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Rarely Has An Argument Refuted Itself So Comprehensively

[ 294 ] June 3, 2016 |

Dumb-and-Dumber-dumb-and-dumber-6240056-853-461

The headline is…instructive:

Why Some of the Smartest Progressives I Know Will Vote for Trump over Hillary

You must know a lot of really dumb, or at least really uninformed, people. I’m reminded of one of our commenters, who is fond of citing all of his unnamed friends and colleagues who totally agree with positions like “Maureen Dowd is a deep thinker and sparkling prose stylist” and “someone who, coming out of rural southern Washington, became a Sterling Professor at Yale Law in his early 30s and was tabbed by FDR to head the SEC was an imbecile of no professional accomplishment.” To the extent that these friends aren’t apocryphal and you’re stating their views correctly, so much worse for your friends!

Why do progressives reject Hillary Clinton?

They mostly don’t, even the ones who think Sanders is a better candidate for the Democratic nomination.

The highly educated, high-income, finance-literate readers of my website, Naked Capitalism, don’t just overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders.

“You know that Pauline Kael quote about Nixon that people willfully misinterpret? I’m going to say it but really mean it.”

They also say “Hell no!” to Hillary Clinton to the degree that many say they would even vote for Donald Trump over her.

Apparently, “high-income” doesn’t guarantee smart. Who knew?

And they don’t come by these views casually. Their conclusions are the result of careful study of her record and her policy proposals.

Haha right.

They believe the country can no longer endure the status quo that Clinton represents—one of crushing inequality, and an economy that is literally killing off the less fortunate—and any change will be better.

“The Democratic Party has controlled Congress and the White House simultaneously for 4 years since 1980, and in two of those years Congress was really controlled by a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans because some remnants of the Democratic Solid South remained. Therefore, the status quo, which Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to change at all, is a perfect representation of Hillary Clinton’s views. All of my high-income friends think so.”

“I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. … If the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it.”

Um, your “high income friends” who would rather see Trump become president than Clinton are willing to have other people get their metaphorical legs gnawed off. For themselves, they won’t have their health care taken away or be affected by food stamps getting slashed and they/their wives and/or mistresses and/or daughters won’t have any problem obtaining safe abortions, and they’ll get a nice fat tax cut out of the deal. They’re willing to sacrifice nothing. Oddly, the people upon whom the contradictions will be actually heightened tend to find this kind of logic less persuasive.

To be sure, not all of my Sanders-supporting readers would vote for Trump. But only a minority would ever vote for Clinton, and I’d guess that a lot of them would just stay home if she were the nominee.

See above.

Many of my readers tend to be very progressive, and they have been driven even further in that direction by their sophisticated understanding of the inequities of Wall Street, especially in the run-up to and the aftermath of the financial crisis, when no senior executives went to jail, the biggest banks got bigger, and Hillary paid homage to Goldman Sachs.

Donald Trump signing legislation repealing Dodd-Frank and who knows what else and nominating Jeffrey Skilling to head the SEC will surely solve all of those problems.

True progressives, as opposed to the Vichy Left, recognize that the Clintons only helped these inequities along.

Ah yes, the old “Hillary Clinton would govern exactly like Bill Clinton did 20 years ago” scam. So much for the “careful study” of her policy positions. As for the always knew bit, we’ll come back to that.

They believe the most powerful move they can take to foster change is to withhold their support.

Yeah, nothing creates political power like not voting. This is why midterm elections always move the country to the left, and why every Republican on the Supreme Court staunchly favors Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

Some of them also have very reasoned arguments for Trump.

Very reasoned. Ok.

Hillary is a known evil. Trump is unknown.

Trump is a perfectly “known” evil. He would sign whatever legislation Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put on his desk. He would pack the federal judiciary with neoconfederate cranks. He would engage in grotesque race-baiting with horrible direct and side effects. His foreign policy would make Clinton look like Barbara Lee. Trump’s evil is “unknown” only in that he would be horrible in ways we probably can’t even conceive of right now.

They’d rather bet on the unknown, since it will also send a big message to Team Dem that they can no longer abuse progressives.

The only “message” voting Trump sends is “I am a hateful crackpot.” Also, “Team Dem” is more accommodating to progressives than it’s been in decades.

I personally know women in the demographic that is viewed as being solidly behind Hillary—older, professional women who live in major cities—who regard Trump as an acceptable cost of getting rid of the Clintons.

I really wish Smith would just own her horrible ideas rather than attributing them to her poor friends.

Who does Naked Capitalism represent? The site, which I describe as “fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” receives 1.3 million to 1.5 million page views a month and has amassed approximately 80 million readers since its launch in 2006. Its readership is disproportionately graduate school-educated, older, male and high income. Despite

“Old, Rich white dudes happy to see Republican in the White House. News at 11! Anyway, they are the real Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”

What they also object to is that the larger bloc of Sanders voters has been treated with abuse and contempt by the Clinton camp

[cites omitted.] Also, projection is a hell of a drug.

despite the fact that their positions—such as strengthening Social Security and Medicare, stronger educational funding and higher minimum wages—have for decades polled by solid majorities or, at worst, ample pluralities in the electorate at large.

Among the “ample plurality” of the electorate who supports all of these polices is…Hillary Clinton. Odd how the “careful study” of her policy proposals failed to see that.

By contrast, the Democratic Party in the Clinton and Obama administrations has consistently embraced and implemented policies that strip workers of economic and legal rights to benefit investors and the elite professionals that serve them. Over time, the “neoliberal” economic order—which sees only good, never bad, in the relentless untrammeling of capital and the deregulation of markets—has created an unacceptable level of economic insecurity and distress for those outside the 1 percent and the elite professionals who serve them.

Despite only two years of Democratic control of Congress, the Obama administration has increased regulation of business, created the most important new federal program in decades, and made the tax code significantly more egalitarian. The assertion that Obama is a “neoliberal” and “neoliberals” have views indistinguishable from “conservatives” is staggeringly untethered to reality.

The last two points are especially instructive, because I think that this has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders per se. If Joe Biden or Martin O’Malley had been the runner-up, I think they would be making the same arguments about the Democratic Party being dominated by “neoliberals.” It’s worth noting that Smith’s co-blogger Lambert Strether treated Clinton as the second coming of Eugene Debs when she was the runner-up in the Democratic primaries in 2008, only to discover that she was a “neoliberal” if anything to the right of the “neoliberal” once she became likely to be Obama’s successor. The only principle here is “Democratic Party delenda est.” The fact that the party is moving steadily left doesn’t figure into their analysis because they’re not interested in taking “yes” for an answer. If Sanders did become president, as soon as he failed to get any of his agenda through a Republican House they would “discover” that he’s a “neoliberal” too. They’ve been making the same arguments before Bernie’s campaign and they will after. And these arguments will never stop being incredibly dumb.

…i should give a HT to humanoid.panda, who also provides a perfect tl;dr: “They said we couldn’t combine corporate gobbledygook about thinkfluencers and key millennial demographics with heightening the contradictions leftism and Politico-style who won the morning nihilism, but we could! It’s like Uber, for idiocy.”

…more here.

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Comments (294)

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  1. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “Old, Rich white dudes happy to see Republican in the White House. News at 11!”

    Sorry, I’m going to have to give that a miss.

    It conflicts with the weekly marathon of shows on the “Dog Bites Man” channel, sorry.

    • alex284 says:

      Both of these are possible reasons why capitalism’s biggest winners would vote for a rightwing candidate: a) they understand the system better than those uneducated rubes, plus they care a lot more about the uneducated rubes’ well-being than said uneducated rubes, so they are using a complicated, hail-mary strategy to get policies in place that they will not benefit from but are for the good of everyone else; b) they like Trump’s tax cuts.

      (b) seems like less of a logical leap to me, but what do I know.

      I’m sure she’s fine on policy and is probably pretty progressive in general (I don’t read her site), but I question people’s motives when they have reasons not to listen to the people they’re supposedly trying to help.

      • thebewilderness says:

        No, not actually that great on policy either, which is why she write for Politico and I stopped reading Naked Capitalism some time ago.
        They are like libertarians who always assume the gestapo is coming for the neighbor.

        • IS says:

          Yeah, I stopped reading there a few years back because 1) there’s only so much time in the day and 2) some of it seemed like conspiracy theory level nuttiness, and the rest often to fall into the “if everything isn’t exactly how I want it, I’m going to complain forever” bucket.

  2. kth says:

    Zero Hedge also has a lot of “high-income, finance-literate” readers.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Who are totally not cranks.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

      “Its readership is disproportionately graduate school-educated, older, male and high income” people who are used to getting their way and take the attitude “fuck them” toward their inferiors when the latter have the temerity to disagree.

      What’s bizarre about so many of this type of articles is the authors’ naked willingess to anoint themselves as smarter, better informed etc. on the basis of absolutely zero evidence. Too much assertiveness training and over-confidence.

    • CD says:

      Moreover Naked Capitalism is great for invective, but literate in finance it is not.

      • klhoughton says:

        It used to be. Then someone presumably convinced Yves that ZeroHedge was a role model, not a Must to Avoid.

        • Ronan says:

          Afai remember it, her book wasn’t actually bad, neither was the site originally..but my memory might be skewed by the fact that I started reading both in 2008-10, when I was angry with a lot of what you could generally call “economics”, and even more ignorant tHan I am now:

  3. N__B says:

    TL; DR.

    I got as far as Smith saying that she was going to gnaw her leg off.

  4. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    Strether turned on Clinton? ah, those people. never get on an ocean liner with them, the first thing they’ll do is drill holes in all the lifeboats

  5. Rob in CT says:

    “The Vichy Left” is, of course, super polite and not contemptuous at all.

  6. Murc says:

    Thanks for front-paging this after it was linked in comments yesterday, Scott.

    Not by me. But, thanks anyway. It was such a tire fire of an article.

    I don’t read Naked Capitalism daily, but I read links to it on the regular, and I must say this surprised me; Smith has always struck me as, well, smarter than this. I mean, I understand being mad as hell at the Democratic Party, but her argument is both poorly reasoned AND mendacious.

    Then again, I may just now know her that well. I didn’t know she was a lady until like 24 hours ago despite having read a bunch of her stuff. It’s something I need to do better on; it’s been many years since her true identity became known and I still occasionally refer to Heather Parton as “he” because that’s how I thought of digby when I started reading her.

