You always ought to be wary of any point of view you consume at length where you find yourself agreeing with it completely, where it anticipates every question that pops in your head and answers it, to the point that at the end you can identify no daylight between your thoughts and its own.
The effect is something like riding to the airport after you’ve doublechecked everything you meant to pack and finding it was actually all already there. There’s no rational reason for you to be unsettled rather than comforted, but somehow you are.
Mike Lux has a written just such a book: How to Democrat in the Age of Trump, and it’s worthy of being recommended to anyone on the Left trying to find a way forward.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: “How to Democrat in the Age of Trump” by Mike Lux is a suspiciously good read”
There’s never a good time to tell people about how their sausages are made, but Dana R. Fisher’s “Activism, Inc.” came out at just about the worst time possible for its message to be heard.
Part research, part hunchy anecdote, this short work is largely a post-mortem on the failures of paid, third-party canvassing operations, especially as connected to the Democratic Party and progressive Left that used them during the 2004 Presidential Election between John Kerry and George W. Bush.
Democrats relied on paid—but still highly intrinsically motivated—mostly young canvassers working out of temporary offices around the country to mobilize voters quickly. Meanwhile, Republicans tapped more permanent civic institutions for mobilizations, such as white evangelical churches.
For Democrats, Fisher concludes, “very few enduring connections remain at the local level after campaigns are concluded that can be used in the next campaign cycle”. Unlike volunteers, people who rely on wages to do election work can’t be expected to show up when the money isn’t there.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: “Activism, Inc.” and the sin of ideals procrastinated”
Given her media blitz leading up to the release of her 2016 campaign memoir Hacks, Donna Brazile’s recollection of what it was like to be on the receiving end of the Russian cyberattack against the Democratic National Committee was far more enlightening than I’d had any expectation.
That’s because, ahead of the Virginia state elections in November 2017, Brazile’s press interviews and excerpts tended to be internecine and conspiratorial, focusing on how the Hillary Clinton campaign had unethically bought the DNC at “Bernie’s” expense, or how Hillary didn’t call Brazile for a while after she lost the Electoral College, or how staffer Seth Rich’s murderer still needed to be found.
Now, this is not what most of the book, subtitled The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, turns out to be about, but the strategy was successful. It reached No. 5 on the New York Times bestseller list, sold out on Amazon, then was subsequently completely forgotten.
The modern political memoir and tell-all has become the publishing equivalent of Hollywood’s superhero and sci-fi franchise films.
Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: The airing of grievances in Donna Brazile’s “Hacks” comes at her true crime memoir’s expense”
The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D.C.
House of Representatives, 36th Congress, 1st Session
Feb. 29, 1869
The CHAIRMAN. When the committee rose it had under consideration resolutions of reference of the President’s message. On that question, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Reagan] is entitled to the floor.
Mr. REAGAN. Mr. Chairman, I avail myself of the general range of debate, in Committee of the Whole on the President’s message, to discuss some topics which concern the whole nation. And, as I cannot expect to occupy the attention of the committee soon again under our rules, I shall have to try to discuss a greater number of questions than may be conveniently considered or clearly presented in one speech.
Continue reading “U.S. Rep. John H. Reagan: A moderate pro-slavery advocate circa 1860”
Today president-elect Barack Obama gets to drop the “elect” and become president-proper. Whether he’ll make a proper president, no one knows for sure, but everyone except bigots and professional partisans certainly has to be hoping he will, out of self-interest if not patriotism.
Change is constant in America, and whatever our nostalgia, once we start preferring the old to the new wholesale, we’ll know it’s the end of us. But that hasn’t happened yet, and whenever we find ourselves exhausted, stagnant or frustrated, we manage to find a source of rejuvenation and come out the other side better for it.
Continue reading “Two things are constant: Change and the Constitution”
If you have a basic cable package, you probably have C-SPAN and C-SPAN2. And you probably watch them about as much as if you didn’t own TV. But you should watch them more (and by that I mean “some”) because when you complain that “nothing is on,” C-SPAN is, and you can learn a lot.
For example, you learn that government is mind-numbingly boring, stupid and inarticulate. Otto von Bismarck once said, “Laws are like sausage; it’s better not to see them made.” To some extent, C-SPAN is a window into that sausage factory. You can’t see everything, but what you do see makes your stomach turn. Congressman Mark Pryor of Arkansas has pointed out you don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate, and he was being honest. Sit down for just a few minutes to watch the nation’s most professional and powerful legislature and its proceedings, and wonder how some of these people were ever elected. Then wonder just how much you want these people’s decisions affecting your daily life.
It’s possible C-SPAN is actually the propaganda wing of the Libertarian party.
Continue reading “You can learn a lot by watching C-SPAN”