Thursday, March 10, 2016

The left's stereotype of the right is blinding them to Trump

In a sentence:  people on the left who view the right as a bunch of cartoon villains don't realize it when an actual cartoon villain shows up.

Maybe I should stop there, but of course I can't, I'm a blogger. Some blogs I normally enjoy are doing a lot of simplistic snark of the things they don't like, and actually seem happy to extend that simplistic snark to anyone slightly to the right of them or further right. Naming names, that would be Atrios and some (not all) of the bloggers at Lawyers Guns and Money (and while it should always go without saying here at the hutch, this is just Brian talking, not speaking for Eli or John). Both blogs still have great stuff, but the noise is up.

So that's one trend. Another trend that those two blogs aren't that guilty of but is still irritating in the left blogosphere, is the clash of the Bernie and Hillary fans. The Bernie folks have been pretty simplistic for a while now, but Hillary's people have been catching up some in the last six months. Reasonable criticism of either one, whether it's Bernie's denial of economic reality or Hillary's too-close familiarity with FDR's malefactors of great wealth, both get hyperbolic responses.

And meanwhile we see assertions that Trump isn't worse than the other Republicans, based on what Trump has said that he would do. Add to this a complete inability to see why many Republicans are panicking about Trump, so they instead believe silly reasons for the panic. It's blindness.

To be fair, if Trump weren't in the race then I'd probably view Cruz as a cartoon villain, based on the metric that GW Bush was the third-worst president in American history and Cruz is far worse than Bush. But Trump is in the race. Cruz is many terrible, terrible things, but he's not the buffoon amalgam of Aaron Burr, Andrew Jackson and John Calhoun that Trump embodies. We have a new standard to look at.

And in the latest Trump news, the amalgam's campaign manager denies throwing a female journalist nearly to the ground, contravening eyewitness testimony, and blames her instead. (A tangent:  recently I've approvingly retweeted something from Mitt Romney, approvingly linked to Jonah Goldberg, and am now approvingly linking to Breitbart. That's how bad Trump is.)

The affinity for violence that we haven't seen in other Republican campaigns, including crazies like Cruz and Santorum, is bad enough. I don't think Trump is fascistic - you need an ideology to be a fascist - but he's definitely authoritarian. What could hold back real threats to democracy by a President Trump is the people around him, but if he's surrounded not just by Yes Men but by snakes, then the danger gets even worse.


Two final notes:  first, it would be ridiculous for me to criticize snark, it's the simplistic stuff I dislike. Second, this is a real drag to think about, with the Republican Party sinking further into delusion. So here's a diversion, courtesy of Saturday Night Live:


39 comments:

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

The fact that you and others are making comparisons to former presidents long dead indicates to me that you aren't paying attention to the present circumstances. No comparison to the past is possible.

Everett F Sargent said...

"No comparison to the past is possible."

High school gym class.

cynicus said...

If Trump is making Cruz look good then Trump is shifting the Overton window...

Lars Karlsson said...

From Vox: The rise of American authoritarianism

"A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what's driving Donald Trump's ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016."


From NYT: All Politicians Lie. Some Lie More Than Others.

"Donald J. Trump’s record on truth and accuracy is astonishingly poor. So far, we’ve fact-checked more than 70 Trump statements and rated fully three-quarters of them as Mostly False, False or “Pants on Fire” (we reserve this last designation for a claim that is not only inaccurate but also ridiculous). We haven’t checked the former neurosurgeon Ben Carson as often as Mr. Trump, but by the percentages Mr. Carson actually fares worse."

Andrew said...

The thing is, in some ways Trump looks better than, say, Cruz.

First, as an outsider he's going to find it harder to get stuff done, especially at first, as he runs slap bang into institutions that he dosen't know. An 'insider' like Cruz may well be able to achieve more.

Second, my impression is that outside of the madder statements about muslims and walls, he isn't as mad-right-wing as others. Even pointed out that Iraq was a disaster.

