Clinton’s clot, Krauthammer’s shame

Do I hear any apologies?

Earlier this month, Hilary Clinton, having picked up a virus on one of her many overseas trips, became dehydrated, fainted, fell, hit her head, and suffered a concussion. That caused her to postpone her scheduled testimony on the Benghazi pseudo-scandal.

While Clinton was still at home on an IV drip to treat her dehydration, The usual right-wing suspects – John Bolton, Charles Krauthammer (a physician before he became a full-time character assassin), Glenn Reynolds, Sean Hannity, Monica (“Creepy”) Crowley, Allen West – joined in charging her with faking the concussion to avoid testifying, and the Murdoch pseudo-news empire tirelessly repeated their baseless charges about “Benghazi Flu.”

Today Secretary Clinton was hospitalized after follow-up exams disclosed a blood clot “stemming from” the concussion. Not clear how dangerous the situation is. She’s being treated with anti-coagulants.

So far, not a peep of apology from any of her traducers. One widely-read right-wing blogger chided the State Department for inadequate “people skills” after the Department corrected a false story about the Clintons partying in the Caribbean. The Fox News story on the latest development drops all the previous charges down the Memory Hole. Reynolds links to the blood-clot story, but not to his earlier, widely-linked half-witticism: “Help, I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Testify about Benghazi,” with its disgusting reference to Clinton’s concussion as having “addled her pate,” nor his equally heartless post earlier today. I guess in Tennessee being a Real Man means making fun of sick people.
I know there’s some sentiment in the RBC community that we should stick to our wonkery and remain above partisan warfare. But unless we deal with the meta-problem of the well-financed, fanatical, unprincipled, unpatriotic, and downright mean fringe movement that has succeeded in taking over one of our two political parties and creating a media echo-chamber that isolates not only is ignorant followers but also its leaders from consensus reality, we won’t be able to deal with any of the actual problems.

UPDATE Ann Althouse apparently agrees with me that she is grossly over-placed at Wisconsin and is applying for a job at Tennessee. See, because the press release doesn’t specify the site of the blood clot, it’s all part of A Conspiracy So Vast … .

And yes, her lunatic ravings draw a link from Instapundit. Neither item even bothers to offer the usual insincere expression of wishes for a speedy recovery. But it would be like their team, not like our team, to wish both Althouse and Reynolds short lives and painful, lingering deaths, so let’s leave that part to the judgement of God.

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

75 thoughts on “Clinton’s clot, Krauthammer’s shame”

  1. How do fair use laws apply to other networks’ playing and replaying the footage of these guys at Fox when they are covering this story in their newscasts? We can trust Jon Stewart to play those clips on his show, so it would seem that the MSM would have an incentive to expose their rotten competitor and take back some of the ratings that Fox has taken away over the past few years. Krauthammer in particular should be in prime time rebroadcast of his snarky little interview with Hannity. I would be surprised if the MSM even breathe a word about these little excrescences even though they would be on firm legal ground and would stand to gain from the exercise.

    1. It seems the last thing many in the MSM wants to do is get in a finger pointing war with other faux journalists. They might not be as disgusting as FOX but they’re all TV personalities, not true journalists (with a very few exceptions, part time). The whole TV news industry went down the same hole when they became for profit and reporters became TV stars.

  2. The latest post on Instapundit is: “VIDEO MOCKS CELEBRITIES BY MIXING THEIR DEMANDS FOR GUN CONTROL WITH VIOLENT FILM FOOTAGE.”

    Just in case anyone needed reminding that in addition to being a terrible person, Glenn Reynolds is also a goddamn moron.

    1. “Earlier this month… today”

      So, the whole while the mocking has been going on, she’s been ambulatory, and out of the hospital, and not testifying. Yeah, the mockery seems to me to have been not unreasonable, given the context, and the available information. An apology at this point might be in order, though.

