Patterico's Pontifications


Prepare Yourself for the Best Spring Read Imaginable

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In less than one week, what is likely to be the most interesting read this spring — nay, make that for all of 2017 — will hit the bookstores. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes promises to provide us with a backstage look at the magnificently glorious implosion of the Once and Future Inevitable Next President of the United States of America, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, Earlier today, The Hill ran an excerpt from the book that should have us salivating at the juicy gossip that awaits us. To whet your appetite, here are some great pulls from that excerpt:

Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.

She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. [. . .] And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.

“That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.

“Really?” Hillary snapped back.

The room fell silent.

“Why don’t you do it?”

[. . . ] So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.

Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” [. . .]

I’m sorry, but can’t all of you absolutely envision that entire scene, complete with the beta-males in her campaign walking on eggshells around her and Her Clintonic Majesty sneering and fuming as she rails at everyone in her orbit? And then some more:

In her ear the whole time, spurring her on to cast blame on others and never admit to anything, was her husband. Neither Clinton could accept the simple fact that Hillary had hamstrung her own campaign and dealt the most serious blow to her own presidential aspirations.

That state of denial would become more obvious than ever to her top aides and consultants during one conference call in the thick of the public discussion of her server. [The typical cast of Clintonian schmucks] were among the small coterie who huddled in Abedin’s mostly bare corner office overlooking the East River at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters. Hillary and Bill, who rarely visited, joined them by phone.

Hillary’s severe, controlled voice crackled through the line first. It carried the sound of a disappointed teacher or mother delivering a lecture before a whipping. That back end was left to Bill, who lashed out with abandon. Eyes cast downward, stomachs turning — both from the scare tactics and from their own revulsion at being chastised for Hillary’s failures — Hillary’s talented and accomplished team of professionals and loyalists simply took it. There was no arguing with Bill Clinton.

You haven’t buried this thing, the ruddy-cheeked former president rasped. You haven’t figured out how to get Hillary’s core message to the voters. This has been dragging on for months, he thundered, and nothing you’ve done has made a damn bit of difference. Voters want to hear about Hillary’s plans for the economy, and you’re not making that happen. Now, do your damn jobs.

“We got an ass-chewing,” one of the participants recalled months later.

My word, what I would have given to have witnessed those smug and entitled phonies and frauds being dressed down by King Sleaze His Loathsome Self! Can you imagine taking a verbal lashing from the likes of Bill Clinton and being so cowed that you dare not tell him where to shove his unsmoked cigar (no, Monica, I’m not talking about there)? Even as we quibble and kvetch about the mindless soap opera that the new administration is turning out to be, let’s all be thankful that this infamous band of horrible people were blessedly denied return access to the levers of state power.

Sometimes the pre-published excerpts from a book turn out to be the best bits, but I have a feeling there are going to be a lot more nuggets in this tome. Yeah, Jonathan Allen is an ex-Vox juiceboxer, but he does at least have the good sense to keep that item off of his author page. Amie Parnes is something of a enigma, having no biography page at amazon or The Hill. The two of them collaborated on a book about Hillary Clinton two years ago that appears to be quite a bit hagiographical, but stories of abject failure tend to bring out the curmudgeonly cynic in all of us, so here’s hoping that this book is everything that I believe it can be.

Maybe we can do an online book club when it comes out.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Study: Support of Trump Now Considered “Conservative”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:30 am

Ain’t it great when an Official Study backs up something you already know?

In a paper presented last week at a conference in Chicago, two political scientists compared Republican senators’ voting records to their perceived levels of conservatism among grassroots activists. . . . What they found was that some of the senators with the most traditionally conservative voting records—like Arizona’s Jeff Flake, and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse—were viewed among activists as fairly moderate. Meanwhile, former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions—whose record is considerably more moderate than many of his peers’—was viewed as one of the chamber’s most conservative lawmakers.

The explanation for these discrepancies?

The paper’s authors—Daniel Hopkins, from the University of Pennsylvania, and Hans Noel, from Georgetown— have a theory: Sasse and Flake were both outspoken Trump critics during the election, whereas Sessions was one of the president’s earliest and most vocal cheerleaders.

Indeed, it appears many of the grassroots-level Republicans surveyed for the paper—the kind of people who make small-dollar donations to candidates, volunteer for phone banks, and staff local campaigns—believed that the more loyal a senator was to Trump, the more conservative he was.

Anyone who has opposed big-government policy positions held by Donald Trump and then been called a leftist knows this already. It’s not surprising. Public choice theory holds that citizens have little motivation to learn about the positions of public officials. Nor do they have much reason to learn free market economics, the history of the Constitution, or the less obvious nuances of policies that infringe on liberty (take Net Neutrality as an obvious example of that last point). Accordingly, the positions of the most visible politician from a party — such as the President of the United States — tend to be adopted by the vast majority of voters as the “right” position.

This is why it is so ruinous for Donald Trump to have become the standard bearer of the Republican Party — which is the reason I left it last May. Perhaps it’s also time to shed the meaningless mantle of “conservatism” — a word that has no real meaning when it is defined by Donald Trump — and exclusively refer to myself as a classical liberal. (This is a stance that has the added benefit of confusing Trumpers who don’t know the historical meaning of the word “liberal.”) The disease of Trumpism easily spreads — whether in the Republican party or in “conservatism” generally — when the president himself is its champion:

“If Trump is shaping and changing the next generation of Republican foot soldiers to think of conservatism as what he thinks it is … instead of what Paul Ryan thinks it is, he’s going to lead the party in that direction,” Noel said. . . . And as long as grassroots Republicans are demanding fealty to Trump from their elected leaders—lest they be branded “moderates” and made vulnerable to primary challenges—Trumpism has a good chance to flourish and spread throughout the GOP.

Massive infrastructure programs during a time of crushing debt. Support for unsustainable entitlements without reform. Health care provided by the government, and movement away from repeal of ObamaCare. Ruinous tariffs. These are the policies now deemed “conservative” by many members of the voting public. These are the goals that threaten to become part of the fabric of the Republican and even “conservative” belief system.

At times I feel like I’m standing on a beach, facing a fast-approaching 60-foot tidal wave of statism, and shaking a stick at it angrily as it rushes towards me. I know that any moment now I’m about to get carried by the giant wave and dashed against the rocks — but it’s too late to run. All I can do is hold my ground, stare it down, and hope that someday my example will mean something to someone else.

Happy Wednesday!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

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