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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Burning Down the House

Those of a certain age, towards the trailing edge of the Baby Boom, very likely vividly remember Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel.

When the first of his books came out, the pantheon of primary readers was anchored by a trio of pallid characters: Dick, Jane, and some damn dog Spot. They did boring things — run! play! — in various boring ways, enervated by cold porridge prose.

Then along came Dr. Seuss. Off kilter drawings, quirky rhythms, and hare-brained adventures.

He is how I learned to read. I made my parents read those things to me until I had completely memorized them, a process made easier not only by their novelty, but by the cadences shoving the words into my brain. Having made the connection between sounds and words and letters, learning to read came effortlessly.

So how to view Dr. Seuss?

Poisonously, of course:


In the fall of 2017, there was a furor involving Dr. Seuss, the first lady and a school librarian that many people found surprising and disconcerting. In celebration of National Read a Book Day, Melania Trump had sent a parcel containing 10 Seuss titles to a school in Massachusetts.

What could possibly be wrong with this, providing such a powerful tool to help children read?

Lots, apparently.

At that point, we were well into the first year of the “Resistance,” and the librarian, Liz Phipps Soeiro, wanted to make various political points. Attacking Dr. Seuss was one of them. “Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature,” she wrote in an open letter to Mrs. Trump, adding: “Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.”

Being woke must be a real burden; but then, the savior business is never easy.

To be completely fair, Mr. Geissel was not without sin.

… in Geisel’s juvenilia, his early political cartooning and some of his first books for children, he evoked ethnic and racial caricatures that were common in the early 20th century and that, by the lights of the early 21st, appear shocking and shameful.



Is the full body of Geisel’s work fatally tainted by “harmful stereotypes”? Do the origins of the hat-wearing cat really lie in minstrelsy, as Kansas State University professor Philip Nel and others believe? And if so—assuming these transgressions are detectable to the civilian eye, which is not a sure thing—do they outweigh the joy and love of reading that Dr. Seuss brought to all sorts of children and families?

The author, Mrs. Gurdon, misses a critical point: the librarians presumption of an inborn moral superiority superpower.

This librarian is not alone. Everyone of these wokelings, the ones who want to tear down statues, rename buildings, or rubbish people like Mr. Gessel are, must be, asserting that their wokeness is timeless. That had they been alive in Dr. Seuss's time, they would have been just as enlightened as they are now. We must trust their judgment not as some post hoc virtue signaling, but rather as coming from a deeper place accessible only to the vanguard, give them special dispensation to decide for the rest of us which parts of our culture must be excised.

Thus, the first question to be asked of the this librarian, and every one of her ilk: Just who the hell do you think you are?




59 comments:

erp said...

I learned to read by reading Captain Marvel comic books. Pow - Bam! It worked too.

Believe it or not, Dr Seuss came under fire by educators when his books first came out as well. Our kids survived Dr. Spock and Dr. Seuss and now kids can barely read at all -- never mind write.

Jeopardy categories? Never heard of them.

Bret said...

I too learned to read (at least partly) thanks to Dr. Seuss. I had memorized Green Eggs and Ham by age 2 1/2 and knew which picture and word block was associated with each stanza. My mom thought it a pretty good trick to have me point to the words and "read" them at age 2 1/2 so she could amaze her friends and relatives with her 2 1/2-year-old "reading" son. It fooled 'em for the most part.

But the point is that because I memorized the words and knew which block they were associated with, when it came time to actually read (a year later), I had most of the tools I needed right there and with only a little help from parents (memorizing a book to help with learning the alphabet for example), learning to read was almost trivial.

There were lots more books to choose from for my children though, many with easily memorizable rhymes and pictures. My kids loved Dinosaur Roar for example. I read them Dr. Seuss but they didn't find his books as engaging as many other books and they did somehow manage to learn to read without relying much on Dr. Seuss.

On the other hand, I agree that someone has to really be looking for demons in every shadow to have a primary (or even secondary) takeaway from examining Seuss's authorship and illustrations that it's "steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes." I also agree that it's unlikely "these transgressions are detectable to the civilian eye." This civilian would never have even begun to imagine such things and even after being told it's true, I'm finding it hard to believe.

