December 4, 2023

Oh! He's getting credit for sophistication now.

Trump is no longer a wild crazy idiot. Pay attention to the reframing.

I'm reading "Why a Second Trump Presidency May Be More Radical Than His First/Donald Trump has long exhibited authoritarian impulses, but his policy operation is now more sophisticated, and the buffers to check him are weaker" in The New York Times.

"Holy smokes. We've reached a new low. First people wanted to stop interacting in person. Now they don't want to be seen on screen."

"You can't put on 'work clothes' (whatever those are today)? You can't put yourself together the way you would if you went to an actual office? It's pretty simple. Put yourself on camera and don't eat during the meeting unless that's part of agenda (i.e., it's a working lunch). Sure, turn the camera and mic off then. But jump back on as soon as it's appropriate (if you need to check your teeth after you've eaten, go ahead and do that off-camera, too)."

Jump back on... that lingo disturbs me, and I'm retired. Nobody can nudge me about "jumping" on camera. But I understand the problem well enough to find TikTok's #CorporateErin endlessly hilarious.

"Biden was initially ambivalent about the term, then embraced it — but 'Bidenomics' has recently disappeared from his prepared speeches...."

Explains Axios, in "House Democrats ditch 'Bidenomics' messaging."
• The term was seen as tone-deaf to voters still struggling economically and also invoked a president with lackluster polling numbers. 
• One Democratic strategist said the biggest problem wasn't using "Biden," but that the term was too philosophical and required too much explanation.

"Biden is also known to swim naked."

Said the commenter Kevin, at my post about President Theodore Roosevelt wading, naked, in winter, in Rock Creek Park, where passersby might look on.

That made me want to look back at my post on the subject — here it is, February 17, 2021 — because I seem to remember thinking — while others evinced outrage — that it's fine and not sexual behavior to swim naked in your own pool, and if you're stuck with Secret Service protection, it's their job to endure it stoically. I'd quoted Biden:
"[L]iving in the White House.... it's a little like a gilded cage.... The vice president's residence is totally different. You're on 80 acres overlooking the rest of the city. And you can walk out. There's a swimming pool. You can walk off the porch in the summer and jump in a pool and go into work...."

I said: 

The Oxford "Word of the Year" is one of those Gen Z slang words that is just an abbreviated version of a regular word.

It's "rizz" — short for "charisma."

Reported here in the NYT, which offers some detail on the procedure, because you want assurance that the selection is not rigged:

"Cher joins the Rolling Stones with at least one new No. 1 on a Billboard songs chart in each of the seven decades from the 1960s through the 2020s...."

Billboard reports.

Go to the link if you want to see the names of all those #1s in all the relevant decades.

I've always loved Cher, but for me that means the Cher of 1965 (and the Cher of "Moonstruck"). But if she wants to do a Christmas recording, it's pretty much the way I feel about Bob Dylan doing a Christmas album. Go ahead. Do what you want. You've earned it. And I will continue to avoid the annual avalanche of Christmas music.

Anyway, click if you like. It's Cher's #1 Christmas song:

Having created a new tag and added it to 7 posts in this blog's archive, I list the 7 posts in an order other than chronological.

The new tag is "Edmund Morris."

The list:

1. September 4, 2004 — Studying the recent spike in the phrase "barking mad," I quote Edmund Morris's reaction to Maureen Dowd's calling him "barking mad" — "Like all barking mad people, I feel perfectly normal."

2. November 28, 2010 — That time Edmund Morris reamed Bob Shieffer on "Face the Nation," and I compared him to Peter Finch in "Network" and Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny."

3. December 4, 2023 — President Theodore Roosevelt waded naked in Rock Creek in full view of onlookers, described by Edmund Morris.

4. November 16, 2023 — TR's smelling of arsenic, as described by Edmund Morris

5. June 24, 2004 — Edmund Morris has a theory about how Ronald Reagan came to think the way he did: "Not until he put on his mother’s spectacles, around the age of thirteen, did he perceive the world in all its sharp-edged intricacy."

6. December 1, 2023 — TR's "cyclonic" personality, as described by Edmund Morris.

7. April 25, 2004 — "Edmund Morris gives a pretty bad review to the brilliantly titled book about punctuation, 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves.'"

