My Heart Bleeds

Tuesday, January 10, AD 2017

 

Following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory and Republicans’ major electoral gains in November, outgoing Obama employees and loyalists to failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have found their job prospects in the District foundering, according to Politico.

“It feels like there are just thousands of us trying to find a job, and there are no jobs,” longtime Clinton aide Mira Patel, who worked for Clinton in her Senate, State Department and 2016 campaign offices, told the outlet.

Following Trump’s surprise victory Nov. 8, Democratic operatives no longer have some 4,000 presidentially appointed jobs for which to apply when the billionaire businessman takes the oath of office Jan. 20.

The Democratic workers who were expecting to see a Clinton White House are reportedly finding the transition especially difficult:

Clinton aides appear to be having a harder time, both emotionally and practically.

“There’s anger, there’s frustration, there’s anxiety, there’s burnout,” said Russ Finkelstein, a managing director at Clearly Next and longtime progressive career guru (including as a founding team member at the lefty jobs board Idealist.org) who has been counseling Clinton alumni.

“People are in shock,” said Anastasia Kessler-Dellaccio, 35, who quit her job at Sister Cities International to run Foreign Policy Professionals for Hillary. Some Clinton campaign workers say they’ve lost their bearings because they’re so rattled by the differences in Trump’s values from those represented by Obama and Clinton.

Kessler-Dellaccio added, “I think people, myself included, are trying to figure out, ‘How do I recalibrate my dreams?’”

Go here to read the rest.

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Change of Heart

Friday, December 23, AD 2016

 

 

I think the antics of the crazed left since the election of Trump are costing them supporters.  Case in point, Rod Dreher publishes a letter from a young mother:

I’m a secular/agnostic Californian and longtime reader of your blog. I’ve enjoyed your books beginning with Crunchy Cons, and have valued your insights over the years.

Though you don’t know me, I feel like I know you and your family. And I want to share with you, from the liberal bastion of Northern California, that I am officially tired of the type of people who have surrounded me my entire life. In the wake of Trump’s election, I am experiencing “tribe fatigue.” I’m not tired of The Other, Detestable Tribe. I’m tired of my own.

A bit about me: I am a [deleted] with two young children. My parents were non-religious Democrats, and my ex-Catholic mom loathes organized religion to this day.

So I was raised a secular liberal. My college professors were secular liberals. During my journalism phase, my newspaper colleagues were secular liberals. My law school professors and peers were – in the vast majority – secular liberals. Almost everyone at my corporate law firm was a secular liberal. My California neighbors and friends are secular liberals, as are my colleagues. My mother, siblings, and their spouses are all secular liberals.

By all rights, I should be a member in good standing of their tribe, “liking” their Facebook posts and joining their candlelight vigils against the evil Trump Administration. But November 8 and its aftermath revealed to me that I am just so tired of these people. I can’t be like them, and I don’t want my kids turning into them.

I am tired of their undisguised contempt for tens of millions of Americans, with no effort to temper their response to the election with humility or empathy.

I am tired of their unexamined snobbery and condescension.

I am tired of their name-calling and virtue-signaling as signs of supposedly high intelligence.

I am tired of their trendiness, jumping on every left-liberal bandwagon that comes along (transgender activism, anyone?) and then acting like anyone not on board is an idiot/hater.

I am tired of their shallowness. It’s hard to have a deep conversation with people who are obsessed with moving their kids’ pawns across the board (grades, sports, college, grad school, career) and, in their spare time, entertaining themselves and taking great vacations.

I am tired of their acceptance of vulgarity and sarcastic irreverence as the cultural ocean in which their kids swim. I like pop culture as much as the next person, but people who would never raise their kids on junk food seem to think nothing of letting then wallow in cultural junk, exposed to nothing ennobling, aspirational, or even earnest.

I am tired of watching them raise clueless kids (see above) who go off to college and within months are convinced they live in a rapey, racist patriarchy; “Make America Great Again” is hate speech; and Black Lives Matter agitators are their brothers-in-arms against White Privilege. If my kids are like that at nineteen, I’ll feel I’ve seriously failed them as a parent. Yet the general sentiment seems to be these are good, liberal kids who may have gotten a bit carried away.

I am tired of their lack of interest in any form of serious morality or self-betterment. These are decent, responsible people, many compassionate by temperament. Yet they seem two-dimensional, as if they believe that being a nice, well-socialized person who holds the correct political views is all there is, and there is nothing else to talk about. Isn’t there, though?

