Home / General / Well, At Least This Didn’t Result In Donald Trump Becoming President or Something

Well, At Least This Didn’t Result In Donald Trump Becoming President or Something



I’m trying and failing to wrap my mind around a scenario in which Bill or Hillary Clinton paid $25 million to people they defrauded by offering “seminars” which were essentially nothing but high-pressure sales pitches to purchase access to future sales pitches. I mean, a years-long scandal that would ultimately result in the second impeachment of a president in American history was created out of the Clintons losing money in a minor Arkansas land deal, a deal that not only involved no illegal behavior but no unethical behavior on the part of the Clintons. This year, lengthy articles were written literally trying to create scandals out of Clinton Foundation donors asking for meetings with Hillary Clinton and generally not even getting them. Coverage of the 2016 election campaign in which Clinton ran against a racist con man and alleged serial sexual assaulter was dominated by Clinton’s perfectly legal decision to use a private email server. If either Clinton had actually bilked large numbers of desperate people out of their money…I can’t even imagine. I assume they’d still be hanging on a lamppost on Eighth Avenue.

When Donald Trump swindles a lot of ordinary people out of their money, though, he can’t even get above the fold. It really is amazing. To review:

  • James Comey announces the existence of unread emails, on a computer not belonging to Hillary Clinton, pertaining to a trivial pseudo-scandal. [Covered like a Kanye/Kate Middleton sex tape.]
  • Donald Trump pays $25 million dollars to settle with ordinary people he swindled out of considerably more than $25 million. [¯\_(ツ)_/¯]

It’s all fun and games until millions of people lose their health insurance, Miami is under two feet of water and a guy who a Republican Senate deemed too racist to be a District Court judge in 1986 is the Attorney General of the United States. 


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  • jim, some guy in iowa

    I understand that everyone has their pet theory but has anyone ever really made a serious effort at understanding *why* so much effort has gone into hating/undermining/whatever Bill and especially Hillary Clinton? Would be interesting (when not infuriating/depressing) reading

    • Excitable Boy

      They were considered white trash by the Washington elite when they came to town. It was always class warfare waged against them. The old guard never let go, and the rising up and comers that wanted to move up the ladder knew which side their bread was buttered.

      Then there was the Kennedy family wing of the Dem Party that wanted to keep them as the keepers of the flame for liberalism. I don’t know how many JFK zealots would rhapsodize about the Kennedys and excoriate Bill over his relations with women publicized by the MSM or Right Wing organizations. The disconnect between the reckless behavior of the Kennedys was never mentioned.

      Bob Somerby, Joe Conason, and Gene Lyons are the only ones that really document the atrocities. Digby and Atrios fall into RW narratives from time to time. The personal stories I hear where they are awful people are always “a friend of a friend says Hillary…”. Everyone that I know that has met or worked with them are amazed and impressed by them.

      I would be fascinated by an historically accurate book delving into the subject.

      • Nick never Nick

        I dunno — most politicians probably have a touch of the awful in them, anyone who didn’t wouldn’t do that stuff.

        • Excitable Boy

          Most people, not just politicians are awful in some way. I found the awful stories to be suspect in many respects, because the people telling them tended to get key details wrong. Like Hillary did this in the White House last week when she was on a foreign trip or campaigning in New York and had not been in the WH when the event supposedly happened.

          I was extremely skeptical of Hillary is the worst gossip to put in the most charitable terms, if it was unclear in my previous post.

          • Dilan Esper

            Hillary and Bill were Democrats. The right tried to do the same thing with Barack and Michelle, but they aren’t sleazy people (the Clintons are), so it didn’t stick.

            Elect another Democrat and the right will try again. Which is one reason we have to get away from the sort of corporatism that the Clintons exemplified.

            • aturner339

              It’s just hard to parse what it means for the Clintons to be “sleazy’

              What precise sleaze did they engage in? Bill’s Affairs? Public Speaking?

              How are they sleazier than the average person?

              • Dilan Esper

                You know, it’s possible to do “public speaking” without demanding $250k a pop from corporations and rich people who are hoping to get something in return….

                • aturner339

                  Like Dodd Frank and a Minimum Wage hike?

                  I just think before we smear people as “sleazy” we might try and establish a pattern of actual wrongdoing.

                  I actually think that’s the entire point of this post.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Wow. You are really arguing in bad faith.

                • aturner339

                  By requesting actual evidence before defaming someone?

                  What would good faith be?

                • IS

                  Dilan Esper: “Wow. You are really arguing in bad faith.”

                  Bwahahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha!

                  You kill me.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Bad faith:

                  “What precise sleaze did they engage in? Bill’s Affairs? Public Speaking?”

                  You know the issue isn’t “public speaking”. So when you ask that question, you are JAQing off. You understand the real issue but want to pretend you don’t. That’s not demanding evidence. That’s bad faith.

                  “Like Dodd Frank and a Minimum Wage hike?”

                  You know why people actually pay potential future presidents far more than their speaking services are worth. And you know that the government involves a lot of stuff other than big public issues like minimum wage hikes, and that a lot of influence peddling involves making sure that politicians know what you want on issues that are below the radar screen.

                  Yet you pretend not to know these things.

                  Again, if you want to make a detailed argument that there was no potential corruption issue made by Hillary and her family taking huge money from Goldman Sachs and their ilk for very little work when she was about to run for President, make the argument. But stop JAQing off and arguing in bad faith with snarky, contentless garbage.

                • aturner339

                  So I asked why you accused the Clintons of being sleazy and you are waiting my detailed argument on why they are not?

                  …and I’m arguing in bad faith?

                  That about cover it?

                • Nick056

                  Come on Dilan.

                  You know that people have been hounding the Clintons on these issues since the mid 80s, and never turned up any actual corruption — not even on the Bob McDonnell level. What they turned up was a lot of potential appearances of conflict, suggestions of quid pro quo that never bore fruit. Such-and-such dignatary donated to the Foundation and 6 months later spent 20 minutes talking with Hillary Clinton. Stuff like that.

                  A great part of what is so sad here, is that Bill and Hillary Clinton were both ambitious people who didn’t start rich but became rich after Bill entered politics. The lesson is that you can grift as much as you want if you your spouse is a conventional political spouse and especially if you started rich, like most GOP candidates. Then nobody will care. If your spouse isn’t seen as in a position to protect your interests or trade access, and if you’re born rich, you’ll look innocent.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Yeah, this is bullshit. Pseudo-scandals didn’t stick to Obama because, for whatever reason, the media didn’t go down the rabbit holes. The Clinton “scandals” that dominated the 2016 election involved no “sleazy” behavior and indeed no substantial misconduct whatsoever. (Indeed, given how intensively the Clinton Foundation was examined it’s amazing how clean it was. How many American institutions would withstand that kind of scrutiny?) The speaking fees are the only thing that remotely merits the tag, but 1)this was *not* the behavior that most interested the media and 2)the media is pretty selective about when this kind of profit-taking is bad behavior.

                • Dilan Esper

                  The Clintons have been selling access for 30 years, Scott.It didn’t start with speaking fees.

                  Remember Johnny Chung? He said the Clinton White House was like a subway turnstile. You had to put your token in to get access.

                  You can’t divorce the speaking fees or the Foundation from their 30 year history of being sleazy people.

                  The Obamas are simply more ethical.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  The Clintons have been selling access for 30 years, Scott.

                  Actually, the Clinton Foundation was extensively reported on, and they haven’t. And even before that they engaged in nothing that isn’t bog-standard behavior for politicians. This is all bullshit.

                • MilitantlyAardvark

                  Pseudo-scandals didn’t stick to Obama because, for whatever reason, the media didn’t go down the rabbit holes.

                  Or maybe Obama addressed possible issues (of which there were remarkably few) effectively. He fessed up to being bone-headed about Tony Rezko – which is more than the Clintons have ever managed to do. Lewinsky, the Rich pardon, the inability to disclose supposedly innocuous speeches to Wall St while claiming to want to regulate Wall St – this sort of thing creates the impression, at minimum, that the Clintons are slimy and uninterested in cleaning up their act. Impressions matter in politics, far more than cries of “unfair” from people on the sidelines with their own biases and agendas.

                • scott_theotherone

                  That’s exactly it. The Whitewater investigation officially cost $40 million fucking dollars, and chances are it was at least 50% more than that, maybe double. And it couldn’t find a fucking thing other than a consensual blowjob. The press and congress have examined the Clinton’s more thoroughly than the world’s most OCD proctologist and come up with nothing of substance whatsoever. That right there is proof that there is no there there. Or should be, to anyone not obsessed on an Alex Jones level.

              • wjts

                They just are.

                • aturner339

                  I’m getting that now…

                • Dilan Esper

                  I think this is VERY bad. We need to learn a lesson about corporatism from the Clinton scandals. But we aren’t going to learn it if so many Democrats insist on protecting the Clintons (who are politically irrelevant now and don’t need to be defended) than learning from the mistake.

                  The Democratic Party needs to distance itself from corporate corruption. Let that be the Republican brand. Stop defending the Clintons and learn the lesson.

                • Excitable Boy

                  Dilan you need to own this when Obama becomes a Venture capitalist and does sleazy capitalist things like earning a living. Also when FOIA documents reveal complexity and compromise occurred in the WH, ensure your fainting couch is not occupied and you have enough smelling salts.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  oh, if and when *that* happens Dilan and others in the thread will take off the false naif hat and put on the man of the world hat and say there’s nothing wrong with making a living

        • Derelict

          The question is, what is “that stuff”? Because the vast bulk (greater than 99%) of “that stuff” isn’t awful, or unlawful, or even mildly unpleasant. Most of it is seizing on something trivial and putting the high-power magnifier on it while teasing it apart and exclaiming “Oooh! Look!”

          Rose Law Firm
          White House Travel Office
          Vince Foster’s death
          Hillary’s cattle futures trade

          All of these things were breathlessly reported, and the investigations into each of these things (led by extreme rightwing Republicans) were also reported in minute detail. And each turned up exactly nothing.

          • Nick never Nick

            By ‘that stuff’ I mean wanting to exercise power, and being comfortable doing so.

      • John Revolta

        Don’t let’s forget Hillary’s “baking cookies” crack. This really enraged a lot of people (most but not all of whom were men).

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Long before the baking of cookies, I believe when Bill was Gov of AR she tried going by a hyphenated last name, Hillary Rodham-Clinton.This offended the patriarchal tribal people of Arkansas, who are a very proud people. So she stopped.

          Basically, their biggest crime was being Democrats after 1965 or so.

          • John Revolta

            Did she start again later then? ‘Cause I remember her being HRC in the ’90s

            • Vance Maverick

              was the distinction the hyphen?

              • nemdam

                Hillary kept her maiden name after marrying Bill and simply went by Hillary Rodham. After Bill lost his reelection for Arkansas governor in 1980, it was speculated that one of the reasons is because people didn’t think Hillary was lady like enough. So she basically got a makeover by changing her look, trying to better adopt southern culture, and yes, adopting Bill’s last name. But she still also kept her own so she was then known as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  Thank you for the better history. Ugh. So she got off on the wrong foot – and then tried to please them, which gets her treated as a “flip flopper” or “phony.” As a friend of mine who doesn’t blog comment much, what the voters want is a real phony. Somebody like Ronald Reagan who can make you think he means it (even if he’s just an actor and doesn’t mean it.)Low quality faking-it just enrages them.

            • BiloSagdiyev

              I think she started again later. (Flip flopper!) And as for the hyphen, yeah, that was part of the distinction, but just as much “dutiful wife should only go by last name of patriarch” type worldview.

              I think I meant to post this earlier today but was flummoxed by my operating system: Arkansas voted 60% for Trump.

      • Phil Perspective

        Everyone that I know that has met or worked with them are amazed and impressed by them.

