Why the center-left became immoderate

Lack of ideology and belief in nothing in particular (except perhaps more redistribution):

In polarized times, political competition comes to resemble tribal warfare. Everyone is under pressure to close ranks and boost morale. Lacking an animating vision beyond expert-led incrementalism, center-left politicians and pundits have few options to rally the Democratic base other than by attacking adversaries and heightening partisan divides. The other option—laying out an alternative that differs from what Hillary Clinton or even President Obama offered—requires ideological conviction.

That would explain why Rep. Adam Schiff —previously “known as a milquetoast moderate,” according to the New Yorker—has emerged as one of the most outspoken figures in the Russian collusion investigation. Before being appointed to succeed Mrs. Clinton in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand was an upstate New York representative who belonged to the Blue Dog Coalition. Her 2013 New Yorker profile was titled “Strong Vanilla”—and she now boasts the upper chamber’s most anti- Trump voting record.

When people don’t believe in so much with conviction, the logic of the crowd will sometimes dominate, because actual belief is no longer such a constraining force.  This is one reason why a totally secular “Enlightenment” society is not in every way to be welcomed — we humans are not worthy of it in every regard.

That is from Shadi Hamid at the WSJ; given this perspective, it is perhaps no accident that he is a scholar of Islam.  “Lack of real belief,” and lack of genuine religious communities, is often more of a problem behind terrorism than is “excessively fanatical belief.”

Hat tip goes to the excellent Samir Varma.

Comments

It didn’t.

Yeah I'm not so sure being anti-Trump makes you immoderate. Would Gillibrand be so combative against a President Jeb! or Rubio or even Cruz? Perhaps, given today's polarization, but in this as so many things, Trump is kind of sui generis.

Yeah, once a national security advisor has pled guilty it’s not an immoderate witch hunt anymore, if it ever was.

I don't read Tyler Cowen often. Is he usually this dense? He has a reasonably good reputation, although I think it's mainly for the quantity and relative diversity of his output than for the quality of his output.

In Tyler's case a retweet, or blog post, or intense years long championing of an idea isn't necessarily an endorsement. Sometimes he's being provocative, sometimes he likes a good element of a bad idea, sometimes he is being straussian. In this case I think he's more taken with the idea that moderate views can lead to immoderacy than the claim that that is what is happening here.

Cowen never takes an actual position. He is always lecturing us lesser mortals on how we should modify our own positions. If the commonsense consensus position is correct, Cowen is incapable of saying so even if he agrees. So the people who hold the correct position must believe in it too much or argue for it to passionately or some other minor correction.

Yes Tyler likes to troll people by posting inane things like this. He posts pro-Trump stuff even though he opposed the Trump candidacy just to rile people up. This will probably get over 150 replies so it is working. Also he likes to post about eugenics.

Avoid self-reflection. You and your friends haven't become less moderate despite the recent simultaneous pushes to label everyone who votes Republican, Nazis, and claim punching (or bike locking, shooting at a baseball field, blowing up) Nazis is good.

===> "Cowen never takes an actual position."

...well, he does periodically take personal positions on very minor issues -- but is extremely coy on anything of substance.

He heavily sprinkles MR with superficial blog-bait (like this very MR post). And note how the regular compulsive MR commenters here chomp on the bait daily.

Perhaps it would be nice to know someday what is the genuine purpose of this blog (?)

It would be useful to know exactly what it takes for Tyler to break kayfabe and definitively pick a side.

I that is just about the perfect way to put it Fubar. Be nice to see some posters stop working too.

The FBI conducted a perjury trap and have charged an innocent man with a crime. It is truly sad that so many people find this to be acceptable. It corrupts the FBI, corrupts justice and our government. While it may please you that someone on the right is being rail-roaded it is very short sighted. It is sad that today the best advice you can give anyone is "do not talk to the FBI". What is wore is this is just a symptom of the bigger problem. Our FBI was weaponized/corrupted by Obama and the Democrats to help them seize power. Our DOJ was complicit in this crime.. There are a couple hundred people in the FBI, DOJ, State Department and other 3 letter departments that have committed serious crimes against the government and the people I sincerely hope that they are charged and tried in court for those crimes.

This is especially bad considering the FBI said he didn't lie to them. He had to cop to something to stop the financial drain on his family.

Why did he resign?

Trump fired him because he believed the FBI

Sure, but on what basis? Is she for increasing taxes on corporations back to 35%? Or is she for using the security apparatus to spy on political opponents? Or maybe for not legalizing the status of DACA people?

I don't know what Democrats stand for except for not having Trump as president. And more power for the FBI and NSA.

But that was last week, what will it be this week?

One of these days Democrats will realize that noise on Twitter doesn't reflect anyone except a few individuals who make lots of noise. And that dominating the news cycle is worth a bucket of warm spit.

In Canada the Liberals won the election after three tries by daring to not promise to shut down the Alberta oil patch. Harper was not popular, but the other three parties that he campaigned against, until the last election, all promised to shut down the oil patch, essentially leaving enough voters no choice but to vote for Conservatives or stay home.

'don’t know what Democrats stand for except for not having Trump as president.'

Well, civil rights come to mind. Or a belief that when there is a night time torch lit parade with the participants chanting translated Nazi slogans, there are not very fine people on both sides. Though in fairness, most Republicans are as disgusted by such a statement as Democrats. In part because some things are about being American, and not about being in a political party. As noted in this classic clip from another age - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulCw7RJ5eE8

As the Left's support for Obama's "guidance" on sexual assault on campus shows, the Democrats are utterly indifferent to civil rights. They do not care if people go to jail for no reason at all. As has been made abundantly clear with MeToo.

They just care their enemies lose and their friends win. Nothing else.

"To the moon Alice! Ka-pow!"

-Republicans on assaulting women

"Better put a steak on that".

Bill Clinton's parting words to a woman he just raped.

The Left is in no position to lecture anyone on violence towards women. Trump hired a guy. Kennedy - the Lion of the Senate and Hillary's hero - murdered one.

By the way, anyone asked Farrakhan what his view on domestic violence is?

Here I was, thinking that the civil rights being referred would clearly be in reference to something like this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

In contrast, as soon as a place like North Carolina could escape such onerous legal burdens, there was no question, in the eyes of the Supreme Court, what was going on - 'The court unanimously affirmed the lower court ruling on District 1 in northeastern North Carolina. Ms Kagan wrote that the court will not “approve a racial gerrymander whose necessity is supported by no evidence”.

The justices split 5-3 on the other district, District 12 in the southwestern part of the state. Justice Clarence Thomas joined the four liberal justices to form a majority. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy dissented. Justice Neil Gorsuch did not part in the case.

The state insisted that race played no role at all in the creation of one district. Instead, the state argued that Republicans who controlled the redistricting process wanted to leave the district in Democratic hands, so that the surrounding districts would be safer for Republicans.

“The evidence offered at trial...adequately supports the conclusion that race, not politics, accounted for the district's reconfiguration,” Ms Kagan wrote.' http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/north-carolina-district-maps-supreme-court-ruling-racist-gerrymandering-a7749676.html

clockwork_prior February 14, 2018 at 6:51 am

Of course. You define Civil Rights as helping people who vote for the Left and punishing people who vote Right. Not, for instance, as protecting people so they have due process of the law and things like that.

Gerrymandering is a perfectly good example - to gerrymander to make sure Blacks get elected in safe Democratic seats is fine. Minimizing the number of Democratic seats is not. It is not about principles, it is about sides.

Oh, liberals certainly have the moral high ground on this one, friend.

Imagine the Obama administration keeping a serial wife beater on staff against the FBI's recommendation. Hoo boy. Meanwhile, Hannity was tweeting out conspiracy theories about secret semen on Obama's portrait. This is who your people are SMFS. It is shameful and insane.

Jan February 14, 2018 at 7:35 am

Oh, liberals certainly have the moral high ground on this one, friend.

The Liberals who made Teddy Kennedy - a murderer and the man who invented the waitress sandwich - their leader and their hero? I don't think so. The Left has no standing to lecture anyone about morals at all. They will endorse, praise, worship a murderer as long as he is on their side and provides the pork.

Just as they defended sex offenders like Anthony Weiner for so long. Just as they trashed the women Clinton sexually assaulted.

Hypocrisy and meaningless grandstanding. No more.

"When you're a star, they let you do it."

How many Dems have left Congress due to sex scandals? How many Republicans? How many victims were underage?

"But but but pizza gate!!!"

Pow! Bam!

"[Rob Porter] has a great career ahead of him." "I wish him well."
-Trump, after he obtained detailed knowledge of Porter's serial wife beating causing public scrutiny that after many months finally caused him to resign.

As a Polish Jew whose family was murdered by actual Nazis , I'm ten thousand times more concerned (factually and perceptually) about being gunned down on the streets of Chicago by a Black thug than being murdered by a tiki torch bearing, self-styled wannabe Nazi statue removal protestor.

There are probably more false flag incidents of racism since Trump took office than actual racist incidents.

Jan, you're missing the point. SMFS disputes your statement that Liberals have the moral high ground with strong evidence. SMFS did not argue that conservatives have moral high ground, just that you are wrong. A possible outcome is that neither liberals or conservatives have the moral high ground. You engaging in a tit-for-tat is not going to prove liberals have the moral high ground just because the score is 7-6 or something like that.

I am going to have to reluctantly agree with SMFS. The Democratic party perhaps once was the home of voters that cared about civil rights and procedural justice. Increasingly it is the home of progressives who believe that procedural justice is an impediment to their goals, and isn't important, and is indeed part of the injustice of the cis-het white patriarchy. I have voted for Democrats in the past because the Republicans don't seem to be interested in civil rights or procedural justice either, but it has become increasingly clear that neither party or its partisans really want to live in a liberal democracy. To paraphrase Fukuyama, the US isn't on its way to Denmark, by cultural consensus of both the left and right, and perhaps more of its citizens should be considering leaving for nations with better long term prospects.

@P Burgos: "perhaps more of its citizens should be considering leaving for nations with better long term prospects." - such as?

I am going to have to reluctantly agree with SMFS. The Democratic party perhaps once was the home of voters that cared about civil rights and procedural justice.

Re criminal cases and the northern Democratic Party, that's arguably true. Alan Dershowitz and Jerilyn Merritt display the residue of that era. (NB, there were social costs to the emphasis on process-process-process - see RM Kaus for some examples).

Re the role of the judiciary in policy development, a concern for proper procedure (i.e. deference to democratic choice except when clearly prohibited) died with Raoul Berger. It's been 'push the button that works' for at least 60 years now.

@msgkings- I thought that the implication is that sometimes if you want to get to Denmark, you literally have to pack up your belongings and move to Denmark.

'You define Civil Rights as helping people who vote for the Left and punishing people who vote Right'

This is truly bizarre, as if Jim Crow never happened at all. And was Roy Moore on the left or the right back in 1964? After all, at that time he was Democrat - as was George Wallace, a man who declared "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Is really your entire mental universe about "left" and "right"?

'Not, for instance, as protecting people so they have due process of the law and things like that.'

Jim Crow was not subtle, and was utterly unconcerned about due process of the law.

'Gerrymandering is a perfectly good example – to gerrymander to make sure Blacks get elected in safe Democratic seats is fine.'

Actually, if you had bothered to read the information provided above, the Supreme Court ruled that it is not fine at all.

Hey conservatards here is a newsflash for you: Ted Kennedy is dead. The pussy grabber is very much alive. The left, as sad as they are, very much have the moral high ground over the right. Idiot.

Jan February 14, 2018 at 8:01 am

How many Dems have left Congress due to sex scandals? How many Republicans? How many victims were underage?

Pedophilia seems to be a Democrat thing - Wiener, Menedez, Clinton on the Lolita Express. The Party of Teddy Kennedy still has no grounds to lecture anyone else on anything.

30 clockwork_prior February 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm

This is truly bizarre, as if Jim Crow never happened at all.

So as usual you respond with a completely irrelevant statement. Jim Crow being the work of the Democrats of course.

Jim Crow was not subtle, and was utterly unconcerned about due process of the law.

Indeed. Much like the Obama administration's guidance on sexual assault. The Democrats have form for this sort of thing. None of which is relevant to the point.

31 Benny Lava February 14, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Hey conservatards here is a newsflash for you: Ted Kennedy is dead. The pussy grabber is very much alive. The left, as sad as they are, very much have the moral high ground over the right. Idiot.

Trump has never grabbed anyone by the pussy I know of. The Left continues to praise Kennedy - and Clinton. Bill isn't dead yet. How many flights did he take on the Lolita Express?

Jim Crow being the work of the Democrats of course.

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond switched parties because they didn't feel welcome any more. I wonder why?

The Original D February 14, 2018 at 7:06 pm

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond switched parties because they didn’t feel welcome any more. I wonder why?

Because once everyone agreed that racism was no longer acceptable, they had to decide on what their second tier of issues were. And they decided they liked America. So they left their KKK buddies behind in the Democratic Party, and joined a party of principled anti-racism that was also in favor of the rule of law, balanced budgets, law and order - and of course patriotism.

Very few people outside of Alberta based their vote on the oil patch either way.

Wrong. People were commuting from the east coast to work in northern Alberta. Everyone had a relative working in the oil patch.

The reaction to Harper was very similar, over the top ridiculous. The left was vying for the extreme positions, meaning that there were three parties fighting over 60% of the vote. Liberals were staying home because the centrists were being drowned by the center left. The last election Liberals ran on a very centrist platform and won. Since then there was the second tax revolt that I've seen in Canada, first was HST in BC, the second was last summer when the Liberals went on a tear against small businesses. They were forced to back down and since then have lost support. Trudeau repeated the mistake of the BC NDP by declaring that the era of profitable business was over in Canada when he was in Davos. Stupid stupid stupid.

The noisy Democrats are simply nuts. Tyler is saying something that the Democrats better listen to or they will lose this November. This is likely one of the early of many articles saying the same thing. They will fall on deaf ears because TRUMP NAZI!!!! or something stupid like that.

The FBI stuff is the sort of thing that causes a simmering and spreading anger. Similar to the Clinton email stuff. She lost to a profoundly flawed candidate with less money because of it. There will be a constant drip of disturbing FBI and DOJ stuff over the next months, nothing to do with Trump. So far the strategy has been to not report it and obfuscate, but the news media doesn't have the reach and power to control the narrative anymore.

derek: Similar to the Clinton email stuff. She lost to a profoundly flawed candidate with less money because of it.

Nope.

She lost due to insufficient black voter turnout in the Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia metros. She couldn't keep them engaged and motivated the way Obama did. To be fair, it's unlikely any white candidate could have.

The people who give a shit about the e-mail stuff were never going to vote for her anyway.

She lost due to insufficient black voter turnout in the Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia metros. She couldn’t keep them engaged and motivated the way Obama did.

Because Obama's black turnout was a natural rate? Nope, sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Actually, there are many things that the Left stands for, just no coherent ideology that leads to those policy preferences: high taxes on "greedy" financial workers and CEOs but lots of tax deductions for high income professionals in high-tax blue states; free speech on the job for NFL players but not for white male Google employees; right to choose an abortion but not to choose an incandescent lightbulb, plastic grocery bag, K-12 school, health insurance features, package of employee benefits in lieu of cash,....

Derek, I'm not sure what the standards of personal attacks on posting here, but the only thing 'over the top ridiculous' here are your posts. 36 million or so Canadians, maybe 250,000 people at height left their province to work in the oil patch. 100 people in a family is an awful lot of relatives.

By most accounts Justin Trudeau ran as the most left wing candidate, promising 'small deficits' and having the largest spending platform.

Anyway, you aren't worth time having a discussion with as I think I've already shown.

Robert H, thanks for the reply

Close relatives anyway. I highly doubt that a person in Ontario or Quebec voted for a political party on the basis of their position on the oil patch because they had a distant relative working there. Seriously, that is absurd.

Everyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence and common sense should stand for not having Trump as President.
Jeff Flake is resigning because he doesn't think Trump should be President. He's a pretty far right Republican - except he's pro immigration - maybe because he lives in Arizona and has some sort of knowledge of how immigration law affects human beings lives.

Jeff Flake is resigning because he would be primaried. You are delusional.

He's resigning because he won't pretend he hates immigrants in order to win the primary.
He has principles he's not willing to compromise, unlike the rest of the Republican party.

Jeff Flake is resigning because he doesn’t think Trump should be President.

Jeff Flake is retiring because he has no other option. His constituency is sick of him because he doesn't represent their interests. Flake's problem at this point is that he's a career conservative. He's spent his entire adult life working for political NGOs or sitting in public office, so he has nothing to repair to except perhaps a DC lobbying business.

He’s resigning because he won’t pretend he hates immigrants in order to win the primary.

It's important to note that 'hates immigrants' is Hazelspeak for what is rendered in standard English as 'is willing to enforce extant immigration law'.

Everyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence and common sense should stand for not having Trump as President.

Sure. But at what cost?

There are, in fact, worse things than a Trump presidency. Burning long-standing ideals and institutions to the ground just to get Trump out of office can leave a worse mark on the country than the big oaf ever could.

extant immigration law

Yes. "Extent immigration law" demands that parents be severed from their children and husbands from their wives, and that people who have committed no crime, and are essentially as American as someone who was born here, be forcibly transported to foreign countries they have never known.

Given those facts, only a person who hates immigrants would support enforcing extant immigration law. A decent human being would demand changes to those laws instead.

Long term "bring your kids here, they'll be citizens and then you'll be a citizen too and all of your family too" is open borders. You should support open borders if you want to establish real South American style socialism in this country.

Part of the DACA agreement under consideration is that Dreamers can't sponsor their parents. I think that's reasonable.

Yes. “Extent immigration law” demands that parents be severed from their children and husbands from their wives, and that people who have committed no crime, and are essentially as American as someone who was born here, be forcibly transported to foreign countries they have never known.

If your husband wants to go back to Saskatoon with you, that works for me.

Hazel,

You're wasting your breath with these two.

Thomas doesn't have any thoughts in his head that Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, and Alex Jones didn't put there.

Art Fucko is an unapologetic reactionary reprobate and all-around fascist piece of shit.

Hazel, if a clean DACA was passed with the restriction on the parents, the next ever-present refrain would be to allow their parents to come in. Unlike the socialists, sexists, and racists on the left like FUBAR, people on the right, including Trump himself is willing to compromise because ultimately we are reasonable. Trump offered an incredible compromise for the Democrats and they called it racist. You can't negotiate with psychopaths.

You are a complete moron if you believe what you wrote. He lives in Arizona, so he's pro immigration because he lives around a lot of immigrants. Except he's going to lose in the primary because Arizonans don't like his immigration stance. Guess they don't live around a lot of immigrants.

Shocking Surprise! Democrat proposal allows DACA parents. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED?

https://mobile.twitter.com/TomCottonAR/status/964087946621149185

"The Liberals who made Teddy Kennedy – a murderer..."

This is a reference to Mary Jo Kopechne?

The specific crime was vehicular manslaughter, if that's your objection. And, yes, he was guilty as hell and the Massachusetts political operatives who leaned on the state's attorney in Barnstable County knew it.

Actually I don't think it was vehicular manslaughter. Mary Jo Kopechne was not killed in the car accident. She survived in a pocket of air for some time after the accident. Time enough for Teddy Kennedy to have got help and saved her.

Instead he went back to the hotel, sobered up, called his lawyer and then ten hours later told people about Mary Jo.

Depraved Indifference is a type of murder. He did not just get drunk and smash into a tree.

"Yeah I’m not so sure being anti-Trump makes you immoderate."

If you define yourself in opposition to an immoderate man, and if you oppose every single stupid thing he says or does as if it signalled the end of civilization, then arguably you do end up being just as immoderate and inconsistent as he is. Many of the reactions among members of "the resistance" to Trump's ideas about immigration, for example, are at least as immoderate as what they oppose.

Trump is a very convenient Emanuel Goldstein. Had any other Republican won the White House, the leftists would be just as radical and shrill as they are now. Indeed, their propaganda now is identical to that from when Obama was president. They merely have a few new talking points and effigies.

Well, there was the shock of Clinton's loss. Was she so sure of winning that her campaign did not draft a concession speech for her, "just in case"? I dunno, but the reaction of many outside as well as inside her campaign seemed an echo of those famous Kubler-Ross stages.

It's certainly true that the Left's opposition to former Pres. Bush (both of them) was immoderate and often unreasonable, and therefore there's no reason to expect a moderate reaction to any Republican win in 2016.

BUT, would someone other than Trump have produced demands to suborn the electors, or inspire talk of implementing the 25th Amendment, or otherwise inspired these desperate attempts to somehow, BAMN, remove Trump from office?

Trump really is especially bad. But I also realize that a significant quantity of the outrage over him would be identical if Jeb or Romney were in office. (One problem when you call Bush a racist or Romney a misogynist is that you've burnt out everyone's receptors for when Trump comes around.)

IIRC, after Bush-Gore 2000 there was talk of suborning electors.... but it didn't go so far up the tree. 20 Dem Reps objected against certifying the Florida vote in congress, but no Senators.

Arguably the Dems had more cause for objection and suborning electors in 2000 than 2016. So their extreme behaviour in 2016 can only be explained by a reaction to Trump, or a general shift to "no Republican is acceptable".

@Anon: but the other side was just as stridently anti-Obama. I still have Republican friends who are convinced not just that Hillary Clinton is going to jail, but that Obama is too ("just you wait"!). So were those folks immoderate too? Or just hyper-partisan?

"... but that Obama is too (“just you wait”!). So were those folks immoderate too? Or just hyper-partisan?"

If they were actively holding impeach Obama rallies (and some surely were) , then yes they were immoderate.

There's far more grounds for impeaching Trump than there ever was for Obama. For instance, the FBI was not actively investigating Obama's birth certificate.

There’s far more grounds for impeaching Trump than there ever was for Obama.

Trump hasn't used the IRS to harass the political opposition, nor did he use the Department of Justice to protect the likes of Lois Lerner or Hillary.

" For instance, the FBI was not actively investigating Obama’s birth certificate."

That's a huge straw man.

The FBI was actively investigating the Administration's email servers. Specifically the Secretary of State running an email server out of a spare bathroom from her house.

You may not have noticed this but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are two different people.

You may not have noticed this but Carter Page and Donald Trump are two different people.

"For instance, the FBI was not actively investigating Obama’s birth certificate."

Surprising so, as they fell for the other Clinton campaign leak recently.

> "So were those folks immoderate too? Or just hyper-partisan?"

Allow me to respond your either/or question with a both/and answer: clearly, they were immoderate hyper-partisans:-)

Anyway, I really have sympathy with you poor Americans. I'd hate having to choose between the insufferable Trump and his insane opponents. (And yes, I do think a lot of the stuff that I read in "progressive" newspapers etc is pretty insane.)

"You may not have noticed this but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are two different people."

Members of the Obama administration were being investigated just like members of the Trump administration are currently being investigated. You can certainly make the argument that the investigation is closer to Trump than Obama, but that's splitting hairs to a pretty significant degree.

Obama ordered the murder of an American child and violated the War Powers Act. If you think an FBI investigation with no evidence of any wrongdoing is as bad as those, well, I'd think even less of you than I did before I entered this thread.

msgkings February 14, 2018 at 12:38 am

Would Gillibrand be so combative against a President Jeb! or Rubio or even Cruz?

Yeah. The Left were so restrained and sensible over George W. Or towards Romney.

The Democrats have a lot of marginally literate voters. They need to turn the outrage up to 11 to get them to come out and vote.

Are you sure there's not just an internal status/signalling game being played here amongst the Dems?

I mean, if you look at the behaviour of the left, it almost like they don't care if they lose on an individual basis. Voter mobilisation / winning isn't the main objective of these positions; it's signalling their own virtue in a positional arms race with other Democrats. The logic drives Dems to ever more extreme peacock positions, just to distinguish themselves from the radicals of yesterday who are total moderate sell-outs today.

+1, the recent electoral history doesn't indicate any political genius on the part of Democrats in general. They've been loosing election on net for 30 years at this point. And the entire time they've been telling themselves that demography is destiny and that eventually all the old, evil Republicans would be dead.

The iron law of institutions: "The people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself."

This applies to the Republicans, too, even though it happens to be more apparent in Democrats at the moment. I expect the post-Trump Republican Party will be a mess.

George W who lied to Congress and the American people to lead us to a war that has killed countless Americans and innocent foreigners? That one? Oh, weird.

Countless Americans killed? You mean the "countless" deaths counted by iCasualties.org ?

You mean the lowest ratio of combat deaths to soldier-days served EVER in any war in all of human history?

You mean "lying" about WMD that every single intelligence service, UNMOVIC, the Clintons and Al Gore believed were in Iraq until our troops arrived? You mean the WMD that was catalogued by the UN inspectors, that Iraq was required to PROVE it destroyed but never did? That WMD?

Willitts:

This is not an ideological hill to die on.

OIF was a bullshit power trip launched on false pretenses so W. and Dick Cheney could simultaneously 1) settle the score with Saddam, 2) show up Bush Sr. for not invading Iraq in Desert Storm, and 3) open up the Iraqi oil fields for exploitation by Big Oil.

The WMDs and all the rest was just horseshit PR for the media.

"Marginally literate voters." Who are the people who both spread and believed the gay Kenyan Muslim stuff? I guess they might be literate, but dumb as rocks for sure.

The difference is they had to make stuff up to get real nuts with Obama, with Trump you can get worked up over very obviously real things. Nutters will also get way too worked up about tiny things with Trump, of course, because hyper-partisanship is still a thing.

You don't have to make things up? Russian collusion is made up. Trump being a Nazi is made up. The Steele Dossier allegations are made up. Do you remember that Romney was going to put black people in chains? Get a grip.

Oh there's some made up stuff too, just that with Obama that's all there was to get outraged about (he was a center-left Dem that for some reason (I wonder...) made Reps treat him like the antichrist). With Trump, plenty is getting made up, but the real stuff is plenty outrage-worthy. He's just not fit for the office. I repeat, the only principled 'pro-Trump' position of any worth is to believe he was necessary to knock out Hillary, but then he needs to go now that he's done that.

Yeah hyper-partisans did to W and Romney what hyper-partisans did to Obama and Clinton. Trump is different, but of course SMFS you are too Team Red to ever see that. I just don't get how anyone with a brain can't be happy Trump beat Clinton but then understand that Trump is awful. I can completely see why one would prefer voting for Trump over Clinton, but now that she's toast why would you support Trump? Root for him to go down and another, less embarrassing Republican to take over and cut taxes and regulations.

"Yeah we called Bush Hitler and said Romney was a racist misogynist but Trump is different!"

Sad and pathetic. Take responsibility.

You first, ya big baby.

If you have right-wing views on immigration, it's hard to imagine Trump being replaced by another Republican as helping your cause, rather than hurting it (acknowledging, of course, that the odds aren't great for you under his presidency either).

This one is fair. It's as if Trump was elected to prove that calling Bush the "Worst President Ever" was excessive.

Oh please. Bush got us entangled in the Iraq War -- perhaps not quite as terrible a waste as our little misadventure in Southeast Asia, but certainly the more needless and obviously pointless of the two. The Middle East blew up on President Obama and Secretary Clinton's watch (and with their not-so-subtle prodding), so that Libya is in chaos, Egypt brittle and weak, and Syria... well, let's not even go there. So much for "spreading Democracy".

So what has Trump done to make you think of him as "so much worse"?

So he has 3 more years to get to worse than Carter, then another 4 possibly to get to worse than Obama?

Polarization and radicalization happened before Trump. Have any recollection of how liberals reacted to Bush II's presidency? Granted, he was a terrible president. Even so, the left treated him as an illegitimate president, not just an incompetent one. Of course the same thing happened with Obama (and had also happened with Bill Clinton). It also seems that elements of the left viewed Ronald Reagan as somewhat like an anti-christ. This stuff isn't new.

Agreed, but it really ramped up with Bill Clinton. It got personal then. The thing is, none of them deserved it. Trump does.

"Agreed, but it really ramped up with Bill Clinton. It got personal then. "

It wasn't any worse under Clinton than Reagan. It was, if anything, more personal under Reagan. The media routinely attacked Nancy Reagan.

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/06/us/mrs-reagan-turns-attacks-into-jests.html

I agree that Trump is qualitatively different. However, polarization and radicalization are what brought us to Trump. Expecting those two things to yield different results from what we have been seeing isn't really a rational response to the situation at hand. It is like throwing more gas on the fire.

Granted, throwing more gas on the fire and making the conflagration bigger seems to be what most partisans want.

"Granted, throwing more gas on the fire and making the conflagration bigger seems to be what most partisans want."

+1,000 burning effigies

Bush got elected with fewer votes than Gore as a result of an R team SCOTUS decision on the Florida recount that they specifically said only applied to that exact instance. It's the best example we've ever had of an arguably illegitimate president! Trump got fewer votes but it's actually much less credible to call him illegitimate.

Polarization isn't new, but the extreme views of these different politicians coming to dominate more and more the mainstream of the parties started with Clinton much more than Reagan, I think. Even with GWB, I don't think it was very mainstream in the Democratic politicians as compared to with Trump today. You can't just look at the shoutiest activists at the edge of the party for these types of things. Now you have mainstream politicians doing and saying things you wouldn't have 30 years ago.

"Now you have mainstream politicians doing and saying things you wouldn’t have 30 years ago."

Here's some quotes from Tip O'Neil (Democratic Speaker of the House) about President Reagan.

1983: "“He only works three to three-and-a-half hours a day. He doesn’t do his homework. He doesn’t read his briefing papers. It’s sinful that this man is president of the United States.”"

1984: "The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He's cold. He's mean. He's got ice water for blood.""

"He slammed the president and slammed the president’s friends and president’s supporters, calling them “Reagan Robots.” He called Nancy Reagan “The Queen of Beverly Hills.” "

Get it, Reagan Robots. Kind of like Obamabots or Trumpistas, eh?

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/national-party-news/350045-liberals-should-admit-tip-oneill-was-reagans-bitter

Remember that whole "the anti-semites are coming out of the woodwork!" hype? It began during the campaign and hit its peak about one year ago (and it wasn't just in the Daily Kos). A representative sample:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/anti-semitism-is-no-longer-an-undertone-of-trumps-campaign-its-the-melody/2016/11/07/b1ad6e22-a50a-11e6-8042-f4d111c862d1_story.html?utm_term=.5c5668b51630

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/us/jewish-community-center-donald-trump.html

http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-trump-silence-on-anti-semitic-incidents-1487286542-htmlstory.html

To say nothing of what e.g. Vox was saying at the time.

Lots of people chose to forget about it. I know more than one person who was talking all about it last year, but gave me a blank stare when I mentioned it recently. I don't blame them; the light of reality has not been kind to that particular outburst. Merely being anti-Trump is not immoderation; but pushing, or buying into, that sort of out-and-out Two Minutes' Hate is absolutely immoderate.

"Merely being anti-Trump is not immoderation; but pushing, or buying into, that sort of out-and-out Two Minutes’ Hate is absolutely immoderate."

Agreed. But to be fair it happened under Obama also, and other Presidents previously. It's clearly greater during the Trump Presidency, but then again Trump deliberately trolls almost everybody.

Granted it happened to Obama; for instance, I remember DijonGate quite clearly. And while Trump does provoke, the reaction is still inexcusable -- and seems designed to (and has the effect of) subtly encouraging violence against Trump supporters. If you really did believe - and were assured by all your friends - that Trump was going to become a fascist authoritarian dictator, bring about a Nazi-like regime (see that little hysteria about anti-semitism), etc. etc., any learned or natural distaste for political violence will quickly go out the window. And so:

http://media.breitbart.com/media/2017/03/peppersprayberkeley_480-640x480.jpg
http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/kgo/images/cms/automation/vod/1733047_1280x720.jpg

I find it a beautiful irony that the owner of that black-leather-clad arm, executing a surprise attack against someone merely expressing a political opinion, thinks of himself (or herself) as an anti-fascist. Ok, yes, that person is probably not a member of the center-left. So what? The immoderation of the center-left is precisely what makes that sort of attack commonplace; it gives cover and support. And the litany of tweets in support of that little assault probably contain more than a few self-professed "center-left" people:

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2017/02/03/woman-pepper-sprayed-face-berkeley-identifies-twitter-war-ignites-libs-attack-443766

Admittedly, a website advertising "real conservative news" probably has more than a bit of bias; but in this case I think we can trust the quoted sentiments to be genuine. I'm from [extremely liberal city] and currently live in [other extremely liberal city]; my personal background and occupation are suggestive of pure liberalism. Hence, people I talk to tend to assume that I (like them) am a progressive through-and-through. I hear a lot of stuff that's not said in the open, by people who absolutely consider themselves center-left and not radicals in the slightest, and it all serves to reinforce the impression that this particular side of the aisle is becoming increasingly unhinged.

Yes, those are good points.

Why does the Gay Media Mafia and Hollywood's Lavender Mafia so hate President Trump?

I am not a fan of President Trump but I am very worried about how Hillary Clinton could coordinate a smear campaign against candidates Obama, Sanders and Trump with the assistance of much of the media. She could hide in the shadows, with the assistance of friends in the media, and work with them to spread vile, often false, attacks on her enemies. This is much worse then Watergate or any national scandal I can remember. The ability to partner with the press to spread disinformation is much worse then any foreign government actors interfering with our elections. The failure of the media to seek the truth and become a tool of disinformation is tragic.

Today we have the press ready to be the puppet of behind the scene actors. The partisan nature of the press, the leaking from anonymous sources, the rise of the dirty tricksters as believable sources, undermines democracy.

Why has that become the modern role for media?

I should have thought of this right away, but I was focused on the slur on the center left in this post:

Isn't Cowen basically arguing that moderates lack core beliefs that make them potentially become immoderate, and the way they should have avoided that was by being immoderate in the first place.

Ultimately, I can't find any other interpretation of this post. It's just a whole load of nonsense.

Fascinating; forthrightly and stridently fighting against an incompetent authoritarian wannabe is "believing in nothing in particular".

I take it that, because Tyler believes purely secular governance is something of which we are "not worthy", he values it at zero, so fighting to defend it is a defense of nothing in particular.

Believing in the 14th Amendment equal protection clause as applying to all persons is to believe in nothing, as in failing to believe in white supremacy, women and children as chattel, slavery by other names, free lunch economics, the driving beliefs of Trumpism.

You see? It is not that the Republicans have moved to the Right, it is that the Left is veering off into insanity. Here is Mulp, admittedly not that representative of the Left but not atypical either, accusing the Republicans of supporting slavery and The Handmaiden's Tale for women.

Remember that Biden told Black voters that Romney wanted to bring back slavery and have them all in chains too. So you can see Mulp is actually pretty mainstream in the Democrat party.

"Veering off into insanity"

Millions of liberals parading around in pussy hats and vagina costumes. A marked increase in suicides and therapy visits since Trump got elected.

This is Jonestown on a mass scale.

The crazy politics is a symptom, not the disease. My guess is that the disease has to do with the way social media affects society and politics. One part of this: a lot of very smart people with the best machine learning/data analysis tools available used their genius to figure out how to make Facebook (Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) maximally "sticky" and addictive. It turned out that a really good way to do that was to max out the outrage and anger and fear, so that's what they did. And we're living in the resulting world.

