A few thoughts to add to this:

  1. It is truly annoying! Trump is a worse?person than George W. Bush, but he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be a worse president than Dubya. And as I’ve discussed before many times, a lot of the stuff Trump wants to do is stuff Bush already tried and either accomplished (for a time) or was more successful at than Trump. In fact, his ability to manipulate the press, use the Blue Dogs as scabs on numerous votes where Congressional Republicans didn’t want to back him, etc., made his disasters much worse than those of Trump, who has shown no adeptness at these things.
  2. Bushtalgia is truly one of the great failures of the Obama-era Democratic Party. No, Obama shouldn’t have been slamming Bush every other speech. Norms aside, it wouldn’t have looked good. But FDR didn’t personally do that to Hoover, nor did Reagan personally do it to Carter. The political machines they ran, however, never let the public forget what happened under the other guy. Obama’s machine never did that to Bush. This was a mistake that history will now have to correct for decades to come, and I have no doubt that it has had some costs to liberals.
  3. That said, it probably doesn’t matter all that much. A lot of Republicans hoped that Bush’s rehabilitation would wipe away the damage to their party, but that didn’t happen. Millennials still loathe the GOP, more than ever in fact. Weird that the figurehead of that movement has been rehabilitated but it doesn’t seem to have rubbed off on Republicans as a whole. No doubt this gives Karl Rove the sads.
  4. The revulsion at Trump is much more personalized among liberals than it ever was with Bush, so I wouldn’t expect such a similar reversal to be in the cards if I were him. That said, the irony of our present politics is that the party whose religious appendage preaches endless forgiveness in actuality nurses grievances endlessly, while the opposition, secular party actually does pretty much follow Christ’s example. The rank-and-file clearly wants to forgive and forget and not dwell on the bad things in the past, which is one big reason why they nominated Obama in 2008 in the first place. It’s hard to imagine Democrats making the exact same mistake once again but…it’s not as though the political environment in 2008 held a lot of promise for bipartisanship to begin with, and even now quite a lot of Democrats (particularly richer ones, you know, donors) are really obsessed with this idea. Perhaps ActBlue will make that less salient. But maybe not. Who knows?

Politically speaking, I’m not really sure “forgive and forget” is a particularly good idea for Democrats when it comes to Republican crimes.

Share
Lev filed this under: , ,  

The real puzzle of the Trump inner circle isn’t Manafort, it was Flynn. Manafort was little but a prostitute but Flynn wasn’t. He did bad stuff and then took one of the top jobs in the government. He had to have known he was putting a target on his back. Why?

I guess it’s the same answer as for every corrupt politician. They genuinely believe it’s all going to be water under the bridge. But it really is hard for me to fathom that level of obtuseness. Just can’t understand it.

Share
Lev filed this under: ,  

A surprisingly pointed analysis of Macron’s France in?WaPo:

But the diesel tax increase was merely a trigger; the real cause of the massive outpouring of anger and frustration lies deeper. The diesel tax increase was the latest of several reforms proposed by Macron that would?disproportionately affect France’s least well-off, including?abolishing a wealth tax, making it easier for companies to?hire and fire employees, and?fighting unions.

More generally, France remains plagued by long-standing?social and political problems. Unemployment is high, growth is low and divisions — between urban and rural areas, highly educated cosmopolitans and less-educated “left-behinds” — are increasing.

Macron came to power promising to deal with these and other problems, but the reforms thus far led many to dismiss him as another member of an out-of-touch elite. His?cá cược miễn phí 2019aloof personal style?— and several well-publicized disparaging remarks to those less well-off, including that they should “stop whining” and simply “cross the street to find a job” — lead growing numbers of citizens to view him the “president of the rich.” As the protests swelled, the yellow vests’ anger became?increasingly aimed at Macron?and, more generally, at an establishment that seems unwilling or unable to address their needs.?

