Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cab Thoughts 11/12/16

Some thoughts on the election, old and new:

A great line on the election: “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”--Salena Zito in The Atlantic.

It's a nice day to start again. Elections are like New Years. Every time is a new time, with new possibilities, new hope. So Trump offers Hope and Change. And, truly, anything is possible. We have some big problems but we know them and we have good hearts. His nomination will be a nice day for a white wedding. My vote for the Inaugural Poet: Billy Idol. 

The analysts will be employed for years explaining this election. Most have said, so far, this was an economic backlash; people are worried about the direction of the economy and hold free trade responsible. I am not so sure. I wonder if this is more cultural than economic. People are tired of being schooled by their self-appointed superiors. Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Steven Colbert, all the entertainers--all of these people have great disregard from the average guy in this country. People don’t like being called rednecks, racists, hicks, slow, homophobic, transphobic, dumb, unsophisticated, Cracker Barrel patrons. These elites are more than happy to have the average guy fight their wars but wouldn't think of picking him up hitchhiking and would never have him to lunch. They have great disregard for the average American; the average American may have just returned the snub.

People are threatening to leave the country over the election. Ah, globalization.
For those of you considering emigrating to Canada because of the election, this news:
A Canadian lab worker may have been accidentally exposed to Ebola while working with pigs that were infected with the virus on Monday.

I think that elections should be held at one time--a couple of days in a row if necessary--on the same day that taxes are due. Is it a coincidence that April 15th is about as far away on the calendar from the second Tuesday in November as possible?

Hillary lost her place in history. Her unprecedented nomination and campaign was certainly a monumental achievement. But her achievement will always pale when compared to Trump's. There is some thing sad about this, almost Greek. She has become a footnote in her own story.

A rumor: Palin as Sec. Interior. And Melania in the White House. C'mon, Angie!

A curiosity  about the Trump supporters I am seeing: There is no exuberance, no rejoicing. They do not have the enthusiasm their opponents had. They are happy, maybe a bit mischievous, but cautious. Interesting. More evidence this is  more cultural than political.

A wonder about Trump: He has engineered an astonishing--almost unbelievable--moment in American political history. A total outsider who has never sought political office of any level in the past, he enters the biggest national political race in the world, defeats well-positioned veteran politicians for the nomination and then defeats a political icon from an iconic family whop had overwhelming financial and political support. Which is to say, like him or not, he has become a historic figure.  More than the first African-American president or the first woman candidate for president, he is a national phenomenon. As such, he has the opportunity to be great, literally great, in American history. The circumstance of his election will place him in a spotlight that only he will be able to dim. He has an astonishing opportunity here. He is almost a post-modern figure, a flawed man with a staggering upside.
And that spotlight, held by an innately hostile press, will show the downside as well.

Trump did better among Hispanics than Romney. And better with Asians than Romney. And Obama did better than Hillary with white males. 52 percent of Catholics voted for Trump, with just 45 percent backing Clinton, which is remarkable since Catholics overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama in the last two elections.

Comedian Bill Maher has an interesting take on the election that I think has some merit. One Friday night he said it was wrong for Democrats to have portrayed former Republicans as villains, explaining that they “cried wolf” when it wasn’t necessary.
The “Real Time” host contended Donald Trump was truly dangerous for America, on the other hand, and the injudicious attacks of other candidates in the past have weakened the impact of attacks on him now.
“I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy [President George W. Bush] like he was the end of the world,” Maher told panelist David Frum, a former speechwriter for Bush. “He wasn’t.”
Maher continued: “And Mitt Romney, we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars, I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn’t have changed my life that much, or yours. Or John McCain.”
“They were honorable men who we disagreed with. And we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf. And that was wrong,” Maher said.
But it is hard for the righteous to hold their fire.

Maybe Katy Perry and Jay-Z do not translate out of their respective niches into political leadership as well as people think. Maybe these arrogant, self-appointed leaders are just annoying.

CNN did not learn any lessons from the election. Their lead story, which became Yahoo!'s lead story, was an interview with the estimable Van Jones expressing his outrage over what he thought was the obviously racist election results. Van is a curious choice for anyone's spokesman. He is a former active Marxist revolutionary who slid into Black Militancy when the Marxist gig did not go well. Just your average American taking average politics.

There is a risk of investigations into Hillary, her Foundation and her friends--I think Obama should pardon them as he leaves. A preemptive pardon, like immunity. Or a "get out of jail free" card. Just pardon her before anyone does anything really stupid that scars the country.

The meme going into the election was that Trump's inevitable defeat would splinter the Rube-publicans into several doomed factions. Now the genius analysts claim Trump has reorganized the Rube-publicans into a new majority. Well...who knows. But what would you think if you were a Democrat leader? How would you assess this disaster, this incredible misreading of the public and their sympathies? And would you look at Bernie Sanders' followers with anything resembling real fear? 

Republicans started the night with a 54-46 majority in the Senate and were on track to end up with at least 52 seats, presuming they win a December runoff in Louisiana, as expected. Democrats did grab a Republican-held seat in Illinois, where GOP Sen. Mark Kirk lost to Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee Iraq war vet. They also retained their Nevada seat vacated by Reid; Cortez Masto will become the first Latina U.S. senator. She beat Republican Rep. Joe Heck. And Pat Toomey won in Pa. despite tremendous outside PAC money.

One distinctive characteristic of the Obama election was how opposed the petulant Rube-publicans were to helping him in the transition. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats do the same.

For a revolution, a lot of familiar faces are beginning to coalesce around the president-elect. Giuliani, Christy, Palin, Grassley. This doesn't look like much change. And, of course, change is unlikely although hope is always present. One interesting question will be what happens when the limits of what Trump can do becomes apparent to his supporters. For example, what can be done with the Obamacare mess? Will they be content (or exhausted) with their symbolic achievement or will they want more? Will they demand actual vision and leadership?

A report says Hillary hold Comey and Obama responsible for her defeat.  "Hillary felt, that the president could have stopped Comey a long time ago, because that's what [former President] Bill [Clinton] said."
These agencies are reprehensible in their biases but I think there was something a lot deeper than news releases she was fighting here.

In 1824, the election between Adams and Jackson went to the House of Representatives, which voted Adams into the White House.

Mary Beard has a truly important observation. Writing about the Trump speech of conciliation she says:
"The idea that he could be thanking Clinton for her service to the country (“I mean that very sincerely”) and be speaking of “binding the wounds of division” – when only the day before he’d promised to impeach her and poured salt into the very wounds he was now promising to heal – beggars belief. It has nothing to do with being “gracious” (as the television pundits had it), and everything to do with words not meaning anything. It was precisely what ancient rhetorical and political theorists feared almost more than anything else: that speech might not be true, and the corrosive effect of that on popular power....Politicians may always have lied, but at least the Greeks and Romans worried about that. We have come almost to take it for granted." Strangely she does not apply this criticism equally to Mrs. Clinton.

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