Still not a great prospect, of course..

Toby Joyce said...

Would Trump be a worse President then Rubio or Cruz?

I am not so sure.

But I hope we never find out.

Jim Eager said...

These days I'm offering two words of caution for my American friends:

Rob Ford

We thought he could never be elected mayor of the fourth largest city in North America either.

The one bright spot is that Andrew is right, Trump, like Ford, will find that it will be not just hard but impossible to get some of his more egregious stuff done. That government is slow moving and inefficient is an intentional design feature, not a bug. It will drive Trump mad.

Good luck.

Oh, our spare bedroom has already been promised to a nice American couple should they need it.

Pete Dunkelberg said...

Why the snide and simplistic snipe at Bernie?
Perhaps you heard about the ginned up story of 4 or 5 economists who claimed to have done a rigorous analysis of his proposals, but had not in fact done it. Perhaps you missed the 170 economists on Bernie's side (on a slightly different economic point but still economists for Bernie.)

You can bone up on the anti-Bernie argument here:
http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/3/9/1498731/-Remember-that-time-those-Economists-tried-to-trash-Bernie-s-economic-plans

MartinM said...

Were Trump really that far outside the Republican mainstream, he wouldn't be winning the Republican nomination. He's beating them at their own game, nothing more.

notjonathon said...

Rob Ford? Look closer to home: President Ronald Reagan.

As in the old joke attributed to Jack Warner--Ronald Reagan for Governor? No, Dennis Morgan for Governor; Ronald Reagan for best friend.

Jim Eager said...

I'm no fan of Reagan, but to equate him with Trump?
Seriously? Give yourself a shake.

And as for Trump not being outside the Republican mainstream, Trump has made the Republican party irrelevant.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Yeats

Hank Roberts said...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/03/12/ex-breitbart-spokesman-donald-trump-makes-me-embarrassed-to-say-that-im-a-republican/

Pretty damned amazing.

What part of "It's not the offense, it's the coverup" did Trump's chumps miss?

Russell Seitz said...

Brian should get out more.

Spain is full of folks who dismiss Trump as a low whig, and think the Dutchess of Medina Sidona was a dangerous radical.

cRR Kampen said...

The fact that Hexathingy and others are making comparisons to former climate long gone indicates to me that Hexathingy ain't paying attention to the present circumstances. No comparison to the past is possible.

Mmm.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Compared to science, politics is crap. Comparing past crap to current crap just yields more crap. Comparing past science to current science yields progress. Can you tell the difference between science and politics? I doubt it. Cultural anthropologists are like that.

cRR Kampen said...

It's called human behaviour, Hex, and really nothing changed even compared to chimpansees, except we got nukes.

Hank Roberts said...

http://assets.amuniversal.com/5c6028d0c6d801334650005056a9545d

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

That's completely untrue and I suspect you know it. We can predict the future based upon our behavior, beyond finding that next meal. I predict that if you do not solve your problems using science and technology it will be increasingly difficult for the nine billion zombies of the apocalypse to either pay for that next meal, find that next meal, grow that next meal, kill that next meal or even eat it.

It you thing that changing human behavior without science and technology will solve your problems, you're a cultural anthropologist. If you are unable to predict what advances in science and technology will solve your problems you are also still a cultural anthropologist.

You are obviously a cultural anthropologist. Good luck with that.

cRR Kampen said...

I'm not. I'm just an observant realist. Good luck with that.

(corrected for you) "If you think that changing human behavior without science and technology will solve your problems" contains one of those words almost noboby can parse but me (the other word being 'not').
I wonder where you conjured that premise from. Strawwy.

