Showing up every day.

I hope it isn’t too embarrassing to admit this, but since I’ve started working for a policy magazine, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how difficult good policymaking — i.e., politics, law-making, what goes on in capitol buildings — really is. (Even bad policymaking isn’t exactly a cakewalk.) I also understand better how so much of our political rhetoric works against good policy — the idea that “career politicians” are the problem, that term limits are the solution, to name but two. I will grant you that politics ain’t exactly eye surgery, but when was the last time you asked for less expertise in any service provider? “I don’t want a career mechanic working on my car; let’s let this guy with no experience open the hood and see what’s what,” said no sane person ever.

Again, I grant you that the idea of citizen lawmakers, who come together in session to consider the needs of the republic, then disperse back into their roles as farmers and insurance salesmen and high-school math teachers, is an attractive one, and not without merit. I only ask that those farmers and insurance salesmen and teachers be the best goddamn policymakers that we can find, and in this day and age, that means they’re pretty much policymakers, period. Governing is complicated. It’s not the 18th century anymore. There are 320 million people in this country, millions of them in each state (for the most part). You can’t get together, discuss solutions to the sheep on the commons problem and then ride your horse home anymore. People who believe this can still be done either live in very small or low-population states, mostly in the west, or they’re Hoosiers. Although they’re listed as a hybrid on this map, Indiana has every-other-year “short” and “long” sessions that meet for only a few weeks or months at a time. Coming from Ohio’s capital city, it was a shock.

Michigan has term limits, and when you talk to the permanent residents of Lansing — lobbyists and the stewards of the zillion-and-one nonprofit organizations that advocate for pretty much everything — they talk about the teaching-and-learning that must go on when every election cycle brings in a sizable freshman class who need to be brought up to speed on so, so much. Most of them have some political experience, so they’re not totally ignorant, but no one knows everything, and most are stepping into a wider arena than they previously occupied. So they have to learn, for example, how we fund mass transit in the state, who the players are, what’s needed, what needs upgrading, what the stakes are for the people who depend on it, and because it’s mass transit, what needs to be coordinated with Washington, and, and… It gets tiring. Repeat for education, health care, roads and bridges, agriculture, etc. It gets really tiring.

A running theme in our discussions here is the War on Taxes, the Let’s Drown Government in the Bathtub movement, the general, from-the-right idea that the best government is not only that which governs least, but that which barely exists. I don’t think of myself as anything more radical than a left-leaning moderate, and I’ve come to believe that idea is a big part of why our politics seems so broken. We have contempt for the people who practice it. Every cycle, we throw in a new bunch of not-career-politicians, and then wonder why they haven’t performed a miracle with less revenue in their allotted time.

Face it: It takes real dedication, or true masochism, to stay in politics for very long these days. So I was intrigued by the argument John Scalzi makes in this piece, which one of you sharp commenters already linked to, but let’s let the non-comments-reading readers see it. After explaining his philosophy of service to self and others, he gets to it:

I think that Clinton has shown amply over the years that, whatever personal ambitions or her willingness to cash a check for speaking fees (and as an ambitious person who occasionally speaks for money, I don’t see either as inherently a problem), time and again she’s put herself in service. Not with 100% success and not without flaws even when successful, but there are none of us perfect, and the end result of her putting herself back into the arena again and again is that much of that service has had an impact. Her ambition and service are not just about her and what it gets her. She’s done much, and at a high level, for others.

More:

But Hillary Clinton is — is what, exactly? A criminal? Corrupt? Dishonest? Evil? Terrible? Awful? A bitch? Satan in a pantsuit ensemble? As I’ve noted before, a quarter century of entirely outsized investigations into her life and actions have come up with nothing criminal or found corruption that rises to indictable levels. As for the rest of it, whatever Clinton’s own personal characteristics, she also had the misfortune of stepping into the political spotlight concurrent to the GOP wholesale adopting the Gingrich playbook of demonizing the opposition. She’s has an entire political party and its media apparatus spending two full decades telling the world she’s a bitch, and evil, and a criminal. It’s still happening; the Republican National Convention resounded with the words lock her up, lock her up, lock her up. And yet she is still here. She is still in service. Now, you can see that as ego or delusion or the inability to take a hint. I see it as an unwillingness to yield the floor to those whose political playbook is simply “demonize your opponent,” with the rest to be figured out later.

