My Photo

« We're back and... | Main | Toward a better discussion about fear of violence »

November 02, 2022

Comments

Oh, sh*t.

On the one hand, Bolsonaro lost (let's hope he goes quietly), on the other hand Bibi's back. The world continues to be incomprehensible, and mainly appalling, and meanwhile November 8th creeps in this petty pace from day to day...

Oh, sh*t.

On the one hand, Bolsonaro lost (let's hope he goes quietly), on the other hand Bibi's back. The world continues to be incomprehensible, and mainly appalling, and meanwhile November 8th creeps in this petty pace from day to day...

@bobbyp: Thank you.

Obwi is back! Hopefully not everything will be posted twice.

Obwi is back! Hopefully not everything will be posted twice.

Sort of back. The most recent messages visible to the general public -- not customers, who are hopefully getting better information -- are not encouraging. I read them as "There's some amount of the code that's not running correctly, and we don't have any real idea what's wrong."

On a brighter note than bobby's, this from David Ignatius:
Why the hijab protests are such kryptonite for the Iranian regime

For a theocratic regime that claims divine authority, reform on the headscarf issue won’t be an easy option. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s 83-year-old supreme leader, believes that once he starts making concessions — even on something as seemingly small as women covering their hair — the broader authority of the regime will begin to erode.
The Christian-nationalists, except that they are generally imune to reality, might see their future there. Should they (God forbid!) succeed in their theocratic fantasies. When you once claim absolute and infallible authority, one pebble can start the avalanche that ends you.

Nice to contemplate their downfall, but if they get in enough control to have a downfall, a lot of people are going to die and a lot of other lives are going to be ruined along the way. I don't see that qualifying as "brighter."

It's nice to think that this too shall pass, but WWII passed...with seventy million dead along the way.

On a less cheerful note, the inimitable Alexandra Petri has this
Vote for me to run elections, and you’ll never have to vote again

I don't see that qualifying as "brighter."

As the resident optimist, I've got an obligation here. And these days, it ain't easy.

Of course, I'm hoping for good things next Tuesday. (DeSantis and Rubio both lose. New Democratic senators from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. A bunch of election deniers losing state races. Etc.) But I fear I'm disinclined to bet the ranch on it.

I don't see that qualifying as "brighter."

As the resident optimist, I've got an obligation here. And these days, it ain't easy.

Of course, I'm hoping for good things next Tuesday. (DeSantis and Rubio both lose. New Democratic senators from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. A bunch of election deniers losing state races. Etc.) But I fear I'm disinclined to bet the ranch on it.

Every time I click "Post" today, Typepad churns for a while and eventually gives me an error message. I click OK on the error message, but I don't try to repost. Eventually my comment does appear, despite the error message.

And I don't have to click OK on the error messages in order for the comment to show up.

I've tried various combos - I don't think there's any one sequence that works.

I'm with Janie on the Iran thing. Of course one longs for their downfall, but you can't help but shudder at the human cost (already, and to come).

Of course one longs for their downfall, but you can't help but shudder at the human cost (already, and to come).

I, too, shudder. But then, the cost to the Iranian people of not bringing them down makes me shudder as well.

Sadly, there are just so many places in this world where much the same is true. Even more sadly, enough people may fail to vote this month that we join their number.

Of course one longs for their downfall, but you can't help but shudder at the human cost (already, and to come).

I, too, shudder. But then, the cost to the Iranian people of not bringing them down makes me shudder as well.

Sadly, there are just so many places in this world where much the same is true. Even more sadly, enough people may fail to vote this month that we join their number.

Bibi's back.

No only that, but rightwing extremist Ben-Gvir will be part of the government - Kahanism has won.

Seems the Palestinians are shrugging it off as "same old, same old" though.

Bibi's back.

No only that, but rightwing extremist Ben-Gvir will be part of the government - Kahanism has won.

Seems the Palestinians are shrugging it off as "same old, same old" though.

As the resident optimist, I've got an obligation here. And these days, it ain't easy.... Of course, I'm hoping for good things next Tuesday.

My intuition is generally terrible, but it's telling me that the western third of the country will be a couple of points bluer than the polls, and the eastern third a couple of points redder. As I recall, that wouldn't be good for the Dems holding the Senate.

Side entertainment -- more pictures.

Gotta say, Janie, you have a great eye for composition. Beautiful shots.

This can't be stated forcefully enough.

'nuff said.

