Patterico's Pontifications

11/26/2017

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 116

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 1:00 pm

The title of the cantata is “Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ” (O Prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ).

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and portrays Jesus as both the one who will come in glory to judge the living and the dead — but also the Prince of Peace who will show mercy to those who repent.

Happy listening!

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

Nancy Pelosi’s Defense of John Conyers: A Classic Case of Hyper-Partisanship

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:30 am

Hyper-partisanship has been on display by the left for years. The left defended Ted Kennedy, who got drunk, ran off a bridge with Mary Jo Kopechne in the passenger seat, and delayed calling police so they would not see how drunk he was. The left defended Bill Clinton, who not only abused his power with an intern and allegedly raped a woman, but lied about it under oath and used the power of his office to smear truthful women. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Carl Arbogast wrote earlier today about Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to condemn John Conyers on Meet the Press earlier today, but it’s worth a few more words to discuss her hyper-partisanship. If Pelosi were going to apply consistent standards, she would of course be calling for Conyers to resign. But instead, she relied on the classic defenses of the hyperpartisan. Watch as the spin proceeds:

CHUCK TODD: You said there’s now a zero tolerance. John Conyers. What does that mean for him? Right now. In or out?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two? I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women — Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.

CHUCK TODD: Why don’t you?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I believe that he — Excuse me. May I finish my sentence?

CHUCK TODD: Sure, sure.

REP. NANCY PELOSI: That he will do the right thing.

CHUCK TODD: And is the right thing what? Resign?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: He will do the right thing in terms of what he knows about his situation. That he’s entitled to due process. But women are entitled to due process as well.

CHUCK TODD: But he took advantage of a situation where he had a – the rules of Congress and I know you guys want to change these rules, but he got to hide his settlement, he got to — his accusers had to go through all sorts of craziness, so why is he entitled to new due process in this case?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: No, I I – we are talking about what we have heard. I’ve asked the Ethics Committee to review that. He has said he’d be open – he will cooperate with any review.

CHUCK TODD: Do you believe the accusers?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: Excuse me?

CHUCK TODD: Do you believe John Conyers’ accusers?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: I don’t know who they are. Do you? They have not really come forward. And that gets to —

CHUCK TODD: So you don’t know if you believe the accusations?

REP. NANCY PELOSI:

Well, that’s for the Ethics Committee to review. But I believe he understands what is at stake here and he will do the right thing.

Note how she starts with the classic position of the hyper-partisan: “John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.” In other words, let’s talk about his politics. His politics are more important than what he has been accused of. If you hurt him, you hurt the policies that he stands for.

She looks like a fool and a cretin and a hypocrite saying that, of course. This position is always repellent to the non-partisan observer. It alienates swing voters and makes queasy the stomach of every person who is not a hyper-partisan. But that’s not her audience. Her audience is the hyper-partisans. Because she’s one herself, and she knows how to talk to them.

Then she moves on from that to raising quibbles about the accusations, engaging in sanctimony about due process, and suggesting that everyone will act properly if a process determines that the allegations are really true. Of course, only leftist hyper-partisans can say such things about Conyers with a straight face. Everyone else knows that the process itself will be a hyper-partisan joke, with all Democrats having mentally acquitted Conyers (and all Republicans having mentally convicted Conyers) before it starts.

There’s a reason she starts with the politics of it and only belatedly gets around to the rest. The politics is all that matters. Here’s Allahpundit:

As a Twitter pal notes, this is smoking-gun proof that the recent left-wing navel-gazing over whether Bill Clinton should have resigned 20 years ago is cynical nonsense. Faced with credible allegations against a much less powerful Democrat than Clinton in Conyers, one who’s waaaaaay past the age at which he should have retired and who’s been accused of having lost some of his mental capacity, the leader of the caucus whiffs on demanding that he step down. And worse than that, she cites his “icon” status as a point in his favor. Clinton, Conyers, and basically every male member of the Kennedy family, living or dead, would smile at that. It may be the single creepiest thing she’s ever said in public life.