        Amazed and impressed by Ricky Ray Rector and Sister Souljah? Real impressive.

        • Excitable Boy

          Ricky Ray Rector was shameful. However, what exactly was Obama’s hiding behind Robert Gibbs statement, on the U.S. execution of Anwar Al-Awiaki’s 16 year old American son without a trial, “should [have] had a more responsible father.” Was that REAL IMPRESSIVE or amazing?

          When you win an election, write a diary on DK on how you never compromised and stayed true to your values. Perhaps you can get a foreword from Zephyr Teachout. I am looking forward to reading it with trembling anticipation. I expect it around the same time Obama apologizes for Gibbs’ statement. I know FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, and Obama never catered to white voters and white media at the expense of others. I read it from Armchair historians like PP on the internet all the effing time.

          Keep on trucking Pepe!

          • DocAmazing

            You realize that you haven’t made a case that the Clintons are any better than they’re painted, but that Obama’s worse. Nobody expects sainthood, but extrajudicial assassinations are simply criminal.

      • Nick056

        The Clinton Wars, by Sid Blumenthal, is an excellent and expansive look at the policy and politics of the Clinton era, including Whitewater and multiple chapters devoted to the impeachment. It also has (now quite sad) chapters on Hillary Clinton’s first NY Senate race and Gore’s loss to Bush.

        Because Blumenthal defends almost all the policies of the Clinton administration, it’s also an important window into how the Clinton circle viewed the crime bill and welfare reform. Doubtless Blumenthal would handle those policies a bit differently in a modern treatment. The book is 13 years old now. Still, it’s probably the single best political history of the 90s told by a Clinton loyalist, but the press buried it thoroughly because they see Sid as a class traitor.

      • dporpentine

        1) I’m not exactly a Certified Atrios Historian or anything, but my sense is that he got into the political commentary/media criticism business and out of the academic econ business because of how terrible the media’s response was to Clinton. I’d be curious to see an example of him falling into right-wing narratives about the Clintons.

        2) If you can make extended comments praising the Reagans’ response to the AIDS crisis, you are a terrible person, your ability to get birthday cakes for your staff notwithstanding.

        • Taylor

          Atrios cited the 2000 Presidential inauguration as the catalyst for him getting into blogging. He was watching the inauguration on network TV and on C-SPAN at the same time, and realized that the networks were carefully keeping the protests against the judicial coup d’etat out of the picture.

          That’s when he realized how the media was lying to us.

          • The Lorax

            Wasn’t he doing stuff in the late 90s at Salon too?

            • Excitable Boy

              I read some his ’90s work after I knew him as Atrios. It was more in the Dean Baker than Jared Bernstein POV but between the two.

        • Excitable Boy

          I think your understanding of Atrios origin story is correct. I’m not going to go back and search his archives for specific posts, but they were there in 2007-2008. He stated he wasn’t picking sides, then occasionally did. He sided with Obama’s campaign about the Lincoln Bedroom and Marc Rich pardons. I was growing tired of his short cryptic style anyways, so in early 2008 I quit reading him.

          I started up again in the summer to get his take on unemployment #s, which he no longer mentions every month. He was a little better than I remember. I still find his hippie punching posts to be too black and white at times, even though I agree with his main points many times. I really enjoy his takes on urban planning and parking issues. For an East coast liberal, I find him sensible about exurban and rural voters.

          I am not a mind reader, so I can’t ascertain if Hillary is a terrible person on extemporaneous remarks at a person’s funeral when talking to a catty reporter on national television. If she no comments, then the media narrative of not talking to the media is reinforced. If she gives an accurate assessment of the Reagans’ malfeasance, she gets crucified for inappropriate remarks at a universally beloved First Lady’s funeral. The fact that you give so much priority to this one incident says much more about you than me or Clinton.

      • jamesepowell

        The Carters were also attacked by the Kennedy Wing. Although it is one of those things lost to history, long before the Iranian Hostage Crisis and the Great Inflation did him in, the Kennedys & Tip O’Neill were out to destroy Carter.

        • (((Hogan)))

          it is one of those things lost to history

          Unless you remember the 1980 primary.

          • jamesepowell

            I’m talking about long before the primary. It’s really a topic for the historically curious ,but just one example: The Democratic Party – pushed by the Kennedy faction – held a Midterm Convention in Memphis. The sole purpose of this even was to promote Kennedy and his demand for a national health insurance plan.

    • Emmryss

      And then there’s that thing about Clinton being the “first black president.”

      • Excitable Boy

        Thanks Toni Morrison.

      • eh

        There’s also that thing about Obama being the last black president.

        • Gregor Sansa


        • Yankee

          Obama wasn’t a race traitor.

      • StellaB

        Clinton won the governorship of Arkansas when the Dixiecrats still controlled the south. He won against the Orval Faubus controlled Arkansas Democratic Party by explicitly running as a desegregationist. That’s why there was a persistent story about fathering a child with a black woman. He was a known …-lover in both the literal and metaphoric sense. It’s always about race with the right.

        • Karen24

          And his wife kept her high-powered and very public paid career, and who was a nasty Yankee as well. The RW hate women every bit as much as they hate anyone with dark skin.

    • Mike G

      I think it was also an issue of timing.

      Republicans run on fear and hate. The Soviet Union provided a convenient hate object for decades until they collapsed at the end of the 80s. Saddam Hussein filled the gap for a little while when he invaded Kuwait but imploded too quickly in Desert Storm to be as scary a bogeyman.

      Right then along come the Clintons into the national public eye, ramping up for ’92 election. Like an oversized army suddenly with nothing to do, all the Republicans’ massive hate-machine infrastructure glommed onto them, making Bill a proxy for the burning revenge they wanted against hippies for scoring more action than they ever did, and determined to destroy any nascent Kennedy-esque political ascendancy with endless harassment and manufactured scandal.

      And they’ve milked it ever since.

      • nemdam

        In a lecture Bill gives about the book “The Hunting of the President”, which is about the phoniness of all the 90s scandals, this is actually the reason Bill gives for why he became such a target. The right needed a new boogeyman to go after, and Bill Clinton became the new focal point to represent the left.

        Here’s the lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY0pomVw7UU

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I do remember those years, and marvelling at how lost people were without somebody to hate. Our society floundered about for a while — Colombian drig lords? Is there fat in your shampoo? Is there fat in your dog’s food? Sadly, while the Persian Gulf War was timed poorly for Bush’s reeelection chances, I fear the seeds were planted there for our current boogyman for decades of militarism.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Er, I mean, “drug lords.”. I blame the drugs.

    • LeeEsq

      My theory is that any Democratic President would have suffered the way the Clintons did because the reasons lay within the Republican Party. During the 19th century, the Republican Party saw the Democratic Party as a illegitimate. It was the party of “Rum, rebellion, and Romanism.” By the New Deal era, the Democratic Party became a Communist Party in all but name to the American Right. The Southern part of the Democratic Party saw the Republicans as illegitimate. When the South Democratic Party migrated into the Republican Party, they inherited the inability to handle political opposition from both sources. Any Democratic President after a certain point would be a target for their rage.

    • DAS

      Don’t they teach kids about scalawags and carpetbaggers when they cover Reconstruction? Bill Clinton is a scalawag, and his wife from the North is a carpetbagger.

      Presidential politics from 1964 through 2004* was dominated by the South and the Southwest. In each election, if one candidate was not firmly rooted in the South or Southwest, that candidate lost. In 1988, GHWB may not have been firmly rooted in the South or Southwest but he did have TX connections whereas Dukakis was a pure New Englander.

      In such a Southern oriented environment, it’s no surprise that establishment perceptions of the presidency would be imbued with the (upper class, white — we are talking establishment after all) Southern experience. Thus a scalawag president and carpetbagger first lady would be dispised, and the establishment would look for any way a redeemer could get rid of them.

      *there is one way in which Obama has been transformative, at least thus far (unless Obama’s birth in HI makes him a southwesterner): he, with his clipped Chicago cadence, won an election over Arizonan John McCain. And in this cycle, both candidates are currently associated with NYC. So the culture of the President is no longer Southern.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        y’know, now that you put it *that* way

      • John Revolta

        Johhny Reb found him a Yankee hates them coloreds just as much as he do

    • Taylor

      I think it was telling the Bill Clinton was the first baby boomer President, he basically became a lightning rod for the reaction against the counter-culture of the 1960s. Hence all the allegations that he was a “draft dodger” (convenient that this was ignored for his successor). The worst mistake of the Lewinsky blowjob is that it fed into this narrative.

      Hillary got this through association, but also the backlash against feminism, especially from women. One thing we learned this year is that misogyny is not going anywhere in the US, and it’s at least as prevalent on the left as on the right.

      The Clintons have also paid the price from the left for triangulating in the 1990s. I got a definite sense that many on the left were looking forward to putting the shiv in this year as revenge for stuff that happened almost twenty years ago. Then when Trump got elected, they did victory laps.

      Y’know, there’re just as many scummy people on the left as on the right.

      • Excitable Boy

        Y’know, there’re just as many scummy people on the left as on the right.

        Sad so many enjoyed this election result as some sort of schadenfreude for their personal morality play. I mean it’s not like any others might suffer from the results.

      • DocAmazing

        And the Broder Award goes to Taylor!

  • Nobdy

    As I slowly adjust to the low grade terror and disgust that are in the background of my life under the new normal, I find myself in a position that is not unlike the right-wingers who do not trust the “mainstream media.”

    While I think most of the factual reporting in the New York Times and on network news is probably accurate (as of now) I no longer trust those institutions to provide me with anything like reasonable perspective on what news is important, and more importantly I believe them to be morally compromised in a way that disgusts me.

    They didn’t just lack the courage of their convictions when it came to Trump, they had no convictions. Sure they tut tutted on their editorial pages and the Times at least did have some quality reporting on his various scandals, but they could not escape their pathological need for both-sides-do-it and in indulging that need they have done irreparable harm to the country and the world.

    Even now the Times webpage is flooded with Trump news, all of it written in ludicrous “even-handed” bollocksspeak.

    Mr. Trump played host to three Indian business partners who are building a Trump-branded apartment complex, raising new questions about how he will separate business from politics.

    HE WON’T.

    It’s like the opposite of how when Hillary Clinton orders an unsweetened iced tea it “raises troubling questions about her health and commitment to the important jobs in the sugar industry.” Even when Trump is caught doing something outrageous the MOST it can do is raise troubling questions, which will never be answered because these journalists are committed to nothing so much as moral cowardice.

    Now unlike an angry conservative I don’t have the soothing, womb-like, hatebath of Faux News to sink into, and I wouldn’t want to if I did (because that way lies delusion and ragestrokes) but I do feel disconnected from the media in a real way.

    Slate is selling itself as the “loyal opposition” and it did a pretty good job sounding the alarm on Trump with Jamelle Bouie being an essential writer during the campaign and the “Trump Apocalpyse Watch” and “Trumpcast” reiterating how not normal he was as a candidate, but it’s still Slate, and there will be the inevitable #Slatepitch about how Trump is the best thing that could happen to the country.

    I guess, in addition to venting, I’m asking how people are changing their media diets to punish the wicked and the untrustworthy after this massive costly failure. Where does the liberal newsjunkie go to get good reporting from people who didn’t absolutely fail during a critical point in our country’s history?

    • jeer9

      I predict the first major military engagement under the Donald’s administration will occur after a terrorist attack upon an overseas Trump property in which a conflict of interest with national security and his financial dealings becomes impossible for the press to avoid, though they’ll downplay it on behalf of patriotism and the fear that U.S. soldiers might perceive themselves as dying to increase the profit margins of the chief executive. TV news ratings will also soar.

      Too dark … or not dark enough?

      • shah8

        Sort of like Erdogan’s son, Isis, and the Russians bombing it all?

