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“…a smooth, untroubled expression on his face.”

[ 215 ] September 19, 2016 |

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How Trump gets normalized:

“Everyone is saying, oh, is there a bromance between Vladimir Putin and all this stuff,” Fallon began, looking down at his desk. “And what is the celebrity nickname for you guys? Vlump, I thought of Vlump.”

“I don’t know him,” Trump replied, contradicting previous statements. “I know nothing about him really. I just think if we got along with Russia that’s not a bad thing.”

It was an extraordinarily low and depressing display of pandering, and it was tough to figure out. Did Fallon think being polite to a guest meant ignoring his past year of racist, sexist, Islamophobic rhetoric? Did he just not care? The jokes weren’t even good.

Anyway, it culminated with Fallon asking to play with Trump’s hair, while they’re both still “civilians.”

“The next time I see you, you could be the president of the United States,” Fallon noted, a smooth, untroubled expression on his face.

For a reference on how this can be done far better, here’s an old Letterman clip going around, in which he reflects on the fact that Trump is a racist and how it’s time to stop making lighthearted quips about his hair.

The basic dynamic of the race right now is that previously uncommitted Republican voters are shifting back to Trump, turning this into something vaguely resembling a “normal” election at the ballot box. Clinton remains favored because 1)the Democratic coalition is bigger and 2)with his threadbare campaign operation Trump is likely to under-perform his polls on Election Day. But Trump has a puncher’s chance, and the media’s acceptance of him as just another candidate who merely Does It like the Other Side is a major reason why.

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  • Murc

    I would like to go on the record right now that Trump not getting blown apart in November, even if he loses, will be a horrible outcome for the nation and our body politic.

    A white nationalist managing to get Romney numbers will be an enormous step backwards. Say what you will about Romney, and I’ve said plenty, but he wasn’t, you know… a Nazi. He wasn’t going to send his brownshirts to ethnically cleanse the nation.

    If he doesn’t get blown out, come 2020, every single Republican candidate will be an adherent of Trumpism, only they’ll be better at it than Trump because they’ll have self-discipline and not be incompetent at the nuts-and-bolts of electioneering.

    Hell, that might happen even if he takes a Goldwateresque drubbing… but if he doesn’t, that just makes it more likely to happen.

    As for Fallon, I understand that he’s an entertainer, not a newsman. Generally speaking it is not their job to, you know, come out swinging. You can do that. John Oliver does it all the time. But it isn’t a part of the job description usually.

    However.

    Even entertainers have certain social responsibilities, and I’d argue that Trump is so vile that merely agreeing to have him on your jokes-and-yuks late night comedy show makes you complicit.

    Has Trump been on Kimmel yet? Kimmel seems more his speed; “The Man Show” was the kind of garbage that Trump probably thought was avant-garde hilarity.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      Has Trump been on Kimmel yet? Kimmel seems more his speed

      Twice.

      The first time, he was presented with the Seuss-esque book “Winners Aren’t Losers,” and the second time with the sequel “Winners Still Aren’t Losers.”

    • Sly

      As for Fallon, I understand that he’s an entertainer, not a newsman.

      Before being either an entertainer or a newsman, Jimmy Fallon is, first and foremost, the heir of Jay Leno. This kind of superficial “YOU’RE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT WHAT A RIOT” pablum is to be expected. It’s textbook Leno.

      • LeeEsq

        Trump has been using his celebrity status masterfully in this election and the media’s celebrity worshipping ways have made their coverage of him worse.

      • Dilan Esper

        Rowan and Martin (who were 40 times better than David Letterman) started it with Nixon.

        And blaming a comedian for HRC’s potential failure is a new low.

        • Norrin Radd

          Yeah, say what you will about the media, but few Late Night comedians make a habit of doing political humor. Colbert, Oliver, Stuart, Wilmore, and Bee. Two of those folks don’t have shows anymore.

    • Ghostship

      Surely no worse than the implcations of the USAF becoming known as ISIS’s Air Force now that it’s providing CAS for them.

      • Yes but is it ISIS’s independent Air Force or is it the ISIS Army Air Forces?

        • N__B

          It’s the ISIS Independent air Service. You know: ISISIS.

      • ajay

        Surely no worse than the implcations of the USAF becoming known as ISIS’s Air Force now that it’s providing CAS for them.

        The USAF has always had difficulty distinguishing between “providing CAS for” and “dropping bombs on”, as many US and allied soldiers could testify.

        • CP

          World War Two joke: “When the German planes fly overhead, Allied soldiers duck. When the British planes fly overhead, German soldiers duck. When the American planes fly overhead, everybody ducks.”

    • David Allan Poe

      I started this election agreeing with this idea, that Trump was a harbinger of things to come, the tip of a bloody and ugly spear. I’ve come around, though. It doesn’t matter how much he loses by, for as long as he loses that’s one more half pint of blood out of the resilient yet slowly dying body of American white supremacy.

      It’s much better if he loses big, and it’s almost infinitely better if the Democrats take the Senate, but a loss is a loss. Look at the Grant thread earlier- the brilliance of Grant’s Virginia campaign lay partly in the fact that he realized from the outset that any victory at all was a victory. He nearly broke through at the Mule Shoe, the battle of the Crater almost worked, if Butler hadn’t gotten himself hemmed in he might have gotten to Richmond before Lee could get in front of him. The great moment in that campaign came earlier, though, after the horrific slaughter in the Wilderness, when Grant led the Army of the Potomac down the road out. Every time before, they’d turned left, north, back towards Washington and safety. This time, though, they went south, and the whole army lost their minds with happiness because they realized that they were really going to do it this time, they were really going to push and really going to win, or fail trying.

      I really thought that we would see visible, serious armed insurrection of some sort happen during Obama’s presidency, based on spending a lot of time with the sort of person who claims to be interested in that sort of thing. But we didn’t, and the reason why is that those people are either old cranks or young dipshits with no real reason to go to the mat for some halfassed dream of former glory. They’ll complain, they’ll lose elections, and then they’ll die. When the best you’ve got is Ammon Bundy and Donald Trump, you ain’t going nowhere

      • Warren Terra

        Goldwater lost big, and perhaps there was a brief return to bland establishmentarianism with Nixon, but on the other hand Reagan (or his handlers, whatever) is now widely described as having recognized in the energy that propelled Goldwater to the nomination an opportunity to take over and remake the GOP, and by combining a cadre of Goldwateresque zealots and some better salesmanship and focus-tested bullsh!t, to take over and remake the country, as well.

        • David Allan Poe

          But Goldwater was new in a way Trump isn’t. Goldwater was the first national incarnation of the modern far right. Reagan was an early ally and keen student of his, in a world where white men were much more important in presidential politics. Trump is just a descendent. He doesn’t offer anything new at all. And there really isn’t much to build on with him. What are you going to be? More racist?

          • McAllen

            What are you going to be? More racist?

            Yes

            • Right?

              “Challenge accepted!”

            • Warren Terra

              I mean, obviously.

              I’m trying to think of the last time a major-party (ie excluding breakaway Dixiecrats) national politician (President, Presidential nominee, maybe Speaker or Senate Leader) was so openly racist as Trump, and I’m really struggling to think of anyone. Like, as in going back a century or even more, maybe you have to go back to the anti-Chinese bills or the Palmer Raids to find a time when the President/nominee, however bigoted they were personally, didn’t find it necessary to talk real nice. Trent Lott broke this rule, and paid for it.

              Now, I’m handicapped by just using my own poorly informed recollections, but even when we had a bunch of Presidents who by reading between the lines any idiot could see blatantly didn’t give a sh!t about gay folks, or Black folks, or Jews, they simply weren’t so crude about it in the way Trump is.

              And: it’s worked for him, and if he were more disciplined and more able to do the famous “pivot” he’d be completely getting away with it.

              So, yeah, we can expect a lot more open racism, of a sort that I think genuinely is new.

              • so-in-so

                Did Wallace “talk nice”? Serious question, I was too young to really remember, but I thought he was pretty much explicit racism as a key platform point.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Wallace was never close to being a major party nominee.

                • Norrin Radd

                  But there weren’t 16 candidates razor slicing the electorate back then.

                  Let’s ask so-in-so’s question differently: How closely did Wallace’s numeric support mirror Trump’s?

                • Murc

                  But there weren’t 16 candidates razor slicing the electorate back then.

                  There weren’t this time either. There were, what, five guys standing going into Iowa?

                  Trump got a hugely strong plurality of the Republican vote, and when the field was winnowed to him and one other dude, he started winning… majorities.

