Patterico's Pontifications

1/10/2021

Oh God, Not Another Substack

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:42 pm



Yes. Another Substack.

A while back, I created the Constitutional Vanguard list, to promote liberty, free markets, and the Constitution. As I have watched these things become perverted, I thought it might be time to revive the project. I created a Substack a few weeks ago and moved the list there, but didn’t get around to doing anything with it. Then I saw people were signing up, and thought: why not give it a whirl?

My goal is to get half the list to unsubscribe in the next 24 hours. How will I do it? By saying what I think. I’ve managed to alienate people here and on Twitter over the years, and I am confident I can alienate people the same way on the Substack platform. I can do this!

The first post discusses the confluence of audience capture and group polarization. These are topics I have discussed before, but I think this is the first time I have ruminated publicly on how they combine to create a toxic environment where lies spread like wildfire.

My basic thesis is this: now, more than ever, we need people who don’t alter what they believe and what they say based on what they think will please their audience. If I can’t find a way to alienate a good chunk of you in every newsletter, I’m not doing my job.

I promise you that I will say only what I actually think. And I promise you that it will probably upset you at some point. That’s actually a good thing.

Check it out, and sign up if you’re not signed up already. (It’s free, for now.)

55 Responses to “Oh God, Not Another Substack”

  1. Done.

    Simon Jester (72e89c)

  2. This will never be a substitute for the blog. It might end up being a way to write more deeply on certain topics for an audience interested in that sort of thing and willing to pay a little for it. For now, it’s free, but it could change. I think last year was the first year I lost money on the site (not much, don’t cry for me Argentina) and maybe having a subscriber base could change that. I dunno. It’s an experiment.

    Patterico (a42186)

  3. Being both unfamiliar with general concept and a cheapskate,

    1. what did you charge as your subscriber fee

    2. What are other examples of subscriber fees charged by peer substackers

    3. what would you think of a Publishers Clearinghouse model of several stacks available at a bundled discount (though I wouldn’t probably offer a prize more 0restigious than steak knives).

    urbanleftbehind (3baf6e)

  4. I did indeed initially give you my email for TCV, but your continued unwillingness to address how Trump came to be even today serves as a reminder of why I stopped reading your page 4 years ago, and why I don’t trust LA lawyers.

    About a Goy (d0a6cb)

  5. I think your discussion of audience capture and group polarization are spot on and very interesting. What I don’t understand is your position that election fraud is a “narrative unsupported by actual evidence.” Apparently you are dismissing many data analysts, some with significant credentials, who have provided a great deal of evidence that significant anomalies occurred and sufficient to alter the outcome in individual states. I won’t describe any of the numerous visible anomalies because I assume you have seen those yourself. It does not appear that the “narrative” denying vote fraud is based on facts or evidence, quite the contrary. I’m not interested in confirmation bias … I just can’t agree my eyes are lying.

    Fredericka Ibsen Thompson (ca723c)

  6. Ask yourself: are there any pundits or politicians you used to follow just three, four, or five years ago, who are unrecognizable to you now?

    Nobody is quite unrecognizable. And I didn’t used to follow many. And I pay more attention to what is said, rather than to who says it.

    I think you’ll find this morphing more more on the Internet or a blog than among columnists or politicians. People complained that LGF changed but that was years ago. I think there are some complaints about more recent sites. Most have become more “radical” Matt Drudge is said to have been phoning it in or something, and may not be in control of his site.

    I’d say two or three things have surprised me:

    1) Rush Limbaugh. He’s edged over more and more toward Trumpy things.

    2) Conservative talk radio in general. And that’s a lot of talk radio. About the 2020 election.

    3) Bret Stephens. He’s been censoring himself, it feels, ever since he went over to the New York Times from the Wall Street Journal.

    Sammy Finkelman (fac2c6)

  7. Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald send their best.

    When I re-up my subscription in March to a couple of guys your website told me for years were traitors, I’ll be sure to mention your name and your fundraising email when I gleefully tell them that “my side” was just as full of garbage as I’d always thought their side was.

    Haven’t missed you a bit. Please take my email off your list,.

    About a Goy (d0a6cb)

  8. Haven’t missed you a bit. Please take my email off your list,.

    Take your own goddam name off the list.

    Patterico (a42186)

  9. what did you charge as your subscriber fee

    It’s free at this point. I may or may not change that.