Indeed. It’s a classic and repulsive example of hyper-partisanship. But what makes it disgusting? Is it her hypocrisy? Is it the laughably transparent phoniness of her arguments? The way her super-wide-open eyes stare while the dumb words come out of her mouth?

Or is it merely her politics that makes this a loathsome display?

In other words: would this appearance be something the right would defend, if Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers had a letter “R” after their names, and voted the way the right likes?

Surely not — right? After all, the single most embarrassing thing about her appearance is the way that she tries to make the offenses of her own side seem “different” than those of people on the right. And every attempt she makes to distinguish the two is openly lame and laughably unconvincing.

And when people try to say “but it’s different when I do it” — yet their reasons are transparently unconvincing to anyone who is not as partisan as they are — they come off looking like idiots, just like Pelosi does here. And that’s embarrassing for them and everyone who supports them.

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

11/25/2017

How About A Change Of Pace? Request For Gift Ideas, And Your Preferred Charities

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Now that Thanksgiving is over with, we can look ahead to Christmas! As such, a long-time Patterico reader/commenter emailed me to see if I would ask all of you the following:

Share what have been the best small gifts you’ve given and received for Christmas. Include the sex/age/interests of the recipients.

Also, I would love to hear from anyone about their favorite charities they’ve been involved with (whether hands-on or donations) during the Christmas season. Two of the larger organizations that I always look forward to helping are The Salvation Army and Mercy Ships. Regarding The Salvation Army, I love seeing the red kettle and hearing the bell ring in front of my little neighborhood market, reminding me every time I’m there that others could use some help. Also at the same market, as with every holiday, brown grocery bags packed to the brim with necessary, non-perishable items needed to make a Christmas dinner, minus the turkeys (which are donated closer to the holiday), sit parked on a three-tiered rack just waiting for customers to grab as many as they want, and purchase them with their own groceries. It’s a lovely way to help. And of course, as in most communities, there are more hands-on opportunities for anyone with a heart to serve and a willingness to push up their sleeves. What an incredible gift it is just to be able to help someone in need, no matter the avenue chosen.

Share your gift ideas for our blog friend, and share your experiences/preferences of various charities.

–Dana

11/24/2017

Questioning the Roy Moore Accusers vs. Believing Them and Saying “So What?”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:30 pm

There are two types of partisans who support Roy Moore: those who question the most serious of the allegations against him, and those who accept the allegations as true but say we should support him anyway.

It is the latter group — people who say “sure he’s guilty but vote for him anyway” — that I continue to find inexplicable. I run a personal blog at patterico.com and have done so since February 2003. Over there, I have a guest poster who is also a long-time reader named Dana. She’s an excellent blogger who deserves to be more widely read, and she had this to say about the Roy Moore situation:

The worst example of party loyalty is when a sexual predator’s bad behavior is brushed away, rationalized, overlooked, or worse: acknowledged as being rooted in truth, or altogether true but dismissed anyway because supporting the party trumps everything else – especially when an election is involved. And even if the opponent is as morally pure as driven snow, better to have an accused sexual predator in office than one from across the aisle.

Emphasis is mine.

When I recently wrote a post targeting those who believe Moore’s accusers but support him anyway, my post was repeatedly misread as attacking people questioning the claims of the accusers. In this post, I’m removing any chance for a fair-minded reader to misread what I am saying, by emphasizing the bolded language above.

So let me be crystal clear: for the sake of this post, we are going to assume for the sake of argument that all of the most troubling aspects of the accusations are false. We’ll assume for the sake of argument that multiple women got together and contrived a political hit on Moore, fabricating evidence against him in an effort to keep him out of office.

Isn’t there still room to criticize people who have said: “Even assuming the allegations are true, we should vote for him anyway”? Even if those people are mistaken about the allegations being true, isn’t it troubling to you that someone would say that?

