Late Night Open Thread: Life’s Little Mysteries

Huffpo correspondent looked at the HRC endorsment Betty mentioned this morning, and wonders: Why doesn’t Hillary like us?

It’s not that I don’t like toddlers, Ms. Bendery… it’s just that I prefer not to waste my time trying to discuss serious issues with them. Neither of us will enjoy it, and it only makes you cranky.



Dumb idea of the week

And this is not even directly related to Trump.

my first response is to ask if Ryan Lizza guzzles anti-freeze for breakfast as this is breathtakingly stupid.

Let’s make a few assumptions that I think are verifiable within reality.

a) Hillary Clinton has in all projection systems been favored to win the White House at all points to varying degrees (except the 538 click-bait now-cast)
b) A Republican appointed or de facto appointed Supreme Court median judge produces significantly different policy and political outcomes than a median Supreme Court justice that represents a typical Democratic nominee.
c) The Clinton campaign is better run than the Trump campaign.

Now let’s make a few more slightly shakier assumptions.

d) The Democratic coalition has good reason to believe it is a dominant Presidential level coalition ( 5 out 6 most recent elections had Dem popular vote pluralities etc)
e) The Republican coalition is a maxed out coalition with significant headwinds due to higher death and lower replacement rates of their core voters compared to Democratic core voting blocks.
f) The Donald is a dumpster fire which excerbates E

In football analytics terms, Clinton is ahead and she can win with a good, productive 8 minute offense of low variance but efficient plays. There is little reason for the Clinton campaign to adopt high variance vertical shots down the field to score when she is already up 9 with a better quarterback and a better defense. Scoring point is nice but running time off the clock and winning field position works almost as well. Interceptions and fumbles would dramatically drop win probability compared to a counterfactual of boring productive plays.

Promising to nominate a typical Republican judge as the median SCOTUS vote in order to try to capture 2% to 5% of the core Republican vote is a high variance play for a Democratic nominee. It could be worth it if the nominee was down 9 points with three months left. But that is not the case. Promising to nominate a Kennedy clone or more likely a Roberts clone may or may not get any Republican votes as a Trump Administration would nominate at least a Roberts if not an Alito clone anyways while it would cause a lot of trouble on the left flank. That could be acceptable if the left flank was legitimately faced with a “this sucks but it is the only chance to avoid the true suckage of four years of Trump” choice but that is not the choice out there.

Therefore this is the stupidest thing I’ve read this week.



Friends Don’t Let Friends Read Andrew Sullivan, Part [n]

Further to my disdain below, I can’t say anything to gloss what Andrew writes in tonight’s RNC liveblog.

MSKG - De idioot bij de vijver - Frits Van den Berghe (1926)

Truly, all you need to know about Andrew’s political and intellectual honesty is right there:

8:18 p.m. We have to answer this core question: how is it that liberal democracy in America is now flirting with strongman, ethno-nationalist authoritarianism? What happened to the democratic center?

It seems to me that the right bears the hefty majority of responsibility, moving from principled opposition to outright nullification of a presidency, trashing every important neutral institution, and now bad-mouthing the country they hope to “govern.” But the left’s abandonment of empiricism and liberalism – its rapid descent into neo-Marxist dogma, its portrayal of American history as a long unending story of white supremacy, its coarse impugning of political compromise and incrementalism, its facile equation of disagreement with bigotry – has also played a part. Liberal democracy needs liberal norms and manners to survive. Which is why it is now on life-support.

In between, moderate Christianity, once a unifying cultural fabric creating a fragile civil discourse, has evaporated into disparate spirituality on one side and fundamentalist dogma on the other, leaving us with little in the center to hold us morally together.

Annnnd, Scene!

Have at it, friends.

Image:  Frits Van den Berghe, The Idiot by the Pond1926



Even the Liberal Matt Yglesias

Here’s centrist-curious Matt Yglesias, apparently hoping to get “typical liberals” to puke up their locally-sourced, gluten-free, vegan granola into their hemp totebags:

[The argument that Trump is too dangerous to be President] is the best argument to use if Clinton wants to persuade right-of-center voters to cross the aisle and vote for her, stay home, or take a look at Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party.

But it’s not an argument that’s going to warm the hearts of liberals. Pursuing the argument that Trump is simply too risky to serve as president requires Clinton to try to denude the campaign of as much ideological content as possible. Any talk from her side about the big issues and ideas in politics necessarily reminds people that for any given set of big issues and ideas, not everyone is going to agree. By contrast, pretty much anyone can be open to the basic idea that Trump is a loose cannon who doesn’t know much about foreign policy.

Some progressives fear that this kind of campaign means Clinton won’t build a mandate for progressive policy if she wins the election.

Some progressives?  Citation needed, motherfucker.

