Monday, February 08, 2016

A perfect storm of politics

Okay, skim down for links to weightier postings by some big thinkers about U.S. politics.  But if you have the patience for some ... er... unusual insights, start here.

First -- this piece of lovely satire by Andy Borowitz about how, completely aside from any policy or cultural issue, the victory of Ted Cruz in Iowa has given heart to America's most despised minority -- Nasty Folks who are hated by their peers:  

"In the wake of the Iowa caucuses, America’s most unlikeable people were lighting up Facebook with comments in praise of Cruz, bursting with pride that one of their own - the despicably unpleasant and deservedly friendless - had a legitimate shot at the White House."  Ha.

Turning more serious, here's a political weird-thought of the week: There has been a perfect storm striking the re-ignited Confederacy -- formerly called the Republican Party.

1- The oil price plunge has hurt the secret masters of the GOP, sapping their eagerness to spend.

2- Meanwhile the PAC putsch -- attempting to buy American democracy -- has run into a wall. Vast sums did nothing to reverse the plummet of Jeb Bush, nor has cash had much visible effect on other races.  Sure, big retail states like Florida may bring money back to the fore.  Still, what's an oligarch to do? What has come of America when elections are getting harder to buy?

3- Prediction.  We will very soon discover that much of that secret-master PAC money has shifted to social media.  For example, many of the angriest-sounding, most vehemently anti-Clinton folks on the Sanders sites - especially anon or pseudonymous folks - will be found to be agents provocateurs - (look up the term) - under pay to drive wedges through the Democratic coalition. 

What? You think there’s any way on Earth that’s not true, at least in some large fraction of cases? What would you do, if you were David Koch?

It won’t work.  Sanders himself will staunch that, knowing that “it’s the Supreme Court, stupid.” He's already made clear that he and Secretary Clinton will each come down hard on any of their supporters who don't, later, converge behind the nominee.

Still, my advice to emotional Sandersites is this: Fight for Bernie! But don't be like the irrationally sanctimonious Baby Boomers. Be logical and positive, then kiss and make up, whoever wins the nom. And if your blood is still up, then turn youthful vigor to your local state assembly race, where one more volunteer could wreak a seismically important shift! And where the candidate will know you by name.

4- Okay, okay, there are some old fart boomers doing the same damn thing. Madeleine Albright made the amazing statement that "there's a special kind of hell" for women who don't support Clinton, and Gloria Steinem managed to top that, telling the press that young women supporting Sanders where "just doing it to please the boys." Argh, such arrogance. Well, well. These are fools, part of a foolishly emotional generation. But certainly not on the payroll of any Koch PAC. 

Geez get it through your heads, boomers. This is no longer about you.

5- Wild card Donald Trump has been especially hard on the republican establishment, hammering Roger Ailes's Fox News -- the Murdoch-Saudi, Confederacy-rousing, poison machine. Their formula worked for years, stirring populist fury among lower middle class whites, using immigrants, scientists, teachers and all other "smartypants elites" as objects of ire, in order to distract from growing wealth disparity.  But working class whites can only be diverted this way for so long, without one of two things happening:

 -- The first possible outcome – that we saw tragically happen in Germany, 80 years ago, will be if this fervid, right wing populism stampedes even farther into crazy land, yanking the reins out of Roger Ailes's hands, much the way Junkers lords found the horse they had spurred into a froth running away with them, toward a cliff. You reap what you sow. 

Or else --

-- or else many in the tea party activist wing might (just might) start to remember their parents in the Greatest Generation. Heroes who overcame the Depression and Hitler and Stalin and built those halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s that non-college white Americans so yearn for -- days of mighty capitalist entrepreneurship that happened under high, Rooseveltean tax rates. And those working class whites may start to wonder:

"Say… did my folks know something, about class struggle, that I don't know? Like suspicion of oligarchy? And why should I keep drinking koolaid offered by oligarchs?" 

What happens to the Murdoch-Saudi game plan when white boomers ponder that Greatest Generation, and remember that their parents' favorite living human was Franklin Delano Roosevelt?