The thing is that the last two fucking French presidents became ruinously unpopular single-termers precisely because of the perception that they governed for the rich and disdained everybody else. Hollande wound up with Schwarzeneggerian approval ratings! You have to work pretty hard to get under 20%, it’s simply a fact. Macron then won and…did the same shit? Did he really expect a different result?

Well, of course he did! But these yellow vests really portend is the final, unmourned demise of the Third Way. Macron had to “reform” the labor laws and take on the unions, so that France could also get that capitalist geyser gushing once those pesky people were out of the way. The ideology demanded it, and there was no alternative. And yes, rich donors will ensure that Third Wayism still going to be around to some degree, though never again will it be more than a sideshow. It no longer speaks to the times. Even in the U.S. the next Democratic presidential nominee is almost certainly not going to be John Delaney or Joe Biden, the most likely carriers of the bipartisan, capitalism with a human face banner. It’ll be Cory Booker or Kamala Harris or somebody like that, who will support single payer and a jobs guarantee and much else, which will be a very big shift when it happens. Because for over a decade politicians of the nominal left all over the West reaped rewards by doing exactly the sorts of things that Macron did, with some occasional scraps for the masses. Macron can’t even deliver the scraps. The reaction is predictable.

Third Wayism only worked at all in a very specific context: good times, basically. Times good enough where people didn’t much care that the “left” was tearing down all the barriers to unlimited capital mobility that they could. Anyway, these are not good times. The consequences to the EU and Europe more broadly from a Macron failure would indeed be hideous, but everything I read about the man screams clueless, out of touch, perhaps panicked. Wonder if he even makes it to the second round runoff next election.

Share
Lev filed this under: ,  

Neoconservatism was always basically a pile of shit with a Ph.D., but at this moment in time all its effects are universally understood to be disastrous and all its presumptions have been entirely wrong. How does one even argue at this point that liberal democracy is such an inborn thing that just tossing a despot will make it flourish? (Not that it made sense in the ’90s either, as anybody with a high school history class under their belt should know.) Increasingly, nobody makes such arguments, so, it’s as good a time as any for the?Standard to go away. But the thing is that the neocons have seen this coming for years now, which is why they’ve been frantically scurrying to find a new ship to hop onto. I’m torn as to what to do with the ones who seem to want to join the left: at the very least there has to be an unequivocal bridge-burning with the conservative movement, Max Boot style. Maybe Jennifer Rubin can come over too, maybe. But Bill Kristol will first have to give one apology per column he wrote where he compared Democrats to Chamberlain because they wouldn’t support some dumb war he backed. Get back to us then.

Share
Lev filed this under:  

Look, all research shows that fundamentals matter more than candidates in presidential general elections, but to the extent that they matter, it’s obvious that Hillary Clinton wasn’t a great choice in 2016. Jon Chait can write all the books he wants but the simple fact is that the Obama Era wasn’t a great one for most Americans. The economic recovery was slow in coming and extremely shallow, and while tens of millions of people got new health care, the irony is that many of them wound up voting for Donald Trump as a form of thanks, and the ACA was completely mishandled politically from start to finish. They thought that Republicans actually cared about efficient markets and that the public hates regulations, so yeah, wrong on both counts. We’ve been over this many times, we can just take this as read. Nominating Clinton was a wrong move inasmuch as she was a very familiar face heavily associated with an administration that was sorta popular, when the better move is to find a young, fresh-faced person with lots of charisma and light associations with the current administration. Obama needed to find his Sarkozy (or Macron, I guess), but it’s entirely possible that he and Clinton had some sort of deal which necessitated his supporting her when the time came in exchange for her upfront support. I don’t know. But if you’re offering more or less the same shit, at least put a different spin on it. Clinton was unable to do that. The irony is that had Clinton not run in 2016, she would have been a much better choice in 2020: her associations with past Democratic presidencies would be viewed in a very different light in the present day. Perhaps the media would still make mountains of email servers but it seems unlikely that this would have the impact that it did in 2016, which featured quite a bit more apathy in the electorate. Who knows with these counterfactuals?

