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The Great Pumpkin Pivot is Coming!

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23-donald-trump-trucks.w710.h473Above: Trump’s Move to the Left Express

I’ve observed before that lefties who are the most hardcore Eeyores about the Democratic Party — perhaps logically — also tend to be the most desperate to seize on the most threadbare evidence that fanatically right-wing Republican public officials are moving to the left and can be reasoned with. John Judis provides a classic example:

Trump, reflecting the Bannon-Breitbart style, carried his populism into the White House, as clearly reflected in his inaugural address. He also fired away before taking careful aim – on China and Taiwan, on the Muslim travel ban. And in repealing and replacing Obamacare, he put winning – that is demonstrating he could get things done – above producing legislation that reflected his own commitments to his “silent majority” to create a bill that was better than Obamacare – cheaper and more universal. Instead, he gave into what the late Jude Wanniski used to call the “throw the widows out in the snow” faction of Republicans.

To cut in for a second, if you thought there was ever any chance that Trump would propose a health care bill to the left of the ACA, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Who was going to write this for him — Tom Price? And even if he did, so what? This isn’t 1970 and there isn’t a Democratic Congress to put liberal bills on the president’s desk.

Well, maybe change is in the air.

I’d list the following: 1) As Josh notes, the demotion of Bannon, and add to that stories that Bannon has been wanting to resign altogether out of frustration that he is not getting his way; 2) After the failure of Obamacare repeal and replace, turning his fire on the Freedom Caucus and threatening to work in the future with Democrats; 3) His National Economic Council head Gary Cohn telling bankers he favors a version of Glass-Steagall, which puts him with Bernie Sanders not Chuck Schumer; 4) Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who along with Cohn are the “Democrats” in the administration, assuming much larger and more public positions in the White House; 5) Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who in my opinion was Trump’s best cabinet pick by far, assuming control over trade policy; 6) Trump revaluating his stand on Syria and Israel-Palestine; 7) His meeting with labor leaders on infrastructure.

If you evidence that Trump is moving to the left are things like his shameless nepotism, comparisons of Gary Cohn with Bernie Sanders, Syria (whoops!), and using gullible labor leaders as a prop…again, I don’t really know what to say. On infrastructure, Yglesias is obviously right:

And to the extent that that’s news, it’s the only actual news Trump made on infrastructure. His remarks make it clear that he doesn’t know anything about the substance of the issue or about the relevant congressional procedures. He doesn’t appear to be familiar with the related provisions of his own administration’s budget, and he isn’t putting in the time to lay the political groundwork for any legislation. The trillion-dollar infrastructure plan doesn’t exist except as a line of rhetoric.

It’s pure vaporware, and unless something dramatic changes to the overall structure of the administration, it always will be.

[…]

All of which is to say that Trump isn’t going to attach a $1 trillion infrastructure plan as a sweetener to his health care bill or his tax bill for the simple reason that there is no $1 trillion infrastructure plan and never will be. Trump has no plan, and no understanding of the issue, and to the extent that his aides are involved in infrastructure, it’s to try to convince him to talk up deregulation as more important than spending money.

His budget proposal calls for spending less on infrastructure, not more; congressional Republicans don’t favor a big infrastructure boost; and even though Chuck Schumer has put a $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan on the table, Trump hasn’t bothered to meet with him.

Meanwhile, the budget instructions the GOP is trying to use to pass health care in a filibuster-proof way don’t make any provision for an infrastructure plan. To incorporate infrastructure into a tax reform package, Trump would need to get those instructions into a Republican-written fiscal year 2018 budget, but there is no indication that anyone on Capitol Hill is doing this.

And even if Trump did favor a major infrastructure plan (or single payer) — and there’s no reason to believe that he does — and was developing a legislative proposal — which he plainly isn’t — how would he get Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to put these bills to a vote?

Trump’s gestures to economic populism are a an irrelevant fraud. He’s not going to suddenly reveal himself to be “an Ed Koch Democrat or an Al D’Amato Republican” and couldn’t govern that way even if he wanted to. His presidency is going to be a complete trainwreck and it will be a right-wing trainwreck.

[Via]

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  • Rob in CT

    Appropriate for anything Trump says: “Conman says what?”

  • Steve LaBonne

    I wish Marshall wouldn’t let Judis waste TPM’s electrons. His byline is an automatic “don’t bother reading” for me.

    • nemdam

      Somehow each column is worse than the last.

      • Mr Rogers

        I saw this TPM headline pop up and the words out of my mouth were “Oh for Fucks Sake, why?”

    • anapestic

      The thing is, most of the stuff on the main page of TPM is by Josh, who’s terrific, and most of the rest of the stuff is by someone else who is at least reasonable. So by default, I don’t bother to look at the byline. When Judis writes a piece, I’m usually into the second sentence before I realize that something is terribly, horribly wrong, and only then do I check and realize that I’ve wasted seconds of my life on a John Judis piece. That’s time that I didn’t spend doing something more useful, like staring at navel lint.

    • efgoldman

      I wish Marshall wouldn’t let Judis waste TPM’s electrons.

      Maybe I’ll send Josh an email. I could write unresearched, unsourced, completely wrong bullshit for half of what he pays Judis.

    • Marlowe

      I don’t also don’t understand what Judis is doing at TPM. Josh is one of the most insightful commentator around ATM, but Judis is consistently useless. I was befuddled when I saw this rather dumb headline; when I saw Judis’ byline, I just ignored it.

    • Manny Kant

      He thinks Wilbur Ross is Trump’s best cabinet pick? What??

      • efgoldman

        He thinks Wilbur Ross is Trump’s best cabinet pick? What??

        If you have a fifteen year old Yugo you have to push up hills, and duct tape the windows shut, and smokes like a coal plant, but all your other cars only have three wheels, or the engine is missing two pistons, or the rear quarter has fallen off, then the Yugo is your “best” car.

        • Manny Kant

          Mattis and McMaster are gimmes.

  • MikeJake

    Aaugh!

  • BigHank53

    Someday there might just be a pony behind that mountain of horseshit. Not while Trump’s in office, though.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    I think someone who can insist the Dems suck *and* that trump won’t govern as a right winger” is one of those “my core belief is that politics is bad” sorts. You can’t do much with them

  • Donald Trump is as corrosive to this country as immersing it in a vat of sulfuric acid. I think the damage that Trump is going to inflict over the next 4 years is going to outweigh any good that comes out of it, even if the Dems sweep Congress in 2018. And that’s assuming we don’t find ourselves in a proxy war with Russia in Syria, or China over North Korea.

    • NonyNony

      Think about the damage Nixon did to the country.

      Then the damage that Reagan did to the country.

      Then the damage W did to the country.

      If you really want to be depressed, imagine what the next GOP president after Trump will do to the country (assuming we still have one, of course).

      I need a drink. Too early for a drink, but I need one anyway.

      • Domino

        The Republic will continue to exist long after Trump. Trump is too lazy and incompetent to actually try and bring down the country. And the people around him (which yes, mostly mean Wunderkind Kushner and his daughter) don’t want to see the Republic collapse.

        The person most likely to want that, Bannon, has fallen out of favor, and it’s doubtful he’ll recover.

        Sessions giving the ok to police to kill black and brown people without fear of prosecution is going to be awful, Pruitt at the EPA is already awful, and there will be a whole host of other things that we’ll all hate. But the country will continue on, hopefully with a giant Democratic surge in 2020.

        • Yes, we will continue to soldier on. Its just damn depressing to have to keep retrenching and fighting to win back lost ground.

        • Origami Isopod

          The Republic will continue to exist long after Trump.

          I don’t know. Not because I think Trump himself will take it down. Because the Republic was built on white supremacy, which is falling apart, and a lot of white Americans would rather see their country go under completely than relinquish white privilege — even if they’re poor and sick.

          Add to that the stresses of a “globalized” world with neither sufficient labor protections nor a good safety net here in the States, along with the problems that climate change is already bringing. I’m no political expert and I don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether the U.S. as a political entity will last the century.

          • Origami Isopod

            Note: “Falling apart” is not meant to imply that white supremacy no longer exists or has power. But it’s been significantly challenged.

          • StellaB

            With one half of the country convinced not only that they should never compromise with the center and the left, but that the center/left coalition is subhuman, terroristic, and needs to be eliminated, if possible, I’m not sure that making it to the end of the century is impossibly optimistic.

          • Add to that the stresses of a “globalized” world with neither sufficient labor protections nor a good safety net here in the States, along with the problems that climate change is already bringing.

            25 million climate refugees from Florida alone over the coming decades, plus half a trillion or more in abandoned real estate. That’s gonna hurt.

            • efgoldman

              25 million climate refugees from Florida alone

              I probably won’t live to see it (and neither will he) but it pleases me that Mar-A-Loco is right at sea level.

            • djw

              Florida has 20 million residents.

              • You don’t think population will increase before it starts to decrease?

      • Hogan

        It must be 10 am somewhere.

      • eclare

        Just wait until our next major natural disaster.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          he’s already not doing disaster declarations which free up various forms of aid- those ranchers in Kansas and Oklahoma who lost cattle in the wildfires were complaining about that in a couple of articles I read

          • …those ranchers in Kansas and Oklahoma who lost cattle in the wildfires were complaining about that in a couple of articles I read

            That could merely be attributed to karma.

            • Origami Isopod

              I do feel bad for the cattle themselves, though. Cruel way for them to die.

              • tsam

                **must resist BBQ steak joke**

                • **must not photoshop ketchup in place of Foscheck in some firefightingfotos**

        • Hopefully its the one that sweeps Mar-a-Lago out to sea.

        • Rob in CT

          You know, as bad as Dubya was…

          Imagine Trump in charge when Katrina happened.

          • NonyNony

            I know right? That list is pretty much in descending order of ability to manage a crisis.

            In Katrina’s case I’d definitely prefer Nixon being in charge over Reagan, Reagan and his crew over W, and W over Trump.

