Trying to make a living and doing the best I can

I salute the people at RedState for continuing to oppose Trump, and I even think their reasoning is pretty sound:

Trump is vocally supported by white supremacists, white nationalists, and racial grievance mongers. He plays to them openly. Trump attacked the wife of a political opponent and that political opponent’s father. He drummed up internet conspiracy theories.

I see that the king of virtue feels differently:

Bill Bennett said this: “It’s not the time to be out there demanding all of these things, trying to get Trump to suddenly become Reagan. Now is the time to surround him with good people and work with him at the convention.”

Bill Bennett, to his credit, was a strong critic of Proposition 187, Pete Wilson’s cynical ploy to rile up the xenophobic masses by shitting on immigrants. Not to much to his credit, Bennett has spent the last 20 years lecturing us about morality. Now he’s asking conservatives to fall in line behind Donald Trump because that’s what pays the bills for a right-wing radio host.



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Our Failed Mainstream Media

Mr. Pierce, needless to say, has a damning transcript, to which he adds:

This is going to be a real crisis for elite political journalism from now until November, perhaps the deepest crisis elite political journalism has faced since the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and that one didn’t turn out well at all. The Republican Party is about to nominate an utterly truthless fellow who doesn’t know how much he doesn’t know and is prepared to lie his way past everything he doesn’t know anyway. I’m afraid that elite political journalism is so wedded to “balance” that it is in no way prepared to cope with a post-reality candidate. (Professor Krugman shares this concern.) “Fair enough” and “gotcha” are not appropriate answers to the assertion by a candidate that he plans to heal the national economy by setting up a roulette wheel and two blackjack tables in the Department of the Treasury.
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Saturday Morning Clown Show Open Thread: Media Edition

never trust hillary davies

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)

Professor Krugman:

How will the news media handle the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? I suspect I know the answer — and it’s going to be deeply frustrating. But maybe, just maybe, flagging some common journalistic sins in advance can limit the damage. So let’s talk about what can and probably will go wrong in coverage — but doesn’t have to.

First, and least harmful, will be the urge to make the election seem closer than it is, if only because a close race makes a better story… A more important vice in political coverage, which we’ve seen all too often in previous elections — but will be far more damaging if it happens this time — is false equivalence.

You might think that this would be impossible on substantive policy issues, where the asymmetry between the candidates is almost ridiculously obvious. To take the most striking comparison, Mr. Trump has proposed huge tax cuts with no plausible offsetting spending cuts, yet has also promised to pay down U.S. debt; meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton has proposed modest spending increases paid for by specific tax hikes.

That is, one candidate is engaged in wildly irresponsible fantasy while the other is being quite careful with her numbers. But beware of news analyses that, in the name of “balance,” downplay this contrast…

And what about less quantifiable questions about behavior? I’ve already seen pundits suggest that both presumptive nominees fight dirty, that both have taken the “low road” in their campaigns. For the record, Mr. Trump has impugned his rivals’ manhood, called them liars and suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was associated with J.F.K.’s killer. On her side, Mrs. Clinton has suggested that Bernie Sanders hasn’t done his homework on some policy issues. These things are not the same…

Finally, I can almost guarantee that we’ll see attempts to sanitize the positions and motives of Trump supporters, to downplay the racism that is at the heart of the movement and pretend that what voters really care about are the priorities of D.C. insiders — a process I think of as “centrification.”…

Meanwhile, our Very Serious National News Media:


***********
Keep calm and GOTV on. In the interim, apart from Mother’s Day, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?



Well I know I had it coming

There’s a great Vox interview with Norman Ornstein about the Trumpocalypse:

But if you forced me to pick one factor explaining what’s happened, I would say this is a self-inflicted wound by Republican leaders.

Over many years, they’ve adopted strategies that have trivialized and delegitimized government. They were willing to play to a nativist element. And they tried to use, instead of stand up to, the apocalyptic visions and extremism of some cable television, talk radio, and other media outlets on the right.

I doubt though that Republicans will pay much of a price for this, at least in the short term. Yes, Trump will probably lose and Democrats will do better in the House and Senate than they otherwise would have. But they’ll find a way to obstruct most of what Hillary wants to do, and they’ll probably do okay in the 2018 midterms by attacking Hillary the same way they’ve attacked Obama.

It’s likely that the Republican strategy is suicide long-term. If I were a conservative, I’d be pretty fucking scared by the fact that, not only do young people vote overwhelming Democratic in general elections, they also just voted overwhelmingly for a Democratic socialist in the primary.

But that’s probably not Mitch McConnell’s or Paul Ryan’s or Reince Preibus’ problem. They’ll be gone out of the water by the time it boils.



