Thursday, October 20, 2016

Poll Cats

Yrs trly has had a feeling for some time, which I now commit to pixels, that the election results won't be nearly as close as latest polls indicate.

Yes, this is prompted by a similar growing sense popping up now that the surveys won't tell the whole story. And while more respectable political scientists will point to data gaps and poll lags, my own feeling is based on a certain regard of human nature.

One: there are probably measurable numbers of women who gave pollsters DT's name to keep peace with the men in their lives, knowing all along they'd vote for Mrs. C. We might now add to that number those who were, let's say, notional supporters who now feel duty bound to reject the animal. (And spare a thought to what are likely hundreds, maybe thousands, of relationships nationwide now on the rocks because the male of the household is an inert stone blockhead.)

And, Two: speaking of blockheads, my sense all along that a good percentage of these big-talking Trump fans would, when election day finally arrives, not take their civic responsibility seriously enough to bother even trying to destroy the republic with their votes. There is a reason they're such losers, and a big one is not taking certain important tasks in their lives seriously enough.

This is a problem, though not for Democrats and decent people everywhere. For the Gone Old Party is about to discover that there are hard, real-world consequences for acting on a belief, for years, in patent nonsense. When no one else sees the vermin you do, the exterminator never visits, no matter how much you yell.

And speaking of exterminators, while I put away some time ago my dreams for a House turnover this election, those dreams are back, and I think it'll happen. Again, the notion isn't exactly data driven, but rather the feeling that over the last couple weeks a lot of ex-Republican supporters have come to the conclusion that the party itself is no longer worthy of power above the county level. Thing is: they aren't wrong.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Right Trope Walker

While certain norms have been exceeded this election season, the main one being the bloody end of the GOP, I don't share the deep concern of those like Josh Marshall who fear that the DT campaign has let certain vicious genies out of the bottle forever tainting our Republic.

Mainly this is a stated concern of people under 50, sober, intelligent, well-educated, who have no living memory of what the national mood was like in the early-mid '60s. Unfortunately, I kind of do. Which is to say that very few people now worrying about the Trump effect after Nov. 8, have any grasp of the influence groups like the John Birch Society, KKK, and even the American Nazi Party once had.

People enjoy recalling how Wm. F. Buckley banished the Birchers; and the FBI, and Justice Dept. did a fine job taking down the Klan (while the AmNazis mainly took out each other), with the applied notion that somehow these groups were thereby nipped in the bud. No. They were well-established regional extremist organizations for years before their respective collapses.

Which is to say that the current crop of mean yay-hoos the DT campaign is viciously attempting to gin up is nowhere near the weight of those past failed movements, and should not be showed the respect of fear, or attempted understanding. Losers lose, a lot, and though it may be discouraging that there are so many furious simpletons keen on misunderstanding real life, it is a problem mainly for themselves.

Because, yes, their brand of white Protestant small-stakes culture is dying, but more from its roots, an ingrained suspicion of outsiders, and a patriarchal hatred of things they can't control, than any snide dismissals, like this one, made by outside elites. If any elites betrayed racist, small town America, it was the ones they relied on the most: elected officials who refused to extend federal social services to communities very much in need; churches obsessed with heterosexual probity and female submission in lieu of forgiveness and charity; a popular culture emphasizing national belligerence, patriotic display, guns, big engines, and alcohol consumption, over folk art, history, and community festivals.

Because even if the wider, coastal society didn't offer much to these interior white enclaves, the supposed base of GOP anger, neither did they have much to offer themselves, and the fact that so many fell for a patent conman, a big talking nutjob with his own jet and a fondness for gold leaf interiors, should give you some notion of how successful any political movement growing from the DT campaign will be. Maybe someday they'll come up with someone more like themselves, a plain-talking guy with a cheerful smile and at least a run at coherence to cover the hatred, but, demographically, it may be too late for even that. We'll see.

Yes, some spiteful cretins will threaten and hurt others in the aftermath of Trump's defeat, and promptly end up in jail. Some will attempt to find some justification and meaning in disgrace. But the cat has been belled. It will be very clear going forward who the idiots, useful and otherwise, are, and the losers, unless they give it a rest, will find new ways to utterly fail.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Making America Grate cont.

What had been an essentially boring presidential campaign in which the outcome was never in doubt has in the last twenty-four hours become pure psycho drama, born on and for TV, reflecting the fundamental unseriousness of the whole exercise.

This is not to say that Mrs. Clinton's campaign is an unserious one, just that the nature of her opponent, and the judgement of too many journalists about her, treated her as at best an imposter, someone with no real business putting herself forward in the way she has, or, worse, a ball-busting criminal, ripe for prison.

That this latter case was made by a ridiculous melange of failures, dimwits, and outright sociopaths, all too clear in their markings even as they were taken seriously, made any considered criticism of her policies and judgement mostly meaningless. See? Not serious.

It has been the single point made over and over for over a decade here at H&J that the GOP was either about to implode, or, as events went forward, in the process of doing so. It is now only a handy conceit of news organizations that the Republican Party is an intact entity at all. This notion could change shortly.

See, a real political party has a coherent voice and trusted standard bearers. It is able to institute policy on the national and local levels in accord with norms that flow directly from our organizing documents. It has a consistent means of choosing leaders on many levels and trusting them with greater power and responsibility, to the party and the nation, as they rise to greater prominence. There is grooming and schmoozing, backslapping and horse trading, and hundreds, nay thousands, of political lunches, dinners, conferences, town halls and fund raising events in which the political animals (and here let me say I have tremendous respect for those politicians who put in the constituent work) are vetted and chosen.

Somewhere along the line, this was something the GOP either forgot, or decided was bullshit. Personally, I start the unwinding of the party on the night in 2000 when that squalid little man and Karl Rove screwed John McCain in the South Carolina primary.

But even here, that the charge that McCain fathered a child with an African-American woman could have carried such conclusively negative weight in the first place, spoke to an illness already raging, a persistent low grade fever that first enabled the worst presidency since the Civil War, also begun in the Palmetto State, and then, once the nation had the good sense to choose Barack Obama as president, became utterly septic to the host.

I've probably said this here before, but at first I thought that electing BHO president opened a door, and it surely did, but it also turned over a rock, and the bugs crawled everywhere. I've also said that the clear knowledge that Hilary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee drove what was left of the GOP, its most coherent (in the sense it held fast) and hateful plurality, into backing a manifest conman, a frankly racist and proudly misogynist jackass, to take up the standard once held by U.S. Grant, William Howard Taft, Ike Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan.

