ARMIES: An Iliad of the ongoing siege of the Biden White House!


We'll start to sing it tomorrow: It's sometimes called "a poem of war." We've seen it thumbnailed thusly:

The Iliad, "a poem about Ilium (Troy)," is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still widely read by modern audiences.

Set towards the end of the Trojan War, a ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Mycenaean Greek states, the poem depicts significant events in the siege's final weeks. In particular, it depicts a fierce quarrel between King Agamemnon and a celebrated warrior, Achilles. 

It is a central part of the Epic Cycle. The Iliad is often regarded as the first substantial piece of European literature.

What in the world is "the Epic Cycle?" For an overview, click here

According to the source we've quoted above, "The Iliad [was] likely written down in Homeric Greek, a literary mixture of Ionic Greek and other dialects, probably around the late 8th or early 7th century BC." We now move on from there.

The western world's story-telling starts with this ancient war poem. As noted above, its legendary siege of Troy extended for roughly ten years. 

Here in our struggling modern-day nation, we're now involved in a kind of modern-day war which will last for at least another nine months, but which can also be said to date back quite a few years.

Robert Fagles translated The Iliad in 1990. In his rendition, Book Two of the poem's 24 books was adorned with this apt headline:


As the war poem begins, the Achaeans (more simplistically, the Greeks) have decided to stage a formal assault on the walls of Troy. At this point, sacred Homer calls the roll of the Achaean troops.

The Achaean troops are great in number, and they're ready to go. For page after page in the Fagles translation, the alignments of their various constituent armies are described in this manner:

Sing to me now, you Muses who hold the halls of Olympus
You are goddesses, you are everywhere, you know all things—
all we hear is the distant ring of glory, we know nothing—
who were the captains of Achaea? Who were the kings?
The mass of troops I could never tally, never name,
not even if I had ten tongues and ten mouths,
a tireless voice and the heart inside me bronze,
never unless you Muses of Olympus, daughters of Zeus
whose shield is rolling thunder, sing, sing in memory
all who gathered under Troy...
First came the Boeotlan units led by Leitus and Peneleos:
Arcesilaus and Prothoenor and Clonius shared command
of the armed men who lived in Hyria, rocky Aulis,
Schoenus, Scolus and Eteonus spurred with hills,
Thespia and Graea, the dancing rings of Mycalessus,
men who lived round Harma, I1esion and Erythrae
and those who settled Bleon, Hyle and Peteon,
Ocalea. Medeon's fortress walled and strong,
Copae, Eutresls and Thisbe thronged with doves,
fighters from Coronea, Haliartus deep in meadows,
and the men who held Plataea and lived in Glisas,
men who held the rough-hewn gates of Lower Thebes,
Onchestus the holy, Poseidon's sun-filled grove,
men from the town of Arne green with vineyards.
Midea and sacred Nisa, Anthedon-on-the-rnarches.
Fifty ships came freighted with these contingents,
one hundred and twenty young Boeotians manning each.

So begins a long recitation. 

This call of the roll runs through a full ten pages in The Iliad's published form. It consumes almost three hundred lines of text. As recently as three thousand years ago, rapt audiences sat and listened to every word.

The Iliad turned this brutal war into a lengthy war poem. As becomes clear in that early call of the roll, many smaller regional armies create the great contingent which eventually conquered Troy when Achilles beat back his great anger and defeated noble Hector in battle, then dragged his lifeless body through the dirt and the dust.

A very unusual political war will be fought in our nation this year. It seems to us that this news report contains a bad indication for our own blue tribe, the spectacularly flawed political tribe we ourselves have always voted for:

Biden to Sit Out Super Bowl Interview for Second Year in a Row

President Biden is sitting out the Super Bowl for the second year in a row.

CBS said on Saturday that the White House had turned down a request for Mr. Biden to participate in a televised interview with its news division, which would have aired in the highly rated hours ahead of the big game on Feb. 11.

In a tradition dating to 2009, presidents have recorded an interview with the network that broadcasts the Super Bowl, although there have been exceptions. Donald J. Trump did not appear on NBC in 2018. Last year, Mr. Biden declined to appear on Fox, home of cable hosts like Sean Hannity who are sharply hostile toward him.

As the siege of his White House continues, will President Biden be able to conduct a vigorous campaign on his own behalf? 

