A lot of people have come up with metaphors for the drubbing Donald Trump took at last night’s debate: Frazier v. Ali, for example, or a Rubiobot set to “kill” rather than “stun.” Here’s one that kept occurring to me as I watched Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz take turns reducing Donald Trump to a petulant, stammering mess: the eighth-grade loudmouth who graduates to high school and gets ripped to shreds by a couple of juniors.
It takes a junior high fighter to know a junior high fighter but McArdle isn't even a good junior high fighter. Trump's last name used to be Drumpf. Anyone who doesn't call him a Drummkopf is wasting everyone's time.
But first let's look at numbers, something the economic blogger avoided.
It's the thought that counts and McArdle wants to spend the next eight years mooning dreamily over Rubio as he destroys everything he touches. She does not want to watch a liberal become the first woman president or sink down to the level of the rest of her tea bagging circle.
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRubio mocks Trump for spelling, 'spray tan,' 'Hair Force One' planeWATCH LIVE: Trump holds final rally in Arkansas before Super Tuesday Rubio offended Christie during call seeking endorsement: reportMORE leads Sen. Marco Rubio(R-Fla.) by 18 points nationwide after the tenth GOP presidential debate, according to a new survey.
Trump roars past Rubio with 39 percent to 21 percent, according to the NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Friday.
Like all of the rest of the conservative pundits, McArdle think she is giving value by analyzing that strange Trump phenomenon. She has a million ways to avoid admitting that her party courted the racist South to win while telling themselves that their hands remained clean. They traffic in racism the same way that their predecessors trafficked in human flesh.
The remarkable thing about Donald Trump’s stunts has always been just how juvenile they were. His taunts were, basically, unimaginative variants on such middle school classics as:Remember that her literary circle includes Jonah "PeeWee Hermann" Goldberg and Ross "My religion is your fact" Douthat.
“I know you are but what am I?”
“[Insert wildly incorrect “fact” made up on the spot]”“You’re a loser!”
“Lalalalalalala I can’t hear you”
Also remember that McArdle uses insults instead of arguments, such as, "those words don't mean what you think they mean" and she's not just making a joke or movie allusion.
Trump succeeded with these tactics not so much because they were devastating, but because no one else on stage could believe that an adult was acting this way -- and when they finally did believe it, no one else wanted to join Trump in his second puberty.Liar. They wanted his racist, hateful voters. They jumped on the successful bullying tactic as soon as they realized they could no longer safely wait for him to go away.
The only person who seems not to have realized what was going on was Donald Trump. And when the tables were turned on him by people who adopted the same level of verbal aggressiveness, with a higher level of intelligence, he didn’t know how to respond.
We do not know if Rubio is smarter than Trump which is a serious problem for Rubio. So far Trump has outsmarted him. McArdle might be telling herself that bullies crumble on the first push-back but Rubio is a hot-house flower compared to Trump, a bully since childhood. Trump spent a lifetime among manipulators and sharks and is very good at spotting emotional weaknesses.
Rubio is a sad little man. Remove the handlers, audience and moderators and Rubio would crumple in front of Trump. But the greater truth is that even if Rubio demolished Trump, especially if Rubio demolished Trump, he would not get Trump's anti-establishment voters.
JUST IN: Rubio mocks Trump: "He should sue whoever did that to his face"February 27, 2016
The worst moment, as many have noted, was the back-and-forth on health care. This was bad not because Donald Trump’s health-care policy is woefully incomplete; policy doesn’t matter that much at this stage of the election. (More on this later.) It was bad because, just as loudmouth eighth-graders often do, Trump was basically talking about something he didn’t understand: the idea that we should allow health insurance to be sold across state lines. This is a perfectly fine idea that wouldn’t make much difference to health-care costs, but again, that’s not why it hurt Trump. It hurt Trump because, just like those eighth graders often do, he screwed it up.
It is a terrible idea, just as it was with credit cards. Always wrong because of ideology.
McArdle went on to relate Rubio's shining "I know you are but what am I?" moment.
Pundits cheered, particularly conservative ones. Having made no secret of my dislike for Trump, I will probably not surprise you by saying that I was among them. Rubio, and also Ted Cruz, who attacked him very successfully on electability, showed Donald Trump some things I’m not sure he realized: that bullies can be bullied; that being the front-runner means everyone’s going to come at you; and that there is a reason that those boring, low-energy experienced politicians take care not to say things that they will have to answer for in the media, or which can be used against them in attack ads....
