Ann Althouse read the transcript of Joe Biden’s press conference statement and the dear girl went up like a bottle rocket.
[W]hatâ€™s becoming clear each hour is that a record number of Americans of all races, faiths religions chose change over more of the same. Theyâ€™ve given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism.
Oh, now that’s a stretch. He’s barely won, if indeed he’s won. We still don’t know. But if he’s won, he wants you to know, that there’s the mysterious thing called “a mandate.” And he specifies the components of the mandate â€” “a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism.” Wasn’t it more of a vote just to be rid of Donald Trump? But that’s the claim, the 4 elements of what we supposedly want â€” do something about COVID, the economy, climate change, and systemic racism. …
The people spoke, more than 74 million Americans and they spoke loudly for our ticket….
It was so loud we’re still straining to hear it after 4 days.
Look, we both know tensions are high, they can be high after a tough election, the one like weâ€™ve had but we need to remember we have to remain calm, patient. Let the process work out as we count all the votes… In America, we hold strong views, we have strong disagreements and thatâ€™s okay. Strong disagreements are inevitable in a democracy and strong disagreements are healthy, theyâ€™re a sign of a vigorous debate of deeply held views. But we have to remember the purpose of our politics isnâ€™t total, unrelenting, unending warfare, no. The purpose of our politics, the work of the nation isnâ€™t to fan the flames of conflict but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to get to improve the lives of our people. We may be opponents but weâ€™re not enemies, weâ€™re Americans. No matter who you voted for Iâ€™m certain of one thing, the vast majority of them, almost 150 million Americans who voted they want to get the vitriol out of our politics.
That would sit better with me if he hadn’t begun and ended his campaign by portraying President Trump as a racist. I think Biden fanned the flames and relied on dividing us. All winners claim to represent all of the people. It’s a convention to say that after you’ve won… or after the votes are in and you’re perceiving victory just out there in the near future. But I have no confidence that the Democratic Party will use whatever power it’s managed to scrape together to unite this country. Let them prove it… with clear and convincing evidence.
Weâ€™re certainly not going to agree on a lot of issues but at least we can agree to be civil with one another.
And that’s where you get my “civility bullshit” tag. You’re only calling for civility to get your opponents to stand down. “Civility” is a value that comes and goes.
We have to put the anger and the demonization behind us.
Now that you’ve been successful at demonizing Trump, you want the demonization to stop. We “have” to do it. You should have set an example when you risked something in declining to demonize. Now, it’s in your interest to put demonization off limits. Talk about things that are predictable.
Itâ€™s time for us to come together as a nation to heal…. We donâ€™t have any more time to waste on partisan warfare.
You haven’t won yet, and I think there’s some partisan warfare left. You’re not nonpartisan for saying let’s stop fighting at the point when you are ahead.
Ann Althouse snarkily quotes Robin Givan of NPR on Mark Zuckerberg’s choice of attire for testifying before Congress.
This was sort of a grudging suit and tie. The tie wasn’t really knotted very well. It kind of hung loosely from his neck.
“His shirt looked like it was a bit too big. The suit kind of looked like, OK, here’s the most basic suit I can find…. and that’s not to say that the suit wasn’t expensive. It simply wasn’t tailored…. This was a moment when this 33-year-old sort of disruptor really had to come face to face with the fact that he was no longer disrupting. He was in a position in which he had to fix things. And the suit really just underscored very visually that [Zuckerberg] was crossing from being an outsider into now being an insider…. He has, one, used fashion as a way to distinguish himself and to send a message about what it is that he believes he’s doing and where his company is situated in the broader cultural context. But I also think it matters because one of the reasons these hearings are in fact televised is because they are political theater. Part of theater is the costuming, and that helps us understand who the players are, what their goals are and what the messaging is.”
Then, in characteristic Althouse fashion, herself delivers the coup de grace:
I agree that it’s theater. But:
1. All clothing is theater (the RuPaul adage is “We’re all born naked the rest is drag”), and…
2. We need to ask what theater he provided, and I disagree that the bad suit and tie showed that he had crossed over to insiderdom. It would have been perfectly easy for the billionaire Zuckerberg to call in people to dress him in a perfectly fitting suit, a suit that would read to the theater audience as saying that he had arrived in the halls of power ready to assume what he acknowledges are the serious responsibilities that have arisen around him. By wearing a visibly bad suit, he sent the message that he is still the disruptive kid. The authorities got him into this suit, and he chose to look like the kid whose mom dressed him to go a funeral or whatever. He’s the guy who did what he had to and adopted the outward trimmings, but only and always with the look of intended to get back into his T-shirt and jeans.
