Rev. Strangechirothecœ: How I Learned to Love the White Supremacy, a Reflection by Pope Douthat

Someone tell Douthat the cilice is supposed to go around his thigh, not his neck, and he’s cutting off the oxygen to his brain:

The nostalgia flowing since the passing of George H.W. Bush has many wellsprings: admiration for the World War II generation and its dying breed of warrior-politicians, the usual belated media affection for moderate Republicans, the contrast between the elder Bush’s foreign policy successes and the failures of his son, and the contrast between any honorable politician and the current occupant of the Oval Office.

But two of the more critical takes on Bush nostalgia got closer to the heart of what was being mourned, in distant hindsight, with his death. Writing in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart described the elder Bush as the last president deemed “legitimate” by both of our country’s warring tribes — before the age of presidential sex scandals, plurality-winning and popular-vote-losing chief executives, and white resentment of the first black president. Also in The Atlantic, Franklin Foer described “the subtext” of Bush nostalgia as a “fondness for a bygone institution known as the Establishment, hardened in the cold of New England boarding schools, acculturated by the late-night rituals of Skull and Bones, sent off to the world with a sense of noblesse oblige. For more than a century, this Establishment resided at the top of the American caste system. Now it is gone, and apparently people wish it weren’t.”

I think you can usefully combine these takes, and describe Bush nostalgia as a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate, and that inspired various kinds of trust (intergenerational, institutional) conspicuously absent in our society today.

Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

Look I’ll just stop there because it’s quite clear that Douthat completely misses the point. First off, there is not widespread nostalgia for Bush, as I know quite a few people who are not too nostalgic for him whatsoever, and they’ve spent the last week being tone policed about not speaking ill of the dead. So we can dismiss the notion of universal remorse for the days of yore. Any nostalgia over Bush, such that there is, is rooted in one simple thing- that the current Republicans, as embodied by Trump, are so much worse than the deeply, deeply flawed Reagan/Bush/Quayle/Bush Wasps.

That’s fucking it. Let me explain this with a tweet:

And another thing- the assumption here is that white people have stopped running the show, and that minorities and more secular and diverse people have been running things, and have not lived up to the WASP standard. I hate to break it to Pope Douthat, but white people are still running (ruining?) shit, and this current mess is on them. I mean jesus tapdancing christ.

I could go on, but why? That is it. The End.

157 replies
  1. 1

    As usual, conservative analysis consists of using big words to justify wanting rich white men to run everything.

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  2. 2
    zhena gogolia says:

    How depressing.

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  3. 3
    Citizen Alan says:

    I am stuck for the next few hours at a car dealership having my car worked. And the TV is stuck on NBC’s cultish adoration of GHWB as they are getting ready to inter him into his pyramid. It’s nauseating.

    And how they’re showing Jimmy Carter (who apparently hated Clinton — who knew?!?), and we all know perfectly well that when he passes, he won’t get anywhere near the level of media love.

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  4. 4
    JPL says:

    @Citizen Alan: Jimmy Carter has done more in his post presidency than any other president and I hope you are wrong. He’s such an amazing man who has been vilified by the right.

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  5. 5

    I can’t believe the 24/7 coverage of this. It’s what I’d have expected if he died in office. It’s certainly not what I remember from the last time an ex-president died (Ford).

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  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    describe Bush nostalgia as a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate,

    The racial and misogynistic subtext of that statement screams. I would be surprised his editors let it be printed but for some reason, I’m not.

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  7. 7
    Balconesfault says:

    From where I sit, it looks like the big problem over the last couple decades has been that a lot of those WASPs were more than happy to blow up the system if they couldn’t control it anymore. That’ll show those ungrateful liberals and minorities!

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  8. 8
    kindness says:

    Douthat missing the point isn’t a bug with his set. It’s a feature.

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  9. 9
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican politico whose Russian girlfriend is in jail on charges she acted as a covert foreign agent, has been informed that he may face similar accusations. The Daily Beast reviewed a “target letter” that federal investigators sent Erickson’s lawyer, which said they are considering bringing charges against him under Section 951 of the U.S. code—the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.

    A palate cleanser from the hagiography.

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  10. 10
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Citizen Alan:
    Jimmy would not care. He’d probably rather the mourners got together and built a house for someone deserving.

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  11. 11
    BC in Illinois says:

    1)

    . . . a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class . . .

    I don’t care what words Douthat uses to precede or follow this phrase. I don’t think there is any national desire for a ruling class. There is only a desire among some that they be a ruling class, to rule the others. There is a desire among the rest of us, that we not be ruled. If we are to be governed, it must be with our consent and with our input — and the word “our” includes all of us.

    2) Has it occurred to Mr Douthat that the “P” in WASP stood for “protestant”? Many of these people didn’t take kindly to papistic followers of the Roman Antichrist.

    And, while we’re at it, not all of us who count as “W” (white) are fully “A-S” (anglo-saxon). Some of us have too much Scottish and Hungarian ancestry to fully qualify for Douthat’s ruling class.

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  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    The president is being congratulated for not ruining a funeral https://t.co/uEov0sfURd

    — Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) December 4, 2018

    A funeral where they won’t even let his azz speak.

    Think on that.

    They won’t let the President of the United States speak at a former President’s funeral.

    All his idiotic azz has to do is just SIT THERE.

    And, he’s supposed to get praise?

    The Curve for UNQUALIFIED WHITE MEN IS REAL

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  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    I told you..

    Folks like Douthat long for the delusional world of Mad Men.
    they wanna party like it’s 1948.

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  14. 14
    The Dangerman says:

    Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

    I’m calling Peak Wingnut here. This is pure, 100%, undiluted asshole here. I don’t think it can be topped.

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  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    I haven’t seen the comments, but I’m pretty sure they’re (as usual) full of people yelling at Douthat to get a fucking clue.

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  16. 16

    before the age of presidential sex scandals, plurality-winning and popular-vote-losing chief executives, and white resentment of the first black president.

    Shorter Ross: Republicans steal elections, but Democrats nominate minorities, so both sides are at fault.

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  17. 17
    BC in Illinois says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “. . .the racial and misogynistic subtext. . . ”

    Yes. The racial subtext in longing for a WASP ruling class is not much of a subtext. It’s pretty much out in the open. The misogynistic subtext is unstated and I, for one, didn’t pick up on it until you mentioned it. The ruling WASPs that Douthat longs for are most certainly a roomful of men. The women are, in this nostalgia, in the serving class.

