was a prominent Bircher.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:26 PM
horizontal rule
228

Just sayin'.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:27 PM
horizontal rule
229

I suspect there's quite a lot of overlap between the Tea Party and the Birch Society (which actually still exists).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
230

Though the TP is certainly larger than the JBS ever was.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
231

"Yes, Teofile, there is a Bircher Society. It exists as certainly as paranoia and resentment and avoidance of dental care exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Bircher Society."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
232

No, really, it does.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
233

something something Michael Paul Rogin something


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
234

Are you implying Santa doesn't exist?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
235

No. Are you?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:51 PM
horizontal rule
236

Well, the original Koch, Koch pere, helped to found the Birch Society, so that's a sort of direct familial connection between the two.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 10:55 PM
horizontal rule
237

Along with all-time top 5 villain name guy Revilo P. Oliver.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:00 PM
horizontal rule
238

Apparently the main founder, Robert Welch, made his money by starting a candy company in Cambridge after dropping out of Harvard Law School.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:03 PM
horizontal rule
239

And, yep, there's Fred Koch. The description of his role in developing the Soviet oil industry is carefully phrased.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
240

Have only read half the thread. Being wrong consistently is an interesting problem. Ogged, Obama, and Yggles have something in common in that respect. They all seem to want to maintain a certain position in the current of (elite-ish) opinion relative to other components of that current -- a certain neutral buoyancy. The current itself is frequently thwarted, so O, O & Y are frequently wrong and often come to recognize that they were wrong about that particular thing. They might come to that recognition a little ahead of other portions of the current, or maybe not.

So the things they get wrong are interesting, because O, O & Y remain within the current. They don't admit they were wrong because they adopt a radical critique and leave the current; they admit they were wrong because the current itself was forced to change course. Other things they get wrong but can't admit -- Obama won't admit he was wrong about Guantanamo until he very old, I suspect, and even then probably not. In a way, then, the things that O, O & Y have gotten wrong show us something about the reality principle of the age, or maybe we should say the cracks appearing in the system.

I mean, sure, Obama basically never admits he was wrong, and Yggles rarely does, and Ogged doesn't do it a whole lot. But they're all wrong about similar political things; it's their relative power that prevents them from admitting they were wrong as often. Other people get those kinds of things right fairly consistently. What is the difference between Yggles and LB? LB is much less committed to that neutral buoyancy, and her income doesn't depend on it.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
241

Ogged's opinion doesn't either.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
242

From the link in 238:

In the fall of 1919, he enrolled in Harvard Law School to learn the free enterprise system.

That's... something.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:28 PM
horizontal rule
243

But he dropped out because he couldn't stand how much of a Marxist Felix Frankfurter was.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:29 PM
horizontal rule
244

Yeah. My new goal in life is to drive at least one student to drop out in protest of my political opinions.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:30 PM
horizontal rule
245

Actually, on rereading it's not clear that he dropped out. It just says he "left Harvard" in 1922, which would have given him enough time to graduate. On the other hand, if he had graduated it's not clear why his bio wouldn't say so.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:31 PM
horizontal rule
246

Anyway, he went on to invent the Sugar Daddy, so it all worked out in the end.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:35 PM
horizontal rule
247

Plus decades of insane rightwing agitation, I guess.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:44 PM
horizontal rule
248

In the fall of 1919, he enrolled in Harvard Law School to learn the free enterprise system.

A professor of mine wanted to revamp the 1L curriculum into a single big course called something like "The Rules of Capitalism."


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:54 PM
horizontal rule
249

Going down this rabbit home led me to look up the Revilo P. Oliver website, which has some truly nutso anti-Semitic and racist stuff on it, and turns out to be maintained ... by a convicted pedophile. I'm pretty sure that the FBI is going to be knocking on my door in the next day or so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:58 PM
horizontal rule
250

Why not just merge the law and business schools?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:59 PM
horizontal rule
251

"rabbit hole," not that it matters.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-11-13 11:59 PM
horizontal rule
252

You have to hone in on the rabbit home.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:00 AM
horizontal rule
253

