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How Obama Created Trump: A Theory For Idiots

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Donald-Trump_Ted-Cruz

Daniel Henninger has a superb entry in the “Donald Trump’s rise is the fault of everyone but his Republican enablers and the people who vote for him” sweepstakes:

Today, the last men standing amidst the debris of the Republican presidential competition are Donald Trump, a political independent who is using the Republican Party like an Uber car; Ted Cruz, who used the Republican Party as a footstool; and John Kasich, a remnant of the Reagan revolution, who is being told by Republicans to quit.

History may quibble, but this death-spiral began with Barack Obama’s health-care summit at Blair House on Feb. 25, 2010. For a day, Republicans gave detailed policy critiques [sic with extreme prejudice] of the proposed Affordable Care Act. When it was over, the Democrats, including Mr. Obama, said they had heard nothing new.

That meeting was the last good-faith event in the Obama presidency. Barack Obama killed politics in Washington that day because he had no use for it, and has said so many times. The Democrats survived the Obama desert by going to ground. But frustrated Republicans outside Congress eventually started tearing each other apart.

Ah, yes, the current Republican implosion is due to the perfidy of Barack HUSSEIN Obama, and the fact that he rejected such sage, detailed policy advice as “we should make deregulate insurance markets and establish worthless state-level risk pools rather than actually doing comprehensive health care reform” and instead decided to pass a health care bill with the unprecedented, dictatorial method of having a bill passed by a majority of the House of Representatives and a supermajority of the Senate. Truly, not just politics but democracy itself died on that day, leaving the Republicans with no choice but to nominate an unelectable crackpot. Hard to see any flaws in that logic.

[via Matt O’Brien]

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  • howard

    henninger is one of the worst of the right-wing hacks (an admittedly tough group to rate because they are all so awful); he lives in a complete fantasy world.

    • LosGatosCA

      Not hard to see that using that type of “thinking” would lead to the rise of Trump within the glue sniffers.

    • efgoldman

      henninger is one of the worst of the right-wing hacks

      I used to read the WSJ at my job. Their editorial and op-ed pages have always been pure RWNJ fanfic. I see nothing has changed.

      • howard

        but i would say that even by the rwnj standards of the wsj, henninger has always been particularly nut-jobby and obtuse, as well as completely dishonest.

        • The Dark God of Time

          He’s in the same catagory as Mark Levin, who has stated on the record that Obamacare was rammed down the throats of the American people.

    • kped

      Days like today I’m glad for that Wall Street Journal paywall…this is the first, and probably last I’ll ever hear from this hack.

    • Stag Party Palin

      Obama turned me into a newt.

      But I got better.*

      *ACA

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    for all the time they spend *talking* about personal responsibility, they never wanna *take* any

    Donald is alllll *yours*, Danny. deal with it

    • kped

      It’s amazing. They keep ignoring the Republican retreat where they said “we say no to everything Obama wants” before he was inaugurated. They ignore the Tea Party “burn it all down, only the purest of the pure shall be elected” rose up before Obama even passed a single law (Feb 19, 2009 was the rant, not even a month after Obama was put in office).

      None of that had annnnything to do with Trumps rise. It was all Obama in 2010 not listening to “hey, instead of that comprehensive law, how about tort reform?”

    • Thirtyish

      “Personal responsibility” is just authoritarian code for punishment, and only “bad guys” ever need to be punished. Conservatives can’t be the “bad guys,” because reasons, ergo they never need to take “personal responsibility” for anything.

      • Roberta

        “Personal responsibility” = “look what you made me do!”

  • keta

    I refuse to scale a pay wall to read drivel, but will note this (from the pull quote): it’s the right’s inability to act like adults and deal with reality that has largely brought them to their current political cliff.

    One would hope that as they free-fall, claiming they were pushed, the thought might occur that maybe the fault was their own.

    (Hahaha, just kidding. Self-reflection and responsibility are anathema to the right, because it’s always someone else’s fault.)

    • efc

      If you feel the need to expose yourself you can paste the article title into google and when you go in through a google link it usually lets you read the article in full.

      • keta

        Thanks!

        • ChrisTS

          Well, for some version of gratitude? :-)

  • DAS

    It’s Fisking time:

    History may quibble,

    Of course it will. Historians are known lefties who believe in facts, which have a well-known liberal bias.

    but this death-spiral began with Barack Obama’s health-care summit at Blair House on Feb. 25, 2010. For a day, Republicans gave detailed policy critiques [sic with extreme prejudice] of the proposed Affordable Care Act. When it was over, the Democrats, including Mr. Obama, said they had heard nothing new.

    So partisanship is Obama’s fault because Republicans, rather than engaging in a constructive dialog, just repeated their usual talking points “gave detailed policy critiques”? And Obama had the temerity to point out that the GOP said nothing new? Henninger is just itching to call Obama “uppity”, ain’t he?

