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13 December 2017

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Lars

From the exit polls, there are some valid similarities in the result in AL and recently in VA. It appears that the ghost of Lysistrata has descended upon the GOP. I suspect politics will not quite be the same for awhile. No matter what, the GOP would lose yesterday, but they dodged a bigger bullet had Moore won. He would have been the crown jewel in every ad against GOP candidates next year.

The other take away is that the pendulum still swings.

Stumpy part 2

Harper,

Symptomatic of the aging process is surely the ability to associate distant past events with current, and in this case it was the image of Gary Hart and Donna Rice in the infamous photo that torpedoed Hart's career soon thereafter.

Not to rehash the history, but here's a good quote that applies well to various similar scenarios of today's players:

There was considerable contradiction in the Hart account, and beyond that, the facts floated on a sea of innuendo. And in politics, it is the shadow as much as the substance that shapes the image of events.

Johnston, David; King, Wayne; Nordheimer, Jon (May 9, 1987). "Courting Danger: The Fall Of Gary Hart". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/05/09/us/courting-danger-the-fall-of-gary-hart.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

PS I have found the "Post" button greyed out in my usual browser, so if I have been somehow prevented from posting by the blog's ownership, please confirm and I will cease with apologies.

A.Pols

I sometimes think it would be better if we were a parliamentary system or that the states' allotments of senators were determined either by strict proportionality of population or some other setup more equitable so that Wyoming with 650K people wouldn't have the same number of senators as California with ~~40M.
The current setup introduces a lot of skew.

scott s.

In some respects Trump reminds me of Pres Taylor. Taylor was a "nominal Whig" outsider who wanted to try a "third-way". He managed to alienate most of his party stalwarts, and toyed with the idea of forming his own party. His early departure resulted in the elevation of a loyal party-man (Fillmore), who attempted to appease the base through the appointment power, but ultimately went for the grand compromise. The result was blowing up his party. Fillmore would later try to resurrect the old Whigs by co-opting the Know-Nothing nativist movement into an "American Party" but it was too late by 56 for that.

doug

Ah yes, Their boat was named "Monkey Business." Who can forget!

turcopolier

A. Pols

Ah, you want New York, California, Texas and Florida to rule us. In other words you think that a federal republic is a bad idea. I think the Framers were very wise. In fact i would like to see repeal of the Amendment that caused US Senators to be popularly elected. pl

turcopolier

Harper

I do not think the new tax law is "ill conceived," but I am a believer in supply side economics. I will pay more tax under this law. pl

Annem

In a critical scene from the Egyptian TV series about Hassan al Banna and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, an aging retired judge who in his youth had been enamored briefly with the Brothers, tells a young prosecutor of his long ago experiences, saying what he learned from his experience with the MB. The mix of religion and politics, he states, corrupts both.

While many Evangelicals used mental gymnastics to justify the unjustifiable of supporting Moore, the more thoughtful and religiously conscious among them were pained to see that politics was indeed corrupting a religious movement by discrediting Evangelical beliefs and compromising moral principles. I believe that in the weeks and months to come, the Christianists may reflect deeply on the cost of being an uncritical wing of the Republican Party rather than a moral conscience within it.