    • guthrie says:

      I think it’s irrelevant to know someone’s real name and gender unless they are using them specifically as part of their argument. But then I’m a bit odd.

      • William Berry says:

        Seconded.

        I am sometimes interested in the back-grounds of pseudonymous front-pagers (think: the Atrios/ D. Black thing, years back, e.g.) but I like to think that is just idle curiosity, with nothing to do with what is being said. The thing, as written, should stand on its own.*

        *There is nothing outside the text!

        • Murc says:

          The thing, as written, should stand on its own.*

          This is never, ever true. Who is writing it always matters. There are people whom, if they told me the sky was blue, I would go outside to check, because their track record is so horrendous that them merely making a statement renders that statement highly suspect.

          • Crissa says:

            …But that would, in fact, be something that they’d wrote. The ‘thing’ you’d be considering is their blog or whole body of writing.

            Either so, there’s no particular reason to trust any sentence stripped of source.

      • Murc says:

        I think it’s irrelevant to know someone’s real name and gender unless they are using them specifically as part of their argument. But then I’m a bit odd.

        It is relevant to use the appropriate pronoun when referring to someone, however. Presumably Yves Smith does not prefer to go by “he.”

        • sonamib says:

          Well, Yves is a male name, so I did assume that Yves Smith was a man. I’m happy to know the correct pronouns now, of course, but it’s pretty much inevitable that people are going to get confused.

          Digby is different because it’s not a gendered name so it could’ve been either.

    • alex284 says:

      “I am the one true leftist” has been part of her shtick for years now. She has spent a lot of time decrying “neoliberal” Paul Krugman for supporting… I honestly don’t know. I did read her book and she mentioned how awful Krugman was about a dozen times but I don’t remember the “why” part being discussed much.

      Just googled it and unfortunately google favors recent articles so she doesn’t like him because he likes hillary and she likes sanders. Oh wait, I remember this episode and how dumb it was at the time:

      https://www.nytexaminer.com/2012/05/a-critic-falls-apart-yves-smith-on-paul-krugman/

      • Halloween Jack says:

        “Paul Krugman’s partisanship has become so shameless that we are giving him the inaugural Eric Schneiderman Decoy Award for his post…. The Schneiderman Decoy Award goes for exceptional achievement in turning one’s good name over to particularly rancid Obama Administration initiatives.”

        Pity that she probably didn’t actually give him a physical award; I imagine that he’d have it framed, maybe put it next to the Nobel.

      • cpinva says:

        I think this, more than anything else, explains her bizarre statements:

        “(“Yves Smith” is the nom-de-Internet of Susan Webber, who heads a management consulting firm.)”

        my guess is that Democrats elected to high office are not good for her business.

        • The Temporary Name says:

          The weird thing is she’s done a bunch of good and rational work tracking down weird money scams. There’s less connection between doing one task really well and political sense than I would like.

  7. Bruce Vail says:

    Can I vote for a temporary moratorium on old Jim Carrey photos?

    It’s funny the first 3 or 4 times, but…

  8. djw says:

    I really wish Smith would just own her horrible ideas rather than attributing them to her poor friends.

    No kidding. The format here seems like an indication that on some level she knows this is indefensible bullshit, but she wants to put it out there without having to take responsibility for it.

    The repeated references to “high-income” to convince us how smart these people are is a nice touch.

    • Murc says:

      The format here seems like an indication that on some level she knows this is indefensible bullshit, but she wants to put it out there without having to take responsibility for it.

      It’s hardly unique to either of them, but I see Douthat do this all the time as well. It’s ass-covering, a way to walk things back later if you have to.

      The repeated references to “high-income” to convince us how smart these people are is a nice touch.

      Is that what she was doing?

      I read those references as “these Trump-curious voters aren’t mouthbreathing redneck yahoos, which means you can’t just dismiss them as cultural reactionaries.”

      I see that maneuver a lot in other venues; “No, see, the people saying this aren’t hicks from the sticks, they are sophisticates from the city.” It’s a very, very misguided attempt to get people to focus on the actual argument rather than the people making it, and it usually backfires because someone who resorts to that kind of bullshit usually has a bad argument.

      • Rob in CT says:

        Ok, right, “high income” = sophisticated is the more charitable interpretation of what Smith is doing there.

      • petesh says:

        Hmm, why does this sound familiar? Oh, right:

        “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”

      • klhoughton says:

        Trump’s voter breakdown when there were seventeen–and even seven–dwarves in the primary skewed rich, though not explicitly Yves Smith Rich (income ~1.5-2.0 median household).

      • IT MEANS SHE IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FAKE LEFTIST.

        Many of my readers tend to be very progressive, and they have been driven even further in that direction by their sophisticated understanding of the inequities of Wall Street, especially in the run-up to and the aftermath of the financial crisis, when no senior executives went to jail, the biggest banks got bigger, and Hillary paid homage to Goldman Sachs.

        “Their high incomes give them that sophisticated understanding that’s so much more useful than the crude animal instincts of a bunch of workers who only care about things like health insurance or having a job. My readers are so fucking progressive because they’re so much more fucking REFINED than all you yobs. That’s what true leftism is, something you can only attain if you’ve been to grad school and worked on Wall Street.”

        I used to feel bad when I’d read Smith because she made me feel insufficiently left and because she’s smarter than fools like Matt Stoller or Jane Hamsher about it, but she’s nothing but a fashion leftist after all.

    • Rob in CT says:

      “High income” = smart/wise is certainly something you’d expect to hear from the Pure True Left, amirite?

      • JR in WV says:

        Remember the boy in Texas, from the High-income family, so tender and delicate, that after he killed several people driving drunk, that he got probation?

        Then got filmed violating the terms of his probation?

        Then ran off to Mexico with his Mom to avoid the consequences of his violation of his probation?

        Then got dragged back to the US?

        That kind of leftist high-income reader, is that what she means?

        Yeh, right!

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      The repeated references to “high-income” to convince us how smart these people are is a nice touch.

      It’s also a pretty clear giveaway that the anti-Clintonism has nothing to do with Sanders and his populist campaign.

    • Spiny says:

      The best that could be said for people who write this way is that they want to solemnly warn the Democratic electorate of the existence of fools among our ranks. Problem being 1) we already knew that, and 2) it’s always clear whether the writer agrees or disagrees with the fools, no matter what steps they take to cover their asses.

    • Karen24 says:

      I have a bit of objective and verifiable evidence that BIG BUCK$$$$$ =/= intelligent. I went to law school with a guy named Bobby Goldstein. He graduated dead last in the class after having to repeat at least two classes each year. He was disbarred within five years of graduation. He is also the producer of the syndicated TV show “Cheaters” and as a result is by several orders of magnitude the richest person from my class or any other class between ‘1985 and 1990. Knowing that, is it any wonder I have a cynical view of capitalism?

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        Normal run of the mill captialism produces all kinds of explotiation and other misery. But, I seem to remember the culture in capitalist countries being at a much higher level than “Cheaters” in the past. I mean if life is reduced to bread and circuses the circuses should at least be good.

      • D.N. Nation says:

        Hey now. I was funemployed for four months between ’12 and ’13 and Cheaters was perfect “life sucks” late morning television.

    • bobbo1 says:

      I have many rich friends, and they assure me that there is a 1:1 correlation between wealth and intelligence.

  9. FMguru says:

    their wives and/or mistresses and/or daughters

    Noah Cross approves.

  10. CaptainBringdown says:

    … and any change will be better.

    This statement is breathtakingly stupid in virtually any context. I’m not sure the word “virtually” is even necessary.

  11. Morse Code for J says:

    So this is her bio:

    Yves has been in and around finance for over 30 years as an investment banker, management consultant to financial institutions across a large range of wholesale banking and trading markets businesses, and a corporate finance advisor. She has also written for the New York Times, Aljazeera, the New Republic, Salon, the Conference Board Review, the Australian Financial Review and other financial publications. Her TV appearances include NBC News, CNBC, Fox Business, PBS, Bill Moyers, Real News Network, Democracy Now, Russia TV, ABC (Australia), Aljazeera, and BNN (Canada).

    Now go back and read the article, and see if you can stop yourself from saying “Fuck you” out loud. Especially during the parts where it talks about Clinton’s “corruption” and how Trump probably wouldn’t have the time to hurt anybody all that much.

  12. Brownian says:

    “Chamberlain is so status quo. Just handing over the Sudetenland to Germany like that. What else will he fork over to his opponents? I can’t support him.”
    “Me neither. Frankly, I’d rather vote for Hitler.”
    “And jumpstart the revolution? Great idea! After all, we know Chamberlain’s MO is to just hand over the Sudetenland to Germany. Hitler himself is an unknown. It’s possible he’ll perhaps enact some sort of anti-Sudetenland-to-Germany legislation.”
    “Yes! YES! Capital reasoning!”
    “Yes, well, I am highly educated and high-income.”

  13. keta says:

    I’d say, “mission accomplished!” Apparently the author of the Politico piece had a clear-eyed goal:

    This article was meant to penetrate the DC narrative all sensible people will fall in line and vote for Clinton when Sanders is knocked out of the picture (probable but not a given). If it succeeded, it will get people in the Clinton bubble riled up.

    To what end? Why, punishment, of course. Because when you deliver a big “Fuck You!” it’s important your invective reverberates and crumbles everything it touches:

    So to drive the point home, the article uses NC readers to show that some well-informed progressives understand full well what the Clintons represent and they’ve had it with them. These voters regard Trump as an acceptable risk to inflict punishment on Team Dem for decades of abusing workers and ordinary citizens and to put an end to the Clintons’ dynastic ambitions.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      and yet Team Dem that’s going to get punished isn’t all that different, demographically, than Smith and her friends. so realistically they *aren’t* going to be punished, just all those people who voted for Clinton

    • NonyNony says:

      These voters regard Trump as an acceptable risk to inflict punishment on Team Dem for decades of abusing workers and ordinary citizens

      I have two comments on this:

      1) First things first – note the tell here. A separation of “workers” and “ordinary citizens”. Why is that separation there? Who are the “ordinary citizens”? Strangely not the workers!

