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Yes, three quarters of the country can be wrong; the meanings of legal texts aren't decided by polls. But which texts are law can often be decided by polls, and if the President hoped to make a cause celebre of a decision by the court to strike down Obamacare, that door would appear to have been closed by the fact that even a New York Times poll says that three quarters of the country—so read four fifths, correcting for bias—would agree with the court.
Unions hardest-hit. I liked this line, from Politico's coverage: "Vince Lombardi, the man who taught [Wisconsinites] to think with clarity about the severe consequences of victory and defeat, once offered this gem about life: 'Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.'” Somehow one gets a sense of what Lombardi would have made of John McCain's 2008 autorotation of a campaign.
The obvious consequences of a rather ill-conceived amendment to respond to Citizens United. Needless to say, unless the reading of this amendmen is incorrect, this is a really, really, really bad idea. This is the sort of misshapen monstrosity that could only cme from hasty thinking and unchecked passion. The crew at NRO have framed this in terms of a left-wing power grab in order to silence conservative dissent from the government, but I'm not prepared to lay that intent on the authors of this thing, as it is no doubt an attempt to fix a problem with a cure worse than the disease. The thing is, this would help to create that sort of arrangement, and would in fact leave all political speech subject to regulation.
I'm with NRO on this one--this is bad stuff, and most likely won't go anywhere. The commenters over there are convinced this is proof of the grand leftist conspiracy to crush American liberty. It's all straw man logic I know, but this does make it harder to dispel that fear with stuff like this coming down the pike.
The First Amendment's fine the way it is, folks. Let it be.
AND: The text:
Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.
Section 2. People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.
Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people's rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, and such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.
At first glance, it doesn't sound menacing, but a closer look reveals a glaring problem: Clause 2 appears to cancel out Clauses 1 and 3, because if Clause 2 limits the speech of corporations in such way that lines up with the opposition to Citizens United, then Clauses 1 and 3 are negated. If this isn't so, then this whole thing collapses on itself, and renders it symbolic and toothless. It's entirely possible that they've crerate a symbolic non-measure--either way this looks to be ill-conceived out of the gate.
ADDED: I really should add a bit of context to this. Lou Dobbs' default position appears to be high dudgeon and demagoguery--and I think his baseless attack on The Secret World of Arrietty is exactly that, baseless, among other things. As far as The Lorax goes, as far the film having a environmentalist message, and the movie targeting children, he's not wrong. Not having a deep-seated opposition to environmentalism, this doesn't really bother me, but for certain self-appointed culture warriors, this is a big deal. Oh, well.
Besides, he shouldn't worry too much--they're kinda doing a half-assed job, anyway...
N.b.! The following is not a complete post. It contains the opening parts of the first draft of a post that I was writing in January 2009; it never came close to being finished, and the moment for it passed. It's languished for years in the drafts pile. What's more, I do not now either endorse or repudiate the argument that I was seeking to make, which you can see in outline (the more skeletal parts never made it off the blotter, so there's some holes and the end is completely missing).
So why publish now, almost three years later, and why in this state? Well, a lot of research went into it, and I think there's some valuable material in here that pertains generally to impeachment. Over the last couple of years, I've strip-mined this draft for its research time and again when impeachment issues have come up. For that reason, and since impeachment may become a hot topic again in the coming weeks, I thought that I'd share it "as is."
The limits of the impeachment power
"a hundred-ton gun which needs complex machinery to bring into position, an enormous charge to fire it, and a large mark to aim at." - Lord Bryce, on impeachment.1
Via Prof. Jacobson, I see that Bruce Ackerman is arguing that Judge Bybee should be impeached because of advice he gave while serving at OLC prior to his nomination to the bench. If the Senate had known about that advice, Ackerman charges, it would never have confirmed his appointment to the Ninth Circuit, and impeachment is warranted because it would “focus on a very particular problem: Jay Bybee may serve for decades on one of the highest courts in the land. Is his continued service consistent with his role in the systematic perpetration of war crimes?”
