Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Prophesyin' For Dummies

Step One: Clearly understand who Republicans are and how they function

From me in March of 2005:

And page-by-page it followed the same tired You-Must-Be-Shitting-Me Bush nomination playbook. Specifically, a lavish and mindless defense mounted by the infinitely reprogrammable Golem of the Religious Right: that Reliable Fucktard Militia, trained to hold themselves ferociously blind to facts of any kind – no matter how staggering -- that might conflict with the pronouncements of Dear Leader. Always painting anyone standing in their Shining Path as Christ-hating traitors at 100,000 decibels.

And in August o2006.

The day that the GOP stops kicking gays in the teeth, recruiting klansmen, demonizing muslims, lionizing monsters who blame 9/11 of feminists and the ACLU and calling people like me traitor for opposing my government...that’s the day I will be happy to beat my pronouns into plowshares and talk peace and compromise.

But of course, they can’t let the crazies go. First and foremost -- as Barry Goldwater prophetically warned -- because the crazies now run their fucking party, from crotch to crown. The gargoyles have taken the cathedral, and Falwell and Dobson sits upon the Throne, while the Hagels and the Grahams are now the “fringe”.

And second, if they ever did kick the freaks out, they wouldn’t win another election. Ever. Anywhere. Seriously. As I’ve said before, without their Christopath Legions and assorted other reprogrammable golem shock troops, the GOP would be the Constitution Law Party, squatting impotently in the swamps of Mississippi, muttering angrily about Negroes.

And at heart, Quislings like Brooks would much rather have a police state with theocrats, deficits, endless war and tax cuts than a democracy with incrementally higher marginal tax rates and his Party out of power...

Step Two:  Think through how the reprogrammable GOP golem will react to future stimuli:

From me in July 2012:

June, 2024: At the New Tea Party Rally

Step Three:  Watch in sadness as it all unfolds as predicted.

Bookman: Crank hypocrisy alarm up as Kemp takes credit for Obamacare insurance access

In his State of the State address last week, Gov. Brian Kemp bragged that as recently as 2019, “Georgia had only four health insurance carriers offering plans in the individual market. Today, we have nearly tripled that number with eleven carriers offering plans for 2022.”

He went on to point out that “in 2019, only 26 percent of Georgia’s counties had more than one carrier offering insurance on the individual market. Now, in 2022, 98 percent of all counties have more than one carrier – which means expanded choice and lowered costs for hardworking Georgians.”

If your hypocrisy alarm is blaring, it ought to be. Without saying the “O word,” Kemp is basically embracing and taking credit for the success of Obamacare, the health insurance program that he and every other Republican predicted would destroy the American health care system, produce ruinously high insurance premiums resulting in the dreaded “death spiral,” and in the process turn us all into Communists. Here in Georgia, GOP officials tried hard to ensure that the program failed, with then-Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens at one point pledging to do “everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”

Step Four:  As an additional bonus, if you do your prophesyin' correctly, after it all comes to pass you can almost always look forward to a raft of op-ed thinker pieces about how no one could have seen any of this coming from all the usual savvy pundits.

Funny old world.

Burn The Lifeboats

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Reneglicans

First, from the Urban Dictionary, a definition you'll be needing in a few minutes:  

Negging:  Low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances. This is something no decent guy would do.  
And here, from the Lincoln Project, is the most sublimely ridiculous Tweet I've seen in awhile  --
-- in which the Alert Reader will notice that serial electoral failure (remind me again, what was the last election Rick Wilson actually won?) castigates "Democrats" for "airing their intraparty grievances in public"... 










Which Wilson does pretty much on a daily basis.

In case you are unfamiliar, the Lincoln Lads are a political ad company which sprang into existence in 2019 on the theory that Democrats are terrible, stupid and generally "holistically bad at politics".  

That's one year after Democrats stomped the living fuck out of Republicans the 2018 elections, but this did not affect the Lincoln Lad's business model in the slightest.  Instead, they leaped straight into action...insisting Democrats sucked so badly at politics that the republic was doooomed unless Liberals forked over tens of millions of dollars to this gang of recently-former Republican ad makers because they and only they know how to win!

The results of this investment of 67 million precious dollars in the Lincoln Lad's magic rather than, say, Democratic candidates and local races were as awful as they were predictable.  

Well, some of us predicted it.