His decision to skip that interview adds to our sense of concern. These new poll numbers from NBC News are another warning sign. 

On the other hand, Candidate Trump arrives on the scene badly disordered and deeply erratic. He drags behind himself an astounding array of possible pitfalls as his tribe's siege of the Biden White House adopts its final form.

The Iliad records the names of all the Achaean participants as they neared the end of their ten-year siege of Troy. As the poem moves on from Book Two, it describes the events of the next few weeks, events which culminate in this immortal closing line:

Such was the burial of Hector, breaker of horses.

That line comes from the Richmond Lattimore translation. We prefer it to Professor Fagles' rendition of the poem's closing line.

That was then, and this is now. Here's how we plan to proceed:

At this site, or perhaps at a different location, we plan to describe the actions of (some of) the participants in our own nation's political war.

More specifically, we'll describe the troops who publish opinion columns in our nation's most famous newspapers. Also, we'll describe the troops on cable TV, including the various print journalists who appear on our "cable news" channels as political commentators.

We Americans! As this year's siege moves onto the field, we've arrayed ourselves in two large armies, the red army and the blue. For ourselves, we'll be voting the way the blue tribe votes, as we always do. But tens of millions of neighbors and friends will reach a different judgment.

Beyond that, Zeus himself instructs us to tell you this:

We think that we in our own blue tribe have helped bring potential defeat down upon our heads. That casts us in the role of Paris—he whose unwise though deeply human behavior led to the fall of his native Troy.

Beyond that, we think our tribe will need to understand such matters if we're able to move ahead in the future after a potential November defeat. And yes, to borrow from President Lincoln, such a defeat may come.

This week, we're going to call a cursory roll of some of the visible players within our nation's red army. Having said that, a confession:

In our view, our own blue team has performed so unwisely in certain ways that even the most ridiculous forces of that army hold a powerful upper hand concerning some of the basic issues which will help determine the outcome this siege.

On balance, we don't really believe that President Biden will be able to conduct a vigorous campaign on his own behalf. That said, we're prepared to be wrong about that. 

We have no way of knowing what will happen, domestically or globally, if Candidate Trump wins. But if that happens, we blues will need to improve our game as we try to rebuild our political standing—and our blue nation's political game could stand a ton of improvement.

It's hard to believe the degree of intellectual squalor we will start to describe tomorrow as we begin to call the roll of the players in one of the armies in the advancing red siege. 

For starters, the anger and the childishness were everywhere among one of the red tribe's cable news programs last Friday night. But on certain very basic issues, their assembled troops will almost surely seem to be right on the general merits in the eye of most American voters:

Except for human blindness and the fog of war, it's amazingly easy to see why that is. 

It's hard to believe the childishness and the intellectual squalor which, by now, have been thoroughly normalized on the Fox News Channel. That said, thanks to the flaws of our own blue tribe, is it possible that their assembled battalions hold a winning hand?

It's a long, long way from sacred Homer to the Fox News Channel's primetime Gutfeld! program. We'll guess that very few people within our blue world understand the degree of inanity and coarseness which now prevail at that major "news org."

Tomorrow, we'll start by calling the roll of that small but embarrassing clique. The Iliad records the events of one famous war. We'll be recording these.

At present, our blue nation seems to be losing to an embarrassing collection of armies. Can it possibly be the case that our own tribe's self-assured armies are, in some hidden way, worse?

We're going to document the action. In this case, as in so many others, you can be sure that no else will.

Tomorrow: Assessed by any traditional norm, almost beyond comprehension


  1. "As the siege of his White House continues, will President Biden be able to conduct a vigorous campaign on his own behalf? "

    No worries, Bob, it'll be okay. Mail-in ballots to the rescue.

    1. Agreed.
      Voters will definitely put Biden back in the White House.

  2. The Iliad is a great and important work of literature. However, it seems grandiose to compare our election to a famous (possibly mythical) war that caused the destruction of a civilization. We like to imagine that the 2024 election is earth-shattering and revolutionary. This is hubris.

    Here's a reality check: I lived 4 years under a Trump Presidency and 3+ years under a Biden Presidency. There were no significant differences in my life. The same is true for my friends and relatives. I would bet that the same is true for most other's here.