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  18. 18
    SFAW says:

    For literary value/content, I am trying to decide whether Douthat’s bullshit is better, or worse, than merely writing “grobble gribble grubble grybble veeblefetzer wagga wagga unketyewdkris!” or similar.

    At least the alternative doesn’t pretend to be attempting to impart “wisdom” on its unhappy readers, so I’m thinking Douthat’s is worse.

    FTFTFNYT

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  19. 19
    syphonblue says:

    Oh cool, the New York Times is now just going ahead and actively promoting White Christian Nationalism without the hushed voices now.

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  20. 20
    Hildebrand says:

    I love how Douthat (whose religiosity is a truly bizarre admixture of priggish Puritanism and late-nineteenth century anti-modernity Catholicism) so conveniently ignores, or attempts to wish away, the two most religiously inclined presidents of the last fifty years, Carter and Obama, who both embodied actual family-values. You would think his pining for ‘good’ people would seem to endear him to Carter and Obama. Hmm, perhaps there is something else animating his reasoning.

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  21. 21
    Waldo says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    I can’t believe the 24/7 coverage of this.

    I hear ya. NPR spent the better part of two days tracking the progress of his remains — like they were half expecting them to go rogue on the way to the capitol.

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  22. 22
    gene108 says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Carter and either Clinton won’t get anywhere near the love the last 3 dead Presidents (all Republicans) have gotten. Fox News and the rest of right wing media will see to it, and the MSM will play along.

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  23. 23
    Tony Jay says:

    Shorter Douche-Hat

    “George Bush Senior was the last Republican President not to completely shit-the-bed on his signature issue, thereby proving to my satisfaction that the next King of America should be a Rich White Guy who went to the right kind of school. Can I haz well-paid speaking gigs in Aspen now?”

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  24. 24
    Barbara says:

    @Amir Khalid: That he won’t articulate what WASP stands for tells you everything you need to know about Douthat. What all this Republican nostalgia is about, really, is nothing more than personal style. Bush’s patrician air allowed them to maintain a state of denial about the racism and gender bias that make up the modern Republican party and its supporters. Whereas, Trump sucks all of that pure oxygen out of the room and gives them no breathing room whatsoever.

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  25. 25
    Kylroy says:

    Bush Sr. is being feted because A) that’s what we *do* with recently dead presidents, and B) he was the last remnant of the pre-Reagan GOP. When Kung-Fu Monkey wrote “I Miss Republicans”, Bush Sr. is the kind of Republican he was talking about.

    We don’t miss having a ruling class, Douthat; we miss having two whole, separate parties who were interested in and capable of governing.

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  26. 26
    Yarrow says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: They did it for Ford and they certainly did it for Reagan. It’s a former president, former head of state. It’s not really out of the ordinary for them to cover it at this level. Covering John McCain’s death and funeral in the same way was what was unusual.

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  27. 27
    Yarrow says:

    CNN says that Obama was chatting with Merkel inside the National Cathedral. I am reminded of the Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of Merkel on SNL. LOL. I bet Merkel misses her Barack.

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  28. 28

    WASP competence? Seems like he forgot Bush II.

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  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    Carter’s work, Post-Presidency, might get him this level of coverage.

    Clinton…eh….

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  30. 30
    Missouri Buckeye says:

    Just think about this: The last time a Democratic ex-President died was 1973.

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  31. 31
    Yarrow says:

    RBG is in the house! Good to see her after her fall. I didn’t see her among the Supreme Court Justices at the Capitol when they had the ceremony there. I might just have missed her.

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  32. 32
    japa21 says:

    I hate to break it to Pope Douthat, but white people are still running (ruining?) shit, and this current mess is on them. I mean jesus tapdancing christ.

    Until I read this I wasn’t sure it was really Cole writing this post.

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  33. 33
    japa21 says:

    @Yarrow: RBG will still be on the Court long after most of the current justices are gone, including Kavanaughty.

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  34. 34

    Have the R bootlickers in the media talked about
    1. Clarence Thomas
    2. Non-response to the AIDS epidemic
    3. Pardoning of the Iran Contra accused
    4. Bush II
    Feel free to add to this list.

    ETA: On Snooze Hour yesterday James Baker was singing paeans to bipartisanship, while R cheerleader Judy Woodruff was nodding her head.
    I remember his work on behalf of Bush II to stop the counting of votes in Florida.

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  35. 35

    @BC in Illinois:

    I don’t think there is any national desire for a ruling class. There is only a desire among some that they be a ruling class, to rule the others.

    I think there is a desire among a substantial minority of the population that there be a social hierarchy. They’re willing to accept somebody ruling over them as long as they in turn get to lord their status over the people even lower in the hierarchy. These are the people who gave us Trump.

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  36. 36
    Stuart Frasier says:

    @Yarrow:
    Tracey Ullman’s Angela Merkel is the greatest impression of any politician by any comedian in human history.

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  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    The president is being congratulated for not ruining a funeral.

    I nominate that for a rotating tag.

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  38. 38
    ThresherK says:

    Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

    Boy, I hope he never turns his blazing intellect and rigorous knowledge of history to any of the ex-colonies in Africa/Asia/etc.

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  39. 39

    Most of the problems we face today were made worse by the deliberate policy decisions of Reagan and the two Bushes. The current WH occupant is not an aberration but a logical conclusion of those policies and attitudes. So Doughboy can just stuff it.

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  40. 40
    R-Jud says:

    I’m currently chatting with a friend in NYC. Smart, Harvard PhD, is funny, worked on AOC’s primary campaign, and has had another magazine pitch thrown back at her. I showed her the screenshot embedded in this post and I would just like to know if any of you can currently hear her screaming? I guess it would depend on the prevailing winds where you are.

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  41. 41
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t miss the murdering Bush Elder and won’t miss his goddamn genocidal kid with daddy issues either, but my respect for their grieving process has apparently been misread as approval.

    It isn’t.

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  42. 42
    Neldob says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. Repuglicans are so happy to see some tiny shred of honor in their pantheon of thieves and nuts, even if it was so long ago. At least it was after Eisenhower.

