Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part IV: Weak, But Strong On Pandering [Corrected]

You want “a weak presidential field”? I’ll show you a weak presidential field!

[Part 1 is here; Part II is here; Part III is here, and the November debate review is here.]

David Leonhardt, whom I sometimes think is the worst of the horrible stable of New York Times op-ed writers until Michelle Goldberg launches into another fact-free rant or Charles M. Blow authors the latest escalation in his campaign to convince readers that President Trump is the spawn of Satan, wrote an op-ed last week attacking the parties’ nominating processes and asserting that “We have an unnecessarily weak presidential field, especially the incumbent.” Read the article. There is no logic to it, nor consistency; it is yet another “I wonder how gullible and ignorant my readers are?” experiment. Essentially the piece is anti-democratic, as a majority of progressives seem to have soured on democracy once it “failed” by not electing Hillary Clinton President. (I regard the election of Donald Trump over Clinton as one of the most important and exhilarating expressions of democracy in our history, though it was substantially due to moral luck.) Leonhardt’s argument is also historical nonsense, as he claims that the parties were better at picking qualified and electable candidates in the past. They most certainly were not: overage generals like Winfield Scott*, W.H. Harrison and Zachary Taylor, the latter two who, though elected,  promptly died, thus elevating to the White House VPs that nobody ever wanted or envisioned as Presidents…popular generals with no governing experience whatsoever, like U.S. Grant and John C. Fremont…wildly popular outgoing Presidents’ handpicked successors who would never have been nominated otherwise, like Van Buren, Taft, and Bush? Packaged puppets like Warren G. Harding and William McKinley? Doomed losers like Horace Greeley, James Cox, Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, George McGovern, Mike Dukakis  and (yechh) John Kerry? Already once or twice beaten past candidates like Henry Clay, William Jennings Bryan, Thomas Dewey and Adlai Stevenson?  Brilliant!

Leonhardt even offers Abraham Lincoln as an example of the effectiveness of past party nominating systems, ignoring, or, based on his established level of acuity, unaware of the fact that Abe won despite getting only 38% of the vote, or about the same proportion Barry Goldwater and George McGovern received while losing in landslides. That he turned out to be a great President was more moral luck: Lincoln had no executive governing experience at all before being thrust into the most difficult challenge a President had faced since Washington, hadn’t even been a general, and was known mostly for his wit and oratory. With the nation teetering on destruction, the candidates selected by the Democratic and Republican parties in 1860 consisted of Lincoln, John Breckinridge, Buchanan’s inert Vice-President, who had also no executive governing experience, and Stephen Douglas, who also had never run anything and had been a full-time legislator for two decades. In his favor, he had a lot more relevant experience than Lincoln. On the deficit side, he would die in 1861, meaning that if Douglas had been elected the new President would have been the immortal Herschel Vespasian Johnson.

Leonhardt explains why the current field of Democrats is so weak, as if that wasn’t already depressingly obvious, but he never points to a single current non-candidate who would be any more promising, because there aren’t any.  He muses about Democratic governors who might be more promising: Like who, exactly…the ridiculous Andrew Cuomo? How many Democratic governors have distinguished themselves enough to have any national name recognition at all, other than Cuomo and Virginia’s Ralph Northam, of blackface fame?

It’s not the process, obviously, it’s the people. Then Leonhardt ends with “Of course, the biggest sign that the process is broken isn’t any of those seven. It is the man in the Oval Office.” Got it. The op-ed is just more anti-Trump teeth gnashing.

Whatever Donald Trump may be, the fact that he beat a supposed Democratic star overwhelmingly expected to win proves that he was not a weak candidate by definition, and as an incumbent President, he is stronger now. Incumbent Presidents are usually strong candidates because no matter who they are, if the economy is thriving, their foreign policy weaknesses haven’t crippled them, and there’s no prominent third party candidate to siphon votes away, they win, like Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Ike, Truman and FDR (and going back further yet to the beginning of the 20th Century, , Wilson, Teddy, and McKinley).

But I digress. The shocking deficiencies of the current Democratic hopefuls were on full display as the awful awful, awful December debate wound down.

Pete Buttigieg began the worst pander-fest of the evening:

BUTTIGIEG: When I am president, based on those experiences, I will make sure that this is a country of laws and of values. And that means not only ending these unspeakable, cruel practices at the border, but finally and truly fixing the immigration system that has needed a full overhaul since the 1980s.

