Re: Splitting hairs

1

How can we tell? Hillary hasn't even started yet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:32 AM
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I debated distinguishing, but decided context was clear.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:33 AM
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More impressive stage performance: Clinton; less avoidable harm done: Obama. Clinton therefore wins hands down by all the criteria anybody cares about.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:02 AM
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Guy's got serious cabin fever:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/09/barack-obama-gets-senioritis-heads-to-starbucks/

I worry he won't make it through another 2 years. But that's mostly projection - I wouldn't make it through 5 minutes in that role.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:03 AM
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My opinion is that Clinton had more of a downstream current behind him (e.g. didn't come into office with two on-going wars and after the worse recession in a generation) and should have been able to get more done.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:07 AM
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My prediction: nobody will admit in ten years ever having thought Clinton was a better president than Obama.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:09 AM
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I'm a contrarian. I predict that won't happen before 12 years from now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:11 AM
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You think Obama's going to become Reaganized?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:11 AM
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6: By nobody, you mean, nobody on the left, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:11 AM
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Yes, I tend to agree with Sifu. I think we're sick of Obama but he's light years better on substance. I also worry that Hillary's presidency will quickly make him look better by comparison.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:12 AM
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I wonder if Obama still has anything up his sleeve on the level of his recent move to regulate carbon. Probably not - so yeah, I accept the premise: His presidency is over.

Clinton and Obama both had a lot of avoidable errors. Obama accomplished more, but his Bush predecessor was a disaster in a way that Clinton's Bush predecessor was not - making the opportunities much greater for a Democrat, both because the political climate was more favorable and W left Obama with a lot of low-hanging fruit. (Innovative Obama policy: Let's not brag about torturing people.)

So, adjusting for the era, I declare it a tie! Every time I'm tempted to score it in favor of Obama (Larry Summers!), I realize that Obama had an equivalent fuckup (Tim Geithner!).


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:13 AM
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Obama has accomplished way more in terms of actual policy, and against a much higher level of obstruction from the GOP. Clinton got the benefit an economic boom that was only marginally related to administration policy. I suspect historians will lump Bush Sr. and Clinton together as fairly congruent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:21 AM
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How is this even close? Clinton's major accomplishments were getting elected, gutting the welfare system, balancing the budget, passing NAFTA, repealing Glass-Steagal,a purportedly "humanitarian"'interventionist foreign policy, and driving Republicans insane (while losing a Democratic majority in Congress).

Obama has health care reform, financial reform, compared to other countrie on a world scale not terrible management of the financial crisis, the EPA putting in effective rules for carbon emissions for the first time, plus on the whole extricating from rather than starting wars.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:24 AM
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Both had raging lunatic conspiracy theories, but Obama's were better in that the whole secret muslim thing is wackier than anything connected to Mena, Vince Foster, or Whitewater.

History will judge them by whatever criteria happen to be hip in the field at the time, but it's the widespread wacky conspiracy theories that really ought to count. If HRC makes it into the presidency we'll just have recycled 1990's theories, so she'll inevitably disappoint.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:27 AM
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I second 13. Clinton was in office during generally good times, and used the opportunity to implement a lot of harmful conservative policies. Obama came into office during epically shitty times and has implemented more liberal policies than any democratic president since the 60s (while still being frustratingly "centrist", but anyway...).


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:27 AM
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They are, of course, both evil fucks who ran the imperial war machine abroad and did nothing to alleviate poverty at home. Obama does get a point for ACA and not being a lecherous sleezebag, so he wins.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:32 AM
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My opinion is that Clinton had more of a downstream current behind him (e.g. didn't come into office with two on-going wars and after the worse recession in a generation) and should have been able to get more done.

This is the opposite of my impression. Those unpopular wars and that recession had completely tarnished the republican brand. (So much so that huge numbers of republicans were busy rebranding themselves as "tea partiers".) The mood of the country when Obama took office was very much poised for signifanct liberal action. Which for the most part Obama did not take. (I include Obamacare in that assessment.)

My assessment is that Clinton was more effective than Obama, but he had worse goals.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:33 AM
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He must not have had a powerful enough mood ring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:37 AM
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11: Yep, Obama's Bush was certainly much skeevier than Clinton's Bush.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:44 AM
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The truth is that both Clinton and Obama were worse than Richard Nixon, so it's hard to care too much about the details of who was marginally better. They are both disappointments.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:50 AM
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6 is totally right, I think. Clinton was mostly an awful president, whereas Obama has mostly been a mediocre president but at least boasts one potentially truly great accomplishment.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:51 AM
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12 is also right. God, Clinton was just a terrible president (though a really great politician).


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:52 AM
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20 is a perfect illustration of why this particular kind of discussion is even more pointless and stupid than similar but not quite this particular discussion kinds of discussion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:53 AM
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13 is right too! And now I'm done reading the thread.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:53 AM
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23: urple trolling, as he sometimes does?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:54 AM
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22: to be fair, during his term (his early term in particular) his painful misconceptions about what the Democratic party needed to do to succeed were widely shared.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:55 AM
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25: yeah I didn't think he was in 17, but then 20 was a little over the top. Strong effort, though!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:56 AM
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I'd flip them on foreign and domestic policy. I give Clinton credit for being genuinely pretty minimally aggressive overseas (Balkan intervention fairly small scale, and maybe netted out to being a good thing; bombing Iraq, again pretty small scale by US military standards; reinstating Aristede in Haiti, fairly harmless); Obama got handed two ongoing full-scale wars, but really failed to get out in anything like a timely way. I mean, I guess Obama could have been worse, but I'd give that to Clinton, no question.

Domestically, I'm with Urple in 17. Clinton was more effective at serving worse goals: Clinton's successes were bad things, while Obama has been insufficiently successful at doing what seem to me to be generally well-intentioned things, but he's got some real successes.

On civil liberties, they're both horrible. Keeping Guantanamo open is right up there with the AEDPA. Tie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:12 AM
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Does support for NAFTA qualify as the same sort of error as support for the Iraq War? It's true that a lot of people pointed out, at the time, exactly how both were going to go wrong.

I think I'd argue that NAFTA, unlike Iraq, was something that had to be tried in order to figure out what a bad idea it was. Even the Summers-inspired failure to deal with the derivatives market - a clear catastrophe in retrospect - was able to be supported by a reasonable person at the time.

Meanwhile, the seeds of calamity sown in the Obama administration haven't fully sprouted yet. The impact on the political economy of his decision to largely let the financial sector off the hook is going to bear unpleasant fruit for a long time to come, I fear.

23, of course, is correct and complete and nothing else need be said. But it's still fun, for certain types of people and certain values of "fun," to talk about whether Jim Brown was a better running back than Barry Sanders.

(My answer on Brown-Sanders: It's a tie!)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:15 AM
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Keeping Guantanamo open

Yeah, but that's really on Congress more than the executive branch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:17 AM
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On foreign policy there's a big difference between Clinton's first term, which made attempts at being minimalist, and the second term, which really was looking to get as close as possible to a real war. Of course despicable Washington establishment idiots declared the first term foreign policy a failure and fell over themselves praising Madeline Albright.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:17 AM
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30: No, there's a whole lot Obama could have done by executive fiat. If he'd wanted to try everyone and let them go if not properly convicted of something, Congress couldn't have stopped him. Would it have been politically damaging? Sure, but screw that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:22 AM
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29.1 is an interesting question. Personally, at the time NAFTA seemed like a good idea to me because it was the product of economic SCIENCE and opposed by yahoo idiots like Ross Perot. It took me about 10 more years to realize the extent to which economics is just ideology in fake scientific clothing. What can I say, it was the 90s.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:23 AM
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the second term, which really was looking to get as close as possible to a real war.

This is where I feel like I can't get through the argument without being called naive. But given the US's general record of belligerence, when an administration gets 'as close as possible' to a real war, but doesn't go over the edge? I give them credit for not doing it. It's the same argument about how Al Gore would have invaded Iraq: I can't prove he wouldn't have, but I don't believe he would.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:24 AM
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People claim that Gore would have invaded Iraq?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:25 AM
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We've gone around in circles about it here a couple of times. Dsquared, I recall, and maybe strasmangelo?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:27 AM
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Why is NAFTA such a bad idea?

Mexico could be a better country if the US controlled weapons, sure. But how has NAFTA hurt Mexico? I thought that currently, the desperate people immigrating to the US across the border come mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:29 AM
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It occurs to me that a president's power to do bad things greatly exceeds his (or, in the future, her) power to do good things. Getting into stupid wars is much easier than getting out of them. Cutting taxes is easier than raising them. Eliminating or failing to enforce regulation of private industry is easier than instituting new, effective regulations. Shutting down Guantanamo is much harder than letting it stay open. Whenever the status quo sucks, our system of checks and balances is really good at setting up roadblocks in the way of anyone trying to fix it.

I'm not trying to make excuses for Obama here, but I guess I am at a loss as to how it will be possible for any president to bring about significant positive change in the foreseeable future (i.e., so long as the Republicans control at least one house of Congress.)


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:30 AM
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I think it's reasonably likely that hypothetical Gore would have invaded Iraq, but not in the same way or at the same time (IMO he would have not gone in after the Hans Blix report or in the same international climate). It's hard to overstate the extent to which mainstream centrist DC Dems around 1998-2000 thought (a) Sadaam is a problem that we need to "take care of"; (b) US intervention was a guaranteed success and basically cost free. "What's the point of having this wonderful advanced military if you can't use it?" -- Madeline Albright (paraphrase). Not to dig all this up all over again.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:33 AM
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It occurs to me that a president's power to do bad things greatly exceeds his (or, in the future, her) power to do good things.

In general, at all levels, it's really easy to destroy the social fabric, and difficult and time-consuming to weave it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:35 AM
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37 -- it impoverished Mexico by killing off the bottom end of its agricultural economy, led to the liquidity crisis that killed Mexico in the mid-90s, hasn't obviously improved Mexico's standard of living, and cost a bunch of good US jobs for non-obvious US consumer gains. This is just my offhand impression, I haven't like studied the results in detail or anything.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:38 AM
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NAFTA was a failure. Maybe not the most reliable source, but still.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:42 AM
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30 -- The Admin pandered in 09/10, and got nothing for it. And now they've totally fucked it up.

39 -- No fucking way. Although, as I've said before, after Gore got impeached for ignoring the Aug 6 presidential briefing on the impending AQ attack, Pres. Lieberman would have invaded Iraq.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:48 AM
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43.2 sounds exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:50 AM
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Too soon to tell

Obama is still negotiating and pushing two (2!) horrific global trade agreements, Nafta x 5.

Wars are still and always possible;check out Farley this week on how big war with China wouldn't be so awful bad. Really.

