Inconvenient questions

by on August 1, 2016 at 1:17 am in Current Affairs, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science | Permalink

Statement: I think it is more than appropriate and indeed imperative to raise and indeed investigate questions about the suspicious ties between the Trump candidacy and Putin’s Russia.

Question: Given what is now an extensive and proven history of Communist spies in the United States government from 1933 to 1945, was it also appropriate for Joseph McCarthy to raise such questions about (lower-level) political officers in his day?  If you insinuate or make the charge outright that Trump and/or staff might be Russian agents on the basis of incomplete evidence, not yet demonstrated in a court of law, shall we downgrade you or upgrade McCarthy?  Or both?

Statement: I think it is more than appropriate to raise questions about whether Trump’s rather cavalier attitude toward the U.S. Constitution disqualifies him from the Presidency on those grounds alone.  I consider myself a fairly strict Constitutionalist, most of all for the Bill of Rights.

Question: Do you feel the same way about FDR’s court-packing scheme and internment of Japanese-Americans?  Were the Democratic Congressmen — wasn’t that just about all of them? — who stood with FDR on the latter issue better or worse than Paul Ryan for standing with Trump today?  If FDR had offsetting virtues as President, because he did in fact “get a lot done,” and you in general support him for that, are Trump supporters allowed to have a similar belief today about their candidate, viewing him in the lineage of FDR?  On the basis of this one FDR data point, is it possible that presidential achievement is positively correlated with presidential oppression?  Or is that sheer coincidence and all Trump supporters ought to believe as such?

Question: To paraphrase Bill Easterly, if you agree that defeating Trump is a national emergency, do you also think the Democrats should be compromising more on actual policies?  Raise your left hand if you have come out and said this.  See in addition Ross Douthat’s column.

Statement: During the 1930s, a large number of New Deal Democrats admired the fascism of Mussolini’s Italy, and less commonly but still sometimes Hitler’s Germany in its earlier years.

Question: Does this history cause you to have a more positive view of Trump and his supporters?  Or do you instead significantly downgrade your sympathy for the Democrats of the New Deal era, now that you have lived through the Trump phenomenon?  Does the Trump phenomenon now seem to you more in accord with traditional and historic American values?  (I haven’t even mentioned slavery or race until now, nor Nagasaki nor Native Americans.  And oh — did I mention that the New Deal coalition signed off on a lot of bigotry and segregation to keep the party together and get the core agenda through?  Or how about the forcible repatriation of perhaps up to 2 million Mexicans, without due process of law, and many being American citizens, during the 1930s?)

Final question(s): Would American history have taken a better or worse course if none of our Presidents had had significant authoritarian tendencies?  Or do you insist that is the wrong question to ask, instead preferring to stress the issue of “our authoritarians” vs. “their authoritarians” and stressing the relative virtues of the former and the evils of the latter?  And if that is indeed the case, do you now understand why Trump has come as far as he has?

File under: Nothing New Under the Sun, That was Then This is Now, Authoritarianism for Me but Not For Thee, Why We Can’t Have The Good Things in Life, Asking for a Friend, other.

1 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 1:23 am

It’s very interesting to investigate the ties between American economists, such as the Deputy Chairman of the Fed, and Yeltsin’s Russia.

2 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 3:10 am

It’s one of those topics that has disappeared down the memory hole despite, at the time, superstar economists getting vast amounts of publicity for all the brilliant advice they were giving Russia during the 1990s.

I remember getting into an argument with my elderly father over it in the early 1990s. While he asserted that the Russian people were getting ripped off massively, I had read numerous Wall Street Journal opeds making clear that the Russian people were going to benefit Real Soon Now from all the state of the art economic advice they were getting (although it was unfortunate that the Yeltsin government was being advised by Democratic economists rather than Republican economists).

3 Larry Sanders August 1, 2016 at 8:35 am

The same economists also adviced Poland and Baltics. The only reason there is a semblance of stability since 2001 is unprecedented inflows from hydrocarbons. And if you think Russian people are not getting ripped off nowadays go to today’s edition of Novaya Gazeta where they have an investigative piece about Igor Sechin’s (Putin’s KGB fella from Leningrad) 150 million USD yacht.

4 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 7:09 pm

The only reason there is a semblance of stability since 2001 is unprecedented inflows from hydrocarbons.

No. Per capita income has doubled since 1999 while the share of the economy accounted for by natural resources rents has been cut in half and the ratio of oil exports to gdp has been stable. Russia’s export sector continues to be dominated by petroleum, but not it’s economy as a whole, wherein value-added attirbutable to extractive indsutries does not exceed 20% of the total. Russia’s not a petro-state in the sense that the Gulf emirates (wherein most of the production is accounted for by petroleum) are.

5 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 8:20 pm

This is a pretty useful resource for studying the economics of inequality:

http://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/the-register/top-200-largest-yachts–25027

Lots of Gulf Arabs, Americans, Russians among owners of 200 longest yachts in the world.

Not many Poles …

6 cassander August 1, 2016 at 11:26 am

Western economists did advise Russia, but Russia didn’t take the advice. Yeltsin started down that path, but reversed course after about 6 months, which was the worst of both worlds, as it combined all the immediate pain of a rapid transition with none of the subsequent benefits. Countries that stuck to the advice, like Poland, came out of things pretty well.

7 Ray Lopez August 1, 2016 at 6:17 am

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/03/04/how-harvard-deep-sixed-its-russian-scandal/

Harvard professor Andrei Shleifer (billionaire from RU privatization), Shleifer’s good friend and mentor, Harvard economist Lawrence Summers, Shleifer’s wife, hedge fund operator Nancy Zimmerman, was noted by the Times to be among his inner circle of informal advisers, along with Laurence Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the large money management firm, and H. Rodgin Cohen, chairman of the Sullivan and Cromwell law firm, …academic advisers such as [Anders] Aslund, [Richard] Layard and [Jeffrey] Sachs, and the G-7 financial attaches based in Moscow also had privileged access…The case had been investigated extensively and tried in US District Court in Boston. Harvard and Shleifer’s defense had been curtly rejected by both a judge and a jury. Both were found to have committed fraud…Harvard’s strategy, to deny everything almost from the beginning, has for the most part succeeded in the dozen years since then, for the story has not become a well-established social fact. Sachs left Harvard for Columbia. The Harvard Institute for International Development, which he headed, was disbanded instead of beefed up. And when the case was finally lost, after eight years of wrangling, the university administered a wrist-slap to Shleifer and sealed its faculty committee’s investigation of his conduct. Summers has remained aloof from the case for the most part, at least in the world outside Cambridge.

Memory hole indeed.

8 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 7:33 pm

There’s a funny scene in Amy Chua’s 2003 book about market-dominant minorities, “World on Fire,” in which she’s talking to an American economist who had advised Yeltsin, and she asks him, Hey did you ever notice that 5 or 6 of the top 7 oligarchs who got super rich in Russia in the 1990s are Jewish?

The poor Jewish-American economist is astonished by Chua’s finding. It had simply never occurred to him to think about that.

One way to think about what Putin has been doing is as setting up an affirmative action crony capitalist scheme to make Russia’s billionaires more diverse (except in them all being Friends of Vlad — not much diversity allowed there!) Last I looked into it, it seemed like the Jewish percentage of Russian billionaires was down to something like 19%: much less glaring than in the 1990s, but still a disparate impact of a couple of orders of magnitude.

One perspective is that Putin has deftly dismantled the chance of an anti-Semitic backlash in Russia by promoting diversity among the oligarchs. That seems to be the opinion of Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who always pushes Netanyahu and Putin to be even friendlier than they are.

On the other hand, you could argue that affirmative action is not good for the Jews. Not surprisingly, the same American neocon families who led the fight in the 1970s against affirmative action for American blacks, worrying that racial quotas would take opportunities away from Jews, such as the Podhoretzes and the Kristols, have been leading the fight against Putin and his affirmative action scams.

Personally, I think both perspectives are pretty reasonable. If you are aware of all the facts and the natural biases of the participants in the arguments, the situation seems pretty amenable to compromise and continued peaceful resolution.

Unfortunately, you aren’t supposed to know all the facts and you’re definitely not supposed to consider some of the biases. (How many readers of even economics blogs in America are aware of the history?) In this case, sadly, ignorance is kind of dangerous, because both America and Russia have nuclear weapons.

So, I favor Raising Awareness.

9 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm

“the situation seems pretty amenable to compromise and continued peaceful resolution” – what does this even mean? What is ‘the situation’? What is the ‘compromise’ needed? What is the ‘peaceful resolution’?

So a bunch of the first wave of Russian oligarchs were Jewish, and now Putin is making sure there are more goyim among them. What’s the point?

10 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 8:18 pm

What’s the point of affirmative action and diversity promotion in the USA?

11 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 10:01 pm

So you decline to answer? What is ‘the situation’, the ‘compromise’, or the ‘peaceful resolution’ regarding the Jewishness of Russian oligarchs? Is there some war being avoided by this ‘compromise’?

You surely aren’t comparing whatever it is you Noticed about Russian billionaires to the racial problems in the US, because you aren’t a total idiot.

12 Steve Sailer August 2, 2016 at 12:03 am

The point is to be aware of how the world works. Knowledge is better than ignorance … and it’s a lot more interesting.

13 The Original D August 2, 2016 at 12:52 am

Still no answer to msgkings questions about “the situation,” the “compromised needed” etc.

14 msgkings August 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Steve, what you call ‘how the world works’ is often just coincidental, or correlative, not causative. You see volition and connections everywhere, on racial dimensions, and while that’s often accurate, it’s not as often as you think. In other words, Noticing that the first oligarchs were more Jewish and now they are less so is just a fact, not indicative of anything nefarious. There was no ‘situation’, you are fooled by randomness. Not always, but often, including on this one. There’s no reasonable connection between the religious background of Russian billionaires and race-based affirmative action in the US. I doubt you will concede this, because no mere words can dissuade the tin foil hat crowd.

Even if we bought in to your views, what is there to be done? You always fall back on ‘knowledge is better than ignorance’. Sure, fine. I guess it’s also better to know all of the winners of the World Series by heart (as I do) than to not know them, but it has zero real effects on anything to know that. There used to be more Jewish oligarchs. OK now we know that. So what?

It’s like discussions of race and IQ. Let’s say for the sake of argument that African-Americans have on average lower IQs than Asian-Americans. What do we do with that? Never hire any black people? Give them money? Deport them? Kill them? My aunt has a pretty low IQ, so what?

15 Rich Berger August 1, 2016 at 6:44 am

Let’s remember that TC’s first question is inspired by an obvious falsehood – that Trump was exhorting the Russians to collect HRC’s email. She has not been Secretary of State for three years. The server, by all accounts, has been “wiped clean”, and has not been in operation for some time. Trump was simply signaling that the Russians likely have the emails already, but this obvious deduction has been buried by a wave of hysteria designed to protect Clinton from the consequences of her reckless actions.

Professor, I give you a failing grade.

16 Edgar August 1, 2016 at 10:23 am

Yes. Its like a he is doing some kind of Straussian Jedi mind-trick to make us ignore the last 8 years under of unabashedly authoritarian presidential rule and that Hillary has vowed to strike the 1st Amendment. An insult in the guise of even-handedness is what this is.

17 Alain August 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

This does show both the power of the media to shape people’s perceptions and their unabashedly one sided view.

It is horrible, but what are you going to do? Create another fox news which will slowly be torn down by leftists?

18 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 1:26 am

Speaking of the Constitution, how did Obama’s plan to print up 5 million sets of residency papers for illegal aliens on his say so in order to increase the number of Democratic voters in the future pan out?

19 Bmcburney August 1, 2016 at 4:27 am

Exactly! Where has this concern for the Constition been for the past eight years of rule by Presidential decree? Where is that concern now considering that the entire Democratic party supports repeal of the First Amendment? Where was this concern about incipient authoritarianism when the IRS actively suppressed and harassed civic groups based on political orientation during the 2012 election?

20 Bmcburney August 1, 2016 at 4:46 am

And remember 2012 when Republican presidential candidates were unfit for office because they were too suspicious of Putin and wanted to re-start the Cold War? Back then excessive opposition to Putin was taken as evidence of incipient authoritarian tendencies.

21 albatross August 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm

The same place as all the guys who said “I love my country but I fear my government” during the Clinton administration, but changed their tune in the (W) Bush administration. Tribalism not only makes you stupid, it often makes you support evil because it’s evil done by your side.

22 Boonton August 1, 2016 at 7:20 am

1. What in the Constitution bans that?

2. Why is it a given that Latino voters will be Democratic in the future? There are plenty of people of Italian and Irish background who are die hard Republicans these days while their grandparents were with FDR all the way.

23 Vivan Darkbloom August 1, 2016 at 8:59 am

“1. What in the Constitution bans that?”

This: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…” (Article I, Section 1).

24 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly August 1, 2016 at 9:27 am

It’s a bit more specific than that.

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization . . .

U.S. Const., Art. I, Sect. 8.

25 Vivian Darkbloom August 1, 2016 at 9:54 am

Also, although I suspect the resident authoritarians (a recent theme here) will not be satisfied.

26 mulp August 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Residency has nothing to do with citizenship, other than being one prerequisite.

In original intent, naturalization reduced the years of residency for white males to become citizenship from about 100% of your first two decades of life to several years, then a decade, and now about five years of monitored residency, and expands it to women, but not really to children, and partially to non-whites.

In fact, nothing in the Constitution from the “if not enumerated it’s unconstitutional” camp authorizes border controls or restrictions on immigration.

Republicans really botched “citizenship” post the Civil War.

Note, based on past original intent, Clinton can’t be president because she’s not a man, and the Constitution and 14th Amendment did not give the right to vote to women.

But nothing gave Clinton the right to be president, but then again, Obama wasn’t given the right to be president. Women and non-whites were only given the right to vote. Clearly Scalia didn’t read the words of the Constitution as he claims.

Anyway, Congress authorized residency permits be issued on the basis of so many wherefore and whereas and except clauses that anyone can be granted a residency permit. Or denied one.

Want to argue it is unconstitutional and illegal for Noriega to be in the US, locked in prison? Who granted a residency permit to a dictator, murderer, and drug kingpin?

But you are probably a “government creates too much paperwork” guy who opposes governors giving blanket pardons and parole because lots of paperwork is needed for every individual case.

Restrictions on immigration and migration involving the US is only consistent with a living Constitution.

If the original intent were what the Mexican Constitution states, then the US Constitution would have the sections of the Mexican Constitution on residency, citizenship, and migration, and rights, privileges, and duties for each.

27 Boonton August 1, 2016 at 12:40 pm

True, and enforcement of the laws lies with the Executive and on top of that the Executive, when provided with limited resources to enforce the law by the Congress, has to decide how to allocate enforcement efforts.

28 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 8:22 pm

There’s a bit of a difference between prioritizing enforcement goals and printing up 5 million sets of residency papers like Obama did.

29 bmcburney August 1, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Boonton,

1. Article II, Section 3.

2. How people may vote in the distant future is unknown but also irrelevant.

30 Boonton August 1, 2016 at 2:05 pm

#2 Steve’s assertion is that Obama is creating future Democratic voters.

This assumes those that get residency also eventually get citizenship (unlikely). More likely the reference is to their children which will have citizenship automatically as they will be born in the US. That’s a bit of a moot criticism since children born to illegals are citizens anyway.

I’m guessing that Steve is assuming those born to illegals would be indifferent between the two parties but if Democrats provide a path to legality for their parents then you will have a generation of grateful voters.

That, however, is the whole idea behind representative gov’t and the US experiment. Politicians serve those who are governed, not try to choose who their voters are. 11M+ illegals cries out for a solution and t he easiest, least harmful, solution would be a path towards legalization. That is hardly ‘open borders’ but reasonable borders for an open society.

31 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

“#2 Steve’s assertion is that Obama is creating future Democratic voters.”

That’s the Democrats’ assumption. They’ve boasted endlessly about how immigration creates more Democratic voters.

32 Boonton August 1, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Over multiple generations it becomes impossible to really predict. Most of today’s Republican voters, I suspect, do not descend from people that were in the US before 1900. However it does appear today that Republicans are anti-immigrant and have doubled down on that stance since Romney’s nomination when there was a possibility the party might have made a play to capturing at least a modest amount of the immigrant vote.

33 Vivian Darkbloom August 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Do you really think, in practice, that one has to be a citizen to vote? I mean, who is allowed to check?

http://electionlawblog.org/wp-content/uploads/kobach-eac-10th.pdf

34 Boonton August 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm

In practice? No. Practically yes. On the individual level you may have people who are very motivated for whatever reason to vote even if it isn’t legal for them to do so. Big picture you’re only going to get more voters by honestly getting more voters. Given turnout rates you need maybe a million new voters in order to get 100K-200K actual votes.

Organized voter fraud suffers from a catch-22. Being able to control a number of fake votes is most valuable in a place where that could swing the election. Being able to cast 1000 fake voters for Hillary, for example, will accomplish nothing of value in New York. Having 1000 fake votes in Florida in Bush.v.Gore would have been very interesting, however anywhere that’s in play is also under scrutiny by both parties so detection becomes more of a risk.

Where it may make sense is in local elections. They are often decided by smaller numbers of votes and invite a lot less scrutiny, especially if the other party rarely wins any local elections and has written the area off. But then what good is immigration policy on the national level for that type of fraud as there’s no way to know where the immigrants will end up living.

35 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm

The 1982 gubernatorial election in Illinois saw vote fraud much larger than the eventual margin of 7000 votes for the Republican candidate:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/04/where-theres-smoke-theres-fire-100000-stolen-votes-in-chicago

1982 was like a mirror image of the notorious 1960 Presidential vote count in Illinois where Mayor Daley outlasted the Republican vote counters and played last. My impression at the time was that the GOP crooks played the last phony card after the Democratic crooks had laid all their phony cards on the table. Eventually, 5 GOP operatives in Dupage County went to jail for vote fraud.

