After that, onward toward Daniel Dale's alleged "lie:" In this, the first thing we read this morning, Zak Cheney-Rice lets us modern liberals enjoy a few of our favorite things.
We get to enjoy the claim that others are lying—though, in this case, it's Bernie Sanders who seems to perhaps be dispensing the lies.
Beyond that, we get to enjoy the claim that The Others are racists. In this case, we aren't even asked to wonder if half The Others may be something else:
CHENEY-RICE (11/12/18): Unwillingness to alienate racist voters inevitably leads to coddling racist voters. Whether everyone who voted for DeSantis fits this descriptor is up for debate.Based on the current count, something approaching 4.1 million Floridians voted against Andrew Gillum last week. Is every one of those people a racist? This morning, we who would have voted for Gillum were allowed to enjoy the power and privilege of wondering about such a thing.
This morning, it's Sanders seems to be lying, and everyone who isn't like us may in fact be a racist. Our view?
As we liberals shake our heads, with cause, at the weird things many conservative voters believe, we may perhaps seek to humble ourselves by thinking about the ways we ourselves are sometimes inclined to reason.
Is it all anthropology now? After decades of screaming dysfunction, does it all come down to a sober understanding of the mental, moral and intellectual traits of our floundering, warlike human species?
So we said at the start of the year. With that award-winning thought in mind, the second thing we read this morning was the new column by Charles Blow.
Writhing in pain from his perch at the Times, Blow postpones his denunciation of "American racism and misogyny" until fairly late in his column. He starts with a slightly more modern claim, a mournful complaint about "privilege."
Hard-copy headline included:
BLOW (11/12/18): You Have A Right To WearinessPoor Blow! Writing from his aerie at his nation's most famous newspaper, he worries about those who have "privilege." As he continues, he tells us what he'd like to do in this world, which is riven by deceit and corruption:
Do we have a right to weariness in an era of animus? More precisely, can we afford it, or is exhaustion a luxury reserved for those whose wealth, privilege and status insulate them from the losses the rest of us could suffer? Does patriotic defense of country require perpetual, obsessive vigilance, or is it permissible to retreat occasionally for one’s own mental and spiritual health?
These are questions I ask myself regularly, and ones that are frequently asked of me, if not in those exact words. People are trying to figure out the proper posture to take in a world riven by deceit and corruption, a world in which the leadership of the country represents an assault on decency.
This is a conundrum, I must confess.
BLOW (continuing directly): I, as much as anyone else, feel trapped by our current predicament. I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.Blow would like to write about "intellectually stimulating things." But instead he writes about Trump, nothing else.
We'd have to say we've noticed!
Charles Blow would like to write about intellectually stimulating things? Readers, tell us about it!
Earlier this year, we ourselves made a break for the border. We started to write about a topic we love—the history of upper-end "logic" as traced from Aristotle through Godel, then on to the later Wittgenstein.
We think this is a comical story, but also one that's highly instructive. We're looking for a way to return to this topic—but in September of this year, the discussion of the Kavanaugh nomination became so fraught and so absurd that, just when we thought we were out, it pulled us back in.
Blow can possibly soothe himself by thinking about the salary he's paid for saying the same thing twice each week. For ourselves, we started these labors almost twenty-one years ago, and we've been privileged to work in this vineyard for free.
Poor Blow! As his column continues, he informs his readers that President Trump probably won't be impeached and removed from office in the next two years. In this way, Blow announces his recent discovery that the sky is blue and the grass in under our feet:
BLOW: People often ask me, “When will it end? What can we do to get him out of there?”Poor Blow! He's faced with the burden of being honest rather than popular! Because he's trying to be so honest, he's forced to tell the supplicants that "any hope of removing Trump via impeachment has shrunk to nearly nothing."
My answer always is, “I doubt it will end soon, and there’s very little anyone can do to change that.”
I hate to bear that message, but it is the only one I can deliver if I wish to be honest rather than popular.
As much as there was to celebrate last week, with liberals winning control of the House of Representatives, and doing so with such a diverse slate of candidates, it was also clear that Republican control of the Senate means that any hope of removing Trump via impeachment has shrunk to nearly nothing. Even if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate remains highly unlikely to remove him.
Of course, there was never any likelihood that Trump would be removed from office, barring some astonishing finding from the Mueller probe. And what are the current chances of that? Possibly trying to be popular, Blow tells readers one part of the story:
BLOW: The only hope is that the Robert Mueller investigation may deliver something so damning that some Senate Republicans view it as unacceptable. But there is no evidence as of yet that anything would sway them.That's true, of course, same as it ever was. But it's also true that "there is no evidence as of yet" that the Mueller probe is going to produce anything truly "damning" at all with respect to Trump—though of course, it always could.