He’s a bandit and a heartbreaker

It’s still hard for me to believe that #NeverTrump wasn’t able to make a dent in the Donald by hammering away at Trump University and Trump’s misogyny.

This ad about Trump University was pretty good:

As was this ad about Trump’s misogyny:

The media will try to recast Trump as a serious reformicon maverick between now and November. And we’ll certainly get a lot of this:

[T]he Clinton campaign and its surrogates will bring up Trump University and Trump’s bankruptcies and Trump’s mob ties and history of racial discrimination — but these stories will reported with the asterisk “On the other hand, the Clinton Foundation blah blah blah blah blah,” or “In the 1990s, Mrs. Clinton’s cattle-future trading was investigated….” Both Sides Do It, so the press will feel the need to yoke every Trump scandal to a Clinton scandal. This tendency is likely to be extended even to such matters as Trump’s racism: Yes, Trump calls Mexicans “rapists” and wants to ban Muslims, but Hillary Clinton said “off the reservation” that one time.

But I think that the reaction to the Trump University scam and “she’s a dog” etc. is visceral in a way that Both Sides Do It can never be. I think the only question is how voters react to MenaGate, TravelGate, MonicaGate, BenghaziGate, and so on. My guess is that most of it is too complicated for non-wingers to understand. I wonder if we’ll see some longer documentaries about the murder of Vince Foster on our teevee screens this fall.



Five years going by

There aren’t many people who foresaw the Trumpocalypse, but here’s Steve M. from April 2011:

But can’t you see him magisterially propelling himself into an Iowa state fair, or down a main street in small-town New Hampshire, in a motorcade of Escalades? And are we really sure that couldn’t work — winning the nomination, by being the macher, the mack, the big pimp?

[….]

The folks who moan that we’re on “the road to serfdom” — don’t they really want to be the serfs of rich guys like Trump?

I just don’t know. I’ve always heard that campaigning in the early states was an exercise in humility — the pigshit on your Gucci loafers at the Iowa state fair and all that. But is it different now on the right? Does the base want to prostrate itself before a plutocrat overlord, and not hold him to the same standards as mere mortals?



Long (Hate) Read: “The Selling of Obama”

This showed up online well in advance of last night’s WHCD, as part of Politico‘s “Media Issue,” as a story about how the President failed to uphold the Media Village Idiots’ prescriptions:

President Barack Obama insists he does not obsess about “the narrative,” the everyday media play-by-play of political Washington. He urges his team to tune out “the noise,” “the echo chamber,” the Beltway obsession with who’s up and who’s down. But in the fall of 2014, he got sick of the narrative of gloom hovering over his White House. Unemployment was dropping and troops were coming home, yet only one in four Americans thought the nation was on the right track—and Democrats worried about the midterm elections were sprinting away from him. He wanted to break through the noise… [I]in a speech at Northwestern University, he tried to reshape his narrative. If the presidential bully pulpit couldn’t drown out the echo chamber, he figured nothing could.

The facts were that America had put more people back to work than the rest of the world’s advanced economies combined. High school graduation rates were at an all-time high, while oil imports, the deficit, and the uninsured rate had plunged. The professor-turned-president was even more insistent than usual that he was merely relying on “logic and reason and facts and data,” challenging his critics to do the same. “Those are the facts. It’s not conjecture. It’s not opinion. It’s not partisan rhetoric. I laid out facts.”

The Northwestern speech did reshape the narrative, but not in the way Obama intended. The only line that made news came near the end of his 54-minute address, an observation that while he wouldn’t be on the ballot in the fall midterms, “these policies are on the ballot—every single one of them.” When Obama boarded Air Force One after his speech, his speechwriter, Cody Keenan, told him the Internet had already flagged that line as an idiotic political gaffe… Obama’s words couldn’t change the narrative of his unpopularity; they just gave Republicans a new opening to exploit it. They quickly became a staple of campaign ads and stump speeches tying Democrats ball-and-chain to their leader. “Republicans couldn’t have written a better script,” declared The Fix, the Washington Post’s column for political junkies. Even Axelrod called it “a mistake” on Meet the Press. The substance of the speech was ignored, and Keenan still blames himself for letting one off-message phrase eclipse a story of revival, a prelude to the second Republican midterm landslide of the Obama era. “I’m still pissed off about that,” Keenan told me. “Everything he said was true and important, and that one line got turned against him.”

Obama was hailed as a new Great Communicator during his yes-we-can 2008 campaign, but he’s often had a real failure to communicate in office. The narrative began spinning out of his control in the turbulent opening days of his presidency, and he’s never totally recaptured it. His tenure has often felt like an endless series of media frenzies over messaging snafus—from the fizzled “Recovery Summer” to “you didn’t build that” to the Benghazi furor, which is mostly a furor about talking points…
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