Note: I have determined, after months of listening and reading, that Mayor Pete is the #1 Panderer among the Un-Magnificent Seven. Warren is the obfuscating demagogue; Joe Biden is the empty suit, Bernie is the socialist lunatic, Yang and Streyer are the irrelevant distractions, and Amy Klobuchar is the token moderate who doesn’t seem senile. The last three have no chance at the nomination. That the first four do validates at least part of Leonhardt’s thesis.

Can Buttigieg explain how a country “of laws and values” can ignore its immigration laws and reward non-Americans who deliberately break those law? His statement is self-contradictory. The “unspeakable, cruel practices” did not original with the Trump administration, and are necessary because lawbreakers have overwhelmed enforcement at our border. Anyone who talks about “truly fixing the immigration system” without specifying what that would involve is a fake: this is the immigration equivalent of promising “sensible gun regulations.”

Buttigieg was sucked into this embarrassing discourse by this question:

Mayor Buttigieg, a new question to you, Mr. Mayor. You said last month that the U.S. owes compensation to children separated from their families at the southern border. The consensus among child welfare experts is that those thousands of children will likely suffer lifelong trauma as a result of that separation. Are you committing as president to financial compensation for those thousands of children?

The idea is bats, and a candidate of integrity would say so. Parents drag their children long distances to cynically and irresponsibly use them as human shields impeding U.S. enforcement of our borders. Any psychological traumas the children encounter are completely the fault of their parents, who put them in peril, and any other position invites and encourages scams.

Nevertheless, Mayor Pete did what he does:

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, and they should have a fast track to citizenship, because what the United States did under this president to them was wrong. We have a moral obligation to make right what was broken.

What a great system! Foreign parents create an impossible situation at the border while endangering their children (if they really are their children) and  by making certain any effort to keep the parents from violating our borders “traumatizes” those children, guarantee the kids a “fast track to citizenshi” !

Does anyone listen to what Buttigieg says, or is he just so darn cute that everyone’s eyes glaze over?

[In related news, Julian Castro finally quit the race, but not before advocating the  complete decriminalizing of illegal border crossings. To his credit, at least Castro specified what “truly fixing the immigration system” means to him, and I strongly believe that’s what it means to Buttigieg and others, but they don’t have the guts, or the foolishness, to admit it.]

Then the South Bend mayor was asked if he advocated reparations for slavery, and outdid himself ith biggest, craziest pander of them all, saying,

 I support H.R. 40, which is the bill that has been proposed in Congress to establish a commission to look at reparations. But we shouldn’t wait for that commission to do its work to do things that are reparative.

Remember, we’re not talking about a gift to anybody. We’re talking about mending what was broken. We’re talking about the generational theft of the wealth of generations of African-Americans. And just crossing out a racist policy and replacing it with a neutral one is not enough to deliver equality.

Harms compound, just like a dollar saved in its value compounds over time. So does the value of a dollars stolen. And that is why the United States must act immediately with investments in minority-owned businesses, with investments in health equity, with investments in HBCUs, and on the longer term look at reparations so that we can mend what has been broken.

Reparations are perhaps the most racially divisive and harmful policy imaginable;  it is probably unconstitutional, it would be impossible to manage, and it will never, never happen, but never mind, Buttigieg and the entire field are dedicated to pander to the African American base with promises of riches for, you know, just being black.

The moderators’ intended to get every candidate to endorse reparations, but Biden ducked the question, and one after another among the group on stage, especially Sanders, segued into the “free stuff for all” mode. “Make public colleges and universities tuition-free….cancel all student debt in this country” [Bernie] “$1,000 a month into everybody’s hands…” [Yang] “Medicare for all” [Warren and Sanders]

Finally, the debate collapsed into silliness, as the moderators asked everyone to either “ask forgiveness for something maybe that was said tonight or another time, or a candidate to whom you would like to give a gift.”

And these were the best moderators so far….

Sure, the system for choosing candidates is lousy, but if the field is terrible, what difference, at this point, does it make?

*CORRECTION NOTICE: In the first version of this post, I wrote “Winfield Hancock,” when I meant Winfield Scott. Scott was the old general nominated by the Whigs in 1852, losing to Pierce. Winfield Scott Hancock was named after Scott (hence my brain fart) and ran as the Democratic candidate against James Garfield in 1880.

____________________________________

For posting on Facebook, use this Twitter link: https://twitter.com/CaptCompliance/status/1213032315913461760

 

30 thoughts on “Verdict: Worst Candidates Debate Ever, Part IV: Weak, But Strong On Pandering [Corrected]

  1. Thank you for sharing both your knowledge and reasonable perspective.
    Your points about Lincoln, McGovern (most like the modern Democrat problem) and the pandering are particularly relevant.