    That meeting was the last good-faith event in the Obama presidency.

    Because after that the GOP no longer even pretended to act in good faith. Which is Obama’s fault because … wait for it …

    Barack Obama killed politics in Washington that day because he had no use for it, and has said so many times.

    Um … didn’t the American people, after soaking in GOP rhetoric about how politics is debasing and how anyone who engages in politics must be somehow wrong, elect Obama in part because he promised to transform politics as we know it?

    But how does Obama doing exactly what he was elected to do bear any responsibility for Trump? Is Henninger really arguing that the Trump phenomenon represents a backlash against a backlash against politics as usual? That’d be news to Trump’s supporters!

    • so-in-so

      ” Is Henninger really arguing that the Trump phenomenon represents a backlash against a backlash against politics as usual? That’d be news to Trump’s supporters!”

      I doubt he could even think that deeply on the subject. I’m pretty sure, however, that destroying politics in this way is not something Obama was elected to do, nor ever intended to do. OTOH, seeing Trump as a backlash against the failed GOP “just say no” politics, which were a backlash against, well, people voting for a Democrat?, does make some sense.

      • DAS

        I am not saying that Obama was elected to destroy politics in the way they have been blown up by the GOP, but rather that the disdain for politicking that Henninger claims Obama displayed is (1) a disdain the GOP has spent decades cultivating and (2) reflects an attitude of “I’d rather get things done than rehash stuff for political reasons” which attitude is precisely WHY people voted for the “hopey/changey” Obama in the first place.

        • CP

          I am not saying that Obama was elected to destroy politics in the way they have been blown up by the GOP, but rather that the disdain for politicking that Henninger claims Obama displayed is (1) a disdain the GOP has spent decades cultivating and (2) reflects an attitude of “I’d rather get things done than rehash stuff for political reasons” which attitude is precisely WHY people voted for the “hopey/changey” Obama in the first place.

          I would add more generally that the entire Republican Party over the last few decades has shown itself to be so utterly and completely incompetent, full of bullshit, and unable to come up with any coherent idea of governance that at this point even listening to what they have to say is doing them an honor they don’t deserve. We’ve been burned enough times that the simple fact that something is coming out of the Republican Party should be enough to have it waved off as not worth paying attention to.

          Alas, MSM enforced “civility” says we can’t.

  • so-in-so

    I do have to like “Donald Trump, a political independent who is using the Republican Party like an Uber car” and “The right began demanding that congressional Republicans conduct ritualistic suicide raids on the Obama presidency.”

    Too bad they are good phrases in an otherwise terrible article.

  • LosGatosCA

    Only slightly off topic – I had the misfortune to be in a public place where Faux News was on. The question posed to the talking heads was ‘should algebra be taught in high school?’

    As a captive audience for about 5 minutes I learned that most jobs don’t require that level of math.

    What I really wanted to know is if any one with algebra level or higher math skills has done a study to see what is worse for human brain – watching Faux News or chewing lead chips?

    Not so off topic since either possibility might be the explanation for the ‘rise of Trump.’

    • so-in-so

      Gov. Snyder was conducting just this experiment! I wonder if the results have been compiled yet. Sadly, he failed the ethics part where you need willing and informed subjects.

      • Breadbaker

        The free market takes care of that, as it does everything else except making sure there are adequate subsidies for big business and no moral hazard to taking risk.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      Algebra should exist as an option, but I have some sympathy for the argument that something else should be mandatory in its place, because algebra really is higher level math than most people need. I have yet to solve a polynomial equation in real life. A very basic “this is how to use a computer” course is going to be more universally useful and it’s something we take for granted given that we’re a bunch of nerds who post comments on blogs.

      • so-in-so

        Maybe for non-college track (if that still exists). Otherwise, kiss all the science majors goodbye.

        Or force college students to do a semester of remedial work before they begin their real course load. Some schools have to do that already, in English writing and probably math as well.

        • yet_another_lawyer

          There really is a “non-college track”, even if it’s not called that, because something like a third of people 25-29 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The modal high school graduate will never have a college degree.

          I’m agnostic on whether algebra should be mandatory, but doing so to accommodate the subset of the subset of the subset (i.e., those who end up going to college AND want a science degree AND decline to take our hypothetical optional algebra) strikes me as not really a strong argument for it.

        • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

          Maybe for non-college track (if that still exists).

          It does, and hopefully always will. A lot of people aren’t going to benefit from college, and it’s a problem that we are pushing everyone in that direction.

        • Arouet

          I will say I resent the implication that only people on the “non-college track” would not want to be science majors. I knew from relatively early that I had no interest in science/math as a major. I still think algebra should be required, however, to preserve the choice to go into science fields.