    Patterico (a42186)

  10. Folks, Substack allows you to remove yourself from the list. I’m not doing it for you.

    Patterico (a42186)

  11. Fans of Gleens Grenwald probably will not enjoy my writing. They loves them a little too much Russia.

    Patterico (a42186)

  12. I initially stopped participating on your site because of the rising tribalism, which for a while was abated when you opened up comments on a different site, with an eye towards lowering the temperature.

    Having been a Cruz supporter at that time, I eagerly joined in.

    But months later, after having seen what happened to the guy who eventually did win the election, it became apparent that I’d become a man without a country, and found myself having to defend a man I’d never voted for in the face of ostensible allies, who seemed all to willing to sink us all if it meant we’d have “muh principles.”

    I apologize for my tone, but as for the consequences, I leave you to them.

    About a Goy (d0a6cb)

  13. I apologize for my petulance and tone. I mean that.

    But it would be nice where I might find a place to discuss without first having to confess to the thoughtcrime of having believed that Trump’s supporters may have had a goddamn point.

    About a Goy (d0a6cb)

  14. Patterico, I read your substack post. It was interesting and insightful, as I expected it to be. It is a worthy effort.

    About a Goy,

    but your continued unwillingness to address how Trump came to be even today

    I know you haven’t been reading here for the past few years because Patterico has repeatedly discussed the rise of Trump, how he played upon the frustration and anger of those who turned toward him. He has also repeatedly made it clear that he understands why reasonable yet frustrated Republicans plugged their noses and voted for him.

    Dana (cc9481)

  15. @ About a Goy,

    But it would be nice where I might find a place to discuss without first having to confess to the thoughtcrime of having believed that Trump’s supporters may have had a goddamn point.

    I think there are a number of commenters here who continue to be Trump supporters. And while we have vigorous discussions and disagreement about Trump and loyalty to him, no one is banned or bullied into denying their support of him before they engage here. Frankly, from what I’ve read around the web, this might be one of the few sites where that sort of discussion is invited and welcomed. Patterico has tight rules about not insulting other commenters and being respectful, but that’s about it. I invite you to start reading Patterico’s posts again and especially read the comments. It’s a varied group of thinkers – everything from liberals, classical liberals, center and certainly right, and even far right of center.

    Dana (cc9481)

  16. About a Goy, if you haven’t been here for 4 years…..why are you back with multiple posts to let us know that you don’t want to be here? Why exactly are we supposed to care? The internet is wonderful and vast, go get you some

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  17. Frankly, from what I’ve read around the web, this might be one of the few sites where that sort of discussion is invited and welcomed. Patterico has tight rules about not insulting other commenters and being respectful, but that’s about it. I invite you to start reading Patterico’s posts again and especially read the comments.

    Fair enough. I haven’t been here for almost four years, so my own temper tantrum here is worth spit.

    And I only mentioned Taibbi and Greenwald because their moves to Substack and subsequent work struck me as remarkable attempts to describe the problems we face absent the knee-jerk, “orange man bad” horseshit.

    About a Goy (d0a6cb)

  18. About a Goy, if you haven’t been here for 4 years…..why are you back with multiple posts to let us know that you don’t want to be here? Why exactly are we supposed to care? The internet is wonderful and vast, go get you some

    Because I’m a narcissist who craves attention. Duh.

    About a Goy (d0a6cb)

  19. I apologize for my petulance and tone. I mean that.

    But it would be nice where I might find a place to discuss without first having to confess to the thoughtcrime of having believed that Trump’s supporters may have had a goddamn point.

    I accept the apology, and I mean that.

    I have friends and relatives who voted for Trump. I don’t demonize people simply for having voted for the man. I would be happy to have a discussion about the topic, as I indicated in my first email to you.

    But I have developed an impatience for people who cannot discuss matters without being rude. You have sent mixed signals on that front, but I choose to pay more attention to the positive signals. Let’s keep the discussion positive and you let me know what you want to get off your chest.

    Patterico (c39be0)

  20. @AboutAGoy@13

    I think it depends what goddamned point you think they have. For most of the possibilities, you’ll find someone on here who agrees. But there will, quite likely also be someone who disagrees, maybe a lot of people who disagree. Patterico doesn’t run an echo chamber, and a lot of people have trouble when confronted with principled disagreement. I am someone who is slightly to the left of most of the other posters and slightly to the right of a few. Even then, I can often find something where I agree with each of the individual posters, even if we don’t agree on a specific issue. But I come here deliberately BECAUSE I know that this isn’t an echo chamber and I know there will be people here who I disagree with and will need to justify my viewpoint to. For the most part I believe that the conversation itself is valuable (even when it gets heated and I am totally frustrated)

    Nic (896fdf)

  21. But it would be nice where I might find a place to discuss without first having to confess to the thoughtcrime of having believed that Trump’s supporters may have had a goddamn point.