Of course McArdle supports Rubio. McArdle's career and the careers of all her friends and husband depend on maintaining the status quo. She refuses to imagine that everything can change, that the Republicans can lie and pander themselves into this state of degeneracy. The right's greed destroyed their own grift. They milked their followers until the followers were broke, depressed, angry and high. Now their control over those followers is dead.
Not that they cared--until now, when the defeated have found a strongman leader to lift them out of their self-imposed misery.
And yet as bracing as it was to see Trump knocked back on his heels, at the end of the day, I can’t be too happy about it. We saw the eighth-grade bully put down, yes -- but by reducing the entire debate stage to the level of a high school put-down contest.
Policy was basically nowhere, except for the early round on immigration. The rest of the debate was a festival of interpersonal verbal aggression, in which what mattered was not how you would govern, or even what you believed, but who could most effectively interrupt, harass and sneer. I cheered, so that I would not weep for my country.
This is what passes for deep feeling in our empathy-free elite. She cheered because she loves bullies just as much as those despised Trump fans. She helped create those Trump fans. And now we are supposed to think she weeps for her country's descent into petty insults and partisan unkindness.
McArdle's only marketable skill is her attacks on liberals. Those posts get many hundreds of comments; her bi-partisan ones get far fewer. She is the living embodiment of her country's descent into partisan cruelty. It's her job, her mind-set, her way of life. She did hatched jobs on anyone who got in the way of her goals: Elizabeth Warren, Edmund Andrews and his wife, Kathleen Sebelius, Yasha Levine and Mark Ames, and the head of the CDC and that's just off the top of my head. She has made the world a worse place by living in it.Note to My Angry Liberal Interlocutors
Before you pop off at me, would you please try to read all the words in the post? In order?
I say this because in the past few weeks, I've had a notable uptick of incidents where someone berates me by saying, "Well how come you don't think we need to help mentally ill people who have jobs!" or "You're completely ignoring the possibility that once a company gets a monopoly, they will jack up prices!", when I have spent a paragraph or so discussing exactly the problem that they are angrily demanding that I address . . . or rather, angrily declaring that my failure to understand this point is evidence of my total hypocrisy/ideological blindness/hatred of the unfortunate.
I have many flaws. There is no need to go fabricating imaginary ones.
This is cute. And incredibly stupid. Leaving aside the issue of what constitutes a war crime that should be prosecuted in international courts--you heartless fiend! my liberal readers cry, we knew all along that you loved torture!...I know that I have a lot of seething war opponents reading this, their souls screaming that the practical considerations are secondary to the moral ones....
Before my liberal readers freak out, this does not make me happy.
I know that my liberal friends and readers think of me as a union basher who just can't stand the thought of workers claiming a bigger share of the pie.
When I wrote the other week about why I am opposed to national health care, a number of people angrily demanded to know why I was writing about something that "no one is proposing". Now, this is clearly a lunatic statement. I was writing about something that many people were proposing. I just wasn't writing about the nebulous bills currently wending their way through various committees.
This first sentence is just here for all the bloggers who want to read the first sentence of the post and then go write an angry rebuttal of my claim that poor Americans should have to torture puppies in order to be eligible for Bandaids.
A series of posts at Reason illustrates that the liberal rage at right-wing loonies is starting to sound, well, a little loonie:
I find it hard to believe that none of the liberal commentators breathlessly celebrating Wal-Mart's "capitulation" on national health care have even entertained the most parsimonious explanation: that Wal-Mart is in favor of this because it raises the barriers to entry in the retail market, and hammers Wal-Mart's competition.
I see a lot of liberal blogs crowing that Obama's really taking it to the hedge funds who are holding out on the Chrysler bankruptcy.
Number one item in this post on Graeme Frost:
1) I told y'all this was going to happen. Maybe next time you'll listen, hmmm?
Weirdly triggered angry email from liberal commenters, who offered this as an example of my tendency to make snotty dismissals of liberals. This is weird because, of course, I was talking to conservatives, in re my earlier post on the general political unwiseness of attacking programs that give money to cute children.
Poverty policy[:] Liberals will scream, but George Bush gets this one. Kerry has one plan I like--increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit--but the rest of his programme is just standard Democratic same-old, same-old.... For all the hysteria, Bush's plans for Social Security and Medicare are excessively modest....I'm unconvinced by anti-war people screaming about screw-ups in the early weeks of the war, including the latest explosives flap. As a project manager, I know too well that when you operate in a tight time frame, no matter how much you plan, nothing goes according to plan. Something comes out of left field and makes half your planning obsolete, and the other half irrelevant.
