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May 18, 2020

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Welcome back, Rogue, congratulations on the manuscript getting finished, and look forward to discussions resuming here. Not like the world turned upside down or anything during your hiatus...

Welcome back. Great photo

Welcome back rogue. Suffice to say it wasn't the same without you. Following your Seattle columns, see some of your readers are quite crusty (being nice here).

I suspect writing period pieces comes with its own unique set of roadblocks. Hope it's published and looking forward to buying a copy.

You mention EPCOR; scourge of the earth in Sun City. The whole consolidation fiasco was shameful. Went to most of their open meetings in the community. Trump would be proud; they would stand on the stage and outright lie.

All of which makes me grimace when i follow the ACC. When we first moved here from MN they (the ACC) appeared to be the only good thing about state politics. Then dark money came in and they blew that premise out of the water.

I don't know about forever, but it will be a long slow climb back.

That's sad news the new owner of your publisher isn't interested in your new book, but surely another publisher will be with your track record of writing and selling good mystery
stories. Find a new publisher! I can't wait to read Sunset Limited.

Karen, I don’t know if they’ll publish it. We shall see.

As the old saying goes: The White House press corps is about as useless as teats on a boar.

How they handle the Prez:
Prez: For two weeks I have been taking colliquinine. (who know how to say it, much less spell it !)

Press corps: Swoon, swoon, faint. (picture reporters, legs in the air, pantaloons, petticoats, skirts all in a tumble) Smelling salts please. Poor babies.

How they SHOULD handle the Prez:

Prez: For two weeks now I have been taking collilliquinne (SIC)

Press corps: Great Leader. We are so happy to hear this. Perhaps, if this dose is helping you, you could get your doctor to increase the dosage six-fold. After all, more is better, right, your highness.

Reb,
i got some used syringes you can have.
Good to know that chit hasnt made you dead.

Rogue, good to see you back in the saddle here! I hope the book gets the release and attention I'm sure it deserves.


Good point at the end of your column.  Speaking of the fragile younger generation, it's becoming clearer (and it was already pretty clear) that large segments of our society are just not comfortable weighing risks. Without getting too deep into the Lockdown vs. Reopen, Left vs. Right debate, it seems to me it shouldn't be that simple. Nearly everything about this situation is complex and we're just not into complex public policy. 


Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

Jon7190 , left u a comment on open thread.
Your right about "complex."
Trying to be nice.
I'll say its a
lack of good information.

Who better than Donald Trump to embody the complexity, nuance, and rigorous attention to detail that lefties can only dream about.

He is, after all, a "stable genius".

The $64,0000 question is: Why does the DNC want trump to remain in office for four more years?

What's in it for them? (I'm guessing corruption gains for both parties is in the equation)

Running biden is code for "We want to lose, we expect to lose"

I am afraid that Biden is going to choose a VP that is going to make Palin look like a genius choice by comparison.

What is it with the Bernie Bros?

The DNC didn’t choose Biden. Democratic voters did.

But are you SURE?
Oops sorry a conspiratorial flash hit.
Its gone.

The Biden choice protects vulnerable Democrat House seats and enhances a shot at a Democrat majority Senate. Sanders would have endangered Democrat Congressional aspirations and conceivably a Democrat majority in the House. Worst nightmare is Republican control of the House, Senate and White House. Divided government with Trump in the White House at least allows for budgets to be passed. Trump's insanity of course remains a serious threat to human life.

The better question it seems is why the primary selection process has chosen two white, old, out-of-touch mentally deficient candidates for president.

Drifter ask Buck Turgidson.

Soleri with all due respect my 99 iq is not grasping your meaning. Can you help me understand better what you posted?

Soleri, I wasn't referring to right or left in particular, but more Americans generally being averse to complexity in public policy. Of course you, and hopefully I, aren't guilty of that, but I think it's something that cuts across party lines. The soundbite/tweet answer to questions has bipartisan appeal. 


