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I’ve long thought that establishment Republicans know that impeachment would be a disaster, as well as ultimately irresistible to the base. Keeping them from demanding it has always been a question of how effective the establishment is at distracting them. (“Why yes, that’s a question we should…hey look, look over there, it’s a lawsuit against Obama!”) So it’s clever for the White House to be the ones putting the idea out there. Impeachment was a disaster for the Gingrich Republicans, but at least they could blame it on the fact that villagers were just as keen as the wingnuts for that, and arguably more so. Doing it now would divide Republicans and unite Democrats, and I still don’t think Republican politicians will be able to resist that siren’s song (though that would make Rush Limbaugh perhaps the least comely siren imaginable).
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Just reading about Hillary Clinton talking about foreign policy is immensely depressing. Not as depressing, say, as a Scott Walker Administration would be. Not at all. But she really does seem to be a true believer in liberal hawk bullshit, and all we can do is hope that she’s pragmatic enough not to indulge it too much if she becomes president.
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In a post on the viability of movement conservatism to win nationwide elections, Martin Longman makes a dubious point:

Both John McCain and Mitt Romney might have won the presidency if they had been allowed to run as moderates, but they both had to sacrifice that label to win the nomination.

I don’t really agree with this. There was no real chance that McCain could have won in 2008, but he was the relative moderate in the field and accentuated his non-movement positions ferociously. It didn’t matter: Republicans had to defend a disastrously unpopular and failed president who most of them nevertheless staunchly supported right up until the end, and there was no political jiu-jitsu that was going to square that peg. The only way Republicans might have had a chance was by repudiating the entirety of Bush’s presidency, which would not have been possible given the GOP never gave Bush less than a 70% approval rating. Romney might have been a different story, but I’d argue that ideology wasn’t his real problem. Romney was simply overrated as a politician: his record of governance was essentially ignored from the outset in large part because it couldn’t be pressed into any useful form for his campaign (too much bipartisan cooperation for the primary, too many overridden vetoes and dysfunction for the general), his business record–the cornerstone of his campaign–wound up being easy grist for the oppo mill, too easy to tie him to the global financial mumbo-jumbo that few people understand but that most inherently distrust. Really, outside of his brazen and energetic propensity for lying there wasn’t much that wasn’t generic there, though probably not much needed to be: as all challengers to a president do, he ran on a “things are shitty” platform and people decided they weren’t shitty enough to vote for him. Not much else he could have done, and adopting a couple of more moderate positions probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

I’m not going to claim that movement conservatism is hopeless on the national stage just yet. But it is very much the case that conservatives haven’t fixed the problems they face with the electorate and it’s unlikely they’ll improve their performance much until they do. Movement conservatism has no real reputation of competence or having a pulse on the country at this point in time, and they are increasingly isolated as prudish, trigger-happy radicals. This will eventually change but I strongly expect whoever gets the 2016 GOP nomination to struggle just as much as the last couple guys to diminish the base’s contradictions. My guess would be that the GOP will come back once the “Silent” Generation is as marginal as the WWII Generation is now, demographically.

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D-Fein was in rare form this weekend, earning her least-valuable Democrat award again, doing her usual thing of mindlessly ratcheting up a tense foreign policy situation with bellicose rhetoric–at one point arguably a necessary evil in a state with a huge concentration of military voters and defense work, but at this point an out-of-touch and indelible habit, though what’s remarkable is how stupidly and ineffectively she does it. Not really much to say other than that she does not look well at all.
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I’m off to the significant other’s family reunion in Northern Wisconsin this week. Not saying for certain I won’t show up to complain about something or other, but I won’t be around much. Enjoy your summer!
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Sad news:

Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, the founding drummer and last surviving original member of the Ramones, the New York band whose dizzyingly short blasts of melody codified the sound of punk rock, died on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 65. The cause was cancer of the bile duct, his family announced. Of the original band, Joey Ramone (the singer) died in 2001, Dee Dee (the bassist) in 2002 and Johnny (the guitarist) in 2004.

I’ve argued this before, but Tommy was the most important member of the Ramones. It’s pretty simple: he was heavily involved with the band’s first three albums, which were their best; somewhat involved with the fourth, which was just slightly below those in terms of quality; then he left and the band put out a couple of mediocre records, followed by his return for the band’s last great album (Too Tough To Die), and his final departure, after which they accomplished fairly little. This is not a coincidence: The Ramones had other producers and other drummers and they undervalued Tommy, but the musical knowledge and musical ability he brought to the fore were never replaced when he wasn’t involved. The bottom really dropped out after Dee Dee left–the two guys out front got all the attention, but it was Tommy and Dee Dee who were the best writers and musicians. Without them it was truly a Mondo Bizarro.

How important was Tommy? He literally wrote this song:

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I feel like the Germany spying scandal–and spying on allies in general–is roughly equivalent to masturbation: we’re all intellectually aware that everyone does it all the time, it’s not comfortable to think about, we all choose consciously not to think about it and part of being in society is in not drawing peoples’ attention to it. That’s the real problem here: we’ve made it impossible to politely push it from the foreground of their minds. Not sure if it’s scarier if Obama is in the loop on it or not.
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