    I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned that from time to time. Although they had their point before they were Trump supporters; he just grabbed onto their causes. And they’ll still have those issues after he’s gone because he didn’t do jack for them in the end.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  22. Done. Looking forward to your commentary there.

    HCI (92ea66)

  23. But it would be nice where I might find a place to discuss without first having to confess to the thoughtcrime of having believed that Trump’s supporters may have had a goddamn point.

    I used to read and occasionally comment on sites that have since gone uncritically pro-Trump. During the primaries, I found that Trump fans responded in heated and personal ways to the slightest criticism of Trump. I could be directly quoting Trump and it would draw accusations that I was an anti-American leftist and hater.

    Trump promoters decided that Trump should get his own special standard of judgment and never be criticized for things they don’t tolerate in others. I’ve seen Trump apologists writing e.g. about “Biden’s trouble with the truth,” but if I responded by asking why that’s worse than the routine dishonesty of Donald Trump, I would be branded an enemy of true Americanism.

    Some people who used to speak candidly about the dangers of Trump’s narcissistic psychopathology are now bitterly hostile toward the people who kept talking about it instead of deciding it’s a feature of a singular greatness. An unusual number of people, on exiting the administration, have spoken of how Trump is even worse up close and how it was a constant battle to keep him from doing crazy and illegal things. And the Trumpers say they’ve all just revealed themselves as Deep State hacks, by which they basically mean traitors.

    Now that we’re seeing the lethal consequences of indulging Trump’s malignant narcissism — and it’s probably not over yet — it would be nice if Trump apologists admitted that the critics had a point, instead of continuing to insist that we should apologize to them.

    I haven’t gone over to the left. But I was right in predicting that Trump would make the GOP look so ugly and frightening that a lot of people in the middle would decide that Dems might be the safer option right now.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  24. I was interested in why you feel:

    “Because I want to use this newsletter as a way of ruminating on subjects in a deeper fashion than I might do on my blog.”

    I thought the topic written in the newspaper would have fit right in as a post on this blog. Too long?

    nate (1f1d55)

  25. So, I read your bit on audience capture, and the part about group polarization is something I’ve experienced.

    Nearly every third party suffers from this. Since they are usually aligned somewhere on the outer edge of the major parties’ spectra, they start off by having some more extreme principled positions. Almost immediately, as soon as there is a contest for leadership, even at a local level, the purity wars begin. Purists push to the fringe, and a candidate found to be too moderate is left in the dust. My time in the Libertarian Party ended when I heard someone talking about a child’s freedom to engage in sex work.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  26. On the other hand, I disagree with you on “tariffs”, which you say are simply taxes on our own citizens, and of course they are taxes, just not simple ones.

    Assuming the tariffs are not simply corrupt payoffs, and are actually attempting to address some national goal, then I would characterize them as “sin taxes”, just like taxing cigarettes. You are not being prevented from buying these products, even though the government suggests you are working against national interests, but you are having to pay a tax for doing it. There are other similar products, presumably, that you could buy that avoid the tax.

    Your choice.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  27. I was interested in why you feel:

    “Because I want to use this newsletter as a way of ruminating on subjects in a deeper fashion than I might do on my blog.”

    I thought the topic written in the newspaper would have fit right in as a post on this blog. Too long?

    I spent more time on it than I often do with blog posts. I wrote it gradually over the course of several days. I thought it was longer than most blog posts I do here, although I have not evaluated the length in detail.

    I guess I see value in reaching out to people in different and more direct ways. Ultimately the goal will likely always be to drive traffic to the blog, but if I can deliver a more in-depth and thoughtful essay, perhaps on a regular basis, to people directly — I think I have a chance of reaching a broader group of folks.

    After all, even we sad folks who lose our audience by saying what we think still want to find a new audience that appreciates that. Honestly, even as the audience here has dwindled in absolute numbers, I think it has gained in quality. I’d like to keep that dynamic going.

    Patterico (a42186)

  28. Funnily enough, I almost never used to agree with you. I kept reading because most of the interesting personality driven blogs are gone, as everyone good (possibly myself included) took paychecks to do it more institutionally instead.

    It’s been a fun four years actually agreeing with you. I look forward to you making me mad again.

