By Tom Johnson | July 1, 2016 | 4:35 PM EDT

Whatever else Donald Trump is, he’s a skillful multitasker, suggested Jeet Heer in a Tuesday article. Trump is in the news mostly as a presidential candidate, of course, but Heer claims that his “real objective, win or lose, is relaunching his lucrative brand.” As for how Trump became the Republican party’s presumptive nominee even though politics wasn’t his top priority, Heer opined that there’s “something in the nature of the [GOP] and its conservative base that made them particularly vulnerable to Trump’s deceptions.”

In 1993, a Washington Post reporter wrote that the Christian right was “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.” Heer seems to believe that “uneducated” and “easy to command” describe enough of today’s conservatives, Christian or otherwise, to explain Trump’s popularity: "The anti-intellectualism that has been a mainstay of the conservative movement for decades also makes its members easy marks. After all, if you are taught to believe that the reigning scientific consensuses on evolution and climate change are lies, then you will lack the elementary logical skills that will set your alarm bells ringing when you hear a flim-flam artist like Trump."

By Rich Noyes | June 29, 2016 | 10:12 AM EDT

The liberal media establishment has spent the past 25 years celebrating Clinton as an “icon of American woman-hood,” while fiercely attacking those who would challenge her ethics. Far from impeding Hillary Clinton’s career with hostile coverage, the establishment media have enabled her political rise with what amounts to a 25-year-long infomercial on her behalf: admiring testimonials about her greatness, and nasty slams against her critics.

By Tom Johnson | June 27, 2016 | 9:18 PM EDT

When citing instances of “the worst in human behavior,” reasonable choices include the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and whatever ISIS did today. In a Sunday post, Washington Monthly blogger D. R. Tucker offered an absurdly unreasonable choice: the last ten Republican national conventions. Tucker did comment hopefully that “perhaps this year’s GOP convention will be so sick, so sordid, so sour that the general election will effectively be over by the end of July.”

 

By Melissa Mullins | June 25, 2016 | 6:58 AM EDT

The Washington Post is already working on crafting Obama’s presidential legacy story once he leaves office next January – and it isn’t just any legacy they are attributing to him – it’s an “unusual” legacy. Why?  Well, The Post certainly couldn’t use Obama Care which was shoved down the throats of Americans and far exceeded projected costs.  They couldn’t use the issue of Immigration that Obama so passionately ran on during his campaign – especially after it was just smacked down by the Supreme Court earlier this week.  No – Obama’s “unusual” legacy was being “a good dad,” something that had nothing to do with his presidency.

By Tom Johnson | June 24, 2016 | 11:20 PM EDT

Osama bin Laden routinely referred to his main Western enemies as “crusaders.” Conservative-bashing author Neal Gabler, the longtime Fox News Watch panelist, adapted OBL’s analogy in a Thursday Salon piece that originally ran at BillMoyers.com. Gabler also griped that if most Americans don’t understand just how fanatical Republicans are, blame the media.

“For three decades,” Gabler commented, “the MSM have been collaborators with the GOP, pretending” that it’s “a normal party,” when it’s really “closer to a religious cult…It operates on dogma, sees compromise as a moral failing, [and] views enemies as pagans who must be vanquished…That isn’t politics; it’s a modern version of the medieval Crusades, and as the ancient Crusades did to Europe, it has inflicted untold damage on our country.”

By Tom Johnson | June 14, 2016 | 8:31 AM EDT

In a Sunday post, The Washington Monthly’s D.R. Tucker urged Bern-feelers to follow the example of conservatives who “rebounded from Barry Goldwater’s spectacular [1964] loss [and became] a dominant force. By forming influential think tanks and media outlets, pressuring the mainstream press to focus on issues right-wingers considered important, and voting consistently in even the most ‘minor’ of elections, the right seized power…Barry Goldwater was not the man to lead a conservative revolution, but he unquestionably inspired one. Perhaps [Sanders’s] supporters could pick up where his campaign left off and lead a revolutionary effort to move this country to the left.”