36 Boonton August 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

“So the FBI employed a new and unique tool in vote fraud investigation: a computer. Because this had never been done before, the FBI had to write a computer program that would match data between the list of registered voters, the list of individuals who had voted, and other databases. To that end, the FBI and federal prosecutors obtained death records from the Bureau of Vital Statistics; local, state, and federal prison records; the national Social Security list; Immigration and Naturalization Service records on aliens; driver’s license records; and even utility (gas, electric, water, and telephone) records”

When technology changes, stuff that people used to get away with suddenly becomes impossible to get away with (and new things like identity fraud open up). I’m not really sure how 100,000+ fake votes would work in this day and age when both parties are eager to expose and catch the other breaking the rules and both spend ample money on consultants, big data experts and so on.

37 asdf August 1, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Genetics determines that Latino’s will be D voters. Irish and Italians have enough genetic similarities to make assimilation possible.

Latino’s have low IQ, hence their low average earnings and high use of welfare. As genetic dependents of the state they have all the reason in the world to vote D.

Also, races form interest groups to push their interests at the expense of others. It seems unlikely Latino’s are going to start basing their vote on some philosophical stance on issues so much as just voting for whatever it best for Latinos. That likely means things like more welfare, government services paid for by white people, affirmative action, etc.

There is no such thing as a multi-racial society. Just different groups grasping at each other until one can crush the others. White people sadly engaged in a brutal civil war where one side invited in mercenaries to crush the other side.

38 Sanity Please August 1, 2016 at 5:41 pm

This is an ugly post.

39 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Its always the same post.

I read a commentary once by someone who had joined MENSA. He went to a few meetings and then allowed his membership to lapse. His take on the members he met were that they were people who had no accomplishments the least bit out of the ordinary. Their one claim to something unusual was their psychometric scores.

40 Kudzu Bob August 2, 2016 at 4:30 am

It’s very telling that you make to attempt to address the question of whether the post is correct.

41 asdf August 2, 2016 at 9:07 am

It’s always the same post because the issue never changes.

And spare me your moral outrage Art Deco. We all know there is more to life then IQ. That doesn’t change its importance or the likely effects of immigration policy one bit.

42 asdf August 2, 2016 at 9:11 am

Life is ugly sometimes. Grown ups deal with life as it is, not fantasies.

43 Art Deco August 2, 2016 at 9:14 am

I’m thumbing my nose at a twit peddling his theory of everything. No outrage is incorporated or necessary.

44 Boonton August 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm

Yes clearly there is no room for anything but the intellectual elite in the Republican Party.

45 A Definite Beta Guy August 1, 2016 at 8:48 am

How Constitutional was Obama’s mandated Medicaid expansion? How Constitutional was the health insurance mandate? How Constitutional is the Clean Power Plan? How Constitutional is it to kill American citizens with no trial and no supervision. At the very least, Hillary wants to pass a Constitutional Amendment to make it illegal to criticize her: Obama just lectured the Supreme Court about how they were wrong.

The Constitution took a vacation a while ago.

46 prognostication August 1, 2016 at 10:13 am

“At the very least, Hillary wants to pass a Constitutional Amendment to make it illegal to criticize her”

Are you kidding? Hillary has given absolutely no indication of any such inclination. Trump, on the other hand, has flat out said he wants to restrict the ability of the media to criticize him. I know we all have teams, but can we at least try to restrict ourselves to things that are not blatantly false?

47 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:31 am

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/16/politics/hillary-clinton-campaign-finance/

Citizen’s United produced a movie critical of Hillary. She used the courts to stop someone from criticizing her, and wants to change the constitution to overturn the decision that prevents her from doing the same thing again.

48 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly August 1, 2016 at 10:56 am

In fairness to prognostication, perhaps he was just being hypertechnical.

After all, Clinton technically just wants a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to pass laws that prevent people from criticizing her during an election.

49 prognostication August 1, 2016 at 11:55 am

That’s a pretty disingenuous way of describing what that amendment would do.

50 Goose August 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm

HRC had nothing to do with the court case of Citizens United. In fact, they themselves filed against the FEC and asked the court for a ruling. From http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation_CCA_C.shtml

“Citizens United sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the Commission in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the ban on corporate electioneering communications at 2 U.S.C. §441b was unconstitutional as applied to the film and that disclosure and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutional as applied to the film and the three ads for the movie. The District Court denied Citizens United a preliminary injunction and granted the Commission’s motion for summary judgment.”

Furthermore, the main issue at stake was about A) where the movie would be broadcast and B) how close that broadcast was to the primary date. Contrast this to Trump openly stating that he wants to tighten up slander and libel laws to prosecute media outlets who report on him “unfavorably” – far, far broader with far more chilling effects than wanting to restrict general use of funds on advocacy material within certain timeframes of elections..

51 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

“HRC had nothing to do with the court case of Citizens United.”

Hillary Clinton has directly stated that she wanted to overturn the ruling.

“Hillary Clinton committed Saturday to introducing a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision within her first 30 days in office, if she’s elected president.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/hillary-clinton-citizens-united-225658

52 Goose August 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Having an opinion on a case is not “being involved”. Otherwise we’re both now “involved” in the case too and can’t speak on it with impartiality. The litigation which produced the decision – Citizens United v. FEC – was instigated by CU themselves. It was not Hillary “us[ing] the courts to stop someone from criticizing her”, as derek states above.

53 mulp August 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Lincoln was wrong to order the US army kill 94,000 US citizens?

Doesn’t that make the United States itself today unconstitutional?

How can a union created by unconstitutional killing of US citizens be constitutional?

There were no trials on the battle field to render verdicts to execute 94,000 US citizens.

54 Massimo Heitor August 2, 2016 at 10:57 am

Yes, Lincoln was absolutely horrifically wrong. This is a minority point. Schools are now teaching the opposite. That Lincoln had to kill citizens to end slavery even though that clearly wasn’t Licnoln’s goal or Grant or Sherman.

Where do you get 94K? It’s 700k!

55 Nigel Lawson August 1, 2016 at 1:30 am

Word of the day: Whataboutery:

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/whataboutery

56 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 2:17 am

Almost, but not quite, a portmanteau. Nonetheless, a good term to encompass what this post represents.

57 Dzhaughn August 1, 2016 at 2:33 am

You misconstrue the term here.

58 Aaron August 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

A “whataboutery” critique just means “I don’t want to talk about these things.”

59 troux August 1, 2016 at 1:42 am

It’s possible to judge people in retrospect in the fullness of their mistakes and their successes in a way that you’re totally ignoring here. Newsflash, people in the past that we admire sometimes make mistakes, and on the other hand people in the past that we condemn were sometimes correct on certain points. The consensus re: Trump is that he’ll fall into the latter camp, not the former and you’re playing dumb not to see that. People are complicated, what an incredible notion! As to Mr. Easterly, the replies rebut it more than well enough. Which policies would we compromise on, “Build half a wall? Ban only Sunni Muslims?” or “Be only a little bit racist?” Tyler being Tyler I know, but after so many years I’d expect a little more effort…

60 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 2:35 am

‘and you’re playing dumb not to see that’

Playing cautious is likely more accurate. A public policy institute general director and chairman needs a fine sense for what those who support that institute want to see.

Which is one of the reasons this web site is such fun to read, as it provides a certain perspective into a generally carefully veiled part of the American political landscape. Prof. Cowen is rarely if ever a leading indicator, but does offer insight into an already formed consensus from people who do their best to influence public debate, while not wanting to be seen doing it in public.

61 David Wright August 1, 2016 at 5:42 am

But the authoritarian and racist tendencies of FDR and the progressives weren’t just mistakes incidental to their policies, they were key political tactics to getting their policies implemented in their time. Would the right approach have been to just wait until those now-admired-by-many policies could have been obtained without authoritarian and racist compromises? Or were those now-admired-by-many policies important enough that their sooner-enactment was worth some moral compromises? Either answer, mapped on to present-day politics, has some uncomfortable implications for both Rs and Ds.

The answer to your supposed rebuttal of Easterly is explicit in Douthat’s piece: how about the compromise of being only as leftist as the Clintons were in the last Clinton era? Traditionally, parties are understood to face trade-offs between maximizing their elect-ability and pushing for the policies of their partisans. If you accept that long-accepted assumption, then anyone (including any D) who believes it is unusually important not to elect the R in this cycle should also believe that the D should move more to the center than usual.

62 prognostication August 1, 2016 at 10:20 am

Except that the Democrats also have a problem with their left flank from within the party, which is why they’re trying to do the Big Tent thing and be all things to all people and hoping they get away with it.

63 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly August 1, 2016 at 10:57 am

Which isn’t that difficult to pull off when a substantial proportion of the population just wants to you be “not Donald Trump”

64 mulp August 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm

But that “left flank” was centrist among liberals from both parties in the 60s, because the real leftists were in the socialists and communist parties, the latter in underground exile.

National health care was first proposed by progressive Republicans. And Truman was no leftist, unless the Midwest was a leftist hotbed in the 40s that suddenly became center right in the 50s.

And if Truman was a leftist based on national health care, then Trump is correct is rejecting NATO, as well as the cold war, which would be Truman’s leftist policies. Making McCain who called for the ongoing occupation of the Mideast like the Truman ongoing leftist occupation of Europe and Asia.

As someone who remembers Ike like grade kids will remember Obama, I just find the use of “left” today so strange. But what is worse is the right today sound so much like fascists in the 50s and 60s who ran dictatorships.

65 Jeff R. August 1, 2016 at 11:31 am

It’s not credible to argue that Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme was simply a policy mistake. Anyone who respected the separation of powers would not have made such threats. He knew it was wrong, he did it anyway.

66 stephan August 1, 2016 at 1:45 am

I really don’t see what’s wrong with Trump apart from his economic plan. The rest is fine.

1- Ban Muslims from entering the country. We used to ban communists . They both espouse a totalitarian system. According to Pew 40% in the Palestinian territories, 39% in Afghanistan, 29% in Egypt and 26% in Bangladesh. say that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam are justified. We should certainly vet heavily immigrants from these countries.

2- Deport illegals. Why shouldn’t we. By definition, they’re here illegally. He is not against legal immigration.Why should illegals get sanctuary? ( Is that a reward for making it across the border?)

3- Ask NATO countries to pay up ?. What’s wrong with this concept ? ( only five of 28 are meeting their obligations); if NATO was important to them they would meet their obligations, If NATO is not important to them, then why should we defend them ?

4- Too cozy to Putin ?. Obama is cozy to Iran, who wants to destroy Israel and funds Hamas and Hezbollah and supports Assad.

67 John L. August 1, 2016 at 2:20 am

“Too cozy to Putin ?. Obama is cozy to Iran, who wants to destroy Israel and funds Hamas and Hezbollah and supports Assad.”

But thanks Gof, the Saudis are OK. There’s nothing like been too cozy to them. https://www.google.com.br/search?q=bush+saudi+king+holding+hands&num=40&client=tablet-android-samsung&prmd=ivn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiiipnnyJ_OAhXLgpAKHStGD10Q_AUIBygB&biw=800&bih=1280#imgrc=MRmCC2xcNEfqCM%3A

68 Andre August 1, 2016 at 4:26 am

Trump is just an empty shell of ignorance and racism.

1) Even if those percentages are correct what would they have to do with a student form India or Indonesia or Senegal, why would they be wrapped up in the ban?

2) If he cares about illegality where are the rants about Europeans and Canadians over staying visas? Do you often hear about him ranting about illegality of entry into the country or just ‘Mexicans’. His opposition to our good judge should make it clear he doesn’t care about citizenship or immigration status as much as race and nationality (and his personal business interests).

3) Estonia pays there bills, he didn’t put France or Italy or even our poor friend Greece on Russia’s platter.

4) They are still burning Obama’s effigy in Tehran. But the Uranium was shipped out of the country and concrete poured into their heavy water reactor. Where is the coziness?

There isn’t anything coherent to anything Trump says, just reflexive lashing out and self interest.

69 nomenym August 1, 2016 at 7:16 am

“His opposition to our good judge should make it clear he doesn’t care about citizenship or immigration status as much as race and nationality (and his personal business interests).”

Do you think he cares about black or hispanic Europeans or Canadians overstaying their visas? No, because it’s not really about race either, but rather culture, language, and human capital. Most people answers questions about immigration using the heuristic “Who do I want to be my neighbors?” If they wouldn’t want the prospective immigrants as neighbors, then they tend to be highly sceptical of immigration, demanding high standards and smaller numbers. Surely, we all know this is mostly about culture, values, and loyalties rather than race.

If the U.S. had robust institutions that more seamlessly integrated immigrants into local U.S. cultures, then there would be less opposition to immigration. People would feel more like incoming immigrants actually wanted to be their neighbors, and wanted to participate in U.S. civic culture, realigning their loyalties with their new countrymen. But they don’t feel that, especially with south Americans. Indeed, leftists actively encourage balkanization among immigrant groups, denigrating America, its history and culture, and encouraging each group to retain its own norms, values, and ways of life. Most people don’t want to live in a foreign country, and neither do they don’t want to feel like a foreign country is moving to them.

70 8 August 1, 2016 at 8:15 am

This is explicit with the judge comments. Sotomayor said the same thing as Trump and all children are taught in school or university that race matters. All Trump did was say what leftists teach and preach about white people. If Trump’s comments about the judge are a big issue, anyone to the left of Paul Ryan is a big problem for American democracy.

71 Hazel Meade August 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

Oh, yeah, those Spanish-speaking Roman Catholics are going to have a hard time integrating, just like the Irish and Italians. Papists, papists everywhere! What’s a WASP to do?

72 carlospln August 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

+ 1 Hazel

@ nemonic @ 7:16 am: The US has the most ‘robust institutions [& values] for seamlessly integrating immigrants into local cultures’ of any country on Earth. To take several examples, Iraqi engineers in the Detroit area & Vietnamese along the Gulf Coast.

What rock are you hiding under? A ridiculous assertion.

73 Engineer August 1, 2016 at 12:10 pm

It took a long time for that integration to occur, and that was in an environment where integration, rather than multi-culturalism, was officially encouraged. For much of that period, additional immigration was very heavily constrained. Communication with and travel back and forth to country of origin was much more difficult.

Accepting immigrants is a choice. I ask the question, why is it in the national interest to have any significant level of immigration?

For any given level, why not select those immigrants most likely to integrate into and make a positive contribution to American society – English speaking, educated, not carrying TB or HIV (for both of which we used to reject people).

Al that said, the US is fortunate that our next door neighbor is Mexico and not Yemen. Things could be worse.

74 Simonini August 2, 2016 at 11:47 am

When my Italian ancestors arrived in the US, there was no multicult. The pressure to assimilate was so strong that they deliberately avoided speaking Italian in front of their children so they would grow up to be Americans. Even with the old environment more conducive to assimilation, such groups did not really begin to fully integrate until after we drastically cut immigration in the 20s, and they did plenty of damage to our political culture in the meantime.

75 stephan August 1, 2016 at 12:18 pm

1- only 13% of Indians are Muslims , so most of them can go in. Does Indonesia recognizes freedom of religion ? wikipedia says: “Atheism is not tolerated in Indonesia, it violates the first principle of Pancasila (the Indonesian constitution) & Islamic Sharia law” Why should we allow immigration from countries that favor Sharia law over secular law. Why should we reciprocate when they don’t respect freedom of religion themselves. Who are they to lecture us ? We’ve seen the result of open borders in Europe, with the 1M migrants Merkel let in. It’s not pretty.

2-They’re in the same boat as far as I am concerned, but the bulk of of illegal immigrants are from Mexico and central america ( 73%)

3- Estonia, spends 2 percent on defense, but not 20 percent on major systems, so they’re not in compliance. NATO’s eastern front is unserious about defending itself, so why should we ? see here
http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/04/the_us_paid_for_nato_30_trillion_and_counting.html

4- Why do we have to give Iran a deal. They never apologized for the taking of the US hostages. They sponsor terrorism. They still privately say “death to Israel and America”. We should simply have bombed their reactors as proposed by Israel. No deal with terrorist countries !

76 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 11:31 am

2- Deport illegals. Why shouldn’t we. By definition, they’re here illegally. He is not against legal immigration.Why should illegals get sanctuary? ( Is that a reward for making it across the border?)

http://un-thought.blogspot.com/2016/01/immigration.html

I am very pro increased immigration myself BUT seeing that:

There is a large percent of voters who are anti-immigration and a larger percent who are against illegal immigration.

It seems absurd to have a law that you have no intention of enforcing.

The illegal immigrants who have been here the longest are better off than those who would have wanted to come but did not come because they did not want to come illegally.

The illegal immigrants who have been here the longest are better off because they have had a chance to earn more money than those in Mexico.

The illegal immigrants who have been here the longest are better off because they have had a chance to learn some English which might help them get a better job in Mexico.

So suppose we deport illegal immigrants starting with those who have been here the longest and for each one deported we let in a person from the queue. Or maybe we let in two people from the queue for each illegal deported.

This seems to be a reasonable compromise between pro and anti immigration voters.

77 albatross August 1, 2016 at 12:39 pm

I’m not remotely a fan of Trump, but if you’re going to criticize his rhetoric about deporting all the illegal immigrants, maybe you should say what you’d prefer to do instead? There are like 11 million people in the US illegally. Most of them are perfectly decent people, doing their best with the shitty hand of cards life dealt them. A few are criminals–crime statistics show fewer immigrants than native-born people commit crimes, but there are still some[1].

I think this is an incredibly hard problem. On humanitarian grounds, the thing to do would be to start enforcing immigration law starting tomorrow, but amnesty in all the people here now. But that would create a huge incentive for more people to immigrate illegally–dodge the law long enough, and maybe you can get the next wave of amnesty. And since we’ve done an amnesty in the past, it would be pretty rational for future immigrants to risk it.