Hone in on that rabbit home.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:00 AM
horizontal rule
254

dammit


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:00 AM
horizontal rule
255

That was one of more remarkable pwnages I've witnessed.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
256

One of the more, for fuck's sake, I hate everything. Goddamnit.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
257

It's okay, trapnel. Here, have a Sugar Daddy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:08 AM
horizontal rule
258

You should probably hate Fred Koch, Robert Welch, and especially Revilo P. Oliver more than you hate every other thing. Just saying.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:08 AM
horizontal rule
259

255: Comrade, we are all in the hivemind here. Please join us.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:13 AM
horizontal rule
260

I know what kids, let's put on a Caucus Race!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 3:59 AM
horizontal rule
261

250: The University of Chicago Law School already exists.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:03 AM
horizontal rule
262

In the light of day, I'm embarrassed to have been so earnestly speculating on Christie's prospects at this early date. We're all pundit wannabes it turns out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:10 AM
horizontal rule
263

No need for shame, JP. Chris Christie is our rightful king.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:13 AM
horizontal rule
264

Hillary is so obviously going to win.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
265

The arc of history is long and it bends toward "meh, we could do worse."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:27 AM
horizontal rule
266

263: Right, he hugged a black man.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
267

I actually believe that the US "economy" would be doing slightly better right now* if Romney had been elected. No sequester for one thing. Lowering budget deficit and record Dow would be trumpeted and there would be more spending (on things Repubs like) and maybe even a tax cut (not sure on that). I am agreeing with part of David Frum's holding his nose and voting for Romney column (because obstructions dicks would be less obstructionist), but of course vehemently disagreeing with him that it was a good reason to vote for a Republican.

*But with worse long-term prospects.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 6:50 AM
horizontal rule
268

At times over the past 5 years the people in the world whose actions I fear the most likely to cause long-term harm to my family and country have been the conservative/austerity bloc on the Federal Reserve. Somewhat just as a metonym for the whole entrenched "responsible" political elite in their studied ghoulish smugness.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
269

Hillary is so obviously going to win.

Just like last time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
270

240: Trying to not detract from Bave's brilliant counter-troll, but the hint of the return of the Narrative Wars has energized me.

My personal experience and observation is that folks who don't pay attention are carried along in the flotsam of the narrative, and in that lies its power. This was me from say 1993 through 1998 when--although disappointed by the lack of success of Paul Tsongas ...--I dropped out of following politics closely in the wake of Bubba triumphing over the really evil white men. I also had small children and it was an extremely busy, involved and stressful period of my professional life. So I actually kind of thought there was a "there there" with regard to Whitewater and all of that. Slowly through the impeachment realized that there was not much, but it was really only upon reading The Hunting of the President in 2000 that I realized that there was literally nothing.

So now, to the great benefit of society, I whine about things on blogs and Twitter.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
271

Hilary and Elizabeth Warren vs Ted Cruz and Rand Paul in a claymation deathmatch.

Slatepitch or kickstarter?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:33 AM
horizontal rule
272

269: I suspect you would agree that the situation is rather different this time, and much more tilted towards Hillary. Or maybe not?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:33 AM
horizontal rule
273

I'd prefer Clinton-Biden. He's born for the role.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
274

Clinton-Dix won't be eligible to run for over a decade.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
275

236 and 239 extremely intersting, thanks!


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
276

272: The situation is indeed different this time. It will be different again by the time the first primaries crank up in two plus years from now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
277

272: in 2005, the three top polling Democratic candidates were Hillary Rodham Clinton (40%) , John Kerry (16%) and John Edwards (15%). Right now, it's Hillary (68%), Biden (10%) and Warren (6%).