            • Origami Isopod

              Reagan himself wouldn’t have been much use. His administration would definitely have been more competent than W’s, however. Deeply dishonest people, but qualified.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              I’d definitely prefer Nixon being in charge over Reagan, Reagan and his crew over W, and W over Trump.

              We’re getting to the point where the next Republican President may not be able to do more than grunt.

          • eclare

            The one silver lining is that Trump hasn’t yet gotten around to actually appointing a new head of FEMA. The Acting Administrator is a holdover. Let’s hope inertia prevents a new appointment anytime soon.

    • Rob in CT

      My take is that the damage was already done, and Trump is the manifestation of that damage. The damage was done by the RW puke funnel.

      • Origami Isopod

        It’s incremental. The RWNM got started mainly in the ’70s and ramped up hard in the ’90s. But each of their victories has done more damage.

        • Rob in CT

          Yes. Gingrich [email protected]#($)!#$

          • brewmn

            The evil started in earnest on a policy level under Reagan and on a rhetoric/tactical level under Delay/Gingrich.

  • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit

    I don’t know how anyone can be that stupid. How can anyone, let alone someone vaguely left wing, trust a plutocratic conman? How is this explained?

    • The desire to be contrarian, has led a lot of people who should know better very far astray. Ditto the desire to keep ones hands clean of the blood that stains every party in the white house. (As if no guilt accrues from empowering the even more bloodthirsty opposition)

      • Origami Isopod

        The desire to be contrarian, has led a lot of people who should know better very far astray.

        Yes.

    • rm

      I suppose if one’s view of the parties is Wrong and Wronger, then it’s hard to admit to oneself that there is no hope of your Great Leftist Vision ever gaining ground. Giving up hope is hard, so you grasp at straws.

      And yet, as the hosts of this blog keep pointing out, the Dem Party ran on the most progressive platform in its history — but I keep reading people who think it’s moving ever rightward.

      • I’m starting to think there’s a pseudo-leftist echo chamber that’s almost as powerful as the right-wing puke funnel. Given the increasing evidence that Russia has employed trolls to that effect, I suspect the same thing may be happening on both sides.

        My politics are uncompromisingly libertarian socialist, but I’m also enough of a pragmatist to recognise that the only way to make politics better right now is to work within the system using the existing mechanisms at our disposal. It’s not as though this is a new insight: Noam Chomsky has long endorsed doing the exact same thing. It’s as though a lot of pseudo-leftists are incapable of dealing with reality as it exists.

        These people complain that the Democrats aren’t listening to them, and yet they’re not willing to put in the work required to work within the party and make their views heard. They think they should be able to be given seniority over people with forty-year histories of activism. It doesn’t work like that. You have to earn influence.

        Ultimately, their plan is no less shallow than the Underpants Gnomes’:

        1. Complain about Democrats.
        2. ?
        3. Revolution!

        • Brien Jackson

          Finally ran into one of these types in our local prog group circles: Took to our private FB group to ask us to rally our members to call our Democratic Senators and demand they support Bernie Sanders’ college plan. When someone said they’d get on it after the SCOTUS thing was over the response was “that’s not get enough we need to do this now and SCOTUS doesn’t need that much attention.” When I pointed out that it was completely pointless and counterproductive to mobilize activists around a bill that has no chance of even being put on the Senate calendar, he quickly proceded to show a) that he had no clue how Senate rules work, b) angrily denounced Democratic leadership including Pelosi by name and c) wouldn’t acknowledge that both of our Senators already support free college education in concept because they don’t support BERNIE SANDERS plan. Oh, and he of course thought that Sanders’ mechanism was literally the only acceptable way to do it and would totally work because red state voters would demand Reublicans accept the plan and Medicaid expansion is completely different because reasons and stuff.

          It was utterly ridiculous.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            As Brien points out, it’s not just the keyboard potatoes. Indeed, one such asshat (not PM or KG) drops by here semi-frequently. Needless to say he’d be a lot more worthwhile if he a) didn’t preemptively treat all disagreement with contempt, and b) ever bothered to substantively defend his arguments.

          • gmack

            I’ve dealt with these types too, but at least in my experience, they’re fairly rare. More specifically, there are a whole bunch of people in our local Indivisible group who are excited about and want to mobilize support on behalf of Sanders’ Medicare for all proposal. By and large, however, they’re not arguing for it in the way Brien is describing. They aren’t dismissing other issues (e.g., the SCOTUS appointment), and they aren’t denouncing Democratic leaders. Granted, I still have disagreements with them, at least to some extent; I don’t see much use in trying to organize around a bill that has no chance of going anywhere in the present, and I also think there is a tendency here to fetishize single payer as the only way to get to universal health care. Nevertheless, I consider this to be a relatively minor disagreement. I don’t have any objection, for instance, in declaring support for a single payer health system as a statement of principle or as an ideal, and the people I’m disagreeing with aren’t using this ideal as a cudgel to attack other parts of the coalition of which we are a part. The result is that the disagreement doesn’t interfere with continuing to work together.

  • lige

    I’ve always thought he would possibly make some sort of Gergen-esque pivot to his administration to go from extremely terrible to just terrible but I wouldn’t bet on it. That would require some sort of competent minder and Trump whisperer that I don’t think exists. Those thoughts also stem from my “bargaining” stage after he got elected.

  • DAS

    Actually I think that the opening to this post can almost as easily be re-written as

    I’ve observed before that “sensible” centrists who are the most hardcore Piglets* and Kangas** about the Democratic Party — perhaps illogically — also tend to be the most desperate to seize on the most threadbare evidence that fanatically right-wing Republican public officials are moving to the left and can be reasoned with.

    I guess if you are committed to bothsiderism, it doesn’t matter whether your commitment to that doctrine is based on a left-wing critique of the Democrats as being just as bad as the Republicans or on a firmly held belief that Democrats are too far to the left and Republicans are too far to the right. The end result of each kind of bothsiderism of nominally left of center folks is the same: not only a constant worry that Democrats will always sell out (either to the base or to the plutocracy) but also a constant hope that Republicans won’t be so bad after all.

    * scared … of the Democratic “base”
    ** and always so concerned

    • Rob in CT

      +1.

  • nemdam

    My overriding feeling regarding all the nonsense of the last 24 hours:

    Everyone who didn’t vote for Hillary outta be ashamed of themselves.

    • PunditusMaximus

      Sigh. Yeah, keep castigating a single mom who was facing a 4-hour line and a poll worker that plans to call her boss if he sees her for not voting. That’ll work.

      • nemdam

        Ah, you pegged me correctly. That’s exactly who I was talking to and not the millions of Trump voters, 3rd party voters, and those who stayed home because they think their vote doesn’t matter.

        It’s too bad you don’t live in Russia because then you could get paid to do this!

        • PunditusMaximus

          “and those who stayed home because they think their vote doesn’t matter.”

          …and scene

          • Origami Isopod

            Your reading of nemdam is pretty bad-faith. Nobody here blames victims of voter suppression.

            • PunditusMaximus

              All the HRC supporters blame victims of voter suppression. That’s who didn’t vote. But we all pretend it’s other middle class white dudes, when of course middle class white dudes came out in droves 2:1 to vote Trump straight up.

              Fuck Tr45, and fuck the Establishment Dems who trashed the State establishments who could have fought voter suppression one district at a time.

              • Lurking Canadian

                The people who walked into the booth and voted for Trump, Stein or Johnson, by definition are not the victims of vote suppression. Plenty of people to blame in that group.

  • rewenzo

    And here I thought socialism was hard to define, when all along there was a simple test:

    Did one of the President’s advisors utter a remark that, if a true representation of that adviser’s beliefs, would place him, that on one issue, theoretically more to the left of the Democratic party’s sole outlier on this issue?

    If so, Administration is socialist.

  • Murc

    Okay, so. Full disclosure: I’m a fan of John Judis and have been for a long time. I generally think he’s an okay guy and is definitely on the side of the angels. Has he written shit I thought was howlingly wrong? Sure, of course. Everyone has done that.

    But he’s been kind of… flailing when it comes to Trump. This isn’t the first article of the “perhaps Trump will do things that aren’t entirely horrible” type that he’s written, and it won’t be the last. Credit where credit is due: he does heavily qualify most of this stuff. And he gets some things mostly right. Such as:

    My own take was that Trump the president was a blend of the conservative convictions he shared with business Republicans on taxes and regulation with the nativism of the Tea Party right and that rather than taking a strange and peculiar road of mixing liberal and conservative and Republican and Democrat, he was ending up a less calculating, intelligent and stable version of Ted Cruz – and I can’t think of anything much worse.

    That’s almost entirely correct; but the way in which it isn’t completely correct is important. He keeps getting the core of his substance just completely off-base, and I think I’ve figured out why.

    Basically, my contention is that Judis, like others, thinks that Trump has an actual ideology and governing agenda, which was accurately expressed by his campaign. He sort of assumes that as a given in the passage I quoted above:

    Trump the president was a blend of the conservative convictions

    Judis thinks Trump has conservative convictions. This is only true in the very, very, narrowest sense, that Trump is a thief, crook, and conman, and stealing and grifting are in fact core conservative values. But in the sense Judis means it it isn’t true at all.

    Trump doesn’t have a governing agenda; as near as I can tell the only thing he truly has a personal investment in is getting stuff built with his name on it. Just about every in-depth profile of Trump I’ve ever read has made a point of mentioning how he’s had a decades-long need to be a successful real estate developer, like his dad was, and build real physical buildings that are an actual success. He wants that real bad.

    But everything else is either his id speaking or is an actively deceptive conjob. Everything else. Because he doesn’t care! He’s never cared. He isn’t Paul Ryan. He isn’t Rand Paul. He isn’t the Freedom Caucus. Those people have governing agendas. They’re twisted, blackened things but they do exist. Trump doesn’t have that. Frankly, he doesn’t have the attention span.

