We strongly recommend Ezra Klein's essay!

TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2022

We disagree with Drum: In a new post, Kevin Drum offers a "counsel of despair concerning mass shootings." He begins his post like this:

DRUM (5/31/22): I am one of those terrible liberals who has long-since given up on gun control and mass shootings. The pro-gun sentiment in America—even if it's not a majority—is far too strong to permit any meaningful firearm legislation. Combine that with a pro-gun Supreme Court and I'm unable to see even the slim possibility of any serious regulation in the near or medium-term future. I've never been interested in pie-in-the-sky activism, which is why I don't write much about gun control and don't even think very highly of other liberals wasting their time on it.

We disagree with that assessment; we wouldn't give up at this point. Very large majorities favor certain kinds of regulation. It seems to us that passage is possible if the politicking gets more skillful, especially Over Here in our tribe.

With that in mind, we strongly recommend Ezra Klein's (somewhat wonkish) essay in today's New York Times. Klein does something you never see—instead of explaining what has been wrong with Them, he offers a rather detailed view of what has been wrong with Us.

This is simply never done. In our view, it needs to be done on a regular basis.

We hope to detail our general thoughts in this regard in the next few weeks. But we strongly recommend Klein's new essay. From deep within our self-impressed tribe, it does what is never done.


  1. "We disagree with that assessment; we wouldn't give up at this point."

    We certainly appreciate your being a super-virtues person, dear Bob, but surely you should be able to see the difference between "serious regulation" and "certain kinds of regulation"?

  2. Meh.
    Just agree with the Right, and watch them back-pedal because they don’t believe anything they say, unless it’s bigotry.

  3. "It seems to us that passage is possible if the politicking gets more skillful, especially Over Here in our tribe."

    Somerby fails to understand that the reason moderates like Kevin Drum are discouraged with progress is because faux liberals like Ezra Klein and Somerby keep telling us how awful we are. It is time for that to stop.

    1. Not awful. Arrogant, dumb and fragile.

    2. Yes, that is what Somerby tries to convince people is true, but it doesn't describe any liberal I know, see on TV or read, nor any of my liberal elected officials.

      But it is all just name-calling without the evidence to substantiate it -- and that is what Somerby doesn't provide.

      Republicans, of course, say worse things about liberals, calling us pedophiles, communists, election thieves. No Democrat believes any of that, which is why Somerby creeps in with these lower key complaints.

    3. Drum himself attributes his discouragement to the strength of “pro-gun sentiment in America” and to a “pro-gun Supreme Court.” But 2:33 sees through Drum’s ruse and knows that it’s due to Somerby and Ezra Klein!

      Lesson learned: never let the truth get in the way of your beliefs.

    4. Spock, do you seriously think it inspires liberals to be better activists when Somerby chides us or Klein tells us we suck? Drum has never been a fire brand, so it is unsurprising that he wants to give up on gun control. But could he perhaps be moved to action by someone who isn't telling him that liberals are unskilled and that's why Republicans are intransigent?

      Personally, I admire the Parkland kids. They aren't letting "moderate" voices deter them from their cause.

    5. The Democrats made a big mistake by sabotaging Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016 It might have been a little painful in the short term for the power structures within the party itself and voters who admired Hillary Clinton but it would have been healthy for the party longer term. Trump probably wouldn't have ever even been elected. But the Democrats, the power structure within the Democratic party, couldn't let go, held on, cheated and paid the price in the end. That's just the way the world works. You got to take your medicine.

    6. Ths is your epistemological mistake. He's not saying you suck. He is asking Democrats to be self-critical, to understand our shortcomings and mistakes. You act like Democrats are some sort of perfect angelic species that are beyond mistakes and criticisms. How old are you by the way? Like 10?

    7. Bernie made a big mistake by not joining the Democrats earlier on, learning campaign rules, rejecting help from Russia, hacking Hillary’s DNC database, claiming primaries were fixed when they didn’t win, and letting bros and surrogate repeat Republican lies about Hillary. Bernie mever learned to be a team player and it hurt his campaign.

    8. Drum has frequently criticized “progressives” for going too far left and thereby offending the great mass of “centrists” that he imagines to exist in this country.

      But can the Democratic Party be accused of radical views? Have they given passionate, full-throated support to gun regulations, or Roe, or climate activism? They are frequently tarred as too moderate, too timid, too “corporate.” Biden made “bipartisanship” a central focus of his campaign, for heaven’s sake.

      It’s a convenient narrative for liberal-haters, that Democrats are too centrist while also being too liberal and thereby too divisive.

      All of this advice coming from people like Drum and Somerby who sit at their computers all day and aren’t actively involved in campaigning.

    9. No, if Somerby were trying to help liberals, he would make constructive suggestions and describe what is working, not just what he thinks sucks. He doesn’t do that, even though he is capable of praising those on the right.