              • CP

                I’m trying to think of the last time a major-party (ie excluding breakaway Dixiecrats) national politician (President, Presidential nominee, maybe Speaker or Senate Leader) was so openly racist as Trump, and I’m really struggling to think of anyone

                It’s less that other presidents weren’t racist and more that racism wasn’t the primary platform of their campaign. Pre-Civil-War candidates, I’m sure you could find people who matched Trump, but not as much after, I think – even Reagan’s goons had the good sense to disguise the racism and stress traditional Republican themes of small government and bootstraps and the wonders of capitalism.

                And yeah, to me, it does make a difference when 45% of the country minimum not only has racial prejudice, not only allows that racial prejudice to affect their votes, but is now voting on literally nothing else but the racism. That’s the kind of mentality that normally precedes the Krystallnacht type moments.

              • Mark Field

                I haven’t tried to check the public speeches, but the main Dem candidates in 1924 were pretty bad. William Gibbs McAdoo was the Klan candidate and he would have won but for the 2/3 rule in existence back then. The actual nominee, John Davis, is most famous for representing the Topeka Bd of Educ in Brown. John Nance Garner is another candidate for what you want, but again I don’t know about his public statements. And while Wilson didn’t SAY much that was racist, he DID quite a bit.

          • efgoldman

            But Goldwater was new in a way Trump isn’t.

            Goldwater didn’t have the benefit of the reaction to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. By 1968, Tricksie Dicksie Nixie’s Southern Strategy, Wallace’s joining the race, RFK getting shot, and general disarray in the Democratic party moved the country to the Republiklowns.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Goldwater did have the benefit of reaction to the Civil Rights Act. The only states he won besides his home state of Arizona were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Ike won Lousiana in ’56. Other than that, it was the first time any of these deep South states had voted Republican since the collapse of Reconstruction in the 1870s.

              • (((Hogan)))

                He did have the CRA (1964), and the events leading up to it (Birmingham, March on Washington, Medgar Evers, Wallace in the schoolhouse door, Freedom Summer, Schwerner/Chaney/Goodman, etc.).

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Sorry, meant that as a reply to efg.

            • Pat

              Goldwater probably wasn’t getting covert support from the Russians.

              I anticipate fighting this battle over and over again as long as Putin is in power in Russia.

      • djw

        Right. Insofar as Trump represents a shift in Republican politics, his primary innovation is “racists like it even more when we trade in the dog whistle for a bullhorn.” But the demographic window of opportunity for a white supremacist candidate is closing, because the white percentage of the electorate will continue to decline, and because under-30 white people are notably less enamored of this performance than previous generations. If it can’t work now, there’s little reason to believe a bit more discipline will save it in four years, particularly with the indignity of living under a black president relegated to history.

        His secondary innovation, “white racists don’t actually hate entitlement programs as much as Republican elites,” could be useful for future Republicans, but it’s not so easily disentangled from the other thing. Promising to protect entitlements sounds a lot better to a certain kind of voter when accompanied by a credible promise to make sure it goes to the right people. (And it’s a trivial part of his appeal in any case.)

        • Pat

          It’s not a trivial part of his appeal. It’s the majority of his appeal.

          • djw

            You think his (occasional, inconsistent) relative moderation on entitlement programs by Republican standards, not his racism, is the “majority” of his appeal? Really?

        • Murc

          But the demographic window of opportunity for a white supremacist candidate is closing

          Is it really, though?

          I mean… the Republicans only need to win once. Can the Democrats keep up an unending string of victories against the white nationalists, fascists, theocrats, and crypto- versions thereof the Republicans are likely to keep nominating for the forseeable future?

          I’ve said this before: I’m worried the Republicans have solved politics. The conventional wisdom is “if you get beat a few times you change your policies in order to better appeal to the electorate.” What if that isn’t actually true? What if you’re eventually going to get back in anyway, if for no better reason than that the other side screws up, and you just have to bide your time and wait patiently and then one day they’re swearing in President Tom Cotton?

          • They haven’t “solved” politics. Everything isn’t ruined forever if the Republicans win. If they win, they aren’t going to cancel elections, why should they now if they win? It’s only the end of politics if it’s the end of the world. I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of the shitstorm if the Republicans win, because people will die when they do. They will start wars, they will torture people, they will remove the support that keeps people from dying from chronic medical conditions, from poverty and from pregnancy. But America will survive, (even if lots of Americans don’t) and Democrats will almost certainly have another chance to run for president, of a much poorer, much sicker, USA.

            • Brad Nailer

              Unfortunately, that’s the dream of the “burn it all down and start over again” crowd.

      • But we didn’t, and the reason why is that those people are either old cranks or young dipshits with no real reason to go to the mat for some halfassed dream of former glory. They’ll complain, they’ll lose elections, and then they’ll die.

        I am somewhat sympathetic to this analysis, but the margins are frightfully thin. Clinton is very likely going to spend her entire term with a Republican House, and at least half of it with a Republican Senate. The best we can hope for is legislative stagnation, and that means that all the problems that rightfully piss people off – crap jobs, rent too damn high, piss poor health insurance, etcetera – will almost certainly still be with us come 2020. This year the vaunted fundamentals are strongly in the Democrats favor – economy doing okay and moving in the right direction, popular incumbent – that might not be the case four years from now when we’re going for a fourth straight term.

        That said…

        If he doesn’t get blown out, come 2020, every single Republican candidate will be an adherent of Trumpism, only they’ll be better at it than Trump because they’ll have self-discipline and not be incompetent at the nuts-and-bolts of electioneering.

        Hell, that might happen even if he takes a Goldwateresque drubbing… but if he doesn’t, that just makes it more likely to happen.

        This is a very real possibility. Someone who can yoke and stroke the white anger/fear vote without being an incompetent buffoon (say, Tom Cotton or a version of Ted Cruz that has learned how to act passably human) would be very dangerous indeed. As frustrating as these last six years of Obama have been, he still has these huge accomplishments he can point to from his first two years. Four complete years of gridlock under Clinton could easily discourage Democratic voters while encouraging that white backlash vote. And Trump has given them the blueprint for how to do it.

        • Johnny Sack

          In a sane world, I wouldn’t be too terrified of, say, Ben Sasse winning in 2020. I mean, it would obviously be unpleasant, to say the least, for me and many other people, but it wouldn’t be quite as apocalyptic a scenario as an ethnonationalist winning. And a Republican is going to make it back into the White House some day, so better it be one of the sanest Republicans available.

          But as concerned as I am about 2020, the battle we have to fight right now is 2016.

          I’m not terribly concerned about Tom Cotton. He is far more conventionally attractive (N.B. I’m grading on the DC curve) than Tailgunner Ted, but he has all the charisma of a wet paper bag. He makes Romney look like Cary Grant.

          Part of me thinks that it would’ve been better to have Clinton win in 08, and be handing over the reigns to Obama. I don’t think Clinton is quite as bad a campaigner as the conventional wisdom says, but for some reason I would feel far more confident going into 2020 with Obama as the incumbent.

          • Pat

            Well, yeah, because he won and you know he won. When Clinton pulls this out everyone will say they knew she was going to win.

            I’m anticipating the debates, big time.

            • Brad Nailer

              Your lips, God’s ear.

              Wait, does God even have ears? I mean, he’s God, right? Just askin’.

        • so-in-so

          Presumably a more conventional Republican can “learn” that overt racism is a powerful motivator, and also do better at running a conventional campaign (hiring consultants, doing data and GOTV). They probably don’t have Trumps’s skill at working the media, and to the extent they tone-down the overt racism they also turn off the main excitement of the Trump base. This also assumes Trump doesn’t make another try – the GOP never runs the same person twice in a row, but then they never had a Trump style candidate before, either.

          • Pat

            Probably depends on how much money he makes this time. But he’ll be 76 in 2020.

    • JohnT

      It’s not just the white nationalism. Unless the media completely turn on him soon, post-truth politics will be with us for a long time. And although white nationalism is a scary force, it’s one that’s been around a long time and is in long term decline. But post-truth/ post-fact politics would seem to be completely corrosive of any kind of working democracy over the medium to long term.

      • Warren Terra

        I agree it’s important to highlight Trump’s success as a post-truth politician, that little of what he says even constitutes a meaningful claim, and 90% (literally!) of the meaningful assertions he does make are misleading at best, or completely false. This separately from his mobilizing White Nationalism.

      • Rob in CT

        Yeah, this.

      • Johnny Sack

        Post-truth politics? Haven’t we been there for at least a decade now?

