Tip O’Neill would not know this world we live in

Marsha Blackburn saying she's politically incorrect and PROUD OF IT. Yee-haw...

Marsha Blackburn saying she’s politically incorrect and PROUD OF IT. Yee-haw…

Almost from the moment Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local,” the statement has been less and less true.

Now, we can confidently say the opposite: No matter how local a race should be, it’s all about the national. Rather than deciding on local issues, such as who is more likely to get the potholes filled on Main Street, all we hear about is the idiotic talking points of left and right from within the Beltway.

A couple of months back, I got on a list. I’m not sure how, but I did. And I know I did because I started getting a new sort of email — appeals for funding to help poor Joe Arpaio, to elect Judge Roy Moore, to poke the GOP Establishment in the eye, to elect this or that person representing the Bizarro wing of the Republican Party, the atavistic fringe that gave us Trump.

It’s been like seeing a portal suddenly open to an alternative universe where the most unlikely of propositions are treated as truth, and everybody’s got a big chip on the shoulder about it.

I’m not sure who is the link between them all. Occasionally there’s a “personal” note from Ed Rollins, and maybe he’s somehow connected to the others; I don’t know. But there’s definitely a sameness to the messages and rhetoric.

Here’s a typical one that came in today:


Have you heard? I announced that I’m running for the U.S. Senate and I’m asking for the support of strong conservatives like you.

The Senate is totally dysfunctional. And I’ve decided to do something about it. Too many Senate Republicans act like Democrats. Or worse. And that’s what needs to change. Will you chip in $25 to help send me to the Senate to make the Republican majority act like one?

I’m a hard core, card carrying Tennessee conservative. I’m politically incorrect, and proud of it.

Become a founding member of the conservative revolution, DONATE $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford TODAY!

The left is balking at my candidacy because they know I’m the strong ally President Trump needs in the Senate to pass a true, conservative agenda and deliver on our promises to the American people.

My campaign will be a conservative movement fueled by grassroots supporters like you. The Washington establishment is already mobilizing against me.

The next 48 hours will be critical.  We need a strong show of support from conservatives like you. Will you step up and donate today? Every bit helps and no donation is too small!

Help me stand for millions of honest Americans who work hard and play by the rules. Too much is at stake. America needs a conservative revolution. Send a fighter to shake up the Senate and finally repeal Obamacare!

Thanks for your support.

Until I got to the third paragraph in the main text of the message, I had begun to despair of ever learning which state this Ms. Blackburn wished to represent in the Senate. And even that was just implication; she didn’t actually say she would be representing Tennessee. (By the way, when I covered Tennessee politics back in the ’70s and ’80s, Tennessee “conservatives” didn’t carry cards to indication their inclinations. Must be something new.)

Maybe she’s downplaying that because she isn’t planning to represent Tennessee other than technically. Obviously, she seeks to represent instead the adherents of an extremist national movement — an artificial, virtual community that could not have existed before the Web.

To someone thus oriented, geography is incidental. It’s about the… I almost hesitate to call it “ideology,” because that suggests there are ideas involved, which implies thought. This woman’s campaign video is rather a litany of gut impulses and anti-intellectual cliches.

This person isn’t sending me this email because once upon a time (more than 30 years ago) I lived in Tennessee. I’ve never lived in Alabama, and I’m still digging myself out from under Roy Moore emails. And it’s certainly not because of anything I’ve ever done, and absolutely not about anything I’ve ever thought. My concept of an ideal senator from Tennessee is Lamar Alexander, who lies at the absolute opposite end of the Republican spectrum.

No, I’m getting this email because, for some inexplicable reason, I got on a list.

And, the current ideology aside, this offends me as a federalist. As y’all know, I often assert that people who live in other states should elect whomever they want to Congress, and it’s none of my business. I’m been thinking this way since back when South Carolinians used to gripe about Ted Kennedy, and folks in his state griped about Strom Thurmond. My attitude was, if South Carolinians wanted to keep electing Strom until the Judgment Day, that was none of the business of people in Massachusetts. And it was none of our business if Massachusetts wanted to keep voting for Teddy.

(Mind you, I would have liked to have had a viable alternative to Strom — the last such opponent may have been my distant cousin Bradley Morrah, and he wasn’t all that viable — but that was our concern here in South Carolina, and outsiders could butt out.)

This, by the way, is one of reasons I oppose term limits. I think a lot of the support for term limits comes from people who are offended by some of folks other people elect. But other people have the right to vote for whomever they choose.

But I’m digressing now…

For most of the last few decades, this unhealthy interest folks have taken in whom other people elect has taken the form of conventional partisan obsessions. People who care passionately which party controls Congress therefore feel they have a stake in other peoples’ congressional races. Now, this same phenomenon has a new, more virulent, form — it’s become about extreme political subcultures, rather than big-tent parties.

And I’m telling you, folks, it’s not good for the republic…

36 thoughts on “Tip O’Neill would not know this world we live in

  1. Barry

    I was called an “unhinged liberal” on social media this weekend because I asked a poster to provide a credible news link to back up her statement that the Las Vegas shooter was an “anti Trump Liberal.”

    In response, the poster posted a grainy photo from what is likely a bot on Twitter of someone that looks 30% like the Las Vegas shooter at an anti trump rally a few years ago. (Several conspiracy debunking sites have discredited the picture).

    I asked again if the poster would post a credible news link to back up her assertion,. She has refused to respond.

    That is the mindset out there that normal, rational people are having to endure.

  2. Barry

    BTW- Marsha wants to run so she can be a rubber stamp for Trump. She has said that.

    You know- the exact same thing she was against when Obama was President.

  3. Juan Caruso

    ” — it’s become about extreme political subcultures, rather than big-tent parties.” -Brad W.

    You got that right, Brad!

    One of the “big-tent” parties just lost the 2016 presdential election because Trump managed to siphon off more than Republichan’s usual pittance of women, latinos, people of color, etc. What happened? The big tent hypocrisy got upset, a corrupt DNC got trounced (except for its usual contingents of illegal, dead and socialist voters.

    Of course, only conservative ‘extremists’ believe that the illicit voting encouraged by our ex-president in a late 2016 speech we all heard are buncombe. Keep thinking that way, more fresh air for the working class, more headachse for the conceted academia, self-serving attorneys, and out-of-touchers political wannabes like HRC. Remember CAPITALISM is choice among people in their allocations of lesiure to idleness, self-improvement, and materialism.

    What some of them need is not more “safe zones” but sanctuary countries. Good luck finding them.

  4. Richard

    I see Diane Feinstein just declared that she’ll be running for reelection. Why do politicians feel the need to drop dead while in office? The last thing I hope to be doing at 85 is dealing with anything work related.

  5. Richard

    I wonder if the Democrats will suddenly stop talking about Trump’s view toward women when Harvey Weinstein was a huge Democratic party donor? He was a big Clinton supporter, a big Obama supporter, a big Elizabeth Warren supporter. Most interesting is that Malia Obama interned for Weinstein last year. The Obama’s have nothing to say after the news of sexual harassment complaints and Weinstein being fired by his own company broke.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And what does any of that have to do with anything?

      Barack Obama isn’t in office anymore. Nor is Hillary Clinton. Both of their political careers are behind them.

      Trump is president of the United States — an outrageous situation that we as Americans must deal with. Why do his defenders keep wanting to talk about people who are no longer a part of the political scene? Is it because they know that it’s impossible to defend their own guy — so, like him, they keep trying to distract us with irrelevancies?

    2. Barry

      Richard, Trump supporters didn’t and don’t want to talk about the numerous women that accused trump of sexual misconduct.

      FOx News won’t even discuss their hosts that have been fired for sexual misconduct.

      Why do you expect others to act different?

      1. Doug Ross

        Hillary’s statement on Weinstein:

        “I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”

        Too bad she didn’t make that same statement in 1996. Or 1994. Or 1992. Or 1990. Or any time since then in regards to her husband. Back then it was deny, deny, deny and blame the victim.

        1. Claus2

          I love her canned response. She could care less, this was just put out by some Clinton Foundation press secretary.

          So no word from the Hillary about giving his donations back or passing them along to a charity? I wonder if she’s going to take him off her Christmas card list? Probably not… he’s checked himself into “therapy” for this and needs all the support he can get.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Of course, I’m not sure I want to. I’m not sure what this conversation is about.

            But then, I haven’t paid much attention to this Weinstein thing. My reaction has been like, Really, a Hollywood big shot tried to have sex with starlets? Are we scandalized by this?

            But I don’t know. Maybe I have too dim a view of Hollywood. Maybe everyone there, except this guy, is a paragon of family values…

            1. Claus2

              Up until the news broke, he’s also been adored by people such as the Obamas, Clintons, and most of Hollywood liberals who viciously bashed Trump over “saying” when one of their top people was actually “doing”. This is bigger than an Entertainment Tonight or People magazine story.

              1. Barry

                Up until a few weeks ago Republican Tim Murphy was an anti abortion crusader in Congress. You know- an actual lawmaker, not a Hollywood producer.

                Then hisaffair leaked out and news that he wanted his mistress to get an abortion when she thought she was pregnant,

                FOx and the screamers didn’t want to talk about that.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  And what would it mean if they did? The guys a creep, a blackguard, one who has been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

                  Does it prove anything one way or the other as to the merits of abortion policy? No, it doesn’t. It just shows this guy’s an a__hole.

                  And he’d be an a__hole if he were pro-choice, too. This just makes him a hypocritical a__hole…

                2. Barry

                  It shows Fox News crazies and talk radio are even more the hypocrites we know they are since they ignored the story.

            2. Doug Ross

              “Really, a Hollywood big shot tried to have sex with starlets?”

              Not TRIED. Raped, molested, sexually harassed, and killed the careers of non-compliant women. At least 8 had already been paid off… and now every male actor who was aware of the rumors but did nothing about it is getting hammered as well.

          2. Claus2

            How long does it take before a wife suspects her husband has been cheating on her… or vice-versa?

            Bill Clinton’s affairs:
            – Juanita Broaddrick
            – Paula Jones
            – Kathleen Willey
            – Gennifer Flowers
            – Dolly Browning
            – Elizabeth Gracen
            – Sally Perdue
            – Monica Lewinski

            And those are just the ones who have come forward. I suspect his actual numbers are up there around Bill Cosby’s. But Hillary is a “stand by your man woman”.

          3. Doug Ross

            I think I made it clear. She could have made the same statement about Bill Clinton in 1990 or any time after when Bill was dallying with any number of women. What Bill Clinton did wasn’t any different than Weinstein — except Bill did it in the Oval Office instead of a hotel room. She’s a hypocrite to talk about empowering women now. It’s part of the reason she lost to Trump.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Obviously, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I thought you were saying she should have said those things about Weinstein back then.

              But now I see we’re back on the subject of blaming Hillary for Bill’s betrayal of her. Something else I’ve never understood….

              1. Doug Ross

                No I’m blaming Hillary for being a hypocrite who didn’t have the same level of outrage when her husband was doing the same thing Weinstein did. Somehow that turned into being a devoted wife… in my view, her complicity in Bill’s behavior is worse than ANYTHING Trump ever SAID about women.

                1. Doug Ross

                  As an example of what a woman should do when her husband is exposed as a a serial adulterer/sexual harasser, Weinstein’s wife has announced she is leaving him.

                2. Claus2

                  Hillary stuck with Bill because she knew a divorce would destroy her political career. Watch House of Cards, it’s not fiction… its a documentary of the Clinton legacy… even with the separate bedrooms.

                3. Barry

                  “As an example of what a woman should do when her husband is exposed as a a serial adulterer/sexual harasser, Weinstein’s wife has announced she is leaving him.”

                  Yes but Melania hasn’t left Trump- yet.

            2. Barry

              “Part of the reason she lost to Trump”

              A man who had dozens of women accusing him of sexual misconduct, incluing so,Ethan made the allegations years ago.

              There, fixed it for you.

              1. Doug Ross

                How many women has Trump paid off? Clinton paid Paula Jones 800k.

                So are you comfortable with saying Trump and Clinton were equally despicable? I am.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, because Clinton was despicable in that one way, as opposed to in every aspect of his life.