    You especially importantly and correctly point out we cannot be a country of laws while first choosing to ignore or obviate the current ones. This is the curse of the “smartest” people who seek power, an assumption not enough of us will figure out what they’re up to before it’s too late. This arrogance is why Hillary lost last time. Her party has since let the veil nearly fail to the floor. The totalitarians are almost fully exposed.

    Thus Leonhardt complains, knowing how unlikely it is any of his party’s candidates will win.

  2. I have asked this question many times over the past few months… “Can it be possible that the Democrats cannot find one single individual who (1) has appropriate credentials? (2) Does not espouse totally insane policies? (3) Can actually make a decent run for the Presidency? (4) Is not a total embarrassment to the party?

    The answer, I have decided, is the killer anti-Trump virus. Beginning with the devastated Hillary, the anti-Trump, ‘progressive’ (read socialist and insane) this virus has infected all Democrats and in my opinion means the end of the party. Anger and resentment are such strong emotions that they override all rationality. Where, oh where, is that one good man/woman? Really non-existent? Actually, I think not: anyone of that ilk would quickly be demeaned and rejected by the virus-infected Democrat establishment. To the detriment not only of the party but the US as a whole.

    • I don’t think it has anything to do with Trump. It isn’t like there weren’t Democrats until 3 years ago. Where were the ‘strong’ Democrats then? Eleven years ago, the best candidate they could put up was a guy who had a nebulous past, vague work history and experience, and just a few years of lackluster (at best) legislative ‘work’. Three years ago, the best they could do was Hillary Clinton. Where were the strong Democrats then? Bernie Sanders was the best ‘other’ candidate they had.

      The Democratic Party is fixated on racial fascism (or cultural Marxism). The don’t care about experience, or competency, or someone’s record. All they care about is a person’s ‘check boxes’ and what the person says publicly. Pete Buttegeig’s relevant experience is being the mayor of a rich, college town. Why isn’t anyone looking into what type of job he did there? Why isn’t anyone asking about the race-relations problems in South Bend, the notion that he commands little to no respect from his constituents, or that he violated an agreement with the EPA and continued to dump city sewage into the river because the cost of environmental compliance was too high? None of this matters to Democrats. They only care about the fact that he is gay (and seemingly if he is ‘gay enough’?) and that he says the right things. What he does is irrelevant. The whole party has been like this for decades, resulting in no one of real ability in the party. When you belong to a party that believes that the idea of a meritocracy is racist, you will only end up with incompetence.

  3. Mayor Pete can pander all he wants, he is never going to get the nomination. The fact is that as a veteran and a Midwesterner with relatively moderate credentials to date, he’s not capturing the young vote, despite his age and sexuality. The young people are all supporting Bernie Sanders. In fact, the age curve for Sanders is the polar opposite of the one for Trump. Trump has next to no support among young people, but his support grows the older the people polled until the older generation supports him overwhelmingly. Sanders has next to no support among the older generation, except maybe in Vermont where all the gray beards and ponytails went, but the younger the people polled, the higher the numbers, until the college crowd overwhelmingly supports him. Sanders is the farthest left you can get in this race, and the young people appear to very firmly believe that their ideology, Sanders’ ideology, is the one destined to prevail, once the darn boomers and Gen Xers die off or otherwise get out of the way.
    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/01/01/pete-buttigieg-enrages-left-liberals-2020-091479
    You can read more about that at that link.

    A lot of these ideas are bats, and don’t even sound like serous candidates. This rhetoric that you cite to above doesn’t sound like the most liberal presidents ever to occupy the White House. It sounds like stuff wild-eyed activists say. This is the kind of stuff people who want to not just change the Massachusetts flag, but want the state to gift 50,000 hectares of land exclusively for native use say. This is the kind of stuff the people who want to disestablish the police say. This is the kind of stuff the people who want to tear down monuments and museums in NYC say.

    If these people get elected, we are looking not at the United States of America, but at the United Shame of the Americas. It will be a country where every public building will have a “land acknowledgement” plaque at the entrance, reminding everyone who enters or leaves that this building, and the government it houses, sits on stolen Indian land. It will be a country where a statement of apology for past wrongs to the BIPOC people will replace the Pledge of Allegiance before meeting and classes. It will be a nation where so many mayorships and other posts will be explicitly reserved for women and people of color, and if your town is one of them, tough luck, you can never run. It will be a country where the white race, especially white hetero men, will be despised. It will be a country where factual history can’t be taught. It will be a country with a calendar you won’t even recognize, as Columbus Day gives way to Indigenous People’s Day everywhere, Juneteenth replaces Independence Day as the major summer holiday, and public celebrations of Christmas and Easter become so regulated as to be illegal. It will be a country where taxes skyrocket and services tank. It will be a country where the Bill of Rights becomes hollow, and the only two freedoms will be the freedom to get an abortion and the freedom to ask permission to do anything else, which will rarely be granted. Most tellingly, it will be a country where citizenship will be almost a handicap, and not a benefit, as “woke” officials lavish benefits on aliens and those claiming past oppression, at the expense of the productive. Is that what we want? Because that’s what you’re voting for when you embrace this rhetoric.

    • Steve writes:

      If these people get elected, we are looking not at the United States of America, but at the United Shame of the Americas. It will be a country where every public building will have a “land acknowledgement” plaque at the entrance, reminding everyone who enters or leaves that this building, and the government it houses, sits on stolen Indian land. It will be a country where a statement of apology for past wrongs to the BIPOC people will replace the Pledge of Allegiance before meeting and classes. It will be a nation where so many mayorships and other posts will be explicitly reserved for women and people of color, and if your town is one of them, tough luck, you can never run. It will be a country where the white race, especially white hetero men, will be despised. It will be a country where factual history can’t be taught. It will be a country with a calendar you won’t even recognize, as Columbus Day gives way to Indigenous People’s Day everywhere, Juneteenth replaces Independence Day as the major summer holiday, and public celebrations of Christmas and Easter become so regulated as to be illegal. It will be a country where taxes skyrocket and services tank. It will be a country where the Bill of Rights becomes hollow, and the only two freedoms will be the freedom to get an abortion and the freedom to ask permission to do anything else, which will rarely be granted. Most tellingly, it will be a country where citizenship will be almost a handicap, and not a benefit, as “woke” officials lavish benefits on aliens and those claiming past oppression, at the expense of the productive. Is that what we want? Because that’s what you’re voting for when you embrace this rhetoric.

      Really, it appears that perhaps Abe Lincoln should not have been elected and should not have begun that terrible social war that has no end . . .

      Causation and studying the causal chain.

      I keep.trying.to.point.out.against.a.wall.of.resistance that in just a few short years the demographics will decide things. Plaintive cries and wounded wailing . . . do not help.

      This is a radical time and it requires radical measures. Which *America* shall we serve?

        • [From a 2 volume set of all the editorials published during the American Civil War conflict (or in any case the selected, important ones) Northern Editorials on Secession, 1942, edited by Howard Perkins PhD.

          This is one of the documents I encountered when I studied for a time the ACW. It changed the way I saw the history, and certainly the history that is taught… (It took me 45 minutes to transfer this from an OWC app!)

          HOW IT WAS DONE

          (Daily Pittsburgh Gazette [Lincoln], April 18, 1861)

          In all the history of the world there is no account of so singular a contest as that in which the American government is now engaged. Five months ago treason and revolt burst forth like the sudden eruption of a volcano. A weak Executive, whose leading advisers were traitors, bent before the storm, and suffered the outbreak to progress until not only ourselves but the whole civilized world trembled for tthe safety of the government. Indeed it would have been overthrown had not other and better men been placed in authority.

          For four weeks after the Fourth of March the administration of Mr Lincoln seemed to be as inert, and weak, and timid as that of his Predecessor yet we now see that it was working with extraordinary vigor, but so quietly that neither friends nor foes could tell what it was doing, or whether it was anything. Deep murmurs of discontent began to be expressed by the former, and exultant shouts of triumph arose from the ranks of the traitors.

          The administration suffered the story to go out that it was desirous of evacuating Sumter, and even went so far as to authorize Major Anderson to negotiate with Gen. Beauregard in respect to terms. He did so. He proposed to withdraw all his force except a corporal and two men, who should be left as the nominal representatives of the government, and have the care of its property, and also required a pledge that this small guard should not be molested. Beauregard, under the orders, doubtless, of Jefferson Davis, refused to agree to the proposed terms, but demanded a full surrender of the fort. This the rebels regarded as a great triumph, little dreaming that it was only the first move in a series, which for consummate tact and strategy is perhaps unparalleled.

          The next move was to let it be known that the administration desired to send a single. unarmed vessel with provisions to the now starving garrison; but that it had no intention to reinforce it. This too was
          refused.