      2) “We’ll show that Democratic Party! We’ll make them pay for abusing workers! We’ll make sure Trump gets elected! When he’s out there abusing workers THAT will make the Democrats see the error of their ways!”

      I just – If you hate and despise Clinton and would rather see every non-white person in the country suffer rather than see Clinton get the Oval Office then OWN THAT HATE! Don’t try to pawn it off as some kind of benevolence you’re feeling towards “workers” (who aren’t you, as you’ve made clear). Just admit that you hate Clinton, you don’t care what positions she takes or what she stands for or even what she promises, and that you would prefer to see the world BURN before you’d vote for her.

      Number one, it means you’re being more honest with everyone (including yourself) and number two it means you can sort yourself into the right ideology and go join the Republican party. If you don’t care about anyone other than yourself and your hatred of Hillary Clinton then you are a Republican – just like the folks who didn’t care about anyone or anything other than their hatred of Barack Obama were also Republicans.

  14. sibusisodan says:

    Any of you perceptive types got any idea why this kind of argument doesn’t seem to get rolled out against the Republicans? It mystifies me how many people are happy to misdiagnose the limiting factor to political change.

    Is it just that having a pop at your ‘own’ side (however nominal) is easier than trying to confront the whole of the complex political system?

    Does anyone making these arguments actually believe them?

    • Murc says:

      Any of you perceptive types got any idea why this kind of argument doesn’t seem to get rolled out against the Republicans?

      The Republicans, oddly enough, are actually smarter than we are in this arena. They bitch out RINO’s as much as we bitch about neoliberal sellouts, but they never actually make the argument to vote for the Democrats instead.

      • Boots Day says:

        The dynamic on the Republican side appears to be almost the opposite. Many Republicans have attacked Trump but finish up by saying they’ll vote for him anyway. On the Dem side, the anti-Hillary faction seems to go out of its way to say they won’t vote for her, even though her positions are highly similar to Sanders’.

        • xq says:

          You can find plenty of people attacking Clinton but saying they’ll vote for her anyways.

          Our cognitive biases are terrible at stuff like this–we tend to see much stronger division close by than far away regardless of reality. The only sensible way of getting at this question is through polling. That still isn’t all that reliable, but much better than trusting in your impression of very non-representative samples.

      • Matt McIrvin says:

        Well, there’s P. J. O’Rourke and maybe George Will.

      • FMguru says:

        Yep. When the snake-handlers and Birchers decided that the 1950s Eisenhower/Establishment incarnation of the Republican party was a little too accommodating to the postwar New Deal consensus, they expressed their displeasure, not by stamping their feet and forming an ideologically pure splinter party, but by increasing their engagement withing the GOP, playing the long game and taking it over from within, one school board and county committee at a time, until 20 years later they were in control of the executive branch, much of the legislature, and a growing share of the judiciary.

        There’s a lesson in there for liberals, if they’re willing to learn it.

        • sharonT says:

          Well, there’s also that little thing called, “money,” the right also had a rich cadre of finders who were willing to spend money to build that infrastructure.

      • CP says:

        The ethos of the entire conservative movement is both much more tribalist and much more RWA-friendly than on the other side of the aisle, so it’s not exactly a surprise.

    • xq says:

      Any of you perceptive types got any idea why this kind of argument doesn’t seem to get rolled out against the Republicans?

      It does. I just read a bunch of comments on Naked Capitalism followed by a bunch of comments on RedState. The dynamics are surprisingly similar.

      • Karl Dickman says:

        I’m not surprised that you see those kinds of arguments in right-wing comment sections, but are there media organizations with the reach/influence of Politico, Salon, or the NYT that are giving them a megaphone?

    • Malaclypse says:

      Does anyone making these arguments actually believe them?

      In the 90s, I did. In my defense, Nader was still a hypothetical then.

  15. Tony Pius says:

    I’ve been a regular reader of nc for years. Up until recently they’ve been doing God’s work, going after mortgage fraud, shady hedge-fund and limited-partnership practices, and other excesses in our tragically overregulated financial system. But this election is absolutely driving them off the rails.

    • Murc says:

      But this election is absolutely driving them off the rails.

      Can’t be pointed out enough; this is not only a primary election, we’re currently in peak hurt feelings phase of said primary election.

      Treating what you see now as a baseline is no more accurate than treating what you saw in 2008 as a baseline. People just seem to… lose the plot during a contentious primary. That doesn’t reflect well on them but neither is it their normal state of being.

      • Tony Pius says:

        Oh, I agree! And I have hopes that by the summer the fever will break and they’ll get back to what they’re good at. But it’s been *months* of this stuff, and I’m getting weary of it.

        (“Area Man Tired Of Election Bullshit. Film at 11.”)

        • Aaron Morrow says:

          Based on the last few open cycles, what’s best for *me* is if we compressed the primary season from an NFL season to a NCAA FBS football season and lose a month.

          I have no idea what’s best for liberals, Democrats, and/or America because my entire body weight is on that scale.

          • ForkyMcSpoon says:

            It’s currently 4.5 mo between first and last primaries. Closer to 4 mo if you want to exclude DC as irrelevant.

            I think that should be shortened to 2.5-3 months. One month starting out with small primaries moving to bigger ones, to help lesser-known candidates build up. 6-8 additional weeks of increasing stakes, perhaps with a break in the middle, and then we’re done.

            Smaller states coming at the end should be grouped with other states. People blow WV out of proportion because nothing else was happening, DC is irrelevant because it comes so late, etc.

            • Murc says:

              It would also make sense to move the whole shebang much closer to the actual election. A person should not have to declare their candidacy eighteen goddamn months before the election, which is only like half a year before the first primary, in order to be considered relevant. The extended length of the campaign season is, I feel, a cancer on the body politic.

      • kped says:

        I don’t know, there comes a point in time where I say to myself “if you’re this much of a hack about this, maybe you are about other things, I just don’t notice because I agree. But since I now know you are a hack, I think I’ll go elsewhere”.

        • Rob in CT says:

          Yup. This makes me a lot less likely to read anything at NC.

          • Brien Jackson says:

            I remember a similar dynamic after the 2008 election into the early days of the Obama administration. There were a bunch of people (Greenwald, Stoller, etc) who I suddenly realized had really been hacks all along.

            • kped says:

              I figured that out about Greenwald during the Bush years actually. Don’t remember what made me figure it out, but i stopped reading the guy long before Obama became President.

              • It was the writing style. Sounds frivolous, but I knew nobody who was such a volcanically bad writer could be trusted. And after Obama’s election I was proved right.

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  Right. In hindsight that was exactly it; Greenwald always wrote like a lawyer cherry picking factoids to build his case, not someone who was actually trying to make an intellectually rigorous argument.

                • kped says:

                  yes, i think it was the writing style that drove me away. It was “why the fuck does he need so many words to make such a minor fucking point?”, and I realized it was because the more words he wrote, the more bullshit he could stuff in. Mind you, he does write some very good, important things too, but…I can read those important things from writers who don’t also engage in utter bullshit.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Can’t be pointed out enough; this is not only a primary election, we’re currently in peak hurt feelings phase of said primary election.

        In the specific case of NC, this is absolutely not about the primaries. They’ve been writing the same shit about Obama and the Democrat Party being neoliberal sellouts no better than the GOP virtually since he was inaugurated.

        • Matt McIrvin says:

          Were they Hillary Clinton supporters in 2008?

          (I am wondering about the hypothesis of a PUMA Möbius strip, wherein some of the fanatical anti-Hillary activity of today actually has roots in fanatical pro-Hillary activity of eight years ago.)

      • JonH says:

        Naked Capitalism has been a nest of swivel-eyed conspiracy theorists for *years*. Yves seemed to be fairly level-headed last I saw, but she did let some total loons blog there for some reason. And then there’s the commenters…

    • rea says:

      Up until recently they’ve been doing God’s work, going after mortgage fraud, shady hedge-fund and limited-partnership practices, and other excesses in our tragically overregulated financial system

      They think all this fraud is thee product of overregulation???

  16. Joe_JP says:

    I’m reminded of one of our commenters,

    Is this troll you know who week?

    • Denverite says:

      I was wondering the same.

    • tsam says:

      No, that would be jabs at the Broncos’ quarterback situation.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      The first discussion of Griswold this week really had nothing to do with Dilan. Deverite may not have been here long enough but I’ve been writing about the “durrr, he said penumbra, durr” critique of Griswold for a long time (and while Dilan’s critique of Griswold is indeed an ignorant trainwreck this isn’t actually his argument.) The first graf here, of course, is indeed a response to his doubling down on his “Douglas was an idiot” nonsense, by citing unnamed-because-they-don’t-exist law professors who also think Douglas was an idiot. Exactly what Smith is doing.

      • Denverite says:

        Deverite may not have been here long enough but I’ve been writing about the “durrr, he said penumbra, durr” critique of Griswold for a long time (and while Dilan’s critique of Griswold is indeed an ignorant trainwreck this isn’t actually his argument.)

        I take the view that any thread in which Douglas is mentioned eventually turns into Dilan arguing that he couldn’t feed himself without assistance.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          Dilan’s first order argument is that Douglas can’t unassistedly feed himself, but after a bit the second order wondering is whether Dilan can feed himself without help.

          • Dilan Esper says:

            Douglas was an idiot by the standards of a Supreme Court justice. More specifically, he was a hack who didn’t actually care about what his opinions said. That’s why he made so little mark- there’s really no uniquely Douglas jurisprudence that we all cite to in any area. Griswold, Scott’s favorite opinion, is completely irrelevant to modern SDP except as to its result.

            But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t feed himself.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              Douglas was an idiot by the standards of a Supreme Court justice.

              No he wasn’t. Again, what’s your explanation for how he became an academic superstar in his early 30s, and then was selected for one of the most important jobs in the Roosevelt administration? He was juiced into the power elite growing up poor in the Yakima Valley? It sure wasn’t his personal charm. He got these jobs because he was widely considered to be brilliant. Contemporary legal scholars have been hard on him because of the perception of failed potential, not because he was a mediocrity.


              More specifically, he was a hack who didn’t actually care about what his opinions said.

              1)This is an exaggeration and 2)that’s the sound of the goalposts moving to Pluto. It is true that he often didn’t take the job seriously and that his opinions in cases he didn’t care about tended to be sloppy. That’s got nothing to do with whether he was smart.