      1. = = = Brett Bellmore says: April 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

        Yes, only “pretty sure”. I wasn’t in the operating room when his mother delivered, you know. I try to maintain a sane amount of doubt about anything I can’t personally verify. Yeah, I have the courage of my convictions. I just don’t have the convictions you want to attribute to me. “Obama ought to have to prove he’s a native born citizen, and he can!“, might not be a stance you can wrap your head around, but it doesn’t prevent me from holding it. = = =

        = = = Brett Bellmore says: April 25, 2011 at 3:58 am</a?

        "For all you know, every single response on this blog has been generated by a solitary author who may or may not be the individual who is running electrical impulses simulating reality to your brain which is currently sitting in a jar in a lab."

        Yeah, I’m open to that possibility, but I don’t see much point in paying it much attention. Kind of like the scenario where the Earth was created five minutes ago by an entity only known as “Bob”, complete with all memories and records of a past existence, there’s no point in devoting any time to hypotheses which by their very nature won’t provide you with any evidence.

        Which is all very entertaining for sophomores to talk about on a Saturday night over Dew and nachos, but it doesn’t explain the fury at my refusing to recite the “Obama was born in Hawaii, and there’s no doubt at all about it!” liberal oath. Except that it’s another marker that I’m not a member of your tribe.

        I have no particular reason to doubt that Obama was born in Hawaii, beyond the same reason that’s got so many people doubting it: The vast resources devoted to making sure the birth certificate stays hidden. The main difference between myself and the “birthers” is that I can see that there are numerous explanations for that waste of layering which don’t depend on Obama being born somewhere else. Heck, just the fact that it drives a lot of conservatives batty would be enough explanation, it’s not like Obama is averse to wasting other people’s money for his amusement.= = =

        1. I’m still at a loss for what you find objectionable about that stance. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

          1. I’m going to treat this as a serious comment and reply accordingly.

            1. You are aware, are you not, that when Obama was born the Honolulu newspaper printed a birth announcement, and that that announcement was not placed by his parents, but was information the hospital gave directly to the newspaper?

            2. What do you get when you ask your home state for your birth certificate? I do not get the original certificate; I get a certified copy. This has sufficed for passport applications and ID card applications. The State of Florida keeps the original in its own custody. What does your home state do?

            3. I don’t see how Obama kept his birth certificate “hidden”. He released a copy — the same copy people usually get when they request a birth certificate — and assumed it would be judged using the same standard applied to Republican candidates and white candidates.

            If you actually contend that Obama was not born in Hawaii I suggest you produce some evidence of where he was born. Otherwise you do not merit a further serious response.

          2. @anniecat–surely you must be new around here. if you’ll click the two links that cranky included in his comment and read through all of the comment threads there you’ll see that matters of seriousness are almost irrelevant when it comes to comments from mr bellmore.

          3. Yes, of course I’m aware of that, which is why I always accorded the possibility of his being born elsewhere an extremely low probability. I mean, it wasn’t totally possible to fake it, but why would anyone have bothered? It’s not like they knew he’d be running for President a few decades later. So, possible? Barely. Likely? Not on your life.

            But, of course, unlikely things happen every day, so the difference between unlikely and impossible IS worth keeping track of. I don’t react well to people who demand that I confuse the two. “Almost certainly born in Hawaii is the best Cranky will ever get from me, and the “almost” really pisses him off for some reason I don’t understand.

            Mainly my position was that Americans were entitled to the best evidence if the question were raised, not just whatever evidence he felt like producing.

          4. Mainly my position was that Americans were entitled to the best evidence if the question were raised, not just whatever evidence he felt like producing.

            How this really reads:

            Mainly my position was that white Americans were entitled to question the birthplace legitimacy of the first black president. Even if the State of Hawaii said he was born there, and even if he released his short form birth certificate on the web. If white Americans judged that evidence insufficient than so be it. Said black president had no right to question the legitimacy of these white queries. Said black president was only obligated to behave like a servile boy and show all papers demanded of him and not be pissy about it.

