ERRORS: Our jalopy is pulled to the side of the road!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2022

Today we have sputtering parts:  Yesterday, we stated a premise. We said we'd start to answer a question about this recent piece of bad news:

ZENGERLE (7/3/22): In May, CNN asked 1,007 American voters for their opinions on the country’s two major political parties. After four years of Trump in the White House, an insurrection and unsuccessful attempt to overturn a presidential election and now a Republican Party that can be fairly described as a cult of personality and is moving further right on many of the same social issues, 46 percent of those surveyed considered the G.O.P. to be “too extreme.” But 48 percent of them viewed the Democratic Party the same way.

It was only one survey. But in that one survey, 48 percent of respondents described the Democratic Party as being "too extreme." 

That's where the really bad news comes in. Only 46 percent of respondents described the Trump-ruled GOP the same way!

To blue tribe voters, a survey result of that type may seem hard to believe. Yesterday, we suggested several possible explanations, even including the possibility that our own tribe's mistakes—our own unforced errors—have contributed to the way the Democratic Party is viewed.

We had some recent events in mind as possible illustrations. We were even thinking of citing some recent interviews with a major Democratic politician, in which she seemed to favor an unfettered right to abortion right up to, and right on through, the ninth month of pregnancy.

(For the record, we wouldn't be saying that some such position was "wrong." We'd merely be saying that such a position might help explain that recent survey result, a result which simply reflects the stated views of a wide range of respondents.)

As of this morning, we've finally decided to pull our sputtering jalopy to the side of the road for a time. We'd already been struck by something we saw on today's Morning Joe. After that, by a succession of news reports in today's New York Times.

We were struck by the way the framing of the national discourse continues to change before our eyes. Still, we hoped to force our jalopy onward—but then, we came upon this.

We came upon that (purported) letter to Slate—and good God, that whole thing is dumb! Still, that unparalleled dumbness is part of the fuel on which the new Slate frequently runs. And when Slate attempts to talk about policy, it will frequently huff like this.

We came upon that letter to Slate! Instantly, we pulled our car to the curb, smoke belching all around us.

The other tribe—the Trumpist red tribe—has provided a string of anthropology lessons over the past dozen years. (We're counting back to the time when Donald J. Trump, not yet a candidate, began to establish himself as king of the nation's birthers. He performed this task on Fox, with Greta van Susteren serving as his caddy)

We were very naive at that time. We found it hard to believe that so many people could be led to believe that Barack Obama had really been born in Kenya. Man [sic] is the rational animal!

That said, the capacity for crazy red tribe belief was just getting started. Since then, that tribe's crazy and/or unfounded belief has moved on to Pizzagate, then to the widespread belief that the last election was stolen.

Our own tribe's possible errors and oddnesses turn on matters of gender and race, the only topics we  claim to care about at this time.

For completely obvious reasons, gender and race are deeply sensitive topics. For that reason, our own tribe's possible errors and perceived extremes may be quite hard to discuss.

At one time, we would have thought our own blue tribe would be sharper than it actually is. After pulling our car to the side of the road, we now acknowledge that that was always a type of impossible pipedream.

Why did 48 percent of respondents describe the Democratic Party as being too extreme? Was it because those respondents are racist? Was it because of our own tribe's emerging positions, including our unforced mistakes?

We may try to restart the jalopy tomorrow. That said, we've begun to realize that we should have junked the car as essentially useless a long, long time ago.

The car was new and shiny once. But that was a long time ago.

Tomorrow: Will the jalopy start?


83 comments:

  1. As noted yesterday (with quotes from the poll), Dems are considering Repubs too extreme and Repubs are considering Dems too extreme while 90% of each partylike their own party fine (not too extreme). There are not 46-48% considering both parties too extreme, as Somerby mistakenly implies. This mistake is clear if you click through to the CNN poll itself.

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  2. I think Somerby gives Trump too much credit. I barely remember that he was a birther, much less “king of the birthers” back before he announced his run for pres. All the Repubs had it in for Obama, but there was a Corsi book, as I recall. Why puff up Trump’s role?