Obama is just horrible on surveillance, the net, gov't secrecy, whistleblowers. Net neutrality and Comcast merger are big deals. Worst President ever on openness and access.

Despicably slow on Federal judges and putting Dems into deep government. Throw them up there, let them get rejected, make shit public.

Terrible on taxes, stimulus and distribution; set precedents that are irrevocable and horrifying; should have fought and lost some big public battles.

Finally Republicans have house and no impeachment.
Prima facia Obama suckitude.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:51 AM
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Also black.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:53 AM
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I wonder what this conversation would be like if counterfactuals had been banned along with analogies.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:01 AM
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I'd rather have a beer with Obama.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:01 AM
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Orange is the new black. The next president will be a white guy who abuses self-tanning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:02 AM
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Clinton did a serviceable job of meeting modest challenges. Obama has had bigger challenges, and has generally failed to meet them.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:03 AM
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I'd rather have a beer with Obama.

I'd rather do coke with Clinton.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:04 AM
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17 is right. Obama really did waste an opportunity in favor of standing between the pitchforks and the bankers, preserving the status quo. I do give him a lot of credit for resisting the foreign policy establishment's war-happy urges (after seeing how much influence the deep state has, I rate the chances Gore would've invaded Iraq a lot higher than I used to).
I would like to see Obama's immigration and deportation policies weighed a lot more in these discussions. Inhumane, and abysmal politics.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:05 AM
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Inhumane, and abysmal politics.

Unnecessary, too. They seem to have bought him exactly zero credibility the the GOP ant-immigrant hardliners. It weird that he seems to have been expecting different.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:07 AM
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Krugman sides with the Obamabots.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:12 AM
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Maybe the idea was that if he deported enough economic refugees he would win the Broder caucus.
Point of clarification: I would've been fine with him standing between the pitchforks and the bankers if only he'd been facing the right direction.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:13 AM
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Given that Clinton signed both IIRIRA and AEDPA I don't see how Clinton possibly wins on an immigration policy comparison.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:18 AM
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Selective boosterism from Jonathan Chait:

On January 20, 2009, when Obama delivered his inaugural address as president, he outlined his coming domestic agenda in two sentences summarizing the challenges he identified: "Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet." Those were the four major areas of domestic reform: economic recovery measures, health-care reform, a response to climate change, and education reform. (To the justifiable dismay of immigration advocates, Obama did not call for immigration reform at the time, and immigration reform is now the only possible remaining area for significant domestic reform.) With the announcement of the largest piece of his environmental program last Monday, Obama has now accomplished major policy responses on all these things.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:20 AM
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One of my biggest disappointments with the Obama era is that the principal is now cemented that Nobody Important Goes to Jail.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:20 AM
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I would be less depressed about Obama if we weren't looking at 8 years of Clinton the sequel as the best likely presidential outcome.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:24 AM
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43.2

The Aug. 6 memo was basically the CIA trying desperately to explain to Bush that, no, seriously al qaeda is a genuine threat please listen to us about this now. There's a pretty good chance that Gore wouldn't have got that memo in the first place, especially since the late Clinton administration had been focused on al qaeda as a serious threat, and I don't know of any reason to think that would have changed with Gore.

Of course this doesn't mean that they wouldn't have happily impeached him for something, or that the 9/11 attacks wouldn't have happened. But things probably wouldn't have worked out the way they did.

I don't know any reason to think Gore wouldn't have gotten around to invading Iraq, though, especially given the increasing failure of the economic sanctions to get us whatever it was we supposedly wanted from them.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:27 AM
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I just read the Time article on BS. I still think he's pursuing a Sarah Palin Strategy, but . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:27 AM
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As I've admitted in the thread, I'm often wrong, and this may be overoptimistic, but I'd bet that a HRC presidency is significantly to the left of Clinton I. The Democratic Party is much further to the left than it was in 1992-94 and she has to know triangulation won't pay dividends. I don't think she'll be further left than Obama, but I'd expect her presidency to look more like Obama II than Bill Clinton II.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:28 AM
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Took me a while to work out that 61 meant Bernie Sanders. (That is what it means, right?)


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:31 AM
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I think it means Brian Schweitzer, but that's based purely on geography.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:33 AM
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I assumed Brian Schweitzer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:33 AM
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I assumed Brittany Spears.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:35 AM
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56: True, I wasn't thinking comparatively. The Democrats have a nice history fucking over their most enthusiastic supporters. Thank goodness for Republican populist xenophobia.
62: At a certain point don't you have to conclude that the left is what's being triangulated against?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:37 AM
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63. I was thinking Barry Sanders, but you're probably right.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:40 AM
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Thank goodness for Republican populist xenophobia.

One shudders to think of the horrible deals Obama would have made had the Republicans been willing.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:42 AM
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http://time.com/2826279/brian-schweitzer-hopeful-hillary-contender/

It would be very entertaining. Until someone gets an eye poked out or something.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:50 AM
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Agree with 43, except that President Gore would have been impeached for his actions on September 11: Ordering the predawn arrest of 19 Saudi students and tourists on their way to various airports, all legally in the United States, and holding them indefinitely without trial. As soon as they become known as the "Born Again 19", Gore was toast, and President Leiberman invaded Iraq.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:08 AM
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Geez, can't somebody come up with a postive scenario for a Gore Presidency? Presidents don't actually get impeached very often, you know.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:18 AM
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Well, if he didn't get impeached I guess he would have saved the earth from being destroyed by global warming, which would be an improvement.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:20 AM
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I don't think we should be reflectively pro-not destroying the Earth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:23 AM
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73: That, and stopped 9/11 and prevented the financial crisis. Also rescued New Orleans. What did I forget?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:25 AM
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72: I think he had real potential for finally getting the US onto the metric system.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:27 AM
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And, at long last, banning the use of dirty words in rap music.


Posted by: MPPH | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:29 AM
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Aaah. Reflexively.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:31 AM
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76: We had a new guy who, without any instruction, turned all the height and weight data into inches and pounds. I had to tell him that it was intentionally metric.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:32 AM
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I don't think we should be reflectively pro-not destroying the Earth.

No way, man! Giant space mirrors are an awesome way to combat climate change!


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:34 AM
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I had to tell him that it was intentionally metric.

New mouseover text.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:35 AM
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79: "My momma warned me there'd be people like you in the big city, but I didn't believe her," And then he took out his gun...


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:40 AM
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I had to tell him that it was intentionally metric.

I suppose "101.6 millimeters" does sound more impressive than "four inches".


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:42 AM
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I realized why these rosy Gore futures can't work out. The thousand shining wonders of the Gore years would only light fools the way to a Lieberman Presidency. Oy!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:47 AM
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84: It is rather astonishing to contemplate the heavy-handed shenanigans that Fate has had to pull in order to prevent Lieberman from getting anywhere near the Oval Office. First Florida in 2000, and then McCain picking Sarah Palin (!) over Lieberman in '08. Dude must have some seriously bad karma.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:55 AM
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He also had a nicely failed Presidential bid in '04. Was it New Hampshire where he was in a 3-way tie for third? Or, rather, sixth?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:01 AM
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Fate does have a history of anti-semitism.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:01 AM
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85: The fact that that rancid motherfucker even got as close as he did to the White House is proof that Fate fucking hates us.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:09 AM
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88: I still would have voted for him over Bush.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:14 AM
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I would have liked to see what a Bubba presidency would have been like if the establishment hadn't let themselves go totally fucking insane*. I think it would have been marginally better in terms of progressive policy. In a few areas. And we would have had the glorious reign of Gore as well.

*But of course, crazy like a fox to a large extent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:14 AM
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89: Yeah, me too...

For one, the Supreme Court would be staffed more to my liking.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:16 AM
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the establishment hadn't let themselves go totally fucking insane*

I don't really have a theory as to how it would have turned out, but if respectable media outlets hadn't run with the Whitewater (and other nutbar 'scandals'), I do wonder how different the 90s would have been.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:19 AM
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I'll tell you one thing Gin Blossoms would have never cracked the Hot 100.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:21 AM
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I know I had lower expectations in '08 than many of the people I encountered, working in the campaign--where you'd expect enthusiasm--and outside. I'd been working with a classmate on his sub-par mortgage foreclosure cases, and we knew O's association with the financial industry and with neo-liberalism generally. That was part of the reason I took a long time deciding whom to support, but then jumped in with both feet.

Wingers of my acquaintance, smart people, flatly refused to believe I wasn't head over heels in love with the guy. To them, the campaign looked like a Children's Crusade, and knowing me not to be a cynical operator, chose "infatuated fool" as the the only explanation for my effort and support they could understand.

Something Charley had written the previous year, here, had stuck with me as a sort of fallback position: Your duty to support the electable Democrat is because of the power the president has to appoint governing bodies, or at least some of the members. Supreme Court on down through the agencies and quasi-independent commissions. The level of Republican obstructionism on that score alone, while long developing, has nonetheless been breathtaking to watch. They know how crucial the Boards and Circuits are.

My solace in Obama's presidency has been his negative virtues. Last Labor Day I was sure he'd finally been maneuvered into war in Syria, and since I was away at a destination wedding, stopped paying attention.

That the thing appeared to be off when I re-emerged I treated as something of a miracle, and still do.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:29 AM
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One way to present the Clinton/Obama counterfactual: What would Obama have done had he been elected in 1992. Or Bill in 2008.

I still say: tie. Some of Obama's most despicable moves were thwarted by Republicans because he failed to descend to the level of cartoon villainy. Obama backed Bowles and Simpson; Clinton backed welfare reform. Obama backs an ugly-looking TPP and TTIP even with the benefit of the NAFTA precedent. Clinton had DOMA, but Obama was hardly a profile in courage on the subject of gay marriage.

I further propose that in the '90s, after Obama called out Sister Souljah, he still would have been referred to as America's first black president.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:30 AM
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It would have been difficult but not impossible for Clinton to have gotten both meaningful healthcare reform and a BTU carbon tax through Congress in 1993. The administration tried hard for both but failed. I think the failure to do so is pretty squarely on Clinton (and slightly predates the total right wing insane meltdown, so it's not totally the fault of that either). The 1990s and the present would look very different if things had gone differently there.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:30 AM
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slightly predates the total right wing insane meltdown

This was well after 1980, and long before the modern ideologically unified Democratic Party.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:35 AM
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I meant the full bore Whitewater hysteria.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:38 AM
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I don't really have a theory as to how it would have turned out, but if respectable media outlets hadn't run with the Whitewater (and other nutbar 'scandals'), I do wonder how different the 90s would have been.

