Morning Ed: Politics {2017.03.26.Su}

Andrew Heaton makes the case for an American monarchy. I see the virtues of monarchies, though I think it just runs too much against our particular national character.

Take note, Texas. {Or don’t}

Adam Gurri writes about how modern liberalism needs to reconcile itself with nationalism, to some degree, Kristian Niemietz argues that the left and right both have some hard work ahead of them fighting populism, and in Jacobin Daniel Finn argues that there’s no going back on Brexit.

Eric Kaufmann looks at the relationship between Muslim immigration and backlash, and how the latter can be prevented.

Minnesota has done right by going left.

Jeff Spross argues that the Democrats should go full-throttle for full employment. Tim Bartik, though, says it’s not feasible.

Maybe it was the US’s role to primarily be the cautionary tale in others’ stories?

Is disagreement becoming personal prejudice? I don’t know. What I do know is that if you are ever – ever tempted to tag something as the “last acceptable prejudice”… just don’t.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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86 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Politics {2017.03.26.Su}

  1. The last article is so wonderfully dismissive. There are good arguments for some Tory economic policies. And Tories, by and large, are not that socially conservative anymore (there are still many such conservative MPs, but the platofrm as far as I can tell does not reflect their views). For instance, in the West Midlands (which is where I am right now) the Tory candidate for Mayor is an openly gay person. This is not your republican party. Yet, many of your colleagues will openly call you stupid and evil for even thinking of voting Tory. The strength of the anti-Tory sentiment seems out of proportion to any honest assessment of its merits qua party or platform or for that matter the candidate himself. And moreover, it is psychologically painful to be in an environment in which people are openly contemptuous of you. So, there does seem to be a genuine complaint here: People are hating on Tories disproportionate to any reason someone could have to hate them and that is hurting people.

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      • Most of the other parties went pro ssm in 2009. The labour government dithered over actually lifting the ban. The tories said that they would consider legalisation if elected. And when they did win the election got it done in 2013. The thing is, no one thinks the Tories are socially conservative, at least not in the major cities. Its the non-socialism that gets academics so angry.

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  2. I….find myself slightly agreeing with Heaton. I’ve thought from time to time that maybe we need to go so something like a system with a Foreign Minister and Home Minister (someone once pointed out to me that the various state governors could fill the role of Home Minister(s)). And then have a figurehead figure who throws state dinners and goes to funerals of foreign dignitaries and the like.

    I don’t know if we could afford it, though – the various Ministers would require security details and salaries and the like, and then our Figurehead would require a security detail, and a budget for a let’s-impress-the-foreign-leaders dinners, and the like.

    And yes, we would have to choose *very* wisely, but our culture being what it is, I would not be surprised, if we went down that path, to wind up with someone like the most outrageous reality tv star or the like as our Figurehead Figure. (Though Kelsey Grammar, yeah….I kind kind of see it, but then I’ve always sort of liked Kelsey Grammar.)

    But the potential of a hereditary monarch with lots of power – not just no, but Hell no. (I am beginning to lean towards the idea that we should have another Amendment – like the one limiting Presidents to two terms – but one saying no brother, sister, son, daughter, father, mother, or spouse of someone who was once president should be permitted to run; we’ve come dangerously close to “legacy” families there)

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  3. Andrew Heaton deserves repeated punches in the face. Not because his points on monarchy are incorrect but because he is projected how Republican voters treated Republican Presidents onto Democrats. The Republicans treated GWB the same way until the near end of his presidency and many of them worship Donald Trump as God-Emperor. Let us all not forget the Cult of Saint Ronaldus Magnus. Only JFK and FDR have the same cult like status.

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          • and the date movie!

            and the showtime series about his law school days.

            and most disappointing of all, they didn’t name the showtime thing “the barry diaries” because that would have been funny.

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            • I just want a ruling on the field –

              If we nominate a boring egghead like Al Gore, we’re slammed for thinking we know everything.

              If we nominate a charismatic bastard like Clinton, we’re slammed for supporting an obvious corrupt lout.

              If we nominate a classy young-ish guy (by politician standards) with an interesting background and an awesome marriage, we’re slammed for worshiping him too much because a movie about his life doesn’t include, I don’t know, enough criticism of his drone policy?

              So, just who are we supposed to nominate? Asking for a friend.

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              • You’re misunderstanding the criticism. SNL (to use my example), never had a problem ‘going after’ Al Gore or either Clinton (or both of them at once) (or Bernie for that matter). But after two years of campaigning in the public eye, and eight years of presidenting, the Not Ready for Prime Time gang could never get a comedic edge on Obama. And wrapped up his tenure literally as schoolgirls with a crush on their teacher.

                That’s a ridiculous amount of hagiography But to be clear, not universal. Stewart and to a lesser Colbert (because of his schitck) were both able to get a bead on Obama.

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                • Is it possible the decision was largely artistic/commercial?

                  Obama is not without his faults. But what line of comedy can you target at him that would resonate with their target audience? Dad jeans? As a sketch show, their approach is very different than the late night guys.

                  Clinton, Gore, Sanders, and now Trump have tons of fodder for sketch comedy. Obama just didn’t.

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                  • Allow me to break it down further. (and really, this is almost entirely directed at Saturday Night Live than ‘liberals’ or the ‘entertainment industry’, or anything else)

                    Clearly, their artistic muses failed them. At least a 100 person-years of comedy writing effort, and they couldn’t come up with a single running joke. That’s a rather large failure, but, yeah, they all can’t be hits. I would note that Key & Peele are effective sketch comedy writers & performers and *did* come up with an effective line of comedy on Obama.