Trying to deport all 11 million or so people would require a huge ramp-up of the ICE, and would be ugly. There are a lot of people here who came over illegally, but have kids who are citizens and speak perfect English, and the whole family is a pretty settled-in part of their community. It would involve a huge amount of suffering, a big hit to the US economy, and quite possibly would destabilize countries like Mexico and El Salvador (none-too-stable now). And I don’t think we could sustain it, politically–the images from mass roundups and deportations would be on the news and on Youtube, and there would be a huge backlash.

The intermediate option is the one Romney got a fair bit of outrage for talking about–“self-deportation[2].” It’s also largely the policy the Obama administration followed for the first four years of his time in office–a combination of stepped up enforcement and a lousy economy lead to a likely net decrease in illegal immigrants living in the US. But this requires actually stepping up enforcement and keeping it going, even when (as in 2012) there’s a political incentive to take the pressure off a bit to keep an important voting bloc on your side. (A Republican will feel less pressure from hispanic voters, but more from employers who prefer cheaper labor costs.)

The endpoint we want is a very small population of people in the US illegally long-term. One way to get there is to absorb people into the above-ground economy by giving them some kind of amnesty–that’s kind-of what the Dream Act is supposed to be about, I think. Another is to deport people explicitly. Still another is to step up enforcement on employers so that jobs dry up and people self-deport[3]. None of that is cost-free.

[1] I’m not sure how much crime within mostly-immigrant communities is reported, though–if you’re here illegally, the *last* thing you want is official notice, such as you’d get by calling the police and getting dragged into court as a witness.

[2] A lot of outrage fests in politics amount to outrage that some politician says openly what we are doing or intend to do. Another example of this is the outrage over Trump saying the CIA and military will obey him if he orders them to commit war crimes. The evidence from the torture scandal is that he’s right, and most of the prestige media and nearly all the people in positions of power, both parties, supported making sure that nobody who committed war crimes under Bush ever faced any consequences.

[3] Note that deporting illegal immigrants is the lowest-cost option in terms of political cost–illegal immigrants have no vote and few media connections. Making the fines for hiring illegal immigrants high enough that businesses change their behavior is probably the right way to address the issue, but it’s also the highest-cost approach in terms of politics–the companies you want to fine will have legal departments, PR departments with good press links, lobbyists, connections, etc.

78 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Suppose we deport illegal immigrants starting with those who have been here the longest and for each one deported we let in 2 people (or more) from the queue.

79 Andao August 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Aren’t all Americans essentially illegal immigrants?

80 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm

From Ezra Klein….the more partisan (read brain dead) among you will stop reading here, the smart ones will note this:

“Putting Trump in the Oval Office would open a huge vulnerability in our national security. It’s much easier to bait Trump than it is to attack the United States. Our enemies’ aim is often to provoke us into overreacting and overcommitting abroad because they can’t hope to seriously hurt us here. With Trump in control of the armed forces, the path to manipulating us into that kind of overreaction would be clear.”

He’s referencing how Trump is such a bully that he couldn’t just let Khizr Khan fall down the memory hole, he took the bait and made childish, rash, dishonorable comments instead and gave the Dems a news cycle gift. Our enemies will have a grand old time doing the same thing, only this time people will die thanks to Trump’s bizarre and immature temperament. Foreign policy is where presidents have most of their power. Trump would be a disaster.

81 Jamie_NYC August 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Actually, I’m kicking myself for not stopping reading after the first sentence… But since I read your whole comment, let me reply: Do you really think an unballanced, bad-tempered, irrational, incompetent could have eliminated 16 well qualified and well funded opponents? That’s like saying “this guy has no idea how to play chess, he just picks random moves and gets lucky time after time!”

82 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 2:15 pm

“16 well qualified and well funded opponents”: LOL. Maybe 2-3 were. I supported Pataki, who was plenty qualified, but well funded he was definitely not.

You can’t possibly make the case that Trump should be anywhere near the Oval Office. I get that many Trump voters just think Clinton is worse, and that’s defensible (wrong, but defensible). But there is simply no positive case to make that Trump is a good idea for president. And it’s easy enough to see why, if he were a Dem (which he kind of is) the exact same voters would be tearing him apart just like they are doing to Clinton.

83 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm

“You can’t possibly make the case that Trump should be anywhere near the Oval Office. ”

You can’t possible make the case that Hillary should be anywhere near the Oval Office. There is simply no positive case to make that Hillary is a good idea for president. And it’s easy enough to see why, if she were a Republican (which she kind of is) the exact same voters would be tearing her apart just like they are doing to Trump.

84 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Agree 100% JWatts. They both suck balls. But Hillary sucks the normal way. Trump is unprecedented. See Sanity Please’s post below, #208

You’re a smart poster, you don’t see a difference?

85 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

But Hillary sucks the normal way. Trump is unprecedented.”

No, Trump is not unprecedented. Indeed, he’s quite Jacksonian in his presentation. So much so, that it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that it’s intentional.

“Riding his fame to the White House, Jackson captured the imagination of ordinary citizens who’d never voted in such numbers before. He crushed rivals who considered him crude, barbaric and even a danger to the republic.

Jackson had a captivating style, and not just because of his wild hair. He did what he wanted, and demanded respect. ”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/17/opinion/campaign-stops/donald-trumps-secret-channelling-andrew-jackson.html

“You’re a smart poster, you don’t see a difference?”

Hillary Clinton has gotten away with what (to my observation) appears to be obvious criminal acts. If she can get away with skirting the law at this point, there will be no effective Checks and Balances on her behavior as President of the US. I listened to her nomination speech and her interview yesterday (Sunday). I take her at her word that she will move the entire US significantly to the the Left.

She is already in favor of overturning prior Judicial precedents with respect to both the 1st and 2nd amendment. Even if blocked by Congress, she’s already made it clear she’ll override law with the use of Executive Orders.

86 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

With a Republican House and likely Senate, Hillary won’t be moving anything anywhere. Trump is an embarrassment, and really antithetical to what I think makes the US a great country. I guess that’s just an opinion though.

87 Komori August 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Trump will get, at best, lukewarm support from the Republican party and total opposition from the Democratic party. He will also face heavy obstructionism (and/or malicious compliance) from the career bureaucracy. I can’t envision him getting anything of any significance done.

Hillary, on the other hand, will have heavy support from the Democratic party and the career bureaucracy. She can do a lot more damage than he can, because she is the insider.

I’m voting third party, mind. I just get tired of people making excuses for their guy because “the” other guy is supposedly worse.

88 Tom August 12, 2016 at 5:26 am

“Trump is an embarrassment, and really antithetical to what I think makes the US a great country.”

(Mass third world immigration, in case you don’t get it.)

89 Tom August 12, 2016 at 5:24 am

“Putting Trump in the Oval Office would open a huge vulnerability in our national security.”

Funny way to put it. Should Hillary even have a security clearance?

90 Jammer812 August 1, 2016 at 1:57 am

In order to understand the actions of Jefferson or Jackson you need to understand the culture they lived in. The same is true for FDR and McCarthey., although in tailgunner Joe’s case his own era reputitiated him.

Perhaps you believe that spreading ethnic and religious hatred is acceptable behavior in America today. Not long ago I would say that was wrong, but after the cowardly behavior of so much of the Republican leadership in response to Trump’s hateful attacks on the Kahn family, I no longer know.

91 RP August 1, 2016 at 4:37 am

Surely not. It must have been extremely difficult for that man to go on national television, as well as in front of thousands of people, and talk about the death of his son, who sacrificed his life for a nation that is now flirting with the idea that people like him are the problem.

I wouldn’t describe the act of standing up for your dead son as ‘bloodsucking’. I might, however, describe the act of going on television to insult the mother of a dead serviceman on the basis of her religion that way.

92 8 August 1, 2016 at 8:19 am

The Democrat Party is united by ethnic and religious hatred, and teaches it in schools and universities. It has been part of the curriculum since sometime in the 1990s. I don’t know the exact date, but I notice a clean break between people in their mid-30s and mid-20s.

93 Steve Siler August 1, 2016 at 2:07 am

There’s inevitable bad blood between Russians, for whom pro-czarism is the natural political inclination (for reasons of geography and history, Russia is a backward place, so its political traditions are backward), and American Jews, whose ancestral traditions are fervently anti-czarist.

Thus, Putin’s reconstruction of a functioning Russian state after the disasters of the 1990s was inevitably going to turn out to be more or less neo-czarist. In turn, a strong Russia predictably triggered anti-pogrom alarms among American Jews. Since there aren’t actual pogroms, much of Jewish animus and angst got displaced into its 21st century proxies: neoconservatism (as in the case of the State Department’s Victoria Nuland) and gay activism (Radio Liberty’s Masha Gessen).

Both Russians and American Jews have perfectly understandable reasons for feeling the way they do. Fortunately, this psychological disjunction needn’t lead to war or even to simple jingoism. After all, we live on different continents. Both sides ought to be able to recognize and laugh off their inevitable bigotry and malice.

http://takimag.com/article/but_is_it_good_for_the_gays_steve_sailer/print#ixzz4G3ej8wYg

94 Millian August 1, 2016 at 4:41 am

Tell us more about how you think the Jews are bigoted and malicious.

95 ChrisA August 1, 2016 at 4:44 am

Steve, I think this analysis is is essentially correct, but there is also another interest group involved, that is the U.S. Military. If the they don’t have a strong conventional opponent then why should any buy them all that fancy gear? They are doing their best to make China into an alternative bogeyman but no one really takes seriously a country that doesn’t even have a working aircraft carrier. Of course that is also true of Russia, when you visit the place you realise this monstrosity is really just a slightly poor standard European country with the usual consumerist society. They are certainly not foaming at the mouth nationalist ready to sacrifice their BMWs for the glorious future of the motherland conquering Europe.

96 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 5:05 am

In late 2013 I wrote:

World War G and the Military-Industrial Complex

America’s Global War of Terror has been a huge moneymaker for Washington’s Beltway, but it’s starting to get a little old. Looking to the future, why not a replay of a tried and true honeypot: an arms race with Russia?

Granted, the Russkies are still years from getting their F-22 competitor Sukhoi T-50 into military service, but America’s F-35 program is such a boondoggle of incompetence and corruption that it’s almost as if it were intended to give the Russians and Chinese time to catch up and turn this back into a ballgame.

But to justify lots more spending we need some reason to be angry at the Russians. They don’t have 53,000 tanks pointed in the general direction of the Fulda Gap anymore, so the pretext isn’t immediately obvious.

Good question …

I know, gays! …

To give you the latest Wall Street – Washington – City of London – Brussels perspective on why Russia is intolerable — because it’s intolerant! — here’s former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller’s NYT column from earlier this week.

“Russia vs. Europe
“By BILL KELLER

“The world needs Nelson Mandelas. Instead, it gets Vladimir Putins. As the South African hero was being sung to his grave last week, the Russian president was bullying neighboring Ukraine into a new customs union that is starting to look a bit like Soviet Union Lite, and consolidating his control of state-run media by creating a new Kremlin news agency under a nationalistic and homophobic hard-liner…

“Putin’s moves were not isolated events. They fit into a pattern of behavior over the past couple of years that deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West: laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as “foreign agents,” expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions. …

“’Putin wants to make Russia into the traditional values capital of the world,” said Masha Gessen, author of a stinging Putin biography, an activist for gay and lesbian rights and a writer for the Latitudes blog on this paper’s website.”

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/12/world-war-g-and-military-industrial.html

97 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm

“F-35 program is such a boondoggle of incompetence and corruption that it’s almost as if it were intended to give the Russians and Chinese time to catch up and turn this back into a ballgame.”

That comment might have made sense in 2013, but the scuttlebutt I hear is that the F-35 is shaping up to be a good (if not great Fighter-Bomber).

98 TGGP August 2, 2016 at 3:08 am

Wasn’t Stalin rather czarist? And yet for a long time many of his biggest supporters in the US were jewish communists. If it was merely during WW2 you could say “Enemy of my enemy”, but it lasted much longer than that. I suppose one could argue that overthrowing the actual czar resulted in years of goodwill for communists (just as many southerners supported the Dems due to the civil war long afterward, and Germans supported the GOP in resentment of Wilson). Something about positing these enduring geopolitical stances just makes me think of the assumption that Alfred Dreyfus would have more loyalty to Germany than France.

99 Dieb August 1, 2016 at 2:10 am

This is a very typical Tyler post where he tries to be too cute by half. Yes, you’ve successfully shown that some of Trump’s opponents are somewhat hypocritical. Someone should give you a medal. For myself, I will continue to believe Trump shouldn’t be elected because he:

1. Seems to have little or no knowledge of anything involving foreign affairs. Just today he seemed to suggest that Putin had not invaded Ukraine.

2. Has made incredibly bigoted statements about any number of groups, including Mexicans, Muslims, women, etc

3. Lies about everything under the sun, far far worse than most politicians including Hillary.

4. Has yet to say much of anything about what he’d actually do in office, and what he has said he’s usually changed his mind on within days, sometimes within sentences.

5. Refused to release his tax returns, which every presidential candidate of both parties has done for the last 50 or so years.

6. Has the thinnest skin of anyone I’ve ever seen in politics. He really can be baited by a tweet.

7. Seems to lack just about any empathy – see his recent comments about the Muslim gold star mother not speaking. A mother whose son died defending our country was too emotional to speak about it in front of millions of people, let’s go after her!

8. Yes, his ties to Russia are somewhat problematic -especially in light of his insane comments about not honoring our defensive treaties with NATO countries.

9. And finally, yes his authoritarian impulses are rather frightening.

Honestly, I could go on. But I believe my point is made. Donald Trump is utterly unfit for office in a way that goes beyond party lines. All of the above would still be true if he was running as a democrat.

100 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 2:37 am

‘Someone should give you a medal.’

Not a medal, but a nice, tax deductible check.

101 Sean Brown August 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Yes, totally agree. The “good” authoritarians of the past have mostly been either the smart ones who are insatiable readers/students (Park Chung-hee, Deng) or those who find top-class advisors and put a lot of trust in them (Pinochet, also Deng).

Trump is clearly neither.

102 inertial August 1, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Didn’t read any further than 1.

Sorry, whether or not Russia (or “Putin”) invaded Ukraine is a question of propaganda, not objective knowledge. On the other hand, Trump said that the Crimeans are happy to be in Russia. This, of course, is an objective fact which is almost never mentioned in the West. It suggests that Trump has better understanding of the true situation on the ground than 95% of those who call him ignorant.

103 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 2:14 am

That first statement/question is almost a demonstration of why McCarthy’s methods are considered so dangerous – ‘investigate questions about the suspicious ties between the Trump candidacy and Putin’s Russia’ already makes a set of assumptions that frame what follows. A reasonable question would concern investigating how Putin’s Russia is attempting to influence an American election, without considering an irrelevant point about ‘suspicious ties,’ which invites one to participate in a witch hunt. Followed by a statement which again frames the issue, such as ‘If you insinuate or make the charge outright that Trump and/or staff might be Russian agents on the basis of incomplete evidence.’ Because calling such practices McCarthyism is quite appropriate, as defined in the McCarthyism wiki article – ‘The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

Do note the difference between McCarthyism, and McCarthy. Because making reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries, seems to have only grown more common in the last period of time. Making ‘shall we downgrade you or upgrade McCarthy? Or both?’ conveniently disingenuous compared to condemning both McCarthyism and any attempting to use its methods for political gain.

As for the second pair, it would have been so much better sticking with the court packing attempt alone, as compared to talking about a war time response based on fear (and greed), supported by pretty much the entire spectrum of American politics. If a second example was necessary, then the unconstitutional National Industrial Recovery Act would have served so much better – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Industrial_Recovery_Act

As for the other questions/statements, why even bother? It seems clear that a consensus has formed in Colorado Springs, and those with their ever so sensitive fingers in the wind know which way that consensus is blowing.

104 AndrewK August 1, 2016 at 2:23 am

Guys, you’re all missing the fundamental point here. The American Revolution was a mistake and the world would be a much better place if the federal government emerged gradually as a Westminster system, with the Executive branch deriving from the legislative branch. No Trump, no New Deal overreach, no civil war. Bob’s your uncle.

105 Nebfocus August 1, 2016 at 2:51 am
106 Dalton Trumpmo August 1, 2016 at 2:24 am

“When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.” -Jonathan Swift

107 prognostication August 1, 2016 at 10:25 am

Okay, Ignatius.

108 The Original D August 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm

So, Obama is a genius?

109 mavery August 1, 2016 at 2:30 am

Typically, when we vote for politicians, we’re voting because they’ve promised to implement specific policies that we want or have specific attributes we believe will make them effective in office. We acknowledge that there may be some things they do that we don’t like, but these are typically hypothetical.

With Trump, he has a lot of policies that will be disastrous and has many attributes that make him unsuitable for the office. There are some things about his candidacy that could turn out well, but these are mostly hypothetical. (“He’s just saying crazy things so that he can negotiate down to what he really wants!”)

Tyler’s post suggests that because past politicians have done bad or disagreeable things yet remained popular because of other accomplishments, its hypocritical to criticize Trump’s plans to reproduce the bad or disagreeable things. This is absurd, since it ignores the fact that those historical figures have actually done great things whereas Trump hasn’t even indicated that he might want to do something useful let alone demonstrated the competence required to get such things done.

What a ridiculous post.

110 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 2:43 am

“He’s just saying crazy things so that he can negotiate down to what he really wants!”

Yep, Trump is obviously a figure of Nixonian stature, and not only in that way. As noted in this post by someone who is clearly an opponent of Trump – ‘I hope we always will have non-vindictive Presidents in this country. One reason is because the regulatory branch reports to the Executive. And if you own a large company, it is virtually impossible to be in accordance with all of the regulations all of the time. If there were a President who wished to pursue vendettas, the regulatory state would be the most direct and simplest way for him or her to do so.