I am tired of being bored and exasperated by everybody. I feel like I have read this book a thousand times, and there are no surprises in it. Down with Trump! Trans Lives Matter! Climate deniers are destroying the planet! No cake, we’re gluten-free!

These are good people in a lot of ways. But there has got to be a better tribe.

That leads me to . . . drum roll . . . the Christian Right. It is no small feat, switching tribes. It feels stressful and weird to abandon your tribe for the Detested Other Side.

Since November 8, my husband and I have been taking the kids to church. (He is politically conservative with a religious bent, so no argument there.) I have come this close to buying a giant poster of the American flag for the living room. I may do it still.

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Yawn, Trump Wins Electoral College

Tuesday, December 20, AD 2016

 

The attempt, predictably, to generate an Electoral College revolt against Donald Trump failed miserably yesterday.  The College met around the nation on Monday and Clinton suffered the defection of five faithless electors to two for Trump.  Here is the tally:  304 for Trump, 227 for Clinton, three for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and one each for Sanders, Paul, Kasich, and Faith Spotted Eagle (yeah, you read that last one correctly).  Now the deranged Left can spend their time coming up with cloud kukooland schemes as to how the Republican Congress will fail to certify the Electoral College votes and Trump will thus be denied the Presidency.  Leftist special snow flakes simply do not inhabit the same frame of reality the rest of us occupy.

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Liberal Celebrities and the Electoral College

Friday, December 16, AD 2016

 

Fresh off their success of convincing their fellow citizens to elect Hillary Clinton President of these United States, Hollywood celebrities are attempting to convince Republican members of the Electoral College to betray the people of their states and not vote for Donald Trump when the Electoral College meets on December 19.  This is hilarious for several reasons:

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End of the Recount Farce

Tuesday, December 13, AD 2016

 

I haven’t wasted the time of TAC readers in covering the moneymaking scheme of Jill Stein, former green party candidate, in calling for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, due to the fact that the recounts had no hope of success, if by success altering the outcome of the election was the goal.  Clinton was beaten so thoroughly in the electoral college that in order to change the outcome recounts would have to award her all three states.  The smallest vote gap was in Michigan of approximately 10,000 votes, and any recount, based upon history, would barely make a dent in such a total.

Only one state did a recount, Wisconsin, and the Badger State as a result of the recount increased Trump’s vote margin of victory by 162 votes.  In Michigan the state appellate court shut down the farce.  In Pennsylvania Federal District Judge Paul Diamond, in a truly blistering decision, refused to order a recount:

 

Unsuccessful Green Party Candidate Jill Stein and Pennsylvania voter Randall Reitz allege that because Pennsylvania’s voting machines might have been “hacked” during last month’s election, I must order the Commonwealth to conduct a recount of the votes cast for President. There are at least six separate grounds requiring me to deny Plaintiffs’ Motion. Most importantly, there is no credible evidence that any “hack” occurred, and compelling evidence that Pennsylvania’s voting system was not in any way compromised. Moreover, Plaintiffs’ lack of standing, the likely absence of federal jurisdiction, and Plaintiffs’ unexplained, highly prejudicial delay in seeking a recount are all fatal to their claims for immediate relief. Further, Plaintiffs have not met any of the requirements for the issuance of a mandatory emergency injunction. Finally, granting the relief Plaintiffs seek would make it impossible for the Commonwealth to certify its Presidential Electors by December 13 (as required by federal law), thus inexcusably disenfranchising some six million Pennsylvania voters. For all these reasons, I am compelled to refuse Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief.

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Hillary Clinton: The New Coke of Presidential Candidates

Saturday, December 10, AD 2016

 

Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal brings us this election factoid:

 

Seems that during the recent campaign, Hillary Clinton spent twice as much as

DONALD J. TRUMP

Hillary Clinton and her supporters spent a record $1.2 billion for her losing presidential campaign — twice as much as the winner, Donald Trump, according to the latest records.

The president-elect, who confounded critics during the campaign by saying there was no need to raise or spend $1 billion or more, ended up making do with $600 million.

Clinton’s expensive machine tore through $131.8 million in just the final weeks, finishing with about $839,000 on hand as of Nov. 28.

Team Trump spent $94.5 million in the home stretch — from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28 — and had $7.6 million left.

The figures include all spending by the campaigns, PACs and party committees.