Lincoln Project 'Epically Failed,' Say Progressives as Trump Wins Bigger Share of Republican Voters Than in 2016

"Turns out there were no 'Biden Republicans.'"

From The Hill:

Sirota: Lincoln Project election efforts to swing GOP votes from Trump 'epic failure'
“In a sense, they went to liberals and said ‘give us money to help us defeat Republicans, that’s our job.’” Sirota said. “So, when Donald Trump actually increases his share of the Republican vote in 2020 versus 2016 when there wasn’t the Lincoln Project, that’s just statistically an epic failure.” 

Sirota further said that the group raised more money for “ineffective ads and expensive stunts” than the Democratic party spent to try and win key state legislatures. He noted that those losses could change the course of Congress for the next decade. 

“So imagine if that $67 million had gone into winning state legislatures, it could be a totally different ball game for the next ten years,” Sirota said. “But, instead it went to Republican operatives at the Lincoln Project, to produce YouTube videos that made MSNBC-watching liberals feel smug, but didn’t actually move any voters.” ...
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams The Lincoln Project as being in 'scam territory' after it raised $67 million to try to persuade never-Trump Republicans to vote for Biden

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had harsh words for The Lincoln Project on Friday, accusing the group of being in "scam territory" over its promise to persuade "never-Trump" Republicans to vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

In a Twitter thread, Ocasio-Cortez argued that The Lincoln Project, which raised $67.4 million according to Federal Election Commission data, diverted resources from organizers and groups who were more effective in driving votes in for Biden.

"It's not too late for them to do the right thing. Lincoln Project should take the L and publicly pledge to give a lot of their fundraising to the people who actually made a big difference," Ocasio-Cortez said.

From  Brother Charlie Pierce over at Esquire:

The Lincoln Project Didn't Move 10 Votes in This Election 
Never Trump conservatives are about as relevant to the actual election results this year as are the Whigs or the Free Soil Party.

From my own blog, in which I dare to use arithmetic to measure the Lincoln Lad's post-2020 election performance against their own, publicly declared metrics.  

Y'know, it's almost as if Never Trumpers are holistically bad at politics.

So what's really going on here with the constant barrage of negging insults coming from these recent-former Republicans?

These Reneglicans?

How is it (as I'm sure you, the Alert Reader will have noticed long ago) that pretty much all Never Trump "advice" amounts to little more than Maoist denunciation rallies or "struggle sessions" in which they encircle Biden and/or the entire Democratic party and/or the Left and rage endlessly that we're all doomed because the Democratic party sucks because it won't transform itself into the 2014 GOP.  

Here is a very tiny sampling of just one catch-phrase from the lexicon of what passes for helpful advice from our Never Trump allies every day:

Our allies continue to insist that this constant political negging is, in fact, sound advice based on their fetishistic delusion that there exists some vast, invisible, subterranean reserve of Reasonable Republican bipartisanship just waiting for Joe Biden to tap into if only he would use just the right Magic Conjure Words. And an equally fetishistic belief in some huge, silent army of Centrist voters who 1) are mopes who pay no attention to anything, but 2) could be persuaded to vote against fascism if only Joe Biden would just punch enough hippies or something (Tone Cop!)

To justify their constant, whiny public complaints about the Democrats not being sufficiently responsive to their whims, a number of Never Trumpers have just reverted back to their factory-default Both Sides Do It settings.  

So, once again, what's really going the these Reneglicans?

For the Lincoln Lads, I thinks it's strictly mercenary, with top notes of "protection racket".  They need a steady flow of credulous Liberal money to keep the lights on, so they continue to toss bricks through our windows...

...and then show up to reproach us for 1) letting out windows get broken and 2) warn that they and they along know how to fix 'em

For the Never Trump professional pundit class more broadly -- as well as the Beltway media -- what's happening is pre-positioning for the 2022 election.  If Democrats do better than expected, well thank God they sobered up in time, ditched the crazy Left and listened to the wisdom of the Never Trumpers!  If Democrats do poorly, well, we told you you shoulda listened to the Never Trumpers.

Nice work if you can get it.


No Half Measures

Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Lincoln Lads Continue Playing Catch-Up

Because I am low and perverse is never fails to amuse me when I find that the Mightiest Brains in Professional Political Thinkology are finally, grudgingly beginning to "discover" some territory that we po', dumb, Liberal rubes occupied decades ago.