          Then the curtain was rolled up, and all men were permitted to see the vigorous preparations for war, both by sea and land, going on at New York. Ship after ship sailed, with sealed orders, laden with troops, munitions and stores. All parties, both North and South, came to the conclusion that all this was intended for Charleston, and that Sumter was to be reinforced and saved at any cost. This brought the traitor government to the point, and orders were given to Gen. Beauregard to commence actual hostilities by opening his batteries upon Sumter.

          We were all mistaken. The administration had no intention of making a fight at Sumter. Some of the ships of war cast anchor — if we may believe the telegrams — in the lower part of Charleston harbor, but showed no inclination to take any part in the battle. On Anderson’s side the fight was only a sham for with admirable skill he managed to fire away for some twenty four hours without killing a man. Boats plied unharmed between Charleston and Morris Island, directly across. Anderson’s line of fire. In all this Major Anderson only obeyed orders, and his conduct from first to last has the president’s cordial approbation. Many persons were inclined to censure him for giving up so easily; but now they understand it. When a dispatch told us that the balls of Sumter were knocking chimney-tops oft like a hurricane, and that not a man had been injured, we were strongly tempted to suspect his fidelity; yet, when properly understood, nothing could be more mortifying to the pride of the Southern “chivalry” than such a fact as this. Why, Anderson made even his guns laugh at them.

          Sumter is of itself of no strategical value in this contest to either party; but it has been turned, by this, skillful manoeuvre, to a most admirable account. By holding onto it some thousands of rebel troops were kept at Charleston harbor, which probably saved the Capital of the nation from assault on the fourth of March. For this we are indebted, not to Mr. Buchanan, but to Major Anderson, who, on his own responsibility, took possession of it, and thus foiled the traitors for that time. Mr Lincoln with admirable sagacity, kept it for five weeks in a weak and helpless condition, and suffering the impression to go abroad that he was unable, or afraid, to retain or strengthen it. He next let the impression get abroad that he was about to do something for it; and then, in order to gain the inside track, Jefferson Davis ordered his general to besiege it. Thus he ran blindly into the trap, and drew upon himself and his bogus government the awful responsibility of inaugurating active war against the government. Lincoln used Sumner to draw their fire — to put them thoroughly in the wrong — to compel them to act out their true character — to put them in a position where all men could see them as they were, and thus withdraw from them the sympathy of every honest man. He uttered no threats; he did nothing to provoke them he asked nothing humiliating, he only expressed a wish to be permitted peaceably to supply a starving garrison. But he made a movement in New York, which, by a mistaken inference, was construed into a threat. With characteristic barbarity they resisted the peaceful and merciful mission of the un-upon the little garrison and inaugurate a war. Thus to treason, barbarity and cowardice, they added the commission of an egregious blunder.

          The siege of Fort Sumter — although in itself, perhaps, the broadest farce in the history of warfare, and one that will elicit shouts of laughter throughout the world — has already revolutionized this great nation. And now, with singular unanimity, the whole people of the free States regard them as national enemies. Although claimed as a victory, is really one of the most disastrous defeats that ever a set of poor wretches sustained. To be treated by Anderson under orders of Lincoln, as a set of maniacs or spoiled children, who were not to be hurt, was awful. Lincoln was careful of their blood, but terribly severe upon their pride, which, like Achilles’ heel, or a nigger’s shin, is their most vulnerable part.

  4. Jack wrote:

    Essentially the piece is anti-democratic, as a majority of progressives seem to have soured on democracy once it “failed” by not electing Hillary Clinton President.

    It is an unusual democracy we live in when a man with an extensive media presence, and a great deal of money, can enter politics like a dark horse, and turn things on its head.

    If one begins to ask even superficial questions about the ‘structure’ of the present system — to think for example about the Political Empire and the political machine of the Clintons with all the collusion and cooperation between powerful players and establishment politicians within a larger world (global) system of power & interest — I think that the term ‘democracy’ would need to be revised.

    My view is I think most people understand that — let me put it blankly — that if this is ‘democracy’ then democracy needs to be reviewed and reconsidered.

    It seems to me that if we attach the word ‘democracy’ to the way the present political operatives and their backers operate that we have fallen into an Orwellian language trap: we are using Newspeak. And the use of Newspeak indicates that the way we *see* is distorted.

    To *tell the truth* about present machinations means to stop using popular and conventional phrases. It means renaming things. But this is difficult and demanding because then one really has to think about *what passes before one’s eyes* (the flickering shadows on the wall of the cave).