              It’s blindingly obvious that evaluating the intelligence of judges by looking at isolated Supreme Court opinions is very, very dumb. If you read opinions by William Rehnquist, especially after he became Chief, they would would often be conclusory and thin. This isn’t because he wasn’t bright — he was of course extremely intelligent — but because like Douglas he thought that the votes mattered more than the reasoning, he placed a high value on efficiency, and he instructed his clerks accordingly. You can approve or disapprove of this, but it has nothing to do with smart.

              That’s why he made so little mark- there’s really no uniquely Douglas jurisprudence that we all cite to in any area.

              Again, this has nothing to do with intelligence. His greatest opinions (like Adderly, Terry, Heart of Atlanta, Flast v. Cohen) tend to be solo concurrences and dissents. Opinions are influential based on who has the median vote on the Court; it has nothing to do with intelligence. His dissents and concurrences in obscenity cases didn’t carry the Court, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was right and Brennan and Warren were wrong.

              Griswold, Scott’s favorite opinion, is completely irrelevant to modern SDP except as to its result.

              As I say in the linked post, your point is utterly self-refuting. The major privacy cases after Griswold are notoriously shoddy opinions written by justices (Blackmun and Kennedy) who really were/are, unlike Douglas, below-average intellects for a Supreme Court justice. To state the obvious, you don’t maximize your influence on the Court by being smarter than everyone else, but by being the median vote. Your analysis on this point is just ridiculous.

        • Dilan Esper says:

          It’s really unfair to mention me in this piece because I don’t think I have ever said that people should vote for Trump over Clinton. I certainly don’t hold that view.

          But look, the idiocy of Douglas’ Griswold opinion is basically proven by one simple fact- that reasoning has never once been used again. If it is so brilliant, why do we litigate unenumerated rights cases by asking whether the right is so deeply rooted in our traditions so as to be fundamental? Why don’t we identify constitutional provisions and extend their penumbras and emanations?

          Scott is obsessed with the brilliance of an opinion that basically no actual practicing lawyers ever apply. And this somehow proves something about me?

          If nobody ever applies your test, your test is no good. There’s a reason why we remember “reasonable expectation of privacy” and try to forget the distinction between commerce and manufacturing.

          Oh, and by the way, Douglas held a post at Yale at a time when that meant you had connections, not necessarily that you were smart. It was the era of the gentleman’s C.

          • Dilan Esper says:

            And let’s have some fun and talk about Douglas’ dissent in DeFunis v. Odegaard.

            Here’s a taste:

            If discrimination based on race is constitutionally permissible when those who hold the reins can come up with “compelling” reasons to justify it, then constitutional guarantees acquire an accordion-like quality. Speech is closely brigaded with action when it triggers a fight, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U. S. 568, as shouting “fire” in a crowded theater triggers a riot. It may well be that racial strains, racial susceptibility to certain diseases, racial sensitiveness to environmental conditions that other races do not experience, may, in an extreme situation, justify differences in racial treatment that no fair-minded person would call “invidious” discrimination. Mental ability is not in that category. All races can compete fairly at all professional levels. So far as race is concerned, any state-sponsored preference to one race over another in that competition is, in my view, “invidious” and violative of the Equal Protection Clause.

            Now how far is he, really, from John Roberts? But more importantly, note the lack of reasoning here. “The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination, this is discrimination.” He rejects the compelling state interest test. The state can never prefer someone on the basis of race. Why? Because the text of the Constitution says so. It’s just like his First Amendment opinions that say that “no law means no law”, as if that solves all the myriad of issues and competing interests that arise in First Amendment cases.

            And also contrast that passage with his vote in Korematsu v. United States, in which he– wait for it– upheld racial discrimination on a compelling state interest theory! Now, he throws in a footnote in his opinion saying that Korematsu is different because the military swore that the racial discrimination was necessary, but why should that matter to a person who says the Fourteenth Amendment forbids racial preference, compelling interest or no compelling interest?

            The point is, Douglas didn’t care. It didn’t matter to him, because he really didn’t think deeply about what equal protection actually required. He had political opinions and he voted them.

            Now, of course, that is true of the justices who did care too. But the difference is, as much as I may hate Scalia or like Ginsburg in terms of their votes, both of them at least try/tried to get the doctrine right, which is why we actually need a Supreme Court. A lawyer can wield a William Brennan opinion, or a Rehnquist opinion, in a lower court case and use it to make a legal argument. With Douglas, you really couldn’t, because he didn’t take his craft seriously. He was a vote, often a correct vote, which is worth something. But he wasn’t a good justice or a good lawyer, because he didn’t engage legal reasoning.

            • IS says:

              Maybe I’m missing something, reading it wrong, there’s important missing context, IANAL, but . . .

              “The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination, this is discrimination.” He rejects the compelling state interest test. The state can never prefer someone on the basis of race.

              Isn’t that close to the opposite of what the paragraph says? It looks to me like he posited that discrimination can be allowable if there is a compelling reason for it. The “accordion” bit sounds like commentary, perhaps implying that this kind of test can be gamed to enact discrimination that actually does not serve a compelling interest (which strikes me as true). In any case, the last three sentences seem to indicate that he believes racial discrimination as a means of screening for mental ability in hiring is not a compelling state interest (because people of all races can compete fairly at all professional levels, which sounds like an endorsement of hiring based on capability) and thus violates the Constitution. So how is he rejecting a test that he appears to be using in this very paragraph?

            • Joe_JP says:

              A separate opinion where the merits were not decided isn’t the one I would choose to find out how Douglas acted.

              But, he provided an in depth discussion of the selection process, suggesting the need to fully weigh the qualifications of various groups (not just using race) that basically became the rule put in place. He shows a bit more nuance here about how cultural knowledge can skewer the LSAT here etc. that warrants a tad of respect at least.

              I don’t think a single paragraph of his long opinion does it full justice. His fear of making exceptions to preferences here is defended not merely by a citation of the text of the Constitution. And, he provided alternatives that like his opinions in lower school cases would arguably be better constitutional policy.

              The citation of the Japanese Internment Cases underlines he showed some work. He noted: “This Court has not sustained a racial classification since the wartime cases.” He shows precedent led the program here to be suspect. A leading law professor at the time noted “strict scrutiny” was “fatal in fact.”

              So why wouldn’t he think this program, especially with various possible alternatives (some of which he provided) was fatally flawed? He had a reason to be suspicious of “compelling” usages of race even if he might be wrong this one time. Taken as a whole, the opinion is a worthwhile piece of the debate. Actual doctrine in this area might warrant a bit more nuance but even there he often was more right than wrong. As was many of his opinions, including for the Court.

              Anyways, the amount of effort his approach here might require for true equality is not quite Roberts’ view, though if you take out a little piece, like a cite of the 3A, it might seem that way. But, that wouldn’t be smart.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                I can’t dispute that Dilan has conclusively rebutted the zero people who have ever argued that every single opinion William O. Douglas ever wrote was correct and closely reasoned.

                However, against the implication that Douglas was like John Roberts we really should include the subsequent grafs:

                The problem tendered by this case is important and crucial to the operation of our constitutional system; and educators must be given leeway. It may well be that a whole congeries of applicants in the marginal group defy known methods of selection. Conceivably, an admissions committee might conclude that a selection by lot of, say, the last 20 seats is the only fair solution. Courts are not educators; their expertise is limited; and our task ends with the inquiry whether, judged by the main purpose of the Equal Protection Clause – the protection against racial discrimination 24 – there has been an “invidious” discrimination.

                We would have a different case if the suit were one to displace the applicant who was chosen in lieu of DeFunis. What the record would show concerning his potentials would have to be considered and weighed. The educational decision, provided proper guidelines were used, would reflect an expertise that courts should honor. The problem is not tendered here because the physical facilities were apparently adequate to take DeFunis in addition to the others. My view is only that I cannot say by the tests used and applied he was invidiously discriminated against because of his race.

                I cannot conclude that the admissions procedure of the Law School of the University of Washington that excluded DeFunis is violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

                The fact that he thought that an affirmative action program that considered minority applicants separately was constitutional is something you should probably note when comparing Douglas to John Roberts.

                While we’re here, we can mention a much worse opinion, a 1980 dissent with a footnote comparing affirmative action programs to Nazi Germany. The justice who can be conclusively called an idiot and reactionary based on that one dumb opinion? John Paul Stevens.

                I should note, however, that while Dilan is being very hacky here that doesn’t mean he isn’t smart.

                • Joe_JP says:

                  Yes. It helps to look at the whole picture. And, again, I personally am quite open to some qualified argument Douglas could be sloppy or lazy in legal drafting.

                  On the whole, he came out pretty good though. Plus, suggestions in effect he was a moron are stupid.

                  Finally, reading his multiple opinions on contraceptives and abortion, Douglas in various respects did a better job than others and Griswold itself holds up even if would had been better if he added a bit more.

                  For instance, his concurrence in the Baird case raised a free speech claim that was ignored by the majority but was addressed by judges below. It turns out to be a somewhat obscure but interesting discussion of line-drawing.

                  His Vuitch opinion also was good, including regarding vagueness and how sectarian religious beliefs could affect prosecutions. Again, the lower court in Roe v. Wade (which he referenced) cited vagueness but Roe itself did not.

                  Douglas’ Poe v. Ullman dissent was already referenced as was his concurring opinion in Doe v. Bolton in an earlier post. There too he arguably added details helpful in adjudicating future cases. This includes how an embryo is not legally a “person” or a “life” as that term is constitutionally understood.

                  Finally, various opinions of his helpfully discussed the basics of privacy as a whole, including in respect to self-incrimination and how the home here is different from public accommodations or for profit corporations. He provided a good rejoinder there to those who made anti-segregation laws somehow an invasion of privacy.

                  In various cases, he could have done a better job, but that was generally true for justices, including quite a lot of those Douglas’ served with.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  On the whole, he came out pretty good though. Plus, suggestions in effect he was a moron are stupid.

