BREAKING: We expect no fish until Friday morning!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2022

But surely, no fish today: We're going out to clear the pasture spring—or, at the very least, to visit friends in the Hudson Valley.

We don't expect to post again until Friday morning. But we can make this statement with certainty:

We'll have no fish today.

In the meantime, recommended: Tim Miller is one of Nicolle Wallace's "favorite reporters and friends." He has written a book about his days as a self-described Republican "hit man."

The book may be very good. That said:

Yesterday, Miller appeared for an extended interview on the NPR program, Fresh Air. When he did, he met with some instant, serious pushback from guest host Dave Davies concerning his past behavior as a Republican strategist. 

(Headline at the Fresh Air site: "This former GOP hatchet man didn't support Trump—but still enabled him." To Miller's credit, he discussed his past behavior in a straightforward way, as he apparently does in the book.)

Davies said he found Miller's book instructive. Having gotten to know Miller as one of our favorite reporters and friends, we were surprised by much od what we heard on this Fresh Air interview, which you can listen to here.


25 comments:

  1. Amanda Marcotte in Salon explains why the overturning of Roe v Wade may swing the midterms and 2024 election in favor of Democrats. Women are registering in far greater numbers than men, in order to vote to restore choice in their states:

    "The gender gap is why President Joe Biden won in 2020, as Biden performed 12 points better with women than men. If it was only up to male voters, Trump would have won handily, as 53% of men voted for Trump while 57% of women voted for Biden. The gender gap in new registrations is only likely to make the gap grow. "

    https://www.alternet.org/2022/08/abortion/

    ReplyDelete
  2. From Political Wire:

    "Matt Lewis: “Donald Trump has left his mark on the American body politic in myriad ways. But one of the lesser-discussed aspects of the way the 45th president forever changed this country is how he’s endowed unqualified idiots with the grandiose confidence to believe they, too, should run for high political office.”

    I think Somerby continual attacks on the idea of expertise abet this trend. Basically, Trump made it clear that a know-nothing, ignorant person who cannot (or does not) read can be president, suggesting that the same holds true for other offices. Somerby has been suggesting that even experts like Einstein doesn't understand his own theory and that professors and other experts don't know what they are talking about, but are given exaggerated respect simply because they attended elite schools, without actually knowing anything beneficial to society. So, when these experts criticize Republican candidates, they have nothing important to say but are just being partisan. Which leaves us with no good way to tell a qualified candidate from an unqualified one.

    Why would Somerby, a former educator, express such opinions? He himself started his career in teaching with no training in education, as part of Teach for America, an organization that called trained teachers unnecessary and put college grads into inner city classrooms with only 6 weeks of orientation, in which traditional approaches to education were "debunked". And if Somerby could thrive despite being a fraud, perhaps he assumes everyone else does the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What Somerby does IS bad, to be sure, but Somerby's behavior is a function of what he has suffered.

      Almost certainly Somerby is on the autism spectrum, his excessive literalism, his inability to contextualize, his social awkwardness.

      Furthermore, Somerby has hinted at unresolved childhood trauma, which is likely a major root cause of being a right winger.

      As far as Einstein, Somerby's hangup is due to not bothering to consider time dilation and length contraction; right wingers often remain willfully ignorant in order to achieve their singular goal of acquiring and maintaining dominance.

      Modern Humans are naturally caring and communal creatures - we have been this way for tens or possibly thousands of years, it is only in the last ten thousand years, a fraction of our existence, since the advent of surplus farming leading to a constructed society, that we have become more prominently violent, competitive, and obsessed with dominance.

      Delete
    2. "tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of years"

      ...is what you meant, now pay me my money.

      Otherwise, I'm digging your vibe, play on.

      Delete
    3. Just as Trump’s childhood suffering does not excuse his current crimes, neither does Somerby’s struggle with his mother excuse his current blog behavior. Many autistic people are empathetic, kind, and honest. A diagnosis might explain his wordplay, excessive literalism and obsessiveness, but not his promotion of conservative memes and excusing of Republican wrongdoing.

      Delete
    4. "Excessive literalism and obsessiveness"

      It'd be pretty humorous if you are the same commenter who reflexively decries Somerby's use of pop culture references when they don't square with your strict interpretations.

