THE YEAR OF THE LIBERAL: "A tone of ugliness creeping around the world!"


Interlude—David Brooks, in praise of Obama:
David Brooks writes a column today in praise of Barack Obama.

(Also in praise of Barack Obama's wife.)

Brooks isn't writing his column today in praise of Obama's policy views. "Obviously, I disagree with a lot of Obama's policy decisions," he says at the start of the piece.

Instead, Brooks is writing in praise of Obama's disposition and character, especially in view of what he sees among the candidates in the current White House campaign.

"Over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board," Brooks writes. "Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply."

Given the squalor of this campaign, it's hard to disagree with that general judgment.

For the record, Brooks is lamenting the "traits of character" of the current candidates. A similar lament could be raised about the members of the national press corps, who are covering this campaign in the most insipid manner possible.

(On this, the day New Hampshire votes, the New York Times still hasn't reported the basic effects of Candidate Trump's utterly crazy tax proposal, which would add roughly $1 trillion in deficit spending to the federal ledger each year. Meanwhile, have you seen a single attempt to report and analyze the differences between the financial reform proposals of Candidates Clinton and Sanders? Those dueling proposals form the basis for relentless, pointless partisan clattertrap over here in our own liberal tribe. But to a degree which strikes us as unprecedented, newspapers like the New York Times no longer even pretend to discuss such boring topics. Neither do TV entertainers like the horrible Rachel Maddow. It's polls and insults, and mugging and clowning, and narrative all the way down.)

Let's return to the traits of Barack Obama, whose character Brooks comes to praise.

Which "traits of character and leadership" does Brooks praise in Obama? On the down side, what sorts of "behavioral standards" does he find to be in short supply among our current hopefuls?

For starters, Brooks praises the "basic integrity" of the president. "The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free," he writes. "He and his wife have not only displayed superior integrity themselves, they have mostly attracted and hired people with high personal standards."

As he continues, Brooks praises the sitting president for his "basic humanity," contrasting him with Candidates Cruz and Trump. Then, he praises "a soundness in [Obama's] decision-making process," contrasting this practice—trigger alert!—with the alleged approach of Candidate Sanders.

The fourth trait Brooks stands to praise is Obama's "grace under pressure." For his fifth and final trait, Brooks praises Obama's "resilient sense of optimism."

How does the president's resilient optimism serve us the alleged so-called people? "People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair," Brooks writes, perhaps correctly. "Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions."

In the course of praising Obama, Brooks criticizes a wide range of current candidates—Sanders and Clinton on the one side, Trump, Cruz, Carson, Christie and Rubio on the other. Trump, Cruz, Sanders and Clinton each get name-checked twice.

As we'll see in a passage below, Brooks doesn't say that Obama has been "temperamentally perfect." If you want to see someone rattle off Obama's voluminous character flaws, we recommend yesterday's colloquy at the new Salon. It features Professor Dyson.

David Brooks doesn't say that Obama has been "temperamentally perfect." As he closes his column, he rattles a handful of alleged flaws—and he makes an important claim about the drift of the world:
BROOKS: No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect. Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.
According to Brooks, "there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world." In Brooks' view, this tone of ugliness has been on the rise "as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts."

Today, let's forget the rest of the world! In our view, this tone of ugliness is hard to miss in our current presidential campaign, which is being conducted as the "tribalism mounts" within our own failing political culture.

Next week, our new pavilion opens at this incomparable site. Within that gleaming new pavilion, we'll be discussing a whole new set of topics and concerns.

That means that we have only three more days to explain what experts and scholars mean as they increasingly refer to last year, in an unpleasant way, as "The Year of the Liberal." In the course of those three days, we'll be asking a basic question:

Is it possible that the creeping ugliness is partially coming from Us?

This afternoon: Important perspectives on Flint, featuring real information!

Supplemental: The Times' Amy Chozick does it again!


Which part of "emergency manager" doesn't she understand:
How did it happen? When a new water supply was used for the city of Flint, why wasn't the water treated with standard anti-corrosion chemicals?