So, yeah, Hillary's lead is even stronger this time. But it was pretty damn strong before, and Obama wasn't even one of her main challengers.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
278

For example, I have multiple friends ~20 years younger than HRC undergoing chemotherapy right now who appeared perfectly healthy a year ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
279

276, 277: Points taken.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
280

278: I think her not being healthy is the strongest chance she won't get the nomination.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
281

Not that I think she's not healthy, but that I know becoming not healthy can happen in a hurry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
282

240: Here's your narrative from someone whose paycheck depends on it (The Fix). A) per my esteemed blogmates, it's 2013 and B) the cherry-picking of poll numbers in that article is pretty awesome.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
283

280: I agree with this.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
284

OTOH, my analysis when Obama entered the race was that he would divide the field just enough to hand HRC the victory over the guy who was plainly the best candidate, John Edwards. Brilliant! So my political crystal ball is at least half funhouse mirror.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
285

My God, I'm a pundit at heart! I'm a pundit, I'm a pundit, I'm a pundit!.... a pundit (sobbing as I reel across the snowy lawn in my stocking feet, collapsing under the bird feeder in a heap) ... a pundit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
286

Some objects than they appear in the mirror.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
287

286 +are larger, LARGER, I say!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
288

OP title -> 262 et seq


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
289

I also remain deeply unexcited at the prospect of a Robert Rubin Hillary Clinton presidency.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
290

She doesn't have the mesmerizing charisma of Paul Tsongas, that's for sure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
291

289: I actually am if it were a crush with coattails long enough to deliver the House.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
292

290: But he had that winning Massachusetts Greek thing going for him.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
293

OMG he was a Tsongas voter. The closing of the fern bars in the early 90s recession must have made you think about financial responsibility, yuppie.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
294

Some day we might actually meet in person, and trust me you will be sorely disabused. (When I lived in Houston the 3rd time I will admit that I did live in the most yuppie part of town.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
295

But your grasp of the cliched and hackneyed is truly admirable. Do they actually make you watch those bad '80s movies and TV shows as well as protect them?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
296

Bad 80s movies promised me the life I've disappointingly never been able to obtain. Also, if we don't have bizarre fantasy caricatures of one another, what do we have.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
297

We can be each others' mannequin that comes to life, that's what I'm saying.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
298

296: A growing confidence in our ability to use PROC TRAJ.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
299

292 gets it right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
300

Based on trying to help my daughter with some homework over the phone last night, I can categorically say that SAS is better than SPSS although I haven't used the former in 30 years.

(I have no idea what I am talking about, but I can categorically say it.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
301

Semi on topic (it's from a column on Christie and 2016): Richard Cohen hot off of discovering slavery was bad via watching a movie last week, clunks this sentence out: People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York -- a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
302

IBM now owns SPSS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
303

I saw that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
304

She ended up doing it in Excel.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
305

You have my email if she gets stuck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
306

For help with SAS, not SPSS or Excel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
307

"Here's David Cameron Calling For Permanent Austerity In Front Of All Kinds Of Ridiculous Gold Things". A bit unfair, maybe, but then again, maybe not.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
308

Wait, what the hell is 301? Is there some context I'm missing or what?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
309

Context:

Today's GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled -- about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York -- a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts -- but not all -- of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn't look like their country at all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
310

It's not racist because Richard Cohen says it's not racist. He has a newspaper column, so authority.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
311

If we're mocking 80's ideas and now talking about computers, how about contempt for CORBA. It's the Arthur of programming models. Or maybe the Splash.

On the other hand, Working Girl was actually a pretty good movie.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
312

Talk about supressing a gag reflex. Christ.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
313

301: I was going to respond about this topic on the thread where I was complaining about everything else, but I got lectured by the child's teacher last night about how her life is more difficult because of her interracial lesbian parents (though not solely that, and I don't disagree) and I'm probably about to hear the same from the new family therapist, but it really didn't help to see shit like that even from a shit like him.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
314

Remember, Richard Cohen is a funny guy.

"Take Bill de Blasio's black ex-lesbian wife ... Not!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
315

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that having to concentrate to keep from throwing up in your mouth at the sight of an interracial couple is no longer considered "conventional". Just think how upset those people must be at Clarence Thomas defiling that poor white woman all these many years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
316

Josh Barro had a good tweet on it: Richard Cohen gives me hope that when I'm in my 70s and all my work is stupid and/or offensive somebody will still pay me to write.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
317

So conventional views are not OK with interracial marriage? Or are they gobsmacked that the product of such a union might be biracial children?

