Unlike a lot of his fellow liberals, Jonathan Chait doesn’t believe presidential-debate moderators should be on-camera fact-checkers, but Chait’s reason for opposing the idea is unambiguously anti-conservative. In an item posted a few hours prior to Monday night’s Clinton-Trump clash, Chait argued that the way Republicans dealt with Candy Crowley’s intervention in a 2012 Romney-Obama debate “suggests the party would never tolerate such a role by the media on an ongoing basis,” given that “the GOP exists within an epistemic bubble that creates its own reality and disregards the findings of mainstream experts in economics, science, and other fields…Conservatives created this alternate ecosystem precisely to insulate their side from scrutiny from journalists who were not working within the conservative movement. And the simple reality is that, if debates become forums for media to subject candidate claims to fact-checking by the standards of independent arbiters, Republicans will refuse to participate in them.”
A current hot topic in campaign coverage is Hillary Clinton’s underperformance among millennials, an unusually large number of whom favor the second-tier candidates, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Brian Beutler thinks those 18-to-29-year-olds who aren’t #WithHer don’t grasp what happened the last time a significant portion of the left was lukewarm about the Democratic nominee: 2000, when lefty votes for Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the White House. Should some millennials’ non-support of Clinton lead to a Donald Trump presidency, argued Beutler, “it will be the consequence of a liberal failure to build an oral tradition around the Bush administration…[the] plutocratic fiscal policy; the 9/11 intelligence failure; the war of choice in Iraq sold with false intelligence and launched without an occupation plan; the malpractice that killed hundreds in New Orleans; the scandalousness that makes the fainting couch routine over Clinton’s emails seem Oscar-worthy; and finally to the laissez-faire regulatory regime and ensuing financial crisis that continues to shape the economic lives of young voters to this day.”
The self-righteous hindsight of the left exposes itself again as progressive writer Lawrence Ware suggests, “Put simply, we need a new national anthem…” In an article published by The Root on September 12, Ware urged for the rewriting of the national anthem due to the “vicious legacy of who wrote this song and what it represents.” He referenced a Counterpunch article which argues that Francis Scott Key, the author of the national anthem, was a pro-slavery, black abusing, religious nut. To ask black people to stand for the national anthem, Counterpunch argued, is comparable to asking a Jewish person to stand for a song written by a Nazi.
It's been 15 years since September 11, 2001, and U.S. combat forces have been engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Global War on Terror. In that time, George Bush and Barack Obama have awarded eighteen brave men with the Congressional Medal of Honor – America's merica’s highest military decoration. Among the honorees, seven were bestowed posthumously, highlighting the ultimate nature of their sacrifices. Below, we list the eleven living heroes and a short description of their selfless actions in combat.
To borrow a phrase from President Obama, let New York magazine’s Chait be clear: “Republicans nominated Donald Trump [because] Republican voters like Donald Trump. This theory has the virtues of simplicity and truth.” Chait’s peg for his Friday post, however, was an “alternate theory” he rejects: that “Trump prevailed at least in part because liberals blew their credibility by hyperbolically denouncing previous Republican presidential candidates, thereby conditioning Republicans to ignore the warnings when Trump came along.”
A major event that would damage Barack Obama’s presidency as much as Hurricane Katrina did George W. Bush’s is a white whale for conservatives, suggests Brian Beutler: They’re constantly, eagerly scanning the horizon for it, but they’ll never see it. Beutler finds it hard to imagine that any Democratic president would have his or her own Katrina, since Dems have made responding to natural disasters a high priority. Not so the pro-small government, austerity-driven Republicans, who are “ideologically ill-suited to meet [that] challenge.”
Plenty of journalists saw Hillary Clinton’s Thursday speech on Donald Trump and white nationalists as an attempt to further separate the GOP nominee from Republicans who aren’t #NeverTrump but are leery of voting for him. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones “propose[d] a different explanation”: that Hillary “was giving the press permission to talk about Donald Trump's racism." But Esquire’s Charles Pierce has no confidence that pundits and reporters will deal properly with the racism issue. The media, Pierce says, have "normalized [the] candidate" who "normalized hate groups."
This past January, Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters.” A rough counterpart to that remark came Wednesday from Eric Levitz, who wrote that a Trump presidency would be so dreadful that “it would be reasonable for the average voter to prefer Hillary Clinton, even if she really did order the murder of Vince Foster.”
Once upon a time, the right had (some) reason to complain about media bias, acknowledges Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall, but these days, not so much. According to Marshall, when conservatives back in the day “went about creating their own counter-establishment,” what they built wasn’t a normal mirror image, but a funhouse-mirror image. For example, "Fox News [was] the supposed antidote to the 'liberal media'. Of course, Fox is 'conservative' in a way that the mid-century elite media simply never was. And with generations of ref-playing what had been a vaguely establishment liberal national press ceased almost entirely to be so."
Former MSNBC pundit Wolffe is now a columnist for the U.S. edition of the left-wing British newspaper The Guardian. This past Tuesday, he declared that “we already have a winner in the 2016 election…Someone the pundits wrote off long ago…An unconventional politician… His name is Barack Obama. And he can thank the freak show that is Donald Trump’s Republican party for restoring his stature as a unifying, national leader with a moderated and mature approach to a complex and unstable world.”
Plenty of Republicans have been lamenting their party’s nomination of “the one guy who cannot beat the historically unpopular Hillary Clinton,” but Gary Legum thinks they’re assuming facts not in evidence. In a Friday article, Legum indicated that Hillary would have been a prohibitive favorite against anyone the GOP might have chosen. He opined that the Republicans’ so-called deep bench was a mirage and argued, "For the GOP to nominate someone capable of beating Hillary Clinton in 2016, it would have had to have been a completely different GOP since at least 1992. And if that GOP existed, Clinton would not be a weak and unpopular figure, because she would not have spent 25 years being hit with every ridiculous charge under the sun."
The Republican Party needs to be soundly thrashed, or maybe even euthanized, believes Esquire’s Pierce, who wrote in a Friday post that “it long has been the duty of the Democratic Party to the nation to beat the crazy out of the Republican Party until it no longer behaves like a lunatic asylum. The opportunity to do this…never has been as wide and gleaming as it is right now." In Pierce’s view, Donald Trump took advantage of an ideologically intoxicated GOP: "Modern conservatism has proven to be not a philosophy, but a huge dose of badly manufactured absinthe. It squats in an intellectual hovel now, waiting for its next fix, while a public madman filches its tattered banner and runs around wiping his ass with it…Trump doesn't need an intervention. His party does."