Well, now that you mention it, yes.

George Will calls Donald Trump a “bloviating ignoramus” and wants to know what Mitt Romney is doing hanging around with him. The answer is that the igoramus vote is Romney’s base.

George Will says Donald Trump is a “bloviating ignoramus” and criticizes Mitt Romney for seeking out his company.

Will also says he doesn’t see the benefit for Romney. But that’s because Will is still in denial about the fact that the ignoramus vote is Romney’s base.

It’s very nice to see conservatives and “objective” political reporters acknowledge the fact that, when it comes to confronting right-wing extremism, Romney is a couple vertabrae shy of a backbone. If he can’t stand up to Donald Trump, how’s he going to do when he has to go nose-to-nose with Vladimir Putin?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

52 thoughts on “Well, now that you mention it, yes.”

  1. I agree with you, but the terrifying thought is that the ignoramus vote in America is large enough to swing the election in favor of a fundamentally hollow, valueless cipher such as Romney.

    That we might be about to elect a kind of hand-puppet/robot to the presidency demonstrates how completely vacuous our political system is. I thought things couldn’t become more depressingly shallow than the election of George W. Bush, who mistook swagger and drawl for policy. But I hadn’t counted on someone like Romney coming along: the perfect Reaganesque ball of clay, who can be shaped by Republicans however they please.

  2. I love the observation regarding Mitt’s shortage of vertebrae but of course he’ll poke Putin in the eye if that’s what the mugwumps want him to do.

  3. Given the obviously racist elements involved in the appeal of birtherism, I’d say that that was a rather mild critique, which serves as a firewall as much as anything else. It would be more accurate to describe Trump as a race-baiting demagogue — but you won’t hear that from someone like George Will. I wouldn’t give him too many props for backbone either.

    1. Looking at your second link, it’s a bit more complicated than portrayed, as is typical for these polls used to allege majority support for a Truther position among Democrats.

      The question was isolated, and was multi-part, and this matters because the questioner asked whether it was (very likely / somewhat likely / unlikely / dunno) that the Bush administration ignored threats leading up to 9/11 to further an agenda of war in the middle east. The problem is that someone – especially someone hostile to the Bush administration – could easily answer yes, the Bushies ignored intelligence of a possible attack without really understanding that this answer would, in the context of the second part of the question, mean they were alleging the White House colluded in a deliberate plot to permit a terrorist outrage against American citizens.

      I don’t know where Ben Smith is getting his crosstabs about “Democrats” – he claims 22% of Democrats said it was very likely, his hyperlink says 16% of respondents did; these would be roughly consistent if Democrats were 1/3 of respondents and the only respondents to say “very likely”. And anyone saying “very likely” is nutzoid, and it’s a shame they all appear to be Democrats in this instance (though with any extremist position in a poll, including the Birther polls, some people taking it may be doing so only to express their hatred of their opponent and their disrespect of the pollster). But as I explain above the question was sufficiently flawed as to make the “somewhat likely” respondents uninterpretable, and from 16% to “a majority” is rather a long leap.

      In any case, this isn’t even about the worst elements of either base; it’s about the basest type of pandering to those bases from people meant to show responsibility, a practice the elected leaders of GOP has been wallowing in from Joe “You Lie” Wilson to all the Republicans smiling upon the Birthers and upon the many, many paranoid fantasies about gun confiscation, FEMA camps, a War On Catholics, etcetera, etcetera ad nauseum.

    2. To establish inter-party equivalence between the “birthers” and the 9/11 ‘truthers,” it is necessary to produce prominent Democratic party leaders or members of Congress who say “Bush knew,” and to show that Democratic nominees for President have courted these truthers and associated with them in public in a major way.
      In other words, the professor needs to fill in the blank: Romney:Trump::Obama:Blank.
      This will be a challenge; Blank needs to dismiss claims that Bush knew nothing in advance about 9/11 with the equivalent of “Give me a break.” And Obama has to welcome Blank’s endorsement and has to be willing to appear in public many times with Blank.
      Quite a challenge indeed.

