Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Professional Left Podcast Episode #722

“Well, here's your hat. What's your hurry?”--   Jimmy Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life


Don't forget to visit our website -- -- for all those sweet bells and whistles:  there are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as links to our swingin' Zazzle merch store,  our respective blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Kittehs! and much more. Many thanks once again to @theologop for building it all for us!

The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" and real listeners like you!

And The Both Siderist Shitposter of the Week Award Goes To...


...Mona Charen and the Center/Left Center/Right waxworks creatures who make up her weekly Bulwark podcast.

This "Beg to Differ" pod is almost always amusing in a horribly cringey way.  For example, this week featured five senior citizens who have, between them, never read a single work of SF, never written a line of code, never had to so much as fiddle with the BIOS on a laptop, and still whisper about the way your smartphone can track you as if it were a state secret...all opining in that hilariously ignorant pundit gas-baggy way about AI. 

AI, we learned, is a Land of Contrast.  Might be bad.  But maybe not.  Might be helpful.  Might seduce your spouse.  Might destroy millions of jobs...but maybe also create millions of jobs.  The only thing Reagan-era relic Linda Chavez was sure of was that Big Gummint wasn't up to the job of regulating it because Big Gummint is stupid.     

Also did you know your smartphone...can track where you are!

It was like listening to Steve Carell's 40-Year-Old-Virgin trying to fake his way through a discussion about sex.

Except there were five Steve Carells.

These fucking people.

But what caught my attention was how accurately these chatter among these goofs captures the gnarly, indestructibly toxic roots of A) Both Siderism and B) the Search for the mythical Reasonable Republicans that they are absolutely sure are trapped somewhere inside the current GOP.

From Mona Charen in The Bulwark:

Is the GOP Tiptoeing Toward Normality?

It’s too soon to breathe easy, but something is stirring.

This is has been the Elite Conservative Weasel two-step since David  Brooks invented this gavotte some time in the late 1800s.  Step one: despite the clear evidence of your senses, the Right is not nearly as insane as it appears, and its rogue bad actors will soon -- very soon! -- be overtaken and beaten back into the sewers by the GOP's Bitter Better angels.  Step two: despite the clear evidence of your senses, the Democrats are very nearly as bad as the GOP and its dirty, hippie, commie extremists (that's you and me) hold that party hostage very nearly as completely as the extremists in the GOP.

It's all lies.  Filthy, stupid, obvious lies. And yet the branches and the poison fruit of these lies can be seen everywhere.  

The New York Times is positively stacked with these goofs, from the most ancient member of the Times' op-ed page Both Siderist cult, Tom Edsall, to its newest hire (and one of The Bulwark podcast's newest, bestest buddies) Astead W. Herndon, whose recent headlines have included:

The Fight to Define Extremism

Conversations with two lawmakers reveal how the parties regard, and exploit, the other side when it comes to questions of extremism.


The New Terms of Abortion Politics

A 15-week federal minimum. Court reform. Abortion activists on both sides are already preparing their 2024 playbooks in an uncertain post-Dobbs landscape.

And whither the Sensible Center?

The Backup Plan for Lost Voters

Millions of voters are dissatisfied with the prospect of another Trump-Biden matchup. Could there be an alternative?

And, of course, some of that sweet, sweet Ohio diner magic ruralism:

The New Demands of the MAGA Right

What are the issues animating the Republican base? We head to a gathering of the conservative grass roots to find out.

Yes, despite the glares-so-bright-that-if-you-look-directly-at-it-you'll-burn-out-your-corneas fact that Both Sides Don't -- that no fair-minded sentient being could possibly look at the Democrats and the Republicans and conclude that, welp, y'know, the Extremes on Both Sides -- this is the fairy tale that the entire Beltway media is pot-committed to telling.

From Talking Points Memo:

The False Equivalence Between The ‘Far Right’ And The ‘Hard Left’ 
Throughout the debt-ceiling crisis, news reports have wrongly suggested that each party's activist wings balance one another out. 
Here’s how, in its lead story Thursday, the New York Times described the House’s vote to resolve Republicans’ self-imposed debt-ceiling crisis:

“With both far-right and hard-left lawmakers in revolt over the deal, it fell to a bipartisan coalition powered by Democrats to push the bill over the finish line, throwing their support behind the compromise in an effort to break the fiscal stalemate that had gripped Washington for weeks.”

