Patterico's Pontifications


An Editorial at The Dispatch Paraphrases P.J. O’Rourke But Misses His Point

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:58 pm

The editors of The Dispatch have published one of their rare editorials. This one is titled The American People Should Demand Better.

The following passage from the editorial caught my eye:

In 2016, Trump ran on trade protectionism, an isolationist foreign policy, and a crackdown on both illegal and legal immigration—policy ideas with which we may have disagreed but which, to paraphrase the late P.J. O’Rourke, were wrong within normal parameters. Watch a Trump rally today, though, and it immediately becomes clear that policy—of any kind—couldn’t be further from his mind.

Bold emphasis is mine.

I thought their paraphrasing of P.J. O’Rourke was an odd choice, given that his actual quote about “normal parameters” was a description, not of Trump or his policies, but of Hillary Clinton — whom O’Rourke had announced he was endorsing because, and I quote, “She’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.”

I left the following comment over there under the Dispatch editorial, and thought I would share it with you here:

To me, it is ironic that you paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke’s quote about “normal parameters” to argue that Trump’s policies in 2016 were within normal parameters. Of course, O’Rourke never described Trump or his policies as being within normal parameters. On the contrary. O’Rourke was speaking about Hillary Clinton, and explaining why he was endorsing her. His actual quote: “She’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.”

You guys should be following O’Rourke’s example and endorsing the Democrat who is wrong about everything, but within normal parameters.

You accurately describe Biden as someone who has pursued ineffective and even stupid policies; who has demagogued issues; and who has behaved in an extreme and stubborn manner. In other words: a standard Democrat politician who is wrong about everything, but wrong within normal parameters.

By contrast, you accurately describe Trump as a frightening authoritarian who, among other atrocities, tried to steal an election, wanted to start an unjustified nuclear war, and sought to order our troops to shoot American citizens for protesting his policies. (I don’t think you even mentioned his crimes.) In other words, someone decidedly far outside normal parameters.

And then you throw up your hands and say “gee, it’s a bad choice!”

Yes, it is. But when faced with a bad choice between a standard-issue dumb, ineffective, extreme politician who is wrong about everything within normal parameters, and someone who commits 91 felonies and two impeachable offenses and tries to steal elections and wants to use nuclear weapons on a whim and shoot protestors … you should follow P.J. O’Rourke’s example.

Hold your nose and endorse the Democrat.

I have heard it said that killing a man is tough the first time, but it gets easier. Well, I can tell you the same is true of voting for a Democrat for President. I did it for the first time in 2020 (having cast a protest vote in 2016). It was hard. It will be easier this time.

It’s hard as a conservative media outlet to endorse a Democrat. But you guys have done tough things before because you knew you were doing the right thing. I hope you come to see that the same is true here. The right thing is to endorse the decrepit incompetent guy who has screwed up for the last four years.

Biden is terrible. He really is.

But within normal parameters.

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Today is International Women’s Day. These unbelievably courageous women lay it all on the line, no matter the risk and consequences. I am so humbled by their determination:

This too:

While the women of Iran face torture and imprisonment as they work to end gender apartheid and Israeli women remain held hostage by Hamas, the AP answers the vexing question of whether it is appropriate to send women flowers and chocolates today:

It depends on the time and place.

Women in Eastern Europe have long received flowers on March 8 — and sometimes even gotten the day off from work. But chocolates and candy can come across as a belittling gestures, showing a lack of understanding of the struggles driving women to protest, particularly in regions where protests have been combative.

Yeah, about those women in Eastern Europe:

Second news item

Donald Trump last night before the SOTU speech:

“I am pleased to inform you that tomorrow night we will be doing a LIVE, Play by Play, of Crooked Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address. I will correct, in rapid response, any and all inaccurate Statements, especially pertaining to the Border and his Weaponization of the DOJ, FBI, A.G.s, and District Attorneys, to go after his Political Opponent, ME (something never done before in this Country!). We did this once before to tremendous success – Beating All Records. It is important for the Country to get the TRUTH!”

Unfortunately for the man who would be king president and had promised to live blog the President’s speech, his Truth Social website suffered any number of outages minutes after President Biden began speaking. Sad!

Third news item

President Biden correctly identifies the killer of Laken Riley:

President Joe Biden mentioned the death of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley during his State of the Union address on Thursday and referred to the Venezuelan man accused of killing her as an “illegal.”

Although a correct description of Riley’s killer, we are instructed about the “outdated” language:

By calling the suspect an “illegal,” Biden was using outdated language often preferred by Republicans – but long abandoned by Democrats and social justice advocates – when referring to people who have entered the country illegally.

Of course, the larger issue is the humanitarian crisis at our Southern border and the need for border security. Remember too, the it was the GOP’s decision to walk away from the $118 billion border deal.