                  Right. Liberal scholars wanting to knock Douglas off his pedestal was understandable and useful to a point, but I think the pendulum has swung too far and has created some ridiculous double standards. Sure, he didn’t have a First Amendment theory that would mechanically solve every marginal case, but then you can say the same thing about everyone else. And he and Black deserve a lot of credit for (as just one example) standing up for the rights of defendants whose Smith Act prosecutions were upheld by justices using the empty balancing tests Dilan loves. (Note: Frankfurter was a much worse justice than Douglas, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t smart.)

                  Finally, reading his multiple opinions on contraceptives and abortion, Douglas in various respects did a better job than others and Griswold itself holds up even if would had been better if he added a bit more.

                  Also correct. Ullman, Griswold and Bolton taking together represent a far more persuasive defense of the right to privacy than Roe or Lawrence (although Griswold is the weakest of the three.) And of course Roe didn’t become the standard because anyone thought it was a great argument, but because Burger voted insincerely so he could assign the opinion to Blackmun. Douglas could have just as easily written Roe, and based on the evidence in Bolton it would have been a much stronger opinion (not that it really matters much.)

                  he could have done a better job, but that was generally true for justices, including quite a lot of those Douglas’ served with.

                  Correct. Earl Warren was nobody’s idea of a great legal craftsman, but his opinions don’t get the same level of scrutiny precisely because nobody thought he was capable of more.

          • Denverite says:

            I did think it was kind of a shot in the OP.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            If it is so brilliant

            I never said it was “brilliant.” It was a thin opinion, written quickly because he had already said what he had to say on privacy 4 years earlier in his much stronger opinion in Ullman. My only point is that there’s nothing at all objectionable about the “penumbras and emanations” reasoning.

            why do we litigate unenumerated rights cases by asking whether the right is so deeply rooted in our traditions so as to be fundamental?

            Because in an opinion that barely had any legal analysis at all Harry Blackmun arbitrarily chose SDP as the place to locate the unenumerated right of privacy rather than other rationales he thought were equally good. So what? The fact that there will be litigation based on Obergefell doesn’t make Kennedy a legal genius or make his opinion any more coherent.

            Douglas held a post at Yale at a time when that meant you had connections

            This is embarrassing. He didn’t just “hold a post at Yale.” He was a widely published, very influential star academic. Hutchins tried aggressively to recruit him when he was trying to transform the University of Chicago Law School. And he didn’t have any connections.

            • Joe_JP says:

              Since this subject interests me, I’ll belabor the point a bit more.

              The penumbra point (with precedent to back it up) did much of the work necessarily to address the use law in question. But, over time, it was determined that Douglas (though Harlan’s dissent is the usual cite) was right in Poe in both respects:

              “Liberty” is a conception that sometimes gains content from the emanations of other specific guarantees or from experience with the requirements of a free society.

              And, Douglas returned to that in his own concurrence in Doe v. Bolton. Still, both opinions help to provide some markers that a “deeply-rooted” test may not. This includes how specific text can help us define unenumerated rights.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                Right. It’s also worth noting one important contextual point: Harlan wanted to rely solely on due process in party because he opposed the incorporation of any part of the Bill of Rights. The Court never made it to total incorporation (in part because the only remaining non-incorporated rights are trivial or obvious blunders by the framers like the $20 minimum for civil jury trials) but ended up much closer to Douglas’s position than Harlan’s.

          • Hogan says:

            Douglas held a post at Yale at a time when that meant you had connections, not necessarily that you were smart.

            “Connections.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              The Walla Walla power elite totally dominated American politics in that era.

              Dilan’s deep investment in his ridiculous assessment of Douglas is oddly fascinating. Why he didn’t walk it back to “whether or not he was smart he was a hack” or something the first time he was given the chance I have no idea. Instead, he’d rather display he has no idea what he’s talking about — while claiming he knows more than anyone else! — as many times and in as many different ways as possible. And it’s completely unnecessary to his argument! You don’t have to falsely assert that John Roberts is an idiot to criticize Shelby County or Parents Involved.

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                Dilan’s deep investment in his ridiculous assessment of Douglas is oddly fascinating.

                But characteristic. It’s not a special focus on Douglas that generates a one off ridiculousness, cf statistics, “the left”, voting as uncriticisable, etc etc etc.

                I don’t think it’s trolling, though it looks similar. He really can’t admit a wid exlass of very simple errors.

            • Lee Rudolph says:

              “Connections.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

              Hey, the ticket was comped: “He traveled to New York (taking a job tending sheep on a Chicago-bound train, in return for free passage)” (op. cit.).

              But I’ll give Dilan Douglas’s connections. At least one, in the Windy City.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                Oh, maybe that’s what Dilan meant. “Douglas always had to use a connection when taking the subway to Columbia. And Yale pretty much handed out its highest academic rank to any random guy riding the subway back in the day. And nickels had bumblebees on them.”

        • Joe_JP says:

          I take the view that any thread in which Douglas is mentioned eventually turns into Dilan arguing that he couldn’t feed himself without assistance.

          [looking] lol … Dilan Esper can eat better than Douglas can.

  17. Mudge says:

    Went to the doctor the other day and we somehow started discussing Trump. He said he was going to vote Trump anyway because Supreme Court. I told him we were 180 degrees apart, never another Scalia, and that a vote for Clinton would be easy for me.

    With a Republican Senate and House the only way to even hope for progressive change is to lock 20 or 30 years into the Supreme Court. That requires Clinton. The stupid of these people, it burns.

    • Joe_JP says:

      It would help if we had a Democratic Senate.

      Have a shot this year.

      • Mudge says:

        It would help Clinton, and I root that it will happen, but just imagine President Trump with a Democratic Senate appointing John Yoo to the Supreme Court.

        Would a Democratic Senate (Schumer) withhold confirmation until the next election? Imagine the apoplexy of Chuck Todd if they tried.

        • NonyNony says:

          You might as well spend that imagining time imagining winning the lottery or imagining benevolent space aliens coming down and telling us that they’re going to solve all of our problems for us because both of those are more likely than a Trump presidency and a Dem Congress.

          If Trump becomes president, there’s no way Congress isn’t a Republican blowout. There’s just no way for Trump to shift the electoral votes without the Senate also getting even deeper Republican.

  18. patrick-pt says:

    There’s this whole bit about “political revolution” that is incoherent. If the Democratic party is as corrupt as they say, then “political” voting isn’t going to cut it, “progressive” change isn’t enough. Revolutions require guns. Or pajamas, white wine, and a keyboard.

  19. Scott Mc says:

    I used to read Smith often, but I haven’t been to nakedcapitalism since she gleefully predicted the supreme court would declare the ACA unconstitutional. She always makes the perfect the enemy of the good.

    Also, when I did read her, I swear she was far more pro Clinton in 2008 than Obama. I may be misremembering and I am not giving her page views to find out, but that was definitely my recollection.

  20. DW says:

    Repeating rea’s comment from the linked 2012 column because it’s just that good:

    The Stoller syllogism:
    All politicians are liars.
    Obama and Romney are politicians.
    Obama claims to be a liberal, while Romney claims to be a rightwinger.
    Therefore, a President Romney would govern to the left of President Obama.

  21. aall says:

    “Despite only two years of Democratic control of Congress, the Obama administration has increased regulation of business, created the most important new federal program in decades, and made the tax code significantly more egalitarian…”

    Wasn’t it more like a few months? Besides Lieberman and Nelson, Kennedy and Byrd were dying and Rethugs in Minnesota kept Franken out of the Senate until July, 2009.

    • Cheerful says:

      You’re correct. And Kennedy was not present that much in the months before he died. If you want to measure a period when the Democrats had 60 senators active and present (never mind that a couple of them are named Nelson and Lieberman) it comes out to about 6 months.

      But of course during those six months they didn’t even try to completely enact the entire progressive agenda. Damn them.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Yes, very good point. Even 2 years overstates the case.

  22. emjb says:

    I already know far more than I ever wanted to about Donald Trump, despite never watching his shows or reading his book or willingly listen to him talk. He is inescapable. How much more known could he be?

  23. junker says:

    It’s been mentioned in this space many times before but it bears repeating – remember that there is a whole class of pundits whose incentives run in the opposite direction of whatever they claim to believe. Much as Rush Limbaugh does better when he has a liberal government to rail against, so too do a lot of liberal pundits do better with a conservative one.

  24. AlexRobinson says:

    To the fellow who would rather “gnaw off my leg” please go ahead. And don’t forget to post the video on YouTube

  25. koolhand21 says:

    Christ, what an asshole.

  26. kped says:

    Scott, your buddy Emmett Rensin of “Liberals are smug, here’s 9000 words not making the case!” has been suspended by Vox for telling people on Twitter to start riots at Trump events. Whocouldaknown??

    http://www.vox.com/2016/6/3/11853096/statement-on-emmett-rensin

    • Rob in CT says:

      Oh, what a shame. *deep sigh*

    • Drexciya says:

      Emmett Rensin is risible and I can’t stand him, but he was much, much closer to correct and consistent than nearly all of his usually-intelligent/insightful liberal peers who picked this period, of all periods, to wax self-righteous with the most specious, moralistic pablum. If people disagree with this, and this, we’re facing a more fundamental and problematic objection than questions of tactical efficacy and one that renders most of the framing around Trump completely incoherent.

      If he’s a fascist, there are responses to fascists that are entirely within the realms of acceptable, even if they’re suboptimal, ill-advised and potentially unnecessary. If he’s an existential threat to existing populations, which he is, there are reactions to that, both organized and disorganized, that reflect the insecurities of people of color, and reflect options which can be undertaken to minimize those insecurities. There are also obligations of empathy, if not solidarity and action, which are conferred by being more secure in such a predicament. Throwing up absolutist moral objections to those who are closer to the fire (or in solidarity with those who are) betrays either a shallow belief in the premises we’re using to discuss Trump, inadequate consideration about the implications of those assumptions being true or a love of order and propriety that’s married to an indifference to the anxieties and fears that the consequences that Trump represents. None of these are acceptable or responsive to the moment.

      If the current debate is more reactionary than ideological (which I assume and hope it is), then it would serve, I think, to actually take some of these notions more seriously and tease out either the grains of a mature discourse, or reiterate the substance of these objections because “VIOLENCE IS ALWAYS WRONG/INEFFECTIVE, THIS IS STILL A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY, THROWING EGGS IS ALSO FASCISM” isn’t even coming close to cutting it.