And no, I'm not glad that the woke of the world are there to point it out to us poor ignorant civilians.

Hey Skipper said...

My mom thought it a pretty good trick to have me point to the words and "read" them at age 2 1/2 so she could amaze her friends and relatives with her 2 1/2-year-old "reading" son. It fooled 'em for the most part.

I was reading the LA Times at five. Foolish, I know, but I was young. My mom told me years later of a time when friends were over, and saw me staring intently at the paper. "Oooohhh, isn't that cute. He acts just like he's reading the paper."

Whereupon my mom asked to to read it aloud.

All credit due to a patient mother, and Dr. Seuss.

It's similar to JK Rowling. Very occasionally, someone will line up the stars, and millions will read.

Hey! I have an idea! Let's tear them down!

I don't remember how we taught our kids to read, other than that Dr. Seuss doesn't feature even peripherally in my memory. (here's were caveats emptor). Our daughter was a preternaturally gifted reader; our son, less so. But Harry Potter grabbed him, but good.

How many kids potential are wasted because they don't have parents invested enough to take the effort?

erp said...

I read nursery rhymes, fairy tales and Euclid at home and Dick, Jane and Spot at school.

All were confusing for me (except geometry) because I had no grandmother and thought Central Park was the country. The nursery rhymes were confusing too, but I didn't feel deprived either.

The other day a bunch of tree people aka arborists were in our the yard because they were scoping out the taking down 11 gigantic (100 foot tall) dead pine trees from the empty lot next door and they were delighted and amazed by our huge Mulberry tree and practically simultaneously we all started singing.

I found it amusing because they were all young guys and I wouldn't have thought they ever heard of nursery rhymes. I did find out they heard of Euclid though. They dropped those trees down in one fell swoop in precisely the only avenue not guaranteed not to take down houses with them.

Amazing.

erp said...

Skipper, it probably would be impossible in today's world, but in our world as our kids grew up television was verboten. The only program we watched -- we even got a color TV for it -- was "Star Trek" and that was because I wanted to see it. It was very exciting, snacks were served and when it was over, off went the TV for another week.

I also woke them up to see us walking on the moon. I actually cried when they put up the flag. They still remember getting up in the middle of the night and then we all ran outside to check out the moon, but I don't think it was visible from Connecticut where we lived.

Bret said...

We didn't have TV. Well, we had a television, but only used it to play movies on.

That worked until the children discovered they could get TV shows via the Internet, but for the first several very important years of their life, they saw very little TV.

I personally don't have a TV and can't stand watching TV.

erp said...

Since "Project Runway" has been politicized, I watch no TV although the old man likes old movies. We watch no network shows although he does watch the "news," if only to shout at the screen. :-(

Peter said...

I'm of that age. I can't say I remember him vividly, but I do remember him as the author who brought out my inner curmudgeon at an uncommonly early age. He certainly was witty with words, but I thought he was extremely silly and vacuous, and I haven't changed my opinion since. Furthermore, I see him as one of the architects of the sad decline of children's literature from something that inspires and challenges the young imagination to safe, self-indulgent pabulum that proved an excellent grounding for successive Me Generations.

Skipper's suggestion that he taught a generation to read or enjoy reading strikes me as an almost-a-senior's revisionism. Contrary to his assertion that children's literature was dry and boring until Geisel came along, it was in fact very rich in stories that appealed to young imaginations rather than to what adults imagine appeals to children. The classic fables and fairy tales, prince & princesses, witches & castles, Victorian/Edwardian masterpieces, poignant animal stories, westerns, adventure stories, modern mysteries like the Bobbsey Twins, etc., all tales of adventure, challenge, romance and derring-do to excite and inspire a young imagination. They taught them that the world was an interesting, challenging, thrilling, sometimes scary, place--much more exciting that boring old home and worth looking forward to. The Dick and Jane books were primary school textbooks, not books kids got at Christmas.

What they all had in common is that they were outward-looking and taught the kids the world was a more interesting place that they. Then along came the silly goose with his improbable characters, cutesy, essentially plotless stories and insipid themes, the most notable being to tell the young reader over and over (and over and over) how special they are. Other questionable lessons were that even monsters (the least scary monsters in the history of literature) have hearts, that it's ok to cry, etc.