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  3. Given the odd things that Republicans believe about female anatomy in the abortion debate, Slate is performing a public service when it talks about misunderstandings across genders. If it results in better designed bathrooms, women everywhere will be grateful.

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  4. "The Rio Grande Valley has long been a politically liberal yet culturally conservative place. Church pews are packed on Sundays, American flags wave from their poles on front lawns and law enforcement is revered. Ms. Flores’s husband is a Border Patrol agent, a note she often emphasized on the campaign trail.

    In 2020, the Valley’s conservative culture started to exert a greater influence on its politics. Mr. Trump flipped rural Zapata County and narrowed the Democratic margin of victory in the four Valley counties and in other border towns.

    “Growing up down there, you always have closeted Republicans,” said Ms. Garcia, a former aide to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “Now, the desire to embrace Republicans is really spreading. They feel a genuine sense of belonging.”"

    Turns out hispanic voters don't have an appetite for the hate of law enforcement and the wholesale killing of small humans.

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    Replies
    1. Ms Flores seat is being redistricted out of existence. Her election is a fluke not a trend. What real politician runs for a seat that is going away?

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  5. Why not? Only about half belong to either.

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  6. Why did 48% consider Democrats too extreme? Because they are Republicans. Most have heard Fox tell them that for over a decade. Why did 46% consider Republicans too extreme? Because they are Democrats and Republicans have gone batshit, largely from watching Fox tell lies.

    Countering disinformation may help, but you “don’t collude with delusion” by humoring people who are out of touch with reality. Somerby’s belief that the left should move rightward to capture a non-existent middle is wrong. There is no middle in that poll or among real life voters. The left needs to tell the truth and work hard to get out those voters responsive yo our message, while not getting distracted by silly culture war news items, like David in Cal has been posting here.

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    1. The party that tells us men can be pregnant doesn't want us to collude with delusion by humoring people who are out of touch with reality.

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    2. “Men” can be born with genitalia of both sexes. The vendetta against trans men wishes to reduce the complexity of biology to simplistic categories. The stubborn refusal to understand is a special kind of cruelty to a group that is not harming anyone. Bullying is a Republican forte due to their lack of empathy.

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    3. They mean "men" with vaginas and "women" with penises. And the sickness is harming everyone.

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    4. And you are dodging the situations where a male or female is born with both or neither. And the situation where someone with is born with extra X or Y chromosomes, expressed in various ways.

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    5. They mean "men" with vaginas and "women" with penises. And the sickness is harming everyone.

      And here we see the Republican platform going into the midterms taking shape. They have already squeezed all the juice possible out of the CRT lemon, so it's on to new frontiers for the open-minded free speech loving fascist party.

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    6. Remedial reading:

      Gender Queer: A Memoir, a graphic novel by Maia Kobabe 2014.

      Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain by Patricia Churchland 2013. She explains the neurobiology of gender identity, sexual development, and how these can wind up misaligned in fetal development.

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    7. You want to tell normal boys they can be girls and girls they can be boys and you're pretending to be talking about the rarest examples of chromosomal and physical abnormalities.

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    8. Yes, this could be discussed intelligently. But the prevailing thought around here is that conservatives stand for nothing but bigotry and attempts to educate them are pointless.

      Should an entire class at a young age be taught about hermaphrodites (for example), or is it a situation where it is better to talk to those rare kids that actually are. But what about their friends? How is this best handled in a school environment?

      But we don't get a nuanced conversation like that, we get "They are bigots" vs. "They are freaks" basically. That's what we get, and it is very disappointing. Sorry if whoever reads this doesn't agree but I find it very sad that we can't discuss things rationally without breaking down, and shrugging, and just saying the other side sucks and wants bad things and they are bad people.

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    9. I have got to hand it to the republican party. They can't govern worth a damn, but they sure can generate divisive hateful issues out of thin air.

      The republican platform for 2022. \

      Ron DeSantis and Gym Jordan would like to inspect your school children's genitals, just to be sure.

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    10. Small children should be introduced to the idea that there are all kinds of people in the world with positive attributes. They can be taught what makes people differ much later in biology and anthropology and psychology and sociology classes. First you lay an anti-hate foundation by being inclusive of all. Republicans don’t want to be inclusive. They want to emphasize that people like them are good and everyone else is bad. That’s why Somerby is preaching to the wrong crowd.

