266 Comments

I was around as an adult for the last inflationary spiral. This one was mercifully short. The target of 2% is an ideal but historically it never happened. That is, we never really had stable inflation that low. So to say that inflaction was hot... begs the question, what is your base line. I say this as someone who was in financial services till retirement and even had 2 investment licenses.

I understand the pols just want to score points. But an intelligent headline would be that the Feds are still unable to get us to their goal.

It is a laudible goal. But a recovery without a recession is a miracle. To have done that and face screaming headlines as if we have a major failure is galling.

Expand full comment

I may be a cynic, but my takeaway from this is that Americans would rather put millions of their fellow countrymen out of work than pay $2 more for a hamburger.

Unemployment is low, the economy recovered, the wages of low-income workers are increasing significantly, but people are going to vote for Trump because of gas and grocery prices. It's a disgrace.

Expand full comment

My takeaway for decades has been that Americans would happily put their fellows out of work so that they could pay less for things.

And that is what happened--which is why manufacturing went offshore.

And Americans are still unwilling to pay more for stuff. Which is why manufacturing is not coming back, unless it is subsidized by the US government for defense/strategic reasons.

Expand full comment
founding

When those planes hit the twin towers on 9/11 our leaders told us not to sacrifice in time of war, but to go shopping. Only by shopping we will show the rest of the world our freedoms!

Expand full comment

Which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about American culture/society.

Expand full comment

I remember getting a government check in the mail after Bush Jr & Co started the Shock and Awe War. The clear massage - go spend while young Americans are dying, loosing their limbs and health, Iraqi civilians are dying, sacrifice at home is for suckers, your real duty as an American is to spend.

Expand full comment

In a consumption-based economy, if you don't spend, you hurt the economy and we all depend on a good economy.

Expand full comment
founding

I remember that as well, and the controversy of how the Bush admin wanted to advertise it, "Look what we are giving back to you!" Some nit-picky budget rule wouldn't let them promote it too much, so they settled with additional verbiage on the envelopes that sent the checks, "Here is our big PR stunt!!"

Expand full comment

And remember when we got COVID checks and Trump held them up for weeks because he wanted his signature printed on them?

Expand full comment

In the 90’s the saying was, “Japanese (Chinese) are Producers, Germans are Savers, and Americans are Consumers.”

Expand full comment

We've been a consumption-based economy since the 1920s. "Over the course of the 20th century, capitalism preserved its momentum by molding the ordinary person into a consumer with an unquenchable thirst for more stuff" (https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/a-brief-history-of-consumer-culture/#:~:text=The%20notion%20of%20human%20beings,principal%20role%20in%20the%20world).

Shopping runs our economy, so of course they said that. Not to show the world our freedom, but to assure we didn't have an economic collapse.

Expand full comment
founding

Really great article. thank you SandyG!

There is a wonderful documentary on Bernays and the impacts of his ideas, check out The Century of the Self. warning- It is four hours long...and very illuminating.

via Youtube:

https://youtu.be/eJ3RzGoQC4s?si=-bKzdR0C6gbMGM2p

The documentary showcases how Bernays marketed cigarettes to women in 1920s. Grrrrrr.

I wonder if it is at all possible to mold people so that they desire more time with their communities and become interested in other people rather than their pursuit of stuff, the person with the most toys wins.

What about the person with the most friends?

Expand full comment

You are most welcome for the article, Mr. Pants (should I just call you "Cranky"?), and thank you for the Bernays link.

I was first introduced to the notion of "conspicuous consumption" during the anti-Viet Nam War years where my generation rejected the norms of the 50s and early 60s and that included the materialism recounted in Galbreath's "The Affluent Society" (1958).

In my later years, I learned about journalist Samuel Strauss who said in the mid 1920s, "Formerly the task was to supply the things men wanted; the new necessity is to make men want the things which machinery must turn out if this civilization is not to perish" (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1924/11/things-are-in-the-saddle/648025/). Apparently, Bernays was influenced by Strauss.

As to your last paragraph, I think the desire for status, that the consumer economy exploits, exists in the un-self-reflective human being. Advertisers figured that out. It drives more of our behavior than relationships.

Expand full comment

I wouldn't put that all on American consumers. The big business types want mega profits and they couldn't get them without moving manufacturing off shore. They managed to kill off union labor in the clothing manufacturing industry and by moving their manufacturing plants of hard goods to Southeastern states they were able to get non union labor. But even that was not cheap enough. So moving offshore was the way to go.