    Judis constantly, constantly, makes the mistake that Trump is actually trying to do stuff according to some kind of plan rather than just flailing. He does think Trump is dangerously incompetent, I’ll give him that, but he gets the kind of dangerously incompetent that Trump is quite wrong; Trump doesn’t have a plan that he’s too unskilled to get executed. (That was Bush the Lesser.) Trump doesn’t have a plan.

    And that’s a very different thing. It is also somewhat foreign to American politics. Usually, people who are pure grifters out only for themselves who attain high office have a degree of political skill, of self-control, of high-functioning sociopathy. Trump has precisely two skills (salesmanship and demagoguery) that just happened to be relevant at a specific point in time.

    There is not a method to the madness. There is only madness. Trump isn’t literally Caligula, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing, doesn’t have an agenda beyond satisfying his needs of the moment (even Judis admits that; “Trump is nothing if not volatile” gives away the game) and isn’t going to develop one.

    Until and unless Judis and others recognize that fact, they’re going to be constantly snookered. And it won’t even be intentional snookering on Trump’s part, which is kind of impressive. They’re going to keep interpreting moves he makes as part of a larger plan rather than knee-jerk reactions, and trying to analyze them that way is going to lead you to wrong conclusions because you’re working from wrong principles.

    I hope they come to this realization soon.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      is it fair to say a lot of whatever success trump has had comes from people subconsciously- or not- *wanting* him to succeed, and *letting* him do so, because otherwise his failure would make them look bad?

      • DamnYankees

        I don’t think so. I think it comes from people just not having any familiarity with people like Trump, and so they project things on to him. How many people do you know – personally or professionally – who you would say have almost literally no beliefs about anything other than they are and their family are awesome? And when I say no believes about anything, I don’t mean public policy beliefs. I mean really foundational beliefs – basic moral precepts, a believe in the goodness of truth, a basic sense of empathy being important.

        It’s just a really unusual personality type and people have no idea how to deal with it. The man’s a psychopath in the basic sense of that term.

    • rewenzo

      It’s like the episode of the Simpsons where Homer becomes the union boss by accident, and inadvertently fools Mr. Burns into thinking he’s a strategic mastermind.

      • sibusisodan

        Infrastructure plan! AHCA needs changes…

        • wjts

          “What does this job pay?”
          “Nothing.”
          “D’oh!”
          “Unless you’re crooked.”
          “Whoo-hoo!”

          • Hogan

            I prefer the hands-on touch you only get with hired goons.

    • kvs

      Judis conflates “ideologue” with “demagogue.”

    • Boots Day

      I think one reason people like Judis get taken in by these things is that since Trump has no convictions, no policies, no beliefs, no morality whatsoever, he will occasionally make gestures that seem as if he’s moving toward the left. But they are utterly meaningless. They are pure accident.

      Trump is going to keep on doing things that make Fox & Friends give him warm fuzzies. That is his only principle.

      • Harkov311

        In short, Trump may blunder leftward on occasion, but it’s almost assuredly not on purpose, and definitely not because he suddenly stopped being a horrible person.

        • Trump may blunder leftward on occasion, but it’s almost assuredly not on purpose

          A strongly biased Drunkard’s Walk.

    • waspuppet

      Trump, reflecting the Bannon-Breitbart style, carried his populism into the White House, as clearly reflected in his inaugural address. He also fired away before taking careful aim – on China and Taiwan, on the Muslim travel ban. And in repealing and replacing Obamacare, he put winning – that is demonstrating he could get things done – above producing legislation that reflected his own commitments to his “silent majority” to create a bill that was better than Obamacare – cheaper and more universal. Instead, he gave into what the late Jude Wanniski used to call the “throw the widows out in the snow” faction of Republicans.

      Well, maybe change is in the air.

      Sure. I mean, that was all three whole weeks ago.

    • Aaron Morrow

      Kudos to whoever is writing subtitles at Vox:

      Rambling nonsense is not a legislative strategy.

      • Rob in CT

        Vox has been quite good overall, IMO.

        What horrifies me is (and this I got from a Vox article!) that InfoWars reaches the same # of people as Vox.

        • DamnYankees

          It’s been interesting over the last month watching the battle (friendly battle) between Klein and Yglesias come to the fore. Yglesias for years has been on the “the GOP is full of liars and they don’t actually believe anything they say they do” bandwagon, and Klein hasn’t been. He wants to believe in genuine disagree and good faith. And Klein is now breaking down and appears to be having something of an existential crisis over the fact that Yglesias is and was correct.

          I think the biggest fact about the last 10 years of politics that goes unsaid, and largely unbelieved, is that the GOP is a party that has been operating almost entirely in bad faith almost all the time. People don’t want to believe it, but its been the defining fact of our politics (not our policy, but our politics) for a decade or so. And you can’t deal with it if you don’t acknowledge it. The people who have been most on point about the GOP – like Yglesias or Krugman – are those who accepted this fact a long, long time ago.

          • Murc

            Yglesias for years has been on the “the GOP is full of liars and they don’t actually believe anything they say they do” bandwagon, and Klein hasn’t been. He wants to believe in genuine disagree and good faith. And Klein is now breaking down and appears to be having something of an existential crisis over the fact that Yglesias is and was correct.

            Wait… what?

            Yglesias is self-evidently not correct.

            The GOP is filled to the brim with people who believe, with passionate intensity, in the things they are saying and doing. Many of them wield immense political power and will speak quite openly about their desire to make America into a theocratic feudal state.

            • DamnYankees

              The GOP is filled to the brim with people who believe, with passionate intensity, in the things they are saying and doing. Many of them wield immense political power and will speak quite openly about their desire to make America into a theocratic feudal state.

              I don’t think I understand what you mean. I think Yglesias point would be (or at least my point is) that the GOP does not speak openly about that at all, other than back benchers like King and Goehmert. This is not how Ryan or McConnell or Romney or Rubio speak.

              Maybe I don’t understand you.

              • Murc

                I think Yglesias point would be (or at least my point is) that the GOP does not speak openly about that at all, other than back benchers like King and Goehmert.

                And, you know. The President.

                This is not how Ryan or McConnell or Romney or Rubio speak.

                They are not “the GOP” tho.

                If Ygelsias’ point is simply that Republicans often lie in service of their agenda, that’s remarkably banal, but the way you phrased it makes it seem like the critique is actually “they don’t actually have an agenda.” Which is of course not true.

                • Rob in CT

                  Murc: we translate their bullshit fluently and know what they really want.

                  But no, really, these assholes are *not* open about their actual goals.

                  They absolutely have an agenda, but they lie constantly about it.

                  And that may be “banal” to you and me, but it’s really not for millions of our fellow Americans, and most if not all media people.

                • Rob in CT

                  And no, Trump doesn’t speak openly about fuck all, because Trump just rambles on saying any old shit that comes into his head.

                  Like he’ll say he’s gonna tax the rich and then releases a tax proposal that is the exact opposite. He repeatedly said he’d leave SS & Medicare alone (TBD). He said a bunch of airy fairy nonsense about healthcare, and then tried to get the AHCA passed. And on and on and on.

                • Hogan

                  This president has no desire to turn America into a feudal theocratic state. For one thing, he doesn’t know what most of those words mean.

                • DamnYankees

                  If Ygelsias’ point is simply that Republicans often lie in service of their agenda, that’s remarkably banal, but the way you phrased it makes it seem like the critique is actually “they don’t actually have an agenda.” Which is of course not true.

                  Well, two things here.

                  First, I’d dispute your claim that recognizing GOPers lie all the time is banal. It’s banal to you and me, but my point is that a huge, huge amount of serious people, including liberals like Ezra Klein, do not, or at least have not, shared this perspective.

                  People spent years and years acting like the GOP’s objections to Obamacare were in good faith. Or the Syrian intervention. Or the stimulus. Or anything. When you say it’s “banal” to realize they weren’t, I mean – I wish it was banal. But its not. The fact that the GOP has no actual plan about health care or economic development or international diplomacy is not obvious at all to most people.

                  I of course agree with you that Trump and the current Congress are laying bare the reality here, and people like Ezra Klein are coming around to realizing that this party is full of liars who have acted in bad faith for a decade. But this is, sadly, news to a lot of people.

                  Secondly, no one says the GOP doesn’t have an agenda, but I’d contend that agenda is actually much narrower than commonly concieved. This is why Yglesias is always saying “why is the GOP bothering with this, just cut taxes”. Because he knows that’s their agenda, the one they actually agree on. The fact that the House GOP is such a fucking mess is sort of evidence that the GOP doesn’t have much of a unifying (among Republicans) positive agenda.

                • Murc

                  You raise many strong points that I’m going to have to mull over a bit in my head, Yankee.

          • The Lorax

            I’ve come to the conclusion that EK is incapable of mustering the appropriate level of cynicism needed to understand the modern GOP. And I used to think it was endearing, bit now I think it’s inappropriate and naive. Yglesias and Krugman are right, and it’s time for him to wake up. The modern GOP is a nihilistic death cult. And has been since the mid-1990s.

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              I think there were some sincere beliefs behind the Iraq invasion. Maybe Bush himself was more concerned with other things (“He tried to kill my daddy!” and the like) but some neo-cons really thought it was a good idea.

              But I would say that the principles have been draining out since Nixon, with notable leaps forward in the nihilistic death caucus in 1994, 2000 and 2010.

    • sibusisodan

      It’s like rewriting the Jack Ryan government fantasy: “You’re analysing him all wrong! Stop expecting him to think like a politician…”

      Without the last three words.

    • humanoid.panda

      Trump doesn’t have a governing agenda; as near as I can tell the only thing he truly has a personal investment in is getting stuff built with his name on

      I kinda disagree on that. Throughout his career of speaking about public affairs, I think he had some consistent themes.
      1. That foreigners are taking advantage of us and we need some kind of protectionism.
      2. That we be more friendly to Russia, and more hostile towards economically hostile countries.
      3. We should build more shit, and fund it by cuts to fraudandabuse.