I suspect that for Cohen it's both. The guy seems deeply confused.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
318

315: Anita Hill was black!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
319

318: When the cameras were rolling, sure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
320

Up until now everything around here has been, well, conventional. Recently certain things have become unconventional. Now, it seems to me that the first thing we have to do is to separate out the things that are conventional from the things that are unconventional.


Posted by: Big Richard | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
321

So, should I open the zip file I got attached to a mass email that comes from an unnamed administrator who wants to be sure I have my Outlook setting right?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
322

There's nothing more conventional in US politics than interracial relationships. The Founding Fathers were all for them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
323

321: No.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
324

But mamma, that's where the fun is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
325

I'm imagining him as a Mr. Magoo character searching in what passes for his mind for some word that conveys "not racist" per his prior sentence but "not accepting." He finds precisely the wrong choice (not that there is a right one). "Ah, Cohen, you've done it again."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
326

301 is really shocking, especially right after the "Who knew slavery was bad" column. I wonder if he's had a stroke or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
327

Doesn't he have an editor?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
328

Shorter Richard Cohen: Today's GOP is not racist, it's just "conventional," which is my euphemism for "racist."


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
329

So, should I open the zip file I got attached to a mass email that comes from an unnamed administrator who wants to be sure I have my Outlook setting right?

I always open suspicious files when I'm on a work computer, because I'm curious and I figure the worst thing that will happen is that I won't be able to do any work for a while*, and there's an IT dept. to clean that stuff up, and they'll get blamed for having too weak network protection, not me, the bumbling lawyer.

But I'd never open that if I was on a home computer.

*I've worried a few times that this may be wrong, and I could end up with some keytstroke logger stealing my passwords and ids to personal email/banking, etc., all of which I access frequently from work. But then *I* could blame the IT dept., and make them help me clean up the mess.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
330

329: There's a reason you're my favorite commenter.

327: Maybe not for substance, maybe someone just copyedits it? I hope someone starts reading his stuff for substance after these last two horrors, but I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't baked into the process.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
331

I actually think this one might actually do him in. Ezra bringing the WaPo on WaPo violence (with charts, of course).

And Bezos should reconsider Fred Hiatt's offer to resign while they are at it. Remember, they pitch Cohen as a "liberal."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
332

329: I'm tempted to send that to our security and support guys. What they always suspected!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
333

They should just go all-in with the "conventional" people and call him a "rootless cosmopolitan."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
334

YOUR OP-ED COLUMNISTS ARE TOO OLD. THEY ARE NOW MARGINAL MEMBERS OF THIS SOCIETY. THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING. FIRE THEM.
- Some dude some dude I follow re-tweeted.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
335

321: IT guy for my tiny, tiny West Coast company just raised the alarm about this e-mail. Fascinating.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
336

326: Scott Lemieux: Alas, there hasn't been a movie about Loving v. Virginia this year, so Richard Cohen had no chance to unlearn.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
337

First, let me state my credentials: I am a racist guy. This is well known in certain circles, which is why, even back in elementary school, I was sometimes asked by the teacher to "say something racist" -- as if the deed could be done on demand.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
338

I hope someone starts reading his stuff for substance after these last two horrors

Two possiblities both of which seem pretty likely to me. One, Richard Cohen is arrogant to the point of delusion and is impossible to edit. And two, the person editing Richard Cohen may not like Richard Cohen at all.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
339

Still, isn't he getting fairly close to the point where the WP can't publish him any more? The "slavery was bad? Who knew?" moment alone might have been just a weird slip, but two of those in two or three weeks suggests that they're going to keep coming, and at some point that's a business problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
340

Frank Conniff (MST3K guy and a favorite of mine): Latest Richard Cohen Washington Post column is so racist it's like reading a Richard Cohen Washington Post column.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
341

339: Weigel seems to think he's just doing his job.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/11/12/richard_cohen_outrage_muppet.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
342

Keep in mind these aren't recent or one offs. He had a pair of columns years ago where he defended kicking black men out of stores or cabs not picking them up, then followed up with a column defending that view when it generated backlash.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
343

340 -> 342


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
344

342: It goes way further back than that -- Cohen wrote a column in 1986 which argued owners of jewelry stores were right to refuse to allow entry to young black men because of a fear of crime


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
345

340 to 339 by the transitive property.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
346

I think that's the one I'm thinking of.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
347

but two of those in two or three weeks suggests that they're going to keep coming, and at some point that's a business problem.