Put another way, an opportunistic infection took over a gravely weakened patient.

A month ago, when many were worried about the nature of the campaign and the apparent appeal of D. Trump to so many, I was going to say that this is why we have elections, to bring the stupid up and air it out. That we've had such relatively polite contests over the last 120 or so years is more an accident than a matter of essential norms. This year's has been a throwback to the more rank campaigns of the early 19th century, and that's okay.

Because the last time a major political party collapsed we had a war that killed around 600,000 men and maimed many more, and while it is disheartening to see so many now loyal to another lost and unworthy cause, one that draws some identity from the previous one, it is heartening to see that the electoral system works pretty well, and, like a good sewer, is worthy of respect while it handles the most deplorable refuse tossed into it for a long time.

UPDATE: An alternative, though not especially contradictory, view of how political parties work, from Adam Davidson in The New Yorker. To sum up, the GOP is still toast.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Letter from Standing Rock

Reprinted by permission of the author from the Shawangunk Journal, Margaretville, NY, Sept. 29, 2016 -- WD



Letter from Standing Rock
By Joe Gioia
Special to the Shawangunk Journal

If there’s an old part of Mandan, ND you don’t see it from I-94, only the usual new glass box, big sign establishments and car dealerships, most flying large American flags. Exiting at Main St. and turning left onto ND Rt. 1806 (the year, incidentally, Lewis and Clark passed through here on their way home), you go south seven miles before finding the National Guard roadblock: armed young men in cammo fatigues, and two giant cement cubes staggered in the north and south lanes so that cars must snake carefully between them to get through.
            The land is beautiful; green rolling hills, low and long, with scrub oak and cottonwood trees, starting to yellow, sheltered in the draws. The broad Missouri River is visible on the left, and after another twenty miles on that side, a long ranch fence with dozens of homemade banners, the first sign of Standing Rock, a place where Native American protesters have camped since August, aiming to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project intended to carry oil from the enormous Bakken shale field in western North Dakota under the Missouri here to a depot in southern Illinois.
            Standing Rock is really four encampments; the first, a scattering of tents, is on either side of 1806, about half a mile from the main camp, which sits on approximately forty acres in a small valley on the Cannon Ball River. You pass camp security, stern young Indian men with walkie-talkies, and proceed down an inclined dirt lane lined with dozens of flags, each representing an Indigenous tribe or group assembled here.
            This is the Seven Council Fires Camp, where between 3,000 and 4,000 people, the number changes constantly, have lived since demonstrations began. Tents pitched directly across the Cannon Ball, named for the round rocks found in its waters, make up the Redbud Camp. This is on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and behind it, on another bend of the river and hidden by a line of hills, is the small Sacred Stone Camp, a religious refuge.
            Seven Fires camp has two centers, a social one, a small tamped grass plaza surrounding a sacred fire circle, where you find the main cook tent, medical facilities, school, message boards, and public address system, and a political/religious one some distance away: a long tipi lodge, held up by many poles and reportedly not erected in over a century, is at the true axis of the camp. Here ceremonies of welcome to tribal delegations are given outside, while inside sacred objects from many nations are kept strictly guarded, to be seen and handled only by medicine men. Here elders are said to be forging a new treaty to govern relations between tribes across North America, a genuine pan-Indian movement.
            Solid information, it should be noted, is hard to come by. The number of represented tribes, and of the smaller camps inside the larger one, is impossible to say with certainty. It is, nevertheless, a lot. Specific details are always shifting anyway, and a feeling of the organized ad hoc prevails. You learn quickly that Standing Rock is a learning experience for everyone involved, native and settler, elder and youth.
            The legal services tent, a two-peaked, fatigue green Army surplus number, is at the top of Facebook Hill, the highest point of Seven Fires Camp where cell reception is modestly available (WiFi was still a work in progress). By late September, nearly everyone arrested in earlier actions had been arraigned and released, their trials set for January. One woman, on a warrant from Nebraska stemming from a protest there, was extradited back. Facebook Hill also has a small media tent, another medical tent, and an Army shelter of Desert Storm tan, covering a good 300 square feet, which is a meeting place available to all.
            The hill presents a startling view of the past and present. At least fifty large tipis, of mainly cream colored canvas, some with brightly painted totem animals or patterns, are surrounded by a tide of more up-to-date camping gear—brightly hued nylon domes from Cabelas, North Face, and REI—and more provisional blue tarp affairs. Five or six pony corrals also dot the camp, some formed from ranch-grade steel gating, others of old school wood slats and fence wire. However penned, the horses are beautiful: dappled, highly spirited, and very well kept. Young riders, some saddled, others bareback, come and go, reminders of finer times on the western plains.
            There is, in fact, a distinct atavistic shock involved in stowing your gear in an Army tent and then scanning a large Indian camp from a hilltop with a pair of binoculars. One sees now, as then, a site of constant activity. Sound carries extremely well; voices of people, horses, and dogs, cars and chainsaws, birdcalls and the endless cadence of crickets hiding in the broad-bladed prairie grass. Flags and banners, flying everywhere, snap in the Dakota wind, which can top twenty miles per hour before calling undue attention to itself.
            The only light at night comes from campfires and, eventually last week, a half moon, strong enough to interfere with the view of the Milky Way. After dark, songs, cries, and drums from the assembled bands that have arranged themselves in the greater whole call and answer across the field. This can go on quite late.
            A deep rest then comes easier than true sleep. You drift off quite without noticing, only to resurface. The boundaries of the daytime self dissolve, replaced by a sense of being part of a greater whole, of every sound and creature around you, human, animal, and wind. Night passes with neither the deep sleep, nor bitter insomnia, usually found in houses.
            Everyday something needs doing. A generous array of port-o-sans, donated and maintained by the Standing Rock Reservation casino, seven miles further south, are cleared by septic trucks early each morning. Fires are fed, food prepared, wood chopped, provisions and donations sorted, trash carted off, kids schooled. Last week the Crow nation donated a buffalo that was blessed, killed, then dressed for eating. Pawnee brought several tree-length logs, unknown on the Great Plains, which were chain sawed into short sections to be split into firewood for all.
            Perhaps Standing Rock’s most radical statement is an immense goodwill demonstrated everywhere at all times. Over four days, I didn’t encounter a single instance of anger, aggression or ill will. Neither was there a hint of alcohol or illegal drug use, hard or kind, all strictly forbidden. There are sure to be infractions in a village of 4,000 souls, but tribal security, a very visible presence, quickly deals with any bad actors. Caffeine and nicotine are in abundance, however, and tobacco, loose and in cigarettes, is freely burned for prayer, and widely exchanged as gifts of fellowship and thanks.  
            Many intend to stay through the winter, and plans are underway to move onto the Rez. Seven Fires Camp is located on so-called treaty land, managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is mainly unsheltered from winter wind and sits on a spring flood plain. The greatest problem facing organizers is determining the needs for fall, and the move to winter camp. A general meeting last week defined subjects for smaller group action: health, financial accountability, public relations, security, food prep and distribution. A census is planned.
            While Standing Rock tribal Chairman Dave Archambault handles outside affairs, and was in Washington last week, camp decisions are divided among several elders, all of whom spoke at the winter planning meeting. Men and women in their 60s and 70s, they are shown profound respect and no accord can be reached without them.
            There is more is going on at Standing Rock besides protecting a river and its sacred sites. Evidence of a great awakening is everywhere under the sky there, of old ways shared and new ones accepted. There are tipis and smart phones, drums and social media, sacred fires and solar panels, ponies and 4x4s. What appears to be a lasting change in the American Indigenous community, for thinking and acting in a good way, has started.