        • Derelict

          Perhaps more like the invasion of Iraq in which you had the Carlisle Group’s extensive holdings with the Saudis’ and Kuwaitis’ oil fields (and the Bush family’s extensive holding in Carlisle Group), coupled with Cheney’s extensive holdings and “former” position as president of Halliburton, and Condi Rice’s deep ties with Exxon-Mobil.

          They all benefited directly and immediately from the invasion. Hell, Cheney was awarded $120 million from Halliburton due to the invasion and all the contracts that got steered to Halliburton. Cheney managed to “avoid” the conflict of interest by simply deferring his acceptance of the money until he left office.

      • Never thought of attacks on his international name-rental stuff, but it would be the perfect way to spark an over-reaction of some sort.

        Maybe some angry Scots could eff w/ his Scottish golf courses & we could nuke Scotland. “Both sides” that!

        • eh

          Does he have his name on anything in Dubai?

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          I’d look for something like what the Chinese pulled on Dubya: capturing an unarmed recon plane (summer 2001) and demanding apologies before returning plane and crew. It completely put Dubya in his place, re China; mission accomplished.

          Trump has been far more bellicose about China, so the Chinese are going to rip him a new one, sometime in the next year. Too f’ing bad, I say.

    • DocAmazing

      If one good thing might come out of this fecal exhibition, it would be the death of the Liberal Media cliche.

      • lizzie

        I just don’t see that happening. It’s too firmly entrenched. It doesn’t matter how much, say, the NY Times sucks up to conservatives in its daily reporting (headline this morning describes Jared Kushner as a “steadying hand”). Most people who “know” that it’s a liberal paper don’t read that stuff anyway. And it’s superficially liberal in that it takes liberal stances on certain hot-button social issues and endorses Democrats.

        • efgoldman

          headline this morning describes Jared Kushner as a “steadying hand”

          Maybe (scary thought) compared to his father in law, he is.

      • IM

        ha, ha. No. That didn’t die back when they supported Bushto the hilt, it won’t die now.

    • Excitable Boy

      I downgraded my cable package to local basic and cancelled my WP subscription. David Fahrenthold has been fantastic. I think David Weigel and Greg Plum do solid to good work most of the time. Robert Costa is stenographer in the Bob Woodward mold, but he gets good inside information on what the Republicans want to put out. However, for all their chest pumping about how bad Trump was, their actual news coverage was always slanted to cast Hillary in the most negative light.

      I won’t even attempt to list the atrocities of MSNBC, just to state I should have cancelled them years ago. As horrible as past the past 10 days have been, not seeing Joe, Andrea, Old Chris, and wacky and adorable Rachel has been a relief.

    • StellaB

      The Guardian.

      • Gregor Sansa


        No… Daily Kos.

      • Taylor

        The Guardian was the only major media outlet to stay focused on Trump’s Trump U settlement. All the mainstream US media buried it under the much more important story of HAMILTONGATE!

    • The Lorax

      This outrage is exactly what I feel. And it’s very well put. I canceled my NYT sub and told them why. I let my NPR sub lapse and told NPR and my local station why.

      But those are token gestures. I feel powerless and enraged at the media failure.

      • Mellano

        I’ve considered cancelling the NY Times subscription. But I’m afraid it would accomplish the same as voting Green Party — telling the Times to go all out in kissing up to Trump and his fellow travelers. Meanwhile they’re one of the few institutions with the resources and history to do investigative journalism and foreign reporting that a lot of people might pay attention to. Those efforts will need a war chest.

        But I also remember the disbelief of reading their coverage of Bush’s push for war. I haven’t opened a David Brooks or Ross Douthat column in a decade. I started avoiding some of their Hillary reporters beginning in September, too. And I think it’s easy to tell the Trump court hagiography articles from their headlines to avoid them. Maybe this is too little, I dunno.

        Don’t have cable, but don’t feel any need to support the mostly talking heads cable networks or even broadcast news divisions FWIW.

        • efgoldman

          they’re one of the few institutions with the resources and history to do investigative journalism and foreign reporting

          Resources don’t mean shit if all they use them for is hagiography, sucking up and carrying water.

          • Mellano

            But that’s not all they used their resources for. The Times did actual journalism this year, in addition to smearing Hillary. They always do journalism, unlike, say, CNN, NBC, or NPR.

          • Raven667

            ProPublica seems to do more actual journalism than NYT, they probably spend more resources on it, even though they are a pretty small outfit in comparison.

            • Mellano

              For sure, ProPublica is also a terrific organization to support.

      • Hayduke

        I stopped watching all network and cable news ten years ago, quit listening to NPR five years ago, and I cancelled my NYT subscription after the election. Patrick Healy, Amy Choznick, etc., are despicable. I did subscribe to WaPo as they actually have one or two investigative journalists. Of course I skipped George Will ‘s batty columns.

        There’s very little to choose from that doesn’t suffer “he said, she said”, or both sides do it.

        I keep hoping for a true left 24-hour cable news show to offset Fox and ruin CNN. In my dreams. One to directly counter Fox with a truth optional format, just short of slander, interviews witb “experts” who contradict anything from the White House or GOP leaders, constantly portray the religious right as a wacky cult with damaging quotes from “high placed sources”, and plenty of statements that begin with, “some in Congress say” or “most Americans believe” and finish with a claim that denigrates the GOP.

        To compete with today’s media, the more outrageous the better as there are minimal consequences for incorrect or blatantly false reporting.

    • sharonT

      You’re where I was in 2003.

      With the aid of the long departed Horse from Media Whores Online, I found the left blogs and a pretty scathing critique of just how useless the Establishment Media had become since Regan’s first administration. (OK, this sounds kind of cult-driven, but Media Whores was an amazing site.)

      I left broadcast news and the Sunday talk shows behind and I haven’t regretted it. As political reporting has devolved into Sports Center for the Model UN set, I’ll read a headline and maybe the first two graphs, but I rarely put a lot of effort into following those beats.

      There isn’t a lot of useful content in political reporting and really, if I want rank speculation, mind reading and beat-sweetening, I’ll listen to Jim Rome.

  • addicted44

    The greatest indictment of these media was that even a significant portion of Hillary supporters thought her to be the more dishonest candidate.

  • efgoldman

    Donald Trump pays $25 million dollars to settle with ordinary people he swindled out of considerably more than $25 million. [¯\_(ツ)_/¯]

    Did any of the women whom he groped and then slandered file suit?

    • Howlin Wolfe

      Not sure, but most, if not all of those claims are barred by statutes limiting actions for intentional torts like assault and battery.

  • shah8

    I think there is one, and only one fundamental motive. The prospect for tax cut giveaways incentivizing corporates to lean on the presses they subsidize.

    • Brad Nailer

      “. . . incentivizing corporates to lean on the presses they subsidize.

      I’m curious how that pressure is actually manifested and then what reporters do who recognize that pressure for what it is: pressure to shut up, to provide trivial “balance,” or to fall back on a particular set of non-facts that lead to “questions.”

      Reporters–and editors–are by and large not stupid people. What do they do when they realize that their company is either actively trying to defeat Hillary Clinton or acquiescing in allowing it to happen? Is there a point when “I’m just doing my job” starts to take on a Judgment at Nuremburg sort of tinge?

      Are any of these people considering dropping out of a business that just helped a minority of voters elect an administration that looks poised to combine the worst aspects of the Reagan and WBush presidencies? They all should be stabbing their own eyes out at this point. Meaning that “I didn’t see it coming” is not a good answer, either, since that is your fucking job.

  • Nick never Nick

    The press doesn’t care what politicians DO, it cares if they’re hypocrites. So the Clintons, for instance, are Democrats — meaning, they’re supported by a diverse coalition of normal people. They act like normal people. Their policies are designed to help normal people. But wait! Suddenly they do something that suggests they are actually elite! Hypocrisy!

    The press understand hypocrisy.

    And then, being Democrats, they have a tendency to explain things. The actual explanation Clinton should have given, right from the get-go, is this: “All this shit gets classified retroactively, and everyone has to work with it before they know what it’s final status is going to be. And 90% of it is classified just for shits and giggles anyway. If State is going to get anything done, we’ve got to guess what level it’s going to be at, and work with all kinds of systems. Now fuck off.

    But by dignifying the bullshit with an explanation, then Clinton gets locked into this narrative that the stupid classification matters. Then, it turns out 3 fucking emails were retroactively classified. Hypocrisy! The press understand hypocrisy! Clinton can’t say it’s bullshit because she already apologized! Hypocrisy!

    Now Trump is a corrupt fucker — but he’s backed by corrupt, evil fuckers, and he’s never pretended to not be a corrupt, evil fucker. In the debate he said that he bribed politicians. The press finds that droll. No hypocrisy! What are we going to write about? It’s not as if the Republican House and Senate are going to impeach or investigate him. Sure, a bunch of Democrats are bleating, but what are you going to do, listen to those sad sacks?

    • StellaB

      And, had she used a .gov account instead of a personal server, those three fucking emails would have been sent inappropriately (but mistakenly) to her unclassified .gov account instead with exactly the same level of non-importance.

    • DrDick

      However, they only care about that with Democrats. When elite Republicans pretend to be just folks, like Dubya did, they whole heartedly embrace it. Let’s just say it out loud, the corporate press likes Republican polices.

      • jamesepowell

        Exactly. All sanctimonious bullshit aside, the corporate press/media are large corporations owned by rich people who view taxation as theft, corporate regulation as fascism, and social issues as “stuff we can disagree about.”

  • Epsilon

    It really feels like we’re living in some nightmarish alternate reality. Between the Russians and Wikileaks, the ratfucking FBI director, the chickenfucking media, and the Electoral College getting it wrong for the second time in five cycles, it really seems like this is too fucking bizarre to be real.

    I have long had the sense that we were headed for a pretty rapid decline as a nation, but even at my highest levels of cynicism I couldn’t have imagined this perfect shitstorm.

    • Nick never Nick

      I feel the same way — it’s like when I lived in Thailand and saw people behaving in dramatically different ways (in the political fights circa 2008), and the only explanation was ‘that’s what they’re doing’. For some reason, everyone is ignoring Trump’s conflicts of interest, the Russian interference in the election, Russian ties to Trump, Trump’s unknown finances, the FBI’s interference, the quaint assumption that Electoral College/popular vote mismatches would be a crisis, and much more.

      Why are these things being ignored? I dunno, but they are.

      • efgoldman

        Why are these things being ignored?

        Because they’re treating this as a series of normal political events: candidate wins election; president-elect pretty much works in the background with lame duck president; president-elect and his/her staff spend the slow weeks around Thanksgiving schmoozing key people on Capitol Hill; president-elect and staff make lists and identify possible top-level appointments, starting interviews and vetting in motion; president-elect announces a few key appointments; everything shuts down for the holidays….
        The stenographers don’t expect, and don’t know how to deal with: president-elect settles civil lawsuits; president-elect shits all over perceived enemies via twitter; president elect shares state secrets with people who have no clearance and haven’t been vetted; president-elect appoints Nazis to KKKey positions; president-elect plans to go around federal anti-nepotism and anti-emoluments laws….

        • Brad Nailer

          President-elect desires closer relationship with proven adversary who is also p-e’s major financial backer . . .

          Which raises the question: Why do people go into journalism these days? It can’t be from the hopes and dreams of the muckraking Woodward-Bernstein days. If it were, we’d have exposés on the front page every fucking day. Then again, maybe they want to but their editors and owners won’t let them. That’s the other side of the story.

          (Or maybe they skipped the “journalism” part of their MassCom degree.)

          • efgoldman

            It can’t be from the hopes and dreams of the muckraking Woodward-Bernstein days.

            Woodstein got the credit, and did most of the legwork, but the courageous decisions, at least initially, were Ben Bradlee’s editorial choices and Kate Graham’s letting him run with it.

