Salon and the Political Ad Hominem

Sure, Mike Rogers and Trey Gowdy are low-grade partisan hacks. But John Cornyn stands out for sheer shamelessness

Source: Who will be the next FBI director? Trump has many bad choices, but Sen. John Cornyn stands out as the worst – Salon.com

I’m (almost) nobody’s idea of a liberal,* but I recognize that no political ethos holds a monopoly on the truth, so I appreciate (and pay for) good thinking from across the spectrum.

When Salon was birthed to decades ago, I had hopes that it would be the repository of thoughtful liberalism. Some days it is. But to watch the publication sink to the ad hominem is discouraging. Clickbait or no, name-calling has no place in any thoughtful journal of American politics.

In fairness, I’m going to start calling out the right and center as well. It’s time we end name-calling, and the editors of these publications need to rise above pandering and start attacking words, actions, and positions.

At the same time, I’m going to start restraining my own grade-school playground rhetoric. Please feel free to call me on it if I fall into that trap again.

 

* The key word here is “almost.” To the reactionaries of the alt-right, I must seem somewhere to the left of Lenin.

The (Bad) Liar in the White House

Maybe the White House is telling the truth here, but I don’t believe it. How can anybody believe it?The thing to keep in mind is that this Dumpster fire is entirely of Trump’s own making. Maybe Comey deserved to be fired. If so, you don’t fire him in the middle of this Russia investigation, you don’t fire him in a dirty way guaranteed to raise everyone’s suspicions, and you sure don’t lie about it, and send your people (Pence, Sanders, et al.) out to lie about it.

Source: Trump: An Unusually Bad Liar | The American Conservative

And there it is: the real issue.

Unfit. To. Be. President.

The longer Trump stays in office with Republican support, the faster that any position with a conservative taint will lose legitimacy in the American dialogue.

Trump Looms as Kushner Companies Courts Investors in China – The New York Times

“Ms. Meyer wanted to make clear that her brother had stepped away from the company in January and has nothing to do with this project,” said Risa Heller, a Kushner Companies spokeswoman. “Kushner Companies apologizes if that mention of her brother was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors. That was not Ms. Meyer’s intention.”

She may have wanted to. She did not.

Therefore, Ms, Meyer, and by extension the Kushner Companies, are either attempting to hoodwink their Chinese investors, or they are attempting to hoodwink those of us concerned about the conflict of interest.

Or both.

 

Fighting Words

“If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing,” the President implored. “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.”

Source: ‘Lace Up Your Shoes and Organize’: Watch Obama’s Push For Participation in Politics | TIME

I have and retain severe differences with Mr. Obama. But that single quote is priceless, and should be permanently engraved above the chalkboard of every civics and American Government class in the nation.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. Let’s stop sitting around sharing memes, stewing in our glandular indignation and waiting for our names to be called.

Our Founding Fathers created a system designed around the imperative of citizen involvement.

Either we get off the bench and into the game right now, or the plutocrats and the illiberal will lead us into tyranny and decline.

Get it Together

Still, the Post reported, “interest groups and like-minded lawmakers are laying the groundwork to push Clinton, if she is elected, to prove her progressive bona fides through early legislation and personnel appointments.”

Source: With Progressives Ready in the Wings, No Post-Election Honeymoon for Clinton | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Mark my words:

Four years from now I’m going to raise my hand and remind some people that the big reason Clinton could not accomplish anything substantive during her time in office, despite majorities in both houses on the Hill, was that even her own party refused to support her.

And four years from now I will be told that, no, it was the fault of just about anyone except the Democratic rank and file that she was hamstrung.

With this kind of bickering even before the polls open, those among us who are hoping to end the Washington gridlock by voting a Democratic ticket will find ourselves bereft of incentive to go even cast a ballot.