That may be a good question, but I want to suggest it was a passenger on a ship that has vanished over the horizon, one that cannot now be called back through impeachment. Assuming that Bybee could be impeached for his conduct at OLC, and assuming that Congress can impeach an officer even after their resignation (historically a hotly contested point), Bybee could be impeached and barred from future appointments, but could not be be removed from his present office on the basis of impeachment qua an OLC officer or impeached qua a judge for his conduct at OLC. Text, history, and practice are all strongly suggestive of this conclusion.
To some folks' consternation, the "ban" on incandescent lightbulbs goes into effect in a few hours. Imagine a government policy which discourages and thereby disrupts the supply of a particular commodity: Is the policy analogous to a ban?
As I understand it, the "incandescent lightbulb ban" obliges manufacturers of lightbulbs (of any kind) to meet certain prerequisites ("efficiency"). Because it wouldn't be economical for manufacturers to produce compliant incandescent bulbs, the manufacturers in practice simply shut down production and make compliant bulbs of other kinds. The "ban" is thus mediated by private entrepeneurial choice: The regulation doesn't ban incandescent bulbs, it just creates a regulatory framework in which the product becomes unavailable in the marketplace.
Now imagine that a state government imposes a regulation that medical facilities wishing to offer abortion must meet certain prerequisites ("health and safety," informed consent," etc.), and it would not be economical* for clinics to comply. The "ban" is thus mediated by private entrepeneurial choice: The regulation doesn't ban abortion, it just creates a regulatory framework in which the service becomes unavailable in the marketplace. Has the state banned abortion?
* Absent market distortions not present in the lightbulb debate—fanatical pro-abortion ideology could lead some outfits like PP to operate at a loss in some states.
An eleventh thing that didn't change with the guard might have been "Signing statements are still valid," or, to be more precise, "Signing statements are still not inherently invalid." You may remember that half-baked sloganeering about things wot Bush done was a major component of the Democratic primary last time around, and candidates gleefully fulminated against any practice of the Bush administration to which a name could be put—signing statements, for example. Thus, while I have no problem with President Obama issuing signing statements as a Constitutional matter, I must say that, like Cap'n Ed, I'm puzzled about how President Obama doesn't have a problem with what Senator Obama decried.
Added: Here's Obama's signing statement. There's nothing problematic in it—it looks a lot like the sort of signing statement issued by President Bush—save for the total absence of an explanation as to how it squares with Senator Obama's views! You can change your mind, but it's common courtesy to say why. A few years ago, I speculated that if the Democratic candidate won the 2008 election, their use of tools then decried as Bush administration black magic might renormalize those tools in the public mind. It doesn't seem to have happened that way—see this.
The fuss is remarkably silly. As a general matter, the bill says (§1032) that when a person who is determined "to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda," and "to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners," and "who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40), the military may hold that person "pending disposition under the law of war." (The preceding section explains more about that.) But the bill continues: "The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States" or "to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution" (emphasis added).
I find myself continually confused by conservative critics of Obama, who accuse Obama of being both a power-mad radical bent on wrecking the country, and a bystander, who simply sits back and does nothing. Which one is it? Besides the fact that President Obama has made good faith efforts to get the Supercommittee to come to a deal, and that the ultimate legal power to create the deal rests with Congress, I'm not really sure what else Christie thinks Obama should've done. I'll bet a hefty sum that if Obama had tried to do it Christie's way, the same people would accuse him of abusing his power, and strong-arming Congress, or silencing conservative dissent, or something like that. It's not just the ignorance that's troubling--it's the unseriousness of it all.
HT: Althouse (forgot to add the link)
The Ohio result actually reflects a failure of conservative activists to understand what motivates the electorate. The conservative movement holds an ideological and generally principled opposition to government. Most Republican voters[, however,] don’t share that. They oppose government programs that seem to benefit people other than themselves.
. . . .
Republicans successfully mobilized public opposition to health care reform by portraying it as an attempt to take health care away from people like you and give it to the undeserving "them." Conservatives deliriously interpreted this as a triumph of anti-government ideology asserting itself. But as Republicans discovered when they voted for a budget to slash Medicare, the public remains staunchly opposed to cutting programs for people like themselves
Added: And then there's this from Ramesh Ponnuru.
