1. I argued in my piece last week that the primary animating force on the US right today is white tribalism, and that efforts by the NYT to elide that fact are dangerously misleading. vox.com/policy-and-pol…
2. On a related subject, see this poignant tweet thread from @djrothkopf, which reflects on how open & unashamed that white tribalism is getting:
1. Short (promise!) thread on something that should be obvious. All this stuff about "letting Trump be Trump" and Trump returning to "campaign mode" has a very simple meaning.
2. Trump *loved* the campaign trail. Why? Because literally his only job was to keep the cameras on him, to keep attention, and he knows how to do that -- saying & doing one outrageous thing after another. If you're just a candidate, none of it matters or has any consequences.
3. As president, the things you say matter. When you propose a policy, people try to implement it. When you fire people, actual work goes unattended. When you say minsogynst, racist things, people get genuinely upset. When you lie, people fact check you. Everywhere: consequences!
1. All right, this controversy over conservative columnists in @nytopinion is bugging me. Everyone is dancing around the central point! (The same central point everyone dances around in *numerous* contemporary controversies.) So I'ma lay it out.
2. Here's the main point: the contemporary right-wing in the US has become, in Lionel Trilling's immortal words, a bundle of "irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." It's just a tangle of resentments & bigotries, driven by the erosion of white privilege.
3. There's always been that element, but for decades it was overlain by a class of DC conservatives who code switched, spoke the Very Serious language of ideas & policies. This is the conservatism that white moderate libs still imagine: an actual ideology, with arguments.
2. Here's the thing about all these stories of men and their bad behavior. Thanks to centuries of socialization, we are acculturated to see the men as the protagonists in these stories. We think in terms of their story arcs -- rise, temptations, fall, and (maybe) redemption.
3. We think about their talent, all the work they've produced, so we ask, "gosh, are we going to let this one failure (er, series of failures) squander all that promise?" In these stories, women are bit parts, chapters, passing interactions that shape (or bring down) men.
1. With the Nunes memo, the GOP deliberately used journalists as tools to confuse & mislead the public. Cons have been doing that again & again & again for my entire adult life. They lie. Journos he-said she-said the lies. Long after it matters, the truth dribbles out.
2. It's been going on for so long - the same cycle of lie-controversy-correction - that we've become numb to it. It's just a thing that happens in US politics, its rhythms & beats as predictable as a network sitcom. Even this very critique has become a tiresome part of the cycle.
3. Arguably journalism is doing a little better in the Trump Era -- at least the cycle is getting *shorter*. But corrections still rarely matter. Cons take the appearance of the controversy in the MSM as a sign that their side is legitimate. It's all they need to make it gospel.
1. I actually think this Tapper/Miller episode is important -- and not because of Miller's sycophancy & hackery, which are the same as they've always been. What's new here is not that Trump is surrounded by bad-faith cultists. What's new is Tapper's reaction.
2. The idea of Tapper's show is to inform viewers by exposing them to a range of perspectives. The pretense is that Tapper & his guests are engaged in a common pursuit of *an accurate view of the world*. People are saying what they believe, arguing for what they see as true.
1. A comprehensive study finds that spanking children leads to *more* misbehavior, not less. I gotta rant about this for a minute. Mute as necessary, as I have strident & unpopular opinions on this matter. wsj.com/articles/spank…
2. The subject of physical violence toward children is a challenge to my usual zen-like equanimity. It really, really, really makes me angry, to the point that I hesitate even bringing it up on Twitter. I don't want to hear people defending it, especially people I respect.
3. Let's be clear: yes, spanking is violence. It is hitting a child. You can call it "just a swat" or whatever euphemism you like, but it is hitting a child. Whatever reasons or justifications you might have for it, it is hitting a child.
1. It's sad to watch people who defined their whole political identity as being the Wise Man of the Center, Transcending the Irrational Partisanship of Both Sides (see: David Brooks' latest & everyone RTing it) ...
2. ... slowly realizing that there's no other side any more, that the US right has become a racist, authoritarian splinter party, that there's no "meeting in the middle" between a normal party & a revanchist, illiberal one.
3. Why is it so tragic for them? Because once they recognize the deep asymmetry, the next realization is that they are just ... on the left. All the reasonable disputes are *within* the US left. They're just members of that team, arguing w/ others within it.