On Monday, the NYT reported
another planned makeover
Hillary. Key ludicrous paragraph:
There will be no more flip jokes about her private email server. There
will be no rope lines to wall off crowds, which added to an impression
of aloofness. And there will be new efforts to bring spontaneity to a
candidacy that sometimes seems wooden and overly cautious.
Planned spontaneity—that's the ticket!
Hillary also, sort of, kind of, "apologized" for using her own
e-mail server to conduct government business while she was Secretary
Taranto offers a perceptive take (as is usual for him).
But first he quotes
of the WaPo, and Waldman's article is also worth perusal.
Waldman's thesis "authenticity is baloney" (italicized in
The truth is that all campaigning is a performance, by its very
nature. When you stand up in front of a group of people, whether five or
five thousand strong (not to mention the cameras that will carry the
event to untold numbers more), you’re presenting a version of yourself
crafted for an audience. That’s true of a politician, it’s true of a
teacher in front of a class, and it’s true of you or me when we tell a
joke at a party. You may be trying to communicate something substantive
— say, an argument about why we should cut taxes or impose emissions
limits on coal-fired power plants — but you’re also communicating
something about yourself. The persona we present in public settings
isn’t necessarily “true” or “false,” it’s just a particular version of
How postmodern! Taranto lets Waldman off pretty easy, but it seems to me
that Waldman is trying way too hard on the "c'mon, everyone does it"
tactics are just tools in the pol's belt: not
inauthentic in and of themselves. Using them to prevaricate and
obfuscate—that's where true phoniness horns in.
To that point, Taranto's conclusion seems on-target:
Regarding the current scandal, [Hillary] told [Ellen]
DeGeneres: “I am now trying to
be as transparent as I can.” In a way, she is succeeding. She is
delivering scripted evasions, and it is obvious to everybody that is
what they are.
Another couple of read-the-whole-thing insights:
"The MacGuffinization of
American Politics" at Ace of Spades HQ
from Jonah Goldberg; Jonah's piece expands and extends
Ace's thesis is that "politics as spectator sport" has gone from
an apt metaphor to the more-or-less literal truth to a large
chunk of the population. Specifically:
This is a movie. And Barack Obama is the Hero. And the Republicans are
the Villains. And policy questions -- and Obama's myriad failures as an
executive -- are simply incidental. They are MacGuffins only, of no
importance whatsoever, except to the extent they provide opportunities
for Drama as the Hero fights in favor of them.
Explains a lot of otherwise mystifying behavior. Like why
thought it would be appropriate and interesting
to ask Hillary "Is your [late] mother's voice in your ear?"
Because who hasn't seen a movie where that's been a thing?
As said, Jonah expands on the idea. Key paragraph:
Ever since Hegel or maybe Plato, statists have been telling a story
about government in which government itself is the hero in an epic
struggle. At least for Hegel, the state was the mechanism by which God
worked out His will. For Marx, the State was an expression of cold
immutable forces. For the socialists who followed, control of the state
was a kind of MacGuffin but over time it became the hero itself.
I've recently been thinking of statism as a kind of secular
religion; but Ace/Jonah may have a more insightful take on it.
Olson notes Hillary's Labor Day speech in which she pledged
"to make sure that some employers go to jail " for various misdeeds
alleged against their workers.
Olson points out that some employers should, and do, get in trouble
for employee-related misdeeds. But once you get past the easy questions,
the Federal law is "vague and hard to interpret", and
"anticipating what is lawful is often a matter of guesswork."
Just the right situation for demagoguery!
This is bait and switch terminology and there is no reason to give it a
pass. Reporters should ask Hillary Clinton which cases, specifically,
she has in mind when she talks of jailing employers, and whether that
includes cases in which managers were obliged to guess what the law
required of them.
But "reporters", see above, are far more interested in asking
Hillary whether she hears her mother's voice in her ear.
“When Ben Carson makes a phony statement, I am going to attack him.”
Trump said on Thursday. “Ben Carson is not going to be the next
president, that I can tell you.
Trump and Carson are currently debating who is religiouser.
Personally, I liked
“When asked, he couldn’t even name a specific or a single Bible verse
that was important to him, that had an impact on him,” Jindal said.
“Well, do you know why? It’s clear Donald Trump has never read the
Bible. The reason we know he’s never read the Bible? He’s not in the
I chuckled, but can't help but think this is the wrong road for the GOP
clown car to drive down. Questioning the amount and quality of the
religious faith of others is a negative sum game.
I suggest the candidates ponder the wisdom expressed by the
"What I should have said … was nothing."