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CSotD: Straw polling

Kal Kallaugher captures the current situation, in which Dear Leader feigns bravery by boldly confronting a strawman to the applause of his followers.

It does little good to argue whether his accusations are right or wrong or if they make any sense at all, because we’ve shot past the phase where Big Lies were challengeable.

Now we’re just counting up who believes what.

Not only do the votes of smart people and stupid people count the same, but we are dealing with a situation where some people may not get to vote at all, and, if they do, there is already a movement developing to announce that their votes were fraudulent.

And I’d note that those links come from people who were considered “conservative” back before we moved the centerpoint to the right end of the scale.

 

Pat Bagley looks over Barr’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee and notes his obvious lack of objectivity, but, in the words of a wise woman, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

 

To start with, we really shouldn’t be surprised if the Attorney General is partisan. Ann Telnaes drew this caricature of John Ashcroft back when he was W’s AG.

 

We’re a long way from the days when John Mitchell stepped down as Attorney General to head up Nixon’s re-election campaign, and a very long way from the days when AG’s resigned rather than carry out Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre.

Leaving the job, I would note, to Robert Bork, who was subsequently offered a spot on the Supreme Court, and conservatives are still upset that the Senate refused to confirm him.

Anyway, and more to the immediate point, these CSPAN dog-and-pony shows don’t accomplish a whole lot. Politics ain’t beanbag, but it also ain’t baseball or football where you can see who scored.

It’s more like figure skating or gymnastics, in which judges vote by subjective impressions and established loyalties rather than on some objective scale.

Congresscritters make impassioned speeches, the person in the chair mumbles some responses and then both sides cheer and say “We won!” and fill Facebook and Twitter with video clips to prove their point.

This isn’t cynicism; it’s history.

However, a knowledge of history also means that intelligent analysis notes the similarities between Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” — who did exist but was hardly typical and was simply a strawperson to justify hard-hearted changes to the system — and the attacks on Portland, which are being similarly ginned up for a wider political purpose, inspiring this three-part

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Bennett)

 

(David Horsey)

 

(John Branch)

I’m not going to re-argue the matter of whether the protests are peaceful or not, because (A) as with judging Barr’s appearance before Congress, it’s pointless, and (B) unlike in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s day, we feel not only entitled to our own opinions but to our own facts.

Is there violence in Portland? Yes, of course, that’s a fact.

Is it typical of what’s going on there? Ah.

Well, Eric Rudolph planted a bomb in Atlanta; that’s a fact. And James Kopp murdered Dr. Barnet Slepian; that’s also a fact.

Are Rudolph and Kopp typical of Right-to-Life advocates? Let’s see how the judges score it.

Meanwhile, those working to re-elect the president have already begun using images of violent protests in their advertisements, even if they have to travel halfway ’round the world to find those images. (Click this. You’ll thank me.)

It’s important to judge Horsey’s cartoon metaphorically, not literally: Those federal troops did not personally go to Portland to prop up Dear Leader’s re-election efforts, though of course some of them likely support him.

But their presence is ramping up not only the confrontations in the streets there, but everywhere: Bennett’s accusation of pouring gas on a fire extends throughout the country.

As for Branch’s claim of intent, Trump’s own language, stating that he would send federal troops to cities with Democratic mayors, is a one of them thar res ipse loquiturs.

Not to mention one of those moments when staff wishes something hadn’t been said out loud but it’s already out there.

And, again, I suppose the judges’ scores will remain consistent.

 

Now, to be fair and objective, Nick Anderson has it wrong: Trump did not say Portland was worse than Afghanistan.

He said Chicago was worse than Afghanistan, in a mini-rally called to praise police and threaten local jurisdictions with federal invasion, and, if it sounds to you like he’s trying to persuade the public that those pesky Poles attacked one of his radio stations, that’s just your perception.

However, the cartoon brings up an issue that the press barely touched, because I can’t find much evidence that anyone has done much to get an answer out of Dear Leader about his pal Putin putting bounties on American soldiers.

 

Dear Leader explains that they never even told him about it.

Or maybe the dog just didn’t feel like barking.

 

Still, kudos to Kaitlin Collins for doing her damn job yesterday, and pressing Trump on his reiterated support for an off-the-wall bit of quackery so outrageous that Twitter and Facebook both took it down.

I like his explanation that, while he doesn’t know what the doctor actually says or believes, she was on television and so there.

Which fits in with repeated reports that he puts more faith in what he sees on TV than what he hears in his briefings.

Which in turn fits in with today’s overall theme that people believe what they’re going to believe and it’s rare that they change their minds because of facts and logic.

 

Finally, Lee Judge reminds me of a story my father brought home from a school board meeting, in which a kid facing suspension explained what happened.

Seems he was giving the other boy a swirly and, when he pulled his head back up out of the toilet, the kid swung his head around and splashed all over him.

So of course he had to beat him up.

Why does anyone have to explain these things?

 

 

Community Comments

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#1 Kathleen Elizabeth Donnelly
July/29/2020
@ 11:33 am

Re: Lee Judge’s cartoon.
Just like the little boy who explained why he had a fight with his brother: ‘It all started when he hit me back.’

#2 phil von neupert
July/31/2020
@ 7:26 am

On a statistical note, the city if Chicago has more “Poles” living in it than anywhere but Warsaw, Poland. If Trump had a radio station in Chicago, I know several people of Polish descent there who would probably attack it! LOL

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