Pseudo-scandals did not, I think, determine the 1994 election outcome. The old Southern Democrats were retiring or dying prodigiously, and the GOP pressed their natural advantage hard that year.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:48 AM
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I'm sure we can all agree that if there had been verifiable evidence that Obama had blown his spunk all over some white intern's blue dress, the ensuing scandal would have touched much deeper places in America's psyche.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:14 PM
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100: I guess we have to thank Clinton and Dubya for lowering the bar (in very different ways) so that "twice as good" became something obtainable.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:19 PM
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If Gore had been President, 9/11 would not have happened. The fact that this isn't conventional wisdom among liberals proves the old adage about a liberal being a person unwilling to take his own side in an argument.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:30 PM
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Man, I'm not comfortable with that one. I think the odds that it would have happened go significantly down, but not enough to say for sure that it wouldn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:32 PM
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If Gore had been President, the anthrax attacks would not have happened.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:35 PM
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If Gore had been elected nobody would have been interested in indulging in counterfactuals.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:39 PM
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I agree with 102. It's a probabilistic kind of thing, but Gore would not have been ignoring all the warning signs while obsessively focusing on Iraq. There were plenty of opportunities to catch the hijackers, but they were blown because it was not a priority to focus on terrorism.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:43 PM
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|| California's tenure protections for public school teachers were ruled unconstitutional Tuesday by a judge presiding in a lawsuit brought by nine students. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu cited the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education in ruling that all students are entitled to equal education and said the current situation discriminates against minority and low-income students in placing ineffective teachers in their schools. Obviously this is going to be overturned as soon as a higher court gets a crack at it, but I look forward to the coming bipartisan movement to have the scientifically-selected worst teachers dumped onto an island and forced to battle to the death to keep their jobs. |>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:51 PM
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Let's get some numbers here. I say with Gore president after 2000:

60% 9/11 doesn't happen
35% there's a war in Iraq anyway involving the US in an international coalition
75% we get something like the current proposed EPA carbon regs much earlier
40% we get health care reform earlier
15% the 2008 financial crisis doesn't unfold in pretty much the same way


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:52 PM
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35% there's a war in Iraq anyway involving the US in an international coalition

When you say an international coalition, you mean the same one we managed to get anyway, or were you picturing more participants? Because while I don't buy 'war in Iraq anyway', I really don't picture Gore getting additional countries on board.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 12:57 PM
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Definitely more participants, and maybe a few years later. Prove me wrong!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:01 PM
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I'll wait until comment 149 when you'll admit you were wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:02 PM
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21, 22 and 24 speak for me.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:03 PM
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Halford, you just pulled those numbers out of your ass.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:06 PM
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First two years of Clinton were ones where he pursued a strong progressive agenda. His four top legislative priorities were the budget bill which sought to stabilize US finances primarily by increasing taxes on the rich, healthcare reform, NAFTA, and a carbon tax. And I don't share the hostility of some towards NAFTA. Mentioning what I believe to be his greatest self inflicted failure during those two years would lead to me flaming half the commentariat, so I won't. Post 1994 he had to govern more from the right, but he went way further than he needed to. Obama did the same post 2010, but he pivoted back in 2012. He's also been truly horrible on domestic security issues in ways that I never expected. Other than that I think he's done quite well given the cards he was dealt.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:07 PM
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108 sounds about right, maybe the second probability's a bit too high, and so is the fourth, at least if we're talking something comparable in size to what Obama did. Gore would have remembered the failure of the Clinton plan. Once bit, twice shy.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:12 PM
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15% the 2008 financial crisis doesn't unfold in pretty much the same way
I'd put this at 0%.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:12 PM
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113: people who talk non-quantitatively pull their subjective feelings of credence out of their asses too, they just obscure the extent of their uncertainty.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:13 PM
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If we're going to engage in dubious but fun counterfactual questions... Would the chance of a war with Iraq under Gore have been higher with or w/o 9/11 happening. I say that 9/11 would have made it less likely.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:15 PM
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107: The Tenure Games.
115: Anchoring bias in the wild! You are banned from Less Wrong for one year!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:21 PM
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116: Really? I'd say there's a pretty high chance the 2008 financial crisis would not have unfolded in pretty much the same way. Had Gore been president we wouldn't have had the Bush tax cuts, and had there been no 9/11 we certainly would not have invaded Afghanistan, and I doubt seriously whether we would have invaded Iraq. Given that scenario, the gov't would not have been engaged in massive deficit spending, and while that alone would not have prevented the housing bubble and ensuing collapse, it would have sped up a TARP-like response and would have seriously reduced the credibility of those calling for budget austerity, which would have allowed for more government stimulus to get us out of the recession.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:24 PM
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118: Completely disagree.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:26 PM
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I keep being tempted to join the thread and offer a support of Clinton, but I realize that my heart isn't in it. When you read articles by progressives defending Clinton the one thing they all mention front and center is the expansion of the earned income tax credit -- which is good, but doesn't seem like an enormous accomplishment.

That said, I will offer two thoughts about why I retain some affection for Clinton. First, it was striking reading The Clinton Tapes because you spend 700 pages alongside Taylor Branch as he's often sympathetic and even more often frustrated with Clinton and then, in the last chapter, it gets into the 2000 campaign and the specter of Bush feels like Darth Vader has just walked onto the stage. It makes me feel like the person in a Doonesbury cartoon who has been asked by a pollster how he would rate Carter's job performance and replies that, The media wants to to say that Carter's approval rating is as low as Nixon's, but those measure different things. In one case it's outrage with a crook, in the other is disappointment at somebody not accomplishing as much as they could.

Second, at some point I realized that the thing I liked most about Clinton was that he tended to avoid the politics of fear -- in general he didn't build himself up by creating a threatening image of "the other" that he could use to make himself look good by contrast. Particularly when you compare Clinton to either Reagan or Bush a strong part of my memory of the 90s is that there was much less time spent saying, "you should be afraid."

I realize, having typed that out, that those two reasons might appear to be in conflict, but that's politics for you.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:27 PM
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120 seems to come from the alternate reality where Austerians base their opinions on facts.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:28 PM
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Agree with 120 -- certainly higher than 0%, and probably higher than Halford's 15%.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:28 PM
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123: Instead of Paul Auster's novels?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:29 PM
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Wait, what's the argument for 9/11 not happening??


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:35 PM
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Also, I'm not convinced a bigger stimulus would've had anything but a transitory (albeit positive, and therefore probably worthwhile) effect. To sustain pre-crash growth through debt-financed stimulus, the government would've had to continue borrowing at amounts equal to the rise in consumer debt.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:36 PM
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108 is nicely done as an argument but I think missed the fact that if Gore is President in 2008, the collapse becomes the fault of the Democrats' liberal tax and spend policies and therefore austerity becomes more appealing. Similar to eg Germany.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:38 PM
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120 seems to come from the alternate reality where Austerians base their opinions on facts.

Austerians make the same argument in every universe, but it's easier for people to laugh at them in those planes of existence where the government is running a surplus rather than a deficit.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:43 PM
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126 -- worth reading the first few chapters of the 9/11 report to understand just how many separate avoidable government and airline fuckups were necessary for 9/11 to happen. And I think the report dramatically understated the culpability of the Bush administration. The odds that an administration with more continuity that was directly focused on Al Quaeda (as Clinton was in his last year) stops 9/11 before it happens seem quite good to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:44 PM
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128 You mean we'd push austerity on everyone but ourselves while pressuring/bribing corporations into not firing anyone?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:45 PM
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Wait, what's the argument for 9/11 not happening??

The Gore administration continues the Clinton administration's focus on al Qaeda and does not ignore PDBs with titles like "Bin Laden determined to strike inside the U.S."


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:46 PM
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The odds of a government surplus lasting through 2008 are less than 0%. Gore almost certainly would have found better use for they money than giving it away to the rich, but there's little question he would have found a way to spend it.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:47 PM
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133 Sure, but you would have seen very minor deficits over the period, most likely below NGDP growth meaning declining debt from an already pretty low level. The question is what policies would the McCain administration adopt after they came into office (I see zero chance of a scenario where the crash happens, even in less severe form, and the Dems win reelection to a fifth consecutive term in 2008.)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:51 PM
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132 actually doesn't sound so bad. But, and you probably knew what I meant so why am I writing this comment , I meant that I can't see a giant collapse of the economy after 8 years of President Gore provoking the response from a probably pretty hostile Congress of "let's borrow and spend a ton to get us out of this recession."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:52 PM
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133: That's likely true, but he would probably not have created the kind of deficits that come from fighting two expensive, unfunded wars while also cutting taxes on the wealthy.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:52 PM
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135 to 131.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:52 PM
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134 is a fair point. I still think we'd have been a lot better off with Gore.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:55 PM
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(Not that anyone is seriously arguing otherwise, but some of this comes close.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:55 PM
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20: The truth is that both Clinton and Obama were worse than Richard Nixon

Just saw this today:

Did Richard Nixon's campaign conspire to scuttle the Vietnam War peace talks on the eve of the 1968 election to capture him the presidency?
Absolutely, says Tom Charles Huston, the author of a comprehensive, still-secret report he prepared as a White House aide to Nixon. In one of 10 oral histories conducted by the National Archives and opened last week, Huston says "there is no question" that Nixon campaign aides sent a message to the South Vietnamese government, promising better terms if it obstructed the talks, and helped Nixon get elected.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:55 PM
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Weren't some big documents to that effect released in March or so?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:58 PM
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As far as I can tell, the size of the stimulus was set by Summers choosing the largest round number he thought he could get through Congress.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:58 PM
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But seriously, what if Mondale had won?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:59 PM
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BUSH IS BETTER THAN GORE.


Posted by: OPINIONATED 14-YEAR OLD GoT VIEWER | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 1:59 PM
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141: Yes, Some time recently--this is just a new (potentially more credible) source for me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:01 PM
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I think the lesson Republicans learned from the Nixon administration was to cover their tracks better when they do things like undercut official negotiations with foreign powers.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:01 PM
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140, 141: I thought that was in Nixonland. Maybe this is just new evidence that it was really true?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:08 PM
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The Clinton administration took bin Laden very seriously. At the time, I thought it was some sort of national security state bullshit designed to substitute for the demise of the Soviet Union, but obviously they were right about it.

In the summer of 2001, the CIA was sufficiently sure that there was going to be an attack that they issued public warnings about it. In retrospect it seems like this was because the White House was ignoring them. A Gore White House wouldn't have.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:10 PM
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What are the chances we launch major airstrikes in Iraq within the next twelve months? I'd say much higher than the chances of Gore invading Iraq. [Look at the front page of any news site today]


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:11 PM
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140: I wasn't suggesting that Nixon was without fault. Just that a hell of a lot of good legislation was passed during his presidency. A lot of that was driven by congress, not Nixon, but it still dwarfs whatever good either Obama or Clinton did.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:11 PM
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147: Yes.I don't think this particular insider view was part of the evidence. Was merely using its timeliness of coming out today as a way of reinforcing some of Nixon's shortcomings to goad urple rather than as thinking it was new news for any one.