And I do mean decades.

Our story today nominally about No Labels, which was one of the earliest and most profitable bespoke moderate/Centrist/Both Siderist scams, which summoned itself into existence from the masturbatory fantasies of goof like David Fucking Brooks on December 13, 2010.

I call that date to your attention because it was just two days after No Labels was chartered, on December 15, 2010, you're humble scrivener was hard at work publishing an essay entitled "Dead Center" and subtitled:

Political Cowardice Now Has Its Own "Movement"!

I'll hum a few bars, and you see if it sounds familiar:

...In case you ever idled away an afternoon screwing around with your old political chemistry set/fantasy football league lineups and wondering what would happen if you took a bunch of Republican primary losers (Charlie Christ)...added in a goonbag of out-of-work and out-of-favor former Republican speechwriters and campaign button-men (David Frum/John Avlon/Mark McKinnon)...the last of the politically arteriosclerotic insider DLC goofs who aren't already drawing paychecks under the Obama Administration's "Former Clinton White House Full Employment Project" (Nancy Jacobson aka. Mrs. Mark Penn)...Republican minor teevee celebrities (Joey Joe Joe Junior Scarborough)...

...and David Fucking Brooks?

And then sprinkled the resulting crime against nature with an assload of money (because there are always, always endless assloads of money available for any horrible idea that reinforces Villager sensibilities)?

What you get crawling out of the Petri dish are things like the autotuned, content-free, sugar-coma-inducing horror that is the "No Labels Anthem"

But nothing we did not expect, right?

I mean, ever since the Republican Base ducked out on paying the tab for a generation of being loudly and catastrophically wrong about everything by putting on funny hats, screaming about liberty and calling themselves "The Tea Party", their sleazy Centrist enablers have been seething with jealously. Quite suddenly the monster they built didn't need them anymore and the skeevy hustlers who had helped create the Racist/Corporatist/Dominionist Confederacy on the bones of the New Deal and the grave of the American Dream found themselves cast out and looking for their next meal ticket.

Preferably a meal ticket under a banner that -- like "Tea Party -- wouldn't keep bringing up their horribly inconvenient past as the sleazy, enabling hustlers.

Hey, kids! I have an idea! Lets peel those the icky, damning labels off of everything and -- presto! -- there is magically no longer any difference between rat poison and apple sauce!

Can I haz my million dollars now?...

I went on like that at some length because that's how I roll, and having re-read it, I wouldn't retract a word of it.  I've written about No Labels dozens of times since, as well most of the other Country First/Party Over Country/Purple Project scams launched by Republicans who have been run out of the party and who felt the sudden need to launch a "movement" which looks like every other such "movement", right down to the buzzwords they use and the financial pitches they make.

And now, +11 years too late, you'll never guess who just discovered the authoritarian-enabling knavery of Centrism and it's nest of well-funded handmaidens over at No Labels.

Lincoln Project Co-Founder Reed Galen:  Alright guys, I want to turn to… if we’ve gone from one side of the American political spectrum which is dark and scary I want to go now to the land of fairy tales and unicorns.  And that is the American Centrist.  You know I think you guys have heard… like, I spent two or three years in this sort of “independent/reform” space before we started the Lincoln Project. 

driftglass:  Of course you did.  Because the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It has always been a safe space where smug Beltway pundits and Republican operatives could hide out whenever the sound of GOP atrocities got too loud to ignore.  

Galen: And in all that time, “Centrism”, “Moderation” all the stuff – these were key words.  And I think there was a group out there who did a survey and when they got [it] back they were shocked because 2 percent of the respondents considered themselves Centrists.  No one's a goddamn Centrist.   

driftglass:  Wow!  Really?  Please, do go on and tell me more about this "Centrism" thingie. 

Galen: But today as we're recording this there's a group out there called No Labels which has raised gobs and gobs of money to protect and promote moderate Republicans and Democrats in the US House in the US Senate.   

driftglass:  No Labels, eh?  Golly, that's sure catchy name.  Is there any further information about them?

Galen: That in and of itself…not a bad thing.  All six of them are left.  This morning though, Rick [Lincoln Project Co-Founder Rick Wilson] they crossed some weird line and I'm not sure why they did it.

driftglass:  I am.  I can tell you exactly why they did it.  You should definitely ask me.  