      1. To Warren and Ed,

        I concede that you have the better of the argument.

        (I still contend that extremely low levels of political information are endemic to any group of Americans as large as the numbers that ascribe to be either Democrats or Republicans.)

        1. True enough! I recall being disheartened in the 1980s by polls that showed a minority of Americans able to tell which side of the conflicts we were on in Nicaragua and in El Salvador. When you get down to correct identification of facts, it is apparent that the electorate is not in command of many of the basics.

          We blog commentors have the luxury of not being candidates for office. We must recognize the sovereignty of the people, but, because we are not courting their favor, we do not have to flatter the wisdom of the sovereign. Courtiers of the good graces of the sovereign power face this same necessity in every age and setting.

    3. In regards to that second link, I don’t think it says nearly what Ben Smith think it says. Believing 9/11 was an inside job and ignoring warnings are two different things, and it’s definitely possible that the second concept is vague enough to include people who believe he was negligent rather than intentionally careless. Being a “truther” is really the first, but it’s not at all clear how many people really believe that. I would be astonished if it were more than five or ten percent, and while that’s still too much, that’s in the same range as people who will believe or support anything–i.e. around the same number of people that support John Edwards still to this day.

  4. I thought the benefit to Romney was clear: Trump doesn’t carry out his threat to run as an independent this fall in a deliberate effort to split the Republican vote and ensure Obama wins. It’s extortion, IOW. And, yes, we might ask how he’s going to stand up to Putin if he can’t tell Trump to take a hike. Really, I was hoping it would be better than Obama.

    1. if you leave off the last sentence, i could have written that comment. still, i wouldn’t have because there hasn’t been a moment in the entire primary season where romney showed an ability to stand up to anyone in his pursuit of the presidency.

      1. I suppose that’s one of the differences between us, Nav: Noticing the problems with my opponents doesn’t inspire me to blind myself to the flaws of my allies. Really, given the manifest flaws of Romney as a candidate, or even a person, do you suppose the election would be looking to be so close if Obama weren’t possessed of serious deficiencies, too?

        1. i agree that obama is flawed but there have been few to no contexts on this site where we would be able to get into a discussion about what i regard as his worst flaws:
          –his continuation of bush policies regarding wiretapping and secrecy
          –his inability to publicly call out the republican party’s desperate efforts to wreck the economy so as to make obama less popular in the general election
          –his willingness to offer the new deal and the remnants of the great society in exchange for a poor deal from the republican party
          –his willingness to use armed drones in domestic and foreign contexts which guarantee the killing of innocents

          i am not blind to the flaws of obama but neither am i blind to the behavior of the republican party as it currently exists which has pursued a course which seems predicated on the notion that anything that helps its wealthiest backers is okay even if it destroys the nation in process. i have studied american history for years and during previous election cycles i’ve often pointed to periods in the history of american politics as showing more of the crazy than we have “now.” but i think we’ve reached a new record. in my opinion the modern republican party is the party of lunatics and traitors and it will require an incredible defeat to wake it up to what it has become. unfortunately, i think it will probably also require the republican party, through its professed policies, to wreck this country and lower us to a second or third rank power before enough people wake up to the ruination they have wrought. so despite my awareness of obama’s flaws, i would rather support a flawed centrist who represents the democratic party than a flawed centrist who represents the party of lunatics and traitors. and as for the ability to “stand up” to people or organizations, obama has frequently stood up to the democratic party base (to my great irritation) which is much more than you could say about romney and the republican base.

          1. To which we may add his wasting literally billions of dollars on doomed green schemes, a murderous scandal at the BATF, an amazing skill at alienating allies in order to suck up to enemies…

          2. I am sure we could find a lot to agree about in our frustration with Obama, but I don’t think it’s fair to say he was offering up the New Deal. I was worried about something similar for a while, but thankfully, my fears were unfounded. (Of course, I draw a distinction between general reforms of the safety next and gutting, which is what the Republicans usually support.)

