The Complete ‘Bernie Sanders Can’t Win’ Liberal Pundit Article Kit

Bernie SandersWe writers are very busy. I know, right now, I have an article on SSH that I really need to finish. I wanted to finish it last night, but I was so tired. Really: I spend about 10 hours per day writing and doing reading in support of it. And admittedly, that is my life. I don’t have much else that I even want to do. But I feel totally rushed all the time. It’s after 3:00 pm today, and I have next to nothing done. I haven’t gotten to the SSH article. I’ve written one Frankly Curious article. My anxiety level is so high, I’d take a Valium, but that would make me fall asleep, get further behind, and make me even more anxious. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

Look at Paul Krugman. He writes a lot. And in addition to that, he has to go out to cool concerts where he hangs out backstage and he has to eat expensive dinners with important people. And he has to go to conferences all over the world. He’s a busy guy. And it must be crushing to use all the time that could be spent talking to John Paul White to write yet another article about how it would be wrong to vote for Bernie Sander like the one he wrote yesterday, How Change Happens.

But I do have more free time because John Paul White never returns my calls. So I thought I would use the one advantage I have over him to help Krugman out. And not just Krugman. What I’m proposing here will help out lots of other people. For example, it will save Jonathan Chait a lot of time. And Martin Longman. And Erik Loomis. And plenty of other liberal commentators who I very much like. That is why I’m doing this. It is a gift. It is a free tool to make their lives better.

So here it goes. It’s really simple, but I can’t pretend that it’s my own idea. I’ve just systematized the process. In general, none of these people are thinking very deeply about any of this, so I’ve just created a system where they don’t have to think at all. Here it goes:

  1. Start with some recent good news for the Bernie Sanders campaign: polls or a famous person saying something or money raised. Or nothing at all. Here’s a generic opening that I release to the public domain. I hope that everyone finds many uses for it, “Despite what everyone expected, Bernie Sanders has really caught fire. He’s packing people in at his rallies. And he looks certain to win New Hampshire, and has a good shot at Iowa.”
  2. Next, use several paragraphs to talk about how much you like Bernie Sanders. Now if I were writing this for new writers, I’d have to provide a lot of details. But for the top tier writers I’m talking about, it’s easy. All they have to do is go back and look at pretty much every article they wrote about Bernie Sanders as long as he was polling at less than 25%. Don’t plagiarizer! But professional writers know how to rip themselves off without technically plagiarizing. It’s quick and easy. Exactly how many paragraphs you want to spend on this will depend upon your editorial needs. But don’t go overboard, or you’ll make the rest of this harder. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you actually have to argue against yourself!
  3. Now turn everything you’ve just said (and written for months) on its head. Point out that this is pie in the sky. Note that no one will elected a socialist. Write whatever you want. Just make the point that despite everything, it would be wrong to vote for Bernie Sanders. It doesn’t even have to make sense. For example, Krugman wrote, “Mr Sanders is the heir to candidate Obama, but Mrs Clinton is the heir to President Obama.” See that?! Candidate and president Obama are the same guy, so that statement actually means the opposite of what Krugman means, given both Sanders and Clinton are in candidate mode. But it doesn’t matter. Clinton is good because whatever and Sanders is bad because whatever, but make sure everyone knows that you actually agree with Sanders more.

Done! File that and go spend some more time with John Paul White. You’ve done enough thinking for a career. As for me, I just made a contribution to the Bernie Sanders campaign and bought a very cool shirt. So I feel I’ve done a good turn for both camps. I’ve given money to Bernie, and I’ve allowed otherwise decent liberals to write their hack Hillary articles more easily.

I’m like a saint or something!

Update (23 January 2016 5:45)

Robert Reich takes on Krugman directly and persuasively, Bernie’s Movement. It’s really short. Give it a read.

As Usual the Republican Base Is Being Scammed

Donald TrumpI feel like a guy walking around town wearing a sandwich board that read, “The End Is Nigh!” How long can we continue to pretend that the Republican Party is rational? It really is very simple. You have the Republican elites. They are more or less what used to be called the Country Club Republicans: rich people who want the party to give them more money through less taxation, less regulation, and more direct giveaways like bank bailouts. If the Republican Party as an institution stands for anything, this is what it is. They don’t care about balanced budgets; they don’t care about abortion; and they sure as hell don’t care about same sex marriage. In other words, they don’t care about what the Republican base cares about.

The problem, of course, is that a party that is really only interested in catering to the wishes of the 1% (more like 0.01% — but the 1% does very well too) is only really popular with the one percent. And that’s about how much of the vote the party would get if it were honest about what it is all about. Now the knock on the Democratic Party is that it is all about identity politics. This is nonsense. It is the Republican Party that is all about identity. It was Barack Obama who said, “There are no red states or blue states, just the United States.” It’s the Republican Party that talks incessantly about the “real” America, as though anyone not voting Republican isn’t an American. According to them, the Republican base is the only “real America.”