      Delete
    5. If Robert Frost didn't want to have his name associated with his poems, he would have written them anonymously. It is a matter of respect, not "strict interpretation".

      Delete
    6. Is it really a matter of "strict interpretation" when Somerby claims a song is attacking working people when it is actually making fun of elite professionals (lawyers & doctors) who attend the university? That is a meaning entirely opposite to Somerby's claim, not something a "strict interpretation" would rule out, but something anyone with an ability to read should object to.

      Delete
  3. Here is a prediction, by Marcy Wheeler, of what the unredacted search warrant application likely contained. It includes a list of the efforts of the archives to retrieve classified materials from Mar a Lago up to the point of seeking the warrant:

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/08/19/the-known-and-likely-content-of-trumps-search-warrant/

    Those who are truly concerned about how many boxes there were may find this description of the process for seeking the materials interesting. Including Somerby, but I doubt he will read this. He seems to be attracted to confusion, not clarity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Digby says, about Trump's 4th Amendment court filing:

      "The filing reads like a Trump rally speech. Contrary to Eichenwald, Marcy Wheeler believes much of the filing was written by Kash Patel (who did not sign it):

      …next, the relatively few citations that Trump uses *are all misrepresented.* In fact, that is clear even in the limited quotes from precedent that Trump cites, and really makes you wonder if he truly does not know he is no longer president.

      Trump and his attorneys fling anything and everything into the filing, including, writes Wheeler:

      A confession to a violation of the Espionage Act

      A confession to making a threat against the Attorney General

      A legal shit show

      Serial proof that a Trump search was conducted like other searches

      Filed in the wrong place at the wrong time

      Probably written in significant part by Kash Patel

      Not backed by sworn declarations to substantiate its “factual claims”

      An invocation not of special master reviews by Trump’s own personal attorneys but instead an invocation of a terrorist lawyer convicted of conspiring with that terrorist. [Christina Bobb]"

      Delete
    2. Also from Digby, as played on Sean Hannity's show:

      https://digbysblog.net/2022/08/22/the-ballad-of-mar-a-lago/

      Delete
  4. "Having gotten to know Miller as one of our favorite reporters and friends, we were surprised by much od [sic] what we heard on this Fresh Air interview..."

    I am surprised that Somerby finds any of this surprising. It is standard knowledge among those on the left. The main interest is that Miller is a Republican operative, a never-Trumper, acknowledging the common view held left of center.

    I am not surprised that Somerby has plucked this recommendation from The Bulwark, described as a center-right publication. This may be Somerby's ideological "home," given his drift rightward, but what explains Somerby's defense of Trump, a stance further to the right than Miller, who has the sense to recognize Trump for what he is?

    Miller describes how he used the extremists (e.g., Bannon & Breitbart) for his own purposes as a Republican operative, helping less qualified candidates gain office at the expense of better qualified ones. He says he did it because he was a team player, despite differing politically from the far right. And he says that if he could use repugnant people for his own purposes, that explains how his Republican colleagues could tolerate Donald Trump.

    He also blames the Washington culture and the headiness of being important in it, which strikes me as self-serving. He also says the point of campaigning is winning -- he calls the culture of winning to blame for Republican behavior but blames the entire culture, which again is somewhat self-serving. Not everyone sells out their values.

    Miller also discusses his closeted gay status in relation to Republican party positions and his realization that his party and candidates were in conflict with his personal life. Perhaps that is what surprised Somerby -- he doesn't say. He says the 23 year olds who are writing Republican text don't really believe what they are writing, such as about the stolen election, but claims they are caught up as he was.

    But I personally don't see anything that startling in Miller's remarks (based on his book). He is saying what most of us on the left already know, both about Republicans and what they know and why they do what they do. The solution is not to join forces with newly "woke" Republicans such as Miller, who lost a home in their party because of this bad behavior. No matter how wise Miller sounds about his new-found understanding that avarice and power are not the only human goals worth serving, he is still a Republican and not a Democrat (not even a centrist one), since Democrats do not pursue such goals, even in their 20s, when most Democrats are more idealistic, empathetic, concerned with social justice and improving people's lives.