6- Hence my final weird fantasy. Only a science fiction author would or could concoct this one.  And to be clear I do not favor this weird thing!

And yet there is a scenario for some populists out there to start pushing it. A nascent, super-populist movement for TRUMP-SANDERS... or else SANDERS-TRUMP.  

Sound insane?  Of course it is! But Robert Heinlein predicted America would pass through "The Crazy Years."  Anyway, the more you ponder the wild idea, the more likely it seems that someone – somewhere on our populist-frothing internet - will raise a banner.

== Are there "cycles" to politics? ==

Jonathan Rauch notes the rule of 14 -- "No one gets elected president who needs longer than 14 years to get from his or her first gubernatorial or Senate victory to either the presidency or the vice presidency" -- may be coming to an end. Hillary Clinton was elected to the Senate 16 years ago. Jeb Bush to his governorship18 years ago. 

On the other hand, many of this year's leading candidates have little or no political or military experience. A reflection of an underlying public preference for presidents who are battle-tested but not battle-weary, experienced enough to know their way around but fresh enough to bring new energy to the job. 

See a chart from The Atlantic that shows the experience level of presidential winners and losers from 1960 to 2012. Starting in 1996, the candidate with more experience begins consistently losing. Moreover, as the trend lines show, the inexperience premium has increased over time.   

Two generations ago, James Q. Wilson wrote in The Amateur Democrat that political amateurs who were unyielding in their righteousness had begun supplanting political professionals who were willing to make deals and compromise. The ascendency of amateurism, he predicted, would cause social friction and governmental gridlock: 'Political conflict will be intensified, social cleavages will be exaggerated, party leaders will tend to be men skilled in the rhetorical arts, and the party's ability to produce agreement by trading issue-free resources will be reduced.'

Time to shrug off the boomers’ self-indulgent trips and snap out of this.

46 comments:

Jumper said...

What's with the willful distorted quote by Albright? She said no such thing. She said there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other.

Fred said...

Jumper,

Perhaps you should go back and reread exactly what Albright said. It's so obvious that she clearly meant that anyone not voting for HC in this election would earn a special place in hell.

I guess you are a HC advocate.

sharksinthegenepool said...

Very disingenuous, Jumper. You know what she meant.

Jumper said...

I probably am affected by being a Wikipedia editor, where I run into authors who do this deliberately to spin controversial topics their way. I do consider it a bad habit. I also see it in headline writers who do it for the same reason plus to suck in eyeballs. I.e., clickbait.

I suppose you can blame the reader who does not follow every link for not finding out the actual quote. I don't see it that way.

I'm no Clinton supporter, btw. I just don't like political discourse where it's constant putting words in people's mouths they never said.

Anonymous said...

I am completely in the bag for Sanders, but will absolutely be willing to vote for a reasonably smart Labrador retriever over any single one of the Republican candidates. I have tried to make this point on several discussion threads and each time I get very angry, to the point of hyperbole, tirades about Hillary. I tried to make them see the light, but now it seems that their vitriol is way too similar to the seething hatred the Right has always had for the Clintons. Paid shills indeed!
-AtomicZeppelinMan

Robert said...

Saying "there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women" within the same paragraph as talking about electing Hillary Clinton as President is equating going to hell for not voting for Hillary.

If she had said "there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women" while talking about shelters for battered women or in a non-political sense then your claims would be valid. But that's not the context in which the hell comment was made.

No, it is clear that Albright feels that women who don't vote for Hillary are going to that special Hell. You know, the one inhabited by child molesters and people who talk in theaters.

Rob H.

Tony Fisk said...

We (that is to say, you Americans) saw this sort of ire between Hilary and Barack in 2008.

The Dems will shriek the benefits
of Hilary, or Bernsie,
but in the end they'll get behind
whoever gets the guernsey*


*An Australian term in an American setting? I claim poetic license! Anyway, since @jumper mentions his Wikipedia association, and since I'm just recovering from a bout in the AfD arena, I think this is the best place to explain the term.