It’s not just the Times. This false equivalence between the two parties’ activist wings has been on display in press coverage throughout the debt-ceiling votes. Politico Playbook on Sunday described Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal’s mixed reaction to the debt-ceiling compromise as indicating that the bill may have “a chance to win votes from some on the far left.” A Washington Post sub-headline that same day noted that “far-left and far-right corners of the House have criticized the compromise.”

These descriptions conjure a world in which the wing of the Republican Party defined by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Chip Roy (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is somehow balanced out by the wing of the Democratic Party defined by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jayapal, Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Greg Casar (D-TX), Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)...

So back to Mona Charen's Bulwark podcast, with Special Guest Villain, David French, who, went from writing standard wingnut garbage for the National Review to the New York Times op-ed page so fast that he still has Times assembly lube on him.

The title of this episode?  "Green Shoots of a Responsible Right?"

We join this Both Siderist human centipede already in progress.

David French:  This is a reminder that an awful lot of Republican members of Congress weren't elected for performative reasons and when they have an opportunity to engage in non-performative governance they'll take that opportunity.

French will expand on this fiction later on.

Damon Linker:  The whole thing illustrates in a complicated way something that I wrote about on my Sub Stack sort of recently about the way the Republican party is not only fighting between extremists and more moderate folks with the Trumpist faction if you will increasingly powerful, but there's also a different dimension to it between ideological commitments and the non-ideological or tribalistic commitments.

There follows a great river of double-talk about the differences between Club For Growth burn-it-all Republicans who want to destroy the government for ideological reasons, and the Joker burn-it-all Republicans who want to destroy the government because the fire would look cool and would fuck Biden up.

And then we get to Reagan-era fossil, Linda Fucking Chavez:

Chavez: ...but I also think it's important to look at what happened within the Democratic [party].  I mean you had, what, 46 members of the Progressive Caucus who voted "No" on the bill led by Pramila Jayapal?  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was not far behind.  But those 46 members of the Progressive Caucus are also way out of step with America.  Way out of step with their own party and I don't know what they think they are accomplishing by trying to rain on President Biden's parade. He's going to be the nominee and I think their actions were very destructive and we spent a lot of time focusing on the problems on the Right but there are problems on the Left in the Democratic party as well.

Charen: Well and just as with some of the more Radical Republicans these Democrats come from very safe blue districts themselves... 

And they just go on and on and on.  Except everyone sitting on that panel fucking well knows how this was worked.  

This was a potentially world-ending crisis invented by Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans.  And despite all the clever pundits jumping up and down, screaming that Biden was losing the "messaging war" and that he needed to publicly bitch slap My Kevin every hour on the hour, President Biden negotiated the country out of this Republican-manufacture hostage situation with about as good a deal as anyone could have imagined.

While absolutely pantsing the GOP in the process, all without ever suggesting that My Kevin's mother and father were, uh, never married.  

And everyone sitting on that panel fucking well knows that it was the Democrats who saved the day, by providing more more votes to pass the damn thing than My Kevin's House majority was able to cough up.

And everyone sitting on that panel fucking knows that the progressives who voted against the bill did so out of principle and did not "rain on Biden's parade" in any way, whereas the "No" votes on the GOP side were from let-it-all-burn nihilists.  And by carefully counting votes, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries was able to give those progressives a hall-pass to vote the way they voted so they could remain in those very blue seats in those very blue districts while still ensuring that the global economy didn't collapse.

Everyone sitting on that panel knows all of this, but I guess they assume their podcast listeners do not, which is why Linda Chavez could float such obvious bullshit unchallenged.

The clown shot continues.

David French:  I've long been of the view that if you're looking at reforming the extremes of our parties Right has to reform Right, and Left has to reform Left.  When Right attacks Left or Left attacks Right you tend to have the tribal rallying that distorts the whole analysis.