You know what will give this progressive a whole lot of joy?  The Democratic-controlled Congress that will come from the 70-30 landslide that Yglesias imagines in that piece.  I can’t think of too many of us who would have a sad because Clinton won by pointing out the obvious truth that the “serious” Republican party nominated an unstable, petty narcissist who might be capable of starting World War III over a minor insult.

The thing that makes me wonder about the Vox boys is why they try so fucking hard to run away from what is apparently the awful truth:  despite their feeble protestations to the contrary, the rest of the world calls them liberals.  Citation provided.








An Exercise For The Reader

It’s too nice a Friday afternoon to waste time fisking another of the exercises in bathos that is a David Brooks column.  So, to offload the pleasure to the friendliest snarling pack of jackals you’ll ever meet, here’s an amuse bouche for you to masticate.

The left is nostalgic for the relative economic equality of that era. The right is nostalgic for the cultural cohesion.

The exercise:  in how many ways is this brief passage a steaming pile of horse-shit?

Richard_Waitt_-_The_Cromartie_Fool_-_Google_Art_Project

There’s much more at the link, though none of it truly worth minutes you could use usefully — say reorganizing your socks.*

So bash a way on our BeauBaux, and anything else that catches your fancy.

*I’ll say this — Brooks does make an awkward nod toward reality at the end of the column — but from a foundation of argument so desperately avoiding the actual matters at hand as to be both incomprehensible and utterly unpersuasive.  Such is life, when the entire edifice on which you’ve built a public persona as collapsed around you.

Image: Richard Waitt, The Cromartie Fool, 1731



Late Night Comedy Open Thread: President Obama’s WHCD Gig

The CNN version, via TaMara. Fresh off the WhiteHouse Youtube channel. If a version shows up that includes cutaways to the people Obama singles out and the screen jokes, I’ll switch it in, but you can pretty well guess what they were anyway. And that THERE WILL BE BUTTHURT over the next few days, yes there will.

Should’ve known the Guardian would do a liveblog

… You can’t say that Larry Wilmore killed: his humor – as it normally is – was a bit more of the wait-did-he-really-say-that variety, which is definitely not in keeping with the typical WHCD crowd … which tends to think that he perhaps ought not to have said it. And, Wilmore’s jibes at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon, MSNBC’s morning show juggernaut Morning Joe and the death of print journalism (all topics well-covered at the event in past years, but normally by the president) were pretty unpopular with the likely inebriated crowd, earning him a couple of loud boos from folks who probably ought to have known better.

Laughing at himself is a skill the president managed to perfect at these things over the years; it’s one that not all the journalists in attendance seem to have mastered (though Don Lemon pasted a smile on and waved at the crowd). At least his reception wasn’t so poor that, like the year after Colbert made fun of George W Bush, the association will be tempted to find the most banal, grandparent-friendly comedian possible.

And next year will bring a new president: the question now is whether that president will be able to laugh at him or herself, and how much material with which she or he will give the host to work…

They were not too proud to include red carpet pics, either — including Kerry Washington going full fangirl over Madeline Albright. And the Guardian‘s guests, Carries Fisher, Tom Hiddleston, and Carrie’s French bulldog Gary. Donald Trump did not attend, but he sent his grown sons Uday and Qusay, presumably to take notes on who laughed at the Trump jokes, for when the purges start.

Also in attendance, Senator Sanders: Read more



Three ways in the House

Reading the Huffington Post, I saw this political bodice ripper and I still can’t figure out how to make the mechanics of the piece actually work in our shared reality:

Suddenly they realize, “holy shit, what if we could stop Donald Trump and keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

So they run a moderate establishment Republican as a third-party candidate — 100 percent as a spoiler candidate. Worst case scenario oh, they prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. Best case scenario they pull enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to prevent her from securing the necessary majority of 270 electoral votes.

Then the election goes to a House of Representatives ballot presided over Speaker Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s former running mate in 2012.

If neither candidate gets 270 electoral college votes, Congress picks the president. And he will be called President Mitt, the one who is laying the groundwork for this doomsday electoral scenario.

The basic theory is that a third party candidate who is Generic Republican Establishment (no not Pawlenty) would be able to do three things at the same time:

  • Insure that Trump does not get 270 electoral votes
  • win at least one electoral vote
  • Insure that Hillary Clinton does not get 270 electoral votes

In an alternative universe, that could work, but in this universe, I am having a hard time seeing how to actually make it work with a generic Republican running as a non-Trump alternative.

I think the first part is achievable.  However, the third party Republican spoiler is not needed.  Continual video playback of Trump’s speeches to non-Trump fans will isnure that.  If the Republican establishment decided it needed at least one electoral vote, it’s sock pocket could probably win Utah or a Congressional district in Nebraska.  Worse comes to worse, an elector could be a faithless elector.  I’ll concede the mechanics on this one.

The problem with this pre-emptive pants shitting is the third part.

Read more