Open Thread for Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Way to go there, Father!

Way to go there, Father!

Just to toss out a few possible topics:

  1. Belgian monks resurrect 220-year-old beer after finding recipe — Some news we can all agree is good. Actually, the recipe is from the 12th century. They haven’t produced it in 220 years because the monastery was burned down by French revolutionaries. Further evidence supporting my firm belief that on the whole, the French revolutionaries were a bunch of a__holes. And don’t even get me started on that Buonaparte…
  2. Hitchens on what was wrong with ‘Master and Commander’ — This piece is more than 15 years old and Christopher Hitchens is dead. But I just ran across it (trying to remember, upon writing the item above, how O’Brian spelled “Bonaparte”) and thought I’d share it, for Bryan and Mike and anyone else interested.
  3. Democrats’ Impeachment Divide Tests Pelosi — Oh, come on, people. Just get behind Joe and fix the problem in 2020. Yes, he should be impeached. He richly deserves it. But will it solve the problems posed by Trumpism? No, it will not.
  4. ‘I Don’t Want an Exciting President’ — An opinion piece by Michelle Goldberg, and as usual, I disagree. She counsels Democrats against choosing Joe just because they think he can win. She says they should follow their passion. I give this for their passion. If they’re excited about someone other than Joe, they should take a sedative. Enthusiasm of the masses, devoid of thought, is not the way out of this problem. It’s how we got Trump to start with. Anyway (he says, shifting gears suddenly), Joe’s the only candidate worth getting excited about. So there.
  5. ‘Grab ‘em by the ballot box’: Activists at SC State House target abortion bans in 2020 — I don’t know about you, but I am really, really dreading the role that abortion is likely to play in next year’s election. The passions are stirred on both sides, and I’ve just told you how I feel about people and their passions.
  6. Bond film extra killed with fatal dose of chemsex drug, jury told — Uhhhh, what’s a “chemsex drug?” Sounds like something invented by, well, a Bond villain. Which I suppose is why this is being played prominently by The Guardian.

100 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, May 21, 2019

  1. Bryan Caskey

    That is a wonderful review. It brought me back to the books, and I agree with all Hitchens had to say.

    I wish I could write that incicevely.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That boy was sharp. I disagreed with him about a bunch of stuff, but he was sharp. Did you know he had a brother, who is sort of his opposite? Peter Hitchens is a Christian and a conservative, and has written books arguing with his brother. I just learned that today…

      And yes, he is spot on. The greatest flaw with the movie is the complete and utter failure to even try to portray Stephen properly.

      Did you notice that the review linked to a longer piece Hitchens had written about the whole series of books? I almost subscribed to the New York Review of Books just so I could read that piece. But I need to finish reading the books first…

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Peter Hitchens was born in Malta, where his Dad was stationed while in the Royal Navy.

        I like what Christopher said about their Dad: “the remark that most summed him [his father] up was the flat statement that the war of 1939 to 1945 had been ‘the only time when I really felt I knew what I was doing’.”

        He paid tribute to the father by saying: “Sending a Nazi convoy raider to the bottom is a better day’s work than any I have ever done.”

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Whoa, those boys seem to have had a messy home life:

          “His mother, Yvonne Jean Hitchens (née Hickman; 1921–1973), committed suicide in Athens[3] in a pact with her lover, a defrocked clergyman named Timothy Bryan.[4] The pair overdosed on sleeping pills in adjoining hotel rooms, and Bryan slashed his wrists in the bathtub.”

          Reply
  2. bud

    Enthusiasm of the masses, devoid of thought, is not the way out of this problem.
    -Brad

    Hmm. Who is devoid of thought? I suggest it’s the Joe Biden supporters. Apparently it just isn’t a consideration that this man is 76 years old. Give that a bit of thought. Think about that. Ponder that. Reflect on that. It astounds me that people set that aside so easily. There are many, many other issues that bother me about Biden. Besides, I’m not sure he really is the most electable. I suspect many young voters will stay home come election day if 2 septuagenarians are running. The white, male blue collar voters really are small in number. Not sure a Democrat should make a strong pitch for that shrinking demographic. The Democrats can put states like Arizona, North Carolina and even Texas in play if they appeal to the young, hipster voters. Ain’t gonna happen with Joe Biden. Anyway, time for my top 5 (in no particular order) and 5 that I will definitely not vote for in the primary:

    Pete Buttigieg (comes across as a very bright young talent)
    Cory Booker (steady voice of reason)
    Elizabeth Warren (the ultimate voice of pragmatic, liberal ideas)
    Jay Inslee (really great champion for climate issue)
    Kamila Harris (seems like a good combination of ideas, passion and experience. Probably my number 1 right now)

    Bottom 5
    Seth Moulton (Really dumb statements about his military service. Can’t be trusted)
    Bernie Sanders (Love Bernie but he’s just too old)
    Kirsten Gillibrand (Threw Al Franken under the bus for no good reason)
    Tulsi Gabbard (She had her unsettling Jane Fonda moment)
    and of course
    Joe Biden (Too old, voted for Iraq war resolution, terrible at Clarence Thomas hearing, creepy)

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      The more I live, the more I see, the more I THINK, the more dismissive I am of people who bring passion and enthusiasm to politics.

      Give me reason. Give me discernment. Give me thought. Leave your passion at home, please. The world has had enough of it poisoning human affairs.

      I’m talking mostly here about ideology, of course, whatever your ism.

      Joe Biden has a certain kind of passion that I see as good — the guy loves people. It’s a totally nondiscriminatory thing. He loves people, and he loves public service. Else he wouldn’t be running at his age. Frankly, I’m mindful that Joe, who passed on it last time, is giving the nation a great gift by running this time. Because if he weren’t running, we’d be in serious want of a worthwhile candidate….

      Reply
  3. Mr. Smith

    “Joe’s the only candidate worth getting excited about.”

    Sounds like somebody’s replacing one cult of personality with another cult of personality.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Not really. He’s just the only reasonably sensible person whose worldview was formed before left and right treated each other as different species, and acts like it. The only one, out of 23. Once, a candidate with those characteristics wouldn’t have been remarkable. Now it is…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Joe does generate excitement, that’s for sure. 60% or more of his own party think he’s not the best choice for President despite having a resume that should put him in Hillary 2016 category. He generates more anger and animosity within his own party than anyone else — primarily because he IS a relic of the old days – back slapping, backroom dealers – with no commitment to the core issues that progressives have been talking about for years.