But still lost the election to

DONALD J. TRUMP

Which means that

DONALD J.TRUMP

will the next president of the United States.

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My Dad and the 2016 Elections

Wednesday, November 23, AD 2016

 

 

Like most people I guess, the two people in this world who had the largest impact on me were my parents.  Considering how large they loom in my memories and in my heart, it is hard for me to comprehend that my Mom has been gone from this Vale of Tears for almost a third of a century, and my Dad for just over a quarter of a century.  I look at myself now and I recognize that most of what I am is an amalgam of their qualities that I received, either through genetics or what they taught me when I was growing up.  Intellectually probably my debt to my mother is greater.  She was the reader of the family, and I received from her a love of verbal sparring, logic and an endless thirst for knowledge.  Politically I received more of my inheritance from my father.  My Mom was inclined to the liberal side of the ledger, although the Democrats lost her vote when abortion became an issue.

My Dad, and go here to read about him, came from a long line of Republicans, probably dating back to the Civil War.  My branch of the McClareys never had much money, but we usually voted Republican.  My Dad had no great fondness for the Republican party, having a low opinion of almost all politicians whatever they called themselves, but he had certain beliefs and instincts that led him to vote for  Republicans.  Always something of a rebel, too much Irish blood in his veins not to be, he always thanked the Union steward in his plant who handed out voter guides because it was handy for him to know who his Union endorsed so he could vote the opposite way, he disliked most things big:  Big Business, Big Unions and, especially, Big Government.  It is from my father, back in the early sixties, that I first heard the Libertarian, “Their ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”  Dad taught me  that everything in this world has a price tag, and nothing is free but the grace of God.

While not being fond of the rich, he once succinctly defined feminism as “Games for rich women.”, he had nothing but scorn for those who sought to live off the government.  The salaries that Union bosses got used to drive him up the wall.  The dishonesty of television commercials would sometimes elicit a derisive snort from my laconic father.  Any sort of sham or pretense produced a strongly negative reaction from my father who was a naturally honest man.  The idea that government could solve problems, outside of perhaps winning wars, he regarded as a simple lie.  When Walter Cronkite used to say at the end of his news broadcast on CBS, “Well that’s the way it is.”, my father’s rolled eyes gave his assessment of how much he accepted that contention.

In regard to the 2016 elections, other than knowing that he would sooner have lost a right arm than vote for Hillary Clinton, I only know one thing for sure about Dad and his reaction to the elections:  he would have loved how the confident prediction of almost all pollsters that Hillary would win came tumbling down.  Dad hated polls.  He hated that anyone thought that they could predict an election before the votes were counted.  That seemed wrong to him.  When it comes to making predictions on elections, obviously I have not followed in my father’s footsteps, but in his belief that it is human hubris to pretend certainty when massive amounts of people are involved in making up their minds, I do agree with him.  So, here’s to you Dad!  I am sure you privately shook your head about your eldest son and how he seemed to pay little attention when you spoke, or argued with you, but I was actually paying close attention, and the older I get the more I appreciate the instruction I received from you and Mom.  May my kids say the same a quarter or a third of a century from now about me and their mother, especially when their thoughts, as mine are now, turn to family and absent loved ones at Thanksgiving.

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Demographics and Democrats

Thursday, November 17, AD 2016

 

 

I am always amused by theories that, on the American political scene, a party has an electoral lock on the White House or that one party will be in control of Congress forever.  Such theories tend to be plentiful just before they are punctured.  The latest popular theory on the left is that the Democrats, due to illegal immigration from Mexico, will soon have total political dominance.  This has been bruited about since the 2000 election, so “soon” is not a precise term.  Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics takes a look at it:

The black vote: Neither of Barack Obama’s wins in 2008 or 2012 were dependent upon African-American turnout.  But it certainly helped.  Had the Republican nominee in 2008 received George W. Bush’s share of the black vote, and had African-American turnout resembled 2004, President Obama’s 2008 lead would have been halved.  In 2012 it would have been reduced to a single point.

The possibility of a reversion-to-mean among African-American voting patterns in 2016 was always a very real one.  If you look at turnout rates as reported by the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey dating back to 2002, African-American rates have always lagged Republican rates by around five points, give or take (though if you control for socioeconomic status, African-Americans are more likely to vote than whites).  This was true in 2010 as well as 2014.  The exceptions were 2008 and 2012, when African-American turnout rates exceeded white rates. 