Galen:  But in a PDF they put out that was going through some survey results…

Wilson:  Of why they oppose the Voting Rights bills.

Galen  . of why they oppose the Voting Rights bills.  Of why they  believe that Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema deserve all of our support.  They said that Joe Biden's pro-democracy speech in Atlanta last week was as incendiary and free of truth as any speech of Donald Trump…

driftglass:  No one who has seen the way No Labels has debased itself over and over again to stay true to its fetish for false equivalence should be in any way surprised or blown away by this revelation.

Wilson:  Of Trump's Big Lie.  Which blew me away...

driftglass:  Heh.  Moron.

Wilson: Because, look, Joe Biden gave a speech about voting rights where he called down some fire on people who are trying to turn back the clock. And if No Labels or other groups like them can't understand the importance of the long, arc-bending journey of civil rights and voting rights in this country…and just what it means…then they shouldn't be in public life.  

driftglass:  I have some bad news for you kid. 

Wilson:   But if they believe that that speech by Joe Biden was in any way equivalent to Donald Trump seeking to overthrow a legitimate and free and fair election in 2020 and then ordering people as part of a broad conspiracy to try to overthrow the government both through legal means and through an invasion of the US Capitol…  I mean, this is why, Reed,  I wake up almost every day and go, “Thank God I don't live in Washington.  Thank God I’m not in that God damn hell hole.”  It’s like that  South Park episode where they’re smelling their own farts.   That idea they're going to hold this, like, we're going to be “Both Sides”  right up the middle.  The proverbial line about the middle is a  yellow line with roadkill on it.

Galen:  So [Lincoln Project Senior Advisor Trygve Olson] you and I have talked about even this on this show.  Understanding the fight you’re in.  They're ignorant or intentionally misunderstanding and misallocating, like, where we are in the world.  In American politics today.  That somehow this is all normal. That if we just all got along that everything would be fine.  That there is an equivalency between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, and what we need is unity.  Like, we all believe in unity.  We'd all rather have unity and compromise.  That's not where we are…

Then they beat up on Dick Durbin a little for hedging about Biden's speech, which Durbin deserved.

Galen:  So there's the No Labels crew but they hang out with like the mainstream media crew.

driftglass:  You mean the Centrist grifters and the mainstream media rub each other's rhubarb?  Shocking!  If you could see me now, you'd see I'm wearing my "shocked" face. 

Galen:  ...it's like the almost seven years of Donald Trump didn't exist.  

driftglass:  Here's a funny thing about that. It reminds those of us who dare to remember the Before Time how, for all of these same goofs, the Right's eight-year racist primal scream during the Obama years ceased to exist once Trump was elected.  And the Dubya years and their myriad lies, corruptions, catastrophes and betrayals of the constitution disappeared after Obama was elected,  And all memory of the Clinton era just up and vanished the minute Dubya was handed the White House by five conservative judges.  In fact, Galen, I wrote a long thing about it back in 2009 entitled Like a Virgin which I'm guessing you Heroes of Democracy also never read.  

Galen:  And somehow now, because Donald Trump is Republican and then Joe Biden's a Democrat they're equivalent.  And the things they saying to her equivalent, when they're not.  But you know to your point Rick about like the crucible of the Beltway, like, not allowing y'know any common sense to get through like it... they're not the same thing and yet this is where we are. 

Wilson:  That, to me, the most puzzling element of this in some ways.  

driftglass:  Really?   Because I’m just some Midwest Libtard with a wee podcast and a tiny blog, and it is perfectly obvious to me why the national media does what it does.  Weird how this is all strange and new and inexplicable to life-long political professional who were paid for their ability to influence the public and who have deep contacts inside the Beltway media.  But please, do go on...

Wilson: Our national media, they are not stupid people, as a rule.   But there is a cultural bias to say, y’know the process of D.C. is the story, not the intent.  And so this idea that they have to be like, “We have to be just as tough on Biden and because now he's president” as opposed to people who are literally trying to end this Republic.  Who are trying to end our system of government in this country.  It's one of those things where, y’know, William Shirer wrote a lot about his time in Nazi Germany before the war and no one thinks it's going to come for them.  Everyone thinks it's just politics as usual,  No big deal.  No big deal.  We're going to move on.  It’s a small thing.  It's not a crisis.  And unfortunately the press in D.C. thinks, “Okay this is just going to be another political year.  Nothing will change.  It's just the same old R and D fight just with a little more color.” But it's not.  It is 100% not the same fight as business as usual...