The sheer density of the Conservative bad faith, false equivalence and absurdity here is like some kind of pundit neutronium  There is the bundling of Both Siderist claptrap with the assumption that the "left" -- whatever the "left" means in French's hardwired wingnut mind -- of the Democratic party is sorely in need of reform.  It is not.  It's also a giant "Fuck You" to all of us on the Left who have been right about the the Right all along.  OMG, we only made things worse!  And finally, if only the Left can discipline the Left then how the fuck is it that 80% of Never Trump content consists of recently-former-  and current-Republicans telling us Democrats how to run our party, and incessantly bitching about how the Left is ruining everything?

More unicorn-hunting from French:

French:  Mona reminds me of some of the divisions that we saw in the debt ceiling deal where you have a still existent responsible right that is often cowed and intimidated and becomes complicit in a lot of the worst excesses but every now and then it gets a spine...

French:  ...but there are still Republicans who long for normalcy. They long for a more rational insane party they've just rarely had the guts to assert their will.

Hey, David.  They will that they are bending to is the will... of Republican voters.  

Y'know, the voting base you and Chavez and Charen all spent your adult lives helping to engineer and unleash on this country.  The voters that nominated and elected Trump in 2016 and came out even stronger for Trump in 2020 after they'd seen what a degenerate lying bigot and demagogue he was.  The voting base we irresponsible louches on the Left have been warning you clowns about for decades and which you clowns are now completely powerless to stop.

But please tell me more about how I should shut my dirty, Liberal mouth all the fraud and fuckery you clowns engaged in to bring us to this point, and instead I should start worrying about Representative Pramila Jayapal.

Burn The Lifeboats

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Watching Brian Stelter Toasting Marshmallows Over The Dying Embers of Chris Licht's Career... almost worth the price of admission:

This should warm the heart of anyone who has ever been tagged as a “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” troublemaker within a dysfunctional organization, and was then fired by the incompetent asshole in charge, and then watched as that organization imploded because of very thing you had tried to warn them about (and for which you had been let go.)

Full disclosure: I've been that fired troublemaker at four different fucked-up organizations.

I Am The Liberal Media

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Professional Left Podcast Episode #721

“Without memory, there is no healing”--   Desmond Tutu


Don't forget to visit our website -- -- for all those sweet bells and whistles:  there are links to donate to our podcast work at that site, as well as links to our swingin' Zazzle merch store,  our respective blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Kittehs! and much more. Many thanks once again to @theologop for building it all for us!


The Professional Left is brought to you by our wholly imaginary "sponsors" and real listeners like you!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Tom Dunsel*, The New York Times' Fifth Emergency Backup "Both Sides Do It" Guy.

Because the Times never wants to risk running out of Both Sides Do It guys.

Here's the headline.

Breaking:  New York Times Columnist Tom Edsall Dunsel thinks Both Sides are pretty bad. 

The Politics of Delusion Have Taken Hold

By Thomas B. Edsall

There are very real — and substantial — policy differences separating the Democratic and Republican Parties. At the same time, what scholars variously describe as misperception and even delusion is driving up the intensity of contemporary partisan hostility...

It goes on like that.

For  +3,000 words.  

And nowhere in that vast quagmire of Sulzberger-family underwritten idiocy and Beltway-Bell Jar myopia is there a single mention of Fox News or Newsmax.   

And no mention of Hate Radio.  

No mention that 11 million more bigots and imbeciles came slouching out of the sewers to vote for Trump after they lived through four years of Trump depravity, lies and treason.  

No mention of January 6th. 

No mention that the Obama administration has already provided the world with a nearly-perfect experiment in what would happen if Democrats nominated and elected the a calm, rational, open-handed Centrist candidate who might as well have been built in David Brooks' basement Both Siderist lab using plans passed down by David Broder.

No mention of the eight year racist primal scream that was the reaction from the Republican base to the existence of the Obama administration.

No mention of the eight years of obstruction, sabotage, sedition, Birtherism and [checks notes] the theft of a Supreme Court seat that was the reaction from the leaders of the Republican party to the existence of the Obama administration.