When my kids were young and I was searching the library for good books for them, I was struck by how hard it was to find a really good story and how gripped there were when I did. Lots of stuff on how to use the toilet, how to cope with mean friends, how Mommy is a person who needs her space sometimes, etc., but little to nourish dreams and fantasies. Thankfully I missed the slide into outright political correctness with such ripping good reads as Janie Has Two Mothers, etc. Goodness knows what's an offer these days. Megan Impeaches The Principal?

Anyway, I'm against book-banning on principle, but I suppose if I were forced to choose...

Bret said...

Peter,

It seems to me that you're ignoring the difference between "readers" and "children's literature."

These genres have totally different purposes. My parents read to me lots of literature while also helping me memorize the catchy Dr. Seuss phrases that then made it really straightforward to learn to read. And I read to my children pretty much every night when they were young; I read to them both readers and literature (everything from Jane Eyre to Harry Potter).

If I only read them things like Jane Eyre, it would've taken them a LOT, LOT, LOT longer to learn to read. Or "see Spot run" for that matter because it's just not catchy like "will you eat them in a box? Will you eat them with a fox?" Sure, Seuss's books are silly and vacuous (and fun!) but really easy to memorize and then later associate with the words. Those books are readers, not literature, and they serve a separate purpose.

Peter said...

I get the distinction, Bret, and I get the appeal of the silly rhymes to preschoolers, but I doubt he would have been such a cultural phenomenon (toys, TV specials, feature films, etc.) if he had just invented a better reader. I've never heard that schools replaced Dick and Jane with him or that general childhood literacy spiked as a result. Is it possible the educational benefits were more in the minds of parents than in the aptitudes of their kids? Yes, he was fun, but so are comic books.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Since "Project Runway" has been politicized, I watch no TV although the old man likes old movies. We watch no network shows although he does watch the "news," if only to shout at the screen. :-(

Moving to Germany has radically changed my viewing habits.

No cable, for the obvious language barrier reason.

Content providers — for reasons perfectly opaque to me — refuse to take money from the wrong regions for programming. So, despite paying Netflix perfectly good money, 90% of its catalog is off limits. I only pay because the critters piggy-back on the subscription.

Perhaps my habits were changing in any event. I didn't make it past season two of Breaking Bad, and took four years to manage that.

I suspect the networks are really the walking dead.

Instead, most of what I watch is fabrication porn: guys building things (google "Project Binky", "This Old Tony", "Abom79")

I learn stuff, get amazed at what incredible skill can achieve.

Here's a bet: something over 99% of the viewership for such shows is male.

Feminists, over to you.

erp said...

Skipper, I liked the home makeover shows at the beginning, but soon the people involved became more important than their renovations and additions and competition rather than workmanship was featured and it became tiresomely like real life.

Project Runway was great and the talent and ingenuity of the contestants was astounding. My mother was a great dressmaker and could make anything from a picture in a Bloomingdale's ad or her daughter's scribbled sketch.

One summer during school vacation I worked in "the (NY) city" in a mile high art deco building at the corner of 5th and 42nd across from the library and didn't wear the same thing twice - ditto shoes, gloves, bags, hats ... . They didn't know what to make of me!!!

It was great fun. Something sadly lacking now.

Can't think Germany is any better in the fun department.

Clovis e Adri said...

One of my favorites from Dr. Seuss is this one, though I guess I judge it more for the message to adults. I fear Skipper never got to this one :-)


Another writer cited by the OP, J.K. Rowling, would probably present political difficulties to you too, Mr. Skipper, being her a bit woke too for Trumpland standards.

Though kudos to you for appreciating their art, even if not their messages.

erp said...

Clovis, no way I can watch a video, so give us the gist and what's the OP?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

You probably know the book, or can easily get it I suppose.

OP = original poster, in this case Mr. Skipper himself. I actually took the wording from him, he is the only one using it around here, I gave him company.

erp said...

Clovis, I am not reading a children's book and only watch videos of my grandchildren natural and/or adopted and kittens :-), so tell me the argument you are making.

Butter needs to be put on top of the bread so it doesn't drip (you know about gravity down there in the lower hemisphere doncha?) and need to be cleaned up by us care givers -- I don't like to use the scare word, mother.