And why I was responding to that comment in the first place, don't know and now regret.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:12 PM
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150: Okay, but there's something weird about associating that with Nixon, rather than with the last remnants of the New Deal/Great Society momentum.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:14 PM
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I'm not associating it with Nixon, I'm associating it with the Nixon presidency. (Although some of the good parts actually were driven by Nixon. (Mostly in reaction to the political climate he was in, no doubt, but still.))


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:20 PM
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Dang, the "Nixon was a liberal" thing is not only trolling but not even remotely original trolling. See here for a response to this super-common, lame argument. Very weak sauce from a master and I am disappointed in Urple, it's like watching Picasso paint a Thomas Kinkade painting.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:20 PM
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Back during the Nixon admin the democrats controlled Congress and there were a fair number of Republicans who really were moderates.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:24 PM
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154.last: Did Picasso ever piss on a statue of Winnie-the-Pooh while muttering "This one's for you, Walt"?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:29 PM
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154,: that's not my point, and although I haven't read Chomsky on this, I doubt that's his point either. The point is that we've slid so far backward that a liberal president now accomplishes far less liberal change than a corrupt, conservative president from 40 years ago. Given that backdrop, my point in 20 was that it's somewhat hard to care much about the marginal differences between Obama and Clinton.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:30 PM
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Well, as in baseball, you've got to judge players by era in order to decide whether or not someone is or isn't disappointing. VORPresident. The very early 70s were probably the absolute high water mark of social democracy internationally for all history, and it's been a more or less universal decline everywhere and all over the place since then. Nixon himself was an important part of the story of the decline -- including by trying to gut the Great Society almost immediately after it passed.

OTOH, in the past few years we've had the biggest advances (health care and carbon regs) since then, and we probably could have had both of those things in 1993 with a more competent Bill Clinton.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:40 PM
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I dunno, I see both sides of the Nixon thing. I mean, that was a period when it was actually necessary to claim that we were not bombing countries with which we were not at war. Didn't matter so much for Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Cheney or the Lizard King.

At least NAFTA gave us the Zapatistas though.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:44 PM
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"Environmentalists held more legislative power than business in the early 1970s. " from 154. How can that even be possible? I mean, physically possible. Random people with vague, long-term goals held more legislative power than organizations with infinite money that were already enmeshed with elite politicians and think tanks.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:46 PM
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Random people with vague, long-term goals held more legislative power than organizations with infinite money that were already enmeshed with elite politicians and think tanks.

The claim that's made in Winner Take All Politics is that in the post-war period, the business lobby was cautious politically, and stayed out of most political fights. Then, sometime in the 70s, they decided/realized that they could be much more active in pushing their agenda, succeeded in winning a couple big anti-labor political fights and never looked back.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:51 PM
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156: Picasso did lots of things for me over the years, but not that. More's the pity.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:51 PM
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||
I really wish I had a large shower. Like, a really big one with a bench, and multiple showerheads, and glass doors and the whole 9 yards. I hate showering in my nasty little old fashioned shower with the horrible shower curtain and all that. It sucks. When I build my underground stealth house in South Dakota, you can be sure there will be NO FUCKING SHOWER CURTAINS. Yuck.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:53 PM
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147, 151: IIRC from Nixonland, there was some question about whether Anna Chenault was freelancing or operating under the orders of Nixon or his foreign policy team, and the answer increasingly seems to be the latter. It's just ghastly.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:54 PM
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160 -- I dunno, but e.g. the Clean Air Act of 1970 (the major air pollution act) passed the House 374-1 and the Senate 73-0. Can't get much more bipartisan or influential than that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:55 PM
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Do you turn the color of a ripe avocado when he drives down your street in his El Dorado, Moby?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 2:56 PM
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Anyhow, I don't even agree that Nixon got through more liberal policies than Obama in absolute, non-adjusted-for-era terms. See for example here. Most of Nixon's domestic policy was focused on gutting the great society and appealing to the South. Signing the big environmental acts was an exception, but I still think that Obama has him beat on non-adjusted-for era liberalism. And that ignores foreign policy and the Watergate-like constitutional violations totally; if you include those the comparison gets way worse for Nixon.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:01 PM
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Wait. What?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:02 PM
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Also, lied about not being a crook.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:03 PM
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163: Our outdoor shower is really coming into its own as the weather heats up. You don't need a big shower, you need an unconfined shower.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:04 PM
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165 - There's a couple different things going on; if you read the statements of
people involved at the time, it's a combination of Nixon being essentially uninterested in domestic policy, a tremendous amount of public support, Ed Muskie making a great deal of effort to push legislation through a more bipartisan Senate (partially to increase his profile for the 1972 presidential race), and -- reading between the lines -- a corporate environment that hadn't spent forty years of increasingly lockstep partisan leanings. (I think the Clean Air Act was viewed as essentially nonpartisan in 1970 in a way that increasing union representation or similar wouldn't have been -- why would a midwestern retail executive have opposed limits on pollutants without being instructed in class solidarity and identifying "regulations" as inherently evil?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:06 PM
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168: It's a koan. He = the Buddha. The correct answer is "mu".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:06 PM
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Lost Continents for $300, Alex.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:15 PM
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I agree that the odds are way better than even that with Gore in the WH, there's no 9/11 attack -- my suggestion to the contrary upthread is dark humor.

When I hear geezers complaining about the debt/deficit I sometimes say 'so what you're saying is that we should have gone with Mondale in 84, right?' Shuts that shit down.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:16 PM
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We did go with Mondale in '84. It's the rest of you who let us down.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:18 PM
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Say, how about that brouhaha in Mosul?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:34 PM
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Almost worthy of being characterized as a donnybrook. Thank goodness we brought peace and freedom to these people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:42 PM
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Well, as in baseball, you've got to judge players by era in order to decide whether or not someone is or isn't disappointing.

The infield fly analogy ban is in effect.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 3:45 PM
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I used to like baseball, but ever since reading George Will, I'm offended by Marge Schott.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 4:06 PM
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161 is very good. The Powell memo comes out in 1971 and that's widely seen as the beginning of business's contemporary power.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 4:33 PM
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Why wasn't the same business solidarity formed in Europe? Or was it? Why wasn't there a unified front behind, for example, global warming denialism?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 4:59 PM
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California's tenure protections for public school teachers were ruled unconstitutional Tuesday by a judge presiding in a lawsuit brought by nine students a libertarian Silicon Valley millionaire with a hobby.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:03 PM
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a libertarian Silicon Valley millionaire with a hobby

Ugh, really? Of course it would be.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:04 PM
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||
Aaaaahhh hahahahahahahahahahaha

Ahem. Carry on.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:11 PM
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176:Say, how about that brouhaha in Mosul?

Don't know. Somebody above said US gonna bomb.

But remember, the militants in Mosul are the same or connected to the militants fighting Assad in Syria, IOW, financed by Gulf oilarchies. Pat Lang says Iraq will split in three, but no that obviously will not be the end of anything. Qom vs Mecca, the second millenium.

Watch what the US does, not that the policy and position can change pretty quickly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:11 PM
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I guess if reformists are convinced that the most appalling tragedy in the world is the problem that some teachers are better than others, making teaching a horrible job that no one wants to do will take care of that, by limiting the profession to people with no other options.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:22 PM
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184: couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Now will Mayberry or Dingleberry or Whateverthefuckville elect the super asshole they selected in the primary?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:23 PM
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One assumes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:30 PM
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I'm not sure what's funny about 184.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:33 PM
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It's hard to know. Unlike Cantor he hasn't got much money stashed away, though that could certainly change. And the Democrats seem to have fielded a candidate purely on principle rather than out of any interest in winning (half the news stories weren't sure if they had or not).

But there's always the chance of a candidate going just a little too far even for fairly conservative districts. Minnesota's Sixth District barely reelected Bachmann last time, even though that involved an awful lot of people splitting their vote between Romney and the Democratic party candidate. And I believe in David Brat. I think he's got the right stuff to do just that. You'll have to be patient if you follow that link though because it's barely functional. I'm guessing an awful lot of people are frantically trying to figure out what the Republican party just did to itself.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:35 PM
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187: yes. It's a safe district for the GOP. That said, the Republican may have to revise their "we put the tea partiers back on the leash" claim, and that's going to hurt like hell in a couple of Senate races and a handful of competitive House races. My guess is that in the next few weeks we'll see a number of semi-honest prognosticators say that the Dems chances of keeping the Senate has increased substantially because of this.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:35 PM
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He was hoisted upon his own teapard.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:36 PM
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'


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:37 PM
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If the GOP has to elect a college professor, at least it's one whose title is "Director, BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:46 PM
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Apparently that's Ronald Reagan's old website because that's the first picture that comes up.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:48 PM
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"Director, BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program".
Ayn-ie, get your gun!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:49 PM
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I'm pretty sure that Cantor losing for being too liberal is one of the prophesied signs of the apocalypse, but I've become enough of a nihilist to be willing to just bask in the schadenfreude of it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 5:54 PM
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Schadenfreude Apocalypse is my new band name.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:09 PM
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REM already did that song.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:12 PM
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It might have been a crazy double-cross from Cooter!

Former congressman Ben Jones (D-Ga.), better known as "Cooter" from Dukes of Hazzard, has a plan to knock Eric Cantor out of the House. He's urging his fellow Democrats to cross over and vote for a tea party-backed candidate in Virginia's primary election.
Cooter, who ran against Cantor in 2002, has penned an open letter calling upon Democrats in his former Virginia district to vote in the open primary next Tuesday for tea party opponent Dave Brat in order to defeat U.S. House Majority Leader Cantor.
HuffPo article from 4 days ago. (A bit confusing since Jones was a congressman From Goergia, but apparently he later moved to Virginia where he lost to Cantor.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:30 PM
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That Cooter's a wry one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:31 PM
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With the Jewish factor in sure we could work in a pun using rye.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:37 PM
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"Director, BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Program".

One of his publications: "God and Advanced Mammon - Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?" Abstract reads in full: This essay looks at the economic and theological intersections of definitions of usury in the economic system of capitalism. It challenges seminarians and the church to examine their roles in addressing the problem of usury. I'm curious as to his stance since he's a Randian.

While his apparent Dem opponent (from the same college, Randolph-Macon*) is author of Piketty thread-relevant The Richmond Slave Trade: The Economic Backbone of the Old Dominion.

*Commencement speaker this year was Brit Hume.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:45 PM
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Former seminarian beats only Jewish Republican congressman. Film at 11.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:47 PM
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According to the VA-7 Democratic website, there was no Democratic primary for the seat because no candidate filed for the race. I haven't seen anybody listed as a candidate. Am I missing one?