Expand full comment

It's very encouraging to see unions coming back.

Expand full comment

Agree.

Expand full comment

Exactly. Try telling Joe Sixpack that he can have US manufacturing back stateside but that means he can no longer buy a TV at Walmart for $300. There are trade-offs for everything. Americans always vote with their wallets.

Expand full comment

Remember when Trump allowed the Arabs to flood the market with oil to drive the cost of Oil down ? meanwhile driving almost 500 American oil and Gas companies out of buisness ? American only cared about sub $3 oil a gallon while destroying 100s of thousands of American jobs.

Expand full comment

The thing is American manufacturing hasn’t gone anywhere. Our manufacturing output is higher now than it has EVER been. The jobs weren’t lost to other countries, they were lost to automation.

Expand full comment

What we actually manufacture has also changed.

And automation is about to extend to non-manufacturing jobs, through AI.

Expand full comment

Okay, maybe. But again claiming that jobs went off shore is simply not true.

Expand full comment

LKet me then rephrase nd say that the US jobs were eliminated in favor of cheaper alternatives.

Expand full comment

Did they know that's what they were doing to their fellow Americans, buying cheap Chinese products? Didn't manufacturing go offshore because of financial markets' pressure on big companies in the 1980s to "get rid of their [US] workers and plants and move away from being vertically integrated companies in which everything took place within the company itself”? (https://www.investmentmonitor.ai/manufacturing/who-killed-us-manufacturing/?cf-view).

Agree what things cost is the most important thing to American consumers, not the health of the national economy or the prosperity of their neighbors.

Expand full comment

Plenty of low-income people are enduring seriously hard times right now, and making light of their troubles is not a winning strategy. Also, it's hard to square with the oft-touted left/D values of compassion and respect.

Try to imagine a world where "gas and grocery prices" absolutely define and determine your life. Many of us live there. (I live about a block away myself, and have for most of my life.) There was a time when progressives would have bit off their own noses before making light of that.

You can't eat statistics, they won't fuel the car that gets you to your crappy part-time job, and they won't keep the rain off your head when you're priced out of housing. You have to be in a very privileged place before you can forget that. /That's/ a disgrace, and if we're not careful it will lose us the election.

Expand full comment

I agree, but I also worry that our addiction to low interest rates is crippling our economy, most especially with investors insisting on constant rates of growth from companies to make their investments worthwhile. This has just about broken us.

Meanwhile, people are getting deep into debt and not stopping to think that interest rates can't stay low forever. They have to rise. And then when they do rise, instead of being taken as "this is how numbers work," people want to cosplay riot. It wasn't poor people who showed up on January 6. It was realtors and car dealers who are impacted by the migration from zero interest rates. Then again, I believe half of the Q cult are people who feel that their debt is overwhelming and they don't see a way out. And meanwhile meanwhile, venture capitalists who can't make money in a zero-interest-rate world are buying up private homes, and now people can't buy homes at any interest rate.

In short, perpetual low interest rates are bad for America.

Expand full comment

Our consumer culture trained people to live above their means, by using credit--because economic growth and profit are the Holy Grail of America.

My parents had a hard time getting credit when I was young... not just them, everybody had a hard time. It was rare for people to have credit cards and atms and electronic currency were not things.

I had a hard time getting credit, but not as hard as my parents. I abused it and got in trouble, but got myself out. Lesson learned. I have one card that is for emergencies. Actual emergencies.

Now my dog can get credit and they give credit to college and even HS students o.O. Or did, anyway.

A lof of people are living on borrowed money--especially in the "middle class."

And living on credit drives costs and prices up for everybody (including the people who can't get credit). And the ultra low interest rates bred a lot of bad corporate practices that people are now paying for.

But the corps profits are higher than ever, from I have seen/heard. So its all good, amiright?

Easy credit is bad.. and expensive for all involved (except the people giving the credit).

Expand full comment
founding

Not only that, but debt is transformed into another type of security- I remember working a project for investment operations of a mutual fund firm back in year 2000 (I build data models). I learned about ABS and MBS - asset backed securities and mortgage backed securities. This is debt packaged as a security and sold in the market. It made me wonder how many people are unknowingly investing in their own debt when investing in a separate 401(k), where the holdings include MBS that happens to contain their mortgage debt bundled in the tranche that they've invested. Kinda like a snake eating its tail.