    1. I wouldn't call Troy a "civilization". It was a city state.

      "Troy VI was an area of 270,000 square meters, and according to the averages of the Bronze Age, that meant 5000 to 10,000 people. Since we don't know the exact population, though, we can stick to the older methods of the archaeologists and estimate the population was around 3000 to 4000 people."

      It did not leave a literature, language or culture. It was located in what is now Turkey.

      David, are all of the people who died unnecessarily due to Trump's failure to deal effectively with covid also unaffected by his presidency? What about their families and friends? When Biden became president, he enacted measures to help families deal with covid-related changes, especially in the service and entertainment industries, but also in retail businesses. Were they unaffected? Many were saved financially by measures such as extensions to unemployment insurance. Do you imagine that retirees who are living off investments are unconcerned about the economic soft landing and record high Dow that Biden has achieved?

      My daughter is a pulmonologist. She earned Physician of the Year at her hospital because of her work during covid, as head of an expanded ICU dealing with the overflow of patients, unruly families, and implementation of changing procedures and treatment protocols. When you assume that no one here was affected, you are VERY wrong. Many of our lives changed dramatically during these two different terms.

    2. Congrats on your daughter’s success @11:43.

      More people died of Covid under Biden’s Presidency than Trump’s.

    3. BTW @11:43 What specific things should Trump have done that would have saved lives? Also, doesn’t he deserve some credit for speeding the vaccine development?

    4. More people died of covid due to Trump's policies than due to Biden's policies. More people died under Biden because Trump's policies allowed the disease to spread and cause unnecessary deaths.

    5. @11:55 AM
      But those who died under the Biden Presidency died happy, knowing that the country is ruled by a Totally Cognitive™ Leader.

    6. David, here are a few:

      1. Follow public health recommendations about wearing masks, staying away from indoor groups, getting vaccinated and boostered, use of Paxlovid instead of Ivermectin (which Trump promoted but was ineffective). Trump set a bad example by attending events without a mask, attending the Biden debate while sick and allowing his family to do so, encouraging his followers to refuse the vaccine and demand bogus treatments at hospitals, telling people the virus was nothing to worry about and would go away on its own, attacking Fauci by spreading rumors the US caused the virus in Wuhan. Trump did not personally contribute to creating the vaccine, but he deserves credit for not interfering. Recall how Trump was hospitalized with covid but risked the lives of his security detail by insisting on getting in his car and touring the hospital grounds. Another bad example for those infected, who should isolate themselves. Then he waved from a balcony without a mask on, again endangering his staff. The specific things he could have done were the things Biden actually did, working with Congress.

      The US has the best medical response system in the world but we were among the worst countries in terms of covid fatalities and unnecessary deaths (deaths under covid compared to deaths during a comparable non-covid period of time). That is because of the way Trump responded in the early months when we might have flattened the curve, prevented the horrific conditions in places like NYC, gotten control of the pandemic via contact tracing, and encouraged the population to react responsibly by vaccinating themselves, children and especially by protecting elderly and at-risk people (who died in disproportionate numbers).

      My next door neighbor died of covid because he attended a family gathering without mask or vaccine.

      Nurses and doctors were physically and verbally attacked on every single shift by family members insisting on micromanaging treatment based on things they read on the internet. Trump encouraged, not discouraged that by allowing his medical spokesperson to tell lies to the public and by encouraging his followers to take quack cures.

      Physicians regularly watched people die of covid (a very unpleasant way to die) after being told that the virus was a hoax and that masks didn't work, or the vaccine would give Bill Gates control of their minds, etc. Their realization on their deathbed that they had made bad decisions was heart-breaking. Doctors want to fight disease, not political battles or patient families. There are still medical staff leaving medicine because of what happened during covid, burned out and disillusioned by the response of Trump and the MAGA crowd.

      Of course people were hurt by what happened. Failure to understand that compounds the problem today. People are still being fed harmful lies by con artists and Trump was chief among them. The right wing has become grifters with no concern for those bilked, much less any sense of public service. So many real public servants stepped up and filled the gap, no thanks to Trump. But many are bitter about it.

    7. My husband died of covid before Biden's election. He wanted to vote against Trump but didn't get the chance. The hospital went overnight from no precautions to not allowing people to visit and requiring PPE's, but no one on his nursing staff wore a mask. He was initially hospitalized for an infection due to diabetes but died of respiratory failure. They didn't let me see him before he died, or I might have died too.