Are you sure it isn't a business model? (Would you otherwise have been talking about a WP editorial this morning?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
348

336 and 337 both made me snort.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
349

341, 347: If it's a business model, he's got to walk the line of enraging but not bad enough that people will demand he's gone. These last two seem to me to be over that line.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
350

These last two thirty years seem to me to be over that line.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
351

he's got to walk the line of enraging but not bad enough that people will demand he's gone

Why?

(Honestly I think he's a clueless racist, not a calculating pageview generator. But it wouldn't shock me if his employers calculatingly view him as a pageview generator, in which case: the more controversial, the better. You think they should be worried that people will boycott the WP if he's not fired?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
352

349: If it's a business model, I'm pretty sure no one explaned this to Richard Cohen.

Also, did you find the column about 12 Years a Slave enraging? I was amazed that he admitted to having had such a benign view of slavery, but he did acknowledge that it was completely wrong, so it didn't really make me angry.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
353

Folks upthread wondered if there is a Village and if it still matters. IMO there is a Village, and in it Cohen is a real liberal. Does it still matter? I think it speaks for an establishment that's quite a minority even in a company town, but nonetheless has outsized influence in policing what stories get told, what the consequences are for telling lies like the 60 Minutes Benghazi thing, what ideas are considered mainstream enough for mainstream politicians to invoke them, etc.

It can be broken through, certainly, and doesn't now have (and imo never had) the kind of power it thinks it used to have.

(A nice example of breaking through, to echo the GTMO sub-sub-thread above, is how the prisoners' hunger strike this spring got onto the President's radar, and made the admin start up a review process that had been dead in the water. It worked because of a couple of flukes: imo, Village consensus is so fixed on the GTMO issue that no one had even vetted with the President what he ought to say if he gets asked about the strike, and Village worship of the national security/intelligence establishment is so blind that no one had ever explained to the President what the strikers demands actually were. So he was totally freelancing when he responded to a press conference question, and got out in front of where the consensus was.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
354

I'm not trying to say anything tricky, just that there's a line over which the WP would stop publishing him. Heil Hitler, does anyone know a drycleaner that gets a pointy hood really really white, whatever. I may have a wrong impression about where that line is, but I think a steady stream of clunkers like the last two may be over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
355

Also, did you find the column about 12 Years a Slave enraging? I was amazed that he admitted to having had such a benign view of slavery, but he did acknowledge that it was completely wrong, so it didn't really make me angry.

Yes. He's a grown man, paid to think about public issues. In his seventies, a movie tips him off that murder, torture, and rape are problematic? There's something really wrong with him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
356

In his seventies, a movie tips him off that murder, torture, and rape are problematic?

To be honest, I thought last week that he got a bad rap on that one. I don't think he was saying that the movie revealed to him that slavery was bad, but that the movie reminded him of just how pollyannaish most of the dialogue on the topic was in the US in even the relatively recent past.

Now I'm not sure what to make of it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
357

And I actually just went and read it, rather than just the bits I saw quoted last week, and I was a little too harsh. But really, it's the same thing. I'm not saying I'm nauseated by miscegenation, but conventional people are. I'm not saying that I personally believed that slavery was a warm familial relationship like in Gone With The Wind, but before this new movie, it would have been a normal way to behave. Both of them come out to: If you want to vomit when you see biracial kids and think slavery was happy fun times, while you may have some things to learn, you should be reassured that you are the American mainstream.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
358

At least the last two mayors of New York City had the decency to marry and divorce women of their own race.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
359

358: The conventional math here is complicated, though. Maybe you get a pass on miscegenation if you can seduce a lesbian into heterosexuality.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
360

I saw a documentary about that once.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
361

357 No, it is much worse than that since it is preceded by stuff about how it's totally wrong to think that Republicans or Tea Partiers are racist and then a series of 'they're just concerned about... xyz. And conventional people will find it hard not to puke when thinking about...'