I figure the main effect here is that it makes Boehner's speakership a little more secure by eliminating the prime Brutus candidate, even if it moves the caucus a bit to the right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:49 PM
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205.1: Apparently they only put in a candidate in the last day or so. Not sure the mechanism.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:51 PM
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Huh. http://www.trammellforcongress.com/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:51 PM
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And Fucking Laura Ingraham campaigned for him (Brat) recently. I think it was a talk radio election. And Virginia had not statewide primary races so I'm sure the overall turnout was minuscule.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:59 PM
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"I see Americans as Kennedy did -confident, courageous and persevering."
Is that negative confident? Unconfident?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 6:59 PM
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Way back when on the OP:

122: I keep being tempted to join the thread and offer a support of Clinton, but I realize that my heart isn't in it.

Yeah. Or rather, no, not at all.

Halford's 13 is still my first response. I'm willing to entertain the notion that Clinton's triangulation set the stage for an Obama presidency, and there's something to be said for that. Newt Gingrich's stint as Speaker of the House occurred during Clinton's presidency, and Clinton had to deal with that. He wound up enacting a number of Gingrich's policy objectives. Not so great, and we're still digging out from under that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:01 PM
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The tone of all the coverage of this I've seen seems to imply that Cantor won't run in the general as an Independent, but I haven't seen any explanation why or explicit discussion of the possibility. Anyone have any idea what's up with that? Is it not possible in Virginia or something? Maybe I'm just overly attuned to the possibility given the Murkowski precedent.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:02 PM
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It isn't possible here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:03 PM
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Moby's got it, even if he doesn't dig Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Virginia has a sore loser law, so Cantor, having lost the primary, can't appear on the ballot. (He can run as a write-in, but that's almost certainly not going to work.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:05 PM
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Virginia has a Lieberman Law Sore Loser Law, that prevents someone from losing a primary and running as an independent.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:05 PM
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211: Yes, cannot be on the ballot if lost a primary. Would need to be write-in.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:05 PM
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I'm fast.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:06 PM
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He can run as a write-in, but that's almost certainly not going to work.

Well, it worked for Murkowski. But point taken, and thanks for the clarification.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:06 PM
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Brat takes Cantor; set, game, match. Recursively speaking.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:15 PM
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213: Yes. I missed the reference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:16 PM
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Does this move the house meaningfully to the right? Would their voting records be any different?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:18 PM
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I'm kind of surprised that (according to the link in 184) Brat's campaign against Cantor focused on immigration, especially amnesty for illegal immigrants. I wouldn't have guessed that was such a big issue in VA, but maybe immigration is becoming a culture war issue even in places that aren't directly affected by it?


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:18 PM
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221: It's been like that for a long time. Racism as political strategy never disappoints.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:24 PM
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Would their voting records be any different?

I don't think the voting record is all that matters. I'd assume no Republican anywhere will feel safe to try the slightest move toward immigration reform or be Jewish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:24 PM
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The seminarian who is concerned about usury beats the Jew? Someone dig up Ezra Pound and run him for office. If I were a clever political strategist, I would try to gin up issues to bring out the latent anti-semitism of the American Right.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:26 PM
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Because it's the internet, here's a letter from Ayn Rand to the editor of Cat Fancy.

(You have to scroll down a bit.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:27 PM
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220.1: Somewhat pwned by 223, but I think Republican incumbents will be even more scared of being primaried. If previously half of them were Michele Bachmann and the other half were afraid of being primaried by Michele Bachmann, maybe it will go to 70-30.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:28 PM
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People hate immigrants almost everywhere. Not actual immigrants they meet necessarily, but the concept of immigration.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:32 PM
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223: Are you telling me hopes for Republican votes for immigration reform are dead? Someone should tell Obama.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:38 PM
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221: It looks like there is quite a lot of immigration to Virgina. Mostly the D.C. area, but still lots in Richmond compared to local rates here. Here's data by Congressional district.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:40 PM
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I wouldn't have guessed that was such a big issue in VA, but maybe immigration is becoming a culture war issue even in places that aren't directly affected by it?

Don't be so sure they aren't affected by it. Lots of Mexican immigrants move to bumfuck towns because it reminds them of the rural areas they grew up in. At least that was the case when I lived in Bumfuck, Maryland; probably not so different in Bumfuck, Virginia.

Then again, "affected by it" basically means, "there is a Mexican family down the street that gives out weird candy at Halloween." Not that their kids are allowed to knock on those doors.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 7:50 PM
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229: Thanks, that is interesting.

Yeah, maybe I've been misunderstanding what is the political significance of immigration reform... in particular, the extent to which it is really a proxy for deeper anxieties about the US population becoming majority-minority.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:05 PM
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North Carolina's Hispanic population grew by 943% between 1990 and 2010, and accounted for 1/4 of the state's overall population growth. I'd expect Virginia to be similar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:05 PM
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Republicans have become more sensitive about the immigrant issue since we elected one President.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:09 PM
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Pittsburgh's Hispanic population grew by 230%, but then he got diabetes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:19 PM
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To what extent do we have Nixon to blame for the War on Drugs? I haven't read Nixonland; I know the DEA came to be under his watch, although as a merger, and it appears the Controlled Substances Act passed the Senate unanimously and the House with 6 noes. That, together with presumably vigorous enforcement, became a pretty effective counter to the Great Society.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:24 PM
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I am kind of fascinated that everyone else in this thread sees the racism and xenophobia underlying the immigration debate so clearly, though, because I almost never get to see this in my own life. I do see indirect expressions of racism and xenophobia, but I almost never hear explicit statements of racist and xenophobic beliefs, because anyone with half a brain can tell I wouldn't be sympathetic to them.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:34 PM
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Walt Someguy isn't getting nearly enough credit. He is absolutely right both about 9-11 and liberals. The world would be a better place if we all insisted that President Gore would never have allowed 9-11 to happen.

Otherwise I am really digging this thread. I had thought of Obama and Clinton about the same. Halford neatly convinces me otherwise, though I still think allowing for the conditions they faced they are close to the same.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:35 PM
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Random unknown teaparty dude probably hasn't really been subjected to a whole lot of scrutiny of his background, yet. There are months to look for skeletons in his closet, which could throw the thing to the Dem.

Of course, the Dem might have skeletons too.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:37 PM
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I had thought of Obama and Clinton about the same.

Kinder, gentler Republicans?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:39 PM
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I had to dial 1 for English this one time. It was terrible.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:39 PM
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I saw someone on twitter post that turnout was actually up in the Cantor race. And the tweet I saw was a retweet, which, if I understand twitter, means it's been confirmed as true.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:44 PM
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To what extent do we have Nixon to blame for the War on Drugs?

According to this, it was a deliberately conceived as a way to stick it to the longhairs and negroes while appearing tough on crime.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 8:47 PM
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#239

Nah you real liberals have that sewn up. I'm not sure if they are really better people than republicans or not.

They definitely have less freedom to work evil than republicans do. The republican are a meaningful check on the evil that democrats would otherwise do. The reverse is not true.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 9:06 PM
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Well, there we have it: Nixon, given Congress's composition, didn't go directly against the liberal achievements of the 60's, but his administration masterminded the powerful flanking attack that was the war on drugs.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:36 PM
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The piece linked in 242 really goes deep into the zone of weird creepitude that only the Nixon administration can provide. They were all so young! Shit was so crazy!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 10:45 PM
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I had to tell him that it was intentionally metric.

Ladyeeez


Posted by: OPINIONATED 6 CM | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:16 PM
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I had to dial 1 for English this one time. It was terrible.

I feel your pain, I spent years looking at s.t. fr. all. on all my foreign movies. Fucking rosti eaters covering my screen with a language they don't even speak. [synthesized, paraphrased, and translated from many such complaints I've heard]


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-14 11:39 PM
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Walt Someguy isn't getting nearly enough credit.

Finally, someone has acknowledged the elephant in the room.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 12:02 AM
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We'd give you more credit if you'd put up some damn collateral.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 12:25 AM
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My collateral is my good name. Shit, that'll never work. My collateral is teofilo's good name.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 12:35 AM
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That's not going to work either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 12:44 AM
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I am kind of fascinated that everyone else in this thread sees the racism and xenophobia underlying the immigration debate so clearly, though, because I almost never get to see this in my own life. I do see indirect expressions of racism and xenophobia, but I almost never hear explicit statements of racist and xenophobic beliefs, because anyone with half a brain can tell I wouldn't be sympathetic to them.

This is a drawback to being blonde.* People apparently think it means you'll agree with whatever crackpot racist/antisemitic/xenophobic statement they make. You'd be surprised the number of people who don't realize that 19th century scientific racism has been pretty profoundly discredited in every way possible. Or who think that 'Aryan' is a socially acceptable descriptor for a person of N. European ancestry. A pretty classic example was, not long after the shootings in Utoya, which I was pretty shaken up about, a random dude in a cafe I am reading at starts making small talk with me. I figure he's just kind of hitting on me, and then out of the blue the dude (who does not read white supremacist in any way(!)) asks me whether I'm German or Swedish, like those are the only two possible options for my ethnic background. I tried to demure, but then he launches into this long rant about how Anders Breivik was set up by Obama and his Kenyan Socialist Islamofascist Association of Brown People to make white supremacists look bad and to set up for the Bolshevik Black Power revolution, or something. I was so upset I felt physically ill and had to flee the cafe.**

*Unless dressing kind of poorly in clothes from about 10-15 years ago signals racist, and I never got the memo.
**The problem was probably compounded by the fact I was reading Carl Schmitt in public. Never Again.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 1:01 AM
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I am not blonde but definitely look white and it's still very rare that I hear anything directly racist or xenophobic. And obviously that's not likely to happen when I'm out with anyone else in the family, but I do go to the grocery store and have lunch and that sort of thing. I do assume a lot of other arguments are trying to be stealthy about being racist and classist, especially all the stuff around whether the wealthier kids in our district should go to the public schools or are too special to be polluted like that, but it's been about a year since someone assumed I too would be alarmed by the number of poor black folks in close proximity to us at the time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:02 AM
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Anders Breivik was set up by Obama and his Kenyan Socialist Islamofascist Association of Brown People to make white supremacists look bad and to set up for the Bolshevik Black Power revolution

WELL.... CAT"S OUT OF THE BAG


Posted by: OPINIONATED KENYAN SOCIALIST ISLAMOFACIST ASSOCIATION OF BROWN PEOPLE | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:03 AM
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I had a kind of awful conversation with an old frien who works for DOJ on immigration enforcement. Generally, I'm not going to judge anyone for enforcing the rules as they are now, but the conversation turned to why strict immigration control is necessary, and it's apparently because these people who are immigrating now are less "developed" and they'll drag the country down if we let too many in. I brought up my barely literate peasant grandparents, but that's apparently different: we didn't need regulations to keep them out because freckles.