Expand full comment

Ugh. Welcome to housing crisis 2.0

Expand full comment

Yeah 25+ years ago when my youngest was a newborn, he received an offer of a credit card in the mail. He didn't take it.

Expand full comment
founding

I remember the first time I saw a friend use a credit card to pay at a restaurant. I was shocked. This was the early 1980s.

Expand full comment
founding

And back in the late 70s - early 80s, the interest paid on credit cards could be written off your taxes. It's how we got trained to use them.

Expand full comment

This gave me a chuckle: " . . . instead of being taken as 'this is how numbers work,' people want to cosplay riot." Another sign of our societal decadence.

Expand full comment

I too have been there, and frankly, they need to vote. Because most of them won't vote against their self interest, some of them will. And when they vote D...the vast majority of the policies that are fucking them over will get better. Not perfect,but better.

Expand full comment

League of Women Voters might could use some help on that! If you look on their website their membership fee looks steep but they will waive or even discount it. They seem to have all sorts of useful things you can do to encourage voter registration. I just joined last week so I can't report on how it works IRL, but it certainly looks good.

Expand full comment

You're right. It is foolish to paint with a broad brush on an issue where far too many folks are struggling with the rising costs of food and fuel, neither of which we can do without.

Expand full comment

I don't hear much about these folks in my news sources and I don't personally know anyone who is really struggling. I'd like The Bulwark to do more in informing us of these Americans.

Expand full comment
deletedApr 11
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

This is all very logical but it still presents a public-facing image of elite out-of-touchness which we cannot afford. And volunteering is a good thing but it's not a get-out-of-jail-free card on this.

There are more poor people than rich people. I wouldn't be too quick to bet who decides this election.

And it's not up to us to tell other people what's good for them.

Or, \_(**)_/ we can try but if we say elitist things like making light of a $2 increase in the price of a hamburger, they will not listen to us, and I for one can't blame them. And a quick pivot to "oh no I just meant to go after the bosses" won't be convincing.

For the majority of people in this country, THIS IS NOT THEORETICAL.

Expand full comment

Speaking of who decides this election, it will be those who turn out and cast a vote. Rich people do so in droves. The poor not so much.

Expand full comment

Y'all do realize that for the next 6.5 months there is something you can do about that, right?

Expand full comment
deletedApr 11
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Might be a good idea to get more interested in that "something something" if we want to change their minds.

People deviate from their parents' voting patterns in both directions so I'm not sure there's really a progress narrative there.

Expand full comment

I don't remember where but I remember reading that minimum wage would increase the price of a hamburger by a mere 17 cents.

Expand full comment

I don't know how you possibly could estimate that. You'd have to know how much they'd raise the minimum wage too. Then you'd have to know whether economic conditions are such that the increase could be passed along. Right now, raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to, say, $13 an hour wouldn't make a difference because the job market is forcing employers to pay more than that for employees. The current minimum wage has been rendered irrelevant b/c of the demand for workers and that's a very good thing.

Expand full comment

Not my estimate, but it some economist's estimate.

Expand full comment

Yeah, the choice of good (hamburger) and the price increase ($2) were arbitrary. As Paul has said below, pretty much all of the fast food places are paying well over minimum wage because of demand for employees.

My larger point was that an increase in prices mattered more to the Median American Voter (tm) than the positive results for the economy (increased wages and low unemployment). Seeing people kvetching online about things like increased costs for Doordash and other delivery services set me off.

Expand full comment

Yep, complaining about food costs sounds silly when you know that delivery services have taken off. It is beyond ludicrous that a number of voters want the criminal back because of what a dozen eggs cost two years before the election,

Expand full comment

I share your cynicism.

Expand full comment
founding

This is nothing if you lived through the ‘80’s. I also worked in financial services and spent my career wondering when we’d swing back to high inflation—honestly it took a lot longer than I ever thought it would. I don’t think these rates are the worst—people can actually earn a little bit on their savings now.

Expand full comment

Yes, it is nice to live in a world where you can get %5.2 APY on your savings without risking it all in the stock market.

Sure it would be better if inflation was closer to 2%, but at least Powell has not driven us into a recession and he seems to be on track to get inflation lower, all in good time.

Would everyone honestly prefer stagflation? Remember that? I do.

Expand full comment

And earn that little bit more in a less risky, less volatile way.