        He’s already talking about unity with Republicans once he wins. That is not happening and he looks foolish for suggesting it. Is he really so out of touch that he thinks Democrats WANT him to work with Mitch McConnell?

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I assume that by “back slapping, backroom dealers” you mean rational human beings sitting down and dealing with each other respectfully in spite of differences, and figuring out a way forward.

          It was just SO awful, it’s a wonder anyone could stand it. Much better to spit on the ground every time the name of the other party is mentioned. That solves SO many problems.

          Give me a break…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Also, show me your statistics on how Democrats hate Joe. Then show me the comparable numbers for the other candidates. You know, the list on which the top person doesn’t poll half as well as Joe…

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              I don’t need the statistics. I go by the responses I see from Democrats on Twitter… people with large followings.. Every time Biden talks about unity and deflects on Medicare for All, they get fired up. It’s palpable. This isn’t just Bernie Bros vs. Hillary. It’s much larger than that.

              Joe (and you) underestimates the backlash he is going to suffer when he actually has to face his opponents.

              Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        “so well” = 2/3 of his party would prefer someone else. His only way up from there is when others drop out and he (hopes) becomes the least worst next candidate. Do we really think Bernie voters are just going to shift to Biden?

        If he doesn’t win Iowa or NH, then he has to hope and pray he wins in SC with two decent African American candidates in the mix. But then I can see Joe’s team working behind the scenes to get Harris or Booker to drop out in exchange for a VP slot.

        Reply
      2. Mr. Smith

        “The main reason Biden continues to do so well is that people actually like him.”

        That’s just another way of describing a cult based around personality.

        Besides, supporting Biden simply because he’s the supposed antidote to Trump is a kind of backward-looking approach to choosing a candidate. It says: we need him because he’s not HIM.
        It focuses on the short-term past and is purely reactive to that past. That hardly seems very thoughtful.

        Reply
    2. bud

      I had the same thought. Brad really hasn’t put forth anything tangible about Biden that would make someone persuadable (like me) take another look. It’s all about the good ole days of civil political discourse.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Actually, there’s a good deal more to what I’ve said than that.

        To summarize:

        1. He has the experience. None of the other people have done anything that is decent preparation for the job. Nor, with the exception of maybe Bernie and to a lesser extent Warren, have they been on the national scene long enough for us to have formed an informed impression of them and their characters. And the latter is hugely important. We know what we need to know about Joe.
        2. He would sincerely seek to be EVERYBODY’s president. That’s not just what he says on the stump; it’s who he is. We don’t need a president for the Republicans who tells all the Democrats to go to hell or vice versa. And we don’t need someone who believes the way to govern is to get a majority plus one and cram your agenda down the nation’s throat.
        3. We know, from experience, that he would treat other people — everyday voters, members of Congress from both parties, others in government, foreign leaders — with decency and RESPECT. I’m a little surprised at the way some of y’all — such as Bryan — have been dismissive of this. Yet it is a prerequisite for getting this nation back on track, for saving the dream that is America. No, playing nice doesn’t solve all our problems. But addressing those problems like a decent grownup is a precondition to solving problems.

        I could continue, but on all of these scores, Joe is head and shoulders above the competition. And these qualities are all essential to the kind of leader we need at this point in our history…

        Reply
        1. bud

          I could continue, but on all of these scores, Joe is head and shoulders above the competition.
          -Brad

          Fair enough. Biden is a nice guy with a long history of service. I doubt he can really work with Republicans any better than Obama. No one tried harder than Obama. Or for that matter most of the other Democrats. Besides, I’m not sure the whole bipartisan approach works all that well anyway. As many have pointed out both Vietnam and Iraq were bipartisan affairs. Both were awful examples of our government’s work product.

          And these qualities are all essential to the kind of leader we need at this point in our history…
          -Brad

          Again, not really buying that narrative right now. Perhaps the GOP will change once Trump is gone. But the odds suggest otherwise. For me this election is about winning. Joe is making his case that he is the best candidate to beat Trump. I’ll keep an open mind on that but I suggest to the Biden supporters there is a pretty darn good case to be made that he is NOT the most electable and that it is dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket.

          Reply
  4. Bart

    Enthusiasm of the masses, devoid of thought, is not the way out of this problem.
    -Brad

    Unfortunately, this is an accurate comment. The regulars on Brad’s blog are astute observers of the political and social issues of the day and their comments confirm this observation. However, when one takes time to talk to the “masses”, seldom do we find the same degree of research of each candidate to determine if their political and social positions are the same as theirs and if their candidate can appeal to a larger demographic than the oppositions. Sometimes we need to stop and re-examine ours when we look at the atmosphere in our nation’s capitol and the make-up of our elected representatives.

    My observation is that at the present time, the best comparison is the movie, “Idiocracy”. This seems to be the direction we are moving in whether one supports the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or Libertarian. The fragmentation of our nation is at a very high level and each fragment is seeking to bring as many into their fold as possible.

    On the Democrat side, every new face with appeal brings supporters for the moment. Sustaining support is the key element and so far, not one has been able to put any real distance between him or her and the other candidates with the exception of Joe Biden. Unfortunately the Republicans only have Trump and that is a terrible position for most of us who are conservatives with moderate to left leanings on many issues of the day.

    It will be a very interesting few months ahead as the Democratic Party culls the large herd of candidates. Wish the Republican Party had the same problem. All they have is a bright orange glowing mane of hair to consider.

    Reply
    1. bud

      Unfortunately the Republicans only have Trump and that is a terrible position for most of us who are conservatives with moderate to left leanings on many issues of the day.
      -Bart

      Actually the Republicans COULD choose a different direction. This is a willful decision by self-described Republicans to support this man. Bill Weld is actively running for the GOP nomination. He’s a pretty sensible center-right guy. Trump isn’t the problem, he’s just a symptom.

      Reply
      1. Bart

        “Trump isn’t the problem, he’s just a symptom.”

        Disagree, Trump is the problem. He is the virus infecting the Republican Party. They just don’t have enough sense to find a good doctor who can treat the virus infecting them.