        • JohnT

          Only the tentative, shifty sort, which is not much different from what all sorts got up to throughout the 20th century. I do feel Trump is different. He really just makes it all up. He lies repeatedly not just about the possible effects of his policies (which has been a part of the landscape for a while – see ‘Republican tax policies’ or the Brexit campaign in the UK), or complex facts (climate change) but about simple facts (Donald Trump stopped talking about Birtherism after the long form birth certificate was released. Hillary doesn’t have a childcare plan. Etc).

          It is true that this is one more step on a road we were already on, but to me it seems the final and most fatal one. If we can’t agree on basic facts then we can’t have any kind of rational debate at all, and rational debate sits at the heart of how historically a liberal democracy was supposed to work. It seems to lead inexorably to illiberal democracy (we don’t care who’s right, just who is more numerous) and thence to authoritarianism (if you think Trump has a version of the truth which is right beyond rational disputation, logically you should just leave him in charge of everything for ever and move on to watch NASCAR).

          • so-in-so

            “Death panels” and “killing granny” were things that mainstream GOP candidates said. So were comments about Obama being Kenyan – Hucksterbee gave a 10 minute monologue on Fox about how Obama being born in Kenya, under British colonial rule and the Mau-mau rebellion influenced him growing up… it wasn’t off-the-cuff and it wasn’t like uzbeki-beki-beki-stan uninformed of the world in general, it was a specific lie about then-candidate Obama spoken about to a sympathetic press channel at some length.

            • Johnny Sack

              We’re also 20+ years into mainstream hate radio and Fox News. The latter is actually treated as a serious media outlet by the rest of the media. If anything ushered in the era of post-truth politics, it was the smothering of the Fairness Doctrine in the 80s. This isn’t new, it’s just a logical next step. The latest domino to fall, if you will.

            • JohnT

              I don’t entirely agree with your first point – ‘death panels’ were a massive distortion of two real things (a growing realisation that some rationing is required in healthcare and some ideas to do that more scientifically) which were just massively distorted and emotive language put around it. That’s within the (stupid) bounds of democratic politics. And there have always been mendacious candidates but they have typically either been exposed or bracketed with the eccentric no-hopers (which is basically what happened to Huckabee). Serious, repeated plain-fact mendacity would lose you your Very Serious Person badge which in national elections is a real problem.

              Again although Politifact is obviously not perfect I think it’s telling that 50% of Donald Trump’s assessed statements are marked up as straightforwardly ‘False’ or worse. That compares to an already dire 25% from Romney and 12-15% for Clinton and Obama. This is just a different order of lying

              • Pat

                Serious, repeated plain-fact mendacity would lose you your Very Serious Person badge which in national elections is a real problem.

                It’s as if you’ve never heard of Paul Ryan, JohnT.

                • JohnT

                  I have not only heard of him but disagree with him on most things. But again, go to Polifact to examine his honesty record. You will see that he very frequently says things about the future effect of his or his own policies that seem very unlikely at best, but as I say above that’s not a new kind of mendacity and it is very hard to stop people doing it. What you will find very little of saying something about today’s reality is a fact when it provably is not. In fact his score for ‘False’ in this respect is in fact lower than even Obama’s. He is clearly playing a game, but at least seems to try and work without creating an alternate factual reality.

                  I stand by my contention that Trump does not even try to base what he does and says on a reality, that that is genuinely new at this level, and that it is dangerous. And trying to lump in Ryan with that is unhelpful. If we’re going have a liberal democracy we need to be able to have a conversation whilst disagreeing profoundly and for that we need some mutually agreed facts.

                  I mean, what next? We’re not that far from the first presidential debate being:

                  HOST: Mrs Clinton, why should you be President?

                  CLINTON: Well, for a start my 4 year stint as Secretary of State has given my the experience I need to handle foreign and military affairs, the most fundamental part of the office of President.

                  HOST: That’s great! Mr Trump, how about you?

                  TRUMP: Well, firstly I have already been Secretary of State for 6 years, and President for 4. I have great understanding of the situation. Also the hugest part of the Presidency is real estate deals, and I’ve got 30 years experience of those. So I’m the guy. She’s just a hobo who the Democrats conscripted at their convention who has alcoholism, dementia and a heroin addiction

                  HOST: Some good points there, Mr Trump! Now to the economy….

        • msobel

          You have to include how Gore was treated. As well as Bush support until the financial crisis when he was finally shown to be as totally ineffectual as he had always been. So from 1999 at least. And IMHO the press treatment of Bill Clinton was bad and fact free from the beginning. Look at the evolution of the word “clintonian” meaning lying.

      • CP

        Yep, I agree with this too. The completely post-truth nature of modern conservatism is one of the things in it that reminds me the most of the old totalitarian parties, and Orwell’s review of them.

        It is, of course, deeply buried in American politics. One of the statistics about America that’s always terrified me the most is that fully half of the population refuses to “believe in” Darwinian evolution. In the twenty-first century. The GOP’s been good at using the post-truth mentality for a long time, and it was always something we were going to have to reckon with in a big way.

    • efgoldman

      every single Republican candidate will be an adherent of Trumpism, only they’ll be better at it than Trump because they’ll have self-discipline and not be incompetent at the nuts-and-bolts of electioneering.

      True. But it’s also true that the Democrats, having gone thru it this cycle, will know better how to deal with it.
      I still think they made a mistake organizationally and politically by allowing “normal” Republiklowns to run away from Orange Shitgibbon instead of supergluing him to their asses.

      • ArchTeryx

        The Democrats have been furiously trying to do just that (except for the hapless Strickland in Ohio). It’s the media, already quite wired for Republicans, that is both normalizing Trump and allowing other Republicans to run away from him. They’ve got a thumb on both parts of the scale there.

        • Linnaeus

          Here in Washington, the Hillary Clinton ads I’ve seen are all about how other Republicans object to Trump and consider him dangerous. I don’t know why her campaign is doing that – Trump’s “badness” is well established and I don’t see many more voters, especially Republican voters, making their decision based on that.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    Never could stomach Fallon, but could never put my finger on why exactly. Now I have a better idea.

    • jeer9

      Fallon can be quite funny with his impressions and music-related comedy; but the stupid games are tedious, he’s a terrible interviewer, and his need to be liked by everyone (even the repugnant idiot fascist) makes him the worst sort of schmoozer. Has he ever had a guest who wasn’t the greatest, incredibly talented, just the best, we all love him, his latest project will just blow your mind, ad nauseum. Lightweight seems an understatement.

      Colbert was strangely a little bit snippy with Oliver Stone the other night (thought Snowden was well made and deserved better reviews than it received – it also has the perfect Greenwald moment) and wonder if all those dinners at the White House are making him sensitive to criticism of BHO on NSA issues.

      Sully is worth seeing as well; and though I don’t usually enjoy that type of film, the way they set up the narrative around flashbacks and the investigation into the pilot’s decisions created more tension than you thought possible and made its conclusion quite riveting and inspiring. (The phone call scenes with his wife should have been cut back on and poor Laura Linney’s talent was wasted in the role.)

      • Only one problem: Sully didn’t happen that way:

        Tom Haueter, who was the NTSB’s head of major accident investigations at the time and is now a consultant, said he fears [the inaccurate portrayal of the NTSB investigation in] the movie will discourage pilots and others from fully cooperating with the board in the future.

        “There is a very good chance,” said Haueter, “that there is a segment of the population that will take this as proof of government incompetence and it will make things worse.”

        • I haven’t seen the movie yet.

          It sounds like Eastwood just couldn’t leave his politics out of it.

          • Halloween Jack

            That’s why I won’t see it. I wasn’t super-inclined to see it anyway, after Eastwood’s cinematic knob-job for Chris Kyle, but when I heard about his depiction of the Eebil Gummint Bureaucracy, it went into the hard nope column. (Tom Hanks said that the real Sully asked to have the NTSB board members’ names changed when he read the first script.)

            • Lester Freamon’s Tweedy Impertinence

              Seems like a missed opportunity to leave the names the same and open Eastwood’s retrograde ass to a libel suit, thus, if nothing else, publicizing the shittiness of his historical revisionism.

            • ArchTeryx

              As below, I have no idea why Sullenberger agreed to the script in the first place. The NTSB cleared him, and they’re union folks, same as he is. His one political issue is the importance of unions, and he let Eastwood take a dump all over it.

              • jeer9

                His one political issue is the importance of unions, and he let Eastwood take a dump all over it.

                I must have missed that. I thought the union representatives were portrayed as supportive and sympathetic.

                There had to be a villain, and the villain was the Evil Government Bureaucrats of the NTSB.