Now, it was possible that we had entered a period with a “presidential” electorate and a “midterm” electorate, but it was foolish to dismiss the possibility of a mean reversion once a charismatic history-making candidate such as Barack Obama didn’t top the ticket.  With the African-American share of the electorate declining to 12 percent in 2016, I think it’s pretty clear that something along these lines occurred. 

Likewise, with Donald Trump winning a larger share of the black vote than Mitt Romney or John McCain did, and with the midterm electorates looking more like the electorates of 2002 to 2006, we have to take seriously the possibility of a mean reversion there as well.

Hispanics: Analysis focuses on the “fast-growing” Hispanic vote, but the Hispanic share of the electorate has actually increased glacially.  It was 8 percent of the electorate in 2004, 9 percent in 2008, 10 percent in 2012, and 11 percent in 2016. If we rely on the census data for the electorate, it has been even smaller.  The fact that Hispanics are increasingly adopting a “white” identity (what Reihan Salam calls “racial attrition”) may blunt this growth in the future.

Moreover, I’ve long believed that analysis of what motivates Hispanic voters misses the mark.  White and liberal analysts are far too reductionist when it comes to these voters, and for some reason have decided that immigration reform is a make-or-break issue for them.  This ignores an awful lot of contrary evidence, such as the fact that a majority of Hispanic voters told exit pollsters in 2008 that immigration reform wasn’t important to them, or voted Republican anyway.  It ignores the fact that sizeable minorities of Hispanics voted for anti-illegal immigration candidates such as Jan Brewer and Sharron Angle.  It ignores the fact that a large number of Hispanic voters backed Propositions 187 and 209 in California, and so forth.

I was always skeptical (though not entirely dismissive) of the idea that Hispanic voters were on their way to voting like African-American voters. Given that Donald Trump has likely out-performed Mitt Romney among Hispanics, I think it is safe to say that 27 percent represents something of a floor for Republicans.  It could be the case that Republicans will suffer further erosion here over time, but given that, over the long term, the Hispanic vote has gradually become more Republican (Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter and George McGovern all won larger shares of the Hispanic vote than Obama did in 2012), and that Hispanics become more Republican as they move from the border to the burbs, and that Hispanic immigration has for now leveled off, it may also be the case that the Republican share of this vote will grow.

Whites: I have written extensively about the Republican voting trend among white voters, especially among working-class whites. That is obviously an incredibly salient point in the wake of this election, where whites without college degrees voted like Hispanics, but with the impact Hispanics would have if they constituted 40 percent of the electorate. It is true that there weren’t enough working-class whites to win the election for Trump, as many asserted during the campaign.  But it was closer than a lot of people think.

I’m not going to rehash everything here; it is pretty well covered in the links.  I will just make two points.  First, mocking the GOP as the Party of White Voters was, from an electoral perspective, extremely short-sighted.  White voters are still 70 percent of the electorate (probably more). Winning around 60 percent of those voters will win a party an awful lot of elections.  If Trump were to bring college-educated whites back into the fold, that share will grow.

Second, this chart should have really scared Democrats a lot more than it apparently did.

Women: Here, I can be brief.  Analysts are right to examine the gender gap – the distance between the male share of the vote and the female share of the vote – but they are wrong to make predictions based upon it.  As I wrote earlier this year, the gender gap giveth, but it also taketh away. We see this on full display in 2016.  The 24-point spread in 2016 was actually the largest on record.  But like the year with the second-largest spread (2000) and the third-largest spread (1980), it ended in Republican victory.  In fact, looking at the years with the four smallest gender gaps in history (1976, 1972, 1992, 2008) we may reasonably ask ourselves if perhaps large gender gaps tend to hurt Democrats.

Overreach: The major theme of my book is that all party coalitions fall apart because, well, governing is hard and it inevitably forces parties to choose among members of their coalition.  More importantly – and this is where I think realignment theory isn’t just wrong but also counterproductive – parties see their wins as a sign that they’ve finally “won” at politics.  But this hubristic take is always wrong, and usually destructive. Such hubris destroyed the Republican coalition in 1910 when they thought they had won a mandate to pass the self-serving Payne-Aldrich tariff. It weakened the Democratic coalition in 1937 when FDR believed he had a mandate to pack the Supreme Court and pass the Third New Deal.  It destroyed the Republican coalition in 2005 when George W. Bush famously quipped that he had earned political capital and intended to spend it.