I saw that in comments to my recent post, some people were saying I was trying to “cherry pick” these comments as having come from unimportant people. But one of the people who said this was the governor of Alabama, who said she had no reason to question the accusers, but that people should vote for Moore anyway.

It’s not “cherry picking” to note a claim from the governor of Alabama. And the accusers include someone who said Moore tried to have sex with her when she was 14.

Dana titled her post on this topic When Party Loyalty Begets a Collective Moral Bankruptcy:

But convenience is not limited to the left side of the aisle. The disgust I have at the Democrats’ decades-long denials and efforts to dismiss and rationalize Bill Clinton’s awfulness until politically convenient to admit them, is the same disgust I feel about the right side of the aisle currently circling the wagons around Roy Moore. . . . It’s taken a long time, but Republicans are now this close to becoming as morally bankrupt as are the Democrats.

This is the problem when you say “maybe it’s true but vote for him anyway.” You become morally bankrupt. If you believe in God as the foundation of morality, how can you justify voting for someone you have said you believe to be a child molester, whether you’re wrong or not? It makes no sense to me, at all.

And what basis do you have to criticize those who support Al Franken’s butt cheek grabs or John Conyers’s escapades? The only thing you can say is: well, their policies are bad. Because you have already legitimized supporting sexual assaults for the purpose of politics. The only weapon you have left is that the other side’s politics are worse.

And even if you didn’t care about moral bankruptcy, your precious political power is not exactly enhanced when independents see Republicans shrugging their shoulders at child molestation.

If you want to question the accusers, and you can do so in a factual way that does not rely on rumor and fever swamp smears, that is appropriate. But if your argument is “vote for the guy I believe to be the child molester, FOR THE CHILDREN!” then you have lost your way.

Roy Moore may well still win this election. But there is a giant wave coming in 2018. The Senate will almost assuredly be firmly in the hands of the Democrats, whether Roy Moore is in the Senate or not.

And when that wave has washed over you, and your majority and your soul are both gone, what will you have left to show for it then?

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

11/23/2017

BREAKING: The Clearest Indication Yet That Flynn Is Cooperating with Mueller

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:30 pm

Is Mike Flynn cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation? That is a distinct possibility today, given the news breaking in the New York Times this afternoon that Flynn’s lawyers are no longer sharing information with Donald Trump’s lawyers.

Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, notified the president’s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation, according to four people involved in the case, an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating such a deal.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers had been sharing information with Mr. Trump’s lawyers about the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved in Russian efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

That agreement has been terminated, the four people said. Defense lawyers frequently share information during investigations, but they must stop when doing so would pose a conflict of interest. It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation.

This is not proof that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller. But it is not good news for the Trump administration on this Thanksgiving.

How To Enjoy Your Thanksgiving (And Life) More Fully, Plus Bonus Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Happy Thanksgiving! As I usually do on this day, I am linking my traditional Thanksgiving post, first posted on my personal blog in 2006. I won’t repost the whole thing here, but it tells a story about my daughter when she was a baby. (This time next year, she will be in college.) The short version is that I walked out of a music concert with her because she was upset. I sat in the car with her, and held her in my arms . . . and had a better time than I would have had in the concert.

Here’s the key part: the post asks you to imagine your life today — right now — as if you were an older version of yourself, sent back in time to briefly relive this moment and this day:

And then I realized: some day, years in the future, I might be asking the same question about my life today — this very minute. If you could have this moment back to live over again, what would you do?

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

This is the best Thanksgiving gift I can give you. It’s nothing more than a way of focusing your mind on the present. Of being aware of the now. This life is God’s gift to us. We honor Him by giving thanks, and by living it as acutely aware as possible of the greatness of the gift.

