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Is a Vaccinated Republican a Real Republican?

A few months ago, Jon Lovett of Pod Save America was spot on when he said that the real divide in this country falls between those who pay attention and those who don’t. With that in mind, I received some pushback from last week’s post, in which I proposed that “ continuing to identify as Republican means one is either stupid or complicit.” I heard from several readers who found that attitude a tad harsh, and who took issue with me for bringing my open contempt for the GOP down to the personal, rank-and-file level. Their point being that they know people — as do I — who have traditionally voted Republican, some of whom are friends. Evidently, many of these friends are disgusted with the sharp right turn their party has taken. They hate Trump. They deplore the insurrection. They were happy to get vaccinated. All of which I applaud. But I can’t help but ask where they’ve been, these vaccinated Republicans? This sharp right turn hasn’t been that sharp — it’s been bending that way f
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I’d Rather Not Be So Partisan

Since moving to my modest suburb outside Detroit, my interest in local politics has been marginal. I personally don’t have much skin in the game — no school-age children, no business interests to advocate for, no history in the community. I’m generally content to pay my taxes and enjoy the benefits of living in a relatively well-run town. Even so, as a citizen I feel responsible for knowing something about the people who run things. So while I don’t follow the workings of the city council, I do pay attention when its members are running for office, which happens in off-year elections every two years.  So this is the year, and, as expected, the front yards are abloom with lawn signs. I get to vote for three of the six candidates. The unspoken rule is that the election process is kept strictly non-partisan, so these candidates do not publicly divulge their party affiliations. Which almost makes sense. After all, the upkeep of our roads, sewers, power lines and other infrastructur

Inflation and the Supply Chain are Joined at the Hip

Back in the early eighties, inflation was on everyone’s mind. Prices on everything had been going up since the Vietnam War, and the country was caught in a vicious spiral of people and businesses getting rocked by higher prices, expecting them to go even higher, and raising prices in anticipation of them going still higher. Rinse and repeat. The expectation of higher prices drove prices higher. It was an eye-opening experience. The candy bar that cost a dime when I was a kid was suddenly 75 cents. My first mortgage carried a 12-percent interest rate adjustable every year, which meant it could’ve escalated to 18 percent in six years, a terrifying prospect. Luckily, interest rates peaked before that could happen, and the so-called Great Inflation of the seventies and eighties finally subsided. But ever since that time, big business has been obsessively paranoid about anything that smacks of inflation. Inflation cuts into their precious purchasing power. It degrades the value of t

Because Things Just Aren’t Scary Enough

There’s been considerable buzz in the last week around an op-ed column in the Washington Post that purports to scare the shit out of you, but is a must-read nonetheless. It was written by Robert Kagan, an establishment policy expert, long associated with Republican administrations. Now divorced from the GOP, he has become an outspoken never-Trumper. The piece is both a dead-on analysis of our current moment in history and a dire warning for the very near future. While I don’t subscribe to all its assumptions, I find its basic premise disturbingly plausible, maybe even likely. The essay envisions a dystopian nightmare enveloping the 2024 presidential election, the culmination of a constitutional crisis that is clearly already in motion. As things stand now, Kagan says, the groundwork is almost in place for Trump to steal that election. Kagan insists that Trump will indeed be the candidate, that he will challenge the results if they don’t fall his way, and that this time he has

The Engine Room of Right-Wing Propaganda

How many times, over the last few decades, have we heard mention of the Heritage Foundation, and thought nothing of it? It’s always been one of those names in the background, just below the surface of the discussion. It’s often accompanied by the words “conservative think tank,” which led me to wonder what they think about. Especially in this age of big lies, insurrection, and election subversion. So I took a closer look. Turns out, “think tank” is an apt description, because these are the guys who do the actual thinking — such as it is — for the Republican party. Ever since Reagan, Heritage has provided Republicans with the specious reasoning they use to explain — or explain away — regressive policy positions. The arguments are never particularly cogent, and the facts they use to back up those arguments are cherry-picked at best, invented at worst. But in recent years, facts of any kind have been an afterthought. Heritage has gone all-in for Trump, and they’ve stopped pretendi

The Oligarch Agenda

One more week off, then I promise I’ll write something new. Meanwhile, permit me to take you back thirteen months to August 14, 2020, when the world looked remarkably bleak. This was the essay that got the blog thrown off Facebook, which I’ve come to see as a badge of honor. My attitude towards Republicans, as you’ll see, was less than charitable at the time, and it hasn’t improved since. As vile as they were then, they’re immeasurably worse now. Indeed, in the five decades I’ve been watching them, worse is all they’ve ever gotten. Worse is what they do, and every day they get better at it.   Fifty years of Republicanism has brought us to this. A pandemic so out of control, the world sees us as a slow-motion car crash they can’t look away from. An economic nosedive, steeper and faster than any before it, with no chance of recovery as long as the virus stays rampant. An unemployment catastrophe, with sixteen million people out of work, with their health insu

Losing Roe Could Be a Nightmare — For Republicans

  Greetings from Canada, where I’m taking a mental health week, enjoying something of a media fast (which I recommend), and where I’m happily not writing. So this post is a repeat, and a somewhat timely one. First published October 2, 2020 — pre-election, pre-insurrection, pre-big lie — the subject was abortion. While I certainly never saw the new Texas laws coming — let alone the bounty-hunter angle — I’m pleased that the piece seems more relevant now than it was then. Please give it a read, or a re-read, and see if you agree.   Of all the atrocities a six-to-three Supreme Court could inflict on the world, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is, dare I say, among the least of them. Yes, reproductive rights are as important as ever. Yes, it’s obscene that any Western country should still be wasting time on what should be a long-settled issue. But the implications of a Roe-less future needn’t be as bleak as popular imagination would have it. And it could end up blowing b