January 23rd, 2017

And on the lighter side…

The press/Trump sniping made me think of the “Pick-a-Little” song from “The Music Man,” and so I thought you would enjoy seeing it.

Hey, I was raised on those musicals, so that’s the way my mind sometimes works. There’s a song for almost everything. And “The Music Man” was one of the first musicals my parents ever took me to see, with the original cast. I was transfixed by Robert Preston’s energy and charm. And being a bookish sort, I identified with Marian the librarian.

This is the movie version, and I think movies are almost always inferior to the original stage plays. But this one has the advantage of having Preston:

January 23rd, 2017

Presidents, the media, and truth: size and lies

[UPDATE 3:57 PM: I was writing part of this post while Spicer’s latest press conference was going on, and so I missed this, which is quite relevant:

On Saturday, an angry Spicer said,” This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”

That statement was widely taken to mean that there were more people on the National Mall to witness the inauguration than any other.

On Monday, Spicer said he did not mean to suggest that it was the case.

“I’m not” saying that, Spicer said.

“I’m saying it was the total largest audience witnessed in person and around the globe,” the spokesman said.

Spicer said, “If you have up the network streaming numbers, Facebook, YouTube, all the various live streamings that we have information on so far, I don’t think there’s any question that it was the largest watched inauguration ever.”…

At Monday’s news conference, Spicer said “the information” about ridership “came from an outside agency that we reported on.”

“Knowing what we know now, we can tell a lot of those numbers are different,” Spicer said. “But we were trying to provide the numbers that we had been provided.”

“That wasn’t like we made them up out of thin air,” he said.

Spicer noted that “there are times when you guys tweet something out, or write a story, and you publish a correction.”

“That doesn’t mean that you were intentionally trying to deceive readers and the American people, does it?” Spicer asked. “I think we should be afforded the same opportunity.”

That’s the basically the point I was making in this post. Fat chance, though. Fat chance.]

Ever notice how Trump gets into a lot of arguments about the size of things?

Body parts, like hands and genitalia. And crowd size. “My crowds are bigger than yours!”

Now, I can’t vouch for the size of Trump’s genitalia (glad we got that out of the way). Nor even his hands, although I’ve seen photos. But from the photo evidence we have, it seems that Trump’s crowds at the inauguration, although large, were indeed nowhere near as large as Obama’s.

And why would they be? The weather was lousy. And while Trump is many things to many people, one thing he is not is the first black president.

The better question is: why do we care? (I certainly don’t.) Because we are told to, both by the MSM and by the Trump camp, who initially made a big deal of it by saying the MSM lied. That opened the door for the MSM to say that the Trump camp lied. I think that if anyone lied it was the latter (more about that in a moment), but we already know that Trump sometimes lies.

In fact, he’s even lied about crowds before (of a different kind), and it was one of his first lies during his campaign, but certainly not the most important or the last. Only thing is, Trump was running against another notorious liar, about things big and small. And they were preceded by President “you can keep your doctor.” And then there was Bill Clinton and “that woman,” as well as a certain blue dress.

So the media’s big huff about this is a bit misplaced, although I would have much rather seen Trump and his camp say “Hey, it rained. Our crowds were big. Let’s move on.”

But just to belabor the question, were all the facts known by the Trump people at the outset? I don’t know, but there’s a different between lies and errors (not that Trump’s camp isn’t sometimes guilty of lying; it certainly is). I found this, however [emphasis mine]:

[Crowd expert] Altenberg said: “We compared thousands of images from different sources. We followed seven live feeds just to get an idea of the spreading of the crowd and then we compared them, to look at the density.

“What’s interesting about this is they compared the view from the Capitol and this is a distorted image. We compared several angles, several images which they couldn’t see, actually, from this one perspective.”

That view was distorted, he said, because “I can’t see behind people. I can’t see if there’s room. But if we walk around the people as we did with our images we can see there’s nothing behind it.”

My interpretation of that statement from that crowd expert (who is clearly neither a Trump nor a Spicer fan) is that the Trump camp was honestly mistaken (at least initially) because it used only one somewhat-misleading image instead of seven.

And then there’s this from Politifact, not a friend of the right, either [emphasis mine]:

But the number of attendees at inaugurations has varied widely throughout the years.

Due to controversies over estimates, the National Park Service no longer releases official estimates for how many people attend events on the National Mall. It stopped after a dispute over the tally of the Million Man March in 1995.