This advice is tougher to follow in hard times. For those having a difficult time of it right now, there is this advice: dwell on the good. At my personal site, my guest blogger Dana (for whom I am thankful, as I am thankful for my guest blogger JVW and all my readers) gives us this passage to reflect on from Phillippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The bonus music today is a short and incomplete cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach on the theme of giving thanks to God. It is BWV 192: “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now Let Everyone Thank God).

The text is here, and these are the words of the opening chorus:

Now let everyone thank God
with hearts, mouths, and hands,
Who does great things
for us and to all ends,
Who has done for us from our mother’s wombs
and childhood on
many uncountable good things
and does so still today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

On Giving Thanks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and friends that care about you. And in spite of the hardships we might currently be facing, may we all just pause, take a deep breath, and be still as we contemplate the good things in our lives. May our hearts overflow with thankfulness. Because, I know that in spite of hardship and pain and sorrow, it is still possible to find something to be thankful for. I have often found that thankfulness brings a measure of relief in the midst of tribulation, as the focus turns from ourselves to the gracious plenty in our lives. I say this primarily as an exhortation to myself as I struggle through a difficult season. But in spite of that – and because of it – I am determined to still my heart and my mind before God, and quietly follow the directive:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [a]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Phillippians 4:8

The healing balm of thankfulness. May it be yours today.

–Dana

11/22/2017

Reporter to Trump: Is An Accused Child Molester Better Than A Democrat?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

To which President Trump responded:

Well, he denies it. Look, if you look at what is really going on, you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen, and you know, you have to listen to him also.

The defense and “re-endorsement” of Roy Moore by the president came during a brief Q&A with reporters after having been relatively quiet about the matter for more than a week.

President Trump listed off his reasons for believing Moore is the better candidate in the race:

“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on military,” Trump said. “I can tell you for a fact we do not need somebody who’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad for the military, bad for the Second Amendment.”

Tuesday’s public support of Moore comes on the heels of White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirming to reporters that the president still believed Moore should step down if the allegations were true:

The president believes that these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.

The president said in his statement earlier this week that if the allegations are true then Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that.

So what caused Trump to no longer be troubled by the allegations, and not only defend Moore but embrace him as well? Possibly something personal:

President Donald Trump’s near-endorsement of Alabama Republican Roy Moore followed days of behind-the-scenes talks in which he vented about Moore’s accusers and expressed skepticism about their accounts.

During animated conversations with senior Republicans and White House aides, the president said he doubted the stories presented by Moore’s accusers and questioned why they were emerging now, just weeks before the election, according to two White House advisers and two other people familiar with the talks.

The White House advisers said the president drew parallels between Moore’s predicament and the one he faced just over a year ago when, during the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, Trump confronted a long line of women who accused him of harassment. He adamantly denied the claims.

The president’s private sentiments broke into the open Tuesday when Trump all but declared he believed Moore’s denials.

While the report suggests that President Trump viewed the Moore allegations through a personal lens when making his decision to defend the candidate, there is also another factor. And a troubling one at that:

President Donald Trump’s decision to embrace Roy Moore on Tuesday was rooted in several factors, but one of the biggest: the noise and confusion from a recent tidal wave of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations from Hollywood to media to politics.

“(It) made it easier and easier to stick with Moore,” a Republican source close to the White House said.

So, the justification for sticking with Moore was made easier because of the non-stop barrage of sexual misconduct allegations being made? So many allegations, in fact, that there is a desensitization happening as the behavior becomes normalized, thus making it easier to look the other way and cut loose of any principles. Because everybody is doing it.

But there is also this nugget of justification for sticking with Moore:

In the end, the officials said, Trump decided to do something familiar: Accept Moore’s denials — just as he delivered his own denials during the 2016 campaign.

“It’s the general consensus that Moore and his policies are better than a Democrat. This makes it about policy and not the sexual abuse allegations. The White House knows they cannot afford to lose an ‘R’ vote in the Senate,” a White House source familiar with the current thinking told CNN.