    Bernie is the socialist lunatic.

    I would have to say that this is an unfair characterization. I am not sure of he is, indeed, a ‘lunatic’. But it does appear that he is in-pro of some social-oriented programs. He does have intellectual links to classical American populism, that is true.

    He is — like Ron Paul for example — very ‘anti-corporatist’. But a corporate-critical position is entirely rational if one examines the issue closely. (Corporate power supplants democratic power as even a child can quickly notice).

    I guess the better term for Bernard Sanders is democratic socialist populist with a Trotskyite background. His message definitely *resonates* with popular factions though. They may be easily duped and they may dupe themselves, but what they clamor for is not incoherent. It is not even outrageous. In contrast to the thoroughly perverse relationship of Big Government to Private Capital (think the last major bailout) and the profoundly un-democratic intertwining of vast private interests and government in the US, average people become indignant when social programs that could benefit them are vilified. In this sense — there is really no doubt of this — average people are ‘screwed’ six ways to Sunday. In any case, that is what they perceive.

    Just here I have made very simple and common-sense observations. Nothing radical. Nothing unreasonable. But what I am saying must be attacked and undermined (I predict). What this means is — I propose — that in fact reasoned thought and fair description is non-desired. Definitely among the so-called Conservative Class (that is who I speak to here since there are no declared Progressives). But in fact everything is in a jumble. No one seems to be able to get clear. Language and description are twisted and confused.

    So again, we have to review & reconsider language and the Orwellian terminology that is used to confuse and obfuscate.

    I am here to help people!

      • Not sure I said that, but that IS where we are headed. Ordinary productive people are going to regularly get poked in the hand with the ripoff stick.

        • Where we are headed, did you say? Would you agree with me that no one seems to know — with certainty — where we are headed? Might ‘uncertainty’ be the meta-ethical problem?

          Today the West is imposing not its system, but its systemlessness, not its obviousness, but its doubt, not its assertion, but its deep internal crisis. When we join the global network, we do not receive a new identity and we do not come into contact with a new world. We simply irrevocably surrender to the storage room with a forgotten entry code those remnants of what made us who we were before and that reality in which we lived before. The act of dropping old certitudes and definitions is quite specific: it is a passport to the “new times”, a credit card for complicity in globalism, a mandatory requirement, and all those who reject this “initiation into globalism” automatically end up on blacklists, henceforth deemed agents of the “axis of evil” – after all, they did not catch the “latest news” that the world and the human are dead (following the death of God).

          That is a ‘dangerous Russian philosopher’ by the name of Alexander Dugan. He is developing alternative political theories that help to explain the present better. In some things I agree with him. For example this is a coherent phrase:

          “Today the West is imposing not its system, but its systemlessness, not its obviousness, but its doubt, not its assertion, but its deep internal crisis.”

          I can work with that idea and it helps to develop an explanatory base. It is interpretive but also a critical statement. It does not help one to become more settled but rather pushes one to dig deeper.

    • Who says Bloomberg has turned anything on its head? He’s wasting his money in an ego push. One of the great myths is that political advertising is decisive, or even effective. Advertising can and does inform people that a product exists. It cannot make anyone want or like a product that stinks. “Cats” spent many millions on advertising: it’s going to lose a 100 million dollars unless the camp phenomenon saves it. Bloomberg is an ex-Republican whose game plan resembles Trunp’s in 2015, but people forget that Trump wasn’t running to win. It was a branding exercise, and it actually backfired. A series of lucky breaks made it look like the plan “worked.,” but that plan had to have Trump at the center. Bloomberg is not a media personality; he has a poor voice and presentation, he’s old, and he has no niche. He’s extreme antigun and nanny state, and voters who like those positions have more attractive options. And Bloomberg’s ads insulting the President are preaching to the choir.

      • I said this: “It is an unusual democracy we live in when a man with an extensive media presence, and a great deal of money, can enter politics like a dark horse, and turn things on its head” but I was referring to Trump.

        Dark horse is not the best word for a man like Trump but what I meant is ‘very unlikely person’.

          • It is democracy-like or democratoid, but it is substantially different from what a classic democracy was understood to be. It is post-democratic in that sense or neo-democratic. But close to the truth would be to say it is a plutocracy or oligarchy — a democracy where the wealthy classes have usurped democratic power through *necessary* machinations — which holds to the trappings of democracy. Still though, there exist strong democratic traditions and structures, especially as one moves toward the municipal level. What contradicts my view here is perhaps the campaign of Barack Obama who was neither e celebrity nor a wealth-figure when he started. But if what I have read about his campaign is true he was *picked up* by powerful figures and was sent as their servant to Washington. And — again if my sources are correct — he served that power well.