They went on like that at length.

And then, this...

Galen:  And listen, I mean, Rick, that's the one thing... I think people just, y'know, think this is just, like, PR when we say this, but we will work with anyone who's on the side of pro-democracy.  

Well, almost anyone, right?


So don't come 'round here trying to teach grandpa how to debug media code.  Grandpa was reading Both Siderist core dumps and debugging media COBOL back when you were sucking on Lee Atwater's teat.

Instead I strongly advise you to go have words with your own, Never Trump running buddies who have cracked open a whole jug of Centrist popskull --

Will Saletan's "I Am Centrism!" Pays Off Bigly

-- and appear determined to drink it right down to the lees. 

No Half Measures

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Professional Left Podcast #634

"It's supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to push this button."
-- John Brunner, writer    
Don't forget to visit our website -- http://www.proleftpod.com -- 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!

Will Saletan's "I Am Centrism!" Pays Off Bigly

About a year ago I wrote a thing about Will Saletan in which I said that, to me, Will Saletan...

...is the op-ed columnist version of the Kitty Kuspidor.  I know he is  human person that I've been subliminally aware of, off and on, for some period of time.  I know he writes opinion pieces for Slate because Wikipedia tells me so.  And I know he occasional brings the fact that he works at Slate to a wider audience than the editors at Slate by writing something goofy or "controversial" that draw some attention from he outside world.

Such as this codswallop -- 

The Enemy Isn’t Republicans. It’s Liars.
The case for a broad, fact-based alliance against fabrications.

-- which immediately set off alarms by violating one of my most reliably battle-tested rules: when someone tells you it's not about Left or Right, tuck your money in your sock and run the other way.

I also took the time to gently remind Mr. Saletan that...

We already have a broad, fact-based alliance against fabrications.  It's called the Democratic Party and (frequently to my chagrin) anybody can join!  So thanks but no thanks, we don't need a new clubhouse with people like you working the door. 

 After Mr. Saletan took his readers on a journey though his salad days -- 

Over the years, I’ve bounced around the political spectrum. I was liberal in Texas, more conservative in college, and now I’m somewhere in the middle.

-- I wrote that maybe, during all that bouncing, Mr. Saletan had bonked his head and slept through [checks notes] the entire Bush Administration and the primal-scream racist freakout over the Kenyan Usurper because:

What Trump has brought to the United States is ruthless, relentless, denialist propaganda at a scale we used to see only in dictatorships. 

And when Mr. Saletan continued chumming the waters with big, gloppy dollops of Both Sides Do It  -- 

Progressives and conservatives have always quarreled about what’s true. But to make those debates productive, and to correct our country’s mistakes—failed projects, naïve policies, bad wars—we need a common standard for judging truth. That standard can’t be the Bible or identity politics. 

-- I wondered loudly what great sea creature he was hoping to attract, especially when his marching orders for us mouthy Libtards was...

...supporting Sen. Mitt Romney, Rep. Liz Cheney, and other Republicans when they speak the truth. It means seriously engaging with fact-based journalism at the Dispatch, the BulwarkNational Review, and other publications in the center and on the right. It means distinguishing the sins of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush from the pathologies of Trump and Newt Gingrich.

The Bulwark?  Really?  Where'd that come from?

And then it all became clear to me when Mr. Saletan was suddenly a featured guest on The Bulwark podcast, 01/27//2021:

Episode 522:  "Will Saletan: We Need a Coalition for Truth"

So I reminded Mr. Saletan one more time that maybe, just maybe, what the tiny fraction of Republicans who are not completely fucked-in-the-head needed to do was join the broad, fact-based alliance against fabrications which already exists called the Democratic Party.  Then I congratulated Mr. Saletan for winning a guest appearance on The Bulwark by flattering The Bulwark and writing a very Bulwark column.  

Because that's how it's done, kids!

But little did I realize that this was not a one-and-done.   That wedging himself onto the already-overcrowded Centrist/Both Siderist pundit lifeboat would pay off for Mr. Saletan long-term.

From yesterday:

Sykes: Uh you... you... you are the national correspondent for Slate, but as they say on the social media, you have some personal news.

