Lumping one’s political adversaries with the vicious jihadists of ISIS seems to be the new new thing. Last Thursday, Dinesh D’Souza alleged that “the common thread between ISIS and [the looters] in Ferguson is you have these people who basically believe that to correct a perceived injustice, it's perfectly OK to inflict all kinds of new injustices...And all of this is then licensed by the left and licensed to some degree by the media.”
On Saturday, Washington Monthly blogger David Atkins responded to D’Souza, asserting that ISIS is not at all left-wing; rather, the terrorist group stands for “bedrock principles of political conservatism wherever it appears in the world,” such as “eschew[ing] ‘foreign’ western impulses, roll[ing] back the clock on progressive social reforms, and aggressively institut[ing] a more traditional religious approach to society.”
The Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman sees the Republican party on the horns of a dilemma regarding its 2016 presidential nomination. In a Sunday post, Longman asserted that any candidate who strongly appeals to the GOP base couldn’t win the general election, but acknowledged that it’s understandable that the rank and file would point to several recent losses by center-right nominees and ask, in effect, “This time, why not a real conservative?”
Republican righties, Longman remarked, “are more inclined to test the idea of nominating a fire-breathing conservative who won’t trim their sails. Better to go down swinging tha[n] to unilaterally disarm by caving on principles within your own party.”
This week, three of the most prominent liberal bloggers agreed that when it comes to criticizing presidents of either party about their vacations, people really need to, as one of the bloggers put it, “STFU.”
Do they have a point, or should the appropriateness of presidential vacations be evaluated on a POTUS-by-POTUS basis? Check out their thoughts and comment if you’d like.
Quite a few right-wingers call themselves constitutional conservatives, but self-described constitutional liberals are pretty rare. Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman essentially positioned himself as one in a Friday post, arguing that there’s no need for modern Americans to interpret the Constitution the way the Founders did, but contending that the Founders would be OK with that because they knew “we could amend the Constitution, [or] pass new laws, [or] judges would make rulings consistent with changing standards about privacy and human sexuality and crime and punishment.”
“The modern world,” wrote Longman, “would blow all of [the Founders’] minds and they would probably struggle to make sense of it.” He claimed, for example, that George Washington wouldn’t “believe that the NRA was being reasonable at all” in its opposition to proposed gun restrictions.
Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman laid it on the line (actually, the headline) on Sunday: “Movement Conservatism is Dead as a National Ideology.”
Longman argued that “[w]ith each passing year, movement conservatism becomes less viable” as a vehicle for winning the White House and opined that Republicans “will lose, possibly in historic, devastating fashion” the next presidential election unless their nominee distances himself from the party base.
Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore has found some people he thinks conservatives hate even more than they hate President Obama: the thousands of Central American children trying to enter the U.S. at its border with Mexico. After all, righties are merely obsessed with making Obama at least as unpopular in his second term as George W. Bush was in his, but they want to “immediately ship [the] children back across the border in cattle cars,” or maybe just shoot them. But Obama's apparently so much more compassionate than Bush.
There’s a saying that “life isn’t one damn thing after another – it’s the same damn thing over and over again.” That’s essentially what Steve Benen, a producer for MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” argued regarding the IRS scandal in a Thursday blog post on the “TRMS” website.
Benen claimed that throughout “the imaginary IRS ‘scandal,’ there’s [been] an interesting pattern of events that serves as a template for every development. It starts with an alarming report, which is followed by scrutiny, which leads to details that make the original report appear meaningless.”
In a Sunday post, Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman charged that a combination of unyielding ideological extremism and efforts to prevent many who might oppose said extremism from voting mean that the Republican party’s creed has “really beg[un] to resemble fascism.”
Longman noted that the DNC recently announced a campaign designed to find and register likely Democratic voters and remarked that while that project is “certainly in [Democrats’] self-interest…it’s also wholly consistent with traditional American values about...the right of everyone to vote…There is no corresponding effort to prevent likely Republican voters from registering to vote or to kick registered Republicans off the voter rolls.”
Piggybacking on Paul Waldman's "Who Do You Hate?" American Prospect post in which Waldman singled out Sarah Palin and Scott Walker for special scorn, another liberal blogger, the Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore, reflected on the politicians ("usually, though not always, on the right side of the fence") who inspire in him "regular fear and loathing."
One of Kilgore's choices is an entire group, "the self-styled 'constitutional conservatives'...[who] don’t just want to beat progressives (and moderates) politically, they want to define us right out of existence."
In a textbook case of damning with faint praise, the Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore asserted on Thursday that of all the "dramatically underqualified people" who may run for president in 2016, Ben Carson is the frontrunner.
Kilgore opines that since Carson is black, his popularity with white conservatives "absolve[s] them of any racist motives when they complain about those people on welfare, and indeed accuse white liberals of being the real bigots." (Italics in original.) He adds that should Carson run, "it seems likely he [would] be even more overtly than [Herman] Cain a pure instrument for conservative resentment and—if you will forgive the unavoidable term—whitewashing."
The right has directed most of its anger over the handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack at President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice, but when lefty blogger Martin Longman reflects on reactions to Benghazi, he thinks of a different villain: Mitt Romney.
In a Saturday post for the Washington Monthly web site, Longman recalls that a few days after the attack, he was "seething about Romney’s behavior" re Benghazi, and that within three weeks, he "was in disbelief that the Romney campaign was chortling with glee at the death of four Americans."
A lot of politically engaged persons, right and left, believe that those on the other side are well-meaning but mistaken. Then there's the Washington Monthly's Martin Longman, who in two Wednesday posts (here and here) tried to support the idea that "[m]aking people hate each other is at the core of right-wing politics."
Longman opined that "resentment is the key ingredient in [conservatives'] political toolbox" (italics in original) and that "[a]s long as there is some accountability, they are pretty good at forgiveness, but compassion and empathy are tremendous challenges for them."