I have little doubt that a belief that demographics would save them at the presidential level led Democrats to take a number of steps that they will soon regret, from going nuclear on the filibuster to aggressive uses of executive authority.  But one thing deserves special attention.  A good deal of e-ink has been spilled describing the ways in which the culturally superior attitudes of the left drove Trumpism.  This too, I think, derived from a belief that history had a side and that progressives were on it, combined with a lack of appreciation of just how many culturally traditionalist voters there are in this country.

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Ten Simple Ways to Lose a Presidential Election

Wednesday, November 16, AD 2016

 

I always thought that Bill Clinton had preternatural political skills.  During Hillary’s campaign this year his appearances tended to be lackluster and he gave off an air of frustration.  Perhaps this is why:

 

 

In the waning days of the presidential campaign, Bill and Hillary Clinton had a knock-down, drag-out fight about her effort to blame FBI Director James Comey for her slump in the polls and looming danger of defeat.

‘I was with Bill in Little Rock when he had this shouting match with Hillary on the phone and she accused Comey for reviving the investigation into her use of a private email server and reversing her campaign’s momentum,’ said one of Bill Clinton’s closest advisers.

‘Bill didn’t buy the excuse that Comey would cost Hillary the election,’ said the source. ‘As far as he was concerned, all the blame belonged to [campaign manager Robby] Mook, [campaign chairman John] Podesta and Hillary because they displayed a tone-deaf attitude about the feeble economy and its impact on millions and millions of working-class voters.

‘Bill was so red in the face during his conversation with Hillary that I worried he was going to have a heart attack. He got so angry that he threw his phone off the roof of his penthouse apartment and toward the Arkansas River.’

Bill has a luxurious penthouse apartment with an outdoor garden at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock.

During the campaign, Bill Clinton felt that he was ignored by Hillary’s top advisers when he urged them to make the economy the centerpiece of her campaign.

He repeatedly urged them to connect with the people who had been left behind by the revolutions in technology and globalization.

‘Bill said that constantly attacking Trump for his defects made Hillary’s staff and the media happy, but that it wasn’t a message that resonated with voters, especially in the rust belt,’ the source explained.

‘Bill always campaigned as a guy who felt your pain, but Hillary came across as someone who was pissed off at her enemy [Trump], not someone who was reaching out and trying to make life better for the white working class.’

According to the source, Bill was severely critical of Hillary’s decision to reject an invitation to address a St. Patrick’s Day event at the University of Notre Dame.

Hillary’s campaign advisers nixed the idea on the grounds that white Catholics were not the audience she needed to reach.

Go here to read the rest.  The Hillary Clinton campaign was a monument to political malpractice.  Here are ten simple ways to lose a presidential election.  The Clinton campaign was guilty of each one of them.

  1. Campaign theme-Don’t have one.  Clinton’s theme was the vapid Stronger Together.  She might as well have been running on Apple Pie.  Trump’s campaign theme of Make America Great Again, tied in with his constant assertion that nothing works in America anymore.  That most people believe that something is deeply wrong with the country is borne out by the polls that constantly show most Americans believing that the country is on the wrong track.
  2. Ignore the Election Calendar-Americans routinely toss out the party in power after eight years.  Any member of the same party running after a two term president is going to have an uphill climb and should plan accordingly.
  3. Despise your Adversary-Ignore his strengths and concentrate on what a loathsome character he is in your eyes.
  4. Campaign Lackadaisically-Clinton, perhaps due to her health, often had one or two campaign events a day.  Trump would usually have four to five massive rallies all about the country.
  5. Identity Politics-Split the American people up into warring factions and cater to some of them.  Forget that other factions will almost always deeply resent this favoritism.
  6. Believe the Polls-If the polls show you ahead, relax and attempt to coast to victory.
  7. Enthusiasm-Ignore that your adversary has lots of it on his side and you have nil.  Assume that a good ground game can compensate for the fact that most of your voters view you, at best, as a typical pol.
  8. Economy-Pretending that the economy is good at a time when millions of workers have abandoned job searches as futile is a sure path to popularity on election day.
  9. Rely upon the Media-If the media is on your side relax, even if most voters view the media as unreliable.  The voters were probably just joking when they began repeating the old Soviet joke:  There is no truth in Pravda (Truth) and there is no news in Izvestia (News).
  10. Believe your own Hype-The handouts you give to the media should be accepted as Gospel Truth in campaign headquarters.  Yell good news to the rafters and ignore bad news.

