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Wildcard Open Thread II

[ 357 ] January 8, 2017 |

15844719_10158032773990383_486978823390859544_oCelebrate while you still can!

All chalk yesterday. Hopefully some better games today. A few notes:

  • This story of Jed York sticking a reporter with a bill at the French Laundry is remarkable even by Jed York standards.
  • Useful compilation of coaching interviewees. I really hope that the market for Tom Cable heats up, although San Fransisco would be a perfect fit on many levels.
  • Good summary by Tanier about what works and doesn’t work for the Giants. This game will be an interesting test for McAdoo.
  • A not entirely unsympathetic postmortem on Rex Ryan’s head coaching career from Dom Consentino.
  • ESPN’s campaign to bury Barnwell continues by replacing the rich playoff previews he used to do for Grantland with a one-factoid-about-each-team format. It’s like hiring Matisse to slap a coat of paint on your doghouse. They did at least allow him to explain why Ryan is a no-brainer for MVP in detail.
  • To switch sports briefly, Sean McIndoe has a good deep dive into one of the worst trades in the history of professional sports, which of course involved my favorite player on my favorite team. Obviously, you almost never get full value when you trade a star in his prime in a salary dump, and certainly the core problem was that Flames ownership just wasn’t willing to pay market rates for players. What’s truly impressive about Risebrough’s handiwork is that Toronto would have won the trade by a substantial margin if Gilmour was removed from the trade. Macoun, a solid defeneseman even in his 30s, was by far the second-best player in the trade; the best player the flames received was Craig Berube, a generic if tastefully named enforcer. It’s probably not quite as bad as the Herschel Walker trade, but it’s up there in the bad trade pantheon.
  • To pull back to make this more generally applicable, the trade — and the fact that while the media was surprisingly clear-eyed about what a ludicrous heist this was, but a lot of fans defended it — became a cornerstone of how I look at sports. First, as we’ve discussed multiple times, blaming your best players for your team’s flaws is the most reliable way of making your team worse. Second, I’m always amazed at how inclined fans are to side with ownership in salary disputes, even when the player’s position in the negotiation is perfectly reasonable.  Owners can blow up a team over money differences that are trivial in context and somehow get the players blamed for it — it’s a nice racket.

Worst. Fanfic. Ever.

[ 53 ] January 8, 2017 |

I’m old-fashioned enough to think that this kind of thing should be done in private:


This fantasizing has led to one of the scariest things in American journamalism, Frank Bruni trying to be witty. (“The city’s Mexican Day Parade would be rerouted, from Madison Avenue over to Fifth, right past Trump Tower. A new city zoning experiment would locate detention centers in the strangest places. And in the city’s libraries, “The Art of the Deal” would be impossible to find, while upfront, on vivid display, there’d be copies galore of “It Takes a Village” and “Hard Choices.” Oy, not to mention a reminder that Bruni got his sinecure by spending the 2000 campaign fawning over George W. Bush for the newspaper that is proud to have played a major role in Hillary Clinton’s email server management dominating coverage of the 2016 campaign.)

Weigel is excellent on how this particularly flavorless sausage gets made and why:

But the most basic problem is how it erases recent history. The theory of Hillary Clinton, candidate, entranced Democrats and media for a generation. She could do no wrong, until she began running for president, and then she could do no right. If you are not a member of the media, this seems deeply strange and phony. If it looks like the media’s going to lionize Clinton in defeat only so it can piñata her as a candidate, it seems not just strange, not just phony, but like the behavior of people who are more interested in entertainment than in the politics of peoples’ lives.

Still, I should add that nameless sources at apocryphal cocktail parties and Uber drivers who have chatted with Tom Friedman assure me that Hillary Clinton’s real agenda is to use her desire to run for mayor as a decoy for her inevitable primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand in 2018. Bookmark it — CATFIGHT 2018! Maureen Dowd is already drafting columns about it.

NFL Wildcard Open Thread

[ 227 ] January 7, 2017 |


Before we get to the games, a follow-up to last week’s point. Magary:

I know Matt Ryan had his best season as a pro, but anyone voting him for MVP over Brady or Rodgers is doing it just because they’re bored of Brady and Rodgers. It’s like when Derrick Rose won it in the NBA. I’ve seen Matt Ryan when Julio Jones isn’t around. JULIO IS DA REAL MVP. Anyone voting for Ryan will immediately regret it when the Falcons pull a Falcons next week.