————————————————–

I wonder if this is one reason why some of the leaders in the Republican Party have been somewhat reluctant to challenge Donald Trump. Perhaps they fear regulatory reprisal.

I also believe that many of Trump’s strongest critics — often Democrats — are ill-suited to understand or admit this side of the problem. They have plenty of good arguments against Trump, but I haven’t heard this one yet.’ http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/03/the-presidency-and-the-regulatory-state.html

111 A Definite Beta Guy August 1, 2016 at 9:36 am

“Typically, when we vote for politicians, we’re voting because they’ve promised to implement specific policies that we want or have specific attributes we believe will make them effective in office” -no, politics is not about policy.

112 Dzhaughn August 1, 2016 at 2:48 am

Dear Commentards:

What Cowen shows is not that Trump is peachy, but that your partisanship leads you to put the same things in your hagiography of FDR.

113 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 3:09 am

‘What Cowen shows is not that Trump is peachy’

Sure, but as noted here, rejecting Trump outright has become potentially problematic – ‘But Koch’s refusal to harness his singular operation in support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has put him at odds with some of his wealthiest peers — and forced the network to defend its relevance at a time of its greatest reach.

That tension rippled behind the scenes this weekend as about 400 donors met here at a luxury resort encircling a man-made lake, where white swans paddled in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Between panels extolling free speech and conservative state policy victories, Koch and his top deputies heard out donors worried about the network’s decision to sit on the sidelines.’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/koch-network-seeks-to-defuse-donor-frustration-over-trump-rebuff/2016/08/01/7247b8c2-579a-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html

114 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

+1

115 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Posted this at Money Illusion, works here too:

This year is where the evil of blind partisanship is most apparent. Most years it’s not that different whether the D or the R wins. Romney would have been fine winning in 2012, Obama was fine too. But this year, Team Red is doing backflips to justify voting for a guy they would destroy if he was a Dem. And Team Blue is doing the same with Clinton.

116 lemmy caution August 1, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Trump is the presidential candidate that looks the worse of any major party candidate of my lifetime. He would have a hard time doing the damage that Bush did, but he might be up for it.

117 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm

I think it’s safe to say the 2 candidates (D and R) offered are the worst choice ever presented. But one is ‘normal politician terrible’ and one is ‘off the charts this shouldn’t be happening terrible’

118 Tom August 12, 2016 at 5:39 am

Which one is the one smashing countries in the Middle East for her pleasure again?

If the phone goes off
At 3 AM
Who you gonna call? Ghost buster!

(I ain’t fraid of no fed.)

119 maharbbal August 1, 2016 at 3:10 am

Funny you should mention the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942-45 because, in a long editorial, a French mainstream news paper has actually came out saying that, all considered, it wasn’t that bad and that the French government should seriously consider doing the same thing with Muslims living in the country. (source: http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/politique/2016/07/29/31001-20160729ARTFIG00327-pour-combattre-l-islamismeen-finir-avec-la-religion-des-droits-de-l-homme.php)

120 chuck martel August 1, 2016 at 9:46 am
121 Ritwik Priya August 1, 2016 at 3:27 am

Shall we also talk about Columbus, the resulting genocide that followed, and whether that’s compatible with the values the American nation professes to believe in?

Or shall we price in the victories of the long arc of moral progress, keep our disdain time and context-relevant and not assume that a democrat born in the 1970s who fundamentally likes the New Deal should re-evaluate their opinions of Trump because, you know, the New Deal Democrats of the 1930s were also bigoted people.

122 dearieme August 1, 2016 at 6:28 am

“the long arc of moral progress”: your sarcasm is too heavy-handed.

123 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:34 am

Another Rahm Emmanuel voter.

124 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 9:59 am

Columbus had nothing to do with English colonization in North America.

There was no genocide here. There was a long war between a more numerous technologically superior invading group and the defending natives. Atrocities by both sides.

125 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 12:28 pm

There was no genocide. That’s a meme of the malicious.

126 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 3:41 am

Japanese internment was a byproduct of the anti-Fascist hysteria that overcame liberal elites like FDR and California governor Earl Warren following America’s stunning defeat at Pearl Harbor. (The conservative leader, Sen. Robert Taft, opposed internment, and J. Edgar Hoover argued only for getting Japanese residents away from the Navy ports in San Diego and Seattle, while leaving the big Los Angeles population in place.)

It was a bad decision, of course, but FDR and Warren had a lot on their plates and they were massively ignorant and jumpy about how large the risks were in the weeks following Pearl Harbor.

127 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 3:56 am

Interestingly, you don’t mention this general’s central role – ‘In February 1942, DeWitt reported to Franklin Roosevelt that no sabotage by Japanese Americans had yet been confirmed, but he commented that it only proved “a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.” He recommended the evacuation of all Japanese from the coastal areas of California, Oregon, and Washington state. Using Executive Order 9066, DeWitt then began implementing a plan for classifying, rounding up, and removal of “undesirables.”

On March 2, 1942, DeWitt issued “Military Proclamation No. 1,” which designated the western parts of California, Oregon and Washington as “military area no. 1,” further divided into “prohibited zone A-1” and “restricted zone B.” In the first phase of the order, a provision was included directing that “any person of Japanese ancestry, now resident in Military Area No. 1, who changes his place of habitual residence must file a ‘change of residence notice’ at his local post office not more than five days nor less than one day prior to moving.” Days later, DeWitt announced that the army had acquired 5,800 acres (23 km2) of land near Manzanar, California, for construction of a “reception center” which he said was “to be used principally as a clearing house for the more permanent resettlement elsewhere for persons excluded from military areas.”

Removal began on March 23, 1942, with the resettlement of citizens living in Los Angeles. On that date, General DeWitt issued new orders applying to Japanese-Americans, setting an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and banning ownership of firearms, radios, cameras, and other contraband. DeWitt stated, “Let me warn the affected aliens and Japanese-Americans that anything but strict compliance with this proclamation’s provisions will bring immediate punishment.” Northern California followed in April, as DeWitt declared, “We plan to increase the tempo of the evacuation as fast as possible.” Citizens in specific areas were required to report to their designated “Civil Control Station,” where they would then be taken to an Assembly Center for relocation.

All told, DeWitt ordered the removal and internment of 110,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry from their homes to internment camps. According to DeWitt, “a Jap is a Jap,” whether a US citizen or not.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_L._DeWitt

128 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 4:34 am

The Niihau Incident of December 7, 1941, in which a few resident individuals of Japanese descent spontaneously sided with a crash-landed Japanese pilot in taking over a small Hawaiian island before being defeated by Native Hawaiians, furnished an unfortunate example.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niihau_incident

It was probably an unrepresentative sample of Japanese-American opinion due to the tiny sample size.

But a lot of people made regrettable decisions in December 1941.

129 DJF August 1, 2016 at 7:47 am

The Japanese military at this time was very anti-civilian, they considered themselves to be the samurai and the civilians to be peasants. So there was no support within the military in organizing or supplying Japanese civilians to attack the US or its other enemies. They did some minor support for spying but usually even then it was in support of Japanese military officers, not directly. Takeo Yoshikawa at Pearl Harbor is an example of a Japanese officer spying with just some marginal support from civilians

As opposed to Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt who put big effort into supporting various civilian efforts against Germany and Japan

130 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 8:55 am

Interestingly, though, mass Japanese-American internment/deportation did not occur in the territoy where that incident occurred, as noted here – ‘Incarceration was applied unequally due to differing population concentrations and, more importantly, state and regional politics: more than 110,000 Japanese Americans, nearly all who lived on the West Coast, were forced into interior camps, but in Hawaii, where the 150,000-plus Japanese Americans comprised over one-third of the population, 1,200 to 1,800 were interned. The internment is considered to have resulted more from racism than from any security risk posed by Japanese Americans.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_Japanese_Americans

131 derek August 1, 2016 at 9:52 am

In Canada, which did the same thing, the Japanese were prosperous and it was an opportunity to steal what they had. It is possible that Hawaiian Japanese didn’t have enough to steal.

132 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 10:02 am

“In Canada, which did the same thing”

Impossible. The US is uniquely evil.

133 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 4:03 pm

All of Hawaii was put under martial law for most of WWII.

There were bizarre wartime restrictions on even Italian-Americans that have been forgotten. For example, the San Francisco fisherman father of America’s most popular athlete at the time, Joe DiMaggio, was banned from fishing to prevent him from, I guess, rendezvousing with Mussolini’s invasion fleet lurking in the fog off the Golden Gate.

War time hysteria (see Spielberg’s “1941” for the mood of December 1941) played a major role in these wrong-headed policies.

134 Anoni August 1, 2016 at 1:37 pm

There was a big unreported role of the LA Times Chandler family. They whipped up a lot of hysteria in order to snap up Japanese owned land. They really bear the primary responsibility. I also don’t think people think through the situation here. My grandfather talked about how they felt like they were losing in Europe and the Pacific- and the nation could soon be fighting for its life on its own territory. If you think throught the long history of what nations have done in these situations, the internment was on the mild side.

135 lemmy caution August 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Thomas Sowell has an interesting theory about Japanese immigrants to US and Brazil.:

http://www.tsowell.com/spcultur.html

A second and very different example of persistent cultural differences involves immigrants from Japan. As everyone knows, many Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. What is less well known is that there is and has been an even larger Japanese population in Brazil than in the United States. These Japanese, incidentally, own approximately three-quarters as much land in Brazil than in Japan.) In any event, very few Japanese in Brazil were interned during World War II. Moreover, the Japanese in Brazil were never subjected to the discrimination suffered by Japanese Americans in the decades before World War II.
Yet, during the war, Japanese-Americans, overwhelmingly, remained loyal to the United States and Japanese-American soldiers won more than their share of medals in combat. But in Brazil, the Japanese were overwhelmingly and even fanatically loyal to Japan. You cannot explain the difference by anything in the environment of the United States or the environment of Brazil. But if you know something about the history of those Japanese who settled in these two countries, you know that they were culturally different in Japan, before they ever got on the boats to take them across the Pacific Ocean– and they were still different decades later.
These two groups of immigrants left Japan during very different periods in the cultural evolution of Japan itself. A modern Japanese scholar has said: “If you want to see Japan of the Meiji era, go to the United States. If you want to see Japan of the Taisho era, go to Brazil.” The Meiji era was a more cosmopolitan, pro-American era; the Taisho era was one of fanatical Japanese nationalism.

136 londenio August 1, 2016 at 4:35 am

If you think this is a post about Trump, you are missing the point. This post is Tyler at his best showing us that we sometimes hold inconsistent world views because of “mood affiliation”. People often make a judgment about X based on a particular principle. Tyler shows that if you hold that principle to be fairly general, you should also make a similar judgment about Y, even if you have already stated to hold the opposite belief about Y. See his arguments about banning guns vs. banning alcohol. Or watch his blogginheads discussion with Peter Singer in 2009. I found some parts hard to watch. Maybe you remember it, but here goes one excerpt.

Cowen: Let me try another question along related lines. I think one general way in which I think about your book differently than you do, is that you think more about giving. I’m a big advocate of giving, I’ve written a whole book myself on philanthropy, but I think somewhat more in terms of changing institutions. So another thing we might consider doing, along the lines of what you advocate, is to increase the tax benefits of giving. Right now, if you’re itemizing deductions and you give $1, you deduct $1 from your taxes. But it wouldn’t be very difficult to make it the case that for certain kinds of giving you could deduct $1.10 from your taxes or $1.20. Would you favor this kind of reform?

Singer: I might favor that, if giving were defined more narrowly than we do, in the US anyway, because I know I can deduct $1 from my taxes whether I give to Oxfam America, which I think is an effective organization fighting world poverty, or if I give to the Met so they can buy yet another painting to add to the already super-abundant collection of paintings they have. I don’t see why the taxpayer should subsidize me if I decide I want to give to the Met but sure, if I’m giving to Oxfam I think that would be good.

Cowen: So, in other words, you favor a kind of tax cut as a way to help the world’s poor. That, in this country, if targeted properly, tax policy, in essence cutting the taxes of rich people, is one of the very best ways to help the world’s poor. Would you sign on to that?

Singer: I’m not quite sure why it is … you seem to have leapt a little from what I was saying and I haven’t followed the leap as to why cutting taxes for the rich would be one of the most effective ways of helping the poor. Can you explain that a little more?

Cowen: If we give a greater tax break to charitable donations, and here I mean only true charity, not say a fancy art museum, disproportionately this will benefit wealthy people. Wealthy people have a lot of money. In essence you’re cutting their taxes. They’re giving more, they may not have a higher level of consumption, but would you be willing to raise your hand and say “I, Peter Singer, think that cutting taxes on the US wealthy is in fact one of the very best things we could do for the world’s poor, if we do it the right way”? Yes or no?

Singer: Yes, if the tax break only goes to those of the wealthy who are giving to organizations that are effectively helping the poor, I’ll raise my hand to that.

Cowen: OK; I’m glad to hear that.

137 Millian August 1, 2016 at 4:48 am

No, it is not clever or brilliant because it is unlikely that “if you hold that principle to be fairly general” can be concretely shown to be necessary and true in the space of a blog post.

So people all hold some inconsistent world views? What age do you have to be for this to be a brilliant insight? Only an autistically-intricate mind can hold perfectly consistent views on everything, and then to what end?

138 londenio August 1, 2016 at 5:02 am

Many people believe that they hold fairly consistent worldviews. Probably you don’t. And neither, I believe, does Tyler. But this is very common in politics, where arguments can be boiled down to “values” and “self-evident” truths. This is all very naive, but that does not make it any less real.

139 londenio August 1, 2016 at 5:06 am

And note that I use once again the adverb “fairly” to denote that this is an approximation. The worldviews are consistent, but only within some accepted approximation. Tyler’s point, is that some beliefs are less consistent than we would tolerate if we had thought it through.

140 Pshrnk August 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Look, effective politics requires compromise. What superficially looks inconsistent is compromise to get the closest thing possible to what you want.

141 Millian, feminist lawyer, ableist August 1, 2016 at 5:59 am

“People that appreciate Tyler pointing out the hypocrisy and intellectual cowardice I personally hold, are autistic.”

142 Millian August 1, 2016 at 4:38 am

“is it possible that presidential achievement is positively correlated with presidential oppression” – it seems in fact to be the settled consensus among historians. The Polks/Jacksons of this world who took other people’s stuff always beat the Eisenhowers who just made their country richer and more free.

143 Andre August 1, 2016 at 4:43 am

I don’t think anything new happens in America, but some of these questions seem silly.

If Joseph McCarthy had counted his early victories and not gone too far I don’t think he would be widely reviled.

Who is celebrating FDR packing the courts and interning Japanese, is it not widely agreed those things were bad ideas? That has been acknowledged with paid reparations to people interned 30 years ago and an Amendment to the Constitution limiting presidents time in office.

The Democrats have compromised on issues; they compromised with the voters on the left because the voters in the center don’t exist.

Of course Trumps policies hearken back to long held American traditions, that’s why he can’t put a wedge between black voters and immigrate groups. He’ll turn on us in a second and we know this.

144 Millian August 1, 2016 at 4:50 am

Nobody is celebrating FDR packing the courts. No Democrat thinks the 1930s and 40s were better than today. It is purely an attempt to shame the other side, without making suggestions for what they should have in their little heads instead: in other words, an attempt to make the other side feel bad; put another way, “trolling”.

145 BC August 1, 2016 at 5:07 am

I think the question is that if Trump’s cavalier disregard of the Constitution is sufficient to *disqualify* him from the Presidency, then should FDR’s similarly cavalier disregard have resulted in his impeachment? If not, why not?

146 The Original D August 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Packing the courts is not unconstitutional. Distasteful, perhaps, but he tried to do it through the legislative process and failed.

147 BC August 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

I was referring to the mass internment.

148 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 5:30 am

FDR’s plan for packing the Supreme Court is always recounted as a defeat, but he actually enjoyed a massive victory: the Supreme Court stopped throwing out business regulation laws on laissez-faire grounds.

Whether or not the Supreme Court was going to give in anyway has been argued about for years, but FDR got in effect almost everything he intended with his court-packing plan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochner_era

149 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 5:32 am
150 Pshrnk August 1, 2016 at 2:12 pm

9 people is too few for such an important institution. Enlarging the court is a good idea. Adding a new justice every 4 years for the next 24-40 years would be helpful.

151 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Gotta add 2 at a time don’t you?

152 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

There are a lot of potential reforms to the Supreme Court that are stuck in stasis: for example, give Justices a single 18 year term with a million dollar per year pension and a ban on post Supreme Court employment.

Improving the maturity of clerks should be a priority, too. Justice Thomas has taken the lead in hiring older clerks who have already made partner, but most justices rely on 20-something recent law school grads.

153 Pshrnk August 1, 2016 at 9:34 pm

@msgkings Gotta add 2 at a time don’t you?

Maybe. The current court having 8 is not yet a disaster. Having an even number slightly dilutes the power of the Supremes. If you get an equal split, having the lower courts ruling effectively upheld is not necessarily such a bad thing. A little less power for the cabal.

154 BC August 1, 2016 at 5:01 am

These questions should really not be that difficult to answer. If Democrats have difficulty, that really says a lot about their partisan blindness and unwillingness to confront realities.

(1) McCarthy was not wrong to “raise questions” in his day. What was wrong was destroying people’s lives, blackballing, etc. for suspicion of, and even actual, communist sympathies. (Criminal punishment for actual, proven espionage would, of course, be appropriate.) Trump’s Russian ties and sympathies are sufficient to deny him the Presidency. They are not sufficient to blackball him from making more reality TV shows, developing real estate, working in the US so that he has to move to Canada, etc.