I agree President Trump, who's never been accused of being a policy wonk, is the antithesis of complexity. And B. Franklin, a correction: he's a Very Stable Genious. Oh man, he may not be nuanced but boy is he funny sometimes!

Cal, thanks for the tip on open thread, that was an excellent Flynn article. Unique perspective from a former FBI agent. https://consortiumnews.com/2020/05/18/ghost-of-j-edgar-haunts-flynn-investigation/

COMPLEX
Except when I come to this blog I am pretty much surrounded by folks that keep it simple.
Earth is only 5000 years old
White is good Black is bad
God favors white people and is on the side of America
Trump is white. Obama is black.
They are scared of the Hoax virus but prefer not to wear masks. Too complicated.
So I will follow along with the intelligent dudes on this blog and support the democratic nominee as currently the planets future is in the hands of the worlds most dangerous 10 year old.
Side note: There are few presidential candidates I would sit down with for coffee. But cause I like them personally that would be Jimmy Carter the peanut farmer and Bernie Sanders my favorite talking head commie. I would take a pass on all the others since 1950 except IKE.
Cal, since I read all the News on News Grit today my iq is up to 100.

Cal, I get into trouble for thinking everyone is as jaded by irony as I am. Trump is obviously a man-child with the attention span of a gnat. BTW, are there any intellectuals left in the Republican Party? Near as I can tell, they've all deserted to the Never Trump camp. Rich Lowry is an exception if you're feeling very generous with the term "intellectual". Otherwise, the party is a toxic cult of know-nothings, evangelical nitwits, and stone-cold racists.

Jon7190, Trump is funny in much the same way Mussolini was. That is, he's a bully masquerading as a performance artist. That his primary concern is for dominating other people shows how deeply authoritarian the American right's instincts are. If America survives his misrule and the Republican descent into white nationalism, historians will conclude that Trump was Americs's definitively worst persident and possibly worst human being ever in public life. There's no return to the GOP's onetime respectable status. That's over. Trumpism is now a permanent feature on the right. It can never live down its idolization of a severely damaged sociopath. His orange make-up and ferret-like combover will be the symbols of your party's madness for decades to come.

Thanks

"Jaded Irony"
Of course I had too look that up.
Complicated
But while out there on the giant web I found this
https://medium.com/ive-been-thinking/to-be-or-not-to-be-jaded-f67da22edeaf

Soleri, good to see you haven't softened or lost your way with words! I don't agree with a lot of what you said, but there will be plenty of time in the next 6 months (and maybe beyond!) to debate the merits and flaws of Trump and the Republican party.

I would just say that the view that everything about Trump is terrible, everything he's ever done is horrible, anyone associated with him is stupid and gullible and everyone voting for him is either malicious or a dupe is an example of simple thinking. It's an easy position to take, if your worldview allows you that luxury, but it ignores the complex nature of people, the world and politics.

I suppose there are different definitions of intellectual. They're not all eggheads, but some commentators on the right that come to mind who are not Never Trump but are seriously smart, IMO:

Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, Diana West, Jordan Peterson, Andrew McCarthy, Abraham Hamilton, Kurt Schlicter, J.Christian Adams, Victor Davis Hanson, just to name a few.

Cal, speaking of Ike, I just finished a book about Ike called Three Days In January. It's the second book I've read about him and reminded me just how effective and competent a president he was. It's by Bret Baier (and Catherine Whitney). You may be tempted to dismiss him for being on Fox, but he is about as straight a newsman (or woman) as you'll find these days and the book is very evenhanded. 

At least Mussolini "made the trains run on time." Republicans hate trains.

An interesting counterfactual about Il Duce is that if he wouldn't have allied himself with Hitler, stayed neutral or joined the Allies, he might have a very good historical reputation.

Thanks Jon7190
It struck me while while doing a 100 pushups on the kitchen sink that it might be possible to look at Donald Trump and Coronavirus as neccessary wakeup calls. Otherwise we would have kept on going our blind merry way?
But i recovered and my pulse rates back to 55. Bookem Danno.