Posted by: Marie of Roumania | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:04 AM
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She didn't actually say anything explicitly racial like "freckles", of course. Like Thorn, no one ever says anything racist to me that isn't plausibly deniable. Which is comforting some ways, but probably leaves me confused about how bad things are.


Posted by: Marie of Roumania | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:38 AM
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There's been a few times when someone has gone on an antisemitic rant and at some point mentions something like 'I know you'll understand since you're Polish'


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:46 AM
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I don't see how you could call it anything but a tie, since Obama I and II were basically Clinton III and IV. The personnel, ideas, etc. were just about identical, although the style differed ('no drama' vs. 'lots of drama' -- or to put it another way, Obama's drama came from his identity not how he ran his business). The outcome differences are for the most part traceable to the very different settings and circumstances.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:54 AM
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Cantor's loss is clearly good news for John McCain, but maybe not so much for Halfordismo: Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Cantor's campaign had spent about $168,637 at steakhouses compared with the $200,000 his challenger, David Brat, had spent on his entire campaign.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 5:47 AM
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I'm increasingly convinced that Obama's biggest achievement is not imposing austerity and a double dip recession on the US. With time, the sheer power of the forces behind it becomes more obvious. Also, the much promised grand bargain to yadda yadda looks as far away as ever.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 5:57 AM
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256: I also think a lot of people saying those things would insist they're not being racist. I'm not sure if they're actually self-aware enough to know the truth.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:01 AM
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I do see indirect expressions of racism and xenophobia, but I almost never hear explicit statements of racist and xenophobic beliefs, because anyone with half a brain can tell I wouldn't be sympathetic to them.

This is me, in Texas. I know full well that people keep me at arm's length when it comes to their real beliefs. I just don't know which people have the odious beliefs, of the people keeping me at arm's length.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:06 AM
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OT: does Talking Points Memo load in Firefox for everyone else? For the last few days if I try to visit the page, the banner loads and the status bar says "Waiting for beacon.saymedia.com..." and then the little spinny wheel of page loading just keeps going forever but nothing else shows up.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:09 AM
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In Safari it loads right away.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:09 AM
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It loads in Firefox for me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:13 AM
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Thus ends the period of my day where I aim at being helpful.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:14 AM
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A Fox News radio host / TV panelist last night tweeted "Here's the message from Virginia: You either stand with Americans or you stand with the invaders."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:22 AM
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Mr. Cantor's campaign had spent about $168,637 at steakhouses compared with the $200,000 his challenger, David Brat, had spent on his entire campaign.

Makes me wonder if Cantor's wife owns a steakhouse.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:23 AM
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Also, the much promised grand bargain to yadda yadda looks as far away as ever.

No thanks to Obama. The lack of a Grand Bargain was brought to you by the same people who brought you Dave Brat.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:33 AM
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His parents, Ernest & Julio Gallo, and the fine people at the Howard Johnson in Moline?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:37 AM
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I also think a lot of people saying those things would insist they're not being racist.

It seems to be well established in large segments of the population that literally no statement, no matter how outrageous, can be considered racist as long as it's accompanied by the assertion "I'm not racist". People who dispute this are, of course, the real racists.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:39 AM
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271: I mean even beyond that, people who really do (maybe?) think they're saying that it's just certain cultural aspects they have trouble with. So obviously it's fine for their kids to be around black people, but not ones who don't use standard grammar or families who don't all have the same dad or whatever and it's not raaaaacist to claim that, etc. I suspect that they do think their token non-white acquaintances get them off the hook.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:48 AM
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272 is right. Classism gets tangled up in racism in super complicated ways.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:53 AM
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At which point it's almost more cultural imperialism - we're honestly happy with anyone, of any color skin, who acts like a J. Crew catalogue.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:56 AM
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(or whatever they hold up as evidence of being nearly identical to their own lifestyle.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:57 AM
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274: Just one more reason Lee is more popular than I am.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:59 AM
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Since the recession, the standard has dropped from J. Crew to Land's End.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:59 AM
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274 -- I'm not interested in having racist shit spewing crackers over for dinner. So, yes, there's a behavioral standard.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:59 AM
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I'm not sure how 278 is responding to 274.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:02 AM
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racist shit spewing crackers over for dinner

"So what's the concept of this restaurant, anyhow?"

"Oh, you'll see."

Suddenly, from across the room, he noticed it: a living, talking turd! Not talking so much as screaming, actually, hurling the worst epithets he'd ever heard at any diners of color with the misfortune to sit near the turd's pedestal. Suddenly it stopped, and -- he didn't know how he could tell this, but he could -- looked at them, some undifferentiated piece of shit identifiable somehow as an eye. Looked at them, and turned towards then, and with a foul belch started firing saltines, one after the other, from its shit mouth. The crackers sailed in a perfect arc across the room and smashed, each with a little puff of crumbs, into a growing pile in the center of the table.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:09 AM
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280 is masterful.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:15 AM
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I'm increasingly convinced that Obama's biggest achievement is not imposing austerity and a double dip recession on the US. With time, the sheer power of the forces behind it becomes more obvious. Also, the much promised grand bargain to yadda yadda looks as far away as ever.

That just because Americans are so fucking easy and the wage cramdown, eturn of assets to their rightful owners (Mellon)," debt serfdom, and permanent expansion of the reserve army of unemployed encountered about as much resistance, as oh, the invasion of some far off country for no reason.

Hullabaloo

"McJob Nation"

America is no 1! We're no 1! In share of employees in low-wage work. 24.8%. That's not counting the unemployed. Followed by UK at 20.6%, Canada, Ireland, Germany and our other Neo-Nazi poodles.

"Big social shocks are coming, and the country is either going to make a turn for the hard right or the hard left. The center will not hold."

Or to the hard left? You have to be kidding. Not with grass roots like Alex and Halford.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:24 AM
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One makes friends based on shared interests and experiences. Lifestyle conformity, within a margin, isn't surprising. Add to that the lines we all have about what sort of attitude/behavior is beyond the Pale, and the margins are reinforced.

The range is broader for relatives, because they're harder to exclude, but even there, lines exist.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:25 AM
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Well, sure.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:48 AM
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I love that there's a guy out there named "Dave Brat, Libertarian Shithead." "Hi, I'm noted asshole Dave Brat." The name just works.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:50 AM
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Has Dave Brat set up Brat-PAC yet? 'Cause he should.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:53 AM
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"I'm Dave Brat, and I'm required by the state of Virginia to inform you that I'm an asshole."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:14 AM
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I am not blonde but definitely look white and it's still very rare that I hear anything directly racist or xenophobic.

God now I feel all alone. I am a major crazy/racist person magnet. But seriously, beyond Romanian Neo-Nazis and the like people say creepy things to me ALL THE TIME. Like, I get hit on in bars with pick up lines like, "Everyone in my family has blue eyes, so you would be an appropriate mother for my children." WHO THE FUCK SAYS STUFF LIKE THIS?? The number of men who mention my genetic material and their future offspring in hitting on me has surpassed an easily countable number. People ask my about my ethnic background all the time (which, ok, fair enough), but then frequently follow up with: "Are you 100% xxx?" or the even creepier? "Are you pure xxx?" Um...are you interviewing for the SS? Do you even know how problematic and wrong a concept of purity is applied to something like ancestry or genetic material is? Or, like, casual acquaintances will say things like, "you should find a blond man to marry so then your children will be sure to have blond hair." Ok, thanks Hitler. I will keep in mind reproducing the master race when searching for suitable romantic partners. I mean, what I don't get is don't people realize just how creepy all of this sounds? Lots of people who make comments like this probably don't consider themselves racist, and many are people of color or Jewish or otherwise people who probably wouldn't go around sounding like Nazis. But I digress.

But anyways, two more anecdotes: I was getting my visa renewed at immigration services in Australia this one time, and the guy renewing my visa apologized in advance that he had to ask me the standard issue "are you a terrorist/do you smuggle drugs" questions, and then when he got to the terrorist question, without letting me answer, just laughed and said something along the lines of obviously not, unless I'd left my turban at home *wink wink*. THEN he pointed to the waiting room of mostly brown people behind me, and talked about how "they" were annoying and making his job difficult and why did they have to come in on a Friday afternoon when all normal people would be at the pub, the implication being that Muslims are ruining Australia by their lack of drinking and fun loving, because CLEARLY they must be choosing to show up on a Friday afternoon for shits and giggles.

Or, I was flying in to AUS from a HK flight, and the only white person on the plane. In customs, the officials were walking around and asking all sorts of questions about length of stay and purpose of visit in an intimidating manner, and then when they get to me, it's all smiles and a jovial "welcome back!" and when I say I'm American, it switches to "Welcome to Australia! Hope you have a great time! What are your plans?" sort of thing. The blatant switch makes me have more respect for those American customs agents who are assholes to everyone regardless of skin color.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:15 AM
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288: Oh, I'm just a magnet for a different kind of inappropriate weirdo, not the racist one. Also, I don't get out much these days and having black kids with me much of the time cuts down on people thinking I'd be up for fun racist conversation.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:20 AM
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I guess that makes Australia seem pretty racist, but a country where there's such a strong norm of getting drunk on Friday afternoon can't be all bad.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:23 AM
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I'm increasingly convinced that Obama's biggest achievement is not imposing austerity and a double dip recession on the US.

When you look at the various stimulus bills that sailed through in the last year of the Bush Administration, and the fairly tax-cut-heavy makeup of the Obama stimulus, I don't see this as a huge accomplishment. Basically, for a bunch of economic policy and ideological reasons (the Eurozone monetary arrangements included), the U.S. is more hospitable to deficit spending than the Euros are (though not the Japanese). Also, Obama was not particularly successful in getting stimulus after the initial stimulus -- the U.S. did move into mild austerity post-2010.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:24 AM
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"Yes, Australians are racist, but at least they're drunk!" is I don't think an argument that has been given a real chance in the past.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:27 AM
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So obviously it's fine for their kids to be around black people, but not ones who don't use standard grammar or families who don't all have the same dad or whatever and it's not raaaaacist to claim that, etc.

When you send your kid long-term to a school made up of majority single-parent families that don't use standard English (i.e. a ghetto school), you are likely handicapping them in the savage race of unequal American life. To the extent that's objectively true, I'm not sure it makes sense to chalk it up simply to 'racism' on some personal moral level, although certainly it reflects the background racism of economic opportunity.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:27 AM
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It's not that poor black people are worse than you and me, it's just that mingling with them would hurt my children. Objectively.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:32 AM
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Oh, bullshit at least on the non-standard English portion of that. My kids speak upper-Manhattan Spanglish/African American Vernacular English (like, I don't know if the specific micro-dialect has a real name) with reasonable fluency, but they also speak whatever-you-call-my-dialect fine: codeswitching isn't going to do anyone any harm. And 'single parent households'? I know what you're talking about: high poverty, high levels of violence, and so on and so forth. But using a non-favored dialect of English and the marital status of the kids' parents as a stand-in for the actual social problems is exactly what makes this sort of thing sound racist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:37 AM
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288.2

Some geneticist did a paper a few years ago that said blonde hair will disappear over time and that the last blonde will be someone in Finland born about 100(?) years from now.