Just because they say it, does that make it so? Simply claiming that it’s only politics eliminates any question of morality? I don’t think so. As far as this White House is concerned, however, the moral question has been easily sidelined, and nothing of real value has been sacrificed to get to this point. Because a win in this election is so important, the support of Moore must be justified in any way possible.

So ultimately, in answer to the reporter’s question to President Trump of whether an accused child molester is better than a Democrat, the answer from this White House is a resounding yes.

(Note: I also believe that basic tribalism contributed to the decision to support Moore.)

As of today, the president has not committed to campaigning for Moore. He said he will announce his decision regarding that next week. Also as of today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, along with more than a dozen Senate Republicans have publicly called on Moore to drop out of the race. The campaign arm for Senate Republicans and the RNC have also cut ties with Moore.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Hyper-Partisanship Is More Dangerous Than “The Left”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

I am a conservative — at least, what we used to call a conservative. I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Democrat in my life. I’m probably as hard-core in favor of limited government, the Constitution, and the free market as anyone you’ll find on this site. I oppose government intervention in the economy in all forms, whether it’s ObamaCare distorting the health insurance market or the Fed distorting the nature of capital formation by setting interest rates. I promote the appointment of judges who adhere to constitutional principles and oppose the made-up “right” to abortion. I seek the slashing of our federal government, the wholesale elimination of most federal “departments,” and the gradual reform of entitlements to protect our children from the punishing taxation and likely economic collapse that follows a long period of fiscal irresponsibility.

But there is a growing force that endangers most of the principles I believe in. No, it’s not “the left.” It’s tribalism.

The real danger to our country is hyper-partisanship.

Think of all the stuff that “the left” does that you oppose. Maybe it’s pushing for open border policies or sanctuary cities. Maybe it’s advocating an unlimited right to kill babies at any time during (or even after!) a pregnancy. Maybe it’s advocating ruinous regulation and taxation, disastrous foreign policy, or any number of other things.

Are the people who advocate these policies hyper-partisans? Yes, they are.

Is hyper-partisanship a problem only on the left? Um, no.

Many writers at RedState have written pieces recently I admire, that either focus on or touch on the corrosive nature of increased tribalism on both sides in the era of Donald Trump and now Roy Moore. Kimberly Ross wrote New Poll About Sexual Harassment Shows How Infected The GOP Is With Tribalism in which she said: “to some, politics is all that matters. Principles need not apply.” Kimberly also wrote Isn’t It Time That We Start Policing Our Own Side? in which she encouraged readers to “[t]ake a blowtorch to the ideas that lead us down the paths of rationalization.” Jim Jamitis had a brilliant piece titled Anti-Anti-Trump Obsessives Are Every Bit As Harebrained As The Loony Left, in which he said: “If you’re employing double standards to defend your tribe, you don’t deserve my trust either—or my attention.” Joe Cunningham has warned us: “The tribalism of the Left and Right is more about gaining power than it is about doing what we feel is right.”

I could go on and on. Ben Howe has written extensively about the dangers of hyper-partisanship. Susan Wright regularly ridicules “Branch Trumpidians” — people who don’t just support Donald Trump as a distasteful but preferable alternative to Hillary Clinton, but who actively defend every aspect of his buffoonish bullying and lying. Caleb Howe has written about how Trumpism provides its adherents with “a sort of checklist of things one is supposed to think” that blinds them to an objective analysis of something like the Roy Moore allegations. I know I am leaving out others.

I couldn’t say it any better than these folks. And while Donald Trump started the ball rolling, the dangers all these writers warned about have reached peak insanity with the special election in Alabama involving Roy Moore. As Caleb Howe put it in his epic post on Roy Moore: “I’m sorry to say, it seems a great number of people in Alabama aren’t all that concerned about the accusations, even should they prove true.” And indeed, according to the Boston Globe, pastor Earl Wise “said he would support Moore even if the allegations were true and the candidate was proved to have sexually molested teenage girls and women.” Holy hyper-partisanship, Batman! A direct quote from the pastor: “there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20.” The governor of Alabama said she had no reason to disbelieve the women who have accused Roy Moore — but hey, vote for the Republican anyway because he is a Republican. And David Horowitz agrees, saying: “In my view Moore is guilty as accused” but vote for him anyway because Democrats.