No mention that the nomination and election of Donald Trump was nothing less than the Republicans hysterical, racist backlash against eight years of a black man in the White House.

And, with the exception of two brief mentions of Donald Trump, Dunsel shows virtually no awareness that Donald Trump was ever president, or what that event should tell any sentient human [except for certain doddering mopes who write ridiculous, mildewed op-ed columns for major American newspapers]  about the true state of the GOP.

Instead, in the very last paragraph of this slab of elite media Cheez Whiz embalming fluid, we get:

The embodiment of delusional politics is, of course, Donald Trump, with his false, indeed fraudulent, claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. The continuing willingness of a majority of Republican voters to tolerate this delusion reflects the difficulty facing the nation as it struggles to restore sanity to American politics — if it’s not too late.

Step one in restoring sanity to American politics?  Purge the media of useless gleeps like Tom Dunsel.


I Am The Liberal Media

No Fair Remembering Stuff: Representative Glenn Grothman

Meet Glenn Grothman, the Republican representative from Wisconsin's 6th district.  Here 

"They left low income housing untouched. I think as far as discouraging work and marriage, I think low income housing is a more dangerous program than food stamps." 

So how did this slab of putrid Wisconsin cheddar ever get elected to the House of Representatives?

He had powerful friends in Wisconsin media who loved his brand of "kick the poor" Conservatism.

Friends like "Wisconsin's Rush Limbaugh" Charlie Sykes.

Here is Sykes caping for Grothman in 2014, just months before the 29-year Wisconsin conservative radio veteran suddenly discovered that the Republican party was full of bigots, imbeciles and vicious, weirdo yahoos like [checks notes] Glenn Grothman.

" a frontline conservative there's no contest in terms of Grossman, and people around here in southeastern Wisconsin know that." -- Charlie Sykes, 2014

Sykes is the giant Armillaria ostoyae fungus of depraved Wisconsin politics. Dig one inch below the surface of any of Wisconsin's worst Republican scumbags and you'll find their roots all trace back to Sykes.

I Am The Liberal Media

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Elite Conservative Dorm Room Foodfight

Since you are a normal human being with normal human being interests and concerns, the ongoing virtue-signaling food fight between recently-former Republicans called "Never Trumpers" and another group led by the likes of the National Review (America's Oldest and Most Venerated Journal of White Supremacy) who are referred to as "Never, Never Trumpers".

The latest round of this pissing match was kicked of by a now throroughly red-pilled Nat Silver 

This one Tweet, and the attendant "Yeah, brother" shouts from the wingnut peanut gallery set various Never Trumper's blood to boiling, but none more comically than Tom Nichols and Mona Charen and her crew on Charen's Bulwark media podcast.

I understand why many people will find this exchange harmless and innocuous.  Especially Liberals whose business model demands that they stay on the good side of Never Trumpers much higher up the media food chain than they are.  If you're angling to stay friendly with Nichols because you'd like him to bring his audience to your podcast, or if you need to stay on good terms with Charen so that she'll stay in the regular rotation of Bulwark employees which now takes up 65% of your cable station's air time...I get why you might flinch at making mock of your "allies".

However, as a longtime dirty, disreputable Liberal blogger and podcaster out here in the middle of Middle America, I am relatively free of these sorts of commercial considerations.  For the unforgivable sins of reminding our Never Trump "allies" that history did not begin in 2015, and that they themselves played critical and profitable roles in turning the GOP into the monster factory it is today, and that allowing Never Trumpers to colonize what little is left of the Liberal media while actual Liberal voices were being shoved further and further into exile was a terrible idea, and most damningly, for reminding Never Trumpers over and over and over again that the Left was right about the Right all along...most of them blocked me years ago.

With all that said, consider the following with two thoughts in mind.

First, how identical-to-nine-significant digits Tom Nichol's whole "We warned you, but did you listen?  Noooo!" disquisition about Never Never Trumpers is to exactly the same observations that certain dirty, disreputable Liberal blogger and podcasters have (repeatedly) made about the Never Trumpers. Y'know, the whole "History began long before 2016 and if you don't believe me, here are my archives" thing.   