Expand full comment

I bought a new car in 1981. The interest rate was nearly 18%.

Expand full comment

"Things aren't near as catastrophic as they could have been. Here's why that is bad for Biden..."

Expand full comment
founding

I bought my first home in 88 and got a mortgage at 8.5% fixed, which I was thrilled about. I said "it's never going lower than this.

"Perspective" unfortunately, is a big driver in people's "lived experiences"

Expand full comment

in 1993 I wanted to assume someone's mortgsge but it was 12%. They rented it out. instead.

Expand full comment

I bought mine in 1981..bad timing...13.75%...

The one I own now was at 10.12% in 2002..in 2005 I re-fied for 6%, that is the lowest I have ever had

Expand full comment

This makes me wonder if corporations aren't a bigger reason for the slowdown than I thought. Hiding behind inflation to gouge consumers isn't exactly new.

Expand full comment

If corporations could "gouge" customers whenever they wanted, why would they need the excuse of inflation? The fact is supply and demand are what drives prices.

Expand full comment

What about supply chains that are interrupted?

Expand full comment

"...an intelligent headline would be that the Feds are still unable to get us to their goal. "

Here's my headline: "Near term rate cuts unlikely as inflation still above Fed target"

Just the facts, please. The reader is free to add their own political spin. That's not the job of the journalist (or at least it didn't used to be).

Expand full comment

It is now. Because throwing in that bit of political spice generates clicks.

Expand full comment

An incentive we can really do without.

Expand full comment

I agree this seems to have been a fairly short period of heightened inflation. I remember the 70s and 80s, too. But between then and now, two percent inflation did happen (plus or minus 1% at worst), and it held over an extraordinarily long period, between 1994 and 2020. That doesn't mean that it was the best level for Fed policy to aim for, but it was achieved.

Expand full comment

"Women must be Punished"- Trump.

"I alone killed off Roe V Wade" Trump.

Shout it from the mountain tops. It's not just suburban women. It's their daughter's, their granddaughters, . Women should have essential rights and the GOP doesn't want them to have them. Contraception is next, believe me.

The current GOP claims to love these babies, until they are born of course and then, the GOP would like to under nourish them, deprive them of health care, shelter and education. If they're black, they shouldn't have the right to vote.

All part of that big tent.

Expand full comment
Apr 11·edited Apr 11

Except that, after Trump's "throw it back to the states" speech, the GOP loves only the babies in their state.....I guess? They've quickly embraced this talking point (see Kari Lake), which seems to be saying "Life begins at conception and all life is precious and abortion is murder, except in states where it isn't and I'm fine with that."

Expand full comment

Fine with it until or if they get elected. Then they won't be fine with it.

Expand full comment

Well put, Beth! 🤣

Expand full comment

RE: Abortion in Arizona, Texas, et al...

My wife says, "I'm a resident of a state, but a citizen of the United States. And as a US citizen, I have less rights in some states than in others. To me, this is the same reason slavery couldn't be left to the states. When it comes to certain, basic, individual rights, the federal government must ensure that we have equal rights, and protection of those rights, throughout the country."

I'm not as sophisticated as she, so I'm more, "Do you really want to live in a world (state!) where Crooked Ken Paxton climbs off his mistress long enough to stick his nose in your most personal, vulnerable moments in life and make grandstanding, uninformed, life threatening, medical decisions for you...because...Bible!?"

Expand full comment
founding

Great point. The Ken Paxton bit almost made me lose my breakfast. That guy is repulsive.

Expand full comment

She's quoting the 14th Amendment, which SCOTUS made up a provision for enacting in Trump v Anderson. In THIS case, they ignored the text and legislated from the bench which is what conservatives call "activist judges", AKA any appointed by a Dem president.

I shudder to think of what they could come up with on Trump's immunity.

Expand full comment
founding

on Trump's immunity they will probably come up with something originalist, as in, "Well now, THAT'S original!"

Expand full comment

Another demerit for the AZ GOP that I just learned: Gov. Ducey actually packed the state Supreme Court, adding 2 justices. Where is the outrage?!

Expand full comment
founding

Saw that too, and agreed. But I also took that as a cautionary tale for people on the center left like me. Actions taken to enhance our power beyond the will of the voters will often lead to over-reach, which will ultimately lead to backlash

Expand full comment

I see a different cautionary tale. While the left talks itself out of exercising power in any form, the right flagrantly and shamelessly does the exact thing you talked yourself out of and no one even bats an eye, and they reap dividends for decades. The left has to stop fighting with its hands tied behind its back. The left is playing to lose honorably, and the right is playing to win.