By Tom Johnson | June 11, 2016 | 11:20 PM EDT

If there were a restaurant called Clinton Scandals, Kevin Drum has an idea of what the house specialty would be. “Whitewater was a nothingburger. Travelgate was a nothingburger. Troopergate was a nothingburger. Filegate was a nothingburger,” asserted Drum in a Wednesday post. “The Vince Foster murder conspiracy theories were a nothingburger. Monica Lewinsky was Bill's problem, not Hillary's. Benghazi was a tragedy, but entirely nonscandalous…Emailgate revealed some poor judgment, but we've now seen all the emails and it's pretty obviously a nothingburger.”

By Tom Johnson | June 9, 2016 | 11:38 PM EDT

When liberals call Republicans “deniers,” it typically has to do with climate change. Jonathan Chait alleges big-time GOP denial on a non-scientific matter. “Republican voting support is increasingly coterminous with white racial resentment even as conservatives firmly believe in their own racial innocence,” wrote Chait in a Tuesday post. “Conservatives deny the existence of racism in the Republican Party as a matter of doctrinal sanctity, just as Soviet authorities had to officially deny the existence of poverty in the USSR.”

While Chait has no use for the economic and fiscal proposals advanced by Paul Ryan and other House Republicans, he acknowledged that their ideas “have no intellectual connection to racism.” Nonetheless, “the trouble for Republicans is that building a real-world constituency for these policies does rely on racism. Conservatives stopped the momentum of the New Deal in the mid-1960s only when they associated it with support for the black underclass. Republican politics has grown increasingly racialized over time, a trend that has dramatically accelerated during the Obama era.”

By Brent Baker | June 8, 2016 | 7:48 PM EDT

FX’s The Americans, the under-watched but very compelling drama about husband and wife undercover KGB spies in suburban Washington, DC in the early 1980s, concludes its fourth season tonight. This season the program showed a side of the Soviet Union rarely, if ever, seen on U.S. television: the method and speed in which the Soviets killed those who helped the U.S. and how Soviet technological incompetence almost led to a nuclear attack on America.

By Tom Johnson | May 30, 2016 | 10:13 PM EDT

Like almost everyone who has the sense God gave geese, Deadspin founder Leitch thinks O.J. Simpson is an unconvicted murderer. Unlike most of those people, Leitch also thinks Simpson’s acquittal “may have been one of the biggest civil-rights victories” of the 1990s. In a New York magazine review of the seven-hour, 43-minute documentary O.J.: Made in America, which airs in five parts next month on ABC and ESPN, Leitch remarked, “The verdict was just cause for all that national celebration from African-Americans, even if [Simpson] was guilty. Shit, especially if he was.”

To Leitch, the acquittal amounted to partial recompense for the black community of Los Angeles, given “the city’s [history of] scabrous racial politics, from the southern blacks who came to Los Angeles expecting acceptance and discovering something far different, to the Watts riots…to former LAPD chief Daryl Gates’s horrific racial attitudes…It all exploded with the Rodney King riots, which were less about King and more about the seeming impossibility that a black man could ever win anything in a court of law in the city of Los Angeles.”

By Tom Johnson | May 28, 2016 | 10:45 PM EDT

Brian Beutler expects that Donald Trump’s campaign will attempt to “hoodwink first-time voters or people who weren’t paying close attention…into believing known lies” about Hillary Clinton that first surfaced more than two decades ago. As for whether journalists will “debunk” Trump’s “whoppers,” Beutler’s not so sure.

“Unless a critical mass of media figures agrees to treat the things Trump exhumes from the fever swamps of the 1990s with the appropriate contempt, Trump will enjoy the benefit of the doubt most major-party nominees expect,” wrote Beutler in a Friday article. Beutler speculated that as Republicans unify behind Trump, reporters might be less inclined to criticize the presumptive nominee for his outrageous statements and more inclined to present him as a “partisan mirror image” of Clinton.

By Matt Philbin | May 25, 2016 | 10:17 AM EDT

After nearly eight years in office, President Obama no longer cares if he seems to be trolling the rest of the country. He is. Now, he’s heading to Hiroshima (by way of Vietnam) to push his choom-fueled dorm-room vision of a nuclear-free world. His purpose is shallow and silly. His timing – Memorial Day Weekend – is egregious. And his media coverage is predictably fawning.