    LYT (5253f9)

  29. There are a lot of good substacks, and now there is another one!

    Ann (4f05a1)

  30. Thank you for your email message. I would be less confrontational. That said, it is many years since I was a fourth grader. I can be friends with persons with whom I agree and with whom I disagree.
    We have too many who never outgrew 4th grade all over the political spectrum. I am happy to have a place that is enriched with adults. Thank you, Patterico.

    Charles Durand (09f7c3)

  31. Certainly opinionating for a living is different than doing it as a hobby/distraction. Maybe a case in point is Erick Erickson who was pressured to stay relevant by moving from NeverTrump to a reluctant but fairly early supporter of Trump’s re-election. It was fascinating…though arguably painful….to watch Erick have to buy into an argument of “the other side is just so much worse” that one could tell was not in his heart (or head). It would be interesting to hear your thoughts about how right-wing mainstream thought was captured by Trumpism….when it was clear that Trump’s qualifications and demeanor were quite outside the typical Republican Overton Window. Was it pushed down by the hosts…like Rush and Hannity…or pushed up by the listenership, who had somehow become desperate and needed the polarization offered by Trump? Are opinionaters being pushed to be more and more provocative in the virtual sea of opinion…to stand out….because eliciting any response…bad or good….is better than no or a mooted response. Is the quest for drama killing ideas? Anyways, always looking forward to what you have to say…

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  32. AJ_Liberty (a4ff25) — 1/11/2021 @ 5:37 am

    Forgive the nostalgia, but I’m reminded of something someone told me a long time ago that stuck with me.

    I took tae kwon do from an instructor who worked for a franchised system, often accused of being “mcdojos.” We’ll call him Tom. Tom had a very good friend, John, who had taken classes in Chinese martial arts — what most people think of as “kung fu” — from an instructor who didn’t charge money, and taught under the condition that his students would not charge money to teach what they knew.

    John told me one day, I’ve taught very few people, like my instructor before me. Because I don’t charge money, I can choose who I want to teach because I can judge who is suitable. Tom can’t make those kinds of decisions. I’m not saying that the profit motive is inherently bad, but it does change things and it should be considered.*

    Nowhere is the influence of profit motive more evident than in punditry.

    *paraphrased

    Gryph (f63000)

  33. A.j.,

    On that note, although one guy needs the money in an adverse way and the other 2 might have a warning light that eventually goes off:

    https://news.yahoo.com/talk-radio-owner-threatens-fire-125841285.html

    urbanleftbehind (52590f)

  34. You can take pride in your work and expect to be paid for it too, Gryph. There’s a word for it and I think that word is “professionalism”.

    I could quote what Samuel Johnson had to say on the subject of writing and money, but I’d rather you looked that up yourselves, and quote P.G. Wodehouse instead: “It’s not taking the money that grates on the soul of the sensitive artist; it’s having to do the work.”

    nk (1d9030)

  35. Enjoyed the article.

    Time123 (457a1d)

  36. nk (1d9030) — 1/11/2021 @ 6:36 am

    Absolutely. I don’t debate that for a second. But…

    Would the punditry supporting Trump be so willing to espouse their opinions for free (as our host here does)? It’s not a question of if, but rather how would that change things?

    Gryph (f63000)

  37. Oh, no doubt that most of those guys, the ones who went full Trump, were gold diggers.

    But generally speaking, for writers who have chosen to make their living at it, they have to write even when their Muse has taken a personal day and what they’re putting out today is not as good as what they had put out the day before. That’s what I thought you meant, actually.

    nk (1d9030)

  38. Re: Audience capture.

    TL;DR Is one in the service of [X]
    or is one being of service to [X]?

    The points made are well taken. This phenomenon is real, to be sure, and its description, I believe would benefit from further nuance. “Audience capture” is not, generally, where I would arrive in characterizing it. But let me try to add something to the discussion.

    I do not pretend to school anyone in the ABCs of free market theory/practice. But it seems there is a difference in what kind of exchange/transaction, and thus relationship, is occurring during audience capture (on one hand) and commerce (on the other). In audience capture, one could say that a bad client begins demanding actions that differ with a provider’s usual practices as some have in, say, hiring a lawyer. This can affect a lawyer over time, adversely. It is up to each lawyer to resist engaging such clients.

