November 8, 2019

"[T]he authoritarian rot that produced the current president* is present in the Republican Party at all levels.... And, if you need further proof, take a jaunt with us up to Wisconsin..."

"... where the voters had the audacity to vote in Tony Evers, a Democrat, and turn out Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage that particular midwest subsidiary. Democratic success in elections, unless it is achieved by overwhelming margins, is in the eyes of Republicans prima facie illegitimate. It started with Bill Clinton and it’s gotten worse ever since...."

From "The Authoritarian Rot That Produced This President* Is Present in the Republican Party at All Levels/Need proof? Look at Kentucky and Wisconsin" by Charles P. Pierce (in Esquire).

The asterisk doesn't have a footnote to go with it. Maybe Pierce established in some earlier column that when he refers to "the current president" there's some reservation, but it would be weird if the idea is that he doesn't regard Trump as actually the President, since in this column, he's taking the position that Democrats who win an election (without an overwhelming majority) are not considered legitimate by Republicans.

What's the "authoritarian rot" that's so obvious in Wisconsin, according to Pierce? It's just one story about how the state senate voted not to confirm the governor's choice for the state agriculture secretary, Brad Pfaff. The GOP senators said Pfaff's manure storage rules would hurt farmers. The governor (a Democrat) accused the GOP senators of — in the words of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — "punishing Pfaff for sticking up for farmers and publicly criticizing Republicans who control the Legislature for holding back suicide prevention funds."

That all sounds very obscure but how is it "authoritarian," let alone "authoritarian rot"? The governor's choice for agriculture secretary required senate confirmation. That's a check on executive power. Where's the authoritarian rot Pierce is talking about?

Evers, the state's chief executive doesn't seem to be authoritarian. He's disappointed to lose Pfaff and can only complain about how badly the other party's legislators treated him. The resort of public complaining reminds me of Trump. Evers worried about his other appointments and whether these people would get negative votes from the senate if they spoke: "If I was a total cynic I'd say, 'Keep your damn mouth shut,' but I'm not. I want them to be forthcoming. I want them to be professional. That's why we hired them. To think that they're going to have to keep their mouth shut for the next, who knows — four years — in order to get approved by this Senate, this is just absolute bullshit."

It's funny to use "bullshit" when the controversy is (arguably) over manure storage rules. And Pierce didn't resist making an overt shit joke:
[The Republican senators said] Pfaff had put in place new manure storage rules that would hurt the state’s farmers. (This ignores the fact that the largest manure storage unit in Wisconsin is the building in which they work in Madison, but we digress.)

71 comments:

Meade said...

"manure storage "

Excuse my French.

Bob Boyd said...

"Republicans refuse to accept outcomes they don't like" must be the new hot take at the Journolist.

iowan2 said...

Pierce is a candidate for Scott Adams' essay on how to fail at changing peoples minds

Skylark said...

This is embarrassing. Our elites stand before us naked, and they lied in their profiles.

Skylark said...

"where the voters had the audacity to vote in Tony Evers, a Democrat, and turn out Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage that particular midwest subsidiary. “

A conservative would have said satrapy.

daskol said...

Somewhere, Scott Walker is blushing.

David Begley said...

Any one who disagrees with the Dems is an authoritarian.

Bob Boyd said...

As they say in Wisconsin, "Manure storage rules!"

Charlie said...

Charlie Pierce brings to mind that old James Brown classic: "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing".

Charlie said...

Also, Orange Man Bad.

Mike Sylwester said...

The rule that cabinet nominations must be approved by the senate was established centuries ago (in the 1400s?) in England. The rule prevented the king from appointing corrupt favorites to top positions.

For the rule to work, though, the senate should not misuse the rule to harass and impede the king (president) by preventing fair appointments. The senate should not misuse the rule for its own corrupt politics.

Mike Sylwester said...

Esquire magazine has just enough money left to pay only nitwits to write political commentary.

tim maguire said...

Some people are arguing that the problem with our biased press is that they deny their biases. We're all biased, true neutrality is impossible, so just be honest about where you're coming from.

