Patterico's Pontifications


What Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Peddling This Week

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:12 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As the Climate Change town hall is happening on CNN as we speak, I wanted to share few quick items that the Democratic presidential candidates are trying to sell voters on this week.

First, Andrew YangAutomobile Buybacks!

Blitzer: …are we all going to have to drive electric cars?

Yang: We are all going to love driving our electric cars.

Blitzer: Will we have to drive electric cars?

Yang: Well, there will still be some legacy gas guzzlers on the road for quite some time because this is not a country where you’re going to take someone’s, you know, clunker away from them but you are going to offer to buy the clunker back and help them upgrade.

Next up, Beto O’Rourke’s Gun Buybacks!

O’Rourke was asked Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, how he would address the fears of some Americans that the government would take away their assault weapons.

“I want to be really clear that that’s exactly what we are going to do,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said. “Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, will have to sell them to the government. We’re not going to allow them to stay on our streets, to show up in our communities, to be used against us in our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our Walmarts, our public places.”

Bernie Sanders is hoping to sell Americans on a whopping $16 Trillion Dollar Climate Change Plan!

At roughly $16.3 trillion, it’s the most expensive proposal to address the climate crisis from any 2020 Democrat…

The presidential hopeful…adds far more specifics to the…plan that was put forward, in part, by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

“The scope of the challenge ahead of us shares some similarities with the crisis faced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940s. Faced with battling a world war on two fronts ― both in the East and the West ― the United States came together, and within three short years restructured the entire economy in order to win the war and defeat fascism. As president, Bernie Sanders will boldly embrace the moral imperative of addressing the climate crisis…”

…US to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050 and “immediately” ending “all new and existing fossil fuel extraction on federal public lands.”

…bans fracking, fossil fuel imports and exports, mountaintop removal coal mining, and offshore drilling.

… cut carbon emissions by 71% from 2017 levels by 2030.

Sanders hopes to achieve this in part by “reaching 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030” by expanding the “existing federal Power Marketing Administrations to build new solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources.”

By transitioning to fossil fuel-free energy, Sanders plan said electricity will be “virtually free” by 2035.

Sanders’ plan states it will “pay for itself” over 15 years, including by “making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.”

The plan calls for declaring climate change a “national emergency” and seeks to create 20 million jobs “needed to solve the climate crisis.”

The plan says it would offer a “just transition” for fossil fuel workers, guaranteeing “five years of a worker’s current salary, housing assistance, job training, health care, pension support, and priority job placement for any displaced worker, as well as early retirement support for those who choose it or can no longer work.”

And here’s Uncle Joe peddling voters his unique policy known as Don’t Sweat The Details!

[Joe Biden’s] campaign is focused on a mission to “restore the soul of this nation.”

That’s also why the former vice president does not think anyone should get bogged down in the small details he mixes up on the campaign trail.

“That has nothing to do with judgment of whether or not you send troops to war, the judgment of whether you bring someone home, the judgment of whether you decide on a health care policy”…

…The Washington Post reported that a dramatic story he told about the war in Afghanistan conflated and confused facts from multiple different incidents.

Biden has said that he was not intentionally trying to mislead anyone with that story, and he argues that kind of mistake has nothing to do with his ability to serve as president.

“The details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making,” Biden told NPR.

These goobers are pretty funny. Unless they actually get into power…

[Ed. Oh, please, how does the government buy back what they never owned in the first place? Let’s be honest and just call it Compensated Mandatory Confiscation.]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Marianne Williamson Takes Bold Stand, Then Backtracks

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:10 pm

[guest post by JVW]

No, not on immigration or reparations or health care or taxation or debt or crime or foreign policy. Consider the source.

Everyone’s favorite New Age Presidential Candidate, Marianne Williamson, sent out a pointed message earlier this morning about Hurricane Dorian, slowly winding its way through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic Coast. Not content with expecting the military to dissipate the storm through the tactical use of a nuclear weapon, our Cute Crazy Crystal Hippie Chick demanded that each of us as citizens — nay, as Human Beings — do our own part to help turn the storm away from the coast:

Marianne & Dorian

Unfortunately, some staffer or consultant must have prevailed upon her to delete her Tweet, and it was subsequently replaced with run-of-the-mill sentiment:

Where would Joe Biden be without anodyne anecdotes larded over with layer upon layer of malarky? Where would Elizabeth Warren be without a detailed federal plan for every conceivable issue that the American public might possibly encounter over the next four years? Where would Bernie Sanders be without the stagnant warmed-over red diaper baby politics of his youth? By golly, if she really believes that the power of collective thought is enough to turn Dorian away, then it’s time we all let Marianne be Marianne!