Saturday, August 13, 2016

Myth America

As the Gone Old Party circles around the big suck hole that is the mouth of its current standard bearer, fated to disappear down the dumb maw of its people's choice, I'd like to take the time to put to rest, if possible, some presiding myths which have been lifted up from several quarters this campaign season in service to the notion that, somehow, this election was ever up for grabs, or that any Republican had a chance to gain the brass ring in November.

Numero Uno is that this was somehow to be a "change" election that would just fall into the lap of any GOOPer who won the primaries. My sense was that if the Kenyan Usurper was able, and wanted, to run for a third term, it would have been handed him in a silver loving cup. We see now his approval lines trending ever upward, along with the sense that his third term is safe in the sure hands of Mrs. C.

Number Two: That Mrs. Clinton is a terrible campaigner, something the Berners loved trotting out at various points in support of that elderly scold, who she out polled by nearly three million votes. (And, sorry folks, some snotty emails from the stupid offices of DW Schultz, do not remotely amount to a conspiracy to deny the nomination to old Bern, who ultimately did the right thing, with tremendous style, in Philadelphia.) One does not gain a major party nomination for president under our current system by being a terrible campaigner; and those of you still insisting on this point may consider that the skills needed to win votes may have changed from when the system was meant to deliver results to white men only.

Number Three: That any other GOP candidate could have beaten Mrs. C. in a walk. Again, nope (see reason #1 above). The Repub's so-called deep bench was a gaggle of hucksters, dingbats, bores, and the out-of-it scion of a poisoned political dynasty. The DT tore through them for a reason, which is every reason to think Mrs. C. would have rendered any one of them to lard by November.

Because, #4, the notion that DT ever had a chance in the first place, especially after the primary clown show is utter nonsense. The national electoral map simply does not favor Republicans anymore, most especially one who antagonizes women and minorities, along with a majority of his own party. The silly idea that he ever did was mainly the hobbyhorse of a workaday news industry terrified of having to report bad political news a bit early to many of its subscribers. This tidbit I gleaned today from the New York Times is an ideal example:

For a candidate who once seemed like an electoral phenomenon, with an unshakable following and a celebrity appeal that crossed party lines, Mr. Trump now faces the possibility that his missteps have erected a ceiling over his support . . .

Christ on a crutch. That unshakable following was a noisy plurality of a minority party, and I have seen zero evidence of his appeal to rank and file Democrats.

Myth #5: OhMyGawd, Hilary is SO vulnerable. A recent cri-de-coeur from a long-time GOP fixer bemoaned how DT has missed an opportunity to drive home some really bad Clinton news this past week, the disasters being:

Clinton falsely claiming the FBI director said she told the public the truth about her private server and email practices.

The $400 million cash ransom payment to Iran

The Obama administration's Department of Justice choosing not to open a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Weak economic reports on gross domestic product growth and productivity.

A story detailing a billionaire Clinton Foundation donor who sought a favor from the Hillary Clinton-led State Department.

Honestly, guys, if that's the best you can come up with . . . Shall we go down the list? The FBI director found her completely truthful to his inquiry. The $400 million was Iran's in the first place, held in escrow for 40 years; oh, and the story broke last January. The Justice Dept., unlike Republican congressional committees, does not conduct exploratory witch hunts. Great employment numbers and a record high stock market were seen this week. And, oh God, some guys asked the State Dept. for a little help.

Take it away, Mr. Drum:

One is from a Clinton Foundation executive asking a Hillary aide if she can set up a meeting for a big donor with someone at State. The Hillary aide says she'll see what she can do, and then blows it off. In another, a foundation executive asks for help getting someone a job. He's told that everyone already knows about the guy, and "Personnel has been sending him options." In other words, he's blown off. In yet another, it turns out that a Clinton aide spent some of her own time helping the foundation look for a new CEO.

So....what? People in Washington schmooze with people they know to help other people they know? Shocking, isn't it? 

Which brings us to myth #6, that Mrs. C. is wildly unpopular with the electorate, which, personally, I have a hard time squaring with her being found to be the most admired woman in America for 14 of the last 16 years. Polls are funny things, and you can understand how people may not find her trustworthy after breathless reports of possible malfeasance, invariably shown wanting, not to mention right-wing rumor mongering and character assassination raised to the level of received wisdom by the easy mechanics of misogyny and a compliant press.

For that is finally what this election is all about, a patriarchal political party, maddened by frustration and loss at the hands of an African American, pushes up the most extreme example of its distempered white man rage against a woman who has taken the worst it's dished out for nearly thirty years and is now, amazingly, all set to brain it with a shovel. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Fistful of Dolors

My father, who would be celebrating his 98th birthday this year, were he in any condition to do so, was a US Army captain during the Second World War, serving in the North African and Italian campaigns. Being fluent in the Italian language, both parents having been born in the old country, he was often called upon to speak with the civil authorities of small towns and villages under new US control as the army made its slow way up the peninsula.

"We were never fascists", was a common enough refrain from the freshly liberated, he told me. "But those people," the speakers would go on, indicating the next village over, "they were fascists."

