Book News & Long Read: “Failing Upward at the DLC… “

Just got an email:

Simon and Schuster will publish The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick Perlstein, author of the 2008 bestseller Nixonland. The book will be published in August 2014 to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation as President of the United States…

The Invisible Bridge will open in January 1973, when President Nixon announced the end of the Vietnam War and prepared for a triumphant second term. But soon the televised Watergate hearings revealed his White House as little better than a mafia den. Following Nixon’s resignation, his successor, Gerald Ford, declared “our long national nightmare is over”—but then congressional investigators exposed the CIA for assassinating foreign leaders. The collapse of the South Vietnamese government rendered moot the sacrifice of some 58,000 American lives. The economy was in tatters. Americans began thinking about their nation in a new way: as one more nation among nations, no more providential than any other. Pundits declared that from now on successful politicians would be the ones who honored this chastened new national mood.

Perlstein’s nuanced portrait of Ronald Reagan will show that the former actor and Governor of California never accepted that vision of America. When Reagan announced his intention to challenge Ford for the 1976 Republication nomination, those same pundits dismissed him—until it began to look as if he just might win. Reagan was inventing the new conservative political culture we now know, which derailed a once-ascendant vision of patriotism rooted in a sense of American limits. Set amidst the tumultuous political and economic times of the 1970s, The Invisible Bridge will pose the question: What does it mean to believe in America?

Looking forward to doing a book chat, come the Fall.

Rick Perlstein has a long, excellent review in The Nation, “Failing upward at the Democratic Leadership Council with Al From”

Al From makes two assertions in his new memoir. The first is announced in its title. The New Democrats and the Return to Power argues that the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the group he founded in 1985 to push the Democratic Party to the right, has won: the party has been reformed, and there is no going back to the dark days when, according to From, Democratic presidential candidates suffered humiliation after humiliation at the ballot box for the party’s thralldom to protectionism, isolationism, “constituency groups” and the dread leviathan Jesse Leo Jackson.

The second point is that From and friends deserve all of the credit for the Democratic Party’s transformation. Again and again, our hero narrates his arrival, just in the nick of time, to save the day: “My interjection had stopped the headlong dash into social democracy…. Hillary came over to me and said she and Bill had discussed what I had said and had agreed I was right.” And again: “In a cab crossing the Triborough Bridge in New York, I flipped open my cell phone and called the President of the United States…. [W]hen Clinton and I finished our discussion, I was confident that he would sign the bill.” According to Al From, if you favor NAFTA, tougher laws on crime, welfare reform and, above all, an economic policy focused exclusively on “growth” instead of distributional fairness, you can thank Al From.

Yet this memoirist has an imposing problem on his hands. In each and every case, the triumphs he trumpets have made America a worse place—objectively, empirically and on their own terms. But From is among the small minority of people they haven’t hurt. No one in the crowded field of Washington insiders has ever failed upward with such skill and aplomb…
***********

On the subject of fundraising, the author proves defensive: “We did raise a lot of corporate money, but there were never any quid pro quos, implicit or explicit. When creating the structure of the DLC, I had purposely created a firewall between those who gave money and those who made organizational decisions.” But isn’t that precisely the evidence for the indictment? Steinhardt and others gave anyway, and kept giving, trusting that the return on investment would be worth it without any intervention on their part being necessary.

What were they buying? For one thing, a respectable front for the obsession that Jesse Jackson and those whose interests he represented must be destroyed. From was never as blunt as Harry McPherson, the old Democratic hand who complained to The Washington Post after Mondale’s defeat that “blacks own the Democratic Party…White Protestant male Democrats are an endangered species.” From prefers the dog-whistle phrase “constituency groups.” He’s also prone to using unconsciously racially charged language, quoting himself being quoted in The Wall Street Journal at the 1988 convention: “We’ve erased the graffiti from the wall. Now we have to paint the mural.”…

Mr. Charles P. Pierce remembers those days differently:

One of the worst political events I ever attended was the 1982 Democratic “midterm convention” in Philadelphia, at which the party elders were still cowering from the beating they’d taken in 1980, and you could see it all coming, the rise of the corporate Democrats — the chairman was a banker pal of Jimmy Carter’s named Charles Manatt, who went on to mastermind the presidential campaign of Walter Mondale — and the neocon Democrats, and the National Security Democrats and, basically, the Democrats who were white and well-off. This was the seedbed for Al From and, yes, for Bill Clinton, and for the welfare reform and NAFTA and the complicity in the economic policies that eventually wrecked the economy in 2008. Now, though, there is a serious strain of economic populism pushing back against the legacy of Charlie Manatt and Al From that is being led by Jesse Jackson. If it weren’t for the rockfight that’s erupted within the Republican party, and if it weren’t for the unfathomable fascination on the part of the courtier press with Hillary Clinton’s every thought, you’d be hearing more and more about it. But the pure hilarity of it all is that what economic populism within the Democratic party is aiming at is giving us a center that is actually in the center. Before the Republicans guzzled the supply-side Flavor-Aid, and the Democrats cozied up to the people who also financed the Republicans, the center meant good jobs and good wages and an economic system that didn’t smack of a carnival midway. This is why Senator Professor Warren sounds as appealing as she does. She is the first person to set up shop in the new center.

63 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Were we ever going to finish discussing “This Town” or did we say all that needed saying?

    And wasn’t there a book about the fashion industry you were interested in talking about? Can’t remember either the title or author, but wouldn’t mind reading and discussing it if you and others are still game.

    ETA: Now I’ll go back and actually read this post!

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    quoting himself being quoted in The Wall Street Journal at the 1988 convention: “We’ve erased the graffiti from the wall. Now we have to paint the mural.”

    Good Sweet Christ.

  3. 3
    Suffern ACE says:

    Yeah. He purposely created that firewall between donors and political insiders. In the period under discussion, it must have been tempting to, you know, break the law.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    And before any stupid mofo starts this shit in this thread, LOTS of people on “the left” were angry with Bill Clinton in real time, in real life and were vocal about it.
    He did *not* get a pass as some kind of Democratic savior as president.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    Living through Nixon and Reagan was horrid enough.

  6. 6
    Suffern ACE says:

    Thank goodness he held onto those white Protestant males. They still form the backbone of the party faithful.

  7. 7
    Corner Stone says:

    I thought earlier when Roger Moore suggested Putin needed Bob Shrum as an adviser that that was about the cruelest thing I had heard in a while.
    Fuck Al From.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    He’s also prone to using unconsciously racially charged language, quoting himself being quoted in The Wall Street Journal at the 1988 convention: “We’ve erased the graffiti from the wall. Now we have to paint the mural.”…

    Question for someone with a better grasp of history than I — what happened at the ’88 convention that would lead Frum to make that statement?

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Tweety had a segment today which he introduced by a long quote from Andrew Stern, former head of the SEIU, about how dangerous it is for Democrats to base their political future on “attacking the 1 per cent”. Such “hatred” is un-American, says Stern. I made a google to see where Andy Stern in working these days, he’s on a couple of boards associated with Ron Perleman and Bloomberg, along with Harold Ford and Larry Summers. I’m only surprised it isn’t one of Pete Peterson’s groups.

    Tweety seemed to agree, and that’s why we need Hillary, who’s a uniter, not a “one trick pony of the progressive left”, which was a reference to either Elizabeth Warren, economic populism in general, or both.

    This segment followed one in which Tweety bemoaned the fact that Obama isn’t tougher on Republicans, like Tweety would be

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: I had a Nation and a New Republic subscription at the time. Both were harsh.

    @Baud: Jesse Jackson.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    What does that mean? Did they block Jesse Jackson from speaking that year or something?

  12. 12
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Baud: we nominated Lloyd Bensten? Directionless, we made Dukkakis the standard bearer because of the Massachusetts Miracle? (Starting the trend of major parties turning to candidates from Massachusetts when they didn’t know what to do).

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Jackson ran well to the left of anything anyone has considered since then.