            The thing is, with Obama we have a fairly good idea of what we are getting*, and even if we aren’t thrilled, at least we–or at least I–can respect him. I quite literally have no respect for Romney. He’s a timid, shallow, spineless weasel, and every time I think I might be too hard on him, he reminds of me why I might be hard enough.

            *On the other hand, I’ve suspect he’s trying to bide his time and will, in a lot of ways, be as liberal as possible in a second term. A good test of this would be to elect the most liberal congress possible and send him very liberal legislation, but then, that’s something that would be good in any case.

          1. obviously your philosophy is “i reject your reality and substitute one of my own.”

          2. How many jobs did he create sending money to Solyndra? Fisker? A half billion each; Solyndra folded, and Fisker planned to build it’s luxury car in Finland, not the US.

            And Fast and Furious *isn’t* an ongoing scandal? Didn’t result in a lot of dead people?

            I don’t think I’m the one substituting realities here, Nav.

          3. Brett, reality for every president is a combination of successes and failures. You cherry-pick a few relatively minor failures in the Obama administration, and that’s your takedown, your justification for dismissing the whole administration? Compared to GW, our current president is a paragon of positive accomplishments: the world economy arguably saved from disaster, the American auto industry saved, a health care program that will insure that everyone is covered, one of the wars started by his predecessor now successfully complete–and all of this accomplished while slowing federal spending to levels not seen since Eisenhower.

            GW started two avoidable wars (for how many trillions of dollars?) and helped to crash the global economy, and your only dirt on Obama is Solyndra, a single company that didn’t perform as well as expected? Please.

            Cherry picking a few minor failures without noting sizable successes is severely out of touch with reality (or at very least disingenuous.)

          4. I’ll raise you: Obama started an avoidable war Congress hadn’t authorized. Unlike Bush. And blew past the war powers act time limit without the least concern, amid sophistry that it wasn’t really a war if they called it a “kinetic action” instead.

            Saved the world economy with an economic recovery worse than he projected if he hadn’t done anything.

            Shipped guns to the Mexican cartels to use murdering Mexicans and Americans. Geeze, at least Ronnie was arming insurgents in a hostile nation, not criminals on our own border!

            Drove the drilling rigs out of the Gulf, and is doing his best to make sure Canadian oil goes to China, not the US. While posing in front of a part of the pipeline that got built only because he had no say in the matter.

            You can defend all this if you like, nobody’s perfect. But you can’t deny it, and still wave around that “Reality based” flag with any justification. Not that you guys ever could; “Reality based community” is like “Democratic people’s republic”: Nobody who is one calls themselves one…

          5. Brett, obviously I disagree fundamentally with your characterization of these things. You use a lot of hyperbole, speculation, and overreach in your arguments, as always (doing his best to make sure Canadian oil goes to China? Come on. Credible sources say that American oil production is up 11% under Obama. And spare me your “gotcha” arguments about the XL pipeline–this thing is far from resolved. Neither of us know what will happen here.) Citing credible sources that are not World Net Daily, the Washington Times, or Fox News would help.

            Your 1, 2, and 4 are deeply questionable without legit sources. Wholesale fact-invention in the swamps of Free Republic don’t count. On number 3, the Bush administration started the gunwalking program, and Obama’s continuation of that policy was flawed–just as his predecessor’s was. The worst criticisms of Obama are for instances where he continued Bush’s policies–and his biggest successes have been where he overturned or undid Bush policies. Irony there.

          6. “1. the world economy arguably saved from disaster, 2. the American auto industry saved, 3. a health care program that will insure that everyone is covered, 4. one of the wars started by his predecessor now successfully complete–and 5. all of this accomplished while slowing federal spending to levels not seen since Eisenhower.”

            By the way, all of these items can be backed up with credible and multiple sources. Items 2-4 are self evidently true, while items 1 and 5 can be demonstrated using non-partisan data.