      So, David, my life was entirely different during Trump's term, changed for the worse compared to after Biden took office, but has gotten better. Covid wasn't Trump's fault (except for the lack of attention paid to early warnings coming from China, the failure to keep track of early cases spread by those traveling to the USA, and the lack of sound information being provided to the American people so that we could take our own precautions).

    8. David doesn't like to think about the living hell trump has inflicted on women due to his appointment of 3 radical christo-fascists to the supreme court. It didn't impact his fucking life of Riley so all's cool.

    9. David will never learn.


    10. COVID was funded by Russia via Iran and Qatar.

    11. Actually, having one of the major parties try to rest control of the country through violence DOES represent a change in your life, even if one is too stupid to note it.

    12. I refuse to blame Trump for Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, the Murdoch kids, etc. jumping the line to get the COVID vaccine before those who were more far more immune compromised.

    13. Meh.
      The cops getting the shit kicked out of them by immigrants didn't affect me at all.
      As far as I'm concerned, the immigrants shouldn't be charged with any crimes.

    14. Why does no one care what the migrants were doing when the cops tried to "take down" the guy in the yellow jacket?

  3. Just to be clear, The Iliad is a work of fiction, not history. It was written hundreds of years after the time in which it was set. It is attributed to Homer but it is unclear whether there ever was such a person, nor is it clear whether the work was written by a single individual as opposed to several people. Somerby returns to this poem frequently, for reasons he has never fully explained. I do not find this an apt metaphor for our electoral process the way Somerby apparently does, as he says:

    "The western world's story-telling starts with this ancient war poem. As noted above, its legendary siege of Troy extended for roughly ten years.

    Here in our struggling modern-day nation, we're now involved in a kind of modern-day war which will last for at least another nine months, but which can also be said to date back quite a few years."

    For one thing, our campaign season has only just begun and is considered the longest in our history (given that there is no true nominating period because both candidates are incumbants, which stretches the general election campaigning).

    For another thing, none of us consider ourselves to be at war with Republicans. We are all citizens of the same nation and we will govern jointly because no party ever wins all of the seats in congress, nor is any government comprised of cabinet members and staff and civil service workers from only one party either.

    Somerby has previously compared our political differences of opinion to be akin to the Civil War, which it was not either. He does not explain why he is: (1) so enamored of war, (2) inclined to view the divisions of opinion similar to the attempts of Southern states to secede from our nation. Our civil war was fought over slavery. Is Somerby conceding that the main attraction of MAGA politics for the right is still racism? So, then, what is the basis for a division so strong that it would result in bloodshed? Somerby has never said.

    Somerby wastes a lot of space on a recitation of names and places that mean nothing whatsoever to us now and here, and then moves on. What was the frigging point of that?

    This is the act of a 12 year old trying to fill space in an assigned 500 word essay by repeating the word "very" multiple times: "The Illiad is very very very very very very very very...irrelevant and boring."

    Says Somerby: "As recently as three thousand years ago, rapt audiences sat and listened to every word."

    And we have no evidence whatsoever that anyone, much less an entire audience, was interested in a single word of that poem. Somerby wasn't there and neither were any modern scholars. The litany of participants is a lot like the begats in the Bible and probably as little important to anyone. Future historians may claim WE listened raptly to readings of the Bible, given that Bibles are found in every hotel room. And it will be untrue.

    And then Somerby segues into his real topic -- telling us that Biden is losing the Trojan War. Another piece of fiction that Somerby has made up for reasons we can only guess at.

    1. incumbants—>incumbents

    2. 11:32. And yet - you continue to read him! What's wrong with you?

    3. Donation remorse / revenge

    4. @1:50 I read you -- what is wrong with me?

  4. "As the siege of his White House continues, will President Biden be able to conduct a vigorous campaign on his own behalf? "

    Even allowing for poetic license, what siege of the white house is occurring? We have an orderly transition of power in this country -- we are not Troy. There was a siege of the Capitol under Trump, but there is no indication Trump will rally his MAGAts (now busy at the Texas border) to take the White House by force in 2025.