That's one of the basic questions which remains unanswered concerning this debacle.

Last week, we showed you some of Professor Marc Edwards' thoughts on the subject, as told to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. When he testified last Wednesday, the Virginia Tech expert described horrific behavior:
EDWARDS (2/3/16): I have said repeatedly that the primary blame for this rests with a few people at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, without question. But in terms of other people in the state, those core professionals misled them throughout this whole thing.


I think it probably started innocently. I think someone forgot to follow the law [about corrosion control], but they ignored warning sign after warning sign...And gradually, step by step, they just felt like they were covering this up. There's no question about it.

You read the e-mails. They were— They lied in writing to the EPA, and it was only after [Flint parent Lee-Anne Walters] figured out that they were not using corrosion control that they started this new story that we don't know if we have to have corrosion control. So I think the written record is quite clear on this.
On the whole, "the blame lies with these three or four employees who were actively misleading everyone," Edwards said. For more detailed excerpts from Edwards' testimony, just click here.

Are Edwards' basic impressions correct? That remains to be seen. But in that passage, he describes a grievous initial error turning into a massive cover-up. To the extent that he is right, he's describing horrific conduct.

Over the weekend, the journalism about this matter also turned horrific. It's no longer just the Maddow Show which is making a joke of the basic reporting. In our view, the New York Times and the Washington Post are now doing horrific work too.

In our view, these big newspaper are making no effort to present the most basic information concerning events in Flint. In place of important information, they seem to be chasing other values—the easy-to-understand values of narrative, drama, excitement, pathos, story-line, human interest.

How horrible is the basic work? Tomorrow, we'll start to look at the front-page reporting which emerged at the Post and the Times this weekend. For today, let's consider Amy Chozick's pathetic attempt, in this morning's Times, to report the basic facts about what happened in Flint.

In this morning's New York Times, Chozick penned a news report about yesterday's visit to Flint by Hillary Clinton. In the following passage, she tried to explain the way this debacle started:
CHOZICK (2/8/16): The water contamination in Flint, which has led to increased levels of lead in the blood of some children, began when the city switched to a cheaper source of water, which turned out to be so corrosive that it caused lead from the city’s old pipes to leach into the water.
That basically isn't what happened. Did the new, "cheaper source of water" actually "turn out to be so corrosive that it caused lead from the city’s old pipes to leach into the water?"

Not exactly, no! In fact, the new source of water only caused that leaching of lead because, for reasons which haven't been explained in any definitive way, it wasn't treated with standard anti-corrosion chemicals, as is required by law.

The new water went untreated! Incredibly, Chozick doesn't mention this basic part of the story at any point in her account of these events.

A bit later in her report, Chozick commits a much more egregious howler. What follows is truly horrific work. Reporting this bad is hard to believe—except from Chozick, that is:
CHOZICK: On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican presidential candidate, attacked Democrats for what he called “an absolute outrage,” drawing comparisons to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. “Both cities have been governed with one-party government control of far-left Democrats for decades,” Mr. Cruz said.

But some on the left, including Mrs. Clinton’s opponent for the presidential nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have laid blame on Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, after emails showed his administration was dismissive of early complaints about the water.

Last month, two of Mrs. Clinton’s senior campaign aides traveled here to meet with Mayor Karen Weaver to ask how Mrs. Clinton could exert pressure to deal with the water problems and their aftermath. Mrs. Clinton then spoke at length about the Flint water crisis in the Jan. 17 Democratic debate in South Carolina.
Truly, that's astounding.

It's true that Democrats are criticizing Snyder for the way his administration reacted to early complaints. But that omits the major problem with Cruz's presentation, and the major reason for Democratic complaints about Snyder.

Duh! Democrats are blaming Snyder for this debacle because the city of Flint was operating under an emergency manager—an emergency manager appointed by Snyder—at the time of the key decisions which produced the current mess!

There was no one-party Democratic control of Flint at the time of the shift in water supply. To all intents and purposes, it was Governor Snyder's Republican Party which was wholly or almost wholly in charge in Flint.