      • liberal says:

        Here’s Billmon’s take

        My own only objection would be on tactical grounds: is it effective? If we put that concern aside, these responses are entirely legitimate. Just because we have formal democratic rules doesn’t mean Trump’s not a fascist and his follows aren’t fascists. Not to mention that the Right has spent the last 30-40 years overturning norm after norm. Screw them.

      • Brien Jackson says:

        If he’s a fascist, there are responses to fascists that are entirely within the realms of acceptable, even if they’re suboptimal, ill-advised and potentially unnecessary.

        Ok, but if you’re endorsing acts of violence against people engaging in normal political activity based upon the content of their beliefs…then what are you?

        • Drexciya says:

          …then what are you?

          Completely unmoved by people calling organization, rallying and recruitment under the rubric of a white nationalist advocating mass ethnic cleansing “people engaging in normal political activity.” There’s room for disagreement about how to respond, but I’d rather be spared reductive false equivalences.

          • liberalrob says:

            organization, rallying and recruitment

            Nobody is calling these things objectionable. Organize, rally, and recruit against them. But punching them in the face is over the line, for them and for their opponents.

            • kped says:

              He’s (Rensin) not even saying punch them in the face, he’s saying, literally “start a riot”. Riots are quite violent and often destroy a lot of property. I’m not sure how that helps anything.

          • Brien Jackson says:

            I mean….that’s been the Republican Party for at least 20 years now, but in any case a political rally isn’t accomplishing those things anyway. So it’s still a call for violence against the crime of advocacy, not acts (I would completely endorse violent resistance to a whole bunch of President Trump’s policy proposals).

            Anyway, my point was really more about effectiveness. I’d say it’s pretty clear violence won’t dissuade any Trump voters, and acting like fascists strikes me as a bad way to clearly demarcate fascism as being completely out of bounds in American political activity. It probably wouldn’t help Trump, but what happens when his mantle is taken up by a more gifted politician who isn’t such an obvious buffoon next cycle?

          • You seem to be ignoring the existence of any framework within which organization, rallying, and recruitment would function. The framework that exists now doesn’t allow for force to be used within the electoral process, or for that matter against private citizens. Civil disobedience is usually used against private citizens, but in the context of unjust laws. Elections are traditionally almost semi-sacred zones, where it seems like the voters have to be allowed their say, and then if the fascist wins, protest of a new kind would come into play.

        • tsam says:

          1: Holding a rally wherein the leaders are openly calling for banning people of a certain religion, calling for mass deportations, and calling the president of the US one of the people he would ban from entry is NOT normal political activity any more than wearing a lab coat means one is automatically a scientist.

          2: How far does this have to go before something gets done? Do you think there’s another way to stop this?

          I get that rioting outside of Trump rallies isn’t going to have much of an effect, but the reflexive opposition to violence against political oppression is kind of a silly notion that’s way too ingrained in American culture–especially considering the amount of personal violence we have in this country. I might be more radical than the average liberal, but then I’m not naive and stupid enough to think that because I’m not the target of oppression that I won’t be someday, or that I won’t have a FUCKING LOT to answer for if I stood by and let it happen to our brothers and sisters who don’t have the means to stop it.

          • Patick Spens says:

            Do you think there’s another way to stop this?

            Voting, voting is the way to stop Trump.

            I get that rioting outside of Trump rallies isn’t going to have much of an effect

            Do you also get that effect, however small it is, will be to encourage people to vote for Trump?

            • tsam says:

              Voting, voting is the way to stop Trump.

              And if we lose?

              Do you also get that effect, however small it is, will be to encourage people to vote for Trump?

              I tried this argument in response to people criticizing HRC. I was shown that I was being “silly”, as Scott likes to put it. He was right. I don’t buy the idea that he gains more support from rioting anymore than the idea that he’ll lose any.

              • Patick Spens says:

                There’s a significant difference between criticizing Trump’s opponent and providing evidence that his opponents are willing to attack people just for attending his rallies when it comes to convincing people to vote for him.

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  Yeah, I don’t know how big the margins are here, but there’s definitely a non-zero chance that frequent violence against Trump supporters would, in fact, convince whatever #nevertrump types are out there that Democrats are still worse after all. It would probably stem the tide of aggressively anti-Trump media coverage as well.

            • Drexciya says:

              Voting, voting is the way to stop Trump.

              What about those who aren’t recognized as citizens and lack the right to vote, but whose families will be affected, targeted and uprooted by mass deportation? What about those who are in voter suppression states and are practically and literally priced out of the requirements of voting? What if, as has just happened in Ohio, you’re one of the Democrats who was registered, but got purged from the rolls? What if you vote, and the other side has more votes, and Trump wins? What about everything short of his election, up to and including assaulting what have largely been peaceful protesters and whipping up an increasingly extrajudicial movement around creating a white ethnostate? A taste which could easily grow stronger, more independently organized and less tethered to Trump’s cult of personality as Trump persists as a politically supported/legitimized force.

              I’m not understating the value of voting, it’s certainly one tool that can stop one class of problems posed by Trump, for those that are fortunate enough to possess it, but your whole answer is extraordinarily glib about the broad class of violence that’s implicitly and explicitly ordained by Trump regardless of whether he’s elected, and in the absence of responsive solutions or support from people who should know better and do better, people who are closer to the threat will act on a tangible, physical danger that’s hardly addressed by rote appeals to process and norms.

              That process and those norms led us here, after all.

              • Brien Jackson says:

                I still fail to see how any of this explains how:

                1. violence against Trump supporters makes Trump’s election less likely, or

                2. how acting like fascists in opposition to Trump sends the message that fascism is not within the bounds of respectable American politics.

                • tsam says:

                  How is this acting like a fascist? Am I picking on a harmless part is society? Better to wait and organize a resistance after people start getting murdered?

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  How is violence against people directed based upon the content of their political views acting like a fascist?

                  Do you need me to answer that, or can we leave it a rhetorical question?

                • Drexciya says:

                  “The content of their political views” is “organizing around ethnically cleansing you and your family, with armed members of the state.” The more you describe their political views in ways that understate the actual violence in those views, the less interested I become in your objections.

                  Thankfully, some modest objectors aren’t quite so euphemistic:

                  The central premise of a Trump presidency is violence, and the coercive threat of violence: building a wall and intimidating Mexico into paying for it, banning immigrants based on religion, expanding the country’s already-expansive deportation protocol, and punishing women for. His rhetoric has been explicitly linked by prominent Republicans with tragedies such as the Charleston massacre. That the candidate himself regularly speaks threateningly about women and minorities and has prescribed violence at his own events are not facts ancillary to his candidacy, but core features of its appeal. A vote for Donald Trump is, among other things, a vote for a wide promulgation of violence.

                  For many anti-Trump protesters––who may be of Mexican descent––this man who calls Mexican immigrants rapists and threatens the ability of those immigrants to feed their families is not some faceless bigot, but an existential threat. Although he has recently backed away from some of the more controversial human-rights violations in his platform, Trump’s recent racist attacks against Judge Gonzalo Curiel illustrate that bigotry is his primary mode. A justified fear of Trump does not justify violence against an individual just trying to leave a rally. But any prescription for ending political violence must deal with the fact that Trump directs and wields violence, often through his supporters, in ways that upend peaceful means of political discourse.

                  Again, this contemplation of Trumpian violence does not absolve a person who throws eggs from the consequences of that act. But it does counter the idea, expressed by Conor, that political violence can be conquered if one side rises above the fray and refuses to engage. It counters the objectionable creep of respectability politics, that has led some to call on peaceful protesters to abandon Mexican flags so as to not provide ammunition for Trump’s nativist narrative. For decades, people have used a watered-down formulation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence to uniquely burden the powerless with the task of maintaining peace against violent powerful actors. But even Kingian nonviolence was a strategy that itself acknowledged a certain utility in violence; a utility that it rejected, but a utility nonetheless. Moreover, Kingian nonviolence prescribed civil disobedience––mass lawbreaking––as a way to circumvent the uselessness of state-sponsored systems of discourse and to question their legitimacy. Would those who propose nonviolence also commit to supporting massive, disruptive acts of civil disobedience?

                  Nonviolence becomes a cudgel against the oppressed when violent people in power require those without power to adopt it as the sole way of reacting to violence. And the oppression that many people fear from Trump is real and present. The word “fascist” is now regularly applied to Donald Trump—not just by liberals, but by his conservative critics. That suggestion, even if it proves hyperbolic, should chill anyone seriously dedicated to freedom, especially those who already live on the margins of America. Violence is not the answer to that chill. But democracy and nonviolence don’t seem to be working too well, either.

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  @Drex

                  1. First of all, I could not possibly care less about what you’re interested in. Respond or don’t, but you might as well save the preening because I don’t give one single fuck.

                  2. You know what I’m not interested in? Being told that I “describe their political views in ways that understate the actual violence in those views” by someone who is literally advocating violence as a political means. You frankly aren’t any better than Trump supporters and, as per usual, I’m left forming the impression that your guiding worldview is anything more than “I’m right, therefore I have the right and you don’t.” Hell, given the sum total of the positions you’ve taken here at various times, I’m not remotely convinced that, in a contest between you and Trump, that you wouldn’t actually rate as the bigger authoritarian.

                  3. And just to reiterate, you still haven’t even attempted to articulate how violence will either make Trump’s election less likely or establish that fascism is still outside the bounds of respectable politics. Not even an attempt! You’re just embracing and fantasizing about violence for the cathartic thrill of it.

                  4. And the appeals to “power” here are just vapid on their face; Donald Trump is not the President at the moment, nor is the party he represents at the moment. As it stands, Democrats are quite a bit more likely than not to win at least the Presidency and the Senate in this election. To define this as violent resistance of power is motivated reasoning at best.

                • Patick Spens says:

                  “The content of their political views” is “organizing around ethnically cleansing you and your family, with armed members of the state.”

                  So deporting illegal immigrants earns you a paddling. What other political views should people be beaten for expressing in public?

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  Ya know, upon re-reading that, I missed the part where Drex actually used the phrase “ethnic cleansing.” Good God.