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  43. 43
    Yarrow says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Have the R bootlickers in the media talked about
    1. Clarence Thomas
    2. Non-response to the AIDS epidemic
    3. Pardoning of the Iran Contra accused
    4. Bush II

    I have heard them talk about all of these. The Clarence Thomas nomination and how contentious it was and his selection after Thurgood Marshall. The non-response to the AIDS epidemic as a failing. The pardoning of the Iran-Contra accused as a political choice and it being questionable.

    All the discussion I’ve seen of W is as their relationship as father and son and the shared experience of both being president. Also, how it felt to each of them when the other was criticized. I wouldn’t really expect the media to go too far into that given that W has lost his father.

    Oooh….Barack and Michelle just had to shake Trump’s hand. She look absolutely perfunctory about it. Polite and nothing more. I think she said, “Good morning.” Couldn’t quite tell.

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  44. 44
    PJ says:

    @BC in Illinois: The fact is, there are a lot of people (not a majority, but, say, 27% of the population) who don’t want a real democracy and for whom rule by a small group of people whom they can imagine are just like themselves, but wealthier, is a plus. These are the Republicans and pundits (Dowd, Douthat, Brooks) who long for “daddy” figures. As for the people who are, or want to be, the oligarchs, well, give the rubes whatever culture war lip service is needed to keep the system going.

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  45. 45
    Mike in NC says:

    The rule of the fucking WASPs was much over-rated. I loathed the entire Bush family and tears actually ran down my face the night Poppy lost the election to Bubba.

    I expected Trump to ride into National Cathedral on a gold-plated golf cart with an escort of KKK deplorables bearing tiki torches. I am off to get a haircut but maybe Fat Bastard will go off message and launch into a rant about how GHWB was a loser who got shot down. Pretty please…

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  46. 46
    MCA1 says:

    Cole’s second point is the more critical, I think. Who the fuck is Douthat looking at as the “successor” rulers here? Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Mike McCarthy, Drumpf, Mike Pence are the current “leaders” of our nation. In what way are they diverse? Or more meritocratic or secular than their predecessors?

    I don’t know how anyone can talk about noblesse oblige, and long for some (mostly fantasy) past when the wealthy felt a need to serve their country and act as stewards, recognizing the great advantages they’d been given and the responsibilities that came with it, yet so completely miss the point. I mean, he’s basically saying the elites we have today aren’t pulling their weight the way their predecessors did, but he can’t actually put the words on the paper so instead he turns around and blames the rest of the population for our ills because we’re expressing that we’re fed up with those shitty elites?

    We’re in a new Gilded Age, Ross. The accelerated accumulation of wealth at the highest levels, combined with the fetishization of money over all other things, and the attribution of virtue to riches, is far and away the greatest structural problem we face. The people you wish would stand up and exert their incredible power for good don’t give a fuck and have been strip mining the economy for the last 30 years. They’re the ones who, by your own admission, have abdicated whatever noble and benevolent stewardship of the country role you think Pappy Bush fulfilled. You’re just pissed that by doing so they’ve hastened the sea change of demographics because no one trusts them to do what’s right by anyone other than themselves anymore.

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  47. 47
    Baud says:

    Reminds me of the “Miss Me Yet” billboards in the early Obama years. Anyway, horribly racist. I’d rather have our current struggles than have the type of WASP dominance that we had in the past.

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  48. 48

    @Kylroy:

    When Kung-Fu Monkey wrote “I Miss Republicans”, Bush Sr. is the kind of Republican he was talking about.

    Then he should have mourned for 1980 Bush, because when he accepted the nomination for VP, Bush sold his soul, and the soul of the moderate wing of the Republican party, to the crazy Reaganite wing.

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  49. 49
    Yarrow says:

    LOL. The CNN crew is busy analyzing who reached out their hand and who didn’t when Trump and Melania came in. The Clintons just looked straight ahead. Barack is unfailingly polite. Thank goodness he only has to sit next to Melania.

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  50. 50
    japa21 says:

    We should realize that when Carter, Clinton and Obama die, the coverage and pomp and pageantry will be much the same as it is today. Perhaps even more for Obama. And every right wing blog will be lamenting the coverage and going “Have they mentioned Fast and Furious, Benghazi, etc.”

    I do think it is possible that when Trump goes the coverage will be different.

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  51. 51
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: I’d rather Clinton get no coverage than the type of coverage the media will likely give him.

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  52. 52
    JimV says:

    “I hate to break it to Pope Douthat, but white people are still running (ruining?) shit, and this current mess is on them.”

    As Stugotz would say, in my personal record book, this post was an A+.

    My guess is what Douthat is confused about is that his sort of people used to run the country and get lots of respect too; now they just run the country.

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  53. 53
    JanieM says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Douthat is so fncking stupid I’m surprised Harvard doesn’t rescind his degree.

    Oh, wait. He was that stupid when he was there, too, and they not only let him stay, they let him publish his imbecilities in the school paper. (You don’t really want to click the link, it’s just there as supporting evidence.)

    Yeah, I know, it’s Harvard.

    ETA: and as to this: “because we feel….” The use of the word “we” ought to be banned unless it’s accompanied by a thorough definition of which “we” the asshole thinks he’s talking about. “Americans”? He speaks for “Americans”? Fuck him.

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  54. 54
    PJ says:

    @Hildebrand: Douthat was a convert to Pentecostalism, and thence to Catholicism, which gives you some idea of why his notions are so strange and uninformed.

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  55. 55
    pat says:

    Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

    What unadulterated bullshit. In Wisconsin the “wasps” are hell bent on denying any form of power to the party that was elected to replace the repukes. Time to do away with “lame duck” sesssions!

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  56. 56
    PJ says:

    @MCA1: Amen.

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  57. 57
    J R in WV says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    I can’t believe the 24/7 coverage of this. It’s what I’d have expected if he died in office. It’s certainly not what I remember from the last time an ex-president died (Ford).

    You forget the abject adulation of Ron Raygun? Savior of humanity from the cruel Soviets? They are still wailing at the loss to humanity of Saint Ronaldus !! So SAD!!!

    GHW Bush was a war criminal who stood right next to treasonous plotting with Iranian revolutionaries holding our diplomats hostage to keep holding them hostage for electoral advantage !! And if anyone thinks Reagan and his minions could have pulled that off without the former CIA director on board and in charge, make me lafff more!

    And of course after that treasonous starter course, GHW Bush no doubt also helped set up the Central American Death squads with dirty money from Iran. Not to mention his own presidential race with racist sauce on everything!