The city of Flint was under control of a Republican-appointed emergency manager! The omission of that basic fact represents astounding journalistic incompetence. That said, it's a type of incompetence Chozick has been patenting in the past year at the post-journalistic New York Times.

In her account of these events, Chozick omits all mention of the emergency manager! In her account, she leaves Ted Cruz's portrait in place. That portrait suggests that a bunch of Democrats made the decisions in question.

That impression is incorrect—unless you're reading the Times.

In even a slightly rational world, it would be hard to believe that a major reporter, along with her editors, could publish such a groaning account of the basic facts. But Chozick does this sort of thing in much the way other folk breathe.

Were the several Snyder-appointed emergency managers primarily at fault in the chain of events which produced the ongoing debacle? That remains to be seen. When Edwards spoke to the House committee, he testified that the "primary blame" rests with a handful of state employees who failed to follow environmental law, then began lying about their error as part of a cover-up.

That may or may not be correct.

How did this debacle occur? That remains to be seen. But Chozick's report is stunning for its degree of incompetence. As a journalist, she can easily be compared to the grossly incompetent state officials on whom Edwards placed "primary blame" fore what happened in Flint. But this sort of thing is now par for the course at the New York Times.

Tomorrow, we'll start to look at some front-page reports in the Times and the Washington Post about the Flint debacle. Drama, pathos, human interest? These are the post-journalistic products these upper-class papers now peddle.

How about context and perspective? How about basic information?

Crackers, proles and rummies, please! Those are the journalistic values of a bygone age.

Tomorrow: If it's information you want, consult the opinion columns

THE YEAR OF THE LIBERAL: Krugman diagnoses Them, maybe goes a bit easy on Us!


The boys and girls in the bubble(s):
Marco Rubio had a strange five minutes last Saturday night.

Derided all week as the heavily memorized "boy in the bubble," he seemed to go out of his way to enact the critique in an exchange with his week-long tormentor, Chris Christie.

What the heck did Rubio do? He stated an ugly claim about Obama, then recited it three more times, almost verbatim, while under attack from Christie. All in less than five minutes!

On this videotape of the debate,
you can see Rubio state his point for the first time at 18:15, roughly ten minutes into the debate. At 22:40, you can see him repeat his point for the third separate time.

Mathematically, that means he stated his talking point four separate times. Four times, in just a bit under five minutes!

It looked even stranger than it sounds; many people noticed. This morning, on Morning Joe, Willie Haskell-Geist Jr. literally said that his eight-year-old daughter looked up from her Legos to remark on the repetition!

Who knows? It could even be true. Warning, though—it's Morning Joe!

(This strangest of all "cable news" programs has been waging propaganda wars against Candidate Clinton and Candidate Rubio, while love-love-love-love loving their Trump. For a report about one possible motive concerning Rubio, you can just click here.)

Should we decide our elections this way? On balance, we would say no, but Rubio did create a strange moment. Equally strange? The difficulty the press corps has had in counting up the number of times the candidate stated his memorized point.

In Sunday's hard-copy New York Times, two different reports gave the impression that Rubio had stated his point just two times in all. Readers might therefore have been puzzled by all the fuss about the flap. But so it goes in the glorious Times, our most hapless Potemkin newspaper.

Candidate Rubio, "the boy in the bubble," authored a rather strange moment last Saturday night. That's where Paul Krugman starts his new column—but doggone it! Even Krugman seems to have counted wrong:
KRUGMAN (2/8/16): By now everyone who follows politics knows about Marco Rubio’s software-glitch performance in Saturday’s Republican debate. (I’d say broken-record performance, but that would be showing my age.) Not only did he respond to a challenge from Chris Christie about his lack of achievements by repeating, verbatim, the same line from his stump speech he had used a moment earlier; when Mr. Christie mocked his canned delivery, he repeated the same line yet again.
From that, you'd think that Rubio stated his point three times in all. If you watch that videotape, you can see that the count is four. (See text of his statements below.)