The phenomenon Magary describes here — great players getting screwed out of MVP awards because reporters wan to vote for a shiny new toy — is real enough (cf. also Mantle and Mays.) But the application here is completely wrong. Indeed, the anti-Ryan backlash is basically the opposite. It’s an argument that QBs having worse seasons than Ryan should be rewarded with the 2016 MVP because of their superior body of work, like Paul Newman winning best actor for The Color of Money.

Look, it’s not complicated. Pick your metric — NFL Rating, DVOA, QBR — Ryan is #1. Did he do this against a weak schedule? Nope. He beat Denver, he was an egregious missed DPI call away from beating Seattle at CenturyLink from behind, he put up 38 points against Arizona (still an excellent pass defense despite the off year), and he put up 48 points against a still above-average Carolina defense. Brady was much less effective against Denver — although they won anyway, was good against Baltimore, and that concludes Tom Brady wins against good teams in 2016. If Rodgers had played all year the way he did in his 7 games he’d be the MVP, but he didn’t. As for the Jones argument, it’s silly, starting with the fact that he put up 83 points in the 2 games Jones didn’t play. Sure, Jones is a great receiver. So is A.J. Green, and I don’t notice Andy Dalton winning any MVP awards. Mike Evans is a great receiver and Winston ditto. Odell Beckham is a tremendous receiver and Eli was below average. DeAndre Hopkins is an excellent receiver and Brock Osweiler had a season Tim Tebow wouldn’t sign for. (And if Jones is the reason Ryan was this great, why isn’t Ryan this great every year?) And it’s not like Brady and Rodgers don’t have weapons. Jordy Nelson, in particular, is massively underrated, possibly as a backlash against the tendency to overrate Scrappy White Guys. I also not sure why we should assume that Ryan won’t win the playoffs — we’ll get to this, but if you want to bet on Seattle against Atlanta next week should it happen, I’ll happily book your action — or for that matter why we should assume noted playoff mortal lock Rodgers will. If the Giants win tomorrow — certainly possible! — is Eli the MVP then? Brady is better than Ryan because we’re pretty confident the Patriots will beat Conor Cook or Brock Osweiler? Although at least Magary didn’t give the credit for Ryan’s performance to Kyle Shanahan, the extraordinary offensive SUPERGENIUS guaranteed to get an MVP performance out of any QB behind the 2014 Cleveland Browns and 2013 Washington Redskins, which amazingly is also an argument I’ve seen.

Brady and Rodgers are immortal players, and Ryan is not. But Ryan was the best player in the NFL regular season in 2016. He had a great year and he deserves the award. On to the games:

HOUSTON (-4) over Oakland People attending the NYC meetup can at lest rest assured they’re not missing anything. It’s sad that we won’t see Carr in the playoffs, and instead are stuck with the worst regular QB in the NFL against a first-time starter who completed 56% of his passes against Big 10 competition last year. (I guess shattering any previous standard for bad QB matchups is its own kind of history.) What we’re left with is that the Texans have a significantly better defense and they’re at home. But let’s forget this game ever existed.

SEATTLE (-8 1/2) over Detroit If I asked the big fans here who had the worst DVOA among playoff teams I’m guessing most of you would say “Houston,” is correct but barely — they check in at 29 while the Lions are at 27. Of course, this doesn’t account for the finger injury which has made Stafford demonstrably worse. Combine that with a defense substantially worse than Cleveland’s, and…yikes. I think Seattle’s already slim chances of a second Super Bowl this year when Thomas got hurt, and between that and Tom Cable’s spiciest offensive line meatball yet I think Seattle will get clobbered as soon as they go on the road this postseason. But they got the right matchup in round 1.

PITTSBURGH (-10 1/2) over Miami
I was a skeptic of the Adam Gase hire before the year, and…not wanting to be stubborn, but let’s remember that Todd Bowles looked like a really good hire after year 1 too. The Dolphins are a mediocre team with a negative point differential that one enough close games against a weak schedule to get into the playoffs, but we’ll see what happens next year. Plus his selling point was as a QB guru, but Tannehill was his usual below-average self. Admittedly, there’s a silver lining for Miami fans — while normally losing your starting QB is a disaster, Moore might well be an improvement. But I still have a hard time seeing them being competitive against the Steelers, who have an outstanding offense, and underrated defense, and are one of the 3 actual potential Super Bowl teams in the conference.

