Saying the Quiet Parts Loud: "I can’t wait for Michael Kinsley’s column about how we shouldn’t criticize poor Dr. Carson...:
...for his comments about how some classes of people should be ineligible for the presidency because he hasn’t actually called for Ahmed Mohamed to summarily executed.
Did Michael Kinsley Invent the Concept of Same-Sex Marriage?: "You would think that Michael Kinsley’s defense of austerity would be the most glibly know-nothing thing you’d read all week...(2013):
...And you might still be right, but Kinsley has decided to make it interesting. His basic argument is that we should leave Ben Carson alllonnnnnnnne! because lots of people who weren’t notably homophobic didn’t support same-sex marriage rights until recently. Well, maybe not entirely unreasonable on its face. But is it applicable to Carson? Kinsley saves us some time by taking his own argument behind the office building and firing twenty shots into it with one of those new smart rifles:
Carson is the latest Great Black Hope for the Republican Party, which is quickly running out of African American conservatives to make famous. But Carson’s appearance was not a success. He should have left bestiality out of it. And any reference to NAMBLA—the ‘North American Man / Boy Love Association’—is pretty good evidence that we have left the realm of rational discussion and entered radio talk-show territory...
I will concede that there are non-homophobes... who came too late to supporting same-sex marriage.... [But] people who are still comparing supporters of same-sex marriage to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals are not part of this group.... How can a defense of Carson possibly proceed from here? Very unconvincingly:
Carson may qualify as a homophobe by today’s standards. But then they don’t make homophobes like they used to. Carson denies hating gay people, while your classic homophobe revels in it....
Disavowing hatred is pretty much the first play in the respectable homophobe’s playbook.... It’s like saying that Richard Russell couldn’t have been a white supremacist because he didn’t use the same racial slurs Theodore Bilbo did....
In reference to Kinsley’s austerity self-immolation, a couple of colleagues noted that Kinsley has the strengths and defects of the clever high-school debater: he writes well, and give him something--like a Wall Street Journal editorial--that’s illogical on its face and he can do an excellent job on it. But his knowledge of both history and contemporary policy is puddle-deep, and he feels no need to try to learn something before making definitive pronouncements...
What are Scott's colleagues referencing? Well, they are referencing things like... this, fresh in the fish-wrap and already stinking--with no citations, no links, no references, just a false and unmotivated slam against Hillary Rodham Clinton for not being "intellectually curious", and weak-tea praise of Jerry Brown: "It’s good to learn from your mistakes... better to learn from other people’s mistakes. Jerry Brown has done both..." and "To what extent Brown deserves credit for the rebirth of the California dream and the California economy... would no doubt be a subject for debate..."
Why Aren’t the Democrats Trying to Draft Jerry Brown?: "They keep saying that the Democrats have no ‘bench’...:
...meaning the party has no potential candidate to fall back upon if Hillary turns out to have a third e-mail account. Look at the Republicans: they’ve got governors like John Kasich and Bobby Jindal, senators like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, fruitcakes like Donald Trump and... well, Trump is unique.
But the Democrats do have someone. He’s had more gubernatorial experience than anyone else in the country, and he’s had it in the largest state—a state larger than most nations; unlike, say, Carly Fiorina, who seems to think that as long as you’ve had experience, it doesn’t matter whether it was positive or negative experience. It’s good to learn from your mistakes but, as Warren Buffett says, it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.
Jerry Brown has done both. Unlike all the current presidential candidates in both parties—and certainly unlike Hillary Clinton, though not unlike her husband—Brown is intellectually curious. He has a speculative mind and likes to play with ideas—and not, like so many politicians, just the idea of ideas. During his first eight years as governor, 1975 to 1983, this character trait did not serve him well. It earned him his famous nickname of ‘Governor Moonbeam,’ and made him a Trump-like ‘figure of fun’ when he first ran for president in 1976. During his miraculous second round as governor, starting in 2011 (miraculous for him, 28 years after he left the governorship the first time, and miraculous for the state, where California dreamin’ was becoming a bitter joke), things turned around completely. To what extent Brown deserves credit for the rebirth of the California dream and the California economy, not to mention the California state treasury, would no doubt be a subject for debate if he ran for president. But it happened on his watch.
Like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, Brown is a dynastic candidate: his father, Pat Brown, was governor before him. But he doesn’t come across as a tired old face. He comes across as something fresh and original. All that New Age stuff that seemed so weird when Brown ran for president the first time (in 1976) is still part of his repertoire. But he’d be helped if he ran by the extent to which yoga and brown rice and so on have become part of American culture. Jerry Brown hasn’t gone mainstream (or at least not much), but mainstream has gone Jerry Brown.
Speaking of New Age brings us to the question of old age. Brown will be 78 on Inauguration Day 2017. Hillary Clinton will be 69. Bernie Sanders will be 75. If you could custom-make a presidential candidate, he or she would be younger than all three of them. But you can’t. At the moment, you still can’t have anybody but Hillary—which isn’t so terrible, is it? She’d make a better president, IMHO, than any of the Republicans currently running. But that could change. And Democrats should stop saying they have no bench before someone starts to believe them.