(2) FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans was, in fact, a gross violation of constitutional rights. The court-packing scheme also represented a cavalier disregard for the Constitutional balance of powers. The Democratic congressmen were worse than Paul Ryan because they were actually complicit in enacting the internment policies. Paul Ryan, so far, has only said that he plans to vote for Trump because he believes his House legislative agenda is less likely to be vetoed by Trump than by Clinton. Ryan has not, again so far, passed or promised to pass any legislation favored by Trump. One can support many New Deal programs (somewhat), while recognizing that these other FDR policies were gross overreach. (I say somewhat because, in reality, many popular New Deal programs do run afoul of the Constitution’s limitation of powers by enumeration.)

(3) The Easterly-Douthat question is one that Democrats would admittedly have difficulty answering. I would hope that they would be willing to compromise on policy to prevent a President Trump — say by co-opting some of Paul Ryan’s agenda a la Bill Clinton — but I am doubtful that they will. Only they can answer whether it’s because they don’t really believe that stopping Trump is a national emergency or whether it’s because they believe that their political agenda is more important than national emergencies. There have been many #NeverTrump Republicans that have been willing to set their agenda aside by declaring opposition to Trump. Where are the Democrats that are willing to do the same by compromising on policy as Easterly and Douthat suggest?

(4) New Deal Democrats’ admiration of fascism and Hitler should, in fact, cause us to lower our estimation of them rather than raise our estimation of Trump.

I don’t think it’s actually that difficult to throw people from the past under the bus, cherry-picking their favorable traits and accomplishments while rejecting their negative ones, which is why the only one of these questions that should be truly difficult is (3). If someone isn’t willing to disavow the negative aspects of even historical figures, then how can we expect that person to show anything close to objectivity about contemporary political allies? That’s why I would be very suspicious about Democrats that have difficulty with these questions. Based on the previous comments, there appear to be many.

155 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:39 am

1. It was really really wrong for Obama and Hillary to have that two bit youtube video guy blamed for Benghazi. Is he out of jail yet?

156 AlanW August 2, 2016 at 12:15 am

Agreed, although I’m a little confused about No. 3: Is any such deal on offer? I think Clinton, like her husband, would be willing to make concessions to get something in return once she’s in office. If this is going to be a turnout election, though, she’s much, much better off proclaiming her liberal bonafides for now. For all the hand-wringing from Republican leaders, there isn’t much sign in the polls that large numbers of conservative voters are ready to jump ship. So, extending an olive branch at this point risks turning away surefire Democrats in hopes of an uncertain payoff in crossover votes.

157 Joan August 1, 2016 at 5:02 am

Most critics of Trump’s ties to Russia is similar to what is said about Hillary’s ties to Wall Street not what McCarthy did in the 1950s. The people who are claiming Trump or his staff are Russian agents are going a step too far. A better analogy to what McCarthy did is the endless investigations of Benghazi by the Republicans in congress.

158 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 5:36 am

Trump is clearly a sleeper agent planted by the Soviet Union’s NKVD in 1946 to lay low for 70 years until he could bring Communist to America.

159 Pshrnk August 1, 2016 at 2:16 pm

That’s how he knew about the already accomplished plot to get a Kenyan Muslim in the White House.

160 Steve Sailer August 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Obama only worked for a single CIA front, Business International, and his girlfriend Genevieve Cook was the daughter of only the #2 man in Australia’s equivalent of the CIA and stepdaughter of a Washington superlawyer specializing in huge mining deals with the Indonesian military regime. That’s considerably less Deep State involvement for Obama than for Obama’s mom, who worked for Development Alternatives Inc., the Ford Foundation, and the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta soon after the 1965 bloodbath.

161 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:42 am

How anyone dare criticize Hillary! We must change the first amendment so that it is illegal to do so!

That is her plan, by the way.

And are you so incurious about the policy that led to Benghazi, and likely has quite a bit to do with the fuss in Europe where a million or so refugees are showing up on their shore? So Hillary can fuck up a good percentage of the world by her stupidity, and how dare anyone ask inconvenient questions?

162 dearieme August 1, 2016 at 6:31 am

There’s only one overwhelming reason to elect Trump, and you all know who she is.

The rest is piss and wind.

163 liberalarts August 1, 2016 at 7:25 am

Did the GOP vilify Obama (socialist, traitor, murderer, etc.) or Kerry (disloyal soldier, Swiftboaters, etc.), or Clinton (affairs, first impeachment in 130 years, etc.) any less than they are doing so with Hillary now? Trump is different.

164 dearieme August 1, 2016 at 8:14 am

I am indifferent to who has been vilified by the GOP in the past. I find HRC abhorrent and think you’d all be lunatic to elect her. You should hold your noses and vote for the mountebank.

165 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 12:22 pm

It’s the crook versus the carnival barker.

166 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Clinton is awful, a terrible choice for president. Probably the second worst possible American to be president at this time. But Trump is still the absolute worst.

167 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm

No, Trump’s not as bad as Clinton. Trump is an outlandish asshole, but he’s not a vindictive criminal. And he’d almost certainly govern as a moderate, whereas Clinton has already proclaimed her move to the Left.

168 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Trump is not vindictive? Um….

Sad to see your Hillary hate blind you on Trump. Not that it matters if you don’t live in a swing state.

169 JWatts August 1, 2016 at 4:00 pm

“Sad to see your Hillary hate blind you on Trump.”

LOL, I don’t hate Hillary Clinton. I just disdain her past criminal behavior and the likely results that type of behavior will have when she is President of the US.

170 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

Kerry wasn’t ‘vilified’ by the Swiftboat association. They pointed out that his service record (which he’d been dining off for 35 years and in the absence of which his success in Massachusetts politics was unintelligible) was not what it seemed and that the people who served with him and his entire chain of command was not impressed with him. Kerry had been using boatmates as campaign props, so he can hardly complain when people in the other boats tell the world they thought he was a young man on the make (something some of his boarding school mates also thought).

171 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Yeah, being a young man on the make is such a tragic flaw. Let’s elect Trump instead. Partisan hackery, the usual from Art Deco.

172 Pshrnk August 1, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Anyone want to lay odds on HRC being impeached over emails?

173 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Probably more than zero, for sure. Trump’s odds of being impeached are also significantly above zero.

174 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:00 am

Trump is a blowhard buffoon, and if he becomes president the whole separation of powers thing will start working again. We have had CIA people say they will obey the law! The Congress will use it’s power of the purse to impose it’s will. The courts won’t let him do anything.

Hillary wasn’t prosecuted for behavior that is illegal. She wants to remove freedom of speech and freedom of religion from the constitution. Openly and gets cheers from crowds. Her foreign policy legacy is a swathe of failed states and unprecedented numbers of refugees.

There is no rule of law in the US. A vote for Hillary insures that. The constitution and republic can deal with a buffoon.

175 MyName August 2, 2016 at 12:47 am

Depending on how the law is interpreted, every American commits some felony of some sort at least once a week. The point is the majority of the time they are either old laws that are no longer enforced, or they are actually not doing anything worth prosecution.
Just because you want to believe someone is a “criminal” doesn’t mean they are actually doing anything wrong or worth prosecuting.
The downsides for Trump, which would include being involved in some stupid war or getting our nations economy or finances screwed up by an ignorate move are much greater than the potential downsides for Clinton, which would basically only affect Clinton.

176 Axa August 1, 2016 at 6:34 am

Trump said something about Russia and some emails, but that’s so last week. The more recent gossip is Trump not behaving well to fallen soldiers families or army veterans…again. While Trump calls John McCain a wimp, even G.W. Bush can act as commander of the US Army https://youtu.be/SrBI-CaiSKM

My point is, Tyler is the logic territory when the election is the feelings and impressions territory. In any case Trump is similar to McCarthy, what idiot would go against one of the high status armies that just won WW2?

177 rayward August 1, 2016 at 6:54 am
178 John Thacker August 1, 2016 at 7:37 am

I suspect one response will be to note that not a lot of people on either party side opposed internment of Japanese-Americans, and that in a democracy people naturally inflate the moral importance of issues that seem contested and likely to be decided based on the politics of the day versus those that are. Politics, as they say, is the art of what is possible. For this reason, you can see massive praise of Obama and Clinton for changing their views on gay marriage, and great opprobrium for those, especially Republicans, who still hold the views that they did a few short years ago. (Conversely, almost no praise for heterodox Republican politicians who favored gay marriage when Clinton and Obama opposed them.)

So for that reason we will never see too much praise for Governor Ralph Carr of Colorado, for while he fought bravely against Japanese internment, he was never going to be successful at that given the political climate, whereas his opposition to the New Deal was part of a movement that looked like it might succeed.

179 Thomas August 1, 2016 at 7:46 am

These questions and statements actually help reinforce my fear of Trump. There are a number of actual historic antecedents to his rise, and we know how they turned out. the 1930s/1940s is arguably the worst two decade period in recorded history. I do not want to go back to that. I like that Tyler has taken some of the smug anti-Trump rhetoric to task with these questions, but the fact that Trump invites these comparisons is not a good thing. I would like to push back though on the McCarthy comparison. McCarthy didn’t just go after purported communists, he went after homosexuals too. And yes, there really was communist infiltration of the US government (that’s how the Soviets got the bomb) but McCarthy didn’t go after actual spies, he went after made-up ones and ruined their lives. As yet, none of Trump’s staffers have had their lives ruined by neo-McCarthyites. But the point about making accusations without evidence is still a good one.

180 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:03 am

What about Hillary openly campaigning on removing freedom of expression from the US Constitution? And freedom of religion?

181 carlospln August 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

What? McCarthy went after Roy Cohn?

!

182 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm

+1

183 TGGP August 2, 2016 at 3:14 am

McCarthy went after people Hoover told him to. Hoover had access to Venona and didn’t tell even the president about it, but instead used McCarthy for fight his political battles for him.

184 chuck martel August 1, 2016 at 7:48 am

Do the vagaries of the nomination and election process really have the capability of installing a president that will produce national catastrophe? The country was intended to be ruled by laws, not men. There have already been presidents whose terms were judged as unsuccessful but the nation moved on. And how much power does a president really have when he’s merely the titular head of the military and the CEO of an immense, inert bureaucracy that no one can even understand, much less change?

185 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

Only if one of them is above the law.

186 rayward August 1, 2016 at 7:53 am

Here’s my interpretation of Cowen’s recent posts about Trump: Liberal democracy assumes national borders, that those within national borders share common interests, that common interests mean mutual dependence and a commitment to promotion of the common interests. With globalization, elites chose profits over common interests, self-interest over common interests. Today, elites in America have more in common with elites in China than with ordinary citizens of America. Can liberal democracy survive when the benefits of globalization are enjoyed mostly by elites, and at the expense of ordinary citizens? If globalization threatens liberal democracy, then it is no less an enemy than fascism or communism. Hence, Cowen’s newfound admiration for Joseph McCarthy et al. Cowen’s friend, Peter Thiel, supports Trump, according to many observers not because Thiel believes Trump will prevent further social and economic decay in America, but quite the opposite: that Trump will destroy America so that it can be rebuilt in Thiel’s image. But hasn’t Cowen supported globalization, with open borders and immigration? Indeed, isn’t Cowen a “global citizen”? In his discussion with Thiel, Cowen and Thiel agreed that globalization isn’t the answer to economic prosperity and social and political stability, with very little discussion of the issue. I was surprised by their pessimism about globalization, especially Cowen’s – after all, Thiel had been known to promote the creation of a new world order with new island nation states inhabited by elites such as himself. Anyway, that’s my interpretation of Cowen’s latest missives. We are pessimistic creatures.

187 rayward August 1, 2016 at 8:13 am

Well, then I read this post by Cowen. http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-01/peter-navarro-is-the-economist-whose-ideas-guide-trump No more speculation by me on Cowen’s hidden meaning in his text.

188 John Thacker August 1, 2016 at 7:56 am

And oh — did I mention that the New Deal coalition signed off on a lot of bigotry and segregation to keep the party together and get the core agenda through?

Even more so, for many decades during the segregationist period of the South, liberals and progressives preferred to work to influence the Democratic Party from within through party primaries. In a number of years the general election presented especially fiery ultra segregationist Democrats faced off against a Republican moderate or liberal on race– but more conservative on other policy issues, in keeping with the national party. In such cases, general election results (and endorsements by the progressive wing of the Democrats) showed almost no movement towards the Republican, and votes remained almost entirely determined by the Civil War (and also the history crushing of the Populist party in some states, see VO Key.)

To what degree are these progressive Democrats of the South let off the hook for party loyalty, or for considering other issues (like labor, or the Supreme Court, or taxes) more important? If they are excused because of primary results, or because of a one party state (which they played a role in perpetuating), then to what degree do we excuse current Republicans for supporting the “nominee,” particularly if they are in a safe seat or state?

Certainly I saw among my Facebook friends in the winter and spring many comments about how all non-Trump candidates were as bad or worse than Trump based on issues. When I saw that, I both understood how progressive Democrats had helped perpetuate the one-party Southern states as well as understood how current Republicans too would stick by “the nominee” for the same reasons that current Democrats saw no real difference between Trump and the other primary candidates.

189 RJB August 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

For the record, my answers to these questions are:

1) Ruining people’s lives because of suspected Communist ties is very different from asking whether a presidential candidate might be too pro-Putin. (I don’t actually think there’s any conspiracy, but I do think Trump’s foreign policy would be to Putin’s benefit, which is troubling enough.)

2) FDR’s court-packing was wrong. Japanese internment was horrifyingly wrong. Which is why it’s so troubling that Trump seems likely to make similarly short-sighted mistakes. We idealize our past to give us courage in the present, but every president does both good and bad. I see no evidence Trump is capable of matching the overall effectiveness of FDR, just making a bunch of his mistakes from which we should have learned by now.

3) I actually do believe Trump’s nomination is a national emergency such that both sides ought to compromise to defeat him. I’ve said in the past that it worries me the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party picked now– at a moment of crisis– to flex its partisan muscles. I have said that I hope and believe I’d vote even for Ted Cruz– my nightmare “real” candidate– if Trump or a similarly disastrous candidate were running as a Dem. I cannot promise that everyone would; there is some “you broke it, so you should fix it” sentiment on the left that is perhaps not entirely helpful at this time. But Clinton is not Sanders, and needed to appeal to his supporters too– if they defect, Trump will be just as elected as if the center doesn’t come around.

4) I don’t know what to say here except, again, the fact that we’ve done horrible things in the past does not excuse doing horrible things going forward. There is a history of American bigotry which cannot be denied, but IN CONTEXT, Trump’s campaign is still more bigoted and vastly more unqualified *compared to his peers* than any in the past. It would be a historic step backward. When we talk about American traditions, we talk about the tradition of what we have believed about ourselves as much as what we imperfect mortals have done. The Know Nothing movement was among the most shameful of those deeds, and I see no reason to repeat it.

5) It’s not Trump’s authoritarianism that’s unique. We can argue all day about the proper role and limits of government, and of course even those proper bounds will be overstepped from time to time by various presidents. What is unique about Trump is his *total* lack of any government or military experience– with the exception of Wendell Willkie, we have never nominated someone with literally no resume in public service, and Willkie was a serious man and not, you know, a crazy person. I see no reason to believe, given Trump’s ego, his anger, and his evident cluelessness on most policy issues, that it will end well.

190 David B August 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm

+1

191 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 8:04 am

News flash. Complaints about ‘authoritarian’ or ‘unconstitutional’ conduct are largely humbug. On the portside, they’re almost entirely humbug bar for a few old guys like Alan Dershowitz and Nat Hentoff. Most subspecies of libertarian care nothing for the integrity of positive law, either. They just despise cops and smoke dope.

What ‘the Constitution’ is nowadays is a component of a set of excuses for the appellate judiciary and law professoriate to stick decent people with the rancid policy preferences of the appellate judiciary and law professoriate, and to claim that democratic decision making cannot say a thing about it. Eventually, elected officials may get wise to this and make life very unpleasant for the appellate judiciary and law professoriate.

192 Todd August 1, 2016 at 8:26 am

I guess a Straussian reading of this post is that Cowen wanted to create a Monday morning comments section that he and his colleagues could laugh about all week long. File under: Professor humor; Laughter beats the heat and humidity

193 Barkley Rosser August 1, 2016 at 8:38 am

The matter of McCarthy and Trump is even more way off than suggested by some above. McCarthy had no “victories.” He came into the game late in it, with most of the real Soviet agents having been already caught in the late 40s. He mostly made baseless accusations against innocent people.

In the case of Trump, it is not a matter of bringing him to trial, it is simply one of finding out how in hock he is to Putin-affiliated Russian oligarchs. The degree of this might be learnable if he would release his taxes, and if he is not, well, he will be off the hook. But in contrast to every presidential candidate for the last 40 years he is refusing to release his taxes. His reason is clearly fraudulent; he is being audited. But he could release them for the many years he is not being audited, but he is not. Why not? His refusal to release his tax returns is not some honorable defense of his rights, it is a deliberate obfuscation denying the public from knowing the truth about this candidate’s relationships with foreign powers. Given the numerous frriendly statements he and Putin have made about each other, not to mention his campaign manager having previously worked for a Putin stooge in Ukraine, this is unconscionable. This is nothing like McCarthyism, which involved firing innocent people from low level positions without evidence. This is a matter of a presidential candidate providing data that all presidential candidates do, but not doing so and thereby fanning the flames of reasonable suspicion that he is hostage to Putin financial flunkies.

194 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 10:08 am

His tax returns will not show anything about his “relationships with foreign powers”.

They will show his income, credits and deductions. Do you think there will be a line “Payment from Putin one millllllion dollars”?

195 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 11:21 am

‘They will show his income, credits and deductions.’

Just to emphasize this point, they will show precise information concerning amounts and sources of income and expenses, along with details of Trump’s charitable contributions when used to reduce the tax he pays. (Obviously, Trump need not declare charitable contributions if he has no interest in wanting such contributions to be used to reduce the tax he pays.)