          • CP

            I knew from relatively early that I had no interest in science/math as a major.

            Ditto.

            And on that note, I really fucking wish they hadn’t been required as Gen Eds in undergrad. If you graduated high school, it should be assumed that you know what you need to know about “Gen Eds,” unless it’s specifically important to the field you’re going into. It’s not as though American colleges are cheap enough that most of us can afford to piss away a couple semesters’ worth of classes on this bullshit.

            • Arouet

              I agree that it would be nice if that could be assumed. Sadly, based on what I know from friends who are now professors, that may be an unwarranted assumption. :(

              • CP

                If middle and high school didn’t help them, I seriously doubt if the one or two math and science classes required at the beginning of college are going to suddenly revolutionize their understanding.

                • Arouet

                  Fair point.

      • Linnaeus

        I was recently tutoring a student who was preparing for a standardized test (the name of which I can’t remember, it wasn’t one of the more common tests) and it soon became pretty clear to me just how much math instruction from junior high onward I’d forgotten.

        • sharculese

          You see this a lot in test prep – kids who are fine as long as you’re doing the stuff they’ve learned in the last two years, but as soon as you start going back to factor trees and negative numbers they freeze up.

      • bernard

        This is ridiculous.

        You want a course in computers? Fine with me. But tell me something. Of what use is a spreadsheet program to someone who doesn’t know simple algebra? How can that person understand the basics of the personal finance decisions they will have to make as an adult?

        Besides, how many high school courses do people actually “need?” Read a Shakespeare play? Who needs that? Learn some American, or world history? Bah, won’t help you fix a car.

        Come on. Let’s make people use their brains a little. Let’s get them to appreciate what has been learned, written, thought, in the past.

        And get over the collective mathphobia.

        • Linnaeus

          Every now and then I get a student who asks if they’ll really “need” what they learned in a particular course and I usually tell them something along these lines.

        • yet_another_lawyer

          Excel is incredibly useful in a ton of situations and is in no way predicated on knowing algebra. Most people use it to automate simple arithmetic. Admittedly, you can get a lot more out of it with some math and programming knowledge, but that is the atypical power user. The relevance of algebra to personal finance is non-obvious to me– what did you have in mind? Simple arithmetic, sure, but the math part of personal finance doesn’t really rise above the “multiplying fractions” level.

          I’m not necessarily endorsing taking algebra off the “mandatory” list. I just think it needs a greater justification than, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

          It’s true that other courses are also of dubious direct relevance, but maybe there’s no real reason it couldn’t be structured a bit more like college. E.g., “We offer algebra, world history, literature, computer science, and shop. Pick three.”

        • LosGatosCA

          Agree with this.

          If the only use for math was for (some of the) people to be able to understand the financial calculations/disclosures on their payday loans (or mortgage/car/etc) it’s worth the attempt. Of course the future leaders of America (who are not Republicans) should be able to have their curiosities encouraged, their knowledge well rounded, and their experiences as broad as possible – math, science, sports, languages, music, art, etc.

          I took 5 years of Spanish, mainly spending the time trying my teenage charm (lol) on the girls in the classes. But I can read enough of it to get by. Plus it helped with Italian since I used to travel there for business.

          Knowledge is a good in and of itself. Expand everyone’s brain as far as it can go. That used to be a goal in this country. Doesn’t mean everyone in HS takes AP Math or Science courses or plans to go to Medical school

        • ChrisTS

          Learn some American, or world history?

          I don’t understand this dichotomy (?). Why are ‘American’ and ‘world history’ alternatives? For that matter, why is ‘American’ a course?

          • los

            why is ‘American’ a course?
            if yor ever goin be turist in meksicko, how anywun goin unnirstan you if u doent speak the lanwitch?

            The moss inturbtaining man in the wurld,
            Ernest T. Blogger

          • Bufflars

            Pretty sure he meant to say “Learn some American, or world, history” i.e. two different history class options.

        • DAS

          Perhaps because I am a scientist who majored in math (and biology) and who also appreciates the arts and humanities, I agree with you completely about “need” here: math and science are just as much products of civilization that we can and should expect most civilized, humane individuals to understand as much as we can and should expect them to be versed in the arts and humanities. Certainly, in order to understand why the positions of “serious about economics” folks are economic nonsense, you need to know some algebra and even have some intuitions from calculus (e.g. about derivatives) — of course the converse is not true in that there are plenty of, for example, glibertarians who are very good at math and people who deal with numbers (and even do work in which a sound grasp of microeconomics is a necessity) all the time who don’t understand macroeconomics what so ever … still, if you don’t grasp how numbers work, how are you to understand which economic “arguments” based on statistics and measurements and other numbers, actually are valid and which are not?