          5. I’m wondering what racial spin you’ll put on the fact that I identified John McCain as the candidate in that race who wasn’t a natural born citizen? Having been born in the Canal zone some months before Congress gave it “American territory” status for purposes of being a natural born citizen?

            Sorry, your race card is overdrawn, I’ll have to decline it.

          6. So, the whole while the mocking has been going on, she’s been ambulatory, and out of the hospital, and not testifying

            Your metaphysical certitude about this information must only mean that you have spent all your hours these past weeks in the physical company of Hillary Clinton. Because isn’t that the standard?

          7. I’m trying to remember just who it was who said that Brett was a ‘valuable contributor’ to this site, because that guy clearly has judgment issues.

      2. It’s true that Clinton was invited to the GOP’s circus but couldn’t go on the day when it was in town. But the Republican ringmasters and clowns could have held the circus over and demanded that she attend or they could have sent a delegation of clowns to speak with her but evidently decided against it and just packed up and split town. All that’s left is Rush, Glenn Reynolds and a immense amount of elephant poop.

      3. Brett, I really hope that you get a similar condition, and have your employer demand that you come in to work or be fired.

        Mark: pretend that the above was hoping that somebody hit somebody with a 2×4; that way I ‘ll fall u dr the McArdle exemption.

        1. MK: But it would be like their team, not like our team, to wish both Althouse and Reynolds short lives and painful, lingering deaths

          Uh-huh.

      4. what was wrong?
        The fact that so many of the anti-Democrat folks were willing to believe the worst about Clinton with no evidence, and show no shame at being deathly wrong.
        Henceforth we can use Baysian logic to weigh further pronouncements from those folks every time they speak, and guess they are speaking without factual basis.

        1. The short answer is: Yes, if they can be more despicable and reach ever greater depths of inhumanity, you may rest assured that they will try and probably succeed. I’m certain that is one of Brett’s resolutions for the New Year.

      5. I would note (as you didn’t) that she hasn’t been testifying because the GOP does not seem to be pursuing her testimony. The hospitalization was concurrent with the previously scheduled hearing but significantly the GOP hasn’t given the slightest indication that her testimony would be important as anything more than theater. The GOP hasn’t scheduled any additional hearings; there isn’t any public record of their asking her to testify at home and her refusing or that the hearings are somehow stymied because she has not yet testified. The GOP’s bad faith in this affair is manifest. It’s their circus—if they want her to perform, they should invite her again and explain what she can contribute beyond more “B reel” footage for the cretins at Fox News and loathsome vermin like Reynolds and Limbaugh.

  3. Stop pretending otherwise:

    Republicans are a cult of vicious psychopaths.

    You’re welcome to excuse the parrots {ahem, just following orders} but I’m sick of them.

    Republicans and their henchmen say and do the most reprehensible things and then act like petulant children when they’re called out.

    Compare:

    Republican Bush’s lies (mis)led us into Iraq, a war crime that murdered over 4,000 Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis, and Republicans washed his hands of those crimes.

    But an understandable intelligence failure in a war torn chaotic country while a Dem is President? Republican goons trash talk without conscience or decency.

    Sick as Murdoch’s FOX thugs are, I half expect CNN to go out their way to hire one of these reprehensible monsters to provide twisted ‘balance’. (See: CNN’s Beck, Dobbs, Erickson, et. al.)

  4. I remember a lot of gleeful mockery from the Left of Nixon’s and Quayle’s phlebitis, and not many abashed when they went to hospital for it. That phlebitis was awfully, well, convenient. The derision from its opponents which is showering down on the Obama administration doesn’t look different in kind from that which hit the Bushies or Nixon. I think it’s a permanent feature of USA politics.

    1. I would be genuinely curious to see one example of someone claiming on television that Nixon was faking illness – much less a concerted media campaign doing the same. And the idea that Secretary Clinton is as worthy of suspicion as Nixon is nonsense, as is the idea that you can balance decades of misdeeds with something that happened (or didn’t) forty years ago.

      False equivalence is the last refuge of scoundrels, and any time you catch yourself saying “both sides do it,” you might want to ponder whether you’re being amoral, or whether you’re being an idiot.

