Tag Archives: Rachel Maddow

Philpuckey

There’s a particular kind of statement unique to the candidacy of Phil Scott, which has attempted to combine budgetary discipline with expressions of concern for the problems faced by “hardworking Vermonters” (copyright pending).

That effort to square two circles has resulted in a phenomenon I call “Philpuckey” after the great Rachel Maddow’s use of “bullpuckey” when she doesn’t want to say the S-word on the teevee.

You can tell when you’re about to receive a load of Philpuckey. His voice slows down a beat, his face gets that open-and-honest look designed to soften the hard edges of Republicanism, and he expresses concern for suffering Vermonters and how we must help them. His voice has a painstaking tone, as if he’s explaining an abstract idea to a preschooler.

There is, of course, a big fat “but” in the offing. As in, “But my first concern is the affordability crisis.”

He may be earnestly concerned, but won’t spend a single dime to address it. He’ll just suffer his concern — for our sake.

It’s kind of like seeing a begger on the street, pausing in front of him, shaking his hand, wishing him all the best, and walking on without putting anything in the hat. Noble sentiment, unsupported by action.

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Resilience, but no revolution

Bernie Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee for president. And it’s not because of superdelegate shenanigans or imaginary Clinton conspiracies* or the media’s reluctance to validate his candidacy. It’s not even because I endorsed Hillary and voted for her in the primary.

*Honestly, I don’t get the Clinton hate. To hear some of my leftish acquaintances tell it, the Clintons are somewhere between Richard Nixon and Attila the Hun on the universal scale of evil. 

But give the guy credit. He did better than expected on Super Tuesday. Not well enough to give him a shot at the nomination, but more than well enough to keep his candidacy going all the way to the Democratic convention.

Which is an absolutely worthwhile goal: get all the publicity you can for progressive ideas, and compel the Democratic Party to honor the left wing for the first time since, oh, 1972. Bernie has proven that the left wing is as strong a potential source of energy (and even money) that the party can’t afford to ignore. That is his enduring gift to our political discourse.

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Donald Trump is the apotheosis of modern Republicanism

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise that a super-wealthy real estate developer would run for President promising to turn America into a gated community.

Really, this is where Donald Trump’s rhetoric has been pointing since he launched his campaign by calling for “the greatest wall you’ve ever seen” to keep out Mexican criminals and rapists. His latest stand, for a ban on Muslims traveling to America, is of a kind with the Mexican wall. It’s just one tick crazier.

But after all the crazy shit Trump has said, the ban on Muslims was the straw that broke mainstream Republicans’ backs. Some Republicans, including a lot of Vermonters, sensing that the Crazy Line has been crossed, have finally criticized Trump as being out of step with true Republicanism.

Well, there’s a problem with that. It’s not true.

Donald Trump is, in fact, the inevitable end product of the past two decades of Republican and conservative politics.

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Silence descends at MSNBC

Outside my usual bailiwick, but I’m compelled to write. And if I need a pretext, well, Benen is a Vermonter.

Today, dozens of reporters tramped through the apartment of the alleged San Bernardino shooters. Some of them, including MSNBC and CNN, went live as their reporters rummaged through the belongings of the dead couple, brandishing pictures of unnamed people and pieces of legal identification before the cameras.

The spectacle revealed nothing. It was, as the Washington Post put it, “life-sucking.” It was despicable. It was a sign that journalistic ethics have been completely subsumed by the endless hunger for ratings.

The authorities say they have completed their investigation of the apartment. I find that hard to believe. What I do know is that if they ever want to go back in there, they won’t be able to use anything they find as evidence. The whole scene is irretrievably tainted.

And people think bloggers have no standards. Today, I prefer my profession to journalism.

Even the news anchors seemed to be choking back their revulsion. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called it “bizarre,” and a CNN security analyst spoke about compromising a crime scene. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell begged reporter Kerry Sanders not to show pictures or ID’s on the air.

The networks seemed to realize what a ghoulish clusterfuck they’d just taken part in. MSNBC later issued a very tepid semi-apology. CNN boasted that it had not showed pictures or IDs, which is just the worst of many offenses.

After getting home this evening, I turned on Rachel Maddow to see what she would have to say about it.

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