      Besides the Russia thing, those are the views of a 50 something Long Islander in the 1980s. The same guy 20 years later would be a Fox viewer, and thus become addicted to “Mexicans and Muslims are going to kill us all” – which is what Trump added to his repertoire. So, he has the policy agenda of an average Bill O’reilly fan. What he lacks is any knowledge as to how to turn the positive parts of his agenda into actual policy.

      • humanoid.panda

        “2. That we be more friendly to Russia, and more hostile towards economically hostile countries”

        Should read as:
        That we be more friendly to Russia, and more hostile towards economically powerful countries.

      • efgoldman

        Throughout his career of speaking about public affairs, I think he had some consistent themes.

        Just because he’s said things over and over doesn’t mean he has any idea what to do about any of it, or how to change it.
        I’m just about the same age, and if I had been ranting about the same thing in the same way for decades, my family would put me in the home and I wouldn’t blame them.
        Also you should have added 4) Stone racism

        • humanoid.panda

          Just because he’s said things over and over doesn’t mean he has any idea what to do about any of it, or how to change it.

          Yeah, I said it. But not knowing how do to anything about that is not the same thing as “not having an agenda.”

          I’m just about the same age, and if I had been ranting about the same thing in the same way for decades, my family would put me in the home and I wouldn’t blame them.

          Rich people are eccentric. Poor people are crazy.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            Where does that come from originally? Because that line has to be older than Speed, it seems far too clever to have originated in that movie.

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              In various variations, it goes back a long way, e.g. “The poor are crazy, the rich just eccentric” from The Westing Game, 1978

      • DamnYankees

        I disagree that any of those three things reflect an ideology. I think they are all purely reactive positions to his ego and basic personality type, they don’t reflect any broader vision of how the world should be:

        1. That foreigners are taking advantage of us and we need some kind of protectionism.

        “I’m awesome and white and better than everyone else, so fuck those people.”

        2. That we be more friendly to Russia, and more hostile towards economically hostile countries.

        Russians are nice to me and invest in my business, so yay they are nice.

        3. We should build more shit, and fund it by cuts to fraudandabuse.

        I don’t think he actually believes this. Is there any evidence he does? He believes he should build shit and put his name on it, sure, but he doesn’t care about doing that as a governmental policy and he certainly doesn’t care about gutting welfare. I mean, he’ll do it because he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t affirmatively care about it.

        • humanoid.panda

          “I’m awesome and white and better than everyone else, so fuck those people.”

          Tha agressive nationalism is often exception to personal issues doesn’t make it any less ideological. And Trump is hostile towards Germany, which is a white nation.

          2. That we be more friendly to Russia, and more hostile towards economically hostile countries.

          Trump calling for being friends with the Soviet Union and Japan and Germany’s expense back in the 1980s, where the USSR could hardly buy a pair of pants, let alone a share of Trump’s business.

          3. We should build more shit, and fund it by cuts to fraudandabuse.

          To the extent that everytime he flirted running, as Democrat, Republican, or independent, he called for building shit, then yes, he cares about it. It doesn’t mean he knows how to get it done.

    • DamnYankees

      This is exactly correct. On the one hand, I’m amazed people don’t see this since its so obvious. But on the other hand, I kind of understand why people don’t see it, because it’s fucking weird. Very few people are actually like this. I don’t know anyone like this in real life. It’s just hard to imagine people operate like this. But this has been obvious ever since he started running.

      As you note, when people say Trump is volatile, I think they generally mean that he’s unable to focus on his goal and gets distracted. But you are putting it correctly – Trump simply is volatile. His volatility is not what prevents him from doing what he wants. It is what he wants. There’s nothing else other than ego.

      Trump has – as far as I can tell – no solid beliefs other than those related to his own ego (and I mean that in the literal sense, not in colloquial use of ego meaning pride).

      Trump has very strong beliefs that he is awesome and correct. That’s it. He doesn’t care about anything else. The idea that we’re going to spend the next 4 years parsing things that Trump says about his policies or his views of the world – when none of it has any meaning other than in context to his own image of himself as awesome and a winner – is going to be maddening.

      I actually think this goes to even the stuff that appears to be consistent with Trump, like his racism or his sexism. I think those things are consistent because (i) they relate to his sense of dominance over everyone and (ii) he will never reverse himself or admit error, because that would be a dent in his ego, and so he just never disavows a previous belief, even if racist or sexist. It’s just all about him being awesome and projecting that in the only way he knows how.

      We need to stop taking his substantive statements as though they have any meaning or are intended to portray an actual belief.

    • altofront

      Trump has precisely two skills (salesmanship and demagoguery) that just happened to be relevant at a specific point in time.

      I agree with just about everything in your post, but I think it’s important to add one more relevant quality: he’s a stone racist. Maybe he’s not ideological about it the way someone like Bannon is, but it’s been a consistent part of his public identity from the start. And I think for many of his voters the manifest sincerity of his racism was a big selling point.

      • Murc

        I’m not sure that being a stone racist is a skill, per se. :) Although I’m certainly open to persuasion!

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          Shamelessness is a skill of a sort.

          And it’s part of what enabled him to win over the other Republicans for the nomination. He was willing to express racist and misogynist beliefs in a way that the others were not.

          • ColBatGuano

            He was willing to express racist and misogynist beliefs in a way that the others were not.

            This links to another point of Judis’s steaming pile of gibberish:

            I never took the view, common among coastal liberals, that Trump was stupid. On the contrary, his atrocious campaign (“Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Low Energy Jeb”) showed that he was very smart. But that also made me think that he would understand that campaigning and governing were very different and that he couldn’t govern as a flame-throwing populist and provocateur. I was wrong.

            I have a difficult time not believing Trump is stupid, but maybe I’m just a coastal liberal. He did “win” a presidential election using an approach no one had tried since George Wallace. Was it the feral use of racism without any thought or did he actually see this as a way to win?

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              I think there are two things going on with Trump.

              He’s not particularly smart BUT I think the bigger factor is that he is incredibly intellectually lazy. This is connected to his narcissism.

              But I don’t think he’s particularly stupid compared to the average person either, once you account for that laziness.

              The net outcome, of course, is that he says and does stupid things quite frequently.

            • efgoldman

              Was it the feral use of racism without any thought or did he actually see this as a way to win?

              As we’ve said before, everything that happened, from winning the primaries (without ever having a majority of votes) to “winning” the general, was a perfect confluence of small things that each wouldn’t have mattered by itself. It was no more skillful than winning the Powerball on random picks. Yes, the racism and xenophobia got the mouth breathing flying monkeys to the polls; but the traditional (for this century) Republiklown electorate did what they always do, and pulled the (R) lever.

        • altofront

          Well, you’ve got to be carefully taught, they say.

      • Also a stone misogynist. That said, I think both of these may relate to what DamnYankees said just above: these are both more products of how awesome he thinks he is than they are actual ideological convictions. Other than that, I too basically agree with all of Murc’s take.

    • PunditusMaximus

      The essential conservative conviction is that it’s emotionally satisfying to hurt people. Tr45’s just as full of conviction as the next conservative; he’s just a little less selective than most of the elite ones.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      There’s a lot of similarity between Trump and Chauncey Gardiner, except that the latter was a decent human being. But people respond to both the same way, projecting onto them a belief that they have depths where there is nothing.

  • kvs

    Judis also channeled Friedman this week when he wrote a classic about how significant it is that a Trump voter he knows is disappointed. All to score a cheap hit against “coastal liberals” who think Trump voters are full of shit.

    • rm

      I despise any headline that ends with “And here’s why it matters” or “Here’s how.” If you have to say that, the story is bullshit. HEadlines are Subject Verbs, no apology or special pleading.

      • humanoid.panda

        I wish someone would bring back the term “demagoguery” into usage. It’s exactly the brand of fake-populism Trump is peddling.

        • JKTH

          Demagoguery is already used plenty by VSPs when any left-of-center takes a strong opinion on any economic issue.

      • MyNameIsZweig

        I hate that clickbaity bullshit too, but it must work amongst the millenial audience.

        • Origami Isopod

          Those phrases long pre-date the millennials as teasers.

  • eclare

    I suppose it’s too much to ask that left-leaning commentators who refer to Trump’s “populism” qualify it as “fake populism.”

    • Murc

      Trump’s form of populism is well within the historical and current definition of the word. At worst, it should maybe be qualified as the specific sub-type it is.

      • humanoid.panda

        I wish someone would bring back the term “demagoguery” into usage. It’s exactly the brand of fake-populism Trump is peddling.

        • eclare

          Yup.

          Also, I mean “fake” as in insincere. He doesn’t actually give a shit about the populace.

        • Rob in CT

          I use it!

          Oh, you mean Somebody.

  • Domino

    Oh man, Trump’s response to Glenn Thrush summarizes him so well in one paragraph. I’m indenting every time he immediately repeats himself:

    Nothing is accurate now because we haven’t made a final determination. We haven’t made a determination as to public/private. There are some things that work very nicely public/private. There are some things that don’t. The federal government, we’re doing very well you saw, a lot of good numbers coming out. You saw our imports. You saw what happened with China. And various other people that this country has been dealing with over the years. You saw the numbers come out today, they’re very promising. Lot of good numbers are coming out. We are borrowing very inexpensively. When you can borrow so inexpensively, you don’t have to do the public/private thing. Because public/private can be very expensive. When you go equity, when you give equity to people who own your highways essentially for a 30-year period, who own your tollbooths for a period of time — come on in, Mike! You know Mike and Reince?

    Uh, we’re working on health care. Can I just say, so when you called the health care bill, you know, that was just a negotiation. You didn’t hear me say it’s over. That was a negotiation. You understand? A continuing negotiation. It may go on for a long time or it may go on until this afternoon. I don’t know. It’s a continuing negotiation.