  5. Bob’s posts are dumb. I skip to the comments so I can read the spam. I am a troll.

  6. "His decision to skip that interview adds to our sense of concern. "

    Why might Biden skip the interview? Last time it was because he didn't expect fair treatment from Fox. This time, the right has ginned up a superbowl controversy involving Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift and Biden. If Biden were to be interviewed at halftime, it would add fuel to that conspiracy, making it appear that the entire superbowl was engineered to benefit Biden. It is too much to expect gullible right wingers to recall that previous presidents have been interviewed without any conspiracy involved. Or it could just be as simple as wishing to treat the media even-handedly, and if he refused Fox he should also refuse CBS, in order not to be seen as annointing CBS as a favored station. Presidents have to watch that kind of thing.

    Somerby, however, sees this as some kind of augury of Biden's demise. Then he says that Trump isn't looking good either, but notice that Somerby has made Biden into Troy in this story, while Trump is presumably the victorious Greek!

    Then Somerby refers to the media as "troops" who are presumably fighting the war (because that is what troops do). In reality, the media is the audience for the war, it stands aside and documents. It is more like Homer than Hector, horses or not. But maybe his conceit is justified for Fox, which is part of Trump's troops because it is not objective but is spreading propaganda and disinformation in order to help Trump get elected. CBS doesn't do that, nor do any of the mainstream media. That's why it is dumb whenever Somerby refers to them as blue tribe media.

    In any case, Somerby is belaboring an inapt metaphor to shove ideas down his readers' throats that do not fit the current situation.

    Full disclosure: Somerby has attributed the Illiad to Homer, but he has nevertheless borrowed Homer's creative effort for his own purposes. Homer would most likely not endorse Trump nor support someone so reminiscent of Caligula. Borrowing Homer's stature to advance his own crazy-assed ideas is wrong of Somerby, especially if he claims to admire The Illiad and respect Homer's achievement. You don't misuse people you admire that way.

    1. If Homer endorsed Biden, that would be foreign interference in our election.

    2. So why then is it OK for Somerby to use Homer's endorsement to attack Biden's vigor?

    3. Here's the conservative POV
      : Biden Declines Super Bowl Interview Fearing Tough Questions About the Border.

    4. Maybe he didn't want to politicize the game and decided to let Republicans and Democrats have a shared experience together without polarization?

    5. He is totally cognitive.

    6. Whether it's Biden, or any other national politician, I would like to know what they are doing to streamline legal immigration, and make it easier to navigate.
      Especially now, since it's so difficult to navigate legal immigration, there are reports of problems with illegals at our border.

    7. Why would any country want an immigrant who can't figure out the immigration process? There are many candidates with high enough IQs.

    8. In Croatia, there is no uniform immigration process. The agents make it up on the spot and it is different depending on who you speak to. They are not sure they want anyone to immigrate there.

    9. Most people cannot figure out the immigration process in different countries (including coming to ours). People coming with jobs or money hire attorneys or special firms to navigate that process.

      With climate related migration this is going to get a lot more complicated and urgent for everyone. Acting like we are a fortress and can just pull up the drawbridge, when we have thousands of miles of porous border, is unrealistic. And how will people treat us when we want to go somewhere else?

    10. 5:59,
      Lots of reasons, I'm sure.
      For instance, German scientists after WWII.

    11. 5:59,
      Streamlining legal immigration to make it easier to navigate, will ease our problems with illegals at our borders.
      I suppose people who pretend they are super-concerned about illegals at our border would support this, if they weren't just pretending they care about illegals at our border for political purposes.

    12. They are also hating on immigrants because they don't like brown people. There is a cute nazi villain in the new Indiana Jones movie who conservatives would welcome as an immigrant.

      In a way, allowing Ivana to immigrate to the US started the whole mess we find ourselves in. She was an agent who introduced Trump to the Russian oligarchs and moguls who ran his money-laundering activities, then groomed him for office and ran his presidential campaign and the presidency itself. Heaven help Trump when the Russians decide he is a loser and a liability. Perhaps that is why Melania has left him -- she sees the writing on the wall.

      Back during the cold war, it wouldn't have been possible for a man with a soviet wife to become a politician at any level. Why did no one find it problematic that Trump has been so intertwined with Russians and Eastern Europeans while hating all of those immigrants from better countries?