                While the main two NTSB investigators came across as hard-nosed and skeptical about Sullenberger’s interpretation of events (which may or may not be how it really happened – but describing them as villains seems a stretch), they were sort of necessary as dramatic foils if the end goal is vindication and appreciation of the pilot’s heroism. Otherwise, you’ve got a fairly simple, straightforward documentary, not a feature film.

                Completely ignored the truth that the ones who were trying to villainize Sullenberger were the airline suits, because they thought he could have saved their expensive aircraft

                This fact was brought up in the initial conference, though the suits did not have the power or weight to carry the “plot,” imaginary as it appears to be.

                I have no idea why Hanks and Sullenberger, both die-hard liberals, agreed to Clint Eastwood’s editorializing script.

                Uhhh, because they wanted to tell a story about an amazing feat, and the protagonist needed some obstacle to overcome, outside the actual event that occurred.

                While I’m all for examining the political aspects of any creative work, Eastwood’s sin in this film appears to be contriving the NTSB as obstinate and relentless in its fact-finding (when I guess they should have been pushovers) but ultimately convinced of Sullenberger’s rightness when the full details emerge.

                Why doesn’t my videocam just produce Moliere?

                • ArchTeryx

                  Maybe my political radar is tuned a bit too tight, but the NTSB folks were shown as quite sloppy when it came to setting up the practice runs (where they all diverted safely – false) and gave them no credit for locating and testing the detached engine (false – they located it, arranged for it to be brought in, tested it, AND arranged for the bird bits to be tested at the Smithsonian to trace them).

                  That it was a woman that was the most hard nosed of all is a compliment, I suppose, but I got more of a vibe of ‘bitch trying to neuter a real American hero’ in the way she was portrayed.

                  The real NTSB investigation was done exactly as it should have been – no agenda, go where the data takes you. It exonerated Sullenberger and showed that the airline and engine manufacturers had major holes in their testing and training regimes.

                  Air Crash Investigations did a far better, more objective job of actually showing how the investigation proceeded and how it was handled.

                • jeer9

                  but the NTSB folks were shown as quite sloppy when it came to setting up the practice runs (where they all diverted safely – false)

                  Because they had not considered the 35 seconds it took for Sullenberger and Skiles to assess the damage. The simulators immediately headed to the two alternative airports as soon as the birds hit as if they already knew the seriousness of the accident. Once this factor, the human element, was calculated in, it became clear that Sullenberger’s decision was correct. Artistic license? Sure, but not evil.

                  gave them no credit for locating and testing the detached engine (false – they located it, arranged for it to be brought in, tested it,

                  This fact was introduced at the end of the big hearing by the “bitchy” Gunn character, who then launched into a paean to the greatness of Sully’s conduct.

                  Air Crash Investigations did a far better, more objective job of actually showing how the investigation proceeded and how it was handled.

                  Is that a film worth seeing?

          • ArchTeryx

            He absolutely could not. There had to be a villain, and the villain was the Evil Government Bureaucrats of the NTSB.

            Completely ignored the truth that the ones who were trying to villainize Sullenberger were the airline suits, because they thought he could have saved their expensive aircraft, and they believed the engine manufacturer when they said that the engines had been tested against bird strikes and passed. While the NTSB always investigates human error as a possibility, their investigation cleared Sullenberger. They did indeed run human pilot tests both with the water landing and attempting to divert, and they crashed every time. They found the detached engine and definitively showed that ingesting Canada Geese can wreck a modern jet engine. Their fault lay squarely with the airline for lack of water landing training, and with the engine manufacturers for not properly testing the engine against large bird strikes.

            Drove me nuts, because it sullied (no pun intended) an otherwise fantastic story. I have no idea why Hanks and Sullenberger, both die-hard liberals, agreed to Clint Eastwood’s editorializing script.

            • Johnny Sack

              Sully I don’t get, but Hanks, I dunno. Hollywood, especially at the A-list level, is a very small place. I’m sure Hanks has the pull to get even Eastwood to do what he wants, but they travel in such a small professional circle maybe he didn’t want to rock the boat? Or maybe he just doesn’t know all the details of the story beyond “Pilot is calm under pressure and makes safe emergency landing.” Or he just didn’t think it through. I’m sure Hanks is a nice guy and all, but do you really think he’s like Daniel Day Lewis level committed/obsessed? Read the script, try not to think about it too much, show up, shoot your shit, collect your $20 mil, go home.

            • rea

              There had to be a villain, and the villain was the Evil Government Bureaucrats of the NTSB.

              It ought to have been the geese, if anyone.

              • ArchTeryx

                The (blackly funny) side story was the suspect geese were locals, from a Riker’s Island flock. They were not locals. They were some of those furriner geese from Canada.

                The not-at-all-funny part is that it could easily happen again. LaGuardia is just too close to bodies of water to keep safe from birds.

          • Johnny Sack

            The last essential Eastwood movie is probably Unforgiven.

            Bridges of Madison County is solid, Million Dollar Baby and Iwo Jima/Flags were solid too (I really hated Mystic River, but some people would say that’s a great one).

            But I wouldn’t say anyone who didn’t see them was missing out. Unforgiven is the last Eastwood movie about which I would say “If you like movies, you should see this one or you’re missing out.”

            And goddamn is Tom Hanks boring. He’s like the plain porridge of Hollywood.

            • GeoX

              And Gran Torino was so bad I was sure it HAD to be a joke. But apparently not!

        • CP

          Thanks for the review. I won’t go see it. The world isn’t so devoid of “lone hero must go up against evil and incompetent bureaucrats who presume that he needs oversight” that I feel the need to go see another one.

    • NewishLawyer

      Fallon is a light and inoffensive entertainer. I like his karaoke battles sometimes. But he should stick away from interviewing politicians if he wants to be a light and inoffensive entertainer.

  • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

    From Fallon’s Wiki page:

    Fallon dropped out of The College of Saint Rose a semester shy of a degree to move to Los Angeles to pursue comedy full-time.

    I don’t really see how Scott is in a position to complain about the man.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Fallon#Comedy_beginnings

    • Schadenboner

      So, did he ever catch comedy?

      • (((Hogan)))

        Comedy is reportedly still at large. Approach with caution.

    • vic rattlehead

      Keep fucking that chicken.

      • Scott Lemieux

        His belief in my undying loyalty to a particular institution is hilarious on multiple levels.

        • wjts

          That institution in particular, unless I missed some good news about an appeal.

          • Scott Lemieux

            You didn’t!

            • Johnny Sack

              Their loss.

            • wjts

              Well, fuck. Sorry to hear that.

            • MyNameIsZweig

              Yeah, that sucks. Sorry to read it, Scott.

  • LeeEsq

    The issue is whether uncommitted Republicans would have shifted back to Trump without the media normalizing him. American politics has been in a very partisan and hyper-tribal period for decades. You could make a good faith argument that even if the media treated Trump as it should, most Republican voters would eventually fall into line based on previous elections. We can’t look into an alternative universe where the press has done its job to find out.

    • DocAmazing

      No, we’re stuck in this universe where the bulk of the major media really, really sucks.

    • howard

      I always assumed hatred of the she-devil would bring Republicans home, but media coverage has made it easy for them.

      • Me too. I didn’t get my official LGM prediction in on time, but I never thought Trump would do worse than 1-2 points behind Romney. The Clinton hate runs strong with them. How much of that is longstanding and how much is the Matt Lauer level Both Sides coverage…I have no idea.

        • Johnny Sack

          I think it’s adorable when NBC lets Matt play journalist!

          • Scott Lemieux

            What is this, THE GODDAMN UN NOW?

            • Johnny Sack

              “By the way, Donald, what’s your least favorite country? Italy or France?”

              • (((Hogan)))

                Heh heh. No one ever says Italy.

        • CP

          Ditto. I don’t remember if I posted it on LGM or not, but I always thought it’d be a normal campaign in terms of electoral votes. Virtually all the Republicans who could be turned off by an overtly racist campaign have already left.

      • NewishLawyer

        Clinton is still doing much better with college-educated whites than any previous Democratic President in modern history but this is proving to be a less inconsequential vote than pundits/pollsters perceived because college-educated whites tend not to live in consequential states.

    • CP

      The issue is whether uncommitted Republicans would have shifted back to Trump without the media normalizing him.

      A little while ago, when the gap between Hillary and Trump was still huge, I was wondering whether the Republicans wouldn’t be doing better if the entire party had just unified around Trump quickly. Most of the so-called “moderate Republicans” just take their cue from establishment figures, after all.

      Overall, I just think most of the “uncommitted” Republicans were just prepared to jump on any rationalization to vote against the She-Devil.

  • Ken_L

    In breaking news, Hillary Clinton has committed the gaffe of the campaign by saying “I just think if we got along with Iran that’s not a bad thing.”