"Yeah, sure" was dad's answer to such intelligence.

I bring up this anecdote as an antidote to the latest crop of stories from political writers straining to find something useful to say now that DT's shitshow has become boring, that tell all who'll listen that the real problem with the GOP nominee is not that he'll win, but how he's racialized and radicalized the political calculus in the nation for a generation.

Few want to be associated with failure, especially those who are not true believers in the first place. And it's a safe bet that a goodly section of DT's supporters are currently going along for the weird kicks the ride offers. A lot of them are going to hop on over to Gary Johnson by election day. I'd say over half of the remainders will deny everything after the inevitable loss. The hard-line balance, maybe 20% of his voters, will stew in their mad juices, as the inevitable toll of old age, and firearm calamities, winnows away their numbers.

And though the Gone Old Party has a stupidity and racism problem that seems likely to cost it, or whatever's left of it, a great deal of power at the federal level, the idea that a new white people's movement of newly energized voters is somehow going to pull any weight whatsoever is pointless handwringing from people who should know better.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Midnight in the Garden of Goobers and Weasels (cont.)

Far more interesting to me than the ongoing implosion of the DT campaign (which has--have you noticed?--succeeded in becoming boring) is the equal culture collapse ongoing at FUX News.

Now that is some interesting shiz, and has the potential to greatly change the way things are said and done in our political realm from this day forward. Though never articulated here, alas, the malign effect of the Dirty Digger's rightwing enterprise has never bothered me that much.

While carried on a ton of cable outlets (and so earned a fortune for ownership), it's viewership is fairly low, and dim. It certainly punched far above it's weight in media circles and galvanized legislative opposition. But that first effect we may now chalk-up to career fear and/or the soothing reassurance of an Old Boy's Club at the cocktail hour; and the second has, now that all has been said and done, ended up only hurting the ones who loved it the most.

We may see now that the folks at FUX preyed upon their viewers as steadily and cynically as Roger Ailes' acted against the women in his employ, as well as his perceived enemies. He was very clearly and obviously a despot, which was most of his professional appeal. Despots, though, inevitably fall, and when they do there's rarely anyone with the talent and skills waiting to take over the job. He is old and sick, and so it was just a matter of time.

That FOX News, and let us now savor all the associations connected to that lupine name, is crumbling in realtime tandem with the Gone Old Party is either a glorious coincidence or speaks to a very deep and irresistible change now underway in the national psyche. And you know me, I say it's the latter.

I think history will very soon show that Barak Obama was the rock upon which the Conservative ship was irresistibly drawn and ultimately shattered, less by what he accomplished, which seen from some perspectives has been considerable, than a kind of rectitude in everything he did, a directness and calm, that stood for a great deal, especially in the face of the stupidity and animus his opponents, nearly all white and male, could not help directing at him. He won by being cool, which is really cool.

Speaking of the dumb GOP, I can't close off without a special shout out to the inane Susan Collins, R-Maine, who gifted us the other day with her late repudiation of the DT. Recall, if you will, those heady early months of the Obama administration when the chief executive insisted everything be done to bring on some GOP senate support for the Affordable Care Act, how it was watered down and changed to accommodate the misgivings of . . . Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, also of Maine; that they had absolutely no intention, ever, of supporting any Obama legislation, but lied and drew out the process as long as they possibly could to scuttle the whole thing. And it nearly worked.

 Keep in mind too that Maine is one of the poorest states, and that Ms.'s Collins and Snowe were therefore acting in direct conflict with the needs of their constituents, all to make some damn point about power and control in Washington, and in so doing prepare the way for the Gusher of Stupid their party has drilled since for the nation, along with the later appearance of the man who has torn her dumb and dying party to shreds.

Thanks, Susan. Now bug off.





Friday, August 05, 2016

Just . . . . Wow

I was reluctant to hop back on here before the conventions as I saw no reason to amend any of the early predictions made on the election's outcome. Now for the last week, events have so far outstripped my ability to predict what's next, in scale and frequency, that posting would have been well neigh pointless.

I did not expect DT's implosion to come this fast and hard, and I was hoping to wait before unveiling my forecast that Georgia and Arizona will go for the Democrat this year. Well, too late for that, as I see this morning that a new poll from the Peach Tree State has Mrs. C. up there by four points.

You snooze, you lose, right?

Yes, the utter implosion of the stupid GOP, long anticipated in this precinct, has at last come to pass, and it is glorious. The fun part now is wondering how many pieces it has collapsed into. Lots, that's for sure. I suppose for simplicity's sake, reporters and commentators still have to refer to the Republican party as an intact entity, but it is not, and has not been since John Boehner went into forced retirement. Ted Cruz ratified that at the convention, and since then Donnie has been tearing at the remnants like a terrier with a split pillow; feathers everywhere.

A couple other bits of received wisdom that need putting down before I return to entranced bystanding. The first is that DT has uncovered a new movement in US politics, a frightening outcome that will last beyond his failed campaign. Hogwash. His followers are a confederacy of dunces, losers all, most of whom will slink off in embarrassment and shame, content for as many years as they have remaining to drink cheap booze, post dumb shit on Facebook, and yell at the TV. These are the yokels that the GOP have cultivated for decades, and they are mostly worthless for politics.

The second, an article of faith among the true believers, right and far left, is that Mrs. Clinton is a terrible campaigner who would have lost to any other dingbat the Republicans, in their entrenched hatred of her, may have nominated. I doubt very much that would have been the case, but there's no telling now. What I can say is that no one gets to be a major party candidate for president by being a lousy campaigner, and certainly not the first woman in the role.

Let me suggest that those of you accepting this last bit of pique from the losers' table are using an outdated metric of what effective campaigning looks like, one intended to keep power among a strict subset of the population. Just watch her from here on out.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Midnight in the Garden of Goobers and Weasels (cont.)

As of today, Nate Silver's 538 data crunching site gives the DT a one-in-five chance of making the White House, as I have already gone on record stating his chances are exactly zero, I'll posit that 1-in-5 will be 1-in-50 by early September, to 0-in-0 by election day.

We are about to be treated to the utter farce of his VP pick, certain to blow up after eight weeks of stupid controversy, and a GOP convention that will rival the worst reality shows for inane bathos, non-sequitur, and exhibitions of barely-concealed rage. This is assured.