          That being said, as the father of a non-math person who sees the struggles she goes through in her elementary school math classes, I really now “get” the “math”-phobia: to do a “math” problem such as dividing two numbers really does require a huge number of steps that you have to remember and keep track of, and there are so many different variations of problems, each with slightly different steps that it’s overwhelming to most people to learn “math”. And if you don’t fully know arithmetic, because math is so cumulative*, you end up struggling in algebra, and so on and so forth.

          Of course, if you intuit the logic and underlying mathematics of what you are learning in elementary school, you can easily master all the different procedures you have to do to solve different “math” problems. But not all students have an intuition about the actual math that’s going on, so they struggle to keep track of different methods and steps required to do different problems: the result is about the same as me, being a klutz unable to intuit underlying patterns in various physical movements in “athletic” situations, learning how to ski (“now I need to lean how? but just a moment ago, you said for me to do something different … oh, this particular situation is not the exact same situation as before? I hope I can remember that!”).

          Common core, of course, was supposed to fix this by teaching elementary and middle school students actual mathematics at a developmentally appropriate level. Or at least that’s how our union (AFT) magazine sold it. But in practice, common core really has doubled down on the pre-common core way of teaching math but with a dash of “new math” thrown in for extra confusion.

          Perhaps it’s impossible to teach most people actual mathematics, so we are stuck teaching so-called arithmetic as a collection of confusing procedures that just engender math phobia. But somehow other countries do seem to be able to teach mathematical topics at a developmentally appropriate level without creating math phobia. Why can’t we do it here?

          * one way in which “the two cultures” end up clashing at the university level is the degree to which math/science are cumulative and humanities studies are not. Thus we math/science people have a very different idea of what it means for a student to have mastered the learning outcomes for a course and to be ready for the next course than the humanities people and have very different needs in terms of how sequenced our majors are. This difference becomes a sticking point in all sorts of discussions about curriculum, standards, course repeat policies, programs designed to improve student retention, etc.

      • Warren Terra

        If you are in a grocery store and want to figure out which of two products is cheaper by the ounce, you’re going to be using skills you learned in Algebra class. Algebra is (1) not that terribly advanced; and (2) critical to functioning in the real world.

        • yet_another_lawyer

          Perhaps the disconnect is that we’re talking about different things when we say “algebra.” I googled “high school algebra syllabus” and chose one of the first results: http://lakeview.misd.net/jefferson/11_12_syllabi/11_12_zab_alg1.pdf

          This is what my algebra course was like– polynomial functions, quadratic equations, data analysis, linear functions, etc., which I thought was normal. Is it really the case that the “algebra” classes we’re talking about involve stuff like “given known prices and quantities, which costs more per ounce?” If so, then yeah, algebra should be mandatory.

          • Arouet

            I mean, just solving for “x” (i.e., you have 3 bananas, and they cost $9.33, how much is a banana?) is technically algebra, which at its core just means the use/manipulation of symbols in mathematics.

            I agree there are few everyday uses for the more advanced variants.

            • efgoldman

              you have 3 bananas, and they cost $9.33, how much is a banana?

              Basic arithmetic, assuming you’ve internalized your times tables from fourth grade.

              • Warren Terra

                sure, but once you’re having to figure in pounds and ounces, or to convert cups to tablespoons, you’re talking basic algebra.

              • Arouet

                The equation is 9.33 = 3x, though. It’s very, very simple algebra – only employing basic arithmetic to solve – but it’s still using symbols.

                Where x = gold-plated bananas, of course, as I’ve now been thoroughly shamed for my imaginary pricing.

            • apogean

              What could a banana cost anyway, ten dollars?

              • El Guapo

                I dunno. I just have Mr Tally Man tally me banana.

              • Bufflars

                Well played.

            • Those are some pricey bananas you got there.

              • Warren Terra

                Packaged peeled organic gmo-free cruelty-free fair trade spider-free criminally convicted lost on appeal bananas at Whole Foods.

                • Ken

                  Oh, well, Whole Foods. That means you also have to take the scales into account.

                • apogean

                  I’d pay 10x sticker for a spider-free guarantee

                • los

                  bananas are boringly tasteless without the large fuzzy jumping spiders.

              • Arouet

                Haha my bananas are 19 cents from Trader Joes, I was just coming up with random numbers.

          • Just a Rube

            It lays the basic ground work for it (after all, “I need to make 5 copies of this document, it costs 10 cents per copy, how many quarters do I need?” is a set of linear equations). It’s not super-advanced math.

            More to the point, it’s also where we teach a lot of basic logical/algorithmic reasoning, as well as a lot of things like “understanding how to read a graph” (which is basically what most of the algebra-level “data analysis” is; “is this function increasing or decreasing” or at most “where do these two lines intersect”).