Some fun things that happened while Ike was President:

CIA (with an assist from MI-6) overthrew Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala. Both had been legally elected by the people of their countries.

Cancelled elections in Vietnam--because Ho Chi Minh was going to win.

Began planning for the Bay of Pigs' invasion.

Also, in general, Eisenhower was mum about civil rights' abuses throughout the South. So much for the "bully pulpit."

But, the economy was strong, so I guess that makes it all good.

Yep, Ike did some very bad things. And we continue to this day. But i thought he seemed to have a calm presence and was interesting enough to have a historical chat over coffee.
Even Jimmy Carter and Bernie arent pure.
If i were religious i guess i could chalk it up to the myth that we are all "sinners."

Franklin here's another dude I missed out on not having a cup with.
https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/370/sincerely-edward-abbey

"Our Man is a reminder that, in a world where such men are consistently put in the driving seat of world events, it should be no surprise that the most disastrous mistakes are the ones most often repeated."
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/12/our-man-richard-holbrooke-and-the-end-of-the-american-century-review

Reference my comments from 100 push ups.
and coronavirus
https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/may/culling-the-herd-a-modest-proposal

Time for my walk into the Great Sonoran Desert but before I go:

“In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity.” — https://getpocket.com/explore/item/albert-camus-on-the-three-antidotes-to-the-absurdity-of-life?utm_source=emailsynd&utm_medium=social

Jon7190, I checked out your list and immediately crossed off the names Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, and Andrew McCarthy. They may be able and articulate polemicists but none of them can lay claim to an original thought. Jordan Peterson is a true intellectual but not an American. Victor David Hanson and Diane West are less scholars than contrarians from the right-wing fringe. I doubt anyone this side of Liberty University takes them seriously.

Trump's accomplishments are manifestly negative. America is demonstrably weaker under his presidency because his "base strategy" appeals mainly to white nationalists, xenophobes, and the culturally resentful. The presidency is more than a political office. It's also the civic ceremony of our common heritage and aspirations. Trump, a born divider, couldn't lead if his life depended on it since he loves no one and no thing beyond his grotesque "winner" persona. So, after three and a half years of constant drama, mayhem, and lying, America's civic comity lies in tatters. The American right has now transcended not only patriotism but ordinary decency in their ongoing efforts to divide and conquer.

Trump loves to take credit for things he had no hand in, such as Obama's economy, which now lies in ruins. Yes, Trump did singlehandedly come up with a way to sink a hot economy with his pigheaded refusal to take the Covid-19 virus seriously. We're looking at a major depression made worse because of Trump's inability to admit his own limitations. He's not a "genius". He not "stable". And he definitely shouldn't be giving medical advice from a podium in the West Wing. He's both a know-nothing and know-it-all, which is a deadly combination.

America's one hope is that Joe Biden can repair some of the epic damage Trump has done to our republic. It won't be easy and I fully anticipate congressional Republicans doing everything possible to sabotage those repairs. Nothing lasts forever, not America nor its "exceptionalism". That said, our polarization is about nothing more serious than hurt feelings and fear. Trump and Republicans could have chosen to heal this nation instead of exacerbate its wounds. Trump being a lowlife of the most despicable sort decided to damage America for his own reelection. Go ahead and vote for this horribly damaged man but please don't claim to be a patriot. For that, you'd need to put country first, which Republicans proudly refuse to do.

Good post Soleri.
my favorite go to guy for crooked trump and his prince son-in-law, Jared.
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/greg+olear/lLtBPXNvhWFwTJxFppfftClsTdKQplDrVwlsjNhmtnhZcjfcMbZJTdmvBFXcXhLlRPlvsnfp

Soleri, I doubt if you have read or listened to these folks enough to really be able judge whether they've ever had an original thought. Of course, just because a thought is original, doesn't mean it's true. For many ideas, no one has had them before because they are ridiculous. Some examples: The previously strong economy could be credited entirely to Obama, the sad Coronaeconomy is due to Trump and Joe Biden would bring integrity and coherency with him to the White House.