      • “He’s extreme antigun and nanny state, and voters who like those positions have more attractive options.”

        No one votes for Progressive-lite if they can have the real thing.

      • presidential ads this early, before Christmas of the previous year, just ticked me off. Much like filling stores with christmas stuff before Halloween. I will probably have to wean myself off tv most of 2020 because they’re blanketing ads way too soon. I would not vote for Bloomberg if you put a gun to my head after this… and I live in a contested state.

      • The data on campaign spending is on your side Jack. The more you spend the more likely your race is hotly contested and therefore the probabilities of losing are higher.

        Your assertions regarding advertising are well off the mark. The 4 Is of advertising are Impress, Inform, Influence, Inspire (desired action, voting for the candidate in this case).

        Virtually every non-institutional campaign is designed to accomplish all 4, though effectiveness varies substantially based a litany of variables that would take too long to explain. (Take my course.)

        • The assertions regarding the effectiveness of advertising aren’t mine. They have been made by economists and researchers for a very long time. Perhaps you have noticed that many products and brands that once advertised heavily just don’t any more. There’s a reason for that. Both my father and I worked in the marketing field. I remain skeptical.

      • Even my Bernie loving relatives would say “no” to Bloomberg. Tell them they can’t buy a Big Gulp? Forget it. Try to limit their trans fats? Not going to happen!

  5. Harms compound, just like a dollar saved in its value compounds over time.

    This seems to me a highly dubious proposition. It seems instead that historical harms heal over time, otherwise one would think the English people would have been well-nigh wiped out by the War of the Roses, the Scots by the aftermath of the failed Jacobite rebellions, the Irish by the Potato Famine, the French by the Reign of Terror, the Ukrainians by the Holodomor. China should have been annihilated by the Great Leap Forward. The Jewish people could not possibly have survived their diaspora, hundreds of years of persecution in every land they settled, capped off by the Holocaust. Asian-Americans ought by this reasoning have never overcome the exploitation of Chinese railway labor and the internment of Japanese in WWII. The 4th generation descendants of illegal immigrants should be worse off than their progenitors, rather than well-matched with the mainstream population.

  6. Jack:
    “One of the great myths is that political advertising is decisive, or even effective.”

    As a former businessman I often wondered if that statement wasn’t true even if you dropped ‘political’ out of it. Certainly if you add ‘cost effective’ to the list I become particularly sceptical! Perhaps for the YUGE players, but for smaller operators I’m convinced that looking after your customers and staff, which includes staff selection, is WAAAAAY more cost effective!

  7. Mayor Buttigieg, a new question to you, Mr. Mayor. You said last month that the U.S. owes compensation to children separated from their families at the southern border.

    I wish the moderator asked if the state of new jersey owed Shaneen Allen’s children reparations.

  8. Adimagejim said:

    Ahem…heard of Fort Sumter?

    Seriously. Stop yourself.

    Every once in awhile I have to stop and clarify my intentions. I have to be sure to carefully, and respectfully, explain why I am here, why I often take contrary stances to the *groupthink* that is to prevalent in American thinking. Groupthink and ‘determined thought’ and controlled thought are prevalent everywhere of course but this is a completely American blog and here it is American ethics that is discussed. The *worldview* here is 100% American and of a specific ‘patriotic’ brand.

    Yet the ‘pretense’ here, if I will be allowed that word, is that you-plural deal in a Universal Ethics, one applicable globally. This is false. If I were to be completely direct & honest (what other way is there to be?) I would be forced to say that here, ethically, intellectually, in all senses, you are an in-grown bunch. Cut off from intellectualism in a larger, universal and wider sense, you deal in a sort of closed-circuit of exchange. You are parochials essentially (and I do not mean this as an insult).

    Note that you have just said “Seriously. Stop yourself”, and you genuinely assume — it is a metaphysical assertion where you really & truly believe that you have *right* and that you are right — to chide and correct me. This is your mental disease speaking my friend and I suggest that you become aware of this, and that you correct it. You as individual may not have to suffer consequences for your parochial, willfully limited outlook, but there are hundreds and thousands and millions of you, and because you are standing on an insecure ground, and because you have been seriously and deleteriously *dumbed down*, you are in no position to give a moral lecture, a history lesson, nor to be my *intellectual guide*. And I can demonstrate this and I can prove it. I will do this here, with you, and I will do it anywhere. I will take on one of *you* and I will take on one hundred thousand of *you*. I take ideas seriously. I do not believe that you do.