Good point, the social media aspect of things has certainly had an effect on partisanship. If you agree (as many do) that the current era of hyper-partisanship really got going with Bill Clinton, it perfectly coincides with the rise of the internet. And the latest, craziest phase with the rise of Twitter.

Trump may well take voters where he can find them (as do all politicians), even if some of these voters are unsavory.

But, "The Handmaid's Tale"? Trump is not and never has been socially conservative, and those who are (including but not limited to fundamentalist Christians) must have had to put mighty powerful chip-clips on their noses in order to vote for him.

Then again, Clinton likely would have doubled-down on the DoE's "Dear Colleage" campus inquisition by creating new levels of bureaucracy dedicated to the principle that accused doan' need no stinkin' due process rights.

Yet that denial of civil rights would not have been portrayed as "authoritarian" but merely as long-overdue "social justice."

It is not that the Republicans have moved to the Right, it is that the Left is veering off into insanity.

Uh huh.

In terms of policy, Reagan would be considered a moderate today and Nixon a liberal.

The reality is that the political will of the center-right and center-left have collapsed, leaving only the fire-breathing, hyperpartisan shitheads like you on both sides. Exacerbating the situation is the political media which biases its coverage toward extremist nutballs because they get higher ratings than sober, sensible moderates.

What needs to happen is we need to round up all of you along with your SJW counterparts, bus you all up to Gettysburg, wall off the battlefield, and let you go at each other until you're all dead. While the networks are providing 24-7 coverage of your mutual slaughter, realistic grown-ups can get back to running things.

Hear hear! Also that reversal of SMFS's name looks like Latin.

"In terms of policy, Reagan would be considered a moderate today"

This is just ridiculously wrong. Reagan would fit it in with the Republican party today. The Democrats would call him evil.

Here are some excerpts from the 1980 Republican platform, which was written by the Reagan team. It's very long, so these are mere excerpts. I urge you to read the full platform.

"Rather, we must offer broad new incentives to labor and capital to stimulate a great outpouring of private goods and services and to create an abundance of jobs. From America's grass roots to the White House we will stand united as a party behind a bold program of tax rate reductions, spending restraints, and regulatory reforms that will inject new life into the economic bloodstream of this country."

"Never before in modern history has the United States endured as many humiliations, insults, and defeats as it has during the past four years: our ambassadors murdered, our embassies burned, our warnings ignored, our diplomacy scorned, our diplomats kidnapped. The Carter Administration has shown that it neither understands totalitarianism nor appreciates the way tyrants take advantage of weakness."

"Republicans are united in a belief that America's international humiliation and decline can be reversed only by strong presidential leadership and a consistent, far-sighted foreign policy, supported by a major upgrading of our military forces, a strengthening of our commitments to our allies, and a resolve that our national interests be vigorously protected. Ultimately, those who practice strength and firmness truly guard the peace."

"For too many years, the political debate in America has been conducted in terms set by the Democrats. They believe that every time new problems arise beyond the power of men and women as individuals to solve, it becomes the duty of government to solve them, as if there were never any alternative. ...A defense of the individual against government was never more needed. "

"And so, in this 1980 Republican Platform, we call out to the American people: With God's help, let us now, together, make America great again; let us now, together, make a new beginning."

"Substantial tax rate reductions are needed to offset the massive tax increases facing the working men and women of this country."

"Improving the welfare system For those on welfare, our nation's tax policies provide a penalty for getting a job. The Democrats have presided over—and must take the blame for—the most monstrous expansion and abuse of the food stamp program to date. We categorically reject the notion of a guaranteed annual income, no matter how it may be disguised, which would destroy the fiber of our economy and doom the poor to perpetual dependence. ..End welfare fraud by removing ineligibles from the welfare rolls, tightening food stamp eligibility requirements, and ending aid to illegal aliens and the voluntarily unemployed;"

"The widespread distribution of private property ownership is the cornerstone of American liberty. Without it neither our free enterprise system nor our republican form of government could long endure.

Under Democratic rule, the federal government has become an aggressive enemy of the human right to private property ownership. The next Republican Administration will reverse this baneful trend. "

"Americans enjoy greater personal mobility than any other people on earth, largely as a result of the availability of automobiles and our modern highway system. Republicans reject the elitist notion that Americans must be forced out of their cars."

"The essence of freedom is the right of law-abiding individuals to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without undue governmental intervention. Yet government in recent years, particularly at the federal level, has overwhelmed citizens with demands for personal information and has accumulated vast amounts of such data through the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Bureau of the Census, and other agencies."

"Republicans will not make idle promises to blacks and other minorities; we are beyond the day when any American can live off rhetoric or political platitudes. .. Our fundamental answer to the economic problems of black Americans is the same answer we make to all Americans—full employment without inflation through economic growth."

"We pledge to pursue policies that will help to make the opportunities of American life a reality for Hispanics. We also believe there should be local educational programs which enable those who grew up learning another language such as Spanish to become proficient in English while also maintaining their own language and cultural heritage. "

"we affirm our support of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children. We also support the Congressional efforts to restrict the use of taxpayers' dollars for abortion."

"Republicans unequivocally oppose socialized medicine, in whatever guise it is presented by the Democratic Party. We reject the creation of a national health service and all proposals for compulsory national health insurance."

"Second, we support a vigorous and effective effort on the part of law enforcement agencies. Although we recognize the vital role of federal law enforcement agencies, we realize that the most effective weapons against crime are state and local agencies."

"We believe that the death penalty serves as an effective deterrent to capital crime and should be applied by the federal government and by states which approve it as an appropriate penalty for certain major crimes.

We believe the right of citizens to keep and bear arms must be preserved. "

"Steeped in the Judeo-Christian ethic and in Anglo-Saxon theories of law and right, our legal and political institutions have evolved over many generations to form a stable system that serves free men and women well."

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25844

tl;dr;

Sorry the above is way to long. But the idea that Reagan would be to the Left of the average Republican today is ridiculous spin. You could put the Republican platform from 1980 into the modern Republican platform (and replace Carter with Clinton) and most people wouldn't notice.

Sorry the above is way to long. But the idea that Reagan would be to the Left of the average Republican today is ridiculous spin.

Aye. The Reagan Administration actively resisted the racial-preference regime. The Bushes more-or-less supported it. The Reagan Administration ignored the gay lobby. Reagan himself despised the progressive rate structure in the federal income tax code and aspired to dismantle just about every ancillary component of the federal welfare state.

> white supremacy, women and children as chattel, slavery by other names, free lunch economics

It's a slippery slope from comparative advantage to slavery, rape, and child abuse.

Wouldn't competent and authoritarian be a much bigger problem?

In fact, this is an ideal example of how blind the rage is. Trump is simultaneous and incompetent nincompoop and a malevolent actor that threatens the constitution on a way the 44 previous presidents haven't been able to.

Wouldn’t competent and authoritarian be a much bigger problem?

Not if you care about and believe in effective government. A competent authoritarian government might trample on social programs and "set back" women's rights, immigrants, etc. but would leave most institutions intact, hell, might even enhance the popularity of "effective" govenment, a la Lee Kwan Yew. There would still be an effective government for people like David Frum and Gillenbrand to take over eventually.

But Trump is destroying trust in government, and destroying the ability of the United States Government to project power and influence overseas. It is not clear what the US will look like after eight years of Trump or what the new career path to success in that country looks like. This is probably why the extreme left in the US seems far less worked up about Trump than the center left and center right.

"But Trump is destroying trust in government, and destroying the ability of the United States Government to project power and influence overseas."

I see people claim this, I don't actually see this. The US Governments influence is based primarily on a large military, a large economy and following the rule of law over the rule of man.

Trump isn't great on the third, but neither was Obama. Indeed, Presidents in general are about giving the "rule of man" its proper due. The idea that Trump has done irreparable harm to the US image abroad is impossible to gauge at this point and seems to be more flights of fantasy than genuine hard facts.

"But Trump is destroying trust in government, and destroying the ability of the United States Government to project power and influence overseas."

Maybe I need to re-think this Trump guy... ;-)

P( your authoritarian leader is Lee Kwan Yew) << P( your authoritarian leader is Hugo Chavez)

"It is not clear what the US will look like after eight years of Trump..."

Well, I was spectacularly wrong about this in 2016, but I'll go double or nothing...there is no way in the world Donald Trump will be re-elected. "Fool me once..." and so on.

P.S. Unless Chelsea or Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party nominee in 2020. (Brrrr...that's going to give me nightmares...)

The left has no internally consistent belief system. If it does, tell me what it is.

What center left? Since the Clinton administration, the center left is what Americans in the 60s would have called the moderate right. Which says a lot more about where the Republicans have gone, stampeding against RINOs, than the Democrats.

And as noted by an Iraq War veteran concerning Trump - “We don’t live in a dictatorship or monarchy. I swore an oath — in the military and in the Senate — to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap." Opposition to Trump is not a relevant measure of partisanship - unless Sen. Flake has just become a Democrat, due to his opposition to Trump.

Since the Clinton administration, the center left is what Americans in the 60s would have called the moderate right.

People who say this are so utterly deluded it is kind of cute. The Republicans have not moved much. Trump is just more open about his contempt for balanced budgets than any Republican since George H W Bush was, but nothing else. It is the Democrats who are moving so far to the Left so fast their red shift is blinding.

Take Clinton. If a Democrat now said something bad about Sista Souljah, they would be out of work. Hillary even apologized for supporting some of Bill's views on Black crime. If any Democrat said that they thought abortion should be legal, safe and rare they would be in trouble. What were perfectly mainstream Democratic positions are now too right wing for even moderate Democrats.

The reason is obvious - America used to be a White country. Politics was about capturing 51% of that White population - with some Black votes thrown in to make it a little more complicated. So politics was fairly conventional. America is no longer a White country and many of those new voters do not share those White values. In fact they often openly hate White people. The Democrats have always been the party that panders to racial hatred so they are trying to get those votes. America is more diverse and so is its politics.

You only have to look at the long media cover up of Obama's comments about Rashid Khalidi or his photo with Farrakhan. Recently several Democrats met with Farrakhan. None of them are remotely sorry. They boast about it. Long careers in Congress beckon. Try to imagine LBJ sitting down to a pleasant dinner with Farrkahan and Iran's Rouhani. A Democrat did.

'People who say this are so utterly deluded it is kind of cute.'

EPA - Nixon http://time.com/4696104/environmental-protection-agency-1970-history/

Price controls - Nixon https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/remembering-nixons-wage-price-controls

Civil rights - a Republican position stretching back the founding of the party (one hopes no need to link to anything about Lincoln and the Union winning the Civil War)

Of course, if you consider Nixon a RINO, or that the Republican Party was actually the 'pro-white' party in the Civil War, well, no one will be surprised.

And no Republicans is calling for the EPA to be abolished. The Democrats, on the other hand, expanded its power over every puddle in the land. The extremism there is not Trump's.

Price controls were not one of Nixon's finest moments but so what?

As for Civil Rights, of course the Republicans are and always have been the party of Civil Rights. The Democrats are and always have been the party of cynically exploiting and fostering racial hatred. So Trump continues on his way supporting Civil Rights and the Dems continue their policy of trying to sow division and hate. Nothing new. Except now the Democrats insist White people should be ashamed of being White as opposed to their old policy of insisting that Blacks should be ashamed of being Black.

As is obvious, it is not the Republicans that have become more extreme, it is the Democrats.

Shot: "No Republican is calling for the EPA to be abolished."

Chaser: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/317203-lawmaker-to-propose-abolishing-epa

You're scoring a lot of own goals today, SMFS. Please keep it up.

Prior is engaged in an arguing tactic common on the left, claiming that the Republicans of the past (Nixon, Reagan, Bush) were decent centrists, and ignoring the fact that those Republicans were denounced as fascists at the time, largely the way Trump is. It's meant to make the left look moderate, by pretending that there used to be plenty of Republicans they could get along with; in fact, it just highlights the hollowness of the current "authoritarianism" warnings.

+1, Any objective look at the facts would indicate that centrist Democratic positions from the 1970's, 80's and 90's are considered right wing today.

"
Here are some of Bill Clinton's campaign promises from 1992, that all could just as easily be Trump campaign promises from 2016.

"Our political system has failed us, too. Our government doesn't work. Hard-working Americans who play by rules have no voice in Washington."

"Cut 100,000 unnecessary bureaucratic positions through attrition and mandate 3 percent across-the-board savings in every federal agency."

"Reduce the White House staff by 25 percent, and challenge Congress to do the same."

"Crack down on deadbeat parents by reporting those delinquent in child support payments to credit agencies, using the IRS to collect child support and starting a national deadbeat databank."

"Open up world markets by passing tougher trade legislation, creating a national Economic Security Council and stopping our trade representatives from cashing in on their contacts when they leave government."

"Eliminate deductions for companies that ship American jobs overseas and reward outrageous executive pay."

"Make our streets safer and create jobs by adding 100,000 new police officers, with incentives for military personnel to join."

"Create a Rebuild America Fund with a $20 billion annual federal investment for each of the next four years, leveraged by state, local, private sector and pension fund contributions. This fund will be used to renovate roads, bridges and highways and create the world's best transportation, information and environmental protection technologies and networks."

"Our National Economic Strategy puts people first by investing more than $50 billion annually over the next four years to put America back to work -- the most dramatic economic growth program since World War II."

Tom T. is engaged in an arguing tactic common of Trumpistas, called 'whataboutism'. Whenever anyone points out the insanely unique awfulness of having Donald freaking Trump as president of the greatest nation on earth, those mopes talk about the time some Dems were mean to Reagan. It's orthogonal. Some hard lefties were way too unfair to W and Romney and whomever, so Trump is just fine. Got it.

"Tom T. is engaged in an arguing tactic common of Trumpistas, called ‘whataboutism’."

msgkings, you don't understand the word. You're normally a better poster.

"Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument,"

Tom's argument isn't a charge of hypocrisy. The core of the argument is about someone claiming things that aren't true.

Nixon, Reagan & GW Bush were never considered Centrists. Indeed, they were all routinely attacked as being too far to the Right.

Indeed, let's examine prior's original argument:

"the center left is what Americans in the 60s would have called the moderate right."

This is a fantastical position and not remotely true. This argument would have you believe the center left today supports or believes in:

The Vietnam war is worth fighting.

Marijuana is very bad.

America is clearly the best nation on the planet.

Socialists/Communists should be view with suspicion and vigorously monitored by the FBI.

etc.

If those who were denounced as fascists in the past are now hailed as moderate centrists, that speaks volumes about the direction politics have gone.

'Prior is engaged in an arguing tactic common on the left, claiming that the Republicans of the past (Nixon, Reagan, Bush) were decent centrists'

Nope, I am claiming someone like Nixon, who was not known as a moderate Republican at the time, would be called a RINO by today's Republicans.

'ignoring the fact that those Republicans were denounced as fascists at the time'

And Nixon was a big fan of calling opponents communists - so what?

'It’s meant to make the left look moderate'

Do you even know what a real left party looks like? It isn't the SPD in Germany (they are center left), it is the Linke (the left). By American standards the CDU and CSU look like leftists, supporting universal health care, parental leave, or gun control, for example.

'that there used to be plenty of Republicans they could get along with'

????

'It just highlights the hollowness of the current “authoritarianism” warnings'

I basically call Nixon a RINO to point out how perspectives have shifted, and this is your summation? Really?

Nixon seriously considered guaranteed basic income legislation. Nixon also actively (and successfully) implemented his so-called "southern strategy" that was a far more overt appeal to racism than anything Trump's campaign did.

Nixon was a bundle of contradictions, easily the most left-leaning Republican president of the 20th century (despite his viciously McCarthyite early political history) yet always willing to compromise anything in order to win.

hat was a far more overt appeal to racism than anything Trump’s campaign did.

There was no appeal to racism at all, except in the imagination of partisan Democratic mythmakers. You can look at the samples of Nixon's national advertising here.

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/

And you can look at the shooting scripts that Joe McGinnins provided in The Selling of the President, 1968. You can also read in McGinnis summaries of his Southern regional advertising - Roy Acuff singing amiable ditties "This time this time with leadership from Richard M. Nixon" and Strom Thurmond's issue-oriented radio ads.

The Southern Strategy discourse is absolute utter humbug, and the people peddling it have hardly a clue.

I am not going to defend Nixon while pointing out that Art Deco is clueless about the Southern Strategy, but the Southern Strategy was a later thing in its significant political effects.

Republican strategist Lee Atwater discussed the Southern strategy in a 1981 interview later published in Southern Politics in the 1990s by Alexander P. Lamis. -

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 ... and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster...

Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."

Do you even read the verbiage you cut and paste?

Re: many of those new voters do not share those White values.

What in the world are "white values"? It's been my experience in 50 years of life that white people (and, really, people in general) are all over the moral map in their values, ranging from puritans to libertines, from highly upstanding and trustworthy to lying con-men.

To these mopes, White values are simply hating non-Whites. You either do that or you are a race traitor. Easy peasy.

This is one of the weirder delusions of the left. Since the 80s and 90s, Democrats have clearly moved left while Republicans have mostly stayed in place -- moving a bit right on some issues, but left on others (for example, gay marriage, pot legalization, and -- unfortunately -- trade restrictions). But I really can't think of a single issue -- not one -- where Democrats have moved to the right since then. And many of the positions of the Clinton administration would be unacceptable for any elected Democrat now. Can you imagine a leading Democrat saying anything like "The era of big government is over"? Or supporting the 'Defense of Marriage Act' or Clinton-style welfare reform? Or declaring that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare? Rare? They'd never say that now (are there actually any pro-life Democrats left in Congress at this point?). Could you imagine the NY Times today editorializing that 'The Right Minimum Wage is $0':

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/14/opinion/the-right-minimum-wage-0.00.html

As far as I know, Democrats aren't ashamed of any of these moves to the left...so why pretend they haven't happened?