And recall how roundly those dirty, disreputable Liberal blogger and podcaster were scolded by their Liberal supervisors for daring to make Never Trumper uncomfortable by, y'know, remembering things.  Really, really important things.

Second. note how the very worst insult that can be flung about in the Never and Never Never precincts is the charge of being a (shudder) Democrat.  How Never Trumpers continue to take great pains to point out how "independent" and "non-partisan" they are.  How proud the are that they shit on Both Sides!


Mona Charen:  One of the irritating things that we have seen, even from Nate Silver. 

Tom Nichols:  Ugh.

Charen: But you see it all the time from the Anti-Anti-Trump brigades, which is, if you were really sincere about disliking Trump you'd get behind Ron DeSantis. And the fact that you're not doing so shows that you really want Trump again and so forth. I find this infuriating.  It's so illogical.  The fact is the reason that I hung back first of all, like, y'know there's a lot to dislike about Ron DeSantis but beyond that I was never convinced that he could take out Donald Trump because of his evident weaknesses.  
And I thought there's no way in which, y'know the people at The Bulwark or the people at The Dispatcher or Tom Nichols rallying around DeSantis is going to make a dime's worth of difference if the guy doesn't have what it takes...

driftglass:  Fun Fact:  When I was being reprimanded by my Liberal supervisors for alienating our new Never Trump "allies" by remembering stuff from the Before Time, I pointed out (repeatedly) that I was just a nobody blogger and podcaster out here in the cornfield.  I have never been invited to opine on cable teevee, or to pen my opinions in any print publications, or to join any Liberal podcast network, or to share my spicy opinions on syndicated Liberal radio (except for the BradCast, which is awesome), or to debate the merits of my opinions with any Never Trumper anywhere.  Plus, like a lot of Liberals, I have a long history of being right about a lot of things  and watching helplessly as nobody listened...and then the Bad Thing happens.

In other words, all available evidence suggests that my opinions about Life, the Universe and Everything could not possibly matter less.  And yet the reprimands from my Liberal supervisors continued.  Because, after all, the Fate of The Republic is at stake!

Nichols:  It became the accepted wisdom that DeSantis -- this placeholder -- was the Trump killer.  And the problem with that is that you actually have to hear the man speak and the minute he steps out there and he does all that kind of weird stuff imitating Trump and that nails on a blackboard voice and the weird otherworldly affect -- and this comes back to your point now Mona -- a lot of us look and said yeah this probably isn't the guy.  
But y'know, the response from the Anti-Anti Trumpers is such bad faith.  Because you say, look Ron DeSantis isn't a very good candidate and their answer to you is, "Well not with that attitude little mister!"  Y'know, it's like "You can't beat him as long as you're not going to be on board" but what they really mean is that they want to be able to make the charge and there are two really just, y'know, childishly bad faith charges.  
One is that you and I and Charlie and every other Never Trumper... we want Trump. Like, he's *good* for us.  Like, if Donald Trump gets re-elected, like I have no real interest in the future of my country.  If Donald Trump gets re-elected I'll get, like, a bonus at The Atlantic or Oxford will up my royalties on my last book or something.  And this is just stupid.  These are people just don't understand how any of this works and always forget that if any of us were really interested in the money, as Matt Schlapp proved, the smart thing is to jump on the Trump train, not jump in front of it.  
So...and the other thing they want to be able to do is to say because you don't support DeSantis or because you're not plumping for him as the only alternative to Donald Trump you're not really a Conservative.

Charen: Absolutely!

Nichols: You're just another Democrat criticizing Republicans.

driftglass:  Because in the Never Trumper's head, there is almost nothing worse than being accused of being Democrat.  Maybe because The Atlantic doesn't hire (shudder) Democrats who have been right about the Right all along to write exactly what Nichols writes for them now.  Maybe because Oxford doesn't commission books from (shudder) Liberals who have been right about the Right all along to write exactly what Nichols writes for them now.  Maybe because MSNBC doesn't hand out contributor contracts to anyone but recently-former Republic Bulwark employees -- especially anyone who might be tempted to blurt out some pre-2016 wisdom -- to go on camera and talk about the Republican Party in exactly the same language that Liberals have been using all along.