          7. Matt, you’re to kind. I don’t think there’s any way to respond to Brett’s 4:44AM within the commenting rules; certainly it isn’t worthy of such. To call his list disingenuous is a gratuitous insult to the aspirations of barefaced liars everywhere. Practically not a word of three of the items on his list is true, including prepositions and articles. Taking them in turn:

            Obama started an avoidable war Congress hadn’t authorized. Unlike Bush. And blew past the war powers act time limit without the least concern, amid sophistry that it wasn’t really a war if they called it a “kinetic action” instead.

            This is the only one on the list that’s arguably true, although comparing the scale of US intervention in Libya with Bush’s wars is beyond absurd.

            Saved the world economy with an economic recovery worse than he projected if he hadn’t done anything.

            (1) The stated goal was never to save the world economy. (2) With respect to the “higher than no plan”, Brett, surely you’re better than this. The projections used data that did not reflect later realizations about how fast and how far our economy was falling. No respectable economist questions whether the stimulus saved jobs and softened the blow; the criticisms tend to be about size, speed, and targeting.

            Shipped guns to the Mexican cartels to use murdering Mexicans and Americans. Geeze, at least Ronnie was arming insurgents in a hostile nation, not criminals on our own border!

            As Matt notes, this was a Bush program Obama didn’t stop. And in what universe was El Salvador a hostile nation? Other than in the film Red Dawn?

            Drove the drilling rigs out of the Gulf, and is doing his best to make sure Canadian oil goes to China, not the US. While posing in front of a part of the pipeline that got built only because he had no say in the matter.

            Obama didn’t drive the drilling rigs out of the gulf; BP and Halliburton did that, when the risks they were taking in the worst sort of reckless cowboy irresponsibility became awful reality – risks they took and sloppiness they perpetrated to save pocket change compared to better practice, and to meet unreasonable deadlines for bonus targets. Not only was the drilling operation insanely reckless, BP’s disaster-response plan turned out to be a decade out of date and to include obvious errors. Obama has encouraged offshore drilling and under his administration oil production has increased. The pipeline has been blocked in significant degree because it proposes to go through the aquifers of the arid great plains, and the record of other pipelines with respect to leaks has been awful, with notably extreme incidents occurring recently in the same part of the country. And the whole China thing is nonsense; to the extent Albertan bitumen ends up there, the effect would still be to lower world oil prices.

          8. “This is the only one on the list that’s arguably true, although comparing the scale of US intervention in Libya with Bush’s wars is beyond absurd.”

            Rather like complaining that somebody else’s mortgage was larger than the take in your bank heist. The power to declare war is delegated to Congress, Bush’s unnecessary wars were approved of by Congress, and hence constitutional. Obama’s unnecessary war was rejected by Congress, but prosecuted anyway, a constitutional violation.

            “As Matt notes, this was a Bush program Obama didn’t stop. And in what universe was El Salvador a hostile nation?”

            In the universe we actually live in, Nicaragua, ruled by the Sandanistas, was a hostile nation. And Fast and Furious lacked one key element of the Bush program: Following the guns and interdicting them before they reached the cartels. You know, the element which prevented them from being used to murder anyone, and actually yielded some law enforcement data? Nice try, though.

            “Obama didn’t drive the drilling rigs out of the gulf; BP and Halliburton did that”

            Right, BP and Halliburton implemented an illegal moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, and then maintained it in the teeth of repeated court defeats. In your head, anyway, if nowhere else.

          9. i’d like to see a show of hands on the following question–

            which analogy is most apt in describing an extended discussion with brett bellmore?

            a–nailing pudding to the wall

            b–herding cats

            c–loading mercury with a pitchfork

            d–abandon hope all ye who enter here

          10. Brett,
            I admit that, up late, I confused El Salvador with Nicaragua. We were getting refugees from both, and were engineering massacres in both, and it’s hard to remember in which country our massacres were perpetrated by people in uniforms. See also Guatemala. In any case, Nicaragua under the Sandanistas mau have been ill-disposed to us; it may even have been “hostile” by some definitions of the term. But it was in no way a threat to us. The only threat Nicaragua posed was to our system of government, because of Iran-Contra.