  • Harkov311

    What’s Judis been smoking the last year or so? It’s either too strong, or not strong enough.

    • efgoldman

      It’s either too strong, or not strong enough.

      And he doesn’t know which when he tokes up

  • humanoid.panda

    Off-topic, but this is a really interesting story, for a couple of reasons.

    Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will rally in at least five states later this month, just weeks after Perez defeated Sanders’s preferred candidate to run the DNC.

    “We’ll be traveling — and Tom will be traveling with me — to traditionally conservative states,” Sanders said. “It’s absolutely absurd that the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country.”

    “We’ve talked a lot about the need to compete everywhere, and when we talked about a 57-state-and-territory strategy, we meant it,” Perez said.

    The duo will rally in Maine on April 17 and wind through the South and Southwest until April 22, hitting Kentucky, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. More stops, and more DNC investments, are possible in Nebraska — where Democrats hope to win back the mayoralty of Omaha — and in Montana, where a Sanders-backed House candidate has begun to attract attention ahead of a special election.

    On the one hand, it’s good to see that the whole Tom Perez is a neoliberal beast/Bernie Sanders ought to be tarred and feathered debate is not so pertinent to the outside world. It’s also good that the party realizes that it needs to work the margins even in areas where it ain’t going to win. On the other hand, it’s really striking that Bernie is unable do even a modicum of tact and diplomacy towards Democrats- even as he gears to a tour with the head of the frigging DNC!

    • Origami Isopod

      “It’s absolutely absurd that the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country.”

      Oh, fuck off, Bernie.

      • humanoid.panda

        Weirdly, Tom Perez seems to disagree with this conclusion…

        • Origami Isopod

          Weirdly, an exclamation of annoyance by a pseudonymous commenter on a mid-level political blog doesn’t carry the same weight of a statement or action by the DNCC chair.

        • brewmn

          I’m guessing Perez sees lack of outreach to some traditionally red areas as a problem to be solved. No evidence that he agrees the Democratic Party “turned its back” on those areas.

          For the record, anyone, including Tom Perez, who honestly thinks that the Demcoratic Party left Kansas and not the other way around can, as OI says, fuck the hell off.

          • humanoid.panda

            I’m guessing Perez sees lack of outreach to some traditionally red areas as a problem to be solved. No evidence that he agrees the Democratic Party “turned its back” on those areas.

            Right. But it’s not that he is doing outreach. It’s that he is doing outreach with Bernie -which means he calculated that Bernie’s asshollishness is outweighed by other factors.

            For the record, anyone, including Tom Perez, who honestly thinks that the Demcoratic Party left Kansas and not the other way around can, as OI says, fuck the hell off.

            I agree, and I think Thomas Frank et al are full of shit- but it’s no reason not to try some party building in Kansas.

          • PunditusMaximus

            Both/and

          • Murc

            For the record, anyone, including Tom Perez, who honestly thinks that the Demcoratic Party left Kansas and not the other way around can, as OI says, fuck the hell off.

            There are absolutely winnable statewide races in Kansas, and even if that isn’t usually true we should have a bench available for the times when Republicans become uniquely vulnerable.

            I understand that resources and organizational time is a finite resource and that we can only spare so much for the blood red areas of the country, but we need to be doing more than we have done. Whenever a Democrat in a deep blue state stumbles the Republican Party has institutional and activist structures as well as viable candidates ready to swing into action, but we’re totally shitty at doing the same in reverse.

            • PunditusMaximus

              Obama killed the 50-state strategy that elected him and delivered him a Democratic Congress, and HRC picked Obama’s hatchetman as her VP.

              Neoliberalism means never having to say you’re sorry.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          Because he can’t tell Bernie to fuck off, because we need to court his supporters and disunity is not in their interest.

          But if someone new comes along and becomes the progressive darling, I can’t imagine they’ll want him going on the Sunday shows or whatever when they could send someone who doesn’t reflexively attack the party.

      • Murc

        I cordially invite you to do the same.

        • DamnYankees

          You think Bernie is correct to say that?

          • Murc

            I think he’s about half correct. It’s vastly overstated to say that the Democratic Party has “turned its back” on the working class in half the country, but its policies were and are entirely insufficient to their needs where they aren’t straight-up insulting. The Obama Administration and the 2009-2011 was decent-to-good on labor issues but it constantly either dragged its feat on or actively dodged actively aggressive movement on a whole host of issues.

            More to the point, when the deranged anti-Clintonites parachute into unrelated (or even related) threads for no other reason than to cherry-pick a Hillary quote and say “go fuck yourself, Hillary” with no actual substantive content behind it we don’t put up with that shit even if it is in fact Clinton saying something quite objectionable, but we do put up with that from the deranged anti-Sanders crowd, and I’m fucking sick and tired of it and won’t have it anymore.

            • eclare

              Saying Dems have “turned their back” on people is beyond counterproductive. There are way better ways of making the point that Dems have failed to compete in those areas. It was a shitty thing to say, but consistent with Sanders’ purer than though attitude.

            • nemdam

              To say the Democrats have turned their back on working people when they just ran on the most liberal platform in their party’s history, just had a big healthcare debate where the Democrats won, and actually, ya know, won the vote of working people is to say the Democratic party has never had the back of working people.

              • brewmn

                Plus, remember who we’re comparing them to. The Democrats turned to neoliberalism and the DNC when they were getting repeatedly hammered at the ballot box for being too firendly to workers and to minorities.

                That the Democrats turned away from Great Society liberalism because they liked investment bankers more than factory workers betrays a complete ignorance of the politics of the late ’70s well into the 1990s, at least.

                I’m guessing blog commenters who continue to damn the Democrats as neoliberal sellouts are too young to understand the context in which that version of the party arose. Since he’s older than dirt, it’s anybody’s guess why Sanders seems to think that.

                • Murc

                  The Democrats turned to neoliberalism and the DNC when they were getting repeatedly hammered at the ballot box for being too firendly to workers and to minorities.

                  I see. So its absolutely okay to throw the most vulnerable among us under the bus as long as it results in political advantage. Good to know your position there.

                • sibusisodan

                  Murc, whut? Parties of the left moved to the centre in both the US and the UK in order to actually gain power.

                  We can go round again about electoral tactics – always a fun discussion. It’s a hard argument to make that things would have been better for the demographic slice under discussion if the D’s hadn’t gained power.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Not “workers and”. Just “minorities”. White folks are perfectly happy supporting their own working class; it just can’t be extended further.

                  The big change now is that not only are there more people of color, white folks are a lot racist than they were in the 80s. So the neoliberalism, which was always a barnacle, is now the primary drag on the boat hull.

                • DamnYankees

                  So its absolutely okay to throw the most vulnerable among us under the bus as long as it results in political advantage. Good to know your position there.

                  This is the kind of repsonse I just geniunely don’t understand. Who is advocating this? No one is saying we should throw these people under the bus. We’re just saying we shouldn’t go out of our way to appeal to them at the expense of other constituencies.

                  The most extreme version of this I’ve seen anyone actually spout is “fuck these people, I loathe everything they stand for and they are ungrateful, and so we will need to win without them, and then at that point we’ll pass policies that we think help them.”

                  The last part being the key. Even the most “screw these people” liberals still advocate policies that help them. I’m not aware of a single liberal who says “screw them, we shouldn’t pass policies to help”. No one says this.

                  So when you say “throw under the bus”, I don’t know what that means.

                • nemdam

                  I see. So its absolutely okay to throw the most vulnerable among us under the bus as long as it results in political advantage. Good to know your position there.

                  What’s worse than the Democrats gaining power by moderating their views is to allow Republicans to gain power by stubbornly sticking to a politically losing ideology. When the viable options are a moderate Dem vs. a right wing Republican, the path to take if you care about the most vulnerable is the moderate Dem.

                  This is why my conscious and my principles say to always vote Dem. Because to not do so isn’t a bold stance of idealism but a surrender to something even worse. I know this sometimes gets called BLACKMAIL!, but it is the truth.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  So its absolutely okay to throw the most vulnerable among us under the bus as long as it results in political advantage.

                  No, it's clearly better to make no changes to your approach in response to current political conditions. That way, you as a party can be further marginalized and even less able to provide any policy wins for your constituency. But the important thing is, you get to remain pure.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  “Who is advocating this?”

                  Anyone who says that we should not purge the folks who ran out the clock on bankster prosecutions.

                  Geithner using ordinary homeowners to “foam the runway” for hedge fund managers . . . just so very evil.

                • Origami Isopod

                  white folks are a lot racist than they were in the 80s.

                  Nah, they’re as racist as they’ve ever been. They’re just more overt now because (1) the RWNM gave them permission and (2) they feel threatened.

                • Murc

                  This is the kind of repsonse I just geniunely don’t understand. Who is advocating this?

                  He wasn’t advocating for it per se, but brewmn’s post was basically “the Democratic Party supporting workers and minorities less was a-okay because that was needed to gain political power.”

                  No one is saying we should throw these people under the bus.

                  A ton of ostensible Democrats and leftists have been saying precisely that since the election.

                  We’re just saying we shouldn’t go out of our way to appeal to them at the expense of other constituencies.

                  The raison d’etre of the Democratic Party should be to empower and speak for the most vulnerable among us. Tacking away from them in order to pick up votes from other constituencies is a betrayal of both that principle and of the people it is meant to help.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Well, we’ll see how much the Corbyn Labour Party achieves for the most vulnerable in the UK.

                  So far it’s looking like it’s going to be nothing.

            • efgoldman

              I’m fucking sick and tired of it and won’t have it anymore.

              You gonna’ take your keyboard and monitor and go home?

              At the very least, Perez and Ellison should insist that Wilmer stay registered, and run for re-election, as a fucking DEMOCRAT

              • Murc

                You gonna’ take your keyboard and monitor and go home?