            And as others have noted, not taking it basically forecloses any sort of future STEM or medical career without a lot of remediation, which is a pretty heavy choice for someone of that age to make.

            • rea

              My kids started algebra in middle school, and aren’t in special math-wiz programs. 7+x=10; solve for x–that is algebra

            • liberalrob

              More to the point, it’s also where we teach a lot of basic logical/algorithmic reasoning, as well as a lot of things like “understanding how to read a graph”

              I think this is probably the biggest reason for teaching “difficult” subjects like algebra. It’s not so much being able to actually solve for x but understanding how to approach a problem like solving for x. How to break down processes into modular units, understanding the concept of rules governing how processes behave, tools you can use and what they do…and oh yeah, if you find you really enjoy this kind of thing and have a talent for it, there are career paths where you’ll get to do it a lot; and if you find it just impossibly hard and unfathomable, you’ll know to avoid career paths where that kind of thinking is required.

              Essentially DAS’ point below.

          • DAS

            Is it really the case that the “algebra” classes we’re talking about involve stuff like “given known prices and quantities, which costs more per ounce?” If so, then yeah, algebra should be mandatory.

            Some of the concepts involved in those calculations are algebraic in nature, and for a long time were taught as “pre-algebra”, in middle school, if not in algebra itself. In fact, some of my students in college have gone through even “pre-calculus” in high school and they barely have been taught even things like logarithms.

            However, the trend nowadays is to start teaching this sort of thing in elementary school, even while students are still mastering arithmetic. I am not sure if I agree with that trend as you might overwhelm students who are still struggling with how to do arithmetic. But interestingly, if you look at old school books from the late 19th century “readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmatic” days, they jump into these notions of algebra pretty early on in the curriculum.

            Personally, I think understanding a few basic things about functions and data analysis is very important. Perhaps not in day to day life, but at least in terms of understanding risks, evaluating economic policies and other things voters have to do in order to decide which political candidate is talking sense, jurors have to do in order to evaluate legal matters if any science or numbers are involved and otherwise in terms of being a good citizen in a democratic republic such as ours.

        • efgoldman

          If you are in a grocery store and want to figure out which of two products is cheaper by the ounce, you’re going to be using skills you learned in Algebra class.

          Or I’m going to take out my pocket computer disguised as a phone, and touch the calculator app button.
          And I have four years of high school math back-in the dark ages, when calculators were big mechanical things and the computers that existed took up whole rooms and whole floors, and had no peripherals.
          I never took auto mechanics, either, but I drive every day.

          • Warren Terra

            The digital assistants we have these days are marvelous things. Training ourselves to be completely reliant on them in unnecessary ways would be less marvelous.

          • Breadbaker

            I hate to sound all Common Core math here, but in the end you really do need to be able to estimate in your head the general sense of where the answer ought to be. In other words, if you make a mistake in running an Excel formula and get something that it’s three orders of magnitude off, you need to know that it’s way off and go figure out where your mistake is, rather than relying on “this is what the spreadsheet program told me.” And learning that in middle or high school math is a far better time in a person’s intellectual development to pick up that skill than to try to do it as an adult. If for no other reason that everyone else in your class will be your age and starting from the same basic premises.

            • sonamib

              This. Being able to call bullshit on a wildly implausible number is a pretty valuable skill.

              • los

                or, you could base your career on dropping slushy snowballs onto the US senate floor. how many basketball players do the koch brothers fund per year? (hmm, no algebra required)

          • randy khan

            Not to be picky, but if you don’t know algebra at some level, you’re not going to know what to plug into that calculator to get the right answer.

          • liberalrob

            I never took auto mechanics, either, but I drive every day.

            And when your car breaks down, you just have it towed to a mechanic who fixes it and presents you a bill, which you pay. Because you don’t live out in the sticks where you can’t always call AAA to change your flat tire.

            Sometimes I’m frightened at how specialized we’ve become. Eliminate a class of specialists and civilization collapses almost instantly. Somebody has to learn how to fix broken cars; somebody has to know how to program computers.

        • Or, you could have your local/state gov’t. make the stores do it for you:

          Currently, nineteen states and two territories have unit pricing laws or regulations in force.

          • los

            but how will “you” know to file a lawsuit if you don’t know which shelf labels are incorrect?
            without ‘algebra’, shelf-price-sticker police are doomed to a life of failed lawsuits.

          • MJSS

            And then half the products are unit-priced by pound and the other half are unit-priced by ounce, and you’re screwed.

      • Ronan

        Learning to read and write proper should also be optional, cos who writes letters anymore or anything over a text message ? In its place they should teach high school students life skills like how to cross the road.

