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There’s Not Much Left to Write About

There’s Not Much Left to Write About

This blogging adventure began fourteen years ago in a different world. The goal, to influence and inform a post-racial Republican agenda, seems almost laughable today. Republicans are now preparing a Fascist coup while Democrats wring their hands and dither. A blog about creative policy ideas is pretty much a waste of time, a cosplay exercise. For someone whose focus is problem-solving, there’s not much left to say.

It’s difficult to comprehend what a different country this was at the end of 2008. A Republican Presidential nominee was promising to fight climate change by taxing carbon emissions. John McCain supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, gun control, and environmental protections. He opposed drilling in the Arctic and referred to evangelicals as “agents of intolerance.” When conspiracy-addled town hall participants raved about Obama’s secret history, McCain forcefully fought back. As recently as 2008, Republicans had a Presidential nominee with only a passing interest in abortion. Just fourteen years ago, Republicans had backed a leader who cared about America’s well-being more than he cared about his career.

I began writing this blog after evangelicals forced McCain to place Sarah Palin on the ticket. While my main interest was policy, I also wanted to warn Republicans what would happen to the party and the country if we tolerated the emergence of white grievance entertainment as a core party principle. While the warnings proved apt, the effort was a thudding failure.

Neither “Populism” nor “Fascism” quite capture the uniquely American political form Republicans have since developed. Populism has too much genuine policy. Fascism aspires to a degree of order Republicans can’t begin to imagine. Modern Republicans are promoting a political nightmare blending the horrors of concentration camps with the lowbrow glitz of pro-wrestling; carnival barkers backed by disorganized, addled, death squads. A mere decade and a half after the McCain campaign, Republicans are the Insane Clown Party.

For those who love to blame our wellspring of madness on social media, I’d like to remind you that my mom was warning me back in 2007 that George W. Bush was about to replace the dollar with a new North American currency called The Amero. Those idiots at McCain campaign rallies railing about Obama’s birth certificate had never heard of Facebook. Social media didn’t do this. This was always inside us.

We live in a world of endless possibilities. Perhaps there’s a way we exit this era of madness without a great spasm of violence. If that path exists I can’t see it. I’m too old to be a guerilla. I haven’t spent my life studying the IRA or the Balkan War. Not sure I have much to say about what we face.

Our upcoming election is the most important of our lives not because it can derail this reckoning, but because it will determine its shape. How much power will lie in the hands of sane, competent political figures as each stage of our democratic breakdown unfolds? When Republicans smash elements of our public order, will there be someone with the power and the will to confront them? Will a leadership figure emerge with a Churchillian commitment to preserve government for the people and by the people? 

One day I hope to live in a country so sane and stable that arguments about public policy have meaning. In a place where the only political issue is whether liberal democracy is good or bad, I don’t have much to say. I vote yes on liberal democracy. Not sure much else matters.

This remains a good place to work through ideas. I’ll probably still post here, but you may have noticed the pace dropping significantly. We’ll see how things go. In the meantime, buckle up out there.


  1. Another legal scenario that comes up now in Gilead.

    Assume a woman who lives in NY but on business becomes pregnant in oklahoma, where life begins at conception now. Or some other taliban state where it is now illegal to cross state borders to procure an abortion. Let’s say taliban texas.

    After working there for 8 weeks, maybe 12, she realizes she is pregnant, heads home, and terminates the pregnancy. Can she be sued by say, citizens in taliban texas, for killing a child?

    And if she returns to that state (why on earth anyone want to, I have no idea), is she subject to criminal charges? Just how long will it be before any woman who is visibly pregnant can indeed be stopped by law enforcement (or righteous citizens aka religious fanatics) as she leaves a taliban state for business or vacation?

  2. So now that the half the country is now Gilead, it will be interesting how quickly after November that the death cult introduces legislation to make it a federal law to ban abortion country-wide.

    Anyone who thinks they live in a democracy are sadly deluded. A tyrant and a monster in the Senate have managed to now have your lives controlled by 5 religious fanatics who are there for decades.

    Yeah, playing by the rules has worked out so well for the loser party, and now, most of the nation.