This is sick. When we’ve reached the point where we are willing to say that, even if a man sexually molested a 14-year-old, that’s cool because we need 52 votes for feckless Republicanism and not 51, we are lost. A friend who sent an email with the pastor’s comment about 14-year-olds looking like 20-year-olds cited Mark 8:36: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Indeed.

And of course the partisanship occurs on both sides. In a particularly shameful tweet, a woman named Kate Harding wrote that Democrats should excuse Al Franken and others who abuse women, saying: “I am sincerely arguing that we should not force a Democrat to resign for sexually abusing a woman.” Why? Because Republicans wouldn’t — and because defending them promotes the policies we like:

If you oppose tribalism of the type shown by Kate Harding, you are appalled by sentiments like this no matter whose side they appear on. But if you’re a hyper-partisan yourself, you might slam her as disgusting while ignoring similar behavior from your own side. If you’re especially fond of moral relativism and chucking over principles for naked political gain, you might even go so far as to praise her for her clear-eyed hardheadedness. (!)

Such sentiments are, in my view, repulsive, and exactly what is wrong with this country. Again, if you held your nose to select Donald Trump over Hillary, I am not talking about you. But if you’re praising the attitudes of the pastor, or David Horowitz, or Kate Harding — if you’re saying that we have to vote for the child molester FOR THE CHILDREN! — then yes, I am talking about you. You and your attitudes are the problem with society today.

And, to bring us full circle, this hyper-partisanship also causes Republicans to define their issues, not in terms of liberty, limited government, the free market, and the Constitution, but instead by whatever causes “the left” to cry those yummy yummy leftist tears. This means that a cynical campaign of incessantly starting public feuds with unlikable people can serve, in the eyes of mindless partisans, as an adequate substitute for spending cuts in an era of $20 trillion deficits. Yammering about football players taking a knee is the new hotness, while repealing ObamaCare is not worth the hard work it takes to twist arms in the U.S. Senate. We’re sacrificing more and more of the issues we claimed to care about on the altar of “fighting the left” on issues that are trivial but entertaining.

We have become a reality show culture led by a reality show president. And our kids are going to pay dearly for it.

And the reason for that isn’t “the left.” It’s the hyper-partisan forces of “the left” combined with the hyper-partisan forces of the right, joyously slinging mud and engaging in stupid pointless battles for clicks and applause and poll numbers, while the country goes to hell and our children’s future is a set of upside-down cards in a Monopoly game. (Google it, millenials.)

I, for one, am proud to join forces with my colleagues at RedState who oppose this dangerous trend. I’d like it if you stood with us as well.

UPDATE: Stand also with my colleague and wonderful guest blogger Dana, who addressed this same issue in a post that reflects my own thoughts perfectly: When Party Loyalty Begets a Collective Moral Bankruptcy. I hope to partially make up for my inexcusable failure to link that post above, by making it central to further reflections that I hope to post along these lines in the next couple of days.

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

11/21/2017

NEWSWEEK: You Know, Charles Manson Kinda Reminds Us of That Donald Trump Fella

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 am

When a mass murderer dies, what is the first thing Big Media does? Of course: figure out how they can write a click-baity headline that ties the news to Donald Trump. And so, we have NEWSWEEK with the following actual not-from-the-Onion headline:

That is . . . that is special, isn’t it?