        • LosGatosCA

          Smh ur FB & flipping burgers don’t need no steenking math.

          • los

            it muss be. luuks lyk eleventy nillin hunntit dollar bill cuz dawnnil trump pikthir un it.

        • Warren Terra

          qft! lol! emoji emoji emoji!

          • Pseudonym

            👏

        • sonamib

          Learning to read and write proper should also be optional, cos who writes letters anymore or anything over a text message ? In its place they should teach high school students life skills like how to cross the road.

          + x² log(x) cos(y)

      • sonamib

        I have yet to solve a polynomial equation in real life.

        That’s so sad. You can do it for fun, you know! Like, you want to gauge the depth of a well, so you drop something into it and measure the time it takes to fall (easy to do nowadays with a phone). Then you solve the free-fall equation!

        I do a lot of back-of-the-enveloppe basic physics calculations like that. It’s also possible to guesstimate the duration of a lunar eclipse, the distance separating you from a distant landmark and other things. It’s cool!

        I mean, that’s why we learn litterature in school, right? Because it’s a fun thing to do.

        • Like, you want to gauge the depth of a well, so you drop something into it and measure the time it takes to fall (easy to do nowadays with a phone). Then you solve the free-fall equation!

          1) I’ve never had the opportunity to guage the depth of a well.
          2) if you drop the phone down the well, a) how do you get the reading and b) doesn’t it get expensive? ;)

          • sonamib

            Hey, that’s another use of calculus : you can get a job in the finance industry, make loads of money, and then you won’t care about dropping phones into wells.

        • It’s like finding the height of a building using a barometer.
          1. Find the building superintendent.
          2. “Tell me the height of this building, and I’ll give you this nice barometer.”

      • MJSS

        I have yet to solve a polynomial equation in real life.

        You have the option of buying a washer-dryer set for $x, or getting it from a rent-to-own place on a two-year lease for $y/month. What is the effective interest rate on the lease? The exact answer is a root of a degree-24 polynomial. There’s a linear approximation that’s probably close enough for all practical purposes, but even solving that requires some knowledge of algebra, and people aren’t born knowing how to approximate.

        And yes, the real correct answer is almost certainly “rent-to-own places are a giant scam; stay the hell away.” But that’s only helpful if your finances are good enough to stay the hell away from everything that’s a giant scam; otherwise you need to be able to figure out that, e.g., rent-to-own is way worse than running up credit card debt, but probably not as bad as payday loans.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      I would submit that requiring a year of introductory statistics would be of far more use to the average high school student than requiring a year of algebra in the form that it is usually taught.

      • Warren Terra

        a “year of introductory statistics”? What does that even mean?

        Simple probability is a hugely important and useful thing. A bit about normal distributions and the like seems worth imparting. On the other hand, teaching high schools students about two-tailed t-tests, or even the difference between standard deviation and standard error, would not seem like an obviously high priority.

        • Aaron Morrow

          I imagine it’s harder to teach people probability who don’t have a working knowledge of Algebra 1.

          (While I’d normally say to cut Geometry instead of Algebra 1, I’m not sure everyone is working for the same definitions of algebra and arithmetic.).

          • sharculese

            I am working with a couple of students who are in a class that is called ‘geometry,’ but pretty much everything Georgia’s Common Core curriculum has them doing is algebra.

        • los

          universities force non-STEM students to take ‘dumdum’ physics (and maybe math)

    • Pseudonym

      How many other countries consider their high-school-aged students not intelligent enough to learn algebra?

      I’d be sympathetic to the argument that learning probability and statistics would be more valuable in practice, except no students who couldn’t understand algebra would understand introductory probability and statistics.

      • los

        How many other countries consider their high-school-aged students not intelligent enough to learn algebra?
        Sure half of Japanese 12th graders knowing advanced calculus sounds good, but how many of those math geniuses are qualified to shill for the Koch Brothers, in Trump English?
        /s

        no students who couldn’t understand algebra would understand introductory probability and statistics
        which may explain the course sequence…

    • patrick II

      It has been a long time since I have been to high school, so I don’t know what requirements are like anymore, but we had to take geometry, basic algebra, and at least one science course.
      Whether you need it or not for everyday life, you certainly enough knowledge of math and science to be an informed citizen — to understand enough about scientific method to know that evolution is real and that the climate is getting warmer, and the special meaning of the word “theory” when used by scientists. Yes, evolution is just a theory Mr. O’Reilly, and gravity is just a theory too, but I would not suggest taking a step off of a high cliff. Oh, wait…

      • Brad Nailer

        It’s also kind of nice to teach kids how to think in abstractions: “If you do this operation to this thing, what happens?” Yeah, you don’t need to know quadrinomial expressions, or whatever they’re called, but you do need the basic instruction in substituting x for whatever you want and then learning what happens when you double it, square it, take its pants off, etc. in order to get y.