196 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm

“precise information concerning amounts and sources of income and expenses, along with details of Trump’s charitable contributions when used to reduce the tax he pays. ”

No they won’t. Its will be just information by category and total amounts.

The information you think you will see is on supporting documentation submitted if and when there is an IRS audit. Unless the democrats in the IRS break the law [possible] this will not be released.

197 prior_test2 August 2, 2016 at 2:29 am

Let me quote Warren Buffet, then – ‘“I’ll bring my return, he’ll bring his return, we’re both under audit,” Buffett said. “You will learn a whole lot more about Donald Trump if he produces his income tax returns.”

At a rally in Omaha, on Aug. 1, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pledged to dance with billionaire Warren Buffett if Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District has the highest voter turnout nationwide. (The Washington Post)

He noted that Trump has released a financial statement in lieu of his tax returns, but Buffett said that it isn’t enough.

“As someone who’s filled out financial statements and someone who’s filled out an income tax return, I can tell ya, they are two very different animals,” Buffett said.

“He’s not afraid because of the IRS, he’s afraid because of you,” he added. “You’re only afraid if you’ve got something to be afraid about.”’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/08/01/warren-buffett-is-also-being-audited-but-still-wants-to-share-his-tax-returns-with-donald-trump/

‘Its will be just information by category and total amounts.’

Well, the 1040 by itself. But the 1040 is not the only element of a tax return.

‘The information you think you will see is on supporting documentation submitted if and when there is an IRS audit.’

This is simply wrong – when I file my 1040 and supporting documentation (think Schedule B, for example), the IRS expects me to be quite precise as to source and amount, without requiring an audit. As a matter of fact, not being precise is grounds for an audit – after all, the entities paying me interest not only provide me a copy of form 1099, they also file form 1099 with the IRS. The same applies in other areas, such as those concerning Schedule A, which involves charitable giving. As noted by the IRS itself – ‘To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.’ https://www.irs.gov/uac/eight-tips-for-deducting-charitable-contributions

198 Bernard Yomtov August 1, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Actually they might show quite a bit.

For one thing, he may claim foreign tax credits, which would indicate which countries he paid taxes to, hence where his offshore business activities are.

For another, the returns will show the sources of his investment income, hence what is producing that interest, dividend, and capital gain income.

For a third, if any of his enterprises are organized as LLC’s or other “pass-through entities” he will file Schedule C detailing their finances.

Also, there may simply be 1099’s and K-2’s showing income sources.

You don’t just write down, “I had $xxx in income.”

199 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

Schedule c list the name of the entity and the gross income and expenses by category. Not the sources. Look it up, the form is on line.

Unless he named a schedule c business “Putin is paying me inc.” you will not be able to tell who paid him. Even the address is almost certainly going to be his NYC one.

1099s and k-1s (not k-2s) are submitted to the IRS by payors. They are not filed with a return.

200 prior_test2 August 2, 2016 at 2:33 am

‘They are not filed with a return.’

Your copy is not filed with the IRS, that is true. The information that your copy of the 1099 provides is also filed with the IRS, and Schedule B requires the precise source and amount reflected on the 1099 – that is, a taxpayer’s Schedule B is interesting, not the 1099 in and of itself.

201 chuck martel August 1, 2016 at 10:50 am

What do his tax returns have to do with anything? How about releasing the records of his library activities, purchases at Barnes & Noble, television viewing, current IQ test results, artwork displayed in the home, results of recent duck and moose hunts and evaluations by a team of independent psychiatrists? In a faux democracy of over 300 million bozos how many of them can possibly have any meaningful knowledge of Trump and his qualifications? Same goes for Mrs. Bill Clinton. Once again, unimportant figures like plumbers, barbers, doctors, aircraft pilots, cabbies, exterminators, manicurists, electricians and truck drivers must demonstrate proficiency to regulators in order to do their jobs. But not elected government officials.

202 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 11:01 am

‘What do his tax returns have to do with anything?’

Well, they do provide a clear accounting of what is reported to the IRS, and what is reported allows a clear view into various activities. Unlike in the sort of financial disclosure form that is generally used for elected officials (which tend to ever so coincidentally gloss over specific amounts and revenue sources), the IRS is quite demanding about exact amounts and sources of where money came from and went to.

Further, tax returns are where one would expect to be able to accurately weigh Trump’s actual charitable contributions, though that is a slightly different aspect.

203 chuck martel August 1, 2016 at 12:12 pm

That’s BS and typical muttering by the chattering classes. The significant issue isn’t the money in his/her bank account and how it got there, if that’s even possible to determine on the basis of a tax return, it’s what’s between his/her ears that counts. In the case of Sarah Palin, for instance, everybody knew for sure that she was “stupid” because she went to lower tier schools, didn’t talk like a beltway babe and seemed to have a 19th century moral compass. How important would her tax return have been? Nobody seemed to have cared at the time. We know that both Mrs. Clinton and Trump are dough heavy, the question of taxes is meaningless, especially after it’s spun by the pr flacks. The fact that they are fixated on the highest office in the land, in the case of Mrs. Clinton, for decades, eliminates them both from consideration in any society with a scintilla of common sense.

204 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Well yeah, anyone who wants the job so badly is automatically a bad hire. But that’s the system we have, you can’t make someone president who doesn’t want it. I wanted Colin Powell in 1996 precisely because he had the good sense to not want the job.

205 TMC August 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm

“Colin Powell” +1!

206 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 12:59 pm

“the IRS is quite demanding about exact amounts and sources”

Not on the return itself.

207 prior_test2 August 2, 2016 at 2:42 am

Not on the 1040, but as noted above, a tax return is more than simply a 1040.

And as further noted by the Post (a source that has apparently expended significant amounts of time and effort), it is extremely difficult to find any charitable giving by Trump. A 1040, by itself, would at least provide an amount detailing how much Trump deducted as charitable contributions in that tax year. Which, again, is a slightly different point than the absurd idea that Trump is a Russian agent of influence. Trump is only in this for Trump, after all – he cares nothing for the U.S. or Russia apart from what’s in it for himself.

208 collin August 1, 2016 at 8:46 am

And should we completely ignore the man who “And all men are created equal” because he owned a number of slaves?

209 collin August 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

Should we ignore Ronald Reagan because he sold weapons to Iran to illegally fund weapons to a Civil War?

210 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 10:10 am

Sold weapons to kill Iraqis to oppose communists.

211 collin August 1, 2016 at 10:59 am

But, But….He supported Iran terrorism! Of course, I do find it funny when you hear a conservative politician state “Reagan would have never signed the Iran Nuclear Deal” when his administration sold them weapons. Yes I know it was 30 years with different circumstances.

In reality, the Iran-contra affair taught me that people will forgive politicians for minor transgressions for the right reasons and the end turns out well. I found Tyler’s historical political strawman over-the-top here as even Winston Churchill thought early Hitler Germany (pre-1935) might be the right solution against communism. I figure most of the pushback on Trump and Putin these days are reporters looking for a story and the Democrats exaggerating the issue in similar ways as old story of Lyndon Johnson and pigs. (Make he deny it.)

However, I see Trump’s three problems are:
1) He certainly stepped in it with his comments last week and gave the reporters more stories and followup questions. He has no impulse control.
2) His comments against NATO and relatively mild pro-Putin positions are concerning to a lot of people and worth questioning. I have some sympathy for Trump’s position on NATO alliances and Putin Russia is not our enemy but he is acting like bull in china shop here.
3) Seriously how times has Trump told and changed his stories about meeting Putin? Donald Trump fibs on everything to point you have to wonder about his hold on reality.

212 JCW August 1, 2016 at 8:53 am

I think this post assumes that people think way more deeply about political arguments, particularly in historical terms, than is actually the case.

It might be a compelling argument if Tyler believed and wanted to argue the converse, i.e. that Trump supporters were making more compelling arguments based on their more more nuanced, consistent, and historically rigorous understanding of the election, but I think he failed to make that case because he doesn’t believe it, which sort of raises the “so what?” question. I’m an academic historian, so I think people should think this way, but I bet that bus drivers think that people should think about traffic flow and yield the right-of-way more politely, and waitstaff think that people should order food more clearly and note the serving lanes before moving their chairs, and humans only have so much bandwidth in their brains.

213 Benjamin C. August 1, 2016 at 9:01 am

“Federal habeas review did not extend to those in state custody until almost a century after the nation’s founding. During the Civil War and Reconstruction, as later during the War on Terrorism, the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus was substantially curtailed for persons accused of engaging in certain conduct.”
….

Also, wheat farmers are told now much wheat they can grow.

And evidently, your smartphone can be seized when you enter the United States.

Your local government can unilaterally downzone your property.

Now, we are worried about Trump?

214 Clayton August 1, 2016 at 9:42 am

Most people, even liberals, were at least complacent about Jim Crow legislation before the Civil Rights Movement. Therefore, should we take a more measured approach to criticizing the Ku Klux Klan?

Most people, even good liberals, were comfortable with slavery in the 1700s ….

Also, no one is criticizing Joe McCarthy for wanting to ferret out spies. He’s a scumbag because he people simply for their political beliefs, namely their sympathy with communism as a social order.

215 Hazel Meade August 1, 2016 at 9:56 am

Tyler,
I haven’t heard you say anything about Gary Johnson’s candidacy yet.
Given the unpalatable offerings of the Democrats and Republicans this year, maybe more attention should be given to the two moderate socially liberal Republicans running on the Libertarian Party ticket.

Everyone keeps repeating the “binary choice” mantra, but perhaps this year, its time to case a vote against the two party system, instead of against one horrible candidate in favor of another. Maybe it’s time to give the Republican party a push into collapse so that something else can rise in it’s place. Electoral politics, yes, WILL push things into a two-party dynamics, but it doesn’t have to be the SAME tow parties, and it doesn’t have to wait another election cycle or two. Make the leap now, tilt the axis and shove.

216 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 10:56 am

‘Tyler, I haven’t heard you say anything about Gary Johnson’s candidacy yet.’

Prof. Cowen, self-professed libertarian, has far more important things to write about than the Libertarian party.

Plus, from a cynical perspective, a vote for Johnson is a vote that is wasted in defeating Clinton. And after this weekend, the consensus of beating Clinton seems much clearer among those who have to pay attention to what happened in Colorado Springs.

217 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Gary Johnson favors Nazi wedding cakes. Scroom.

218 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm

No, he doesn’t.

But he did say this – ‘During the first hour of the Libertarian Party presidential forum that aired Friday night on the Fox Business Network, leading Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson admitted that in his view, Jewish bakers should be forced by government to bake wedding cakes for Nazis.

The issue arose when fellow Libertarian presidential candidate Austin Petersen brought to the attention of moderator John Stossel that in an earlier debate in Oregon, Johnson declared that bakeries should be forced to bake wedding cakes for gay couples. Johnson affirmed the position, arguing that being able to discriminate on the basis of religion is a “black hole.” Petersen pushed Johnson on the issue and asked whether he felt Jewish bakers should be forced to bake wedding cakes for Nazi customers. Stossel directed the question to Johnson, who replied “that would be my contention, yes.”’ http://independentpoliticalreport.com/2016/04/gary-johnson-jewish-bakers-should-be-forced-to-bake-nazi-cakes/

To make the point explicit with – the ACLU does not support Nazis, but it does support the right of American citizens to march along public streets, and to display symbols representing their point of view. If that includes groups of American citizens that identify themselves as Nazis marching in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood with swastikas, then the ACLU will support their rights – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_Party_of_America_v._Village_of_Skokie

Whether a libertarian supports Johnson’s perspective is a separate issue, but it is true that in a secular society like that of the U.S., using religion as an excuse to discriminate when offering services to the public – whether it is a taxi driver saying ‘My God forbids me from driving a drunk passenger’ or a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription.

219 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 2:50 pm

You make use of quite a mess of verbiage and manage to be dead wrong in a grossly obvious way.

220 Andrew Edwards August 1, 2016 at 10:09 am

I don’t see these as inconvenient at all – this is more about Tyler thinking he is clever than actual clever challenges to this left-liberal.

McCarthy was right, there were communist spies. He overshot in his zeal and that was bad but this isn’t tricky or tough to square away – “catch spies don’t prosecute witch hunts” isn’t a particularly controversial mandate.

The New Deal Democrats were a bunch of racist assholes. This is not controversial to any modern liberal who has read, for example Ta-Nehisi Coates on the topic of reparations (pretty much required reading I think). They actually built their coalition for much of their social programs explicitly on the presumption of excluding black Americans, in a way no modern Democrat would remotely endorse.

FDR’s legacy is mixed and fraught, and his authoritarianism is another bad part (on top of the racism). He should not have run for a third term, and probably should not have manipulated the Supreme Court the way he did.

There is a very active debate within the Democratic party on how “centrist” versus “liberal” Clinton should run. You’ll notice that she chose Tim Kaine not Elizabeth Warren as a VP, which is part of that dynamic. “How much should we compromise to get elected?” is a super-banal normal question asked in every democracy and not the devastating insight Tyler apparently thinks it is.

221 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

“(pretty much required reading I think)”

You think wrong.

222 Andrew Edwards August 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm

If you are not ever prepared to read a black liberal, then I guess that comment would make sense. But if you are, maybe a McArthur genius grant winner and Pulitzer finalist writing long form in arguably the most prestigious liberal monthly magazine is worth considering?

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

223 Bob from Ohio August 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I read it. Not “required” at all

“McArthur genius grant winner and Pulitzer finalist ”

You are easily impressed by credentials.

“you are not ever prepared to read a black liberal,”

Nice racism allegation.

Coates writes for guilt ridden white liberals only. He has made a nice living but his observations are banal at best.

224 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

He turns in copy on time. He has no technae other than that. His one subject is American blackness, about which he’s verbose but of little insight. One critic reading his most recent monograph noted that he gets into young adulthood before there’s even one example of a paleface doing him dirt.

225 Anon. August 1, 2016 at 10:14 am

>“catch spies don’t prosecute witch hunts” isn’t a particularly controversial mandate.

Then the question just becomes what is a witch hunt and what isn’t. President Truman defended Alger Hiss for god’s sake.

226 Andrew Edwards August 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Yes, that’s right. And so we fumble together towards a more perfect union.

227 middyfeek August 2, 2016 at 8:33 am

Be aware that a substantial number of young people don’t even know who Alger Hiss was. Then there is another group who insist he wasn’t a spy even though KGB files showed that he clearly was.

And this was a major fault of Truman’s. Remaining loyal to the wrong people for far too long.

228 Frederic Bush August 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

Court packing may have been authoritarian but it was not unconstitutional. The Constitution does not specify how many Supreme Court justices there should be. The number of justices was established by legislation, and FDR attempted to get legislation passed to change that number.

229 Eric Rasmusen August 1, 2016 at 10:14 am

Really, it’s the contempt of half the Supreme Court Justices for the Constitution that’s alarming. That’s an old problem, and an obvious one— except that they deny it. The main thing special about Trump is that he mouths off a lot, which is in itself an indication he’s not plotting to undermine the Constitution. He’d violate it, sure, if he could get away with it, but I bet federal judges hate him, and the Elite sure does, so he couldn’t get away with much, unlike Obama. Who can believe that Bill Clinton cared about the Constitution? But he didn’t want the fuss from violating it and didn’t care enough about issues to do it. How about Lyndon Johnson?

230 harpersnotes August 1, 2016 at 10:21 am

Mussolini and FDR both saw the many deep crises of the Post-WWI aftermath as requiring massive increases in the power of the executive branches of government at the expense of the other branches. So it is not too surprising many FDR followers admired the Mussolini of the early 1930’s (before Italian fascism started being warped by Italy’s increasing dependence on Germany and the subsequent incorporation of Nazi race-theory ideology etc.). The vast difference however would seem to be that FDR never thought of the increase as anything other than temporary whereas Mussolini always saw it as a permanent new form of government integrated with worker-councils based syndicalism as opposed to the plutocratic capitalism of the existing three or four developed-earlier European superpowers or to the alternative of Marxism. (My reading of the Mussolini’s Intellectuals book.) For me the interesting question becomes under what conditions is it safe and wise for a democracy such as our own to allow the “Imperial Presidency” to grow ever more powerful? How can it be made to be sure to be limited and temporary, beyond the checks and balances already in place?

231 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:54 am

>The vast difference however would seem to be that FDR never thought of the increase as anything other than temporary

Seriously? It was Republicans post war who dismantled much of the New Deal stupidity, and Carter many years later that dismantled even more of it. What is left are the more defensible parts.

FDR moderated because he had a war to win and needed all the industrial production to do it. The Japanese internment was one more act on a continuum.

The 22nd Amendment came after FDR. Was it because the nation recognized how close they had come to Mussolini and set in place an institutional guard against a second FDR?

232 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Seriously? It was Republicans post war who dismantled much of the New Deal stupidity, and Carter many years later that dismantled even more of it. What is left are the more defensible parts.

What? The country demobilized rapidly between September 1945 and March 1947 and the war economy was pretty much liquidated when the 80th Congress was new in office. There might have been some residual economic controls that were disposed of in 1947 and 1948 and the use of federal mediators in labor disputes was introduced. They weren’t dismantling the WPA, CCC, PWA, &c. because those agencies had been dissolved in 1942 and 1943. Social Security continues to this day, unemployment compensation continues, housing subsidies continue, the National Labor Relations Act continues. Private sector unions went into a decline around about 1955 from which they’ve never emerged, but that’s not a consequence of changes in public policy. Mr. Carter’s innovation consisted of dismantling mercantile controls in the transportation sector and Mr. Reagan followed up with dismantling production controls in agriculture.

233 Michael Foody August 1, 2016 at 10:35 am

The major problem with this is that we’re looking back at historic events where we have information about outcomes. We know that FDR was an effective and important president and most scholars agree he was among the greatest presidents. We view his attempts to pack the supreme court and intern Japanese Americans as bad things, but they are mitigated by his accomplishments. Is it reasonable to compare this consensus greatness with the expected value of a Trump presidency before the fact? Of course it isn’t.