Hufflepuff offers this; with no ado at all, let's dig straight in:
The 1% is using the super-secret Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a. the Super Committee), to reach directly into the pockets of the 99% and steal hundreds of billions of dollars from them. [Nonsense. Hey, if they can start with conclusory assertions, so can I! At any rate, this is the nauseating meme we're going to have to get used to for a while: The lexicon of "Occupy" and their preposterous claim to represent "the 99%," which they of course do not. Look on the bright side: For a while, "neocon" was the ubiquitous slur of choice for conservatives, but when did you last hear that one? To everything there's a season.] This committee has unprecedented power. [The "supercommittee" has no significant power whatsoever. When it was first created, I castigated the critics who claimed it was powerful and dangerous because, I argued, it had no more power than any individual member of Congress: It could propose legislation. No more. Well, that's not quite true, I'll admit. It can, in a sense, do something that no individual member may accomplish: it can not only propose legislation but also secure a vote on that legislation. So in that sense, it may be literally true that the committee has "unprecedented" power—but if "unprecedented" is used to imply that the committee is powerful, as it undoubtedly is, that is not the case.] It has been meeting behind closed doors for weeks. [So what?] Finally, though, its plans are leaking out, and they are not pretty.
In order to spare defense contractors [who make weapons that we need], the pharmaceutical industry [which makes drugs that we need], and other fat cats [who make and finance other, uh, "phat" things that we need], while appeasing the credit agencies, whose AAA ratings to crony-clients helped crash the economy, the Supercommittee has proposed slashing benefits for current and future beneficiaries of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, notwithstanding that the current deficit has nothing to do with these programs. [Read that again. Right, of course: Our current deficit has nothing to do with the trillions of dollars we spend every year on those programs. To justify this literally absurd claim, watch what they do next:]
. . . .
The following chart shows the causes of our current deficits:
[See? It's not entitlements that "cause" our deficit, it's "tax expenditures": The cause of our deficit isn't how much we spend, but how much we refuse to exact in taxation. Like their fictitious graph, it makes perfect sense if you shut up and stop thinking about it. Now, why do I say fictitious? Two reasons: First, the obvious one just mentioned, and second, the fact that their graph doesn't even purport to "show the causes of our current deficits": Notice that it begins in 2009 and goes out ten years. It's a projection, i.e. a more or less informed fiction (less, in fact: There's no credible way to accurately project tax revenues or the effect of the economic downturn ten years out, although liberal tax theories often pretend otherwise by fictitiously assuming that everything except rates will remain constant).
Of course, a nice thing about making up numbers is that no one can say that your numbers are wrong, but what we can do is look at the picture as we have seen over the last few years and judge the projection in relation to it. So here are federal outlays, receipts, and welfare spending over the last few years:
But don't worry folks—don't you believe your lyin' eyes! The current deficit has nothing to do with them programs comprising a large percentage of all spending!]
. . . .
The secretive and unaccountable Super Committee is meeting behind closed doors and proposing devastating cuts that would be shouldered by the 99%. [We've got to repeat this again: The "supercommittee" is accountable to Congress. It is a committee convened to propose legislation; it has zero power to pass legislation. It can do nothing without Congress' assent. "Unaccountable"?] …
… The 1 percent may have most of the money, but the 99 percent have the votes. It is time for the 99% to tell them in no uncertain terms, Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid! You don't speak for the 99%, pal, and neither does OWS.
That's the evocative phrase used by a fellow I was talking to recently, and it's a good lens through which to view the locution "such-and-such threatens to take us back." It is wheeled out in political contexts by those who say that conservative reforms would "take us back a century," for example, or "repeal the new deal," etc., and in the ecclesial context by those who say that various proposals (especially those that fall under the heading "the reform of the reform") would "take us back to before Vatican II."