      • Excitable Boy

        I’ don’t understand it either. I find it deeply disturbing how nonchalant and blasé Obama’s reaction has been.

        • Nick never Nick

          Thinking about it a bit more, I suspect that the press hasn’t figured out what to do about the fact that Republicans are not going to hold Trump to account. If they found something on Hillary, there would be hearings that validated that finding. If they find something on Trump, a bunch of sad-sack Democrats mumble about ethics. What do you do then? Write an article about how Republicans are ignoring corruption? But the right-wing press will make fun of you, and your access will vanish.

          I don’t think that most media organizations are set up to actually oppose power.

        • Chetsky

          What would you have him do? Call Trump an idiot? Madman? That would only get Trump (the next President, let’s remember) angry, and who knows what damage might transpire? Obama’s the adult in the room — he has to try, even now, to minimize the damage.

          And he’s as much as said, that one day, he’ll tell us what he really thinks (recall the recent “someday over a beer” line).

          Quite to the contrary of being blase, I am -amazed- at his (Obama’s) composure, faced with a fascist who questioned his decency, honesty, loyalty, and even his -identity-.

          I sure couldn’t do it. But I think he knows “it’s not about himself, it’s about the country”.

          Last thing: remember that the Dems are in a corner. If they delegitimize the Rs, it doesn’t improve things. As badly as (I’m sure) some of them wanna go to the mattresses, warfare in the halls of power just further destroys what little legitimacy is left.

          I don’t know how it ends, that’s for sure.

          Maybe we end up like South Africa, until sometime in 2060.

          • Breadbaker

            It will be recalled how the Clinton team kept telling the Bush team about Al-Qaeda and the Bush team (in many senses less legitimate than Trump’s) just arrogantly ignored them. But the MSM narrative is still about the GOP being better on foreign policy and democrats weak. When Putin wanders into Sarah Palin’s actual backyard by “accident” and both Trump and the NYT take seriously a claim Edward’s check bounced, you’ll see nothing changed.

          • Emmryss

            Is it even possible to delegitimize the Republicans? If it hasn’t happened by now? Climate change denial, voter suppression, total obstruction, debt ceiling brinksmanship, blocking Supreme Court nominations, and, oh yeah, Donald Trump …

          • Jordan

            Ya, I am really looking forward to Obama’s book.

          • los

            Obama’s the adult in the room — he has to try, even now, to minimize the damage.

            Yes. Leave the sarcasm roles to Samantha Bee, LolGop, realDenaldTrump, and others.

            Frankel’s “optics” are better than Grayson’s.

      • Phil Perspective

        For some reason, everyone is ignoring Trump’s conflicts of interest, the Russian interference in the election, Russian ties to Trump, Trump’s unknown finances, the FBI’s interference, the quaint assumption that Electoral College/popular vote mismatches would be a crisis, and much more.

        Where is the proof that the Russians are hacking the election? Why get involved when Rick Snyder, Scott Walker and other RWNJ’s are screwing things up just fine as is?

        • Nick never Nick

          There isn’t proof. However, there are the following suggestions:

          – high-level Trump staff worked closely with Russian interests
          – hacking of the DNC had Russian fingerprints on it
          – Wikileaks concentrated on releasing DNC material
          – Trump invited the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails
          – Trump expressed admiration for Putin, perhaps the only leader he has done so
          – Russian parliamentarians celebrated when Trump won
          – Trump has had business dealings with Russia
          – Trump has had large reversals, and has refused to release any of his finances at all

          All of these taken together, and ignored, represent a giant deviation from how the United States normally considers Russia, elections, and American politicians.

          • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

            – Trump invited the Russians to hack Clinton’s emails

            The others are legitimately concerning, but this one is just silly.

            • SamInMpls


              Bob, here is the actual headline from the July 27th LA Times story:

              “Donald Trump invites Russia to hack into Clinton’s emails, an extraordinary step for a presidential nominee”

              • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

                And here is the actual speech:


                If you can’t see how Nick’s claim is silly after watching that, I don’t know what to say.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  The greatest trick the Devil pulled off was convincing everyone he was silly.

                  No, I’m not saying Trump is Kaiser Soze. He’s no more than what he appears to be. Which is a stupid lunatic soon to be in the most powerful job in the world. Inviting a non-friendly foreign power to commit an inherent crime in order to influence US elections can be both silly and terrifying at the same time. Saying it’s silly does not mean it’s not damning.

                • Nick never Nick

                  OK — here, try holding these two thought at once:

                  1) everything I just wrote about Trump and Russia.

                  2) the fact that Bill Clinton got a large amount of shit for travelling to Russia when he was young.

                  Standards seem to have slipped a bit . . .

                  And as for inviting Russia to hack Clinton’s emails — BobNewhart’sSpecial reminds me of that precious debate in 2002 or thereabouts, when Bush somehow told a huge lie in the State of the Union speech, and we then had an extensive national debate trying to figure out who, exactly had lied to Congress . . .

                • rea

                  If you can’t see how Nick’s claim is silly after watching that, I don’t know what to say.

                  The claim is silly because Trump did exactly what Nick claimed?

          • – Designated national security adviser previously accepts invitation to appear on Russian propaganda RV channel.

            • StellaB

              – Designated national security officer and his son have accepted payments from Russia, but at least they haven’t given anodyne speeches in front of Russians, thank God.

          • lizzie

            There was also that story about a Trump computer server set up to communicate secretly with a Russian bank, which story seems to have just disappeared.

            • addicted44

              To be fair that was almost certainly nothing more than the payment processor used in the building. The Trumps likely didn’t even know it was communicating with Russia.

              • StellaB

                “To be fair”? “To be fair” Clinton’s email server was a big bunch of nothing, but the reich wing never stopped claiming it was criminal.

          • rea

            –New national security advisor is supporter of Putin-client Assad, hostile to all rebel groups.

            • Just_Dropping_By

              Stop trying to cheer me up!

            • sapient

              -Putin’s Russia supports right-wing dictatorships by interfering in elections throughout Europe.

        • sharonT

          Really, the GOP didn’t need a Bond villain level of evil to take this election, they just needed Voter-ID laws targeting citizens who usually vote for Democrats, restrictions on the operating hours and number of polling places, and an eviscerated Voting Rights Act.

        • los

          Phil Perspective says:

          Why get involved when

          (Koch Kook Klaque)

          Rick Snyder, Scott Walker and other RWNJ’s are screwing things up

          For their own nefarious purposes, the Teastab created a corruption-rich environment of less representative government.
          That the Teastab is so slightly distinguishable from the Cuckstab, indicates how ripe redstates were for hijacking by Putin/Bannon.
          Bannon is probably the person who saw opportunity in both Trump’s “unique ability” and his weaknesses.

          Putin’s goal is to rebuild a Russian Empire. The USA is too geographically distant to (now) become part of that empire.


          Why get involved when

          Putin primarily wants a weak NATO.
          Putin’s apparent competition “against” the KKK is secondary. The KKK’s useful idiocy is only a means to Putin’s goal.

          Bannon and Putin found common interest in colluding, while the KKK useful idiots did much of the work for Putin/Bannon.

          As I’ve read, the Nazis played Germany’s Post-WWI industrial elites somewhat similarly.

  • bobbo1

    The ratio of brave:cowardly in the media and frankly anywhere is about 1:50. If they think there is the slightest chance of retribution – physical or economic – people will be very careful what they say and do. For us to rely in the NYT or the Post or CNN or MSNBC to protect us from the lies, corruption, danger to the republic posed by Trump and his minions is naive. The only reason we keep hoping they will and get justifiably angry when they don’t is that we’ve never lived through anything like this before and we’re unprepared for just how cowardly humans can be in the face of a genuine threat.

    • DrDick

      The abolition of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of the rightwing noise machine have a lot to do with this. Much of the supposed “liberal bias” in the press in the 60s and 70s really reflects that they had to present both sides and to call out actual lies.

      • efgoldman

        The abolition of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of the rightwing noise machine have a lot to do with this.

        The fairness doctrine only ever applied to federally licensed broadcast media (over the air TV and radio). It never applied to print or the internet, and a SCOTUS decision specifically barred it from applying in any way to cable-only stations. Nor did it ever apply to the intartoobz.
        With fewer and fewer people watching the broadcast networks, the effect of reinstating (which is never going to happen) would be negligible.
        [Fox News is cable-only. Limpdick and the other RWNJ radio bleaters are losing audience like crazy, and their programs in most markets have been relegated to much smaller stations, with non-existent ratings.]

        • los

          the altcucks ignore broadcast radio, when they can go to foxnews, alexjones, breitbart, etc on their “obamaphones”.

        • econoclast

          But that’s now. They had 30 years to poison the airwaves.

  • This year, lengthy articles were written literally trying to create scandals out of Clinton Foundation donors asking for meetings with Hillary Clinton and generally not even getting them.

    The refrain was “but those people THOUGHT they could get favors by donating to the Foundation; doesn’t that create the appearance of a conflict of interest?” I sure hope to see that same degree of inquiry applied to the diplomats who are renting rooms in the latest Trump hotel.

  • Nick never Nick

    I’m curious what people think about this interview (there’s a transcript). Personally, I am still hoping that the Trump administration is merely venal, or paralyzed by total incompetence — but I think that her statement that things could move fast is a good one to hear. The mistake the media is making is that things don’t change (even when you see them); the mistake a lot of us make is that things change slowly. That’s not necessarily the case.


    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I see a lot of overlap between your article and this one by Christopher Dickey, which talks about how democracy doesn’t necessarily prevent bad people being elected.


      • CrunchyFrog

        Future historians (probably of a future intelligent species, at the rate we are going) will look back on 2016 as the year that universal representative democracy went out of vogue as the ideal form of government.

      • Gregor Sansa

        It bears repeating that we have a “democracy” with major anti-democratic aspects which generally were added for evil reasons. The Electoral College: the negative three-fifths compromise for president. Voting on a Tuesday: OK, maybe that one made sense 200 years ago but it wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for a shifting series of evil ulterior motives. Voter ID rules: fraud. Election staffing and infrastructure in many places: persistently biased. The plurality voting system: OK, this one wasn’t malicious but it’s still massively fucked up. Gerrymandering: fuuuuuck that. The current SCOTUS lineup: Bush v fucking Gore. Shelby county: fuck fuck fuck. Fuck.

        • los

          Yep. Creating, maintaining, defending competent democratically representative government is complex work.

      • los

        GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        democracy doesn’t necessarily prevent bad people being elected.

        “democracy” putin style = “democracy” teathug style.

        Note that the altcucks “righteously” promote EV as tyranny by the minority.
        (Most often recently in the form of that retweeted, copied, etc funny pair of maps)

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Personally, I am still hoping that the Trump administration is merely venal, or paralyzed by total incompetence

      A venal administration will simply be one that is open to pressure/threats from the even more extreme strands of the religious right and the GOP. As for incompetence, it doesn’t take too much incompetence from a country’s leadership to achieve a national disaster. I think it’s likely that Trump and his crew will overreach badly, but they still have a minimum of two years to screw up things for the American people before elections come around – and even then the map looks good for the GOP because of the Democratic party’s miserable inadequacy at every level. Unless we fix the Democratic party and make it fighting fit again, there’s every likelihood that women and LGBT people are going to be hammered by Pence and his vicious hate-mob of religious fanatics, minority voters are going to be disenfranchised to the extent that the racist GOP can manage it (which will be considerable, given their dominance at state/local level) and, in sum, Americans are going to face a systematic attempt to create a white, male, apartheid oligarchy.

  • JMP

    “When Donald Trump swindles a lot of ordinary people out of there money”

    That should be their money.

    • (((Hogan)))

      It certainly should be.