As with everything Trump on the right, the real issue is that they think he cannot win. Because Trump will provide them with tax cuts. He will cut regulations. He will protect the interests of the power elite. They don’t care about anything else.

The the Republican elites — starting most profoundly with Ronald Reagan — came up with this idea that they could pander to the Christian social conservatives. They could, as Thomas Frank put it, get them riled up and angry at rich rock stars so that the Republican base would march down to the polls and lower those rock stars’ taxes. These are people who are not interested in more tax cuts for the rich. They don’t think that it is okay to poison a generation of people in Flint, Michigan. They don’t think that trillions of dollars should have been spent bailing out the banks.

So now The National Review is out with a whole issue dedicated to trashing Donald Trump. And I suppose that Jonathan Chait is more or less correct in his assessment, “Conservatives fear him not because he is an ignorant demagogue, but because he’s not their ignorant demagogue.” But the issue is that Republican politics is a con. It is a way of getting a bunch of people to vote about issues that the Republicans won’t do much about, even while the party does do things that the Republican base isn’t that keen on.

Obviously, the Republican Party is reaping what it has sown. But this is always the case. And it is especially true of The National Review. This is the magazine that was originally started to pretend that the conservative movement wasn’t really about hatred but about high minded ideals. The fact that it immediately picked a fight with the Civil Rights movement and showed itself to be a bigoted publication just makes for great irony. But now it is against Donald Trump because he’s a bigot and not a real conservative and ignorant and whatever else the 19 writers I will not be reading have to say.

As with everything Trump on the right, the real issue is that they think he cannot win. Because Trump will provide them with tax cuts. He will cut regulations. He will protect the interests of the power elite. They don’t care about anything else. And Trump is using the same tactic that Republicans have been using to win elections ever since Eisenhower. Whoever the Republicans nominate will not be nominated because he is a big believer in supply side economics; he will be nominated because the rage filled base hears in his rhetoric what they believe: that they are being unfairly attacked by “those people” — where “those people” are anyone you want to name, except for the people who are really responsible: the Republican establishment itself. And if the Republican base thinks that Trump is not part of that establishment, it is just another sign that you Lincoln’s “some of the people all of the time” is the Republican base.

Morning Music: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Nick CaveDoes it seems like I’ve been skating through this week of Nick Cave? Does it seems like I’ve been skating through the whole week regarding everything? It seems like that to me. I must admit, I’m tired. Really. It takes so much more effort to write for Frankly Curious than it does for my day job. It’s weird, I think. I mean, I can write whatever I want here in any way that I want to. Maybe it is just a matter that I know what is expected of me there. It isn’t crap. But it is soulless. You all deserve something better.

I’m thinking of doing something for the Morning Music posts next week that I know a whole lot about. That always makes things easier. Nick Cave has always been this guy who I admire but I didn’t follow. I didn’t rush out and buy his newest albums the way I did with a number of other artists. So in a sense, I needed to spend as much time on Nick Cave as I did on the music of Mali. But like I said, I’ve been really tired. I’m looking forward to finishing this post just so I can take a nap.

We are going to end the week with a live concert of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from 2001. I do tend to like his later work more. And this concert has the distinct advantage of no mustache. I don’t know what he was thinking. This concert has a couple of unfortunate interview sections, but otherwise it is really great. And I admire what he says about his religious beliefs being fluid. It seems to me that if you take religion seriously, then your thinking has to be fluid. Anyway, this is a fine way to spend three-quarters of an hour:

Annivesary Post: Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth BlackwellOn this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female doctor in American history. Of course, that was at the time when being a doctor was mostly about being strong enough to saw people’s limbs off. Still, that really wasn’t that long ago, and it is hard not to say, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” Yes, I understand that the diminutive is sexist in this context. I bring it up only because it was the slogan for Virginia Slims cigarettes. Elizabeth Blackwell was born in 1821. Had she been born in 1921, she almost certainly would have been a smoker, and thus not have lived to be 89 years old.

Of course, Elizabeth Blackwell’s efforts at being a doctor were not terribly successful for exactly the reasons you would expect. And she is probably more important today as a civil rights pioneer than as a doctor. She was very big in pushing for the education of women. And not surprisingly, she was a major abolitionist. She and her sisters (her sister Emily was the third woman to get a medical degree in the US) helped to start a nursing program during the Civil War — something that the male doctors were none too happy about. But that’s only because they were men and men are, in general, awful.