Mark said...

Conservatives and Republicans created Fox News to promote their agenda. A few years ago it became apparent Fox News could no longer be controlled. A new generation stopped just paying lip service to the radical ideas and started to believe it.

Fox News promoted and created Donald Trump. But when it became apparent he might actually win, they tried to knock him back down. It turns out they can't control him or his appeal.

Donald Trump: The Bride of Frankenstein.

Daniel Duffy said...

"The first possible outcome – that we saw tragically happen in Germany, 80 years ago, will be if this fervid, right wing populism stampedes even farther into crazy land, yanking the reins out of Roger Ailes's hands, much the way Junkers lords found the horse they had spurred into a froth running away with them, toward a cliff. You reap what you sow."

Or the Tea Party ends up like the SA in the "Night of the Long Knives". The socially radical SA was the populist part of the Nazi party and wanted a thorough social revolution. The bankers and industrialists who financed Hitler's rise to power feared them and demanded their elimination.

I'm not saying blood will be spilled, but the Tea Party should watch its back.

Alfred Differ said...

Amateur democrats don't bother me much. Our parties have a long history of being run by political bosses, so I see the trend toward the amateurs as a consequence of breaking boss power over nomination processes. Is this break complete? Nah. Is it without problems? Nah. Is it good for political compromise? Obviously not. Is it good for our liberty? Yah... I think so... but time will tell.

locumranch said...



Since we're proffering predictions ...

The US Presidential Race is four-cornered with Trump & Cruz occupying the reddish corners and Sanders & Clinton occupying the bluish ones; Rubio is out-of-the-running after being revealed to be a crudely-programmed establishment marionette; Bush is put-down (a mercy-killing) for the sin of cowering behind by his mommy's skirts; and Clinton suffers grievous wounds from her recent attempt to cower behind Bill's drapes.

Trump continues to dominate the primaries as the only faux-Republican with a shot at a November win; Cruz is 'down & out' (especially if he secures the GOP nomination) because Trump has already promised an independent run as a spoiler/splitter if not nominated; Sanders 'White Knights' women by promising 'Bennies from Heaven' and wins a female majority; and Clinton faces a serious shortfall if she expects loyal female support instead of green-eyed female spite.

The preliminary results:

(1) Trump either plays or spoils;
(2) Sanders gains the nomination by a nose;
(3) Clinton succumbs to self-pity, bitchiness or both; and
(4) Cruz loses either way.

Thankfully, the Presidential Race (in Outcome) is 'Win-Win':

(1) A Trump victory means a triumph for pragmatism, nationalism & isolationism;
(2) A Sanders victory means a bipartisan rejection of Idealism; and
(3) A Clinton victory engenders multicultural meltdown, open hostility & actual secession.

A Vote for Clinton in 2016 is a Vote for Chaos.



Best.

Michael said...

Actually, Madeline Albright - born as she was in 1937, is too old to be an "old fart boomer."

But I get the sentiment.

Hillary Clinton had a very revealing interview with Rachel Maddow tonight. From my perspective it elevated her a few notches.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Mark: There were two stages, actually: the stage where Fox News, the organization, proved it could not be controlled by the Establishment; and then the moment when Fox News itself realized it could no longer control its audience.

Both happened after what I think was the final breakdown of the Dubya Machine, when Karl Rove had a reality breakdown on live television and refused to accept that his electoral strategy had failed.

Matters are too chaotic right now for solid odds; Dixville Notch has tallied its votes, and late tonight matters will be clearer.

Expectations game:
* TRUMP must either win or be within a couple points of the winner to advance. He has the High National Poll immunity token, but he really can't afford to spend it on this race; he may need it soon.
* CRUZ holds the Iowa Victor immunity token, and can afford to come in as low as fourth.
* RUBIO must come in third or higher to continue. Being outed as a synth has not helped him in the least; he can recover from that, but the question of his ability to beat Hillary in a debate is now a serious one.
* BUSH was on the verge of elimination, but with Rubio stumbling, he has a chance. He must either:
(a) come in third or higher, OR
(b) come in higher than Rubio.
Note that Bush still holds the Money in the Bank immunity token; even if eliminated he can continue to attack and/or send aid to other players.
* KASICH, CHRISTIE, and CARSON must come in third or higher or be eliminated, period. None of them have immunity tokens; CARSON spent his Prior Frontrunner token in Iowa.
* FIORINA and GILMORE are waiting to be escorted from the building by security.

The D side is so much simpler: SANDERS simply must win. He has no chance to carry anything in the near future except Nevada, unless he wins tonight. HILLARY simply carries too many immunity tokens.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "I am completely in the bag for Sanders, but will absolutely be willing to vote for a reasonably smart Labrador retriever over any single one of the Republican candidates"

I can already picture the campaign:

The Right: "This «candidate» would rather play fetch with Muslim migrants rather than erect a wall to stop them from coming!"
The Left: "PRECISELY!!"

***

* "Amateur democrats don't bother me much. Our parties have a long history of being run by political bosses, so I see the trend toward the amateurs as a consequence of breaking boss power over nomination processes"

I wouldn't call the current dominant breed of politicians amateurs: right know, often corrupt horse traders are being replaced by professional rhetoricians and sophists.
In fact, I daresay that unless we figure out how to institutionalize participative democracy on a massive scale, the political class will remain dominated by career politicians.

Tom Crowl said...

RE the populist surge in both Parties: Consider that there was once a time when labor was a meaningful part of the political process. its members held diverse views on social issues (both conservative and liberal)... BUT they shared a common interest in better wages and conditions and a fairer "shake" from the "Establishment"...

This powerful, economically-focused "heat-from-the-bottom" brought us a fairer distribution of wealth and power. Moreover we were making progress on those social issues and with civil rights generally.... all made easier by a more general (though never perfect) sense that the system was for all of us.

The destruction of the labor movement (e.g.see "The Powell Memo" and other factors)... gutted that economic "heat"... leaving the moneyed interests to focus on social issues to divide the population while concentrating wealth and power at the top.

The Clinton DLC was an unfortunate response and further depletion of that heat and is part of a long pattern of "compromising toward the right"

And not only has destroyed our faith in this government... but eventually may very well lead to increasing social fragmentation and 'blaming the wrong targets" (e.g. Trump).

Empowering the Bottom is not about some kumbayah faith that the poor and unheard are always right... but rather that w/o a balance in interests social cohesion will eventually erode... as it has. I argue in fact that w/o meaningful mechanisms for allowing that heat to be felt.... political decay is inevitable... and will accelerate.

There are very practical solutions. So far neither Party wants this addressed as far as I've been able to tell. P.S. The lack of responsible pathways for that heat is a global problem... as it has been for several thousand years frankly.

Tom Crowl said...

Growing portions of both Parties, perhaps now majorities, are populist. Does that mea they agree on everything? Absolutely not. But those two disparate populations agree on one very core idea: That narrow interests now control political decision... in favor of those who fund them.

This populist conclusion isn't going away with this election. And, in fact is likely to get worse. (Especially if we face another recession which is looking likely). Whichever Party is able to recognize this well justified anger and distrust of the system will benefit. Its very possible that neither will and that cynicism will continue to rise as it has been for what is now a couple of decades.

As I'm sure political operatives realize there are many who find themselves torn between Bernie Sanders and Trump... (rather than between Sander and Clinton on one side or between Trump and e.g. Rubio on the other). Whatever happens in this election... both Parties are in more long-term trouble than they realize... and for good reason. This election may well be a "Last Hurrah" for conventional politics and politicians.... if they can even hold it together through this one.

Tom Crowl said...

A One Click, Low Threshold Contribution Capability: Why It's Necessary for Advocacy

http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-one-click-low-theshold-contribution.html

Anonymous said...