The trope is exhausted, and I'm tired of it too. There is no going back; even if we erected the same juridical framework we had a century ago, to the letter, we would not be transported back to that world, because the world has moved on. And that's where the irrevocability of everything comes into play: The same bell, when installed in a a new bell tower, will have a different ring. Do people really believe that our progress towards women's equality, for example, has to do solely with legal machinery such as Title VII, rather than broad-scale changes in our culture? Only by making such an assumption could they insist that it would all be undone by repeal. (Such laws of course promoted the change, but it's one-way: Their enactment promoted change but their repeal won't undo it.) If anyone actually believes that, they're wrong, for the same reason that the so-called "tenthers" will be disappointed to discover that even reversion to EC Knight and National League of Cities will not reverse the federalized mindset of modern politics; the legal framework can be changed, but society has changed and those changes can't be called back by mere statutes.
So time move relentlessly forward. But that doesn't mean that mistakes aren't made along the way, mistakes that we can try to correct as we move forward—sometimes by recovering things we dropped along the way, sometimes by taking out and dusting off ornaments that were put in the trunk along the way. Of course, the folks who really wanted that stuff in the trunk aren't happy, but that doesn't mean we're "going back" by taking them out.
One problem with the progressive paradigm is that it can seem agnostic to destination. If we're moving forward, that's progress, right? Well, at risk of getting into teleological problems, we should care about where we're going, because we are going to get there. So we should think about where the road leads (thus which road we want to be on) and measure progress in terms of distance thence. And if we one day realize that we have taken a wrong turn and driven several miles on a road toward somewhere other than our destination—toward Hell or Hull or Halifax—progress doesn't mean forging ahead, it means turning about smartly and getting back to the right road.
MP: Straight talk on altar girls (Oct. 19, 2011)
Four days ago, last Thursday, the President made some demands of Congress:
I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away.
. . . .
You should pass this jobs plan right away.
Pass this jobs bill — pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or if they raise workers’ wages. ... You should pass it right away.
. . . .
You should pass it right away.
. . . .
And in this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again -- right away.
. . . .
Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we will have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it.
Etc. ad nauseum. You get the idea. Anyway, today, four days later, he says that he'll send them the bill tonight.
In another place, an objection is raised to the exclusion of fringe-of-the-fringe candidate Fred Karger from the GOP debates. The question isn't why he's out, in my view, but why others are in.
I've said this several times over the last few years, but I think it's important enough to say it again. In 2007, I argued that the 2008 primary should be wide open; we should have a nice robust field with all major sections of the party represented. I was wrong, and foolish; I have recanted. (See, e.g., tthis.) What I failed to take into account is that there are significant downsides to expanding the field, particularly in regard to debates. It should be obvious that since debates have limited time, the more candidates there are, the less time each will have to speak. And that's a problem, as I shall explain.
Some people say that if you don't allow minor candidates into the debates, how will they get a chance to shine? I answer that the argument sounds rather like people who post their band on Wikipedia and fight the inevitable deletion for want of notability on the grounds that the band will become notable through the exposure gained by their wikipedia entry. It's much the same here: The argument mistakes the purpose of a primary. If you haven't shone brightly enough to be a serious candidate before the primary, you have no place in it. The purpose of a primary isn't to have a conversation about the direction of the party, or to make people feel included, and so on. It isn't to let hidden gems shine, as I've just said. The process' purpose is simple and specific: To pick the party's nominee. Nothing more.
So that's the standard against which any given component of the process must be judged: That which makes the process more efficient is good and that which makes it less efficient is maladaptive. Sucking resources away from—and reducing the practical scrutiny on—the leading candidates, which is the net effect of including minor candidates. Including candidates who have zero chance of winning the nomination in debates reduces the time for meaningful answers by the candidates who do; it is of no relevance what Ron Paul thinks about bombing Iran, but it is of immense importance what Mitt Romney and Rick Perry think about it, since one of them may be the next President, and it is not a worthwhile tradeoff to give Paul a minute on the spotlight at the expense of losing a minute in which Perry can be pressed. If you want a soapbox, get a youtube account.
That's why no-hopers like Gary Johnson, Thad McCotter, and Andy Martin aren't allowed in and why no-hopers like Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain shouldn't be allowed in.The same held true in 2008: There was simply no reason for the Democratic parimary to be clogged up with people like Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, or Mike Gravel. I do not say, of course, that but for their presence the Dems might have nominated Hillary (as a large number of Democrats from the party's left and right alike now seem to acknowledge they should have), but I do think that reduced scrutiny of the leading candidates was a problem, and extra candidates didn't help.
