Stop Crying Long Enough To Blame

That the names Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani are back in the news shouldn’t come as any surprise. You knew they would be there, backing the dark horse, because no one else would let these toxic losers anywhere near their administration. And if nothing else, Trump prizes loyalty, because he wouldn’t know integrity if it bit him in the ass.

There will be plenty to do going forward, because these are the people who will be in charge of something. Crying about the pain of it all is what got us here. Dealing with it will be hard. If you can’t stop feeling bad about it, crying over how it will impact you and your feelz, then you will be useless in dealing with it. In fairness, there would be plenty to do going forward had Clinton won. Remember what a great president Barack Obama was for the Constitution? Yeah, he sucked, unless you were one of the lucky ones who happened to get your tummy rubbed by his rhetoric or occasional forays into actually doing something.

Brian Tannebaum took an empathetic view of the tears, telling those who would call on the crying masses to “move on” to “go fuck yourself.” This will surely help. Maybe if we cry hard enough, long enough, Rudy Giuliani will disappear? Maybe if we hug each other, Trump will gain a sense of the constitutional limitations of the office? Then again, maybe not. Maybe instead, we put on our big boy and girl* pants, wipe the snot from our nose, and get ready to fight.

Just as we would have to do had Hillary been elected, because she’s as awful when it comes to crim law as her beloved Bill, who brought us the AEDPA. Or Obama, who locked up more undocumented aliens than anyone in history, and handed out fewer pardons than any president ever. A little perspective goes a long way to turn that frown upside down.

But in the aftermath of an election that has not merely befuddled the whimpering masses, but brought us President 45.0, there is work to do not only to prepare to confront what this president, like every president before him, will do to flex his might at the expense of the Constitution, but to maintain a viable political system in America.

And lest this fly over your head, it’s critical that there be opposition in politics. No side should go untested, unchallenged. Not yours. Not theirs. Power corrupts, etc. Keeping power honest, or at least in check, is what preserves a Republic. Sorry, but even if you think your demagogue is better than their demagogue, she’s still a demagogue, just one who whispers the words you prefer.

For reasons that reflect America’s adoration of the same cluelessness that put a real estate guy in charge of government, Ethan Coen has been given real estate at the New York Times to point the fickle finger of blame.

Such a surprise! So many people to thank!

A cute start, for sure. Here’s his list of “thank yous” for the election of Donald Trump.

  1. Jill Stein voters
  2. Gary Johnson voters
  3. James Comey
  4. Jimmy Fallon
  5. All our media friends
  6. The Electoral College

Coen “explains,” after each name, what they did to destroy America. Damn those twelve Jill Stein voters! But what about the candidate?

I cannot thank: Hillary Clinton. She is not a morally perfect person — her fault! She was not the perfect candidate — her fault! Misogyny may have magnified her failings so as to show them balancing the outsized failings of her opponent — and that might not be her fault. But she fought to the very limits of her ability to deny us Tuesday night’s surprise, so I do not thank her. Pooh on you, Hillary Clinton!

Is Coen not the cutest ever? See what he did there? In the minds of the righteously partisan, there are no flaws, no failings, that can explain the wrong outcome. So Coen finally gets right down to the bottom line:

I do thank, lastly:

8. The American electorate. Because in the end, we all did it together. We did it! We really did it!

How dare a nation vote the wrong way? Of course, that’s the nature of voting, that Americans made a choice, whether to vote for Trump or to not vote for Clinton. And despite what you think of Rush (no, the other Rush, not Limbaugh), staying home and not voting is still an exercise of freewill.

Who wasn’t “thanked”?  The Democratic Party. Not for nominating a candidate that wasn’t adored. Not for cheating Bernie Sanders out of his fair chance to become the candidate. Not for giving Hillary the debate questions in advance. Politics makes people do weird things.

Rather, the Democratic tent was once occupied by working people. Since the recession of 2007, they’ve been sucking wind. When Bill Clinton won the presidency from Shrub’s dad, it was on the slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” And it was. It still is. Telling people that the economy under Obama’s care is doing great wasn’t going to fool people who had no place to go in the morning. Telling them that a vote for Clinton meant more of the same only resonated with people whose first class started at 10:30 am.

Then there were the people who fought for decades, for generations, for equality, for fairness, for reason, for civil rights, for the Constitution. They found themselves attacked as racists and misogynists, chased out of the tent by the screaming Lena Dunham fans. These weren’t conservatives, but they didn’t pray at the altar of progressivism either.