"As far as I know, Democrats aren’t ashamed of any of these moves to the left…so why pretend they haven’t happened?"

This just seems to be a transparently wrong political meme. It looks bad to Centrists to agree that the the Democrats have moved largely to the Left and the Republicans have moved slightly to the Left.

So instead, they proclaim, despite the bulk of the evidence that Democrats have been stationary and Republicans have lurched to the Right. Usually the evidence for this is some fairly thin cherry picked data.

There has been movement to both the right and the left on different issues, and the Left and the Right both have to yell and scream that the movements in the other direction are the dangerous ones that have to be counteracted. Both sides are correct AND both sides are overreacting.

'Both sides are correct AND both sides are overreacting.'

Pretty much. Especially with the massive shift of the South from being on the side of the Democrats to being on the Republican side, which occurred during my lifetime.

"There has been movement to both the right and the left on different issues, and the Left and the Right both have to yell and scream that the movements in the other direction are the dangerous ones that have to be counteracted. Both sides are correct AND both sides are overreacting."

You make a good point, but it's doesn't seem solid when examined in detail.

I posted a bunch of official statements from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. They aren't remarkably different than Trump's policies. I can't imagine that a Democrat in 2020 would make those same points a plank in his campaign. On the other hand, it would be completely unremarkable for a Republican to run on the core issues of Reagan's 1979 campaign.

There's data showing greater changes among Democrats than Republicans. Notice here that Democrats have moved more on every one of the ten questions in the survey except the last one, and also that on two of the questions, Republicans moved *left* and on three others had changes of less than 2 points, whereas Democrats moved to the right on none of the questions and, in fact, moved at least 9 points to the left on every one:

http://www.people-press.org/2017/10/05/1-partisan-divides-over-political-values-widen/1_1-18/

I think you are more or less correct and there are some liberal sites like LGM where some of the front page posters (but not all!) will consistently defend the view that the current party is pretty liberal compared to 20 years ago. But there is also a feeling that Clinton represented a huge shift to the right on economic policy compared to the Democratic party of the 60s and 70s. If this is true, comparisons of today's party to the 90s are arguably not as relevant. I think there is definitely an argument that the Democratic party moved to the right from the 70s to 90s and this persisted into the Obama administration. But it is not as simple as a one-dimensional measurement either.

+1, You give a thoughtful response.

Bill Clinton's policies got widespread Democratic support. To say that all the Democrat's who supported his policies represent an aberration is a remarkable claim. A key part of Clinton's economic policy was NAFTA. Democrats still support that policy.

Furthermore, Democratic support for renewable power has been consistent from at least the 1970's. Indeed, most people today just assume that renewable power support is a result of Global Warming issues. However, renewable power support came first, and it was only later that Global Warming was used to bolster claims for more subsidies for renewable power.

On the other hand, Bill Clinton's "Don't ask don't tell policy" would be considered extremely right wing by the Left today if it were implemented in any fashion.

The Democratic party has gone from 0 tolerance of homosexuals (Lyndon Johnson), to turning a blind eye (Don't ask don't tell, Bill Clinton), to inclusion of homosexuals in social policy (Gay marriage, Barack Obama), to legal prosecution for not catering to Gays (Gay wedding cake). That's a solid shift to the Left.

" But it is not as simple as a one-dimensional measurement either."

Agreed, and my response above is very limited, since none of us has weeks to research the issue. I'm not trying to cherry pick. But overall, I think Republican moves towards the Right since the 1970's are pretty small in number, whereas Democrat moves towards the Left are numerous.

"Clinton represented a huge shift to the right on economic policy compared to the Democratic party of the 60s and 70s."

Not sure about huge, but yes. This was the whole point of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Clinton also got elected twice.

Democrats will need to relearn this lesson after they run to the left in 2020.

This take is an absolute scorcher.

Or maybe it's because being in the center left you realize that the world is complicated and probabablistic and that broad and simplistic principles often can't be easily applied to complex situations. Seriously, with posts like this, I can understand why Tyler Cowen is regarded by many genuinely thoughtful people as a mediocre white male and an exemplar of white male privilege.

What does him being white have anything to do with it?

"complicated and probabablistic and that broad and simplistic principles often can’t be easily applied to " together with "as a mediocre white male and an exemplar of white male privilege."

This doesn't seem very self-aware.

There actually was some satire going on there. First, I have read several people who have referred to Tyler Cowen as an exemplar of white male privilege. You can debate whether it actually exists or not if you like, to me there is no question it does, and I'm not interested in having a discussion on it (at least not with you.)

So, I was being serious in that, and I think that it does actually show complexity: why isn't it the case that every individual is actually just as an individual and what leads so many people to give preference to white males?

However, there was also satire in my comment. If you read the quote on which Tyler Cowen's comment is based "That would explain why Rep. Adam Schiff —previously “known as a milquetoast moderate,” according to the New Yorker" it bases the opinion on Representative Adam Schiff entirely on the basis of one writer in the New Yorker.

If the claim that Adam Schiff was not actually a 'milquetoast' moderate who has become 'immoderate' no longer holds, then much of the basis of the entire article falls apart. My take on Adam Schiff is that he has always been a bulldog for justice and given the nature of the Trump Administration, it's not a surprise at all he'd act like a proverbial bulldog in a China Shop.

The second paragraph should say "why is it that every individual isn't actually judged as an individual?"

The third paragraph should say "If the claim that Adam Schiff was a 'milquetoast' moderate who has become 'immoderate' no longer holds...

Given some of the comments here, I think it's more than likely that some people may need some help in seeing what I was satirizing: I was making a claim about Tyler Cowen from having read a person make that claim about him (actually several people) in the same way that Shadi Hamid made the claim that Adam Schiff was a 'milquetoast moderate' on the basis that one writer in the New York wrote that.

If people don't think the claim that I repeated here about Tyler Cowen doesn't hold up on its own merits, then it completely stands to reason that Shadi Hamid's claim about Adam Schiff also doesn't hold on its own merits. And, if that claim doesn't hold up, then it seems Hamid's entire article is, at best, on shaky grounds.

So you call TC dense and an exemplar of "white male privilege" (an especially idiotic ideology) while disavowing personal attacks, repeat banal platitudes about how complicated the world is, and ignore the claim about how the center-left has become more immoderate to appeal to ideologues. Welcome to the comments section of MR. You fit right in.

Where did I disavow personal attacks?

You can label it as a 'banal platitude' if you like, that doesn't actually make it so.

Your statement can only reasonably be interpreted as Straussian.

I'm aware of Leo Strauss, but I know nothing about him or his ideas, so I don't know what that means.

These are my thoughts as well. And, the reason the Left lacks ideology is because socialism was so thoroughly discredited in the 20th century, and they haven't been able to articulate a replacement. They have a sense that they don't like some of the outcomes of capitalism, and classical liberalism more generally, but they don't have a coherent set of principles that lead to the policies that "feel right" to them, particularly those policies designed to force aesthetically desired outcomes like equal incomes, admission rates, workforce composition, politically correct speech, etc.

That's why all of their rhetoric lies along what Arnold Kling calls the "oppressor-oppressed axis". Privilege hypotheses are unfalsifiable and thus can be used to ex-post rationalize *any* desired policy. All humans either interact or don't interact. If they don't interact, one can say that one group is "ignoring" or "neglecting" the other --- privilege! If they do interact, then one can say that one group is "exploiting" the other --- again privilege! All economic transactions involve a buyer and a seller. If one wants to label the buyer as "privileged" and the seller as "victim", then one can say the buyer is exploiting the seller's labor, resources, or property. If one wants to label the seller as "privileged" and the buyer as "victim", then one can say that the seller is "profiting from" or "getting rich off of" the buyer. So, privilege can be applied to all human interaction and non-interaction and all economic transactions. No wonder the Left thinks that privilege and "power relationships" are all that matter. "Privilege" is just a way of saying, "This policy 'feels right' to me, but I have no coherent argument why."

Part of the problem was the replacement of the older centrist / moderate left, which was commendably anti Soviet and which I suppose has some vestigial force in European social democracy, by the radical New Left in the sixties.

Latterly the “echo chambering” has compelled many leftists to hold immoderate views, immoderate in themselves and immoderate in terms of being unconvincing to the majority. And as the left is unable to put its wilder political ideas into practice, it seems to be spurred on to greater frenzied frustration. And name calling.

The collapse of the traditional white working class didn't help the legacy left. They were redistributionist, but relatively socially conservative and shared a common "American" perspective with their adversaries in foreign policy.

Their new constituencies are racial, radical, and don't believe their adversaries are part of the same polity; just targets for collective raiding and expropriation.

And, the reason the Left lacks ideology is because socialism was so thoroughly discredited in the 20th century, and they haven’t been able to articulate a replacement.

I got sour news for you, friend. Socialism is coming back in a big way. The moderate left is going to take a while to get there, but the folks who would have been clamoring for universal healthcare 20 years ago are now all aboard the “peak capitalism” train - and cannot for the life of them understand why the workers of the world have not yet united.

I expect this is a largely ignored phenomenon because people like Professor Cowen, while infovores, simply don’t sip from the same firehose as those under 40. Twitter feeds are a reflection of their curators, and I also doubt he’s perusing the comments on /r/news.

Are you sure that people mean by socialism what you think they mean? Being under 40 myself, when I think of socialism I think of Denmark and Sweden. When I think of communism, I think of Russia and China. If you ignore taxes and redistribution, Denmark and Sweden actually have freer markets than the US. Which is to say that the margins are tougher in those countries, but unlike in the US, for most things no one from the government is going to tell you no, make you go through a torturous process to get the appropriate licenses and government approvals, etc. Granted, most young people probably don't know that about the Nordic countries, and really just want a large and generous welfare state like Denmark or Sweden, and haven't thought much about why a large and generous welfare state works well in Nordic countries but much less so in the Mediterranean. But let it suffice to say that Bernie Sanders is a socialist, not a communist, and I believe that people under 40 use those two words to refer to two very different things.

Reddit is a cesspool of the unemployed.

No doubt they are covetous of others wealth.

Universal healthcare is not "socialism". Socialism is government ownership of the means of production. For a brief while in 2008-09 some people (not necessarily all liberals) were talking about the government taking over insolvent banks, but other than that there's been zero support for the government nationalizing industries. Universal healthcare meanwhile in accepted throughout the entire civilized world as just plain common sense and part of the basic structure of civilization, as much so as universal sanitation or even universal justice.

Interesting. Tyler, you have written briefly about some of your own metaphysical guiding principles. How (if at all) do these find expression in a guiding, behaviour-constraining collective - a religious community of belonging where you find your intellectual and moral home?

There isn't any real left-of-center for the most part. For the main-stream Democrats and other similar parties world-wide focusing on identity politics, Russia scares, and that kind of thing doesn't really "upset the apple cart" in terms of the bankers/tech billionaires who fund them.

"'Lack of real belief,' and lack of genuine religious communities, is often more of a problem behind terrorism than is 'excessively fanatical belief.'"

Okay, so can anyone give this a sensible interpretation? Because it reads like a bunch of nonsense masquerading as insight.

Here is a general principle a vocal section within the left follows: the cause for Christian fundamentalism is usually the innate toxicity of religion, while the cause of Islamist terrorism is always "not enough true Islam". Tyler is very mood-affiliated on Islam.

'the cause for Christian fundamentalism is usually the innate toxicity of religion, while the cause of Islamist terrorism is always “not enough true Islam”'

Or, more realistically and without the assumption of being victimized by 'them,' fundamentalism in any religion is a problem in a political context that requires tolerating those who do not share the beliefs of the fundamentalists. Or worse, those who actually oppose the conversion of the words of god(s) as believed by the fundamentalists being implemented into the laws of a nation becoming not political opponents, but actual agents of evil.

I'll be honest, if I had a choice (as an atheist) between living in a state of fundamentalist Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Jews, or Muslims, one of the choices would be a LONG way back behind the others.

Those nasty Taoists!

It is not about the religion, it is about the fundamentalists - and to what extent they are able to exercise power freely.

+1

The knee-jerk hostility I find among my intellectually-fashionable friends at [extremely influential institution] for Christianity is breathtaking and occasionally vicious. It last showed itself after the Super Bowl, when the Eagles' big shots (owner, coach, quarterback, guy who made a huge play) all said "all glory to God" in their interviews. But I don't think it's really a hostility to Christianity itself; foreign Christians are treated at least with civility. It's more a hostility to "traditional" American culture, of which a Christianity is a major feature.

For the past 50 (arguably 100) years, the fashionable and influential people in the US -- the so-called "intelligentsia", the universities, the media, etc. -- have slammed this culture. The culture is dying, and where it once held, we see increases in despair; in suicide; in death rates; in substance abuse; in crime; in illegitimate births; and so forth. The reaction to all this within the intelligentsia seems to be a mix of (a) blindness to their own hand in this state of affairs; (b) bewilderment that a mildly redistributive economic policy isn't sufficient to bribe people they (as a class) have spat on reflexively for two generations and whose culture they destroyed; and (c) "well those racist/sexist/homophobic/bigoted/deplorable/etc./etc. scum deserve this".

[That word - scum - is one that a friend of mine used to describe Trump voters on social media after the election; and he was genuinely bewildered that they would vote, and I quote, "against their own interests". Fascinating stuff.]

I am glad you noticed this, but flummoxed that most other commenters are happy with it. Why really is it that we never hear "To combat Christian fundamentalism we should set up genuine Christian communities"?

The asymmetry is so glaring, and people are too happy to ignore it.

That’s what Pope Francis is doing, and it’s well-received even beyond Catholics.

Well, not Art Deco, who only follows papal teachings he agrees with.

That you had to choose your example from a staunch pro-Christian voice (the Pope's) rather than a secular liberal voice, which Tyler's is supposed to be, helps my point. Do you see the asymmetry?

At age 70, I find your comment, like many others, so ignorant of history.

I grew up in Indiana when the Pope was the anti-Christ and every Catholic in DC would be a Democrat, and only slightly more acceptable than Mormons, Jews, and atheists.

Now the Supreme court is GOP Catholics and Democrat Jews and not a real Christian in sight.

There is no evidence that the Pope is pro-Christian. He has just betrayed China's Christians in favor of the Communist Party.

He may well be the last Pope.

@SoMuchForSubtlety - A word like pro-Christian can have many senses: intending to be pro-Christian, actually being pro-Christian in effect etc.

I can understand Mulp misinterpreting the context and bringing in *true-but-irrelevant* historical points, because it helps support his political views to do so. But your doing the same amounts to friendly fire: I called out Tyler on exactly the same comment as you did below.

“To combat Christian fundamentalism we should set up genuine Christian communities”?

You might really want to start reading this guy (he does not precisely write that way, preferring that Christians reform themselves by not blindly following liars and charlatans) - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/

That "does not precisely write that way" is the whole, whole point. There's a huge difference between "The followers of the religion should reform themselves", and "The absence of real belief in the religion is the problem".

Well, he already considers a member of the Christian community, you do know that?

Which means his writing does not even recognize what you wrote below - 'There’s a huge difference between “The followers of the religion should reform themselves”, and “The absence of real belief in the religion is the problem”.' Though in all fairness, he does tend to write that many Christians seemingly have no real belief in their religion, at least when it comes things like opposing health care for everyone or believing in end times fantasies.

Tribalism is the latest thing to blame everything on. I'm already tired of it.

Yeah well your tribe would be, wouldn't they! :-)

Center Left emphasis on positive liberty vs. Center Right's emphasis on negative liberty possibly.

"Person" as human being vs "person" as propertied white male US born Protestant.

"Center Left emphasis on positive liberty"

The Center Left has a strong emphasis in more government regulation, higher government spending and much higher and more progressive taxes.

Those are all negative liberty items. So your point is just wrong in the main.

The center-left's emphasis is on manufacturing and maintaining patron-client relationships. Leave no social worker behind.

The old if people are not immoderate in the way I want them to be they will be immoderate in ways I do not want them to be. I guess the papists were right all along, or I guess the modern LDS Church is Tyler's favorite version of that ancient belief system. If only we had taught muslim youths to care more about a moderate version of the religion everything would be solved. Never mind about teaching the Mormons a moderate version of Christianity, sometimes we want immoderacy, so that we can have moderacy. It all makes sense if you understand the Hegelian notion that everything that is rationalizable is rational. Or wait have I talked about being Straussian yet? Either way, just know that whatever you think is right is wrong and whatever you thought was wrong is probably wrong too. Unless it is sufficiently Straussian then it is probably right, but also wrong at the same time.

LOL! I think TC is imputing too much philosophical thought to a certain "Shadi Hamid". From the above TC post (without clicking on the WSJ link), it seems that TC said the below, not Mr. Hamid. As such, if you strip out the below, Mr. Hamid is making rather pedestrian comments about a certain politician, nothing more, and it's "Newspaper Reporting 101", nothing profound. I guess I should click on the WSJ link just to confirm...OK...oh, it's gated.

RL

TC apparently said this:
When people don’t believe in so much with conviction, the logic of the crowd will sometimes dominate, because actual belief is no longer such a constraining force. This is one reason why a totally secular “Enlightenment” society is not in every way to be welcomed — we humans are not worthy of it in every regard.

I think the Democrats do believe things, and pretty strongly, it just doesn't look all that political because most of it is just a conservative longing for things to be the same way they have "always" been, only slightly better. Do the Democrats (talking about the vast bulk of them here) want

-Open borders and everyone in the world free to come to the US? No, and they don't want the Berlin Wall on the US border either. They want pretty much the same system we have now, with a path to citizenship for people who have been here a long time. (i.e. Obama's policy).