A really telling quote from bobby's link:

examples of successful United Front efforts to stop authoritarian governments that the Democratic Party should emulate are…Hungary and Israel! That’s your example of more successful political movements than the Democratic Party?
Definitely shows how pathetic the plaints about Democrat's are.

bobbyp's LGM link highlights the very same things that are driving my dissatisfaction with the analysis on-tap at FiveThirtyEight these days (and in much of the rest of our popular media). Take the results of polling and of elections and figure out which demographic appears to be the one that tipped the election. Then argue in clear hindsight about how this represents some missed opportunity if only...

As if justification after the fact actually represents anything like the moment-by-moment dynamics that drove the result. And never mind that if the candidate's approach to X actually were an issue that tipped the result, then the opposition would have attacked that candidate on a different line of approach to create the same narrative effect.

The D problem is not one of policy or positioning, or of neglected demographics. It's the lack of a cohesive narrative that changes the Reagan smear against government as a force for safeguarding economic fairness. They have to drive a wedge between the notions of the strength of the economy and personal prosperity and address the profiteering and greed.

Otherwise we just have minority policy by hindsight based on fitting the curve of the past to the shape of your current election messaging.

The New York Times,
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/02/us/politics/republicans-social-security-medicare.html
seems to think that, if they win both House and Senate, Republicans might be dumb enough to actually make good on the idea that some of them (Senators Scott and Johnson, for example) have been floating. To slash Social Security and/or Medicare.

Yet several influential Republicans have signaled a new willingness to push for Medicare and Social Security spending cuts as part of future budget negotiations with President Biden. Their ideas include raising the age for collecting Social Security benefits to 70 from 67 and requiring many older Americans to pay higher premiums for their health coverage.
At which point, all those over 65 folks who have been voting for them on culture war grounds are suddenly going to realize the monster they have created. Of course, in places like Florida and Arizona they may also discover that they have lost the ability to vote the rascals out.

To slash Social Security and/or Medicare.

Someone is going to have to do something besides kicking the can down the road. Because we're running out of road.

Unlike when Social Security started the over-65 folks as a whole are the wealthiest cohort in the country.

The number of working-age people is declining. The percentage of working-age people actually working is declining.

It's going to take a lot of automation and immigration to pay for Social Security and Medicare in their current form.

Someone is going to have to do something besides kicking the can down the road. Because we're running out of road.

I think the first time I heard this was circa 1970. And the "end of road" was given as something like 2005 (i.e. when us Baby Boomers started to retire).** Certainly the AARP spent the 1980s working hard to guarantee that it happened.

But it didn't. So an argument that says, essentially, "This time for sure!" needs some support. Something more than demographics of the existing population (i.e. no immigration), and no technological change (while implicition assuming that automation or other technological change will be inadequate).

Especially the latter, given the magnitude of the changes I have seen in my lifetime. I can't imagine what those future changes might be, but then I didn't much imagine what actually happened either. Kind of embarrassing for a science fiction aficionado, but there you are.

** I did run my personal finances on the assumption that those predictions were correct. Not sorry I did, even if they were proven wrong.

The number of working-age people is declining. The percentage of working-age people actually working is declining.

Neither of these claims appears to actually be true:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LREM64TTUSM156S

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LFWA64TTUSM647S

Neither of these claims appears to actually be true:

The working age population does seemed to have flattened out. A combination, I presume, of my fellow Baby Boomers starting to retire and of our frantic reduction of the immigration rate (legal as well as illegal) since 2016. But it will have to seriously nosedive to get back down to 1980s levels.

If the reactionaries succeed in their "Kinder, Kirke, Küche" efforts, they might get enough women out of the (paid) workforce to reduce the employment rate to something like 1980 levels. But I wouldn't bet on that working. Too much has changed.

I think the first time I heard this was circa 1970.... But it didn't.

The Greenspan Commission proposed, Congress passed, and Reagan signed a major change in Social Security financing in 1983/4. Tax rates were raised a lot. The Boomers are the first (and in theory, only) generation required to prepay some of their own SS benefits, hence the ginormous trust fund balance. By design, the trust fund is to be spent down, reaching a more reasonable level at about the time the Boomers finish dying off.

They got the actuarial parts remarkably close, even today. The two things they got wrong are financial: (1) that productivity gains would be spread across the full range of earned income levels after 1983, and (2) Congress would, as the leaders promised back then, balance the budget so the trust fund increase and decrease would be matched by changes in the regular public debt. As neither of these happened, there are modest problems that can be solved by modest adjustments.

Neither of these claims appears to actually be true:

The working-age population, as a percentage of the total population, is declining. The percentage of working-age men actually working has been declining for decades.