Hey folks, it's small part of the post, but it's bugging me - Albright has been using the "special place in hell" line for years. There was even a starbucks cup with it, and Wellesley College sells a t-shirt with the quote after she used the line in a speech there in 2004. I think she was just riffing on something that has long been associated with her, not specifically saying "vote for Clinton or go to hell."

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

2) Sanders gains the nomination by a nose;


Hey, watch the anti-Semitic remarks there.


(4) Cruz loses either way.


We can only hope,

Thankfully, the Presidential Race (in Outcome) is 'Win-Win':

(1) A Trump victory means a triumph for pragmatism, nationalism & isolationism;
(2) A Sanders victory means a bipartisan rejection of Idealism; and
(3) A Clinton victory engenders multicultural meltdown, open hostility & actual secession.


I don't get any of those remarks. But the Sanders one in particular seems diametrically opposed to reality. Isn't Sanders's campaign all about idealism?

Trump is about the illusion of pragmatism. You're probably closer if you leave "pragmatism" off your list.

Clinton...shouldn't all those things have already resulted from Obama's election?

Frank Darbe said...

And again I hear Bloomberg is coming, considering spending a billion of his fortune and land like a thunderbolt in the Political Center in an independent run.

Either he hasn't learned that only Teddy Roosevelt ever ran a halfway decent independent presidential campaign (and even he was only a spoiler) or he is high on his own hubris.

Tony Fisk said...

There shall be war, and rumours of war, and rumours of people spending other people's money on rumours of war...

David Brin said...

Bloomberg may seek to be a kingmaker. And to be onstage with the other two, in debates, is truly worth a lot.

Jumper said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2PCSSpMl8E
Full Auto Coke Bottle Gatling

Zepp Jamieson said...

Sanders is leading by 20 points with 50% of the vote counted, which means he won the expectations game.
Kasich won the GOP expectations game, coming in second.
Bernie took time out from his victory speech to remind the crowd that if they want to launch Republican-style attacks on Hillary, they need to remember that once the primaries are over, they were all going to have to come together as one party and beat the Republicans. As Dr. Brin notes, there are agent provocateurs out there, but for the most part, they're easy to spot; they always use the old right wing talking points from before, so you hear about Monica (never have figured out how that's Hillary's fault), Whitewater, Foster, The Arkansas Drug Deal, and so on. And of course, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi because Benghazi.
Someone hacked the AP live returns about 6pm our time, and on the Guardian, the results showed Santorum winning the GOP race, someone named "John Valentine" winning the Dem race, and in the county breakdown, two counties showed "Excessive Vermin" winning.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Catfish: Now I have a hankering to play a couple rounds of ILLUMINATI!

Alfred Differ said...

@Laurent: Point to the successful political bosses and I'll reconsider. It is the old bosses who were the perfect career politicians. We managed to do well under them if our interests involved something they could manage and skim. They managed the extremists fairly well by eliminating compromise opportunities for them. These skills are still employed today by those who have them, but not as successfully. Even the old bosses struggled with some radicals (e.g. Theodore Roosevelt), but they used to be able to flat out purchase the Presidency for their Oligarchs (e.g. McKinley). That doesn't work so well today. If it did, Hilary would have been nominated in 2008 and Jeb! wouldn't have any real competition.

What's the country coming to when our Barons can't buy an election? Why can't they? Their best option involves agents provocateurs? Hmpf.

Seriously. The Citizens United decision doesn't seem all that scary at the moment. I suspect we will weather it.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Librarian: it does seem like a good GOP simulator at the moment, doesn't it?

Alfred: It's the cousin of the self-refuting prophecy -- the self-refuting political manipulation. Get this: name another topic that both primary races are not only placing front and center but discussing in similar terms...

The irony is that Citizens United was filed so they could advertise an anti-Hillary polemic.