The tyranny of identity politics didn’t play, no matter how much it guided your world.** Everything wasn’t racist or sexist, and they were not about to forsake all other issues to pander to your delicate feelz. For that, they were accused of heresy. Only the orthodox had a place in the Democratic tent.

Coen’s thank-you list should warm the cockles of the deeply saddened, the criers, the perpetually horrified and fearful. What it will not do is return the Democrats to relevance. America has heard the progressive plea, and responded. Sorry. Not interested. These are not the alt-right animals at whom you point and shout, “see, see!!!”

These are your mothers and fathers. Your grandparents. Your neighbors and that nice fourth-grade teacher who cheered you up when you blew the spelling test. These aren’t bad people, evil people. These are people whom you know, and love. But they don’t agree with your world. And it’s not that they want Rudy Giuliani anywhere near their government, but that you called mommy a racist without even realizing it. Dad didn’t tell you how he’s struggling to pay for your new iPhone so you could bitch about the horror of misogyny on twitter because he doesn’t want you to worry that he won’t have a job next year. That’s how parents roll.

We need a viable Democratic Party. Frankly, we would do better with more than two major political parties, but let’s not get overly ambitious. At the moment, we’re down to one, as the Democrats have reduced themselves to Lena Dunham fans, and she’s, well, not that loved. Unless you want Trump (or some Cheeto facsimile) to be president for life, surrounded by Gingrich, Giuliani and Christie, stop crying, get real about what went very wrong, and choose to be effective in checking government excess.

Defending the Constitution doesn’t mean getting your way. There are rights in there that don’t mean what you want them to mean, and won’t make you feel happy, but either we fight for them or we lose them. You can’t fight when you’re crying. You can’t fight when you’re blaming everyone but the guilty. No, Ethan Coen, Jimmy Fallon didn’t lose the election for Hillary. He won’t lose the next one either. America spoke. It had that “real discussion” you pretended you wanted. You can hear it if you stop all that wailing. Only then will you know whom to blame.

*Why not?


**Why not, redux.


But are there not more feelings involved? Yes. Yes there are.


How did this possibly not work?

25 thoughts on “Stop Crying Long Enough To Blame

  1. Richard G. Kopf


    Mr. Coen forgot the zeitgeist. Mr. Trump did not. Mrs. Clinton, alas, speaks no German.

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      If one lives in a bubble of their own making, they get a different sense of the zeitgeist. It’s a good reminder that society isn’t comprised of only people who agree with you. Even if they’re terrible people, by one’s self-limited sense of zeitgeist.

  2. Norahc

    I always enjoy hearing about how the Electoral College doesn’t work or represent what the people want. Seems like every election, there is ranting about replacing it with a popular vote (especially on the losing side).

    Yet no one seems willing to make a simple nationwide change that wouldn’t involve a Constitutional Amendment. The electoral college votes for that state are broken down to Congressional districts, with the overall popular vote gettier in the state being awarded the 2 votes for the Senate seats.

    Seems like this would be more representative of how people vote. It would probably have the additional benefit of making sure a candidate doesn’t take a state for granted. No more big swing states where if you win by one vote, you get all the votes (after the recounts and court battles).

    1. SHG Post author

      Ilya Somin did a thoughtful post at VC about the electoral college, explaining why it doesn’t necessarily align with popular vote (and why it can cause lower turnout and popular vote for the losing candidate in some states). None of these issues are as clear and easy as people see them, particularly when the griping is invariably by the side that lost.

      For the most part, the simple answer to all of this is become politically knowledgeable, vote even if it’s unlikely to change your state’s electors, and be the best citizen you can be for no better reason than a participatory democracy requires participation. And even so, there’s a fairly good chance whoever you think is the better candidate will lose for reasons both sound and unsound.

      Then again, if we had better candidates from which to choose, there would be less griping altogether.

  3. Scott Morrell

    Scott – I preface this is a broad rant first before you comment.

    I am tired of the people that are bitching in the streets who did not go out and vote. Hey, there should be a law or at least a decency requirement that you simply cannot protest that your candidate did not win if you were too lazy not to vote, yet have no problem killing a few hours watching reality shows about dysfunctional housewives. I hate that hyprocrisy.

    Blame is not on the media (although they do suck most of the time now). If I see “Media Entertainer-in-Chief Wolf Blitzer just one more time making the most mundane news “breaking” with the level of fear and drama not proportionate to that news story, I am just going to turn him off while still watching CNN with the likes of Jake Tapper and Anderson Copper. The issue is that my remote control skills are not up to par as the frequency Blitzer is on.