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
362

I can't not avoid not seeing how people aren't basically not in support of interracial dating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
363

Oops, miscegenation misnegation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
364

361: That's the second bad column. The first one, about how 12 Years A Slave opened his eyes, was less immediately offensive, but the same basic message.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
365

Maybe you get a pass on miscegenation if you can seduce a lesbian into heterosexuality.

WORKS FOR ME!


Posted by: Opinionated James Bond | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
366

363: Worst Schoolhouse Rock song ever.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
367

I'm trying to understand how it could be argued that he's doing anything other than using "people with conventional views" as a euphemism for "racists". Because I don't see how that gets a pass. But I honestly can't sort out how else the column can be interpreted. Is there some non-racist reason for people to nauseated by miscegenation?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
368

Tangentially, Captain Stubing now says that the theme to Love Boat was about coming to Jesus.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
369

Is there some non-racist reason for people to nauseated by miscegenation?

If it's happening right there in front of you when you're trying to eat lunch?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
370

367: I think you're absolutely right -- the question is whether it's attention-getting-but-forgivable iconoclastic racism or the kind of racism that someone's going to do something about. And the answer to that question is inside the Washington Post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
371

The answer to the question and a flyer for Macy's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
372

||
Right now on the Globe website now there's a picture of Papi and a headline next to it "Ortiz to issue Tsarnaev death penalty opinion". Man, win a championship and they let you do anything in this town.
(Turns out the DA is Carmen Ortiz, well known from the Aaron Schwartz case.)
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
373

Now now now!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
374

Well here's part of the answer to several questions above about Cohen and the WaPo. Katharine Weymouth, publisher tweeted this and a link when the column came out:

Brilliant: richard Cohen on why Cruz beats Christie in iowa:


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
375

Brilliant.
Liberal.
Funny.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
376

She's just trolling to get even more views out of the controversy.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
377

And apparently the column does get edited (if whatever Fred Hiatt does comes under that heading):"Anyone reading Richard's entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage," Hiatt said. "I erred in not editing that one sentence more carefully to make sure it could not be misinterpreted."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
378

372 -- It takes 3, but it's his fucking city, after all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
379

Cohen has said some words in defense, but they're too boring and predictable to quote or analyze. Media Matters reminds that in 2011 he was touted as one of their three "left-leaning" columnists stacked up against Will, Krauthammer, Gerson and Thiessen on the "other" side (and Milbank was another one of the lefties).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
380

Somebody needs to mail a bag of vomit to Cohen or the Post.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
381

The conventional math here is complicated, though.

I assumed you were going to go with 3/5 of a person.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
382

Matthew Elliot, obviously hoping to win the internet: "Fred Hiatt...said Cohen was being "misinterpreted" because of an editing error." http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/richard-cohen-gag-reflex-deblasio ... Welp, In that case, #firefredhiatt.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
383

(Although this from Nell is competitive: Hope Obenshain looking out at the same spectacular, Gone with the Wind-style sunset I'm seeing... as his chances to be #VAAG set with it.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
384

Massachusetts doesn't have the death penalty. Why is this a federal case? If you kill people dramatically, that makes it federal?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
385

Back to the OP, I see from TPM that Sens Landrieu and DiFi, maybe others, are putting forward a bill that would change the ACA grandfather provisions, so people really can keep their lousy coverage. Unless the carrier leaves the individual market.

My guess is that they don't think this bill is going to pass the House, and so it's theater. But maybe the idea is to make the carriers pony up to kill it in the Senate.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
386

385: And kick the ball down the field a bit while waiting to see how good/bad the technology will look.

It's a mess of a bill, but I do think people overstate the actuarial impact (or maybe the ability of the Feds to come in and help with subsidies). Via tax breaks, Ted Cruz gets more healthcare support than a medicaid family, for instance.

Big Muddy, keep wading. Sometimes that is the answer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
387

||

I am having entirely too much fun trying to figure out how to embed coded warnings in a superficially positive recommendation letter.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
388

387: ahahaha. I assume you gave coded warnings about asking you to the recomendee in question?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
389

388: Yeah, I tried. I think he picked up on them, but he knows the other person he was inclined to ask would probably have been more blunt than I would be.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
390

I'm not sure if some of these things are too subtle. Like, if I say that someone's "unique selling points" are X and Y, will people correctly infer that I mean those are the only selling points?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
391

For a job or for grad school or a fellowship or what?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
392

You know what would probably lead to that inference? "The candidate's only selling points are X and Y."