End of argument.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Every translator a traitor. I won't summarize the book (which is itself a kind of translation), I wouldn't make it justice.

erp said...

Okay, then I'll assume, infer, suppose, be positive, it's just another leftwing fantasy of how we yanks, angloes, whites, and our toadies have done taken advantage of those not of exalted status and made slaves of them and etc., etc., etc.

Clovis e Adri said...

I see you have Dr Seuss in high regard, Erp.

Though your supposition reminds me of yet another children's tale...

“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

erp said...

Alas, it's wasn't me, although I was pretty cute back when.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "J.K. Rowling ... being her a bit woke too for Trumpland standards."

J.K Rowling herself is too woke? Or her Harry Potter books? If the latter, in what way are they too woke?

I found the Harry Potter books to be extremely conservative and remarkably in agreement with Trump in many respects. For example, Rowling makes out both the press and reporters (Rita Skeeter) to be full of fake news and downright evil. She make out the government (Ministry of Magic) to be cowardly and corrupt (Prime Minister Fudge for example). She makes fun of Hermione's crusade for house-elf rights even as Hermione is one of the biggest heroes of the book. But the big hero is Harry, a white, hetero male. What on earth is woke about that?

erp said...

Clovis, I just got it. The fairest in the question to the mirror, is about the best looking of all, not the whitest skinned of all.

It never occurred to me that would be an interpretation and I certainly never heard it spoken of that way.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Well, don't take my word for this, take hers:

"How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad."

- J.K. Rowling, on Donald's Muslim ban.

Bret said...

Clovis,

Ok. that's why I asked if it was her or her books you were referring to.

Yes, her words to the public seem pretty woke and Politically Correct. However, her words in her Harry Potter books are quite conservative in my opinion and actually kinda align with a lot of what Trump has to say. She's also a billionaire who lives quite the life of luxury.

She's quite an enigma to me, but I do like her Harry Potter books. The common response is that an author's books don't necessarily reflect the beliefs of the author (for fiction, anyway). but it's hard for me to accept that her muse is oh-so-much more conservative than she is.

erp said...

Bret, Why should Rowling be any different than other lefties who live the good life, but spout the party line.

Bret said...

erp,

Because those others not only support the party line but those that write (or otherwise create) create very non-conservative works. Harry Potter, while not a right-wing screed by any means, has a lot of conservative elements, some of which I mentioned above.

erp said...

Bret, I understand what you meant and agree. My point is those who talk the talk, rarely walk the walk and who knows what she really thinks. She did a remarkable job taking elements from column A & B of other works and retreading them into enjoyable reads for the younger set just before they'd become obsessed with their devices.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

Paraphrasing that oneline from O. Judd, all fairy tale is conservative.

Or at least all the ones that achieve success. Most children's book propose vanilla moral worldviews, which invariably leads to a conservative narrative in the background.

What you see as wokeness by Mrs. Rowling is, actually, the main moral worldview of the times. Sorry to brake it to you guys, but Donald, and his supporters like Erp and Skipper, are all moral deviants within the standard culture out there.

In that view, Donald is indeed evil.

Such culture does produce excessive wokeness, like the one presented by the OP here, but that's collateral. Most people adhering to our present standards (which I guess is 60% of America) aren't extremely woke, and they see librarians complaining about Dr Seuss as not so different from the MAGA hats supporting Donald: strident people that live by getting triggered by the other side getting triggered, in a self-sustained wave of triggered people.


erp said...

Clovis, again most of what you think you know about the U.S. in wrong. For instance, librarians are among the those farthest left in the country and I have never heard any complaining about Dr. Seuss. If he had been objectionable, none of his books would have been in any public library or school.

The left's philosophy has been so discredited in so many diverse places that I can't believe you still believe it a viable way of life.

Oh and in what way am I a moral deviant? I don't even drink or smoke. :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Take a moment to call your children, and your grandchildren (the ones above 15), and ask them their opinions on all the stuff we discuss here. Ask them about the opinions of their friends too.

After that, get back to me.

erp said...

You may be surprised. My French granddaughter, rather than being ashamed of her Yankee connection is the envy of her friends and has a large Stars & Stripes on her bedroom wall.