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    11. Republicans are bad and shouldn't be included?

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    12. Republicans are the ones adopting an eliminationist stance with regard to people they find threatening. Not Democrats. If Republicans are prepared to be kind to others, they would be welcome anywhere. I don't find them to be that way. I consider the folks who children should be protected from are those who set a bad example by hurting or bullying others.

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    13. The "trans" movement hurts others and those who would tell young girls and boys they can be boys and girls are sadists who inflict them with psychological and physical consequences far worse than "normal" gradeschool bullying.

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    14. So you're not inclusive of Republicans because they are bad. You find them threatening and feel like they should not be included in the foundation of inclusivity for all. Unless they change.

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    15. Your foundation of inclusivity discludes tens of millions of your fellow countrymen. That sounds like not a super great start.

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    16. I specifically said that Republicans who are nice to people should be included. People who behave badly are not good role models for children. This isn't rocket science asshole.

      You don't know anything about the so-called trans movement. You need to do some of the remedial reading I have been posting. Start with the book "As Nature Made Him" by Colapinto. It might teach you empathy for an unfortunate baby boy who had a circumcision accident and then was raised as a girl despite feeling like the boy he was before his accident. The well-meaning decision to switch his gender didn't work, as it doesn't work in many such situations. This has led to considerable respect among doctors and psychologists for the strength of gender identity, and the feeling that it has roots in brain biology -- not brainwashing. This boy who was raised as a girl did not know what had happened to him in infancy, but nevertheless strongly resisted being a girl and became suicidal as a preteen. Such cases resulted in a reevaluation of how gender identity has been conceptualized, a recognition that it can be independent of one's biological sex. With babies that have unclear biological genitalia, it is now customary to wait and see what preference the child expresses for one gender or the other, not force the child into a gender chosen by parents. That results in a more successful outcome for the child. In situations where the parent hasn't chosen, but the child's gender identity is in conflict with genitalia, the preferences are clear long before the child has encountered any conflicts over gender. They are not easy to change, and that is why parents try to be supportive of the child, instead of forcing the child into a role that doesn't feel right. The confusion arises when a child who doesn't fit the assigned sex tries to figure out why there is a discrepancy. Depriving a child of an explanation and gender-affirming treatment by parents and doctors, if the cruelty. And it leads to suicide and depression. And such mistreatment doesn't even work -- you can't force a child into a gender that doesn't feel right.

      This isn't a matter of politics or parental mistreatment. There is science involved, which is why I suggested reading Churchland's book. The biology of sex, sexual orientation (who one is attracted to) and gender identity (what gender role feels normal to a child) is complicated. Forcing kids into black and white categories of male and female doesn't conform to nature. Treatment of kids has changed because the scientific understanding of the phenomenon has changed.

      Stop being a bigot and educate yourself.

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    17. You've made your position quite clear. You wish to start a foundation of inclusivity but are not prepared to include some people in it.

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    18. No, I said anyone could be included except people who hurt others, because that is not good for children. People who insist on hurting other people have no business being around children.

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    19. And in your words, those people are "Republicans, because they don’t want to be inclusive." Make a lot of sense. ;)

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    20. No, they are Republicans because they check that box on their voter registrations. Why do you bother with this inane dialog here?

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    21. Because it's interesting that you claim to want to start a foundation of inclusion by announcing who you will not include in it.

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    22. No, I defined inclusion based on behavior and you keep putting words in my mouth to define inclusion based on political party affiliation.

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    23. You explicitly attributed behavior to political affiliation.

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    24. You wish to have a culture of inclusivity and at the same time gatekeep who and who is not included. It's just funny.

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    25. The Republican Party is afraid school children will be groomed to believe people that are different than them shouldn’t be marginalized.

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    26. Well that wasn't as terrible as I thought.

      I like this:

      "Small children should be introduced to the idea that there are all kinds of people in the world with positive attributes. They can be taught what makes people differ much later..."

      And this:

      "You wish to have a culture of inclusivity and at the same time gatekeep who and who is not included."