He’s right about the two full decades thing, although it was a little longer. She was the one who coined the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy,” and it turns out? She was right. Richard Mellon Scaife did fund the American Spectator’s campaign to dig up dirt on Bill Clinton. Fox News does have a memo of the day that lays out political talking points. Anyone who doesn’t notice this isn’t paying attention.

And after being examined like an ant under a magnifying glass for almost a quarter-century, what do they have on her? Not bloody much. And she’s still working. She could have retired years ago, and she hasn’t. Honestly, to still be in the game at this point? She’s either the world’s biggest masochist, or in it because she wants to make a difference.

By this point, she’s experienced. Give her that, if nothing else. She’s spent her career working as a lawyer in a state capitol, a political spouse, a U.S. Senator, a cabinet secretary, a nonprofit foundation executive – a well-rounded resume that’s allowed her to see the sausage-making from farm to table. And for much of that time, her every move has been examined, by people who despise her. Despise her. As bad as the abuse heaped on Barack Obama has been the last eight years, it’s been maybe worse for Hillary Clinton. This piece is humorous, but every charge on it has been made, in all seriousness, by the people who hate her. Last night I stuck a toe in right-wing Twitter. The voice! The boring stuff! OMG, can you imagine four years of this? (Well, yes I can. Ask anyone who lived through the Bush administrations.)

The election is still months away, and a lot — a lot — can happen in that time. But if she prevails, I will feel all my complicated feelings about her, but one thing I’ll be certain of is that she’s no dilettante. She is competent. She’ll make mistakes, as we all do, but after all this time, the fact she’s still in the game says something important about her.

So there.

Open thread for convention chatter again. The links I could post are already outdated, so nothing from me right now. I had a little string gathered on the men’s-rights people swooning over “alpha” Donald Trump, but it makes me sad to look at it, and in the end, I’m afraid it wouldn’t even make a bird’s nest. So let’s let that go.

And have a great weekend. Heat’s broken here. Hope it has where you are, too.

Posted at 9:07 am in Current events |
 

55 responses to “Showing up every day.”

  1. Bob (Not Greene) said on July 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

    How does this not surprise me? https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2016/07/28/fox-news-plays-benghazi-commercial-over-khazir-khans-anti-trump-speech-democratic-national/212012

  2. brian stouder said on July 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Excellent post!

    The blithering sector of the rightwing sounds intellectually bankrupt* lately, and indeed bankruptcy is a key part of Trump’s approach to business, morality, and intellectual pursuits.

    I guess we shall see….sorta like when your hand gets caught in something, and then you’re afraid to look and see whether you’re bleeding or not

    *yesterday I only lasted 90 seconds on the Oxy-Rush station, on the way to lunch. He had that D’Souza (spelling?) gguy on there, who was spouting about essential evilness of the Democratic party, and listing as its permanent, orginal sins slavery, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, and segregation….and then I popped over to WXKE and was done

  3. Walter Biggins said on July 29, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Nancy, thank you for this. I’m frankly ambivalent about Clinton–I voted for Sanders in the Georgia primary; there, I said it–but she knows what she’s doing, what she’s doing ain’t all ego-stroking narcissism, and she’s remarkably competent and nuanced in her understanding of policy. Sure, she’s a career politician but you know what? The alternative is a career card shark (I mean that almost literally–He Who Must Not Be Named has owned casinos after all). I’ll take the politician. Because here’s the thing about “the idea of citizen lawmakers, who come together in session to consider the needs of the republic, then disperse back into their roles as farmers and insurance salesmen and high-school math teachers”: It IS a great idea but ONLY if said farmers, salesmen, etc., are actively informed citizens who are reasonably educated about policy and how their government actually functions. That basic understanding of civics & government policy for all citizens–mandated by a public-school education, or at least educational standards enforced by a federal government–is precisely one of those things that the Republican nominee doesn’t have. His party, not so incidentally, isn’t a fan of public education in the first place.

  4. Randy said on July 29, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I thought her speech last night was fine, it’s awfully hard to stand out when you follow three stand-out speeches over three nights.

  5. Suzanne said on July 29, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I keep asking people who don’t want career politicians in government if they want their new manager or CEO to be someone who has never worked in their industry ever and knows almost nothing about it. The answer is almost always no. So why is politics seen as so different?

  6. Jolene said on July 29, 2016 at 10:14 am

    David C. posted this link near the end of the last thread. Reposting here in case you missed it. It’s an excellent analysis that makes Nancy’s point, highlighting, particularly, the distinction between soaring rhetoric by an inspiring speaker and the demand for collaboration, compromise, and lots and lots of meeting that effective government requires.

  7. Julie Robinson said on July 29, 2016 at 10:26 am

    She must really be committed to keep going, when it would be so easy to retire to a cushy job of speeches and the foundation. The latter sounds a lot better to me than the former.

    When countries make the transition from autocracy to democracy, one of the major impediments is that no one has democratic experience. No one has served on the school board, or the city council, much less state or national legislature. How can they know what it takes to compromise and govern? We risk the same problem now, as Nance so brilliantly expresses.

    As far as Hillary not being warm as a campaigner, I think her expertise is in governing. I’ll take the competent bureaucrat over the charismatic campaigner any day.

  8. Bitter Scribe said on July 29, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Walter @3: “Career card shark” is a good line. And Trump’s not even a good one. His casinos went bankrupt, remember.

    BNG @1: If msnbc had cut off that Benghazi mom’s tearful attack on Hillary with a commercial, you’d still be hearing the howling.

  9. Deborah said on July 29, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I don’t see her as any worse of a campaigner than many others out there, who happen to be men. The difference obviously is that she is a woman. An ambitious woman is anathema to so many. Let’s face it both Hillary (and Bill) aren’t ordinary people like you and me. These are exceptional people who are extremely intelligent and have accomplished much. They both had top notch educations etc. Hillary is not your buddy, so what?

    I loved the links to Dan Savage yesterday about the Green Party. I think it was Sherri who linked to them. Julie Robinson and Brian Stouder you should send those links to your sons who say they’re going to vote for a third party rather than Hillary. The language is typical of Savage so they’ll need a warning, but the content is right on.

  10. Jolene said on July 29, 2016 at 11:12 am

    This California congressman seems to be having a little fun at Melania Trump’s expense, though she claims innocence.

  11. beb said on July 29, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I think term limits was a Republican ploy to drive out Democrats in safe seats and allow the radical right a chance to grab them. It was an easy ploy, much like right-to-work or right-to-life, neither of which are pro-workers or pro-babies. “Career politician” raises the vision of Crony politics, regulatory capture and Tamminy Hall. That you’re also throwing out institutional knowledge is beside the point.

    I don’t think Hillary coined the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy.” I recall hearing it a lot before then. But she did use it. Was crucified for using it and was proved to be right, but the media never did a mea culpa about being wrong.

  12. Kirk said on July 29, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Jolene@10: She’s a long-time congresswoman from Columbus.

  13. Bitter Scribe said on July 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

    beb@11: Not only are you right, but several Republicans who won partly by advocating term limits turned around after their first terms and stayed in office. IIRC, they got very indignant when accused of hypocrisy.

  14. Jolene said on July 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Whoops! Sorry, Kirk, I wrote what I thought I remembered several minutes after copying the link. Should have checked the story again. Thanks for the correction.