                    A ‘commercial’ decision to not be able to take on Obama is a lot less forgivable. First of all, SNL is pretty much a fiefdom all its own. Network pressure certainly exists, but is minimal. Lorne Michaels has enough money, enough of his own production company to tell NBC to pound sand if push came to shove, and NBC doesn’t have many other options. (it’s not like they’re going to bring back Saturday Night’s Main Event).

                    A commercial decision where pressure is coming from underneath, from the audience, is also not a very good excuse. SNL is on at a late hour with a very young skewing audience (for network TV). Their whole thing is (or at least used to be) avant garde taste making to *get* their target audience to aligned with them (i.e. they don’t go to the audience, their audience comes to them)

                    Finally, even if they never got a chance to take their shot, they never got tone like a Top Gunner on a MiG, they did not merely go weapons safe.

                    The Hillary Hallelujah cold open was right on the edge, but even though it was pretty much the same sort of schema they use after a terrorist attack or some other tragedy, it did incorporate the thru lines of a few running gags and other meta-textual commentary. So, OK.

                    But then, a few months later, two of the (better) actresses perform “To Sir With Love” with a picture of Obama behind them, straight up, unironically, in the 10 to 1 spot.

                    When SNL went reverential towards power, *that* is an unforgivable sin. Especially in comedy.

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                      • It’s not about ‘mocking’ Obama. It’s getting *any* sort of comedy angle on him, which the anger translator bit does.

                        Even SNL’s current take on Trump should be stronger. Baldwin has a very good core performance (because Trump’s early professional life is Baldwin’s character from Glengarry Glenn Ross, and Trump’s later professional career is Baldwin’s character from 30 Rock), but the writing staff is already running out of ideas, recycling Will Farrell era Dubya jokes but putting Trump in that spot.

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                        • Obama crashing the girls’ sleepover in dad jeans and lame dad jokes, desperate for approval (maybe he takes a poll, reading stories in the Obama voice, speaking differently to the white kids vs the black kids coulda played.

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                        • Sure, they could even have used him as a foil to make fun of the republicans… there could have been an ongoing skit around “Obama attempts to make friends with Republicans” gag – which would have echoed one of the [soto voce] complaints I heard about Obama for 8-years.

                          Skit 1: Obama plans a tea party…

                          Good satire is about something you love… Portlandia is much funnier for poking fun at Liberals than if it went after Conservatives.

                          I can’t say why, precisely, Obama was mostly ignored… but he was. I suspect that the simple answer is probably the best answer: any attempt at humor would have diminished him (at least a little bit), and that was not a strategy the team wanted to pursue.

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  4. Liberals and nationalism: There are some liberal and libertarian ideas that they have never be able to convince the majority of like Freedom of Movement and Freedom from Capital. I suspect that these happen because the benefits to the masses seem defuse and most people don’t want to move. They want to stay in their area generally. Provincialism is real. Freedom of Movement also seems to mainly benefit the very poor and the very well off more. Your average American can’t afford much international travel and doesn’t have the time for it.

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  5. Full employment: I am for it but it is a political non-starter. There interesting thing is that even government employees can rail aganist other government employees for just collecting pensions

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  6. Re Brexit… Official Article 50 notification is supposed to happen Wednesday, and the EU expected to acknowledge receipt by Friday. There seem to be a surprising number of Labour MPs that still think they can vote to call the whole thing off down the road if they don’t like the terms. Haven’t they read the treaty? Part of me still expects the Trump Administration to announce next week that they’ve got the UK’s back in its struggle against the Continent, and will fast-track a free-trade agreement to take effect as soon as the UK is officially out of the EU.

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  7. That Chicago Tribune article on Minnesota liberalism being good for the economy is supposed to bolster Illinois Democrats as they look into the abyss. A lot of cherry-picking in that article.

    Minnesota is not the most liberal state in the Midwest. Illinois’ Democratic House Speaker is about to set the record for the longest duration as a House Speaker in the United States (34 years). Until last Fall, Democrats had veto-proof supermajorities in both legislative chambers for the past 14 years.

    His claim that liberal “tax and spend” policies are good for budgets is also refuted by Illinois, which raised income taxes at about the same time as Minnesota with a 66% temporary tax increase to get the budget under control that reveted to a smaller permanent tax increase. The budget did not balance with tax and spend policies, and now more income tax increases are required and Democrats wouldn’t pass tax increases after squandering the last tax increase just a few years previously.

    Illinois is now continuing a national record of years without passing a budget. Perhaps the author means that Minnesota Democrats are better than Illinois Democrats, which is probably true. And this is partly the fault of the newspaper coverage at the state level, which is usually flippant at best.

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  8. Some sort of seperation between Head of Government and Head of State in increasingly looking like the best way to do things.

    There is also an option of breaking up the Imperial Presidency by more national elected positions with specific enumerated powers (and no loopholes)

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    • It would need to be something like that because instituting a monarchy at this stage in the game seems like an obvious non-starter. Keep the elected position of President* but strip it of any real power, sorta like the governor of Texas, so it becomes mostly about the pomp and ceremony.

      ETA: The Trump administration may very well prove out to be the impetus to move in that direction.

      * A title consciously chosen because it was so pedestrian and unimpressive.

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