      We look at Nazi Germany and ask how the German people ever have elected Hitler, but look at the way we have welcomed Trump with open arms, when he is worse in many was than Hitler was, and more dangerous to the world, yes, even Jews and other minorities. Dividing immigrants into good ones and bad ones has been a big mistake.

    13. Trump now believes that other countries really are sending us their undesirables, as a plot to sabotage the US. We used to believe that immigrants were the most courageous, hard-working and adventurous of people from their countries, seeking opportunities for advancement for themselves and their families. Now Trump says they are crazy or rapists. And we believe the rapist in chief who is maligning those who are just looking for a better life.

    14. IQ screening immigrants is eugenics

  7. Reply links don't seem to be working.

    1. After you type your reply, the link turns black instead of green and you must leave the website and return in order to post another reply.

    2. That’s normal.

  8. From Kevin Drum:

    1. When will Democrats in congress ever learn that republicans will never negotiate in good faith?

    2. Democrats are part of the problem.

    3. Drum describes some upside in the border bill. Here's some downside:
      Not only does this bill codify 1.5 million illegal border crossings into law, but the "border emergency" that automatically gets implemented at 5,000 crossings per day in a week can be overturned by Joe Biden.

      And in case 1.5 million illegals isn't enough, it also locks in green card giveaways through 2030.

    4. Hey David, remember when Reagan poisoned our blood by granting amnesty to millions of illegals? It was the beginning of the end of this once great country. That bastard.

    5. David clearly illustrates that Republicans are part of the problem too.

      Sadly, it is too late to send back Melania and much too late to send back Ivana.

    6. Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants. Today, there are perhaps 25 to 30 million or more migrants here.

    7. David, why does trump want to allow our precious blood to continue being poisoned for the next 10 months?

    8. @3:19 There is a too common practice of making ugly comments as if quoting some disliked person. But, Trump didn't actually make the ugly comment. You did. It came from your brain, not his.

    9. Here is exactly what Trump said in New Hampshire:

      "“They let — I think the real number is 15, 16 million people into our country. When they do that, we got a lot of work to do. They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump told the crowd at a rally in New Hampshire. “That’s what they’ve done. They poison mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just to three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world. They’re coming into our country from Africa, from Asia, all over the world.”

      @3:19 asks why Trump would prolong any resolution to our border crisis past our election if he thinks immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country.

      It is a fair question. Trump is the reason why Congress is not passing the compromise border law. He told his people not to vote for it.

    10. Right. People illegally cross the border because there is no law against it. I am Borby.

    11. 4:04, this bill does exactly what trump had been calling for congress to do for years. It isn't hard to google and find examples of trump describing exactly what this does as what he wanted from congress. so fuck off with your double talk excuses. we can all see with our own eyes what is going on.

    12. Applying for asylum is not illegal. Crossing the border in order to apply for asylum is not illegal either.

    13. David, can you provide a link to Kevin Drum writing what you say he wrote about the proposed bill. Because you're a fucking liar, no republican senator in the year of our Lord 2024 would ever support and vote for such a bill.

    14. @4:27 PM
      Crossing the border is illegal.

    15. There is a civil penalty. It is not a crime.

    16. No, it is not a crime.

      "In a criminal case, if the individual charged with a crime loses the case, they're likely facing incarceration or some type of probation. For civil cases, the resolution to a case doesn't result in the “losing” party going to jail. Often, the judgment results in a financial penalty and/or an order to change behavior."

      In this case, the order would be to leave the country or to obtain necessary documentation of the right to live in the US.

    17. "Improper entry of alien" is a crime. 6 months prison time maximum, for the first offense.

    18. If qualified immunity is good enough for cops, it's good enough for illegal immigrants.
      If it's not god enough for illegal immigrants, it isn't good enough for cops, either.

    19. Improper entry is not the same as being in the US without proper documentation. Most people here illegally enter on tourist visas and overstay their visa. That is not improper entry and it is not a crime.

  9. "On balance, we don't really believe that President Biden will be able to conduct a vigorous campaign on his own behalf. That said, we're prepared to be wrong about that."

    Biden is conducting a vigorous presidency. Why wouldn't he be able to campaign on his own behalf, as much as incumbent presidents generally do?

    But the larger question is whether that is any reason to vote for Trump, someone who is manifestly incompetent, unsuited by personality for the job, out of touch with reality, and a racist, sexist bigot who admires Hitler?

