What was Lincoln's position on a federal income tax? I'm guessing he was against it, if the subject ever even came up.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 7:22 AM
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I confess that I subscribed and then I haven't read beyond the first paragraph since then. My mind says "too long" and i keep scrolling. Lincoln era republican is just bizarre. Maybe HCR herself will have an explanation soon. If so I will rely on others to read it and report back.

Posted by: chill | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 7:28 AM
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My wife is the opposite of "very online" and this newsletter has become her major source of news, and it seems great. A smart, historically informed person summarizing and contextualizing the news of the day? Perfect!

I'm sure HCR has some idiosyncratic, academic understanding of what "Lincoln-era Republican" means. Not gonna judge.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 7:43 AM
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I see some HCR in my Facebook feed, and find her inoffensive,* but also a bit obvious. I don't suppose I've ever finished one of her pieces.

I've read a lot more Ben Smith, who is somehow more interesting to me, and I do occasionally find his work offensive. I'm not sure what this says about me.

*Not faint praise. When it comes to commentary on the news of the day, I am easily offended.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 7:52 AM
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Lincoln signed the first income tax into law, so I'd say he was for it.

Posted by: Light Rail Tycoon | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 7:54 AM
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but also a bit obvious

We are not the intended audience for this newsletter.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 7:56 AM
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It means she's in favor of severing Montana from Idaho.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 8:10 AM
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5: Thanks! I learned something!

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 8:14 AM
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Maybe her subscriber list's size is a sign of hope-- if editors are basically failing at gathering and presenting worthwhile news, amateurs can step in, and the nightmare of a world disinterested in truth and reason will retreat back to the relative shadows.

Now if only she could consult on which large-ish directions of investigative reporting are worthwhile. Propublica is doing good work.

I'm afraid though that Colbert and John Oliver and of course those scamps Hannity and the chicken heir with the perplexed eyes who all manage to convey news-as-entertainment are probably more powerful.

Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 8:18 AM
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9.1. That used to be my hope and expectation as an Internet optimist. Truth is, HCR (or Propublica or whoever) can have a huge following that is still tiny compared to Fox News, not to mention Ben Shapiro. In the Internet Age, people can select their reality, and they do.

My current optimistic narrative is that people haven't yet learned to deal with the flood of information, and as they gain sophistication, the Internet will live up to its initial promise. What we need, I'm thinking, is to elect a Twitter-oriented nitwit as president, then have a catastrophic policy failure that costs thousands of lives in a really obvious, public way. Then people will become more discriminating about how they evaluate information.

Or not.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 8:30 AM
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10.2:. Wow! Everything is going exactly according to your plan!

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 8:33 AM
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The flip side of 9.1 is folk like Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan who are building new media empires selling access to their amateur takes on everything, wherein the world comfortably conforms to their and their audience's biases.

Posted by: (gensym) | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 8:40 AM
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I keep reading the title wrong. I think I have dyslexia.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 9:11 AM
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12: I agree that's an issue, but I wonder if those blatherers constitute an evolution of the same niche of Fox News and talk radio, which do the same misinformation-as-a-lifestyle with a lot more capital behind them, and so may not be so transformatively problematic.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 1:13 PM
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HCR was good at chronicling Trump's chicanery and finding historical parallels or lack thereof. As he exits, she has become much less interesting, full of anodyne praise for Biden's ability to clear a very low bar.

Posted by: Mr. F | Link to this comment | 12-29-20 4:25 PM
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10: I think Pro Publica's investigative pieces get reported on by other outlets so they are disseminated to an audience that is broader than just those who read the site.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-30-20 3:41 AM
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I would take "Lincoln-era Republican [...] in today's terms a fairly conventional liberal" as a jab at modern Republicans, although not one I'd expect them to get.

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-30-20 5:10 PM
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It's also a jab at Democrats, implying we aren't mostly fairly convectional liberals.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-20 5:13 PM
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And that there's some sort of principled reason to stick with the coalition in free fall -- having been in the wrong about nearly everything since the New Deal -- when ours is wide open to her.

It's at best a meaningless vanity to go with Lincoln, because almost nothing of relevance to his era remains germane in selecting one party over another, but everything that is still there (and the same applies to people who identify with TR) it points to picking our coalition and not the other one.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-30-20 5:56 PM
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