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
393

Though that would probably lead to even worse inferences, too.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
394

392: Yeah, but somehow being openly negative makes me feel bad. Plus, it's more fun to try to figure out how to write something that can be read in two very different ways.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
395

Also I want to write that someone's zeal was essential to moving a project along rapidly as a way to say that he annoyed the fuck out of us so we just wanted to get the damned thing over with, but again I think it's too much of a leap for the reader to get the right inference.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
396

"Essear has several idiosyncratic and endearing hobbies."


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
397

"[Subject's] energy and drive motivated his collaborators to bring the shared project to a successful conclusion as swiftly as possible."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
398

"As swiftly as humanly possible" would be a little broader.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
399

Go full John Ciardi on him:

Evan Kirk is looking for work,
Work? What can he do?
For a dollar a day
He can hammer away
...
[litany of destructive carpentry described the details of which I forget]
...
The little dear
Has been working here
For a year,
No, almost two.
And you couldn't foresee
How glad we'd be
To send him to work on you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
400

"a thoroughly satisfactory conclusion", maybe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
401

397 is good stuff.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
402

Just a dose of Ta-Nehisi on Cohen (or more accurately his defenders who cite 'context":

Context can not improve this. "Context" is not a safe-word that makes all your other horse-shit statements disappear. And horse-shit is the context in which Richard Cohen has, for all these years, wallowed. It is horse-shit to claim that store owners are right to discriminate against black males. It is horse-shit to claim that Trayvon Martin was wearing the uniform of criminals. It is horse-shit to subject your young female co-workers to "a hostile work environment." It is horse-shit to expend precious news-print lamenting the days when slovenly old dudes had their pick of 20-year old women. It is horse-shit to defend a rapist on the run because you like "The Pianist." And it is horse-shit to praise a column with the kind of factual error that would embarrass a j-school student.
Richard Cohen's unfortunate career is the proper context to understand his column today and the wide outrage that's greeted it. We are being told that Cohen finds it "hurtful" to be called racist. I am sorry that people on the internet have hurt Richard Cohen's feelings. I find it "hurtful" that Cohen endorses the police profiling my son. I find it eternally "hurtful" that the police, following that same logic, killed one of my friends. I find it hurtful to tell my students that, even in this modern age, vending horse-shit is still an esteemed and lucrative profession.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
403

And the answer to that question is inside the Washington Post.

"If you don't get it, you don't get it."


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
404

"He is a great communicator, tirelessly explaining his work in enormous detail to anyone who shows even the slightest interest."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
405

"His absence will be noticed by all."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
406

Charles Pierce's entry into the Richard Cohen win the internet with pith contest: If Newspaper Stupid had a top 40, Richard Cohen would be the Beatles in 1965.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
407

VA AG going into books before recount as Herring up ~160.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-13 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
408

"You will be extremely fortunate if you can get X to work for you."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:36 AM
horizontal rule
409

"Since giving up lunchtime drinking, X's timekeeping has improved beyond all recognition."

"X has a sense of humour unlike anyone else I have ever met."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:42 AM
horizontal rule
410

"X's understanding of particle physics is breathtaking."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:15 AM
horizontal rule
411

"X's mind never ceases to amaze me."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:00 PM
horizontal rule
412

IIRC Knecht was the master at this the las time it came up, but I have no idea how to find that thread.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
413

Surely after today's speech we can all agree ogged has it exactly right.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
414

Slol!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
415

Can't believe I missed this thread. Well into his second term now, Obama is shaping up as a mediocre president, in a time when we needed much more than that. The health care situation is borderline unforgivable. He had four years to make this work! Government has actively held back economic recovery through bad fiscal policy. The 'he has no power!' / 'it's Congress' fault!' arguments never held much water but they are looking increasingly threadbare. I do give him credit for holding us out of major foreign wars, at least.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 1:50 PM
horizontal rule