        Reply
  5. Dave Crockett

    I’ve been in the “impeachment is certainly warranted but not something to be pursued right now” camp for quite a while. And I know that any impeachment proceeding will never gain enough traction to remove the current squatter in the White House. I know it very well may be playing into Trump’s re-election strategy. And it certainly will generate still more political polarization in this country.

    But the escalation of the erosion of Congress’ co-equality with the Executive branch of government (which began long before Trump’s first comb-over) needs to be stemmed/reversed. And outside of impeachment proceedings, even if doomed to eventual failure, I don’t see how that reversal has any chance of beginning.

    The only possible alternative first step I see (and it’s a longshot) would be substantial judicial rulings, probably all the way up to the Supreme Court, to force the release of documents and permit non-grand jury witness testimony related to the President’s business empire and all aspects his relationship with the Russians.

    Simply getting behind Joe Biden won’t be enough in my book.

    Reply
  6. Bart

    A geochemist, Foster Brown, is working in the Acre in Brazil, a rain forest. He and the reporters from ProPublica authored an article about carbon credits and how they have failed to achieve the desired results. Without getting into all of the article, Brown made one of the most astute and honest comments that is applicable to the radicals on both sides of our political and social divide.

    “Perfection can be the enemy of delivery,” Brown said. “There are a whole bunch of problems with it. … What is the alternative?”

    This is a great example of why Biden is in the lead for the Democratic nomination for POTUS. Too many candidates are looking for “perfection” when they know it cannot be achieved, compromise will be necessary to avoid the constant battles the country is engaged in now. Obamacare is still under attack after so many years.

    A diamond may be classified as “flawless” or “perfection” but a politician’s platform and/or positions never will be.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Yes, Bart – that ties into Elizabeth Warren’s mantra “I have a plan for that”. She thinks she can just spew out all these “plans” and that they will magically transform the country — and that she will actually have the political capital to get them done. Bernie’s in the same boat with a new program of taxation and redistribution seemingly every day… it’s pure fantasy. Pick one thing (like Medicare for All) and stick to it. That’s what I like about Tulsi Gabbard. She stays on message about the primary role of the President is Commander in Chief and her goal would be to reduce our presence in foreign wars. She leads with that over and over. Because that’s something the President COULD do.

      Warren and Bernie just start listing off stuff knowing it won’t happen but getting the ignorant voters to think it will happen.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes, and you’re talking about the other two semi-viable alternatives to Joe (and far, far behind him), according to polls. The next after them is Kamala Harris at 8 percent. Wunderkind Pete Buttigieg is in fifth place with 5 or 6…

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And these people have all been running like crazy since… well, since before I joined the Smith campaign last year, in most cases.

          Joe just started. He’s kind of like Willie Mays Hayes, who woke up on his cot, saw a race had started, and immediately ran ahead of everybody like they were standing still…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I know what you’re gonna say: Willie Mays Hayes couldn’t hit. But he had other skills that made up for it. Actually, ONE other skill that made up for it…

            Reply
          2. Doug Ross

            Joe didn’t just start. Everyone knew he was going to be in it.. the polls reflect that. And, so far, he is running a Hillary style campaign. Highly packaged, low effort, try to coast to the nomination. It will fail once he hits the debates and has to deal with actual tough questions from his opponents. I think he just assumes everyone else will just be deferential toward him.

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              A large chunk of Biden’s polling numbers is based on name recognition alone. The number of Democrats who actually could identify even 3 other candidates who are running is probably pretty low. Wait til Joe gets on the debate stage with 10 others in June. People will start saying, “Oh, SHE looks interesting” or “Hey, who is this Mayor Pete guy? He seems pretty smart and energetic”… and “Boy, Joe is really looking old these days”.

              The only direction Biden can go is down in the next six months. Then he has to try and wait out the pack. I’m not sensing he has the energy or message to do that when faced with a long, grueling race and many much more energized candidates.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I worry about the debates and the effect they can have — and that’s independent of Joe being in the race.

                Debates, which I think have about as much to do with qualifications to be president as does an appearance on “The Voice,” can lead us down some very strange paths, especially with so many “contestants.” Someone says something that the TV audience thinks is cool or clever, or someone else misspeaks, and the course of history is changed.

                People think debates are worthwhile ways of picking a leader. I do not. I care about whether someone will make good decisions in the Oval Office with no one but an aide or two watching. Whether one is fast and clever on his or her feet in the reality-TV atmosphere of a “debate” is in no way a good predictor of that.

                It doesn’t even predict whether someone would be a good speaker as president. The dynamic of one person speaking to the nation is ENTIRELY different from a bunch of people on a stage competing for attention and trying to get in zingers.

                Moreover, I think those crowded debates helped Trump win in 2016. Sure, everything he said was stupid, but it was about getting attention, and causing others to fade into the background. (See JEB!)

                I used to not see it this way. When Reagan declined to debate in Iowa in 1980 I saw him as rightly losing ground because of it (and that’s what I wrote when I was in Des Moines covering the debate), and sure enough, he lost in Iowa.

                But now, under the right circumstances I could see respecting and admiring a candidate who refused to participate in such a circus…

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  I 100% agree that the debates are a terrible way to pick a President – including the final ones between the two remaining candidates.

                  But, just like the electoral college, you have to deal with the actual environment and not the one you want.

                  This is why I think Joe Biden sinks rather than rises. He is not cut out for a 10 man stage at this point in his life. I can see him getting a little huffy that he doesn’t garner all the attention that he thinks he deserves as a former VP. I won’t be surprised if he even decided to skip them and claim that as the front runner he doesn’t need to allow the others to appear to be on his level. There will likely be a lot of backroom negotiating by his handlers to make sure he is not stuck off on a side podium.

                  But I am looking forward to the first of his opponents who has the guts to call him out on his Iraq War vote, his crime bill that seriously affected the black community, and why he won’t support Medicare for All. If he stumbles on those questions, he’s toast.