  • D.N. Nation

    History may quibble, but this death-spiral began with Barack Obama’s health-care summit at Blair House on Feb. 25, 2010. For a day, Republicans gave detailed policy critiques

    Y’all focused almost entirely on tort reform. Hate to break the bad news, but there’s comprehensive video of it, you baby.

    • efgoldman

      Hate to break the bad news, but there’s comprehensive video of it, you baby.

      Reality has a liberal bias. The editorial and op-ed pages of the WSJ were way ahead of the curve in this.

    • so-in-so

      Non, no, they had selling insurance state lines, too. A sure winner!

      • kped

        Where can I sign up?

        Also something something high risk pools.

        • Patrick

          That’s the beauty – it doesn’t matter where you sign up, all disputes will go through the North Dakota Department of Health.

          • Warren Terra

            I’m betting on the Marianas Islands.

            • Ken

              Lowest bidder.

              • los

                Marianas Trench. How low can you go?

    • Warren Terra

      Mind you, we’ve done the experiment, by imposing malpractice caps in a couple of the biggest states in the country, and “tort reform” has negligible or zero effect on both malpractice insurance premiums and societal healthcare costs.

      • rea

        O ye of little faith.

        • DAS

          Well, the GOP is always pushing faith-based alternatives for everything and arguing that we should be more sensitive to the desires of people of faith.

          The problem is that it is my deeply held, sincere belief that the GOP is bonkers and that the Holy One, Blessed be She, has commanded me to vote for the Democrats in November, even if it means holding my nose while doing so.

  • Lurking Canadian

    I think a case could be made that politics in DC did in fact die on the day Obama went to that Republican retreat. It was one man against the entire caucus and he made them all look like a pack of clueless amateurs. They thought they were going to put the TelePrompTer-reliant, [sotto voce] uppity [/sv] fake president in his place and rather than buckling, he completely schooled them. This is not to say it’s Obama’s “fault”. It’s not his fault they are a bunch of racist incompetents. Obama is perhaps the catalyst for the meltdown.

    Then again, they had sworn opposition unto death even before that, so maybe it wasn’t a factor.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      well, as LosGatos touches on above, people who won’t learn cant be schooled. the great thing O did there was not let them roll him- that has to grate on them all the time

      • so-in-so

        So how IS that plan to make him a one term President coming along?

        • Ken

          Great! It’s only off by one term. They’ve got him on the ropes, and he’ll be out of office within a year.

          • LosGatosCA

            +/- 1 it’s all the same.

            In any case, let’s not forget those post-FDR Republicans were prescient when they championed/passed the 2 term limit.

            Even then they knew that someday an uppity Mooslim, ni-clang, Kenyan socialist usurper would need to be put in his place.

    • sibusisodan

      I remember watching that.

      It was such a wierd mix. You had Paul Ryan presenting his family to the President, all proud and stuff, and then his fellow caucus members letting their ignorance hang out.

      ‘Why wasn’t the bill discussed in public?’ – it was. ‘Why weren’t we allowed to contribute?’ – you were.

      It was like Daniel being cast into the den of toothless, brain dead, concussed kittens.

      • so-in-so

        Except, we’d feel sorry for the kittens.

  • NeonTrotsky

    I think the worse articles are the one’s claiming Trump is a liberal

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Well, then that just *proves* he’s a fascist!

      (great nym, btw)

  • Ken

    The ultimate expression of Cleek’s Law, perhaps?

    No, I suppose not – we still don’t know what would happen if President Obama said “Don’t drink Drano.”

    • Steve LaBonne

      I’ve been wishing for years that he would offer a ringing endorsement of breathing.

    • The Temporary Name

      That’s the much more plausible reason for Trump running:

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/2011-s-grand-harmonic-convergence

      He was ridiculed and it’s all just hurt feelings.

      • CP

        Oh, for sure. I’ve always thought this was the reason Trump ran this time.

  • How in the name of all that is holy did those guys get the idea that “Obama did something Republicans didn’t agree with” implies “Obama killed politics forever”?

    • efgoldman

      How in the name of all that is holy did those guys get the idea that “Obama did something Republicans didn’t agree with” implies “Obama killed politics forever”?

      First, Obama is Democrat. Second, and worse, he’s an uppity ni[clang!] This “governing” thing is exclusive to Republiklowns even though they clearly no longer know or care how to do it.

    • kped

      You see, they made arguments to Obama. The best arguments actually. And that kenyan muslim usurper didn’t listen! Instead…he had the gall to carry on with his promise to pass health reform. The bastard.