    10. You reason like a child.

    11. Drum is a contrarian with graphs. He doesn’t join the liberal choir in anything. He mostly tries to prove that whatever liberals think is problematic isn’t really as bad as we think, whether it is workforce issues or drought or access to abortions.

    12. There is no evidence that a Republican voter can ever be persuaded to change their vote to a Dem, even though polls show most of the country supports Dem policies, including legislation to regulate guns (owning a gun does not make one part of a militia, but so called strict constructionists will suddenly change their tune when they personally benefit).

      Evidence suggests just the opposite of fools like Somerby, Drum, and Klein; progressives motivate voters by suggesting a better society with government doing a better job of providing people with their material needs. and often that motivation is manifested through protest, through working against the various forms of right wing oppression.

      I can not speak to directly why Spock and the other sad Somerby fanboys blindly support Somerby's nonsense, but you see this strain of criticism equals persecution everywhere on the right.

      Right wingers do not care about other people, and they consider this a feature, not a bug. They are obsessed with dominance and hierarchy, most likely borne from unresolved childhood trauma. These are deeply rooted issues for right wingers, it is absolute nonsense this "can't we all get along" tact that Somerby and his friends take, and it is dangerous. It permits all the oppression, all the hate, all the violence spewing forth from right wingers. Somerby et al's stance is deeply immoral.

    13. In other words you're stupid.

  4. My problem with Drum is that I don't think he is being quite honest. I think he fears talking sense or morality to right wingers on these issues just provokes them into being more amoral and asinine. This instinct may be correct.
    Oh Bob thinks we don't run ourselves into the ground enough. What a surprise. Who would have ever thought.

  5. Most countries have a least a few strange practices. Saudi Arabia still beheads people with a sword. It seems that in the USA , many people believe that it's more important to be a heavily-armed individual than a rational one. That's not true in near all of Europe and many other civilized nations.

  6. Another victory for truth. Republicans were pinning their hopes on Durham and his show trial to prove that Hillary was behind the FBI's investigation of the Trump server that was communicating with Russia's Alfa bank server. They charged Ron Sussman with lying to the FBI about who his client was at the time he contacted the FBI to investigate. That trial has now concluded with a not-guilty verdict.

    According to AP:

    "Donald Trump pitched a tantrum after the acquittal of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussman.

    The cybersecurity attorney was indicted on charges brought by special counsel John Durham, a Trump appointee tasked with investigating the origins of the Russia probe, but a jury found that Sussman was not guilty of lying to FBI agents about his suspicions that the Trump Organization was in contact with the Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Of course, Trump threw a tantrum about the verdict.

    "The acquittal today of attorney Michael Sussmann isn’t sitting so well with the nation’s conservative media.

    After months of presuming Sussmann’s guilt of charges that he lied to the FBI, Fox News and right-wing print media were caught scrambling to explain the failure of Former President Donald Trump's special counsel John Durham to prove his case.

    So, there was only one thing to do: Blame the “DC jury.”

    In its breaking news coverage today, FoxNews.com led with a video from Friday’s Hannity show – four days before the verdict – in which Gregg Jarret labeled defense arguments as “the most cockamamie explanation for a lie that I’ve ever heard.” He cited attorney Jonathan Turley’s statement that “this is the worst jury for a prosecutor he has ever seen in his life.”

    Jarrett railed without evidence that “Lady Justice peeks beneath the blindfold and weights the scales of justice. If you’re a Republican, it’s weighted against you. If you’re a Democrat, it’s in your great favor.”

    At the National Review, where countless articles in recent weeks argued for Sussman’s guilty – and excoriated the media for not covering the trial with enough enthusiasm – the headline went as far as the publication would go: “Clinton Lawyer Michael Sussmann Found Not Guilty in Politically Charged Trial.”

    Breitbart.com refused to swallow its pride with this headline: “Michael Sussmann Acquitted; Trial Revealed Clinton Role in Russia ‘Collusion’ Hoax.”

    At the Washington Examiner, under a headline “What Durham proved,” chief national correspondent Byron York offered this assessment of the acquittal: “There is no doubt Sussmann lied to the FBI. There is no doubt he is guilty. But the trial is taking place in Washington, perhaps the deepest-blue jury pool in the United States.”

    The Washington Times showed a bit more contrition, referring to the acquittal as “a stunning blow to special counsel John Durham‘s credibility as he pursues possible misconduct by U.S. intelligence agencies probing conspiracy theories about Trump-Russia collusion.”

    It might have been a little less stunning if the newspaper hadn’t been so sure of Sussmann’s guilt before the trial even happened.

    1. Yep. This one must break Bob’s heart. See if he even mentions it.

  7. What we’re reading here is another think tank working their book.