Okay, accountability in predictions time:
* TRUMP (1st) keeps the High National Poll immunity token and gains the NH Victor token.
* CRUZ (3th) keeps his Iowa Victor immunity token.
* RUBIO (5th) now takes the Designated Target card from Bush, but as he is statistically tied for 3rd, he gets to stay one more round.
* BUSH (4th) met victory condition (b) and keeps his Money in the Bank token.
* KASICH (2nd) wins the NH Runner-Up token, which by all accounts he'll have to spend in the next round.
* CHRISTIE has had the grace to fold.
* Not so CARSON, who joins FIORINA and GILMORE in the holding pen.

After a chance to sleep, eat, and mingle, five teams remain. Who will be eliminated...... next?

Tacitus2 said...

What a political circus. On the D side we have Sanders, whose sincerity can't be questioned but the prudence of his policies in large scale application certainly could be. Or, Hillary Clinton if her legal issues remain contained. I note that despite a draw and a drubbing she is still comfortably ahead in delegate count due to the modern day smoke filled room that is Super Delegates. How cohesive would that party be if H loses most of the primaries but is in effect crowned by the gilded courtiers? Or will there be some bizarre last minute entry?

On the R side. Sheesh. Trump would be flattened in a national election, at least in anything like a normal one. The more reasonable remaining candidates (and this is relative to those of you who see horns and a barbed tail on them all) are Rubio, Kasich and Bush. But unless they gain new strength from supporters of the candidates who have folded, do any of them have the legs to stay in it and out last Trump?

And to make matters harder still, what effect would a Trump or Sanders victory have on Congress? For instance, I would personally not vote Trump under any circumstances. But would my down ticket vote then go more Left to keep Donald in check, or Right to curtail Sanders' more fermented notions?

I Don't Know.

Tacitus

A.F. Rey said...

CHRISTIE has had the grace to fold.

He's not out yet. He's gone home to "weigh his campaign's future."

Which probably means he's looking for a bridge to close in South Carolina. :)

Tom Crowl said...

How Systems Break: First They Slow Down
http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-systems-break-first-they-slow-down.html

Catfish N. Cod said...

An intriguing contribution, to be sure, but could you expand on the relevance?

Tom Crowl said...

Catfish.. if the comment is directed to me... my answer is that I believe that both the monetary and intertwined fiscal systems (along with various other economy related sub-systems including a governing consensus as exemplified by the erosion/collapse of any shred of two Party consensus) are confronting this fragility... and that another 2008-like event is increasingly likely and may well be worse.

I don't suggest that its certain... only that there's a lot of head-in-the-sand action going on with TPTB.

FDR understood that (and is still foolishly hated by many supporters of Capitalism)... but the current Establishment does not. Financial Capitalism is not capitalism... (any more than Democratic Socialism is Socialism but that's another story)

sociotard said...

Geithner gets his back scratched by a bank he regulated; extended a million dollar line of credit by J P Morgan for personal investments.

David Brin said...

Cogent thoughts, Tacitus. My response:

1. Every GOP candidate but Kasich has catered to apocalyptic ichor, portraying the nation - which is in vastly better shape now - as teetering at an abyss and the current center-right president as satanic. Meanwhile can you name an actual policy proposal put forward by any of them? Other that doubling down on more tax cuts for the rich? And disdaining science and every other knowledge profession?

Here's what we learned. That 84% of Republicans in rock-ribbed, sensible New Hampshire (!!) have bought and guzzled that koolaid. Do you start to see why Trump and Cruz are not personally the problem, but symptoms of a poison, and that poison has been shoved into our veins by Rupert Murdoch? The populist, know-nothing rage that Rupert and radio shock-jocks have spread can only have one of two outcomes:

(a) 1933 Germany.... (b) or 1933 America. If millions of white boomers remember that oligarchs are not their friends, and that their parents' favorite person was FDR... then we may have a soft landing.

2. Sure, Bernie Sanders also reflects this tizzy of populist anger in America. Though in his case the ravings are actual policy proposals that aren’t - in themselves - all that worrisome. A bit center-left, though not by any European standards. Mostly take-backs of insane GOP pro-oligarch experiments across the last 25 years. Also note this: even if (God willing) this version of goppers is pushed out of control of Congress, Sanders will not get the socialist thing to any worrisome degree. He'll denounce the blue-dog, DNC dems who will moderate his every bill.