The U.S. Armed Forces Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Joint Congressional Committee, which plan and support inaugural proceedings, will not be releasing estimates, either.

Part of the issue is that estimating crowds is not an exact science, and tallies can be inconsistent.

When does a disagreement over crowd size become a lie? When Donald Trump is one of the participants. When it’s the Million Man March, it’s just alternative facts* (said without irony) or disputes/disagreements, or an “inconsistent” tally.

As I was researching and writing this, I began to wonder why I was covering it at all. Well, it’s the talk of the country—you’d think nothing else was going on. I’ll tell you one thing, though—I don’t plan to cover every brouhaha between the press and Trump during the course of his presidency. We all have better things to do.

[* “Alternative facts” a la Kellyanne Conway is the meme du jour.]

[NOTE: Here’s some fact-checking of those Spicer’statements that everyone is up in arms about. Now, CNN is not a Trump-friendly venue, but I don’t see much more there in terms of lies than what’s normal at a presidential press coverage, or what has become normal in the last few decades. Some of it seems to be error or disputes about which figures to use, such as for subway ridership.]

January 23rd, 2017

The War of the Words: Trump vs. the press, the press vs. Trump

It’s gotten so that I can hardly stand to look at the news.

Now, the regular readers here know my opinion of Donald Trump. Let’s just say I’m no sycophant. I criticized him harshly before the nomination (a nomination I thought he had a very good chance of winning), and continued to criticize him after his nomination and thought he was likely to lose the election (although again, I thought he at least had a chance of winning—one in three). And I never, never supported Hillary.

But beginning with the night of the election, when Trump stepped up to give his victory speech, I noticed a marked change for the better in him, a diminution (not elimination) of the frivolous and/or offensive, and a growth of what could roughly be called a statesman-like bearing and thoughtfulness.

That does not mean I’ve stopped being a critic. But it means I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. I like a great deal of what Trump’s done (not everything) in terms of appointments. And if his demeanor and tweets still leave a lot to be desired, they are much improved.

But what has really turned my off lately—and not from Trump—is the behavior of the MSM towards him. I’m not naive about the MSM, what it wants and what it does. But I’ve never, never ever ever, seen anything remotely like the unrelenting vitriol, the unfairness of much (again, not all) of the coverage, particularly so early in the game.

Honeymoon? This is war. And the MSM’s stance is “But he declared war on us, innocent us, and we’re only trying to tell the truth!” I am certain that a lot of people are buying that, particularly if they’re predisposed to detest Trump, and if they’ve declared war on him already, too (and think he’s about to send the storm troopers to get them).

And all of this after the media has had an eight-year (actually, nine, if you count the 2008 campaign) love affair with Obama.

The MSM is loving this war. They love playing the victims. And the guy has barely taken office! It’s a spasm of media self-congratulation, virtue signaling par excellence. Feels good, I’m sure.

And Trump, of course, is fighting back, as are his aides, sometimes unwisely, sometimes even stupidly. I think Trump should choose his battles, and in particular his tactics, more wisely. He’s not listening to me, of course, and why should he be? He has what he considers a winning formula. And a familiar one: punch back twice as hard.

I have to admit that I can hardly blame him at this point. And remember, I’m a person who traditionally has had no trouble whatsoever blaming Trump, so I think I have some bona fides on this. We’ve had GOP gentlemen before as presidents or nominees—G. W. Bush and Mitt Romney come immediately to mind—and it got them nowhere. George Bush in particular showed remarkable forbearance towards the hostile press during his term, maintaining a nearly Olympian stance. All that happened was that his enemies controlled the narrative.

So, this is the verbal equivalent of war. Traditionally, that’s a fight the press will win. After all, they control the airwaves and the print media. Maybe not as much as they used to, with Fox News (that’s the news outlet with which Obama went to war, although the left didn’t complain about that particular fight), the internet, and social media such as Twitter. Most Trump supporters (perhaps all?) distrust and even hate the MSM and discount it, cheering him on in his disregard for it and contempt for it. But the MSM has quite a few tricks up its sleeve, too.

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? We’ll see.

January 21st, 2017

Fred Astaire and…and…and…

Who was Astaire’s best partner?

Fred Astaire himself was unique, and as a solo performer in his genre he was unsurpassed. Period. It wasn’t just that he could choreograph routine after routine and bring freshness to each one. It wasn’t just that he could sing so well that, despite the thinness of his somewhat reedy voice, many stellar songwriters considered him the very best interpreter of their creations and competed to write songs especially for him.

