Tuesday, February 13, 2024


Here's Jamison Foser on Bluesky:

That's certainly how it feels, even though the Times endorsed Al Gore in 2000, endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and endorsed Joe Biden in 2020. Unless there's a centrist third-party challenger with a serious chance to beat Donald Trump in November -- which is unlikely -- the Times will endorse Biden again this fall.

And yet the Times liked Bush's war, and seems to treat Trump's pathologies as normal political behavior.

I think we're watching a '30s Hollywood romantic comedy. The Times is engaged to the well-meaning, socially appropriate dullard (Gore, Hillary, Biden), but can't stop thinking about the inappropriate bad boy (Trump, Bush). In the Hollywood version of this story, the bad boy isn't really bad -- he's socially inappropriate, but he has magnetism and audacity and self-confidence and swagger. Of course he gets the girl.

In real life, these bad boys are often genuinely bad. Bush (and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove) certainly were, and Trump obviously is. But many people second-guess their negative assessments of these bad boys because the bad boys are so sure of themselves. They don't express self-doubt. They follow the Roy Cohn playbook: never apologize, never explain, always stay on offense. So, some observers conclude, maybe ... they're right?

But it has to be more than that, because Bill Clinton had some of those bad-boy skills, and the Times hated him. Maybe it's because he'd sometimes bite his lip and acknowledge error. Or maybe it's because the Times is only occasionally left of center -- on abortion and maybe, by now, on homosexuality (though obviously not on the subject of trans people). The Times is, perhaps, JFK Democratic, or Scoop Jackson Democratic, which isn't liberal at all. It reflexively endorses Democrats -- but when it turns off the bedroom light, it dreams of Republicans.

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