Expand full comment

Since Reagan, the Republican always pushed beyond the rules. Over the years, they learned they could push beyond the laws. Trump has demonstrated that you can literally try to overturn the government and with enough lawyers he will getaway with it. Also, the Dems have always overestimated the American public. Now, they are realizing that lies and intimidation are working for the MAGA folks. The press loves drama and conflict. Safety, freedom, and democracy are not as exciting. The best things would be for the FBI to arrest Trump as a Putin puppet and security risk and put him in jail immediately. Let the courts sort that out for four years.

Expand full comment

I like this idea. But he could still run for president and, if he won, hold office from prison. There is no prohibition in the Constitituion on felons running for or holding office. Just insurrectionists. And, per SCOTUS, Congress would have to initiate that which would not happen if we get a GOP-controlled Congress in 2025.

Expand full comment

He could be arrested because he’s a security risk and for sharing secrets with a foreign power. That would be close enough to treason to disqualify him.

Expand full comment

Yeah, that would, but they'd have to have evidence. So far, no investigation has found it. And they need a predicate to open one. That means, according to DOJ, facts or circumstances that reasonably indicate that a federal crime has been, is being, or will be committed. Are you aware of any such facts or circumstances?

Expand full comment

Yes, the orange sob should have been in the clink long ago, maybe Jan 10, 2021.

Expand full comment

Yes Mingus, true words. I have said the same.

Expand full comment

Clinton said it best.

"Abortion should be safe, legal and rare." Quite the radical view these days.. Overreach is a systemic Republican problem.

Expand full comment
Apr 11·edited Apr 11

The Dems are perfectly capable of overreaching on abortion. Witness what Governor Kemp did to Stacey Abrams on that issue. She would not agree to any limits whatsoever on abortion and that allowed him to effectively neutralize the issue. The Democrats' extreme position on abortion never gets talked about when Republicans are so busy stupidly defining the abortion issue by opposing 1% of the abortions that 90% of the public support - the exceptions of rape, incest and life of the mother.

Most countries draw the line on abortion at 15 weeks. Let Democrats defend second trimester abortion that Roe allowed and a strong majority of people don't support.

Expand full comment

Thx. News to me. Now I know why Rs are constantly accusing Dems of packing the court. More narcissitic projection.

Expand full comment

It's even worse than that. I live in Arizona and when Ducey proposed his court packing scheme, his justification was that the court was overloaded. The State Supreme Court justices responded "no we're not". But he (Ducey) and they (the GOP state legislators) did it anyway. There was plenty of outrage when he did it - but not enough to stop it.

Expand full comment

Interesting...conservatives "pack" the court, while liberals just appoint justices. Not sure why the derogatory term "packing" has to be used when a governor or president is simply carrying forward their constitutional duty to fill vacancies on the court.

Expand full comment

"Packing" is adding seats and then fillling them. That's what Ducey did.

Expand full comment

I'm kind of surprised that there is no mention of MTG's latest round of antics in ratcheting up the House speakership crisis another notch or two. Then again maybe it has become so routine and so predictable that it no longer bears scrutiny until some actual consequence occurs.

That said, it seems fair to ask anew what business the GOP majority is getting done in this Congress. So I'm asking. And waiting for an answer. And still waiting. It also seems fair to wonder out loud why that is acceptable to so many people on the right, who in years past insisted on action toward our collective benefit and that represents at least some measurable outlay of achievement in exchange for the taxpayer-funded salary, pension funds, and benefits that they receive. Score another one for tribalism: apparently it's okay within the GOP to waste our money doing nothing but pursuing petty grievances and spite, at our expense, as long as they aren't Democrats doing it and block whatever initiatives said Democrats would pursue instead. Ask yourself how long you would have a job if you tried the same thing at your place of employment.

To the extent that winning vital seats in the House and the Senate is a priority for the Democrats, it might be about time that they make this a part of their campaign agenda and not expect us to read between the lines or figure it out for ourselves. It's okay to talk about a do-nothing Congress while playing up the accomplishments of the current administration, largely without their support.

