Robin Williams’s first album was called Reality…What a Concept. More than one lefty blogger implied that Unreality…What a Concept would have been a fitting title for Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate.
New York Magazine
The New York magazine writer-at-large and former New York Times columnist and theater critic says Jeb's problems included not only Dubya’s war in Iraq and pre-9/11 “national-security failures” but also the supposedly unsavory, extreme-right types that 41 and 43 attracted to the GOP, thereby contributing to its ruin.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio put media bias on the front burner at CNBC’s Republican presidential debate, but conservatives and liberals differed sharply on whether what was in the pot smelled appetizing. Several lefty bloggers turned up their noses at the idea that in last night’s event and in general, the media favor Democrats.
It has only been a few hours since Hillary Clinton has announced that in contrast to her previous enthusiastic support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she now opposes it (with convenient caveats). Of course, her new opposition to TPP is a completely principled position and has nothing to do with politics. Yeah, right! However, will those on the left be so skeptical of such an obvious political ploy? Well, it seems that at least some are not buying her self-serving rationale for now opposing the TPP starting with Jonathan Chait of New York magazine. In fact the very title of his article, "Hillary Clinton Pretends to Oppose Pacific Trade Deal," reveals complete cynicism about her motivation:
Asked to name something that stands alone, a lot of people would say, “The cheese.” To New York magazine's Jonathan Chait, another reasonable answer is “the Republican party,” at least in regard to global warming specifically and hatred of government in general.
Chait’s main point is that the GOP is extremist not only in an American context but also by international standards: “Of all the major conservative parties in the democratic world, the Republican Party stands alone in its denial of the legitimacy of climate science…The fervent commitment to supply-side economics is also an almost uniquely American idea. The GOP is the only major democratic party in the world that opposes the principle of universal health insurance. The virulence of anti-government ideology in the United States has no parallel anywhere in the world.”
Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's CNN Tonight, former New York Times columnist Frank Rich -- now of New York magazine -- accused GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson of receiving support from a "racist, bigoted part of the Republican base," in the aftermath of Dr. Carson's comments opposing the election of a Muslim President. A bit later, he even accused GOP candidate Mike Huckabee of "bigotry" against homosexuals.
A few months ago, many liberals, including much of the bloggerati, were afraid that Walker had a good chance to win not only the Republican presidential nomination but also the presidency. Now that Walker’s out of the GOP race, several lefty pundits have weighed in on why.
Among the insights: Fiorina "has a notable facility for delivering answers that thrill conservatives but fall apart under close examination"; a discussion of childhood vaccines showed that the party is "fervid, claustrophobic, recklessly insinuating, and, at the same time, utterly timid when it comes to extremism in its own ranks”; and the GOP as a whole is "wedded to the tenets of [George W.] Bushism — rabid, debt-financed, regressive tax-cutting, reflexive hostility to regulation, and a pervasive anti-intellectualism."
Politics involves the heart and the mind, and in general the best politicians appeal to both. Then there’s Donald Trump. Jonathan Chait of New York magazine argues that Trump’s campaign is pretty close to mindless, but it seems that to many rank-and-file Republicans, that’s a feature rather than a bug.
“Outsiders have struggled to comprehend how Republican voters can attach themselves to an economic agenda so plainly at odds with their own interest, or whip themselves into a frenzy over a manufactured outrage,” wrote Chait in a Tuesday post. “Trump embodies that mysterious X factor that has eluded analysts of all sides…Trump is not the spokesman for an idea at all, but the representation of undifferentiated resentment.”
There soon will be sixteen Republicans officially seeking their party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but Gabriel Sherman probably would replace “officially” with "nominally." In a Sunday post, Sherman suggested that many of those sixteen are CINOs (Candidates in Name Only) who really are running for the title of big-bucks “political celebrity.” He opined that “when it comes to presidential elections…the GOP is at risk of becoming less of a political party and more like a talent agency for the conservative media industry.”
As for why quite a few “(pseudo)candidate[s]” are out there trying to “promote their brand,” Sherman noted that “the rise of billionaire donors and super-PACs enable more fringe GOP candidates to fund their campaigns,” and that “conservatives’ palpable sense of cultural victimhood encourages them to embrace (and reward) their former candidates even if they lose badly.”
“After much soul-searching” and “an ocean of red wine,” Michael Sonmore became a eunuch, er, feminist.
The defining moment? When Sonmore realized that his wife’s desire for an open marriage was not a rejection of him, but the “embracing” of herself. “Monogamy meant I controlled her sexual expression."
Boldly combining the investigative techniques of David McCullough and Maury Povich, New York magazine’s Chait has done a little historical paternity testing and determined that Andrew Jackson “is, clearly, the father of the modern Republican Party.”
Chait argued that Jackson’s status as “the progenitor of the Democratic Party” is based on “a myth.” On the other hand, Jackson “believed the Constitution prevented the government from taking an active role in managing economic affairs” and “was instinctively aggressive, poorly educated, anti-intellectual, and suspicious of bureaucrats,” all of which correspond to right-wing GOP behaviors and attitudes of today.