GIANTS (+5 1/2) over Green Bay
Finally, a decent game! One thing I definitely did miss the boat on was…well, pretty much everything about the NFL East, but especially Steve Spagnolo. Given some talent to work with for the first time in a while, whaddya know he put the second-best defense on the league on the field. Reese deserves a lot of credit too, of course, but I certainly wouldn’t have expected Veron, Snacks et al. to lead to this magnitude of improvement. On the other hand, Eli was pretty bad given the weapons he had to work with, and Rodgers had been great after an uneven first half. Still, the Giants defense is for real, and I like their chances of containing Green Bay enough to at least cover. Plus, while McAdoo is unproven as a big game coach, that’s an improvement over McCarthy, who is.

Neoliberal Democratic Party Continues Bailout of Health Insurance Industry

[ 86 ] January 7, 2017 |

130830095037-obamacare-signing-620xaAbove: Democrat Party’s relentless march to the right continues

Not a dime’s worth of difference:

The state moved formally Friday to make changes to the Medicaid program with the aim of adding hundreds of thousands of people to the government insurance plan despite opposition from state Republican leaders.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week he would seek to expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. The details of the plan were made public Friday evening. Proposed changes to the state plan must be posted on the state Department of Health and Human Services website for 10 days before a request goes to the federal government office that oversees Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS. The state is accepting comments on the proposal.

Republican legislative leaders are already fighting it.

If only the Green Party had been able to throw the election to Pat McCrory, we could have gotten real reform in North Carolina. But instead Roy Cooper’s obsession with IDENTITY POLITICS means he won’t do anything for poor people in the state.

Can Blue States Check Trump?

[ 54 ] January 6, 2017 |

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the Justice Department's findings related to two investigations in Ferguson, Missouri, at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Holder delivered the remarks for an audience of department employees who worked on the investigations after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, sparking weeks of demonstrations and violent clashes. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I have some thoughts about California hiring Eric Holder to represent its legal interests. Obviously, Mitch McConnell’s blockade make legal challenges less likely to succeed, but in many cases they’ll be worth doing anyway:

This judicial context underscores the importance of a story that was not mentioned enough during the presidential campaign: McConnell’s unprecedented success in keeping Antonin Scalia’s vacated Supreme Court seat open for Trump, even though Scalia died nearly a full year before Obama was set to leave office. Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, is hardly a liberal dream appointment, but had the norms of most of American history prevailed and Garland been confirmed as the median vote on the Court, the judiciary would be a much more substantial check on potential constitutional overreach by Trump. Trump replacing Scalia won’t immediately transform the Court—Kennedy, in that case, would remain the median—but if Trump can replace Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Stephen Breyer, the Court would be more Trump’s active collaborator than skeptical check.

It’s not just the Supreme Court, either. McConnell also shut down circuit court appointments after taking over as Senate majority leader in 2015, and partially as a result, Trump will inherit more than 100 federal judicial vacancies that he is likely to fill aggressively with reliable conservatives. So while federal appellate courts now, at long last, have a liberal tilt, this is likely to change quickly. Those challenging Trump may find it difficult to find a sympathetic judicial audience.

Does this mean that challenges are therefore futile? Absolutely not. Challenges to Trump by blue states still present real opportunities.

First of all, judges aren’t legislators. While judicial votes in politically salient cases are fairly predictable, they’re not perfectly so. Several very conservative judges—including, most consequentially, Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court—ultimately rejected the argument that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional in its entirety. And this can cut the other way. It’s possible that Trump might overreach in ways that even otherwise conservative judges find intolerable. Anthony Kennedy, one of the last genteel moderate Republicans left standing, might not be strongly inclined to uphold Trump’s envelope-pushing.

In addition, legal challenges might have political effects even if they aren’t ultimately successful. The political effects of the challenges to the ACA cannot be precisely determined. But it seems likely that the constant drumbeat of high-profile legal challenges to Obama’s signature domestic initiative was a contributing factor in making “Obamacare” unpopular, even though—as Republicans are finding out to their political chagrin—most of its individual provisions are popular. Legal challenges by states like California can contribute to the justified perception that Trump, an instantly unpopular president who decisively lost the popular vote despite the FBI and very possibly Russia intervening against his opponent, is not a legitimate occupant of the White House even if he’s legally entitled to it.

The overriding goal of the Democratic Party in the next four years must be to make Trump as unpopular as possible. The less popular he is, the more likely that his legislative initiatives fail and the harder it will be for Republicans at all levels to win elections. Legal challenges can contribute to this effort. And there’s the additional potential for a virtuous circle here. The greater the perception of Trump’s illegitimacy, the more likely the courts are to give a fair hearing to challenges against him.