Whatever! Krugman goes on to offer an insightful column about the current team of Republican candidates, and about the GOP writ large.

Krugman notes the profusion of bogus claims Republican candidates routinely recite in the normal course of debate and discussion—the way they "spout canned talking points that are divorced from reality." By the end of his column, he's using the "bubble" metaphor too, though in a somewhat different way:
KRUGMAN: But don’t all politicians spout canned answers that bear little relationship to reality? No.
Like her or not, Hillary Clinton is a genuine policy wonk, who can think on her feet and clearly knows what she is talking about on many issues.
Bernie Sanders is much more of a one-note candidate, but at least his signature issue—rising inequality and the effects of money on politics—reflects real concerns.

When you revisit Democratic debates after what went down Saturday, it doesn’t feel as if you’re watching a different party, it feels as if you’ve entered a different intellectual and moral universe.

So how did this happen to the G.O.P.? In a direct sense, I suspect that it has a lot to do with Foxification, the way Republican primary voters live in a media bubble into which awkward facts can’t penetrate. But there must be deeper causes behind the creation of that bubble.

Whatever the ultimate reason, however, the point is that while Mr. Rubio did indeed make a fool of himself on Saturday, he wasn’t the only person on that stage spouting canned talking points that are divorced from reality. They all were, even if the other candidates managed to avoid repeating themselves word for word.
As a general matter, we tend to agree with Krugman's analysis. We tend to agree that "Foxification" has helped create a world in which "Republican primary voters live in a media bubble into which awkward facts can’t penetrate."

Having said that, we think he goes a bit too easy on Us—on the ever-growing bubble within which we the liberals function.

Is there any way in which we the liberals "live in a bubble into which awkward facts can’t penetrate?" Increasingly, Krugman has suggested that Candidate Sanders and his supporters live in something resembling a bubble of that type.

In our view, the same is true of Candidate Clinton and her supporters up to some sort of point. More and more, it's plainly true of the liberal world as a whole.

It's always easy to spot the bubble encasing the other tribe. This week, as we finish our current report, we'll make one last attempt at describing our own tribe's growing bubble.

Is our bubble as bad as their bubble? In some ways, our bubble is worse! We say that because the bubble in question is ours, and therefore is our responsibility.

Without any question, the other tribe's bubble is striking, but we have a bubble too. And within that bubble, we live on the fuel known as tribal hatred, as groups have done since we the humans first crawled out of the swamp, emerging up into the mud.

Many academics and scholars are now saying that the year just past was, to use their unpleasant term, a year of liberal loathing. Next week, we expect to open a new pavilion in which we'll be exploring a whole different set of topics.

This week, we plan to make one last attempt to outline our own tribe's unfortunate hatred and loathing. We think that loathing is a bad look. We doubt that it serves the world's interests.

Tomorrow: From December 10, videotape of four voters!

The gentleman's four recitations: Starting at 18:15 on that videotape, you can see Candidate Rubio make the four declarations shown below.

He does so in less than five minutes. In the process, he created a very strange look. Just ask Willie's daughter!
RUBIO (2/6/16): And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world. That's why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America.


RUBIO: But I would add this. Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don't want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America. And when I'm elected president, this will become, once again, the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.


RUBIO: Here's the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he's doing.


RUBIO: We have to understand what we're going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn't know what he's doing. He knows what he is doing. That's why he's done the things he's done. That's why we have a president that passed Obamacare and the stimulus. All this damage that he's done to America is deliberate.
By our analysts' count, Rubio stated this point four times. As you can see on that videotape, it happened in less than five minutes.

Supplemental: How black actors, and all Democrats, may end up losing votes!


Surprising notes on Jackie Robinson's self-emasculation:
Kevin Blackistone is smart, decent, well-informed, funny, decent and smart.

How do we know that Blackistone's smart? We watch him several days a week on our TV machine.

Who is Kevin Blackistone? He's a sports columnist for the Washington Post and a visiting professor at the University of Maryland. He appears several times per week on an ESPN discussion show, Around Cape Horn.