    Critics labelled her comprehensively ignorant of history and totally insensitive to the strong opinions of friends and allies in the region. Senior Democrats in Congress have been quick to distance themselves from her comments, with Chuck Schumer calling on her to withdraw them and apologise because Israel.

    • Yeah, god forbid we didn’t have a war with them.

    • Warren Terra

      Is this trolling? A joke?

      I can’t rapidly find the quote you assert exists, but last week Trump said pretty exactly the same passage but about Russia instead of Iran. The point being of course, that not a lot of people were encouraging war with Russia (though a bunch of contenders for the GOP nomination did this, one way or another), but Trump is being criticized not for seeking detente with Russia but for expressing admiration for a murderous autocrat.

      • (((Hogan)))

        The quote about Russia is in the article quoted in the OP, so I’m assuming it’s a joke.

  • AMK

    Previously uncommitted Republican voters are shifting back to Trump

    You mean the people on here a month ago braying about Clinton taking Georgia and South Carolina on the grounds that even the GOP has standards (he disrespects veterans!!) might have been jumping the gun?

    his threadbare campaign operation…

    This is due as much to the reluctance of the GOP donor/operative classes and their networks to invest in a lost cause as it is to Trump’s own incompetence (the fact that Trump seemed doomed for so long was also great cover for the Kochs and various Wall Street gargoyles to show “principles” in declining to support him). Now that tax cut Mussolini is putting up competitive poll numbers, we’ll see how fast the armbands start coming out on the Brionis.

    • cpinva

      well, it’s true, the GOP does have standards. they just happen to be really, really low standards. and yes, in spite of all their caterwauling about Trump, and he doesn’t represent true republican conservatism, they will all fall in line behind him, come Nov.

      the fact is, Trump does accurately reflect the modern conservative republican id. instead of a “quiet room”, he’s taken the “loud room” approach, saying “This is who we are, and this is what we believe. We’re loud and we’re proud!” he has empowered the nativist/racist/misogynist/homophobic “wing” of the republican party, in a way neither Romney nor the other 15 candidates could. he says it loud and proud, and they love him for it.

      the republican party has successfully used the “dog whistle” approach since Nixon’s Southern Strategy was born. Trump has broken the whistle, and is using a bullhorn instead. that’s why he has that 40% constant.

    • junker

      In fairness, Clinton is down 2 on the pollster average of Georgia. If Clinton’s +3 in Florida makes you worried as a Democrat about losing that state, then a +2 Trump margin in Georgia should have the same effect on a Republican.

      In the medium term Georgia is likely to become a purple state due to demographics. It isn’t like, say, Wyoming.

    • Murc

      You mean the people on here a month ago braying about Clinton taking Georgia and South Carolina on the grounds that even the GOP has standards (he disrespects veterans!!) might have been jumping the gun?

      Cites ommitted.

      Clinton is within striking distance in Georgia, but that’s because of demographic change combined with Trump being a weak candidate. I don’t recall anyone here talking about South Carolina; the other state that came up was Texas, and sometimes Arizona. Nobody was “braying” about how she was going to take any of those states, just that the numbers looked better than you’d expect and were likely to get better in future elections.

    • JMV Pyro

      Now that tax cut Mussolini is putting up competitive poll numbers, we’ll see how fast the armbands start coming out on the Brionis.

      It’s way too late for that. A good campaign operation(at least in terms of GOTV and Field) takes months to set up and then even more months to put into motion. Early voting has already started in some states.

  • Bruce Vail

    I’m fascinated by this theme of how terrible it is that the rest of country ‘normalizes’ Trump even though Scott thinks they shouldn’t.

    The Republican Party routinely nominates horrible candidates like Mitt Romney, Louie Gomert and Michelle Bachmann, but it is something new and terrifying when Donald Trump comes along? What’s abnormal about Trump, other than his a handful of unpredictable deviations from Party orthodoxy?

    • cpinva

      “What’s abnormal about Trump,”

      his hair? I mean, that can’t possibly be organic, it has to be “better hair through chemistry” hair.

    • Warren Terra

      The Republican Party routinely nominates horrible candidates like Mitt Romney, Louie Gomert and Michelle Bachmann,

      Naming nutpicked Congresspeople isn’t really fair. Survival in the modern Republican party requires accepting andloudly proclaiming some really awful ideas, but if you’re going to point out individual nutcases nominated in particular districts, the Democrats have some of those, too.

      Also: Mitt Romney was a very good candidate. He’d have been a terrible President, and would have appointing far more terrible people to his administration and the bench, but he was a very good campaigner.

      • Bruce Vail

        Nutpicked? Well, let’s see — we have Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III down in Ala., Paul LePage is Maine, Jim Inhofe from Okla., and Sam Brownback in Kan. Do I really need to go on?

        And yes I agree with you that Romney was a credible candidate in the sense that he had a decent chance of getting elected. I meant horrible in the sense that he is a soul-less plutocrat devoted to war and plunder.

        • King Goat

          TI’ll concede they’re as bad as Trump, but those weren’t national candidates. National candidates are much more ‘the face of’ one of the two major parties and therefore much more empowering to nutty, and dangerous, fellow travelers.

        • Johnny Sack

          Is that asshole related to the Confederate general, or did his uh hmm how to be charitable…southern values-loving parents name him after the guy?

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            The Sessions (Sr, Jr and III) were named after Confederate traitors Jefferson Davis and Pierre Beauregard, yes.

            http://www.nndb.com/people/295/000032199/

            • (((Hogan)))

              Local opinion held Mr. Underwood to be an intense, profane little man, whose father in a fey fit of humor christened Braxton Bragg, a name Mr. Underwood had done his best to live down. Atticus said naming people after Confederate generals made slow steady drinkers.

        • so-in-so

          So are they all, all soul-less plutocrats devoted to war and plunder.

        • Ahenobarbus

          but it is something new and terrifying when Donald Trump comes along?

          Yeah, because he’s the nominee.

      • Johnny Sack

        I really loathed Romney, but he at least had a gentility about him that is…let’s say is conspicuously absent from Trump.

        Romney was a little stiff and uptight, Trump seems like a massive overcorrection. Surely there is some middle ground…

      • CP

        Also: Mitt Romney was a very good candidate. He’d have been a terrible President, and would have appointing far more terrible people to his administration and the bench, but he was a very good campaigner.

        Really?

        I thought he was a terrible campaigner. Stiff-assed, unlikable, clearly uncomfortable with the rabble, and incapable of keeping his foot out of his mouth. I was never terribly worried about the outcome of that election because even most Republicans didn’t like him.

    • McAllen

      The fairly explicit appeals to white supremacists? The desire to break the nuclear taboo? The financial ties with Russia? The fact that the media is willing to let him get away with outright lies?

      • (((Hogan)))

        The face-to-face incitements to violence?

      • Bruce Vail

        1) Appeals to white supremacy are nothing new. Trump is only different in the sense that it is more explicit.

        2) Nuclear taboo is a myth. It has always been US policy to use such weapons if necessary.

        3) OK, you win the point on financial ties to Russia.

        4) Media acquiescence to candidate lies? Am I the only one on this blog old enough to remember Ronald Reagan?

        Normal gets re-normalized every election cycle. Jimmy Carter was an undistinguished one-term governor of tiny Georgia. Ross Perot was a crank billionaire who nobody liked. Barack was a black man with an Islamic-sounding name. None of these men were normal for the presidential candidate fields in their day.

        • King Goat

          “Jimmy Carter was an undistinguished one-term governor of tiny Georgia.”

          Ever since Watergate, having a lighter governmental ‘record’ is not a disadvantage, in fact it’s usually an advantage. Everyone on both sides thinks something is ‘fishy’ in ‘DC’ and with the ‘Establishment.’ Having less experience allows you to distance yourself from that and be the ‘Outsider’ who is going to bring ‘Change.’ Ford was the perfect foil for Carter, or vice versa in that context.

        • Jonny Scrum-half

          The difference with Trump is that he’s obviously not a serious person. Nothing he says really means anything.

        • Johnny Sack

          2) Nuclear taboo is a myth. It has always been US policy to use such weapons if necessary.

          Sure, but there’s a difference between that and going around saying to generals “hey, what’s the point of nukes if you aren’t going to use them?” I mean really.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Appeals to white supremacy are nothing new. Trump is only different in the sense that it is more explicit.

          I don’t see this as being a trivial distinction.

        • Brad Nailer

          Beyond Reagan opening his campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., none of these guys (nor, I’m guessing, anybody else in memory) came on with a “You’re an asshole, I’m an asshole, let’s do this together!” kind of approach.