Of course 'modest' will be all but impossible to achieve by traditional means give that one side has lost even any pretense of modesty.

The percentage of working-age men actually working has been declining for decades.

It might be more enlightening to look at the percentage of working age adults actually working.

My take on the working age question is that the recovery from 2009 was brutally slow such that employment wasn’t anywhere near normal levels until about 2019, just in time to be crushed again by Covid.

It has now returned to about ‘normal’ 2008 levels but that leaves 11/14 years where it was horrible and that is the kind of thing that political views get shaped around.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS12300060

Since voting by mail originally took off during the Civil War, as a way for soldiers (and sailors) to vote, I suppose it's not that surprising that it's come to this:
Lawsuit seeks to block counting of military ballots in Wisconsin
[Emphasis added]

But the loud defenders of the military may have to stretch a bit to rationalize this treatment of "our boys in uniform".

Ha! Further to our past discussion about BoJo's recent abortive leadership bid, this in today's Observer rings true. His greed, and conviction that he is poverty-stricken, are legendary (possibly not entirely unrelated to the famously still-unknown number of children he has fathered):

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/nov/06/boris-johnson-quit-pm-race-over-risk-to-10m-earnings-sources-say

I don't understand why losing a Tory leadership election should have any effect on BoJo's appeal as a public speaker. No one booking him now can reasonably suppose that he enjoys the undivided support of his party.

I hate to sound like Donald Trump, but I think the thinking was that if he was humiliatingly wiped out it would finally make him look like "a loser", even to the kind of international institutions who would want him as a speaker.

Wheels within wheels - founder of Wagner Group admits they did interfere in last US election, and have been interfering in the midterms:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/07/putin-ally-yevgeny-prigozhin-admits-interfering-in-us-elections

Then the reasons why he might have admitted what everybody well informed knew anyway:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/nov/07/yevgeny-prigozhin-russia-us-election-interference-analysis

"During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once," Prigozhin said. He did not elaborate on the cryptic comment.

Putin's chef plans to prepare a liver and kidney pie.

Since there's no election day open thread, anecdata from here in Colorado.

Early voting is down substantially from 2018. Largest drop is among registered Republicans. Don't know if they've been waiting for today, or are just disgruntled. In-person early voting was about 1% of the ballots.

At 10:00, in my Front Range county, according to the county web site there were a total of four people waiting in line to vote, all at one of the 20 vote centers. Weather is sunny and warm (for Colorado in early November). That suggests the Republicans weren't waiting until today to vote.

I'm working a polling place today. The biggest oddity: someone dropping off a mail ballot. Because, she said, she didn't trust the drop boxes. Not entirely sure why dropping them here felt different to her, but whatever....

Has anyone else heard the report (rumor?) about Atlanta, that the lines to vote there are already 11 hours long? If true, it would seem to be a triumph for voter suppression.

wj, how arson safe are the drop boxes? Would it be possible to destroy the ballots inside by pushing an incendiary in? And how well protected are they against physical attacks? Given the behaviour by some on the right, I'd possibly even share the mistrust.

Hartmut, they're as safe as regular mail boxes. Sure, it's *possible* that someone could try burning the contents. But then, someone could firebomb the county seat where the ballots are all being counted. So far, neither has happened. Although I would be concerned about asking too loudly, lest we give some idiot ideas....

I'm working a polling place today. The biggest oddity: someone dropping off a mail ballot. Because, she said, she didn't trust the drop boxes. Not entirely sure why dropping them here felt different to her, but whatever...

Drop boxed could be unmonitored or at risk of being loomed over by thugs. Regular polling places seem to be more secure from that angle. If I were a female voter dropping off a ballot alone, I'd want it to be somewhere with trustworthy poll workers present to counteract any intimidation.

And let us not forget the churches here in SoCal that set themselves up as "unofficial" ballot drops. That might also dilute voter confidence in the authenticity of a dropbox if they were not good at verifying their information sources.

And, let's face it, we are where we are because most people in the US are atrocious at verifying their sources.

Not seeing any commentary on social media from my local people about voting lines here in Atlanta, and a quick Google search didn't bring up any stories from today indicating any problems.

Could change as it gets later in day, glad I voted on Oct. 18th.

That's why I labeled it as an unconfirmed story.

"Sure, it's *possible* that someone could try burning the contents. ...Although I would be concerned about asking too loudly, lest we give some idiot ideas...."

They should get themselves a copy of the Anarchists Cookbook and prepare to be a Darwin Award finalist.