234 chuck martel August 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

What exactly was it that FDR did personally that was so great?

235 derek August 1, 2016 at 10:54 am

He stopped being FDR to win the war.

236 Michael Foody August 1, 2016 at 11:08 am

I forgot that while FDR is typically ranked in the top 3 presidents by both liberal and conservative historians and in polls of lay americans is deeply controversial among libertarians who revel in the ecstasy of influence that comes from posting comments on blogs. If you want to know why FDR is great there are hundreds of book length treatments on the subject.

237 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm

chuck’s a silly anarchist, don’t waste your pixels. Lincoln is another failure in his fertile imagination.

238 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Engineered the devaluation of the currency in 1933, the bank holiday, deposit insurance, and work outs for nonperforming mortgages via HOLC.

Undertook satisfactory meliorist policies in certain areas (WPA, PWA, TVA).

He also directed the winning war effort

And he recruited Harry Truman as his successor.

239 chuck martel August 1, 2016 at 1:16 pm

He was president during seven years of depression and four years of war.

240 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 1:55 pm

And Bill Clinton was president during 8 years of economic boom times and no war. So, Clinton is clearly chuck’s favorite president.

241 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Production and employment careered downhill between the fall of 1929 and the summer of 1932, falling between 19% and 28% depending on which metric you’re looking at, then stabilized, more or less. (Less, it seemed, during the bank runs at the end of 1932 and the beginning of 1933). Roosevelt took office in March 1933.

The Roosevelt Administration managed a turnaround which had tonic effects in a matter of weeks. Over the period running from 1933 to 1941, domestic product per capita grew at a rate of 7.6% per year, personal disposable income per capita grew at a rate of 6.6% per year, and personal consumption per capita grew at a rate of 4.6% per year.

Over the whole period (1929-41), the growth rate (net) in domestic product per capita was 2.5% per year, that in personal disposable income per capita was 1.8% per year, and that in personal consumption per capita was 1.0% per year.

The world of 1941 was more affluent than the world of 1929, it just had a sclerotic labor market. The estimated labor force grew by 16% between 1929 and 1941. In 1929, a mean of about 3.2% were unemployed and 0.5% in the military. In 1941, a mean of about 8% were unemployed, 1.8% were working in the WPA and allied agencies, 2.8% in the military, and 87.5% were in regular civilian employments.

Roosevelt detractors maintain in there minds a counterfactual scenario which incorporates an abrupt return to 1929 production and income levels had Roosevelt or whomever merely done nothing in the Spring of 1933. The argument and evidence they have for this scenario is nil.

242 Art Deco August 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

and four years of war.

Yes, if he’d just closed his eyes and tapped his ruby slippers, the war would have gone away.

243 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 10:40 am

I very much think that Trump is sort of a through back to FDR. Very UN-libertarians.

244 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 10:47 am

BTW I believe that FDR, Trump, Bernie, The Greek Government and some other rising European parties show that bad Central Bank Monetary policy breeds bad politics and that very high government spending in good years, like we and Europe have make fiscal stimulus problematic (whether fiscal stimulus works or not, I am not sure). Perhaps we would be better off with free banking.

245 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 10:50 am

‘I very much think that Trump is sort of a through back to FDR’

Well, that is certainly an unanticipated direction.

246 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

Sorry throwback.

247 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 10:57 am

One more point. I think the democrats would have done well by the country by asking Hillary Clinton to not run because he is such a weak candidate, but her name recognition was so high that she dominated the field. A better Democratic candidate might have dispatched Trump easily.

She adds to feeling among Trumpians that the Democrats are the anti-white male party.

248 Floccina August 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

One more point, the constitution is amendable. Even if you see Social Security and some other New Deal programs as the greatest things ever done by Government we could have gotten them by amended the constitution.

249 IdahoBob August 1, 2016 at 11:27 am

Hillary’s ties to Russia are well known. There are no ties between Trump and Russia all they have is that pretty funny joke he made about Russia finding Hillary’s missing emails.
The DNC’s and Hillary’s ties to American communist groups are well known. There are none for Trump.

Trump has come out as pro-constitution. Hillary has said she will issue executive orders to negate and deny the 2nd amendment.

250 Doctor Pathology August 1, 2016 at 11:42 am

What if everything we know to be true is in fact false? How would we feel about all this then?
(Why is TC the only one allowed to play this game?)

251 prior_test2 August 1, 2016 at 11:46 am

‘Why is TC the only one allowed to play this game?’

He isn’t – any idiot is allowed to play it.

252 Nick August 1, 2016 at 11:49 am

1) You seem to be combining/mistaking the two ideas of a) questioning someone’s foreign allegiances, b) questioning someone’s political ideology. They’re not the same thing. It’s proper to question someone’s foreign allegiances, but to question someone’s political ideology is fundamentally anti-democratic, as it allows for use of governmental force against political opponents. McCarthy was within his right to question people for ties to the USSR (if they actually had any), but the issue was that he used this as an excuse for a witchhunt for all people who held left-wing views, as well as trying to dig up dirt on political opponents who might have been homosexual.

2) You’re again making a false equivalency here– between what FDR did in the moment in office versus Trump’s unforced statements about what he plans to do. If you are forced into an action by circumstances, is that not less wrong than if you voluntarily chose to perform the action? A parallel example would be FDR declaring war on Japan because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, versus GWB pushing the country *into* war with Iraq, to the point of faking evidence of WMDs. Are we now saying that only consequences matter and not intent? Has Tyler now adopted a strict-consequentialism morality?

But all that being said, I seriously doubt any liberals agree with the Court-Packing scheme or the internment of Japanese-Americans. Regarding the latter, George Takei has been telling his story of internment as a Japanese-American for many years, and has fairly universally had liberals say it was a terrible and obviously wrong policy.

3) It’s not obvious that the optimum vote-gaining strategy would be a move towards the center. Trump supporters have repeatedly appeared during the primaries and in the general election to be sticky/inelastic voters who are not all that concerned with actual specific policies, meaning that a move towards the center would be unlikely to sway any of them.

Additionally, we know that Clinton is already getting flak on her left-side from BernieBros mad at her because of the primary. Even if she can gain voters by moving to the center, that action could also piss off BernieBros enough to give them an excuse to not vote for her, resulting in a net negative vote gain. Sticking on the center-left given these constraints may actually be the optimal strategy for maximizing votes.

However, that being said, Clinton chose one of the most Centrist picks she could have as vice-president, so clearly she was reaching out towards the center anyway. We’ll see what she does in the next few months now that it’s proper general election time (when most politicians move to the center) rather than primary time (when politicians appeal to their base.)

4) A couple of questions about the question here.

First, the question is a false equivalency again– at the present time we have one party representing a fairly normal, albeit center-left, political position. The other party is representing (at least in Trump) a very authoritarian position with a disregard for rule of law. Comparing this to the 1930s, when the whole of the developed world was in the midst of rising nationalism/fascism/authoritarianism, and both parties exhibited these traits, is a fundamentally bad analogy; the two situations aren’t that similar.

Second, you’re doing that thing where you’re judging history by modern moral standards. If we do this, then basically everybody before about the 1970s was an objectively terrible person, because they didn’t support women’s rights, gay rights, they were almost all racist, they didn’t even conceive of transgender people as a *thing*, etc etc. So yes, of course by this standard Democrats of the New Deal era would be downgraded, but so would literally everyone else in history. I believe you yourself have talked about the uselessness of performing such judgements, however.

But again that being said, I seriously doubt any modern liberal wouldn’t say that segregation, treatment of Native Americans, forcible repatriation of Mexicans, etc etc aren’t horrifying.

5) Authoritarianism can be warranted if the circumstances call for it. For instance, the idea of a “Commander in Chief” is that we can’t make wartime decisions through committee, but that instead some level of dictatorial powers is inherent to the system. Trump’s authoritarianism is not necessary, though. There are no great crises which warrant a significant disregard for rule of law, for violating constitutional principles or basic freedoms. There’s no need for it.

253 Michael August 1, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Tyler, I think you’re overthinking these things.

– People understand that there actually were Russian spies. The sin of McCarthyism was accusing too many people and using it as a political smear tactic.

– The abuses under FDR happened under WWII, and besides they are widely repudiated. Also I think we accept that there were a bit more egregious abuses of executive power in the past, but that as a society we’ve moved forward.

– A counterpoint to what I just said was Guantanamo and CIA renderings. But these were the fruits of a reckless foreign policy, which is exactly what we’d get under Trump. Also he may be against adventurism now but then again so was George W Bush at first, and plus Trump changes his stance all the time.

– I don’t really find the New Deal democrats’ affinity for authoritarians (if that was true) really interesting or relevant. After all in the end, we fought and beat the totalitarians under FDR.

I say all this as a person who thinks FDR was actually a pretty crummy president, who barely muddled through the Great Depression. He is redeemed by the fact that we won WWII. But even then he sold out half of Europe to the Soviets, and did so way too easily.

254 blades August 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm

+1 enthusiastically. Don’t know what to make of Cowes’s column. Tyler, you do what you want in the election, but your column is BS. You think some half-baked strawman counterexamples is an argument??

Let’s just start with the fact that listening to Trump is like being washed up on the shore of that island where the natives uniformly lie about everything.

From today’s WSJ “I got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous’…because the NFL doesn’t wanna go against the debates,” Mr. Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The NFL denied having sent a letter to Mr. Trump.

255 Mr. Econotarian August 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm

I give FDR a pass because nobody knew what the heck was going on during the Great Depression, and he was clearly grasping at straws. Since he got lucky about the results of devaluing the dollar and the gold clause ban, he probably felt like he knew what he was doing, when in fact neither he nor anyone else really did.

Post-Friedman & Schwartz, I don’t give anyone a pass on basic macro.

(Similarly I give everyone a pass on the real estate bubble recession, but I do note that a lot of damage came from the market distortion of the mortgage interest tax break, which still should be eliminated).

256 Donald Pretari August 1, 2016 at 1:57 pm

“See in addition Ross Douthat’s column.” Some of his concerns are mentioned in the Democratic Platform. It is true that the GOP Platform makes regulation more of an issue, but I wouldn’t say either is long on specifics. Basically, the Platforms came down to “We’re Going to Do More” vs. “We’re going to repeal a lot.”

257 Robert H. August 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

These questions did not make me reexamine my prior beliefs much, which is rare for a battery of Tyler Cowen questions. These are my answers, recorded more because I wanted to think through them than because I think anyone’s interested:

1. A. Appropriate to raise the question and to investigate Russian spies. Methods (ie, guilt by association, guilt based on long past dalliances, excessive use of subpoena power, expanding investigation to those outside government, making the investigations extremely public) the problem.
B. Our entire system is premised on idea that the President is hired, retained, let go, and investigated differently from lower level employees. Plus “investigating current employee” and “deciding whether to hire/elect” are very different things. So in general, there is no reason to think the rules that apply when deciding if you’ll subpoena a state department employee should be the rules that apply when deciding whether to vote for a president. If you want another way to phrase this, think about this from the “qualifiers” rather than the “disqualifiers” side. “Speaks Chinese, went to a good school, seems personable” may qualify someone to get hired as a foreign service officer, but would be wildly insufficient if given as the sole reasons to cast a Presidential vote for someone. So if we require higher (or just different?) standards to qualify someone for the presidency, it makes sense to also have different automatic disqualifiers.
This is not just how the system works, it’s defensible. People who make policy have way more power than people who carry it out and should face more scrutiny to make sure they don’t abuse that power. That level of scrutiny for lower level employees, on the other hand, is not necessary and risks scaring off good candidates (yes, my views on how open government should be reflect this, IE I am not of the “every email from every GS-9 should instantly enter the public record” school).

2. A. Your strawman begs the question of what he means by “strict constitutionalist.” Anyway, what’s so outstanding about Trump isn’t that his constitutional views fail some people’s “strict” tests, it’s that they fail virtually all tests (ie, his views on the extent the first amendment should protect from libel suits). “He’s dangerous because he doesn’t use my preferred modalities of constitutional interpretation and is therefor not strict enough” is different from “He uses no recognized modality of constitutional interpretation. He’s just doing what he wants.”
B. Unless we grade on a curve for prevailing norms and sentiments, virtually all presidents prior to FDR look quite bad, both on moral and constitutional grounds, especially (for constitutional purposes) after the 14th amendment was passed. Grading on a curve is not necessarily dumb, since, for example, i. In deciding whether voting for FDR was good or bad, a utilitarian would be most concerned with what outcomes were caused by FDR becoming President. If any likely president at the time would have interred the Japanese (yes) or tried to pack the courts (no) then the election of FDR isn’t a but-for cause of those things and those things can’t be a disqualifier when deciding whether to vote for him. ii. It’s easier to get constitutional questions right when there is a large body of precedent telling you what to do and a large body of history telling you doing it that way will work out relatively well.
C. If you don’t grade on a curve, FDR’s human rights abuses are horrible and unconstitutional and if he ran today they would be disqualifying. The Democratic congress supporting them would be equally bad (but note, many revolted over court packing). If 1940 FDR travelled through time to a year ago and decided to run in the democratic primary, Hillary Clinton would obviously be the better candidate. If Hillary travelled to 1940, she would still be the better candidate. Assuming, that is, that she doesn’t decide to do the “get rich gambling on sports, then use wealth to bend the world to your will” thing. Isn’t she a baseball nut?
D. You may ask, do current prevailing norms justify Trump? Probably not: we’ve reached the phase where the second most likely choice to Trump (probably more likely, in fact) opposes his more unconstitutional ideas, and where there is a large body of jurists, of laws, of precedents, and of citizens that would interfere with many of his least moral plans.
E. No need to use one datapoint on oppression vs freedom. There’s a lot of social science on freedom and oppression and on average freedom gets better outcomes, though oppression has some pretty good outliers.

3. A. If you’re asking whether democrats should moderate from the top, hard to say. Not clear what policy compromises would make it more likely they would win the election, since any leftward move can be justified with “Need to secure the Bernie bros!”, any rightward move can be justified with “need to secure the middle!”, and any failure to move can be justified with “We’re ahead in the polls! Tread water!” A prediction market could maybe clear this up, but absent one I’m willing to assume Hillary is trying to maximize her chance of winning and knows how to do that better than me.
B. If you’re asking whether they should moderate from the bottom, clearly, yes. If it will help beat Trump hardcore libs should be willing to tolerate more rightwing positions. But note: most of the more intransigent Bernie Bros are independents, not democrats.

4. A. I already had a pretty low opinion of the new deal coalition for a lot of these reasons.
B. Trump *is* new in American politics. In the past, our marginally-more-pro-racist politicians have been allied with decentralization and federalism. Dixiecrats briefly got them tentatively on board with federal power, but as a compromise measure (you give us new deal, we give you unfettered racism in the south) that didn’t stick. Trump, on the other hand, has got them on board with autocracy and big federal government not as a compromise, but as a preferred outcome. Our racists finally look like Europe’s racists: big government authoritarians.

5. A. This question feels too inexact to answer (though I will try in the next part). What do you mean by “authoritarian tendencies”? Is wanting a stronger federal government always an authoritarian tendency? Is taking a defensible but expansive view of presidential power under the constitution (taking an expansive view of the executive vesting clause, for example)? How does this deal with groups outside the polity (ie, is invading, occupying, and brutalizing the Philippines authoritarian even if you have the enthusiastic support of (most) of congress and (most) of the American people?)? How does this deal with Presidents who take actions that are less-authoritarian than the past but still quite authoritarian, like, say, allowing ethnic minorities to serve in the military but only in separate, more poorly paid units? Or is ethnocentrism even inherently authoritarian?
B. If you start isolating the objectionable elements of trumps authoritarianism, the ones which I wish no prior president had had in any degree are ethnocentrism, racism, and misogyny . Others are more matters of degree (IE, Trump is too pro-violence, but it would probably be bad if every prior US president was a pacifist). This is still a hard question even disaggregating “authoritarian” into specific objectionable views, though, since I don’t know whether, for purposes of the hypothetical, the public of 1800 is accidentally electing a president with 21st century views on race and gender or whether they are doing it on purpose.

258 BR August 1, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Wow. Lot to think about there. Thanks for detailed response, Robert.

259 Patrick Marren August 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm

“1. Given what is now an extensive and proven history of Communist spies in the United States government from 1933 to 1945, was it also appropriate for Joseph McCarthy to raise such questions about (lower-level) political officers in his day?”

A. If McCarthy had actually HAD information about REAL communists, instead of baldly asserting that he had the names of 205 Communists in government and then never revealing the list, purely for political scare purposes, then it might have been appropriate. And McCarthy’s accusations were not limited to “lower-level political officers.” He accused Harry Truman, Dean Acheson, and even Dwight Eisenhower of being either pawns of or actual communists. Since he threw up a smoke screen of falsehood over any actual communists in government, Harry Truman was right to call him “the best asset the Kremlin has.”

“B. If you insinuate or make the charge outright that Trump and/or staff might be Russian agents on the basis of incomplete evidence, not yet demonstrated in a court of law, shall we downgrade you or upgrade McCarthy? Or both?”

A. No one I know makes this charge. All we are saying is that Trump seems to be an ignorant pawn for dangerous Putin policies, and are asking whether that might have something to do with his campaign manager, Manafort, actually working in Ukraine for a stupendously corrupt Putin puppet president there. That’s a hell of a lot more to go on than anything Joe McCarthy ever put forward. So, no upgrading McCarthy, no need to downgrade our real and pertinent QUESTIONS, which might also be partly answered by Trump releasing his taxes.