What mainstream commentators can't quite bring themselves to grasp is that this is the effective end of the Republican Party, which has already for all intents and purposes vanished. I've read entirely serious articles that cast ahead to GOP gains in the next mid-terms, that in fact it is sitting pretty to collect all the chips midway through the next Clinton presidency.

I am here to say that this is centrist, thumbsucking hogwash. We have already witnessed the real time immolation of England's ruling cadres; with a pigheadedness from Labor's Jeremy Corbyn that makes Bernie look like Adlai Stevenson, and a breathtaking display of selfish and brain dead ambition among the chief players of the Conservative Party. I expect the centuries-old armature of the parliamentary system will preserve a measure of continuity, but it is impossible to imagine either party existing as constituted on January 1 this year.

The U.S. system offers no such grounding in tradition, or diversity of opinion under a single party banner. Not anymore anyway, and the GOP, weakened and fractious, has been easily hijacked (in fact, more like picked-up) by a scoundrel absolutely content to sacrifice it utterly to his own perverted ambitions. To think that it will bounce back from what looks to be a history-making internal disaster, and a generation-defining Progressive ascendency made possible by the Kenyan Usurper, and somehow remain a national party, is a willfully naive reading of our very great times.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Ali

I don't think anyone much under 60 can quite imagine the effect Muhammad Ali had on his times which, second only to the Civil War, a conflict that his birth (he called it later his "slave") name invoked, were the most complex and transformative in the nation's history. The Times today, in the headline to Bob Lipsyte's beautifully-wrought obit, got it exactly right. He was a titan of the 20th century.

Yrs truly got his first boxing lessons at age ten, the same year that Ali beat Sonny Liston for the second time to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. To be an Italo-American boy growing up in western New York in the 60s was to be a fight fan, and to be a young fight fan meant falling under Ali's spell. Certainly there was no one like him, in what were the waning days of American Apartheid. His audacity, his youth, his otherworldly skills, his overwhelming beauty, probably did more to form my ideas about race, sport, and politics as I grew up, and as he matured into a truly great man, than any other public figure. I hope no one gets too angry at me for putting it this way, but Dr. King and Malcolm X, were statesmen, they needed to state their cases, present the facts, tell the truth. Ali used his body in no less powerful or subtle ways as those men used their minds and voices, while also bringing to bear a great mind and voice of his own. For about twelve intense years, Ali was the facts, he was the case, he was the truth. Best of all, he knew it, and wasn't afraid to say so, too.

To live at that time meant you did not watch Ali so much as feel him. Even in his long eclipse, when he might have otherwise added so much more to the American dialogue, you could feel his presence. Now we feel his loss. and I am sadder about that more than I can say.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Making America Grate (Agon)

Photo: Russell Lee, FSA/Library of Congress
I am not here to say that the election of Hilary Clinton will be an unalloyed blessing to the Republic. I am here to say that she is manifestly the most qualified candidate in sight, and, beyond that, the DT has ZEE-ROW chance of being elected, however the Gone Old Party now seems to be rallying, kinda, behind their new main man.

Zero, as in none, zip, une-gatz, nil. The hell of the last week has been, and will be going forward, all the outlets who for reasons small and smaller find the need to fluff the Trump candidacy as possible, Mrs. Clinton as stumbling, and the election as anything resembling close. There are many, many factors standing in the way of that loudmouth's ascension to the OO: from demographic to structural to financial to organizational, but I would like to meditate upon another: fatigue, or disappointment.

As the contest skips merrily on to the conventions and the fall campaign it seems likely to yr. obt. hmbl. svt. that a certain percentage of DT supporters, say up to five, will grow less enthusiastic about his antics which we might safely assume will remain on the same aggravating wavelength for the duration. Without variety or letup, what's entertaining at 8pm can be very tiresome by midnight; and though true believers will cling to Donnie as to their guns and senseless dreams of future success, I don't see a lot more people climbing aboard the crazy train, and a statistically significant percentage debarking at stations down the line.

I'll add before ending that the same fatigue dynamic may now be at work at the campaign of that elderly, frog-voiced scold, who seems to have lost a couple percentage points to the despise-ed one in the last week. As the shadows lengthen on Bernie's day in the sun, the cranky statements from his staff, and threats of violence in Philadelphia now from his rather more enraged supporters, can only have a dampening effect on many people otherwise sympathetic to his goals, if not exactly on board with his candidacy. He had the chance to prove his point, that his campaign would invigorate new waves of citizens to come vote for the first time for profound social and political change. That didn't happen, and now he's trying to, what, save the Democratic Party from itself? Screw'im.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Making America Grate

Now that my long-held prediction of the GOP's collapse has at last come to pass I'll need some other topic on which to stick out my neck.

While I had some earlier doubts that the DT would secure the nomination, it was only from a sense that the whole shambolic enterprise would stumble gamely through June and into a stew of ill will on Lake Erie's shore this August. In fact the whole building was shakier than even I suspected and, having forced out all the tenants, Donnie is fixing up the old place in his own extra-special image, and I am enjoying every moment of it.

I shall always love the DT for reminding the Gone Old Party's board of directors what a fucking disaster that squalid little man was, for the nation and the party that presumed to succor him, and how Donnie's unique brand of simmering fatuous nonsense turned out to be the most popular dish, served in heaping portions, to the business's white customers. If any of my Republican friends come asking my opinion of how things went so bloody wrong, I'd point them to that day 16 years ago, when Karl Rove's racist ratfucking screwed John McCain out of a win in S. Carolina. Everything devolved very naturally from there.

 My recent hiatus has come from having nothing further to add as the GOP imploded for good, and a growing sense of annoyance in regarding what's laughably called a political campaign by the Sanders movement. An angry, frog-voiced scold, BS has never once bothered to dress-up his narrow critiques of the status quo with anything approaching cogent proposals for regulation or legislation. Worse, he seems pleased not to appeal to anyone who may find fault with his limited campaign issues, rather harp instead on how he got jobbed in those Democratic primaries limited to, you know, Democrats; those rank-and-file voters who have preferred his opponent by a national two-to-one margin.

His is a Children's Crusade, and before you say that the same charge could have been leveled at Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and George McGovern in 1972, let me point out that back then half of the children were subject to an active draft, and were dying overseas in enough numbers, as the U.S. laid waste to much of Southeast Asia, so as to make the unsuccessful campaigns of both men necessary and admirable. I sense no high moral order in the VT senator's appeal, only a kind of hectoring purity, a righteous glare woefully unfit for politics.