  15. Charlotte said on July 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    I thought Hillary was great last night — in large part because she was her authentic, detail-oriented, professional, competant, completely overqualified self. In part it seems this election is about government itself — and Hillary is nothing if not the consumate governor. But she stopped trying to hide it, which I think worked really well for her.

    And while I’m bummed as someone who voted for Bernie that she didn’t skew more openly populist — that’s not who she is, and I’m sure she’s made the considered decision that there are more votes to pick up from moderate Republicans than there are from the progressive left.

    Now Chelsea I could do without. Having grown up with a lot of rich girls who don’t DO anything, I had to turn the sound off when she came on.

    Fingers crossed, let’s get out the vote, because the barbarians are at the goddamn gates …

  16. Charlotte said on July 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    As always, Amanda Marcotte says it better than me: https://www.salon.com/2016/07/29/kudos_to_hillary_for_playing_the_woman_card_if_people_are_going_to_call_her_a_witch_shell_tell_them_shes_hermione_granger/

  17. Deborah said on July 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Great link, Charlotte. She says it way better than me, but exactly what I was thinking.

  18. Sue said on July 29, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    You get two kinds of citizen lawmakers at the local level – those who come up through the ranks, so to speak, serving on various commissions/committees before they decide to run for alderperson, and then mayor (or the equivalent); and those who decide one day that they have HAD ENOUGH, and go right for the top. The learning curve for the latter is longer and usually more embarrassing, assuming they get elected, which does not happen often. I’ll bet you can guess which group comes at the job from a public service perspective.
    But still, and sadly, most of them run on a platform of Getting Employees In Line, it seems to be a requirement. And therefore I am usually quite happy to refer citizens to elected officials when they do not like or accept what I have to tell them. I gently remind citizens that it’s not just their right, it’s their responsibility to communicate with their elected representatives (something I strongly believe, by the way).
    Dealing with hostile and aggressively ignorant citizens is part of the learning curve that local elected folks never expect. I mean never.

  19. adrianne said on July 29, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve had the pleasure of voting twice for Hillary as U.S. senator from NY. She was very warm and personable on the campaign trail. Giving speeches before big audiences is not her comfort zone, but she’s able to pull it off. I think she’ll do very well in November. The unhinged Twitter feed of @realDonaldTrump is all that anyone needs to know. He’s a pathetic loser.

  20. adrianne said on July 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Oh, and this just in from Flint, by Law360 Reporter Juan Carlos Rodriguez

    Six more Michigan public officials were charged Friday in connection with their roles in Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water crisis, the second round of prosecutions stemming from a state attorney general’s investigation.

    In April, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials and one from the city of Flint. That was “only the beginning,” Schuette said at the time. Flint residents have had to contend with a contaminated water supply since April 2014, when their drinking water source was switched from Lake Huron to Flint River without proper purity controls.

    “Many things went tragically wrong in Flint. Some people failed to act, others minimized harm done and arrogantly chose to ignore data. Some intentionally altered figures and covered up significant health risks,” Schuette said Friday at a press conference in Flint.

    One of the six charged Friday is Liane Shekter-Smith, the MDEQ’s former chief of the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance, who held “key responsibilities” for ensuring the provision of clean, safe drinking water for the citizens of Flint, according to Schuette.

    “Despite receiving notice of citizen complaints about water quality and knowledge of a Legionnaires’ outbreak and issues with lead levels, Shekter-Smith, in her high-ranking position that included supervision of key MDEQ employees, not only allegedly failed to take corrective action or notify public health officials but in fact took steps to mislead and conceal evidence from health officials in phone calls revealed by the investigation,” Schuette’s office said in a statement.

    Shekter-Smith was charged with one count of misconduct in office, a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. She was also charged with one count of willful neglect of duty, a misdemeanor.

  21. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Term limits are saying that I don’t like your representative so I don’t want you to keep voting for him any longer.