It wasn’t just that he could do the steps. Oh, he could do them, all right. But every single movement had a purpose, a meaning, an emotion, an emphasis of phrasing that was very much his own; no empty tap tap tapping for him.

Astaire is remembered for his partnership with Ginger Rogers, but he danced with many other dancers (including his first partner, his sister Adele, who was supposed to have been fantastic but of whom only still photos like this one remain to let us know what we’re missing):

There were a lot of “better” dancers (technically) than Ginger who partnered with Fred. Some were balletic. Some were very strong tap dancers, such as Eleanor Powell. I know that a lot of people consider Powell the very best, technically unstoppable. But to me she’s of no particular interest at all. Her tapping is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (a bit like Meryl Streep’s acting, I have to say). Here’s a video; you decide for yourself:

In the above clip, I can’t take my eyes off Fred. I see Powell too, and their side-by-side mirroring of the steps gives me a chance to see what he does that makes him so sublime, and what she fails to do that renders her a bore (to me, anyway; sorry Eleanor).

Now, maybe what I’m about to do isn’t fair. Because for comparison I’m going to put up one of the most beautiful numbers Astaire ever choreographed and danced with Ginger Rogers, and it’s of a very different nature than the fast and snappy Powell number above. It’s lushly romantic. But it’s not just that. It’s believably lushly romantic and somehow sexual as well, without even a hint of a salacious move. These two people are so closely aligned—emotionally and physically—without being in the least identical; so almost mystically attuned that you believe—in the mesmerizing power of dancing (see how he almost hypnotizes Rogers at the beginning) and the mesmerizing spell cast by love:

I’m throwing this next one in as an extra. It’s a solo by Astaire, one of his best. It’s a nice companion piece to “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” because both cast “dance” as a sort of character, an actor in a little drama. In the pas de deux above, Fred sings to Ginger that they should dance, must dance, and “face the music” together, and then the music tells them what to do. In this next solo, Fred insists that he won’t dance, he will resist the urge to dance with her lest it lead to romance, as he knows it might. And yet he’s pulled into a solo dance against his will, again by the power of the music (certainly those Russian-guard extras in leftover costumes from “The Wizard of Oz” have little power to force him or to stop him):

You of course already know my answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this post. It was Ginger, Ginger, Ginger all the way.

January 21st, 2017

A retro inauguration fashion addendum

Before I regretfully leave the inaugural fashions behind, let me note that a great many people wrote that Melania’s day outfit channeled Jackie Kennedy.

I have a small quibble, very small. But it’s that it wasn’t just Jackie at the inauguration; Melania channeled the fashions of the era. Granted, Jackie Kennedy was a tremendous trend-setter during that era, and I am practically certain that Melania was purposely harking back to her. But Jackie was not the only one setting those same trends.

By the way, maybe this is the moment to note that Jackie Kennedy was 31 years old when her husband took the oath of office. She was so dignified and composed that people tend to forget how young she was.

So, here’s Jackie (in split screen with Melanie), also in light blue but a different and slightly lighter blue. Also with gloves (my mother used to have a drawerful of them), but her coat has a different look, and fur trim (couldn’t do that now). Plus a hat:

Jackie wore a more fitted suit with a more similar collar to Melania’s on a visit to Canada:

To my way of thinking, the person Melania is also channeling—perhaps even more than Jackie—is Audrey Hepburn in “Charade,” a 1963 movie:

Even the shape of the hat and the hairdo that Hepburn wears is echoed in Melania’s similarly upswept do, and Melania’s bone structure is more like Hepburn’s than it is like Jackie’s.

There’s also a hint of this in Melania:

One more thing—Melania Trump has extraordinary carriage. The woman never slumps, even while seated.

January 21st, 2017

Inaugural speech: in the ear of the beholder

To me, Trump’s inaugural speech was congruent with his prior message, and mainly struck notes of populism and nationalism. What else would anyone expect? He hammered on the idea of government during his administration as listening to and being responsive to the people, concentrating on America (both its problems and its promise), and called for working together to restore that promise.

And yet for the most part the MSM treated Trummp’s speech as something uniquely awful, divisive, and shocking, and said he painted an extremely and unprecedentedly gloomy picture of American decline. What they meant was: “we hated it, and we hate him, and we want you to hate him too—but most of our readers already do, anyway.” You might say the MSM is divisive.