                No, I’m simply going to mirror the behavior of others until either one of us stops or is banned.

                I’ll put down mine when others put down theirs, same as when I push back against idiots like KG or Rusty.

                At the very least, Perez and Ellison should insist that Wilmer stay registered, and run for re-election, as a fucking DEMOCRAT

                I’m unaware of this Wilmer person of whom you speak.

                • efgoldman

                  same as when I push back against idiots like KG or Rusty.

                  They’re trolls and not worth the effort. Of what are you going to convince them?

                  I’m unaware of this Wilmer person of whom you speak.

                  Faux naivete is not at all becoming.

            • DamnYankees

              It’s vastly overstated to say that the Democratic Party has “turned its back” on the working class in half the country, but its policies were and are entirely insufficient to their needs where they aren’t straight-up insulting. The Obama Administration and the 2009-2011 was decent-to-good on labor issues but it constantly either dragged its feat on or actively dodged actively aggressive movement on a whole host of issues

              This is just an unfalsifiable assertion, and I have no idea what to do with it. By definition the Democratic policies were insufficient to win those states. That’s not very insightful. What Bernie-crats, and perhaps you, seem to do which rustles is to just to assume that we need to go farther in your particular direction. I’ve never seen the argument made all that well, and its the condescension of “you lost these states, which means you abandoned them and I won’t do such a thing” is just very risible. It’s perfectly plausible that we lost these states because the shifts that have occurred in the Democratic Party – shifts that are good – are simply not what these people want. And fine. But that’s not “turning your backs”. It’s realizing that you can’t be all things to all people and you need to make choices.

              I’ve always found it oddly patronizing how the more economic end of the liberal wing just feels like the people we lost in this election can be bought off by giving them more stuff. You couldn’t get me to vote for a socially conservative party even if they wanted to pass Medicare for All. Not a chance. But the idea that people in the rust belt just need more economic candy and then they’ll vote for us? Where’s the evidence?

              • eclare

                It’s perfectly plausible that we lost these states because the shifts that have occurred in the Democratic Party – shifts that are good – are simply not what these people want.

                I’d go even farther to say that people in Kansas and such places have enthusiastically embraced the kind of laissez faire, austerian policies embodied by people like Brownback, which is why they kept voting them into office. It seems like the tide may be turning somewhat, but it’s really not fair to say that the Dems turned their back on people who have a fundamentally different view of what is in their best interest. Or maybe it is fair, as the only way to NOT turn your back on such people would be to embrace what seem to be their preferred policies, regardless of whether those policies would actually improve anyone’s quality of life.

                • DamnYankees

                  I’d go even farther to say that people in Kansas and such places have enthusiastically embraced the kind of laissez faire, austerian policies embodied by people like Brownback, which is why they kept voting them into office.

                  I don’t think this is true. Brownback is hideously unpopular and lost 20 points off his margin in his re-election.

                  What I think is fair to say is that GOP voters are overwhelmingly willing to live with these results – or at the very least not switch sides (e.g. they might stay home) – if they perceive GOP candidates as being from their “tribe” and the Democrats as representing “others” who aren’t like them.

                • eclare

                  I don’t think this is true. Brownback is hideously unpopular and lost 20 points off his margin in his re-election.

                  True, but the state had to hit absolute rock bottom for that to happen. As I said, the tide may be turning, but (to get back to the topic of Bernie’s ridiculous statement) I think it’s a fair assessment of the prevailing attitude of the past decade or so.

              • Murc

                This is just an unfalsifiable assertion, and I have no idea what to do with it. By definition the Democratic policies were insufficient to win those states.

                You spent a lot of paragraphs making a politics argument when I was making a policy one.

                • DamnYankees

                  Policy issues are relative, though. If we were actually worse on policy than the GOP, I’d grant you this. But we’re not, so I don’t know what to do with that criticism.

                  “Yes, we’re better on these issues, but being better isn’t helping us win. So we need to be 200% more better!”

                  I don’t know what to do with that. No one disputes we should do our best on policy. Who disputes that?

            • Nick056

              Bingo. The Perez-Ellison DNC fight was both oversold and undersold. Oversold because it was not in fact an election that would determine the fate of social welfare programs and the future of inequality in America. And it was undersold because it was not meaningless or purely managerial or whatever other evasive framework people tried to use. It was a test to see how powerful the Sanders’ contingent in the party would be, and how opposed establishment Clinton/Obama era Dems would be in the face of change. And the answers are a) quite powerful! And b) depressingly and surprinsgly resentful and having to share power. But as Perez touring with Bernie makes clear, ultimately the pragmatists get it. You can’t actually rebuild a party by telling a significant part of your coalition to die in a fire.

              • nemdam

                It’s strange how the Clinton/Obama Dems are so resentful of sharing power that they made Ellison the deputy chair with a real voice, made Bernie the head of party outreach, and the new chair is touring the country with Bernie as a show of unity. That’s an odd way to be resentful.

                • Nick056

                  As I wrote above, ultimately the pragmatists get it, and they were also taken aback by the sheer level of interest in the race.

                  If you think any of these people wanted Sanders touring with the DNC head, I don’t know what to tell you. This place is really amazing for the sheer … obduracy toward the political change happening within the Democratic Party.

                • nemdam

                  Of course there are those who don’t want Sanders to tour with the DNC head. Heck, I am one of them! But ultimately the party decided to embrace him, so I don’t understand why the Berniecrats keep insisting that the party is rejecting him by not giving him total control. It’s an absurd standard that shows it’s more about control than advancing an agenda.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Or it could be that unlike Obama you start negotiations from a place other than your 100% lowest rock-bottom price.

                • Nick056

                  The party isn’t rejecting him, of course. They are accepting him — extremely grudgingly. But even though he is an effective and popular spokesperson, he cannot open his mouth without massive eyerolls (and quite a bit uglier things) from certain quarters, because giving him his due is so upsetting. The Perez candidacy was treated as a vehicle for stopping someone perceived as too close to Bernie (though I like Perez fine, for the most part) and Bernie will forever be the Great Misogynist Interloper who coddles racists and fatally wounded Clinton. It’s a flatly ridiculous caricature and people are wedded to it despite his politics being a huge, if not definitive, element of the future of the party.

                • eclare

                  he cannot open his mouth without massive eyerolls (and quite a bit uglier things) from certain quarters

                  Perhaps because he says things like “Democrats have turned their backs on half the population.” If he can figure out how to preach his message without lobbing counterproductive insults at his own party, many of his current critics would embrace him.

                • sibusisodan

                  But even though he is an effective and popular spokesperson, he cannot open his mouth without massive eyerolls

                  From my vantage point I’d have to ask – effective and popular for who?

                  Sen. Sanders is plainly dissatisfied with the Democratic party, for reasons that are in part laudable. But he can’t have it both ways: if one is to officially represent said party, one can’t function as an iconoclast.

                  Hence, justified eyerolling.

                  There are tons of ways to get to where Sanders wants to go that don’t involve writing off the currently existing D party.

                • nemdam

                  Exactly. Since when is he an effective and popular spokesperson? And since when is it assumed that he represents a huge element of the future of the party? I didn’t know being a spokesperson for a party you refuse to join and regularly trashing said party was being effective. I guess this also means the future of the party is to end it.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Or it could be that unlike Obama you start negotiations from a place other than your 100% lowest rock-bottom price.

                  This One Simple Trick to Amaze Your Friends and Trick Ryan and McConnell. “You respond with a Pirate Holiday, and I have no choice but to play the Hillbilly Auction!”

                  (I agree with some of what PunditusMaximus said above, but this is just much too silly.)

                • Murc

                  Or it could be that unlike Obama you start negotiations from a place other than your 100% lowest rock-bottom price.

                  Christ almighty.

                  If anything drives me away from leftism it is eventually gonna be my fellow travelers. >.<;

                • Nick056

                  Or it could be that unlike Obama you start negotiations from a place other than your 100% lowest rock-bottom price.

                  I especially hated how Obama caved during the 2013 shutdown, and how he walked away from the ACA when it was clear it wouldn’t be a bipartisan bill. Spineless.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “Perhaps because he says things like “Democrats have turned their backs on half the population.” If he can figure out how to preach his message without lobbing counterproductive insults at his own party, many of his current critics would embrace him.”

                  Right, and sticking his foot in his mouth on identity politics while making it clear he’s not paying any mind to the consituencies who care about those issues. No one’s rolling their eyes and pulling out hair because Bernie is Bernie, it’s because he’s saying stupid shit.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Another example: Bernie put out a blurb on Facebook about the fracking ban just enacted here in Maryland that was pretty strongly complimentary of Hogan. Of course, WE’RE TRYING OUT ASSES OFF TO DING HOGAN’S APPROVAL RATING AND BEAT THE DAMN REPUBLICAN! So Bernie’s bullshit sets us back, and to put the icing on the cake he didn’t have any clue that Hogan vetoed a green energy expansion bill already this year and has a really shitty environmental record compared to the median politician in this state!

                • PunditusMaximus

                  The result of the 2013 shutdown was the fricking Sequester, possibly the stupidest thing to ever stupid out of the stupid Establishment.

                  But sure, tell me more about St. Obama’s 11-dimensional chess.

              • Nick056

                Lot going on in these comments. Sanders does not say that the Democrats turned their back on half the population; he said they turned their backs on working people in half the country. These are, politically and substantively, different ideas and different claims.

                And then there are the comments that he just can’t be a popular and effective spokesperson because the rules don’t allow that, or something. I’m still not really sure. He is. That’s why he did well in 2016; it’s why he’s out there now with Perez. The idea that you can’t criticize the party harshly — on a variety of fronts — is not just inimical to reform but also a little silly. Yes, he’s being very blunt: that’s because he’s actually trying to change the party from the one that largely let banks off the hook and wrote off single payer as an impossibility to one that would be far more responsive to the merits and politics arguments for those types of positions.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Yes, he’s being very blunt: that’s because he’s actually trying to change the party from the one that largely let banks off the hook and wrote off single payer as an impossibility to one that would be far more responsive to the merits and politics arguments for those types of positions.