Maybe they're right, but I don't want to get used to the shamelessness. I want reporters who at least try to apply even standards and present facts honestly. I don't believe it's impossible. People do it, even if sporadically.

How about a compromise--admit to personal preferences, but still hold to high standards of accuracy and clear divisions between news and opinion?

And get rid of journalism schools. Nothing good has come of them.

Larry J said...

If you want examples of authoritarian, look at those who wish to inflict more burdens on people and businesses via higher taxes and greater government regulation. That is not Donal Trump. That describes just about every Democrat.

John henry said...

Would you store manure in a "shit hole"?

John Henry

iowan2 said...

Manure Storage debates is really in the weeds. While I spend hours a day working with farmers, and this time of year (post harvest) Manure management is toward the top of their concerns. I only have a fleeting perception of the true depth of this innocuous sounding terminology

This is just a cut and paste from a duck duck go search. Imagine that each of the mentioned items is, full, of over the top, emotion driven wailing...from all sides. (I added numbering for affect)

1)Nutrient management planning. 2)A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). 3)Water Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. 4)(WPDES) permit requires a. 5)field-specific, 6)phosphorus-based [PDF]. 7)nutrient management plan (NMP) that outlines the. 8)amounts, 9)timing, 10)locations, 11)methods and other aspects related to. 12)land. 13)application of.. 14A)manure and 15)process wastewater.

Michael K said...

Esquire is a pretty impressive manure storage site,

John henry said...

I keep hearing how authoritarian PDJT is. Or will be if he gets re-elected or could be if the deep state was not holding him back. Or something.

These accusations mostly come from people who have demonstrated themselves to be fascist (though they call themselves "progressive") themselves whenever they have the chance.

They are the kind of people who thought Mussolini was great because he made the trains run on time! And who want to put us back in trains. (Ask the German Jews, Poles and others about their experience with trains under National Socialism)

None of the fascists ever wants to cite examples of PDJT's authoritarianism.

PDJT seems to be about the least authoritarian president we have had in 50-100 years.

Why, one might even think him a "liberal"*

John Henry


*Classical liberal that is.

holdfast said...

As with most "criticism" from the Left, it's pure projection.

They are pretty much all rotten authoritarians, and they generally refuse to accept any election results they don't like - from Trump to Georgia.

Big Mike said...

It would be nice if Charles Pierce would address the proposed manure rules that are at the heart of the controversy. What are they? How would they hurt small farmers? Why does Pfaff propose new rules about manure storage, meaning, what is the public health and safety issue that these new rules are designed to address? The state senators are saying that Pfaff's proposed rules will hurt farmers in a state that (per Pierce's article) lost 700 dairy farms, but Evers and Pfaff say the opposite. Or do they? Esquire only reports Pfaff saying that "Republicans have chosen to leave farmers behind" and then goes off to talk about mental health vouchers. Nowhere do Evers or Pfaff actually defend the proposed rules, do they?

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you're going to complain that the other side is denying legitimacy to elections they don't win, perhaps you shouldn't talk about the victor in the election you didn't win as if he were appointed by Koch Industries. Just a suggestion.

henry said...

party of orange man is bad. qed for pierce

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

These people are insane. He's complaining about some politician not being confirmed over how to handle manure on the farm.

Has Pierce never heard of Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, Schiff, Mueller/Rosenstein, and the coup brigade.

Did he not see what the Dems did to Kavanaugh?

I feel like I live in the old Soviet Union when I read the news now.

RNB said...

Stay classy, Esquire.

zipity said...


Charlie Pierce is a POS. I think he lost his mind sometime in the 90's or early 2000's.

He and the Leftward lurch Esquire took at that time was the reason we cancelled our 30+ years of subscribing to that magazine.

Do not miss it at all. Learn to code Charlie, learn to code.

rehajm said...

The asterisk doesn't have a footnote to go with it...but it would be weird if the idea is that he doesn't regard Trump as actually the President, since in this column, he's taking the position that Democrats who win an election (without an overwhelming majority) are not considered legitimate by Republicans.

It's a Trump meme, à la baseball's asterisk era. That's exactly what it means. Logic be dammed, there's feelings hurt here. Asterisks help.

Fernandistein said...