No, my worries about a Sanders presidency are (a) that the Timothy Mc Veigh types will go berserk, and (b) I am watching him closely to picture what sort of commander-in-chief he’d make. Oh, he's stable and sane. Still, to be plain, as of this moment? I’d be more comfortable with Bill and Hill near the phones.

And Bernie reminds me of my Dad. Not a baaaaad thing. Still. I’d vote dem even if they nominate a yellow Labrador, even over Kasich. And this acknowledging that in times past I used to vote for republicans and libertarians, from time to time.

This is not The Republican Party. It is the Confederacy. That name and model fits. It fits vastly better that any other. What’s more is… you know it to be so.

Tacitus2 said...

"What’s more is… you know it to be so."

You're doing that thing again....telling people what they really believe even if they won't say it. You get rightly annoyed when the less temperate posters here do it to you.

No, I don't think this is the Confederacy. The current weirdness does not fit a pattern I/we have figured out yet but I disagree that it is overtly racial.

If you require an actual, realistic way to pay for things I have not seen much in the way of realism from either side.

Well, technically I am not registered in either camp so I guess I am Independent.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

What's the country coming to when our Barons can't buy an election? Why can't they? Their best option involves agents provocateurs? Hmpf.

Seriously. The Citizens United decision doesn't seem all that scary at the moment. I suspect we will weather it.


I suspect one (or both) of two things is at work here.

First of all, as the country gets more polarized, there are fewer voters approaching Election Day who are susceptible to having their minds changed by an advertisement. As I told Tacitus the other day, you could show me video of Hillary and Bernie at a dinner table munching on aborted baby parts and saying "Mmmmm, tastes like chicken!", and I'd still vote for whichever of them was the Democratic nominee. No amount of money-as-speech is going to change that.

A separate dynamic is that more and more people are getting their entertainment from media without commercials. In such a world, how deep a reach do political ads really have?

It may turn out that the main effect of Citizens United was to enrich the television and radio stations with a short term infusion of ad revenue. But as the Kochs and their ilk see how little their money buys them, that revenue stream may dry up on its own.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Also note this: even if (God willing) this version of goppers is pushed out of control of Congress, Sanders will not get the socialist thing to any worrisome degree. He'll denounce the blue-dog, DNC dems who will moderate his every bill.


That's exactly what I told my conservative friends during the 2008 election. A President Obama wouldn't be able to just pass a socialist agenda. Congress wouldn't allow it.

I'm not sure how Republicans get away with insisting that a Democratic president could do irreparable harm in his first hundred days, when in reality, changes wrought by Democratic administrations are still vulnerable to re-litigation 40 or 50 years after the fact. The ones who do irreparable harm ASAP are Republican administrations.


No, my worries about a Sanders presidency are (a) that the Timothy Mc Veigh types will go berserk, and (b) I am watching him closely to picture what sort of commander-in-chief he’d make. Oh, he's stable and sane. Still, to be plain, as of this moment? I’d be more comfortable with Bill and Hill near the phones.


The McVeighs will go berserk over Hillary as well. But on your second point, I'm right there with you. My heart wants President Sanders leading the new revolution, but my head still believes that Hillary is the horse to bet on in November. That's not set in stone--I am open to persuasion ahead of the March primary (in Illinois), but anyone attempting that persuasion has to convince me that Bernie can win and govern. It's not enough to show me that I like the stories he writes better than the stories Hillary writes.


And Bernie reminds me of my Dad. Not a baaaaad thing.


In 2008, McCain reminded me of my Dad, who was beginning to slip into dementia at the time. It worried me that we might very easily get President Palin.


Still. I’d vote dem even if they nominate a yellow Labrador, even over Kasich. And this acknowledging that in times past I used to vote for republicans and libertarians, from time to time. This is not The Republican Party. It is the Confederacy. That name and model fits. It fits vastly better that any other.