At any rate, this logic should argue for Biden 2020 but I simply don’t think there’s much of any argument for that. Does Joe Biden really want to spend the next two years apologizing for Anita Hill? Does he want to have to talk about the crime bill and the bankruptcy bill until he’s blue in the face? Does he want to make a tendentious argument about how all those add up to “middle class values” in any way? I would hope not. The truth is that Biden missed his window. Had he run against Clinton in 2016 he would have drawn from Clinton’s base and created a three-way race that any of the candidates could plausibly have won. But the moment has passed. I can’t think of anybody less suited to discuss Black Lives Matter, say, than Diamond Joe, and it’s not like an inability to speak to people of color doomed another candidacy by a white man in the very recent past. The sad thing is that I actually like Biden personally quite a bit, and find him to be one of the few politicians of either party who actually seem like real life people. Alas. Not gonna happen, Joe. You should have tried to edge out Tom Carper and get back into the Senate. You’re certainly better than him!

Share
Lev filed this under: ,  

The reason why the Third Way/Problem Solvers/Moulton people so annoy me is that they are just as resistant to empiricism as the Republicans with whom they so desire to collaborate. The causes of this phenomenon–which admittedly is declining–are mainly some combination of occasional but legitimate self-interest (probably can’t say Republicans are shit if you’re running from Oklahoma), the lousy worldview of many big-money Democrat donors, and just general cluelessness. It’s almost certainly the case that case number one is the most defensible but ultimately it’s still a lie, and it’s not to the greater good of the party to distort the obvious realities in much the same way that the media does.

Anyway, here’s your GOP today:

Two of the Democratic Party’s biggest wins last month occurred in?Wisconsin?and?Michigan, where their candidates won gubernatorial elections, unseating a well-known incumbent in the former and flipping the seat in the latter.

But in both states, Republicans maintained control of both chambers of the legislature. So, in anticipation of having to work with a Democratic governor, state lawmakers are aiming to hurriedly pass legislation that would dilute the executives’ powers.

In Wisconsin, Gov.-elect Tony Evers (D) is fighting to beat back Republican attempts to weaken his authority, calling it “a repudiation of the last election.”

“The last election changed the state in a way that apparently the legislature has decided to not accept,” said Evers, who defeated Gov. Scott Walker (R) in November. Evers?told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel?that “everything’s on the table” in terms of attempting to block the GOP plan, including legal action.

The only real problem to be solved here is that Republicans think they should run things all the time, no matter what voters say.

Share
Lev filed this under: , ,  

The Poppy stuff is already over the top, though even a mid-tier president like Bush 41 has some significant number of accomplishments to discuss. John McCain, aside from a sadly eviscerated campaign finance bill, didn’t have much at all. So it’s less sickening on its face but it does remind me of The Day Bipartisanship Died once again. Ugh.

The title is a joke but this will be the wholly sincere tone of MSM coverage until the old man is in the ground. Obamas and Bushes will once again hobnob and some liberals will be happy about this for whatever reason. Not that I’m in any way wishing for this to happen but I genuinely am curious what happens when Carter goes. What script will they use? Won’t be this one, most likely.

Also, not for nothing, but the expectation that all presidents except Nixon must be celebrated is odd, and not only because few have done anything worth celebrating, and none lack for major faults. But I’ll leave that for now.

Share
Lev filed this under:  

Two weeks ago,?venerable late-night institution Saturday Night Live aired a rerun when a new episode had been announced. This struck a few people as odd, but nobody suspected anything askew about it. They should have. Through dogged, shoe-leather detective work, LGGMG has uncovered a shocking story that the bigwigs over at SNL and NBC would absolutely love to keep under wraps. The sources, of course, must remain confidential. But it is safe to say that they include current cast members as well as people in the audience of this lost episode, which was in fact shot and, so far as the crew knew, was being aired live as usual. Obviously it was not, and sabotage is suspected, but no suspects have yet been identified, or are likely to be. Through our reporting, we have been able to verify some parts of what happened on this night that most involved would just like to forget. And so, without further ado…

ANNOUNCER

And now, ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Sessions!