Can you see now what we’re missing thanks to those awful debate rules the Democrat National Committee imposed on its candidates?


On Humility and Saying “I Don’t Know” Plus an Update on that Bloomberg Reporter’s Smear of a Trump Official: UPDATE: Official Reinstated

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

I started out thinking I might write about the fallout from the noxious actions of Bloomberg reporter Ben Penn, who managed to get a Labor Department official fired by smearing him as anti-Semitic, when the guy is obviously anything but. But what is there to say? The Bloomberg reporter has doubled down, boasting that he got the guy fired which is good because he didn’t like his policies.

The Trump administration has not admitted error or offered the guy his job back. And Trump fans are of course excusing Trump for allowing this to happen, because of course you can’t expect Mr. “He Fights” to do the right thing when there is a narrative out there. There’s your update in a paragraph: nothing has changed. The media still sucks, Trump is still a gutless swine who cares about only himself, and his fans will still excuse literally anything he does.

Not much to say. So I’ll write about something else: our need to seek out leaders to act like they know everything.

I listened to a podcast from Russ Roberts last night in which he had a conversation with a listener of his named David Deppner, who had written Roberts a question. I thought it was neat and it reminded me of Robert Murphy’s podcast with me: a podcast episode where the host interviews someone not because they are famous, but because they wrote the host with a point of view that the host found interesting and the host decided to have them on to talk about it.

Deppner’s question challenged Roberts on his campaign for people to be humble and to say “I don’t know.” Roberts is one of the most well read and thoughtful people I have listened to. Yet he constantly says the words “I don’t know” and says we should all emphasize the limitations of our knowledge. Let’s not pretend we know the answers, he says, because often we don’t.

Deppner pointed out that for people in positions of leadership, this approach doesn’t work — and the bigger the position of leadership, the less it works. Imagine a Democrat on the presidential debate stage saying in response to a question: “That’s a complicated problem and we don’t necessarily know how to fix it.” They’d be toast faster than a really thin piece of toast in a really really powerful toaster. (I’m very good at similes, people. The best, really.) We want leaders who are confident. The guy in the Oval Office now is supremely incompetent but he’s the most confident guy on Earth, and I know smart people who hold out hope that his idiot policies (like tariffs) will somehow end up working out to be a great success — I think because they come under the sway of his supreme (misplaced) confidence.

Deppner talks about having run a business, and describes a time when an employee approached him and asked him about the future of the company. Deppner gave an answer that was nuanced, with predictions and discussions of risks and possibilities. The employee rebuked Deppner and said she wanted a leader like Gene Kranz, the guy in Apollo 13 who tells everyone exactly what they’re going to do and says “failure is not an option.” CEOs of giant corporations have to be more like Gene Kranz and less like David Deppner, argued Deppner. A humble guy who says “I don’t know” a lot can’t run a giant corporation like Pepsi.

I see this in the blogging world too, by the way. Readers gravitate towards people who project supreme confidence. Readers prefer a writer whose every interaction is a d[vowel deleted]ck-measuring contest and whose hostile interactions end with, say, a challenge to a real-life fight, rather than a writer who disagrees with someone and ends by saying “I disagree with you but I respect your opinion.” The Trumpy view that you never ever ever apologize and you never ever ever back down is popular because people like that in a leader. They look up to it. I personally think that is a sad comment on society, but I can’t pretend it’s not how society works. It is.

So what’s the answer? Well, Roberts has his own answer to all this, and because it’s Roberts, it’s nuanced. If you’re interested enough, listen to the episode. Having read the post, you’re probably looking for a definitive “here’s the answer to this problem” conclusion to the post, and I’m going to frustrate you by not providing it, thus creating a performative metaphor for the phenomenon I’m discussing: we want simple, confident answers, and we don’t like it when we don’t get them. Roberts has his answer, but I think the question itself is what’s really interesting, and my answer is: “I don’t know.”

P.S. But I do know one thing for sure: Bloomberg reporter Ben Penn is a deceptive crapweasel, and if Shirley Sherrod had a valid case against Andrew Breitbart (and I’m not saying he did) then Leif Olson has at least as valid a case against Penn.

Now isn’t that P.S. way more satisfying than the way the post was going to end otherwise?

UPDATE: Good news:

This took too long but I’m glad it happened.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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