Left coast billionaires wear hoodies and short pants as a badge of honor. Their ability to not wear a suit-and-tie, in their minds, proves that they’ve really made it, escaping the conventional servitude of the adult business world.
I blame my own generation.
When my graduating class arrived at Yale, you were required to wear a jacket-and-tie to dining hall meals. Yalies customarily consequently went around every day in sportcoats. Rebellious free spirits might remove their neckties, and fold them and put them in their pocket between meals.
Well. along came my own Yale class. It was very early in the semester that this troublemaker or that would show up for breakfast in pajamas sport coat & tie, which was soon inevitably followed by swimsuit jacket-and-tie, and finally nudity jacket-and-tie.
It really did not take very long before the Administration caved. After which… la Deluge.
There are geezers today, running around in t shirts and short pants, who still take pride in overturning the jacket-and-tie rule in Yale Dining Halls.
Ann Althouse notes that the Trump scandals and Trump’s ineffective campaigning aren’t moving Hillary ahead as much as one might have expected.
(Politico:) Nearly 70 percent say they believe that Trump has â€œmade unwanted sexual advances toward women,â€ a stunning number that comes after the publication of lewd comments the now-Republican nominee made on a hot mic in 2005, and amid allegations by several women who say he touched them inappropriately. (Trump has said his comments were just “locker room talk” and denies the groping accusations.)
And a majority of registered voters — 55 percent — say that Trump’s treatment of women is a legitimate issue, version 42 percent who say it wasn’t. Similarly, most voters aren’t buying Trump’s apology for the 2005 video — 57 percent of registered voters say it was insincere, and only 40 percent agree it sounded like “typical locker room talk by men.”
Just 30 percent of registered voters say Trump has a â€œstrong moral character,â€ versus 45 percent for Clinton. Only 34 percent view Trump as honest and trustworthy, down from 42 percent in last monthâ€™s survey. And just 34 percent say Trump has the right temperament to be president, while 59 percent say Clinton does.
And yet, she’s only got 4 points on him. She must be truly loathed. I know she wants to win, but imagine winning like that, knowing you are not wanted.
I sort of like Trump’s lack of polish (though not really his nastiness â€” there’s a cruelty there that’s troubling) and if I thought he was trustworthy and demonstrated some capability in governing I’d be all for him. Though of course in a president, you do have to be careful with your words â€” not just in avoiding setting off financial panics (look at how closely investors consider Janet Yellen’s statements) but in diplomatic affairs as well (see Dean Acheson’s statements about our zone of interest that made Stalin and Kim think invading South Korea wouldn’t provoke major U.S. involvement). A more ‘earthy’ speaking style, with consideration of the phrasing used, is my ideal.”
Said Brando, in the comments to yesterday’s post about the preference many people seem to have for Pence’s style, the style of a career politician. I’d said: “A man with a style honed outside of politics will seem too rough, too unfinished, too strange.” I didn’t come right out and say it, but, like Brando, I sort of like Trump’s style â€” with the same reservations.
Here’s another helpful perspective from the comments, from Clyde:
I want someone who:
1. Is honest
2. Is savvy enough to deal with our adversaries in the world without beclowning him/herself (Clinton’s political experience did not give her such help in dealing with the Russian Reset, Benghazi, etc.)
3. Will pursue policies that will benefit the people of our country, rather than enriching him/herself, and will give the American people more freedom rather than less.
Hillary Clinton is 0-for-3. This election is a binary choice. Donald Trump might not be good, but Hillary would certainly be very, very bad, probably even worse than Obama. It doesn’t come down to whether someone is a polished politician or not. Clinton is more polished, but our adversaries would eat her lunch, just as they have with Obama. Trump? He’s used to negotiating and wheeling and dealing.
But he’s used to negotiating and wheeling and dealing where he can walk away from what he doesn’t like without worrying about the fate the other parties and where he can fold up the parts of his operations that are not profitable.
What happens when you transfer that skill to government â€” suddenly and at the presidential level â€” and when you are bursting with exuberant confidence? It seems like an insane risk.