Prager is a very interesting fellow with a wide range of accomplishment outside of political commentary. If starting Prager U isn't an original idea, I don't know what is. I would agree Shapiro isn't a scholar in the official sense, but if you ever listen to him debate somebody, it would be hard not to recognize his intellectual power. McCarthy, in addition to having an accomplished legal career, is a master of analysis. You may not agree with him for political reasons, but you can't deny his depth of thought. Hanson, outside of politics, is a legit historian with lots of respected works. West may not be an official mainstream academic, but read The Red Thread and try to deny her thesis, thorough research and original insights.

Like HOAs, floodplains, pollution, noise, traffic, schools, build quality, etc., utilities are something folks should consider when buying a home.

I feel bad for all the families getting swindled by private utility players but those kinds of shortcuts are part of the short hustle, as Jon would call it. The homes in question literally wouldn't exist without homebuilders willing to lie and grift their way around little concerns like the lack of reliable water or utility access.

Swarms of vermin from Virus Valley are trashing the forest like I've never seen before.

Can any of you human behavior experts explain the reason for this behavior???

Floodplains: The Southwest environment was fine before 1500.
I recall the desert in 1950 and I recall Scottsdale before the floodplain plan. I prefer those memories. In 61 those in power (read developers for profit) decided that Scottsdale needed a big green gassy lawn as opposed to sand and mesquite.
The Scottsdale Green Belt allowed for thousands of buildings to be built by the Real Estate industry and not be inundated with occurring out of control rain water. Scottsdale City PR promotes the Greenbelt as a great thing in inviting you to their city. The article tags include the word “Golf.”
I have a Yaqui pal whose family has lived at the south end of that project for generations. They were fine without it. Like a native ex-spouse told me, “my people didn’t thrown down a tepee in a river bed.” Of course “hunter/gathers have a different take on things like not squatting in your own shit. She wasn’t a Wagner fan and probably would not approve of Todtown.

Tempe got into the act and built a dam obstructing the Salt. Wow has that town got ugly. It’s one big shiny tinsel monstrocity. Of course I blame Teddy for all this destruction. He should have made the southwest a National Park.
Likely the only thing that will stop the 8 billion growing human invasion of the planet is himself.
Malthus, maybe, maybe not was wrong but I still would like to invite Thomas and Bernie Sanders for coffee.
PS, HOA’s are a scam.
Cal somewhere in a rolling tin can in the great Sonoran desert. What’s left to be in?

Coronavirus: A center right news opinion.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/05/22/miscalculating_risk_confusing_scary_with_dangerous.html

At 80 physical issues I fit in the OK to die category.

Jon7190, you're right I haven't delved into the collected thoughts of right-wing thinkers like Prager, Shapiro, and McCarthy. That they support the most anti-intellectual president in American history pretty much tells me what is important to them, and it isn't anything an intellectual could possibly be proud of.

A political tradition needs to be couched in the critical thinking of enough people to remind us why it's vital, vibrant, and necessary. But what we call conservatism changed dramatically with Trump's takeover of the GOP. It went from being modest and humble to aggressive and hostile to large parts of American life. Instead of defending tradition, so-called conservatives now attack science, empiricism, expertise, and complexity. The pandemic response among Trump-supporting conservatives has been fairly shocking given its once-robust defense of human life. Couple that with the top-down support for wild conspiracy theories, and it's an epitaph of sorts for conservatism itself.

Trump has never been a conservative philosophically or temperamentally. He's a populist, which means he tends to reject social buffers and reason as constraints on his behavior. He's modeling in real time what he thinks conservatism should be. Since you're much better read than him, and more keenly aware of these issues, please tell me how this can be healthy for your political tradition. A party of witless yahoos protesting mandated lockdowns with automatic weapons and Confederate flags is definitely not conservative. It's a revolt against traditional restrains and cognitive humility.

