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marylandblue's Journal
marylandblue's Journal
May 21, 2018

Is this our moment in political time?

In his book, the Politics that Presidents Make, Stephen Skoworek outlnes an influential theory of presidential politics that postulates that presidents are made or broken based on their position in "political time" which defines what type of president he is and how successful. He looked at every presidential election since 1800 to develop this theory. He proposed 4 types of presidents:
1) Reconstructive - A president who creates a new political coalition in a regime that dominates the next few decades, ex. Roosevelt, Reagan.
2)Affiliated - A president from the reconstructive president's party who succesfully continues the regime, ex Truman, Johnson, Bush I, Bush II.
3) Preemptive - A president from the opposing party who opposes the regime with limited success - ex. Eisenhower, Clinton, Obama.
4) Dysjunctive - A president from the reconstructive president's party who comes late in the regime and unsuccessfully tries to continue the regime with modifications, ex. Hoover, Carter.

To see how this works, let's start with Carter. In 1976, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. In theory, they held all the cards. Carter tried to continue the Roosevelt regime, bringing in new environmental regulations, but also went against it by cutting other regulations and trying to cut spending. He also unsuccessfully tried to enact healthcare and energy legislation. He didn't get along well with Congress He spent most of his first two years with underwater ratings and lost seats in Congress in 1978. He was unpopular in 1978 to 80, mishandling things like the energy crisis, a bad economy and the Iran crisis. Then, of course, he barely beat back a primary challenge from Ted Kennedy and then he lost to Reagan. Reagan won in a landslide, taking over the Senate and gaining 34 seats in the house. He went on to become a reconstructive president - creating the current Republican orthodoxy of tax cuts, free trade, amnesty for immigrants, deregulation and slashing the social safety net. We've operating under these assumptions ever since. We've all lived through all or most of this era, so I don't need to tell you about it.

Let's jump ahead to Trump. In theory, Republicans hold all the cards. But they are having a hard time holding to together. Trump is trying to break with Republican orthodoxy on immigration and free trade. He's had no legislative successes except (barely) for tax cuts. He doesn't get along with Congress. His ratings are underwater. He sounds like a dysjunctive president so far. If this theory holds, then there will in fact be a blue wave, he will face a primary challenge (several Repubs have already expressed interest in this) but a new fresh-faced Democrat will overcome a crowded field and win in a landslide with new ideas that will last a generation.

That's why I think the Blue Wave is real, despite Trump's rabid base and the supposedly safe red districts. If so, it won't Mueller or his crazy tweets that do Trump in. It will just be our moment in political time.


May 8, 2018

What is a belief system?

The term gets used here a lot, but I honestly don't know what it means. I've never used it prior to participating in the Religion Group here at DU. Some hypotheses I have about what it might mean are:
- a specific belief
- a random belief
- a group of related beliefs
- a group of unrelated beliefs
- a world view
- an ethical view
- a religious faith

There are probably other possibilities. All of them seem to fit some contexts but not others. Sometimes it seems assumed that everybody has one. Other times it seems more like it's recommended we should have one, and if we don't bad things might happen. Can anyone enlighten me?

May 2, 2018

Dr. Bornstein's medical notes that Trump doesn't want you to see

Mr. Trump has multiple severe medical conditions. He is spineless, gutless, brainless and his front and rear ends are interchangeable. There is apparently no cure for these conditions, however, despite these deficits, I have been able to keep him alive with a mixture of amphetamines, steroids and a diet limited to hockey puck hamburgers.

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