ked

There are some preliminary conclusions that may be drawn.
- The train wreck that is Bannonist populism inside the GOP can go a long way to further blowing up both the party & populism. In a pure Red State (like 'Bama) with lousy adult supervision at party leadership level these things can easily happen. I think Moore got the nomination on a 12-15% turnout. A loud, extremist minority is no way to select winners for the general election.
- Trump's final stage endorsement was not lukewarm - there's nothing lukewarm about fireman Trump (I've spoken w/ friends who attended the Pensacola rally). Classic Trump... & sure it's all about him - that's how he expresses everything. His NY Greatness is now a three time loser in AL: Sessions > Strange > Moore. He can do the same for any state in-play - he can't help himself (or anyone else, evidently)? As to national party leaders, Southerners have never been too big on outside agitators, regardless of politics.
- Is it even possible that Corker, Snow, McCain &/or Flake might-could (Southern colloquialism) hold off the tax bill until Jones is seated? A stick in the eye to Trump & Bannon in the name of bi-partisanship (& notching down their power a bit). I wouldn't hold my breath on an emerging kumbaya movement - too much $$$ & power in the status quo, along w/ egotistical billionaires wanting to play the game - their way.
- Character matters. Let's not overlook the impact of the sex-abuse & harassment scandal that has swept across the political landscape. That's not a minor issue to old-timey conservatives (note all the write-in votes that would've been for a tolerable conservative in a one-party state).
- There was real discomfort with Moore on his view of the role of Christianity in our legal system. Even in Very Protestant Alabama. He had been twice removed from the state supreme court for putting faith above his civic duty. When citizens of AL fear faith-based extremism poisoning functional governance, well, you've got to be pretty far off the deep end. On top of all that, Jones is actually a moderate, well-adjusted human being and came across that way... even as a Democrat.

Perhaps not a perfect storm, but a real storm and as might return in similar climes. I fully concur one must be very careful generalizing from single cases. One thing that didn't change in this election is that like real estate, politics is local. However, windspeed does appear to be on the uptick.

Laura

Tucopolier -- I don't think the Senate is the problem. The problem is the House...that is where the representative per constituents equation is way off. We probably need to increase the number in the House in order for our representatives to fulfill the goals of the Founders vis a vis adequate representation.

turcopolier

Laura

how many thousand reps would you like to have? pl

Laura

Turcopolier --

Well...435 is an arbitrary number to begin with and was simply "chosen" and passed by Congress in the 20s, I believe. Up to that point, the number of reps had increased based upon the census (which is why we have a census, I think). The Founders wanted government closer to the voters and probably envisioned something like 50,000/1. Obviously, they did not envision a population of 300 million Americans.

Currently each Rep. "represents" an average of 700,000. Could we not aim for 200,000? Yes, we might have to re-arrange the Capitol a bit --- but why would let a building decide how representative our Representatives should be? One of the major problems currently is people feeling estranged from their federal government --- I don't see how it could hurt to increase the number of Representatives. I imagine that it might also help with our gerrymandering proclivities--at least for a while.

VietnamVet

Harper,

Donald Trump’s foundation of 33% Fundamentalists won’t win elections even in Alabama. He won the electoral vote because mid-America was tossed in the dumpster bin. Democrats have the same problem except they are doing their best to alienate their 33%, Progressives. A party that defends and serves the middle class would break the gridlock. Overthrow of the rulings that corporations are persons and that money is free speech is required. This could be done peaceful through elections. If not, America has had violent revolts before.

J

Colonel, Laura,

I don't think that the numbers is the problem, I think that the way they think is the problem. Their thinking processes are skewed, instead of putting the Republic first, they put their political party first on their flag poles, then their close second is their $$$ donors, and the state and citizens who elected them are further down their flag poles and most times left out in the cold.

For Representatives and Senators to not put their state and citizens who elected them first, in my book equals a betrayal of trust on their parts.

Town square stocks with rotten eggs and rotten fruits for those politicians who don't put their states and home folks first.

Norbert M Salamon

Your point is well taken, Colonel, for it also points to the imposibility of representative democracy on the national level for China [1.4 billion],India[1.33 billion] and other, large populations as the USA, Indonesia et al - without an extremly large number of elected, vs an extermely large number being represented by a mangable size elected mebers

outthere

I will not consider the tax bills' conception.
But it's process was the worst in USA history.
No time was allowed for proper analysis by CBO.
This was a deliberate decision by GOP leadership, they do not want the people to know. Additions were slipped into the bills at the last minute, and no hearings were held on these revisions.
CBO did conclude
"In an estimate released Monday that said the bill would add $1.456 trillion to the deficit over the next decade."

As for supply side economics, the author of that theory (David Stockman) said this bill was "of the lobby, by the PAC's, for the money."