                2. bud

                  I 100% agree that the debates are a terrible way to pick a President – including the final ones between the two remaining candidates.
                  -Doug

                  Compared to what? A giant rally in front of 10,000 rabid supporters? A scripted appearance on Meet the Press? The debates are actually a pretty good way for voters to the candidates side by side. ESPECIALLY when there are only 2 remaining candidates.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I kind of agree and kind of disagree with both of y’all…

                  I’m glad Doug is with me on how inadequate “debates” are (by which I mean the ones we get — a real Lincoln-Douglas debate might be helpful, since it involved extended examination of issues).

                  But I’m with Bud to the extent that, if debates are EVER helpful, it’s when there are only two candidates.

                  When there are a dozen or more people on a stage, it’s a sort of attention-deficit nightmare, and it’s all about who can make a quick impression — which is not a good indicator of who should hold the office…

                4. Doug Ross

                  Like listening to them speak on their own, unscripted, for more than two minutes. I’ve listened to Tulsi Gabbard in that mode for over three hours in separate interviews. I don’t want sound bites. She comes across as genuine and likeable.

                  I challenge you to listen to the first 30 minutes of the Joe Rogan interview and then decide if she is worth learning more about.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  The small bites I’ve read about her have been enough to keep her off my serious list. From that, I know you like her for reasons that I would not, if I recall correctly. For starters, you know I value experience very highly. So she doesn’t check some of the boxes that have to be checked before people get onto the short list.

                  But yeah, extended listening is a desirable thing. And of course, I’ve had that with Joe, long ago. I’ve told the story of the first time he came by to see us and stayed for 2.5 hours on our busiest day of the week. But I had asked him to come, so I couldn’t really do the looking-at-the-watch thing.

                  Since I finally figured out that my downtown walks were a good time to listen to podcasts, I’ve really enjoyed those deep dives into topics. If one of my podcasts does one on her, I’ll listen. That would be good to do with ALL the candidates, if someone takes that on.

                  Maybe she’ll be like Buttigieg for me. I like listening to him, although he’s seriously lacking in preparation to be POTUS, so I can’t be serious about him…

                6. Doug Ross

                  I’ll warn you, Brad, you will probably not like Tulsi Gabbard at all based on her views about the U.S. military policy. She also said she would pardon Snowden if elected.

                  The Rogan interview starts with them discussing Eisenhower’s farewell speech and his cautionary prediction about the rise of the military industrial complex. Gabbard mentions that in the first draft of the speech, Ike actually was going to say the “Congressional military industrial complex”… which speaks more accurately of the connection.

                7. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I am fascinated by the people who only remember one thing Ike ever said. Oh, by the way, guess what Ike used to beat Hitler? That same complex, ramped up into overdrive.

                  Nowadays, that machine’s just barely idling, compared to then.

                  I knew a guy in college who was sort of a studious geek type. When he spoke of his high school days he called the clique that excluded him the “socio-athletic complex.” I thought that was clever, for a kid…

                8. Doug Ross

                  Ike’s point was that WWII was a legitimate reason to fight a war but that in turn created private industries whose primary objective was to make sure that we kept on fighting wars in order for them to profit.

                  War profiteers have existed since the beginning of the country. Now they are just doing it legally. They have zero interest in peace.

            1. Doug Ross

              Exactly. Brad seems to ignore the fact that the most experienced Democrat who held the second highest office in the land for eight years up until just 2.5 years ago can only garner 35% of the potential voters as their first choice to be President right now. What exactly can he say or do that is going to convince more people to switch over to him? His only path is one of attrition of the other candidates. The debates are going to drag him down in my opinion. And the initial primaries are going to be just as difficult.

              Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  He’s got the highest name recognition and supposedly the most experience. There isn’t a good reason why he isn’t above 50% now if he’s such an obvious choice.

                  Hillary only had Bernie challenge her because everyone else knew she was unbeatable. All of the people running this year aren’t afraid of Joe Biden as being inevitable — because he’s not.

                  Let’s see if he can move the needle over the next several months. If he doesn’t win Iowa or NH, it’s going to be a long summer for him.

                  Plus NOBODY has started to go after him yet. He has nowhere to go but down.

                2. Doug Ross

                  When Al Gore ran for President in 2000, the first polls that came out early in the primary season had him at 50% against Bill Bradley, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, Bob Kerrey and Paul Wellstone. He coasted to victory in the primaries with Bradley being his only competition and he was gone by Super Tuesday.

                  Joe isn’t going to be able to just assume it’s his for the taking… and I’m not sure he has the energy or message that will get him to 50% anywhere any time soon,

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  That was a VERY different situation. Everyone knew it was Al’s turn. Joe’s (comparative) problem is that when he was in a similar situation, he chose not to run — because everyone had agreed it was Hillary’s turn. Al was just moving to the next step on the ladder; Joe’s on the comeback trail.

                  Also, you had a unified Democratic Party then. Since then, the party has developed a case of schizophrenia — the variety of candidates running, many of them quite unconventional and “out there” by comparison to where the party was in 2000 — testify to this.

                  2000 was a standard postwar contest, as far as the Democratic nominating process goes. Bradley, Gephardt, Kerry, Kerrey and Wellstone were very conventional candidates, all of whom would fit my definition of experience that prepares for the presidency, to varying degrees. Jesse Jackson lacked experience in elective office, but he was an inspirational figure who had been at the center of American life ever since he was standing next to MLK in his last moments on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

                  There was no Pete Buttigieg or Tulsi Gabbard in that group. That was a field of people who had paid their dues in full.

                  But the party was still a party then, and party leadership mattered then, and it was Al’s turn, period. And that was that.

                  Very different time; very different dynamic. Now, a figure who would have been HANDED the nomination back then has to fight his way past a horde of people who wouldn’t have been taken seriously back then.

                  All of which points to a problem aside from what we’re talking about.

                  It used to be that we had people like Bradley, Gephardt, et al., sitting on the bench ready to go in. That’s gone, especially for the Democrats.

                  Now, Joe is IT. There aren’t any Bradleys or Gephardts or Scoop Jacksons or Mo Udalls or Robert Byrds, or a John Glenn or a Fritz Hollings or a Paul Simon or a Sam Nunn or any of those people to lend heft to the field.

                  There wasn’t in 2016, either. There was just Hillary. This time, there’s just Joe.

                  Here’s where you give me a lecture about being out of touch and not realizing there are a lot of kids out there who don’t CARE about qualifications; they just want someone who makes them feel warm and fuzzy. Well, I know all that at least as well as you do, only I see it as a profound problem and you don’t.

