• Peaked too soon:

    “Pete Buttigieg elicited a moment of awkward silence during a campaign event in Iowa that’s sparking comparisons to?another viral moment?during the 2016 election cycle,” the?New York Post?reports.

    Said Buttigieg: “By having better hands guided by better values on those pulleys and levers of American government. So I’m going to look to you to spread that sense of hope to those that you know.”

    The candidate took a brief pause,?which was met with complete silence?by attendees.

    “Come on!” Buttigieg exclaimed and awkwardly chuckled, to which the crowd applauded.

    Mayor Peter has been falling quite rapidly in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Interestingly, Warren is climbing back in the former state, which is good to see, and the timing is right. Iowa is all about expectations and a steady rise right before it…well, it’s interesting. I’m not going to make any predictions on the Iowa Caucuses but a Warren comeback strikes me as a reasonable expectation, as being everybody’s second choice is hugely important there. But poor Peter. I wish I could say that he’s being rejected because he represents everything that people hate about our government and our society but in all likelihood it’s just because he’s too green. I’ll take it though.

    The question is: is this guy a continuing threat or a curiosity, the mid-sized city mayor who had a real shot at the nomination for a minute? Admittedly the guy knows how to get on the teevee a lot and has plenty of rich friends, so he will be “viable” in that sense, but as I’ve argued before he’s thrown in so aggressively with the “I know your kids are dumb because I’m their age” shtick as his brand and good lord isn’t making any more Boomers so the people who remember him probably won’t do it fondly. And there’s also the little problem that “Mayor of South Bend eight years ago” isn’t all that impressive a credential, and he’s already failed to win statewide. It’s supremely easy to see Biden giving him a major Cabinet berth and tapping him as the heir apparent (though certainly not as his veep), which is a good enough reason to oppose Biden in and of itself.

    And now a ballad for Peter:

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    I don’t really have it in me to work myself into a lather about Hillary Clinton anymore but it really is stunning just how clumsy she is and always has been at any sort of politics that isn’t fundraising or televised debating, and it’s also stunning how people who idolize her will ignore the latest snafu the way they ignored back when Clinton said that the alt-right is correct on immigration, the way they ignored the story of how she protected her gross spiritual adviser, etc. The unfortunate thing is that her fan base isn’t satisfied with giving us a nominee that couldn’t win in 2016, now they want to give us a president who can’t govern, and they’re replicating the exact same pattern with Biden’s record and statements that they did with hers, because there’s no peril in just hoping that the negative things go away and attacking anybody bringing them up.

    This party sucks.

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    The joke I sometimes make is that there are people out there who one day realize, “Wait,?Idiocracy was a movie? I thought it was just a meme!” I’m not sure just how many people are actually watching it at this point in time, certainly not more than there are people who are writing something with the words “We’re Living In” placed right in front of the movie title. But folks, I regret to tell you that Idiocracy is not good. It’s not that there aren’t some good parts to it: Terry Crews is fucking hilarious in it (natch) and some of the gags are pretty funny. I’m partial to Dax Shepard’s T-shirt dispenser that’s basically just a toilet seat protector dispenser, it’s such a quick throwaway but I definitely know guys who would love to have one of those, and it ties in with the whole “piles of garbage everywhere” concept (Mike Judge was right about that, just wrong about them being on the land and not in the ocean). But facts must be faced, principally that the movie is shockingly classist. It explicitly associates stupidity with the lower class and intelligence with the upper-middle class. This is made clear in the opening sequence and it’s basically the key assumption of the movie, which is that the smarter (and richer) people were suffered a sort of (if you will) great replacement,? with dumber (and poorer) people becoming completely ascendant, which resulted in a world in which the cultural forms and artifacts of poor people are dominant but nobody knows how to do anything and the world is dying.