"On winter evenings in Rock Creek Park, strollers may observe the President of the United States wading pale and naked into the ice-clogged stream, followed by shivering members of his Cabinet."

From "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris (Amazon commission earned).

I finished reading this 1,162-page book yesterday. The last 2 sentences are fantastic: "As he ate his sandwiches he saw below him in the trees a ranger approaching, running, clutching the yellow slip of a telegram. Instinctively, he knew what message the man was bringing." Teddy, with sandwiches, ranger with telegram.

I was going to say "The last 2 sentences are perfect," but the "As" suggests a precise moment in time and so "sandwiches" — in the plural — is hard to picture/believe, even if Teddy did have multiple sandwiches for lunch. "Below him in the trees" is understood. He's in the mountains. (Here's the drop pin on Google maps).

The natural thing for me to do at that point was to go back to the beginning of the book. Is it wonderful or dismaying to see how many things surprise you when you reread a book you've just read? But there's the President, wading naked into Rock Creek — in winter, to be seen by casual passersby — on page 24. (Here's the drop pin for Rock Creek Park.)

Bob Dylan sang "But even the President of the United States/Sometimes must have to stand naked." But I've always thought of as meaning that the President must, like anyone else, need to get naked to take a shower. Or it's all metaphor, expressing an imperative that the President be fully exposed. But it will never be required that the President strip naked for winter river wading in full view of onlookers. 

December 3, 2023

At the Sunday Night Café...

 ... you can talk about whatever you want.

The NYT headline about Trump's Cedar Rapids speech is so close to WaPo's headline that I was afraid for a moment that I'd mistakenly attributed the NYT headline to WaPo...

... when I put up this post an hour ago.

The WaPo headline you see at that post is: "Trump attempts to spin anti-democracy, authoritarian criticism against Biden."

Will the history of Napoleon's return repeat itself?

I don't know, but let's compare 2 political cartoons on the subject.

First, here is what we get from The Washington Post today:

Second, here is what we got from Puck in 1912:

"Trump attempts to spin anti-democracy, authoritarian criticism against Biden/The former president declared his 2024 campaign as a 'righteous crusade' against 'tyrants and villains.'"

That's the headline at The Washington Post.

Form your own impression. Here's the entire tirade (yesterday, in Cedar Rapids):

I listened to the speech yesterday, a bit inattentively, because it struck me as a typical Trump speech, not any new concept. 

But the Post's idea is that he's responding to recent criticism:

"The leaders of the world have failed. They have failed to master the overriding concepts, the fundamentals and the day-to-day tactics."

"Societies have to find a way to solve their problems without continuously having a series of conflicts. That is the challenge. We have been facing a period of constant conflict resulting in a major wars destroying much of the civilization that has been built."

"We’re looking into finding ways to build a mechanism of coordination between all the swing states so that... Muslim Americans will come out in all of these states, and that Mr. Biden will lose each and every one of them."

Said Hassan Abdel Salam, "a professor at the University of Minnesota and a member of the #AbandonBiden National Coalition," quoted in "Swing-state Muslim leaders launch campaign to ‘abandon’ Biden in 2024/The bubbling anger among Arab and Muslim Americans over the president’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict could threaten his chances of reelection" (Politico).

December 2, 2023

Sunrise — 7:00.


Open thread in the comments... and please support this blog by using the Althouse Portal to Amazon to do your shopping (and thus sending me a commission).

"I used to always hear Democrats saying, 'The election was all just Trump’s racist appeals,' but I actually went to the rallies in 2015."

"He would talk about bad trade deals. He promised to bring back Glass-Steagall, which is the bill regulating finance. He talked about health insurance. He was going to do a plan that actually would cover all Americans and wasn’t going to be like a rat’s maze. And if you compare the ads, his ads were overwhelmingly more policy-oriented than Clinton’s. She was really just attacking him as a bad guy and it didn’t work.

Said John Judis, quoted in "Where Have All the Democrats Gone? John Judis and Ruy Teixeira explain how liberals lost their way" (The Free Press)(transcript and audio)(Judis and Teixeira are political analysts). 

The "Honestly" podcast host asks: "So, you didn’t anticipate that the party that said, 'We are the party of Paul Ryan, we’re the party of tax cuts, we’re the party of Milton Friedman,' would actually start to sound more liberal on economic policy?"