Category Archives: Politics


Time to salute Robert Kagan. I do not share his ideology but I can recognize a patriot writing in Trump is the GOP’s Frankenstein Monster. Read it all, savor the historical allusions, but here’s the takeaway:

We are supposed to believe that Trump’s legion of “angry” people are angry about wage stagnation. No, they are angry about all the things Republicans have told them to be angry about these past 7½ years, and it has been Trump’s good fortune to be the guy to sweep them up and become their standard-bearer. He is the Napoleon who has harvested the fruit of the revolution.

There has been much second-guessing lately. Why didn’t party leaders stand up and try to stop Trump earlier, while there was still time? But how could they have? Trump was feeding off forces in the party they had helped nurture and that they hoped to ride into power. Some of those Republican leaders and pundits now calling for a counterrevolution against Trump were not so long ago welcoming his contribution to the debate. The politicians running against him and now facing oblivion were loath to attack him before because they feared alienating his supporters. Instead, they attacked one another, clawing at each other’s faces as they one by one slipped over the cliff. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got his last deadly lick in just before he plummeted — at Trump? No, at Rubio. (And now, as his final service to party and nation, he has endorsed Trump.) Jeb Bush spent millions upon millions in his hopeless race, but against whom? Not Trump.

So what to do now? The Republicans’ creation will soon be let loose on the land, leaving to others the job the party failed to carry out. For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be.

We need more like this.

PS. Has the GOP rehabilitated David Frum yet?

Posted in 2016 Election | 1 Comment

It Begins


I keep thinking there’s got to be a large number of Republicans who are appalled by Trump and will never vote for him. He is, after all, a neofascist megalomaniac. But maybe I’m wrong.

God, I hope I’m not wrong.

Update: I’m wrong

Look at this graph of national GOP voters gradual, growing acceptance of Trump as nominee
— Martin Gelin (@M_Gelin) February 21, 2016

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Campaigning Is Poetry

Visual poetry in this case.

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Trump Rebarbativity Test

This Donald Trump Theme Song Is the Most Upsetting Thing You’ll Ever Hear

I only lasted 16 seconds before turning it off. Feel free to post your stamina score below.

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Donald Trump Game Theorist

Kevin Drum’s latest rumination on Donald Trump reveals “an odd quirk in Trump’s personality”:

He seems to have an ironclad rule against ever attacking someone first. Even Vladimir Putin. Putin says nice things about Trump, so Trump has to say nice things back. Opposing candidates who don’t attack him are “great guys.” But if you attack first, then he has to fire off a nuclear retaliation. There’s an odd kind of chivalry at work here, and I suppose it also provides people with a motivation to leave him alone.

Actually, this is one of the few things that isn’t odd about Trump. Social scientist and game theorists will recognize this ‘quirk’ immediately as the ‘tit for tat’ strategy that Robert Axelrod famously showed was the winning strategy for multiple iterations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma in his book The Evolution of Cooperation.

It seems sensible to think of most political mud-slinging as being suitable to modeling as a Prisoner’s Dilemma game: both sides sling dirt, both sides lose. (There are rare exceptions, such as when Nixon got Johnston to attack him, thus cementing Nixon’s role as the front runner for the 1968 GOP nomination, but those are rare.)

So at least when it comes to invective, Trump appears to be a natural game theorist.

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Florida is the Battleground State

2000px-Electoral_map.svgThe Electoral College Challenge by by Martin Longman at Political Animal paints Florida as key to the next election.

Guess that means a lot of very repetitive TV ads. Good thing I never watch live TV and can fast forward through them all.

Posted in 2016 Election | 8 Comments

John Roberts for President

He could be the savior the GOP Establishment is looking for.

One of the storylines in the current GOP Presidential campaign is that the party establishment has been looking for its candidate.  It was supposed to be Jeb!, he of the $100 million war chest, but he’s cratered. Meanwhile Trump and Carson sucked out the oxygen of the others.  Rubio is still in the tryout phase, and apparently the powers that be are not sure if he has the necessary gravitas, or even any at all.

Things are so bad that stories about the Establishment wanting to draft Romney keep popping up.  Romney polls well in New Hampshire. But I don’t think he’ll do well in the general election, for the same reasons Romney lost last time.

No, what the GOP needs is a fresh face.  Someone articulate.  With gravitas.  With no baggage.  And great conservative credentials.  Who is pro business.  Who won’t scare the horses.

And what better person could fit all those criteria than Chief Justice John Roberts?

Yes, a few die-hards may be angry that Roberts cast the deciding vote to keep ObamaCare alive, but many will forgive him after he guides the Court to strike down the remaining vestiges of affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas), to undermine labor unions by destroying their budgets (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association), to kill Obama’s immigration policy (United States v. Texas (docket 15-674)), and to impose new restrictions on abortion (Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole). If all that that wasn’t enough, Roberts might even be able to say that as a Justice he had to apply the law on ObamaCare, but as President he’d work to repeal it.

Of course, the Chief would have to step down temporarily from the Court, but after he helped create a new Republican majority, surely Roberts’s GOP successor as President would appoint him to the first available opening.

Good thing that when the Chief Justice said recently that he would not run for President he did not take a Sherman.

Then again, Roberts is pretty smart. He may figure he has more power where he is.

Posted in 2016 Election, Law: The Supremes | 2 Comments