    In both races, Jackson ran on what many considered to be a very liberal platform. In 1987, The New York Times described him as ” a classic liberal in the tradition of the New Deal and the Great Society”.[2] Declaring that he wanted to create a “Rainbow Coalition” of various minority groups, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Arab-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, family farmers, the poor and working class, and homosexuals, as well as European American progressives who fit into none of those categories, Jackson ran on a platform that included:

    creating a Works Progress Administration-style program to rebuild America’s infrastructure and provide jobs to all Americans,
    re-prioritizing the War on Drugs to focus less on mandatory minimum sentences for drug users (which he views as racially biased) and more on harsher punishments for money-laundering bankers and others who are part of the “supply” end of “supply and demand”
    reversing Reaganomics-inspired tax cuts for the richest ten percent of Americans and using the money to finance social welfare programs
    cutting the budget of the Department of Defense by as much as fifteen percent over the course of his administration
    declaring Apartheid-era South Africa to be a rogue nation
    instituting an immediate nuclear freeze and beginning disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union
    supporting family farmers by reviving many of Roosevelt’s New Deal–era farm programs
    creating a single-payer system of universal health care
    ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment
    increasing federal funding for lower-level public education and providing free community college to all
    applying stricter enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and
    supporting the formation of a Palestinian state.

    With the exception of a resolution to implement sanctions against South Africa for its apartheid policies, none of these positions made it into the party’s platform in either 1984 or 1988

    Link

    His Rainbow Coalition did not fit what Frum was trying for.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud: Jackson ran a strong primary campaign and played a big role in the convention.

    Jackson captured 6.9 million votes and won 11 contests: seven primaries (Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Virginia) and four caucuses (Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont).[6] Jackson also scored March victories in Alaska’s caucuses and Texas’s local conventions, despite losing the Texas primary.[7][8] Some news accounts credit him with 13 wins.[9] Briefly, after he won 55% of the vote in the Michigan Democratic caucus, he was considered the frontrunner for the nomination, as he surpassed all the other candidates in total number of pledged delegates.

    There was a picture of Dukakis, Bentsen and Jackson holding their upraised hands that people (Republicans or pundits or I don’t know who) started calling “the Troika”. I don’t specifically remember much, but I imagine that scared a lot of the Archie Bunker types I mean salt of the earth Macomb County Democrats.

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    They did not. I was in the convention hall in Atlanta for Jesse Jackson’s speech. It was confrontational and thrilling.

    And, of course, came to nothing.

  16. 16
    J R in WV says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    These so called pundits have no problem containing mutually exclusive thoughts in their brains simultaneously. The wonder is that their heads don’t explode.

    President Obama’s biggest failure is that he gave the Wall Street “masters of the universe” a complete pass after they destroyed the world economy by committing mass fraud on a scale never seen before.

    Having given those crooked bastards a pass, he helped establish the “fact” that there are people who, no matter how criminal their behavior, cannot be prosecuted.

    Of course, these billionaires will contribute huge amounts of money to assure that no one from the Senator Professor Warren wing of the Democratic Party can be elected, lest they attempt, however wrong-headed, a prosecution of banksters who create the next great fraud, whatever that turns out to be.

    I suspect it will be the theft of the Social Security trust fund, perhaps along with the Medicare trust. But don’t hold me to that, I’m not a creative banker at all.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: god. He really must have smoked dope for the entire Clinton first term and it’s erased his memories. I don’t remember him going on about Hillary’s depth and nuance then.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Thanks. I hadn’t recalled Jackson’s campaign as being viable enough for Frum to gloat about beating it, but this:

    none of these positions made it into the party’s platform in either 1984 or 1988

    makes Frum’s statement make sense.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Doesn’t his platform look awesome though? Maybe a quibble here and there, but damn….

  20. 20
    Brian R. says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Chris Matthews, Weather Vane.

  21. 21
    James E. Powell says:

    1988 DNC was Jesse Jackson’s “Keep Hope Alive” speech, which I loved.

    That was around the time when what we had always called ” The Democratic Agenda” was referred to thereafter as “The Black Agenda” – you know, jobs, education, reduced crime. Horrible anti-American stuff like that.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Sure. But I can’t say I’m persuaded that America in ’88 would have bought into it (even if it weren’t Jackson at the top of the ticket).

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Brian R.: Weathervane, mercurial dingbat, potay-to, po-tah-to

    I wasn’t really surprised at his going along with whatever shiny blogpost his staff printed out and put on his desk, or that whatever DLC-type he had lunch with told him earlier, I was more surprised at Stern, and frustrated at how quickly “our” side can adopt the Whining of the Billionaires.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Maybe a quibble here and there

    Yeah, mainly that there existed some number of “homosexual Americans”.
    Which we knew Sunshine Reagan and Smilin’ Uncle Jack Kemp did their fucking best to kill off.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    From your link, I didn’t realize Jackson was anti-choice in the ’70s.