                  The utter lack of concern among the American public about qualifications is a horrendous problem. It’s what gave us Donald Trump — something that could NEVER have happened in a previous moment in U.S. history — and actually briefly (sort of) threatened to make Bernie Sanders the Democratic nominee.

                  We live in a complicated world that requires smart, experienced, grounded adults to be in leadership positions, not this year’s flavor who happens to tickle enough fancies out there in the electorate.

                  What we need is about five people with Joe’s sort of resume competing for the nomination. But all we have is Joe, and a couple of other people close to his age but so far out in left field that they’d never have been given a moment’s serious consideration in 2000…

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Speaking of Gephardt… I had never thought much of him one way or the other back at that point. I probably thought of him much the way Doug thinks of people who’ve been in the system a long time — sort of a time-server, not very impressive.

                  But when he came by for an editorial board meeting ahead of the 2004 election, I was very surprised. It was the first (and only) time I ever met him, and he was a lot more impressive than I would have thought. That happened sometime, although not that often — a meeting completely changing my impression of a person.

                  OF course, another Joe — Lieberman — was my guy that year. But if he hadn’t been running, and Gephardt had still been in it, I might have gone for him for the nomination.

                  By the way, that same year — our meeting with John Kerry didn’t improve my impression of him a bit. And y’all know what I thought of John Edwards

                5. Mr. Smith

                  “there are a lot of kids out there who don’t CARE about qualifications; they just want someone who makes them feel warm and fuzzy.”

                  This grouchy “get those kids off my lawn” old man routine is getting old. I question the assertion that “kids” have a monopoly on the search for “warm and fuzzy.” Their elders are just if not more likely to suffer from that.

                  Besides, as one of my favorite new columnists, Elizabeth Bruenig (herself a 20-something), wrote recently:
                  “It’s also important to remember that the alienation between millennials and their parents’ generation — baby boomers, mostly — is genuine and laced with resentment. Among the young there exists a real faith that boomers squandered opportunities to care for the environment, embraced austerity politics at the expense of needier generations and created a deregulated financial system that has left millennials saddled with debt and grim prospects. Facing the world we’re left with, why would today’s up-and-comers look for solutions among the scads of boomer and boomeresque candidates cluttering the field?”

                6. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Uh, kids, it was the boomers’ elders who “squandered opportunities to care for the environment, embraced austerity politics at the expense of needier generations and created a deregulated financial system.”

                  Apparently you weren’t paying attention when our generation was saying all that stuff back in the ’60s and ’70s…

                7. Brad Warthen Post author

                  More seriously…

                  I hear a lot of that resentment of people my age from the kids today, which has struck me as pretty silly and doesn’t help me respect their judgment any more.

                  SNL had a mock game show recently that was entirely about that. I saw it and was like, what the… but kids apparently thought it was hilarious…

                8. Brad Warthen Post author

                  In other words, those ideas you quote from Elizabeth Bruenig are already kind of a millennial cliche, like being slackers and expecting to be promoted to vice president in their first three months on a job.

                  Perhaps no more fair than the other stereotypes, but it’s one of those memes out there…

                9. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Perhaps I’d be more sympathetic to the millennials’ gripe that boomers hogged all the resources if my financial future hadn’t been torpedoed when I got laid off.

                  Yeah, I see the ridiculously well-off boomers around me, but I don’t see it as a generational thing. In fact, I see a number of people in my generation — and I’m not just talking journalists, but all sorts of people whose livelihoods didn’t recover from the recession — who are also little better off than millennials struggling in jobs without benefits.

                  Whether one is doing well in the present economy seems more a matter of personal circumstances than age…

                10. Doug Ross

                  Actually I thought Gephardt was the model of a decent politician. He seemed to be honest, hard working, and intelligent. Not a grandtstander. It is possible to be a hard working politician… it’s just a rarity.

                11. Doug Ross

                  Find myself agreeing with Mr. Smith frequently these days. It’s important to note that the political environment that exists today isn’t due to young people. It;s the direct result of the Bush’s, Cheney’s, Clintons, McConnell, Pelosi, Schumer, etc. It’s the politics of baby boomers. Which is why people like Bernie, Biden, Warren, etc. need to get out of the way and let a new generation take the lead.

                  I’ve said it before but recent years seem to track with what was going on in the country 50 years ago. Lots of dissension among young people. But a lot of energy devoted to changing the political system. Time for the hippies to take over from the squares again.

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    Wait a sec… did nobody comment on the rediscovery of the 12th-century beer? I thought that was a cool story.

    When I was in Ireland, I had lunch in a 12th-century pub. But I just had a regular Harp with my Irish stew…

    Reply
  8. Mr. Smith

    First of all, this nostalgia for bipartisanship is just that: nostalgia.
    Bipartisanship was a brief Cold War era break from the norm.

    Secondly, the GOP will not snap back once Trump is gone.
    The country will not snap back either.
    What we saw in 2016 was a country snapping into a different position as a result of various pressures built up over time. Trump is a symptom of those systemic developments.
    I’m not saying this is a good thing. I’m just facing up to what is.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Agree. Mitch McConnell ain’t going away.. and when he does go, there will not be some great unifier stepping in. It’s no different than Pelosi and Schumer on the other side. They aren’t interested in compromise or unity either.

      Reply
    2. Mark Stewart

      I believe what we are experiencing is the natural hollowing out and decay of our political parties, the same thing as what happens with everything living.

      The Democrats went through this over 30 years ago. Their party became so fragmented between the unions, lefties, and disgruntled Dixiecrats that there was simply no way for this toxic coalition to continue to hold. The Republicans are feeling this now. What’s interesting is that in the first case the party was remade by the departure of the southern white conservatives, and in the later by their take-over of the old “country club” Republican party.

      Maybe one day we will be able to step away – politically and culturally (even in the southern states) – from the abject cynicism of the southern conservative “fundamentalism”? The problem we have is that the “base” that is so electrified by Trump’s showmanship and chaotic jousting is exactly the kind of personality that finds it extremely difficult to admit they have been had – or, this might be even worse, actually just never knew better. The only thing an impeachment will prove is that Trump is a con – and a mentally unfit one at that. The base simply won’t ever hear that message; it won’t move them to complain to their senators that Trump must be removed from office. The country will be bitterly divided – by the cynical power a minority of Republican senators will hold over the Senate’s trial.