    Biden may walk a little slower than when he was 60, but he is by all measures doing a good job as president. Age should not outweigh actual qualifications for the job. Further, the word vigor is an odd choice, given that it is so often a euphemism for virility and given too that energy level is not a requirement for the job since the president delegates work to many hands. What is needed are qualities of judgment, experience, leadership, and empathy, that Trump has never had. These are qualities usually associated with age in a positive way. Biden has them. Trump does not.

  10. "It's hard to believe the childishness and the intellectual squalor which, by now, have been thoroughly normalized on the Fox News Channel. That said, thanks to the flaws of our own blue tribe, is it possible that their assembled battalions hold a winning hand?"

    No. It is not possible.

    First, childishness and intellectual squalor do not win battles of any kind.

    Second, in an election, the person with the most votes wins. There are not eough Fox viewers of any kind to outnumber the Biden voters in the 2020 election, much less in 2024.

    Third, whatever advantages Trump had are not with him now. He has gotten older, more demented, less funny and more repetitive and boring, and he has lost those who are not childish and intellectually squalid as they have realized they've been conned.

    Fourth, even if every single registered Republican voted for Trump in 2024, demographics are against them. There are not enough Republicans compared to Democrats, and if you add in some proportion of Independents and Undecided voters, the advantage to Biden increases.

    Fifth, Trump has pissed off women, even some Republican women. Women don't like to vote for rapists who keep defaming their victims to the point that two jury trials (with Trump voters on them) found him liable for abusing and then defaming a woman who did nothing wrong to him. And Trump is going to lose his Stormy Daniels trial too. And Melania doesn't like him any more. And then, if you add in Trump's meddling with abortion, women are joining the opposition in every midterm and special election since Biden took office. That should scare Trump shitless.

    How is it possible for Somerby to ignore all of this evidence against Trump's reelection? Somerby doesn't appear to believe in evidence or reality, any more than Trump does. If he did, he wouldn't keep saying "anything is possible" when it clearly isn't.

    If anything were possible, Trump would have actual hair in his bald spot. Here is a hugely wealthy, vain billionaire, willing to do whatever it takes to have a virile head of hair, but he doesn't. That proves it isn't possible, because if it were, Trump would have done it.

    1. Since it's not possible for Trump to win, would you bet me $10,000 against my $1? It would be a good bet for you.

    2. I bet a conservative friend that Hillary would not immediately confiscate everyone's guns after her election as president. I would have paid off enthusiastically if she had won instead of Trump.

      Actually, we each make a similar bet whenever we donate money to someone's campaign. If we win, we get a better life. If we lose, we are out whatever we contributed.

      I will contribute to my candidates and you contribute to yours and we'll see who wins what. OK?

      To make an actual bet, I would want to add the word "fairly" to the wager. It is not possible for Trump to win fairly. It may be possible for Russia to meddle and upset the election again (as occurred with Hillary). All they would need to do is push Biden out a window -- it happens all the time in Russia. I wouldn't pay up under those circumstances.

    3. OK - $10,000 to $1 whether Trump wins fairly. Send me your email address and we'll finalize the details.

    4. What is this bet? If Trump wins you get a dollar, if Biden wins I get 10,000? How can you be so sure of this outcome?

    5. No one will be foolish enough to send Pied Piper an address.

    6. There are plenty betting websites.

  11. "ARMIES: An Iliad of the ongoing siege of the Biden White House!"

    I really don't understand this militaristic language. Yesterday, Somerby was accusing Biden of starting WWIII. Today, he reminds us that Trump already tried a siege of the US Capitol building while congress was ratifying the peaceful transition of power.

    Why is Somerby suddenly obsessed with war? Perhaps because it is the latest right wing talking point -- that Biden is a war-monger (they tried that one against HIllary, remember)? Maybe someone on the right thinks they will get the women's vote back by portraying kindly old Joe Biden as Sgt Fury.

    In any case, Somerby falls right in line with his marching orders (see, we can all use military language).