    When you only consider what you want/need government to do, it doesn’t seem so complicated. When you don’t think about how to actually implement the things you want, it’s all very simple. When my daughter started school and I decided that since we could afford to live on one income, I would volunteer rather than go back to work. Schools were the obvious place to start, and soon I was going to school board meetings. I went through the city leadership program to discover how everything worked in the city. I got to know local ledges officials, and learns that they were ordinary people, just trying to do something positive in their community.

    Eventually, after a move and years later, I’m on the lowest rung on government policy-making; we don’t make it, we shape it to send to council. The range of topics is very wide, we meet usually 2-3 times a month for a couple of hours, we be a packet of material every week we have a meeting to read and absorb and educate ourselves on before the meeting. There’s often technical background we have to understand about the various processes that even brought this to us before we can make a reasonable decision. And then you have to consider the needs of all the various stakeholders.

    We’re all just volunteers, no pay. City Council is elected and gets paid, and meets 3-4 times a week, has an even broader range of issues, their meetings often go 3 hours, plus all of them are on additional regional committees and boards to work with neighboring jurisdictions.

    This stuff is hard. So the next time you complain about a stupid law, or about how ridiculous the concept of an 800 page piece of legislation is, consider that maybe, from another point of view, it might not be stupid, and how many stakeholders that piece of legislation affects.

  22. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Sue, I’m sorry to hear that about getting employees in line. I have a great deal,of respect for the staff I work with. They have the expertise we don’t, and I rely on them for help.

  23. basset said on July 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    We had a school board member here some years ago who reared up at his first meeting and told the rest of the board that they were doing it all wrong and he was there to disrupt everything and make them see the light. After a few months of going out to schools to conduct his own inspections, demanding that every expenditure for anything at all cross his desk, and finding himself on the short end of a lot of 8-1 votes, he quit the Board. To run for Mayor, which did not go well for him.

  24. Jakash said on July 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve been annoyed for years at the unfathomable 50/50-ness of this country’s presidential elections. Having to go down to the wire wondering whether half the freaking folks in this country think SheWho would’ve made a viable accidental President. Watching G. W. Bush drive the country into the ditch in his first term, but still squeak by with ALMOST enough votes, courtesy of Nader, the Supremes and the Swift-boating of an honorable veteran. And now, this? We have to actually sweat whether enough people are bamboozled and clueless enough to think that this pompous, utterly unprepared, Circus Peanut wanna-be Fuhrer should be given the nuclear codes. Lordy! Despite everything, I still can’t wrap my head around that.

    I marvel at how people can watch Obama deliver one of his brilliant speeches and come away not at least conceding that it was an impressive presentation. But, instead, many are rabidly, delusionally upset by him. And, given her lifetime of public service, the abuse Hillary has taken for decades is similarly way over-the-top. The fact that Rump is not laughed out of this match-up altogether is mind-boggling. But it seems pretty clear that a significant underlying question that will be crucial in this election is whether, when it comes right down to it, misogyny is an even more pervasive attribute of the clueless, fact-averse, Fox-news-watching minions than racism.

  25. Jolene said on July 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    ICYMI, here’s the CSPAN clip of Sherrod Brown speak at the DNC last night. He did a nice job, getting in some good whacks at DJT.

  26. brian stouder said on July 29, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Sherri – great posts!

    I’ve been haunting our local school board meetings for the last 6 or 7 years, and I’ve always found them to be interesting and informative and….reassuring.

    Knowing what’s going on within the particular schools where our young folks go, and then also with our school system as a whole became very important to me.

    A week ago or so, a local Tea Party group held a public meeting at a public library to recruit people to run for the FWCS board, and a featured speaker was one of our current board members. Going into the meeting, I was braced for anything – and more than a little puzzled about what the board member would even say.

    Longer story made short: she essentially burst their bubble and (more or less) told ’em there is no Santa Claus. She ticked off a number of limitations that any school board deals with (mandates from the state legislature, mandates from the federal Congress, limits on affecting school-level decisions, etc)….I found it greatly reassuring that the board member – who I had begun to really respect over the last year or so – spoke in a cogent, sane, down-to-earth way, to the folks who came to the meeting.