Nichols: And it's... I'm sorry but especially given through the whole Democratic primary where I took a lot of bats for things I said about Kamala Harris and Castro and Bill de Blasio.  People who write about politics write about politics we're not on your team.  We're not your cheerleaders.

driftglass:  See!  See!   You can trust us because we're bashing Both Sides.  

Nichols: And I think the Anti-Anti Trumpers -- and I know we've all talked about this before -- they know that they sold out.  They know that they chickened out by saying,  "Well I don't support Trump, but...", right?  Dot dot dot.  I don't support Trump but I'm not going to vote against him.  I'm gonna vote third party.  I'm gonna not vote. I'm gonna still be part of the Republican faithful even as the party kind of spirals into this cult of personality.  And they really want to believe that everybody is as morally ungrounded as they are.  And so that's a big part of that accusation. So when you're not supporting DeSantis because you don't really have any principles and you're just in it for the money, and you just sit there and listen to this and say, "This sounds an awful lot like projection." 

Charen:  Yeah if you don't mind I'm just going to climb up on the soapbox just for another minute and just say that all of the establishment conservative organs who made their peace with Trump and eventually, as you say, "plump" for Trump, they poisoned the atmosphere to the extent that they taught the electorate to accept everything from Trump To make excuses for everything from Trump.  To doubt any news source or any outlet that wasn't pro-Trump.  To the point where they now say, "Gee, why is it so hard to get rid of this guy?" y'know.   And they fantasize that they can do it with Ron DeSantis but the fact is they created the environment that has made Trump so hard to dislodge.

driftglass:  This is why Never Trumpers and their mainstream media collaborators and employers avoid Liberals with functional memories like the the devil avoids Holy Water enemas.  Because they are equally guilty of all of these same "you taught the base all these terrible habits and now we're fucked" charges that they want to lay at the feet of Never Never Trumpers.

It took billions of dollars by right wing billionaires and decades of work by goofs like Charen and Nichols and the rest of these recently-former Republicans to build a base that was primed and ready  for a demagogue like Trump.  

Nichols: And how come you won't support us in supporting a guy who's *almost* as bad as Trump.  

Charen:  That's right!

Nichols: You hate vanilla. Well how about French vanilla?  How about vanilla bean?   No I I don't like vanilla.  But, y'know, as you said and as I wrote just yesterday look the country would be better -- I say this not as a partisan not as a member of any party -- 

driftglass:  Just think of me as David Brooks with a mustache...

Nichols: ... it would be better for the United States of America if Donald Trump were never on a political ticket anywhere in this country.  His record of supporting violent sedition should have rendered him completely ineligible for any kind of federal office.  And so I would be more than happy to see anybody on that ticket but Donald Trump.  But that doesn't mean that, after years of the rationalizations that places like National Review and the attacks on people like you and me over the years, that now it's, like, "Okay, it's time for you to get on the team."  Like that scene in Full Metal Jacket, "Son come in for the big win."  No that's not how it works.  
We didn't create this indestructibility of Donald Trump.  We warned you about it.  We told you not to do this.  And to somehow accuse us of acting in bad faith I think really is just a guilty conscience externalized onto the Never Trumpers at this point.

Charen: Thank you for that.  

These people built the transcontinental conservative railroad that brought the country 95% of the way to where we are now. 

But now all they want you to focus on is Trump, when all Trump did was lay the last mile of track on a ballast bed they had already leveled and graded, and then drive in the golden spike.  

And since (over my futile objections) they have successfully colonized what little was left of the Liberal media, I'm pretty sure they'll get away with it.

I Am The Liberal Media

He's Not Confessing. He's Bragging.

 It's a line from The Big Short, but boy howdy, does it apply here.

In the Democratic People's Republic of Texas, and on Steve Bannon's treason-cast, saying out lout that you stole an election isn't admitting to crime.  It's virtue signalling to the bigots and imbeciles that make up the Republican base.

I Am The Liberal Media