Charles sounds like someone who would agree with Fauxcahontas:

"Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy and I don’t take this endorsement lightly."

"I'm committed to fighting alongside you for the big, structural change our country needs."

Ruh roh!

Bob Boyd said...

Would you store manure in a "shit hole"?

I wouldn't.

Temujin said...

I have been hearing of his daily law-breaking and authoritarianism for over 3 years now. The authoritarian streak is, to the left, so freaking obvious. To me? I don't see it. I see no more Presidential authority than the previous 5 or 6 Presidents. Obama had all kinds of things he liked to do on Executive Orders. He was the master of 'elections have consequences' and 'we won- get over it'.

These people say these things as matter of fact, but in fact, they are not. They are nothing more than a Grand Narrative. I don't know how so many see it, and so many do not. A thing is what it is. One of us is terribly wrong.

John henry said...

Blogger tim maguire said...

And get rid of journalism schools. Nothing good has come of them.

A timeless article on the history and historical stupidity and uselessness of J Schools by Michael Lewis.

https://newrepublic.com/article/72485/j-school-confidential

John Henry

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Authoritarian rot = pretty much the entire leftwing machine.

Amadeus 48 said...

Charlie Pierce showed his colors years ago when he said that May Jo Kopechne would have thanked the Kennedy machine for kicking her death to the curb because of all the wonderful things His Teddyness did later. It made me sick when I read it, and I have never taken Pierce, a failed sportswriter with a disgusting beard, seriously since, except as an example of moral midgetry.

dbp said...

"... hired by Koch Industries to manage that particular midwest subsidiary."

Wisconsin has a GDP of around $ 300 Billion and the Koch footprint in the state amounts to a payroll of $ 335 Million. But Wisconsin is a subsidiary to "big" evil Koch!

It reminds me of the quality journalism I read at my University daily--before there was an internet which made fact checking easy.

Unknown said...

It's a Trump meme, à la baseball's asterisk era. That's exactly what it means. Logic be dammed, there's feelings hurt here. Asterisks help.

Pretty Mary donned her skates,
Upon thin ice to frisk.
Wasn't she a silly girl
Her little *?

Gahrie said...

If the Left had an ounce of self reflection, they might be a tad more sane. This article is revisionist history and projection. There was no court challenge filed by Republicans over the election of Clinton or Obama, as there was with Bush. The Left still refers to that as a stolen election. There was no hysterical reaction from the Right when either Clinton or Obama was elected even remotely close to the hysterical breakdown of the Left after Trump was elected.

I remember all of the articles in the weeks leading up to Trump's election loudly proclaiming that Trump and the Republicans would not accept the outcome of the election...when in fact it is the Left that has been throwing a temper tantrum since the election.

Amadeus 48 said...

As to the asterisk, Pierce, in his own witless way, is referring the controversy over Roger Maris's breaking Babe Ruth's single season home run record in 164 games. It went into the major league record book with an asterisk noting that Ruth had hit 60 homers in a 154 game season. Trump, I guess, gets an asterisk because he finished second in the electorally irrelevant popular vote.

ok boomer. Truly.

Howard said...

At root, authoritarianism stems from jealous impotence.

Calypso Facto said...

Charles Pierce knows from manure spreading. Like zipity, I cancelled a 20-year subscription to Esquire when Pierce got a monthly column to sling his utter bullshit.

gilbar said...

There was no court challenge filed by Republicans over the election of Clinton or Obama, as there was with Bush.

Dems have tried to impeach EVERY republican President since Eisenhower, even Snopes admits it!
EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT SINCE EISENHOWER has had articles of impeachment raised, except Gerald Ford (who wasn't elected)
Nixon
Reagan
HW Bush
Bush
Trump

Wince said...

"The authoritarian rot."

Is that like Fournier's Gangrene of the Genitals the lawyer ads keep talking about on Fox News?

Mr. Forward said...

" Imagine that each of the mentioned items is, full, of over the top, emotion driven wailing...from all sides. " iowan2

You would think when it comes to manure storage "over the top' would be something we could all agree on.

Big Mike said...