And before someone insists that that's the whole point, let me observe that NO political and social reform has EVER been enacted in this country by a non-, or outsider, politician. Lincoln was a corporate lawyer who suspended habias corpus, finessed the freeing of slaves as a war measure and was content to browbeat and bribe enough House members to pass the 13th amendment. FD Roosevelt, it's reported, knew the names of every single Democratic county leader in the country by heart, and traded with the worst elements of southern Democrats to pass Social Security legislation, which first did not include measures for farm and domestic labor, that is: black folks.

Shall I go on? As president, US Grant, over the objection of his top generals, ordered that African American men be allowed to stay and serve in the Army. Harry Truman, a machine pol and middle-class Missouri bigot, commanded the armed forces be integrated. I don't think there were bigger, more corrupt sons-of-bitches ever in the White House than LB Johnson and his successor RM Nixon. The former brought us the Civil Rights Act, the latter the EPA. On the other hand, pure reformer W. Wilson was a rank racist whose term in office saw black people purged from the federal bureaucracy, and brought us Prohibition, and the Palmer Raids.

So, Berners, spare me your moral clarity, your know-it-all anger, and most especially your naive fear for the future. You pique is hardly different from the hot gas now venting from that dead elephant, and shares with it, if you ask me, a distinct odor of misogyny. None of it belongs in our grubby politics, and ours is a better nation exactly for that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Grand Old Potty

Apologies for the usual silence. It's just that the contest for, the spectacle over if you will, the GOOP nomination has become something dull and pointless to jaded old me.

In the last couple weeks, as I judge, the general sentiment of the moderately sentient is that the Republican Party is toast, the convention will be a stupid monkey show, and a abject and total defeat in November, in both executive and legislative branches, is becoming something near certain.

All of this I've felt in my bones, and occasionally wrote about here, for simply yonks, and to see it unwind in slow motion, is about as thrilling to me now as a Dallas rerun.

On the Blue side, the whining beginning to drift from the Sanders camp (though, in fairness, not the candidate himself) is adding a tiresome edge to what is still a one-note campaign, which becomes ever more defined in its appeal with every overwhelming win in very white, independent-crossover caucus states.

And, y'know, fine. Just don't pretend the candidate has anything of substance to offer rank and file Democrats, or that something is wrong with those people supporting Mrs. Clinton.

The one interesting part is how the rather brainer writers of a conservative bent are now looking at the smoking ruins of their once-sturdy brain palace, trying to articulate what the hell happened. This reflective phase for them will go on for a long time, and I wish them godspeed with it.

Writers of a livelier, more rambling intellect are beginning to outline a deeper look at what's happening, and getting it close to right. For what we are witnessing isn't only the implosion of the Grand Old Potty but also, like a higher, maddened harmony of a Strauss opera, the rage of a patriarchy compelled at last to account for itself; to in fact outline its values for consideration, and so possible rejection, in a broad referendum.

The GOOP, leaders and followers both, has know for almost two years that the Democrats would almost certainly nominate a very capable woman for president. One could easily infer that that knowledge alone drove them frothing insane enough to cough-up that giant orange hairball.

And to all the concerned liberals whose earnest, 750-word pensées are daily liked unto my Facebook feed let me say: far from being a degraded process, this is why we have elections in the first place; not to find the soberest, most able individual for high office, but to vent the stupid notions that build up very naturally in every republic, and especially in ours, where monied stupidity, lacking any regular institutional challenge, has been held in high esteem from the get-go.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Midnight in the Garden of Goobers and Weasels (cont.)

After posting the previous, I went on to read a few worried articles by Very Concerned People, on just what a threat to the Republic the DT really is, to which I say: Banana Oil.

He appeals to the dim, the angry, the racist, and nihilistic; a lot of whom are getting up there in years too. The passionate attraction these folks feel for him says a lot more about the crumbling condition of the GOOP, than the state of the union, which has sheltered crackpots, dingbats, mad failures, and malign fools in good number across its history.

No, DT will lose and his movement scatter and fade. Someone, maybe even Donnie himself, might try to gin-up a repeat performance next cycle, but the act will be older, less invigorating. His supporters are subject to the same existential laws of boredom and inaction as the rest of us, and, lacking the philosophic defenses offered by education and personal accomplishment, are thereby more prey to their ravages. You cannot build a sustained success by appealing mostly to the moods of failures. As for DT's anticipated "pivot" to the center, I'll observe that the only center he knows is behind his own eyeballs. Donnie is incapable of staying true to anything but his own gargantuan and flighty ego needs. Any future bid he might make to sensible centrists can, and will, be undone in a moment of pique.

Frankly, I'm still not convinced he'll be the GOOP's nominee, but for that we'll just have to stay tuned.

Speaking of pivot, anyone who has not noticed Mrs. Clinton's signaling last week to the broader-minded subset of appalled Republicans that she isn't oh-so-awful after all just hasn't been paying attention.

UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this, Kevin Drum posted this.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A House Derided

OOOOooo-E! Where to start? For history buffs like yours truly, the hot-tempered shouting and shoving that now characterizes the DT's rallies harkens back to a rougher and sturdier age, an era which came to a head around the time that the last major American political party, being the Whigs ca. 1855, imploded. I'm not sure you had active incitements towards violence radiating from the leading hustings, but brawling at rallies, conventions, and polling places, has a distinguished history in our deranged nation and I, for one, find its reemergence bracing.

While the Democrats have mainly hewed to a policy-driven campaign that tends to underplay cults of personality (and to be clear, every bid for high office needs some cultish attraction, and the Bern has been consistently in the lead in this regard), the GOOP contest has devolved into complete Theater of Cruelty, a deeply entertaining Guignol that only promises further riches as the headsmen and torturers lurch their bloody way to Cleveland.

But how, I hear my imaginary interlocutor wailing, can you take so lightly this army of furious racists who MIGHT boost a new Mussolini into the Oval Office??

And it is astonishing to me just how many sane and decent thinkers in my circles of friends are terrified of this wholly ridiculous prospect. This is, of course, the effect of TV, which everyone watches, and the absurd magnifying effect it gives to everything the mainly conservative apparatchiks of TV find important. And for them nothing is more important than ratings; so if ratings demand the daily spinning of faintly-plausible fantasy to keep frightened and angry people tuned-in, well, so be it.