    Despicable in every way was our George the First.

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  58. 58
    JR says:

    typical royalist bullshit

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  59. 59

    In terms of sheer experience HRC’s resume is comparable to Bush I among modern presidential nominees. But the deference accorded to Bush I and the derision heaped on HRC by the media personages gives us a good idea about their own political proclivities.

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  60. 60
    JR says:

    @rikyrah: 1748 more likely.

    in Douthat’s case maybe more like 1458.

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  61. 61
    Kay says:

    @MCA1:

    I mean, he’s basically saying the elites we have today aren’t pulling their weight the way their predecessors did, but he can’t actually put the words on the paper so instead he turns around and blames the rest of the population for our ills because we’re expressing that we’re fed up with those shitty elites?

    Exactly.

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  62. 62

    @rikyrah: I think 1848, is more accurate.

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  63. 63
    NotMax says:

    Takes no less than a week on the Miracle All Mayonnaise Diet to projectile spew out such a viscous stream of crap.

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  64. 64
    Humdog says:

    I suppose I do miss the idea of noblesse oblige, that those born to wealth have a duty to serve and to look out for those less fortunate. But that seems to have died with the Kennedys, and even then it was half a lie. Nowadays the rich have embraced greed is good and that those who have less are worthless losers. Meritocracy is a lie; we are supposed to believe that those with money have somehow deserved it? Bah!

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  65. 65
    John Carter1966 says:

    The Rude Pundit has some thoughts about Bush I with which i concur.
    http://rudepundit.blogspot.com.....poppy.html

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @japa21:

    We should realize that when Carter, Clinton and Obama die, the coverage and pomp and pageantry will be much the same as it is today.

    Honestly, I disagree. When Bill Clinton goes, the talking heads are going to be Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich, Maureen Dowd, and Monica Lewinsky (or at least archival footage of her). There will be no Democrats allowed to say more than one or two nice words before they’re interrupted by more Republican bullshit.

    The ceremony and pomp may be the same, but the coverage will not be.

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  67. 67
    ThresherK says:

    @JR: Not merely “royalist”, he’s gone full-on restorationist.

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  68. 68
    matt says:

    Douthat has always been an asshat who punishes rather than rewards time spent paying attention to him.

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  69. 69
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @SFAW:

    veeblefetzer wagga wagga

    Douthat only wishes he could write something as coherent as this

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  70. 70
    Kay says:

    My father is kind of mean but one of the things I like about him is he refuses “the greatest generation” although he could claim it if he wanted to. It’s really pretty funny. He says people were just horrible, as bad or possibly worse than they are now.

    When he was drafted he was shocked at how dirt poor the draftees from the south were – he hadn’t seen that kind of poverty in the working class north. It made him wonder about the country, was it really so great if these people are so poor that they weren’t properly fed as children and had rickets and parasites and things? I mean, part of this is his (cranky) temperament but he was there! NOT impressed. It’s kind of refreshing.

    When I proudly brought my origami crane I made in public school home and showed him and was babbling about how the crane symbolizes peace, etc. he said “we slaughtered those people”. Alright then! So much for my crane! Maybe too mean to say to a 2nd grader but, you know, true.

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  71. 71
    West of the Rockies says:

    @pat:

    “Americans” don’t miss WASP rule. Racist, bigoted Americans miss WASP rule. Plain and simple.

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  72. 72
    Ruviana says:

    @Yarrow: I read that she couldn’t stand for as long as the ceremony was so she got a pass for that.

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    Yarrow says:

    Trump really looks annoyed at having to be at the funeral.

    Good to see both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter at the funeral. Initial reports said neither would be coming as he was overseas and she had limited her travel in recent months. Then I saw he was coming but she still wasn’t. I was surprised to see her there today.

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  74. 74
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Nixon and Reagan deaths and funerals and eulogies were pretty awful.

    IIRC Hunter Thompson had a column about how sickening the Nixon adoraton at his death was. He wrote how horrific it was. And then something like ‘I’ll be honest –I hated him, my grandmother hated him–hell, even my dog hated him!’

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  75. 75
    A Ghost To Most says:

    I’m moderately impressed Shit Hitler isn’t live tweeting “No collusion” from the funeral.

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  76. 76
    Yarrow says:

    @Ruviana: That makes sense. I didn’t understand why so many of the people in attendance at the Capitol service had to stand. The family/front row got to sit but everyone else had to stand. They couldn’t bring in enough chairs for everyone?

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  77. 77
    J R in WV says:

    Long ago, when primary transport was by horse, a lengthy period between an election and the taking of office by newly elected folks was more appropriate.

    Now when we typically move in cars and planes at speeds between 75 mph and 500 mph, once the votes are counted and an electinon is certified, people could take office immediately. And in the interim, those folks voted out should not have any power to attempt to undo the results of the prior election.

    Surely judges and justices of our court system will find that laws passed by electoral losers to illegitimately take power from newly elected office holders cannot be valid under our form of government? Surely? Right?? No way, am I right????

    hahah.

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  78. 78
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Two weeks ago I wasn’t hearing anyone say, “Oh, for a man like George H. W. Bush again!” Until he died, no one outside his own family gave him a thought.

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  79. 79
    Quinerly says:

    @John Carter1966: spot on. I’m applauding this post.

    ReplyReply
  80. 80
    Yarrow says:

    @Kay:

    When he was drafted he was shocked at how dirt poor the draftees from the south were – he hadn’t seen that kind of poverty in the working class north. It made him wonder about the country, was it really so great if these people are so poor that they weren’t properly fed as children and had rickets and parasites and things? I mean, part of this is his (cranky) temperament but he was there! NOT impressed. It’s kind of refreshing.

    Isn’t one of the reasons we have school lunches and/or food help in general is that so many people who were drafted for WWII were so poorly nourished that they wouldn’t be good soldiers?

    ReplyReply
  81. 81
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    The only GOOD Republicans are DEAD Republicans.

    So there’s one more good Republican. Good.

    ReplyReply
  82. 82
    Bob2 says:

    Shorter Ross: It was better when we had slavery.

    ReplyReply
  83. 83
    NotMax says:

    Maybe this will be the opportunity for the rolling out of zombie Billy Graham.

