David “HINDSIGHT IS 2021” Walsh Profile picture
Postdoc @UVA. I study far-right politics, political culture, conservatism, labor, and political economy. Book: TAKING AMERICA BACK // Yale Press // Date TBD
24 Sep
It seems like my TL has become a collective forum for people in their 30s to express anxieties about aging.
One of the nice things about dressing like an old man and listening to dad rock throughout most of your 20s is that aging hits a bit differently in your 30s.
Still wish I wasn't losing my hair, though.
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24 Sep
Sitting through the "Democracy and Capitalism" webinar at UVA and they've got Tom Perez on to talk about impact investing and conscientious capitalism and we have learned absolutely nothing from the past decade.
"One of the problems with conscientious capitalism is that it's way too much the exception than the rule."

Are you familiar with what capitalism is, Mr. Secretary?
Now they've got some dude who is the ex-CEO of Celegene, a major pharma company, to talk about ethical capitalism.

This whole thing is an even bigger parody of itself than I was expecting.
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24 Sep
Yeah, and they also were stalwarts of the John Birch Society and the White Citizens Council.
If the question is "what changed over time to make the modern GOP what it is," my response -- in fact the point of my book -- is that this was *always* a significant faction of the GOP and was the basis for Reagan and before him Goldwater.
The first half of my book manuscript follows the career of Merwin Hart, the head of the far-right National Economic Council.

That particular organization got started as a small-to-midsized business lobbyist group in New York State during the Depression.
Read 15 tweets
23 Sep
The reason why the Yglesias arithmetic error so annoys me is not the error itself or that the error undermines his broader argument—which I think is wrong for unrelated reasons—but rather that his whole social purchase is on being a “numbers guy.”
The broader point here is that “data-driven analysis”—which is a phrase that could mean any number of different things, but in general means a particular kind of quantitative statistical analysis—is still very much the normative model among our elites.
And Yglesias getting basic math wrong in such a baffling way suggests that “numbers guys” like him who do “data-driven analysis” to get at hard truths squishy qualitative types prefer to ignore are *actually* just talking out of their asses.
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22 Sep
Moderate Democrats are the most worthless political actors in world politics.
Seriously, we are in this mess in large part to dipshits from the suburbs who spent four years filing paperwork at the CIA as a glorified stringer thinking that they’re world-historical political geniuses.
@jbouie’s latest column nails it.

A charitable read of centrist Democrats’ political tactics is that they think they’re clinching their own political careers by showing “independence” from the party.

Which didn’t work in 2010, and won’t work now. nytimes.com/2021/09/21/opi…
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21 Sep
“Trump lawyer John Eastman” doesn’t quite do him justice. He didn’t come up in Trump world. He’s not one of Trump’s array of criminal lawyers.

Eastman was a clerk for Clarence Thomas. He is a Federalist Society leader. He teaches at the Claremont Institute.
What does this tell us? What *should* this tell us?
I still haven’t read the Tooze book—it’s in the mail!—but the *restorationism* backed by capital and the military really did come within a hair’s breadth of falling short here.
Read 12 tweets
20 Sep
I think this thread gets at a profound challenge for the left in way more insightful and potentially more useful than the “the problem for the left is that it wants to remain a subculture” analysis.
I mean, obviously many if not most people involved in left-wing organizing have been subject to various levels of trauma, and this is foundational for how they view the world, and critically *those views and that experience are valid and should be centered*…
…but there’s a fundamental tension here with normative middle-class political culture that is not easily resolved.
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15 Sep
It’s incredibly reveal about Tom Nichols’ actual expertise that the moment he’s challenged on this as being wrong, he immediately pivots to “actually it doesn’t matter because it’s impossible to get rid of the Electoral College.”
Can’t make this stuff up.
Read 6 tweets
15 Sep
There’s already a wave of speculation about whether or not getting crushed in the CA recall will cause the GOP to make a course correction on masks and vaccines lest they get crushed in 2022z

Y’all remember when even Donald Trump got booed for telling his people to get vaccines?
Part of the problem here is that the American right does not—and arguably never really has—responded to the median voter argument.

I.E. if a party or political movement loses enough elections they will moderate and/or embrace the policies of their opponents to a degree.
This is a core assumption not just of political journalists but many political leaders: it’s the (charitable) subtext behind, say, Nancy Pelosi’s recent comment about the need for a responsible Republican Party.
Read 7 tweets
15 Sep
I was just talking with a student yesterday about how my big question is if Elder concedes, given that he’s made rumbles about rejecting the results.

I guess losing nearly 2 to 1 will do that.
Claiming that your opponent only won by massive voter fraud doesn’t really work when they clobber you by 30 points.
Anyway, there’s obviously a direct link between these results and the right-wing meltdown over vaccinations… and so much of that that is obviously based around a desire to punish America for Trump’s loss in 2020.