    I’m not really sure that I grant that premise. The notion that a society dominated by the working poor would not know that plants need to be watered is…strange. Who do we think is watering them now? Elon Musk? And I’d like to think that the idea that intelligence and social class are unrelated is something that people would automatically reject but these days I don’t make such assumptions so let’s just cite Jared Kushner and call it a day. In a very real sense, Idiocracy aspires to be satire but what it’s accomplishing is the opposite of what satire is supposed to do. Satire is all about posing the questions that can’t be asked, it’s all about finding ways to express the truths that society finds uncomfortable to talk about, ideally in outrageous ways that shake up the comfortable. It’s suggesting that perhaps we deal with the problem of Irish babies that nobody is able to care for by frying them up with a stick of butter. Idiocracy does not do that. Instead,?Idiocracy is a movie that seeks to flatter its audience of college-educated white folks and assure them that they’re right to have the biases they have, that poor peoples’ choices of entertainment and cuisine mean that they’re hopelessly stupid and that they will drag the rest of us down with them unless…what? Unless we take action? What do you think we should do about this situation, Mike? It’s a testament to how gutless the movie is that it doesn’t even come out for the class-based sterilization procedures that it is implicitly but obviously begging for. After all, the poor are so hopeless that the world is virtually dead until a wholly unremarkable middle-class man can save the entire world with just plain old common sense!* Evidently one single middle-class man is worth, like, five billion poor people, not one of whom ever accidentally dropped some water on plants and thought, huh? This is, frankly, a profoundly reactionary film. Admittedly the movie was a bit ahead of the curve in its tying together of wrestling and politics, which might be why it remains so relevant as a reference right now. But of all the sins of Donald Trump and his enablers, that politics has taken on a few of the aesthetics of professional wrestling is quite low indeed on the list. President Marco Rubio would not have introduced those wrestling tropes into the political arena but he would have done almost all the same shit as Trump so, ultimately, who cares?

    Perhaps also relevant to the discussion is that the movie is…not that funny? I’ll credit some of the jokes, like a movie named “Ass” that’s nothing but farts winning the Oscar for Best Screenplay. But at its core, the idea of humanity falling back to a new Dark Age because we just became stupid just isn’t funny. It’s not even darkly humorous. It’s tragic. And this is just an upper-middle class eugenicist’s fever dream, nothing more and nothing less. It should be treated as such. So let’s get that hashtag going people! #IdiocracySucks all the way!

    * For those who might be tempted to argue with me on this point…the argument that the movie ends up with is that eventually things will get so bad that people will eventually re-embrace reason and the scientific method, and it doesn’t really square with the rest of the film. The new Dark Age is not brought about by, say, a Taliban-esque religious fervor wanting to reset things back to an earlier time or by some sort of war or disaster that devastates the ability to rebuild, but basically through complacency. To spend hundreds of years watching things get worse and to do nothing about it because of mere complacency…that’s a really fucking dark vision of humanity there. Why would Luke Wilson be successful against inertia that strong? And look, I get the context of this. It’s pretty easy to see this movie as a reaction to Bush-era America, with the embrace of proud ignorance and consumerism (recall Bush’s quote about helping the war by shopping more) while the infrastructure crumbled, and that has the same resonances today. But the movie is dealing with mere symptoms of the disease instead of the causes (again, gutless) and it really seems to think that poor people are more susceptible to these pitfalls than are rich people, so we’re back to the original assertion: this movie supports eugenics.

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    Look, I haven’t been around much this week because I’ve been busy, but also I’ve not had that much to say. So why not do a movie recommendation? It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of those. And why not have it be something totally obscure that I recently watched and have wanted to write about for a while now? Since nobody can stop me, here I go:

    The Pumpkin Eater is a British movie from 1964 that stars Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch, the latter of whom is known for?Network and not much else. That he’s not known for this movie is only because nobody knows this movie, but what he does here is to me much more impressive than his work in?Network. Not to get too far into that movie but Howard Beale pretty much ceases to be an interesting character after the “mad as hell” speech, but his character work here is deep, compelling, and frequently repugnant in the most amazing ways, though Bancroft’s work is every bit as good.?Technically, The Pumpkin Eater is a domestic drama but that label just seems so limiting and inexact for a film that often seems like a horror film without the violence. The tenor of it really comes across in this scene, which doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot or to establish Bancroft’s character really, but it certainly gives you a good sense of what the movie is like right off the bat:

    The basic idea is that Jo, Bancroft’s character, is a warm and loving woman who cares most about family and loves to have children, while Finch’s character is a highly ambitious screenwriter who mainly seeks success. The conflict between the two is inevitable, as Bancroft is lifted up in the world because of Finch’s career but becomes increasingly more miserable in the process. The brilliant conceit of this movie is just how overtly feminist the film is (particularly one released in 1964!) while having a main character who would not call herself a feminist and almost certainly doesn’t see herself as one, but the movie shows exactly how her autonomy, up to and including her control over her own body, is steadily chipped away by the men in her life, namely Finch and her own father. The two men ship off Jo’s two older boys to boarding school as a condition of paying for the wedding (which is a setup for one of the many gut punches the film has to offer: Jo sees them again many months later, during which time private school has transformed them into little versions of her father who have nothing to say to her), but this is just the beginning of a gauntlet of torment for Jo, which includes isolation, abortion, and even a hysterectomy (!) as she gives up everything she values in the vain hopes of getting back from Finch what she so freely gives to him: love and acceptance. So there’s a strong feminist bent to the film, but there’s also some sharp class commentary because we are introduced to Jo in an obviously lower-middle class milieu but when we meet her father, he’s a super-rich dude, so it immediately suggests a backstory of estrangement and sacrifice without saying even a single word about it. Jo clearly left a richer and more comfortable life because she couldn’t be happy within its value structure, but the tragedy of her relationship with Finch is that she gets pulled right back into that sort of life, with all of those same expectations and judgments. She can’t avoid it because she truly does love Peter Finch. For all the times we’ve heard about how romantic love is a curse or a disease, this movie might make the best case for that idea of any that I’ve seen.

    It might be easy to get the impression that this movie is a woman good/man evil story, but the movie actually goes to some lengths to avoid making it that simple. Finch’s character is the antagonist of the film but in all fairness he does try to involve Bancroft in his world, invites her to come by the set and meet his coworkers, with whom she does not get along at all. And it’s pretty clear that his frustration with the marriage is that his wife doesn’t care about his success or the things that it’s bought them: there’s a pretty clear streak of “Why aren’t you appreciative?” that clearly baffles him. Finch is a pretty common sort, a man who sees himself as important and impressive and whose frustration with his wife for (in his mind) not appreciating him properly leads him to step out with women who do find him impressive. These details aren’t by any means redemptive of a character who is quite callous and selfish throughout the film, but they do give the character depth and a great degree of plausibility. Another interesting detail is that the Bancroft character doesn’t seem to have any religious faith: there’s no quiverfull type of motivation behind having a lot of children, she just likes having them. It makes sense given her own class origin, and it keeps the feminist and class critiques clear. Extremely large families used to occur due to various circumstances but maybe the biggest one was the lack of female autonomy: things like birth control and abortion gave women more control over their bodies, and when they were introduced, women typically decided to use them to have fewer children. The Pumpkin Eater has these tools used against one specific woman in a way that takes that control away, which could have been an offensive disaster if handled poorly. Thankfully it’s handled extremely well here, and the notion that the things that liberate us can frequently be turned against us is something that we need to be constantly reminded of.

    There’s so much more to say about this film. The acting is on point, both Bancroft and Finch know every inch of these characters and play them beautifully, and the supporting turn by James Mason is satisfyingly crazy. Mason played a seemingly endless string of controlled and dignified men, so seeing him get unwound when Finch starts sleeping with his wife really just fits the movie and makes his part in it all the more electrifying. The technical aspects are also incredible: the visual style reminded me of Kubrick at many points, and the sound design is so goddamn good, such as the scene where Bancroft is flicking through a catalog (remember those?) with Peter Finch in the room and just the snapping of the pages makes the scene, gets across perfectly her anger at him all on its own. There are also some nice stylistic touches too, like the reversed film after the seeming final break between Bancroft and Finch. Seeing the smoke going back into the cigarette is a nice little image to show just how nonsensical and wrong things are in this little world. This movie is a continual reminder at how good British cinema was during the ’60s, a greatness that like much else in that nation would soon be on the decline as that industry quickly transformed into a distribution system for prestige historical dramas and literary adaptations, to the exclusion of everything else. The primalness of something like The Pumpkin Eater and many of the other classics of that decade were unfortunately forgotten in the process. Anyway, go do yourself a favor and watch it. It just got taken off of Amazon Prime but you can buy/rent it on YouTube, among other places.

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    Sure, we write about this stuff a lot, but with actual voting coming up, here’s our official guide to the 2020 Democratic hopefuls, but just the ones who have a chance. Sorry Michael Bennet! Spoiler alert: any of these people would be much better than Trump. Really! But are any of them good enough to save the republic? Read on to find the answer. It probably won’t surprise you.

    • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
      The Pitch: A moderate from the Midwest who knows her way around a debate stage, Klobuchar is exactly what the party needs.
      The Reality: Debates are irrelevant and Klobuchar, or someone strongly resembling Klobuchar, is always “what the party needs.” Klobuchar is “America wants a return to sane and boring governance” personified. The thing is, the nation never actually seems to vote for that, or never quite enough of it does. Need I go through the list of failed dull earnest white centrists who came this close but failed? Basically,?Klobuchar is Mike Dukakis. You wonder at the outset, how can anybody find Mike Dukakis objectionable? But they always seem to find a way, and then you have yet another Dukakis on your hands. It’s undoubtedly a good thing that she’s finding no traction, though admittedly I’d prefer her to at least one other person on this list.
      The Verdict: A presidency characterized by public indifference and apathy. I suppose there’s the chance that she could let her fabled meanness loose on the Republicans, which might keep the republic alive for the first term, at least.
      The Future: An aggressive pitch for AG under a new Democratic president.
    • Former Mayor Peter Buttigieg (D-South Bend)
      The Pitch: He’s a gay Millennial mayor who would represent a new generation of leadership.
      The Reality: He only represents that new generation in the most literal of ways, gays are indifferent to him, and Millennials hate him. Who’s this guy for again? On the one hand I sort of feel as though I’ve written about this guy enough, but he keeps coming up with new ways to be the shittiest Democratic contender since Joe Lieberman, mainly by increasingly resembling Joe Lieberman. Also, I’ve never posted this before, but these sorts of unconscious touches really tend to be revealing of a candidate:

      Pete blather

      True story, he submitted this to Thom Yorke as potential Radiohead lyrics, but they were rejected. Too on the nose!

      Also, incidentally, Buttigieg is only two years older than I am and while I remember some major political events from before the Clinton impeachment, that was the first political story I recall actually being able to follow, at about 12-13 years of age. In my own unscientific research, that age does seem to be pretty typical as a timeframe for being able to follow ongoing political stories. So perhaps Peter remembers the Gingrich budget fights in a detailed way, but there’s no way he remembers a time when both parties got along. Lying wanker.
      The Verdict: France levels of unrest and Macron levels of unpopularity if he’s elected. Buttigieg has the plasticity of Bill Clinton but not the charisma, nor the experience of actually talking to poor people ever in his life from other than a place of privilege. Can you imagine Mayor Peter doing that whole, “I feel your pain” bit and getting away with it? I admit that I try to imagine it sometimes, and it’s good for a laugh.
      The Future: Buttigieg is not going to be the nominee. The puzzling thing about this supposedly brilliant mind is that he’s poisoned the well with “young” vote (i.e. people born after 1980) and people of color, so how’s that going to work out for this 37 year old “rising star” in the future? I predict a few years as a second-tier cabinet secretary under the next Dem president (Not sure which one, what are his interests even?), at which point he quits politics to run the hedge fund he was born to manage.