      Well argued.

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    27. But Republicans are not included in that group because they don't have any positive attributes. That's what makes it funny, ironic.

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    28. It's the same old story. You don't realize your accusations of bigotry are themselves bigoted. It's just funny how poorly our minds work and how poorly we reason.

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    29. Labeling all members of a group as bigots based SOLEY on their membership to that group is absolutely bigotry. All this sort of amounts to saying "You're too tribal so you are not welcome in our tribe."

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    30. "All who argue in good faith are welcome" is the definition of bigotry against Republicans.

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  7. Yes, so why did Somerby misrepresent this?

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  8. Why look for other reasons for perceived left extremism when Republicans have been calling us socialists and communists as long as I’ve been alive?

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  9. Here are some Republican positions that I consider extreme, although I support some of them:

    1. Basing a SC decision purely on the Constitution and legal reasoning, regardless of the policy it produces. Most people can barely comprehend that the votes to abolish Roe v Wade were based on legal principles rather than opposition to abortion.

    2. Believing that the 2000 election may have been decided by fraud. There is absolutely no direct evidence of massive fraud. Yet Democrats resistance audits raises suspicions.

    3. Believing in Freedom of Speech, Years ago liberals were the ones who believed in free speech and conservatives favored censorship. Today, a majority believes we should censor speech that might be racist, offensive, disturbing, or triggering.

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    1. #3. Liberals support the ACLU which protects free speech regardless of political beliefs.

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    2. David, you obviously don't understand the meaning of the word "censor".

      Nothing has changed, David. Yours is still the fascist party. (see DeSantis, Ron)

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    3. "The A.C.L.U. unfurled new guidelines that suggested lawyers should balance taking a free speech case representing right-wing groups whose “values are contrary to our values” against the potential such a case might give “offense to marginalized groups.”"

      The ACLU is worthless.

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    4. The guidelines are about how to resolve conflicts of interest between competing priorities of the ACLU and they say it depends on the specifics of the cases at hand. You are misrepresenting what the revised guidelines say.

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    5. My wife and I recently left the ACLU after 50 years of membership. The ACLU has morphed into just another liberal group. They even came out in opposition to increased due process for men accused of sex-related wrong-doing on campuses.

      @12:27 Yes, the ACLU claims to support everyone's free speech. However, I can't recall a single case where the ACLU supported a conservative's free speech. There may be some, but they are few and far between.

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    6. recently, you say?

      You've been claiming to have stopped supporting the ACLU going back at least 10 years, David. Right here on this blog.

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    7. Do the Skokie IL Nazi’s count as conservative free speech?

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    8. ACLU is a great organization.

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    9. @2:29 The Skokie Nazis don't count as conservative free speech, because
      1. Nazis aren't conservatives. Conservatives believe in reducing government power. Nazis want to strengthen government power.

      2. It happened in 1978 -- 44 years ago.

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    10. Strengthen govt power, like Trump.

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    11. You said never. 44 years ago falsifies your statement. Nazi’s are the ultimate conservatives, and they most closely resemble Trump’s Republican party.

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    12. 1. Most people are not so gullible as to believe the right wing element of the supreme court has integrity after at least 2 of them voted contrary to their stated positions regarding the legitimacy of R v W at their hearings. I suppose D in C has some inside knowledge of their motivations here.
      2. Only right wing Trump extremists cling to the fully discredited notion that the 2022 election entailed significant amounts of fraud, and even there, that it was perpetrated by the left (see Mark Meadows). Trump himself appointed a committee to investigate the phenomenon in 2016, as I recall, led by Steve Scalise. It disbanded roughly a year later without fanfare, having failed to uncover any significant wrongdoing. This failure was of course repeated many times over by republicans in contested swing states, including Arizona where a hand picked group of operatives failed to corroborate any such accusations. So when Democrats scoff and laugh off your concerns, D in C, it is because you cannot seem to let go of them despite a plethora of evidence that your Fox and friends pundits are liars. Murdoch's own son flatly stated that his media outlet has as a business model the dissemination of misinformation, but go ahead and swallow their bullshit because it quite well parallels and reinforces your ignorant biases here. If Democrats resisted the notion that the earth is flat your suspicions would be raised, in all likelihood.
      3. So you favor the dissemination of racist speech, and exactly to what end?

