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I’ve no idea how one would go about proving this, but I’ve often wondered how much a pure “Silent Generation” explanation of modern conservatism would get you. If you just assume those folks have on the whole always been reactionary, it sort of makes sense: the late ’40s and ’50s were when both were just starting to show up on the radar; gradual increase until they became the fat center of the population curve in the 1980s, followed by a palpable dip in influence in the 1990s before they became old folks and reasserted themselves (because old folks vote, you know). This is about as oversimplified as it gets but it does happen to fit the facts. It would be surprising if this wasn’t a part of the story of conservatism, the question is, how much a part?

If this was/is a big part of the story of conservatism, then it basically has two implications: (1) that the tough-on-crime, hawkish, neolib DLC pivot was completely hopeless and trying to solve an unsolvable math problem, and (2) that within a decade we’re going to see some interesting changes in the political outlook here.

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As we wait for the most horrible Congress ever to get onto the business of making us all grit our teeth, it’s worth going over to the font of all knowledge to be reminded exactly how few states have same-sex marriage bans left in action. This is genuinely unusual in a political environment where issues seem to never actually go away, let alone ones that a decade ago were considered by many to be basically life-and-death. Now they fall and nobody really cares. The Right basically gave up on this from the top-down, and the Left has come to regard all this as a foregone conclusion, so the individual bans going away is merely a formality.

What’s interesting to me about this is that it shows just how powerful the conservative media is in GOP politics. Their power of emphasis is so strong that, a decade ago, they managed to convince huge numbers of people that Western Civilization depended on these bans. And with a complete withdrawal of that emphasis, that same issue can become politically irrelevant. This is why I’m really interested in seeing what a presidential run by an absolutist on this like Mike Huckabee will do to this calculus. After all, ignoring the subject has worked well for elite Republicans who want to mix in gay-friendly circles, but it’s far from clear that there’s no constituency left to oppose SSM. Will Republicans be forced back into a more active opposition by having him (and perhaps others) out there on the hustings? Will that have a negative impact on the GOP’s image? It should be interesting to watch.

Pictured: NY Times Columnist Ross Douthat. He once wrote that the Times Square Mosque opponents had a morally correct case. People, for some reason, continue to take him seriously.

Earlier last year, I was wondering if 2014 was going to have another “9/11 Mosque” and what it might be. Remember that? Remember that supremely critical issue that Republicans made an enormous deal out of right up until the day after the election, where all interest in it petered out? I thought ISIS was initially going to fill that gap, but no. It was ebola, which truly has to qualify as just about the stupidest overreaction to a nearly nonexistent health risk ever. Until the election ended, at which point, the efforts made by qualified professionals became perfectly adequate, no need to fear.

As always, attacking the “mainstream media” needs to be done with some care, as there are still plenty of people in that apparatus doing fine work. But a systematic view shows an alarming susceptibility to right-wing fearmongering that Democrats need to confront at key times. Unfortunately there are still far more Bruce Braleys in the Democratic Party than Elizabeth Warrens, i.e. people who seem to have Sorkinian views of the media outnumber the pragmatists. But that’s changing.

I really hope all those geezers in Congress enjoy their unstructured mass of dick jokes and improv. It would be hilarious if this was the endgame all along, that North Korea did all this hacking just to make sure that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner watch a Rogen/Franco vehicle.
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The thing that it’s important to remember when reading neocons and Washington Post-style liberal hawks acting oh-so-angry about Pres. Obama opening up Cuba is that they don’t really care much about human rights or democracy or any of that. That’s just spin, obviously. What really makes them mad about a Fidel Castro, or a Hugo Chavez, or an Evo Morales, or a Vladimir Putin or a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the idea that someone is allowed to talk shit about American policy and values, possibly even to deal us some modest setbacks, and get away with it. That’s the bitter pill for these people. Castro was in many ways the role model of this–the originator of a trend that the others have in various ways adopted, and that they get this reaction out of these people has helped each one out at home. To so many of these folks, the idea that Fidel Castro could “get away” with the crime of remaining in power for nearly five decades despite our wishes, denouncing the United States and engaging in (mostly) mildly disruptive activities against it–the Cuban Missile Crisis I tend to blame more on Kennedy, and the twin decisions of the Bay of Pigs and wimping out over Berlin giving the Soviets the impression that he was incompetent, weak and unstable–plus surviving a bunch of oddball assassination attempts. This is a grievous insult to their pride. They simply can’t bear it.

Because they are five years old, mentally speaking.

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Carly Fiorina is going to run for president. Seriously.

I have no comment, but I feel like this chart needs to be posted:

A record of success!

A record of success!

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As usual, the smartest take on the politics of recent Cuba developments comes from Daniel Larison, who concludes that this is very much part of Obama’s way of patterning foreign policy to domestic policy considerations. It makes a lot of sense. Though while this isn’t a change in strategy per se, it departs from the typical, depressing obeisance they have to hawkish opinion outlets like the Washington Post‘s op-ed page. In this case, they told those people to screw off. Then again, he was willing to ignore them to negotiate with Iran, so perhaps this isn’t so much a departure as the established pattern of ignoring these people over diplomacy, but desperately trying to appease them with hawkish rhetoric (or action) otherwise.
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