Drop boxed could be unmonitored or at risk of being loomed over by thugs. Regular polling places seem to be more secure from that angle.

I have the same reaction as wj. Fine, we'll take the ballot in the envelope and deposit it in the box we keep for those, but you could have dropped it in the secure monitored drop box outside.

I suspect that this is a western US thing. >90% of ballots cast in the 13-state western region will be mail ballots this year. Drop boxes are regarded as safe spaces by the population as a whole. The stuff that happened in AZ the other day -- masked armed men loitering in a pickup with the license plates covered -- are committing multiple felonies and a large majority of the general population will not tolerate it.

One of the remarkable political science stories in the US over the last 30 years is the enormous swing from Republican to Democrat that has happened across the American West. CA, OR, and WA have swung. CO is going to demonstrate this week that they are very solidly blue. Far-right Republicans in AZ are fighting a desperate* battle to not have the same swing happen there.

* Consider that going into this election, both US Senators from AZ were Democrats, five of nine US Representatives, and the Secretary of State. The Republicans had a single-seat majority in both the state House and Senate. Compare that to the situation in GA where the national pundits want desperately for Ossoff and Warnock to be enough to declare the state purple.

And in Utah, a far Right Republican may well lose to a conservative, but not insane, independent/Republican. Not going blue, but stepping back from the MAGA brink.

I don’t think there is a blue tsunami and I think we will lose the Senate. We have never had a chance with the House because of gerrymandering.

The Republicans have been working on the destruction of representative democracy since the Bush admin, if not before, and they were ninety percent there before Trump. Even if we do hang on to the Senate our only hope at this point is that climate change will fuck things up so much that we have a transformative change like FDR. It is just as likely thought that as climate change really fucks things up we will go the Mussolini route.

Throughout most of our history the elections and the economy were rigged. We were founded as government by the economic elite and for most of our history an economic elite has governed for its own interests with elections that weren’t even close to fair. People in my age group (70) saw huge positive changes and we got the illusion that history was progressive, that life got better—more fair, more open, more representative because for a brief period of several decades that what was happening. But democracy depends on the support of its citizens and Republicans hate democracy as much as they hate the rest of America.

ANd they do hate us. They show that by the belief in whatever “othering” the Republican party is dishing up. I know lots of Republicans and they are all nice to my face, but people who respect other people don't wallow in Tucker Carlson and Beck feeding their hate addiction every day while believing in partial birth abortion and yammering nonsense about BIDEN SOCIALIST DEMOCRATS AE DESTROYING AMERICA!!!!!.

So maybe we will keep the Senate. I certainly hope so. But I am not optimistic. The US has always had a large element of fascist in our national character.

wonkie keeping it real as usual. I want to believe in wj’s optimism, but I always think “Yep” when I read wonkie’s comments.

Well … sh*t.

Made it thru the day. Really sad to see how many people were expressing concerns about one or another part of the voting process. Only 5% or so, but in the past it was <1%. Guess Russian efforts to attach faith in the system are working.

Some thoughts on vote by mail vs vote in person. (Note this applies to California. And perhaps only to some counties there. But it's based on what I saw and heard today.)

  • Suppose you vote by mail, whether via the post office, at a drop box, or dropping off your mail ballot at a polling place on Election Day. Your ballot goes in an envelope, with your signature on it. Signatures get compared before the envelope is opened, and if different enough, the ballot can be rejected. Signatures are, by law, judged with explicit bias towards counting the ballot. Say if the initials are very similar, but the rest is rather different. But still, they can be rejected.
  • Suppose you vote in person, whether early or on Election Day. You sign the roster to recieve your ballot. There's no way to reject your particular ballot, no matter how much your signature differs from the one on file.
So if you want to avoid the possibility of your vote not counting, vote in person. Voting by mail is convenient, and ballots reliable get to the County for counting. But it's possible to get rejected, not only for a missing signature, but also for just not matching however you signed your registration.

So if you want to avoid the possibility of your vote not counting, vote in person. Voting by mail is convenient, and ballots reliable get to the County for counting. But it's possible to get rejected, not only for a missing signature, but also for just not matching however you signed your registration.

That's the reason I send my ballot in early. If there's a problem with the signature, I get notified and can go to a vote center to resolve things. Better only a chance of having to make that trip than a certainty. In 25 or so years of voting by mail -- ever since Colorado first created a permanent no-excuse mail ballot list -- my signature has been rejected zero times.