    2. Dave Schutz writes: I remember a lot of gleeful mockery from the Left of […] Quayle’s phlebitis.

      Oh, really? Can you give any specifics? Nixon’s presidency was a bit before my time, but I was certainly politically active and aware during the 1990s, and I don’t remember any such thing. I remember lots of mockery of Quayle for being an idiot and for saying idiotic things, but that’s a different matter.

      How exactly was Quayle’s phlebitis supposed to be “convenient”? Was it even a factor at all during the four years when he was in office? Wikipedia’s only mention of it is to suggest that Quayle’s health concerns dissuaded him from running against Clinton in 1996 (which race would have been a joke, but not in any way shape or form because of Quayle’s phlebitis).

      Dave, it looks to me like you just made that up. The right-wing blogosphere has collectively behaved shamefully, and you’re grasping to find excuses for them.

        1. BTW, Dave, we’re still waiting. And we’ve got Glenn ‘InstaBS’ Reynolds’ work to use as a standard.

    3. I was around during that era and I don’t remember any gleeful mockery from the Left. There was some joking at first because “phlebitis” sounded funny and didn’t seem like a significant malady. But, as we learned more about phlebitis, even people on the Left were more sympathetic—or at least as sympathetic as one could be for a war criminal and serial debaser of the Constitution. There was, however, nothing like “gleeful mockery”. What’s more, most people (myself included) understood that the “convenient timing” of Nixon’s phlebitis was both cause and effect of the tragedy playing out on the national stage.

  5. The juxtaposition of the right-wing blogosphere’s gleeful claims that Sec. Clinton was vacationing in the Caribbean — accompanied by numerous photoshopped pictures suggesting that she was drinking and partying — versus the reality of her hospitalization, ought to be deeply embarrassing. Except that, as far as I can tell, modern US conservatives are characterized by an odd genetic mutation involving the total absence of whatever gene enables the emotion of embarrassment.

    The people who claimed she was faking the concussion will just claim she’s faking the blood clot. If the clot were to lead to a stroke, she’d be faking the stroke. If the worst happened, they’d mutter darkly that she’s just faking being dead. Or else that Obama killed her to keep her from spilling all his secrets about his birth certificate, Benghazi, and the Sandy Hook Reichstag Fire.

  6. The last paragraph of Mark’s post may be a response to some of my comments, so I’ll respond to it. I’m one of these who think RBC “should stick to our wonkery and remain above partisan warfare.” I don’t disagree with Mark’s response to this: we can’t fix the real problems we have unless we can end the Republican Party as we currently know it. I think that’s right. But I also believe in specialization. Most wonks are not very good hacks; most hacks are not very good wonks. This is true even for the Great Krugman: he is brilliant at exposing the emptiness of Republican economics, but his suggested political tactics are always the same: toujours l’audace. He’s sometimes right, but then again, “always compromise” would also be sometimes right. Atrios decided to specialize in hackery a long time ago even though he is a sharp economist, and is all the better for it. Digby never was much for policy, but has been brilliant with the Republican lizard brain. Etc.

    Mark has a certain talent for political invective: a talent I envy. But good invective is only feel-good stuff, unless it can be amplified by a hack echo chamber, which this blog simply doesn’t have. And furthermore, ending the Republican Party as we currently know it will not be helped much by first-rate invective. IMO (and I am not a hack), it involves two things delegitimating the Republican Party among its funding base, and positioning the Democratic Party so its current right wing can capture the funders and its left wing can ultimately fly free. Good policy analysis helps this, albeit on the margin. Fuming about Republican perfidy does not.

    1. In light of everything that has happened since Bill Clinton’s reelection, I’m at a loss to understand why you think that good policy analysis is more important than “first-rate invective,” which is, after all, at least as important in moving public opinion than good policy analysis. Why should some of the smartest, most capable minds on our side sit out the fight and remain above “partisan warfare”? Aside from anything else, if the “partisan warfare” doesn’t go well, there’s no chance of any liberal policies being implemented, ever.