          Okay, maybe George Wallace. And Nixon.

    • Grumpy

      Nobody’s this stupid, so you’re clearly a troll.

      • Bruce Vail

        Not really a troll. I learn a lot from reading and commenting on this site. I’m only trollish because I think I understand the appeal of Trump to a lot of people of my generation and racial/ethnic background.

        Scott has convinced me on the right way to vote for president this year. I don’t think we’ll get outvoted in Novermeber, but I am not all that confident.

        • Brad Nailer

          Congratulations on not telling him/her to fuck off.

        • (((Hogan)))

          I don’t often agree with you, but you’re clearly not a troll.

    • King Goat

      I won’t fight you much on the idea that people like Gomert and Bachmann aren’t as terrible in their own way as Trump. But as no fan of Romney, he at least did not have the presentation which empowers the ‘basket of deplorables’ the way Trump does.

      If I hired Romney to run my company, I’d be concerned that he’d be a rather heartless employer who would hook executives up with lavish perks while trying to ‘maximize shareholder value’ by taking an axe to basic employee benefits. I’d be worried about the same with Trump, but in addition I think he’d punch a customer, get drunk and make a racial tirade at the Christmas party, sexually harass our women employees, and likely embezzle most of the money.

      • Brad Nailer

        Trump doesn’t drink, but he probably would do all those other things. The man is a pig, after all.

    • NewishLawyer

      As people pointed out above, Mitt Romney was not horrible in a “I am a super racist and white nationalist” kind of way. He was just your normal plutocrat.

      House seats are a different story because of their localized nature. Alan Grayson embarrassed plenty of Democrats with his antics.

      • junker

        Anthony Weiner.

        • Johnny Sack

          Weiner was a Grayson-style attention-seeking loudmouth, but he at least never seemed crooked to the extent that Grayson appears to be.

          • NewishLawyer

            Right. Anthony Weiner’s behavior was embarrassing and I feel sorry for Huma Abedin but he was not unethical as far as I can tell.

    • The Temporary Name

      What’s abnormal about Trump, other than his a handful of unpredictable deviations from Party orthodoxy?

      He’s a rip-off artist. I kinda have a bee in my bonnet about people who start fake universities in order to scam people.

  • Fallon should be shunned and forever reminded of his craven, sycophantic performance.

    • Brad Nailer

      Seriously. Why even have Trump on if you’re not going to fuck with him?

      And playing with his hair is not fucking with him. He loves that shit. I mean, what would it take to make Trump stomp off the set in a huff? Now that would be some must-see TV.

  • The Fraternal Order of Police’s endorsement of Trump looks a little more sinister in the light of the FBI’s now almost-forgotten warning against white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement.

    As Lemieux says, the race is tightening in part because of this normalization, not because Trump’s odds of winning have substantially improved. But the implications of his success in the GOP gives me heartburn.

    • King Goat

      “the race is tightening in part because of this normalization”

      Having the national version of Martha Coakely (but older, longer established and with higher unfavorables!) as the opponent of this vile buffoon isn’t helping.

      Here’s another thing I think has to be admitted to be a huge whiff if indeed Clinton loses to this creature: the Garland nomination. The Democrats, thinking they would have this Presidential election in the bag and thinking down ticket, tried the safe take on establishing the ‘we’re good government types against these unreasonable obstructionists’ instead of trying to excite the base by nominating someone from an underrepresented group which highlighted the differences between the two bases, and has a single vote moved based on that? It’s a failure rather emblematic of the kind Clinton has made throughout her career (most glaringly and recently seen in her choice of Kaine rather than someone like Castro, Perez or Booker).

      Standing up in front of a crowd of African-American or Latino voters and yelling ‘Are we going to put up with the GOP blocking a perfectly qualified, moderate, yet another old white guy to the SCOTUS’ just doesn’t seem to work like being able to say ‘Are we going to allow the GOP to block the perfectly qualified, first African-American woman (or first Latino man) to the SCOTUS?’

      • Wrong. HRC has her strengths and weaknesses, like any other candidate. The problem isn’t her weaknesses, the problem is that the democratic coalition is just not as as dominant as you think it is (or should be).

        That said, women and people of color will, once again and as usual, deliver us from the GOP and the likes of you.

        • King Goat

          The likes of me? I’ll be voting HRC. Is the idea that daring whisper a criticism of our candidate from a political point is going to somehow jinx her and cause her to lose? This is a political party or a movement, not a cult.

          • I’ll be voting HRC

            Glad to hear it. But hearing someone say “if she doesn’t win it’s because I told you so” is tiresome.

            Where in Jeebus’s name do you think HRC’s “unfavorables” come from? Why do you cite them?

            It’s perfectly acceptable to criticize HRC. She’s had a long career and made plenty of mistakes. But her choices as a candidate for president in 2016 have been good – good enough to win the Democratic nomination, and I think the presidency.

            • King Goat

              “Why do you cite them?”

              Because they were a damn good reason to not consider her for the nomination. Therefore, when we see her starting to lose to this buffoon, maybe doing the old right wing’s constant refrain of ‘oh, this is just the media doing us dirty, we need no self-reflection or structural change in our nomination process to address this in the future’ is not sensible.

              “her choices as a candidate for president in 2016 have been good ”

              That’s questionable imo, and in part that’s all I’m doing, airing my opinion.

              “good enough to win the Democratic nomination”

              She started off with huge advantages there, and that’s exactly what we need to change.

              ” and I think the presidency.”

              Jesus I hope so, but it’s looking hairy, ain’t it?

              • Because they were a damn good reason to not consider her for the nomination.

                No. Considering the source of her unfavorables, no, they really aren’t.

                “She started off with huge advantages…”

                Some might call this “working hard to put herself in a position to win.” This whole line of criticism is essentially an attempt to say that she somehow didn’t earn her place as the front-runner by, ya know, doing the work to build a national coalition.

                • King Goat

                  What an amazing thing to say. If a candidate had, say , 80% unfavorables, though mostly unfair, would you still nominate them? Because we must not give in to unfair realities even if it means electoral loss?

              • (((Hogan)))

                Because they were a damn good reason to not consider her for the nomination.

                Where do you live? My primary ballot didn’t have a “None of the above” option.

                • King Goat

                  I live where there’s a state and local party to influence, perhaps in ways to get them to drop such undemocratic aspects of the nominating process that helped get us into a place where we’re losing to a fascist clown. How about you?

                • (((Hogan)))

                  What undemocratic aspects are you talking about, and what would you prefer? Or does “undemocratic” just mean “I’m stuck with a candidate I don’t like”?

                • King Goat

                  Superdelegates mainly

                • (((Hogan)))

                  So the tens of thousands of words you’ve spewed about all of Clinton’s flaws and failings and errors just come down to “Superdelegates mainly”? Dude, eschew needless words.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Superdelegates mainly

                  Superdelegates were not why Clinton won. She won because she got more votes.

                • King Goat

                  “Superdelegates were not why Clinton won. She won because she got more votes.”

                  Scott, you’re a political scientist, right? You can’t see how starting with a structural, institutional advantage like that might make it a wee bit easier to ‘get more votes’ in the end?

                • King Goat

                  “So the tens of thousands of words you’ve spewed about all of Clinton’s flaws and failings and errors just come down to “Superdelegates mainly”? ”

                  No. If you pay attention you’ll see that much of what I write about is Clinton’s failings *as* the nominee, after the nomination. Superdelegates helped choose this bad candidate, but she’s also doing a good job on her own!

                • veleda_k

                  Superdelegates are the new chemtrails.

            • Superdelegates were not why Clinton won. She won because she got more votes.

              Yabbut a huge number of those votes were cast in despair by people who realized the contrary votes they REALLY wanted to cast would only be overturned by SUPERDELEGATES!!!1!

      • Murc

        Having the national version of Martha Coakely (but older, longer established and with higher unfavorables!) as the opponent of this vile buffoon isn’t helping.

        As a Sanders voter, I have to say that this is an unwarranted slur against Clinton.

        Coakley was actually lazy and contemptuous of the political work required to run a winning campaign. Clinton is neither of those things.

        Standing up in front of a crowd of African-American or Latino voters and yelling ‘Are we going to put up with the GOP blocking a perfectly qualified, moderate, yet another old white guy to the SCOTUS’ just doesn’t seem to work like being able to say ‘Are we going to allow the GOP to block the perfectly qualified, first African-American woman (or first Latino man) to the SCOTUS?’

        Serious question. You’re framing this statement in terms of political benefit. Are there actual more votes up for grabs in the African-American and/or Latino demographics that the Democratic coalition doesn’t already have?