                • brad says:

                  I have to say, the idea of rounding up and deporting 11 million people, give or take, kinda does qualify as ethnic cleansing, unless we decide there’s an American exceptionalism exemption like calling nationalism Patriotism.

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  The Obama administration has been pretty aggressive at processing and carrying out deportations, even deporting people back to dangerous battle zones in Central America. Are Obama voters fair game for political violence?

                  Moreover this is a hell of a legal principle. I’m in favor of open borders, but that’s not the law at the moment and, formally, people who migrated here without authorization have committed crimes. The argument that arguing for rote enforcement of existing laws makes assaulting a person permissible is an argument for law-by-mob.

          • Drexciya says:

            1: Holding a rally wherein the leaders are openly calling for banning people of a certain religion, calling for mass deportations, and calling the president of the US one of the people he would ban from entry is NOT normal political activity any more than wearing a lab coat means one is automatically a scientist.

            2: How far does this have to go before something gets done? Do you think there’s another way to stop this?

            I get that rioting outside of Trump rallies isn’t going to have much of an effect, but the reflexive opposition to violence against political oppression is kind of a silly notion that’s way too ingrained in American culture–especially considering the amount of personal violence we have in this country. I might be more radical than the average liberal, but then I’m not naive and stupid enough to think that because I’m not the target of oppression that I won’t be someday, or that I won’t have a FUCKING LOT to answer for if I stood by and let it happen to our brothers and sisters who don’t have the means to stop it.

            All I have to add to this is that people tried the whole non-violent protesting thing a week or so ago in the same state and were kindly pepper sprayed for their troubles by people no doubt engaging in normal political activity. The most “non-violent” and certainly legal version of which will be organizing around and openly supporting the use of the police and the military to mass deport one set of people, outright ban another, and likely worse, with the distinct political possibility that they’ll enact it.

            • Hob says:

              I do not understand what point you’re trying to make about the pepper spray. Yes, one of the risks of non-violent protest is that you might be attacked by violent people. But you’re presenting that (as far as I can tell) as a reason why people should give it up– like, we tried that already, but it turned out to be dangerous! That makes no sense when the alternative you’re suggesting is also dangerous (and also makes it much easier to convince others that pepper-spraying/beating/shooting you was totally justified).

              And you still haven’t explained what you think the actual, practical goal of violence against Trump rallies is supposed to be. Is it to make Trump supporters afraid to attend rallies? I guess, assuming they don’t just hire more security, and/or make sure a bunch of volunteers are on hand who would really like an excuse to fight. But that’s no obstacle to their ability to “organize around and openly support” fascism. The organizing part doesn’t happen at the rallies, and the support can take plenty of other forms including, you know, voting for the fascist.

              It sounds like the main principle here is “I want to be able to be violent because that’ll show everyone how much I don’t approve of this“. And it has the unpleasant side effect of making it easy for you to dismiss anyone’s commitment to the cause if they’re not out there breaking heads. “We need to do something; this is something; we need to do this.” Street fighting sure put a stop to those brownshirts in the last century, didn’t it.

              • Drexciya says:

                But you’re presenting that (as far as I can tell) as a reason why people should give it up– like, we tried that already

                Not at all. Organized groups should perform whatever direct action they deem appropriate, whether it be non-violence, whether it be shutting down streets, whether it be attempts to shout over or barricade gatherings, etc. But organized, disciplined, non-violent groups are neither the only people directly threatened by Trump’s calls for ethnic cleansing, they aren’t the only ones who are going to respond and most importantly, they shouldn’t have an exclusive monopoly on the mantle of respectability and the precise configuration of moral non-messiness that acquires left-liberal support.

                My issue, chiefly, has been that questions of tactical efficacy (which, I reiterate, are sound and are where any objections should be centered) have been replaced by moralistic, tone-deaf browbeating that place considerations of “objectionable violence” on the targets and victims of fascist organization while being, at best indifferent to the anxieties and multiplicity of entirely valid reactions that fascist organization can and will continue to produce. The pepper spray incident wasn’t an effort to discredit non-violence as a tool, it was to, once again show that these “normal, non-violent political expressions of legal political opinions” are being correctly understood by a wide variety of people as something…a little less neutral, less abstract and less non-violent than that language suggests, and are venues that both threaten existing populations while providing umbrellas of empowerment to the people causing the threats. The escalation isn’t being egged on by their choice to be violent or not, the escalation is being egged on by them showing up and asserting their humanity in a place where that humanity is being openly questioned and threatened.

                Some groups will have the patience, the organization and the experience to successfully organize in ways that can avoid silly reactions from people who should and do know better. There are superb groups that will have targeted, practical goals that you and those who share your concerns will find sound, pragmatic and effective. They aren’t the only people liberals should be supporting, especially right now, and they aren’t the only standard we should be using to define defensible actions from people of color.

      • liberalrob says:

        Throwing up absolutist moral objections to those who are closer to the fire (or in solidarity with those who are) betrays either a shallow belief in the premises we’re using to discuss Trump, inadequate consideration about the implications of those assumptions being true or a love of order and propriety that’s married to an indifference to the anxieties and fears that the consequences that Trump represents.

        Well, there is also the bit about incitement to riot and rioting itself being illegal. Not so much an “absolutist moral objection” as “we have laws against disorderly conduct.” So, yeah, “violence” IS always wrong. Because it’s illegal. It may be justified, it may be understandable, but it’s outside the bounds of acceptable behavior in a civilized society according to the rules laid down by that society. The “insecurities of people of color” may be legitimate, but rioting and violence are not acceptable “options which can be undertaken to minimize those insecurities.”

        • tsam says:

          incitement

          Sure–it’s illegal, unless you dress it up in patriotic language and pass it off as defending our exceptional nation.

          Fuck that legal/illegal shit.

      • sharculese says:

        to wax self-righteous with the most specious, moralistic pablum.

        Hey Drex, I’ve come around on you being an insightful and important voice here, but these are the kind of phrases you really really really have to stop writing.

      • Pseudonym says:

        If violence in opposition to potential incipient fascism is acceptable, what’s the argument against assassinating Trump? (And no, of course I’m not in any way advocating for assassination or even violence.)

      • Pseudonym says:

        If he’s an existential threat to existing populations, which he is, there are reactions to that, both organized and disorganized, that reflect the insecurities of people of color, and reflect options which can be undertaken to minimize those insecurities. There are also obligations of empathy, if not solidarity and action, which are conferred by being more secure in such a predicament.

        And what exactly are they? That’s a whole lot of verbiage that doesn’t exactly tease out the grains of a mature discourse. Am I supposed to be encouraging violence? Refraining from discouraging it? Ignoring it? Excusing it because “those people” are just too emotional to think tactically? It would be nice if these lectures of yours had some edifying value. Is preemptive violence justifiable? If so/if not, what do we do about it, other than make online declarations of empathy for the rioters reading LGM right now?

        ETA: Admiral Ackbar sums up my thoughts on responding to Trump with violence quite nicely.

    • djw says:

      “Assaulting Trump supporters is acceptable, so long as you don’t do it smugly”

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Yeah, I must say that it’s not obvious to me why the Daily Show will alienate Trump supporters who would otherwise vote for liberal Democrats, but beating up Trump supporters will totally bring them into the socialist fold.

        (I should note that I’m not talking here about BLM protests or anything else, but strictly about the narrow point made by Rensin here.)

        • liberalrob says:

          I think the idea is to beat up Trump supporters for being Trump supporters (a.k.a. “xenophobic fascists”), not so much to convince them to vote for Bernie.

    • JonH says:

      You know, you can’t make cheese without Emmett Rensin.

      Or, no, that’s “rennet”. Can’t make cheese without rennet.

      • liberalrob says:

        Is this where I say that I had never heard of Emmett Rensin until today, so why should I care what he has to say on Twitter? So he’s an “editor at Vox” (suspended), so big whoop.

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          I have never heard of him either. I learn about all kinds of new people here that are never mentioned elsewhere like Greenwald and DeBoer.

        • kped says:

          Well, Scott wrote a take down of something he’d written about liberal being smug and awful (was over 9,000 words…none of which made his case), so if you’re a reader of this blog, you may have come across that.

  27. tsam says:

    The Politico article sure reads like a right wing sobfest about gay people cramming their “agenda” down our freedom loving throats.

    What they also object to is that the larger bloc of Sanders voters has been treated with abuse and contempt by the Clinton camp

    1: not true
    2: boo fucking hoo.

  28. JonH says:

    I stopped reading Naked Capitalism when “Washington”‘s conspiracy theory posts became a major feature.

    It became the far-left-wing equivalent of ZeroHedge.

  29. The assertion that Obama is a “neoliberal” and “neoliberals” have views indistinguishable from “conservatives” is staggeringly untethered to reality.

    The subhead to this article is “From feeling the Bern to cheering The Donald, Americans are done with acquiescing to the political establishment.” To someone who doesn’t know what any of those words refer to, the two assertions probably seem equivalent. Does that matter? I think so, but maybe you (or somebody) will say I’m just a “conservative,” and anyway, we need the eggs.

    Actually, thinking that Sanders supporters and Trump supporters are opposing the same “establishment” is also untethered from reality, but I guess, the whole egg thing again.

    • liberalrob says:

      I think the major untethering is in the first part of that assertion (“Obama is a neoliberal”). The second half of the assertion (“neoliberals have views indistinguishable from conservatives”) holds up pretty well, I think.

      I don’t think Fraser’s article is saying Sanders supporters and Trump supporters are opposing the same establishment; clearly they aren’t. What he’s saying is Sanders and Trump have both tapped into the same feelings of resentment towards their respective establishments (Left and Right). I’m not sure I agree with some of his definitions, and he seems too eager to legitimize all the Clinton-bashing that’s gone on for decades; but in general I think he gives a good summation of where we are politically and how we got here. The Liberalism that he sees as “besieged” is the “limousine liberalism” allegedly embodied by Hillary Clinton.

      • I disagree. I don’t think any part of the second half is defensible. That just isn’t the way either word is used. It’s just an attempt to smear people who aren’t looking to demolish (what Marxists call) “capitalism” as “conservatives,” a word with less necessarily economic salience.

        I haven’t read what Fraser wrote yet. I assume he didn’t write the headline and wouldn’t hold him responsible for it.