The threshold ought to be something realistic—I hate to put a number on it, but 15% sounds like a good place to open the bidding.
That's the punchline to this by Mark Stein, which I commend to you and largely agree with. I would back off a little from Stein's position insofar as I recognize the necessity for the President to travel and the wisdom of doing to in a manner which allows him to function as the chief executive while doing so. Nevertheless, Presidents could travel less and with less. This is especially true when a President happens to believe—as this one does—that carbon poses a mortal threat to our civilization and demands a reduction in the everyone else's activities that might generate it.
Okay, let me preface this by saying that the chances of me casting a vote for Ron Paul are something below nil, and I don't agree with him on practically anything, but I find it real hard to disagree with this, from Jon Stewart:
I'll say again, I'm no fan of Ron Paul's views, but besides the fact that he really has been one of the most ideologically consistent candidates in thirty years (he has had basically one message, and as Stewart says, has been about "the small government grassroots business," since 1974), the fact is, he came in second at the straw poll. He has supporters. People who are outraged about Newsweek not giving Bachmann the treatment she deserves as a legitimate candidate, ought to be outraged about this also.
Now this isn't new, and as Dave Weigel points out, there is sort of a reason why Paul gets snubbed. Let's be honest--Ron Paul has no real shot at the nomination, but neither does Santorum, or Gingrich, or Huntsman, or even Herman Cain. Santorum did worse than Pawlenty, and Pawlenty's out. Huntsman earned less than a hundred votes. I get why Perry gets covered--he just got in, and is polling well, but why Santorum? Why Cain? Why Huntsman? If you're going to apply the "long shot" rule, apply it equally. This doesn't have to be hard--as long as you're an unbiased observer, just report the facts.
I'll say once more than this isn't any kind of endorsement of Paul--I disagree with with almost all his views, but there does seem to be an odd standard at work here.
Buried in a lot of crud, Drew Westen gives us this gem:
A second possibility is that [Obama] is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience.... Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.
Priceless. How times change! Time was when folks like Mr. Westen would scream "racist!" at anyone who suggested such a thing. Someone's making progress...
Polly Toynbee in the Grauniad, with my emphases and comments:
Tea Party madness has brought the US to the brink of economic mayhem, [She here links to an article that regurgitates the claim that America was on the brink of default. It was not. The great myth of the debt ceiling argument was that failure to raise the debt ceiling would immediately cause a default, but monthly revenues are and have been adequate to pay U.S. debts—even without a deal. No wonder she thinks that we were on the brink of mayhem, but she has in fact fallen victim to a kind of inverted version of the optical illusion whereby the peak of the mountain always appears to be over the next ridge. The brink wasn't where her misconception tricked her into thinking it was] risking taking much of the world with it. In the face of obdurate unreason, the president of hyper-reasonableness [!] was forced to surrender. The economic credibility of the country that holds the global reserve currency has wobbled. [And it was driven to do so, in large part, by people uncritically accepting the notion that default was on the table when it wasn't.] The political credibility of the world's beacon of democracy has failed in the face of an insurgency of unreason. [We are beset lately by claims that Congress has become dysfunctional (it has, but not in relation to this issue), that the whole system has become dysfunctional. But "the system is broken" isn't a shorthand for "I didn't get my way"; what's going on? Underlying such statements must be a normative claim for what the healthy function of government is. And in this case, I should imagine that the normative claim must be that the job of the government is to adopt the policy preferences of political elites without delay, deliberation, or room for doubt. I disagree. I didn't send Rep. Bucshon to Congress so that he could spend more of my great grandchildren's money; I sent him there to stop other people from doing so. While I remain dubious that the deal was in fact better than no deal at all—failure to raise the debt ceiling would impose an instant de facto balanced budget on the federal government, which is a good distance to where we ought to be—the fact is that the deal wrings real concessions on spending and has shifted the terms of the debate. From very nearly the get-go, the left's desire for tax increases was not taken seriously; the focus of revenue increases became closing loopholes and other tax code reforms, all of which is to the good in my mind. And almost everyone appears to have rhetorically accepted the needs for cuts; instead of talking about endless increases, we are now fighting over whether we shall have real cuts (now or later) or fake cuts—i.e. reductions in the speed of programmed growth—later. Accordingly, from my perspective, the system has worked very well these last few weeks. So you see, whether a system is "dysfunctional" depends on what you think the system's goals are.] Facts, evidence, probability, possibility – none of that matters to a movement founded on ferocious fantasy. [I must say that the Grauniad's editors could likely improve Toynbee's writing by quite some way if they were to discount adjectives when calculating her per-word pay.]