Perhaps you missed out on a small detail, which would be to know what has to be changed, in casu: human behaviour. Scientifically, of course.
So, 'No comparison to the past is possible.' is total nonsense.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

You seem unable to admit that politics is a complete failure and your civilization is collapsing, and has been doing so for a long time. In fact a scientist could easily argue there never really has been one. Parse it any way you wish. Politics past, present or future isn't going to solve the problem of another great extinction event, one that is already well underway and has been so for hundreds of years now. That you idiots continue to argue from a cultural perspective is just laughable. Cultural anthropology is nothing but woo woo science practiced by woo woo people who don't have the necessary skillsets to do really hard science that involves really hard mathematics and results in amazing technology at every turn of Fortuna's wheel. At best, you might be able to preserve something in a distant refugia to try again at some time in the future, that's how far out of hand this has gotten by using politics and cultural anthropology to address the real problems of the past, now nearly but not quite totally insoluble in the present tense.

You are unskilled and unaware of it, Mr. Kampen.

BBD said...

. That you idiots continue to argue from a cultural perspective is just laughable. Cultural anthropology is nothing but woo woo science practiced by woo woo people

Another day and the resident lunatic is raving at another imaginary enemy...

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

The fact is, BBD, is that I consider the large body of woo woo scientists doing woo woo science and not taking an aggressive stance against woo woo scientist doing woo woo science during a mass extinction event - to be 'the enemy'. Why should I waste my time with the peasantry? That's merely entertainment. Woo woo science is business.

Kevin O'Neill said...

I always get a kick out of comments like Symbol Soup's: "You seem unable to admit that politics is a complete failure and your civilization is collapsing,...."

Once that's said there's little point in discussion. Yes, politics is a complete failure. Oh obviously. What criteria are used for that grandiose statement?

'your civilization'? Damn, funny how that works. How does one go about deciding exactly whose civilization it is? Or does one get to just walk away from responsibility whenever one likes?

Maroons like Symbol Soup ought to have their keyboards confiscated.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Maroons like Symbol Soup ought to have their keyboards confiscated.

I love it when authoritarians suggest that people should be deprived of their right to express themselves, especially on blogs that they do not own. Awesome display of idiocy and Trumpism there, Mr. O'Neill.

Your civilization is the one where you have to drive your car to a grocery store to purchase groceries from a mega corporation, where your government wages war overseas for your basic right to feed yourself. Since you apparently are unable to do so yourself. And the cost of that is loss of forests, depletion of biodiversity, pain and misery overseas conveniently out of your direct sight, and of course the destruction of pollinators, loss of soil and global warming.

Heckava job, Kevin. Keep up the good work. And make sure to keep those pesky comments on that reality beaten down into the noise. That appears to be your job, as a scientist. Maintain the status quo so you don't lose your job and your paycheck for those groceries.

Howard said...

EightCharleyUniformNovemberTango77SunsetStrip is to warmunists as Doug Cotton is to Lukewarmongers. He must be a JoJoNovo plant sheepdipping himself in CAGW toxaphene to finally prove that AGW is just a commie plot to sap and impurify capital essence.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Well, you could look me up. You might find the reality of me is quite different than your delusions of me. If your keyboard hasn't been confiscated, that is. I'll make it easy for you. l i f e f o r m d o t n e t. Do you think you can handle that? I'm only 8c here because Eli is too cheap to set up a wordpress blog on an apache server host. It will be interesting to see how things shake out here after Eli retires. I myself no longer allow comments since the denialati used them to threaten my life. That was before reality caught up to them, in the middle of Bush's first term, during the Wegman era. Scientists really showed the denialati, allowing yet another decade to pass.

cRR Kampen said...

A mediocre troll, this Hex.
Usually they cry and scold, it's a disgusting sight. But this one I like a bit, it looks so neat: "
You are unskilled and unaware of it, Mr. Kampen."

BBD said...

8c

Your civilization

Enough hypocrisy. It is sickening. This is *your* civilisation too. You were educated by it, clothed by it, fed by it, protected by its laws and you have supped energy from its infrastructure all of your life. You do so now. You are as complicit as anyone else. Stop pretending otherwise and grow the fuck up.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I assure you my needs are minimal, I spent 35 years on a desert island, developing and using solar panels and wind generators of my own design, worked closely with wind generator manufacturers and participated in the power MOSFET voltage inverter and charge regulator industries Mr. BBD. Did that work out for you ok? Or did you reject it?

