305 Comments

You mean I have subscribed to “…a transphobic, warmongering, right-wing turd of “online news? Oh the HORROR!!! This warrants 3 exclamation marks.

I like the Bulwark. I like reading different articles on politics, the Bulwark being one, especially during the election season, is simply the best. Never boring, informative and interesting. I also like there are some insertions of appropriate humor in some articles. It breaks up the style of the article

So "right-wing turd...?" Methinks the person is waaay off.

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Re cheering for the clothes, have the issues or the politicians changed?

Tangent: as a teenager in the 1970s, my favorite senator (sad for a teenager to have had a preference ordering of the US Senate, but on this site I figure I may not be the only one) was William Proxmire, who gave out the Golden Fleece Awards. Imagine: a Democrat who went out of his way to challenge wasteful spending. Is that excluded from the domain of conservatism due to Proxmire's party affiliation?

Republicans are certainly not what they were before the 1994 election, when Gingrich rose like the Beast out of the sea, hefting his Contract with America, each of its bullet points a blasphemy.

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As I began to read the piece about being a “supporter” my first thought was - great...yet another word guilt trip. It usually comes from my lefty friends who tell me the word I just used is not at all what I thought but some other deeply held (insert -ism, tribe, stereotypic or clueless word here) belief that needed to be corrected. My heart was sinking. Not JVL, please God, not him! Happily I read onward, the guilt shaming notwithstanding.

I was rewarded handsomely sticking with the piece. I was convinced that you were spot on, and (apologies to Sarah) were right.

Thank you for helping delineate the differences between being a supporter and a fan boy....er...girl...er...person.

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| Man, I would love to meet the people who get their political analysis from 16-year-olds.

Why not rely on a 16-year-old for insight into the id of a developmental 1st grade playground bully like Trump? I can't see much downside. Indeed, given the proximity of developmental ages, one kid may have more accurate insight into the other kid than most adults could produce.

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Well thanks Jamie. Sanity is at work.

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I went to the page on Slate and "Correction, May 26, 2023: We updated this column to remove a letter targeting another publication. We’ve also updated headlines to reflect that change."

I wonder if they realized that they were either getting trolled or that their advice columnist did no research as to what The Bulwark actually is. I read Slate daily along with the Bulwark and gotta say they usually line up on the "WTF is happening to democracy" front. This definitely left a sour taste in my mouth for Slate but to be honest, I never read advice columns so until I see Dahlia Lithwick taking shots, then I can accept that their advice column is just shitty

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Does no one here remember the confession from the author with writer's block who wrote absurd letters to Slate to see if they would get published: https://www.gawker.com/media/dear-prudie-it-was-me-all-along

He did this until he wrote one letter which made it to right-wing land and then it stopped being funny.

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The GOP and its backers also have a whole infrastructure which appears dedicated to finding and promoting people like GOP Josh and future politicians in general. The College Republicans and Federalist Society offer way more career opportunities and guidance than College Democrats and the American Constitution Society.

I don't know if it is vestiges to the old and largely but not completely gone urban machines* but the Democrats are still very much a pay your dues and move up the ranks kind of party. It is partially why its politicians are a bit older than average and have the genrontocracy issue. There are exceptions (Barack Obama, AOC, Spanberger, and others) but if you look at the leadership generally, they moved up the ranks from local council member to state legislature to Congress to Senate or to state Executive positions. It is a long haul. There is no searching for young wonders whether in punditry (GOP Josh, Ben Shapiro, Laura Loomer, etc) or in politics (Paul Ryan, etc.)

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Kevin Drum famously noted that Democrats have a "hack gap." Basically, Republican pundits and voters will constantly go to the mattresses for the party and proposed policies. If a Republican pundit thinks a particular policy is bad, he will shut up. In contrast, Democratic leaning politicians, voters, and pundits can't help themselves if they think a fellow Democrat is voicing a bad policy. This happened a few years ago when Bernie Sanders theorized that there should be a tax on companies like Walmart or Amazon that have employees on welfare and other assistance. A lot of Democratic pundits immediately pounced that this was a bad idea. Or look at the fights between Democrats who represent urban, diverse, and generally low to moderate income communities vs. those that represent more affluent and usually whiter suburban communities. Both groups think the other is committing acts of sabotage for policies advocated especially during election time.

Plus the GOP seems to have a weird love for young conservatives, especially of the smug male variety, that is not found in Democratic voters. GOP Josh is the new Ben Shapiro.

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Todays Republicans are authoritarian. They instinctively line up behind their leaders.

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If any of you ever write into Slate for advice, skip the answers from the columnist and go straight to the comments - the commenters always give much better advice. In the Slate article about The Bulwark (that letter has been removed, but the comments are still there), the commentariat were firmly on the side of The Bulwark.

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I really appreciate the Bulwark because it presents ideas that are common sense. Fiscally conservative and socially liberal, it's sometimes difficult to find common sense. MSNBC was too much about how businesses are ruining America because they are trying to make money. Conservative news supported Trump, enough said. I recently canceled a subscription to a news service that was also anti Trump because when an article included comments that were anti Trump they also included comments about how the radical left was controlling Biden and destroying the country and it was DeSantis who was really working to put forth laws that reflected American values, and I was told I'm a naive idiot if I didn't realize the Democrats' plan to destroy the country.

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May 28, 2023·edited May 28, 2023Liked by Jonathan V. Last

I appreciate my Republican friends at the Bulwark very much.

Also, I sort of understand why some still identify as Republicans in spite of some of the rotten things in the party's history and in spite of the rot in today's GOP because I have some similar conflicts as someone who was raised in the Catholic Church. I've become an agnostic yet my Catholic identity remains a part of me.