                  He was a smart, qualified guy who discharged the duties of his office diligently and effectively. That makes him a more worthwhile person than Trump.

                  Of course, I maintain that he should have resigned the office the day he had to admit having lied to us. And that’s a shame, because he had done a pretty good job. But he should not have stayed in office after dishonoring it that way.

                  And by that standard — of conduct unbecoming — Trump should have resigned many times by now, because he disgraces the office, in big ways and small, pretty much daily…

                2. Barry

                  My Republicans friends didn’t vote for Hillary

                  Their hypocrisy did allow them to enthusiastically vote for trump and ignore his sexual perversion.

                  I voted for neither and refused to support either.

                  There is your answer Doug.

  6. bud

    For most of the last few decades, this unhealthy interest folks have taken in whom other people elect ….

    I have a huge interest in whom other people elect. I can’t for the life of me understand why that could in any way shape or form be unhealthy. Your reasoning is bizarre to the point of being the comic relief of this blog. It is both simple and obvious why people have an interest in whom other people vote for. And I’m sure you know that. Math is math. Pretending there is some kind of kooky decorum that makes it impolite to donate to races outside of South Carolina is just unspeakably quaint. People are going to do that so fire must be fought with fire. If more elected officials of a like mind to your own get elected that point of view will prevail. And it doesn’t really matter where those officials come from. So naturally people from South Carolina have a stake and hence an interest in how next year’s senate race in Nevada turns out. As a Democrat I fervently hope more Democrats win in the senate in order to check the excesses of Republicans. Plus more senators means they can block supreme court nominees and perhaps vote to support an impeachment bill.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “Your reasoning is bizarre to the point of being the comic relief of this blog.”

      I’m funny? Funny how? You think I’m a clown, that I’m here to %*&@# amuse you?


  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, have you seen the latest silliness from this woman?

    This is urgent. I’m being censored for telling the truth.

    Twitter has shut down my announcement video advertising. Silicon Valley elites are trying to impose their values on us. When I talked about our legislative accomplishments to stop the sale of baby body parts, they responded by calling our ad “inflammatory” and “negative.”

    The liberal elite wants to censor us at every opportunity. But the American people voted for a conservative agenda—donate today to keep our movement alive!…

    And so forth.

    Of course, the assertion that she is being “censored” is a complete lie. Twitter is allowing her to post the video, or whatever other content she wishes, FOR FREE. They just won’t let her pay for it as an ad.

    So, you know — it’s kind of the opposite of censorship.

    But since they said “no” to something, and something with huge emotional appeal to her base, this hands her a golden opportunity to play the martyr, Trump-style, and raise even more money.

    Why Twitter wanted to do her this favor remains unclear…

  8. David L Carlton

    Jeez–I can’t abide Marsha Blackburn (and she’s afflicted me a lot longer than she’s afflicted you)–but, er, shouldn’t it matter to *you* who runs the country? I know from being a native that South Carolinians have long routinely thought of a senator as a sort of ambassador, “representing” them to a quasi-foreign power to whom they feel no strong allegiance and sporadic hostility. But in point of fact, who Tennessee sends to the U.S. Senate next year is going to have an impact on you and every other South Carolinian. Why do you not understand that?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I understand the effect. What I don’t get is why I should have a say in it — why candidates from those other states should reach out to me for help, or why I should give it.

      I feel an obligation to leave it up to folks in those other states to elect whom they want, without my interference. Otherwise, I’m being untrue to the idea of a federal republic.

      Does it not bother you that she’s reaching out to a national network of extremists to help her go to Washington to represent YOU? Do you think they should have that influence?

      I CARE whom y’all send — which is why I breathed a sigh of relief when Lamar was re-elected in 2014.

      Of course, I feel a bit of residual personal investment in Tennessee. That’s where I voted for the first 14 years of my adult life. For that matter, I feel sort of invested in Lamar, since he’s the last person I voted for in Tennessee who still holds office.

      But since I live in SC, it’s up to y’all now, not me…

  9. Brad Warthen Post author

    If Paul McCartney had written the headline for this post, it would have said “Tip O’Neill would not know this world in which we live in.”

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