Before that it was commercial space and earth sheltered homes during the first energy crisis. How did that work out for you? Did you wean yourself off the oil back then? Or did you just have another war in the middle east?

I ACTIVELY reject your civilization, and I'm ramming multi-layer heterostructures down your throat. Are you embracing the revolution? How about latex products, are you putting your raincoat on regularly? Are you taxing those churches to get out of national debt?

Tell me about the things you are doing about this severe problem.

BBD said...

Give me patience.

developing and using solar panels and wind generators of my own design, worked closely with wind generator manufacturers and participated in the power MOSFET voltage inverter and charge regulator industries

SPV is a high-tech product of the civilisation you claim not to be a part of. Aerogenerators likewise. Also MOSFET technology. You are a parasite and a lunatic.

I ACTIVELY reject your civilization, and I'm ramming multi-layer heterostructures down your throat.

Multi-layer heterostructures are high-tech products of the civilsation you 'ACTIVELY' reject. Except when you need somebody else's technology to bray about. Once again: you are a parasite and a lunatic.

Where would you be without the civilisation you claim to despise and disown? Not posting about other people's technological inventions on the Internet that you didn't develop using computing technology that you didn't develop running software that you didn't develop, that's for sure.

You are a parasite and a lunatic. And a bore.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

You are a parasite and a lunatic.

That's exactly something I would expect an authoritarian and a fascist would say. See how easy it is for an intelligent person to goad you into showing your true political colors? This is pure entertainment.

cRR Kampen said...

Not really, Hex. Dodging the subject is much more typical of fascists.

BBD said...

8c

I *showed* that you are a delusional parasite. You only *assert* that I am a fascist and an authoritarian. You have only *ever* asserted these things. Your aggression is as groundless as it is vicious.

Time you went.

snarkrates said...

Dudes, dial it back. Namecalling doesn't make anyone look smart.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Dial it back? I'm just getting going. Anytime I can get someone who thinks they understand humanity and science to call another person a 'parasite' and/or call for the rollback of the United States Constitution, for merely existing, expressing an opinion, rejecting the status quo, the government stance on progress and the fraudulent basis and corrupt nature of civilization, that's a GREAT THING. I've just begun to push these guy's buttons. But alas, I'm going to take a little break here and watch yet another impotent congressional hearing.

https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/environment-subcommittee-hearing-overview-budget-proposal-national-oceanic-and

Hank Roberts said...

“if he were a man of strong mind, it only gave him fits; but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad.” That's what Jerome K. Jerome said about bagpipes.

Under whatever userid, Mr. Thomas Lee Elifritz has long been interesting to read, sometimes has a thought to share that nobody else in the world has brought up, but arguing with him, any time, anywhere, on any subject diverts his attention from writing interesting stuff, to little use.
Visualize a ride on an escalator that neither halts nor ends. Eschew.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

It's my time to waste or not, Hank, and the entertainment value of placing the values of scientific fascists onto a public table and poking them with verbal sticks is well worth my efforts. Not as entertaining as a GOP congressmen making a complete fool of themselves in public, on the record, in congressional testimony and hearings, for future Nuremburg like climate trials, but entertaining nevertheless.

Mr. Lamar Smith seems very worried that he might be prosecuted soon.

Russell Seitz said...

I spent 35 years on a desert island, developing and using solar panels and wind generators of my own design, worked closely with wind generator manufacturers and participated in the power MOSFET voltage inverter and charge regulator industries


How many Newfies did it take to row the extension cord to the mainland when your air conditioner fried the MOSFETs?


8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

Unless my guests were old and frail like yourself I didn't need any.

But sometimes it blew so hard I could get straight 3600 RPM three phase out of a well designed and well balanced aluminum airfoil blade. It requires a damn good tower though.