    But what if a certain type of case begins to dominate the legal landscape? And Lawyers with a command of the issues at hand are in short supply? Perhaps taking on such cases is viewed (rightly or wrongly) as benign (as a public service), or as malevolent (as a selling out). Or (bear with me here) becoming a hired killer as opposed to a bodyguard. Both types of work will affect one, over time. This is not to say that one must be effected – that remains within the power of each person’s character and will to resist. But what is happening in audience capture, I imagine, is an amplification of a client’s desires (vice or virtue) as opposed to a clients needs (justice by way of satisfaction or atonement). Is the work in service of, or in service to, the client?

    Which statement fits you?

    I will be in your service.

    I will be of service to you.

    Or perhaps:

    I will serve your desires.

    I will serve your needs.

    felipe (630e0b)

  39. Oh, no doubt that most of those guys, the ones who went full Trump, were gold diggers.

    Some were, of course. Gingrich stands out. Some were true believers (Hannity, Dobbs). And some were just trying to stay relevent as their audience moved, as Patterico points out. I don’t know if that’s intellectual dishonesty or business acumen, or if those are different things.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  40. Probably going to disagree with you (Patterico) about a number of things, but that’s a reason to subscribe, not unsubscribe, so sorry for not helping you meet the initial 50% unsubscribe rate. The thought and effort you put into this blog and the CV email is appreciated.

    RL formerly in Glendale (fda61c)

  41. Audience capture? Bill Kristol was unavailable for comment.

    It has to be asked: did your friend who was opposed to Donald Trump early, but then swung over to him captured by his audience, or could it be that he was genuinely persuaded? A lot of people were persuaded by Mr Trump.

    I’ve said it before: Mr Trump is an [insert slang term for the rectum here], but his policies were mostly the correct ones, and it is the President’s policies, not his personality, that I find more important.

    The Dana in Kentucky (facd7c)

  42. Of course, President Trump will be out of office nine days from now. Perhaps a fresh start with him being out of office is a good thing, for this site and the substack.

    The Dana in Kentucky (facd7c)

  43. It has to be asked: did your friend who was opposed to Donald Trump early, but then swung over to him captured by his audience, or could it be that he was genuinely persuaded? A lot of people were persuaded by Mr Trump.

    I think I’d be more depressed to find out people abandoned all their principles because they were actually persuaded by Trump, because there’s no “there” to Trump. What, exactly, did he forward as a cogent set of principles that would persuade anyone? It’s much better to think the Federalist guy just completely sold out in order to stay relevant or because it was just easier.

    I think Trump’s strain of populism persuaded no one, really. He merely attracted voters who didn’t really care about politics all that much before but loved the ugly sides of Trump. The video of the guy screaming, “You’re treating me like you would a black person” or the people saying Trump isn’t hurting the people he’s supposed to hurt are the kinds of people I’m talking about.

    I never doubted that plenty of those people existed and would/could vote for the Republican party, just as I don’t doubt there are plenty of people who vote Democrat that would actually send me to a thought camp for not accepting their ideas. Trump just exposed that there’s far more of those people out there than I realized, and the GOP has decided to embrace and cater to those people.

    Johnny Agreeable (c49787)

  44. It has to be asked: did your friend who was opposed to Donald Trump early, but then swung over to him captured by his audience, or could it be that he was genuinely persuaded? A lot of people were persuaded by Mr Trump.

    Did you see the crazy things my “friend” (actually a tenuous and very former internet acquaintance) has said recently? As a reminder, I detailed some of them in the newsletter. If you think that fellow is a sensible person who was persuaded by the greater weight of facts and logic, that says more about you than anything else.

    Patterico (a42186)

  45. Our gracious host replied:

    It has to be asked: did your friend who was opposed to Donald Trump early, but then swung over to him captured by his audience, or could it be that he was genuinely persuaded? A lot of people were persuaded by Mr Trump.

    Did you see the crazy things my “friend” (actually a tenuous and very former internet acquaintance) has said recently? As a reminder, I detailed some of them in the newsletter. If you think that fellow is a sensible person who was persuaded by the greater weight of facts and logic, that says more about you than anything else.

    The Dana in Kentucky (facd7c)

  46. Poop! Hit the wrong button and copied and pasted, but posted before writing my reply!

    Not knowing to which “tenuous and very former internet acquaintance” you referred, I cannot know what he has said recently.