  • Brutusettu

    25 years of conditioning trumps $25 million for being a con-man

  • LastUniversalCommonAncestor

    Hail to the Thief, I guess…

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      And the Groper in Chief.

  • MilitantlyAardvark


    The First Amendment Defense Act is the nuclear version of the so-called “religious freedom” laws that have appeared across the country, most infamously in Mike Pence’s Indiana. The Republican House will surely pass it, the Senate will pass it unless it’s filibustered by Democrats, and President-elect Trump has promised to sign it.
    If it becomes law, FADA will be the worst thing to happen to women and LGBT people in a generation.
    Like state “religious freedom restoration acts,” FADA’s basic principle is that it’s not discrimination when businesses discriminate against LGBT people if they have a religious reason for doing so. The most famous situations have to do with marriage: wedding cake bakers who say that if they bake a cake, they’re violating their religion; Kim Davis, the government clerk who said that signing a secular marriage certificate was a religious act that she could not perform.

    First, the bill applies to any corporation, organization, or person who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”
    Notice how broad that is: any business, agency, or individual, including government employees, hospitals, or huge businesses like Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A. Old-age homes and hospices that turn away gay people – yes, this has actually happened – are covered. Hospitals that refuse a same-sex partner visitation rights – covered. National hotel chains that refuse to rent rooms to gay couples (or unmarried straight ones) – covered.
    And notice that it applies not just to religious beliefs about same-sex marriage, but also to sexual conduct in general. Translation: contraception, sex education, treatment of STDs – all of these are part of the bill. If a national pharmacy chain wants to refuse to fill prescriptions for the “morning after pill,” if a company wants to fire someone for being pregnant out of wedlock or becoming HIV positive, if a public school wants to stop teaching sex ed – all covered.
    And finally, since “moral conviction” is added in there, it doesn’t matter that Jesus never mentioned health insurance coverage. No actual religious grounds are necessary; just some moral conviction that the only allowable sex is sex within a heterosexual marriage.

    We need to stop talking about the Clintons, who are yesterday’s news, and start fighting the GOP and religious right.

    • StellaB

      Yesterday’s news? The GOP will be running against the Clinton’s for at least another decade. They ran against Jimmy Carter until recently. Remember Obama being described as “the black Jimmy Carter”?

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        The right may do so. That doesn’t mean we need to waste time on them. They lost and that’s the end of the story. We need to focus on what matters – namely the unfolding Christo-fascist coup against America orchestrated by Trump, Pence and their cronies. If we don’t find a way to beat that back, it won’t matter whether we have the “right” take on Clinton.

        • sapient

          This is absolutely true, and we need to do it before inauguration.

          Call representatives, and send letters to editors telling them to audit the vote.

          Call them to support Katherine Clark’s presidential conflict of interest bill.

          Call constantly and complain that there has been no investigation into Putin’s or the FBI’s role in the election, and that you deem the election to be invalid until that happens.

          Read Sarah Kendzior. She has written this, and many other things about the election, and how to prepare for what is inevitable if he is able to become president.

          We have to fight it before it happens.

      • CrunchyFrog

        They still are.

        As I’ve stated, I live in a very wingnut area. Most of my local contacts are reasonably well off white professionals – over half were military officers. They’d fully accepted Clinton as certain to win the election. I bring this up because the most common refrain I heard – the meme of the day as it were – was that “we needed to go through 4 years of Carter before we got to Reagan”. Likening Clinton to Carter.

        So: 1) Carter will never be forgotten by wingnuts, he will always be their symbol of Democratic incompetence. (NOT corruption – that’s reserved for the Clintons.) 2) In their heart of hearts, they realized that Clinton wasn’t the devil-on-earth – at worst she was just another Carter.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I’m as baffled by what has transpired as anyone. I keep trying trying to find explanations but nothing so far fits.

    One observation, though, is that it’s clear half of the country and 95% of the political news media are completely ok with authoritarian government, as long as it is the *right* kind of authoritarian. That is, traditional puritanical white-male dominated government that foments violence to establish authority.

    In 2000 we were given the excuse that the reason the press loved Bush and loathed Gore was that Bush would hang out with them on the campaign plane while Gore was aloof. In retrospect this is ludicrous. In 2016 Trump cage the press in pens – when he wasn’t leaving them behind – and conduct two-minute-hate sessions with the audience aimed at the press, and even encouraged violence against them. The result? Ever more fawning coverage and groveling.

    • StellaB

      Race. American politics always turn on race. I’m tired of it and I’m going to move to Europe so that I can listen to politicians dump on the Roma instead.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        You’ll find that they dump on Muslims, immigrants (often the wrong color of immigrants) and, increasingly, the Jews, just as much as the dear old USA now does.

        • StellaB

          Yes, but at least I’ll be struggling to understand what they’re saying.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I’m really surprised at the burst in anti-semitism these past few years. I knew that the antipathy towards blacks and hispanics was always a boiling pot of vile ready to burst, but it seemed to me that the decades of campaigns to make Israel seem like America’s only ally against the middle eastern terrorist hoards had been effective. “Christian values” had been renamed “Judeo-Christian values”, and unwavering support of Israel had become as much a requirement of being part of the right wing tribe as global warming denial.

          But, it started on parts of the left, in reaction to the horrible actions of the Israeli government (and I hate that government as much as anybody, but can’t imagine blaming individual Jews for what they are doing any more than I hope my international friends would blame me for Trump). But with the rise of Trump all of the pent-up anti-semitism of the right wing is emerging full frontal. As I said, this surprised me, because while I’ve heard grumblings about other races I’d stopped seeing or hearing any semitism at all from local wingnuts. It just goes to show that some bigotry persists for generations even when it is not actively fed, and this is very disconcerting.

          If current trends continue it will get much worse, to the point where the AIPAC Likudniks – who have been huge supporters of the American far right – are going to be shouting “What Have We Done?” like Wilder’s character in Young Frankenstein.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            I think that part of it is that there has always been a tradition of anti-semitism in the right-wing white South. That tradition was suppressed for a while because the GOP spent time using Israel as a way to attack Democrats and hoped to win over Jewish voters that way. Trump’s rise and open affiliation with America’s fascists have given it new life.

            • Matt McIrvin

              Graffiti swastikas on walls and jokes about how Jews smelled bad both had some popular currency in my Northern Virginia junior-high and high school in the 1980s.

              • MilitantlyAardvark

                It’s always been there – but the difference is that the GOP used to reject any public association with anti-semites (for whatever reason). Now, the association is blatant – and the respectable politicians of the GOP are saying nothing in the face of these disgusting incidents.

                • Nick never Nick

                  This is the most dangerous part of the Trump phenomenon — it’s not the kooks who used to be marginalized and shushed, it’s the fact that all of a sudden the Republican (haha) ‘centre’ isn’t strong enough to shun them.

                  EDIT: on reflection only one of the most dangerous parts of the Trump phenomenon.

          • Matt McIrvin

            Jewish people were expecting it all along. Stopped clock, maybe, but they had history to cite.

            Fred Clark and others have been really good explaining why the apparent philo-Semitism of the Christianist right isn’t. It’s a recurring theme in Clark’s extended analysis of the old “Left Behind” books, the evangelical apocalyptic bestsellers of the 1990s: the portrayal of Jews in there is really negative in classic anti-Semitic ways, it’s just that they think a flourishing State of Israel is necessary as a prerequisite for End Times prophecy. The Jews end up faced with the choice of converting to Christianity (which the good ones do) or being incinerated by laser-eyed TurboJesus.

            • bender

              I was expecting antisemitism to become respectable again in America, though perhaps not quite so soon, on the basis of “There arose a king in Egypt who knew not Joseph.” I can think of many reasons why the elites turned away from it after WWII, but I think the reason ordinary people rejected Jew-hatred was that there were soldiers alive who liberated the camps. Most Americans regarded the Nazis as the epitome of evil, and the fact that the Nazis were antisemitic gave antisemitism a bad name.

              As those events pass out of living memory, Jew-hatred returns to its normal place in the Western and Christian imagination. I watched a contemporary (80s or 90s) British counterespionage TV series in which one of the good guy agents casually referred to Israelis as “the Red Sea pedestrians.”

              Philosemitism is never to be relied on, but there is a strain of Enlightenment opposition to privileging any particular religion that goes back to before the Revolution, and it is still strong. We’ll see.

          • Nick never Nick

            This is, for me, also the strangest phenomenon. I’d always thought that anti-Semitism, in America, was simply out-of-date, stupid, passe, whatever; something that maybe your great-grandfather got worked up about, but your modern fascist didn’t pay attention to. Suddenly finding out that there are a lot of closet anti-Semites is like suddenly seeing people who care about some Roosevelt-era social scandal.

            • Solar System Wolf

              Some of us know it’s always there, just waiting to be activated.

              A few examples just from my own life. I used to date a guy who told me, after we were well into the relationship, that he didn’t mind me being part-Jewish because I didn’t have a “big Jewish nose.” He brought Nazi memorabilia to school for a project and claimed it was just something he’d collected, but I’m guessing they were family heirlooms from the old country.

              I dated another guy who had been raised by Seventh-Day Adventists. When I was breaking up with him, he told me that “the Jews haven’t learned anything in the 2,000 years since Christ.”

              When I was in law school, I opened my locker and found anti-Semitic, anti-African American propaganda inside. It was left there by this guy. Other students stuck up for his free speech rights, though they went strangely quiet after the killing spree.

              When my daughter was 9 years old, she told me she’d seen the word “kike” scratched into a bench, and what did that mean? We were living in one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. at the time. This was only about four years ago.

              I’ve got more, but this suffices.

              • CrunchyFrog

                He brought Nazi memorabilia to school for a project and claimed it was just something he’d collected

                Take it from someone who grew up with a full-fledged white racist step-family and who lives similar people now, when someone has civil war or nazi memorabilia they secretly are white supremacists no matter how much they will hide it in public.

                Like the episode “The Shelter” from the original Twilight Zone series, they probably won’t reveal these core beliefs to you until they are under duress, but they are there, and they’ll come out at the worst possible time.

              • (((Hogan)))
            • Joseph Slater

              Yes to all the above. Jews did vote 70 percent for Hillary.

              • Snarki, child of Loki

                Nobody claimed they weren’t intelligent.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      I keep trying trying to find explanations

      Democracy and independent thought are both hard work. A lot of people, especially white men, just aren’t up for that. They want to have a government that enables their petty tyranny over others and even ennobles it by suggesting that they are superior and deserve to use and abuse all others. The media could do research – but it’s so much easier just to transcribe the rhetoric of the minister for propaganda, especially when he explains that this really is the best of all possible worlds and it’s going to be even better once some enemies of the (white, male) American people have been taken care of. Remember that the big news corporations are owned by wealthy, usually white men who feel pretty confident that they’ll always be one of “the right sort”. What do they care if everyone else gets screwed?

  • CrunchyFrog

    What’s happening now is really too complex and confusing – there are too many moving parts, not enough data, and no coherent theories yet formulated to tie it all together. I think I’m going to try on some simplistic explanations for a while and see if one of those works.

    Today I’m blaming the baby boomers for being the worst generation ever who fucked up everything they touched.

    • Brad Nailer

      I think the Greatest Generation could give you a run for your money there. Yes, the men who fought in the war defeated fascism in Europe and the Pacific, thanks to their bravery, leadership, major sacrifices on the home front, and the enormous American industrial capacity. But at least we boomers started out having ideals beyond making money. Can’t say that’s entirely true now, but we still support the Sierra Club, the ACLU, and all the other “limousine liberal” causes. And most of us give a shit about the polar bears.