Her mother's family are commies (self-proclaimed) and her grandfather was a member of the Free French. My son, the physicist, is far removed from temporal matters and has always been so. He nods to whatever his wife says.

My other son is a venture capitalist as is my son-in-law. My daughter lives a 1% life style, but is also very kind-hearted and volunteers in programs to help the downtrodden and donates large sums to organizations I am quite sure are spending it on their 1% life style and not on their advertised target populations of needy.

They are all products if their time, however, they all send their kids to private schools ... . They and their friends consider themselves above the fray, however, they, at least, did NOT vote for Hillary.

I still don't understand what are your politics???? You don't believe in our individual freedom and equality under the law, but it is you DO believe in??? You can't believe the drivel in today's media.




Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Why do you say I "don't believe in [your] individual freedom and equality under the law"?

Actually, I believe you have both freedon and equality under the law at levels I can only envy.

I don't think the discussion about mine, or yours politics, is really that relevant here. After a while, and when we have been blogging for so long, we already understand each other opinions at a more personal level. So to really tackle where I differ from you, or Skipper, I would need to make this discussion much more personal - it goes to the moral core - and blogs are not really for that.

erp said...


I say what you know about my country is wrong and you say I'm a moral deviant. My statement is one that gives you wiggle room to find out about my country and then make an informed decision.

In return you tell me I'm a moral deviant, but not why. I am rather proud of my moral core, so I'd appreciate it if you would explain what it is that is that you find abhorent about it.

You'd be surprised at the trouble I've gotten myself into for not going along to get along and I'm still waiting to learn what you believe.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I gave you a qualified statement:

"Sorry to brake it to you guys, but Donald, and his supporters like Erp and Skipper, are all moral deviants within the standard culture out there."

So to answer your question, we would need to go into what is the "standard culture out there".
Too long a topic, isn't it?

Peter said...

Clovis, I'm starting to think that, if Bret did a post on the prospects of the Brazilian National Soccer Team, by the third comment you'd be going on about Trump. Time to give it a break, man. How about sharing your thoughts on Dr. Goose (that silly goose) and kiddielit with us.

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter,

You are right.

I was not so anti-Trump, until we got something too close, or actually worse. So now I suffer both from TDS and BDS (Trump/Bolsonaro derangement syndrome).

The horror, the horror.

erp said...

If that's your explanation, then I proudly will wear the deviant be a deviant.

Still -- and again, what is your position.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

My position is that, well, Harry Potter is kind of OK.

I've read it to my son - 6 years old - a few months ago (well, I also read myself the whole 7 books when they were written back then). He is really into it now, but I will read the other ones only when he gets older (or he will read himself). I bought him a Harry Potter toy and he sleeps with little Potter every other night.

We also read to him all the three books of The Chronicles of Narnia. Another 4 or 5 books of a famous Brazilian writer of children's book (Monteiro Lobato - you surely never heard about). He is now constantly dissed by woke PC culture, because his writings can be easily seen as racist today (he actually believed eugenics back then, so...). But he writes pretty well, fantastic books with captivating stories.

We also read to him Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and after that The Wizard of Oz - he liked it so much he wanted his birthday party on March to have the Wizard characters as theme.

All the books above were only in the last 6 months (yes, he is an avid listener).

And those are only the literature books, the ones like Dr. Seuss he is reading since a long time ago.

This year he also started writing and spelling properly, and right now he is reading every word he sees around, he is evolving in a beautiful way.

All in all, I am sure all those books helped in making him ever more interested on reading, but I doubt any particular one (like Dr Seuss) had a more relevant effect.


So my position: let books be books, woke people be woke people, and deranged voters be deranged against their presidents (or other people nasty presidents too). Is that OK to you?

erp said...

Of course, I was and still am a voracious reader. I get no information from videos. Where did you get the idea I didn't like Seuss? The grandparents may have given the kids some of the books, I really don't remember. They weren't favorites. I had my childhood fairy tale books until we moved to Florida and I think my daughter has them now.

A funny story: my father had given our younger son then about 5 or 6, Black Beauty for Christmas and made his older sister promise to read it to him.