Those Thighs Won’t Rub Themselves!

[ 58 ] January 6, 2017 |

clinton benghazi

It’s Out There, say Clinton Rules disciples David Goodman and Amy Chozick:

From political circles in New York City to cocktail parties on Capitol Hill, on right-of-center Facebook pages and among left-of-center donors, two of the biggest untethered threads in New York politics are being drawn together around a single question.

Would Hillary Clinton run for mayor?

Whenever possibly apocryphal cocktail parties with unspecified participants are being discussed, you know the sourcing is rigorous!

The prospect has an obvious, novelistic allure: A run for mayor of New York this year would pit Mrs. Clinton against Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democrat who managed her Senate campaign in 2000, and, should she win, would put her in charge of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s hometown, ensuring years of potential clashes between bitter rivals.

If Hillary Clinton gets elected mayor, we can be guaranteed years of lazy, Both Sides Do It but Clinton Is Worse reporting! With a novelistic, or at least “treatment for a House of Cards knockoff rejected by Starz,” allure!

The question has gained momentum in the weeks since Mrs. Clinton lost to Mr. Trump, a Republican. It began quietly at first, then grew louder among the conservative media outlets and pundits who hold her and Mr. de Blasio in disdain.

[Thinking emoji]

While the answer would almost certainly be no

Now you tell us! But I guess if it was in the first graf it people would more quickly figure out that there’s no story here. Anyway, let’s return to the baseless speculation:

The suggestion that Mrs. Clinton might run for mayor has been bubbling up for weeks. It appeared on a right-wing website in the days after the election and was then floated by a Fox Business Network commentator. It was also being discussed in Washington as Congress convened this week.

“I heard it three times in the two days I was on the Hill,” said Bradley Tusk, a former top aide to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who has been actively courting potential challengers to Mr. de Blasio.

OK. So, in conclusion, “conservatives who hate Hillary Clinton, and some people who hate Bill de Blasio, and some reporters who really love the idea of having Hillary Clinton to kick around for several more years, are fervently imagining Hillary Clinton running for mayor of New York, something that will not happen.” I wouldn’t call this “news,” but it is revealing. And, hey, the wire will always be there to cover stories like “Trump rewards attorney general he bribed to get her to stop looking into his massive fraud with a job,” freeing your political reporters to write hate-fanfic.

Quid Pro Quo

[ 23 ] January 6, 2017 |

Donald Trump had a Foundation. It was a massive grift that did very little actual philanthropic work. He also had a “University,” an outright scam that bilked his fans out tens of millions of dollars. In Florida, he used the former grift to effectively bribe a public official to stop looking into the latter grift. And now, the punchline:

On September 13, 2013, the Florida Attorney General’s office announced that it was considering taking legal action against Trump University, amid allegations that the real-estate investment school had defrauded its student body.

Four days later, Donald Trump’s personal charity (illegally) donated $25,000 to a political group aligned with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s reelection campaign. Shortly thereafter, the Sunshine State’s chief prosecutor decided that there were “insufficient grounds” to proceed with a probe of the mogul’s school.

Last summer, the Associated Press revealed that Bondi had personally solicited a donation from Trump — around the same time that her office was debating whether to pursue an investigation of his university.


On Thursday — less than two months after Trump won a presidential election on a promise to “drain the swamp” of D.C. corruption — his transition team told Bloomberg that Pam Bondi will take a job in the new White House.

It’s a nice racket! Still, while Donald Trump might have used a phony foundation to pay off a public official to prevent investigation into another large-scale con, donors to Hillary Clinton’s live-saving foundation once requested Huma Abedin for a meeting and didn’t receive one, so fundamentally Both Sides Do It but Clinton is worse.

And while this is a joke, your latest reminder that this was also literally the judgment collectively reached by the American press during the election campaign that put Trump in the White House:


This Seems Plausible

[ 53 ] January 6, 2017 |


Finally, a real progressive in the White House!

As Washington grapples with health care policy again, the head of the 185,000-member National Nurses United is turning her attention to a seemingly unlikely advocate for a single-payer system. “The one I’m counting on the most is Trump,” RoseAnn DeMoro said,

DeMoro, who serves as executive director of both the Oakland-based National Nurses United and the California Nurses Association, told POLITICO California on Thursday that she is “disgusted” with Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and believes that the president-elect may actually get action.