                  Well right, but he’s not doing this as someone who sees himself as a Democrat trying to make nice with other Democrats and build up through what you might call diplomatic means. He’s an outsider with a Messiah complex whose message is “the Democratic Party is awful, so you need me the INDEPENDENT SOCIALIST to ride in take control and fix everything because Democrats are bad.”

                • PunditusMaximus

                  So basically any politician who runs for any office as a reformer ever is secretly an evil egotist that hates everyone?

                  Come on man, either you put up with the horror of folks thinking that the Obama years weren’t Gene Roddenberry’s post-scarcity utopia or you do’t.

        • Origami Isopod

          Yes, it was such a vile insult to Saint Bernard of Burlington, eh?

          • Murc

            I don’t know this Saint Bernie person is. He sounds rather unpleasant. Almost as unpleasant as this $hillary person other people keep nattering on about. I don’t know her either.

    • efgoldman

      it’s really striking that Bernie is unable do even a modicum of tact and diplomacy towards Democrats

      Maybe Perez is carrying a roll of duct tape with him.

    • Rob in CT

      Agree with your take, all three parts of it.

    • veleda_k

      “It’s absolutely absurd that the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country.”

      I understand that Perez is a smart guy and knows far more about maintaining the Democratic party than I do, but I don’t understand why we’re treating someone who says stuff like this as our ally. This shit isn’t true! Under $50,00 per year went for Clinton. But saying this in public, repeatedly, to a media that wants to believe it is damaging. How can it be anything else? How can insisting that Democrats have done jack shit for working people (which is a lie!) help the party?

      With all genuine respect to Tom Perez, fuck Bernie Sanders, if this is how he’s going to play it.

      • Murc

        but I don’t understand why we’re treating someone who says stuff like this as our ally.

        Because he represents a large constituency within the Democratic Party and has demonstrated an ability to draw more people into it, mayhaps?

        This shit isn’t true!

        It’s overstated, not untrue. The Democratic Party has both declined to compete in much of the country, which means actively leaving the people there in the hands of the Republicans, and the policy platform it has been pushing is not sufficient to the needs of much of the working class while still, of course, being better than current policy in many ways.

        Under $50,00 per year went for Clinton.

        I don’t understand what this has to do with anything or is meant to prove. Under 50k a year went for Bill Clinton to, and he rewarded them by putting the boot in every chance he got. Come to think of it, the Big Dog made his national political career by slagging on the Democratic Party.

        • veleda_k

          It matters because the Democrat’s problems with the working class is decidedly overstated. Lower income people are already voting for us. That doesn’t mean we take them for granted or don’t help them. It doesn’t mean we don’t do better. It does mean that Bernie Sanders’s one tune is less useful than he wants to think.

          I’ve lost patience for the guy who wants to be a iconoclastic rebel while still hanging out with the popular kids. Sanders gets to be a Democratic leader without having to do tiny little favors like not savaging them in over the top language. Perez obviously thinks Sanders is more useful than damaging. He’s probably right. He’s knows this stuff better than I. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t piss me off.

        • Hogan

          Because he represents a large constituency within the Democratic Party and has demonstrated an ability to draw more people into it, mayhaps?

          Saying “the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country” is not how you go about that.

          • humanoid.panda

            “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is not some kind of secret neo-liberal plot..

            • humanoid.panda

              What really gets me that our leftist betters understand that this is the case with the great white working class. But they seem to grasp that in the battle over the future of the Democratic party, they have to appeal to liberals, disgusting as we may be to them, so slugging them as neoliberal sellouts who out to be purged is probably bad politics.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Nah, it’s a way of gaining attention. HRC proved that losing to Tr45 was at least comparable to winning with Bernie to a nontrivial section of the neoliberal sellout crowd, which was the capper on 8 years and 1,000 State-level offices lost, because that was better than putting bankers in jail.

                There’s a Class War on. Unlike HRC, I wasn’t invited to Tr45’s wedding.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Fuck you.

                • Nick056

                  Yes, yes, Hillary was invited to Trump’s wedding, so she was a true plutocrat. She wouldn’t have fought for higher minimum wage, paid family leave, DoJ criminal justice oversight on police departments, a union-friendly NLRB, and more generous Medicaid and ACA subsidies.

                  No, she would have tied SS benefits to CPI, repealed the Labor Department overtime rules, and sought to kill consent decreees – on day one.

                  Please. I like Bernie. But Hillary genuinely supported good policies on most issues that matter.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  HRC supported less lousy policies in many areas that matter, and that is important, and I voted for her.

                  But she also was careful to be the kind of person who gets invited to Tr45’s wedding, and that kind of person isn’t gonna be “put his comfortable shoes” on and walk the picket lines, as Obama promised he was gonna and didn’t.

                  There is a deep sense in which HRC paid for Obama’s betrayals, but that’s a whole other story.

          • nemdam

            I dunno about you, but when someone is trying to sell me something and the basis of their pitch is “We have no interest in solving your problem”, my instinct is to buy immediately.

          • twbb

            “Saying “the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country” is not how you go about that.”

            Of course it is, if you are trying to craft a narrative where you bring them back. You don’t tell them they’ve been voting against their interest; you tell them they are logical, rational people, and it was completely reasonable to vote for Trump before and it’s completely reasonable to vote for Democrats in 2018 and 2020.

            • eclare

              No, you say “We’ve done a terrible job of showing you what we can offer.” You don’t say “we didn’t care about you, but now that we need you we’re going to pander to you.”

              • twbb

                Your statement and mine are not mutually exclusive.

              • PunditusMaximus

                In Bernie’s defense, that’s the best the working class can hope for from Establishment Dems, so he’s at least working the expectations game.

        • nemdam

          To say Bill Clinton won the working class vote and that he also hurt them makes no sense in the context of Bernie’s outreach. Bernie claims Democrats no longer have the support of working people (not true but we’ll set that aside) because they don’t have policies to support them. Then how did Bill Clinton do so well with the working class?

          • Murc

            Bernie claims Democrats no longer have the support of working people

            Cites, of course, omitted. Sanders has oft made the point that we’ve lost the support of specific segments of the working class, and that the Democratic Party doesn’t serve the working class as whole well from a policy standpoint, but I don’t recall him ever just saying straight-up “the Democratic Party has lost the support of the entirety of the working class” which is disprovable using basic math.

            Then how did Bill Clinton do so well with the working class?

            With the white working class? Affinity politics plus some fairly disgusting racism.

            With the other parts? By still managing to be better than the Republicans despite that.

            • nemdam

              I have no idea how you can interpret Bernie’s many statements about how the Democratic Party has lost touch with the working class as anything other than his belief that the party does not have the support of the working class. It would be as silly as thinking Republicans saying they are out of touch with minority voters as meaning they have won their votes.

              And Bernie does not largely talk about the Democrats losing specific segments of the working class or does so in meaningless ways as his quote in this thread shows. This has been frequently mentioned both on this blog and elsewhere that Bernie says “working class” when he really means “white working class”. But to admit the Democrats are out of touch with the “white working class” is to admit there’s a racial component to it that can’t be solved exclusively with an economic message.

          • twbb

            “Bernie claims Democrats no longer have the support of working people (not true but we’ll set that aside) because they don’t have policies to support them. Then how did Bill Clinton do so well with the working class?”

            Your assertion is, only shortly after the election of DONALD J. TRUMP, that working class people necessarily vote on POLICY? Seriously?

            • PunditusMaximus

              There are working class people who aren’t white. Shocking, I know.

            • nemdam

              I am saying Bernie’s claim that the working class doesn’t vote Democratic because of weak economic policy is wrong.

              My position is that the working class voters who don’t vote Democratic do so mostly because of social issues. Those who are motivated primarily by economics already vote Democratic since their superior message on this is crystal clear and has been for generations.

              • DamnYankees

                Bingo.

                I’ve said this before but I can’t find the post, but I think 90% of voting motivation comes from social issues, not economic ones. I can’t imagine what kind of economic message a Republican would need to offer me to get me to vote for one. Why do we assume people who vote the other way feel any differently?

              • eclare

                Well said.

                • eclare

                  Should have added – there is also an element of “the government should stay out of our business” and “government doesn’t work,” which is incompatible with the progressive philosophy that government needs to do more to create a social safety net.

        • efgoldman

          the policy platform it has been pushing is not sufficient to the needs of much of the working class

          In case you haven’t noticed, the party that controls one of the three branches of government didn’t just ignore, but actively opposed, vua every means possible short of arms, every major and minor initiative by Democrats for the last twenty+ years.

          the Big Dog made his national political career by slagging on the Democratic Party.

          He didn’t do it in a vacuum. He followed twelve years of Reaganaut destruction. Do you think ANY Democrat running on, and trying to implement, the equivalent of the 2016 Democratic platform in 1992 gets elected, or gets to do it? Hell, absent Squeaky Perot, Bill might not have been elected at all.

          • Murc

            In case you haven’t noticed, the party that controls one of the three branches of government didn’t just ignore, but actively opposed, vua every means possible short of arms, every major and minor initiative by Democrats for the last twenty+ years.

            What this has to do with our policy platform, which the Republicans don’t control in any meaningful way, I can’t imagine.

            He didn’t do it in a vacuum. He followed twelve years of Reaganaut destruction

            What that has to do with the matter at hand I also don’t know.

            Hell, absent Squeaky Perot, Bill might not have been elected at all.

            This is flat-out untrue. Perot drew from Clinton and Bush roughly equally both nationwide and in any conceivable battleground state.

            • nemdam

              What this has to do with our policy platform, which the Republicans don’t control in any meaningful way, I can’t imagine.