      What’s more, if you don’t mind my asking, why can’t somebody do more than more thing well?

      Finally, a small word on behalf of Paul Krugman. He is in the best of company with his rallying cry. I urge you, do not be so quick to throw away the good advice of Danton. Napoleon, for example, understood well the wisdom of Danton and he was one of the greatest generals in history. Naturally, one must have wisdom and prudence, as well. But Danton was right when he said, « il nous faut de l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace » (“Boldness, again boldness, and ever boldness”).

      Speaking for myself, I say that if more liberals shared this quality of boldness, we wouldn’t be in this spot in the first place. Certainly, we’d be far better off if Obama listened to the wisdom of Danton instead of the pathetic bleating of David Brooks.

    2. In retrospect, the abbreviated translation isn’t very good and fails to distinguish Danton’s words from Napoleon’s maxim. The full quote from Danton (from the Petit Robert) is:

      « Pour les vaincre, Messieurs, il nous faut de l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace, et la France est sauvée ! »

      (To defeat them, gentlemen, we must be bold, even daring, always audacity, and France is saved!)

      The Democratic Party and the country needs more thinkers and leaders like Danton. I wish that President Obama could read and understand Danton’s advice. Our country would be much better off. Failing in that, maybe Obama could find the time to consult with Paul Krugman instead of the idiot David Brooks. Maybe they could go to a salad bar together.

  7. Heck, I’d like to see the GOP, as it’s presently constituted, destroyed, too. Do you understand why that’s not happening, and what the cost of accomplishing it will be?

    The reason it’s not happening, is because over the last few decades, BOTH major parties got together on constructing legal and institutional barriers to third parties. Campaign finance ‘reforms’, ballot access rules, replacing the League of Women Voters with a Bipartisan debate commission, an informal rule of not giving third parties real coverage in the media. The system is very thoroughly rigged to prevent any third party from growing and displacing one of the existing major parties. Under current rules a successful third party is essentially impossible. No matter how dysfunctional one or both of the major parties becomes.

    A first past the post system is always going to have two major parties. Successfully block the growth of third parties, and they’ll remain the SAME two major parties. No matter how broken they are.

    Nor can you realistically dream of one of them taking over completely. (Yours, of course, you never consider the possibility that it might be the other party.) There are, seriously, too many people who genuinely disagree with you, and who wouldn’t become Democrats under any realistic circumstances, for the GOP to shrink beyond a certain point. You’d have to become a much different party to claim their loyalty, by doing which you’d lose somebody else’s.

    You want to destroy the GOP? Get rid of the barriers to third parties, and it will tear itself apart. So might your party, which is why I expect it’s not happening.

    1. You want to destroy the GOP? Get rid of the barriers to third parties, and it will tear itself apart. So might your party, which is why I expect it’s not happening.

      I agree with Brett here, the second or third time recently. Checking the USGS site for earthquake reports…

    2. I mostly agree with Brett’s analysis. However, I think that the two parties would dissociate very differently. The Republicans would disappear as a maze of minor cults, of little electoral significance. The Democrats might split into corporate, googoo, and populist parties, any two of whom could ally to be in political control. A lot of Democrats would welcome this, especially those who aren’t overly fond of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party.

      1. Nah. The gun cult alone is big enough to have electoral significance, though if the Democratic party really did split up, it might actually join with one of the fragments, in as much as it’s not the entire Democratic party that’s nuts about guns.

        I think it’s too easy for you to dismiss the GOP that way, when they actually do represent enough people to compete with you.

      2. Brett,
        The GOP (as currently configured) admittedly represents enough people to compete with the Ds (as currently configured.) But it represents shrinking groups: old and white.

        The gun cult is sizeable indeed. But I don’t see who its natural allies might be, although there are plenty of pro-gun types who vote Democratic. On the other hand, the populist wing of the Democratic Party might be able to ally with the softer parts of the religious right. And I see some affinities between Democratic googoos and some libertarians.