    But it doesn't surprise me that Somerby is once again pimping the right, even if it is the moderate right. Miller's epiphanies are not shared by his party or others in the so-called red tribe. Miller speaks for never-Trumpers not the Republican party.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you ever read Somerby clear-headedly? One thing he sure as hell isn't is a Trump defender. He made the case that Trump is dangerously deranged long before he became president. It's just that Trump isn't his primary target. And his attacks on certain philosophers and popularizers of science are entertaining and seem to me hard to refute. This recent lecture by a Harvard prof attacks bad writing in her field, philosophy: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.harvard.edu/dist/e/97/files/2022/07/Korsgaard-Dewey-Lecture.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0u5CCE4bwCrvg_lIQm63m4HZl_26xbkVD6R2VmR4STmSiWuWCSNGduxow

      Delete
    2. Trump isn’t Bob’s target at all.
      The Left is.

      Delete
    3. This is a misleading characterization of the lecture by Korsgaard. It is a summary of her career with a single paragraph (number 10 of other criticisms) that criticizes the pressure to publish within her field, blaming philosophers for writing books when they have nothing major to say. The rest of the paper is entirely about her career challenges in the field of philosophy. Korsgaard in no way supports, much less echoes, the criticisms Somerby makes here, and her paper has nothing to do with "bad writing" by which Somerby would mean unclear explanation.

      The use of a link that does not support your thesis, on the presumption that no one will follow and read it, is very similar to the games Somerby plays here. This is the kind of thing that would destroy an academic's reputation, that students are taught not to do and punished with low grades for attempting.

      Delete
    4. “One thing he isn’t is a Trump Defender.” It’s hard to think of a single issue or matter where he hasn’t defended Trump. And yes, I’m including the insanity defense. You are out of your mind.

      Delete
  5. The Miller interview is well worth checking out, I'm not sure what Bob found surprising about it. It seems to have a element of "gotcha" for Bob, another reason to not like somebody who doesn't like Trump.
    At the end of 2008 and the big loss for the Republican Establishment, I was surprised how little we got of the customary review (how did the Republicans blow it?) these things
    usually get from the chattering class. Was the Press simply ignoring it's own painful bias in sending a legacy wannabe to the White House, or even the deeper problems ( in the end, Republican leadership only serves the very rich, while Democratic leadership at least kinda sorta works?) W's stunning failures pointed to?
    And for our own purposes here, where was BOB in looking away from this? He was jumping on Obama ("Well, the Republicans have a point about him borrowing money, don't they?") pretty much from the start.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Politico: “It would have been easy to write Nebraska off as a fluke, after Democrats ran better than expected in a House race there last month. But then came Minnesota, where Democrats again beat expectations. And then, in New York on Tuesday, the dam broke.”

    “It would have been a victory for Democrats if they’d even kept it close. Instead, Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro in a district that Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, but that would have appeared to favor Republicans in a normal midterm climate.”

    “Overall, on the last major primary night of the year, the winds appeared to be shifting in Democrats’ favor.”

    Said one GOP strategist as results came in: “Well, shit.”

    -----------------------

    Somerby has been warning of doom and gloom for our "blue tribe" while the Democrats have been improving in polls and now winning in special races against Republicans, largely driven by support of women who wish to see abortion rights protected by pro-choice candidates.

    Whatever "red wave" was expected, is not materializing. Not a peep from Somerby about it, though. He continues to pretend that Democrats are losing because "we" won't listen to Trump supporters or won't stop caring about Democratic issues, or whatever it is he expects us to do these days, leave Trump alone and let him keep his documents?

    ReplyDelete
  7. https://driftglass.blogspot.com/2022/08/more-adventures-in-third-party-history.html

    Before there was Joe Manchin, there was Joe Lieberman. I might have more sympathy for Al Gore's treatment by the press if Gore hadn't chosen Liberman as his running mate. Somerby has never acknowledged the way this contributed to Gore's loss, but today Somerby is on that same bothsiderist train that has undermined Democratic campaigns in the past and done nothing but help Republicans win elections. There is no such thing as a centrist because today's centrists are just Republicans in disguise, and they were in 2000 when Gore foolishly put Lieberman on his ticket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair point, although Lieberman did get worse and worse after 2000.

      Delete
    2. Yeah. Bobs old roommate isn’t exactly a good judge of character.

      Delete
  8. Here is a video and transcript of Alex Wagner's new show:

    https://archive.org/details/MSNBCW_20220824_010000_Alex_Wagner_Tonight/start/120/end/180

    ReplyDelete