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The contortions a non-white person has to go through to remain a part of the right’s gravy train are equally sad and hilarious.

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Lev filed this under: ,  

My basic take on Bernie Sanders continuing to press home the Wall Street speeches and the generally poor foreign policy judgment of Hillary Clinton is that worries about general election damage are overrated–regardless of the outcome of the primary, this is going to matter if she becomes president. If Democrats generally don’t trust her on foreign policy and warmaking, then she maybe won’t go out on a limb as often there. (Hope springs eternal, anyway, as I think “humanitarian” intervention is a core value for her, and one of very few issues she cares about enough to lose an election.) If her being close to Wall Street becomes a narrative, then she may feel it necessary to be a little tougher on them to show that she isn’t. This isn’t crazy talk either–HRC is basically the Democratic Bush 41 and his weakness among party activists led to things like the Clarence Thomas nomination. Obviously I don’t want something exactly like that, but an equivalent would be nice. And it seems unlikely that such things will turn an election between her and Trump/Cruz around in any event.

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Image pulled from Regent University’s website

It’s been too long since John Kasich lectured women on how to live their lives. So he did it again. Nice.

Funny thing, out of Trump, Cruz and Kasich, my wife hates Kasich the most by far. It’s not hard to see why. Cruz is such an obvious creep that he’s barely even threatening, and Trump definitely has major issues with powerful, successful women, no question. But Kasich just seems to have this ingrained, boundless contempt for women in general (particularly younger women) that he cannot or will not (most likely cannot) keep under wraps. He stereotypes, he condescends, he lectures, etc., all coming from a place that women are stupid and shallow and need to be told how to think and what to do by an old white dude (and a pretty ignorant one at that). Gee, one should avoid situations where alcohol is served to avoid sexual assault? Great tip! Perhaps your expertise extends to telling seminarians about things a person picks up in second grade Sunday Scho–oh damn. Incidentally, it’s easy to forget considering the image he’s presented, but Kasich is an evangelical/Religious Right type, just one a little bit better about hiding it than some.

I would argue Kasich is the most misogynistic of the three, which is pretty astonishing considering who the other two guys are. But I’d argue it nonetheless. The problem he has that Trump doesn’t have–aside from not knowing his weaknesses–is that he’s so goddamn boring that he only really gets attention when he’s being an asshole, and it clashes with the sober statesman he’s presented as.

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May be overstating the public’s desire for Avatar sequels, but what do I know? I don’t agree with this, though: Cameron’s career has been in creative decline ever since Aliens, though creative decline here has, as it sometimes does, led to unbelievable commercial success. He peaked in a very high place (The Abyss, which has shockingly never had a Blu-ray release, only one of those first-generation DVDs that looks like a postcard on your newfangled television, might have topped Aliens but for the fourth grade writing assignment ending), but his writing has deteriorated steadily beginning with Terminator 2 (where he went from writing things that became catchphrases to writing catchphrases, basically, and we began to see the bloated runtimes that would characterize his career going forward). I wasn’t surprised that Avatar was a huge hit since it promised the sort of uncomplicated escapism that audiences have long craved, as Titanic also did, nor was I surprised when people decided it kinda sucked when they thought about it some more–other than spectacle it accomplished absolutely nothing they hadn’t seen before. At this point, given the direction his career has gone, writing mediocre sequels to a mediocre sub-Dances With Wolves white guy meditation on native peoples seems what he should be doing. At least there’s an honesty to that, unlike George Lucas’s smaller, personal films. Is there nobody with the money to make these things?

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Lev filed this under: ,  

While he’d certainly fare a little better than Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in a general election, it’s worth remembering that the casual sexism, condescension, and tendency toward outburst that embody John Kasich’s public presentational style would make for a less than ideal contrast with Hillary Clinton. So by all means, laugh at the man who only makes the news by embarrassing himself: the man still most likely to give us Donald Trump, the man who continues to operate a presidential campaign that has been unable to compete in more than a handful of states, and yet the man who is still the smart, clever one of the bunch. Kasich is a classic example of a man who doesn’t understand his weaknesses–Trump has the same exact traits, but he uses them to his advantage in getting what he wants, while Kasich continually gets himself into situations that grant him no sympathy from Republicans when he’s jumped on by liberals. Just fucking useless.