That may just be me. When we moved a couple of years ago we went through the contents of our safe deposit box to remove outdated stuff. While going through it I found my original Social Security card, signed when I was in sixth or seventh grade. The signature's not identical to my current one, but is quite possibly close enough to pass.

North Carolina throws out ballots because of slight variations in signature. Lindsay Graham suggested that GA use the same technique to adjust their totals so that Trump would win the state.


Other than that, mail in is best since it allows a person to dodge excessive voter suppression laws and long lines.

However Republicans are onto that and are passing laws to make the mail-in ballot burdensome, such as requiring that a copy of birth certificate be sent in or a witness signature be on the ballot,

However Republicans are onto that and are passing laws to make the mail-in ballot burdensome, such as requiring that a copy of birth certificate be sent in or a witness signature be on the ballot,

If a state legislature and governor are committed to voter suppression, they will find a way. There's no way to stop them other than the federal government completely taking over the election process. Not just federal laws, but federal election officials at multiple levels.

In the immortal words of HST, my heart is like an alligator. Obviously, overjoyed about Fetterman, and it's looking good for Warnock, but very anxious about numbers in Senate....

I am so glad my gloom and doom turned out to be wrong. Republicans are getting their asses kicked and boy do they every deserve it.

It's looking like a runoff for Warnock, which I suppose he'll be slightly favored in, but it's not great given the quality of opposition.

it's not great given the quality of opposition

This is true, and worrying. But then, there is nothing about this situation that is not worrying. wonkie, if you can give any detail about them getting their asses kicked, as opposed to not doing as well as projected, I for one will be much comforted.

Linking to this mostly because I love the title:
The expected red wave looks more like a puddle

Pretty much says it all. Instead of winning the dozens of House seats predicted, it looks like Republicans are struggling to make even the single digit gain needed for control. The disaster (which it is, even if they get control of the House) seems unlikely to trigger a rethink, however.

Assume the Republicans win a very narrow majority in the House. Who will be the Speaker? Winning the election for Speaker requires an absolute majority of the members present. If the Republicans have 218 members they need to all vote for the same person to elect her/him Speaker. It could be a very ugly process.

Michael, is it true that Boebert is actually trailing in her deep red west Colorado district?

wj -- Brand new post at BJ about that very subject.

Janie, if he pulls it off, not only will it improve the tenor of politics overall (at least a tiny bit). It will also reduce the GOP's prospects of squeaking out a House majority.

Thanks for that, Janie.

Frisch is leading Boebert narrowly, less than 1%. Most uncounted ballots are in the two big counties: Mesa, where Boebert has done better, and Pueblo, where Frisch has done better.

The Democrat is also leading narrowly in our new CO-8 district. For the last couple of weeks the pundits have been calling that one for the Republican.

May not know the outcome for days, as envelope problems are cured, provisional ballots are counted, and marking problems are resolved by humans.

THere's a lot of bafflement on Faux about why oh why didn't our hatemongering work? And some talking heads that are talking about how maybe their messaging wasn't good. Theissen says that the R's go t repudiated and they need to do some soul-searching.

Hard to do that when you don't have a soul.

I think that the Republican leadership recognizes that they have to rebrand with a frontman who is not TRump. I think the party will stay just as committed to ending representative government. There is some talk about how bad their candidates were this cycle. HOwever, that has happened before and they keep chosing bad candidates because their base is full of wacko and their wackos are the result of their decision made years ago to substitute deliberately poalrizing language, smears and defamation, and outright lies for civil political discourse. And they HAVE To keep up the hatemongering because what else to they have? Obama was right when he said that they're response to the earth being endangered by a meteor would be to cut taxes for the rich.

There base is full of wackos and their party leadership is full of Federalist SOciety/AynRand/Social Darwinist elitists. They can't run on their real legislative agenda.

SO they have nothing but their successful appeals to the worst in our body politic.

I don't think they can change.

Ooops, a lot of typos that I should have seen since I wearing glasses. Sorry!

Nope. Not gonna change. https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/ron-desantis-new-republican-party-leader?intcmp=tw_fnc

Just walked down the hall at work and saw on a monitor Frisch's lead is down to 62 votes.

Since we are talking about elections, I wonder what are the takes folks here have about this
https://news.yahoo.com/democrat-gamble-prop-far-rivals-222056349.html

This had been bouncing around my fb feed and a lot of people were bent out of shape about it, but I was pretty sanguine because
-it's a chaotic situation, so given the absence of coordination for a lot of political fundraising/support, it didn't make sense tarring the whole Democratic side
-desperate times call for desperate measures
-the ability of the Republicans to put up revanchist candidates in the primary and then pretend like it didn't happen has been a key to their success
-this is one of those 'you do you, I'll do me' moments

Anyway, wonder what folks here think.