    ReplyReply
  84. 84
    Juice Box says:

    In case Douthat hasn’t been paying attention, those New England WASPs all switched over to the Democratic party some time ago. New England doesn’t have many remaining GOPers. The northern mainline Protestant churches are all decidedly progressive. George and Barbara Bush even helped found the Houston Planned Parenthood, before political expedience put reproductive rights off-limits for Republicans.

    GHWB got a pass from the MSM for his rumored history of affairs and his known butt pinching, as well as the Willie Horton ads and Iran-Contra. My guess is that WJC will have both his real and his imagined failings discussed thoroughly during his funeral.

    ReplyReply
  85. 85
    Amir Khalid says:

    @ThresherK:
    Chunky is not the most open-minded of people. He starts off from a set of reactionary beliefs that he refuses to examine. His long-standing practice is to blithely ignore any evidence, however obvious it may be, that contradicts his case or refutes it. This leaves gaping holes in his arguments and results in conclusions that are self-evident crap. It works out for him because he’s all about posing as a thinker, and gets to stay on The NYT’s op-ed page because they couldn’t get a decent rightwing columnist to replace that knucklehead Bill Kristol.

    ReplyReply
  86. 86
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Hildebrand: IIRC, Carter, BClinton, and Gore are the only presidents or candidates who grew up in the ‘born again’ world of the Souther Baptist churches (BEFORE the RW takeover of the denomination). And theybare super villified by the Evangelicals.

    I found it truly mindblowing that the Religious Right voted for Reagan–divorced, nominal Christian at best–over Carter, a ‘born again’ Christian, now married how many years to his one and only wife.

    ReplyReply
  87. 87
    Kay says:

    @Yarrow:

    Yes, that is my understanding. I think the school lunch program is an unqualified success that isn’t credited enough.

    Which gives me an opportunity to say this! :)

    Chisholm served in the United States Congress as a New York representative from 1969 to 1983. As a Congressperson, she furthered legislation to extend daycare facilities’ hours, provide families with a minimum annual income, and establish government-sponsored school lunches.

    What an accomplishment! Hundreds of millions of children getting basic nutrition. Imagine the misery that avoided. 50% of our (rural) public schools here get free or reduced lunch, and it’s 90% white.

    ReplyReply
  88. 88
    msb says:

    It should be a comfort that Doubtthat is always as certain as he is wrong, about everything.

    I think the Bush frenzy is nostalgia for an R president, or an R anything, whom one could support without embarrassment, that is, he did lousy stuff, but maintained the pretense of being an honorable man. It’s the refreshing contrast with the open venality and vulgarity of Trump and his merry fraudsters, and a longing for any facsimile of decency.

    ReplyReply
  89. 89
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    I can’t believe the 24/7 coverage of this. It’s what I’d have expected if he died in office. It’s certainly not what I remember from the last time an ex-president died (Ford).

    Then apparently, you have blocked from your memory the death of Ronaldus Magnus, because I remember it being worse than this. I honestly thought Republicans were going to fling themselves into bonfires to join their beloved god-king in the afterlife.

    ReplyReply
  90. 90
    Hitlesswonder says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The idea of a “ruling class” is itself undemocratic. One of the surprising things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten old is that a lot (most?) people in this democratic land of the free think we should have a ruling class. Just one more way the world showed me that I didn’t really know it.

    ReplyReply
  91. 91
    Doug R says:

    @Yarrow:

    CNN says that Obama was chatting with Merkel inside the National Cathedral. I am reminded of the Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of Merkel on SNL. LOL. I bet Merkel misses her Barack.

    Tracey Ullman does a amazing portrayal of Merkel.

    ReplyReply
  92. 92
    Burnspbesq says:

    @Hildebrand:

    perhaps there is something else animating his reasoning.

    I’m not sure what that is, but it has nothing to do with anything i recognize as “reasoning.”

    ReplyReply
  93. 93
    NotMax says:

    In the phone directory for Heaven there is not a single Bush listed.

    ReplyReply
  94. 94
    bemused says:

    @MCA1:

    I just read “Why Aren’t Rich People Happy With The Money They Have” in the Atlantic. Not new to me that the filthy rich are basically competing with each other on making more money. They already have all the houses and big ticket toys. New Gilded Age indeed.

    ReplyReply
  95. 95
    Amir Khalid says:

    @SFAW:

    “grobble gribble grubble grybble veeblefetzer wagga wagga unketyewdkris!”

    I can imagine the reader comments Chunky would get for this: “Finally, the most sensible thing Ross Douthat has ever written!”

    ReplyReply
  96. 96
    The Moar You Know says:

    I found it truly mindblowing that the Religious Right voted for Reagan–divorced, nominal Christian at best–over Carter, a ‘born again’ Christian, now married how many years to his one and only wife.

    @Ladyraxterinok: Didn’t surprise me. I knew what they were, even as a kid, back then. They just did it again with Trump, even bigger margin of their vile vote than Reagan got. It’s almost like the shit they preach doesn’t matter to them at all, that all they care about is power and the freedom to beat on those they consider beneath them.

    ReplyReply
  97. 97
    randy khan says:

    @Yarrow:

    RBG is in the house! Good to see her after her fall. I didn’t see her among the Supreme Court Justices at the Capitol when they had the ceremony there. I might just have missed her.

    Well, she is pretty short. (I’ve seen her in person, and “pretty short” is an understatement.)

    ReplyReply
  98. 98
    J R in WV says:

    @Yarrow:

    When we toured ancient churches and cathedrals in Europe, there were no pews of chairs for the most part. A few down front for the King and Dukes and Lords, but everyone else had to stand. Had to Stand, and if you didn’t show up and stand, you had a nice visit from the Spanish Inquisition, har, har, har!

    ReplyReply
  99. 99
    germy says:

    Off topic, but here’s a link to the new WWI documentary (it will be in color and 3D)

    https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/they-shall-not-grow-old/

    Peter Jackson took hours of old footage and restored it. Looks and sounds amazing.

    ReplyReply
  100. 100
    scav says:

    I seem to hear the same dulcet strident shrieks of those utterly opposed to the utterly un-ah-MERK-kan possibility of a Clinton DYNasty!!!! “stone the witch!” was the cry — “hunt down all progeny,” was the password.

    Well, at least we’ve agreed there’s no merit to whatever floats to the top in the actions or ideals of team R.

    ReplyReply
  101. 101
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Listening to “White Man’s World” by Jason Isbell from “Live at the Ryman”. Fitting accompaniment to both the funeral and DouchePopeHat.