BTW, as far as I am concerned the "authoritarian rot that produced the current president" is predominantly on the part of Democrats. They ran the most corrupt candidate for President since James Blaine in the late 19th century, and now they've doubled down by trying to impeach President Trump over his efforts to get at the roots of Joe Biden's corruption. And everyone is supposed to sit back and take it? Trump's winning of the nomination and his eventual victory in the general election were massive -- make that MASSIVE one-fingered salutes to a party that pushed official corruption as a cornerstone of its party platform.

mccullough said...

This looks like payback for the recall election against Walker and the John Doe bullshit.

Much more polite and less disruptive to just vote no against Evers agenda.

Howard said...

Gilbar nails it. The Democrat plays Major league hardball and Republicans Mulligan duffer cuntry cuck golf.

Keep playing the victim card, it suits you people

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

John henry said...

Would you store manure in a "shit hole"?

Isn't any place you store manure by definition a "shit hole"?

Ralph L said...

No one thought Bill Clinton was an illegitimate Prez, despite his father's apparent bigamy (curiously like BHO Sr). We thought he was unfit, and we were right.

narciso said...

In wisconsin, its called speaking tr uth to power, in kentucky it was a convenient libertarian.

Michael K said...

Keep playing the victim card, it suits you people

Howard, remember the 10,000 local races lost under Obama ?

BADuBois said...

Pierce was a hack when he wrote for The Boston Globe. Looks like nothing has changed.

wildswan said...

The farmers want to use manure on their fields spreading it all the way across and storing it ready for use. (Agriculture issue) The subdivisions now adjacent to farms in many parts of Wisconsin do not want to smell manure while they are eating their organic-food breakfasts so they want a band of farmland with no manure near subdivisions. They also claim the manure heaps and and bins leak and want a massive expensive investment in new manure storage bins* to be paid for solely by the farmers. (Environmental issue) The agriculture secretary took the side of the environmentalists, not the farmers so the Republicans refused to confirm him.


*Milwaukee dumps raw sewage in rivers and in Lake Michigan every time there's a heavy rain because the city does not want to make a massive expensive investment in separate sewage and water run off lines. And in Madison aging sewage pipes are leaking sewage and Madison is not interested in a massive expensive effort to fix the problem. But this city sewage environmental issue which is ten times worse than the farm manure issue receives no attention as the Dems of the cities eat their organic food suppers filled with fiber while raging at the farmers.

JSF said...

Pierce is so partisan he cannot even consider that a Democratic Party elected official should ever be investigated.

By the way, when did the Democrats accept the outcome of either the Georgia Governor's election in 2018 or even the Presidential races of 2016, 2004 or 2000?

If Pierce ever actually takes criticism or even slightly praises a Republican, I know he's on his deathbed.

Howard said...

wildswan: You are 100% correct. Combined sewers are a third-world style disaster. Sewage isn't sexy enough to get environmentalists a chubby.

Big Mike said...

@wildswan, thank you for the clarification on the manure issue. I find it interesting that Pfaff and Evers were pushing for rules that would make it harder for small farmers to stay in business while simultaneously complaining that 700 dairy farms had gone out of business and so everyone has to support these regulations.

Roughcoat said...

Pierce was a hack when he wrote for The Boston Globe. Looks like nothing has changed.

He must have been a hack when he was writing for his high school and/or college newspaper. And, as you observe, nothing has changed since then: he still writes with the sensibilities of a teenager or kid in his early 20s. I'm betting that, back then, he was praised and cozened and told he had a lot of talent as writer. Such wit, such snark, such cleverness! Such precociousness and preciostiy! And nothing has changed.

Roughcoat said...

Any column writer or essayist who uses the tired old unfunny formulation "but I digress" should be made to give up writing and sent to work in a coal mine.

Ken B said...

Authoritarian rot is the Democrat meme du jour and must she shoe-horned into every story. Watch for it, you will see the phrase again and again in the next few weeks.

PM said...

These people are in love with the sound of their keyboards.

Ken B said...

Michael K is wrong. Esquire is not a manure storage site. It is a manure distribution point.

narciso said...

Interesting:



https://mobile.twitter.com/15poundstogo/status/1192483280844730368

Ken B said...