    The Tea Party guy who ran the meeting opened it with a list of things he didn’t like, such as the 17th Amendment, and “revisionist historians”**…and clearly, he had no idea what a school board actually does.

    **I asked him what his problem with the direct election of senators is, and he said “it takes power away from the states” – which made me guffaw! I skipped asking him what he means by “revisionist historians” – but I betcha he would insist upon seeing only revisionist medical doctors, eh?

  27. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    The Tea Partiers want to get rid of the 17th amendment because in a state-wide election, they usually can’t outvote the cities. If the legislature instead selects the senators, then even in a blue state, they have a better chance of getting a Tea Party senator chosen. Whatever meaningless nonsense they’ve wrapped it up in, that’s the crux.

    Revisionist history is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.

  28. brian stouder said on July 29, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Sherri – hence my guffaw! Tea Partiers supposedly want to reign in government and empower the patriotic people….but they want to disempower those same people, when they cannot gerrymander their way into power

  29. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Rebecca Traister has done some really good writing on Hillary this campaign: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/hillary-poised-to-make-the-impossible-possible.html

    Hillary resonates with me. I’m a smart woman who does her homework, and that hasn’t always gone over well. People have been threatened by me and people have been intimidated by me, and that used to bother me a lot. I used to try to make myself smaller and quieter to not do that, but now I’ve reached the “don’t give a fuck” stage of life, and if you are threatened or intimidated by me, well, go do your homework and catch up, because I’m busy.

  30. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    First Texas, now North Carolina: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/07/29/fourth_circuit_strikes_down_north_carolina_voting_restrictions.html

  31. nancy said on July 29, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    A court in Michigan struck down the legislature’s elimination of straight-ticket voting earlier this month, too, on the same grounds — African-American voters prefer and use that button in far greater numbers than others. Boom, outta here.

  32. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    David Frum talks to Trump supporters: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/backing-donald-trump/493619/

  33. Scout said on July 29, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Sherri, I know I speak for many when I say that none of us here want you to be smaller or quieter!

    I thought Hillary’s speech was grand, she laid it all out there why she wants the job and why the American people should hire her. Can she deliver a speech like Obama does? No, she delivers like SHE does, as only she can. All the twitter twats making fun of her can bite me, because NONE of them are good enough to so much as pick up her pant suits at the dry cleaner, much less deliver an acceptance speech any better than she did.

    The entire convention stood out as a shining example of competence, preparedness and star power. It created a stark contrast with the disorganized glorification of ignorance, bigotry and fear mongering by a cast of B List nobodies that the RNC produced the previous week. I continue to be proud to be a Democrat.

    Meanwhile the idiot with the ridiculous combover said this: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/trump-on-dnc-i-wanted-to-hit-those-speakers-so-hard-734351427900?cid=sm_fb

    I just can’t even.

  34. brian stouder said on July 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Sherri – an excellent link! (betcha ol’ Cooz has a thing or two to say, regarding NC)

    This should be worth another right-wing noise-machine meltdown, and maybe even a bonus-bone-headed remark from the Donald.

  35. Charlotte said on July 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Sherri @29 for the win!

    Oh, yeah, meant to say earlier that Montana is one of those states with an intermittent legislature. It’s very weird. They meet every other year for a few months … the state keeps running, although my guess is that part of it is that so much is also run by the Federal Govt (NPS, BLM, USFS, BIA etc …). Our highways are mostly federal as well. Local government is vigorous around here — low-population state does make for an engaged electorate since you do really feel like you can make a difference. We have a terrific Governor in a tough race (esp since he was the AG who lost the Citizen’s United appeal — the dark money guns are out for him). Really smart guy, weirdly normal — is it a stage of adulthood? when the Governor seems like someone you could have gone to college with?