    I did not like Mr Trump, personally, and voted for Gary Johnson in 2016. Had it been a popular vote contest, I would have had to have voted for Mr Trump, to try to keep the odious Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

    But that I didn’t like Mr Trump personally does not mean I do not approve of most of his policies, and policy is what is important, policy is what affects the vast majority of Americans. I approved of his policies to combat illegal immigration and try to send as many of the illegals as he could back. I approved of his policies to combat the acceptance of ‘transgenderism,’ and I approved of his policies to draw our forces down in Syria and Afghanistan. My only complaint there was that he didn’t do so far enough and fast enough. I approved of his policies in support of Israel and withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear agreement, and the Paris climate accord. I approved of his policies to encourage more petroleum and natural gas production in the United States, rather than us buying more from foreign countries. I very much disapproved of his budget-busting spending, even before the virus outbreak, but knew that the Democrats would have been even worse. If he is a venal and narcissistic character, what does that matter to me, if his policies are the right ones?

    The Dana in Kentucky (facd7c)

  47. Johnny Agreeable (c49787) — 1/11/2021 @ 6:00 pm

    What, exactly, did he forward as a cogent set of principles that would persuade anyone?

    Maybe the lump of labor fallacy.

    But he was hardly the first with that.

    What helped him was that nobody was able and willing to argue with him on principle. He wasn’t challenged on most of what he said, except on pragmatics, possibly.

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  48. But that I didn’t like Mr Trump personally does not mean I do not approve of most of his policies, and policy is what is important, policy is what affects the vast majority of Americans. … If he is a venal and narcissistic character, what does that matter to me, if his policies are the right ones?

    Well, one of his policies is “I should still be the President, because it doesn’t matter that Biden won the election.” That’s a pretty important policy!

    JohnnyAgreeable (c49787)

  49. He wasn’t challenged on most of what he said, except on pragmatics, possibly.

    Trump doesn’t know enough to respond to any kind of substantive challenge, so he resorts to anything but policy to redirect attention from his massive ignorance. It’s rhetorical sleight of hand to distract you from the fact he can’t articulate anything beyond the red meat that appeals to his base.

    JohnnyAgreeable (c49787)

  50. It occurs to me that Fox is in the midst of a huge audience capture moment. The die hard trump supporters don’t want to hear details about elections results because those don’t show fraud. They don’t want to hear details of the people arrested from 1/6 because that doesn’t show it was Antifa. So Fox news can’t go into that. Instead it has to spend it’s time making people feel like they’re being picked on or are justified by feeling sympathy for the terrorists. If they don’t they lose their audience to newsmax and OAN.

    Time123 (b87ded)

  51. They (Fox) could also go in the other direction and land the kill shot to CNN with more white bread and strict no Coronavirus talk allowed MO. If Trump is an 80s Democrat, Fox can become an 80s Good Morning America.

    urbanleftbehind (34310a)

  52. Some comrades say “policies of [insert slang term for the rectum here], I say “candy passed out by leper”. I never thought his “policies” were anything more that telling his voter what they wanted to hear, but it didn’t really matter to me anyway. The sight and sound of him turns my stomach and makes my skin crawl

    nk (1d9030)

  53. If he is a venal and narcissistic character, what does that matter to me, if his policies are the right ones?

    Well, there is a trust issue exposed there. But the real problem with Trump was not his policies but his inability to be effective in pursuing them. He did not take the time to learn how government works, and he did not use the incredible support he had in his first cabinet, who DID know how government worked. Nor was he particularly interested in learning these things, or listening to those that knew them.

    So, his policies were enacted, such as they were, through executive orders and bombastic pronouncements. And at every turn, he cut himself off at the knees by unfiltered communications via Twitter, whose short messages were tailored to the complexity of Trump’s thinking.

    Policies matters indeed, but so does the capability to carry them out. We were lucky, in way, that Obama wasn’t very adept, but then we turned around and elected Trump, who was the opposite of adept.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  54. Shorter: Policies cannot be implemented by tantrum.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  55. So, let’s say that a new party on the Right needs to be set up given the continuing suicide of the Republican Party. What would be its core values?

    The only one that I can think of that neither party subscribes to, and hasn’t in a while, is a devolution of federal power back to the states or the people thereof. Eliminate the Department of Education, much of the Departments of Commerce, Labor, Energy, Transportation and Agriculture. Cut down the scope of EPA and FCC. Homeland Security was a mistake; devolve some, send the rest to Justice or the Immigration folks.

    In short, support federalism again. I think we can make a case that having too much power in the hands of a terrible president is a bad idea, and they won’t all be Solomon. Make the states relevant, so that if one really hates the local government you can move without having the feds project the same BS everywhere.

    Maybe even grow your own wheat.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

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