        I wish we could see how it plays out. But you’re right–the two major parties are working hard to keep others out–and most minor parties are vanity productions, who aren’t serious about bucking the duopoly.

        1. John,
          Googoos aren’t corpowhores, although the two tribes often feel comfortable together. A googoo can view the greatest injustice with equanimity, provided the right procedures are in place. A Democratic corpowhore might be blind to most economic injustice, but (being a Democrat) can still see through proper procedure, for other kinds of injustice. The two tribes sometimes conflict. Googoos love to impose layer upon lawyer [sic] of “corporate governance” on enterprises, to the everlasting annoyance of the corpowhores.

    3. What steps would you advocate?

      At-large election (within states) of the House?

      A party achieving say, a 5% vote in national elections automatically included in debates?

      As for campaign finance, it seems to me that the current rules are not so unfavorable to third parties. Surely the “Wall Street is Wonderful” party would not lack for financial resources.

    4. The barriers to third parties are, as you noted built into our first past the post electoral system and were set up at the nation’s founding. I think they were an unintended consequence of having no model to act as and example since the founders were inventing a modern democratic republic from wholecloth.
      I agree that someting needs to be done to fix this mess. Lots of alternatives have been suggested but I think instant runoff voting would be probably the most effective and least disruptive.

      1. The barriers to third parties were not such as to prevent the GOP from replacing the Whigs.

        I was in the Libertarian party from a year or two after it’s founding, I am intimately acquainted with the barriers. Every time we found a way to raise money, it was “reformed” away. When we qualified for matching funds, they arbitrarily decided to deny them to us. The League got the debates taken away for including us. Now a bipartisan setup makes sure we aren’t even included in the vote tallies on election night.

        First, get rid of restrictive ballot access. The current system is, deliberately, the equivalent of making everybody but the two favorites run a marathon to arrive at the starting line for the real marathon, already totally exhausted. Most of a third party’s efforts are spent on just getting on the ballot, with little left for actually campaigning. This is deliberate.

        At large PR. Besides opening the door to third parties, it makes gerrymandering impossible.

        Finally, instant runoff for executive positions.

        1. If rural America understands at-large PR, they will never go for it, nor will their representatives. Pure national at-large PR would be absolutely dominated by large urban areas. Even if you elect delegations by state, a) the state is not really much less arbitrary an areal unit than the house district, particularly in large, heterogeneous states; and b) state delegations will still be dominated by urban areas.

          Which is not to say I don’t favor at-large PR, but the geographic representation vs. preference representation question is a real one.

        2. Brett writes: The barriers to third parties were not such as to prevent the GOP from replacing the Whigs.

          Except that the Republican Party didn’t appear until after the Whig party had already collapsed. From the start, the Republicans were a second party not a third party.

          There was a significant third party in the 1840s — the antislavery Liberty Party (then later the Free-Soil party). In 1840 it didn’t have any significant impact on the presidential race. In 1844 its candidate, James Birney, took enough votes from Henry Clay in New York to throw the election to the strongly pro-slavery James K. Polk, who proceeded to outrage northern abolitionists by invading Mexico.

          Thus, Brett is wrong twice over here. The GOP was not formed as a third party. In fact, it was not able to arise until the collapse of the previous second party. Meanwhile, the real antebellum third party efforts were either irrelevant failures, or else actively harmed the interests of their own voters (abolitionists who voted for Birney in 1844).

          There has never been a third party in US history that even came close to competing successfully for the presidency. That is not a modern development. It was baked into the US electoral system from the start.

    5. “The reason it’s not happening, is because over the last few decades, BOTH major parties got together on constructing legal and institutional barriers to third parties. Campaign finance ‘reforms’, ballot access rules, replacing the League of Women Voters with a Bipartisan debate commission, an informal rule of not giving third parties real coverage in the media. The system is very thoroughly rigged to prevent any third party from growing and displacing one of the existing major parties. Under current rules a successful third party is essentially impossible. No matter how dysfunctional one or both of the major parties becomes.”