    1. Ryan M W

      I am new to this site, but have followed it as a lurker for a long time. Dins, I have read your pessimistic posts about how shitty you think our country is, and as far as I am concerned, you can go FUCK YOURSELF! Take your bullshit and leave this now! No one appreciates your crap and you have contributed NOTHING of substance to this site! Most of us are upset by Roe being overturned, but it isn’t a surprise. The fact is, you are just as bad as the political right in this country, if not worse. You advocate for KILLING anyone you don’t agree with. Shame on you! If you hate America so much, than LEAVE! It is idiots like you who are responsible for why Dems lose so much. You bring out ever negative liberal stereotype. Get off this site and spew your bullshit elsewhere! You’re probably some Boomer who realized that his generation screwed up. Guess what. You’re whole generation sucks!

      Chris, I am sorry for my first post being and outburst but it needed to be said.

      1. The enemy clearly does not believe in democracy. Why should you? Why should anyone in the loser party think that democracy still functions in the Gilead?

        You been watching the hearings? Democracy was saved by a tiny handful of people, and they have all been replaced with sycophants of the tyrant. The tyrant is incompetent, no doubt, but the mistakes made in late 2019 and Jan 2020 will not be repeated.

        You see what happened with the concealed carry laws in NY? Also wiped out by this hard right SCOTUS. And of course, the abortion ruling.

        And even in the midst of all this fascism, Biden’s popularity is sitting at 39%. The fact is that much, if not most, of the electorate is happy to live in afghanistan light with the american taliban running the show, as long as inflation is low.

        You should read this Politico article. Many of the predictions are fairly outlandish, even outside of my predictions. But I will leave you with this snippet:

        “Even when the law doesn’t provide an excuse, it’s easy to imagine far-right groups organizing to control the interstate movement of pregnant bodies. Right-wing militias are mobilizing already on the southern border claiming to be on the hunt for trafficked children and promising “no quarter.” Why not on the bridges from St. Louis to East St. Louis, or the highway from Gary, Ind., to Chicago, Ill.?”

      2. Ryan M W

        As I said, piss off. This site, which I have followed since before Trump took office since, was much better before you joined. I’ve read comments Chris and others have said to you. You offer NOTHING. You hate America, so, as I said, leave! Take your conspiratorial bullshit with you. If you can’t leave, then leave this site. I would much rather talk with other people on this site and list to what THEY have to say than listen to your apocalyptic crap. Again, as I said, you are probably a Boomer who realizes their generation screwed up. Whooptedoo. I believe that as well. Every comment you make on here is either Dems suck or we need to kill people I don’t agree with. Again, if you believe that, post elsewhere! Chris never set this place up for this sort of garbage. And, enough with the articles. None of us believe you, save 1 or 2. You aren’t an Old Testament Doomsday/End of Days prophet. You hate America, end of story. Leave or pipe down!

  3. Conservatives: “Cities are cesspools of violence!”

    Liberals: “Actually fun fact, where there’s more gun restrictions, there’s less per capita gun violence.”

    Conservatives: “Oh shit I forgot, y’all libtards have gun restrictions. Away with them!

    Also conservatives: “See, cities are cesspools of violence!”

  4. Hope all is well Chris. Had to chuckle at the title of this posting, first thing that popped into my mind was the Forest Gump scene when he and Bubba are scrubbing the barracks floor with toothbrushes and Bubba says ” That – that’s about it”

  5. I have to state for the record, much respect for Liz Cheney. I probably disagree with her on almost everything, but we agree on the most important thing- that once the voters have spoken, you don’t interfere with the peaceful transfer of power. Her willingness to stand on principle cost her her leadership position and may cost her her House seat. Yet she persists in doing the right thing. Would that we had more politicians with such spine.

    If WY is an open primary state, any Ds there ought to acknowledge her service to the country by crossing over to vote for her. Follow the example of Utah Ds.

    1. I wonder if Chris will come out of semi-retirement to write about these hearings and their impact when they are done. It may take a few weeks after they are done to see if they have gained any traction.

