Patterico's Pontifications


Burn Down The GOP In Order To Move Forward?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Let me point you to Peggy Noonan answering the vexing question of whether burning down the Republican Party is the way for Party to move forward. She doesn’t think so…

The past six months Mr. Trump came up against his own perfect storm, one he could neither exploit nor talk his way past: a pandemic, an economic contraction that will likely produce a lengthy recession, and prolonged, sometimes violent national street protests. If the polls can be trusted, he is on the verge of losing the presidency.

Now various of his foes, in or formerly of his party, want to burn the whole thing down—level the party, salt the earth where it stood, remove Republican senators, replace them with Democrats.

This strikes me as another form of nihilism. It’s bloody-minded and not fully responsible for three reasons.

Noonan then proceeds to lay out her three reasons for not annihilating the Party. In part:

1. The Democratic Party needs the Republican Party, needs it to restrain its excesses and repair what it does that proves injurious. The Republicans need the Democrats, too, for the same reasons.

2. [I]f the Republicans lose the presidency, the House and the Senate in November, the rising progressives of the Democratic Party will be emboldened and present a bill for collection. They’ll push hard for what they want. This will create a runaway train that will encourage bad policy that will damage the nation. Republicans and conservatives used to worry about that kind of thing.

3. Donald Trump is burning himself down. Has no one noticed?

She elaborates:

When the Trump experience is over, the Republican Party will have to be rebuilt. It will have to begin with tens of millions of voters who previously supported Mr. Trump. It will have to decide where it stands, its reason for being. It won’t be enough to repeat old mantras or formulations from 1970 to 2000. It’s 2020. We’re a different country.

A lot is going to have to be rethought. Simple human persuasion will be key.

Rebuilding doesn’t start with fires, purges and lists of those you want ejected from the party.

And she calls out what she sees as the NeverTrump-burn-it-down culprits:

Many if not most of those calling for burning the whole thing down are labeled “Never Trump,” and a lot of them are characterologically quick to point the finger of blame. They’re aiming at Trump supporters in Congress. Some of those lawmakers have abandoned long-held principles to show obeisance to the president and his supporters. Some, as you know if you watched the supposed grilling of tech titans this week, are just idiots.

But Never Trumpers never seem to judge themselves. Many of them, when they were profiting through past identities as Republicans or conservatives, supported or gave strategic cover to the wars that were such a calamity, and attacked those who dissented. Many showed no respect to those anxious about illegal immigration and privately, sometimes publicly, denounced them as bigots. Never Trumpers eloquently decry the vulgarization of politics and say the presidency is lowered by a man like Mr. Trump, and it is. But they invented Sarah Palin and unrelentingly attacked her critics. They often did it in the name of party loyalty.

Some Never Trumpers helped create the conditions that created President Trump. What would be helpful from them now is not pyromaniac fantasies but constructive modesty, even humility.

I honestly don’t have a clue what would be the most effective way for the Republican Party to remake itself after Trump. I don’t know what they stand for anymore and frankly, and I don’t think I would believe anyone in Party leadership claiming that the Party stands for X, Y, and Z. Not after what we’ve seen in the past 3.5 years. Not after the wide embrace of Trump and the subsequent cost to one’s character. Not after leadership has repeatedly provided cover for the President, refused to hold him accountable, and even whitewashed his corruption (when it benefited them). While Trump faces a possible loss in November, do the Republican lawmakers who supported him, compromised their own values and integrity to stay in his good graces, really believe that everything should, or will just go back to “normal” after it’s no longer the party of Trump? Do they think there should be no reckoning?


Prosecuting Attorney Will Not Bring Charges Against Former Ferguson Cop

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After a five month review of the case, it was announced by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell that no charges will be filed against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson:

The prosecutor for St. Louis County on Thursday said his office will not bring charges against Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in an incident that helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement, citing a lack of concrete evidence to charge Wilson criminally in Brown’s 2014 death.

“Although this case represents one of the most significant moments in St. Louis’s history, the question to this office is a simple one: Could we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law? After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did,” Wesley Bell said in a Thursday news conference, adding that his heart “breaks” for Brown’s parents, who he said had asked him to revisit the case.

“I also want to be clear that our investigation does not exonerate Darren Wilson. The question of whether we can prove a case at trial is different than clearing him of any and all wrongdoing,” said Bell, the county’s first Black prosecutor, who won his 2018 election largely based on voters’ rejection of his predecessor’s handling of the Brown shooting.