-Did they want to use the financial crisis as a way to nationalize the banks, they way they have always wanted to? Nope, just a Keynesian stimulus package. (i.e. Obama's policy).

-There is not even much of a serious push to impeach Trump, They just want an investigation, and it would have to come up with some really solid evidence of serious crimes by Trump personally to get the bulk of D's in congress to favor impeachment. They mostly seem to want to hold on till he goes away. (sort of like Obama did with ISIS.)

etc. etc.

It is basically a non-political party at this point. They don't want to use the power of the state to re-structure American society, just tinker. That's why libertarians find them so weird. The Republicans do have at least three major factions that live and breath politics and want to use the power of the state to effect radical change: the Christians, Libertarians, and the new White Nationalist MAGA brigades. The L's in particular have a radical plan. Getting rid of public education alone would be a social experiment that would make Lenin blush, and if you toss in getting rid of public health care and roads you are in comic book land, you can't find real-world parallels.

L's have their League of Libertarian Liberty in the spandex suits of freedom, their allies have the Crusaders for MAGA action figure set. You can't really expect them to believe that the Democrats are best represented by an elementary school teacher wishing there was a larger budget for paste and school lunches. Fox News and 4chan have revealed the truth, however!

I don't think most libertarians would put getting rid of public education at the top of the agenda. It's more of a fun subject to think outside the box and shock people with than it is something that is desperately necessary.
The top of the agenda would actually start with deregulation of the economy, starting with agriculture, then energy, then the FDA, then health care, including getting rid of the ACA.
The second major item would be legalizing drugs.
The third item would be balancing the budget, including entitlement reform, and the dismantling of the welfare state, not to mention large cuts in the defense budget.
After that it's immigration law, occupational licensing and state and local level regulation, and education.
And then ... somewhere WAY down tat the bottom of the list, is stuff like public accomodations laws and gay wedding cake.

And you think this is a -not- a radical plan? You are sort of making my point for me. Democrats (the ones in Congress, not the ones at the bottom of a Green Party forwarded e-mail or in the imagination of a crazy person) mostly think having an FDA is good, although it could work better and be cheaper. They don't want to dismantle the welfare state, nor do they seem interested in expanding it radically. Even the things they don't really support they are pretty moderate about. The first thing you want to deregulate is agriculture. I assume that means thinks like water subsidies and crop insurance and all that? Those are all things that benefit an overwhelmingly Republican constituency that hates Demon-craps with the passion of 10,000 suns, but the D's mostly don't do much about it. Obama barely touched any of that. That would be change, after all.

Oh, it's radical. Just not as radical as getting rid of public education.
And if the Libertarians actually got elected (which they never will), their ability to actually do things like eliminate public education would be just as constrained by electoral politics as the D's are.
At this point I'd be super happy if we could just eliminate the host of ag programs which date back to the 1930s, the the ones for dairy and peanuts. If we're going to have crop insurance it should be one generic kind of crop insurance, and not several dozen programs with their own arcane rules and regulations.

Meh, you are attempting an Apples to Oranges comparison.

You compare mainstream Democratic effective political strategy versus Republican wishlist items.

Seriously, Libertarians are around 1% of the populace. And the view you espouse for Libertarians would be considered radical for them. But you attempt to attribute those views as mainstream Republican views.

"L’s have their League of Libertarian Liberty in the spandex suits of freedom, their allies have the Crusaders for MAGA action figure set. You can’t really expect them to believe that the Democrats are best represented by an elementary school teacher wishing there was a larger budget for paste and school lunches."

This is a laughably bad caricature of the Right.

Most of this thread is laughably bad caricatures of the Left, to be fair. Rabscuttle is making some good points. The bottom line is, most of these threads end up being each sides partisans arguing against the worst, straw-manniest positions of the other side. Most Dems don't want open borders, drastically higher tax rates, or abortionists on every corner. Most Reps don't want to expel every non-white from the country, or zero immigration, or zero taxes. But what's the fun in typing about them?

" Rabscuttle is making some good points. "

I'm starting to thing that Trump might actually win re-election. It still feels implausible. However, when there's little concern for rational argument on either side it's clearly playing to Trump's strong suit.

That's for sure. Only hyper-polarized politics could have given us Trump, and may do so for 2 terms. Still wouldn't bet on it, but it's not out of the question. More proof politics makes people stupid.

Glad that even you see that Trump is the result of hyper partisanism rather than the cause of it. Once all of the 3 letter agencies are rid of their hyper-partisan leaders maybe we can go back to our normal partisanism .

"This is a laughably bad caricature of the Right."

I disagree. Paul Ryan passed out copies of Ayn Rand to his staff. Pelosi did not pass out Rules for Radicals. Trump was THE birther, and he is the most loved Republican in all history. If a Democratic staffer were to contribute an essay to Counterpunch calling for the abolition of the military they would be fired, not because it is controversial but because it is totally outside the party mainstream. A Republican staffer who contributed to a Cato Institute volume on phasing out public education or Medicare would just be doing their job. There is no Democratic equivalent to Comet Ping Pong.

I know that you probably won't buy this, but it really is true. There is no real constituency in the Democratic party for taking everyone's guns. Nor for reparations for slavery. There are major constituencies in the Republican party for things like getting rid of Social Security (gradually, probably, but they don't like it and never have.) We have one moderate conservative party, and one radical party.

You undermine some pretty good points you make when you type stuff like "he (Trump) is the most loved Republican in all history". Time's up, Mr. Reagan. You had a good run there, Mr. Lincoln.

I remember Reagan and his republicans. They liked him a lot. There was not anything close to the level of support Trump gets from his base. Republican congress-folk would publicly disagree with Reagan. None of them now would dare to cross Trump. They know who the base loves. He is without a doubt the best-loved president of my lifetime (not old enough for FDR-love.)

As for Lincoln, none of his positions have much to do with current Republican or Democratic policies.

"Republican congress-folk would publicly disagree with Reagan. None of them now would dare to cross Trump."

Either that's some really heavy sarcasm or you are living in a fantasy land.

"He is without a doubt the best-loved president of my lifetime (not old enough for FDR-love.)"

You must be very young. In fact, you must literally never having lived with another president in office.

Donald Trump was elected with *less* than a majority of the popular vote. His approval ratings are at *the very bottom* of all presidents since Truman:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

Only Gerald Ford comes close to Donald Trump in unpopularity. And Gerald Ford's unpopularity was probably significantly negatively influenced by his pardoning of Richard Nixon, which was highly unlikely to have been done by Ford to gain political popularity.

What an absolute joke. The Democrats, if able, would: free college for all, revolving DACA with family reinunification, mandate speech codes on race, sex, and gender terms, increase taxes on everyone, increase regulation at 100,000 +5 % per year per year, increase effect and scope of affirmative action, "investigate" corporations on pay gap, sex harassment, racism, etc that don't play along with enforcing new cultural norms, new auto standards that eliminate large SUVs and trucks for personal ownership, increase energy costs 2-3 fold to subsidize green projects, increase foreign aid, make Iran a regional power, offer NK an Iran style bribe, mandate anti-white male education in k12... goes on and on and on. These are mainstream Democrat ideas.

Pretty much. The Democratic mainstream runs the gamut from Thomas Perez to Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Just because you type something doesn't make it true. Maybe take a few plays off there, Champ.

What an absolute joke. The Democrats, if able, would:
-free college for all,
Yup. Just like we pretty much had in the 70's. Good times
-revolving DACA with family reinunification,
Probably. So more or less what we have had for most of my life, only legalized and regularized.
-mandate speech codes on race, sex, and gender terms,
So arrest people for saying the wrong thing? One would think if that was popular there would at least be a proposal someone had made. Maybe it is in the secret abolish the 1st amendment bill that we all know they have but have never seen?
-increase taxes on everyone,
Yes., probably some tax increases. Democrats like having things paid for. They don't like raising taxes for the fun of it, although good luck getting a Republican to believe that
-increase regulation at 100,000 +5 % per year per year,
Got me there. Democrats love nothing better than creating pointless regulations for the sole purpose of sapping our precious fluids. Rush and Inforwars told me so. However, I think it is 200,000 at 10%
increase effect and scope of affirmative action,
Highly doubtful. They don't even defend the current scope very hard.
“investigate” corporations on pay gap, sex harassment, racism, etc that don’t play along with enforcing new cultural norms,
True enough. Most Democrats think sexual harassment should be illegal. They don't like things like the pay gap, but can't think of much of a method to fix it that they are comfortable with.
new auto standards that eliminate large SUVs and trucks for personal ownership,
Here you are quite wrong. The plan is to allow SUVs and trucks. Then castrate all the Alpha males that own them. There was a whole thing about this on 4chan.
increase energy costs 2-3 fold to subsidize green projects,
Yes to green projects, but only if they are pretty cheap. Increase energy costs 2-3 times? Not a chance. You are living in a dream world.
increase foreign aid,
From a tiny part of the budget to a slightly larger tiny part of the budget? This is immoderate?
make Iran a regional power,
I'm glad you are putting most of the crazier stuff at the bottom of the list. Why they hell would they want to do that? How could they even do that?
offer NK an Iran style bribe,
I would actually go for that. They give up their nukes and we unfreeze their assets? I don't think NK would go for it, but I think Dems would take it in a heartbeat.
mandate anti-white male education in k12
You are a bit off here. anti-white male education has been here for years. I learned that slavery was one of the causes of the Civil War back in the 70's (government school, obviously)
… goes on and on and on. These are mainstream Democrat ideas.
No, they are things that mainstream crazy Republicans (including plenty in Congress) think Democrats want to do. Some of them have some connection to reality. (If state supported higher ed is good, more of it would be better.) Others are out and out loony (banning trucks, anti-white male education)

"increase regulation at 100,000 +5 % pages per year per year... Rush and Inforwars told me so." Which was already happening under the previous administration, moron.

"-mandate speech codes on race, sex, and gender terms, So arrest people for saying the wrong thing? One would think if that was popular there would at least be a proposal someone had made. Maybe it is in the secret abolish the 1st amendment bill that we all know they have but have never seen?"
First amendment opposition among your crowd includes hate speech and campaign finance exceptions. The hate speech exception would be used to prosecute or harm people who do not use the prescribed terms and language.

"“investigate” corporations on pay gap, sex harassment, racism, etc that don’t play along with enforcing new cultural norms, True enough. Most Democrats think sexual harassment should be illegal. They don’t like things like the pay gap, but can’t think of much of a method to fix it that they are comfortable with."

Derp. The investigation occurs not because of the potential violations found but because of other unrelated conduct. Facebook is currently under fire because it didn't refuse to sell ad space to Russians.

"Here you are quite wrong. The plan is to allow SUVs and trucks. Then castrate all the Alpha males that own them."

No, the plan is to CAFE standard these vehicles out of existence, and you probably approve, which is what makes your mockery all the more strange.

"Increase energy costs 2-3 times? Not a chance. You are living in a dream world. "

Ignorance. https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-guides/average-electricity-prices-kwh.html

"make Iran a regional power, I’m glad you are putting most of the crazier stuff at the bottom of the list."

This was literally an Obama foreign policy, you insufferable ignoramus. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11316496/Barack-Obama-Iran-could-be-a-successful-regional-power-if-it-agrees-to-a-nuclear-deal.html

"offer NK an Iran style bribe, I would actually go for that."

Of course you would. Every single thing on my list is correct.

" mandate anti-white male education in k12 You are a bit off here. anti-white male education has been here for years. I learned that slavery was one of the causes of the Civil War back in the 70’s (government school, obviously) … goes on and on and on."

Yes, teaching about slavery is "anti white male" (it's not) and there is no other example of anti white male attitudes in the Democrat party (it's actually a core party principle now), with the examples being so numerous that I'll save the google results for you to look through.

"No, they are things that mainstream crazy Republicans (including plenty in Congress) think Democrats want to do."

You agreed to the majority and mocked the rest which you also agree with. Let's add that you don't even have basic knowledge about some of the things I said.

"Trump was THE birther" Spelled Hillary wrong.

"-Open borders and everyone in the world free to come to the US? No, and they don’t want the Berlin Wall on the US border either. They want pretty much the same system we have now, with a path to citizenship for people who have been here a long time. (i.e. Obama’s policy)."

These people don't know how many immigrants we currently have (legal or illegal), doesn't know the rate of immigration, nor understand the immigration process or how it is enforced.

But if you want less immigration, you're racist, even though we don't know current immigration levels.

If you want stricter immigration enforcement, you're racist, even though we don't know current enforcement standards and actually enforcing the law is the nominal purpose of government.

etc, etc.

They don't have a real position. They're just saying the least-racist thing they can think of and then calling everyone else racists.

If the logical consequence of this is open boarders, it's like saying that Kumbayah circles have no literal meaning.

Obama voted for the wall when he was a senator, how right wing radical of an idea could it be?

That is from Shadi Hamid at the WSJ; given this perspective, it is perhaps no accident that he is a scholar of Islam. “Lack of real belief,” and lack of genuine religious communities, is often more of a problem behind terrorism than is “excessively fanatical belief.”

I agree it is probably no accident that he is a scholar of Islam. But it is absurd to claim that it is a lack of religion that causes terrorism. Rather I would be inclined to guess that Mr Hamid is not particularly religious but he feels a need to signal in public that he is. So he has constructed this very complex piece of rationalization that says the devout are faking it. The truly religious are Friday Muslims like him who eat pork.

This is, of course, absurd.

SMFS: "Rather I would be inclined to guess that Mr Hamid is not particularly religious but he feels a need to signal in public that he is" - Don't know much about Islamic scholars but I think secular ones tend to post under a pseudonym. A guy--I think German--who wrote a scholarly criticism of the Koran and had to post it under a pseudonym for the obvious S. Rushdie security reasons. So if your theory is correct Mr Hamid is just being wise.

Agreed. There's a lot of Friday muslims who are obviously going through the motions of belief. Most of the cosmopolitan Muslim commentators beloved of the left probably don't believe a damn word of their own religion. One would love to see them questioned closely on the factual content of the Quran and Hadiths.

I think it's pretty uncontroversial to note being a Muslim reformist rather than a Friday Muslim obliges you to live in terror of your co-religionists.

Well you said it, so it must be true. You certainly haven't lied on here before.

Indeed I have not. Just as Bush did not lie about the Iraq War.

But you need to prop up your self esteem by assuming everyone who challenges your little prejudices is lying.

In polarized times, political competition comes to resemble tribal warfare.

More bogus denigration of the super-family, the ultimate defense against the nation/state. Atomizing individuals, making their only real relationship the one with the state is the goal of modern government, led by the US example. Easier in the US as well, since the once important familial alliances that sustained the immigrants have faded away in American society and been replaced by two gangs of leeches whose only concern is power.

More tedious self-self-reflection from the left wing POV. Here you have an administration that broke campaign finance laws by collaborating with a foreign power to support it during an election and, even worse, seems to refuse to acknowledge Russian meddling is something the US should oppose. Getting angry at this is 'immoderate'

But, hey, clinging to Birtherism isn't immoderate. Telling people that the Access Hollywood tape might be faked isn't immoderate. Clinging to the claim that a majority of American voters don't count because millions of their votes must have been caste illegally but refusing to provide any evidence for this charge.....None of this stuff is immoderate. No psychological analysis of Trump's religious beliefs or lack of religion needs to be called into explain this.

Ultimately this immoderate talk strikes me as the bigotry of low expectations. Ultimately Tyler thinks Democrates should be 'moderate' because he thinks they are the grownups. Trump is not expected to be better because he, ultimately, is viewed like a puppy or child.

Boonton February 14, 2018 at 6:15 am

Here you have an administration that broke campaign finance laws by collaborating with a foreign power to support it during an election and, even worse, seems to refuse to acknowledge Russian meddling is something the US should oppose. Getting angry at this is ‘immoderate’

Oh wait, you are not talking about Hillary? Because Trump did none of those things. Hillary did though. Her surrogates are still trying to carry out a coup d'etat in co-operation with the Russians in order to overturned the election. Just as Obama broke the campaign finance law - did not even try to enforce rules on foreign credit cards - and offered to sell out America after he got re-elected. Just as Teddy Kennedy tried to seek Soviet help to get rid of Reagan. Conspiring with a foreign power - especially one in Moscow - is a long standing Democratic tradition.

Not one you are particularly concerned about though.

But, hey, clinging to Birtherism isn’t immoderate. Telling people that the Access Hollywood tape might be faked isn’t immoderate.

Trying to abolish the First Amendment to make criticism of your record illegal is not very moderate either. I don't recall you condemning Hillary for that. Yet there it was - a central part of her platform. Whereas this is just nonsense.

Ultimately Tyler thinks Democrates should be ‘moderate’ because he thinks they are the grownups. Trump is not expected to be better because he, ultimately, is viewed like a puppy or child.

And yet while Trump's tweets may be fun, his political policies are extremely moderate. He hasn't actually done anything even remotely extreme yet. Transsexuals are still serving in the military for crying out loud. Whereas the Democrats' policies are more and more unhinged because they are so far to the left. You have to support partial-birth abortion to be a Democratic candidate now? You have to oppose moving the embassy to Jerusalem?

The problem is that the Democrats are refusing to obey the rule of law. They are so unhinged by losing the election they already counted on winning that they are lashing out in irrational and counter-productive ways. Most of them illegal and unconstitutional. Trump won. Stop trying to use the Deep State to get rid of him.

"Her surrogates are still trying to carry out a coup d’etat in co-operation with the Russians in order to overturned the election."

You see, this is why the hard right is losing. Your constant conspiracy theories are insane and they never really slow down.

First amendment...hmm, who is about to "open up the libel laws"? Clinton, right? Trump's repression of free speech and civil liberties is not going unnoticed.