    There is something especially unappealing about a draft dodger romanticizing war (quoting from the Illiad, when spears were deadly weapons). Biden has been working his ass off to achieve another ceasefire in Gaza (Hamas is thinking it over) while keeping Iran from blowing up the Middle East on Russia's behalf. That isn't what war-mongering looks like. Trump did everything Putin told him to in order to undermine our country's previous foreign policy, abandon our allies and treaties, sell out our intelligence services and give Putin the go-ahead to invade Ukraine after they refused to provide him with dirt on Hunter. If you want to see war like you've never seen before, reelect Trump. Putin isn't going to hold back on his invasions of other Eastern European countries over a lame duck president. Only we won't be seeing any winning. No one wins a war. A lot of people die and then the diplomats go back to talking.

    Somerby needs to watch Masters of the Air on Apple+. It is very realistic about the dangers for pilots during WWII. Lots of graphic dying in full color, with none of that poetry stuff.

    We hold elections in order to avoid wars. Is Somerby so stupid that he doesn't know that, even after 1/6? Given Trump's track record of insurrection, Biden is much better at avoiding war than Trump is. How can Somerby present this metaphor with a straight face, and if he is laughing about it, what is wrong with him as a human being?

  12. Bob tries to belittle any attempt to hold Trump accountable for his crimes as "political war." Denying the fact the Republicans now try to pass Jan 6 off as "legitimate political discourse" etc.
    Same old crappola. But Bob also now ignores Trump ordering Republicans, quite openly, to squash immigration reform so as not to rob Trump of the issue (which Bob goes to great lengths to argue is very legitimate.). Bob has nothing to say about this, hasn't even tried to claim it's false, as he ponders his college reading assignments.
    Might the Democrats now be able to effectively use immigration as an issue now? Only if the rest of the Country ignores what the Republicans are now doing as Bob does, but there is no guarantee of that....

  13. Charles III has cancer.

    1. So does Trump, except he hasn't told anyone.

    2. Trump is cancer.

  14. If Somerby is such a stupid, flawed human being, what does that make someone like you who continues to read him?

    1. It's part of a new internet trend. People are drawn to things they hate, and they spend all their time spewing negativity at those places, slowly degrading their opinion of themselves until they go nuts. I think these people are in the final stage of that process.

    2. What does that make me? Too smart to be a blogger!

      As I have patiently explained, Somerby does damage with what he writes here. So does Fox News, but I have no access to their viewers. Truth needs to be defended in a democracy because people need to be well-informed to make good decisions. I don't only correct Somerby's mistakes here. I do try to educate people. My motivation is that I am a former teacher and I believe in lifelong learning. Unlike Somerby.

      Somerby is Catholic and we Catholics are taught not to use the word "hate" lightly. Hate is a mortal sin:

      "Hatred of a neighbor is to deliberately wish him evil, and is thus a grave sin (CCC 2303 and Galatians 5:19-20)",5%3A19%2D20).

      Correcting misinformation is not a mortal sin, to my knowledge. Calling people you disagree with "haters" isn't nice. And thank you for your concern, but I am neither degrading myself nor going nuts.

    3. 2:44,
      So people wanting to live in their own bubbles where everybody agrees with, is nothing but a lie?
      I figured that, based on Facebook's business plan and trolling algorithm.

  15. Imagine if a Trump voter beheaded his own father, would Fox News be talking about Barack Obama or that right now?

    Oh wait, that did happen, and yes, they are talking about Iran and Obama instead.

    1. Oh sure. The first thing I want to know when there is a grisly murder is who did they vote for?

      Wow, imagine going through life like this. A self-imposed handicap.

    2. @2:45 The man who beheaded his father made this political himself by posting a manifesto and other political writings. He was also schizophrenic, but the danger with Trump's violence-tinged statements is that someone mentally ill will act on them, as the guy with the hammer did when he tried to kill Nancy Pelosi and injured her husband instead.

      This blood is on Trump's hands. Meanwhile, no one is going around classifying crimes by the perp's party affiliation. Inciting violence in the name of politics is irresponsible and cases like this one illustrate why.

    3. 2:45,
      Or what their citizenship/ immigration status is.
      A self-imposed handicap, indeed.

  16. Qatar is a splendid land. If David won’t emigrate to Israel, he should try Qatar.

  17. Does Bob have a public email address for TDH commenters?

    1. Many years ago, he did. He politely answered two of my emails. But now, I don’t see any address.

    2. You can communicate with him by putting comments addressed to him on Kevin Drum's blog. He reads those comments.