Saletan: Yes, I am coming to The Bulwark. I am coming to join The Bulwark, uh, Charlie Sykes, Sarah Longwell, Jonathan Last and the entire crew of, uh, folks who are trying to save democracy.  

Sykes:  So tell me about that. You have been with Slate for several years now.  Um you're very, very well-known national political reporter.  And you are joining the staff of The Bulwark this month. So why, other than the fact that we really, really, really wanted you and we... and we... and we have been pitching you and seducing you and cajoling you for months...

Saletan:  Okay so I wrote an article in Slate almost exactly a year ago about how that we need a coalition that crosses party lines, that crosses ideological lines...

Remember kids, always dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  


No Half Measures

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Today's Never Trump Moment of Zen

They are extremely miffed that you and I dominate the political infosphere while they are barely represented at our Cool Kids Table.

From this Bulwark exchange between Matt Yglesias and Charlie Sykes in which they extol the glories of the Imaginary Center: (BTW,  if you've never hear Yglesias speak, he sounds exactly like actor and recent arrestee Ed Deezen, shown here worrying about giving away back door secrets in WarGames):

Yglesias: Because so many people experience politics not by, y'know, counting up votes in congress but by looking at what's happening in the media, right? And, y'know, our experience of politics is very mediated by what's on cable, by what's on Twitter, by what's in the New York Times op-ed page. And it's quite, um, extreme, right? It is a lot of very left-wing Democrats counter-balanced by a lot of very crazy Republicans.  And, y'know, you've got a podcast.  And, y'know, I've got my SubStack.  And Josh Barrow now will have a SubStack and a podcast. Like, there certainly are more moderate people who exist in the media but we don't dominate the stage in...in the same way.

Sykes: I think that's something of an understatement.

Yglesias: Yeah, but... but that's, like, the... that's the vibe of politics y'know?

What Yglesias and Sykes fail to mention is that the Sunday Shows have long been nothing but endless fire swamps of the kind of Both Siderist drivel they both crave.  Fire swamps in which indestructible Centrist Pundits of Unusual Size are the apex predators.

They also somehow failed to mention that MSNBC gives three hours of prime time every morning to a failed Republican congressman and his side piece -- a perch from which Squint Scarborough has been vigorously punching down at us dirty hippies for decades.

And that MSNBC is now basically a co-production with The Bulwark website marketing department.

And that...well, you get my point.  Neither Yglesias nor Sykes let the fact that Yglesias is talking entirely out of his ass interrupt the self-pitying folie à deux they were sharing.  Instead, Yglesias  raced on to do some top-notch speculating about a better, brighter timeline that could have been if only President Biden had punched some hippies, loudly and publicly.

Specifically, Yglesias joins Josh Barrow in the belief that the aggressive Republican voter suppression efforts taking place in every GOP-controlled state in the union are no biggie.  And that comparing Republican scumbags who are engaging in widespread voter suppression campaigns today with the scumbags who engaged in widespread voter suppression campaigns during the Jim Crow era is being really unfair to today's scumbags and -- no kidding -- deeply insulting to black people who lived through the Jim Crow era.  

Yglesias went on to speculate that since today's Republican voter suppression efforts are a big nuthin', Biden should've sat down with, say, Rob Portman, and told him that Democratic party voting right activists are stupid, whiny babies to get all upset over widespread Republican voter suppression efforts.

And Portman woulda said, "Yay!  I love hippie punching!"

Then Biden would spring into action, saying that since widespread Republican voter suppression efforts don't amount to anything, what'd be the harm in passing a few, face-saving voting protection thingies?

And then, over in Yglesias' alternate timeline, because Biden had called Democratic activists stupid, whiny babies and given Portman a fig-leaf, Portman would've skipped happily back across the aisle and rounded up a bunch of Republican senators to pass some minor, meaningless stuff.

Which, to anyone who isn't hopelessly, knee-walking drunk on Beltway Both Siderist popskull, is all patently ridiculous.  But would, according to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, accomplish two important Centrist goals: 

  1. Deal the base of the Democratic party a good, hard, demoralizing shot to the yam-sack in advance of the 2022 midterms and,
  2. Allow Republican scumbags to look like a statemen while giving up nothing and accomplishing nothing. 
Which, to goofs like Yglesias and Sykes, is what Bipartisanship should look like.

For a brief moment, Sykes seemed to be able to hold in his mind the one, glaring reason why no such accord could ever be reached with a party so deeply invested in the Big Lie.