        Because it kind of seems like we have those groups locked up. In a sense that’s a bad thing; it reduces their influence if they don’t have meaningful other choices. But putting that aside, Hillary Clinton is probably going to do Obama numbers in both those demos, and maybe beat them among Latinos.

        The biggest group of undecided voters in this election would seem to be white people. Yes? No?

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          with King Goat we see the typical white male person’s inability to accept not being front and center in the team photo

          • King Goat

            Haha, for people like Jim representing for oppressed groups > actually winning elections and doing something for them

            I prefer electoral victories to moral ones

            And considering my objection to Kaine and Garlands nomination it’s reality denying

        • King Goat

          I see Coakely’s faults as more being uninspiring, establishment seeming and a play it safer, all HRC problems as well.

          “Because it kind of seems like we have those groups locked up.”

          Not on the GOTV sense

          • Johnny Sack

            I see Coakely’s faults as more being uninspiring

            This is the problem right here. If you want to be inspired, go rent The Pianist.

            • King Goat

              I don’t care about being inspired, and you don’t. Aren’t we special? But you know what we both care about? Who wins elections. And you do that, often, in part by…inspiring voters to come out and vote for you.

              • Johnny Sack

                Aren’t we special?

                You know what? I was raised to not think I’m better than anybody. But I give myself a pass on this one. I do think I’m better than people who expect to be inspired from their politicians. I know that doesn’t change the reality, but I will not stop resenting those people.

                • Joe_JP

                  I don’t feel superior to those people but many are quite inspired by Clinton for various reasons at any rate. People can disagree, of course, but that to me isn’t the issue here. It’s that Clinton is being judged overly harshly in an unfair way given the facts on the ground.

                  Elizabeth Banks on Twitter is just a celebrity example of those inspired. She noted how she was tearful during convention, so proud of Clinton. Her sentiments are shared by many of us plebeians as well. Clinton’s performance during the 11 hour appearance in Congress alone was inspiring. With the usual caveats about her just being a person, a political person with flaws.

                  But, if a person doesn’t seek inspiration from pols, that’s fine too.

                • Johnny Sack

                  To be clear, I don’t think there’s a problem with being inspired by a politician. I can certainly understand being inspired by Clinton. Rather, it’s the expectation that politicians must be inspiring.

                  And I really mean inspiring in the shallow Sorkinesque sense, not in the sense of “Wow, first female/black president!”

        • rea

          first Latino man to the SCOTUS?

          Portugese/Jewish (Cardozo) donesn’t count, evidently

          • Linnaeus

            In the American context, as the term is generally understood and used, no.

      • sibusisodan

        Here’s another thing I think has to be admitted to be a huge whiff if indeed Clinton loses to this creature: the Garland nomination…It’s a failure rather emblematic of the kind Clinton has made throughout her career

        Truly, Obama’s nomination of Garland is a failure emblematic of Clinton’s.

        Can you give another example of where a proposed SC nominee excited the base in a Presidential election? Heck, can you give an example of where the VP nominee had a large effect?

        • Heck, can you give an example of where the VP nominee had a large effect?

          Who can forget William E. Miller? (Fun fact: while checking his middle initial, I learned that he died “at Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo”. And now you know…the rest of the story!)

        • King Goat

          If Obama and the Democratic Party and it’s likely nominee are not coordinating such a thing in a way beneficial to all, then yea, that’s a problem!

          As to your question, can you give another example of a SC nomination contest like this in an election year?

          • Uh, yeah, I really don’t think Obama should coordinate his SCOTUS appointment with the Clinton campaign to maximize electoral impact. That would actually be a scandal, for once.

          • sibusisodan

            So, no, you can’t give an example.

            I agree, there hasn’t been an SC nomination ‘like this’. The political outlook of whoever fills the seat will be very consequential.

            That doesn’t even begin to get you to ‘voters will be excited by the particular candidate!’. You’ll need some evidence for that.

        • veleda_k

          Truly, Obama’s nomination of Garland is a failure emblematic of Clinton’s.

          Well, remember, HRC is also personally responsible for Bill’s crime bill and Obama’s drone program.

          At this point let’s just blame her for the Hindenburg.

          • Ahuitzotl

            not the sinking of the Maine?

    • Johnny Sack

      No doubt. I can probably name at least a dozen police departments just off the top of my head that should be dismantled by the Feds and rebuilt from scratch.

      • Hey, thanks for commenting on the thought I wanted to talk about! This thread got off on a tangent. The “normalization” of Trump is a big topic, and it covers some strange and creepy shit. Trump has a great deal of support among current and former military, he’s endorsed by the country’s biggest police union, and there appears to be armed, white-nationalist militia-types ready to come out in figurative and literal force for him. This is the crux of the problem with normalizing his extremism: it masks his assembly of a truly alarming cast of characters.

        • Johnny Sack

          Trump has a great deal of support among current and former military

          An old acquaintance of mine from college, a former army officer is a huge Trump supporter. Granted, I think he topped out at First Lieutenant, but still.

        • JMV Pyro

          Honestly, I just figured that it was because a solid chunk of people in law enforcement and the military are non-college whites who have used those fields to advance economically into some measure of stability normally only achieved by people who go through college.

          In other words, they’re Trump’s base.

    • CP

      The Fraternal Order of Police’s endorsement of Trump looks a little more sinister in the light of the FBI’s now almost-forgotten warning against white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement.

      As if police departments needed any added incentive to hire racists.

  • brad

    Fluffers gonna fluff.

    And now we get to see what a genuine, if thankfully non-lethal, terror attack and cell does to the election. Happy fucking joy joy.

    • King Goat

      If Clinton was going to make such a safe, white bread veep pick, she probably should have gone with some ex-general or soldier for exactly this kind of highly predictable situation. The optics of ‘don’t worry about these terrorist attacks, we’ve got KAINE! for that*’ is going to be less than impressive methinks.

      *not that Pence or Trump come off as ‘tough’ in any honestly objective way, but GOPers always get some (undeserved) pass on that because of their constant violently jingoistic rhetoric I guess.

      • brad

        Or you could just be honest and say you don’t think girls are strong enough to keep your fee-fees safe.

        • King Goat

          Me not thinking it and me recognizing it’s something prominent in politics are two different things.

          I mean, let me ask you, historically when candidates you like and you think were treated unfairly, but entirely predictably, for something lose, do you just stomp your feet and say fie on the stupid voters and press for not being better people like me and seeing through that something? How helpful is that? Better to realize how something might play *even if it’s insane that it plays that way* and *prepare* for the eventuality.

          • brad

            Whoever you’re having that conversation with is probably annoyed that you’re responding here instead of to them.

            • King Goat

              I thought I was responding to someone handle of ‘brad’ who just said to me ‘Or you could just be honest and say you don’t think girls are strong enough to keep your fee-fees safe,’ and who I had to remind that I don’t have to think women aren’t strong enough to keep me safe to recognize that that’s what a significant portion of the electorate we work with will think.

              If that person signed off immediately after posting, my bad.

      • Why does “we’ve got Kaine for that” have to come in? Why would the vice presidential nominee be the one to address security issues, rather than, say, the presidential nominee with years of experience in foreign policy?

        • (((Hogan)))

          Penis. It’s all about the penis.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            after all, it is mightier than the sword

            /nevermind

            • Ahuitzotl

              oh! you peeked!

    • Johnny Sack

      It doesn’t seem to have done too much yet. Thankfully there were no deaths, which is both good in and of itself (since I’m not a sociopath), and good politically.

      Crime and national security have been the soft underbelly for the Democrats for a while now (despite Democrats leading us through two World Wars, go figure), but Benghazi b.s. aside, that’s not really a credible line of attack against Clinton. Or maybe it is, never underestimate Republican stupidity.

      I mean, if you’re concerned about national security, the choice is obviously Clinton, and it’s not even close. Unless you think that “Democrats are pussies because…reasons” no matter what. And there are a lot of those.

      • Brad Nailer

        You and I might agree that “Obama and Hillary founded ISIS” is an absurdity, but a lot of people believe that shit who believe more generally that the Democrats’ main purpose in life is to open up America to destruction from both within and without. This is not a rational polity we’re dealing with here.

        I’m sacrificing a burrito to the god of demographics tonight.

      • (((Hogan)))

        Crime and national security have been the soft underbelly for the Democrats for a while now (despite Democrats leading us through two World Wars, go figure)

        I remember Bob Dole in the 1976 vice presidential debate complaining about “four Democrat [sic] wars in this century.” Sic transit Gloria Monday.