ANN ALTHOUSE POSES THE QUESTION OF THE AGE: â€œDid Donald Trump make that happen or did he just sit back coolly and let it happen or â€” if such a thing is possible â€” is this not even about Donald Trump?â€
Ann Althouse was actually referring to Megyn Kelly losing negotiating power with Fox News due to her performance interviewing Donald Trump, but when I first read it, I thought she was referring to the mania for Trump that swept over “Reagan democrats” and Low-Information Voter Republicans.
Ann Althouse admires Hillary Clinton’s approach to balancing competing values and making hard choices with regard to public policies impacting Americans’ constitutionsl rights. Evidently, you balance those competing values by defining people interested in the ones you don’t like as “a minority” which you will not allow to terrorize the majority.
Hillary’s “guns” riff… contains [an] amazing assertion. … She begins:
First of all, I think as a teacher or really any parent, what’s been happening with these school shootings should cause everybody to just think hard.
“Hard” is Hillary’s key word. It’s her book title â€” “Hard Choices” â€” and it’s an all-purpose boast and excuse. She’s capable of doing what’s hard and, when things are hard, one can’t be expected to get everything exactly right. And yes, “hard” invites her critics to mock her in a sexual way, as Rush Limbaugh did on his show yesterday: Hard Choices? Hard?!! That’s going to make everyone think of Bill Clinton’s erections. I’m paraphrasing. What Rush said was: “Now, if Bill had a book and the title of that was Hard Choices with the foreword by Monica Lewinsky, then maybe you might have a book that would walk itself off the shelves.”
Back to the town hall transcript. We’ve seen that Hillary has led off with her core theme: It’s hard.
Which seems to say: We all should just first pause and think about how hard it all is. She expands on hardness:
We make hard choices and we balance competing values all the time.
This might make you think she’s about to give a balanced presentation with careful attention to the opinions and preferences of those who see deep meaning in the right to bear arms. But the values on one side of this values competition dominate:
And I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook and now we’ve had more… in the time since.
And I don’t think any parent, any person should have to fear about their child going to school or going to college because someone, for whatever reasons — psychological, emotional, political, ideological, whatever it means — could possibly enter that school property with an automatic weapon and murder innocent children, students, teachers.
I’m well aware that this is a hot political subject.
Hot political subject, yes, but I thought you said there were values here and that it was hard to balance them. Are the gun-rights people just political heat you have to face or do you genuinely contemplate their values? …
But I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation.
Yes? Do tell. We’re going to balance those competing values? We’re going to cool down and actually think about everything? NO! The next thing she says is:
We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.
Whoa! That’s the line I was looking for. Read it again and see how shocking it is. Not only did Hillary completely turn her back on “balanc[ing] competing values” and “more thoughtful conversation,” she doesn’t want to allow the people on one side of the conversation even to believe what they believe. Those who care about gun rights and reject new gun regulations should be stopped from holding their viewpoint. Now, it isn’t possible to forcibly prevent people from holding a viewpoint. Our beliefs reside inside our head. And in our system of free speech rights, the government cannot censor the expression of a viewpoint. But the question is Hillary Clinton’s fitness for the highest office, and her statement reveals a grandiose and profoundly repressive mindset. …
Hillary Clinton poses as the coolly thoughtful presider over a national conversation, but if you listen to what she’s saying, she already has her answers and she’s not going to let hold you hold any other viewpoint. The woman who once famously said…
I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic…
… is now ready to deploy the verb “to terrorize” against those who debate and disagree with her.
NBC News’ David Gregory apparently defied the (absurd) District of Columbia law forbidding anyone “to possess [&c.] any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm” by openly holding in his hand and displaying an empty 30-round magazine during a Meet the Press program in which he confronted NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre.
Anne Althouse elucidates the semiotics that drove NBC News to turn to open, on-the-air, defiant commission of a crime.
If possession of that high-capacity magazine was a crime, and the NBC folk knew it and had even contacted the police and thus even knew they’d created rock-hard evidence that they knew it, why did they go ahead and have Gregory flaunt that illegal possession on television? They had to have thought it was a devastatingly powerful prop. My first guess was that they imagined that viewers â€” some viewers, at least â€” would find the object itself scary. …
I’m not sure exactly why that jogged my thinking, but suddenly I understand the drama Gregory (and his people) were trying to enact. It’s a deep psychic memory of childhood. Gregory sought dominance over his interlocutor, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, and the idea â€” in the act of picking up that magazine and beginning an interrogation about it â€” was that Gregory would become (subliminally) a parent figure who would push LaPierre into the subordinate role of the little boy, the cowering child confronted with undeniable evidence of his wrongdoing. What’s THIS I found in your room?
