Monthly Archives: September 2018

Kavanaugh: Trump with Better Hair

Did Brett Kavanaugh’s performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee remind you of anyone? The alpha-male bullying? The successful efforts to intimidate? The outright lies? This was not just the Clarence Thomas playbook. It was the Trump playbook. And, like Trump’s performances in the 2016 debates with other Republican candidates, it worked all too well. Most of Kavanaugh’s Democratic interrogators were cowed into inept submissiveness, while Kavanaugh's performance reinforced Republican tribalism. Autocratic swagger—Trump, McConnell, Kavanaugh—is now the governing style in [...]

By | 2018-09-28T17:29:48+00:00 September 28th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

A Close-Run Thing

The Duke of Wellington, speaking to a colleague about his victory at Waterloo in 1815, which ended the Napoleonic Wars, described it as a "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life." Historians have simplified the remark as "a close-run thing." Watching what may or may not be a turning point in the Trump presidency this week, it occurs to me how often history is a close-run thing. Brett Kavanaugh may or may not go down, because of [...]

By | 2018-09-26T10:53:39+00:00 September 26th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Spreading Regional Wealth Around

Last spring, the Prospect published an important piece by Jordan Ecker, which pointed to the hyper-geographic concentration of new economic growth and the fact that too much of America was left behind (feeding Trumpism), and asked what policies might spread the growth around. Last week, our friend, the sociologist Arlie Hochschild, pointed the way to one answer. In a superb piece for The New York Times titled "Silicon Holler," Hochschild wrote about fledgling efforts to get tech companies to [...]

By | 2018-09-24T22:13:27+00:00 September 24th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Live by the Tweet, Perish by the Tweet

You can understand why Republicans want to take away Donald Trump’s Twitter account. After following his minders’ advice to keep far away from the Kavanaugh affair, he couldn’t stop himself from blurting out that if the attack on Christine Blasey Ford was genuine, “charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!” This [...]

By | 2018-09-21T14:29:14+00:00 September 21st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

A Dose of McConnell’s Own Medicine

We don’t know how the Brett Kavanaugh nomination will play out, of course. This depends partly on whether Christine Blasey Ford either testifies or succeeds in getting an FBI investigation. But it does appear that just enough Republican senators are queasy about these accusations and about Kavanaugh’s other dissembling before the Judiciary Committee that his nomination is in serious jeopardy. The way these things usually play out is that the White House pulls the plug, the nominee solemnly declares [...]

By | 2018-09-19T11:10:02+00:00 September 19th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Bastard Children

Political scientists use the word legitimacy to mean a government that is broadly seen as having the right to govern. Consent of the governed was also a prime concern of America’s Founders. For most of America’s history, our government enjoyed broad legitimacy. It look a long time, of course, for the national government to regain legitimacy in Dixie. And if you scratch below the surface, many Southern whites still question its legitimacy. But for most of the post-World War [...]

By | 2018-09-17T22:43:53+00:00 September 17th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Warren Surge

As readers may recall from several pieces I’ve written for the Prospect, I’ve been a huge fan of Senator Elizabeth Warren ever since I met her in 2008 when she chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel on the bank bailouts. Not since Bobby Kennedy have I seen an American progressive so skilled at narrating the life situations of ordinary people and relating them to the imperative of drastic reform of capitalism. Like Bobby, she is also superb at bridging divisions [...]

By | 2018-09-14T16:15:23+00:00 September 14th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

A Tale of Two Hurricanes

You can bet that when Hurricane Florence slams into the Carolinas, FEMA will be there with everything possible to help. That is, to the extent that Trump’s inept appointees are capable of managing it. It’s fortunate that the Carolinians are not mostly Spanish-speaking. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s full accounting that 2,975 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, not 64 as originally reported, most of them needlessly in the aftermath, the best [...]

By | 2018-09-12T23:09:31+00:00 September 12th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Why Nancy Pelosi Will Be House Speaker

The Republicans are trying to stampede Democrats into dumping Pelosi as House Democratic leader and presumptive speaker if Dems do win back the House. You know, too old, too San Francisco (wink-wink), and, well, too female. My bet is that this ploy won’t work. For starters, the identity of the party leader simply doesn’t affect midterm House elections. Newt Gingrich was monumentally unpopular nationally in 1994, but that didn’t prevent Republicans from gaining a landslide midterm win. In districts [...]

By | 2018-09-10T15:27:54+00:00 September 10th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

In Praise of That Anonymous Times Op-Ed

In the echo chamber that is Beltway Washington, almost every commentator and politician, friend or foe of Trump, has piled on to criticize both the Times and the anonymous author. I beg to differ. Consider the dilemma from the point of view of the Times. A submission from a senior official requesting anonymity comes in. The identity of the writer is confirmed. To publish or not to publish? The fact that the writer wants this information out is a very big deal. [...]

By | 2018-09-07T13:15:12+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments