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Current location: Somewhere in the NYC metropolitan statistical area
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 36,113

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No. At least, not yet and not doing what he's doing

The Kochs mostly kept a low profile and funded a lobbying and messaging infrastructure. Conservative and libertarian think tanks to develop arguments and papers for politicians to quote and wave around, groups like ALEC to craft and push legislation, astroturf groups to create the illusion of broad support, etc.

They made connections so that they didn't foot the whole bill themselves, and it was all constructed to look as normal and respectable as possible. No high-profile, easy to demonize "evil rich dudes" until relatively recently.

A liberal version doesn't need to do it precisely the same way, but it's the infrastructure & messaging parts that need to be built, or better knit together the ones that already exist.

The messaging part is especially important. There is absolutely no liberal equivalent right-wing noise machine. How much would it cost him to fund and promote people who are already out there, but are operating on a shoestring because liberal moneybags don't "do" media?

Bork was the face of the Saturday Night Massacre...

...the guy who stepped up to the plate and carried out Nixon's order to fire the independent special prosecutor for the Watergate scandal when two of his superiors refused and resigned.

The mere fact that Reagan had nominated him was an ideological move. The fight to block him got pretty nasty, and thereafter centrist Dems tended to shy away from possible knock-down-drag-out fights.

Thomas didn't have anything like Bork's high profile, and as I noted, initially it looked like opposing him would tick off black voters, until Thurgood Marshall signaled that Thomas was not a friend. Among the Democratic senators, opposition to Thomas was disorganized, uncertain, late to congeal against conservatives signalling total war if another SC pick was blocked, and they mostly wanted to put an uncomfortable situation behind them. So they did.

Because one side was pushing hard to advance their ideological agenda...

...and the other side thought in terms of norms and civility, and didn't want another fight.

From a Feb. 2014 thread on the subject:

The reason Thomas was put on the SC was...

...NOT because he was the most qualified jurist. He wasn't.
...NOT because he was the most qualified black jurist. He wasn't.
...NOT because he was the most qualified black conservative jurist. He wasn't.

He was the most qualified black conservative with reliable but obfuscatable views on abortion & other subjects, and was young enough that he'd stay on the court for decades.

The Democratic senators were initially ready to give him a pass, since 1) they didn't look forward to another SC nomination battle, and 2) initially the black community was receptive to Thomas -- not enthusiastic, but not inclined to oppose -- and a fight against him wouldn't be well received.

At the time I thought Thomas should have been voted down just because of his lackluster record and his ignoring conflicts of interest (Thomas failed to recuse himself in a case involving the Ralston Purina company, where his political mentor Sen. John Danforth owned millions in stock and had brothers on the board of directors. Thomas' decision in favor of Purina directly benefited his pals).

Black opinion didn't shift until later in the process, after Thurgood Marshall made his "a black snake is still a snake" comment. The senators were finally forced to take a harder line when the harassment charges leaked out, and giving Thomas a pass would piss off another Democratic constituency: women fighting workplace harassment.

But all that happened too late: by that point conservatives were ginned up in support and the rest of the establishment didn't want another high-profile fight, so the Thomas hearings were kept to a he-said-she-said with Anita Hill (Angela Wright was shunted off to the side), giving the senators their excuse to just put it behind them.

So here we are, a quarter-century later, and he's still a lackluster jurist who ignores conflicts of interest, and is a reliable conservative operative in the courts.

As God as my witness, I'll never pass up a chance to repost this

From http://www.dumbingofage.com/2016/blog/antichrist/

A little context: the cartoonist, Dave Willis, grew up in a strict conservative evangelical household, and Joyce, the little kid/older kid/young woman in this progression is something of an alter-ego of his about how that bubble bursts for some people, and of some of the hypocrisies that manifest in the people for whom it doesn't burst.

Boot leaves out the part where those "principled conservatives"...

...spent their careers turning the Party of Lincoln into the Party of Ahab, at which point all it took was a name change to make it the Party of Trump.

I've yet to see even one of them recognize that they did to themselves what they did to the Rockefeller Republicans in the 70s and 80s. The same themes they pushed in order to gain power created an expectation they could never fully deliver on, so the monster they fed swept them aside as weak and ineffectual.

But they still don't see it. Give them a chance, and they'll go right back to it.

There are different levels of engagement and forgiveness

What engagement needs, first and foremost, is someone on the other side who is willing to engage, as Weissman was. It can take effort to find them -- it's definitely missionary work or selling to a very reluctant customer -- you have to accept the success rate will be low. Not everyone has the temperament for that sort of work, but it does need to be done, if only to plant seeds in the cracks of the brick wall that might eventually sprout later on.

And once you find the ones who are willing to admit they were wrong about Trump, you can move into talking with them about "why did they think that?", "was that really true?", and "what other things are you just as sure about as you were about Trump, and are you willing to consider you may be wrong about those too?"

However, there's a difference between people who might be reachable if they can be weaned off their daily dose of foam from FOX and other RW bubble suppliers, and with high-profile people who may be saying terrific anti-Trump stuff now but who entirely sidestep their own careers as workers and managers in that foam-factory.

Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson, Charlie Sykes, and other "NeverTrumpers", and Joe Scarborough get a lot of time and attention these days, but they are not our friends. We're not in an "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" situation with these guys.

It's more of a "the enemy of my enemy is the guy who will shiv me in the kidneys the moment I've done his dirty work for him" kind of situation.

These people spent their careers as Republican political consultants and conservative media people playing upon the same themes Trump does in order to deliver votes for conservative Republican candidates so that they would have the numbers to pass their own favored agenda.

But backfiring is inevitable for a long-term strategy of "vote for us and we'll take care of the bullshit things you hat and fear." It creates an expectation that they're never able to really deliver on ... and your target audience will still believe those things, but will turn on you for being weak and ineffectual.

That's where most of the high-profile anti-Trump conservatives are, and they don't get forgiveness until there's some sign they won't go straight back to their old comfortable spots and habits the moment they see an opportunity.

There are a rare few of those who do qualify, ones who have publicly said they were wrong and OMG, vote for Democrats so we can stop this madness. But they are still much too rare.

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