  26. 26
    Anoniminous says:

    I remember watching a national news cast of Jackson giving a victory speech after winning a primary, after this long I don’t remember which one. JJ was giving one of his fiery speeches, making some good points, and the national political reporter obliterated the words to talk about a man standing behind Jackson wearing a white hat and how the Jackson campaign needed better Media Management.

    It was at that moment I realized our national media figures were brain dead.

  27. 27
    Baud says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    He ran a stronger campaign that I had recalled.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    @Corner Stone: I look forward to a glowing endorsement of Al From’s book from Bob Shrum.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @Anoniminous:

    The 1988 equivalent of the Dean Scream.

  30. 30
    Anoniminous says:

    We’ve got 30,000,000, 13,000,000 of them children, Americans hungry or at risk of hunger. Our cities are smoking ruins. The middle class is evaporating. The banksters rob and plunder without hindrance. A whole generation of young people are effectively in debt peonage. Massive un- and under-employment. Our highways, bridges, streets, and electrical power grid are a fucking joke …

    But THANK GOD! we’ve been saved from democratic socialism.

    Fuck you Fromm. Fuck you with a rusty chain saw.

  31. 31
    cthulhu says:

    ’84 was the first Presidential, really the first election of any type, that I could vote in. Jackson spoke at my school and had my vote in the CA primary. Then in the fall, I literally threw away my vote on Bozo the Clown rather than vote for Mondale.

  32. 32
    Anoniminous says:

    @Baud:

    Yup.

    The one thing that keeps me going is the continuing desperate attempts to kneecap anyone with an ounce of sense. To me that gives hope they are terrified at what would happen if a Left message was allowed to be presented unhindered.

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anoniminous: We’ve been fighting a rear guard action for so many years now. The DLC started it and now our political pragmatists are finishing it off.

  34. 34
    Anne Laurie says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The next book is gonna be “Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion“.

    Wondering if Monday evening is really the best choice for book chats, though. Maybe Wednesday nights?

  35. 35
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Anoniminous: yeah, but the editorial on the radio from the chamber of commerce told me to stop looking at that and note that more people in the world make a dollar a day than ever before.

  36. 36
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Jackson ran on a platform that included [. . .].

    Holy shnikeys. I wasn’t as politically aware back then as I am now, but I did think I was awake, and I don’t remember any of that. What I do remember is the mainstream media dismissing Jackson as a kook who never had a chance. Right-wing corporate media, I was soaking in it.

  37. 37

    The DLC keeps losing elections. They seem to always finance losers in House races, reactionary, compromised scumbags who have so little distance from the Rethugs that most voters decide to go with the real fascists, not fascist-lite. Granted, they have a lock on Democratic Presidential candidates, but instead of a race to the bottom, like the Rethugs want, it’s more of a stroll to the bottom.

  38. 38
    Rusty says:

    I feel entitled making this comment considering I bought Nixonland and got through half of it, but did Perlstein get an editor this time around? I realize he’s probably no worse than the Halberstams, Goodwins, etc. But still, he has some raw talent as a writer/researcher that seems wasted by his inability to weed out some of the noise. Good editors usually fill that gap.

  39. 39
    Anoniminous says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’m sure tired of losing and the temptation to say, “Screw it” gets mighty appealing sometimes. But think how bad things would be if we hadn’t been out there swinging away.

    Or so I flatter myself. :-)

    @Suffern ACE:

    That line is starting to wear thin. Even among some GOP’ers I talk to.

  40. 40
    NotMax says:

    @Bob In Portland

    The DLC was dissolved in 2011.

    Its adherents of course remain, but like ACORN, the organizational entity no longer exits.

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    @Anne Laurie: Maybe do a post and get input on the best day/time for the book chat.

  42. 42
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Doesn’t matter to me one way or the other.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    LOTS of people on “the left” were angry with Bill Clinton in real time, in real life and were vocal about it.

    Because he committed the unforgivable sin. He won. Emoprogs had Obama for the same reason.

  44. 44
    Cervantes says:

    In a cab crossing the Triborough Bridge in New York, I flipped open my cell phone and called the President of the United States

    Fittingly, that bridge was finally re-named after RFK in 2008 — which, in a stunning co-incidence, is roughly the last time anyone remembered Al From.