    ReplyReply
  102. 102
    NotMax says:

    @germy

    Orcs in tanks!

    :)

    ReplyReply
  103. 103
    J R in WV says:

    65
    John Carter1966

    This comment by John Carter 1966 has the reply button eaten, but I want to recommend his link to Rude Pundit’s remarks about Bush I to everyone.

    More details about his regime than I provided, so go there and read about Bush I and his regime of hate and death. Despicable, all the Bushes, all the Republicans!

    ReplyReply
  104. 104
    MoxieM says:

    Gack. Doubt-that and Friedman in one day? Must be a funeral.

    Really speaking as both a titular WASP, and a sociologist, they ain’t so great, bub.
    As I’ve been post to all the myth-makers: polite evil is still evil. Thank you’s to Hitler and whoever do not make up for the racism, the broken lives, the cruelty.

    Just, barf. Really, even though both Big & Little Edie were RC, therefore technically not part of the tribe, I always think they are the natural outcome of the tribal views. Sad, sloshed, deluded and living in cat shit. And they were the cast-offs.

    Finally, despite being a discipline of frequent derision in the US, more people should study sociology–really! they should. They might understand better about hierarchical societies, and how it is that when you research the early (capitalist) settlers from England to this continent, the same names pop up in the financial ownership, the bank melt downs, the Senate, the ownership of (the means of production). yeah, that.

    Gonna go make a salutary G & T (not really). Maybe break out some of the legacy cheese, and dry, dry tasteless crackers.

    ReplyReply
  105. 105
    Kay says:

    @Yarrow:

    A little more than half the country had even a high school diploma in the period we’re all misty-eyed about. We essentially cut off the bottom half in income and then bragged about how great the top half were. It’s a more accurate picture now- almost everyone gets counted.

    Romanticizing things is nice but ultimately a kind of indulgence- a luxury. We shouldn’t do so much of it in the US. I don’t really object to them doing it – it’s popular, people like it, they can have it- but I don’t think it will get us where we want to go.

    ReplyReply
  106. 106
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    And BTW, Cole, it’s great to see you writing a more extensive piece. You haven’t done very much of that lately.q

    ReplyReply
  107. 107

    @J R in WV: In Indian temples, there is no place to sit for anyone except for the priest. He too is standing most of the time. You enter pay your respects, say a short prayer and then leave. If you are there during an aarti, you stand along with everyone else.

    ReplyReply
  108. 108
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    It’s almost like the shit they preach doesn’t matter to them at all, that all they care about is power and the freedom to beat on those they consider beneath them.

    Conservatism explained in 31 words.

    ReplyReply
  109. 109
    bemused says:

    @Quinerly:

    Me too. I can’t take much more of over the top eulogizing.

    ReplyReply
  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    I had to go to the Reagan Library for a work thing shortly after my own father had died. They have a whole room that has giant video screens showing footage of the funeral on a loop.

    I had to walk out before I threw up. It was partly because my own grief was only barely under control, but the idolatry on display didn’t help.

    Oh, and they have giant signs around his tomb warning you that there are security cameras watching you. Even they know that ol’ Ronnie was not quite as universally beloved as Republicans like to pretend.

    ReplyReply
  111. 111
    Doug R says:

    @R-Jud:

    I’m currently chatting with a friend in NYC. Smart, Harvard PhD, is funny, worked on AOC’s primary campaign, and has had another magazine pitch thrown back at her. I showed her the screenshot embedded in this post and I would just like to know if any of you can currently hear her screaming? I guess it would depend on the prevailing winds where you are.

    Michelle Wolf shows us how the NY Times picks their Op-Eds.

    ReplyReply
  112. 112
    germy says:

    @bemused:

    I just read “Why Aren’t Rich People Happy With The Money They Have” in the Atlantic. Not new to me that the filthy rich are basically competing with each other on making more money. They already have all the houses and big ticket toys.

    Also, it’s expensive to be rich.

    I remember the big dustup when the lady who hosts a TV morning show feuded with her network because she “wasn’t told” her cohost was moving to a different show. The whole conflict was background noise to me, a faint buzzing, but what stood out for me was her enormous salary. But then they noted she had to spend several million dollars a year just maintaining her mansion: property taxes, cleaning/maintenance staff, groundskeepers, etc.

    In contrast, if I imagine myself coming into money, I just see myself still living here, but with complete financial security. But a truly wealthy & high-profile person wouldn’t live in my neighborhood on this truck route, with neighbors and barking dogs just a few feet away. They require acres or at the very least a gated community. So they spend it almost as fast as they “earn” it.

    ReplyReply
  113. 113
    Martin says:

    The stock market drama is going to be interesting to watch play out politically. The only other single individual to have this kind of impact on the market has been Osama Bin Laden. Trumps idiotic trade war and inability to tell the truth in public is causing nearly a trillion dollars of economic damage per day. There’s nobody else to blame for this, and the only way stability will return to the markets is by replacing him. We think the impeachment charge is being led by some 29 year old house member, but it’s going to be led by the Fortune 500 CEOs.

    ReplyReply
  114. 114
    randy khan says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    In terms of sheer experience HRC’s resume is comparable to Bush I among modern presidential nominees. But the deference accorded to Bush I and the derision heaped on HRC by the media personages gives us a good idea about their own political proclivities.

    Not to mention the impact of girl cooties.

    ReplyReply
  115. 115
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @MCA1: Isn’t Kerry part of this noblesse oblige elite? Rich, NE, went to prestige schools, fought in war when he could have evaded it? Not P, but then Douthout isn’t either, right? But Kerry can’t be part of ruling elite because he is–oh, horror–a DEMO(N)CRAT!!

    Or what about Mueller? Didn’t he go to right schools? Don’t know if he’s from wealthy family or what his religion is. He’s even a REPUBLICAN (the rightful rulers of US!)!

    ReplyReply
  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    I think you can usefully combine these takes, and describe Bush nostalgia as a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate, and that inspired various kinds of trust (intergenerational, institutional) conspicuously absent in our society today.

    I love white conservatives. One minute they are mewling about the individual, liberty and free markets. Then they next, they are down on their knees sucking the dick of the ruling class. As always, the lower classes, wimmins and nonwhites fuck things up by failing to be sufficiently subservient to the rule of the self-appointed elites.