Lately I often find myself in the position of other writers who’ve said, “Dear Media, why are you making me defend Trump?”

Actually, I plan to agree with Trump when I agree with what he does, and criticize him when I disagree with what he does, and if he’s just blah-blahing about giving power to the people and putting America first—and stating that recently there’s been quite a bit of mucking up in those arenas—then there really isn’t all that much more to say about it except that these have been the themes of his campaign right along and were the reasons he was elected.

So far, I haven’t included links in this post—it was meant to be just a quick impression. But it’s not the least bit hard to find them. For example, if I go to the WaPo at the moment I see this list of articles about the inauguration:

1 Opinion Trump’s America is a rotten place
2 Opinion Trump’s inaugural address offers nothing to soothe the worst fears about him
3 Opinion Donald Trump has assembled the worst Cabinet in American history
4 Donald Trump’s full inauguration speech transcript, annotated

Well, at least they offer that fourth link, so people can judge for themselves.

Ah, but note that word: annotated. They can’t let you judge the transcript without intervention, even with all those other op-eds. They must intersperse helpful little interpretations along the way, right along with the transcript.

More from the WaPo, in case you didn’t get the hint:

Trump’s inauguration was a Gothic nightmare
Is this what we’ve come to, America?
Trump sank to the occasion.

Well, now we know what to think.

January 20th, 2017

Reflections on President Trump: words and action

Quite some time ago I noticed that people tend to describe themselves in different modes. If you ask people to give a brief summary of who they are, the first might use words of emotion and relationship: I am a kind person who likes to talk to people and hear what they say. I have a good sense of humor. That sort of thing.

The second might be a “just the facts” type: I was born in Kansas. I have a degree in mechanical engeering. I have a wife and three children. In other words: I am my resume.

And a third might self-define in terms of activities: I love to golf and ski, and in summer I go sailing in my sailboat. I’ve traveled all around the world.

Those modes of description may seem arbitrary, but they are not.

Donald Trump is that last type of person, a man who defines himself though action. In my opinion, that is one of many reasons why one cannot possibly think of him as an intellectual, although he’s sharp and canny. Nor does he seem articulate—although his words certainly get the job done, don’t they? He hardly spoke on the campaign trail about conservatism (as a movement or a theory or set of principles), and does not really define himself in terms of conservatism or any particular political ism at all (he talks populist and populism but never uses the words, as far as I know).

In sum: a man of action who conceptualizes himself as a man of action and looks at the world that way. He defines himself by what he will do.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve stopped so very much emphasis on parsing Trump’s words. That’s hard for me; parsing words is something I’m used to doing and something I do quite naturally. But with Trump it’s somewhat of a waste of time, although of course I’ll still do it. And now that he’s president, his words carry even more weight and might have even more repercussions than before.

But it’s Trump’s actions that will tell the tale. And since I’ve been thinking of Trump as an action-defined person for a while now—and even had a long talk about the concept last night with a friend—I was especially struck by the following words in Trump’s speech today, words that might not have seemed all that memorable to most people:

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

The hour of action is at hand for Trump, as well.

January 20th, 2017

Now for the inaugural fashion post

[Scroll down for UPDATES on the ball gowns.]

One of the things I’m looking forward to in a Trump presidency is seeing Melania’s fashions. Now, there’s a woman who can wear anything, and who usually looks incredibly good. We’ve certainly never had a First Lady whose previous calling was “model.”

Toay I am gratified to see that not only is Melania looking spectacularly lovely and tall in a blue columnar coat (or maybe coat-dress) with a high collar, but she’s looking retro with matching blue gloves. Extremely elegant, and you’d almost have to be a model to pull off something that form-fitting in a coat. It also strikes me that here she resembles Sophia Loren:

Let me add that I have a coat with such a collar. It’s one of my favorites. But it doesn’t hug the body so much. And one of the most wonderful things about Melania’s outfit is that the three-quarter-length sleeves show off the gloves with great flair, which are long enough to make an unbroken line of color with the sleeves.

Hillary Clinton gets props from me for being there. She looks vaguely Nehru-esque in a white pantsuit with a long coat:

Michelle completed the red-white-and-blue triumvirate with a long mid-calf-length dark red (nearly wine-colored) coat with a huge collar. It’s a hard look to pull off, and I think the length of the outfit and her severe hairdo work somewhat against complete success here, although her height helps. It was easy to find many photos of her dress minus the coat, but hard to find one of the coat itself:

Here’s Laura Bush (blue + white; classic style) and husband. Remember him?