Given the craven pandering by McConnell, McCarthy et al to the Trumpistas, I think it was fair to proceed on the basis that the whole damn lot of them (with vanishingly few, and in fact vanishing, exceptions - e.g. Cheney) were irretrievably corrupt and, as you say, desperate times call for desperate measures. And, when using even minimally dodgy tactics, while one must always be careful lest the opposition do the same, the dirty tricks of the GOP so far have been so egregious that there are few skulduggerous shenanigans they haven't tried. And if they decided to boost e.g. very progressive Dem candidates as a way to scare the electorate, the fact that apparently the young voted in record numbers this time (I imagine abortion may have been a major driver) might mean that it wouldn't work anyway. Of course, if they could find more Manchins and Sinemas to boost, it might be another, and more appalling, prospect.

This is merely my first, uninformed reaction, and I'm about to turn in. I may have a more mature, considered opinion tomorrow!

It's a tactic that should only be used very carefully IMHP. I can remember wishing Trump would win the primary because I thought he'd lose the election. I overestimated the quality of the American electorate. NOt that my hoping made any difference and, no, I didn't send him any money.

On the other hand, the so-called not wacko Republicans do the same terrible things that the wackos do--only better. (There are very, very few Republican politicians who aren't destructive people of ill-intent. Raffensberger is one of the few for example. And even he, if elected to Congress would probably vote to gut Medicaid and turn Medicare into a subsidy for private insurers.)

My point is the voters are unlikely to be given a choice between a wacko and a moderate Republican who wants to use government service to serve the people and who is willing to work cooperatively across the aisle and forgo grandstanding for Faux, stick to real issues, speak in civil terms, and respect the rule of law

In a way having obvious nutcase running as Republicans is more honest. Once in office they nearly all toe their party line, engage in hyperpartisan grandstanding, abuse power, and vote like they are the Borg.

THere is a real danger that people will believe that the Republican party has cleansed itself by dumping Trump. Trump is a symptom, not a cause. The moral, ethical, and intellectual degradation of the Republican party is what made Trump possible.

I think wonkie

...because their base is full of wacko and their wackos are the result of their decision made years ago to substitute deliberately poalrizing language, smears and defamation, and outright lies for civil political discourse. And they HAVE To keep up the hatemongering because what else to they have?
has it exactly right. I posted something similar on BJ.

This is a terrible problem for a thinking Republican politician. I choose to believe there are some; alas only a very few like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are brave enough to face it squarely.

Republicans could face this if they were to look ahead at the world they are building through inaction, heel dragging, and a refusal to govern, and decide that they actually had to try to govern this mess and steer through a shitty set of world-changing problems.

That, alas, is not what they have been all about for the last 30 years of trying to externalize all governmental responsibility onto The Market.

Boehner could probably handle this, but he walked away. Ryan was a weasel, but he saw what was coming and walked away as well.

Pretty much everyone who stuck around lashed themselves to this mess and let it go on, rather than risk the wrath of the MAGA mob.

If the GOP has any hope of turning itself around, it will have to do so from the outside, and it will have to shed its current core of volunteers.

I think a third party is actually their best bet, but that would mean a couple of election cycles in the desert and out of power.

Just walked down the hall at work and saw on a monitor Frisch's lead is down to 62 votes.

In CO-8, the Democrat is projected as the winner and the Republican has conceded. If Boebert pulls it out, that leaves Colorado's House delegation at 5-3, better than the D/R split in the major statewide offices. The pundits had been predicting 4-4 with Boebert cruising.

Meanwhile the RW base is justifying their woes by saying that Trump was too present and needs to be quiet. They are likely going to go all-in on the DeSantis hype now, and figure that nothing needs to change except the face out front.

I do worry that that one small change may be enough to keep them in range to monkey wrench any and all attempts to face the inevitable change that the future is going to force on us all.

Before judging the merits of one side pushing for the other side's crazies, it is well to ask: Will one of their less crazy potential candidates be any better in office?

The potential benefit when it comes to the general election is obvious. But the question is, is the risk really all that great? These days, in a lot of cases, the answer has to be a resounding No. That is, even an apparently reasonable Republican candidate will, with huge probability, vote with the crazies once in office. There are, admittedly, occasional exceptions . . . but not a lot of them.