I've resigned myself to the reality that the Democratic Party alone is the new home for actual conservatives. In fact this is one reason why the hardcore leftists like Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur now attack Democrats much more fiercely than Republicans. I tussle with some lefties here about this problem since I'm in no way happy with zealotry for its own sake. People need a sanity zone of ambiguity and doubt because life becomes insane when there's too much noise and conflict. If anything explains why Trump's presidency has been so toxic to our public discourse and well-being, this is it.

AZREB, maybe the Sylo solution?

Soleri, I've been enjoying this debate, I hope you have, too. I appreciate your essays on the nature of parties and politics. I'm not quite as cynical as you on the GOP, unsurprisingly, but I prefer to wait for another time to really get into the Trump effect on the party.

I don't recall liberal folks, yourself included, saying prior to early 2016 that conservative Republicans are a modest and humble bunch who really value science, empiricism, expertise and complexity. I'm glad to hear you felt that way!

I don't know how deep to get into the Coronavirus debate, as this may not be the place. The rifle-carrying demonstrators were a tiny, well-publicized number of knuckleheads who were criticized by every conservative commentator I heard talk about it. The Confederate flags, plural, is probably exaggerating it because I think it was like one guy shown endlessly in the news. A few idiots who forgot this isn't a second amendment demonstration are a side show to the much, much larger number of regular people protesting what they see as excessively heavy-handed restrictions by governors in states with relatively small numbers of deaths. I don't think it takes away one's pro-life cred to question where the right balance is between protecting the vulnerable and the hospitals from overload versus how much decimation to inflict on society. We are only just seeing the tip of the iceberg of unintended negative effects of the lockdown. The consequences will include large amounts of deprivation, sickness and death. This is part of the complexity of this situation, there are no, and never have been, easy answers with this virus.

I am intrigued by your comment that the Democratic Party is the new home for actual conservatives. Are you saying that you consider yourself conservative? Regardless, could you explain that idea? I know there used to be such a thing as a conservative Democrat, but it seems to me the party clearly lost interest in being that much of a big tent party quite a while ago. Am I wrong? Please elaborate.

P.S. I'm not a huge gun guy, but I have to point out that they weren't carrying automatic weapons, because those are illegal.

Jon7190. Although i could never respond as well as Soleri.
Its not about the gun its about the display.
Like sticking a sock down the front of your levis.
The average person doesn't know semi from automatic.
"Conservative Democrats." Well there was Bill Clinton. Talked well. Tried to screw a lot. Didnt openly brag about it.
Piss poor president.
Jimmy Carter was OK and i thought fairly conservative.
Plagues will keep coming. I hear the locusts are back! With their pals Murder Hornets

Jon7190, I count myself as a conservative when it comes to preserving what is fundamentally good and sane about our institutions and social matrix. Trump, by contrast, is a disrupter who is fundamentally ignorant of history and culture. He is only dimly aware of his own compulsions and contradictions. That you can think of him as a conservative is really astonishing. Yes, he's an adept demagogue when it comes to the Culture War, pushing America's hot buttons about every discontent that riles our exasperated souls. But that's not conservatism, the right's gun idolatry and fetus worship notwithstanding. It's the crude manipulation of feelings for the sake of power.

In 2016, the GOP offered a large array of candidates for president and chose the worst one, someone without any qualifications whatsoever and whose personal history is a cesspool of various depravities. He barely beats Hillary Clinton, an actual adult loathed for her deep understanding of policy and the political process. America wasn't in the mood for being talked to by a smart women and chose the reality-TV star because "he tells it like it is". American democracy, severely wounded, lurched into a permanent crisis.

So, who was the real conservative in 2016? Hillary Clinton. Part of being a real conservative is being wise enough to know what you don't know. This means accepting actual reality in lieu of an imaginary one. As an example, she defended Obamacare as the best possible compromise available to ease a gross social inequity in health care. Of course, it needed to be enhanced and tweaked, but that's what life has always been like. The left hates her since they're essentially angry children demanding perfection now. The right hates her because she's the cartoon demon who took away their Mayberry.