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    13. speech that might be racist, offensive, disturbing, or triggering

      David, you already have right wing hate radio 24/7 dominating the airwaves. How much offensive racist speech do you need?

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    14. An example of "conservatives reducing government power":

      The New York Times reported earlier Wednesday that the IRS conducted intensive tax audits of McCabe and Comey, both fierce critics of former President Donald Trump. The Times noted that the odds of any one person being selected for the audit are about one in 30,600, raising questions about how two of Trump's most visible critics were both selected.

      David, you are such a fool.

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    15. The bombing of the Guidestones is an example of conservative respect for free speech, I suppose.

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    16. "The Times noted that the odds of any one person being selected for the audit are about one in 30,600, raising questions..."

      Oh. So the dembot publication isn't aware that the odds of being selected for an audit heavily depend on the content of the tax return?

      ...but of course the dembot publication is aware. It's just that lying is dembot publication's business, that's all.

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  10. If Americans do not perceive the Republicans
    as extreme, after the party was essentially
    purged of all moderates in the years
    before Trump came along, might that
    have something to do with the way the
    news is presented to them? Wasn’t that
    once the subject Bob was once supposedly
    interested in?
    Was the Right’s behavior in birtherism
    not predated by the matter of Vince
    Foster? Were there not a dozen now
    forgotten manufactured scandals of
    the Clinton years which received
    attention in the national press? Has Bob
    has joined the overwhelming majority
    in generously (to the Right and to
    the Press he supposedly hates) in
    forgetting all about these fake
    scandals?
    In addition to the admittedly
    (sometimes) overplayed issues of
    race and gender, haven’t Democrats
    showed they care about Health Care,
    Infrastructure, Climate Change,
    NATO, and perhaps some others?
    Is it maybe Bob who doesn’t care
    about these issues?

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    Replies
    1. You spent two years lying about Russia collusion and claiming Hunter's laptop was Russian disinformation.

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    2. If you are hyping “no collusion” you are the one with the lying problem. What we are supposed to discern from the laptop story is something you cannot explain, you just have been taught to say “Hunter’s laptop.” Good dog, sit up, roll over….

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    3. There was never any collusion or conspiracy proven.

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    4. The Clinton campaign invented a story tying Trump to Russia in late July 2016 (days after the Democratic Convention) and brought this story to the media and the FBI knowing it was false.

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    5. Except they didn't "invent" it. It was substantiated by the FBI and the Mueller Report.

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    6. 10:41, get back to me when Donald J Chickenshit testifies under oath as he repeatedly promised to do.

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    7. They invented it. The Alfa bank story. . It was never a substantiated by the fbi. Quite the opposite. As usual, you have no idea what you're talking about.

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    8. 8:01, I have 3 words for you.

      Obstruction of justice.

      get back to me when Donald J Chickenshit testifies under oath as he repeatedly promised to do.

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    9. Backing up my friend, there was never any collusion or conspiracy proven. There never was any. It was a manufactured scandal.

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    10. No one has ever heard a good faith argument made by a Right-winger, never mind proven it.

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    11. Idiotic non response.

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    12. 9:25,

      Obstruction of justice. Witness tampering.

      get back to me when Donald J Chickenshit testifies under oath as he repeatedly promised to do.

      Bonus question: What trump co-conspirators knew about the russian hack of the DNC before it happened?

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    13. Get back to me when you have any conclusive evidence of coordination or conspiracy of any kind.

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    14. Complete the following sentence:

      Whiny ass, crybaby coward Donald J Chickenshit refused to answer questions under oath for the Mueller investigation because _______________

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    15. Conclusive evidence? No. They never got conclusive evidence on Al Capone either. Except for income tax evasion.

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    16. There was never any collusion or conspiracy proven. It was a manufactured story. Such a dumb story too. They fooled you though so it worked really, really well.

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    17. 5:24,
      Not sure if you're responding to my comment comparing Trump to Capone but it had nothing to do with any Russian collusion.