Sessions bounds up to the stage, looking thrilled to host the show. He hits his mark and accepts the voluminous applause from the audience.

SESSIONS

Thank you, thank you. Welcome to Saturday Night Live, I’m Jeff Sessions. Now I know what people say about me, that I’m President Trump’s lapdog, nothing but a toady. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I find the president to be just a piece of…of…next card please. [beat] And furthermore, he’s nothing but a…a…look, I have to level with y’all. Given my closeness to this man, I’m afraid I’ll have to recuse myself from this monologue. [Winks at camera.] Look, we’ve got a fine show for you tonight. Portugal [long beat] The Man is here to perform for you. So don’t go anywhere! We’ll be right back.

After the commercial break, we get our first sketch.

ANNOUNCER

The cases are real. The verdicts, final. You are now entering the courtroom of Judge Jeff Sessions.

SESSIONS

Thank you, thank you. And thank you to Judge Judy, I hope you’re enjoying that much needed retirement. As you know, I nearly was a federal judge myself, but then they found out about a joke I made about the KKK being okay guys who just smoked way too much dope. Trust me, I know these people, it’s true. Anyway, I was angry about being rejected for the job, I always thought I’d be a good judge. Now I finally get my chance. Alright, bailiff, first case.

Two middle-aged women–one white, one black–approach their tables as the announcer provides background to the case.

ANNOUNCER

The first case is Haley Stevens versus Sondra Willis. Willis, the plaintiff, claims to have been bit by Stevens’s dog and is seeking damages as well as that the dog be put to sleep. Stevens, the defendant, is countersuing for libel.

SESSIONS

Alright, so the issue at hand is a dog bite, correct?

WILLIS

Yes, your honor.

SESSIONS

What happened?

WILLIS

I was just walking around the neighborhood when a rabid dog bit me-

STEVENS

How dare you say the dog was rabid! That’s libelous!

WILLIS

You can’t libel a dog!

SESSIONS

Well, we’ll see about that. Now, Ms. Willis, I have to ask you, what were you doing in this woman’s neighborhood?

WILLIS

I live there.

SESSIONS

I find that hard to believe.

WILLIS

I do! I live there! I have my driver’s license right here.

SESSIONS

We’ll have that checked to see if it’s a phony during the break. We’ll be right back.

Cut to black, then the sketch resumes.

SESSIONS

And we’re back. Sorry about that last case, I’ve remanded it to Judge Joe Brown. Seems like more his sort of thing. Anyway, next case.

Up come Alec Baldwin playing Donald Trump and special guest David Straitharn playing Robert Mueller.

ANNOUNCER

Donald Trump, President of the United States, the plaintiff, is suing Robert Mueller, the defendant, for organizing a witch hunt and being, and I quote, a “miserable human being who sucks a bag of dicks.” Mueller is countersuing for larceny, to wit, the 2016 election.

BALDWIN

[looks at Sessions] Oh great.

SESSIONS

I object.

BAILIFF

Judge? You’re objecting?

SESSIONS

I am. Y’all did this sketch already!

Laughter, sketch ends. Cut to later in the show. A familiar whistle tune is heard.

ANNOUNCER

It’s the Andy Griffith show!

Sessions is playing Sheriff Taylor, and a buzz goes through the audience when it is revealed that Sean Spicer is playing Barney Fife. At this point, several cast members whose identities have not yet been verified have an open mic moment that is not heard by any of the performers in the sketch.

PERFORMER #1

Jesus Christ, is this the fourth straight ’50s TV parody?

PERFORMER #2

He vetoed anything more current.

PERFORMER #3

Not true! He went wild for that Matlock sketch.