Look folks, the Untied States of America is an enormous country, of over 300 million people spread out across a land mass approximately 3,000 miles long and up to 2,000 miles wide. It lacks anything approaching a state religion (and, no, conservative Protestantism does not count as a single religion), a presiding racial identity (and WASP is a category, not a national identity), or even a central capital that dictates the political, cultural, financial, and media trends for the whole nation.

So, NO, we are not Italy in 1922, nor Germany in 1932.  The lack of any popular U.S. dictators arising, and there have been plenty over the years who've applied for the job, owes more to the size and diversity of the Republic than to any innate genius of our political institutions, to which I say: Hurray!

As for a Republican getting elected president this year, well, GMAFB. Never mind the nature of GOP causes, repulsive to so very many, national elections, for all the televised talking and spectacle, are intensely granular affairs. For a candidate to be successful, a national party has to broadly coordinate tens of thousands of small acts, in hundreds of locations, every day for months: of office rental and staffing, of canvassing and phone banking, of printing and distributing millions of signs, fliers, and door hangers, of messaging and promotion, of advance work for rallies, of determining areas of greatest need and moving the candidate efficiently from one place to the next.

But I belabor the point.

The notion that the Gone Old Party, be its nominee DT, TC, or a sucker to be named later, will be coherent enough to deliver effective service for a presidential campaign is simply laughable. They have been at each others throats for too long to pull together when the time comes. Put simply: the Party of Lincoln has become a House Divided. Ironic, right?




Monday, February 29, 2016

Gone Old Party (cont.)

Today the Atlantic has a longish thumbsucker that eventually comes around to the point I made here, in far fewer words, a month ago, which I mention only to give a little unnecessary frisking-up to my ego, which has been lately on a roll.

That implosion of the GOP I predicted in '06, (and explained in greater detail back in '08)? It's on; in fact, it's almost over. Though it took longer than I expected to get here, it's now full-bore, and happening just as fast as advertised. I crow about this today because we can now date the death of the GOP specifically, yesterday it was, when a sitting United Sates senator, a member of the majority there, endorsed the candidacy of the rabble-rousing factionalist now making mincemeat of the political body on which his majority very much depends.

Done and dusted, folks. RIP GOP: March 20, 1854 to February 28, 2016. You people deserved everything you got, and then some.

The main thing I got wrong in timing my analysis was the assumption that the MSM would abandon the Republican project once it became clear it was accomplishing nothing, and was, in fact, an active agent, by its choices of national leaders and the issues it championed, in its own undoing. Power belonged to the Democrats, I reasoned, and the press would naturally follow the power. Turns out that assumption was very flawed.

Partly inertia, partly laziness, partly a fellow fondness for insider money and influence, for god's own number of reasons, the press stayed true to the GOP narrative just as the whole stupid exercise was coming apart; which, come to think of it, aptly mirrored the same implosive forces at work on the MSM. Each thought the other would be able to help it overcome a broadly-based, digital media crisis facing both.

The sturdiest myth the press enabled during the president's second administration, and one that even liberal bloggers were keen to accept, was that the GOP had power, when, in fact, it had nothing of the kind. Power to block is not power to control, and by pretending, in every dumb confrontation with the administration, and on every stupid TV news show, that it had the latter, it succeeded only in antagonizing a legion of not-especially-sophisticated people who bought its bullshit as gospel.

Ha ha.

The most laughable rhetorical trope that the GOP's had for sometime, a frame for nearly every block-headed pronouncement everyone of those ding-dongs makes now, is how the American people want this or that policy outcome that only the Gone Old Party can deliver. Well, a majority of the American people stand aghast and disbelieving at the mess that the senile, old, male elephant's made, and will put it out of its misery soon enough.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

DT on the TV

At the risk of sounding glib, I will observe that D. Trump is a loser's idea of a winner, being, in fact, the key to his GOP-killing popularity. Alas, the panic over the guy that has swamped controlling circles in the Gone Old Party has lately seeped into some precincts inhabited by Democrats, to which I am here to say: Enough.

Yes, there are a lot of idiots out there; and, yes, people are mad; and, yes, the man seems to draw from a spectrum of the hateful disenchanted; and hey! You never know!!

Look, the DT, well, the character he plays anyway, was created by TV, and has been promoted and advanced on TV, mainly to an indolent and dim population that is easy prey for god's own number of get-rich-quick, weight-loss, male-potency, get-out-of-debt, sports-betting, gold bug, Jezuz-sez schemes that have, in fairness to the rubes, been multiplying mightily in gov'ment-off-our-backs America these past few years. Unfortunately, lacking anything resembling a grounding in even the simplest philosophy (like, is the Sermon on the Mount so hard to grasp?) and the inability to judge shit from Shineola, there's a substrata of pretty lost citizens out there eager to drink whatever bracing koolaid is ladled-out by a big guy who smiles upon them.

But, as I'm fond of repeating, TV is not the real world, and TV fancies melt like sugar in the rain when made to live in the real world, away from the screen; that place where all our elections are still held.

Furthermore, I suspect the dumbbell vote is cover for a substantial "fuck-you" referendum directed at GOOP honchos by your better stratum of true believers who've been promised for years that their party is an uncomplicated and reliable delivery system for their often unrealistic ambitions towards achievement, affluence, and respectability.

For reasons too complicated and numerous to tally here, many fellow citizens, decent, hard working, and upright, have been raised in locales where for decades the Democratic party, rightly or wrongly, has not been seen as offering any good answers to their concerns. In some jurisdictions, many in early-primary states, Democrats have been demonized outright. As a consequence, the desire to sunder the only political body in sight is greater than the impulse to, y'know, maybe join the other one.

A certain sort of liberal now feels insulted by the ascendance of the DT and his unwashed: How dare HE, and how dare THEY, mock the system and disturb our sleep with this violent, nativist crap. HUH?? To which I, speaking broadly and philosophically, say: it's America, this stuff happens a lot, so get t.f. over it.

In the real world, where elections are held, the DT has so far absorbed the adulation of a solid plurality of a minority party, while bitterly antagonizing a strong majority of its votives and tribunes (Though part of the worrywort caucus, Martin Longman does a nice job enumerating the people so irritated.) This is not a recipe for long-term national elective success.

Once the DT wins the championship round, the practical exigencies of a national campaign will certainly prove onerous. For one thing, he is not a team guy. The choice of running mate alone will be fraught with spite and farce after the candidate is told to share the stage, if only nominally, with someone else. My feeling here, as stated earlier, is that a fair percentage on the center/right will have no difficulty voting for (yes) Mrs. Clinton, in enough numbers to make a difference, when the time comes.