              That it’s very strange to conclude the Democratic party isn’t meeting the economic needs of the white working class even though they ran on arguably the most liberal platform in their party’s history when the white working class votes en masse for a party that actively harms their economic needs.

              It’s like a hungry person consistently complaining about food by throwing it away. At some point you have to conclude maybe they aren’t hungry.

              • nemdam

                ETA: Sorry, I didn’t mean to put your quote in the code tag. I am not making any sort of sarcastic insult.

              • PunditusMaximus

                So the Dems ran on making it easier to unionize, #SinglePayerNow, and slowing the outsourcing of decent jobs to China?

                Hunh.

    • D.N. Nation

      On the other hand, it’s really striking that Bernie is unable do even a modicum of tact and diplomacy towards Democrats- even as he gears to a tour with the head of the frigging DNC!

      Everyone has their “Freebird.”

    • PunditusMaximus

      And thank goodness for that. “Tact and diplomacy” lost the Dems 1,000 State-level legislative seats in the past 8 years.

      Priorities, I suppose.

      • Hogan

        Oh, so that’s what it was.

        • humanoid.panda

          And thank goodness for that. “Tact and diplomacy” lost the Dems 1,000 State-level legislative seats in the past 8 years.

          I wonder if the Punditi Maximae of this world behave in this way in the real world too. For instance, if a woman doesn’t want to date you, do you call her a whore? When you work on a team project and need to convince others to endorse your idea, does he randomly call them names?

          • Rob in CT

            I wonder if this, kind of in the reverse, is what Bernie is trying to avoid. Hang with me on this for a sec…

            If Dems beat themselves up publicly for “abandoning” these people and go begging, hat in hand, this allows those voters to avoid even considering whether they themselves might be to blame for some shit. Honey/vinegar and all that.

            Not saying it’s right or it will work. Fuck do I know about what works in politics? But that might be the idea.

            • humanoid.panda

              That’s what some pundits, like, say, Judis think, yes. But say what you say about Sanders, he doesn’t seem to someone who thinks one needs to garnish the truth to gather votes. My bet is on Occam’s razor: if these people are the working class and are not voting Democratic, this means the Democrats are doing something wrong.

              • humanoid.panda

                FWIW, I think there is nothing wrong with the soft version of what you suggest- Hillary’s famous peroration on the deplorables said exactly this about the non-deplorable half of Trump’s base. Politics ain’t a seminar.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Bernie Sanders was perfectly capable of refusing to criticize Obama directly during the primary. He’s not a person who would say a false thing to be persuasive. He is absolutely a person who would choose which true things to say.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  I mean, I don’t want to quibble about precisely how honest he is, but Bernie Sanders absolutely is willing to lie. He’s a politician. Give me a fucking break.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Ok, fine. Everyone’s willing to lie, because everyone is human. But Bernie’s style is to stick to stuff which is at least strongly defensible when it comes to researchable fact.

              • efgoldman

                this means the Democrats are doing something wrong.

                Of course we are! We're coddling minorities, and allowing women agency, and treating LBGT people like actual people instead of creatures.
                And paying people a living wage! Saving the environment!! Wanting people to be well educated, well housed, well fed.
                What a concept!

                But to the Berniacs, we’re not doing it RITE!

            • veleda_k

              I think there’s political value in giving people an out for their stupid, hateful behavior, but I can’t see how this is the way to do it. Assuring people of how much you betrayed them in the past just convinces them they were right about you all along. What’s the point of drawing people’s attention to perceived Democratic failures?

              I hate the idea of portraying Trump voters as innocent victims, but I see the purpose of it. But if we’re going to do that, we should try to convince them that they’re victims of Republicans, not Democrats.

              • efgoldman

                Assuring people of how much you betrayed them in the past just convinces them they were right about you all along.

                And anyone looking at the 2016 electorate and just ignoring or dismissing the racism, sexism and xenophobia that drove THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION is either willfully or just plain ignorant.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Good grief, it’s called “persuasion”.

                  You tell Trump voters that they were victimized and they can switch over. Or their spouses who love them but need a narrative that lets them vote differently.

                  Separately, literally every job created since 2005 was a temp job. This economy is not, you know, good. So the kinds of people who watched HRC light a billion dollars on fire as part of her promise to never, ever implement single payer do, in fact, want a little bit of sackcloth and ashes as part of the whole self-examination process.

                • Hogan

                  literally every job created since 2005 was a temp job.

                  WTF?

                • humanoid.panda

                  This is hillariously wrong, because pretty much every single job created since 2009 was,in fact, full time.

                  https://twitter.com/bencasselman/status/794522252872183809

                  But of course, using data and such is neoliberalism. All we need is gut feelings and talking to REAL Americans in a diner in Ohio.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  https://qz.com/851066/almost-all-the-10-million-jobs-created-since-2005-are-temporary/

                  ““We find that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,” said Krueger. “And over 60% was due to the [the rise] of independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.” In other words, nearly all of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not traditional nine-to-five employment.”

                • Aaron Morrow

                  So you lied about them not being full time jobs because you don’t know that people can work jobs on shifts that aren’t 9 to 5?

                  Good grief.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  HRC light a billion dollars on fire as part of her promise to never, ever implement single payer do

                  You’re a dull boy, Billy.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  It’s funny because I said “temp” and not “not full time” and I’m being accused of lying, because the person who disagreed with me brought up a non-germaine point!

            • eclare

              There’s a better way to do this, thought. How about something along the lines of “The Democratic Party has done a poor job of selling our progressive policies to the people that they would help most.”

              • humanoid.panda

                Or, “we took people for granted, and should listen to them more” or “we have to be there, because we are not, people won’t hear from us” or even “we did X, but we need more than that,” as we focus on issue X, which is of urgent necessity, we also must not neglect Y. There are hundreds of ways to convey that message.

          • PunditusMaximus

            It is probably better to be a little rude than light a billion dollars on fire and get Donald Trump elected President.

            My 2c, and of course priorities may vary.

            • veleda_k

              Anyone paying two cents for these opinions is being vastly overcharged.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Heh, it’s always fun to interact with the “civil.”

                • veleda_k

                  This “devastating comeback” might have actually devastating (or actually a comeback) had I made any claim to civility. As it is, your record of gibbering idiocy continues unchallenged.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  1,000 State-level legislative offices and counting. Some folks won’t be satisfied until we lose them all.
                  .

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  I love it when people barge into your living room, break your furniture and wipe their asses with your drapes, and then get all haughty with you for not being “civil.”

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Not that it matters, but fair enough.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Our local left-wing free community paper (recently forced to change from weekly to monthly due to lack of money) ran an article on the pathetic state of the Missouri Democratic Party.

      The Party is unable to provide any support to many candidates- not only no money, not even anyone to give them advise, much less training. In fact, if you’re running for office you have to pay the state party if you want to access voter information. And that’s literally what you get- a password to the database, but there’s no instructions on the site as to how to access or use the data, and no one to call. It’s not clear that the data has been updated for years. The state party chairman for years was a part-time, unpaid position.

    • ASV

      “It’s absolutely absurd to claim that the Democratic Party has turned its back on working people in literally half the country.”

      FTFY, Bernard.

  • LFC

    Trump is also cutting (or proposing to cut, as the case may be) US funds for various UN agencies and also the humanitarian/development parts of the US foreign aid budget, at a time when, among other things, 20 million people are facing famine in S Sudan, Somalia, northern Nigeria, and Yemen (see e.g. NYT piece on this of about a month ago).

    • LFC

      p.s. But of course this (i.e., development, global health, hunger, etc) basically does not get mentioned on the front-page posts of LGM, because it does not fall within the particular niches, for lack of a better word, of any of the front-page posters.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        The areas you mention are important, of course, but no blog can cover everything well, and I’d prefer LGM didn’t try to.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    It amazes me that anyone believes that any of Trump’s words or actions have a meaningful relationship to his future words or actions. It’s like predicting a winning pinball game because the ball went through the 500-points rollover.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      any of Trump’s words or actions have a meaningful relationship to his future words or actions.

      Often the words at the beginning of his sentences don’t have a meaningful relationship to those that follow.

  • No Longer Middle Aged Man

    Given Trump and family’s devotion to the grift, “Al D’Amato Republican” certainly seems on the mark on that score at least.

    Judis suffers from battered pundit syndrome, but unlike battered spouses it’s entirely self-inflicted. He’s destined to come back in his next life as a doormat.

  • PunditusMaximus

    This attitude has kicked me off of a lefty blog I used to enjoy. It is literally impossible for them to comprehend that as bad as HRC was, Tr45 is worse. They just cannot go there.

  • ochospantalones

    Scott and Yglesias both zero in on the thing I always wonder when it’s reported that Trump is going to “push” some liberal priority: Who is going to write that bill? Almost no one in his administration is competent to put together complex legislation. Hell, they can barely write executive orders. The few people who may be able to handle it (e.g. Price, possibly Pence or Mulvaney) are ideologues and extremists. I don’t think Trump has even started to realize how much of a prison he has built for himself.

    • nemdam

      Oh, so you must be one of those cynics who thinks Ivanka isn't a liberal? Why else do you think she joined the White House?

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        Why else do you think she joined the White House?

        I assumed it was because Daddy told her to, and the fashion business was, like, really hard.

  • It doesn’t get better when you get out of the boat. What? is? Going? On? Here?

  • Someday something like universal healthcare is going to be bipartisan consensus. Or some other issue will be. It will happen because people on our side persuaded the other side they had to have it, or because we persuaded the electorate not to vote for either side unless they promised it. On that day, a candidate from the other side will stand up and support a Democratic policy. But we will not have one party, all of us united because the Repiblicans have become Democrats. And it will not happen because all of us decided to write the way Judis does.

  • Pingback: Trump, Trump’s people and some people fighting against them | Fraser Sherman's Blog()

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