      Brett, please tell uswhere you ‘re an engineer, because I’d like to avoid those products. The US system has been rough on third parties since long before our great-grandfathers were born.

      1. Easy: Just don’t buy a car with a fuel injection system, and you’re good to go. Otherwise you’re screwed. 😉

        Rough on third parties, and impossibly difficult, is the difference between most people not being able to win a race against Bruce Jenner, and everybody else being kneecapped just before the race starts.

        1. “Rough on third parties, and impossibly difficult, is the difference between most people not being able to win a race against Bruce Jenner, and everybody else being kneecapped just before the race starts.”

          And as was pointed out to you, third parties have *always* had a rough time in US national politics.

          1. But have not always been kneecapped. If the current barriers to third parties had existed back in the 1800’s, the Whigs would still be around.

          2. Brett, you are completely wrong about the history of the Whigs. See my 4:34 comment above. The “current barriers to third parties” have been preventing any third party from achieving success at the presidential level since the early 1800s. The collapse of the Whigs had nothing to do with “third parties”.

          3. The collapse of the Whigs had nothing to do with “third parties”.

            Or, to be precise, the failed effort of a third party (Liberty Party) might be said to have contributed to the downfall of the Whigs, by splitting the anti-Democratic vote and strengthening the Democratic Party.

            The election of 1844 was basically equivalent to the election in 2000. A failed third-party effort resulted in drawing off enough votes from one of the two major parties to throw the election to the other major party. This then resulted in a war of choice that was strongly opposed by virtually all those who had voted for the third-party candidate.

            If more Nader voters had been familiar with antebellum US history, perhaps the debacle of 2000 wouldn’t have happened.

          4. Barry, J, Are you guys kidding me here? This is a perfect example of why we on the Left are so easily marginalized. Rather than build common ground on the difficulties third parties face, you would rather score points against Brett because the important idea somehow is not that third parties face an impossible up hill battle but that they’ve always faced such barriers. Are you really so afraid that if you allow this bridge to be built his guns will come running over it and force you to eat libertarian pie?

            It’s a matter of fact that third parties have always had difficulty getting traction in American politics for systematic reasons. But it’s also indisputably true that, on the federal level at least, the Rs & Ds have done their level best — in collusion no less — to set the feet of third parties in concrete in recent decades.

            Now I’m not going to lie to you, my next statement is going to hurt; a lot. So make sure you’re in a safe space before you read it: On the issue of third party viability, you have an ally in Brett Bellmore. [ Deep breaths. Slow, easy, often. ] And here’s the fun part: That being the case, you can simultaneously disagree with him about everything else. What a crazy world!

    6. I think there is a real likelihood that the 2016 election will be make-or-break for the GOP. On the day Obama took office, the Republican Party had been reduced to a dwindling, Southern-based rump of angry old white people still fighting against the Civil Rights era. As I’ve said before, it was Obama unique personal style and need for approval from conservatives that allowed the Republicans to get up from the floor and again dominate the national political agenda. The results of the last election suggest a real possibility of a rerun of 2008 with a hugely unpopular GOP ticket sinking what’s left of the Republican’s chances nationally and reducing it once again to a Southern rump. Basically, Sarah Palin or any of a dozen “Tea Party/Bircher” candidates could do in 2016 for the national Republican Party what the Birchers have done for the California GOP. Also, hopefully, we will have a better Democratic president who will finally take the opportunity to do what Obama should have done and kick the bastards to the curb once and for all.

      1. And like the California Democrats, Democrats at the federal level will get the blame if things go badly. So Democrats should be thinking carefully about what they will and won’t do over the next few years. It’s going to difficult for Democrats in California to blame Republicans for problems when Republicans are largely irrelevant.

    7. You know Brett this is a massive change of topic from the specific foulness of specific media persons.
      Why it has to become ‘a pox on both houses’ when one house is already befouled.