Expand full comment

I listen to a British podcast, The Rest is Politics, hosted by two former MPs, to get another view on governing a divided country with similar concerns. They recently raised a very good question: why are there no job descriptions, no prerequisites, for lawmakers in this day and age? We have a few (age, citizenship, nominally non-insurrectionist) but it seems that it boils down to fundraising and being good on the stump. A job description for politicians sounds daft, but is it?

Expand full comment

I'm all for making their job requirements and performance metrics more like ours, especially since we're the ones paying them. Maybe term limits would encourage them to take things like that more seriously, since they don't seem to have much of an incentive to do so when they know they will be reelected for years and years with no consequences for subpar results.

Expand full comment
Apr 11·edited Apr 11

Half jokingly I think it used to be, "bring home the pork" and don't embarrass us, but now it seems that significant number of the voters are happy enough with entertainment rather than expecting (and voting for) a government to wield the immense power of the country for something ambitious, say, national healthcare, affordable post-secondary state university or trade school training, raising taxes and redistributing wealth downwards so that we share in good times and bank for our commitments to present and future generations. We have so much potential as a country; but, as the (Canadian!) songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen once said, " I love the country, but I hate the scene"

Expand full comment

Good point, and well stated.

Expand full comment

Term limits are bad, at least for legislators.

Experience in California has shown that when you have relatively short term limits in the assembly/senate, inexperienced legislators show up, get pitched by lobbyists on a law they can quickly propose and get passed, and tend to go for this so they will have some achievement before they are term limited. Then the legislator uses this to go from assembly/house to senate and so on.

Meanwhile the lobbyists are not term-limited, and you prevent the legislators getting enough experience to see through the lobbyists.

Really, term limits are evidence of a bug where legislators don't fear losing their seats in elections enough. For example in the UK there are no term limits, but half or more of Conservative MPs are about to be kicked out by voters as soon as there's an election this year. "Losing election" should be a higher risk for the GOP here too.

Expand full comment

So really the issue should be gerrymandering and outlawing it.

Expand full comment

That's up to each state's voters. Not SCOTUS. For them, it's a political question. More on that here, for those interested: https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artIII-S2-C1-9-1/ALDE_00001283/#:~:text=The%20political%20question%20doctrine%20limits,mootness%2C%20would%20otherwise%20be%20met.

Expand full comment

"nominally non-insurrectionist" - love that.

Expand full comment

I saw where she actually stated that she wishes that the 1/6 "objection" to the election had been successful. Wow...that should be generating some outrage...but they've successfully flooded the zone over the past 8 years and fatigue is setting in.

Expand full comment

That's been my thinking too. As with DJT, it seems to be becoming white noise to our ears in real time -- the more outrageous things they say and do, the less people care and pay attention. Which only opens the door to more of it from them, since there are no consequences. Again: what would happen to the rest of us if we did that at our place of employment? Likely we'd be reading the newspaper want ads and browsing job sites online, looking for ways to restore our income.

Expand full comment

MTG is just amping up the script for the reality TV show known as the US House of Representatives.

Expand full comment

Their behavior is juvenile - name-calling, attacking duly-elected authorities. I want to say to the Trumpists, "Would you allow your child to behave like that?" Then I saw the clip of Idiocracy posted above and realized the parents do it too.

Expand full comment

The GOP is sort of like...as long as we stick together and go with it...we can rule the world. They've gone from caring about our country to caring about themselves and their access to power and influence. For them the truth is what they all believe...not what the data, facts or truth represent.

Expand full comment
founding

“Score another one for tribalism: apparently it's okay within the GOP to waste our money doing nothing but pursuing petty grievances and spite, at our expense, as long as they aren't Democrats doing it and block whatever initiatives said Democrats would pursue instead.”

Agreed! It all started with McConnell and his famous pledge: “Our number one priority is to make sure Obama fails!”

This was the conservative thinking while the country was experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Republicans have never given a damn about America; it’s only power and control that they covet. Everyone who disagrees with their parochial and ideological viewpoints, be damned.

Additionally, it’s amazing how so many republicans like MTG, Gaetz and Trump can get away with duplicitous behavior and absurd statements, while when just one democrat says something stupid, suddenly the entire right-wing ecosystem goes off the rails and makes that statement the official policy position of the entire party. Yet, the reality is the entire Republican Party has jumped into the abyss.