So we are waiting for the kids to come down for dinner, when the little guy finally comes down and explains that his sister is upstairs crying about some dumb horse.

So much for the sensibilities of girls versus boys.

Our kids weren't allowed TV at all, so they found other ways to spend their time. Lots of books, in fact, in 1977 when we moved to Vermont from Connecticut where we had lived since 1963, we found about a dozen library books in nooks and crannies in the kids' rooms. Naturally full restoration was made!

You are lucky in your family. They are charming and the kids are adorable.



Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "What you see as wokeness by Mrs. Rowling is, actually, the main moral worldview of the times."

Main moral worldview of the times for whom? You? The entire world? Somewhere in between? Are you referring just to her wokeness saying Trump is worse than Voldemort (who routinely tortures and murders people with relish)? Or her general worldview? And how long do you think these times will go for? Forever? With us becoming ever more woke? Or will there be a backlash? Might Trump and Brexit and recent Australian elections and ... indicate the beginnings of a backlash?

Your statement needs some clarification I think.

Peter said...

Clovis: If you are suffering from TDS, you may not want to spend too much time at Orrin Judd's place. He has a terminal case of it.

For a little perspective from the left, you may want to follow Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone. He's a Sanders fan who has no time for Trump, but he spends a lot of time attacking the Dems, beautiful people and especially MSM corruption. He called Russiagate as ridiculous from the get-go and reminds his side Trump won for a reason that they had better start addressing rather than just have fits of the vapours over his latest outrage. He is very smart, does his homework and can be screamingly funny.

Here's a taste from just today that left me rolling on the floor in tears. He's reviewing and trashing Micheal Wolff's latest hit job on Trump. Unverifiable allegations about everything under the sun from unreliable sources. Basically porn for anti-Trumpers, which probably means a bestseller. Anyway, in the middle of his piece he drops this gem:

Peter said...

Sorry, here:

Siege could have been an epic black comedy, and Wolff even seems to know it. In trying to assess where “Donald Trump falls on a vertiginous sliding scale of human behavior,” he describes a figure almost limitlessly guilty of every kind of corruption, personal and professional.

Upon becoming president, however, he is placed under a massive, unrelenting investigation by the same law enforcement bodies that allowed him for decades to get away with anything and everything. In a great cosmic joke, when justice finally springs to action, its agents go looking for the one crime in the legal code Trump apparently didn’t commit.

Clovis e Adri said...

Peter,

Sorry but to be a Sanders fan is only less pitiful than to be a Donald fan.

And even that is debatable, for a Sanders govt would probably topple Donald's incompetence, which is no small feat.

But I will give Mr. Taibbi a chance anyway, thanks for the tip.

erp said...

Clovis, again I ask. What competence?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

A few hard questions there. I will run from them all, because a proper answer would take me hours of research on polls and hard data.

For what's worth, my impression is that Donald isn't the result of an anti-PC cultural backlash, for whatever help he got from it. Any woke candidate that were not Hillary would have beaten him in 2016. And he depends on an electorate that won't be around for too long.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I don't get your question.

erp said...

And even that is debatable, for a Sanders govt would probably topple *** Donald's incompetence ***, which is no small feat.

What is the incompetence to which you refer in this statement?

erp said...

The next election will settle that question. There are a couple of dozen fully woke candidates none of whom will appeal to us geezers. Be careful though. Apparently the Z generation is pretty disenchanted with you lefties and I have a feeling Trump has a plan to sweep them into his camp.

I wish I could be around to see it happen.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "... a proper answer would take me hours of research on polls and hard data."

No doubt. But without a proper answer, I can't find much meaning in your original statement.

Clovis wrote: "...my impression is that Donald isn't the result of an anti-PC cultural backlash..."

Anti-PC backlash maybe wasn't a sufficient condition for Trump's election by I'm pretty certain it was a necessary one.

Clovis wrote: "Any woke candidate that were not Hillary would have beaten him in 2016."

Maybe, but I don't think so. I don't think Sanders would've done any better and I wonder why Hillary got the nomination if she's such a bad candidate. Part of being a "good" candidate is manipulating people and organizations to select you and Hillary (and her team) was quite good at that.

Clovis wrote: " [Trump] depends on an electorate that won't be around for too long."