Kellyanne Conway appeared to be in drum majorette costume, a very bold and cheeky choice. What can you say? It’s different:

And Ivanka also sported a white pantsuit, a much more fitted one. White is not an easy color to wear, in my opinion, but she’s another ex-model so whatever she wears looks good:

The men? Red tie, blue tie.

UPDATE:

Apparently, Melania wasn’t wearing a coat over her blue dress today. It was actually a short jacket.

And since Trump and his wife just made their first appearance at one of the inaugural balls, I’ll comment on Melania’s inaugural gown. It’s a bit disappointing to me—white again! Off the shoulder, an odd ruffle in the front, a tiny red belt, and one of those Angela Jolie-esque thigh-slits, although a more demure one. Melania is incapable of looking bad, though; she just has a lot to live up to, after this afternoon. I don’t think this one hit it out of the park, because it de-emphasizes her beautiful carriage and makes her look as though she’s slumping a tiny bit:

Mrs. Pence also has on an off-the-shoulder number, a royal blue one. Just about all the female Trump children and in-laws sport a lot of bling. And I would imagine that, unless you’re a professional ballroom dancer, it’s pretty nervous-making to have to dance with your spouse in front of all the world.

To my way of thinking, it’s Ivanka who really shone. Literally. Her dress isn’t the kind of thing I ordinarily like. Very sparkly, very princessish. But the word that comes to me is “magical”:

January 20th, 2017

On the brink of the inauguration that few believed would ever happen

[Scroll down for UPDATES.]

Here we are. What a long strange trip it’s been.

I’m cautiously optimistic. What about you?

UPDATE noon:

Done.

I’m watching the show on TV. Trump has a red tie, Melania a blue coat (but more robin’s-egg blue than the usual blue of the red-white-and-blue) and Ivanka a white coat.

Now, the speech.

UPDATE 12:15 PM

Big populist message. “Power to the people.” Boy, that phase takes me back.

UPDATE 12:20 PM

Well, that was short. The populist message held throughout.

UPDATE 12:30 PM

I just heard a commentator say the speech was 16 minutes and 14 seconds. Now, that’s short.

Notably, Trump used the phrase “Islamic extremism” in his speech. That is a purposeful and pointed change.

UPDATE 12:47 PM

The Obama take off in the helicopter. For me, a sigh of relief.

UPATE 4:00 PM:

The parade begins. The police presence is enormous—a thick blue line, rather close together. And I’m sure that’s just the tip of the security iceberg.

UPDATE 4:13 PM

I also notice that the motorcade vehicles (the president’s being very heavily armored) are surrounded by lines and lines of Secret Service guards. And now Trump gets out to walk (opposite the FBI building, apparently), with his son and Melania. This makes me very nervous indeed. It always does, ever since a certain day long ago.

It’s just a few minutes; now they’re back in the car.

I also noticed how extraordinarily tall Barron Trump is for a 10-year old. He’s almost as tall as his father, and my guess is that he’ll be considerably taller when he grows up. He’s got the tall genes from both sides.

It seems to me that the president’s party gets out of the limo at an unpredictable and unannounced time because that way someone who wants to do them harm would have no idea where to position him/herself.

January 19th, 2017

The fountain of boogie woogie jitterbugging youth

Here’s a video featuring dancer Jean Veloz. I believe it was filmed back in the 1940s (with incredibly corny narration):

Here’s Jean at 90:

Jean Veloz is apparently still going strong now, at around 92. It’s hard to see any change in the shape of her body, and she certainly still has the moves. I watched a couple of videos of her talking that seemed to be taken when she was around 90, and she said her concession to age is that she always wears flat shoes now when she dances, whereas before she usually wore heels.

January 19th, 2017

Trump plans to enact conservative budget-cutting program

Interesting:

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned…

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.

Similar proposals have in the past won support from Republicans in the House and Senate, who believe they have an opportunity to truly tackle spending after years of warnings about the rising debt.

Many of the specific cuts were included in the 2017 budget adopted by the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus that represents a majority of House Republicans.

When Trump was running for office, there was a lot of speculation about whether he was a conservative or not. The consensus was “no, but sort-of maybe kind-of.” With no track record, it was hard to tell. But at least on this topic, he seems to be following a strictly conservative line. Actually, the majority of his actions since winning the election have been more conservative than most people thought they would be.