  45. 45
    Cervantes says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    There was a picture of Dukakis, Bentsen and Jackson holding their upraised hands that people (Republicans or pundits or I don’t know who) started calling “the Troika”.

    It was the Republicans, and they started doing it right away at the Democratic Convention in Atlanta. You had Dukakis in the middle with Bentsen and Jackson whispering in his right and left ears, respectively (natch). Jim Thompson, Governor of Illinois, introduced the idea and others followed suit.

    I had managed to forget that until you brought it up here.

  46. 46
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I don’t suffer taking political BS from Republican fools who believe journalists should be incarcerated for doing their jobs and a public service.
    Or maybe you would forgive me if I had a few more zeros in my bank account. Shouldn’t you be hard at work figuring out how to get some uber rich person to pay 12% in taxes instead of 13.5%?

  47. 47
    dww44 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Logically consistent has never been Tweety’s strong suit.

  48. 48
    2liberal says:

    @Steeplejack:

    What I do remember is the mainstream media dismissing Jackson as a kook who never had a chance

    he didn’t have a chance. but i think it stunk that the only time they put him on TV is when he spoke in rhyme.

  49. 49
    Kay says:

    “constituency groups”

    Ugh. This alone should knock him out of politics. Labor, liberals and (particularly) black people are not “constituency groups” in the Democratic Party.

    The assumption behind this is HE is the “norm” and everyone who isn’t him is outside, pestering him for favors. One cannot say this without believing that.

    It’s an outrageous thing to say, and so incredibly dumb. Take all of the people he thinks are “constituency groups” out and the “Democratic Party” no longer exists. You’re left with political operatives and centrist policy writers.

    It is really and truly two different ways of looking at the world. He starts from a place where he is legitimate, inside, and everyone else is suspect, outside, and it’s his job to tamp them down and walk this fine line of keeping them voting for Democrats, but out of “the leadership”.

    I think he’s a “constituency group” and I think he has “too much influence” on the Democratic Party. How about that? Why don’t I get to name who is inside and who is inside, like he does?

  50. 50
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @burnspbesq: No, those were genuine policy disagreements.

    What bugs me now are the people who knock Obama for the same stuff but describe Bill Clinton as a true liberal and stand-up guy. Clinton governed generally to Obama’s right; liberals remember him fondly now not just because he won, but mostly because the economy boomed in the second half of his time in office.

    Obama’s major failing from a liberal perspective is that not that he’s a secret Republican but that he’s basically an ordinary post-1990 Democrat.

  51. 51
    Kay says:

    They have another problem, centrist Democrats. IMO, the only people who have any coherent, compelling ideas right now in the Democratic Party are the populists. People are responding to the populists because they’re the only ones saying anything relevant.
    If the Big Picture plan is a retreat to the 1990’s and trade deals, job training and stern lectures from billionaires and lobbyists about self-discipline, Democrats are going to lose.
    It is all head and no heart and people are not responding to it right now and they won’t respond to it in the midterms.
    If that’s the plan, to go to 1990’s “pro growth” policy, they better stick to tangible, small, specific things like tweaking the health care law and food stamps and unemployment insurance, because no one is going to attend a rally or organize a precinct on trade deals, job training and “the opportunity gap”. I don’t even know what the “opportunity gap” means, or how people are supposed to “close” it. It’s not responsive to how financially insecure people are, this theme. It’s not the 1990’s. They can’t just cue up this tape again, no matter the actual conditions in the country.
    The centrists who are worried about the populists should be worried about the populists, because the centrists are not offering anything coherent or interesting that we all haven’t heard a million times before.
    They’re not even trying. Why would these trade deals work out better than NAFTA? Why is this round of job training different? How is this “pro growth” plan any different than the one that led to the crash?

  52. 52
    Kay says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    What bugs me now are the people who knock Obama for the same stuff but describe Bill Clinton as a true liberal and stand-up guy.

    There were a lot of people who were disgusted with Clinton by the end of his second term.

    I think one thing that doesn’t get mentioned enough is Clinton and his huge group of political people who are constantly on television and quoted in media (even now) have been very, very good at both protecting his legacy and creating a better Presidency than he had. I’m embarrassed at the revisionism sometimes, and I’m a Democrat.