  36. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    John Scalzi has also been doing particularly good work: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/07/29/clinton-and-the-convention-and-where-we-go-from-here/

    This should not be a close contest. That it is a close contest (right now) is a testament first to the twenty-five years that the GOP and conservatives have spent demonizing Hillary Clinton, and second to the effectiveness of the GOP and conservatives in creating an epistemic bubble inside which millions of (largely white, largely older, largely less educated) people live, trained to be suspicious of facts, trained to see political opponents as traitors, trained to be afraid first and anything else after that.

    And yes! When you say those things in sequence out loud, it sounds ridiculous! But yet here we are in 2016 with Donald Trump, ignorant, hateful, horribly afraid Donald Trump, as the Republican candidate for president. He didn’t appear out of nowhere. The way was prepared for him over decades, by people who couldn’t see that they’d laid the way for an incipient demagogue who would have no loyalty to them or their political goals, such as they were. They didn’t see that the person who would be tasked to stand in his way is the person they’d spent a quarter century convincing those in bubble land is one of the gravest threats to America that had ever put on a sensible pantsuit ensemble.

  37. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Especially great: Scalzi refers to Trump as an ambulatory tire fire! The upgrade I asked for has happened!

  38. adrianne said on July 29, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Yes, I met Rebecca Traister at a social justice convo, essentially. She received an award for her campaign writing from the Sidney Hillman Foundation. She grew up in suburban Philly, just like me. I like her!

    She and Josh Marshall (editor of Talking Points Memo) have been en fuego this year. (If Tim Kaine can do it, so can I!) Also, Charles Pierce of Esquire magazine.

  39. Scout said on July 29, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    So much has been written and will continue to be written in the lead up to this amazing and historic election, but that Rebecca Traister piece is a standout. Thank you for sharing, Sherri!

  40. Dexter said on July 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Reviewing, for me, the most moving Dem-Con speeches were from Gabby Giffords, Mister Khizr Khan, and Rev. W. Barber II.
    I follow Gabby on Facebook, along with her legion of fans. She rides specially adapted tricycles, she rides with Mark on motorcycles, she does walks for charity events…she is a woman of remarkable spirit and awe.
    All I could write in the comment box after her speech was “We love you two.”

  41. Deborah said on July 29, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I just love that Hillary has played off of the pantsuit meme and the woman card meme. She turned it around and owns it. Obama did the same with the term Obamacare. The right thought they were being insulting, little did they know.

  42. David C. said on July 29, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    “You know, I don’t think name calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the President of the United States would use a term like that, let alone laced into a sentence like that.” – Mike Pence

    Because President Obama called someone a homegrown demagogue. Holy shit, what a fucking tool.

  43. Deborah said on July 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    The Traister piece is fantastic, a must read. Really I’ve been a Hillary supporter for all of this campaign but the more I read about her the more I realize there is absolutely no other choice, period.

  44. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    As someone I read pointed out, women in the Senate wear pantsuits as a political statement. Women weren’t allowed to wear pants in the Senate until Barbara Mikulski and Nancy Kassebaum forced the issue by doing it. In 1993.

    Anybody who wants to tell me that I’m just voting for Hillary because she’s a woman, I’m going to look them in the eye and say, “You’re damn right.”

  45. Colleen said on July 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you for putting it all into words, Nancy. It’s all the stuff that’s been spinning around in my head, and it’s nice to see it all out there in black and white, in cogent sentences. Until the speeches, I hadn’t realized that Hillary’s public service went so far back. If she were a man, no one would argue with her resume and qualifications. The mere fact that it’s going to be an actual contest with Trump frightens me. She was right….if you can set him off with a tweet, he’s really not the guy you want with the nuclear codes. Why can’t people see that?

  46. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Why the Rev. Dr. William Barber spoke at the DNC: https://www.thenation.com/article/americans-whod-never-heard-of-reverend-william-barber-ii-wont-be-able-to-forget-him-after-last-night/

    The RNC wouldn’t meet with him.