    • Matt McIrvin

      The Nazis currently gloating about their new hold on power include a lot of GenXers. I think there’s a raw, brutal streak in white guys of my generation–the kids who went through puberty under Reagan–that the Boomers don’t have, and the Millennials don’t have to the same degree. When little kids get their skulls caved in by rifle butts, it’ll be dudes currently in their forties doing the cheering.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        GenXers don’t have any memory of the horrors of WW II – and there’s always been a tendency among young/middle-aged men to aestheticize the Nazis (“cool” German technology, snappy uniforms, brilliant strategists etc). Run that in parallel with enough Lost Cause mythology, throw in some scientific racism and screeching about white genocide and.. well.. one home-brewed idiot Nazi movement is ready to roll. I think that Trump has made them badly overestimate how much support they actually have, but giving the DOJ to someone like Sessions can only encourage them and our spineless media will rush forward to suck up for interviews with “edgy provocateurs” thus feeding their delusions.

        • NewishLawyer

          They are cowards at the very least. Richard Spencer would never try his spiel in Oakland. I’d like to see him try.

        • Davis X. Machina

          There’re another strain that goes back a few decades more, the Freikorps — oops, I meant our heroic law enforcement community.

      • NewishLawyer

        And there are a lot of Gamergaters who are Millennials like the rich shit bag who was funding dank memes against HRC and declaring “shit posting works and meme magic is real.”* His girlfriend is big in Gamsrgate to as a female useful idiot.

        *I have no idea what meme magic means in plain English but I am an old person at 36.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Meme magic = the power of spreading false rumors.

          • N__B

            Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

      • lizzie

        I’m lucky, I guess, in that men I know in my generation (Gen x) are not at all like that. I work with a lot of millenial men and they strike me as more sexist than the gen x men I know.

        ETA itcould be more a function of age, though. Twetysomething men in a professional white collar setting haven’tyet had a lot of time to get used to the idea that they should at least fake some respect for their female colleagues.

        • CrunchyFrog

          There also is the theory that they got their understanding of how to treat women from all of the cheap/free porn video available to their generation. Contrast that to the 1970s Playboy-style porn, in which you generally need to treat women very well if you wanted to get into their pants.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Or at least deliver a pizza on time.

      • Solar System Wolf

        Sadly, yes. A lot of these guys didn’t get the memo: Biff Tannen and Nelson Muntz were the bad guys. You’re not supposed to root for them.

    • NewishLawyer

      Not having a coherent theory never stopped me from speculating!!!

  • NewishLawyer

    I think there are too many factors at play.

    1. Increased partisanship means that candidates are likely to get at least 40 percent of the vote just by having an R or D next to their name. Probably more.

    2. If it is true that a lot of first time voters came out to vote for Trump and these guys are middle-aged, they probably don’t see the media that we see. They probably still don’t. Low information voting and all that.

    3. The Harvard Business Review article confirms my pet theory that the Palin set Hayes the upper-middle class liberals and bourgeois above all else because of different living standards and mores. They associate upper-middle class liberalism with being boring with money because we like different entertainment and spend money on different things. Mitt Romney was too bourgeois and patrician to appeal to the Sarah Palin set. Trump’s vulgarity is an asset and not a flaw to the Palin set and this includes his swindles and not paying people. We are horrified but maybe just enough people want to swindle as Donald does. They don’t want to be good bourgeois with tasteful homes and professional jobs. They want to be the fucking boss who tells everyone what to do, puts his name on everything, and lives in a gold plated penthouse. They don’t even want to be Mitt Romney because Bain Capital looks like real work.

    4. IIRC, Bill Clinton was the first politician who said “Thosr factory and mining jobs ain’t coming back.” Every other R and D President followed this example. Trump bullshitted and said they would come back. Enough people in the rust belt want this to be true that they voted for Trump.

    5. A lot of people seem hellbent on viewing this election about being a referendum on the smugness of urban eliteness and the unbearability of Lena Dunham and Broad City. Even the Onion got into the joke with their headline about the Democratic Party reaching out to the WWC with a Hamilton-esque Musical starring Lena Dunham.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      I think a lot of it comes back to Clinton’s penchant for taking multiple positions on the same issue over time while projecting a sense that she’s never got or done anything wrong. To offer one example: voters heard her various assessments of NAFTA, which seems to matter to various communities in the Rustbelt, and found it impossible to take her on trust. Once that trust had gone, her various good/well-intentioned policies simply weren’t going to get a hearing. Trump had one narrative, which he more or less stuck to: the politicians like Hillary made bad trade deals, they cost you jobs, I will make great trade deals and jobs will come back. Not very plausible in economic or global terms – but much more palatable than Clinton’s tepid offerings on the same subject. Again, Trump openly admitted to buying influence – and so gained credibility by saying what everyone believes. Clinton couldn’t come up with a credible explanation for her claim that she would take on Wall St – while at the same time being unwilling to show the world what she had said to Wall St behind closed doors. I think that’s why the leaks hurt her campaign the way they did and Comey just finished the job by highlighting the issue of credibility and transparency one last time.

      • Nick never Nick

        Time will tell — I suspect autopsies of the Clinton campaign are going to be a growth industry in the next few years.

    • Honoré De Ballsack

      A lot of people seem hellbent on viewing this election about being a referendum on the smugness of urban eliteness and the unbearability of Lena Dunham and Broad City.

      I’ve posted comments to this effect before, but I’ll say it again: from the perspective of pretty much anyone outside the “coastal liberal enclaves,” Hillary Clinton’s speaking style put her across as the absolute epitome of a smug, condescending liberal elitist. I cringed every time I saw her on video.

      • Davis X. Machina

        We barely survived eight years of a president earlier this century who hadn’t mastered subject-verb agreement.

        This time round, I’m supposed to cheer for the guy who’s a human version of the Special Mayor Rizzo Memorial Edition of Refrigerator Poetry Magnets™?

        If that makes me a smug condescending liberal elitist, so be it.

        • Honoré De Ballsack

          To a significant number of people, style trumps* content. I can say from personal experience that this is equally true of college-educated liberals in New York City and working-class hourly employees in the Midwest.

          If a politician wants to win over voters, he/she simply can’t afford to adopt a style that’s going to alienate those voters. Full stop.

          *See what I did there?

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Never forget that Democracy is just a big popularity contest.

          • Ask Me Gently

            Maybe you have it backwards. Maybe they were pre-disposed to hate HRC (or any woman candidate, for that matter) whatever style she adopted.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Anyone from anywhere who happened to meet Donald Trump in the course of daily life would know instantly he was a gaping asshole.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          GOATSE 2020!

      • Jordan

        As opposed to the style of a baby who has pooped his pants?

        Clinton wasn’t charismatic, but you’ll see what you want to see.

      • TopsyJane

        She sounded okay to me, but then I’m a smug condescending liberal elitist and feminist to boot and you know what we’re like.

        Mary Beard:

        We find repeated stress throughout ancient literature on the authority of the deep male voice. As one ancient scientific treatise explicitly put it, a low-pitched voice indicated manly courage, a high-pitched voice female cowardice. Or as other classical writers insisted, the tone and timbre of women’s speech always threatened to subvert not just the voice of the male orator, but also the social and political stability, the health, of the whole state.

        And of course there were those occasions when Clinton would drop a G or two and then it was, “What a faker!”

      • bender

        I live by preference in a coastal liberal enclave and her speaking style frequently made me want to throw something at the TV.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I think (2) is maybe the most important thing: we increasingly have two different sets of facts in this country. They have the one where *if indeed* the North Pole is 36 degrees warmer than normal it’s a Chinese plot, not what we call “climate change”. This side has the version where Donald Trump is a sleazy con man and they have the one where he’s a stand up guy and a capable businessman. I don’t see how, really, we sustain a democracy under these circumstances

      (the one thing they sorta do kinda agree on, each for their own reasons, is that they just pretty much don’t like either Bill or Hillary Clinton. It’s just that only one side hurt itself by making a point of saying so as often as possible)

      that said I am increasingly more interested in where we go from here

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        I think it ought to be stipulated here that many Democrats are pretty conflicted on the Clintons. Plenty of people seem to have thought that they were ethically challenged and their stories about past events/views/positions didn’t quite add up. I think some people found Hillary hard to trust, because she never came up with credible explanations of her Wall St speeches, her positions on trade or just where she drew the line on sexual misconduct. You didn’t have to buy the nonsense about e.g. Benghazi to think that she might have a long resume of service and not be a particularly effective politician.

        • Brien Jackson

          “where she drew the line on sexual misconduct.”

          Well you can fuck right the fuck off.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            Yes, I am responsible for the Clinton campaign disappearing inconvenient positions like “All victims of sexual assault deserve to be believed”. Obviously I was also responsible for Clinton’s inability to decide what she believed on a variety of topics. At some point Democrats are going to have to realize that the Clintons simply aren’t that good at politics and have led the party into a series of blind alleys. Until we do, we are going to be stuck defending their failures and follies when there are more important issues to address.

            • bender

              Bill Clinton was amazingly good at politics, but lacked self discipline.

            • Brien Jackson

              Yeah, I’m still gonna say that leftists who think Clinton is a useful tool yo HarHar at snti-rapr culture liberals can fuck right the fuck off.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          I think that’s more people on “the left” than Democrats

      • Nick never Nick

        downwards, all signs indicate

  • Crusty

    Remember when Hillary mentioned how Trump hasn’t paid federal income tax in years, and he said “that makes me smart?”

    Well, that’s how about half the country sees business. Grifting people, separating them from their cash in exchange for nothing real- that’s something you can do if you’re smart. Can’t figure out how to do it? You’re not smart enough. Grifting is celebrated. Lost money paying for seminars at Trump U? Well, you were beaten by the best. No shame in that, and certainly no shame at being the best. Look at how many top republican donors are involved in multi-level marketing type businesses or health supplement crap. Grifting is like their highest calling. And the griftee admires the grifter.

    • lizzie

      But why, then, all this hatred I keep reading about for college educated professionals? Why is it ok to be cheated by someone who inherited his wealth, but people who succeeded in college because they are smart, and then went on to get professional jobs, are the asshole elites? And I know that there is a lot of class and racial privilege that goes into who goes to college and gets ahead in the workforce. But Trump voters certainly don’t care about the racial inequities and the fact that they’re ok with Trump is totally inconsistent with being bothered by class inequities.

      • Davis X. Machina

        It’s Poujadisme. Never reached the apex of political power in France, but it has here.

        • NewishLawyer

          The fact that you know that as a word and concept shows you are to be distrusted as an elite according to Trump voters.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            Worse – it’s French and he spelled it correctly!

        • Nick never Nick

          NewishLawyer is right, your discussion of that term means that you are unqualified to fight it . . .

          Interestingly, from Wikipedia (I had never heard of Mssr. Poujade), he turned out rather better than Trump likely will:

          In 1984, Pierre Poujade was appointed to the Conseil économique et social by Mitterrand. Poujade used this position to promote biofuels.

          Poujade distanced himself from Le Pen and declared in 2002 that he would have preferred to break his own leg than to make him a deputy.

      • NewishLawyer

        Some anecdotal stories:

        1. When I was a freshman in college, a woman in my freshman group said her dad was a painter. I thought she meant artist and began asking a lot of different questions about what kind of galleries showed his work. She meant he was a house painter. We were both at the same college but my background caused me to go to a very different kind of painter.

        2. A few years ago I worked on a case where a construction worker was blinded by a fault concrete pump. The concrete pump was owned by another company. The guys who owned the concrete pump did not keep maintenance logs and they tested for damage to the pump by hitting it with a hammer. We also deposed the engineer who designed the equipment. The engineer was horrified that the guys who owned the equipment used a hammer to test for weakness instead of an ultra-sound. The engineer believed that using the hammer led to structural weakness no matter how lightly you it. The guys who owned the equipment felt that using the ultra-sound was ineffective and took to long at the end of the day.

        3. On another blog, a fellow commentors dad was a senior mechanic for airplanes. A skilled trade job. The guy said his dad hated engineers and OSHA people who would just come in and tell him how to do his job and what was safer and more effective.