            And apparently you look at BP blowing up the Gulf Of Mexico, and doing it because they were trying to save tiny fractions of pennies on the dollar, and being caught with their pants down when it happened, and think the answer is “we don’t need to reassess our regulatory framework in the gulf, nor to examine all future drilling in exactly the way we didn’t examine Deepwater Horizon”. I don’t know the details of Obama’s actions in the gulf, but I’m pretty sure the federal government has the power to issue permits, and the ability to delay and reconsider the issuing of those permits, and in your more lucid moments you might concede they had awfully good reason to do so.

          11. Apparently I look at the President imposing a drilling moratorium, and maintaining it in the teeth of repeated defeats in the courts, as the President imposing and maintaining a drilling moratorium, and doing so illegally.

            Reality based community, or not? Who issued the order? Who defied the injunctions? Are there FACTS here?

            WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Thursday that he is extending the moratorium on permits to drill new deepwater wells for six more months, as the head of the agency that oversees offshore drilling resigned under pressure.

            Or how about

            The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater-drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.

            Are there facts here? I say there are: Obama imposed a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf, and maintained it through repeated defeats in the court, in violation of court orders. This sort of conduct is generally referred to as “illegal”.

            Maybe you think he should have done it. Doesn’t matter. Admit he did it, or drop this nonsense about “reality based community”.

          12. you can frame it how you like but what happened was that bp and halliburton created a situation in which a moratorium on deep water drilling was inevitable. it was found to be illegal despite its popularity and it was lifted shortly after the 2010 article you linked to and the administration sold leases to shell oil. drilling in these leases was immediately put on hold by legal action which is currently in litigation. meanwhile, in the real world, we’re producing more oil than we’ve produced since 2002-3.

            i personally vote for c, loading mercury with a pitchfork.

          13. “drilling in these leases was immediately put on hold by legal action”

            Which is to say, only a pretense was made of lifting the moratorium, and the courts took notice of the administration continuing to violate their orders.

            Look, the point here is quite fundamental: BP and Halliburton did not impose a moratorium, Obama did. BP and Halliburton did not drive deep water drilling rigs out of the Gulf, Obama did. This is a factual dispute, and the facts are not on your side.

            Similarly, Obama has blocked every segment of the Keystone pipeline he had the power to block, and posed in front of a segment built only because he didn’t have any say in the matter. Again, a factual dispute.

            Are you entitled to your own facts?

            Why is the election so close, why is it looking like Romney might win, despite his manifest flaws? Because Obama has flaws you don’t like to acknowledge. Perhaps you think this willful refusal to admit it when Obama screws up or violates the law is a strength, but I think it’s a weakness. It’s never a strength to blind yourself to reality.

          14. Once again, Brett, you have things fundamentally wrong. The fact that the presidential race is close is almost entirely based on optics, not policies. It’s based on a concerted effort by the right wing to paint Obama as not-American, as socialist, as a radical left winger, despite the fact that on policy he is more conservative than Reagan.

            The fact is, Republicans don’t like him simply because he is a Democrat, and a successful one. And because he is named Barack Obama.

            As I said earlier, reality for every president is a combination of successes and failures. You’ve created a very minor checklist of relatively small failures on Obama’s part (Solyndra? A temporary moratorium on drilling? A pause for investigation on a potentially environmentally harmful pipeline? Please. He’s had no Watergates, no Iraq wars, no Iran-Contra affairs, no collapsing the global economy) and used that to justify an irrational hatred of Obama. As most republicans have.

            The facts are that if Obama was not Obama, if he looked and talked more like Mitt Romney and had coiffed hair and a plasticene smile (and, oh, was a Republican) and his policies were identical to what they currently are, the Right would be largely in support of him.

            You and the right hate him because he is Obama and a Democrat. Starting from that point, you and the right find minor justifications to somehow portray him as a “radical liberal.” He is not a radical. He is a conservative. The biggest lie is the one that you and Republicans are trying to perpetrate, that Obama is a liberal threat to the American way of life.