 

 

 

 

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Schadenfreude: Doctor Feser Illustrates When it is Permissible

Sunday, November 13, AD 2016

Language advisory as to the above video due to foul mouthed liberals.

Philosopher Edward Feser takes a look at schadenfreude:

 

Bill Vallicella asks: Is there a righteous form of schadenfreude?  The Angelic Doctor appears to answer in the affirmative.  Speaking of the knowledge that the blessed in heaven have of the damned, Aquinas famously says:

It is written (Psalm 57:11): “The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge”…

Therefore the blessed will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked…

A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways.  First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked.  Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy.  And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.

End quote.  So, the idea is this: On the one hand, the suffering of a person is not as such something to rejoice in, for suffering, considered just by itself, is an evil and, as Aquinas goes on to say, “to rejoice in another’s evil as such belongs to hatred.”  However, there can be something “annexed” to the suffering which is a cause for rejoicing.  For example, if we are able to develop a virtue like patience by way of suffering, that is something to rejoice in, and thus in an indirect way the suffering can in that case legitimately be a cause of rejoicing.  But another sort of thing which can be annexed to a person’s suffering is justice, as when a person suffers some harm as a deserved punishment.  And someone’s getting his just deserts is in Aquinas’s view something to rejoice in.  Hence, Aquinas concludes, in an indirect way the suffering of the wicked can be something to rejoice in.

This is in Aquinas’s view true even when the suffering is eternal, if that is what is deserved.  Indeed, he judges that the joy of the blessed would be incomplete without knowledge of the infliction of these just deserts:

Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.

Now, that’s schadenfreude, big league.

Putting the question of hell to one side, though, we can note that if schadenfreude can be legitimate even in that case, then a fortiori it can be legitimate in the case of lesser instances of someone getting his just deserts, in this life rather than the afterlife.  For example – and to take the case Bill has in mind — suppose someone’s suffering is a consequence of anti-Catholic bigotry, brazen corruption, unbearable smugness, a sense of entitlement, groupthink, and in general from hubris virtually begging nemesis to pay a visit.  When you’re really asking for it, you can’t blame others for enjoying seeing you get it. 

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Prediction of Trump Victory Made on March 2, 2016

Sunday, November 13, AD 2016

Trump_Roach_300x262-300x262

(If faithful readers of the blog will permit me the indulgence of resurrecting this post from March 2 of this year.)

I’m not sold on the idea that Clinton is unbeatable, least of all by Trump who, when it comes to the Clintons’ variety of thermo-nuclear scorched earth politics, is the equivalent of a cockroach.

Ernst Schreiber

Hattip to commenter Ernst Schreiber for the idea behind this post.

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a strong opponent of Donald Trump.  I view him as an ignorant blowhard, a Democrat in a skimpy Republican disguise, and a disaster in the making of epic proportions if he should be elected President.  I will not vote for him if he is the Republican nominee, an easy call for me since if Illinois is in play Trump is heading for a landslide win in any case.  However, unlike many Trump critics my opposition to him does not have anything to do with his electability in the fall.  If Clinton is the Democrat nominee I think it likely that Trump will win.  Here is why.

1. Clinton Smear Machine-Unlike most candidates I think Trump is largely immune to smears.  Throughout his career he has been subject to a largely bad press.  Except for cannibalism and incest Trump has been charged with every crime imaginable and with some that truly do tax the imagination.  I doubt if there is much more that could be revealed to harm him.  Like Huey Long, the Kingfish of the Depression Era, he thrives on bad press and attacks.

2.  Colorful Career-As loathe as I am to admit it, there are elements in Trump’s career that will probably play well with the voters, including this incident, go here to read it, where Trump intervened to stop a violent mugging in progress.

3.  Wrong Clinton-I always said that Clinton had preternatural political skills, however that was Bill Clinton, who could probably have won an election after being discovered in bed with either a live boy or a dead girl.  His spouse on the other hand is a miserable politician who got beaten like a drum by Obama in 2008 and who has struggled to beat an elderly socialist this year.

4.  Empty Promises-Democrats have thrived over the years on making empty promises to voters with a straight face.  No one can out empty promise Donald The-Mexicans-Are-Going -To-Pay-For-The-Wall Trump!

5.  Outsider-This is clearly a year when the voters want an outsider.  Trump, the croniest capitalist, would seem to be the consummate insider, except when compared to Hillary Clinton.  In the primaries Trump has been able to paint himself as an outsider, and compared to Clinton it is not quite so laughable a claim.