  30. DavidML says:

    Proposed alternative headline for Yves: “Don’t worry, whales only eat krill. Oh, look — krill!”

  31. slothrop1 says:

    She’s right, on balance; Although, the claim for any kind of special knowledge about voters is silly. In any case, there is a correlation between IQ and income.

    All I know is that, were she elected, Prof. Lemieux should watch every person HRC manages to murder. Justice for enthusiastic narratives about his favorite “liberal Democrat.”

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      you’re trying to rehabilitate Bob McManus, aren’t you

      • slothrop1 says:

        Ed McMahon, or Charles Fournier.

      • Malaclypse says:

        you’re trying to rehabilitate Bob McManus, aren’t you

        McManus-sensei at least had troll-fu. Slothrop has troll-fail.

        • slothrop1 says:

          How is your “incrementalism” going? Longer, yet?

          • sharculese says:

            When’s your revolution happening? Never, still?

            • slothrop1 says:

              If you hang out with Malaclypse and his band of Merry Incrementalists any longer, you’ll have to rescue feminism by digging up the corpse Simone de Beauvoir, enjoying the whole thing over again. What a disaster.

              • brad says:

                I don’t think feminism will need you rescuing it from the castle, sorry.

                • sharculese says:

                  Feminism will do what slothrop yells at it to because he is Man and Important.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Feminism will do what slothrop yells at it to because he is Man and Important.

                  I’m sorry, until I see his income tax returns I can’t say if he’s wealthy enough for his incoherent rambling to be worth paying attention to or not.

                • slothrop1 says:

                  Well, HRC is primed to rocket through at least one glass ceiling, synecdoche of the fulfillment of third-wave feminism. Incrementalism collapses into symbolism; and so here we are, “half-destroyed instruments” keeping course at the bottom of the sea.

                • brad says:

                  I had to do it.
                  Translated from English to Afrikaans to Vietnamese and back to English;

                  Well , HRC is a prerequisite to rocket through at least one glass ceiling , synecdoche of the implementation of feminism third wave . Incrementalism collapse of symbols ; and so we’re here , ” half- ruined tool ” of course keep the seabed .

                • slothrop1 says:

                  Actually, Adrienne Rich.

                • sharculese says:

                  synecdoche of the fulfillment of third-wave feminism

                  I’m gonna defer if someone with superior knowledge of the subject wants to chime in, but I don’t this is synecdoche, and I kind of think slothrop is drunk right now because I don’t know how else to explain this post.

                • Hogan says:

                  Clearly you all are thinking more about what slothrop1 says than slothrop1 ever has. As a veteran instructor of freshman English, I urge you to find better uses for your time, like taking apart a set of matryoshka dolls and then putting it back together.

          • wjts says:

            Still producing meaningful political gains, so considerably better than sophomoric Marxist posturing. Shall we compare notes again in five years, comrade?

            • N__B says:

              You have to skip a lot of classes to be a sophomore for five years.

            • slothrop1 says:

              I think it’s interesting that American intellectuals always feel the need to disabuse any impression they are “Marxist.”

              Muddling along towards, let’s see, decreasing life expectancies among low income workers, spectacular levels of inequality, irreversible damage to the environment, global warming, etc. Quite a track record there.

              I swear, I think Lindblom & Dahl poisoned your brains. You should’ve just read Ayn Rand– at least you would’ve learned the idle pleasures of smoking, atheism, and group sex.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                Yes, wjts, why do you support every single policy enacted by state and federal governments in the United States? I assume you’ve been lulled into false consciousness by Merle Haggard’s right-wing policy manifestos.

                • wjts says:

                  What can I say? I’m just a right-deviationist lackey of my imperialist masters. Doubtless if I ever got around to reading Marx’s “Critique of the Gotha Program”, the scales would fall from my eyes and I’d be almost (but not quite!) as smart and insightful as slothrop.

                • Hogan says:

                  I’m sure it has a lot to say about, e.g., the possibilities of social media as a space for political organizing. Maybe I’ll check the index.

              • wjts says:

                I don’t feel the need to “disabuse” (someone who was as smart as he claimed to be would have written “disavow”) anything; I just want to point and laugh at wide-eyed undergraduate radicals who are convinced that they’ve found a heretofore unknown solution to all the world’s problems in their ostentatiously dog-eared copy of The Marx-Engels Reader.

                • slothrop1 says:

                  No, as in “correcting people’s impression” – that you are quick to correct any assumption that an intellectual possesses some affinities with Marxism.

                  Marx is now more relevant than ever.

                • wjts says:

                  You’re still not using “disabuse” correctly, Comrade Intellectual.

              • bender says:

                Thanks for the “Diving Into the Wreck” reference.

                First and Second Wave Feminism made some mistakes in analysis and in choosing allies. Those mistakes did not prevent the movement from achieving a lot of lasting accomplishments. Third Wave Feminists have the salutary example of Margaret Thatcher if they know history. If they don’t know history, they can draw on personal experience of the limits of gender solidarity. I’m not worried about the judgment of Third Wave Feminists.

              • slothrop1 says:

                Yo, Twiggy avatar. Actually my use of the word is appropriate. You did not “disavow” – that would require acknowledging credit that you actually know something. You disabuse because you consign Marx as a belief system.

                • wjts says:

                  That’s not what “consign” means, Comrade Intellectual. Maybe you should skip this week’s meeting of the Spartacist Youth League and visit one of the writing tutors in the student union.

                  P.S. They’re probably going to kick you out of the Marxist Film Club if you keep mistaking Jean Seberg for Twiggy.

    • sonamib says:

      In any case, there is a correlation between IQ and income.

      Yep, slothrop is definitely the most liberal of liberals. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • brad says:

      And will you write notes of apology to all the people Trump deports?

    • tsam says:

      In any case, there is a correlation between IQ and income.

      Donald Trump and Paris Hilton make this self evidently obvious.

      • tsam says:

        “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Did anybody help me out? No.”

        — Craig T. Nelson

      • tsam says:

        “I never got a job from a poor person.”

        — Sean Hannity

      • tsam says:

        “Part of it is jealousy. I stand by that. And here’s why I don’t have a lot of patience for that. My parents, they never played the victim card. My parents never said that we hope the rich people lose something so that we can get something.”

        — Herman Cain

      • tsam says:

        “The amount that I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 … and so by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over …”

        — Congressman John Fleming

      • tsam says:

        “It is hard to ask more of households making $250,000 or $300,000 a year. In large parts of the country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that is associated with wealth.”

        — Senator Chuck Schumer

      • tsam says:

        “Why, oh why, does the media bolster President Obama’s rhetoric by using his term: ‘the rich’? Would it not be more appropriate to say ‘the successful,’ or ‘those who work harder?”

        — Letter to the Editor, Feb 21, 2012 Wall Street Journal

        Come to think of it, I might just be seeing a correlation here…

  32. Joe Bob the III says:

    I think of this as the suicide bomber ethos of politics. Voting for Trump isn’t done for the purpose of accomplishing anything specific. You are just sending someone in to blow the thing up.

    The necessary corollary to just blow it up is: How Could It Be Any Worse Than It Is Now? At the core of HCIBAWTIIN is a kind of American exceptionalism wherein one has no fucking clue how much worse worse can be.

    Maybe your ancestors who lived through the Great Depression and WWII have some idea of what worse is. Even then, American homes weren’t bombed into rubble. People weren’t paying human traffickers $10,000 to smuggle them out of the country. The point being: it can always be much, much worse.

    • tsam says:

      But what’s the point in taking the millions of victims’ word for it? Let’s just experience it and see how it turns out. I’m sure there’s an emergency escape plan built in, right?

  33. Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    We have no idea how bad a Trump administration would be. I do draw some slight comfort from the fact that the Reagan administration was not quite as awful as I suspected.
    But, at worst, a Hillary Clinton would be a third & forth terms ofBill Clinton. At best the 3rd & 4th terms of Barack Obama.

    • vic rattlehead says:

      Yeah but the Reagan Administration was still pretty fucking awful. I have a feeling a Trump Administration will have us pining for Shrub. St. Ronnie will seem like a pinko.

      I wonder what Trump’s cabinet wish list looks like: Steven Seagal as SecDef? He’d probably want to put an anti-vaxxer at HHS. His AG would probably make Ted Cruz seem like a Bolshevik. Actually who am I kidding, experienced political players would eat Trump for breakfast while making him think he was calling the shots. We’d get John Yoo as AG, Paul Clement replacing Scalia, the Senate would love to get Cruz out of there so he’d be confirmed in a heartbeat to anything he was nominated for. We’d probably get some Trump grifters, but Trump’s cronies would get fucking snowed by Republican insiders. Look at what happened to Carter’s DC outsiders he brought with him from Georgia-and they were *smart*. It would be like the silent coup of Bush’s people in the last couple years of the Reagan Administration, except it would start at the beginning of a Trump Administration. Trump may be a natural demagogue, and have a killer political instinct, but I’m calling it now, he and his people will get fucking *snowed*, from day one.

  34. jcc2455 says:

    I’m a Bernie voter who loathes the Clintons, Clintonian Third Way politics and everything about them.

    I also think you’re utterly delusional to believe that Hillary is even marginally serious about the more progressive elements of her policy positions. It’s all Obama Goolsbeeism (don’t worry we’re not really going to renegotiate NAFTA, just need the rubes to vote for us).

    And of course, I’m going to vote and *sigh* canvass for Hillary. As I would have against any of the clown car inhabitants, most of whom are only nominally saner than Trump.

    Disappointed to see Yves write something that dumb. The problem is that too many smart high income progressives spend 364 days a year earning their high incomes and spending a few minutes a day complaining about the Republicans. Their whole political lives are bound up in Election Day.

    Elections are snapshots. Spend the year building movements, fighting for justice and against injustice. Come election season, take stock, do whatever can be done and go back to movement building including taking over your local Democratic Party, or yes, creating a local 3rd party alternative if the local situation is ripe for it.

    BTW, Yves is credible enough to merit a response. But you spend a lot of time setting up people like HA as straws and knocking them down. Waste of column inches. They’re no more a threat than the Hillary bitter-enders were in 2008. Stop feeding the trolls.

  35. […] any event, Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money gave it his treatment, and I don’t imagine I could improve on that.  Instead, I’d like to make a more general point […]

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