          15. On the drilling moratorium, not that you care, drilling permits are down because new leases are only issued to those companies that can prove a strategy for containing a BP-scale spill. [i]As they should.[/i] A few companies (Exxon, Shell) now have strategies in place for spill-containment. Good. We are all safer and the environment will be healthier as a result.

          16. May I take it that, since you’re now defending the moratorium, you’re no longer engaged in the fantasy that BP and Halliburton imposed it?

            Look, this gets to the heart of this whole “reality based” business: You can defend the moratorium and be reality based. You can’t deny it happened, or claim somebody other than the Obama administration was responsible for it, and be reality based. But look at what a fight you put up before even tacitly admitting the obvious!

            Next up: What will it take to get you to admit that Obama blocked the Keystone pipeline, or that he then posed in front of a segment of it which was built because he lacked the power to block it?

          17. I wasn’t the one who said the moratorium never happened (I believe that was Warren Terra.) I know that it did, and it’s clear given BP’s gross negligence that the policy of issuing leases and drilling permits in the wake of Deepwater Horizon needed to be re-evaluated. I also agree with the Obama administration’s temporary stay of the Keystone pipeline for further review.

            Again, you’re getting your facts wrong here either through exaggeration or through slippery slope logical fallacies. Because the Obama administration has continued it’s review of the pipeline, you make the false argument that they have killed the project–which allows you to falsely paint Obama as a hypocrite for posing in front of it, when he isn’t actually being hypocritical.

            This is why, once again, it is so fruitless and annoying to argue with you, Brett. Because you frequently (always?) use false and misleading logic to end up at the wrong conclusions, which you try to justify as correct through this same fallacious logic. Perhaps this is even how you’ve justified all of these opinions to yourself.

            But, again, both the moratorium and the pipeline–and Solyndra and the continuation of Bush’s gun walking program–are minor and routine issues in this president’s legacy, relative to the scale of mistakes made by other presidents. It seems to me you are already pre-ordained to hate him, and then post rationalize the reasons for your hatred,

          18. “I wasn’t the one who said the moratorium never happened (I believe that was Warren Terra.) I know that it did, and it’s clear given BP’s gross negligence that the policy of issuing leases and drilling permits in the wake of Deepwater Horizon needed to be re-evaluated. I also agree with the Obama administration’s temporary stay of the Keystone pipeline for further review.”

            actually, no one claimed the moratorium never happened, not even warren terra said that. what warren said was–

            “Obama didn’t drive the drilling rigs out of the gulf; BP and Halliburton did that, when the risks they were taking in the worst sort of reckless cowboy irresponsibility became awful reality – risks they took and sloppiness they perpetrated to save pocket change compared to better practice, and to meet unreasonable deadlines for bonus targets. Not only was the drilling operation insanely reckless, BP’s disaster-response plan turned out to be a decade out of date and to include obvious errors.”

            which i took to mean that it wasn’t that was obama acting arbitrarily to shut down drilling (which seems to have been brett’s implication) but the fact that bp and halliburton’s actions left no other choice than to stop the deepwater drilling until better safety controls and regulation could be put into place. this is the problem with discussing issues with brett, you work and you work and almost nothing lands where you want it to and most of it lands at your feet and makes a mess.

          19. Warren Terra,

            As far as the economy being worse than predicted, I am astonished this doesn’t get shot down more often. In a literal sense, these people are correct, but that hardly makes them “right.” After all, these were projections based on projections, and one part of the equation ended up affecting the end result. This is news…why, exactly? And if it’s not news to these people–people like Brent Bellmore–just WTF do they think they are doing?

            As I am sure you know, the economy was a lot worse than they had originally thought, making the already-too-small stimulus even less bold in comparison. The only sensible criticism is that Obama didn’t support a bigger stimulus, with clear triggers to cancel spending at the end if it was not needed. But Republican criticism, as far as I can tell, is along the lines of “Obama can’t see into the future? UNACCEPTABLE!” or “Why can’t he travel through time?”