Seriously! We have a president who has 91 indictments, and has been convicted in civil court several times, including for his main business, foundation, fake university, and even rape. Yet, only in America can Biden be considered more corrupt than the mango menace. Yet, they indict Biden as a show of projection. As for Hunter’s Chinese and Ukrainian payoffs? They don’t exist, but Kushner and the rest of the Trump Criminal Syndicate have benefited greatly from foreign governments like Saudi Arabia and China.

Bottom line: America is where dreams come true, especially if you’re a corrupt and morally bankrupt charlatan. There is no bottom, as these whack-a-doodles continue to fail upward!

Good times!..:)

Expand full comment

'The Arizona Freedom Caucus was thrilled: “Murdering children is not a policy disagreement. Democrat politicians’ infatuation with murdering children is evil.”'

How do these people get away with saying such incendiary nonsense? This is slanderous hysteria.

Expand full comment

T has said something about his opposition to "executing babies after birth," claiming it's something D's do.

Expand full comment

He says that constantly. Oh yeah, doctors are just out there aborting already born babies, aka murder. Yep, definitely happening. It's an insane lie, it's hard to imagine people believe it but I'm sure some do.

Expand full comment

It’s got to be the basest of his base who believe this kind of horse sheet.

Expand full comment

It's like they're envisioning these clinics with drive-through lanes.

Expand full comment

If they're the first to ACCUSE SOMEONE of it, nobody will complain when they DO it.

Svcks how effective that is.

Expand full comment

Forced birth is not a policy disagreement. It’s a most detestable commandeering if one’s body.

Will the government make us give blood every 3 months?

Make someone donate a kidney or bone marrow?

Where does it end?

(I’ve checked the box to be an organ donor but that is MY choice)

Expand full comment
Apr 11·edited Apr 11

It's my understanding that in passing the 15-week limit, Republican legislators and the then-GOP governor of AZ inserted a provision specifically allowing previous state laws to kick in should Roe be overturned. So this was the outcome they wanted, and now they have it.

Expand full comment

That should also be hyped up. I wasn't aware this was a feature, not a bug!!

Expand full comment

If so, it's not statutory. https://www.azleg.gov/arsDetail/?title=36 See Chapter 23. 36-2322 set the 15 week limit.

Expand full comment

It IS statutory.

The law reads: "This act does not ... repeal, by implication or otherwise, section 13-3603, Arizona Revised Statutes, or any other applicable state law regulating or restricting abortion."

Section 13-3603 is the 1864 law.

Expand full comment

"state senator Anthony Kern, now running in a Republican primary for an open congressional seat, not only supported the court decision but ended his statement with the exhortation: “Make America Pray Again!” He said "Make" which, in this case, would imply coercion or force. I think we should never forget that Republicans want a theocracy built around their particular beliefs and never mind the 1st Amendment. Being anti-abortion is only the first step.

Expand full comment

Protestant or Catholic Integralist? And then if Protestant - Adventist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed? Somehow they never seem to get that defined, nor do they realize in a “Christian” theocracy not being of the chosen denomination could be a problem…

Expand full comment

The final battle would come down to the Catholic Integralists vs the Dominionists. The Dominionists include all of the above mentioned protestant denominations in significant percentages.

Expand full comment

Pardon me, but being raised a Presbyterian, I do not think we Presbys are all that interested in telling anyone what to believe or how to live.

Expand full comment

Not the ones in the North, but there are other independent Presbyterians in the South. At least they have Presbyterian in their name and back history.

Expand full comment

That is such a good point.

Expand full comment
founding

That struck me too.

Expand full comment

The idea that one sad old man sitting in a gilded pile in Florida can tank any piece of legislation he wants with just a phone call or a twoot ... it's mind blowing, even by today's standards.

Expand full comment

Well, he speaks truths you know.

Expand full comment
founding

Bleats, I believe Charlie called them.

Expand full comment

I really miss Mr. Sykes.

Expand full comment

Charlie brought a kind of fire I like:-)

Expand full comment

Republicans never actually spell out when America was last "great," but it's starting to look like they mean the 1860s.

Expand full comment

The early 1860s, before the Confederacy was defeated.

Expand full comment

Irony is dead, but stupidity is eternal. From the AP this morning: "[AZ] Republican state Rep. Teresa Martinez, of Casa Grande, said there was no reason to rush the debate. She accused Democrats of “screaming at us and engaging in extremist and insurrectionist behavior on the House floor.”"

Expand full comment

They carry projection to an extreme and then saturate the zone with it.

Scary-crazy-sad how well that technique weorks.

