Heavily overscheduled road trip this week, hence the scarcity of posts the last couple of days. Collecting lots of scraps of gossip in DC about the Trump transition, most of it wrong, I suspect. At least I was able to sneak in a fine bottle of Bordeaux at an undisclosed location last night.
Some items from the spindle:
• What’s the old line about stepping out of the way when your enemies decide to commit suicide? The happiest news of the week is the re-election of Nancy Pelosi to lead House Democrats. Chris Cillizza of the ComPost observes: “Pelosi is 76. Her second-in-command, Maryland’s Steny Hoyer, is 77. Jim Clyburn, the 3rd ranking House Democrat, is 76.” Nothing says “forward-looking leadership” like a trio of septuagenarians at the top of the food chain. No wonder they defend Social Security and Medicare so, um, vigorously.
Now, can they please go Full Corbyn by installing Keith Ellison as DNC chair? Or is that asking Santa for too much too early?
• One of the leading campus left obsessions these days is with “neoliberalism,” which is shorthand for free markets, globalization, low taxes and sensible regulation. In other words, mostly sensible stuff. The Guardian’s George Monbiot, who inspired the term “Moonbat” more than a decade ago, is still hanging upside down on this question. He says that Trump is just the latest manifestation of the noxious neoliberalism, apparently overlooking Trump’s hostility to free trade and other anti-neoliberal positions. It takes Melanie Philips in The Spectator to point out that Trump has more in common with Jeremy Corbyn than Milton Friedman:
Consider. Trump is a protectionist and against free trade. So is the far-left Democrat Bernie Sanders. So is Jeremy Corbyn. Trump is against globalisation and outsourcing jobs to cheaper markets. So is the British left. . .
On foreign policy, Trump is said to be isolationist. So is the left. Ever since the Iraq debacle, the left and the Poujadist right have made common cause in their determination never again to intervene in ‘foreign wars’. Thus Labour refused to back air strikes in Syria, prompting Hillary Benn to warn his party in vain against its isolationist Iraq War complex.
Trump thinks Nato is too costly and outdated. Jeremy Corbyn has said of Nato: ‘I’d rather we weren’t in it’ and his communications director, Seumas Milne, has written that ‘far from keeping the peace, Nato is a threat to it’.
Trump is accused of cosying up to Vladimir Putin. Last year, Corbyn was accused of ‘making excuses’ for Putin’s incursions into Ukraine after the Labour leader suggested Nato’s ‘excessive and obsessive expansion’ was to blame for the crisis. . .
In repudiating this world, Corbyn/Sanders/Trump connect with more people than Clinton/Blair/Osborne. For all their horror at Corbyn and Sanders, Labour ‘moderates’ are paralysed by the fact that the populist insurgency is against the world they themselves have helped make. And they have no other song to sing. All they can do is demonise others to tell themselves they are different.
Ludicrously, Trump is said to have ‘dog-whistled’ anti-Semitism by criticising the corporate financial world for riding roughshod over people’s interests. Yet Bernie Sanders also claimed Hillary Clinton was controlled by Wall Street. No one accused him of an anti-Semitic dog-whistle.
No one ever accused the left of logical consistency.
• The left’s Fox News Derangement Syndrome has reached the Oval Office. President Obama complained to Rolling Stone:
In this election, [white working class voters] turned out in huge numbers for Trump. And I think that part of it has to do with our inability, our failure, to reach those voters effectively. Part of it is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.
Can a call for a new Prohibition be far behind?