The Cuomo-Nixon Debate and the Definition of Politics

Kennedy was wrong historically, failing to anticipate the magnitude of the issues that would arise with the civil-rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the social movements of the coming decades. What’s worse, however, was that he was also wrong politically. In proclaiming the dawning of an era of technocrats, the era of competence and the search for the right solution, Kennedy was, in effect, declaring the end of politics.

.. As for Cuomo, he continuously invoked Trump: the question, he made clear, is who can best wage battle against the President, who, as Cuomo said, “is the main risk to New York; he is trying to change the rights and values of New Yorkers.” It’s a fair assessment of the situation, and a fair question. But taking on Trump is not a matter of having the best accountants and firefighters, or the best-articulated policy proposals: it is a matter of putting forward a vision that offers the opposite of the Trumpian pull of the imaginary past. That vision—the promise of something yet unknown—is, in fact, the stuff of politics.

 

White America’s Age-Old, Misguided Obsession With Civility

From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.” King knew that whites’ insistence on civility usually stymied civil rights.

.. Kennedy, like today’s advocates of civility, was skeptical of “passionate movements.” He criticized “demonstrations, parades and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.” But he also had to put out those fires. He tasked his staff with drafting what could eventually become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dialogue was necessary but far from sufficient for passage of civil rights laws. Disruption catalyzed change.

.. That history is a reminder that civility is in the eye of the beholder. And when the beholder wants to maintain an unequal status quo, it’s easy to accuse picketers, protesters and preachers alike of incivility, as much because of their message as their methods. For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite.

The President and the Porn Star: A Story’s Slow Rise Above the Din

Here is a leader who crowds out scandal with more scandal, who tends to insist that the buck stops elsewhere, who boasted of sexual assault on tape and got to the White House anyway. It is not quite that nothing sticks to Mr. Trump; it is that so much sticks that nothing stays visible for very long.

.. It’s either too outrageous to be covered, or there’s just too much else that’s important

.. the ordeal has begun showing signs of an elusive longevity, coaxed by a lawsuit filed by her lawyer and an acknowledgment from Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, that Mr. Trump’s side had pursued an arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford.

.. “Scandals run on shame. Trump is completely exempt from any shame,” Mr. Murphy said. “So instead of talking about the crime, we just score-keep.”

.. Evangelicals knew they were not electing an altar boy,” said Robert Jeffress

.. “Forgiveness is part of the evangelical gospel message. We are all sinners.”

.. He clarified that Mr. Trump had denied the accusations and did not require forgiveness anyway.

.. Others have reached for history, or at least historical conspiracy theory, to dull the shock value. “Kennedy had orgies,” said Wayne Allyn Root, a Trump-boosting radio host

.. “But he was a damn good president. My point is, did the orgies matter?”