      It had to do with: his 3,500 lawsuits; the text messages urging witnesses to ‘continue to be a team player', the phone messages saying to witnesses that "a person" knows "you'll do the right thing in your deposition tomorrow"; the phone call to Georgia Sec. of State: 'I just need to find 11,780 votes’; the phone call to Ukraine where he said, ‘The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great…’

      With the right attorney and the right jury, maybe none of it illegal. But definitely mobsterish.

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  11. A serious scandal.

    The country is now being run by a cabal of ultra-conservative Catholic extremists. What would the founders think about that?

    At an evangelical victory party in front of the Supreme Court last to celebrate the downfall of Roe v. Wade last week, a prominent Capitol Hill religious leader was caught on a hot mic making a bombshell claim: that she prays with sitting justices inside the high court. “We’re the only people who do that,” Peggy Nienaber said.

    This disclosure was a serious matter on its own terms, but it also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court. In fact, the conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, cited an amicus brief authored by Liberty Counsel in its ruling.

    In other words: Sitting Supreme Court justices have prayed together with evangelical leaders whose bosses were bringing cases and arguments before the high court.

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  12. Christians can't pray with judges because religious organizations bring lawsuits. They must be prohibited from going to church. Funny!

    You sound like the anti-semites who say Hollywood is run by a cabal of Jews.

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    1. Six Catholic justices in a country that is 20% Catholic. That’s what happens when you appoint them based on ideology and political loyalty.

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    2. That’s 6 of 9, 67%.

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    3. Prior to RBG's death, 33% were Jewish in a country that is 3% Jewish. Too many jooos?
      Catholics and Jews tend to be better qualified.
      Justices who don't know what a woman is aren't.

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    4. 8:30
      A lawsuit “in Florida argues that banning abortion is a violation of Jews' First Amendment right to practice their religion. Deena Prichep reports on how Judaism is fairly united in its support for abortion access.”

      https://www.npr.org/2022/07/03/1109607681/fl-lawsuit-argues-supreme-court-abortion-decision-violates-jewish-beliefs

      Perhaps that is one reason there is a preponderance of Catholics on the court.

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    5. Hey my religion tells me I can kill infidels. The constitution protects
      it!

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    6. Again, the answer to “my religion believes…”,is “so what?”

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  13. When did Somerby become a brain dead mainstream media “Dems in Disarray” pundit?

    Writers like Zengerle try to prove something or other by using polls, and what they end up “proving” is usually exactly what the writer believed anyway.

    Two things emerge from this piece: that the idea that Democrats are a mindless tribalist group is ridiculous: the story is filled with Democrats criticizing other Democrats.

    Second, that Zengerle is making little sense. On the one hand, he quotes a Democrat (Gottheimer) who pushes for lower taxes (apparently that is part of being a “moderate Clinton Democrat”), and yet Zengerle says

    “Over the last decade, the Democratic Party has moved significantly to the left on almost every salient political issue. Some of these shifts in a more ambitiously progressive direction, especially as they pertain to economic issues, have largely tracked with public opinion: While socialism might not poll well with voters, Democratic proposals to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and lower the age of Medicare eligibility do.”

    What’s a reader/Democrat to conclude? Stand for lower taxes AND higher taxes. That’s the ticket. Also, we regret the leftward shift of Democrats who have apparently shifted with public opinion.

    I recall the only time Somerby wrote about Warren’s progressive health care proposal was to quote from an article critical of it. And Kevin Drum hates it when progressives push Medicare for all.

    Ah, but on “social, cultural and religious issues, particularly those related to criminal justice, race, abortion and gender identity”, that’s where the Democrats (except the moderate “Problem Solvers Caucus”, who threatened to vote against Pelosi, until she high-handedly, like a typical out of touch liberal, agreed to their demands), are out of touch with voters.

    But as I mentioned the other day, 71% of the public supports gay marriage. There is majority support for Roe v Wade. That sounds like a consensus for the Democratic position.

    Zengerle can’t even decide if the Democrats have really moved too far left, or they are just perceived to be too far left. Either way, it’s a problem for Democrats!

    This is all bilge, in my opinion.

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