Cruelty point etc.

But there’s a political price to be paid.
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11 Sep
I mean, 9/11 broke everyone’s brains in a very specific way, in that it seemed to offer an alternative cosmological model to global politics than the post-Cold War “end of history.”
Hell, I was 12 years old at the time and even I was able to perceive a palpable sigh of relief among a significant segment of the national elites that, after a decade defined by a “show about nothing” and the president getting a blowjob, we at last had our generational struggle.
It would’ve been farcical if millions of people hadn’t died as a result.
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11 Sep
This is a perceptive point, and speaks to the underlying reality of 9/11 as an attack on the seat of American capitalism at the World Trade Center and American empire at the Pentagon.
It's a cliche at this point to note that the average American outside of New York or DC experienced 9/11 as media spectacle -- watching the Twin Towers collapse was literally evocative of Hollywood movie where we'd seen landmarks destroyed countless times.
But the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not just Hollywood landmarks.

They were the centers of American economic and military power, and were under direct assault.
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7 Sep
Part of the reason I’m frustrated by the job market conversation today is because U.S. political history is a vibrant and dynamic field that has been producing some superb scholarship over the past decade and there has been next to no hiring, even in less lean times.
And this has tangible effects. I was intensely frustrated that the fascism debate last year (and into this year!) included some few Americanists.
I dunno, it strikes me that given a far-right president got elected in 2016 and nearly pulled off a coup in 2020, and right-wing political culture is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in this pandemic, you’d want scholars who study this stuff.
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7 Sep
It’s mid-September and according to the Jobs Wiki precisely ZERO jobs have been posted for full-time, tenure-track 20th-century U.S. positions.

Would dearly love for the field and indeed the entire discipline of history to grapple with the full implications of this.
I’ll take a stab: a healthy, productive scholarly field cannot exist under those conditions.
The most frustrating part about all of this isn’t even the collapse of the discipline: it’s that NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT.
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6 Sep
If we’re only going with major-party candidates, George McGovern.
Henry Wallace is an honorable mention.
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1 Sep
One of the fundamental problems when it comes to NIMBYism and YIMBYism is that YIMBYs believe (rightly) that the past century of urban planning has been a catastrophic mistake, whereas NIMBYs are the small segment of the population that has actually benefited from those mistakes.
I've been sitting at my computer for the past two hours listening to the Charlottesville planning commission meeting, and the vast majority of the public comment are old, white homeowners who are utterly incapable of breaking out of that paradigm.

Just in case it's unclear what I mean by "old white homeowners."
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31 Aug
Sitting through the Charlottesville Planning Commission meeting and we're already at the public comment and man it's a wild ride.
Current speaking is Fred Borch, who identifies himself as a professional historian (he is, in fact, not a historian but a military attorney who was the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Borc…
He is, of course, against upzoning.
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31 Aug
Part of the reason the fascism debate seemed, at the end, so farcical was because so many of the people most invested in the anti-anti-fascist position were also convinced Biden was a ruthless warmonger who couldn't wait to slash Social Security and Medicare.
And to be very clear, I also believed Biden was just itching to triangulate in 2020. But events have unfolded very differently.
The *other* reason, of course, that the fascism debate seemed so farcical is because of January 6, and the idea that Joe Biden and his brand of liberalism was the more acute danger to democracy than Trump became almost self-evidently ridiculous.
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17 Aug
I mean, in the sense that the American withdrawal from South Vietnam did not end the Cold War, sure.
I take Moyn’s point here: the national security state endures and will endure and correspondingly people will continue to die in an endless state of emergency around the world.
But my big question is this: there really *was* a challenge to the hegemony of the national security state after Vietnam.

It failed, for several reasons, not the least because of Reaganist revanchism and its continued cultural hegemony.

America was still the land of John Wayne.
Read 6 tweets
17 Aug
The media frenzy over Biden and Afghanistan is widely disproportionate to the degree most Americans care.
It’s weird because there’s a definite attempt to recreate post-9/11 paranoia—“Afghanistan will be used as a base for the terrorists to strike America!”—after nearly 200x as many Americans have died over the past year as a direct result of state failures.
Not to mention the storming of the U.S. Capitol building to overturn the results of an election and assassinate lawmakers by a band of all-American right-wing extremists eight months ago.
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16 Aug
Already seeing some "Biden will start a war with China" takes on anti-imperialist left Twitter, which is profoundly stupid for a variety of reasons.
The biggest one is that a shooting war with China would almost certainly only start with a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, and if that happens now it could be credibly argued to be a direct consequence of testing U.S. resolve in the face of apparent weakness in Afghanistan....
... i.e. the very thing that the U.S. foreign policy establishment claims to be worried about!
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