Expand full comment

IMO GOP legislators and their voters are engaged in, "I know you are, but what am I?" schoolyard taunting. They know they're wrong, and they know they should be ashamed of lying themselves, and they should be directing their anger at their "leaders" who are so often caught in their lies and then forcing them to support them, but the mob gives everyone cover.

Expand full comment
founding

Abortion is the gift that keeps on giving to democrats, while the GQP has truly shown its parochial and Handmaid’s tale solution: Destroy all women’s reproductive rights by whatever means possible.

These keystone cops can’t even agree on any unifying talking points anymore. First it was state rights. Now they want a national ban on abortion, and believe the Comstock Act gives them the right to do so.

Yup, this is how the GQP expects to govern; not through harmony and a united front, but fighting the war from within. This is four decades in the making.

Regan welcomed the fanatics into the party and now they have infiltrated every aspect of party. From judicial picks, to extreme gerrymandering that only allows the most corrupt and extreme to win primaries.

God help us of Trump wins; the Heritage Foundation and its Project 2025 will become the guiding light of the MAGA agenda, and all hope of avoiding a fascist, Christian Nationalist State, will be crushed!

Good times!…:)

Expand full comment

A lot of the concern about Project 2025 is about the authoritarianism, and rightly so, but I think another huge problem will be the general incompetence. When you replace people at all levels and areas of government with loyalists with no experience, the potential for chaos is huge.

It amazes me that people think we can end the “deep state” and they’ll get their tax refunds on time.

Expand full comment

Yes, yes, yes. If you have partisan trump-loyal fools at every position, the whole economy will/could tank, then retirements, then the rest of the world economy and all of a sudden the whole world is swimming in ruin.

Expand full comment

If being a Trump sycophant is the foremost qualification for getting hired by the Trump administration (and it will be), the resulting corruption, incompetence, and chaos will know no limits.

Expand full comment
founding

True, but this time around, they won’t be so incompetent. They have the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation who will provide the loyal sycophants for Trump’s next administration. Their long-term agenda is turning this nation into Christo-fascist authoritarian kakistocracy.

So if Trump wins, all bets are off!…:)

Expand full comment

In my experience, businesses have a lot of weirdness and I assume that holds true for the government. I knew a guy who got forced into retirement as a programmer, and then suddenly lots of things started to break in seemingly unrelated systems. They had to bring him back (at much higher wages) to get the wheels back on the wagon.

Just one example. I have many more. I don’t think replacing people is all that straightforward.

Expand full comment

Yep, just look at the RNC, being forced to hire back 60 staffers they fired after the Trump takeover.

I'm shocked they weren't able to just canvas a Trump rally and hire 60 Trump cultists who were also competent at accounting and administration. /s

Expand full comment
founding

Agreed, but you’re assuming they haven’t already infiltrated these institutions already…:)

Expand full comment

The choice is between living in 1864 with MAGA Republicans or 2024 with enlightened humans.

Actually, they’d like to turn back the clock another year or so to pre-Emancipation Proclamation days.

Expand full comment

I'm old enough to remember that Arizona Republican Senator Barry Goldwater - Called "Mr. Conservative" at one time- was Pro Choice! And his wife Peggy Goldwater helped found an Arizona chapter of Planned Parenthood. Goldwater was also supportive of gays in the military.

This just goes to show you how conservatism has changed over the years & become more in league with the Evangelicals, far right politicians & the conspiracy wing of the party.

Here's a quote from Barry Goldwater on abortion: " A woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or the Religious Right."

Expand full comment

I doubt today's Rs even know who Goldwater is.

Expand full comment

Oh there is probably some county party fund raising event named after him.

Expand full comment

Geez, that Barry Goldwater was a flaming liberal compared to today's GOP.

Expand full comment

Wow.

Expand full comment

Re: AZ Republicans. I am not sure why William Kristol is surprised. To my thinking, this is the logical, inevitable result of the last 50 years of Republican machinations.

Expand full comment

Former prominent Republican Bill Kristol surprised by the natural consequence of his party's decades-long opposition to reproductive freedom. I enjoy The Bulwark but sometimes they sound ridiculous.

Expand full comment

Yeah, but I think almost everyone can sound ridiculous from time to time. Meh included, if I am being .

Expand full comment

Humble

Expand full comment

The most import things in MAGA lives are fetuses and guns. They rely on both to control what they fear the most : women.

Expand full comment