  8. But [until] we deal with the meta-problem of the well-financed, fanatical, unprincipled, unpatriotic, and downright mean fringe movement that has succeeded in taking over one of our two political parties and creating a media echo-chamber that isolates, not only its ignorant followers but also its leaders, from consensus reality, we won’t be able to deal with any of the actual problems.

    Where is Gilly when we need him to lead this charge?

  9. @navarro —

    I’m actually a longtime lurker and occasional commenter. I want somebody in the Birther Kingdom to present their house rebuttal to my questions/comments #1 and #2, and I figure I’ve got a better chance of a serious response if I treat their comments seriously. It’s also probably less gratifying to Brett that way, since he sometimes says things that are so absurd he has to be baiting us, he couldn’t possibly mean them seriously.

  10. Now that it is clear that the SOS has a venous sinus thrombosis, Ann Althouse will have to explain where her medical “expert” Kent Sepkowitz went to medical school. Don’t hold your breath waiting for her to relent or reverse herself, though, since this can induce a respiratory acidosis, resulting in increased intracranial pressure.

  11. I’m not at all a fan of Brett or a believer that Secretary Clinton’s illness is fake or has anything to do with her Benghazi testimony, but I do think that a person who is ambulatory and not in hospital should be able to make a quick limousine trip to Capitol Hill to testify.

    1. Well, in the early period after a mild brain injury, Sec. Clinton’s physicians seem to have been following the CDC guidelines for management of this condition, which recommend limiting both physical and cognitive exertion during this period of acute recovery.
      http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/headsup/pdf/Facts_for_Physicians_booklet-a.pdf

      A jaunt up to Capitol Hill would be, shall we say, at variance with the guidelines.

      What the hell do they know? Buncha doctors.

    2. Soon enough, ignorance on the issues with head injuries will cause a change in the widespread glorification of warrior games such as fuhbawl. I saw a hint in our local fishwrap about a high school boy who had a brain injury and there was actually a few words in it about how many players have long-term problems.

      Anyhoo, I’m suggesting so many head injuries are going to change the popularity of fuh-bawl.

  12. The idea that a third party could solve any of our problems is quixotic. In our system, third parties rarely work except as a protest vote. In many states it’s not that difficult to set yourself up with your own party and get on the ballot. There’s no shortage of third-party candidates running in any given election year. But — with notable exceptions — anybody who’s serious about running for office is going to sign up with one of the two major parties. Voters know that these minor-party candidates aren’t serious and don’t vote for them.

    It’s easy to get yourself on the primary ballot, and if you’re a strong enough candidate to win the general election you should be able to mount a primary campaign. If you win the nomination, you’ll very probably get the support of the party establishment.

    It is not a perfect system.

    The Democrats (or their allies in the media) can’t do much except try to push forward an agenda that the voters will support, argue persuasively for it, and hope the people follow. Reform of the GOP has to come from within.

  13. Why does anyone give Glenn Reynolds any oxygen by linking to his posts? The man is effectively a troll, with about as much intellectual rigor as a troll.

    1. Ah, but without the link to Ann Althouse we would not know how she reacts to the update on Hillary’s condition by saying:

      UPDATE: Email from CNN says: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a blood clot between her brain and skull behind her right ear, her doctors said.” This seems to be the option that Sepkowitz excluded because “anticoagulation is never given to persons with clots around the brain.” If that’s correct, then something is still, to use Sepkowitz’s word, fishy.

      Also, she is ever so much better than the RBC because she has more than 260 comments on her post while this one only has a measly 65.

      And her comments are ever so much more classy than the comments here. Gives us something to aspire to in the new year.

  14. Exceptional understand, I genuine passed this onto a assistant who turned into doing a bantam study on that. Furthermore he indeed ordered me lunch so I represent it for him snigger So lease me rephrase that: Acknowledges for lunch!

  15. Oh! Remarkable art work with the element. I phrase few permits up proper proper proper right right here associated thru this positioned as hundreds as try to do my mission nicely. I quite propose this. Thanks masses………

Comments are closed.