Sykes: But unfortunately you have Republicans who have a vested interest in, y'know spreading the... the, y'know... spreading the disinformation, the distrust...

But then, inevitably...

Sykes: ...and then of course you have you know the hyper partisan, y'know, folks... uh... uh on the Democrat side as well that... that want to engage in litigation even when you have bipartisan compromises...

Which is why, boys and girls, we here all know that we should never, ever trust a Never Trumper.

Burn The Lifeboats

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tone Cop! -- Special White House Episode

Rather that writing my 700th or so (no kidding) Sunday Morning Comin' Down column detailing the weekly crimes committed against journalism and democracy by the Sunday Shows, today let us speak for a minute or two about why you and I and everyone we know already knew what this weekend's Sunday offerings would be and why.  Because the Sunday Shows are nothing but  a flatboat that sails down the wide, polluted river of American political punditry every week, always bearing its load of hackneyed opinions with the current and never against it.

So, if during the preceding week you had been monitoring the strength and direction of that wide, toxic sludgeflow, you would have known that the American political punditocracy was not troubled by the now-out-and-proud racism of the GOP or the fanatical obstructionism of the GOP or the fact that the GOP has turned their base into Freedumb's own plague rats in order to extend the pandemic and kneecap the Biden administration or the GOP's ongoing, coordinated, nationwide campaign to finally rid themselves American democracy once and for all.

None of that fazed them, because they don't live in the same country that you and I do.  They are Plato's Stepchildren -- powerful beings whose power comes from the lovely walled garden in which they all live and where they speak only to one another:

And thanks to the power that walled garden grants and the protection it provides they can safely revert to the full-on "Why is Obama being so divisive?" and "Why won't Obama lead?" mode on which they coasted for eight, lazy years.  

But of course, now it's Biden who is failing because he refuses to use the magic Green Lantern powers which all Democratic president secretly possess but refuse to use 

And right down the line, the same old goof sang the same old song.

Peggy Noonan:

Biden’s Georgia Speech Is a Break Point

He thought he was merely appealing to his base. He might have united the rest of the country against him.  

David Brooks approving of Pegger's tirade:

Then Brooks advances the Beltway pundit party line using one of the many, many platforms where he is a revered Elder Pundit:

Then there was Mona Charen's podcast:

A.B. Stoddard and Ben Parker join the group to discuss Biden's kamikaze voting rights push and Putin's threats to Ukraine.

And Charlie Sykes and David French:

Here we find noted Twitter Quitter and NYT bridge troll Bret Stephens opining in the The New York Times' long-overdue-for-the-scrap-heap "Conversations" column.  In this weekly feature, Times' senior Beltway Conservative hack tosses out Beltway Conservative talking points, and Gail Collins waves her hand coquettishly and titters "Oh, g'wan you".

Bret: It’s another depressing sign of Team Biden’s political incompetence. How did they think it was a good idea for the president to go to Georgia to give his blistering speech on voting rights without first checking with Kyrsten Sinema that she’d be willing to modify the filibuster in order to have a chance of passing the bill? And then there was the speech itself, which struck me as … misjudged. Your thoughts?

Bret: I meant Biden’s suggestion that anyone who disagreed with him was on the side of Jefferson Davis, George Wallace and Bull Connor. The increasingly casual habit of calling people racist when they disagree with a policy position is the stuff I’ve come to expect from Twitter, not a president who bills himself as a unifier. And again, it’s political malpractice, at least if the aim is to do more than just sound off to impress the progressive base.

Gail: Well we are in total agreement about the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Back to Kyrsten Sinema for a minute — nothing is going to induce her to do anything that would threaten the filibuster, also known as the Rule That Makes Senator Sinema Marginally Relevant.

Bret: You won’t be surprised to learn that I like the newest Arizona maverick more and more...

No surprise that Chuck Todd lined right up to speak the holy words (via Brother Charlie Pierce):

Confronted by the monster’s indulging in its rage, which it builds within itself by repeatedly declaring itself unloved, much of the elite political press hides behind politesse for which the monster has no respect anyway. Chuck Todd tweeted out a lament that the president hasn’t been able to cobble together a coalition with Republicans to pass voting-rights legislation, instead of noting that voting rights have no constituency within the Republican Party anymore. The monster has devoured it.