This points out the problem with labels now such as conservative and liberal. Those who call themselves liberals are often sanctimonious scolds while those who call themselves conservatives can be angry blowhards looking someone to blame. The real problem here is not political. It's the misinterpretation of unhappiness. So, when we stumble into a future we didn't quite bargain for, it's easy to think it was a conspiracy of "others" to inflict their evil agenda on us. You see this both with those gun-toting dopes in Lansing and the pious social justice warriors screaming racism because African Americans have died in higher numbers than whites during this pandemic.

Aemrica for all its mood issues is the most dynamic nation on Earth. It's endlessly creative, inventive, and disruptive. It's also extraordinarily diverse, which means it may never be the fully-functioning social democracy the left demands. The reason here is that without a common cultural/racial identity, citizens will naturally diverge and look for a shared identity with those like themselves. This is a huge problem and one that the right exploits with malicious glee.

There's only one America. A real conservative struggles to ameliorate its inherent contradictions in order to preserve and protect it. A populist, OTOH, is okay with simply burning it all down. That's Trump and most of his supporters. Yes, I'm a conservative by comparison to them.


I propose to you that trump is interested in the trappings of power, not power itself. Using power requires work.

The most dangerous man in the country, Moscow Mitch is the one who is using the power to alter the landscape of our judicial system for the foreseeable future.

Our last four presidents are stooges used as front men for the insidious players in the background who push their corrupt agendas on the country.

I don't recall seeing Miller on the ballot in order to get elected to run our national immigration agenda.

AzRebel, I prefer the nickname Cocaine Mitch!

Soleri, what is a conservative is a deep question. I'm not ready to write a book on it or anything, but off the top of my head I came up with a few basic ideas I think most conservatives, as I would define it at least, would agree with.

-A government should accrue to itself the least amount of power necessary to accomplish a government's essential tasks and likewise collects the least amount of taxes necessary. The essential tasks are those outlined in the Constitution and extrapolated to account for modern technology and other changes.
-Chief would be a commitment to the Constitution, as conceived at the time of ratification and amendments. It has to be interpreted by lawmakers and courts, but not in a way that undoes its clear meaning.
-The Constitution's concept of federalism is key, with as much government function as possible going to the most local government possible. Things that can should be done at a city level, those that can't should be done at a state level and those that still can't should go to the federal level.
-Public education should reflect the values of communities and should teach those values in addition to basic knowledge. Education is a good example of the principal of federalism and a major departure point between the parties. Democrats favor maximum federal control and mandatory teaching of values often at odds with those of local communities.
-Government policy should encourage the health of the nuclear family, the most important foundation to a healthy society.
-Government policy should encourage the health and free functioning of religious organizations, because that is one of the key avenues for instilling character and moral values, which are essential for the people generally to posses if we hope to maintain a truly free society.
-Preserving ALL the rights in the Bill Of Rights should be an absolute priority for the government. That those rights are pre-existing is a vital concept, the government does not create rights it only recognizes them. This is one of the most important aspects of our government's founding and one that seems to be becoming forgotten by many on the Left.

As I look at that short list (and I'm sure it could be expanded quite a bit with more time and thought), I think Republican policies are more in keeping with it than Democrat's. For me, at least, it really is more about policy than personalities. Republicans fail those principles mainly in fiscal matters, i.e the deficit and debt. This is my biggest disappointment in the President and the GOP under the President. Of course, the Democrats are notoriously profligate spenders and are certainly no alternative home for a fiscal conservative. I would love to be convinced that the Democratic Party is a place that a conservative believing in the principles above could find a home, but I just don't see it.

The dysfunction in our politics is a symptom, I believe (and certainly the election of Donald Trump is). If our politics is toxic, it reflects a toxicity creeping into the character of the people. You seem to be saying a similar thing, so maybe we do agree on some things!


Jon7190, if you're interested in a deeper dive, I recommend "The Portable Conservative Reader" in the Viking Portable Library series.