      When the history books are written, Donald Trump will just be a sad chapter of the kind of national waywardness that has occurred in America from time to time over the centuries. Mitch McConnell, however, will find himself pilloried for the calculated way he placed party over country; at every turn.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Let’s hope you’re right about a future in which rational people write sensibly about this moment of madness.

        Although maybe this time calls for a less balanced chronicler. Unfortunately, Hunter Thompson’s not around to write “Fear and Loathing in the 21st Century…”

        Reply
          1. Mark Stewart

            Have you ever been to Barstow? I would like to drive I-40 sometime from Knoxville on west, cuts through most of the parts of America I have yet to visit. But ending up in Barstow? Ughhh

            Reply
  9. bud

    Let’s see if Brad has a point about presidents “paying their dues”. Here is the elective office experience prior to assuming office for all the post WWII presidents:

    Harry Truman – US Senate-10 years; Vice President-less than 3 months
    Dwight Eisenhower – None
    John Kennedy – US House-6 years; US Senate-nearly 8 years
    Lyndon Johnson – US House-12 years; US Senate-12 years; Vice President-2+ years
    Richard Nixon – US House 4 years; US Senate 2 years; Vice President 8 years
    Gerald Ford – US House 24 years; Vice President 8 months
    Jimmy Carter – GA State Senate 4 years; GA Governor 4 years
    Ronald Reagan – CA Governor 8 years
    George H. W. Bush – US House 4 years; Vice President 8 years
    Bill Clinton – AR Attorney General 2 years; AR Governor 12 years
    George W. Bush – TX Governor 6 years
    Barack Obama – IL Senate 8 years; US Senate 4 years
    Donald Trump – None

    Pretty wide range. Of course this is just elective office. What else should count as “paying your dues”? Pretty subjective. If you start counting military experience then Buttigieg and Gabbard suddenly look much more qualified. There are many candidates in the Democratic field this year that have more elective experience than Ike, Carter or Dubya. For example, Jay Inslee served a 15 year tenure in the US House (legislative experience) and 6+ governor (executive). Has Governor Inslee not “paid his dues”? Brad is clearly just throwing stuff at the wall and hope something sticks in order to make his darling Biden look like the only “qualified” person running. Nonsense.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      I would actually count time as a vice president as having little value. It’s the ultimate do nothing position. Biden has basically been on the bench for a decade. No responsibility, no actual tasks besides being a yes man for the President. Well, unless you’re Dick Cheney…

      Reply
    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, everything I said makes perfect sense.

      JFK and Obama are the standouts — both lacked the experience a careful person usually wants to see in a president. Of course, both were extraordinarily gifted politicians. They were “naturals” whose gifts sort of made up for inexperience. I’m not seeing that among the current crowd of newbies. Buttigieg has a sort of “smart kid whose parents trot him out to impress the guests” vibe going on, but he’s not a Kennedy or an Obama.

      Oh, and yeah… Ike saving the world from Hitler qualifies as “paying your dues”…

      The shocker in the bunch of course is Truman, whom everybody saw as a nonentity when FDR named him. In his case, people didn’t fully appreciate him until well after he left office…

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Also, I love Jimmy Carter, and backed him when I was young and not as concerned with qualifications. But he HAD been a governor, and as I recall I was fairly impressed with his record in that office.

        Still, he might have been a much more successful president if he’d had some Washington experience. In fact, I’m almost sure of that…

        Reply
        1. bud

          Conventional wisdom says Jimmy Carter was an unsuccessful president. Is that really true? The Panama Canal treaty was regarded by many on the right as dangerous, misguided and even un-American. Yet here we are 40+ years later and absolutely nothing terrible has happened. The Camp David Accords have been a spectacular success. Probably the most successful brokered treaty in American history. Carter gets dissed for the stagflation mess he largely inherited. After some early stumbles his policies, mostly carried out during Reagan’s tenure, brought about an end to the economic quagmire. Carter was spot on with his energy policies. Perhaps Carter’s biggest mistake was his obsession with the Iranian hostage situation. Not lighting the Christmas tree was a bad look. But in the end ALL the hostages came home alive. That cannot be said of the Reagan hostages. If Carter had won re-election he would no doubt have gone down as one of the greatest presidents in American history. But timing is everything. Reagan benefited politically from Carter’s initiatives. Sometimes political fortunes are inherited, not earned.

          Reply
  10. Bob Amundson

    I like “Mayor Pete” but the nomination process is a marathon, not a sprint. If he has the stamina and skill to survive this process, in my mind there is a high probability that he will govern as well as Presidents Kennedy and Obama did. No matter who is elected, the game changes once they step into the Oval Office.

    BTW, my wife and I just finished watching “The West Wing.” Any POTUS needs a great team, a team willing to learn and adjust while dealing with a VUCA world. From Wikipedia: “VUCA is an acronym—first used in 1987—to describe or to reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations (drawing on the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus). The U.S. Army War College introduced the concept of VUCA to describe the more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous multilateral world perceived as resulting from the end of the Cold War.”

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Cool. I wasn’t familiar with VUCA. It’s good to know the term. It describes concepts I was aware of but didn’t have a term for. It’s the reason why I think it’s nuts that people think we need a strong military less than during the Cold War (although we may need to focus on flexibility and small teams more than aircraft carriers and tanks), and also why it’s essential to embrace such multilateral arrangements as TPP and utterly reject “America First.”

      Are you familiar with DIME (Diplomatic, Informational, Military and Economic)? That’s another good one I’ve long embraced. America needs to engage the world on all fronts. A lot of my friends here think I’m all about the military part, when in fact I just don’t exclude it, so it becomes a point of friction and we end up talking about it more than the others.

      I have a question about the last season of “The West Wing.” How do you feel about Santos?

      I wish him well and all, and hope he and Josh and Sam (I LOVED the Josh/Sam reunion scene) and the rest have success going forward.

      But I kept thinking during the campaign that I might have voted for Arnie Vinick.

      I like Vinick because of stuff like this, when he praised Bartlet. I don’t know that I can picture Santos making a speech like that.