  47. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Jamelle Bouie on the DNC: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/07/how_the_black_church_transformed_the_democrats_into_the_party_of_optimism.html

    One factoid from the two conventions: There were fewer African American delegates at the RNC (18) than there were transgender delegates at the DNC (27).

  48. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    In a couple of years, when the sympathetic profile of Paul Ryan appears in the NYTimes or the WaPo trying to resurrect his reputation as the intellectual policy wonk of the Republican Party, remember this: https://newrepublic.com/minutes/135675/paul-ryan-fundraising-donald-trump-matters

  49. Suzanne said on July 29, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I talked to my son today who was very conflicted about who would get his vote. Not Trump, but he didn’t like Hillary and thought a third party vote was too close to voting for Trump. So, he didn’t know what to do. After watching Hillary’s speech, he says he has no qualms about voting for her. He was very impressed.

  50. basset said on July 29, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    “…and then wonder why they haven’t performed a miracle with less revenue in their allotted time.”

    which is why the average tenure of a large-city school superintendent is a little over two years. bring ’em in to change everything, resist when they do, finally throw ’em overboard and get a new one.

  51. Sherri said on July 29, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Anybody who watched the DNC on Fox, didn’t watch the DNC. What a shock. No Ailes, still Fox.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/29/media/democrats-convention-fox-coverage/index.html?iid=hp-stack-dom

  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Proud to call William Barber a friend and colleague.

    In Ohio right now, I’d say at the Statehouse there’s about a third grandstanders who have no real interest or concern in actually getting anything done other than appealing to their perceived base and getting re-elected, a third wonky hard-working types who are interested in making Ohio work better, and a third time-servers who have the occasional polemical outbursts, but are neither true believers nor are they interested in actually understanding how things work. Those thirds shift about biennium to biennium, but they’re pretty constant. At risk of being accused of being partisan, the state Dems aren’t producing many candidates in that middle cohort — and I suspect they’d argue it’s because the GOP has so much of the machinery locked up there’s no reason to do more than posture and declaim.

    One of the legislators who helped pass term limits years and years ago, who has since ridden the Senate-to-House trolley a couple of cycles, has said to me flat out: “I was wrong.” He could do fine out of the Statehouse, and is a conservative sort of Hillary in that middle third I describe: he wants to make things work better, with a bias towards self-reliance and promoting business. But he says that hard-line term limits result in the total dominance of Statehouse staffers over policy and spending, so it makes sense to have more elected representatives hanging about longer than two 2-year terms.

    Even so, the staffers write all the legislation and drive most of the actual spending choices. Very few elected legislators actually understand the whole process well enough to mess it up, let alone to make it better.

  53. Sherri said on July 30, 2016 at 1:47 am

    What do you give your neighboring country for their 100th birthday? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/world/europe/norway-considers-a-birthday-gift-for-finland-the-peak-of-an-arctic-mountain.html?_r=0

  54. Sue said on July 30, 2016 at 8:25 am

    basset, to match your story, we had a guy who ran on ‘wants vs. needs’ then made a big patriotic stink at a meeting about the lack of government funding for a fireworks display. Alderpersons very vigorously reminded him of his words and pointed out that while he was out there complaining about council financial decisions, they were doing the sad and nasty budget work that included axing employees. Welcome to Council work, jackass seemed to be the underlying tone.
    It was also kind of fun to watch the first time another ‘get government out of the way and business will thrive’ elected official ran straight into a business vs. citizens conflict. Who knew all those people were going to call him? And show up?

  55. Bitter Scribe said on July 31, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Once my library had a board member who was so abusive to the library staff that he was banned from the library building while still a board member. The cops had to escort him into and out of the library for board meetings.

    This guy was later arrested for physically abusing his parents, with whom he lived. At age 60-something (they were in their eighties).

Leave a reply, join the conversation.

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published) (required)

Website