As Paul Krugman mentioned recently, Kasich only looks sane and moderate in comparison. He's still a true believer in Supply Side and hard money who would have led us into full scale Depression had he been president right after the crash of 2008.


What’s more is… you know it to be so.


Ok, only your best friends will tell you. You're not winning Tacitus over by telling him you know what he thinks better than he does. It's your blog and all, but if 'twere me, I'd let the facts and observations do the persuading.

David Brin said...

Larryhart brrrrr! To envision President Palin get the wonderful satire flick IRON SKY.

Tacitus, accept my apologies, though I expect that I will use that polemic again and again, by habit.

Only dig this. The Confederacy was not about racism, per se! It was about poor whites getting goaded into marching and fighting and dying to protect the economic power of their own class oppressors.

In 1861 that meant fighting to help plantation lords keep their slaves. Today it means protecting Wall Street bankers, resource extractors and those with sweetheart-low tax arrangements and Cayman Island accounts.

It is still about poor whites getting goaded into marching and fighting and dying to protect the economic power of their own class oppressors. And it is exactly the Confederacy. Plus Indiana. And maybe Wisconsin.

David Brin said...

Onward

onward

Robert said...

Dr. Brin, you don't want Sanders as President because you are friendly toward the Clintons. I'm not sure as to how close you are to them, but you have been their defender and cheerleader for quite a few years now, and you handwave away Hillary's flaws as not worth considering.

Sanders is no worse a candidate to be in charge of national defense than Clinton is. In some ways, he's better because he's far less likely to jump into a conflict at the urgings of the industrial-military complex which has its hooks in pretty much every other candidate.

I say: Let peace have a chance. I suspect you'll find Sanders speaks softly but carries a big stick... but is also willing not to smack people before speaking like most of our presidents tend to do these days.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Rob there is no basis forclaiming I am hostile to Bernie. I do not know him well except from stump speeches. Not from accomplishments or administrative experience. I will support him as the nominee, and I am not the overwrought, over-emotional one, here.

I know folks in the military and industry and while they merit skeptical accountability, they are not the crisis here. They did not want middle east quagmire wars. Oligarchy and foreign meddlers and civil war... if we deal with those we'll be america again. And what matters is giving Hill or Bern a Congress. Chill just a bit man.

Outcomes.

David Brin said...

onward

bigsteve said...

Are you not a Boomer Mr Brin? Truth be told we Boomers are all over the political map. My home city (Orlando) was as redneck and proudly a member of the Confederacy in my youth as you could get. Over the next fifty years as immigration from Yankees up north and the rest of the world, mainly Latin America the city has drifted to a bright blue dot in purple Florida. I have as President Obama said for himself, evolved in my thinking and politics. I am still registered Republican in my gerrymander district but who ever wins the Democratic nomination will get my vote this fall. I really am thinking I should change party registration as now I mainly vote D not R. And I am far from being the only senior citizen who thinks that way. There really is no room for moderates or true conservatives in the current GOP.

Laurinda McKinlay said...

Who are the Baby Boomers, in your view? Most sources define Baby Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964. This would include you (born 1950 per your bio) , but neither Madeleine Albright (born 1937) nor Gloria Steinem (born 1934).
It appears that Baby Boomer is a term of abuse for you. I assure you that we are not all whining, self-serving spoiled brats as your post implies. Shame on you Dr. Brin, for such sloppy and mean-spirited rhetoric.


Daniel said...

Little late to the party here but - hot damn - was that a bad prediction in re: online Sanders supporters. Turns out it was the DNC and Clinton campaign using super-PAC money to fund a paid troll factory against Sanders' campaign. Guess you don't need Republicans to drive a wedge in the party when you have center-right Democrats at the helm. It's kind of strange that you cannot see there is a real schism that exists within the party and that its cause has far more to do with the current Dem Party leadership than it does with the predictably terrible Republicans. Here's a sample,

https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8351

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