      By the way, I definitely CAN picture Joe Biden making a speech like that….

      Reply
      1. Bob Amundson

        As we watched the series, both my wife and I felt some sorrow that we did not have a Vinick/Santos choice in 2016. I liked them both,for different reasons, and I would have had a hard time deciding for whom to vote. My guess is I would have voted for Santos, just because he was a Marine Corps Aviator. Naval Aviators are awesome, but Marine Corps Aviators are something special. After commission, they have to complete infantry school and then go through the aviation pipeline. The Marine Corps aviators with whom I served were great leaders, great pilots; true aviators.

        I liked both President Obama and Senator McCain but voted for the Senator because of his service. I could relate to him, partly because he finished near the bottom of his class at Annapolis; I finished near the bottom of my class at Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola. My “relationship” with my Marine Corps drill Instructor was probably worse than Mayo’s in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” I can still hear Staff Sargent Macias growling, “Add-mun-sin, did some recruiter send you down here just to ruin my last class?”

        Reply
        1. Bob Amundson

          I have heard of DIME and mostly agree with you about our need for strong military. I would place military last, to be used only after the other three fail. My wife hears my frustration about how our world is all VUCA’d – up. But then I remind her, and myself, that it is always darkest before the dawn.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “I would place military last, to be used only after the other three fail.” I applaud the sentiment, since I think what you’re saying is that war should be a last resort.

            But the use of the military doesn’t necessarily mean war. And I don’t think the world arranges itself so neatly that you can use one of the letters at a time. I think most situations call for some sort of combination. And sometimes the military needs to be involved in the first steps — such as creating a safe space in which to do the other things. For instance, if I recall correctly, we didn’t send the military in to Somalia initially to FIGHT. They were there to create a safe space in which to distribute food to the starving. Of course, the mission then changed, thanks to the intransigence of the militias…

            Reply
            1. Bob Amundson

              Yes, war should always be the last resort. I am very concerned about the cost of maintaining a strong military, as was President Eisenhower. There are too many antiquated or ineffective weapon systems that are deployed, primarily due to the military-industrial complex., And of course, too many politicians that don’t have the courage (o.k., THE BALLS!) to make tough decisions that would affect chances of re-election.

              Reply
            2. bud

              For instance, if I recall correctly, we didn’t send the military in to Somalia initially to FIGHT. They were there to create a safe space in which to distribute food to the starving.
              -Somalia? That’s the example you raise to defend military intervention for a peaceful purpose? Perhaps Custer was just trying to protect the ranches in Montana. Our military absolutely must be limited to LEGITIMATE missions that protect the nation from foreign invasion. Full stop. None of this crap about protecting our “vital interests”. Whatever the hell that means. Or keeping the world safe for democracy. Or invading Canada. Or preventing the dominos from falling. Now we send a huge naval task force to protect our “interests” in Iraq from Iranian attacks. Time to revisit and reflect on Eisenhower’s admonition about the military industrial complex.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                “Our military absolutely must be limited to LEGITIMATE missions that protect the nation from foreign invasion.”

                Really? So the hell with starving people in Africa — who are being starved as a deliberate policy by warlords? Because that’s why we were there. First thing our troops did was secure the airport, and then the food started rolling in.

                The warlords didn’t WANT those people to be fed, so it ended up turning into a fight over time…

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Perhaps it helps if Bill Clinton explains it:

                  Yeah, it’s a comedy skit (and a really good one), but what Phil Hartman says in the skit sort of summarizes the reasons Clinton supported Bush’s action in sending in the troops in late 1992 (with Bush still in office and Clinton as president-elect).

                  This was in support of a United Nations operation, and our troops’ presence there was UN-sanctioned…

                2. Doug Ross

                  “Really? So the hell with starving people in Africa — ”

                  That is not the only alternative. We can’t fix the entire world. IT’S NOT OUR JOB! There are starving people around the globe (including, shockingly, in the United States). There is strife and unrest around the globe. Accept it.

                  We can’t fix them all. Can’t save them all. And without a doubt, if we do think we can help people, the last way to do it is with the military. It doesn’t work. We end up making more enemies…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          I want to fly jets, sir!

          I like the point you raise about Marine aviators — that they undergo infantry training before they fly. After all, every Marine is a rifleman.

          You and I are alike on this point: “I liked both President Obama and Senator McCain but voted for the Senator because of his service.”

          Me, too. Although I’m including his service in the Senate after he was in the military. I thought Obama was an extraordinary individual and was not unhappy with the result in 2008. But his lack of experience worried me. So I went with McCain, for whom I’d wanted to vote since well before 2000. Then, four years later after he had served well as president, I was perfectly happy to vote for Obama for re-election….

          Reply
          1. Bob Amundson

            I actually voted for Mitt Romney, because I lived in Utah when he came in and “saved” the 2002 Winter Olympics. Salt Lake City and Utah are so advanced now because Mitt leveraged federal funds to improve infrastructure, especially transportation, including light rail. We still own our home in Utah and love traveling back, skiing one day, golfing next, not to mention five National Parks.

            I was disappointed in President Obama because I felt, and feel, expanding coverage before figuring out how to control costs was a mistake. A great deal of political capital was expended in passing the ACA, and I think the nation is still suffering from the unexpected consequences of healthcare expansion. I believed then, and still believe, that taking profit out of healthcare is the only way to control costs. Medicare for all …

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Good points. I don’t disagree. Although I find myself thinking, if Republicans hated Obamacare so much that they’ve wasted all these years trying to undo it, imagine what they’d done with what we SHOULD have, which is single-payer…

              But I take to heart your point that as long as Democrats WERE spending that political capital, and as long as Republicans were going to act like lunatics opposing it anyway, it’s a shame they didn’t just go all the way and do the right thing.

              All of that said, the ACA has helped a lot of people. It just doesn’t go nearly far enough …

              Reply
                1. Bob Amundson

                  “Obamacare” has helped many people, and it did slow the rise of health care costs. Very few people understand the concept of “uncompensated care” (the overall measure of hospital care provided for which no payment was received from the patient or insurer), and how much the ACA was designed to lower the amount government was paying to help hospitals recover costs for uncompensated care. Most people do not understand how much government was subsidizing health care before the ACA. ACA shifted the subsidies from hospitals to insurance companies by expanding coverage.