So maybe you are being hit on by geneticists who are all about conserving rare genes.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:42 AM
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There's a nice elision there between "quality of school," which might be a legit concern, and "I'm worried about race mingling with nonstandard English speakers and kids of single mothers" which really isn't. Or, fuck it, 294 said it better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:45 AM
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Tea partiers excepted, most people want both some form of amnesty (with a penalty) and tighter border control and penalties for illegal entrance going forward. Not sure how those positions map onto the folk xenophobia being discussed here, but there are a fair few Hispanics who agree with the consensus, rather than a more liberal position of unconditional amnesty, free migration, and employment protections for immigrant labor. It doesn't take long for established immigrants to feel the newcomers are different and taking advantage.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:46 AM
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Poor black people ARE worse than you and me -- that's the point. Poor people are worse off than rich people, minorities are the worst off of the poor, that shows up in all kinds of ways. Rich white people try not to send their kids to school with too many poor white kids, rich/middle-class black people try not to send their kids to school with too many poor black kids, and so on down the various ramifications of class. Is what we're arguing about the most sensitive way to refer to all these realities? I am open to correction in this area. Perfectly happy to specify 'high poverty/high levels of violence' or any other appropriate underclass correlates next time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:48 AM
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296: Hey, babe, I'm not racist—I'm just interested in preserving heirloom gene varieties.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:49 AM
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I've been wondering for a while if PGD really is a despicable racist fuck or has just been playing around the edges of being a despicable racist fuck for a long time because be doesn't like Obama and enjoys pretending to be the voice of the working class and tweaking race and gender UMC liberals. Now I know, so thanks.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:53 AM
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299: Poor black people ARE worse than you and me -- that's the point.

Dude, you're so wrapped up in... not being politically correct? I'm not sure what's going on in your head -- that you're saying straightforwardly racist things. (Insert disclaimers about how I know you, there's context, and all that.) "Worse off" is not "worse".

And the larger point is that using race and dialect as stand-ins for the sort of social dysfunction that's actually damaging to other students in the school is both unreliable (possibly better than pure chance, but really not reliable at all) and, again, racist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:54 AM
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Where the bold truth-telling at!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:56 AM
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Basically, if you can't handle poor people, don't fucking gentrify.

Obviously I'm an outlier because I don't know when my kids stop being poor black kids and move to the middle class, on day one in our home? After adoption, at which point they no longer qualify for free lunch but keep their Medicaid cards? My girls go to a high-poverty school that meets their needs way better than the wealthier school district that gets most of of the kids of neighbors who pay to escape diversity. I would certainly consider it low-violence, though I know there have been some fights at the high school and there are some behavior problems. I hear that's the case at the richer school too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:57 AM
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296
I thought that paper had been discredited?


I went an elementary school where most of the students were poor and black, and it only enriched my education. Unfortunately from a social justice POV, but I suppose reassuringly for UMC white assholes, all the MC whit(ish) kids who were bussed in to the school went on to be incredibly academically successful, but there were much more mixed and less happy longterm results for the neighborhood kids.

Also, single mothers is totally raced and classed. The out of wedlock birth rate is above 60% in a lot of the Nordic countries, and blase attitudes towards marriage are common, but few UMC white American parents would forbid their kids from playing with a white Swedish immigrant.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:58 AM
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Poor black people ARE worse than you and me

You really meant to type "worse off" there, didn't you??


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:58 AM
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And I actually chose those examples because Mara has the weirdest speech (not AAVE except for accidental overlap) of my kids and legally they'll each only have one mom post-adoption and are not biologically related. So I was specifically choosing examples I've heard that actually refer to my family even though the people using them are trying to screen out people like us.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:01 AM
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There may be an "off" inadvertently left out of the first sentence in 299? Judgment suspended on the basis of the second sentence pending new evidence.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:02 AM
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It was a neat trick, though, around white flight: 1. all the white people leave urban schools because black people. 2. Underfund urban schools because who cares no more white people there. 3. Find correlations between non-white populations remaining at those schools and poor educational outcomes. 4. Reject sending kids to those schools for purely pragmatic reasons that have nothing to do with the race of the student body. It's like racism-laundering!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:02 AM
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few UMC white American parents would forbid their kids from playing with a white Swedish immigrant.

I would, but only because I'm still bitter about the Thirty Years War. Damn Swedes...


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:03 AM
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208: Given that 299 is accurately quoting 294, I don't think it's a typo. Some kind of confused mental error, hopefully, but not a typo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:04 AM
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Anyhow the idea that life outcomes are demonstrably worse for UMC white kids who go to public schools where they are outliers in terms of race or income is at best questionable and at worse always already bullshit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:04 AM
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"at worst". It's not my fault. I went to a public school with black people and my mom is divorced.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:05 AM
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309 is a nice more substantive summary. Also, this isn't PGD's first time 'round the bend on I'm-just-telling-it-like-it-is racist truth telling, so there's no need for interpretive charity.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:08 AM
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my mom is divorced.

Should you really be fraternizing with your moral betters in this blog comment section?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:09 AM
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But seriously, my mother is widowed, divorced (quicky marriage), had a longterm FWB relationship with a retired minister before he died, and is now living with a man she has no plans to marry. Sometimes we spend Christmas with the late FWB's family, and sometimes we hang out in the sauna of her current partner's ex-girlfriend, whom he shares dog custody with. He's been both divorced and widowed at least once, with multiple past serious GFs. But because they're middle aged really white people (Swedish and Finnish), no one seems to be judging them.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:14 AM
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309: My ideolect could badly use "ism-laundering," so I'm going to steal it. And probably forget to attribute.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:16 AM
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"The blatant switch makes me have more respect for those American customs agents who are assholes to everyone regardless of skin color."

Sadly, can report that when my UK citizen, white guy better half lost his green card days before a trip abroad, he received blatantly preferential treatment at the SF immigration office. It was pretty revolting.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:19 AM
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While I'm monopolizing this thread, semi on topic, I wonder if immigration i.e. xenophobia/racism is taking a central place in the conservative culture wars because they've lost the gay marriage battle and mostly won the reproductive rights battle. Slagging on gay marriage is looking less like 'supporting tradition' and more straight up intolerant, and there's no public stomach for it. It's now pretty much impossible to get an abortion in much of the deep South and large swaths of the Bible Belt, so there's not much more to focus on there to rile up the troops. Attacks on contraception don't really get the same results because it's more blatantly about sexism and less about DEAD BABIEEZ, plus contraception is genuinely popular. Immigration is an issue where there's still a sense of moral urgency, and which can still be spun to have plausible deniability that it's simply about racist fear-mongering.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:25 AM
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few UMC white American parents would forbid their kids from playing with a white Swedish immigrant.

I would, but only because I'm still bitter about the Thirty Years War. Damn Swedes...

Are you Bavarian or something?


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:26 AM
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What are you, prejudiced against gelatin-stiffened creams?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:27 AM
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(oops, that second part should be Italicized as well)


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:28 AM
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I'm still confused over the extent to which divorce is stigmatized in the local culture I grew up in. I don't really have the impression that anyone cares, but my mom was divorced about a decade before she met my dad. Their church asked my dad to be a deacon, and my mom said that they (my parents, not the church, AFAICT) decided it would be improper because she was divorced. Which is pretty much incomprehensible to me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:29 AM
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309 is nicely constructed. Also see everything about Detroit. Somewhere the other day I was reading/listening to some AFP flack going on about their opposition to the Detroit "bailout" the other day and it was beyond infuriating.

Sure, they added some window-dressing, but the view for taxpayers hasn't changed. House lawmakers agreed to raid the state's rainy day fund and voted to give Detroit a bailout at the expense of hard-working citizens* across Michigan.

*Nearly half of whom live in "greater" Detroit. Hard at work fucking the corpse of their own murder victim.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:31 AM
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320. George Washingtond and contemporaries in the US before 1800 were clearly prejudiced against Swwedes, stereotyped as brutes that shot first and asked questoins later.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:32 AM
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So, "but not the British or Swedish children".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:35 AM
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323: If he was the divorced one, there's a pretty reasonable reading of 1 Timothy that would suggest he shouldn't be a deacon (of course there are other reasons), but her being the divorced one makes it odder.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:35 AM
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Er, other *readings*.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:35 AM
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Which church? Back when I was still in touch with the Anglicans, many older people would have taken that line. The church operated a DATD policy on divorced people as long as they didn't try to remarry in church, but it was regarded as a bit iffy to push your luck.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:36 AM
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329 > 323


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:37 AM
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My grandmother* used to tell "dumb Swede" jokes because they were the mockable minority in the part of Iowa she grew up in.

*lifelong liberal Democrat, actually had a role with some high level players in the New Deal, but when she got Alzheimer's and dementia she suddenly out of the blue started saying racist crap and getting really into the Clinton impeachment. Dementia -- it sucks and turns you into a racist Republican, or maybe peels away the part of the cortex that keeps that from happening..


Posted by: Robert. Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:41 AM
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The Swedes are a somewhat-disdained not-our-kind alien group in Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, in Sinclair Lewis' Main Street a huge bestseller and very influential novel published about 1920.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:41 AM
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My grandmother was Danish. I shall say no more.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:43 AM
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George Washingtond and contemporaries in the US before 1800 were clearly prejudiced against Swwedes, stereotyped as brutes that shot first and asked questoins later.

The Swedes are a somewhat-disdained not-our-kind alien group in Gopher Prairie, Minnesota

My grandmother* used to tell "dumb Swede" jokes because they were the mockable minority in the part of Iowa she grew up in.

It seems that unfogged has uncovered the great unaddressed injustice of our times: prejudice against the Swedes!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:50 AM
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You live in the Danelaw, right?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:51 AM
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335. Well inside it at its greatest extent (excluding the conquest by Sweyn and Cnut. Just inside the Kingdom of Jorvik - the border with Mercia runs about half a mile from our house.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:58 AM
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334.4: An unfoggeder actually went deep cover in Sweden and wrote a book revealing their deepest secrets! Probably too late now to change sides!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:06 AM
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329: what puzzled me was all the fuss over Prince Charles' divorce and whether this would unsuit him to be head of the Church of England when he became King. Hello? You are the Church of England. Your SOLE REASON FOR EXISTING is to allow the King to still be head of you when he gets divorced.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:17 AM
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Isn't the point of the CoE instead to accept whatever nonsensical argument for annulment the King of England puts forth? So King Charles needs to simply say that Diana was a witch or a Spanish agent or a cunningly constructed robot piloted by lab mice.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:29 AM
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It appears that the Danes and the Swedes are making a serious effort to overcome historical antagonisms, though.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:32 AM
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a cunningly constructed robot piloted by lab mice.