    I heard today from Sean Speicer, RNC Communication Director tell Michael Smerconich in an answer that Trump has a mandate by the people to govern as he wants! What!!! I was pleading for Smerconich to attack that arrogant and ignorant talk. News alert…Trump lost the popular vote more than Bush lost to Gore. He won based on an arcane electoral college but those were the rules and we need to accept them for this election. Next one, look to change it but I am sure the GOP will not go for that one either.

    So who voted for Trump? Two main groups. Reagan Democrats and mostly white rural men and women who have been soaked by globalism and faux promises by the Democrats. However, to think for a second that Trump did not fan the flames of bigotry, racism and misogyny is simply dishonest. Let’s call a “spade a spade” (screw political correctness if that term offends anyone…way way too much PC out there), the bigots all flocked to Trump. That is simply a fact. So, he touched a nerve that needed to be touched with the white people who really are scared of this new world order and being left behind. That is fair. But in doing so, he put us back 50 years in social progressiveness. Maybe in some cases closer to a Neanderthal mindset.

    The job now is to support our new president, give him a chance, but when he goes astray “bigly,” get the hell out of your house and voice yourself. This democracy still has power but it must be used.

    When only 50% of eligible voters vote, these are the sophisticated results you get when the minority candidate with the least votes wins.

    1. Sacho

      Bigots are one of the most marginalized groups in the US. I thought progressives would appreciate a victory for the marginalized. There’s an even more worse off group – disenfranchised felons. No one courts their vote though, for obvious reasons.

  4. Norahc

    I take it Ethan Coen will be posting a follow up article blaming Wikileaks and the Russians, since he missed them on the first go around.

      1. Norahc

        Guess we’ll see how long Sulzberger’s statement about covering the Trump presidency without bias will last then.

        That was really hard to type without laughing.

  5. B. McLeod

    Actually preparing to defend what you believe is right. Well, there’s a thought. Perhaps even better than throwing a hissy and leaving for a new home on foreign shores.

      1. B. McLeod

        RBG is reportedly planning on leaving for New Zealand, so Trump will have another early appointment to make.

  6. Matthew S Wideman

    I voted for Hillary. But, some of these ultra SJW/Lena Dunham Democrats are crazy. I watched “Real Time” with Bill Maher and Anne Marie Cox bristled at the thought that the Democrats should think about the white working class vote. She said something to the affect that they already get enough attention. Bill and Trae Crowder aptly said….they need to be listened to if you want to win. All Trump supporters are not Neo-Nazi women haters. A white working class voter has just as much right as a minority working class voter. The Democrats leading figures are somehow unable to see how the country is not producing the same opportunities as it once did. All this “check your privilege at the door” shit is turning voters off to their cause.

    SHG, I always enjoy reading your blog. I feel like you give an eloquent voice and prose to my thoughts. Keep up the good work from the Red State of Missouri.

    1. SHG Post author

      If the Dems will no longer represent the interests of anyone but their preferred marginalized, they will cease to be relevant. Ana Marie Cox can bristle all she wants in the company of fellow SJWs. They’ve excluded their core in favor of their SJW extreme, and couldn’t even win an election against Trump.

      Frankly, I find Maher insufferable and disingenuous. But that’s just me.

      I crossed Trae’s partner, Drew Morgan, at Fault Lines a couple weeks ago. Great guy.

      Edit: The portion to watch starts at about 31:20. Love the part where Cox shuts her eyes while saying, “you literally did,” conclusively proving she has no clue what literally means. She like a cartoon character.

  7. Kirk Taylor

    Coen hit my pet peeve: Sorry for rant:
    For those bashing the electoral college and saying that without it, Hillary would be president are ignoring the fact that the candidates campaigned based on the system in place.

    If this was a popular vote election, everything about the campaign would be different. Being forced to focus on states with more electoral votes dramatically affects the outcome.

    I can’t say for sure, but logic seems to dictate that there are a lot of voters in California and New York that Trump could have picked off by campaigning there, which he didn’t do because there was no chance of winning the whole state. Could Hillary get as many out of Texas?

    Claiming Hillary should be president because she won the popular vote in a campaign where that’s not the goal is completely disingenuous.

    Get over it.
    We’re stuck with the crazy orange guy.

    1. SHG Post author

      There is no argument, and you’re absolutely right that it would have been a very different race had it been based on popular vote. But it wasn’t, it’s irrelevant, and the arg that she “won” is merely to save face.

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