“He’s a businessman, he has an international perspective — and his wife comes from a country where they have single payer,’’ said DeMoro, who also is an AFL-CIO national vice president and executive board member. “I think that Donald Trump is not about either party; he’s about something very different. He’s the one who can actually rise above this and do what’s right, and he knows as a businessman, it’s the most cost effective,’’ she said.

Right. With real leftists like Paul Ryan and Donald Trump having replaced useless neoliberals like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, we can expect Congress to pass Medicare For All, a $15 minimum wage, $3 billion in mass transit funding, a carbon tax, a repeal of Taft-Hartley, and a free monthly case of Pappy Van Winkle 23 delivered to the home of every American.

If Sanders had won the Democratic nomination and then the White House, I’m curious whether DeMoro would have suddenly learned that Paul Ryan has considerable influence on American public policy, or if Bernie would have been branded a neoliberal after his first blistering speech did not cause Congress to immediately pass his legislative agenda.

Against Defeatism

[ 90 ] January 5, 2017 |


This article by Rachel Cohen about the Maryland governor’s race is so true and so necessary:

And, wait, wasn’t Perez—a former Maryland state official and a longtime resident of the D.C. suburbs—considering a 2018 run against Maryland’s Republican governor Larry Hogan? Wouldn’t this rising political star’s career be better served by making a blue state blue again?

Last month, when I started asking people around D.C. this question, I got two somewhat contradictory responses. First, I’d invariably be asked if I had seen Larry Hogan’s approval ratings. Yes, I knew that the Republican governor currently boasted a 71 percent approval—his popularity was something The Washington Post reminded readers of again and again. But when I’d ask them what they thought Hogan’s biggest accomplishments were, their responses would quickly become vague. “Look … he can’t be beat,” they’d insist. “He’s moderate and just too well-liked.”

While I’d never claim that unseating an incumbent governor with high polling would be easy, Hogan’s alleged inevitability needs a reality check. Maryland is a state where Hillary Clinton swept the floor by 26 points. It’s a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than two-to-one. Let’s be clear: Larry Hogan can be beat.

Hogan won the governorship in 2014 under uniquely favorable circumstances. His six-point victory was facilitated in part by Democrats taking the race for granted: They waged a pitifully weak campaign effort for an uninspiring and often invisible candidate. The result was a precipitous decrease in statewide voter turnout, particularly in counties that are critical for Democratic wins. Baltimore City turned out 36 percent of voters in 2014, 9 percent fewer than in 2010. Likewise, in Prince George’s County, turnout dropped by 7 percent, and in Montgomery County, by 12 percent.

Read the whole etc.

The idea that Dems should just preemptively give up on Perez winning in 2018 is absolutely insane. Sure, Hogan has high approval ratings now. But:

  • Perez is a major political talent.
  • There are two years to mobilize against Hogan.
  • As Cohen goes on to observe, 2018 will be the second year in office of an unprecedentedly unpopular president-elect who will be massively unpopular in 2018.

I don’t believe in heighten-the-contradictions in electoral politics because it involves trading certain losses for speculative and uncertain gains. Trump winning is extremely bad. But being the out-party even in ordinary circumstances presents opportunities at the state and local level, and these won’t be ordinary circumstances. Maryland is one potential opportunity, not just because Perez would be a major improvement over Hogan but because the Democrats need a better bench of presidential candidates. Sure, he might lose, but Bill Clinton and Barack Obama lost key early races too; it doesn’t taint hm forever.  And, besides, you can’t think that way. If you never ask anyone out for a date you won’t get rejected, but there are also downsides.

And you know who doesn’t think this way, for the most part? Republicans. Evan Bayh was a popular figure in Indiana who was undefeated in statewide races. Republicans didn’t give up — they mounted a scorched-earth campaign and beat him. That’s how to think. Hogan’s popularity is a problem to be solved, not an immutable fact of nature. If he’s a Republican, he’s part of the party of Trump and needs to be beaten. Get to work.



But That Isn’t To Say That Julian Assange Doesn’t Have New Fans!

[ 103 ] January 5, 2017 |


A libertarian ratfucker begins to find a newly approving audience:

Trump cited the authority of Julian Assange, who declared that the hacking might have been undertaken by a 14-year-old. For an ordinary politician, this case might have been slightly awkward, since Trump had previously called WikiLeaks “disgraceful” and called for the organization to receive “the death penalty.” The simple about-face produced no embarrassment among his supporters. Here are Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and Ann Coulter in 2010 lacerating Assange as a virtual terrorist, and mocking the Obama administration’s pathetic weakness in failing to bring these enemies to justice…

Now Palin is apologizing for ever having doubted Assange. Coulter is citing Assange as a trustworthy source, and calling for him not to be jailed but honored…

On and on have conservatives followed in line. Newt Gingrich, who once called Assange “an enemy combatant,” now praises him as a “down to Earth, straight forward interviewee.” Right, Assange is just a regular, down-to-earth guy-next-door type, if you happen to live next to the Ecuadorian embassy, and your neighbor is a fugitive hacktivist libertarian with a history of rape allegations and a strange fondness for Vladimir Putin. He probably drives a pickup truck and enjoys NASCAR.