        So I think it is a combination of different mores and entertainments and a kind of book smarts v. “real” smarts belief.

        Upper-middle class college educated professionals have different manners, different foods, different entertainments especially if you are in the more liberal enclaves. You aren’t supposed to tell crass jokes, your brain is hardwired to think painter=artist with gallery shows and not someone going around painting houses. You are supposed to listen to This American Life, Fresh Air, Studio 360, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. You are supposed to be disciplined and eat salad more than hamburgers and like it. You are supposed to know and have opinions on Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Lena Dunham, Broad City, Hamilton, Eichler houses, etc. You can have nice things but they should be tasteful and restrained and minimalist.

        The other issue is that working-class people (or wealthy tradespeople) do have a lot more contact with upper-middle class professionals. We are clueless clients who don’t know how to fix up our houses/cars ourselves and/or we are bosses who supervise them and tell them if they are doing something against procedure when they know in their heart of heats and brain of brains that their short-cut is fine and effective. Except sometimes it isn’t and then they have to pay lots of money when a truly working-class guy gets injured and hires a plaintiff’s lawyer like me.

        The really rich like Donald Trump are abstract and removed even to upper-middle class people like me who grew up in suburban New York. I knew some people who were really wealthy in college, grad school, and law school but that is in the “my family is worth tens of millions of dollars” range. Not my family is worth hundreds of millions of dollars or billions of dollars. Even tens of millions of dollars feels abstract to me.

        • lizzie

          All I can say is that, it seems to me that being a liberal somehow makes you an elitist regardless of your economic and class circumstances. I was raised by a single mom and we were on welfare at times. My dad and younger brother are plumbers. My oldest brother works in the restaurant industry.

          But my boss, a conservative whose two married parents had white collar middle class jobs while he was growing up—and who is now in a very elite position—calls ME the elitist, has lectured me that I didn’t really grow up pooor but that HE did(!), and likes to tell me that I live in a bubble. I think it’s a narrative that is impervious to facts.

          • NewishLawyer

            Yeah. There is absolutely a component where cultural tastes matter more than actual economics in who is elitist and a lot of Republicans buy into the whole talk-radio thing.

            Liberals are starting to fight back on this but it is hard.

        • Nick never Nick

          I think a fundamental class divide is over whether one values intelligence or competence. Perhaps it’s because I was raised by a college professor — but I don’t mind someone telling me I’m wrong, and about most things, I don’t mind being wrong, either. If someone thinks I am, I expect that I’ll explain why I’m not, and they’ll explain why they think I am, and we’ll see what happens. Part of approaching life intelligently involves realizing that you’re not going to be right all of the time, and accepting that.

          With people who are raised to be competent and to value physical skill, telling them that they should do something differently, or that they’ve done it wrong, is not considered that awesome. Add in the fact that professions that require intelligence usually end up bossing professions that require competence, and you’ve got the makings of a decent class divide.

          • lizzie

            This is a weird distinction. Good, competent tradespeople are intelligent, and they look down on their dumbass peers who make their jobs harder.

            ETA I don’t know what you mean by competence, but in my experience competence and intelligence go together.

            • Nick never Nick

              I didn’t argue that either group was one more than another, but that both groups put different values on intelligence vs. competence. Think about the different cultural take on, for example, the stereotype of an incompetent professor who can’t dress themselves neatly, loses their smartphone, forgets basic necessities constantly, is physically inept, is constantly late — that person can have value, and actually be respected above their peers.

              Then take those qualities and give them to a tradesperson, and consider whether they would command respect.

              • lizzie

                Yeah, I just don’t agree. Like I said upthread, my dad and younger brother are plumbers. My grandpa was a plumber too. All highly intelligent people, who all value intelligence.

                I don’t know what to say about your invocation of the stereotypical absent minded professor. In my experience, people can command respect if they are superstars in their field, even if they are kind of pathetic in other areas. It’s just that there aren’t that many jobs where you can be that incompetent of a human being but still be good at the job.

          • Linnaeus

            Two things:

            1. If you’ve ever been to an academic meeting, you’ll see very quickly that the idealized “let’s just exchange ideas and see who’s right and who’s wrong and it all works out” is generally not what happens.

            2. People in “competence” positions are probably more willing to change how they do things than you suggest, especially if they have the sense that the person suggesting the change knows and understands the job at the same level.

            • MilitantlyAardvark

              No beasts are crueler to each other than academic administrators with a budget to protect.

        • Some of your examples are really about the difference between people who think about using words in a certain way and people who think about things and effects. You would say between thinking and doing, which proves my point.

        • Ronan

          I don’t think it needs this complex a foundation to explain. In democratic societies, Both left and right like to claim to speak for “the people.” The left does this on economics, who holds the wealth (and so power) in society. The right concentrate on cultural factors,claiming (in some cases plausibly) that a “liberal elite” exert cultural power.

          There is some evidence that these cultural and values differences do have class and educational cleavage(those with more formal education have more liberal values etc).
          What we’re seeing now, afaict,is what was originally an exaggeration based on relatively simplistic group generalisations, is becoming a self fulfilling political prophecy, ie people are selecting into political parties based primarily on nationalism, values, culture etc

          You can see some of these arguments fleshed out here


          (As well as in other places)

          • What happens is that people who think they are conservative (or know what conservatives think) approach people who differ from themselves as if those people were radical cultural rebels.

            This is not a viable approach for any real conservatism in a pluralistic society.

        • efgoldman

          My dad, first generation born in this country, graduated Harvard in 1938, still in the Depression. He went into the service for the duration of the war, like almost everybody else. After the war, he drove a furniture truck and a news agency distributor truck (he had delivered papers for the agency in his teens.) So when he got called back in the Army for Korea, he stayed in for 22 years, then retired and went to work for Honeywell as a tech writer/editor until he turned 65.
          His parents both came to this country around 1905 as adolescents. Neither graduated from any kind of school, in fact I think my grandmother may have had no formal schooling at all. Each was literate in multiple languages; they listened to the Met every Saturday (well, Grandma did – Grandpa spent the say in schul. They listened to Toscanini and the Boston Symphony on the radio. He was a union tailor, after his grocery store failed. She took in sewing (before my time).
          My father in law dropped out of school to enlist in the Navy. After the war, he somehow made a connection with Professor Edgerton at MIT. He set up the famous early strobe photos. Eventually he got his GED and retired as a senior executive at an electrical components factory. He was a rat bastard, but also one of the smartest people I ever knew, and he could quite literally do anything – plumbing, carpentry, fine metalworking, woodworking, wiring – with his hands (daughter mrs efg shares that trait). He taught me to do wiring, but I couldn’t handle plumbing and framing a wall, which he could do in a couple of hours, was completely beyond me.
          Straight out of college in the late 60s, I went to work in the back office of a big trucking company, eventually got into their management training program, the first several weeks of which were spent riding in the cabs with drivers. I met guys who never or barely graduated high school, some of them nearly illiterate, who (properly) took great pride in their million mile (without an accident) awards. These guys were as professional as can be.
          The point is, whoever started it, labeling people the way we do is just fucking stupid. I’m willing to pay $65/hour for a plumber because s/he has a skillset and experience that I don’t, and never will. I don’t give a shit if s/he knows how many symphonies Beethoven wrote.

          • Linnaeus

            I’m with you here.

          • Nick never Nick

            I completely agree with this too. My grandfather barely finished high school, but when he was there he learned to love poetry and books. He didn’t spend his life engrossed in books, but he picked one up when he had free time. He ran a chicken farm, helped develop the seedless watermelon, and in his 40s, gave up being a respectable Mennonite and moved out to Washington State to become an early hippie — he spent the rest of his life gardening and making yogurt and tofu.

            The way that our politics play on the ways that people are expected to live and think, and the way that they’re told other people look at them for the ways they live and think, are really childish. Just looking at the way that hatred and rage have been exploding out in the last two weeks, and the way that social media amplifies a slight all the way up to the White House and sends it reverberating back, just makes me feel sick — it’s going to be an AWFUL four years, horrid for every day of it.

      • NewishLawyer

        I’ve said this before but there are elements of the far-left and far-right that seem to hate the ideas of a complex, post-Industrial (some of them never like Industrial), monetary-based economy.

        They have fantasies of getting rid of all the professions and all the skyscrappers and having everything become like a working class town, or a hippie commune, or Tolkien’s Shire. Everyone is a craftsman and/or a farmer. You barter and trade for goods and services instead of using money. Disputes are settled among adults themselves instead of turning to lawyers.

        Never mind that this probably never existed in the real world and will probably never work. Money makes transactions easier.

        But I’ve seen it a lot. There are elements in the far-left and far-right that want a world where everyone is a “prole.” A while ago I read an essay by a far-right guy showing a surprising amount of tenderness for the music video for Time after Time by Cyndi Lauper. One of the things he really liked about the video was that it took place in working-class America where everyone was a “prole.”

        • Nick never Nick

          I don’t think this is true — there are a couple of things at play, here.

          First, on both sides, not everyone who thinks this, wants it. There are a lot of environmentalists who think this is coming, but they aren’t necessarily thrilled about it. However, those who do want it, mostly see it as a smaller-scale world that will give space for humanistic values.

          People on the far right don’t want this to happen because everyone will be a prole — they want it to happen because they think that they’re prepared for it, will be ‘forced’ to shoot all the starving liberals who will come begging for their food, and then they’ll set up a competence-based society that they will naturally rule.

          • Amanda in the South Bay

            Yeah, one things that shires all need are people whose livelihoods are based around fixing and maintaining items that use electricity.

            • There are lots of people who lament things like “everybody used to be able to fix stuff for themselves and make stuff”. The thing is, this was really only ever a small segment of the population. Most people didn’t want to tinker with stoves and wagons, and most people may have fixed their own fences but would have been happy to have more time to get in crops, and let someone else do the handyman stuff. That segment of the population has had an outsized voice, in our culture, traditionally.

              • Amanda in the South Bay

                And I don’t think that a lot of those types realize just how interconnected and dependent on modern assembly lines and trade stuff like power drills and screw drivers and even gardening tools are. “Oh, I lost my screwdriver, I’ll just mill myself a new one!” said no one ever who seriously gave a thought to this shit.

                • Even “self-sustaining” American farmers bought tools and luxuries from the cities. Trade is as old as civilization, and trade has always gone through (and created, when necessary) cities.

                • More than that, each village had a blacksmith, a miller, a cobbler, and a midwife. “The people” didn’t do for themselves in all things. Even very small villages had things that are almost luxuries, like bakers.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Most people didn’t want to tinker with stoves and wagons

                  Yeah – there’s a reason “tinker” was a professional title (and also a surname).

                  Even very small villages had things that are almost luxuries, like bakers.

                  Not really a luxury when you consider how difficult it is to bake good bread on a hearth, vs. in an oven. The bakery often had the only oven in the village.

        • Also I don’t think the far right wants everyone to be a “prole”. They want there to be a separate class of people who run things, be it an actual class, like a royal family or aristocracy, be it an institution staffed from other classes. Plato’s “Republic” with a ruling class, a military class, and a farming class, maybe.

          Some on both right and left, probably not “far” in either case, may fantasize that there will be people who are indistinguishable from the proles on the outside, but privately have the leisure and education to somehow rule or do whatever.

      • (((Hogan)))

        Booksmart? Fuck that shit.

  • DrDick

    Can we finally drive a stake through the heart of the incredibly stupid and false narrative of “the liberal media”? While some major media may have had a mildly liberal bias in the 60s and 70s, there has been no mainstream left leaning media since the 90s. At best they are centrist and just as often they center right to far right (Fox News. WSJ, etc.).

    • Is the contrary narrative that, since all institutions support the powerful in society, everything that comes out of media, etc., is conservative or right-wing, any better?