Wesley Bell was elected, in great part, because of how his predecessor had handled the Brown case. He campaigned on criminal justice reforms, and fulfilled his campaign promise to reopen the investigation into Brown’s death. In spite of Bell’s decision, he nonetheless believes that Wilson could have avoided killing Brown altogether:

Still, despite his and the DOJ’s findings of no clear evidence of criminal wrongdoing, Bell said that Wilson could have handled the situation differently and avoided killing Brown.

“There are so many points at which Darren Wilson could have handled the situation differently. And if he had, Michael Brown might still be alive. But that is not the question before us. The only question is whether we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred. The answer to that question is no,” Bell said.

Upon hearing the announcement, activist groups in Ferguson went after Bell while offering support to Brown’s parents:

…activist Tory Russell, 36, wearing a T-shirt that said “Wesley Bell doesn’t care about Black people” berated Bell for the decision, calling his office corrupt for hiring “dirty cops” and telling him he wouldn’t get reelected.

“We got Bob McCulloch out only to replace him with the Black Bob McCulloch,” Russell, who is Black, said in an interview after the announcement. “He just dresses nicer. He’s Black. That’s it. That’s what we got. That’s all it is, is injustice. All it is is injustice dressed up in Blackface.”

In a joint statement late Thursday, more than a dozen area social justice and civil rights groups — including Forward Through Ferguson, ArchCity Defenders and Metropolitan Congregations United — said Bell’s decision “unearthed painful memories and reopened still-unhealed wounds.”

”Today, our hearts go out to the family of Michael Brown Jr.,” the statement reads. “We stand in solidarity with Lezley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., who are just days away from six years without their beloved child. We hope that they will be enveloped by a community of love and support to face yet another moment of heartbreak and disappointment.“

Although privately informed by Bell of his decision, Brown’s parents have not made a public statement.


Woke Culture Loses One at Trader Joe’s, But It’s Not Dead Everywhere

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Encouraging news from Trader Joe’s:

Trader Joe’s now says it’s not rebranding certain items despite a petition driven by a California teenager calling some products racist.

The grocer dismissed reports it had planned to change the names of international food items like “Trader Jose” and ” Trader Ming’s.”

Trader Joe’s said it disagrees with accusations of racism and said it does not make decisions based on petitions.

In a statement last week, Trader Joe’s said “We make decisions based on what customers purchase, as well as the feedback we receive from our customers and crew members. If we feel there is need for change, we do not hesitate to take action.”

The grocer also said the names of its international foods “show appreciation for other cultures.”

Hooray for normalcy!

But just when I thought society was coming to its senses, I discovered — er, found (“discovered” is problematic, as you’re about to discover) — that woke culture, while reeling from the Trader’s Joe blow, is still here. From, a site devoted to remodeling, we learn that racist terms in describing homes aren’t limited to the obviously racist and sexist term “master bedroom.” Oh, no. It goes much further:

CNN also compiled a list of words and expressions with racist roots. Among them: cakewalk, peanut gallery, blacklist, and grandfathered in. We’re adding these to our banned words list. And a reader pointed out that using the phrase “we discovered the work of so-and-so” is problematic. You won’t hear that sort of colonialist phrasing from us anymore either.

These are small but important changes. As we learn and reflect, we’ll continue to rethink our word choices. In the meantime, drop us a note in the comments if there are other examples of language with racist, sexist, or otherwise problematic overtones that we should be reconsidering.

“Discovered” is “problematic,” folks. Write it down and add it to the list.

This all reminds me of a Twitter thread I saw recently where someone warned advertisers to reconsider their campaigns, because in this woke era, what sounded fine last week might seem tone deaf this week. Scary enough, how standards change from week to week … but then, someone responded to the guy by saying “tone deaf” was “ableist” and she was offended because she is deaf. The woke scold thanked her, and the replies were filled with people adding a new term to the ban list.

The blind spot in this thinking — sorry, “defect” in this thinking (I know that’s problematic too but cut me some slack, man, I’m trying!) is that when you remove all flair and color from the English language because terms that sounded fine yesterday have suddenly been deemed “problematic” from the point of view of some fanatical scolds, you end up unable to say anything. I believe basic politeness is important, but I don’t feel the need to walk on eggshells to appease unreasonable people.

Well, at least Trader Joe’s understands. Let’s hope their decision signals some resurgence of common sense.

Just … don’t count on it.

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