In the real world she'll need only Ohio, or Florida, or North Carolina to move into the White House, the math for the GOO candidate is much longer, and made far more complicated by all the bile and ill will Republicans, washed and unwashed alike, just cannot help spewing at young people, woman, and minorities right now.

Call me mad, I say (again) the Senate flips back to the Blue side, and President Clinton nominates Barack Obama to the Supreme Court. So have a little compassion for the afflicted, some faith in your fellow citizens, and show up at the polls, and this will all be over, to the satisfaction of a large majority of voters, very shortly.




Monday, February 22, 2016

Bush Wacked

Republican-ID voters have taken a lot of hits from disbelieving quarters, of both putative allies and rivals, so far this season but, Credit-Where-Credit-Is-Due Dept., they have resoundingly humiliated what remains of the rancid Bush dynasty.

Oceans of digital ink on the subject are tossing elsewhere; the Guardian's postmortems are especially good, as is P. Beinart's, to which I have nothing to add but this: this will not be the only GOP dynasty this cycle to collapse of it's own pride and rotten assumptions.

Which one's are left? you might well ask. And I would answer: statewide fiefdoms largely hidden from the national lens but rife enough with their own internal contradictions and faced with tidal shifts in the electoral demographic to be cracking apart as we speak.

Specifically, I'm looking to N. Carolina, the congressional districts of which have just been pulled down for being abjectly racist, and the Lone Star State itself, the once and future Democratic bastion.

Lost in the hubbub and dumb received wisdom of late is the indeed transformative nature of Mrs. Clinton's candidacy, something she herself has been soft-pedaling in favor of her assured style of policy-heavy competence. I believe she will run surprisingly well down South against any one of the reckless dunderheads currently on tap for the GOO ticket, and if anyone can turn some Red states Blue for the first time in a generation, it'll be her.




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

An Ass of You and Me

Your occasional correspondent would like to make clear that the opinions and observations expressed here at H&J are my own, and based on sturdy personal assumptions about the electorate and how it is perceived by a calculating and compromised news media.

Assumption numero uno is that the GOOP does not have a prayer to retake the White House in November, will very likely lose the Senate, and will probably have its House majority drained to, for them, unworkable levels.

The above is predicted on assumption #2, that the Democratic candidate will not stumble badly, that the Democrats run solid candidates down ballot, and that party voters turn out in good numbers.

So, yes, while everyone needs to do their part for a solid landslide victory, and Fate can always intervene, the notion that our nation is somehow poised on a knife's edge for a coin flip to choose between Hil/Bern and whomever the Repubs cough-up, is ludicrous. At this writing the GOOP is a minority party, riven by profound conflict, in which none of the actors polls a majority of membership. Complicating the raw numbers is a journey to the bottom in racist and violent appeals to aging white male voters on backward social issues that the rest of the population seems ready to move on (Ha!) and away from.

Because, assumption #3, Americans are as a whole and by nature a deeply practical and fair people. Admittedly, this isn't exactly apparent in our politics right now, at least as seen on Capitol Hill on TV, but blame here mostly falls on the entertainers and marketeers, the networks and local stations, who all soak-up increasing billions of dollars every election cycle by trivializing the spectacle and scolding us at every opportunity.

Now, some voters think they deserve this behavior and have come to expect and enjoy it. Media executives have therefore grown cynical about the rest of us. I have not.

Assumptions now aired, let me venture regarding the not-so-distant future. Bernie, who began as a novelty and caught the other end of that same wave propelling the DT, is beginning to weave under increased probing. He'll have a difficult time defending his assumption of 5.3 percent GDP growth his first budget year in office, along with the magic savings his healthcare plan will produce, and the righteous uprising of the people needed to make it law. He is also old, and it remains to be seen if his faltering bronchial health holds up under the exigencies of endless talk and travel.

So, yes, Mrs. Clinton shall be the Democrats' nominee. I can't begin to venture to say who'll carry the standard for what's left of the Republican party, but it seems clearer by the day that the DT will bolt from its rotten system, feeling insulted and betrayed, and run a classy third-party campaign.


Monday, February 15, 2016

The Pathogen to Power

I want to pivot just a bit to the notable statements made at the GOOP debate th'other night by the constantly interesting D. Trump, regarding that squalid little man lying us into an unnecessary Iraq war and the misery that has devolved so naturally from it since then.

In an earlier post, I offered a strange analysis of political players based on the notion of interior conflict. In brief, my theory states that the candidate with fewest internal contradictions in any long and public contest will be the one elected. I am now prepared to say this holds for political parties as well.

Now parties are, or should be, vehicles for internal conflict, something we are in fact seeing play out nicely on the Democratic side. What was once the Republican Party, however, is now paying the price, in the person of the DT, of ten years of steadfast denial of the gargantuan errors of the pervious administration, and seven years of furious resistance to every offer to deal made by the current one. One outcome of this has been to sew internal conflicts in neat rows across the field of party consensus.

The denial of possibly criminal culpability (and here I add "possibly" only to appear even-handed in what is still a think piece) in the run-up and prosecution of the Iraq war, was of course aided mightily by our president's stout refusal to consider anything resembling an Iraq Truth and Reconciliation hearing on Capitol Hill. It has been, to my thinking, his largest error, a decision to move on that set an unfortunate tone under which even his greatest accomplishments are considered today. Yet, I digress . . .

By denying Republicans their, so to speak, day in court, something they would have screamed about anyway, the rotten war has rested unreconciled ever since in the damp and dark back benches of the Conservative theater, always nagging, and, what with so many military families now clearly riven by loss, physical handicap, and mental breakdown, increasingly loud. Some pundits insist that bringing the war up that way in South Carolina, so keen on its armed forces personnel, was a mistake. We shall see.

No, D. Trump, who has no apparent internal conflicts whatsoever, is a pathogen now tearing up a party system weakened by a steady ten-year diet of fatuous, patriotic junk and no intellectual exercise, while pretending all the while it was in fantastic shape. Ha ha.

Which brings us to the price the Gone Old Party has paid for seven years of snide intransigence to Obama administration policies, viz: a very narrow policy spectrum, with few popular features, on which to run a national campaign. By some interior logic, they seem to presume that the whole nation resembles Mt. Vernon, OH, a fine enough town in its own right, but very white and Christ-haunted, hardly representative of our broad American mosaic.