Trump has done precisely nothing to change the libel laws. Hillary did try to get Citizen's United over turned. Perhaps Trump learned from her.

The Right is in office. Doesn't look like losing to me. Especially as the evidence points to Hillary paying Fusion GPS who paid Steele who worked with the Russians to produce a bunch of lies which was the only source of "evidence" for the FISA application that lead to the Deep State tapping Trump's telephone calls in an effort to remove him before he took office. That is not a conspiracy theory. That is what actually happened.

Which is why (apart from a few railroaded minor figures in the Trump administration) the Deep State keeps hitting itself in the face and losing supporters. And Trump is still there.

So Much, You're wasting your time. Facts enrage them. Their heads explode.

Trump publicly called Dems treasonous for not clapping at his SOTU speech. He threatens to sue anyone who tells the truth about him. He is illegally profiting from the office. He is illegally refusing to implement Russian sanctions Congress passed. He and his surrogates' constant contact with the three highest level Russian intelligence staff on US soil after his election go unexplained.

This is how R's lose the House and Senate in November. And how they are already losing special elections and state elections by astonishing margins. The lies eventually catch up to ya. Once people realize it's nothing more than a kleptocracy with no principles watch out.

But "Deep State, Waaa!!!" How about realizing law enforcement are patriots?

Minor figures? Like his campaign director, his chief foreign policy/military advisor and his son-in-law? Bwahaha.

"That is what actually happened."

That is demonstrably not what happened. We know for a fact the dossier was not the only source of evidence. We also know the dossier was not a bunch of lies - the dossier is exactly what it is supposed to be - a collection of raw intelligence, some of which is demonstrably true, some of which demonstrably false, and some still undetermined.

It is the height of irony that Jan is whining about a Trump joke on treason whereas Jan and the entire Democrat party has been calling the entire Republican party traitors over fake Russian collusion allegations.

Jan February 14, 2018 at 8:07 am

We all know the Democrats are the party that hates America. They just made that more obvious than usual at the SOTU speech. Michelle of course was never proud of America before in her life. Trump threatens no one. He has made no move to change the law and probably couldn't. Hillary on the other hand was serious about Citizens United. There is no evidence that Trump or any of his staffers had any improper contacts with any Russians - much less intelligence staff - before or after the election. A year and a half of searching, illegal wire traps, and concerted effort to frame the guy for something has come up with nothing but the resignations of a whole lot of Deep Staters. Didn't happen. And conspiracy theories are bad for you.

235 Peter Akuleyev February 14, 2018 at 8:09 am

That is demonstrably not what happened. We know for a fact the dossier was not the only source of evidence.

Actually we do know the dossier was the only source of evidence - that and a Yahoo story based on leaks from the dossier. And that is what happened. A year and a half of a partisan witchhunt has turned up nothing except Democrat illegality.

We also know the dossier was not a bunch of lies – the dossier is exactly what it is supposed to be – a collection of raw intelligence, some of which is demonstrably true, some of which demonstrably false, and some still undetermined.

Except we know it was not that either. It was not raw intelligence. The FBI looked at it and decided it was worthless precisely because it was not intelligence. The media looked at it and decided it was worthless. Everyone knows it is worthless. What in there is true? Carter Page went to Russia once or twice? Anything else? Even Comey and his merry men would not endorse any claim in the dossier except that one.

This is a Turkish style coup attempt. Nothing else.

Because Trump did none of those things.

Come on. Trump's collusion with Russia is right there in plain sight. The reasonable Republican defense is the "so what" defense. Russia is not an existential threat to the US and the Russians are one of many, many, interest parties spending money to influence our elections. While we know for sure the Russians meddled in our elections, there will never be evidence to prove that Russian influence was sufficient to tip the scales. Trump certainly behaved incorrectly, but at best it's a misdemeanor. This is what most GOP congressmen actually believe, and life would be better if people just spoke the truth.

Well, as usual, it's not the crime, it's the cover up.
Trump has been obstructing justice. The same thing that would have got Nixon impeached if he hadn't resigned first.

Trump has been obstructing justice.

The term 'obstructing justice' does not mean what you fancy it means. Just for starters, there would have had to have been a criminal investigation ongoing for any official (much less the President) to have obstructed it. The defenders of the Deep State clown car have to date been contending it was and remains a counter-intelligence investigation, and therefore spying on the political opposition (and providing reports to the President) is kosher. Need to get your narratives straight.

If there's not a criminal investigation what is Michael Flynn pleading guilty to?

If there’s not a criminal investigation what is Michael Flynn pleading guilty to?

A process crime largely manufactured by Andrew McCabe.

'what is Michael Flynn pleading guilty to'

Just a mere bagatelle, merely lying about his contacts with Russians and Turks, like so many former heads of an American intelligence agency do when questioned by the FBI.

'According to the charge sheet, Michael Flynn is accused of:

falsely telling FBI agents that on or about 29 December 2016 he did not ask Mr Kislyak to "refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day"

failing to recall that Mr Kislyak had later told him Russia was moderating its response to the sanctions as a result of his request

falsely saying that, on or about 22 December 2016, he did not ask Mr Kislyak to "delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution". The discussion came a day before the Obama administration decided not to veto a resolution asserting that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory "had no legal validity"

making false statements about the Turkish government's involvement and supervision of a project that his intelligence company was taking part in.' http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42192080

They've been looking for Russian conspiracies for a year and a half now and have found nothing. The Obama administration illegally wiretapped Trump staffers to get info and they found nothing. Clinton had to pay for a fake dossier to bait the FBI into looking into anything. How do you cover-up a non crime?

And we've recently learned even the FBI testified to Congress that Flynn didn't lie to them. He took the hit to stop the circus and to save his family from bankruptcy.

Oh wait, you are not talking about Hillary? Because Trump did none of those things. Hillary did though.

Blah blah blah. Here is how the process works. Someone is accused of a crime, charges are brought, a fair trial with due process is provided and if and only if the gov't proves beyond reasonable doubt that the person broke the law is he or she then found guilty. Otherwise they are not guilty.

That is the default assumption. Now that is refutable. A person can say, for example, "I know the jury found OJ innocent of murder but nonetheless I think it is more likely than not he killed two innocent people" or even "So and so did break the law but because the President is his friend the Feds will never file charges against him". But you don't get to make these assertions evidence free, if you claim them the obligation is on you to show that there's merit to dispensing with the default assumption.

There's a Republican President, Republican Congress, and Republican Justice Department. If you feel Hillary has committed any crime they are perfectly free to file charges against her. If they lack the guts to actually bring their charges to a legitimate court then the default assumption should be they have nothing. No charges have been brought against Hillary despite ample opportunity to do so. Hence she is innocent, case closed.

If you want to argue we must reject that default assumption because Jeff Sessions, Republican prosecutors, Donald Trump himself have all somehow been hoodwinked by some subtle 'deep state'....well at what point are your rantings falsifiable?

No charges have been brought against Trump. Glad to hear you think he is innocent.

>Here you have an administration that broke campaign finance laws by collaborating with a foreign power

Didn't you hear? Hillary lost. She has no "administration." She's on a book tour, for God's sake. Read the paper and get back to us.

Trump fan IQ = Trump fan IQ - 5

"Ultimately this immoderate talk strikes me as the bigotry of low expectations. Ultimately Tyler thinks Democrates should be ‘moderate’ because he thinks they are the grownups. Trump is not expected to be better because he, ultimately, is viewed like a puppy or child.

Yup. Why, for instance wasn't this post about the complete lunacy of the President refusing to implement a sanctions bill, and then all of us just accepting THAT?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-russia-sanctions-trump-no-new-congress-law-election-hacking-intervention-putin-kremlin-a8184866.html

Even a "strong critic" likes me starts to look complicit.

Notice the difference between liberals and, well I guess the right in general. Liberals veer towards what I'm starting to think is excessive self-reflection while the right towards self-deflection.

After the election, for example, how many pieces were written in the spirit of "We spent a week talking to a family in coal mining country about how hard it is to find a good job and pay the bills in order to try to understand why Trump won this county". How many reporters did Fox or National Review send to everywhere else to do a story on "We spent a week with some Americans in the majority who didn't like Trump during the election and like him even less now."

Liberals veer towards what I’m starting to think is excessive self-reflection while the right towards self-deflection.

Only the liberals who inhabit your imagination. The liberals who inhabit our Facebook feed are not reflective. Great purveyors of stupid memes they pull off the internet, but not reflective. At all.

I can't speak for who inhabits your Facebook feed. Perhaps Facebook's AI has matched your personality type with dopes from both sides of the spectrum. I don't think you have to passively measure these things by looking at random Facebook feeds anymore than I think reading graffiti found inside the stalls of public bathrooms should be your primary method of measuring political opinion.

I invite you to provide examples of these reflective Trump supporters and right wingers who are trying to understand the views of liberals and potentially build bridges.

Perhaps Facebook’s AI has matched your personality type with dopes from both sides of the spectrum.

I see self-awareness isn't your strong suit.

The perps are all on our Friends list. One offender is a hospital psychologist with a research doctorate from USC. Another has graduate degree from Columbia. Another from the University of Missouri. I'll let them know Boonton has adjudged them dopes.

As for our friends from the other side of the spectrum, they use Facebook to post pictures of their grandchildren and day trips. Funny thing about that.

So perhaps liberals are not very self-reflective and your Facebook friends are a good random sample of liberals....or perhaps you have a habit of friending people who confirm your pre-conceived judgments and biases and avoid friending people that don't reinforce your beliefs.

How many reporters did Fox or National Review send to everywhere else to do a story on “We spent a week with some Americans in the majority who didn’t like Trump during the election and like him even less now.”

They live right next door to them. Where do you think the bulk of reporters live?

So what? Does that answer the question? The fact that finding the sources should be all the easier for Fox because they just have to walk outside the door implies failure to do so is all the worse.

The WSJ publishes an article criticizing the other tribe. How original. What happened to the moderate right?

Basically, the moderate right disappeared after the great RINO hunt.

It's not only trite and unoriginal. It's too easy.

What happened to the moderate right?

All that closing ranks and stuff. When the lunatics are running the asylum, you better pretend to be a lunatic.

They are proposing amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants, proposing increasing spending by 300 billion, and giving across the board tax cuts. You haven't noticed because being a reactionary psycho is a full time job.

Amnesty for a bunch of people who have not actually committed any crime is sort of a misnomer. They are proposing recognizing that people who have lived here since childhood are Americans deserving the same rights as anyone who was physically born here.

And the psycho position is the idea that it's morally right to deport innocent Americans because of something their parents did.

"Amnesty for a bunch of people who have not actually committed any crime is sort of a misnomer"

Hazel, that comment is delusional. Illegal immigrants have all broken the law. I understand that you might not agree with the law. But it's delusional to claim that breaking a law is not a crime.

"crime - an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law."

Her point is with the 'dreamers', they were kids, they didn't break any laws, their parents did.

Right. There's an age of majority issue. A child in the back seat of a getaway car can't be charged as an accomplice in a robbery. They don't have a choice in the matter, and probably didn't know what was going on.

Of course, there's probably some reasonable cutoff short of 18 years, but bizarrely the Republicans don't even bother arguing that - instead they take the insane hardline position that even 2 year olds are responsible for being brought here illegally.

Of course, there’s probably some reasonable cutoff short of 18 years, but bizarrely the Republicans don’t even bother arguing that – instead they take the insane hardline position that even 2 year olds are responsible for being brought here illegally.

The 'insanity' in Hazel's mind is thinking that people brought across the border illegally get sent home to their relatives.

It's called a compromise: will give you 1.8 million new voters and in return will restrict your future foreign voter pool growth. If the Democrats say no, it becomes clear that they don't actually care about these "kids who are here through no fault of their own" enough to restrict future electoral success.

Hazel as usual, not thinking. Hazel, we don't charge the kid in the car with the crime but we also don't let them keep the money because they've come to be used to it. We also don't let the kid keep the money and then let the parents out of prison because the kid wants them around. We also don't let the kid keep the money and then let the parents out of prison because the kid wants them around and also give the parents money as well.

If you can't figure it out the latter is what Democrats want in regard to DACA: any kid who comes here becomes a citizen and any citizen can use family reunification to bring their 70 closest relatives.

Thomas, I'm being honest here, no snark: if you keep doing these ridiculous straw man attacks, you won't get anyone to agree with you on anything. Are you trying to actually get someone reading your stuff to say 'hmmm, good point, maybe the Dems have that idea wrong', or are you just signaling how Trumpy you are so the other Trumpies here can approve of you? Because you post like it's the latter.

And I'll be honest with you. I firmly believe that if Democrats could get what they wanted with regard to DACA, it would be full citizenship with no restrictions. If they could get what they wanted on immigration more generally, it would be to increase it, and apply preferences for people of color except Cubans and religious minorities except Christians. If they could get what they wanted on border security it would be to allow illegal immigration to occur while doing other law enforcement. One method would be to a policy shift in the executive to ban "racial profiling" such that if 80% of illegal immigrants on the Mexican border look a certain way, but only 50% of border crossers in general do, it would be illegal to have that group stopped more than 50% of all stops. If you think I am wrong please let me know where, as I only base my opinion on what I hear on NPR which I listen to all day, every day.

To be honest I'm not even Trumpy. I enjoy his tweets here and there, but what compels me is that the Democrat party hates me because of my race, sex, and place of birth. What I post about therefore is primarily the faults of the Democrat party and the movement at large. For instance I disagree with Trump on military spending, police brutality, his expensive golfing habits, his attitude toward women, his apparent beliefs on Obama's birthplace and global warming, and more I'm sure. None of that is going to get me to vote for people who know that I am bad and I should be punished the first time they lay eyes on me. I used to be a Republican because I largely agreed with economists, now I am a Republican because the Democrats are racist, sexist, classist, xenophobes.

Well, I tried. Good luck with that, Thomas.

It would be a lot easier to believe you were being earnest if you could actually engage with one of the things I believe and explain to me why you think that the Democrat party would not do the thing I suggested if they had the ability.

Please cite the actual criminal law in play here? It may be a crime to avoid a legal deportation order but I'm unaware of any law that says dreamers who don't immediately leave the US the moment they turn 18 have broken the law.

"Please cite the actual criminal law in play here?"

"The immigration law actually uses the term "improper entry," which has a broad meaning. It’s more than just slipping across the U.S. border at an unguarded point. Improper entry can include:

entering or attempting to enter the United States at any time or place other than one designated by U.S. immigration officers (in other words, away from a border inspection point or other port of entry)"

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us-immigration/crime-enter-illegally.html

"Criminal Penalties
For the first improper entry offense, the person can be fined (as a criminal penalty), or imprisoned for up to six months, or both. "

(See Title 8, Section 1325 of the U.S. Code (U.S.C.), or Section 275 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) for the exact statutory language - www.uscis.gov/laws/immigration-and-nationality-act.)

So all you have to do is charge dreamers with the crime and convict them, then you can call them criminals. Until you do that they are innocent. That's how the system works.

And criminal law does require mens rae. Ignorance of the law is not a defense but intention to act is still required. A person illegally brought over the border at 6 years old is not guilty of illegal entry. Hence just because someone is 'here illegally' doesn't mean you can conclude they broke the law.

Boonton, I'm not going to get in a squirrely game of semantics with you. The courts have made rulings on this and illegal immigrants who came into the country as children can be deported. Feel free to take a sign to Washington DC and protest the Supreme Court if it makes you feel good.

msgkings, Thomas' analogy was at least close, unlike Hazel's. The kids did no wrong, and aren't being charged with a crime. Under current law they are to be returned to THEIR country.

I agree with both of you that they should be allowed to stay as it's the US's screwed up immigration law non enforcement that is at fault. They did nothing wrong and should not have to pay for their parents law breaking. But taking these off the wall positions that they are already American citizens and are owed citizenship hurts any chance of you making any point with a reasonable person.

@TMC: are you referring to me here? "But taking these off the wall positions that they are already American citizens and are owed citizenship hurts any chance of you making any point with a reasonable person."

I never said anything of the sort. I'm as middle of the road as it gets. But letting the dreamers stay in the US and giving them a path to citizenship is the least radical, most obviously moral and correct position. I've said before there is only one tiny reason to be against it, and that's moral hazard. Well, we do a lot of things that engender moral hazard because they are the right thing to do and the benefit outweighs the cost. This is definitely one of those cases.

The kids did no wrong, and aren’t being charged with a crime. Under current law they are to be returned to THEIR country.

America is THEIR country. It is their childhood home. If your belief in nationality involves some sort of consideration of where a person's loyalties lie, it's pretty obvious that the place a person grows up determines their alliegiance more than the physical location of their birth. They are Americans.

@msgkings, my first paragraph was a response to you about Thomas' analogy.
We do have very similar views on this. The second was a general response to you and Hazel.

@ Hazel, 8:25 I'm completely with keeping them, but they are culturally Americans, not legally. We may have a debatable moral obligation, I think we have one, but when you insist they are already Americans and that they have rights to stay then you are just conflating 3 different issues: immigrants, DACA, and illegal immigrants. The DACA kids are a subset of illegal immigrants. Conflating all three is a strawman and leads to a dishonest discussion of immigration.

Question: Do you believe you have a right to move to Russia, China or Singapore without their permission? How about Mexico with their tougher than US immigration laws?

Boonton, I’m not going to get in a squirrely game of semantics with you. The courts have made rulings on this and illegal immigrants who came into the country as children can be deported.

You clearly don't know how the US works. Even Russian bots seem more aware, sigh. Schools these days.

Being deported is an administrative order, not a criminal sanction. A person can be deported without having been guilty of any criminal offense. Likewise being convicted of a criminal offense might also trigger a deportation, but the deportation itself is not being guilty of a crime or in itself a punishment.