The plan was for LaPierre to babble lamely, scrambling to explain it away, like the kid trying to concoct some cockamamie reason why that (whatever) got into his room. He’d look foolish and guilty, as Dad continues to hold up the item which the kid knows will be the defeat of every idea that flashes through his stupid, stupid brain.
The scenario didn’t play out as scripted. LaPierre is a stolid veteran of many a confrontational interview. He’s not going to let the interviewer get the upper hand that easily.
Naturally, all this has inevitably provoked considerable discussion about whether Mr. Gregory should really be prosecuted and potentially convicted, sentenced, and treated as a criminal for an action obviously involving no real threat of any kind to anyone, for a purely technical violation of an obviously extravagantly far-reaching provision of a law aimed in intent at curbing authentic violent crime.
A lot of people have made good arguments and intelligent points. Even NRA President David Keene argued that Gregory’s “crime” should simply be overlooked.
Mark Steyn, however, decided to swim against the tide of general opinion, and argues that David Gregory ought to be held to the same irrational regulatory standards as everybody else.
This is, declared NYU professor Jay Rosen, â€œthe dumbest media story of 2012.â€ Why? Because, as CNNâ€™s Howard Kurtz breezily put it, everybody knows David Gregory wasnâ€™t â€œplanning to commit any crimes.â€
So what? Neither are the overwhelming majority of his fellow high-capacity-magazine-owning Americans. Yet theyâ€™re expected to know, as they drive around visiting friends and family over Christmas, the various and contradictory gun laws in different jurisdictions. Ignorantia juris non excusat is one of the oldest concepts in civilized society: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Back when there was a modest and proportionate number of laws, that was just about doable. But in todayâ€™s America there are laws against everything, and any one of us at any time is unknowingly in breach of dozens of them. And in this case NBC were informed by the D.C. police that it would be illegal to show the thing on TV, and they went ahead and did it anyway: Youâ€™ll never take me alive, copper! Youâ€™ll have to pry my high-capacity magazine from my cold dead fingers! When the D.C. SWAT team, the FBI, and the ATF take out NBC News and the whole building goes up in one almighty fireball, David Gregory will be the crazed loon up on the roof like Jimmy Cagney in White Heat: â€œMade it, Ma! Top of the world!â€ At last, some actual must-see TV on that lousy network.
But, even if weâ€™re denied that pleasure, the â€œdumbest media story of 2012â€ is actually rather instructive. David Gregory intended to demonstrate what he regards as the absurdity of Americaâ€™s lax gun laws. Instead, heâ€™s demonstrating the ever greater absurdity of Americaâ€™s non-lax laws. His investigation, prosecution, and a sentence of 20â€“30 years with eligibility for parole after ten (assuming Mothers Against High-Capacity Magazines donâ€™t object) would teach a far more useful lesson than whatever he thought he was doing by waving that clip under LaPierreâ€™s nose.
To Howard Kurtz & Co., itâ€™s â€œobviousâ€ that Gregory didnâ€™t intend to commit a crime. But, in a land choked with laws, â€œobviousnessâ€ is one of the first casualties â€” and â€œobviouslyâ€ innocent citizens have their â€œobviouslyâ€ well-intentioned actions criminalized every minute of the day. Not far away from David Gregory, across the Virginia border, eleven-year-old Skylar Capo made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days. For her pains, a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter accompanied by state troopers descended on her house, charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species, issued her a $535 fine, and made her cry. Why is it so â€œobviousâ€ that David Gregory deserves to be treated more leniently than a sixth grader? Because heâ€™s got a TV show and she hasnâ€™t?
Occupy Wall Street food servers get sick of the “professional homeless people.”
“They know what theyâ€™re doing.”
For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheepâ€™s-milk-cheese salad.
They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.
[Emphasis added] What if everyone suddenly got sick of freeloaders?
[I]f you extract the crap music and the new-age quasi-religion, you’ve got men apologizing for manliness. But they are not apologizing for their own manliness. They are purporting to apologize for other men, whom they are demonizing. Really what you’ve got are the insufficiently manly men, who think that by insulting other men, they will get the women.
But they will not get the women, because they are insufficiently manly. And it’s a particularly pussy move to group all the manly men together for the purposes of trying to promote unmanly men. The violent, hateful, abusive men belong in a class by themselves, and to group them with all the other men who are more manly than you is self-serving and specious.