      • DrDick

        It is certainly mostly accurate.

        • I don’t know about that. They are certainly conservative in the sense of not wanting to radically destroy or modify the system. But people without power are often conservative in the same sense. Desire for change usually comes with at least some small amount of power. But we live in a complex society with a lot of groups that have only some interaction with one another, and little real central control.

          Many people, if you gave them Dinesh D’Souza and told them he was an “intellectual”, would assume he was liberal and would walk away thinking what he says is what “liberals” think. Other people, you could give Richard Rorty and tell them he was a philosophy professor, and they would assume he would give an A+ to a paper parroting Dinesh D’Souza. It’s not like we have any control over what either of those groups believe.

          • DrDick

            I do not even know what you are trying to argue here, but you seem to largely make my point for me. While there are certainly social liberals in the commercial media, if the major news organizations have any systematic bias, it is pro-corporate and center right to right.

            • I pretty much agree with you and my initial comment was not really on-topic. I think the media is mostly centrist and on economics mostly center right.

              But I think the narrative of the liberal media can’t be killed even with a stake through the heart; and I think most of the media accepts enough “bleeding heart” arguments frequently enough to call it liberal. There are segments that are more right-wing but I don’t think they’re dominant enough to justify calling the media as a whole right-wing. And they certainly work for corporations and are influenced by the executives they work for, but they are not spokespeople for the corporate worldview.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Here’s the problem. The “centrist” media actually prefers Republicans and distorts the news to help Republicans. But what are the alternatives. On the right they have their own news channels which are the leader in a very large propaganda apparatus that includes almost all of the talk radio in the US and a massive number of well-funded web sites. On the left we have a small sprinkling of barely-funded talk shows on the radio, no TV except a couple lightly-watched evening programs on MSNBC, and a number of left wing web sites – most on a shoestring – which get occasional references in generic news feeds.

      Given this situation a lot of people don’t see the left at all. I’ve heard people who vote Democratic refer to Fox as conservative and CNN as liberal. In fact, CNN are Republicans. But they are nice Washington Republicans, not the frothing-at-the-mouth barely-got-through-high-school rank-and-file Republican. Their social circle includes lots of log cabin Republicans and they don’t have any interaction with the fundamentalists or white supremacists, and they saw Obama as one of the nice polite blacks they have in their social circles to make them feel non-racist. Of course the GOP base thinks CNN is liberal – because they have a massively different world view. The only reason CNN types are Republican is that they want to keep their taxes down and they grew up hating hippies and treehuggers.

      So, the media choice is far right GOP and establishment GOP. But because the far right GOP press drive so much of the establishment GOP press narrative (after all, they have to placate their voters) they get to define the establishment GOP press as liberal.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        The centrist media stars at the NYT and networks are themselves mostly Democrats, but they feel really, really guilty about how that makes them biased, so they bend over backwards to amplify the views of “centrist” Republicans. Also like most of us they are shallow and remember a few Big Things from college, like Free Trade Good, and Always Fear Runaway Inflation.

      • DrDick

        I think it is more accurate to say that on economic and to some extent foreign policy issues they are at least mildly conservative, while on social issues they are moderately liberal or completely indifferent (since these things do not affect them much).

        • efgoldman

          since these things do not affect them much

          And this is the key, really.
          Once upon a time, reporters and most levels of newsroom jobs really were ink-stained wretches. Not poor, but definitely not rich. There were exponentially more daily papers, and competition for stories and scoops was fierce.
          Now, after decades of media consolidation, the death of thousands of papers, the dropping of local and network news departments, pretty much anyone with a recognizable byline is a superstar, and paid like one (web journalists mostly excepted). They live in their Village bubble, literally and metaphorically, writing for each other and talking to each other. Every once in a while they tout an “exclusive” or a “scoop” which usually turns out to be a line of bullshit. Most of the news they report comes from press releases or press conferences. Local reporters still do fires and town council meetings, but if they stay in the business long enough they graduate from news to Village.

  • Dilan Esper

    You know, HRC had a huge ad budget. She could have told the public about any issues relating to Trump’s fitness for office that she wanted to. Whatever the MSM talked about.

    But she decided to blow her ad budget talking about sex scandals the public already knew about and which were more indirectly connected to fitness for office. According to Hillary’s message, the biggest threat of Trump was that he might say mean things that the children would hear.

    Don’t rely on the media to put out your message.

    • blackbox

      So you saw one Clinton ad about Trump’s sexually predatory nature, and concluded this. In fact she had ads running about all of those things you mentioned, and more.

      Furthermore, I can’t even wrap my head around the belief that campaign ads would reach a wider audience and have more influence than hours-long daily coverage like E-MAILS!!! got. What absurd lengths you will go to to make everything that happened during and after the campaign Hillary’s fault.

      • Dilan Esper

        I saw a lot of ads. But the one that played over and over was the children listening to Trump.

        And no, the media is not as powerful as you think. The American public is not a bunch of lemmings that do whatever the media tells them to do.

        I suspect the reality is Trump is a celebrity and no attack from Hillary or the media would have worked. But whining about the press is something right wingers do. It’s like blaming all your team’s losses on the referees.

        • Dilan Esper

          1 other thing:

          What, exactly, do you all propose to do about the media? State owned media? Restrictions on the First Amendment? Elimination of anti-trust protections so the media can collude with each other?

          The media isn’t some mass, collusive entity. It’s a whole bunch of different outlets, large and small. They didn’t all get together and say “let’s push the Clinton scandals”. They followed their normal procedures– hot news (like Comey’s letter) over stale news, balanced coverage, loads of horse race coverage, etc.

          And I don’t see how you reform any of this. Nor would I want to. The job of campaigns, including Hillary’s, is to get their own message out. The media will cover it. They did cover Hillary’s message, plenty. The objection seems to be they covered Trump’s message equally, but that’s how it works in a two party system (and you guys love a two party system :) ).

          You can whine about the media all you want, but it’s a given, and I really don’t want the media to start thinking it’s their job to take down the Republican candidate. I’m sorry– that’s how it works in some other countries, and it doesn’t work out well.

          What Democrats should do is look for candidates who don’t get involved in scandals, like Obama, rather than those who routinely do, like the Clintons, and focus on winning voters that it lost in 2016. And do all of this with some recognition that there may have been nothing that could have been done given Trump’s unique status as a celebrity candidate in a country that worships celebrities.

          • petesh

            I dont know where you were for last 18 months, but your recollection bears very little resemblance to mine. Did you see the media analysis of the amount of time on networks and column inches devoted to Clinton’s emails as compared to her policy? I really cannot tell if you are blind or lying.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The idea that the media doesn’t respond to sustained criticism is absurd. The Clinton Rules are the product of very conscious ref-working by the GOP. And Obana is very much the exception among major recent Dems. Gore was treated just as badly and while Kerry didn’t get that level it was still bad.

            • Sebastian_h

              There was a sustained effort by the main stream media to focus on how horrible Trump was. The problem was that they didn’t focus on one or two key things, they tried to talk about everything horrible about Trump.

              This is a losing proposition. You need to FOCUS on some particularly horrible thing about Trump and ram it home again and again. I think the best bet, because there is no way that Trump will be able to control it, is repeated financial corruption. Target it, bring the worst examples and hammer them.

              Maybe pick something else and hammer it. But you need to stick to something that is repeated, ongoing, and which will hurt him. You can’t hope that everything at once will hurt him, he has too many horribly bad things to pay attention to all of them.

              • Scott Lemieux

                I’ll probably do another post on this, but I think that with Trump the media was in a bit of a tough spot — he shattered so many norms and did so many things that would ordinarily be disqualifying that some lack of focus was probably inevitable.

                What was unforgivable was trying to balance that out by trying to create Clinton scandals to match up.

          • GFW

            Both Britain and England seem to be *generally* well served by state-supported media, e.g. the BBC and CBC.

            • Nick never Nick

              I think you mean Canada, comrade.

          • efgoldman

            Elimination of anti-trust protections so the media can collude with each other?

            This is effectively what lifting of ownership restrictions did from Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus on. Tell us,counselor, what was the last antitrust case that was brought against media consolidation? The Comcast merger? Yeah, I guess. That car left the parking lot a long time ago.

            The media isn’t some mass, collusive entity. It’s a whole bunch of different outlets, large and small.

            Actually, they mostly are big media companies these days. How many different outlets do the Murdochs own? How about I Heart Radio? The aforementioned Comcast? NBC/Universal?
            Here and there are a few independent outlets (notably NYT). Take a close look at your local paper – if you still have one – and see how many stories are credited to NYT, or WaPo, or AP, and then tell me about all the independent voices.

        • CrunchyFrog

          Yeah, that really disappointed me that she kept playing only that ad in the final week – at least here in the swing state of Colorado. Watching football I’d see that ad, followed by a Trump ad. Trump’s ads were far more effective. First 10 seconds were a horror movie – terrorism, crime, etc., all blamed on Hillary. Last 10 seconds were Morning-in-America kind of stuff about how great things are going to be with Trump. Yes, the first 10 seconds were lies. Yes, the second 10 seconds were completely substance-free – promising great things with no plan or idea how to get there. So what, low info voters.

          The big problem was that all of the nasty Trump stuff had been seen again and again. There was absolutely NOTHING in Clinton’s ads that laid out a vision for America. Yes, I know, her web site was chock full of very well-written, well-thought out policy details. Yes, I know she gave some great policy speeches. But the ad campaign was not.

          If you were still on the fence here’s what the ads told you. If you vote Clinton, you’ll get the same as you’re getting now, but at least you won’t have this nasty bully in the white house. If you vote Trump, you’ll get a nasty bully, but he might be able to make things a ton better.

          And finally, as for people who were pissed off about the negativity of the campaign the Clinton ads were the absolute worst. I heard people voting (reluctantly) for Clinton say that they hated that she was running these ads on programs where children were watching. If she was so concerned about what children might here, why was she contributing to them? My first reaction was – c’mon, it’s Trump’s fault, not hers. But upon reflection I see their point. Since everyone already knew that he said that stuff she could have referenced it briefly then moved on to her vision of an America without bullies.

          Finally, her decision to attack Trump and not the GOP ended up, as we feared at the time of the DNC convention, a disaster. Because she wasn’t attacking the GOP she couldn’t lay out a vision for a better America – to do that she’d have to either say Obama was at fault or the GOP. She could have said GOP, but her team was fantasizing about getting GOP voters to vote Clinton so didn’t want to offend them. Not only this this mute any message she had about making the future better, it also utterly failed in that GOP voters in the end all voted GOP – like they have every time this century.

          • petesh

            I agree with a lot of this. I dont know enough about the actual proportion of individual ads aired (since I live in California) — I saw the kids on on the web, and also some policy-oriented ones. My complaint is directed primarily at the media, who essentially refused to report major policy speeches by Clinton and obsessed over trivialities that made both candidates look bad; worse, as though they were equally bad on equally important topics, which is complete rubbish.

            • (((Hogan)))

              My complaint is directed primarily at the media, who essentially refused to report major policy speeches by Clinton

              But if they did that, they’d have to balance it by covering Trump’s major policy speeches, and he didn’t give any.

  • jamesepowell

    I have a problem with original post. Instead of a photo of Ken Starr, it should have the publishers and editors of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. Without their relentless flogging of the bullshit Whitewater, Travel Office, Cattle Futures, and so on, no one would have ever heard of Ken Starr.

  • thispaceforsale

    nbc firing trump from celebrity apprentice was the tone the media needs to get back to, this is sickening

    • jamesepowell

      I’m betting their news divisions are making a ton of money of the Trump Revolution. Don’t look for them to do anything to harm it.

  • ddworak1

    We are the White Rose. We will not be silent.

    I think it will come to this.

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