                  I worked as a Research Associate in the healthcare field, so I understand the complexity of healthcare economics, and thus our healthcare system. The system is much too complex to discuss adequately on a blog!

                2. bud

                  I saw Romney on one of the talk shows a few days ago. I had started to sympathize with him a bit. But after that interview I was reminded of just what a plutocratic jerk he really is.

  11. Harry Harris

    This is the latest open thread I could find. I wanted to comment on Franklin Graham’s hijack of the 2 religious organizations he heads for political purposes. I got an email from him under as head of both in which he promoted his pro-Trump agenda and called for prayer for strengthening him against his enemies. I know that mainstream churches don’t like fighting other churches, but it’s past time to stand up and speak the truth. Right-wing leaders and followers have hijacked the more conservative denominations and are speaking with one errant voice on political matters. This guise of prayer for our political leader is little more than a means of duping congregants into politically supporting a would-be tyrant. Some of the chatter I hear in church reminds me of the historic “One Nation! One God! One Reich! One Church!”

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Ever been to a black church in SC during election season? I’m pretty sure there was a WHOLE lot of praying going on for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

      Why should it matter if a church’s leadership has a political preference for candidates? The members can choose to vote as they please.

      I doubt the Catholic Church would endorse a pro-life candidate.. unless he was a Kennedy.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I can’t imagine the Roman Catholic Church endorsing ANY candidate. But I was puzzled by your specifying that it wouldn’t endorse a pro-life candidate.

        As for Kennedy — no, there was no endorsement, but my wife remembers that the Irish nuns at her school let it be known whom THEY were for.

        As for my own experience at Colegio Americano in Guayaquil, Ecuador — I have a school yearbook for the year during which he was assassinated. There is a full page dedicated to remembering JFK. It’s filled with a photo of Jack, Jackie and the kids. Jackie has a veil on her head, because they’re coming out of Mass.

        They loved the guy down there, but not just because he was Catholic. He was the last American president who paid much attention to Latin America. His Alianza para el Progreso program was a big deal in Ecuador…

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Not EXPLICITLY endorsing, but getting some photo ops with a Cardinal or Pope helps get the message out. Identity politics is pretty strong in that community.

          Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I did have one priest sorta kinda let me know that he personally didn’t approve of James Smith, back during the campaign. Not a word about abortion was spoken, but I’m pretty sure that was the root of it, given this particular priest.

              It was in a private conversation, and it was nothing overt.

              Later, he sort of gave the campaign a backhanded compliment when he asked if I would agree to be involved in a social justice initiative, saying he figured I might be interested because of my political involvement.

              People are complicated…

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                churches

                I’m sort of still smiling at the line about “Ever been to a black church in SC during election season?”

                On the last Sunday of the campaign, we hit about five of them on one Sunday morning. We had about four (I say “about” because I forget the exact number) lined up in the Lake City area, and James had promised to attend one in Spartanburg. While James was in Spartanburg, I attended the first church with Mandy, then a supporter (I think it was Phil Leventis) flew James into Florence and he joined us at the second one and continued with us through the rest.

                One local supporter had set up all these quick visits. We’d slip into the service and sit in a pew for a few minutes, then the pastor would recognize J and M, and they’d get up and say a few words, then we might stay for a hymn before slipping out to the next church.

                I kept thinking back to Cab Calloway’s advice in “Blues Brothers,” when he told Jake and Elwood, “You boys could use a little churching up.” We definitely got churched up that day. And I mean that sincerely — I felt quite confident I had made up for missing Mass that day, and then some. I felt the Spirit; it was uplifting. (I’ve always enjoyed and felt touched by many varieties of religious experience).

                It was quite an experience. J&M had had many other such experiences during the campaign, but this was my only one, since it came during the one week I was on the bus with them.

                (In the picture above, you see some of us between churches. Fellow staffer Phil Chambers — the tall redheaded guy — had joined us for part of the day, and Ashleigh Lancaster, seen between Phil and Mandy, was staffing Mandy for the day.)

                Then, we went to an Indian powwow…

                powwow

                Reply
              2. Doug Ross

                “People are complicated…”

                Well, I would think priests (should) have a pretty uncomplicated perspective.

                A Google search for Ted Kennedy and Pope shows a lot of photos over the years. I count at least three different Pope / Ted photo ops… and many more of Ted with various Cardinals. Never will know how many Hail Mary’s he had to say for Mary Jo Kopechne.

                Reply
      2. Harry Harris

        What matters to me are two things.
        Chief among those is supporting, in the name of Jesus, attitudes, actions, and behaviors that directly contradict the teachings and actions of the Jesus of the gospels. These religious leaders and their followers replace the Jesus who was with the Jesus they want to follow, and often trade on his name.
        Second is the false prophetic message that somehow God would take the side of such a leader as Donald Trump. The lack of integrity that condemns behavior (often sexual) by one politician they oppose, but overlooks it in one they think is useful is only exceeded by the strange duplicity of a politician like Lindsey Graham.
        There’s still a lot of praying going on for Obama in predominantly black churches. I pray for President Trump as a leader quite often – but I don’t think it’s legitimate to whip up support “against his enemies” under the guise and using the mailing lists of an evangelical and a charitable organization.

        Reply
        1. Mr. Smith

          Sadly, there are a good number of so-called Christians who have traded in the Gospel of Christ for the creed of social Darwinism and the Gospel of the GOP (God’s Own Party).

          Reply
  12. Mark Stewart

    I’m going to order a USS John. S. McCain hat today and send it to Lindsey Graham. The whole thing is an absolute disgrace and a pox on our country, constitution and the sense of service and civic duty we used to aspire to uphold.

    The sad fact is Donald Trump is not mentally fit to be President – and proves it daily. All the threads and choking dust are spun from, and off, that factual fiber.

    Reply
  13. Doug Ross

    Tim Jones, the father who was convicted of killing his five children and admitted doing it but claimed insanity was convicted today. He should be executed as soon as possible. That’s justified punishment for a monster.

    I suppose if he were a fetus, it would be easier to justify… but for once can we put aside the hand wringing over whether capital punishment reflects badly on society? Just this once? It’s not a deterrent, it’s a punishment.

    Reply

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