I am surprised that your taxes will increase and wonder what analysis led you to that conclusion. Please share your analysis.

outthere

Stockman said:
"I think the bill introduced late last week is the biggest con job in years."
details here:
https://dailyreckoning.com/gop-tax-plan-screws-middle-class/

Fred

Harper,

A fine sentiment but the Democratic Party leadership will take away from this that allegations of sexual impropriety regardless of age or veracity have a major impact especially if made immediately preceding an election. We can be certain that there will be virtually no follow up on the allegations against members of the House who were forced to resign, including icon John Conyers (I wonder who covered up his actions and for how many years.). Harvey Weinstein will be erased from cultural memory faster than Stalin erased Nikolai Yezhov. (The Harvey minted millionaires will keep all that money, fame and influence, however.) As Lars points out the Sex Stassi will be out with or for vengance (take your pick). This will be especially true on college campuses where the left has mostly managed to create a seperate non-judicial process that can destroy reputations and future employability. #MeToo should be recast as #I'm a victim too and you know who did it, now get out and vote; because there's a War on Women.

TV

Take a look at the last 60 years of US history.
"Bipartisanship" and "compromise" have consistently moved the country further and further left.
Inside-the-beltway denizens ("swamp creatures") are there for self aggrandizement and self-enrichment.
Bipartisan compromise only greases that wheel by growing the government and buying votes - the march to the left toward becoming a really BIG Belgium.

J

FISC Assurances on Spying Leave Too Many Questions Unanswered | Electronic Frontier Foundation
https://www.eff.org/fisc-assurances-unanswered

Jose

For one brief moment earlier this year, it appeared that President Trump understood that simple fact and cut his deal with "Chuck and Nancy," to the consternation of the Republican Establishment.

It's on Chuck and Nancy to return the favor and surrender to Trump on an issue.

Oh wait, you only want bipartisanship when Dems win.

Bill H

Thank you, sir. When I read the post I was counting you to express this more eloquently than I could ever do, and you did not let me down. I particularly admire the thought about the popular election of Senators.

Balint Somkuti, PhD

I would be really curious to see whether partisan fault lines could and will be overcome.

Based on european experience I find it highly unlikely.

ISL

Precisely. Getting to speak to your representative isnt hard. Getting them to listen should not require also writing a fat campaign check. Adding more doesnt address that.

If there were two thousand, there would be four times the number of hands out asking for money four times as desperately. Since the current budget is 6 billion, this means the the corporate payoff (cost benefit) would have to go up.

I would add jail after the rotten eggs.

English Outsider


The electoral "Skew" you describe is needed when the political unit is not homogeneous. In the UK it's partly, if clumsily, supplied by giving the smaller countries within the UK at least a nominal form of autonomy. If it's in English interests to keep the UK as a unit then the smaller countries within the unit have to be protected in some way from the dictatorship of the largest country. Otherwise the integrity of the whole is compromised.

This will become more of a consideration in the UK as the various ethnic minorities in the UK become larger and more distinct.

Similar considerations apply in the US. They were in the minds of those in the lesser States who consented to the Union. It's far easier to give consent than to withdraw it but were the "skew" to be removed then those States with significantly smaller populations would be under the dictatorship of the majority, and if that were pushed too far would be more likely to withdraw consent.

In short, in both countries "skew" is not a regrettable accident but a prerequisite for stability.

It is in any case not a good time to disturb the current settlement in either country. There are more urgent problems. Here's ZH - the comments are marginally less foul-mouthed than usual but I'd keep clear if I were you - setting it out:-

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/bank-england-warns-economic-collapse-if-uk-keeps-borrowing-money

Veiled doom warnings from the Bank of England (& Morgan Stanley) on the financial position in England. Neither sees the "print" key as a solution. As has been discussed several times on the Colonel's site, that print key can do a little more when it's the reserve currency in question but no one in this field I talk to regards the American financial position as that sound either. Which is more important, re-arranging the furniture or keeping it safe from the bailiffs?

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