    You assume — again this is a metaphysical assumption on your part — that the North had *right* on its side. You assume as well — another metaphysical assumption and a predicate — that the South was wrong, and therefore a proper enemy. A ‘rebel nation’. I ask that you examine this assumption. And I suggest that you examine it through examining the structure of the idea as it functions in the North. One way to do this is to see that it is the same assumptiveness that operates in hot-headed and determined Progressives. They operate from an emotional seat where they just know, beyond any doubt, and as a religious assumption, an article of their faith, that their cause is just. They do not have to ask question; they do not have to have self-doubt. They *know* that what they do (think, say, do) is right.

    You make exactly the same assumption when you made a reference to Ft Sumter. I showed you — just by one document — that the real facts of the case are different. There are a dozen different supporting documents that I could present. The purpose? Very simple: only to show you that the actual reasons for this war — the entire war — were different than the ‘stated purposes’ and different from the historical revisionism that informs the Official History.

    So, here is where the *counter-current* has to be turned against the Narrative Current bound up in lies, mistruths & distortions. You see you have to do this if you have any hope at all of getting to a Truth.

    The Standard Story, the historical revision that is taught, is that the South ‘rebelled’ against the North, the righteous Father, the holder of truth and importantly ‘spiritual truth’. The North ‘had God on its side’ if you read what that lunatic Lincoln wrote. He perceived, he really & truly believed! (this is what I mean by ‘metaphysical belief”, a notion that lies below consciousness and does not need to be proven) that he had right and that he was right and that he enacted God’s will.

    In exactly the same manner as the hot-headed Progressives of our present who, with no need of rational proof, and no need to argue their position, rush forward in acute progressive posture doing the will of God the Father.

    But in fact it is the North that developed the ‘rebel ideology’. In fact it is the North that cut its ties to the genuine metaphysical ground on which Europe and all our systems of value and valuation had been established. These are historical-intellectual events in which a rational moralism superseded and replaced one brought to man by revelation. The South — overall — noted that the North — and by this I mean northern men with their specific philosophical ideas — had made decisions by which they negated the genuine metaphysical base. The South — overall — determined that it had to resist this rebel strain. And they defined it in terms of intellectual and rationalistic rebellion. They saw *what was going on* and they saw *where it would lead*. And they determined that secession was necessary in order to resist the intrusive will of the North, and to hold to more fundamental traditionalism.

    Note: the progressives accuse the traditionalists and the social conservatives of exactly the *evil* they themselves are profoundly complicit in. To understand the present psychologically, I assert, you have to understand this Psychological Mechanism. There is a definite causal chain between the outrageous progressivism of the Radical Republicans and the strange revolutionary currents that are now in ascendence in America. Those current that will, in just a few short years, challenge even further the hierarchies of valuation on which a traditional social structure is established.

    You — we — are now seeing, and indeed we are living in the *outcome* of the Northern rebellion. That is to say an America that has cut ties absolutely with a traditional metaphysics. The nation is now an atheistic nation whose principles are thoroughly materialistic and rationalistic, and yet one that holds to an idealistic rhetoric simply because it is a useful device to trick people. You do not really have *guiding principles*, you have principles that are determined by *power and its machinations*.

    I am interested in the process by which this *outcome* could be rectified. I also stated, with clarity and honestly, what my purpose was when I first signed on here: to point to the ideas and the people working with the ideas that could lead to renovation. This means that we notice a *general collapse* of that which we discern as ‘Occidental’ and ‘European’ and also ‘Christian’. This *collapse* (according to the way we see things) has culminated in this perverse & distorted America, an America that has jumped its rails and careens out of control.

    Certainly I am carrying forward my project imperfectly — windingly! — but nevertheless I am making the effort. It takes years to subject oneself to dismantling of lies & distortions because they are of a sort I call ‘metaphysical’. They are grounded at another, invisible, level.

      • For that reason I said: “Groupthink and ‘determined thought’ and controlled thought are prevalent everywhere of course but this is a completely American blog and here it is American ethics that is discussed. The *worldview* here is 100% American and of a specific ‘patriotic’ brand.”

        It is part of my Impress, Inform, Influence, Inspire program! 🙂

Leave a Reply to Michael Ejercito Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.