Bring Back Machine Politics

Interesting piece from Balloon Juice about an article in TNR about the old political machines and how they WORKED.  The politicos delivered services and voters came out to vote. The spin was that the machines were corrupt and they delivered votes (and election fraud) through coercion and abuse. And yeah, that happened.  But the reality for most machines, most of the time, was organization that built things, delivered services and created a tangible connection for the voter to government. People knew where things came from and where to go to for help.

The enemies of machines were generally their jealous, less organized opponents who conflated the machines with organized crime (bad), unions (really good, but demonized) and corruption (bad, but in many ways just another way of doing business that gets things done) – what’s legal and what’s illegal is decided by the same politicians that can declare one person/group effective and another a cesspool of corruption.

I read one fairly badly written book about Tammany Hall, would like to know if there’s a good one. They ran New York City and by extension New York State for around 170 years.

Political machines were corrupt to the core–but they were also incredibly effective. If Democrats want to survive in the modern age, they need to take a page from their past.

So Much Noise

E-mails and private servers, blah, blah, blah. OMG they found 15,000 more e-mails doesn’t that make Hillary a liar? Who the hell knows? It’s all such a mish mosh of facts and non-facts (and nobody’s sure which are which) that don’t add up to anything. The Clinton Foundation should be shut down! I guess they should just throw away the vaccines and medicines they distribute around the world. Ugh, I’m going to the gym.

It’s the kind of noise that the news media does a great job of spreading (like a virus) and a horrible job of sorting out so that it means anything.  The only good news in any of it is that most people don’t pay much attention to it. On the other hand it makes it easy for the forces of darkness to use it as “more smoke” that proves something! – but really proves absolutely nothing.

Update: Maybe the most bullshit aspect of this is the question: “why can’t Hillary put this behind her?” as if it’s entirely up to her to do that when her enemies and the media love the drip, drip, drip.

So who would be with Trump?

Paul Manafort resigned, because oddly enough Trump never fires anybody on this campaign. For a guy who is known mainly for firing people he never fires ANYONE who believes he should be president. But Manafort had to resign because of the distraction over the secret payments he got from Ukrainian Putin disciple Viktor Yanukovych.

The next guy to probably have to go is Trump foreign policy advisor Joseph Schmitz, who is accused of making vile anti-Semitic statements when he worked at the Defense Dept.

In a complaint file obtained by McClatchy, senior intelligence official Daniel Meyer wrote of Schmitz, “His summary of his tenure’s achievement reported as ‘…I fired the Jews.’” Meyer, who worked in the Pentagon inspector general’s office, cited another Pentagon official, John Crane, as the source and witness to Schmitz’s alleged remark.

Now he denies it and claims “I am quite proud of the Jewish heritage of my wife of 38 years”.  But his wife merely had a grandmother who was Jewish, and has never been a practicing Jew, so that statement seems like a bit of “kosherwashing.”

It seems pretty extreme and weird to imagine anybody saying or thinking things like this in this day and age, but like my (actually) Jewish father always said “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” and this guy Schmitz had a father who was a real winner.

Schmitz is the son of the late John G. Schmitz, the former ultraconservative congressman from Orange County, California. In 1972, he was drafted by the American Independent Party to run for president against Richard Nixon after Alabama Gov. George Wallace was shot In Maryland. As a sitting congressman, Schmitz refused to comment after he wrote the foreword and endorsed the publication of a book that contained widely-condemned anti-Semitic propaganda and was written by a longtime member of the John Birch society. John G. Schmitz was also a member of the organization, but his membership was revoked for holding views still too far right, even for the very conservative group.

So let’s just run that back again. The father was run out of an infamous hate group because he hated too much even for them! And when George Wallace was shot, it was John G. Schmitz that was recruited to run on the American Independence Party line for president. That’s quite a resume of hate, my friends.

So maybe Papa said a few things around the house when young Joseph was in his formative years?  Maybe something about Jews mentioned at the breakfast table. It could happen.

Trump has brought all of these people out of the woodwork. They need to be shoved back in there.

Future Trump II?

No, sorry, actually this is a Nazi rally held at Madison Square Garden on May 17, 1934. Ahem, okay, they called themselves the Friends of New Germany, swastikas and jackbooted thugs notwithstanding. From the Daily News Archives.

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Recognize anybody?  Maybe that crazy uncle who never liked to talk about what he did for the war effort?  There were lots of New Yorkers of German heritage, so they might have been there… waving.  How many of them years later said they showed up for a Knicks game and a Nazi rally broke out?  Who knew that could happen?

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Is that Fred Trump (nee Drumpf) in the front row?  Hm.

Future Trump?

It’s entirely conceivable that Trump’s aspirations are to be an American Putin and that his vision of how to achieve that is to be the leader of a cult of personality white nationalist political front. He’s 70, that may be what he envisions for the next 10 years.

Assuming that’s his goal, the question then is whether he can take the Republican Party down that road, and it’s not certain that he can’t, given that the establishment of the party has shown almost no backbone in fighting for the integrity of the Party of Lincoln. The result would be a GOP that is further diminished from its already retreating base as a national party.

If they do find some testicular fortitude and put up a fight, then Trump can take his angry minions and start an America First Party, just to pull a likely name out of the past. Which would result in two conservative parties splitting that vote, and more or less fighting each other in some sections of the country with little to no influence in other places (California is practically a no-go zone for Republicans now).

This possibility would allow the actual Republican Party to welcome back a lot of moderates who were scared off and lurch back to the conservative middle, which is still kind of off to the right by 20th century standards. So not so much antagonism towards gays, but still pretty anti-choice, maybe willing to admit climate change is real and maybe willing to work with Democrats a tad.

But the biggest consequence might be for the Democrats who can be pretty much as progressive as they want for a while as the only viable national party serving the center-left… you know, where the American people actually are.  Like the 30s and 40s, the Dems could have all three branches of government for long enough to make some progress, and set a Supreme Court up to keep an new enlightenment going for a generation.

Just spit balling here.  Trump may just disappear after November 8 and re-emerge with a new wife and a segment on QVC selling Trump Wigs.™

Trump Campaign 2.0 gonna be a doozy

Trump said he didn’t want to pivot, he is who he is, so the more presidential, statesmanlike and responsible candidate move the GOP was hoping for was never gonna happen. But I bet they never saw that further move down the road to racism and nationalism coming.

His new, highly unqualified, campaign manager runs Breitbart News and what we can expect from the fire-breathing, Sarah Palin supporting crap monger is a double down on racism, separatism and unabashedly pushing every crazy anti-Clinton theory they can buy time to push.

Bannon, in phone calls and meetings, has been urging Trump for months to not mount a fall campaign that makes Republican donors and officials comfortable, the aides said. Instead, Bannon has been telling Trump to run more fully as an outsider and an unabashed nationalist.

Trump has listened intently to Bannon and agreed with him, believing that voters will ultimately want a presidential candidate who represents disruption more than a candidate with polished appeal, the aides said.

“Mr. Bannon,” it continued, “once recognized by Bloomberg Politics as the ‘most dangerous political operative in America,’ will oversee the campaign staff and operations in addition to strategic oversight of major campaign initiatives in addition to working with Mr. Manafort.”

Bannon is another nail in the coffin of GOP respectability. It won’t work to get Trump elected.  But it will make for an ugly, nasty disgusting rest of the campaign. Bannon and Trump promise to unleash a venomous European nationalist party campaign of hate, propaganda and potential violence.

I’d applaud this move as pushing the GOP further towards oblivion, but I’m afraid someone’s going to get killed because of these people.