    ReplyReply
  117. 117
    Quinerly says:

    @bemused: I’m watching. Got sucked into because breaking in a new TV and wanted to see HRC, the Obamas, RBG, seating arrangements, body language, personal interactions. Trump looks worse than usual. Meacham’s eulogy was gag worthy.

    ReplyReply
  118. 118
    SRW1 says:

    Ross Douthat – Affirmative action hire bemoaning affirmative action. Episode 259.

    ReplyReply
  119. 119
    Barbara says:

    @Juice Box: We see what remains of New England WASPs in Susan Collins. And she behaves almost exactly as Bush might have if he had managed to be elected senator from some New England state, pretending to be high minded while selling out the poor, women, and people of color in exchange for tax cuts.

    ReplyReply
  120. 120
    Barbara says:

    @SRW1: Like legacy admissions for people like the Bushes aren’t a form of affirmative action.

    ReplyReply
  121. 121
    WaterGirl says:

    @Kay: I love this story. And now we know that you came by your ability honestly — to see the big picture, be honest and forthright and express yourself so clearly!

    ReplyReply
  122. 122
    bemused says:

    @germy:

    The Atlantic article cited people who study the super dooper wealthy who have everything and no worries about paying for it all but have a drive to keep making more money and still are not content. One was very happy to be done with his research on the filthy rich because it was so depressing. I’d almost feel sorry for these folks who live such empty lives if they didn’t disgust me so much.

    ReplyReply
  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    Also, it’s expensive to be rich….

    But then they noted she had to spend several million dollars a year just maintaining her mansion: property taxes, cleaning/maintenance staff, groundskeepers, etc.

    In contrast, if I imagine myself coming into money, I just see myself still living here, but with complete financial security. But a truly wealthy & high-profile person wouldn’t live in my neighborhood on this truck route, with neighbors and barking dogs just a few feet away. They require acres or at the very least a gated community. So they spend it almost as fast as they “earn” it.

    It all depends on how much you have and how you want to live.

    John McCain, for example, and his family (mainly through his wife) owned at least 8 homes.

    Initially we confirmed that McCain owns seven homes, but Politico found a third condo that the McCains own in Phoenix, which we missed, and that brings the total to eight. One of their properties, a ranch in Sedona, also has multiple buildings on it that could be counted as additional homes. We count it as one.

    The property is owned under several names, including limited liability companies and family trusts.

    Public records connect these entities to Cindy McCain, chairwoman of Hensley & Co, a huge Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship that was founded by her parents.

    I’m pretty sure that Cindy McCain is able to maintain these properties fairly well.

    ReplyReply
  124. 124
    A Ghost To Most says:

    One thing that’s real clear to me
    No one dies with dignity
    We just try to ignore the elephant somehow

    “Elephant”

    ReplyReply
  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    @bemused:

    The Atlantic article cited people who study the super dooper wealthy who have everything and no worries about paying for it all but have a drive to keep making more money and still are not content. One was very happy to be done with his research on the filthy rich because it was so depressing. I’d almost feel sorry for these folks who live such empty lives if they didn’t disgust me so much.

    A witty but cynical media person once said that Brazilian soap operas always featured unhappy rich people in order to sucker the masses into believing that their poverty was somehow more noble and virtuous.

    “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and rich is better.”

    ― Mae West

    ReplyReply
  126. 126
    Neldob says:

    @Kay: The occassional (or more) reality check shouldn’t do any harm, and maybe some good.

    ReplyReply
  127. 127
    J R in WV says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    …. you have blocked from your memory the death of Ronaldus Magnus, because I remember it being worse than this. I honestly thought Republicans were going to fling themselves into bonfires to join their beloved god-king in the afterlife.

    And what a shame that more Republicans didn’t self-immolate on Reagan’s pyre!

    What a better world it would be today if Republicans were self-eliminated back then!!

    ReplyReply
  128. 128
    jl says:

    Thanks for post. Hilarious column by Douthat, Didn’t know he had gone into dry satire. Why did NYT publish it? Probably better in McSweeney’s. Too long for Onion.

    ReplyReply
  129. 129
    Seanly says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    On point analysis.

    When I was younger, WASP was a derogatory term for all those inherited wealth asshats. Even as a kid, I knew that the rule of rich white men was not a benevolent plutocracy disguised as a republic, but a repressive one. But Douchehat is a complete tool and knows who keeps him secure in his sinecure at the FNYT.

    These pundits’ writing about how we need to keep our place & put that wonderful Bush family back in charge or bow down to the Trump criminal clan reminds me of the analysis I once heard about the musicals and Shirley Temple movies of late 30’s – make the great unwashed masses feel better about their miserable existences and tamp down their desire to rebel against their rich white overseers.

    ReplyReply
  130. 130
    danielx says:

    @rikyrah:

    And then there are the ones who want to party like it’s 1848.

    Douchehat strikes again. But hey, he’s a “thoughtful conservative”, so it’s all good, right?

    ReplyReply
  131. 131
    azlib says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Pretty much the comment section reflects what is being said here, except a bit more politely. Douthat almost always makes himself a convenient target with his screeds. He does check a few boxes in his opinions – always blame the libs, Trump is not a true conservative, if only Republicans had adopted more populous policies he would be successful. You know the drill.

    ReplyReply
  132. 132
    Capri says:

    My introduction to the whole driving force behind the GOP for the past 50-odd years was during one of George HW Bush’s presidential debates.One of the reasons he claimed the Dukakis was “not one of us” and a liberal loon was that he was a “card carrying member of the ACLU.” I recall being shocked that an important American institution was being smeared in that way, and that being anti-democratic was framed as a good thing.
    The GOP wasn’t any different then, and they actually didn’t try to hide their bigotry then either.
    The only difference between then and now the presence the internet including instagram and twitter. Saying that the GOP in the 70’s was more civil is like saying that people in the 50’s were better with money because they didn’t have the large credit card balances that folks have now.

    ReplyReply
  133. 133
    lurker dean says:

    ross thinks america was great until billy ray valentine corrupted louis winthorpe iii

    ReplyReply
  134. 134
    bemused says:

    @Quinerly:

    Trump looks like a very bored little kid.

    ReplyReply
  135. 135
    Quinerly says:

    @bemused: I just see pure evil when I see both he and Melania. Not sure I believed in evil until recently.