Moving on, I am a supporter of Joe Biden on social media and have sometimes been accused by those who hate and despise him of "loving Biden." That's because I am so busy defending him from charges of senility, being a pedophile, a racist, a clown, corrupt, 'China Joe' - and the worst president ever, a world laughingstock who is destroying the country, etc. that I rarely note that I know he messed up the Afghanistan withdrawal, that I cringe whenever he repeats "that's not hyperbole" and "not a joke" - and that I am among those who while crediting him for his numerous accomplishments, believe that he is too old to run again. Although I think Biden deserves far better poll numbers than he's getting, I don't really love him, although I confess I did and do love Obama a little.

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I think there was no better way to leave Afghanistan. 20 years and trillions of dollars and there were more Taliban at the end than the beginning.

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The ambivalence about homelessness is really about civic order vs. individual rights. There are clearly people out there who can’t take care of themselves and who cross the line of decency when they verbally assault people. Some sort of custodial asylums seem necessary (if unlikely) but there are liberty concerns.

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They used to have them. I had twin brothers, who non verbal with IQ's of 35, and were in a state hospital in Chicago many years ago. They were a danger to themselves. They flung poop, burned themselves on the radiator, one climbed out the 3rd story window into the neighbors apt. No one could believe it.

In the hospital they were watched 24/7. When we visited them we had to walk through a large room with rows of rocking chairs with old people all watching TV. It was depressing, but it was also warm and safe. There was food, and someone to help them up if they fell or help them find their bed. When they closed the state hospitals they sent my brothers to various halfway houses. I don't know were the old folks went. They had no money. Maybe a boarding house or out on the streets or homeless shelters.

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:( Are there any ways that we could help prevent homelessness as a society ? Isn't that a questions to bring up more frequently ? I live in the Asheville area and most homeless men here are Veterans - which screams to me 'bad country - that can't take care of veterans'...

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May 28, 2023·edited May 28, 2023Liked by Jonathan V. Last

JVL wrote:

*****Warning: Today’s edition is fairly self-indulgent.

[...]

[M]ost of the time being an Internet supporter means running cover for your team.*****

.

.

I agree with the truth of the latter bit and presently will emulate the former bit with a relevant personal example.

A friend of mine posted a popular agitprop meme that argues with an annotated graph that Democrats, not Republicans, are the party of fiscal responsibility.

I commented to the post that the graph was misleading. My friend replied, essentially, that I am too honest -- which I took as a great compliment! My friend argued that Democrats lose by fighting fair and that I should do my part rather than nag my friends to do otherwise.

My friend's comments prompted me to write an essay.

Please indulge MY shameless self-promotion:

https://decencyandsense.substack.com/p/advocate-and-argue-in-good-faith

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Long live team liberal democracy. I’m a life-long Democrat, a donor, and there is no daylight between me and The Bulwark. I support Ukraine, border control, civic order, free markets (suitably regulated and with a functioning safety net), gay rights, and choice. I’m ambivalent about trans issues and affirmative action and homelessness. What I want to say is, come on in, the water’s fine. There’s plenty of ideological breathing room for Never Trumpers in the Democratic Party. There’s a huge core of centrist Democrats who, like you, are committed to common decency and common sense. Welcome!

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(Mostly) +1.

Updated through the 2000s, I hear strong shades of "Henry 'Scoop' Jackson Democrat" in that. Minus some unfortunate blind spots, there's strong traditions from the middle part of the 20th century if we'd care to reach back to pull some of that forward. For one thing, they weren't apologetic about their liberalism, were more confident, and used more accessible language.

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author

I’m just not a joiner. But I agree that the D’s presently are the party most hospitable.

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AMEN! Brother.

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I'm not sure how ambivalence about homelessness matches up with common decency and common sense, but I agree that the Democratic Party readily accommodates it.

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Jonathan and E2, Decency and Sense -- the title of my Substack -- are my watchwords.

I am an active member of the Democratic Party -- a local party officeholder and the nominee of the party last cycle for a seat in my state legislature.

Notwithstanding all of that, I refrain from identifying myself as "a Democrat."

The best path forward is for more of us -- of whatever party or none at all -- to identify as small-d democrats and small-l liberals.

Partisan identity -- as affirmation fir oneself and denigration of the other -- is a major vector of our political and societal dysfunction.

Also, repeating the self-promotion of my standalone comment to JVL's essay, read my latest essay!

https://decencyandsense.substack.com/p/advocate-and-argue-in-good-faith

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May 28, 2023Liked by Jonathan V. Last

Mr. Last makes good points about how the Republicans have changed for the worse in the last few years. It is no longer clear that they are better on average than the Democrats on free markets, globalism and trade, individual liberty, crime, the rule of law, free speech, or a foreign policy appropriate to the situation in the world. Neither is it clear they have sunk below the Democrats on all these things. The Dems had such a head start on some of them, but the Repubs surely are bad enough. Their self-named national conservatives (i.e American falangists) are very bad indeed. I read an article a few days ago at the Federalist (a supposedly respectable conservative site I recommend checking occasionally for examples of what defenders of liberal civilization are up against) arguing that the culture war was not only the main issue for 2024 but really the only one, with questions of war and peace or the economy being irrelevant by comparison. The author demanded that the evil of his opponents in general and those having anything to do with transgender people or activities in particular had to be crushed and destroyed. The same author, one of their editors, has a piece up today calling for a religious war against woke corporations claiming they are literally siding with the forces of darkness. There are certainly big threats from the left, but there are two fronts in the fight to defend liberal principles and civilization, and some of the stuff from the right is scary as hell. Those of us who generally have seen Republicans as an at least slightly lesser evil than the Democrats have an extra responsibility to try to do something about it.

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