There are theories about this (hey, we’ve got theories about everything). One is that experiences Trump had on the campaign trail have made him more conservative than he was when he started out. I think that’s plausible, and not just due to his encounters with regular voters, but also to his closeness with Pence and other conservatives of a type he hadn’t ordinarily hobnobbed with in his previous life.

I suppose it’s also possible that Trump was holding back his inner conservative till after the election, and that he always has been more conservative than he let on.

At any rate, these proposals may be more conservative than some Republican members of Congress want to see:

Moving Trump’s budget through Congress could be difficult. In 2015, with the GOP in control of the House, the RSC budget failed by a vote of 132 to 294.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats on the Appropriations Committee are likely to push back at some of the cuts being considered by Trump.

But they seem likely to have the support of Mulvaney, a conservative budget hawk who backed the RSC budget.

“Mick Mulvaney and his colleagues at the Republican Study Committee when they crafted budgets over the years, they were serious,” said a former congressional aide. “Mulvaney didn’t take this OMB position to just mind the store.”

More details about where the cuts would occur can be found at the link.

January 19th, 2017

The Democrats: out in the cold (for now)

Edward-Isaac Dovere writes in Politico:

What happened [election] night shocked even the most pessimistic Democrats. But in another sense, it was the reckoning the party had been expecting for years. They were counting on a Clinton win to paper over a deeper rot they’ve been worrying about—and to buy them some time to start coming up with answers. In other words, it wasn’t just Donald Trump. Or the Russians. Or James Comey. Or all the problems with how Clinton and her aides ran the campaign. Win or lose, Democrats were facing an existential crisis in the years ahead—the result of years of complacency, ignoring the withering of the grass roots and the state parties, sitting by as Republicans racked up local win after local win.

“The patient,” says Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, “was clearly already sick.”

True. And perhaps more to come in the not-too-distant future:

There are now fewer than 700 days until Election Day 2018, as internal memos circulating among Democratic strategists point out with alarm. They differ in their prescriptions, but all boil down to the same inconvenient truth: If Republicans dominate the 2018 midterms, they will control the Senate (and with it, the Supreme Court) for years, and they will draw district lines in states that will lock in majorities in the House and across state capitals, killing the next generation of Democrats in the crib, setting up the GOP for an even more dominant 2020 and beyond.

That’s probably music to the ears of most of the readers of this blog. But we’ve learned to distrust all prognostications about politics, because remember? Many pundits and even a huge number of regular folk on the right had quite recently given that diagnosis of “moribund” to the other party, the GOP, and it was the Democrats who were posed for victory and “an even more dominant 2020 and beyond.”

So, rather than make any predictions, in this post I’ll just stick to a recap of why I think the Democrats were seemingly asleep at the switch (or the wheel, or whatever metaphor you prefer). Was it just an oversight? Didn’t they notice?

I think they noticed; they just didn’t care because they thought they had a winning strategy at the federal level, and such strong control of the most populous states that those other states—those red states—wouldn’t matter. They believed the Electoral College so very much favored those huge blue states, with their surefire Democratic wins—New York, California, etc—and that it was highly unlikely that any Republican could ever get enough rust belt states to win the presidency.

But the presidency isn’t everything, is it? Well, no. But it’s an awful lot, particularly if a president is willing to extend executive power with enough boldness to make Congress mostly irrelevant. The president appoints the SCOTUS justices, and some of those positions were opening up, and President Hillary Clinton would be guaranteeing a lock on SCOTUS for a generation or two. Congress? The president can stop anything they do with a veto, and there was no way that the GOP would ever get enough votes to override Hillary’s veto. And, if the Democrats had taken control of at least the Senate in 2016 (as a great many Democrats expected they would), so much the better. And who cares about Congress anyway, as long as there’s a Democratic president willing to go right past them and do things by fiat.

And then there was illegal immigration and amnesty, the aces in the hole. it would take a while to accomplish the entire process, first granting amnesty and then in a certain number of years citizenship. Meanwhile, those babies would be coming, surefire citizens all and projected to become Democrats, turning the last large red states such as Texas blue.

So who cared if some state legislatures and governorships continued to go to the GOP? Let those states stew in their own crimson juices. The real power lay in Washington, and the states where the vast majority of Democrats resided were true blue anyway.

However:

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

[NOTE: I know I’ve said it before, but that quote comes from one of my favorite poems in all the world.]

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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