    ReplyReply
  136. 136
    bemused says:

    @Brachiator:

    Reminds me of GW Bush telling the woman who worked three jobs to survive how uniquely American she was.
    Now it seems that the masses have been conned into believing the filthy rich are noble and virtuous job creators.

    ReplyReply
  137. 137
    bemused says:

    @Quinerly:

    One thing Melania has that her boob of a husband doesn’t is a stone old poker face.

    ReplyReply
  138. 138
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Is Douthat taking a dig at Trump for being German-Scotts? Also, GH Bush was a one term president, so was measured an found wanting. What an idiot Douthat is. I am sure GH is a giant to conservatives next to GW and Donny Dollhands, but that’s a low bar.

    ReplyReply
  139. 139
    Eunicecycle says:

    @Amir Khalid: I read the first 25 or so. Let’s say his take is not being praised.

    ReplyReply
  140. 140
    Amir Khalid says:

    @bemused:
    Trump is a very bored little kid. At least when forced to behave himself.

    ReplyReply
  141. 141
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @msb: I remember hearing HW say before the 92 election that people should vote for him because he’d made it, had money, and who knew what that guy might do. I took that to mean politics was a way to rake in the dough, so watch out for thise without much money who get in office–they’ll steal as much as they can.

    Reminded me of my friend in college who was politically active and cynical. He said people should vote for the incumbent city mayor instead of the challeger. The incumbent had already milked the office; the challenger would see the office as his gigantic piggybank.

    ReplyReply
  142. 142
    boatboy_srq says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Bush II, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding,… there’s a long and inglorious list.

    ReplyReply
  143. 143
    NotMax says:

    @bemused

    Botox.

    ReplyReply
  144. 144
    MoxieM says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Kerry’s mother was a Forbes. That’s like Charlie getting the golden wrapper on the chocolate bar. They even have their own private island (Naushon) next to Nantucket & MV. Srsly. So the RC? Feh. (and in fact I remember some mumbles that the “Kerry” was eastern European Jewish name change. But with that Forbes, it’s a pass.) See why we drink? it’s a game.

    ReplyReply
  145. 145
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Barbara: Deformative reaction, more like. Fuckers.

    ReplyReply

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Seanly:

    It’s a good thing said “late 1930s” musicals, because boy howdy do I have clips from early 1930s Warner Bros musicals to prove you wrong.

    Keep in mind what happened to the movie industry in July of 1934: Joseph Breen took over the Hays office and started censoring movies at the script level. Those late 30s musicals were the product of the censors, not the studio heads.

    People really underestimate the extent to which “golden age” Hollywood movies were politically censored. It was far easier to get a sexy joke or a shot of cleavage through the censors than one that questioned the oligarchy or Jim Crow. If you only watched American films made between 1935 and 1950, you would think that segregation didn’t even exist.

    ReplyReply
  147. 147
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Quinerly: I’d like to hear some talbibangelical Trumpanzee explain to me what difference there would be if the Antichrist & Whore of Babylon were living in the White House – & whether s/he would give a flying fuck about it.

    ReplyReply
  148. 148
    Aleta says:

    Morris Animal Refuge
    @MorrisAnimal
    Hey,
    @nytopinion
    could hire an actual wasp – it’d really create buzz! But if they won’t do that, we have adoptable cat columnists who’d be great. Cool gal Salmon ((link: https://www.morrisanimalrefuge.org/adopt/salmon) can write how she hung out w/ a dog & became friends! (Truth). #YellowJacketJournalism

    ReplyReply
  149. 149
    NY Robbin says:

    @R-Jud:

    (From NYC) Oh that’s what that was!

    ReplyReply
  150. 150
    Kay says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Oh, he’s a reality check, all right. I once cut lilacs and brought them into the house and he told me ” That’s what that is- I thought there was a gas leak- take them outside”.

    They DO smell a little bit like a gas leak, whatever scent they put in there to tip you off that you’re suffocating but couldn’t he just have played along?

    ReplyReply
  151. 151
    sm*t cl*de says:

    “a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class”

    Authoritarian lickspittle seeks boot. Details at 11.

    ReplyReply
  152. 152
    NotMax says:

    @Kay

    Doubtless nowadays a cheaper artificial substitute, but used to be horseradish essence.

    ReplyReply
  153. 153
    Aleta says:

    “a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate, and that inspired various kinds of trust (intergenerational, institutional)”

    Oh yes those kinds of trust.
    That trust that the courts and your WASP father would protect you if you were a well-off white thief, rapist, drunk driver who killed, or racist who beat black men for voting, protesting or not acting “deferential.”

    That trust that any woman you impregnated would be sent away so you could carry on, and could marry a respectable one with money and join her father’s firm.

    That trust that you could be a wastrel or abusive drunk and could still go to Yale. Pull strings to avoid Vietnam, then bail even on the Guard. Claim to be born again or a solid church-goer and still reach the Presidency or SC where you can trust everyone will defer to you.

    ReplyReply
  154. 154
    Juju says:

    @J R in WV: a little late here, but, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!”

    ReplyReply
  155. 155
    catbirdman says:

    “Peter Beinart described the elder Bush as the last president deemed ‘legitimate’ by both of our country’s warring tribes — before the age of presidential sex scandals, plurality-winning and popular-vote-losing chief executives, and white resentment of the first black president.”

    Er, okay, it’s widely known that H.W. had his own mistress, Jennifer Fitzgerald — that the long-term affair never became a “presidential sex scandal” isn’t for lack of trying on the part of Bush Sr.

    And I think most of us were comfy — maybe even a little giddy — knowing that bigots resented the hyper-capable Obama. Is the theory that, from 2008 to 2016, loads of “legitimate” Americans were pining for some patrician white guy who didn’t make racists feel icky?

    FFS.

    ReplyReply
  156. 156
    Suzanne says:

    Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

    Oh hell no. Some Americans miss the social hierarchy because without it, they achieve the level of success they earn…..which is none.

    Ever notice how the people who deny race/sex/gender privilege the hardest are those who have made NOTHING of themselves despite having it? It’s gotta really, REALLY sting to have advantages and STILL be a loser.

    “It’s always projection with these assholes.”

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  157. 157
    Tehanu says:

    @Yarrow:

    Isn’t one of the reasons we have school lunches and/or food help in general is that so many people who were drafted for WWII were so poorly nourished that they wouldn’t be good soldiers?

    I don’t know, but in Britain, that was exactly the reason why the National Health got voted in.

    ReplyReply

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