The founding fathers built a constitution of checks and balances believing reasonable men would agree [yes: if the founders had foreseen that the House would have the unbridled temerity to actually check the Senate and the President on so important an issue, they would never have given it such authority!Right?]; how could they foresee Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Glenn Beck? [None of whom had any significant influence on the immediate issue, but they're conveniently inflammable namechecks, especially if you're writing for an audience that doesn't know better.] To the British eye, America was always dangerously prone to waves of populism [that much I agree with] and McCarthyite panics. The country has reached a deadlock [wait. Wait—what? How so? We have just agreed to major cuts and, one way or another, further cuts will follow later this year. That doesn't seem like deadlock to me.] that may set it on a faster road to decline as absolute intransigence creates a constitution that no longer functions. [See above. the Constitution is functioning just fine. That you're not getting your way doesn't mean it's broken.] Why bother with the great show of presidential elections when presidents are denied the power to match their pomp? [A good question. Why is our image of the Presidency so divergent from the reality of the institution? A number of articles and books have addressed themselves to this puzzle over the years.] The politics of miasma, where words matter more than facts and actions, lets the Tea Party demand the impossible – debt reduction with tax cuts [entirely possible], spending cuts [entirely possible] without touching the gargantuan defence budget [(1) the defense budget comprises only about 22% of the federal budget; it isn't the problem. (2) I have yet to meet or even hear of any Republican who refuses to touch the defense budget]. Obama believed against all the evidence that his opponents would see reason. That's not who they are. [To the contrary, it is Obama's opponents who do see reason. I decline to be lectured on reason by someone dim enough to (apparently) believe that our accumulated levels of spending and promised future spending are viable or that we can tax our way out of the mess. To be with the Democrats on economic issues is not to be obdurate, or ferocious, or whatever other adjectives Toynbee has in her quiver: It is to be innumerate or in deliberate denial of the numbers.]
I worked in Washington during Watergate and the fall of Richard Nixon; even in that national trauma there was not this unbridgeable detestation between the red and the blue. What happened? The rise of the Tea Party owes a great deal to Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV, the foghorn of extremism that changed the nature of political discourse. [Another good question—"what's changed?"—but that's not the answer. It's not even close. Far more effective than Fox has been the internet, which has allowed people of all stripes to talk directly to one another, free of boundaries and (sometimes flawed) proxies like the MSM. By the by, Sister T has some thoughts on this question in her post here, and it's worth reading in full.] Trouncing the competition, its propagandising for Tea Party views misinforms the electorate on just about everything: it is rivetingly frightening viewing. [It's banal, boring, and tiring lowest-common-denominator viewing. Let me not be thought a Fox fan.] It makes our own politics look civil, our commentating measured, our right wing moderate. [By comparison the Tory party looks moderate, certainly (Britain, unlike the United States, has a real far right, if one may use the conventional mis-situation of nazism on the political spectrum). And that's no surprise: One searches the Tory manifesto in vain for some semblance of ideas one could readily describe as conservative of any stripe. Britain's politics remains mired in a failed center-left social democratic paradigm which has achieved intellect-capture on both parties. All things are relative, and the Tories are on the right of this paradigm, but we do not find them advancing ideas with which Burke, Kirk, et al would associate.] But there is little doubt that had News International not fallen so spectacularly from grace, the Murdochs would have intimidated British politicians into changing our laws to allow unbridled political bias in broadcasting. Fox-style television would have battered its way into our living rooms, bringing us Tea Party politics too.
. . . .
She trails off into a rant about global warming (one of those flash-in-the-pan issues people used to care about a few years ago, if you don't remember).