Blackistone is smart, well-informed and decent. That makes him a great example of an important fact--we the liberals can overstate in striking ways, much as The Others can.

In the process, we may end up harming ourselves at the polls. Or so we'll suggest today.

Where has Blackistone gone wrong, oh so wrong? In this morning's Washington Post, he offers a lengthy column in which he says Cam Newton's blackness is "a factor in negative perceptions about him."

Presumably, that's true, of course. Somewhere, people are thinking or saying negative things about Newton in a way that is tied to race.

On the other hand, Blackistone writes 1148 words on this theme while citing exactly one specific example of this alleged negative treatment. If you blink, you'll miss it:
BLACKISTONE (2/6/16): [W]hen Newton announced late this season that he and his longtime girlfriend were having their first child, the Charlotte Observer in the town he now calls home printed a letter to the editor that took Newton to task for having a child out of wedlock. When it was announced that New England Patriots superstar quarterback Tom Brady fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan after moving on to Gisele Bundchen, sportswriter-turned-academic Ronald Bishop at Drexel found that much of the media explained the event as ". . . metrosexual trappings that come with [Brady's] global celebrity."
One newspaper published one letter! In a piece which runs almost 1200 words, that's the only specific example of the negative treatment Blackistone is writing about.

Has Newton received other negative treatment? We will assume that he has. But we the liberals can be very silly concerning topics we care about, in the same way Those People can. If you doubt that, consider this passage from today's column, which was written by a person who's smart, well-informed:
BLACKISTONE: I interrupt this essay out of obligation to so many of Newton's detractors to acknowledge that, yes, he was arrested while at the University of Florida on felony charges for stealing a fellow student's laptop. The state reduced the charges and deferred prosecution because the victim declined to join the prosecution. Newton was required to attend counseling, write an apology letter and do community service. He eventually transferred to a junior college to reboot his college career, which culminated at Auburn with a national championship and Heisman trophy.

Those of us in the media don't, however, feel so compelled to highlight the legal troubles of white athletes, like, for example, another former star Southeastern Conference quarterback now in the NFL, Zach Mettenberger. He was dismissed from Georgia after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, grabbing the breasts and touching the buttocks of a woman at a bar. Mettenberger was sentenced to two concurrent 12-month periods of probation, ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and perform community service. Like Newton, he transferred to restart his career, and wound up at LSU, where he starred before being drafted by the Tennessee Titans, for whom he now plays.
Like almost everyone else on earth, Newton did something dumb when he was 19. (To this day, we're still amazed by three or four things we did at roughly that age.)

That said, are there actually people "in the media" (aside from Blackistone himself) who "feel compelled to highlight" this ancient legal problem? If so, Blackistone doesn't name any such people, or show us what they've said. Instead, he offers a silly comparison to Zach Mettenberger, who apparently did some highly inappropriate things early in his college years.

Without offering any examples, Blackistone says that his colleagues in the press feel "compelled to highlight" Newton's past problem while failing to mention Mettenberger's. To the extent that this may be true, there would be an obvious surface explanation:

No one's ever heard of Mettenberger. Newton's a giant star.

Leaving aside Blackistone's lack of examples, the comparison in that passage is just utterly silly. This thought will occur to many sports fans who read his column.

It will also occur to many sports fans that Johnny Manziel's legal problems are currently being discussed all over the country. So were the legal problems of Ben Roethlisberger just a few years ago. Each of those fellows is widely believed to be white.

Is Cam Newton being badly treated on a racial basis? Presumably yes, to some extent—but how widespread is this problem? Blackistone, who's very smart, writes a lengthy column which isn't.

His most outlandish remark concerns Jackie Robinson. Before that, though, he also offers this:
BLACKISTONE: In the hundred years or so between [boxer Jack] Johnson and Newton, there have been other black athletes similarly criticized, like the star NFL halfback Joe Lillard. Lillard was a standout in the league in the early 1930s and just as cantankerous as many white players then, but was castigated for being so...