In fact, the crazies seem, in rather a lot of cases, to be less dangerous. They are too busy posturing, and getting on Faux News, to actually enact the idiocies they spout. Unless the putative non-crazies are available to do the grunt work.

Overall, I'd have to say that the risk doesn't look all that enormous.

nous: Meanwhile the RW base is justifying their woes by saying that Trump was too present and needs to be quiet.

Good luck with that. /sarcasm

I do worry that that one small change may be enough to keep them in range to monkey wrench any and all attempts to face the inevitable change that the future is going to force on us all.

In my more depressed moments, I suspect that a real change will require that they acquire enough power to succeed in gutting Social Security and Medicare. Then, and only then, is the moment that all those 65+ folks who have been dutifully supporting them in droves will jump ship. And without those votes, they are toast.

Perhaps that's what's meant by "tough love"...?

And without those votes, they are toast.

Seems to me that if they get enough power to gut SocSec and Medicare, they will be gerrymandering, overriding, and generally nullifying actual votes, if they even bother to keep up a pretense.

In my more depressed moments, I suspect that a real change will require that they acquire enough power to succeed in gutting Social Security and Medicare. Then, and only then, is the moment that all those 65+ folks who have been dutifully supporting them in droves will jump ship.

No Republican proposal to gut Social Security or Medicare has ever proposed reducing benefits for people already receiving them. It's always the middle-aged folks, who are at least still 10 years away from finally getting that socialized affordable health insurance, that get to take the pain.

I wish we could find a way to address the widespread ignorance in this society. If it hadn't been for inflation, the Republicans would have been wiped out this election. Too many people believed that inflation was the fault of the Democrats. That's just ignorant in multiple ways. Republicans have always been good at exploiting ignorance.

If it hadn't been for inflation, the Republicans would have been wiped out this election.

Even with inflation it was a disaster for them. In the abstract, and especially with the President's popularity where it is**, they should have been a lock for 3-4 Senate seats and a couple dozen House seats minimum. Even with some races in doubt, it's crystal clear that didn't happen.

** I do wonder how much of Biden's apparent unpopularity reflects people on his left, i.e. most of his party, being pissy because he isn't succeeding in doing every little thing they want. I'd guess it knocks an easy 10% off, maybe 15%. Which would make the actual election outcomes a lot closer to the models.

No Republican proposal to gut Social Security or Medicare has ever proposed reducing benefits for people already receiving them.

But if you are forced to reauthorize it every 5 years, or even annually (both of which have been proposed), it's just a tiny step to failing to reauthorize. Which, IMHO, is precisely the intention. And poof! no more of either. Including for current retirees.

Of course the sh*t would hit the fan like nobody's business. And they'd reverse course fast. But even if they included back pay, people would remember. And the true-believer libertarian fanatics would never forgive them for backing down.

Further to wj's point at 11:03, SocSecurity only survives because working people keep paying into it.

If the GOP "pauses,"sunsets," or uses whatever lies they like to subvert SocSecurity in any way, shape, or form, they will absolutely end the payroll tax payments to the program. Then they won't have to explicitly kill SocSecurity; they can just let it go bankrupt and end the program that way.

** I do wonder how much of Biden's apparent unpopularity reflects people on his left, i.e. most of his party, being pissy because he isn't succeeding in doing every little thing they want. I'd guess it knocks an easy 10% off, maybe 15%. Which would make the actual election outcomes a lot closer to the models.

Well, I know some actual leftists (like marxists and communists), and they say things like "let's be clear, Biden is mediocre at best and is governing the way a Republican would have 40 years ago, but considering what he's up against, he's doing better than expected. And he's a million times better than anything the GOP will cough up."

The ones I know who are upset are the Gen Z voters, who cannot for the life of them understand why old people are fighting over stupid things while we are making the planet unlivable and dooming them to a much worse future because the old folks running the D's are afraid to make even moderate changes.

Is that pissy or is that just bitter and alienated?

It's really hard for them to keep hope alive, given what they have seen. Obama seemed like a step towards a better future. And then everything went to utter crap on them.

Open thread allows me to reintroduce a topic that I think we chewed upon a while back, which is Daylight Saving Time. The incomparable Alexandra Petri apparently has a weekly QA with readers, and this exchange came a couple of days ago:

Temperature Saving Time Apprentice Satirist 11:18 a.m. I propose that this time every year when Daylight Saving Time ends that we begin Temperature Saving Time.