Electorates are always changing, of course, but the boomers who will also die out shortly are very, very anti-Trump and so a lot of anti Trump and anti Republican fervor will also go away. Also, there is a tendency for people to become more conservative (and perhaps somewhat less concerned with wokeness) as they get older.

Also, while polls are all over the place, it looks to me that his (and also Republicans) support is growing among several groups including hispanics and blacks, neither of which, by the way, are terribly woke on many issues.

Clovis wrote: "...Donald's incompetence..."

It's an interesting thing to me to call Trump incompetent. Perhaps he is, but that would imply luck beyond what I find possible.

Even ignoring what he did before becoming a candidate for president, I see a guy with very little political experience identifying a unique opportunity to run for president, come up with a winning campaign strategy, not only for the primaries where he handily beat a much more experienced and well-funded group of opponents, but also for the general election against Clinton (who according to Obama "there has never been man or a woman more qualified ... to serve as president), who outspent Trump 2 to 1, all while having the vast majority of the media and the bureaucracy working against him. Since being elected, with little support from the existing bureaucracy which hates him and in some cases have actively been working against him and a very negative media, the economy has been quite good, he's appointed a record number of conservative judges, has dismantled a record number of federal regulations, and has kept a number of other campaign promises.

Again, either unbelievably lucky, or impressively competent. I think he's one of the most savvy politicians who's ever existed and started from pretty much zero just 4 years ago.

erp said...

Well said Bret. Also, I believe Trump loves our country as much as we do.

IMO he’s planning a major game-changing announcement on the 4th in front of Lincoln with the flags waving and the bands playing. I think
I know what it will be and it’ll be a stunner.

Anyway. If Trump hadn’t come out of nowhere and Hillary and her dirt-bags were in charge, we’d be toast and our great country would be no more.

Go Trump.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,


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Since being elected, with little support from the existing bureaucracy which hates him and in some cases have actively been working against him and a very negative media, the economy has been quite good, he's appointed a record number of conservative judges, has dismantled a record number of federal regulations, and has kept a number of other campaign promises.
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The economy was quite good with Clinton and Obama, yet I don't remember you guys judging them competent for that.

Now, it is a trivial function of the presidency to appoint judges, and I really don't get how to do so fits any standard for competence either. Apparently, you judge him competent because he breaths too.

And he is so far not really competent at deregulation, though I again have no idea why it would be a measure of competence.

His management style is chaotic, the few competent people who accepted to work for him are now out and most regret it. He often needs to step back at his announced policies because they are implemented in disastrous ways.

That you can not recognize such obvious shortcomings, all playing under day light since his inauguration, is actually pretty disappointing.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

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What is the incompetence to which you refer in this statement?
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Tell me again, how many miles of that wall of yours he has done? And the few he did, how much did it cost?

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "The economy was quite good with Clinton and Obama, yet I don't remember you guys judging them competent for that."

Clinton was defeated by Trump, remember? If you're talking about the previous Clinton, then yes, it was good. However, I don't recall you reading this blog during that period, did you? I think if you are to go through the posts and comments from that period you won't find me disparaging the growth much though perhaps I did say it would be even better if various policies were enacted or eliminated. Now, would you find me congratulating him for that growth? No. Why? Because growth was even better under Reagan (after some pain the first year) so within the context of what I knew at the time it wasn't so great.

Obama had one of the lowest real GDP growth rates of any president since Hoover, averaging a mere 2.2% for the last seven years of his term (only 1.6% if you include his first year, but that recession the first year was beyond his control so I don't count that). From my perspective this is even more anemic given that the recovery of unemployment from a very high 9% + to the more usual 5% during his term by itself would add %0.5 per year for his term, meaning that growth other than the recovery of employment was well under 2%, again pretty much the lowest for many, many decades.

Will Trump's growth beat Obama? We'll see, but so far he's ahead, and that's without having room to greatly boost employment (though unemployment is the lowest it's been in decades under Trump).

But personally, my business is going MUCH, MUCH better under Trump and for that I'm grateful. I attribute a significant part of the improvement to policies that have increased employment of lower skilled workers which have increased the demand for my robots.

Clovis wrote: "Now, it is a trivial function of the presidency to appoint judges..."