    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
      The Pitch: A proven fighter for normal Americans with the leadership abilities lacked by certain other leftist candidates in the field, not naming names but…
      The Reality: Warren at one point looked like the candidate to beat, before putatively being derailed by an obscure question about healthcare funding mechanisms that nobody really seemed to actually care about. I don’t really think that’s what sank her though. It wasn’t a coincidence that Mayor Peter began his surge at around that same time: a substantial chunk of Warren’s support were stereotypical Hillary people who like wonky, confident female candidates but who upon further reflection don’t really want to pay any more in taxes so that those laaaaazy college kids can sit around and whine about college debt, unlike their own bootstraps-pulling selves (who actually had free college). But I don’t think even that’s the whole story. Sanders’s rise began a bit after this, which is a factor also. One’s choice between Sanders and Warren is actually a lot more like the choice between Clinton and Obama in 2008 than anybody would like to admit: a choice between style, symbolism and approach much more than substance, of which there are certainly some differences in policy between the two, though quite small ones in the grand scheme. But Warren, whatever her flaws (particularly indecisiveness around healthcare), argues correctly that it’s going to be difficult to do anything and it will take years of fighting. She understands the problems and doesn’t dumb down or oversimplify. Bernie may say those words but he obviously believes that this is going to be easy, so easy that keeping the filibuster around won’t matter much. Obviously GOP Senators from Idaho will be on board with the revolution too! It is now pretty safe to say that, given the state of the Democratic race, “easy” is the winning message, even if it’s shooting oneself in the foot long-term.
      The Verdict: The best shot of saving the republic, which I should be clear only deserves saving because of the prospect of getting something worse if it falls. She has solid plans and actually wants to lead the party to a place where they’re bedrock instead of governing by fiat, and she understands well the pitfalls in getting there. Obvious choice.
      The Future: It’s entirely possible that if Biden and Bernie get too combative they could hurt each other and Warren could squeeze through. It happened 100 years ago, when Warren G. Harding—then everybody’s second choice, as Warren now is—squeezed past two much more formidable candidates to win the Republican nomination. Let’s hope if it happens she writes better sexy letters than Harding (or, better yet, none at all).
    • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
      The Pitch: Only Bernie Sanders can launch a revolution by getting massive numbers of working-class (white) people into the voting booth.
      The Reality: I feel that I have beaten this one into the ground. Sanders’s appeal is understandable, hell, I voted for him in the 2016 primary. You can certainly make a case that Sanders is a good fit for what the presidency actually is, which is mainly foreign policy, staffing and administration. Passing things through Congress is probably not a strength but given the ever-expanding scope of executive orders, he could issue those as well as anybody. Given the field as it stands now, he’s my second choice. But on a fundamental level, I can’t help but feel he presents a personality mismatch for the office. Few friends, few governing relationships, an ambivalence toward actually leading the party, an aversion to the sort of ass-kissing that actually gets big things passed. I understand that Sanders’s obvious friction with Democratic elites is part of his appeal to non-Democrats just as Trump’s then-friction with GOP elites was part of his appeal in 2016, but unlike Trump, Sanders isn’t going to secretly govern the way they want him to and thus eliminate the friction. I understand the frustration with both parties that drives a lot of Sanders supporters, which I certainly share, but fighting a two-front war on every issue strikes me as impossible and doomed to failure. The Democrats are the material that any of these would-be leaders have to work with, the question is what it gets molded into, and how.
      The Verdict: Tip O’Neill supposedly told Jimmy Carter as the latter was leaving office not to let the door hit him on the ass on the way out. I think the Democratic congressional leaders will have something less civil to say to Sanders upon his departure.
      The Future: Sanders loses credibility with the base after inviting Tucker Carlson to the White House to discuss the latter’s supposed anti-capitalist views, though his online bros love it.
    • Former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE)
      The Pitch: Look, politics is a tough business, this isn’t your father’s Republican Party, this reminds me of a story from back in the Senate, just take a minute, what’s the deal with Bernie? I opposed the Iraq War, remember? Makes me think of this guy called Corn Pop. Also, let me tell you about the good old Senate…[two more pages of word salad]
      The Reality: Look, there’s really not much more to say about Biden than that what you see with him is exactly what you get. Biden is the sort of Democrat who talks about middle-class families a lot but whose record is filled with votes that made their lives worse, like NAFTA and the 2005 bankruptcy bill. His anti-drug, anti-crime work—which he held onto for a very long time and which constitutes a huge part of his individual legacy—was and is terrible. He voted for the Iraq War. He put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. He isn’t sorry for any of it, and he’d do it all again. That’s really all there is to say about it.
      The Future:?Perhaps the only real hope for a Biden presidency—outside of his dying early on in it or his being too weak to constrain his more progressive staffers—is that he’d somehow wind up being a shock reformer that nobody saw coming, like Pope John XXIII, Mikhail Gorbachev or Lyndon Johnson. Anything is possible. Certainly, Abe Lincoln must have seemed like a dispiriting option from the perspective of an abolitionist in 1860: who was this odd-looking and smooth-talking politician who told every audience what it wanted to hear and who seemed to have no fixed beliefs other than firm opposition to slavery expansion? Obviously, Lincoln turned out alright. But partly this was events and partly it was Lincoln himself: there was something remote and hidden about the man that led him to be constantly underestimated. Biden, though, is the knownest of commodities: you can’t spend decades expressing every thought you have in public and still have any level of mystery remaining. We know his ideas, we know his personality. He isn’t introspective. He doesn’t learn from mistakes because he’s too vain to admit that he made them, and usually he just constructs an alternate reality where he never did. Building a culture of accountability starts at the top and a refusal to accept accountability is one of the defining traits of Biden at this point. Not sure how any of this is supposed to compare favorably with Trump.
      The Verdict: I think there are several ways a Biden presidency could play out. The first, and least likely, is that Republicans actually do pivot to the center after Trump. The second, and likelier than most would like to admit, is that the entire Madisonian system crumples under him. An old, tired and deluded president whose agenda is merely the classic old man’s lament is practically an invitation for Republicans to be more aggressive than ever before, perhaps even to the inevitable end state of the Madisonian system, which is a government shutdown that never ends. But the most likely outcome is the same slow decline as now: of democracy, of the current constitutional system, of the middle class, of truth and fact.?A potential Biden era would be better than the Trump Era but even worse than the Obama Era, which in case you forgot actually sucked. But Obama at least was charismatic enough to make you believe there was hope for something better. Biden does not.
      The Future:?The question is, does Biden kill off Clintonian centrism or the republic first? An authoritarian-right presidency followed by a failed center-left one in our present context does leave us in a dangerous place, considering how bad things are. Could make people give up on the whole system, just like in Weimar Germany. Maybe there’ll be time for Democrats to rebound and rebrand, perhaps we’ll finally be able to end the Boomer dominance at that point. Let’s hope so because it is the most likely outcome of all this.
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    It’s so bizarre that you have these people–most famously Lindsey Graham, but also countless others–who have spent literally decades trying to get us into a war with Iran and then when they nearly get their wish, they fucking blinked. I still don’t think I know why that happened, but it did, and it’s so puzzling. Did they never really want war? Was it just a thing to talk about, something to beat others over the head with? Something that rich elites wanted to hear? And how do they go back to beating the Iran war drum after this? One seriously hopes that this becomes a dead issue in the future but I honestly don’t know if that’s in the cards.