President Biden was asked today about his use of the word “illegal” last night:

REPORTER: Do you regret using the word illegal to describe immigrants last night, sir?

BIDEN: Well, I probably, uh, I don’t regret…it, uh, technically he’s not supposed to be here.

Fourth news item

President Biden should focus on the most difficult part of the problem, and the one with the most severe consequences:

President Biden in his State of the Union address lashed out at Israel for not allowing more aid into Gaza, and announced a harebrained scheme to have the U.S. military build a port to facilitate the delivery of more aid.

Biden’s focus has been on getting food and other humanitarian aid into Gaza, not on the real challenge of protecting it and making sure that it gets to those in need once it gets in.

So even if the port project goes perfectly (and the U.S. military is capable of some amazing things) and more aid flows in, it doesn’t really solve what happens to the aid once it hits the shore. Who is preventing it from getting looted, hoarded by Hamas, and sold on the black market for prices that are unaffordable to those most in need?

What the author doesn’t provide readers with is a possible solution to the problem of protecting the aid once it lands on the ground.

Fifth news item

Trauma and the hope for tomorrow:

…Samer Sinjilawi…is a Palestinian born and bred in East Jerusalem. Samer is 52 years old, a political activist who spent five years in Israeli prison from the age of 15 for throwing stones at Israelis during the first intifada. He defines himself as part of the leadership of the opposition to Mahmoud Abbas within the Fatah movement. Samer tells audiences that he has lived his whole life without being the citizen of any country. His lives in the city of his birth, which is the capital of the State of Israel, where there are almost 400,000 Palestinians, about 40% of the population of Jerusalem, but the State of Israel does not want him as a citizen. The State of Israel also does not allow him to be a citizen of the State of Palestine, which Israel does not recognize. Samer is a politician but has never been able to run for national office…When Samer is asked how he deals with the trauma of this war and of the whole conflict he responds by saying that when he sees an Israeli Jew who hates Palestinians and even wants to kill them, he understands them. He says “we did terrible things to the Jews and the Jews did terrible things to us. I used to think that we were the good guys and they were the bad guys. Now I know that the reality is much more complex and we have done terrible things to each other.”

Samer went to visit Kibbutz Kfar Aza after October 7. He was filmed there by a documentary film maker and he said that he came because he wanted to see with his own eyes the atrocities committed by Hamas. He said “I have to take responsibility for this because it was done in my name as a Palestinian, by my own people, and we are all responsible.” He also now says that he hopes that someday Israelis will be able to go to Gaza and stand up and say “I take responsibility as an Israeli because the atrocities committed by Israel in Gaza were done in my name.” Confronting trauma begins with compassion and taking responsibility.

Sixth news item

Keeping it in the family:

At the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting here Friday, members elevated Trump’s endorsed candidates – North Carolina GOP chairman Michael Whatley and the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump – to serve as the organization’s new chair and co-chair, respectively…Neither faced any challengers Friday…[P]eople close to the former president and at the RNC describe the shift as a more of a takeover. Trump is looking to sync the RNC closely with his presidential campaign, building out a team that will indulge in his focus on election fraud and improve its fundraising prowess – at a time when the committee finds itself in dire financial straits.

Seventh news item

By a wide margin, San Franciscans say enough is enough!:

Proposition E was passed by San Francisco voters Tuesday night. The proposition pertains to police department policies and procedures. Prop E limits the amount of time a patrol officer may spend on administrative tasks and allows the use of drones along with, or instead of vehicular pursuits…In addition to expanding the use of drones and limiting desk time for officers, Prop E allows for use of body camera footage to satisfy reporting requirements and allows the installation of surveillance and facial recognition cameras without approval from the police commission or board of supervisors.

Proposition F, another city ballot initiative that would require drug screening for certain beneficiaries of county assistance, also passed…

Eighth news item

One of the unintended consequences of AI:

Five Beverly Hills eighth-graders have been expelled for their involvement in the creation and sharing of fake nude pictures of their classmates.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District board of education voted at a special meeting Wednesday evening to approve stipulated agreements of expulsion with five students. According to a source close to the investigation, the expelled students were attending Beverly Vista Middle School. Under a stipulated agreement, the students and their parents do not contest the punishment and no hearing was held.

According to Supt. Michael Bregy, the five students who were the focus of its investigation were the “most egregiously involved” in the creation and sharing of the images, which superimposed pictures of real students’ faces onto simulated nude bodies generated by artificial intelligence. The victims, the district said, were 16 eighth-grade students.

Note: California’s laws against possessing child pornography and sharing nonconsensual nude pictures do not specifically apply to AI-generated images, which legal experts say would pose a problem for prosecutors.


I realize it’s a thankless job, but still…

Have a great weekend!


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