When the clocks “fall back” one hour we advance our thermometers up 10 degrees. So now on a cold winter's day of say 30 degrees, the thermometers will all read 40 degrees. Just think about how much warmer it will feel all winter if the thermometers all read 10 degrees higher. Brilliant! And in the summer we reverse it so it doesn't seem as hot.

I'm sure some people will think that moving our thermometers forward just to fool ourselves into thinking it is warmer is crazy ridiculous. Is it really any crazier than moving our clocks twice a year?

[Alexandra Petri's reply:]
I love the late night philosophical discussion/physics problem energy of this question! Which is more real, time or temperature? We're so accustomed to having them bundled that we don't realize that one is a construct and the other is a cold reality! I do think it would be fascinating to see if the kind of trickery that works with time ("Does it really matter which hour is which, so long as we have roughly 24 of them? What really counts is the effect of the hour upon the person perceiving it! If I can convince myself and others that it is 9 AM, I can get them all to go to the office; if I convince them that it is 5, I can get them to go home! I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul!" etc.) would also work with temperature. I think perhaps we should start smaller and creep up the scale gradually ("I swear 60 degrees used to be warmer!") until we finally are 10 degrees from where we really ought to be. I guess the downside of this would be that temperature can be verified through science, any time you like, although given that "any time you like" is all time...


Also, her take on Kevin McCarthy's post-election speech. It made me laugh almost as hard as the one on the Democratic National Convention's roll call a couple of years ago.

No Republican proposal to gut Social Security or Medicare has ever proposed reducing benefits for people already receiving them.

Every Republican proposal is based on reducing benefits. Republican politicians lie about almost everything, but they are telling the truth when they say they are opposed to big government socialist programs.

The woman is brilliant, no question.

It gives me a glimmer of what it might have been like, in the late 1880s, to read some of Mark Twain's satirical essays. For example, "A Presidential Candidate". In fact, rereading that, I think she may be better -- although, admittedly, Twain didn't have the use of strike-out type.

My wife, who is about as disinterested in politics as they come, shares this delight:

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Hindu Holy Man and a Rabi were traveling in a car together at midnight on a lonely country road when all of a sudden the car blew two tires!

The group walked to a farm a mile up the road and since it was past midnight they asked to spend the night. The farmer said, "There might be a problem. You see, I only have room for two to sleep, one of you will have to sleep in the barn."

"No problem," spoke the Rabbi. "My people wandered in the desert for forty years. I am humble enough to sleep in the barn for an evening." With that he departed to the barn and the others bedded down for the night.

Moments later a knock was heard at the door. The farmer opened the door, and there stood the Rabbi from the barn. "What's wrong?" asked the farmer. The Rabi replied, "I am grateful to you, but I can't sleep in the barn. There is are pigs in the barn and according to my faith pigs are an unclean animal.”

After much back and forth between Marjorie Taylor Greene and the Hindu, the holy man finally agreed to sleep in the barn. A few minutes later there is another knock on the door. "What's wrong, now?" the farmer angrily asked when he opened the door. The Hindu holy man replied, "I too am grateful for your helping us out, but there are cows in the barn and in my country cows are considered sacred. I can't sleep on holy ground!

Marjorie Taylor Greene after grumbling and shouting “MAGA”, “Hillary’s e-mails”, and “9/11 and the elementary mass shootings never happened” she finally, begrudgingly went out to the barn…

Moments later a tumultuous sound was heard and then a desperate pounding on the farmhouse door. Frustrated and tired, the farmer opened the door, and there stood, the pigs, the cows, the horses, the chickens, the rabbits, the ducks, the barn owl, the spiders, the roaches….

Those animals being, one assumes, much of a mind with the rabbi: Unclean, Unclean, Unclean!

A question for the peanut gallery here: Mention is often made by some commenters about "extremists" on "both sides". It strikes me this is an assertion made in the absence of any evidence.

'Bout time to bring some, is it not?

On the one hand, we have actual sitting Federal officeholders (Greene, Gosar, Bobert, Jordan, Johnson, et al). On the other, what? Some Oberlin students? The editorial staff on Jacobin? The two or three folks still paying dues to the CPUSA? bobbyp's facebook friends?

If you are one who persists in using this pernicious frame, it is time to step up and name names and why.

This is only fair and balanced, is it not?

No Republican proposal to gut Social Security or Medicare has ever proposed reducing benefits for people already receiving them.

You are not being serious. Even Obama fell for the "chained CPI" ruse.

What bobbyp said @11.42.

I'd dearly love to know which (if any) Dems have ever even come within touching distance of Greene, Gosar, Bobert, Jordan, Johnson, et al!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)