    The whole thing seems like one of those Romulan schemes that mainly just seem like they exist because Romulans just enjoy being sneaky and plotting.

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    It’s not 100 percent clear whether Biden’s stubborn shadow-dancing with a Republican Party that does not actually exist is the product of swing voters’ desire for bipartisanship (in theory, at least) or simply a way for the former veep to evade the thorny task of explaining why his election would accomplish anything other than the defenestration of Trump (a pretty important accomplishment in itself). In his defense, it is no more fancifully ridiculous than Bernie Sanders’s pixie-dust proclamations that his election would produce a?“political revolution”?that will suddenly make policy proposals like Medicare for All, which has but limited support from congressional Democrats, good prospects for immediate enactment.

    It’s also true that the kind of Democratic power in Congress necessary to make purely partisan decision-making feasible isn’t likely to arrive any time very soon. So 2020 presidential candidates do need some sort of strategy for marginalizing or neutralizing Republican opposition, whether it’s reforms to increase the majority’s power (most notably?filibuster reform) or efforts to divide the GOP. Elizabeth Warren has probably put more thought into this than any other candidate has, and her?“theory of change”?is hardly a slam-dunk proposition either.

    Here’s the thing: few presidential candidacies are wholly cynical ventures. Sure there are going to be some misrepresentations and lies in there but, generally, the campaign usually tells you what you’re going to get. George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign was an exception to this, as what it was promising and what it intended to deliver were totally opposite things. (Thanks Karl!) But both Trump and Obama can’t honestly be said to have zigged when they said they would zag and frankly I just don’t think Biden is sophisticated enough to pull off guile like Bush did. He’s a known commodity, and what’s more, Biden’s skill set is in doing this bipartisanship thing, not in mobilizing the base. Judging by the campaign he’s run–essentially as the factional candidate of old, centrist Democrats–it’s not at all clear that he could even do it if he wants to, so it’s less that “the republic will fail if we can’t agree” and more that Biden will fail if we can’t agree. But we’ve been over this.

    It really says a lot about this party of ours that the top two polling candidates are the ones who are clearly assuming a best-case scenario in terms of what they’re promising and refuse to seriously engage with the question of the most likely scenario they’ll face. It says a lot that this has not been demanded of them. So we’ve gone from Hillary Clinton’s pathological avoidance of promising much of anything to Biden and Sanders basically promising that their incredible charisma will knock down all the obstacles to passing their agendas without a scintilla of evidence or logic to back it up. And yet, does anybody actually believe it? People really believed that Obama might somehow manage to break through the logjam even though there was never any real reason to believe it in retrospect, the whole “hope” thing was no myth. I felt it! I sure as shit don’t feel it now, and I don’t really think anybody else does either. Perhaps Republicans aren’t the only party that wants to be lied to anymore.


    Good on Pelosi for calling a vote to refute Trump on Iran. Given that there is some dissension in the GOP ranks it’s good politics and good on the merits. Perhaps we’ve hit a turning point and now Democrats will fight instead of vacillating? (A guy can dream, anyway…)

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