PERFORMER #1

Oh right.

PERFORMER #2

I will give him credit, that impression is uncanny. I only wish Spicey’s Don Knotts was better.

PERFORMER #1

You know they asked Andy Griffith for a cameo this episode. He thought it was a joke. He laughed and hung up.

PERFORMER #2

We are so fucked. They’re going to pillory us over this. The backlash from that last time Trump hosted is going to be nothing.

We jump to the halfway point in the show, where the host introduces the musical act.

SESSIONS

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to announce my favorite band, Portugal [long beat] The Man!

Portugal. The Man begins performing “Feel It Still” while Sessions begins shouting with a P.A. It is barely audible but can be heard.

SESSIONS

Look, son, what the fuck is this? I thought it was a man by the name of Portugal. Instead it’s a bunch of weirdo hippies? Goddamn. I remember when music was Patti Page and Ricky Nelson. I still don’t know why we ever changed it. [starts singing] How much is that doggie in the window? Goddamn good music, that there. Y’all should find it on your zipcloud or your gooftunes or whatever the fuck y’all listen to music on. Rewire y’self.

We cut to later on in the show. We see the opening sequence for Queer Eye, which dissolves to Sessions.

KENAN THOMPSON

So let’s talk all about your new look.

SESSIONS

First, I just have to say it. I don’t hate you homosexuals, I don’t hate y’all, I just worry for your souls. I don’t want anybody to go to hell, I truly don’t, but if y’all don’t correct yourselves…

KENAN THOMPSON
(grumbling)

Funny, I thought you were going to say, “Thrill me.”

SESSIONS

Oh, right. Sorry. [Looks at cue card, then with as bored an intonation as possible.] Thrill me.

It’s now time for the 12:55 sketch. The setting is a suburban home with a mother and father watching television. Their teenage daughter comes down the stairs.

DAUGHTER

Mom, dad, I need to tell you something. My new boyfriend will be here any minute.

MOTHER

Well, that’s fine. We’d love to meet him.

DAUGHTER

I didn’t want to tell you because I was worried…

MOTHER

Worried about what? That you’re having sex? Please, we’ve always said it’s fine with us, just use protection. Hell, use our bedroom. We wouldn’t want you to have to do it in a car or any place dangerous like that.

DAUGHTER

No, it’s not that. It’s…

FATHER

What, that he’s trans? You know that doesn’t matter to us, we’re totally accepting.

MOTHER

And you know if he doesn’t yet the equipment, we can lend you a little something to make it easier.

DAUGHTER

No! It’s not that either.

MOTHER

Then what! Like your father said, we’re accepting people!

DAUGHTER

That’s just it, he’s sort of…right-wing.

MOTHER AND FATHER

What?

Enter Sessions, wearing a MAGA hat.

SESSIONS

Sorry I’m late! I was just coming from the Trump rally, and man, was that traffic bad. I didn’t mind, though. Two hours in traffic to see the most inspirational man of our time speak? I relish it. Unfortunately, though, I did take out the tire of an antifa protester with my magnum on the way out. Pain in the ass police report. So, mom, dad, nice to meet you.

MOTHER

You’re dating Jeff Sessions?

DAUGHTER

Isn’t he a dream?

She moves over and holds hands with him. The parents are dumbfounded.

We skip to right after the show. Sessions is coming off stage and sees Lorne Michaels, the show’s longtime executive producer, with his back turned to him, in conversation with an unknown third party.

MICHAELS

So, anyway, marry Joe Piscopo, boff Nora Dunn, kill Chevy Chase. That’s such an obvious one. I’ve already done two of them in real life. Still working on that last one.

SESSIONS

How’d I do, chief?

Michaels turns around and we see he’s chatting with Donald Trump. There’s silence for a second, and Sessions visibly gets a lump in his throat. Then both Michaels and Trump speak in unison.

TRUMP AND MICHAELS

Home run.

The end?

Share
Lev filed this under: ,