        2. That’s because presidential elections have always been close.

          Even in an electoral college blowout such as Reagan vs. Carter, Carter still got 41% of the popular vote (and may have lost a couple more percent to Anderson).

          The vast majority of Americans vote for the party they favor, pretty much regardless of who the candidate is. Actual swing voters are few and far between. And that’s not really surprising, nor is there anything wrong with it.

  5. Off-topic: why ignoramuses not ignorami? Hippopotamuses is justified because it’s a Greek not a Latin word – SFIK the Greek plural would be hippopotamoi, which would be a snobbery too far for the literati.

    1. Because “ignoramus” is a verb in Latin, not a noun. It’s a conjugated form of ignorare (first person plural present active indicative), meaning “we do not know”. To form the plural with -i, it would have to be a second declension noun (note that not all Latin nouns ending in -us are second declension, either, some are fourth declension, where the nominative plural form ends in -us also.

    2. the Greek plural would be hippopotamoi, which would be a snobbery too far for the literati.

      I thought that meant “My hippopotamus.”

      Well, here’s a literatus with his own plural:

      The Hippopotamus

      Behold the hippopotamus!
      We laugh at how he looks to us,
      And yet in moments dank and grim,
      I wonder how we look to him.

      Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
      We really look all right to us,
      As you no doubt delight the eye
      Of other hippopotami.

      Ogden Nash

      1. I thought that meant “My hippopotamus.”

        Or maybe “I am a hippopotamus”, or perhaps the state of one’s being a hippopotamus.

        This almost works – the French word for Hippopotamus is apparently Hippopotame (now there is a special-purpose webpage). Of course, you’d need to borrow the German practice of creating compound nouns (I don’t know whether this is done in French) and perhaps also borrow the Hebrew lack of a present-tense form of the verb “to be”.

        1. Well, the German word for HIppopotamus is, appropriately enough, a compound noun — Flusspferd (“river horse”) or alternatively Nilpferd (“nile horse”) [1].

          That said, if you don’t limit yourself to real animals, there’s Rhinogradentia, inspired by Christian Morgenstern’s fictitious Nasobame.

          [1] Though, oddly enough, German websites tend to hyphenate compound URLs while American and British websites tend to mash words together. I have never quite understood why.

        2. Or maybe “I am a hippopotamus”, or perhaps the state of one’s being a hippopotamus.

          By analogy with “walramoi,” perhaps?

          1. Latin does not have articles (definite or indefinite). It does have demonstrative pronouns [1], but that’s not quite the same. Some medieval forms of Latin used the cardinal unus, -a, -um = “one” as an indefinite article and the demonstrative pronoun ille (illa, illud) = “this” as a definite one, but that’s more part of medieval Latin being a bit of an ungrammatical mess (often with local variations and dialects that varied by country).

            [1] Interestingly, it even has a specific demonstrative pronoun (iste, ista, istus) to indicate contempt.

  6. Well the Trumpet and Rmoney have one big thing in common.
    They both like to say: Your fired!
    Perhaps then, the friendship is genuine, in a capitalistic pig-dog sort of way…

  7. What I find so depressing in all these discussions which basically boil down to, “What’s wrong with America?” and “How can it be fixed?” is that we know the answer to “What?” and, also to, “How?” But, when you have one of the two major political parties, in collusion with a plurality of the other, having captured (or in some cases been captured) by the holders of power: The Executive, Congress, Courts, Media, and the Bank/Corporate Contingent, where ya gonna go? The people? This is too serious a topic for jokes.

    No, the answer is, there no answer; none, at least, that any sentient being would claim to be realistic. And, since the solution to, “how to fix it,” is politically unrealistic (I would say impossible,) I believe we’ll fix it the same way we’ve fixed the great dangers we’ve faced in the past: We’ll procrastinate, stumble, and lurch into Armageddon, our current system of (non) governance will vaporize, and the public will rally behind whatever Darwinian victor emerges.

    Our Founders, in The Declaration of Independence, gave us a roadmap for the future when they wrote that we had the “Right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It‘s not their fault we chose to pursue a Nation of illiterates instead.

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