  53. 53
    rea says:

    Well, I believe in America.

    There’s tons of evidence . . .

  54. 54
    Joey Giraud says:

    @burnspbesq:

    What a brain-dead comment. They were pissed at Clinton because he sucked up to the rich.

  55. 55
    Bruce Baugh says:

    One of the things I recall from Clinton’s second term is how many people I knew felt that Clinton needed a lot of good hard challenging from the left…but not as the grotesque Republican attacks continued to mount. Job One was not handing over any ground to the Republicans; Job Two could (it seemed) wait until the ground under attack as more secure.

    It’s still a problem without any easy solution, obviously.

  56. 56
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Bruce Baugh:

    Since the whole Monica business resulted in a “circle the wagons” among Democrats who stopped criticizing Clinton for his economic sell-out, one could theorize that the circus was to the benefit of the DLC types.

  57. 57
    Joey Giraud says:

    @Kay: You pretty much summed up why Democrats have lost so many elections in the past 30 years.

  58. 58
    Bruce Baugh says:

    @Joey Giraud: Agreed. And it’s really hard to know how viable any alternatives would be. The big thing is to get people paying more attention to the state and local-level elections, party offices, and such – the things that shape the primary and general election fields. Just as, really, sensible people have always said. :)

  59. 59
    Kay says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    I didn’t even have to read the piece, because I can already tell where Democrats are going from the language they’re using, but here it is:

    From, however, is not chagrined. The “core principles of the New Democrat movement…are as viable and useful for meeting today’s challenges as they were for meeting the challenges of the 1990s.”

    No, they’re not. If they recycle this again (and that’s what they’re doing right now) they will lose.

  60. 60
    Kay says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    It’s so funny to watch because I knew there would be backlash and a huge push by the “Cult of The 1990’s” to trot this out again. They don’t have anything else. I don’t know what they do all day. Reminisce? They literally had a decade and they have the exact same “plan” they had in 1996.

    Tom Freidman is really all you have to read. When I saw he was pushing this, and he is, I thought “here they come!”

    I guess they’re banking on 25 year olds thinking this is a new idea, because they’re too young to have heard the exact same thing at the time. That must be the plan.

  61. 61
    Glocksman says:

    @Rusty:

    It could have been edited a bit better for brevity, but on the whole it was an excellent read.
    I liked it better than Before the Storm, but that might be because I find Nixon more fascinating than AuH²O.

    Think of Perlstein as Granger handing in a 5 foot essay when Professor Flitwick only asked for 3.

  62. 62
    gvg says:

    I remember being very fond of Clinton 1) because the economy did boom unlike when republicans were in office but also 2) he vetoed some really bad laws. I considered him the safety net against some really anti women’s right stuff being pushed by the women hating party. I despised him for his affair but realized how ironic it was that I knew he would still be needed to protect women in actual law. Despising him personally I still would have voted for him again had he been in his first term. some people went nuts back then. I saw my first impeach Clinton sign a few days after he was elected the first time and was extremely puzzled. It was before he was sworn in and he couldn’t have done anything impeachable…I still don’t understand that. I didn’t expect this much hysterical racism after Obama was elected either but in hindsight given our history I guess I can see that. Clinton hysteria still seems less ….explicable.

  63. 63
    mclaren says:

    We all know what it means to believe in America.

    It means spontaneously rising to your feet reciting the pledge of allegiance whenever you see a strapping 250-man man beating up a crippled child.

    It means cheering until your throat is hoarse whenever a young girl gets burned alive with napalm.

    Being an American means never having to say you’re sorry.

    Being an American is like a gang rape that never ends and whose participants never get caught.

    Being an American means taking turns with a drunk passed-out underage highschool girl while filming the whole thing on an iPhone and high-fiving each other, then uploading the video to Facebook.

    America is a country of Morlocks, drunk with hate. America is a society of wannabe Jeffrey Dahmers, lusting to torment the weakest and most defenseless among us. Atrocities like the Iraq invasion and Guantanamo remind us that an American is the lowest form of human being on the planet. No wonder Americans’ preferred form of entertainment is video games involving the systematic murder of countless victims by heavily-armed spetznatz-like goons.

    But then, we have to remember that America is not, strictly speaking, a nation: it’s a rabies infection in the global body politic.

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