As you cited, illegally crossing the border is a crime so someone can get convicted of that whether or not they are deported. BUT you asserted Dreamers are all criminals because they are 'here illegally'. It doesn't work like that, all criminal law in the US requires intentional action. You cannot be a criminal in the US because the law declares your very existence to be criminal. In order to declare dreamers criminals you must look at each one's circumstances and make a case that they committed a crime by purposefully crossing the border illegally.

When ones position that everyone is an American, ones definition of what being an American is means nothing. You'd want them here regardless Hazel. Can you think of a situation where you'd be in support of deporting anyone?

You can't be this dense. You don't see the difference between deporting a person who came to the country as a young child involuntarily, grew up as an American, with no memory of their birth place, totally acculturated, and deporting someone who willfully came here as an adult illegally? Honestly if you can't parse that, you're too stupid to post here.

Does opposition to Trump really now count as being "immoderate?"

Has the center shifted so much that you have to be 50% OK with what's coming out of White House to be considered moderate?

I'm 100% OK with what's coming out of the WH. But, I'm an extremist.

To be fair, you are probably 14 year old.

Does opposition to Trump really now count as being “immoderate?”

Your Id is here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDYNVH0U3cs

Tribalism my ass. What worked for so long, accusing Republicans and the right in general of being evil/stupid, is failing. The left, the Democrats and the media have no other weapons, so they have add insanity to their usual time-honored approach.

I leave you with a few quotes, curated by the inimitable AofS:

Quote I
“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.” Thomas Sowell
Quote II
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” Mark Twain
Quote III
"The lessons of paternalism ought to be unlearned and the better lesson taught that, while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their Government, its functions do not include support of the people." Stephen Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, Second Inaugural (1893)
Quote IV
Let’s clarify something – this Kim Yo Jong woman, a key leader in a giant death cult that is torturing and killing people at this moment, is not cute, not figuratively and not literally. She’s not even a Pyongyang 6. Maybe at closing time. After a lot of soju. Kurt Schlichter

Happy Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday!

That's entertainment.

Moderate James T. Hodgkinson gave up his life for it. Sen. Rand Paul's pacific neighbor tried to do his part for it.

I come here to read merry missives from numerous denizens of assorted alternate realities.

The issue is not their "Lack of ideology and belief in nothing in particular (except perhaps more redistribution):" It's that their ideologies and beliefs are illogical and deleterious. Their arguments (read most of the above comments) exhibit little aside from smug stupidity.

TC, Thank you for brightening this old fart's days.

BTW: Trump 2020!

What inspired Cowen to write this blog post? Democrats lack conviction? Let's hope so. In any case, here's an excellent economic report by Eduardo Porter in today's NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/business/economy/profits-economy.html

That the moderate Tyler Cowen would write such an immoderate blog post might lead one to conclude that MR has been hacked. Maybe by the Russians. Rep. Schiff should open an investigation.

>she now boasts the upper chamber’s most anti- Trump voting record.

Just savor that sentence for a few minutes.

Your Democrat party, ladies and gentlemen!

Shocking to imagine the most 'anti-Trump voting record' would be a Democrat. During the Obama administration were people shocked to find Republicans with anti-Obama voting records?

There is, in political science, a giant literature on US parties, their ideological composition, and their policy agendas. Tyler, rather than quoting a Mid East expert, perhaps you should link to an American parties scholar.

Or alternatively, start asking English professors about their views on monetary policy.

Not the best I've ever seen, but that still deserves an honorable mention as a particularly stupid argument by authority. My congratulations, WB.

What, please, is "immoderate" about wanting to investigate the extent of foreign intervention in the US election system? The lack of moderation here comes strictly from Republican doubling down on party before country.

Well, when your President Obama came to my country and haughtily presumed to tell my countrymen how to vote in a national referendum, he did it on prime time television and flanked by members of the ruling party. It was a 2-day national talking point. This was deemed by the Dems to be a modest contribution to the debate of those silly Brits and entirely morally valid.

But someone drops $100k of mediocre Facebook ads on you and it's Greatest Threat to your Democracy Ever?

I'm sorry, I don't have much sympathy.

Hahaha. Yeah, speaking publicly in a public news conference is exactly the same as secretly paying for ads on facebook without giving any indication they were put there by a foreign government trying to influence the election results.

The trump mental illness has apparently floated across the Atlantic too. Though I guess when you have insane political beliefs it's not much of a stretch to have insane beliefs about a whole host of other issues.

This response as if efcdons and the rest of the folks checking under their beds for Russians at night would act differently if Russia had been overt about its meddling. What a lie and what a joke.

Um, wouldn't you be acting differently if Russia had been overt about its meddling? Wait, of course not if they were helping Le Grande Orange.

Did you care when Obama told a Russian agent that he would have more flexibility after the election? Is that not an overture for some tit-for-tat "collusion"? If it was, would you care? Does anyone really care about this story? Does anyone care that the Steele Dossier is the marriage of Clinton money and Russian information with some intermediaries? I can't believe for a second that you people actually care about this Russian collusion thing, and beyond that, I highly doubt there was any sort of arrangement between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and if there were, I suspect that the Obama administration would have revealed them prior to election night given that they were unmasking Trump campaign FISA recordings and Hillary was aware of them.

Thomas,

Agreed. I think what rankles here is that we think the senior Dems don't believe there was collusion and don't believe their own accusations. It's the manifest bad faith of the whole Russia collusion narrative.

You could have used the money the State Dept used to try to influence the Israeli elections.

Well, I regard such overt interference to be nearly as bad a covert interference. That is, the fact of interference and its magnitude is the main point of contention, not its manner.

Would you be substantially less outraged if the $100k Facebook ads had a "paid for by Friends of Putin" disclaimer? Really?

Our country is being torn asunder by selfish, irresponsible leaders at left and right.

Don't worry Brazil will survive just fine.

I am talking about America.

Brazil is in (South) America.

I am talking about our America.

Sorry, I keep forgetting that the whole guy from Brazil was just an elaborate and poorly acted charade from some guy living in his parents basement in Moscow, Ohio.

Or was it Moscow, Russia?

I really don't know what you are talking about. Maybe you are mistaking me from someone else?!

"Maybe you are mistaking me from someone else?!"

I don't think so.....

I really do not know what the problem with you is.

Rep. Schiff gets tons of money from defense companies. Also, he is a fanatical supporter of Israel and tends to be very hawkish about the Middle East. Thus, he hates Iran and Syria and hates the Russians for supporting the governments there. The fact that he can tie the Russians to the defeat of Clinton (of which there is almost no evidence, but that seems not to matter to many) means he especially is vocal about Russia. He's just a nutty ideologue but because he'll spout to anyone who will listen he gets a lot of press. He's not worth the time it takes to read his words.

Ironic that it was the Clintons that used the Russians to attack the Trumps

That would explain why Rep. Adam Schiff —previously “known as a milquetoast moderate,” according to the New Yorker—has emerged as one of the most outspoken figures in the Russian collusion investigation.

You mean according to Ryan Lizza, a CNN employee who is the issue of UC Berkeley and the Mother Jones - Frontline subculture of [bogus] 'investigative reporting'. The American Conservative Union will tell you that Schiff has voted on their side 5.14% of the time over a period of 14 years. (Milquetoast Maxine Waters voted with the ACU 4.42% of the time). Schiff's father owned a lumber yard. Other than that, there's nothing about Schiff's background that's correlated with a starboard viewpoint. He's a lawyer, has spent 28 of the last 32 years on public payrolls, is the issue of Stanford and Harvard (poli sci and law), has spent his entire life around large cities (Boston, Phoenix, LA, SF-Oakland, LA, Sacramento, DC), and he's Jewish to boot. (Devin Nunes lives in a small city, grew up in the countryside in a farming family, attended state colleges in California, and is Portuguese Catholic).

Before being appointed to succeed Mrs. Clinton in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand was an upstate New York representative who belonged to the Blue Dog Coalition. Her 2013 New Yorker profile was titled “Strong Vanilla”—and she now boasts the upper chamber’s most anti- Trump voting record.

It doesn't occur to your interlocutor that Downstate Democrats took to calling KG 'Tracy Flick' for a reason. She carpetbagged into a marginal district in the Hudson Valley (which included some territory proximate to her childhood home) and managed to win because Democrats had the wind at their back in 2006 and because her Republican opponent was a skeezy drunk who'd earned a forced retirement. She said what she needed to say to keep certain constituencies (e.g. sport hunters) off her back. When Gov. Patterson put her in the Senate, she got to be Kristin. Kristin's the issue of the Emma Willard School, Dartmouth, UCLA, and a politically-connected BigLaw firm (as well as a scrum of professional women's feministi groups). She's a savage partisan by nature, all the more so since it's bad business not to be at this time.

That’s a useful level of detail. And describes pretty much what I expected the New Yorker to mean by “Strong Vanilla”.

This is self-serving crap and leaves out the fact that Hillary Clinton ran for President and Obama was fairly left center as President. In terms of Adam Schiff it happens that he is the leading Democrat on the same committee as David Nunes and the leading voice on the Trump Russia Probe. It would have happened to any Democrat on the committee. And note Immigration was not a defined Partisan issue until ~2012 and look at the district he covers in California is overwhelmingly pro-Immigration. So the issue moved here not Schiff.

Otherwise, most of US history had strong Partisan talk and city newspaper were a lot closer to modern media. As the local papers started to disappear in 1930s and the creation of the national media with radio/TV the moderate media (Left Center) took hold until 1980s.

Boring, as are 85% of the comments above. This was the news of the day:

https://twitter.com/thehill/status/963748679248240640

Or as someone summarized it, every high ranking law enforcement or intelligence appointment made by Trump believes the Russian story and wants to respond.

Trump, and Trumpians, stand alone and apart.

Or as someone summarized it,

You mean as someone fantasized it pretending to summarize. You people cannot help yourselves.

I gave a link. You might have linked to any "high ranking law enforcement or intelligence appointment made by Trump" who believes there was no interference, or ongoing threat.

You did not, because of course not, you are a Trumpian, happy to run on empty.

Maybe this is even Tyler's secret intent, to rile stupid answers and lay them bare.

https://twitter.com/cspan/status/963438382016794625

https://twitter.com/amyklobuchar/status/963505624981082113

“There seems to still be fatigued tension between all parts of the intelligence community and this administration, which continues to poo-poo the conclusion that undermines everything: Russia is interested in being disrupted to all Western democracies and specifically the United States. All of the Trump-appointed leaders of the IC seem to be saying the right thing, so in a sense I feel reassured because there doesn’t seem to be much equivocation. At least publicly, they seem to be hewing to what the previous leadership of the intelligence community has said on this topic.”

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/international/russia-cyber-north-korea-nuke-new-batch-grim-warnings-us-intel

I know what Russia damn well WANTS. I know they are not a friend.

But show me some hard evidence of what they actually DID, something exceptional and worth a damn.

Because currently the evidence is not impressive and it makes the Russia conspiracy story look completely deranged.

That is just a watered down refusal to accept IC conclusions.

'But show me some hard evidence of what they actually DID, something exceptional and worth a damn.'

Would this count? 'Last year, two Russian Facebook pages organized dueling rallies in front of the Islamic Da’wah Center of Houston, according to information released by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican.

Heart of Texas, a Russian-controlled Facebook group that promoted Texas secession, leaned into an image of the state as a land of guns and barbecue and amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. One of their ads on Facebook announced a noon rally on May 21, 2016 to “Stop Islamification of Texas.”

A separate Russian-sponsored group, United Muslims of America, advertised a “Save Islamic Knowledge” rally for the same place and time.

On that day, protesters organized by the two groups showed up on Travis Street in downtown Houston, a scene that appeared on its face to be a protest and a counterprotest. Interactions between the two groups eventually escalated into confrontation and verbal attacks.

Burr, the committee's chairman, unveiled the ads at a hearing Wednesday morning and said Russians managed to pit Texans against each other for the bargain price of $200.' https://www.texastribune.org/2017/11/01/russian-facebook-page-organized-protest-texas-different-russian-page-l/

You've got hard evidence that the Russians are playing both sides? That doesn't fit in to the TrumpRussia narrative...

Thomas, remember this from just above?

"Russia is interested in being disrupted to all Western democracies and specifically the United States."

That is the proper perspective, and with it, Russia has both an interest in pumping Trump up, and undermining him. Playing all sides that create disruption.

If that is the proper perspective, why is your team not presenting that perspective? In fact, I don't think I can recall ever hearing on NPR that Russia was playing 'both sides', only that Trump was probably directly organizing efforts with Russians. So strange. I wonder why NPR would not present the proper perspective?

Who is my team? I am just a political independent who saw the awfulness of Trump early, and mentioned it often.

But, the US intelligence community published a formal assessment of Russian interference in January 2017. It concluded that Russia “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” It took no position on whether this interference had a decisive impact on the election: “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election,” the report stated. “The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.”

Anonymous.

Speaking as a analyst, the IC report(s) are boilerplate to the point of being laughable. I haven't seen such vague hand-waving product since the Iraq dossier. They provide absolutely zero - zero - hard evidence of collusion/hacking in favour of talking loudly about the other bad things the Russians (most probably) are involved with in the hope you will infer one from the other.

I don't like Putin and Co, and favour a robust policy to Russia. But there is no case to answer here. And I'm not so naïve as to imagine the Deep State doesn't have its own interests to pursue.

Chapo Trap House, home of the dirtbag left, does not like Obama, and don't even get 'em started on Bill Clinton.

These guys make $1 million+ a year on Patreon. They are hip and cool among the large "Bernie would have won" set, and of course, they are children who are wrong about almost everything.

How could they be wrong? They are making lots of money and I thought on the right that was prima facie evidence of being correct?

Though it's pretty funny for the crowd who believe god/nature/reason "gives" things to people (coincidentally, only the things you all like and nothing you don't like) in our society to be calling someone else "children". Is Father Property going to give you a present this year or will he give you a lump of coal? I guess it depends on whether you have been naughty or nice. What would the libertarian version of naught or nice be? Selfish or collectivist?

This is a pretty good example of the kind of muddle-headed reasoning they specialize in. Thanks for sharing.

My pleasure. How could I not respond to your crystal clear, cogent, precise, logical argument that people who you disagree with are children? It was such a well reasoned and fascinating claim I couldn't resist. I mean, it took a while to get through all the citations you provided to sociology journal articles, papers by leading economists, and the most cutting edge in political philosophy. But it was worth it because I learned so much about how the propertarian right is very serious, adult, and not at all insane.

To be fair the Chapo guys are all in their mid to late 20s, aren't they? To us middle-aged guys they do seem a little childish.

The proof is left as an exercise for the reader. I don't expect you can manage it though. Cheers.

"“Lack of real belief,” and lack of genuine religious communities, is often more of a problem behind terrorism than is “excessively fanatical belief.” Tyler, what is that supposed to mean? That moderate religiosity producers more terrorists than a fanatical mind set? or terrorism can be dealt with only if we have strongly held beliefs in something? And the Islamic state guys have no "real belief" in Islam?

Diversity is why, and Lee Kuan Yew and all the other Gods of the Copybook Headings will explain it for you.

In a multicultural democracy, it's not what your politician supports; it's whether he supports you. The Enlightenment's ideological arena of Anglos and Europeans debating abstract economics and political philosophy among themselves no longer exists. As Bernie Sanders found out, ethnic minorities like their socialism nationalist, like everybody else.

The Democrats used to be the Party of the Working Man. But then the Party decided the Working Man was too white, too male, too religious, too armed, and too provincial. The Man responded with the Hard Hat Riots and voted for Nixon, and then he voted for Reagan. The Democrats have been framing the debate as Team Brown/Team Rainbow v. Team White fight ever since. Now Trump has come along and the unthinkable is occurring: Team White has asserted politically that it wants to keep its place on the socio-economic pyramid. They want to stop the immigration flood, raise tariffs, and assert a national interest versus a "global" interest. In other words, the debate is no longer ideological but territorial, even existential. Such debates are generally immoderate.

+1. Bingo.

And now we enter the inevitable zero sum endgame when the Reps adopt the same racialised coalitions and tit-fot-tat strategy as the Dems, who have been busy pushing the "defect" button for 20 years. Dems consequently act surprised and outraged....

"we enter the inevitable zero sum endgame when the Reps adopt the same racialised coalitions"

I understand you don't live in America so you may not be aware of this, but it's the republicans who have embraced a racialised coalition (of different types of "white") as their basic principle of political organization. See, in the 1960s the Democratic party decided to not support state sanctioned racism any more so a whole bunch of white people left the Democratic party and began voting republican.

So now we have the gop which is unified only by white identity politics (since ending the New Deal isn't actually politically popular and a lot of those formerly Democratic voting white really like the New Deal when it benefits white people) versus a multiracial Democratic coalition. If you look at polling data and exit polls you'll see the gop vote on the federal level is made up almost entirely of white voters. Because the gop is a white identity party.

Trump got 30% of the Latino vote, better than Romney or McCain.

Yes. There's no evidence of increased racialism in the constituency of the Republican vote over time.

Dude, I bet it wouldn't take 3 posts to get you to say something you believe, which is explicitly racist against white people or sexist about men. Just own your hatred. You'll sit here and say "no I'm not racist, and it's wrong to say it's okay to be white" and the contradiction won't even occur to you because your racism is so deep and so Insidious that you think it's racist to treat people of different races equally.

Oh no! Would it hurt your fee fees if I said something "racist" about white people? Or (what's the opposite of misogynist) sexist about men? That would be sooooo mean. And completely the same as a white person saying something racist about Black people. Since Black people and white people have equal power in our society so a Black person who hates white people would have just as much opportunity to "effectuate" his racism as a white person who hates Black people.