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  • Halloween Jack

    Frankly, I stopped expecting better of Fallon after he had Sarah Palin on. He didn’t even have the excuse of “well, she’s newsworthy” since her mainstream popularity has long faded.

  • NewishLawyer

    1. The other issue for HRC besides nominal Republicans voting for Trump is that a good chunk of the Millennials (18-29 year old voters) are going third party according to the articles I’ve read last week. Something like 30 percent of millennials are voting for Johnson or Stein. I’ve mentioned before that I think a lot of young people absorbed all the HRC hate from the 1990s on a unconscious level and have not processed it.

    2. So that adds a Gore v. Nader dynamic but HRC should hopefully be able to peel back enough young voters. There were some articles last week along the lines of “sometimes a little panic is good.” Now perhaps liberals will be less blase and on guard. I’ve seen that happen a bit. John Cassidy at the New Yorker suspects some third party voters will become doubtful of voting third party if there is a real chance Donald becomes President.

    3. I am still on guard but HRC’s numbers seem to climb ever so slightly on Sunday. The biggest issue is North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida going from blue to light red. Probably because of large numbers of white working class voters going for Trump. If one or two of these states swings down, I will be happy and calmer.

    4. There is still a chance that Trump can be a LePage and win the Presidency with 42-44 percent of the popular vote.

    • junker

      To respond to point 3, she also got a good poll in PA on Sunday – it’s hard to see Trump winning without flipping that state.

      • Johnny Sack

        My SIL recently registered to vote in PA! I’m hopeful.

    • Call me old and cynical, but I keep being reminded of the op-Ed Mark Rudd wrote for the Columbia student paper during the divestment protests in the 80s. He said, in so many words, these protests will have no effect, but you don’t know that yet and you have to do the protests in order to learn it. Those protests did have an effect, of course. They were narrowly focused, directed at the people who could make change, and appealed to people who could put further pressure on those changemakers. They were different from the protests Rudd participated in in ’68. But that attitude persists, and it actually describes pretty well, the process of political development of a lot of people, I suspect, in the years since then. I suspect a lot of people expect Millenial support for Occupy and for Sanders will go the same way. They’ll find their way in one or another path within the political system as it already exists. Concern about Trump and so on seems excessive from this point of view because the system is pretty much fixed in place and “personalities” are irrelevant to it.

    • vic rattlehead

      As to point 1, I’m an older millennial and of the people I know within my generation, the vast majority are not dumb or self-centered enough to vote against Clinton (“priors” notwithstanding). I know a few third party cranks, but the crankiest of the cranks I know is in her 50s and keeps railing about Our Revolution and how Sanders is “the backup nominee!!!1”

      I know some Johnson supporters, but they already identified as libertarian before the election. None of them flirted with Sanders. I only know one who went from Sanders to Stein.

      I have one friend in Florida who is supposedly liberal but says he’s not voting because “at least with Trump, America is getting a bullet to the back of the head instead of a long, painful death.”

      I guess most of my friends aren’t selfish morons. I like to think that says something positive about me.

      • There’s a big divide here between older and younger millennials. It’s the 18-24 range (young people who have never voted or have only voted during Obama’s presidency) that is particularly enamored of third parties. Late 20s-early 30s people are old enough to remember the 2000 election and the Bush presidency — as well as how bleak things were looking when Obama was elected.

        • Johnny Sack

          Kids these days…

          Now I understand how frustrating it is to watch things slowly fade from living memory, one generation at a time. This is how my grandparents must’ve felt as more and more people died off and fewer and fewer people remembered the Great Depression. They died just as the so called go-go 80s and new heights of consumerism and conspicuous consumption were taking off. Drove them crazy. Etcetera.

        • Matty

          This is (roughly) my experience, anecdotally (as one of them older Millenials). I would love to see if it’s confirmed in polling anywhere.

      • NewishLawyer

        I think stepped pyramids is onto it here. I was 20 when Bush v. Gore v. Nader happened and I do remember a lot of people that age being very upset about Clinton/Gore because of DNC-Third Way stuff and it was close to Welfare Reform and DOMA. These very liberal and very smart people (by the standard of getting into an elite college with a low acceptance rate) still were very angry at Clinton for not being able to withstand an emboldened right-wing Congress. Never mind that Clinton vetoed welfare reform three times before signing it and we got the best alternative.

        Young people are way to idealistic for the down and gritty nature of retail and day to day politics.

        As to the other point, I live in the Bay Area and see plenty unrepentant hippies who are all about showing how lefty and pure they are.

        • Linnaeus

          were very angry at Clinton for not being able to withstand an emboldened right-wing Congress. Never mind that Clinton vetoed welfare reform three times before signing it and we got the best alternative.

          Be that as it may, welfare reform had been one of Clinton’s policy goals since his campaign of 1992. He may have rejected more odious forms of the policy, but it was one of his signature policy achievements, one that he continues to defend twenty years later.

    • Johnny Sack

      I don’t think we should be terribly concerned about NC or OH. It would be nice to win them, but they are not essential. If we can peel off FL, PA and VA, or at least two of those, I have trouble seeing Trump winning. Though I might be off, it’s been a while since I looked at an electoral map.

      • NewishLawyer

        I think PA is pretty safe for HRC for now according to most polling but HRC still needs to do some ads and courting there. 538 also has Virginia as being safe for HRC (75 percent chance of electoral college victory).

        So Florida, Ohio, and NC are necessary.

        Interestingly this can now be a West Wing election where the Senate stays right-wing but HRC wins the White House.

        • Johnny Sack

          I’m too lazy to run the numbers, but I seem to remember someone saying that Trump has no clear path without…was it PA? Or Florida? Either way, if we can get PA and VA, what do we have to worry about, electoral college wise?

          You take the 2012 map and give FL and OH to Trump, and Clinton still wins, with 15 electoral votes to spare. Hell, she can also afford to lose VA there.

          Looking at the map, I just can’t see a single swing state that Trump can afford to lose and still win. Maybe VA. But I have to think he’s toast without PA. And if Clinton locks down PA and NC? Well, I just can’t see a Trump victory.

      • JMV Pyro

        NC is very winnable this year with everything that’s been going on at the state level. Moreso then Ohio arguably.

    • Murc

      he other issue for HRC besides nominal Republicans voting for Trump is that a good chunk of the Millennials (18-29 year old voters) are going third party according to the articles I’ve read last week. Something like 30 percent of millennials are voting for Johnson or Stein.

      Do you have a cite on that number, Newish?

      Because as near as I can tell that 30 percent number comes from one article, and that article quietly dropped that 30 percent figure after the fact.

      I’m gonna need to see numbers before I believe it again.

  • NewishLawyer
  • NewishLawyer

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/hillary-clinton-millennials-philadelphia/500540/

    And yet because Democrats rely more on younger voters, it is Clinton who faces the most immediate need to improve with them. The Global Strategy Group poll shows there is no shortage of issues she can use to make a connection: Roughly three-fourths of Millennials in the battleground states said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supported universal background checks for gun purchases; would limit carbon emissions to combat global warming; protect a woman’s right to abortion; and pursue policies to create debt-free college. Clinton embraces, and Trump opposes, all of those positions.

    But the message from all of these polls is that Clinton’s problems with younger voters are rooted not in policy but in personal assessments. Big majorities of Millennials, the polls show, view her as untrustworthy, calculating, and unprincipled. Which is another way of saying they have accepted the portrait that Bernie Sanders painted of her during their long primary struggle. In the GWU Battleground Poll, 66 percent of Millennials said she says what is politically convenient, while only 22 percent said she says what she believes. In the Quinnipiac survey, 77 percent said she was not honest and trustworthy. “It’s hard for them after hearing that for a year [from Sanders] to just turn on a dime,” Baumann says.

    • Brad Nailer

      Well, Bernie’s supporting her so maybe that’s the dime they should turn on, even if they don’t realize that the Clinton Defamation Campaign has been going on, full bore, for 30 years.

  • For a reference on how this can be done far better, here’s an old Letterman clip going around, in which he reflects on the fact that Trump is a racist and how it’s time to stop making lighthearted quips about his hair.

    Oh, Dave! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
    Late night hath need of thee: it is a fen
    Of gutless fawning: . . .

  • Joe_JP

    The update to the comment about inspiration I responded to is duly noted. That’s fine. I do think it’s okay — within limits — to expect to be inspired by various leaders. And, I think there are various ways to be inspired. A rather dull person, e.g., can be inspiring as a good public servant. Anyways, it’s a human thing to seek to be inspired, so even to the extent people take that too far, I understand it up to a point. Again, perspective must be kept.

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