To paraphrase Mark Tushnet, depending on the angle you can see conservatives like this as 0% or 100% principled. It’s just a question of what the principle under discussion is.

The Problem With NBC’s New Star

[ 177 ] January 5, 2017 |


Or, at least, one major problem, is her history of race-baiting:

Another thing Kelly has demonstrated is racist demagoguery, which defined much of her tenure at Fox News.

In 2010, for example, Kelly devoted hours of coverage to the New Black Panther Party, a small group on the fringe of American politics, because two members of the NBPP were charged with voter intimidation after standing outside of a heavily black polling place in Philadelphia in the 2008 election. Those charges were later dropped, but the incident became the basis for a wide-ranging conspiracy disseminated by conservative writers, websites, and—most prominently—Megyn Kelly. Along with Republican activist J. Christian Adams, then a frequent guest of Kelly’s, the Fox News host spun a disturbing tale of voter intimidation and anti-white racism sanctioned by an Eric Holder–helmed Justice Department that she claimed wouldn’t investigate black Americans accused of criminal activity. “Well, think about that. Think about that. … Now you’re going to have instances like this where Black Panthers and others can go to the polling stations and do this if they so choose. And they just basically are gonna get a pass because while it’s not an official thing, it’s been made very clear to all the rank-and-file voting rights attorneys in the DOJ those cases are not to be pursued,” Kelly said during one broadcast before suggesting that Holder was, in fact, involved in a plan to protect the NBPP.


The NBPP “controversy” represents a particular fixation of Kelly’s, but it was not her only racist display. In 2013, in reaction to my colleague Aisha Harris’ Slate piece, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” the Fox anchor infamously claimed that both Santa Claus and Jesus of Nazareth were white men. “Jesus was a white man, too … he’s a historical figure and that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa.” (The truth is that “white” as a political or racial category didn’t exist in either 1st century Palestine or 3rd and 4th century Turkey—and that Santa’s not real.) In 2015, Kelly insisted that the racist emails exchanged by officials in Ferguson, Missouri—which included a joke about a man seeking “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are”—were normal. Kelly has repeatedly invited former Los Angeles Police Department officer Mark Fuhrman on her show to discuss cases of police abuse—where both dismiss the role of racism in police shootings of black Americans. She has bemoaned an “anti-cop, thug mentality” in black communities and blasted the Obama administration for encouraging integrated neighborhoods “whether the communities want it or not.”

This demagoguery does not form the totality of Kelly’s output, but it’s a critical part we can’t ignore. It is misleading to discuss Kelly’s work and future without grappling with her willingness, and occasional eagerness, to spread racist conspiracies and racial fictions. It is a necessary sour note to coverage that otherwise ignores her racism, like most of the commentary on her move from Fox. Indeed, that this isn’t in the discussion about Kelly’s jump to NBC seems like an omen of where American politics, and culture, is heading.

This also seems like a good time to point out that America’s Allegedly Liberal News Network gives its morning slot to Joe Scarborough.

I Would Do Anything To Stop Fascism, But I Won’t Do That

[ 440 ] January 4, 2017 |

A full-page appeared in the New York Times today urging a month of resistance to the “fascism” Donald Trump represents. Here’s a sample list of signatories:


Wait, Cornel West? How committed you can be to resisting Trump when you spent the campaign nor merely refusing to endorse but actively opposing the only person who could have stopped Trump from assuming office?

There is no remotely coherent defense of federal third party politics as a tool for progressive change, of course. But it’s this kind of thing that really gives away the show. West was willing to urge swing-state voters to vote for Kerry in 2004, although Kerry is a DLC-affiliated moderate whose platform was much, much less left-wing than Hillary Clinton’s. For whatever reason, the people making this kind of argument rarely have any trouble focusing on the urgency of getting Republicans out of office once they’re in power — or even when they’ve been elected but not inaugurated, apparently — even as they actively oppose efforts to stop them ex ante. But this stance is not merely wrong but self-refuting.

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