"that you think it’s racist to treat people of different races equally"

I don't know if you guys just don't understand, or if you totally understand but need to ignore how our society is structured so you can pretend "everyone's racist" so who cares if you are racist too. But "treating people of different races equally" while good in the vast majority of situations, is not some sort of iron clad rule where violation of which is as bad as any type of racism.

Because of the history of our country and how race played a critical role in hundreds of years of deep, legalized inequality all races are not in an "equal" position in everything. So treating all races "equally" everywhere for everything can sometimes reinforce the unequal position people of different races may find themselves due to the aforementioned history. That would be "racist". Just as racist as treating people of a particular race differently in order to harm people of that race. "Racism" isn't just thinking bad things about people of another race. It is the way society structures and extends power on a racial basis. You should see the movie "Get Out". It's a good movie for showing how people who don't think they think bad things about people of another race are still racist. Or listen to a pod cast "Champagne Sharks" and their episode CS 003 "Why I Hate Hamilton The Musical". T from Champagne Sharks hates white liberals way, way more than you do.

Though I guess we have at least advanced somewhat in that you guys can no longer be openly racist. You have to pretend to be the most not-racist and it's everyone else who is racist. It's a small step in a positive direction I suppose. It used to be you guys would just be openly racist.

Obviously, some people say we should treat Normans (French) as equal. But that is not to recognise the many centuries of oppression and injustice suffered by the English under the cruel, racist Norman yoke. This merely institutionalises and perpetuates the historical racism of the French to my innocent Saxon forebears.

To correct this historical evil will require generous, indeed, I might say indefinite, reparations from France and a suitably remorseful and submissive attitude from French people. But it the matter need not stop with France. I also intend to press my moral case for reparations and preferential treatment against the racist depredations of the Jutes, Vikings, and of course, Romans, through their designated successor (but still deeply racist ) states of Denmark, Norway, and Italy.

Efcdons,

I was partially educated in the US and lived in your country for some time (relax, I was legally there :-) . Politics and international relations. So, if you'll forgive a Brit for saying so, I'm reasonably up to speed with US voting patterns and statistics. That's why I keep an interest on this sort of stuff.

RE racial voting. I'm a statistician, by vocation, and racial ID of voter is a far stronger predictor of democrat votes (at federal level) than republican. The White vote split 60-40 Trump, but the Non-white vote split 75-25 against him. Now, which is the better predictor of voting intent? Being white or non-white? Now, you can (fairly) realiably predict Voter race on the basis of Republican party affiliation, but that's not the same as proving racialism; and in fact the odd multipliers fall further once you apply controls for wealth and education.

However, it gets even better if you control for ethnicity of candidate across a set of elections. there the black vote in particular is astonishingly racially co-aligned. Blacks vote for blacks far more strongly than whites vote for whites, irrespective of party. So in terms of data, you're simply mistaken in your assertion.

"and racial ID of voter is a far stronger predictor of democrat votes (at federal level) than republican"

Hahaha! Yeah, that's because white and non-white people vote Democratic. As compared to the only white people republican party. Of course "race" is a stronger indicator for Democratic voters. Because no non-whites (practically) vote gop and lots of whites vote Democratic. Because the Democratic party is a non-racialized, multi-cultural coalition. And the gop is a white identity party for whites by whites to promote white interests (or, more accurately, prevent any reversal of white privilege).

16% of the GDP vote was non-white. That's a lot of false consciousness. Anyway, 2 things, just basic logic, really.

Firstly, non-sequitor. Racial imbalance in vote composition doesn't imply racism, especially once controls for education and SES are applied. Maybe the Democrats are pro-black (in the sense of enacting large, rent-seeking, transfers to them) rather than the Republicans being anti-black. Both explanations have equal validity under the data. You need to do better.

Secondly, you're making a category error. Racism is a property of individuals not abstract social entities. Narrowly speaking, parties can't be racist any more than, say, bricks, can be. This kind of category error is very common on the left, which thinks in collective nouns. It's useful as a shorthand. But it's sloppy logic. The proper level for analysis is individual not aggregate preferences. Here, the science is very clear; in the US data, blacks vote for blacks at a much high incidence than whites vote for white. That is, ethnicity of candidate is a stronger predictor, certeris paribus (i.e. controlling for party composition and other factors), for black voters than white. What a bunch of waaaaycists!

"The Democrats have been framing the debate as Team Brown/Team Rainbow v. Team White fight ever since"

No, this is inaccurate. Bill Clinton certainly didn't govern on those grounds. Al Gore didn't campaign on those grounds. The change was more recent. It's what propelled Obama to the front of the Democratic electoral pact in 2007/8. I think it really gelled when Obama gave his infamous speech:

"Obama was caught in an uncharacteristic moment of loose language. Referring to working-class voters in old industrial towns decimated by job losses, the presidential hopeful said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.""

It wasn't a speech it was an unscripted off the cuff remark. And it was kind of accurate. But definitely not a good look.

"It wasn’t a speech it was an unscripted off the cuff remark. And it was kind of accurate."

This is what I am talking about. People on the left can make blatantly racist statements about rural white men, and in the same sentence claim they're anti-racist.

What is racist about it? Leaving aside that no mention of whiteness or even masculinity is in the statement. Even if we stipulate Obama was referring to only the white working class (men and women both), how is what he said racist? How is it inaccurate? Sounds pretty spot on for a certain subset of the WWC (not every one of them, ya snowflake).

Everyone locks onto that quote from Obama and ignores his oft-repeated appreciation of the capitalist system- the kind of stuff no self-respecting socialist would ever dream of saying. You don't notice this stuff, but the Bernie bros do.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/obama-defends-capitalism-international-free-trade-economist-essay/story?id=42614080

"You didn't build that."

Obama (like a lot of people) believes in globalism, which is really not the same thing as "free markets," including freedom to fail. Strip away all the supra-national bureaucracies and the US military and see how long your "free trade" lasts.

QED, "free trade" ain't really free, unless we're talking about the Venetian city-state trading ducats for silk with Damascus.

In the age of Trump Derangement Syndrome, it is refreshing to recall the days of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

"Everyone locks onto that quote from Obama and ignores his oft-repeated appreciation of the capitalist system"

Kudos for Obama's economic speech. But frankly, you are changing the issue. My point wasn't that Obama gave this one bad speech. My point was that US politics has drifted back into serious racial divisions. And that Obama's speech didn't start the process, but instead represented the point whereby those ideas became respectively main stream. Liberal's have been making bigoted comments about rednecks or Southerns or flyover's for decades, but it never rose to the level of acceptable Presidential commentary.

Looks at msgkings response to it: "It wasn’t a speech it was an unscripted off the cuff remark. And it was kind of accurate."

There's close to zero chance that msgkings would agree with Trump if he made a similar comment about another racial group. Indeed, msgkings would denounce it as racism. And yet, msgkings response isn't surprising.

Nobody should be shocked that Trump got elected. Nor should anybody be surprised if it gets worse. My hope that the gentle racism of Obama and the more outspoken racism of Trump serve as a warning that politics is a pendulum with a positive feedback loop.

OK, but my point is that Obama was pretty middle of the road on policy matters, to the point that the growing illiberal left is repudiating the guy. These people are gearing up for a 1972-style debacle. The big shift is decidedly not Obama or middle of the road Hillary, but what comes next.

Hold on, is that comment really racial? Yes we all know he meant the white working class, but he wasn't making a racial judgment. He wasn't saying 'here's what white people are like' because he obviously knew plenty of white people who were the total opposite of that subgroup. And again, what he said was totally correct and you know it. A subset of white working class people really do fear modernity and cling to guns and religion. If Trump said something like 'they get bitter, they cling to their racial identity and antipathy to white people as a way to explain their frustrations' I would agree with that too. The rabid SJWs would be pissed off, but that's all they ever are. Of course, we all know Trump is incapable of making a nuanced statement like that.

Nobody should be shocked that Trump got elected. Nor should anybody be surprised if it gets worse. My hope that the gentle racism of Obama and the more outspoken racism of Trump serve as a warning that politics is a pendulum with a positive feedback loop.

Of course, 'racism' is a nonsense term in our time, and it is so applied to either man. Obama was a peddler of the social fictions which are universal in academe and in sections of the elite bar; Holder and Perez were the true believers in those fictions. Trump is a rude truth-teller.

This is what I said earlier. Be honest about your race and class based hatred for rural white people.

"He wasn’t saying ‘here’s what white people are like’ because he obviously knew plenty of white people who were the total opposite of that subgroup."

This is the 'I have a black friend' defense.

"we all know Trump is incapable of making a nuanced statement like that."

This is the 'its complicated' defense.

I just heard this defense on NPR today when a VP at the CFAP said that the word 'welfare' is racist and therefore supporting a work requirement for welfare is racist, and the rare conservative on NPR responded by telling her that 90% of Americans support a work requirement and that she was calling them racist. I'll paraphrase her response as 'no, I'm not calling them racist, it's really complex and nuanced'.

"Uh, it's a little more nuanced than that?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzY3EaJTuJk

"OK, but my point is that Obama was pretty middle of the road on policy matters, to the point that the growing illiberal left is repudiating the guy. These people are gearing up for a 1972-style debacle. The big shift is decidedly not Obama or middle of the road Hillary, but what comes next."

+1, Then you and I are in perfect agreement. The political pendulum will shift and it tends to gain energy.

"Hold on, is that comment really racial?"

Would you feel comfortable making the exact same statement about black evangelicals from Mississippi? Or would it make you uncomfortable? If you can't make the same statement regardless of the race of the subject, then yes it's racist.

In 1996, the US was still a very white place, and Al Gore was riding the last wave of the white super-majority culture in which he grew up, besides being a tin-eared fop.

You do bring up a good point: the shift has been very sudden, within a single lifetime.

Gore was the candidate in 2000. The most salient feature of the shift in voter preferences over the succeeding 8 years concerned the unde-30 vote: it went from a fifty-fifty split to a 2-1 advantage for the Democrats. The black share of the electorate increased from 11.7% to 13% over the period running from 2000 to 2012 and the Hispanic share went from 5.3% to 8.4%. The racial shift might add a headwind of 2.3% or so for the Republican to counter.

+1. About right.

So then Republican worship of Reagan and his ideology is actually very healthy!

Aristophanes wrote about this problem, incidentally -- see https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2017/09/26/demagogue-lover-aristophaness-wasps-in-the-age-of-trump/. The play I'm referring to is "Wasps," and it's basically about how if you give a man material comfort with no glory, he will eventually choose glory over material comfort. There's an obvious application of the play to center-left politics ("grow the pie and then share it"), which is basically focused on material comfort with no glory. The problem with the center-left politics isn't simply "lack of ideology and belief in nothing in particular " as Tyler suggests; rather, the problem that center-left politics doesn't imply any glorious struggle. Obama tried to inject some of that glory stuff into his politics when campaigning in 2008, but it became pretty obvious that he wasn't about glorious struggle when he was president, and people became disillusioned. People want grand struggles that make them look good, and "third way" center-left politics isn't about struggle, it's about contented stasis. Much of the immoderation of the response to Trump, I think, can be traced back to this need for a story that implies a glorious struggle. I believe that "third way" center left politics is basically the best we can hope for from government, but I'm no longer so sure it can be appealing as long as so many people think of politics as a vehicle for glory.

Addendum -- Religion is brilliant in that it gives people a story that satisfies their lust for glory without actually requiring them to fight much (hopefully). In that sense, Tyler is right that "a totally secular 'Enlightenment' society is not in every way to be welcomed." But it must be remembered that the underlying drive at issue here is towards glory -- that's why it would make sense that a decline in religion is a harbinger of immoderation (glory-seeking) in politics.

This post made me laugh remembering Eric Idle saying in an interview they originally wanted to title "Life of Brian" as "Jesus Christ: Lust For Glory" LOL

But your point is a good one, although I think it's better to use 'meaning' instead of 'glory'. Religion and politics and hell even sports gives people a chance to make their lives have meaning, by investing their passion in something bigger than them. Contented plenitude can be kind of unappealing. Houllebecq's novel "Submission" was about this.

Fair enough, but generally you can get "meaning" from family, friends, civil institutions, and all sorts of perfectly "moderate" stuff. The problem is that people evidently want something more immoderate, something with a little more salt to it -- and whether they acknowledge it or not, I think the best word for that thing is "glory" with all the baggage and history that implies. Liberalism doesn't really know what to do with that atavistic impulse for glory beyond saying, "uhhhhh maybe join the marines? Sports? Try to work on Wall Street? Videogames? Watch a lot of Game of Thrones?"

And as for Jesus, yeah, he was an odd vehicle for glory-seeking, but come on, it's right there in the Lord's Prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever" (which was evidently a translator's add-on, not in the original text). The Cathedrals, the organ music, the funny hats, the wars -- all design to reflect glory on the believer. Not sure Christ would love that stuff, but glory-seeking is definitely there in actually-practiced Christianity.

Re: “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever” (which was evidently a translator’s add-on, not in the original text).

Definitely not in the original. It's a doxology that the Church added in the early Middle Ages.

It's a crazy world, wherein the insanity of the extremes has become so normalized that it makes the center seem immoderate.

It's the future you chose.

You asked for it. You could have prevented it. You didn't listen. You can't stop it. And it has only just started.

You're hilarious. Until Trump came along, I was totally on the anti-PC libertarian bandwagon. If there's a way in which I asked for this future, it's because I helped you douche-bags create it. I'm smarter now.

I was told I was naïve, delusional, and yes, racist for supporting Ron Paul.

Remember Lindsey Graham huffing at libertarians that the GOP would not be the party of "angry white guys?"

Remember when even the single-issue Tea Party was denounced as racist just for wanting lower taxes?

Not a lot of room for compromise on the night-watchman State, is there Hazel? Well guess what: this is Plan B.

It should be readily apparent on Stormy Daniels Unleashed day that "PC" never should have been an abandonment of morality, and this is what happens when you treat it as such.

Republicans reduced and reduced their moral compass until the kind of guy who bangs porn stars while his new wife is at home with his young son fits within it.

And yeah, that does relate to the Pauls and their "principled" resistance to the equal rights amendment.

Gillibrand was from a rather Tumpish district. She now has to cater to the whole state median voter.
As a french politician once said:"I had to follow. I was their leader."

Democrats would not have to wonder what to believe in if their families were living (trying to) on $10/hr jobs.

Our forebearers did not come to American for idealism; most all came for money.

Here is the hottest issue (about to be) of the last hundred years -- simply because it will hit about everyone at the heart of their forebearers beliefs [:-)]: mandate labor union certification and re-certification elections (re-cert at one, three or five years, plurality rules).

A page timely ripped from the Republican anti-union playbook. Latest example, Florida: Republicans want to de-certify public teachers union anytime membership falls below 50% of original members (happens sometimes in summer for some reason): decertification without an election!

What can Republicans say. Craziest part of this whole picture: Bernie and Elizabeth nearly never mention labor unions. Their families not depending on $10/hr jobs I guess.

Our forebearers did not come to American for idealism; most all came for money.

You're conflating post-1880 immigration with previous waves.

Latest example, Florida: Republicans want to de-certify public teachers union anytime membership falls below 50% of original members (happens sometimes in summer for some reason): decertification without an election!

There is no justification for any sort of collective bargaining by public employees. If Florida Republicans were properly radical, teacher's unions would be licensed to act as voluntary mutual aid societies and have no collective bargaining function whatsoever.

“In polarized times, political competition comes to resemble tribal warfare.”

Maybe it’s gotten worse, but politics has always been tribal and about signaling and status-seeking.

“Everyone is under pressure to close ranks and boost morale. Lacking an animating vision beyond expert-led incrementalism, center-left politicians and pundits have few options to rally the Democratic base other than by attacking adversaries and heightening partisan divides.”

Group allies with traditional foes, compromises ideals against common enemy. More at 11.

“The other option—laying out an alternative that differs from what Hillary Clinton or even President Obama offered—requires ideological conviction.”

Neoliberals agree on principle – liberalism with free(r) markets. On policy they support trade deals, reduced barriers to migration, expanding the earned income tax credit, and reforms of occupational licensing and zoning. Check our r/neoliberal and you’ll see there’s more consensus than you think.

“When people don’t believe in so much with conviction, the logic of the crowd will sometimes dominate, because actual belief is no longer such a constraining force.”

This is a good point, but this is simply the price of open-mindedness. It’s just as true that “When people believe in so much with conviction, the logic of the crowd will sometimes lose, because actual belief is such a constraining force.”

Lack of ideology is not the same thing as lack of policy ideas.

Lack of ideology is, IMO, more often a good thing than a bad one. Ideology is too often murder and other unpleasantness justified by rigorous logic.

"Expert-led incrementalism" is more often a good thing than a bad one. Indeed, I would think it is hallmark of intelligent conservative policy. Respect for authority rather than the masses; a cautious but not obstinate attitude towards new ideas, etc.

Something justified by rigorous logic cannot be entirely bad. Perhaps it is time to revise your prior.

You sound like Mao.

Something justified by rigorous logic cannot be entirely bad. Perhaps it is time to revise your prior.

1. Of course it can. Depends on the axioms. Rigorous logic from stupid axioms - and most ideological axioms are stupid - can certainly produce terrible conclusions.
2. Just because something is not "entirely bad" doesn't mean it's not very bad.
3. Perhaps it is time to revise your prior.

This is terrible twitter-troll level analysis. Gay rights, minority rights, gun control, reduced military intervention coupled with more non-military intervention.... the left had plenty of ideologically based initiatives and some have worked better than others. I'm also always puzzled by this idea that the left is somehow immoderate. How would you differentiate between immoderation and success of a political movement in moving the middle? How are we sure it is one or the other?

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