6.  Scandals-Beltway pundits clearly underestimate public anger over Benghazi.  Tie that in with the e-mail crime scandal, and doubtless a lot of juicy tidbits being excavated by Trump’s opposition research, and Clinton will be on the receiving end of endless negative attack ads that would have bounced off her husband but likely will do damage to her.

7.  Jugular-Republicans frustrated by a too gentlemanly form of campaigning by their candidates will have nothing to complain about from Trump.  He will begin with throwing the kitchen sink against Clinton and proceed on from there.

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The Other Side of the Hill

Sunday, November 13, AD 2016

 

 

Harris had been encamped in a creek bottom for the sake of being near water. The hills on either side of the creek extend to a considerable height, possibly more than a hundred feet. As we approached the brow of the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris’ camp, and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do; I kept right on. When we reached a point from which the valley below was in full view I halted. The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before was still there and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly visible, but the troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards.

Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs

The above is a description by Grant of the first time in the Civil War when he led troops against a Confederate position.  As in War, so in Politics.  We usually are eloquent in the weaknesses of the side we support in politics, but we forget that the other side have their share of problems also.  After the shellacking of the Democrats on Tuesday perhaps we should look at things from their point of view for a moment.

In 2008 they won a great victory, placing Barack Obama in the White House, winning 257 seats in the House and 57 seats in the Senate.  They controlled 29 governorships after the 2008 elections and 62 out of 99 legislative chambers.  After eight years of Obama, they go into 2017 controlling neither the White House nor Congress, with 16 governorships and 30 out of 99 legislative chambers.  Is it any wonder that some articles are being written by Democrats currently that read like this one by Thomas Frank, a fairly shrewd left wing observer of politics:

What we need to focus on now is the obvious question: what the hell went wrong? What species of cluelessness guided our Democratic leaders as they went about losing what they told us was the most important election of our lifetimes?

Start at the top. Why, oh why, did it have to be Hillary Clinton? Yes, she has an impressive resume; yes, she worked hard on the campaign trail. But she was exactly the wrong candidate for this angry, populist moment. An insider when the country was screaming for an outsider. A technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.

She was the Democratic candidate because it was her turn and because a Clinton victory would have moved every Democrat in Washington up a notch. Whether or not she would win was always a secondary matter, something that was taken for granted. Had winning been the party’s number one concern, several more suitable candidates were ready to go. There was Joe Biden, with his powerful plainspoken style, and there was Bernie Sanders, an inspiring and largely scandal-free figure. Each of them would probably have beaten Trump, but neither of them would really have served the interests of the party insiders.

And so Democratic leaders made Hillary their candidate even though they knew about her closeness to the banks, her fondness for war, and her unique vulnerability on the trade issue – each of which Trump exploited to the fullest. They chose Hillary even though they knew about her private email server. They chose her even though some of those who studied the Clinton Foundation suspected it was a sketchy proposition.

To try to put over such a nominee while screaming that the Republican is a rightwing monster is to court disbelief. If Trump is a fascist, as liberals often said, Democrats should have put in their strongest player to stop him, not a party hack they’d chosen because it was her turn. Choosing her indicated either that Democrats didn’t mean what they said about Trump’s riskiness, that their opportunism took precedence over the country’s well-being, or maybe both.

Clinton’s supporters among the media didn’t help much, either. It always struck me as strange that such an unpopular candidate enjoyed such robust and unanimous endorsements from the editorial and opinion pages of the nation’s papers, but it was the quality of the media’s enthusiasm that really harmed her. With the same arguments repeated over and over, two or three times a day, with nuance and contrary views all deleted, the act of opening the newspaper started to feel like tuning in to a Cold War propaganda station. Here’s what it consisted of:

How did the journalists’ crusade fail? The fourth estate came together in an unprecedented professional consensus. They chose insulting the other side over trying to understand what motivated them. They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such an approach?

Put this question in slightly more general terms and you are confronting the single great mystery of 2016. The American white-collar class just spent the year rallying around a super-competent professional (who really wasn’t all that competent) and either insulting or silencing everyone who didn’t accept their assessment. And then they lost. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.

The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the “last thing standing” between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability. Enough with these comfortable Democrats and their cozy Washington system. Enough with Clintonism and its prideful air of professional-class virtue. Enough!

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