Please note, the author of the piece hastens to say, that the hook of the piece is not that Trump and Manson are similar. Heavens, no! NEWSWEEK never meant to imply anything like that at all! No, what NEWSWEEK is saying, you understand, is that both Trump and Manson use psychological techniques to appeal to the marginalized in society:

According to psychoanalyst Mark Smaller, past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, part of Manson’s power lay in the type of language he used. Notably, Manson was able to speak in a way that engaged those who felt marginalized or alienated.

“A charismatic leader knows how to speak to people in a way that will emotionally engage those people,” Smaller told Newsweek.

Smaller is clear that he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to the convicted killer, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics, but he did say we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers.

“Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government,” he said. “They feel very responded to and become his political base.”

Fact: politicians everywhere use psychological techniques to appeal to the disaffected. You could have said the same thing about Barack Obama. But somehow I feel certain that it never would have occurred to the editors of NEWSWEEK to compare Obama’s rhetorical techniques to those of Charlie Manson. Maybe NEWSMAX might have done that. But not a “respectable” (are they really?) news organization like NEWSWEEK.

WARNING: ABRUPT SHIFT IN TONE THAT DIEHARD TRUMPERS WILL NOT LIKE: Yes, it’s silly to compare Donald Trump to Charlie Manson.

And yet . . .

And yet there is one valid comparison you could make between the followers of Charlie Manson and the most extremely devoted followers of Donald Trump: they would both vote for Charlie Manson over Hillary Clinton.

Some of you are getting mad that I just said that, but some of you are nodding your head and saying: “You bet I would!” In September 2016, I ran a poll, which was admittedly somewhat tongue in cheek, asking people whether they would vote for the worst mass murderer in history (Chairman Mao) or Hillary Clinton, given that binary choice. The small response size (compared to polls I usually run) reflected the poll’s lack of seriousness, but it was still remarkable to me at the time that Chairman Mao won a solid majority of votes, 61% to 39%.

And hey, Charlie Manson was convicted of only nine murders!

And we are in the middle of the Roy Moore scandal right now, and plenty of Moore supporters — from David Horowitz to the governor of Alabama to pastors — are saying that even if the allegations are true, you gotta vote for Moore. Meaning that even if Roy Moore is a child molester, the only moral thing to do is to vote for him.

The argument for Moore is presented as a Flight 93 imperative: they’re killing our babies! They’re taking our guns! And you want to worry about a little thing like character? In the face of that, what are a few allegations of child molestation from 40 years ago?

Or, the case of Charlie Manson, a few convictions of murder from 50 years ago? After all, once you head down that road that says past crimes are irrelevant when it comes to keeping our majorities, where is the logical ending point?

And so, it amuses me to envision Charlie Manson declaring himself to be a Republican and running against Hillary Clinton. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear the political debate that would ensue?

In that vein, I present to you the Top Ten Reasons Manson Followers Would Have Voted for Charlie Manson Instead of Hillary Clinton:

  • 10. True, Manson said he wants a national race war, but if you want to repeal ObamaCare, you gotta break a few eggs.
  • 9. What, you think Hillary never murdered anyone?
  • 8. Let’s keep in mind that the so-called “victims” here were Hollywood degenerates.
  • 7. Justice Tex Watson will vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.
  • 6. I like people who don’t get brutally murdered.
  • 5. Manson could order a pregnant woman to be gutted like a fish on Fifth Avenue and I’d still vote for him over Hillary Clinton.
  • 4. Manson’s “murders” (most of which he didn’t even commit himself) happened 50 years ago. Hillary’s criminality is happening now.
  • 3. I don’t support Manson’s plan to release all convicted murderers in the United States, but it will make more room in prison for the DREAMers.
  • 2. He’s not my favorite, but he’s surrounded himself with some pretty good people.

And the Number One Reason Manson Followers Would Have Voted for Charlie Manson Instead of Hillary Clinton is:

  • 1. Look, the guy with the swastika in his forehead wasn’t my preference. I wanted Ted Cruz. But it’s a binary choice.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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