(How accurate was the Steele dossier? What will Mueller tell us?)
"There is no evidence as of yet" that the Mueller probe is going to convince Republican senators to remove Trump from office! But so what? Over the past several years, people like Blow have been feeding us liberals the tribal porridge which has been hiding such obvious possibilities from us.
In this way, they've kept us from seeing things which everyone else has been able to see—for example, that Michael Avenatti and Stephanie Clifford are a pair of blatantly obvious stone-cold hustlers; that Professor Blasey Ford, who may well have been telling the truth in every particular, actually wasn't "incredibly credible" or "the best witness that [MSNBC's legal analysts] could have imagined," as a long line of pander bears kept telling us back in the day.
Were these servings of porridge "lies?" For ourselves, we wouldn't say that! But this pandering leaves us liberals shocked, just shocked when 54 percent of the voters in last week's House elections say they think the Mueller probe is politically motivated. They leave us dropping a few of our favorite things on the heads of our fellow citizens, as Blow does in this passage:
BLOW: It is very likely that we are stuck with Trump until the 2020 election, and even then the Democrats can take nothing for granted if they wish to defeat him.Assuming that he's in control of "the truth," Blow starts scattering bombs around the countryside.
That is the root of people’s distress. How can Republicans in Congress abide this behavior and use it for political positioning? How can so many of our neighbors condone open hostility to minorities, the press and the truth?
Or maybe the questions are for us. How could we not have registered fully just how hostile a substantial portion of America is to inclusion and equality? How could we not have registered the full depths of American racism and misogyny? How could we not remember that American progress has always been like a dance with a disagreeable partner, stumbling backward as well as moving forward?
"How could we not have registered the full depths of American racism and misogyny?" he asks. It's no wonder this truthful man is so weary by now!
For the record, we can answer at least one part of that question:
"How could we not have registered the full depth of American misogyny?" Easy! Our tribal leaders looked away when the misogyny was coming from Chris Matthews back in the late 1990s. Presumably, they looked away because they wanted to go on his TV program.
Also, they looked away when Olbermann was spewing his misogyny in 2006 and 2007 with his horrible little smutty pal, Michael Musto. Our liberal leaders explicitly discussed his "misogyny," but only in Ezra Klein's private online forum. Out in the open air, the Traisters weren't willing to speak up or complain, nor have they ever explained their public silence.
Most consequentially, Blow and the rest of his horrible guild all averted their gaze from the misogynist garbage dumped, for years, on the head of Hillary Clinton. (And on Naomi Wolf when she dared advise "today's man-woman," Candidate Gore. We're quoting the popular Matthews.) In November 2016, the planet paid the ultimate price for their endless silence.
Today, creeps like Blow parade about, blubbering about how honest they are. Cashing their checks from the famous newspaper which ran this long campaign against Clinton, they weep over the side of the ship about all the "privilege" they lack.
Quoting the later Wittgenstein completely and totally out of context, these behaviors "are as much a part of our natural history as walking, eating, drinking, playing." The tribalized thinking of our elites is an anthropological phenomenon. It's a part of the natural history of our floundering species.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our tribe is willful and silly, a bit unwell. When we insist that we possess "the truth," we're seeing ourselves from afar and behaving prehistorically.
Our tribal leaders aren't super-sharp. Neither is our mainstream press corps. This leads to one final point from Blow's new column. We've already posted the passage:
BLOW: I, as much as anyone else, feel trapped by our current predicament. I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.It's true. For more than two years, people like Blow "have written [and spoken] almost exclusively about Donald Trump."
Blow has done so in the Times. Nicolle Wallace and her "favorite reporters and friends" do so each weekday afternoon, laughing and enjoying themselves in the little mahoganied playroom known as Deadline: White House.
In doing so, to quote Homer's Nestor, "they reach no useful end." They invent a tribal Groundhog Day, in which we liberals are allowed to hear the same pleasing complaints over and over again, and then again next week.
This doesn't tell us how we might succeed in peeling votes away from Trump and the GOP. Of course, if every Republican voter in Florida is a racist, and if we are in control of the only "truth," it may be there's no way to accomplish our mission short of total war, our species' traditional solution.
In the end, our tribal leaders and our mainstream press just aren't especially sharp. This is an anthropological fact, a part of our natural history.
This brings us back to Daniel Dale, speaking to Brian Stelter last Sunday. Each man seems completely sincere, but how much faith should we place in their analytical judgments?
Tomorrow: Dale spots an obvious lie
Coming this afternoon: Some wonderful self-indulgence