Did you miss the word "conservative" that I had in my statement or did you purposefully ignore it? And no, it's not trivial. I assume you didn't follow the Kavanaugh appointment, but I believe that only Trump would've stuck with the guy - every other possible president would've caved (or not even have nominated him in the first place). Perhaps that's not competence, but whatever it is, I'm glad for it.

Clovis wrote: "And he is so far not really competent at deregulation..."

Did you actually read that article or did you just like the headline? Here's one excerpt:

"The Trump administration is a big outlier... That’s a major reduction in the flow of new regulations...the reduction can be counted as a significant achievement... Trump’s effort to push the pause button has worked — and it is undoubtedly more dramatic than what would have happened in a Democratic administration." [emphasis added]

Again the competence is getting through these things in the face of an intensely hostile media and bureaucracy.

Clovis wrote: "[Bret's failure] recognize such obvious shortcomings ... is actually pretty disappointing"

Sorry to disappoint you. Actually no, to be accurate I'm sorry you feel the negative emotion of disappointment but I really couldn't care less if you blame me for that in all honesty. :-)

Though I didn't vote for him (and won't bother voting for him in 2020 either), there's no doubt that personally I'm better off under Trump than I was under Obama and I'm happier with the direction of the country and world than I was under Obama. If that's because I'm deplorable (racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophic, and xenophobic), so be it.

erp said...

Clovis, your memory is failing you. I don't think we need a wall and never said otherwise. I may have said Mexico will pay for it as Trump said if one gets built and they will one way or the other.

I don't think Trump thinks we need one either. What we need is to secure the border -- the drug cartels must be controlled and Mexico remembers where the butter for their bread comes from. A hefty tax from all transfers from the US to Mexico and other measures are far more effective than walls.

The globalists/one worlders/commies whatever they go by now are so entrenched that ordinary gentlemanly parliamentary procedures don't work anymore. The money is so staggering and easily available that only a genius like Trump can handle them.

You better hope he pulls it off because if there is no U.S. of A. to be a beacon of freedom, the world will be lost. It may take many hundreds maybe thousands of years for a group of people to come together as our ff's did to create a masterpiece of sanity out of chaos.

erp said...

Clovis, don't feel bad if you can't come up with a Trump incompetence/crime, the professional anti-Trumpers can't do it either.

Gee? Ya think maybe none exists?

Peter said...

Since his election, I've read dozens, if not hundreds, of articles and reports on Trump from all sides. I don't get the impression that his competence is all that important to the Dems and the MSM, except to the extent that they will happily and casually throw every negative adjective his way anywhere, anytime for any reason. It seems to me more that they are consumed with a deep visceral loathing that is immune to change in response to anything he says or does. It's as if his election was a deep personal insult to each and everyone of them that they will never, ever forgive. Perhaps it's all nicely summed up in this headline, which in bygone days I would have assumed came from The Onion.

Given the partisan polarization, it seems reasonable to think the 2020 election will be decided by independent, non-aligned voters, most of whom aren't big Trump fans. If I were one of them, I would be alarmed and frightened by the monomaniacal whirlwind of hatred the Dems and beautiful people are showing, and their consequent conviction they are entitled to say and do anything to thwart and remove him. Do they want to lead the country or a Crusade against infidels? If they can't get a grip and realize he is there for a reason, I would consider looking for third party candidates or not voting at all. Or maybe...yes, maybe even that.

erp said...

Peter, non-aligned voters are neither big Trump fans nor big Trump haters and as lefties continue to beclown themselves with their pre- and post-election behavior, more undecideds may move toward Trump as, again, the lessor or two evils.

I sure hope so because IMO Michelle Obama is being primed to walk into a crowded convention as the savior of the party and vindication for Hillary's stolen election.

Peter said...

Yes erp, but if he doesn't stop with his childish Twitter insults and start addressing the issues himself, they may move the other way. Goose, gander, etc.

erp said...

Peter, Trump's "childish" tweets are being featured in the media. That's how and why what he's saying is being heard by us regular folk. The left thinks people are upset by them. Just the opposite, he's giving the same as we've been getting since Wilson.

Trump is the gander in this situation. The left are the gooses (geese).