One of the punditocracy's more unflushable turds of nepotistic smarm -- Matthew Continetti -- was apparently been paroled from Trump-supporter jail long enough to bob to the surface of Chuck Todd's Meet the Press Panel and smirk some advice about how Joe Biden needs to get much more Centristy hurryupquick, while Andre Mitchell cried bitter tears over Joe Biden using impolite language to describe the behavior of Republican monsters. 

And speaking of Meet the Press ... 

... just last night I happened to catch David Gregory's Ghost of Meet the Press Past act  on CNN where he demonstrated that he can still shake his huge, simian noggin and tsk-tsk Democrats for their "divisive" tone just as well as he could back in his glory days (h/t Crooks & Liars):

ERIN BURNETT:  So let me ask you one other point because you know the majority whip James Clyburn today said there are more than two Democratic senators who would oppose changing the filibuster. The others oppose it but haven't been -- had to take the heat for it.  And then, but the two that oppose it, it's Manchin and Sinema and the one who takes the heat for it and the anger and the ire and the personal diatribes is Sinema. Why do you think that is?

DAVID GREGORY: I don't know. I mean, you know, misogyny, for one. She is a woman. Sexism. But I think there is -- I mean, I think any Democrat who is getting in the way of this is -- is focusing -- men and women -- are getting the ire of progressive Democrats. I don't think that they were -- were prepared for the fact, um, that, you know, they just didn't have the momentum behind this to bring this forward. Look. I think the -- first of all, I thought the president overdid this speech. It was way overcooked. Basically, saying you are either for this or you are a racist, which I don't think was a bridge-building effort. I think the President and the White House made a decision. They knew they didn't have the votes, they were going to go for the argument, whip up the base and I think that's what they felt they could do at this point but the reality is Democrats are taking a hard look at this. There is not enough support to do it.

Because this isn't a bridge-building exercise you log.

Because as I wrote in September of 2016, right now we're marching towards the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

And since you cannot, cannot, cannot be on both sides of that conflict, this was a demand that each member of the senate look history and their constituents in the eye and declare which side of that bridge they are on:

Burn The Lifeboats

In Which I Learn All Kinds of Amazing Stuff Listening to Charlie Sykes Interviewing Josh Barro

I learned that, after it was called to Mr. Barro's attention in 2016 that the Republican party was full of Republicans, he bailed on the GOP and registered as a Democrat in 2016.  And it seems pretty clear that he was at least partly motivated to do it so he could use the swipe card Dems give new members to get into our locker room and take an individual dump in everyone's locker.

I learned that Barro believes he has superhuman insight into what "normal" people want.  From the podcast blurb:

For the Democrats to win, they need to focus on what normal people think about — which is NOT Jan. 6 and the potential end of democracy. They want Covid shut down and the economy opened. 

I learned that Barro also believes he has deep insight into what black Democrats want.  You will be shocked to learn that black Democrats don't really care all that much about voting rights.  Also that all the stuff Republicans are trying to pull all over the country is fairly trivial.  Nothing at all to worry about.  Democrats might want to take a shot at reforming the Electoral Count Act, but even that is kinda meh.

I learned that you and I have been duped into believing voting rights is under attack and that black Democrats care about it only because [and these quotes are all direct from the podcast] our "national conversation" about voting rights is dominated by certain "prestige national outlets The New York Times and NPR" as well "web-first outlets,,,like Vox" which are all controlled by "people who voted for Elizabeth Warren".

That the reason Democrats are putting on a show about fighting a fight they know they'll lose is probably to mollify "a constituency of political donors...and activists".

I learned that Barro knows all this because although he is "not normal", he is "more normal" than you and me.

Heh. (h/t E Buzz Miller)

And then they were off to the races:

SykesBut y'know, as you point out, that y'know having this national conversation you know by and for people who, y'know supported Elizabeth Warren does  explain where we're at here.  Because it really does badly mislead you about where normal people -- the average voter -- what they think about,  they believe, what they care about.  What motivates them...

Reminder that this is coming from a guy who lost his entire political party because he swears that for decades he really had no fucking clue about what the average Republican voter really believed, or wanted, or cared about.

Eventually I turned it off and began to wonder who I have to see about revoking certain people's Democratic party swipe card.

Burn The Lifeboats

Prophesyin' For Dummies

Step One: Clearly understand who Republicans are and how they function From me in March of 2005 : And page-by-page it f...