“Statement: I think it is more than appropriate to raise questions about whether Trump’s rather cavalier attitude toward the U.S. Constitution disqualifies him from the Presidency on those grounds alone. I consider myself a fairly strict Constitutionalist, most of all for the Bill of Rights. …Question: Do you feel the same way about FDR’s court-packing scheme and internment of Japanese-Americans?”

A. FDR’s court-packing scheme was struck down by the Supreme Court. FDR’s internment program was upheld by the Supreme Court, though it is generally agreed that it should not have been, and no Democrat defends either of these actions today.

“Were the Democratic Congressmen — wasn’t that just about all of them? — who stood with FDR on the latter issue better or worse than Paul Ryan for standing with Trump today?”

A. We don’t need to compare the two to reject both. But the Japanese had attacked and defeated our (at the time very small) armed forces in a number of battles, and were determined to take over and subjugate the United States. What threat Paul Ryan sees Donald Trump as the bulwark against is anyone’s guess, but it certainly does not compare to a two-front total world war that was not going well in 1942.

“If FDR had offsetting virtues as President, because he did in fact ‘get a lot done,’ and you in general support him for that, are Trump supporters allowed to have a similar belief today about their candidate, viewing him in the lineage of FDR?”

A. No. FDR had decades of public policy experience and deep knowledge of all relevant policy issues, and had also guided the U.S. out of the worst of the Depression. Trump has done absolutely nothing of the sort. Nothing.

“On the basis of this one FDR data point, is it possible that presidential achievement is positively correlated with presidential oppression? Or is that sheer coincidence and all Trump supporters ought to believe as such?”

A. No, that “FDR data point” proves nothing; and yes, it was not just coincidence, but probably an impediment to his “presidential achievement.” First of all, FDR never succeeded in packing the court; and if you want to argue that internment of the Japanese helped us in any way to defeat the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces, I think you will be very lonely doing so.

“Question: To paraphrase Bill Easterly, if you agree that defeating Trump is a national emergency, do you also think the Democrats should be compromising more on actual policies? Raise your left hand if you have come out and said this. See in addition Ross Douthat’s column.”

A. If Trump had any policies to speak of, maybe there would be something to compromise on. He does not. Let me quote from his web site on his national security strategy: “I will make our Military so big, powerful and strong that no one will mess with us.” How making more or bigger aircraft carriers will stop ISIS, or some crazy person driving a truck over children in the middle of a city, is beyond me. And “compromise” over building a wall with Mexico? What does that look like, exactly? Building one along just half the border? Demanding that Mexico pay half, when all sentient beings down to the level of mollusks know they will not pay a cent? No. Compromise with insanity equals incoherence. As for Ross Douthat, he’s the guy who guaranteed Trump would not be the nominee, so I’m not putting TOO much stock in what he has to say about Trump. And as for “raise your left hand,” how about putting your right hand down.

“Statement: During the 1930s, a large number of New Deal Democrats admired the fascism of Mussolini’s Italy, and less commonly but still sometimes Hitler’s Germany in its earlier years. Question: Does this history cause you to have a more positive view of Trump and his supporters?”

A. No. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Republican Supreme Court ruled in favor of child labor and treating women as chattel. Does this cause you to have a more favorable view of child and female sex trafficking?

“Or do you instead significantly downgrade your sympathy for the Democrats of the New Deal era, now that you have lived through the Trump phenomenon?”

A. The New Deal Democrats (and 1930s REPUBLICANS) who admired Mussolini didn’t have the Second World War or Holocaust in the rear view mirror. We do, and this is the very reason we are extremely determined to stop an authoritarian who makes historically ignorant, fascist-tinged statements, like Trump, getting into office.

“Does the Trump phenomenon now seem to you more in accord with traditional and historic American values?”

A. No. Unless you personally think court-packing, internment of ethnic groups, and admiration for dictators is “in accord with traditional and historic American values.” Which actually appears to be what you are saying. Let me repeat that: This actually appears to be what you are saying. Let’s just say I violently disagree with you on that and find it amazing that you were able to type this stuff and hit “Submit.”

“(I haven’t even mentioned slavery or race until now, nor Nagasaki nor Native Americans….”

A. Again – these are arguments FOR Trump? Are you coming out in FAVOR of genocide, atomic bombing of civilian populations, and slavery as “in accord with traditional and historic American values?” Really?

“And oh — did I mention that the New Deal coalition signed off on a lot of bigotry and segregation to keep the party together and get the core agenda through?”

A. No, you didn’t. Again – you are arguing that because we as a people have done terrible things, we should not fear Trump when he is advocating similar-sounding things? Say it ain’t so.

“Or how about the forcible repatriation of perhaps up to 2 million Mexicans, without due process of law, and many being American citizens, during the 1930s?)”

A. So it’s okay for Trump to do this now? Is this what you are saying? Seriously?

“Final question(s): Would American history have taken a better or worse course if none of our Presidents had had significant authoritarian tendencies?”

A. Impossible to answer such an ill-defined question, but see above. The “authoritarian” examples you cite above are things that either (i) you, nor any moral, sane person would ever advocate today; or (ii) in the case of court-packing, a thing that didn’t actually happen, thanks to checks and balances; or (iii) things that certainly did not help America or the presidents in question to Make America Great Again.

“Or do you insist that is the wrong question to ask, instead preferring to stress the issue of ‘our authoritarians’ vs. ‘their authoritarians’ and stressing the relative virtues of the former and the evils of the latter?”

A. This one’s easy. Since I reject ALL the examples you cite, as do all 2016 Democrats I know, no, there’s no question of “ours” vs. “theirs.”

“And if that is indeed the case, do you now understand why Trump has come as far as he has?”

A. When supposedly educated and well-publicized and well-published and entitled and privileged academics like you carry water for Trump so feverishly that you don’t even notice you are citing, approvingly, blatant violations of morality and American values, then no, I cannot be surprised. In a country where even PhDs can so ridiculously misunderstand and misuse history, what hope do less-educated citizens have to realize how dangerous the election of a bellicose perfect ignoramus would be?

“File under: Nothing New Under the Sun, That was Then This is Now, Authoritarianism for Me but Not For Thee, Why We Can’t Have The Good Things in Life, Asking for a Friend, other.”

A. Pardon me, but I call bull****. And I have read and enjoyed some of your work. Trump is an authoritarian ignoramus of an entirely novel and uniquely heinous type in American history.

I hope you realize this and I hope someday (soon) you will regret having ever posted this. It’s terrible.

260 Bill Harshaw August 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm

In future, please number your questions for the ease of reference by all.

1 Was it appropriate for members of Congress to exercise oversight of the loyalty of employees of the executive branch. Of course. Was Tail-gunner Joe warranted in using lies and bluster to browbeat all his opponents? No. Is it appropriate to ask for DJT’s tax returns and question possible Russian investments in his business? Yes. Agree with your statement.

2 American history, indeed the history of any individual, has many blemishes and crimes. As Obama says, the greatness of America is that we learn and strive to do better. Sins come in all shades and it is the nature of reality that good and bad are constrained by the limits of human understanding. We don’t condone dog fighting today just because it was popular during the New Deal.

3 I’m not as scared by DJT as others–we lived through Nixon and Reagan, we can live through DJT. HRC should aim for the coalition which maximizes her margin and that of Dems in Congress. Obviously people on the right will try to tempt her to go right, it’s all a part of the game.

4 See no. 2. When do you compromise principles for results? I say on a case by case basis.

5 I embrace DJT and his supporters as Americans, hopefully over time to become as marginalized in history as the followers of Huey Long, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, et.al. have been.

6 Any leader, anyone in fact, must believe they’re right to be an effective actor. (Though in Hollywood “no one knows anything.) I prefer the self-confidence of Obama to that of DJT, though each will lead/has led to characteristic mistakes, and DJT is in my judgment more dangerous.

261 Sanity Please August 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Clearly, all previous Presidents are tarnished by some of the unacceptable choices they made. Unfortunately, that seems to be a constant for those exercising enormous power in the real world, especially in times of national stress.

Trump is different and his election would represent an historical turning point because — to an unprecedented degree — his theory of the election is largely based on embracing ethnic conflict and rejecting pluralism combined with disdain for existing norms.

Some of the comments to this blog post essentially amount to expressions of disbelief that once in office Trump would actually carry through with his radical threats. That is a very dangerous game fraught with unfortunate precedents and lessons from other countries. In fact, historically, strongmen elected to office tend to go beyond what they have said in their campaigns. Power corrupts.

Our system of government is based on checks and balances, but does anyone believe that the Republican House and Senate, elected on Trump’s coattails, will have the courage to stare him down if and when he takes radical actions curtailing civil liberties or violating international laws? Will they back him in a confrontation with the courts? Their actions during this campaign don’t provide much reason for optimism.

Even more than formal checks and balances, our democracy depends on informal enforcement of limits. Our historic stability and confidence in the robustness of our democracy is based on the role that thought leaders and institution protectors of all stripes, left, right, and center, play in policing Executive overreach. When a certain line is breached, those leaders can be counted on to condemn the overreach and the fact that they present a common front sends a powerful signal to the broader polity that the President has gone too far. That’s what brought down Roosevelt’s court-packing scheme and Nixon’s imperial presidency.

But Trump has already crossed that line and elicited extremely broad condemnation many times during this election with little impact. As a result, it is valid to question whether those same leaders would be able to play their essential limiting role with any effectiveness in a post-election world. It would prove very difficult to countermand almost any action Trump decides to take in the name of fulfilling promises that he claims got him elected.

262 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Really good post. +100

263 stephan August 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Nonsense. What civil liberties is Trump proposing to curtail. Banning Muslims? Most legal scholars say it would not violate the constitution. The immigration law delegates to the president extensive powers to exclude people who he thinks might threaten security, or any way might be detrimental to the interests of the United States. This was applied in the past to communists and anarchists. Recent even in Europe show that it is wise to be careful when admitting Muslim migrants. At the very least they should be screened thoroughly and not open the borders wide as Germany did

HRC would pretty much legalize illegal immigrants. Once you’re here illegaly, you cannot be deported and you will be amnestied. How is that for curtailing the civil liberties of actual Americans with disregard for the nation’s laws and curtailing the civil liberties of lawful immigrants. We have seen how multi-culturalism is turning out in Europe. Isn’t rape way up in Sweden ? Was Cologne a figment of the imagination of German women ?. Most people don’t want to live in a multi-cultural bazaar. It lowers trust and cooperation.

In foreign policy he is a non-interventionist. Contrast this with Obama pushing Mubarak out, and Hillary declaring war on Qadaffi to turn Libya into a failed state and a base of ISIS, or Obama appeasing a terrorist country ( Iran) with rewards. Who is more dangerous ?

You confuse the directness and bluster of Trump with his recommendations which actually make sense.

264 Anoni August 1, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Terrible post, showing you don’t understand the political movement at all. The Trump Republican party is the National/Populist Party. Many, perhaps a majority, of Republicans, are still part of the Globalist party. Ryan, for instance, is far closer to the Democrats than he is to the Nationalist/Populist side. Trump will be resisted far more in Congress than Hillary. Most of the globalist congress wants to sign Amnesty and TPP and go collect their Saudi lobbyist money.

Trump will have to compromise a lot on most of his objectives. For instance, he probably doesn’t have the money or authority to crack down on illegals. Can he run e-verify nationally on the current budget? Prosecute businesses that employ illegals? I doubt it.

265 Anoni August 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm

To see how we see the world read conservative treehouse. You will think its crazy, but its how Trump supporters think. You all control the MSM, so I know how you think.

266 Ann O'nymous August 1, 2016 at 2:56 pm

McCarthy was a Republican. Trump pretends to be one. We should downgrade both of them. Pat Smith’s mother, downgrade. The Muslim father who spoke at the Dems convention, upgrade. I trust you got the hang of it. No? Hillary Clinton, upgrade. The snipers who shot at her in Bosnia, well, that’s a tough call – not sure if they were Republicans, imaginary as they were.

267 alexp August 1, 2016 at 3:09 pm

For the last one, no.

First, the numbers people for the Democrats have assessed that appeasing the Bernie Sanders will have a bigger effect than trying to reach out to Trump-adverse Republicans

Second, that won’t really Trump-skeptical Republicans to switch sides. Republicans did not select Trump because of his National Review approved conservative policy proposals. They won’t throw aside their antipathy towards Hillary Clinton just because she made a few policies concessions, either.

268 msgkings August 1, 2016 at 3:34 pm

This is correct. If Hillary started campaigning to build the wall and tariff China and ban Muslims she’d get very few votes from Trumpland.

269 Albert August 1, 2016 at 5:43 pm

A few inconvenient question for the good Professor (a simple YES or NO answer will do fine):

– Do you support Obama’s cold-blooded murders of American citizens without any form of due process?
– Has the Democrat Party candidate for the Presidency, that you obviously support, denounced those murders?

270 ConfirmationBiasIsAFemaleDog August 1, 2016 at 10:12 pm

There is no Democrat party. There is a Democratic party. Just like there is no Republic Party.

271 Bernard Yomtov August 1, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Number one is more silly than inconvenient. Should we not investigate possible crimes because in the past police and prosecutors have sometimes abused their powers, or conducted groundless investigations?

Two: If FDR had offsetting virtues as President, because he did in fact “get a lot done,” and you in general support him for that, are Trump supporters allowed to have a similar belief today about their candidate,

No. Because he hasn’t offered a single rational policy proposal, and much of what he has talked about is unconstitutional. Besides, the internment issue is more complex. It is now widely agreed that the WWII internment was an unconstitutional, extremely unjust, act. But Trump doesn’t seem to have caught on. That ought to tell people something about him.

Three. What does Douthat propose the Democrats compromise on? The deficit? If the GOP had a sensible plan for reducing it that would make sense. But they don’t. It’s “cut Medicare, use the savings to cut taxes further, and wave your hands.” How do you “compromise” with that?

Four. Does this history cause you to have a more positive view of Trump and his supporters? No. Why should it? Isn’t repeating past mistakes worse than making them to begin with? The history convinces me that Trump and his supporters don’t know any history, or don’t care.

272 Art Deco August 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

No. Because he hasn’t offered a single rational policy proposal, a

Partisan Democrats have no critiques of Trump’s salient ideas, so they call them ‘irrational’.

273 blades August 2, 2016 at 12:10 pm

He has no ideals, so really no ideas. And he just lies, about everything. I’m not a democrat. He’s just a bad guy.

Never liked him, and then he screwed me out of 100 euros last year, per his usual business practices. So, I’m really enjoying his performance do far.

274 Bernard Yomtov August 2, 2016 at 12:37 pm

What ideas? Deport 11 million people? Rob Mexicans living in the US? Enact libel laws permitting him to sue anyone who criticizes him?

His ideas criticize themselves.

275 Art Deco August 2, 2016 at 8:51 pm

The phrase was ‘build a wall’ Mr. Yomtov. I assume that you’re not so addled by senescence that its meaning escapes you.

276 Bill Ellis August 1, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Now trump is saying the election is rigged…I wonder if he’ll ask the Russians to hack our voting machines … ??? Why not trumpsters ?
What would be wrong with it?

277 mkt42 August 1, 2016 at 9:35 pm

“Do you feel the same way about FDR’s court-packing scheme and internment of Japanese-Americans?”

In 1942 this might’ve been an interesting question. In 2016 it is not. FDR also got elected president four times.

All of those things (court-packing, interning innocent people on the basis of their ethnicity, and running for more than two terms as president) are, in 2016, clearly beyond the pale. If Trump were spouting his Trumpisms in 1938, we might say he doesn’t look so bad compared to some of FDR’s bad actions. Charles Lindbergh might’ve looked at Trump and approvingly said he’s like an American version of that Adolph guy.

In 2016, Trumps words and threatened actions are unacceptable. This is not 1942 where you can decide to ban immigrants of a given religion or imprison an entire ethnic group.

Worse, Trump knows about the internment of Japanese Americans. And approves, using it as a justification for his anti-Muslim policy. It was a bad, racist, and unconstitutional act in 1942, but we’re a better country than that in 2016. But Trump would roll the country back to the bad old days.

278 Ryan T August 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Ouch. Take that, GOP defenders.

279 Andrew McDowell August 2, 2016 at 12:43 am

The bureaucracy and intrusiveness of the clearance and classification system is a liberating factor for people with apparently wrong backgrounds – an Irish accent in times of Irish terrorism or a Russian name during the cold war. Possession of a clearance given by an independent authority means that such people can stop worrying about arbitrary discrimination – all concerned know that they have been checked out and cleared by an independent authority as not possessed of bias themselves, or subject to undue influence from others.

It would therefore be most unfortunate if any person was seen to get away with breaking the rules associated with a clearance and classification system due to their political connections or status, thus placing the independence and trustworthiness of such a system into doubt.

280 reed hundt August 2, 2016 at 10:48 am

God help anyone who thinks that history provides justification for supporting Trump. History might teach us to fear for the Republic.

281 Massimo Heitor August 2, 2016 at 10:58 am

Tyler Cowen is posting reason like a true “Trumpista” 🙂

282 blades August 2, 2016 at 12:12 pm

The correct name for mindless followers of El Donald is “Trumpkin”

283 JWatts August 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm

If find it weird and cultish behavior when ideologues start referring to their opponents by odd names.

284 JWatts August 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm

I find it wierd…

285 blades August 2, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Umm, where is evidence I am an ideologue? I just don’t like Trump at all, that’s all.

If I ridicule someone, that’s evidence I’m cultish? I would think ridicule is anti-cultish. It’s a favorite weapon of El Donald, after all, and whatever he may be he is not in a cult, except one of his personality, of course.

286 anon August 2, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Perhaps Tyler is well read enough that he can imagine himself in the moment, in 1954, but I cannot. So that difficult to grasp parallel does little for me, as I consider this moment.

I think most of all that those of us who said last week that any number of statements disqualified Trump for President have beat the rush. It feels good.

On the other hand, if you have to wake each morningto create a new justification for a new insanity ..

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