It was so obvious in retrospect.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:33 AM
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I AM A SERIOUS THEOLOGIAN AND PROTESTANT MARTYR YOU AHOLES.


Posted by: OPINIONATED THOMAS CRANMER | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:34 AM
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I hope I can be in charge of the new Kalmar Union future Scandinavian megapolis.


Posted by: Animated corpse of Queen Margarethe | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:38 AM
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339. Indeed he need only follow the precedent set by Henry VIII and say he wants to shag somebody else. Which is more or less what he did. However, tempora mutantur et nos mutantur in illis so it has been decided that although Anne Bullen could be queen because Henry's marriage to Katherine was formally annulled, it would be a bit hard to illegitimise Diana's kids (not to mention making the grand old Duke of York heir presumptive), Charles was only entitled to a divorce, which is officially frowned upon by the church, so they'll have to invent some spanking new title for Camilla when or if the time comes.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:41 AM
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I think the grammar in 344 got a bit out of hand, but you can sort of make sense of it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:44 AM
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343. I'm sure Your Majesty will be welcomed with open arms by all sides. But current protocol suggests that you may be expected to travel second class on the high speed trains.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:46 AM
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Couldn't King Charles just issue a writ declaring Harry and Edward Snow legitimate heirs to the Dreadfort?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 10:50 AM
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347. No, that sort of thing would require an Act of Parliament. Which Parliament would pass eventually, but grudgingly, and it would shine an inconvenient light on too many constitutional fictions.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:01 AM
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331 Dementia -- it sucks and turns you into a racist Republican

I wonder if there's a parallel right-wing blog somewhere with someone telling stories about how dementia turned their elderly relatives into nonracists.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:24 AM
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349: I think from the pathology that's not terribly likely, but I could be wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:30 AM
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Yeah, IME dementia also makes you paranoid and crabby, which seem unlikely to lead to increased belief in the equality of man and social democracy. I guess maybe if you started off as an apartheid-era South African police officer you might go nuts and think that all of your old friends were out to get you, thus making you paranoid about racists.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:38 AM
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I mean, different dementias are different; frontotemporal dementia seems like it maybe wouldn't affect social anxiety in the same way, so maybe you'd go from being kind of paranoid and racist to cheerfully giving your money to friendly Nigerian email correspondents, but Alzheimers per se characteristically affects the amygdala in ways that dramatically increase social (and other) anxiety. At least that's what brief googling leads me to believe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:41 AM
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349: telling stories about how dementia turned their elderly relatives into nonracists.

Maybe telling stories about how their kids aren't racists ... yet.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:41 AM
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Wouldn't it be stories about those wicked colleges turning their kids into liberals and/or homosexuals?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:44 AM
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349: There was an Ally McBeal episode about a rich guy that had some kind of dementia that made the guy nicer, happier and less of a miser.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:45 AM
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349/355: My mother spent about five years as a happy, agreeable, laid-back demented lady, which was a great reprieve from her normal personality (critical, anxious, irritable). Now, she's back to her pre-Alzheimer's personality along with significant impairment. Dementia definitely reduces inhibitions and executive function, but for most forms, dirty hippie to Fox News paranoid racist isn't too common.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 12:33 PM
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My ex-father-in-law got all sorts of sweet and lovable as the Alzheimer's progressed. IMX plain old age physical decline without diagnosable mental deficits makes one cranky.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 2:10 PM
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My grandfather ended up a lot more cheerful and a lot less conservative as a result of Alzheimer's, at least when he was mostly functional.* But I was also young enough that any serious irritability/anger issues night have been covered over a bit around me, including by him.

*(Not politically but personally. He was a college professor sort who had been in both CPS and Pax when he was younger, and lived overseas a couple other times too. He just didn't have much patience for foreign or new things like "spices" or "people acting in ways he didn't think showed proper decorum". I don't know how that combined with living overseas for extended periods of his life, honestly, but it seems to have worked out pretty well for him.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 3:23 PM
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My grandfather was a fairly cheery person and Alzheimer's patient. My grandmother (step-grandmother; second wife after the memoir-grandmother) was a total witch, but as she descended into dementia they put her on anti-anxiety and anti-depressants, which helped a lot. She happily spent her last years laying in bed, reapplying make up, a la Norma Desmond. Also getting robbed blind by various people hired to take care of her, but she was such a royal jerk that I couldn't really fault them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:45 PM
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My mean, awful grandma had driven away everyone in her life. She told her doctor 'I have outlived all friends, my family hates me, I have no reason to live.' The doctor thought she was depressed (my dad thought that was a clear-eyed assessment) and put her on anti-depressants. They turned her sweet and friendly and it kills me to think of the good they would have done her (and my dad) in her younger decades.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 4:53 PM
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If increased dementia/Alzheimer's correlated with a move toward my political beliefs, I would count that as evidence against my political beliefs.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:09 PM
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Reagan was well on his way into dementia before he decided nuclear weapons aimed at the Soviets wasn't the only thing required for a perfect foreign policy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:13 PM
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360: My mother said "Ninety is enough" and arranged to stop her meds and die on her late best beloved's birthday. She was a physical wreck by then but her brain still worked fine. She had made sure we (my brother and I) understood the situation and her attitude and were okay with it. IMX those Depression + WW2 folk were pretty tough-minded.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 6:53 PM
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My dad had some sort of dementia after a stroke & heart attack. He lost more and more short term memory, such that he often didn't know where he was, but didn't freak about it. They were unwilling to call it Alzheimers, and he'd have lucid periods of a few days with fair short term memory. Like he had frayed wires that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. No personality change though. He became if anything more like himself.

My mother is 96. She's completely present despite being surrounded by the slow and addled. Music is probably her biggest resource. She's got a Clavinova in her room and works on it daily, sometimes improvising a medley at church before services. Like me, she hears and notices "background" music and will mention it to the incomprehension of others.

She told a story to my daughter not long ago about sliding the car, it'd have been a Model A filled with milk bottles down a hill with her terrified cousin in the car. I can see them in my mind's eye, a couple of teenage girls in their tams and woolies, about 1935. Stopped just short of the water's edge. Still with us.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 7:28 PM
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My grandfather, despite being pretty nice in general, in his very declining years started occasionally saying hurtful things to my mother, possibly thinking to make her less attached in preparation for his death, but still. Through antidepressants he got a much better attitude.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 8:17 PM
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My still-living 95 yo grandmother is quite conservative by Enlightened, Topless Euro standards, but as America has shifted Right, my grandmother has suddenly become pretty leftist, even though her opinions haven't changed all that much and she still considers herself a conservative and is a member of the Republican party. (The last time she actually voted for a Republican president was 1988.) E.g. she supports universal healthcare and gun control as just kind of basics, and she thinks gay marriage is ok because at least it involves marriage. With immigration, she's completely bifurcated: rightwing racist European, leftwing open-minded American. She complains about how brown people are ruining Europe, but is totally down with America as a multi-ethnic multi-racial land of immigrants. She sees nothing contradictory about complaining about African immigrants in XX Euro country, but then in the same breath announcing her excitement to have the chance to have voted for America's first black president. Before the 2012 election, she told my mother she had to live long enough to reelect Obama. It's heart meltingly sweet and I would have much less mixed feelings about her if it weren't coupled with the racist European part.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 9:11 PM
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My great aunt lived into her 90s, and basically outlived everyone she knew. She also went blind, but had no other physical and mental health problems. She was bored as shit.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-11-14 11:43 PM
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My better half has an aunt who has absolutely no idea what's going on but whose conversation and opinions (mildly progressive) are very much what they always have been, provided you ignore the fact that she doesn't know who you are, where you are and what year it is. She seems happy enough, most of the time.


Posted by: Anaander Mianaai | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 1:57 AM
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My grandfather (100) has had a small stroke, and he is occasionally a bit forgetful. Other than that, he's largely completely with it. No signs of dementia. Last week, he did ask my sister -- who is getting married later in the summer -- in a very frank way, in front of her fiancé, if she was sure he was the right one. Which was hilariously tactless.

However, if he gets stressed, which he sometimes does if he's been on his own a lot,* he occasionally talks about the house he lived in in the 1940s and very early 50s as 'home' and asks when they are going back, and he talks about the 'other' G [where G is my uncle]. I rarely see any signs of those kinds of things, though, as it's not something he does in 'company' [e.g. visiting us and xelA], when he's usually relaxed and on good form. I have to just believe my Mum and uncle, who've both seen him act that way, that it is an occasional thing he does if he's tired and worked up.

Politically speaking, I suppose he's fairly centrist, by UK political standards. I know he's largely voted Liberal, or Labour in the past. I've never heard him voice any racist opinions, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had some mildly old-fashioned views on foreigners.

* he lives with my uncle, who works, so he's at home a lot alone during the day.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 2:16 AM
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Said grandfather isn't really infirm at all. He doesn't use a walking stick, and doesn't wear glasses. Although he is a bit hard of hearing. If he has to walk over unsteady surfaces, or for a long time, he does like to take your arm. Until he was in his late 90s, he could walk for an hour or so, before he'd need a rest. These days, I don't think he'd be up to that. But a ten or fifteen minute stroll round a park, and then a sit on a bench, is fine.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 2:24 AM
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My parents didn't live to any spectacular age and died before they lost their faculties, but they both moved left politically in their later years. They'd been complacent centrists for decades, but they were so enraged by the rise of neoliberalism that they adopted a number of objectively fairly radical positions (partly from my sister and myself) in addition to being left behind by the general rightward shift in political discourse.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 2:53 AM
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On the topic of J. Crew, Lee has a great job interview today and we disagreed about whether a certain shirt she wanted to wear (with big flat mother-of-pearl buttons, since I'm trying to predispose you to my point of view) looked early-'90s. She had to concede I had a point when she wanted me to weigh in on whether I could tell there were shoulder pads. Good lord! (She's going with a different look and I recommended a little bit funky, though she's unsure.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 4:31 AM
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My parents (~80, still completely lucid) have always been New Deal / Great Society liberals in the Estes Kefauver mold, and don't seem to have moved away from that. Their milieu, by contrast, has swung way right in the last couple of decades. They both have a basically blue state sensibility (e.g. with respect to matters like multiculturalism and same-sex marriage) that is increasingly out of step with their neighbors in Deep Redstatia. As mainstream Democrats, they have gone from being slightly left of center to being pretty far left by local standards.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-12-14 4:49 AM
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