      • furikawari

        Basically this. As Rick Perlstein argues, there’s the problem that they lack cognitive empathy. Obama gave them a chance to explain their arguments. They did so. Therefore, were Obama operating in good faith, he would have been convinced and abandoned the project. That he did not do is evidence of bad faith.

        Then what Aimai was talking about yesterday re: victimization. Now that Obama is shown to be operating in bad faith, all methods of resistance are authorized and it is Obama’s fault if anything bad happens, because he put unbearable stress on the good actors.

        • efgoldman

          they lack cognitive empathy.

          Seems to me they lack cognition, period.

          • brendalu

            To be fair, I don’t see evidence of a lot on the empathy side either.

        • rm

          These two ideas explain the behavior of a lot of people I know. It’s not just the politicians.

        • Tom Till

          ….all methods of resistance are authorized and it is Obama’s fault if anything bad happens, because he put unbearable stress on the good actors.

          And of course it matters not one whit (certainly not to an nasty intellectual ghoul like Henninger) that the “all methods of resistance” to which you refer were authorized, um, the very frigging day of Obama’s first inauguration.

        • los

          “if you knock on my front door, jesus says i can kill you”

    • JustRuss

      Yes, let’s just ignore the fact that healthcare was a major plank of Obama’s campaign, and he’d been elected in a convincing victory so it’s pretty obvious that Americans wanted what he was selling, rather than the Republicans’ not-even-half-hearted gestures.

      Alsotoo, Romneycare.

  • AlanInSF

    I blame Elie Wiesel for the rise of Hitler.

    • Warren Terra

      First they came for the Jews, and it was Elie Wiesel’s fault, because Daniel Henninger’s logic works that way.

      • los

        Gun control laws only arm criminals, and criminals never use legal firearms.
        And when will you libtards learn that an armed ISIS is a polite ISIS?

        May you be blesed with my brayins,
        Ernest T. Blogger

    • los

      Of course. Any Right-Thinking Patriot knows that. Typhus, lice, and Bergen-Belsen were Anne Frank’s fault.

      We all know that those ******s started the Civil War when they stole the south’s states rights.

      Obama created ISIS…

  • Obama could have chosen to be born as a son of a wealthy white Republican real estate developer like Donald J. Trump but he Didn’t. Even. Try.

  • sleepyirv

    That meeting was the last good-faith event in the Obama presidency.

    My memory is a tad fuzzy, but wasn’t there some sort of budget problem… paying our bills or something, and Obama was willing to cut SOCIAL SECURITY to reach some sort of whatchamacallit, Big Bargain?

    It’s hilarious that Republicans literally said they were going to obstruct Obama, but everything has to be fault because he said elections have consequences. Which, as a question of physics, as true as you can get.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      The thing is, the only ones who believe Obama actually meant his offer to cut Social Security are the hard leftists who think Obama is a stealth Republican.

  • Steve LaBonne

    It’s characteristic of sociopaths that they’re incapable of taking any responsibility, ever, for the results of their behavior.

    • We’re not incapable of it, we just don’t effing care, & why the hell should we care if we get away w/ it?

      • los

        sociopath problem? self-regulation is the answer!
        /s

  • Charlie S

    Didn’t Obama create Trump simply by Being President While Black (BPWB)?

    • Warren Terra

      No, no,the Republicans were proud of our nation having shown racism was a thing of the past by electing someone who could Be President While Black. But then the destructive so-and-so insisted on acting like he was President, While Black, and that was a bridge too far.

  • AMK

    Hard to chose a single individual from the past 7 years most responsible for what Obama is calling the GOP “crackup,” but if I had to go with one name I would pick Eric Cantor. Architect of the “No” strategy who reframed the entire Party around opposition to every single thing the President did as inherently illegitimate; who embraced the Tea Party early and uncritically with open arms and promised it everything at the same time he was spending more time in Manhattan than his own District. Personification of failure on every level.

    Ted Cruz is a close second, but Cantor and his ilk basically set the table for him.

    • petesh

      Senator McConnell is offended by this comment, which is pure poppycock, clearly unconstitutional, improperly worded, fails to measure up to the Senator’s view of reality and in conclusion is Incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial – and improper questioning. Cantor may have been an adequate table-server but Cruz is a jackanapes.

    • Davis X. Machina

      if I had to go with one name I would pick Eric Cantor…

      . You mean “first Jewish Speaker of the House Eric Cantor”…

      Oh wait, that didn’t happen.

  • Justin

    Ha! Isn’t that the same Baltimore summit that Fox News stopped covering midway through because the questions and criticisms from the Republicans made them look like they knew less about the issues than Obama?

  • tsam

    Thanks, Obama. Another day, another psychotic meltdown from paint chip eater.

    • Warren Terra

      I’m not sure it’s a “psychotic meltdown” when he’s getting paid to have it.

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