Russell Kirk, the intellectual father of modern American conservatism, also offered these 10 conservative principles:

https://kirkcenter.org/conservatism/ten-conservative-principles/

As you will see, Trump is no conservative. And the Republican Party today is at best a twisted version of this body of ideas.

Jon7190, the principles of conservatism, whether they're yours or Russell Kirk's, are perfectly fine. As ideas, limited government and voluntary associations are pedigreed and enduring. The problem starts when they're only haphazardly applied in the real world, and then become contaminated with special pleading and cynical political posturing. Principles can only be imperfectly applied in the real world, so I'm not accusing the right of hypocrisy so much as an ad hoc use of principles to disguise its own power drive. You can see this most compellingly when it suppresses the vote among minorities or misuses government to reward its own bad actors. The norms and practices of governmental agencies have been attacked by people like William Barr, Mike Pompeo, Betsy DeVos, and Elaine Chao. Firing Inspector Generals to prevent oversight is just one example but the rot goes much deeper. See: the right's reflexive defense of Trump's extortion in Ukraine.

Trump is the personification of this sleazy self-dealing and it's destroying conservatism because of the moral cowardice of Republicans. If it weren't for propaganda outlets like Fox News and AM radio, many more Americans would be outraged by this. Compare and contrast to the actions of Barack Obama, who played by the rules and respected the independence of federal regulators and officials. That is a principle we can all believe in.

If you're serious about being a conservative, this should outrage you. Sadly, I think it's only a minor blip in what you see as conservative triumphalism. It's easy under these circumstances to think that the rule of law, respect for institutions and their governing norms are honored even while they're eroded systematically by your side. But it's here you need to step up and defend them if only because you should love your principles as much as you do the power of the Republican Party. If you can't tell the truth about what is happening right under your nose, you're less a principled conservative than a political partisan.

The word kakistocracy is used to describe the kind government where the worst rule. Trump is a perfect example of it along with his special friend, Vladimir Putin. If you are too blinded by power, you will normalize it and play the Both Sides card. I'm not talking about routine human failings and corruption. This goes much deeper and it's slowly killing the republic too many thousands died to defend.

Soleri, we should probably end this soon, as this post has been succeeded by a new one and probably no one is still reading it. I am interested in your answer to the following questions, though.

Though quite debatable, let's grant that the particulars you mention and even others you didn't are exactly as egregious as you say. What is the end game of that?

Go into isolation, forsake public interests and boycott voting? Go full on Never Trump and vote for Democrats in protest, thus assuring that not only will none of my policy preferences be instituted but mostly the exact opposite of them, with no assurance that there will ever be another administration or congress that I could support? Your argument seems to be for nihilism, or at least to give up on politics until such time as its a pure enough institution that its practitioners are seen to be upright and perfect by the opposing party.

I appreciate your passion, but I'm not sure what the practical application of it is.

Jon7190, my thinking here is that America needs two sane political parties, ideally with both liberals and conservatives in each so we're no longer paralyzed by toxic ideology. Right now, the GOP is insane with tribal passion. There's a big problem here you can't simply wish away: America is failing because of Republican nihilism. Your party does this by demonizing the half of America that is not your tribe. You think this polarization just happened by itself? No, it was consciously devised by right-wing cynics like Pat Buchanan. This has been a conscious and ongoing effort to divide and conquer America. This is the royal road to civic ruin. Ask yourself if "winning" is sufficient a reason to collapse our republic.

That you can support a sleazy lowlife like Trump suggests conservative principles were never more than decorative bunting on your party's front porch. Trump is the least conservative president in American history. If your party cannot see the damage he's doing, it deserves to fail and be replaced by one that does. The situation is dire and made worse by so-called conservatives valorzing their power at the expense of the country's cohesion. I'm old enough to remember conservatives read Washington's Farewell Address with reverence. Now they do it with mockery and contempt. https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/Washingtons_Farewell_Address.pdf

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