So it looks like the Torch is going to drop out of the New Jersey Senate race.
Democrats are getting slightly hysterical, because it's not clear that it's legal to replace him after the primary.
McArdle has always complained that she just wants to have a quiet, civil conversation about how liberals should be eliminated from public life while attacking anyone in her way with positively Trump-like fervor and glee. But now the leader is doing his own rat-fucking and she's all verklempt.
When you wage a war on reality, fact, reason, and empathy, you don't get to complain when the corpse of your policies lies bleeding at your feet.
And yet, this is just a reflection of something I already knew: Policy just doesn’t matter that much in presidential debates, or for that matter, in presidential elections. Elections that feature an incumbent may be some sort of broad referendum, thumbs up or thumbs down, on how the incumbent has done. Yet even this is just as likely to focus on something they can’t really control (the state of the economy) as it is on decisions they made (like, I dunno, getting us into a massively destabilizing war in the Middle East).
Even things that are ostensibly about policy often really aren’t. When Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debate Wall Street regulation, neither of them puts forth the kind of detailed framework that you’d actually need to know who was going to be better on the issue. There’s good reason for this: developing such a plan would take a lot of time and expensive expertise. Then no one would read it, including the candidates themselves. And the candidates wouldn’t be able to explain it even if they did read it.
McArdle wouldn't read it or understand it and therefore neither would anyone else.
What they’re really arguing about is not how these folks will regulate Wall Street, but who hates banks more, who is angrier at them, who will be meaner to them when the time comes to build that sort of framework. Such policies as they suggest are crafted less with an eye toward effectiveness than toward “sounding mean.” For politicians, policy plans are the semaphore flag by which they send signals; they are rarely the message themselves.
Yes, her thinking really is that shallow. Libs are all, "No like banks. Booo, bank! Bad bank! Bad! Vote Hillary!"
This is the part where I am supposed to lament how terrible this is, how our widening deficit in Gross National Seriousness threatens to ruin the country. Part of me does think this. But then the other part -- the part that is semi-firmly tethered to the real world -- says “How could it be otherwise?”
And now come the excuses; why the right was forced to degenerate into a Jerry Springer dog and pony show.
1. Policy is hard. Campaigns are short. " There is no place for serious policy in a modern campaign."
2. Voters are not qualified to assess a candidate.
I include myself in this. There are areas, like foreign policy, that I mostly stay away from because I don’t know enough to form an opinion.
Like Iraq? We know she's lying. She also doesn't stay away from writing about economics and cooking either. Long story short: Forget facts and concentrate on whether candidates are authoritarian enough.
So instead elections focus on things that average voters are qualified to assess. What is this candidate’s character? What are their ideological commitments? Who are their political allies? What groups are they likely to listen to when in office? What are their instincts about responding to threats?
I might think that in an ideal world, everyone would be like me, spending their days marinating in policy panels and white papers and government reports.
Or, more likely, kitchen gadget web sites, on-line catalogues, and pub drinking games. Same difference.
But then I remember that I’d be sitting in an unheated, unlit house, gnawing on one of the four cucumbers I managed to grow in my front yard last year, with no clothes, electronic devices, or … well, you get the idea. Modern policy is necessarily the obsession of a few. And this is necessarily upsetting to the many, who simultaneously resent the intrusions of self-appointed experts, and decline to put in the hours necessary to become expert themselves.
So shut up and vote for Rubio. If you think you're so smart, read all those papers I pretend to read and copy others' opinions the way I do.
I still mourn the tone of last night’s debate, and hope that my country will soon, once again, be capable of adult discourse. But that discourse is still not going to be aimed at me. It’s going to be aimed at the millions of voters who spend their days doing the stuff that’s necessary to keep the wonks fed, clothed and housed.
You know, morons. The ones who could never understand policies anyway, who need Megan McArdle to do their thinking for them. Meanwhile she is actually trying to manipulate voters into putting her allies into office so she can maintain the grift long enough to retire to the fringes of an exclusive neighborhood.
McArdle has no value in the brave new world of conservative thought. She existed to put an intellectual veneer on hatred and racism and she won the battle for hearts and minds. Now she is no longer needed. Trump will probably be marginalized but the money people got the message: forget subtlety. Now the conservatives want blood.