Monthly Archives: January 2016

Like ’48?

I got a book for Christmas that was a compendium of New Yorker articles from the 1040s. There I found an article (in the Oct. 16 issue) by Richard Rovere written as he accompanied Thomas E Dewey on his electioneering campaign for the presidency in 1948.

It was interesting to see the confidence all had that Dewey would trounce Truman and the admiration for the professionalism of the Dewey campaign machine. This was contrasted with the old fashioned campaign of Truman.  So I got interested to see what Rovere said after the election.

On another Christmas a decade ago someone gave me a set of DVDs with a facsimile copies of every New Yorker from 1925 to 2005, and I used that to get Rovere’s article in the Dec. 25 issue of 1948. The astonishment of the establishment was still evident in these pages as well as  an interesting description of the elaborate inauguration planned for Truman. It seems the Republican congress was so confident of Dewey’s ultimate victory that it had funded an event worthy of the first Republican victory since Hoover. Another interesting note was that the establishment, in its surprise at the election results, had concluded that this must be a new Harry Truman and had speculated at length about the nature of this new being. Rovere concluded that this belief had faded in two months and that the realization had come that this was, in fact, the old Harry Truman.  And so he was.

My conclusion from all this: You should avoid the idea that you may be able to predict what will happen in politics in 2016. It’s clear that the establishment is making it all up as they go along and is basically just confused. You’ll do better to wait till you can explain it all in 2017. You’ll be good at that.

In the meantime:
Can Trump win the nomination?  yes
Could a complete buffoon become President? yes
Can Bernie take the prize away from Hillary? yes
Could a short, Jewish, socialist become President? yes

Can Jeb burst out of the pack and win the nomination? No
You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

English is Weird

I’m always fascinated by essays on language and I found an interesting one by John McWhorter. Not just the usual one that describes some of English’s peculiaities, but McWhorter relates these to our languages varied history.

I had thought McWhorter is something of a conservative politically  because of his previous association with the Manhattan Institute and so I spent a little time on the magazine – TheWeek – his essay appeared in and was surprised to find it good liberal source.  Several interesting articles on politics. Then I wiki-checked McWhorter and found he considers himself a “cranky liberal Democrat.” So are many of us.

Bernie 2016

State and Local

Sometimes, when I contemplate the fiasco that is called the Republican election campaign, I reconsider my hope that the R’s are about to implode and go the way of the Whigs.

This is fun, momentarily, but almost immediately I remember the state of the Democratic Party at the state level, and the dream vanishes. How can a party that is so incompetent at the national level do do well at the state and local level?

Yesterday, in an op-ed in the NY Times, Thomas B Edsall took on this question.  His conclusion is that this happened because the big money saw state and local power as a better opportunity than the national prize (the presidency) and organized and funded the means to that objective. Read it, if you want to understand US politics.