Wildswan
Great info. I hope Althouse checks your facts and if they hold up front pages your comment.

rcocean said...

The word "Authoritarian" is Bullshit and should be banned in talking about American Politics. Its like calling someone a 'fascist' - its a meaningless left-wing smear word. You could use your NYT nexus word search and you'll find its use went up 10x once Trump got elected. Franco was authoritarian. Stalin was totalitarian. Trump is a democratically elected President operating under the constitution.

Greg the class traitor said...

"Democratic success in elections, unless it is achieved by overwhelming margins, is in the eyes of Republicans prima facie illegitimate"

Well, when "election officials" "discover" and additional 40,000 ballots, ballots that go for the Democrat by an extra 10-15% over all the other ballots in that area (which already went pretty hard for the Democrat), and those "found ballots" are the majority of the Democrats candidate's "margin of victory", reasonable people question the election

When Democrats change the law so that vote fraud becomes easier to do, and harder to catch, yes, every close Democrat "victory" becomes tainted with the belief that it wasn't valid.

Want to get rid of that taint?

Then stop being the Party of vote fraud.

No "vote harvesters". No absentee ballots absent proved need, and proved ability to still function (lots of stories about staff at nursing homes filling out ballots "for" the patients). Show a State issued, photo ID that is not available to non-citizens, in order to vote.

There is no legitimate reason to oppose any of these measures.

The only actual reason to oppose them is because you favor vote fraud.

Greg the class traitor said...

Mike Sylwester said...
The rule that cabinet nominations must be approved by the senate was established centuries ago (in the 1400s?) in England. The rule prevented the king from appointing corrupt favorites to top positions.

For the rule to work, though, the senate should not misuse the rule to harass and impede the king (president) by preventing fair appointments. The senate should not misuse the rule for its own corrupt politics.


How many of Trump's nominees received a majority of votes from the Democrats?

Tradition is a wonderful thing. But what's more wonderful is you always do back to the other side what they do to yours.

If you want the protections of tradition, you must first give them to your opponents. Since the Democrats continually refuse to do that, they've lost any moral claim to the protections

Bilwick said...

"Liberals" complaining about authoritarianism. Brilliant. Unless the writer is claiming that now Democrats are all libertarians. Would that it were so!

walter said...

As weird as it is, Chuckie likes his description so much he recycles it:

"Watching Scotty Grow, Continued
image
By Charles P. Pierce
Jun 10, 2013

The main point of the reign of Scott Walker, the twice-elected goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, has been to dismantle the laws and traditions of progressive government that originated in that very state, because if they can do this in Wisconsin, they can do it anywhere."
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a18731/alec-in-wisconsin/

Sebastian said...

"That all sounds very obscure but how is it "authoritarian," let alone "authoritarian rot"?"

Deplorable GOPers dare to oppose a prog: authoritarian! What else do you need to know? What evidence would a prog need to have? Our existence is the rot.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

My manure storage joke would be that "it needs to be handy".

This is why no one but me laughs at my jokes.

(Manure - from Latin manū (“by hand”) + operārī (“to work”). It referred to manual labor, then the act of spreading dung by hand to be used as fertilizer, then to the dung itself.)

One time I was reading something where the writer called cats "sinister". I remarked that I don't see how they can be sinister (from Latin, meaning "left") when they are so dexterous (PIE deks meaning "right). If I ever see an "ask reddit" question that wants to know what I find funny that no one else on the planet is amused by, I'm ready.

Sam L. said...

As I see it, the Dems are rotten to the core...and to America.

Greg the class traitor said...

The subdivisions now adjacent to farms in many parts of Wisconsin do not want to smell manure while they are eating their organic-food breakfasts so they want a band of farmland with no manure near subdivisions.

No problem. They can pay to move into a subdivision that has purchased the farmland around it, and leaves it fallow.

I say this as someone who has to deal with the same issue. but I don't expect gov't to screw over other people just to make me happy

PackerBronco said...

Authoritarianism is working towards overturning the will of the people because your opinion matters so much more than theirs. Example: seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 election because the wrong guy won.

Bunkypotatohead said...

If you consider the other choices “manure” is actually pretty refreshing