There was Silvio Garci­a, an Afro-Cuban whom Branch Rickey originally tapped in 1945 as his guinea pig to trot out onto Major League Baseball's all-white diamonds. But Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, rejected Garci­a because he saw Garcia's tenacity, admired in others, as a detriment. So the story goes, Rickey met with Garcia in Havana and asked him, "What would you do if a white American slapped your face?" Garcia responded: "I kill him."

And then there is Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, even Barry Bonds, et al.
As described, the "rejection" of Garcia's "tenacity" (seventy years ago) makes fairly obvious sense.

Meanwhile, Ali became one of the most beloved sports figures in American history. If he and the widely-admired Abdul-Jabbar are the best examples of mistreatment we can cite from the past hundred years, then we're reading a column which doesn't exactly make fabulous sense—and quite a few readers will think this.

That said, we the liberals are capable of making little sense, much like Those People, The Others. In the following passage, we'd have to say that Blackistone moves beyond the realm of flawed argument into the realm of complete absurdity bordering on ugliness:
BLACKISTONE: Newton is, as he declared, a black quarterback who unsettles some onlookers. He doesn't cloak himself in the self-emasculation of black athletes so celebrated in this country from the first half of the last century, like Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson or Olympic star Jesse Owens, who is further immortalized this month in the new movie "Race."
Jackie Robinson is widely regarded as an American secular saint. But when we liberals get a snootful, it turns out he actually "cloaked himself in self-emasculation." So did Jesse Owens!

Many people who read that passage will regard it as ugly, absurd, offensive. It would be hard to argue that those people were wrong.

We the liberals love to criticize the craziness of the "low-information voters" who we enjoy otherizing. Without any doubt, conservatives say the darnedest things—but so do we the liberals.

Do we harm ourselves this way? Consider something Cara Buckley wrote in Thursday's New York Times. As you do, try to picture it through the eyes of those who are being rebuked.

Buckley was writing about the Oscars, his current beat at the Times. More specifically, she was predicting this year's Oscar winners.

Along the way, she made a now-standard reference to a fine British actor. In fairness, she didn't say "snubbed:"
BUCKLEY (2/4/16): Last but not least, for supporting actor, it's looking very, very good for Sylvester Stallone, the ''Creed'' co-star. Idris Elba, whose Oscar shutout helped ignite this year's #OscarsSoWhite outcry, nabbed the Screen Actors Guild Award ahead of Mr. Stallone's Oscar competition. (Mr. Stallone was not nominated for an SAG.) Mr. Stallone, meanwhile, is being buoyed by a ton of sentimental good will, to wit the standing ovation that followed for his Golden Globe win.
Everything Buckley says there is accurate. But again, she pokes at the Academy for failing to nominate Elba, while failing to note that none of her own newspaper's three film critics included him on their own nomination ballots.

Let's say that again. The New York Times has three film critics. With regard to Elba's performance, they engineered a unanimous "Oscar shutout" too!

Just a guess! There are people in Hollywood who notice this sort of thing and think it's fake and dishonest. Here's another guess:

Next year, some black actors and actresses will lose some nomination votes because of this sort of thing. Another guess: some black actors and actresses lost nomination votes this year because of the way this theme played out after last year's nominations.

Are actors and actresses losing votes in this manner? If so, that's unfortunate and unjust. That said, we'll guess that it's actually happening. And in truth, many people have been overstating, faking and posing in their criticisms of the Academy with regard to this pleasurable theme.

In the real world, overstating actually can create resentment and backlash. Actors may be losing nomination votes as a result of overstatement, faking and posing concerning the Oscars and race.

Could Democrats lose votes the same way? We liberals have accomplished this outcome in the past through our various overstatements. Trust us:

We the liberals are entirely capable of making this happen again!

Blackistone's column is poorly reasoned today. We're going to guess that it struck many sports fans, citizens and voters in a negative way.

We're going to take one final guess. When we the liberals play it this way, progressive interests can be harmed.

Dear lord, those columns can feel so good! Is the tribal pleasure we feel worth the price we may pay?