I honestly don’t understand why the GOP just doesn’t do the easy thing and give the nomination to Trump. I mean yes, he’ll almost certainly lose, and more likely than not Republicans will lose the Senate too and a lot of House seats. But it won’t be all that bad for them: most of the seats they’ll lose will be relative moderates they don’t like anyway that they can replace with staunch conservatives for the midterms. Of course, they’d have to deal with a liberal Scalia replacement in this occasion, but if Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues in her foolish insistence of refusing to retire from the Court at a politically advantageous time, then that could be undone easily enough (I’m hoping that the next Democratic president would float Pam Karlan’s name as a possible replacement to induce her to retire, but that’s beside the point). Let’s not kid ourselves: a Democratic Court would make short work of the Roberts Court’s major precedent, but it would almost certainly not engage in similar judicial activism to theirs (impossible to imagine a Kagan- or Breyer-written opinion finding a Constitutional right to healthcare, say). And even if Democrats somehow managed to recapture the House, it would be a small majority built on red-district Democrats desperately wanting to serve more than a single term, and Clinton herself has become so locked into a mode of pragmatism that I couldn’t even tell you accurately what her top priorities as president would be (aside, of course, from ratcheting up tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East) and I pay a lot of attention to these things! Maybe something to do with infrastructure would pass, perhaps a voting bill, but nothing at all like the ACA, and almost certainly nothing on healthcare at all (a necessary reminder that throwing in the towel on healthcare going forward would be the equivalent to anti-abortionists chucking in the towel after passing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban under Dubya). Naturally, even the smallest of small ball measures would be trumpeted as FascistCommunism, but if I’m a Republican, on the whole, this doesn’t seem too bad to me. On the other hand, the defeat of Trump would be easy to write off as a one-time thing, they’d still be able to make use of whatever clout he has with his supporters in the future as a surrogate if they wished to use him as such, and all they’d have to do would be to just wait for the steady stream of Clinton scandals, domestic inertia and “humanitarian” foreign interventions to chip away at her popularity. I suspect we’ll be about due for another major banking scandal during her presidency that could be very dicey, and possibly an economic slowdown as well (it is a cycle, after all, and “up” times don’t last forever). And given Clinton’s treatment of Sanders in the primaries, she cuts a very first President Bush type of figure, someone who’s been in the bubble for quite some time and isn’t well-equipped to manage a rapidly changing party whose center of gravity is becoming more ideological and less amenable to the sorts of centrist compromises the Clintons cut back in the Gingrich days. Running on Obama’s legacy was the smart move for Clinton just like running on Reagan’s was for Bush, but at the end of the day, it couldn’t smooth over the ideological divisions forever for Bush and it won’t for Clinton. In other words, there’s plenty of reason to think that 2020 could be very competitive, and the likely consequences of Clinton wouldn’t be too bad from a practical perspective. Compare this with a Cruz defeat, which would be impossible to blame on anything other than his doctrinaire conservatism, and could well lead to the sort of real reformist movement that Republicans have been desperately trying to stifle starting before Obama even took office.

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I’m loving it. One of the best things about this election cycle is that it’s exposing just how irrelevant the traditional organs of right-wingery actually are, and seeing them just unravel is great. For some reason, National Review is given a lot of respect by non-conservatives. I suspect it’s for Noah Cross-related reasons. Regardless, the whole idea that putting out an anti-Trump issue was going to turn the tide against The Donald was nuts–particularly one so inept and foolish that saw fit to oppose a demagogue with a shaky grasp on reality by having Glenn Beck denounce him. Regardless, almost nobody reads or cares about what is in that magazine. And now that the rank-and-file have demonstrated how much they think of the elites, the feeling is being reciprocated. Scars are being created that won’t heal anytime soon. It’s pretty wonderful.

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I do from time to time talk to left/liberal people who lament endless war in the Middle East, but who blanch at the idea of just leaving. And obviously quite a few support the ISIS war, have supported Libya and the near-bombing of Syria, etc. It’s just irresponsible! Crazy peacenik hippies! Of course, the sober, well-educated Ivy Leaguers of the foreign policy establishment know much better:

The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war on Yemen has made it so that [al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula] not only controls considerable territory and thrives on the revenue it can extort and raise there, but so that the people living there would rather remain under the control of fanatics than be subjected to the chaos, deprivation, and misery that the rest of Yemen’s civilian population has had to endure. If that continues, AQAP would become even more of a threat than it already is.

Or not.

Here’s Andrew Bacevich:

In the 20th century, “our” side won because American industry and ingenuity produced not only superior military might but also a superior way of life based on consumption and choice—so at least Americans have been thoroughly conditioned to believe. A third assumption asserts that U.S. military power offers the most expeditious means of ensuring that universal freedom prevails—that the armed might of the United States, made manifest in the presence of airplanes, warships and fighting troops, serves as an irreplaceable facilitator or catalyst in moving history toward its foreordained destination.

That the commitment of American armed might could actually backfire and make matters worse is a proposition that few authorities in Washington are willing to entertain.

It’s hard to think of someone more in line with this fruitless way of thinking than Hillary Clinton. But, hey, she’s electable.

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