      Apparently 20 million watched last night in prime time. That is a tiny tiny fraction of who watched the Watergate hearings, and these are obviously far more important.

  6. I want to add my appreciation to the voices here.

    When I came across you in the Houston Chronicle, I was drawn to your blog despite your nom de plume. (Life long D here.) You seemed to be the only one with accurate vision and an ethical foundation.

    A mistake I feel mainstream media continues to make is to refer to, and act as if, the GOP is a political party. It is that no longer. It is a group of insurrectionists.

    But to deny them access to the elections process — which they are very good at manipulating — is, well, probably unconstitutional. (Did the founders envision that?)

    A digest of actions the Rs took before the election, during the election, and after the election appears in today’s NYTimes. It’s a stunning collection in depth and breadth.

    From courts to department heads to social media, they didn’t miss a trick. Most have been nominally unsuccessful.

    But I’m not sure a win, any official win, is necessary for them to be able to continue their destructive attacks on our surprisingly weak democracy traditions.

    Like the other posters here, I appreciate what you’ve done here. Thank you.

  7. Chris

    First, I’m sure you have a lot to write about. Instead of preparing long pieces with links and references and detailed thoughts, just post your thoughts and reactions to events of the day, etc. Most of us really are here to read your thoughts…but we also want to read the comments of others who read your thoughts and comment.

    This is your shack and you hung the shingles so you can decide what this place is. But instead of despairing, share your thoughts and feelings. What most of us actually need is a community and a way to build resilience. Resilience is a skill that all humans are going to need going forward.

    Second, when you said: “Neither “Populism” nor “Fascism” quite capture the uniquely American political form Republicans have since developed. Populism has too much genuine policy. Fascism aspires to a degree of order Republicans can’t begin to imagine”, I think I can answer. Republicans want neo-feudalism. The total corruption of the US “economy” into a totally “rentier capitalism” model shows it. Republican politicians break the US up into fiefdoms owned and operated by oligarchs who become Aristocrats, and the loyal Republicans responsible get nobility, titles and land for it.

    Third, while I hope that instead of cutting back you engage more with shorter traditional blog posts, I do appreciate everything you’ve put out there. I found this place back in 2015 when I saw Trump and realized that the end wasn’t the water wars of the 2040s but the civil wars of the 2020s. I was kinda/one of the winner(s) of that “predict when Trump’s campaign ends” contest you had, when I predicted the day after the election. I had hoped Trump would lose, but since 2016 I’ve come to realize that the future isn’t space, it’s collapse, as all societies do at some point.

    Please don’t feel the need to spend weeks writing pieces worthy of publication on a paid site. Just share what’s going through your mind, because your ideas become a base for others’ ideas and by that a community of sanity exists.

    Thanks again.

    1. Well said, Nicholas. The only problem is that Chris is such a “weedy” guy he may not be able to break the research habit! Like you, I want Chris to share his thoughts in whatever form strikes his fancy – long, short, extemporaneous or researched. I know they will always be worth reading.

      The comments of my fellow Political Orphans always add interesting information and perspective to the posts. Chris has attracted a special group of followers and I hope you will all stick around. I look forward to many more posts at whatever pace and format you choose, Chris.

      1. I am also a long time reader and have been very impressed with the well written pieces that you publish. The political environment seems very depressing these days and your analysis is appreciated. I also hope you will continue writing.

  8. Lin

    Dear Chris, thank you so very much for being a voice of sanity. I found you after the election of Trump when I was looking for some shred of hope that Republicans could recover their party. I’m a Democrat, but I recognize that saving American democracy requires political parties to be not enemies but opponents who share a commitment to upholding the Constitution.

    Like you, I’m not sanguine. (I have the feeling that, as Heidegger said, “only a god can save us now.”) But it has meant something, and still does mean something, to articulate in the light of reason the situation in which we find ourselves. Take heart wherever you can find it.

  9. I cannot believe it has been fourteen years and you have come a long way from the Houston Chronicle. There has been a lot of characters come and go but the one thing that has remained constant your adherence to your principles is as strong as ever, despite having to leave a party you loved so much.

    I wish you well and another fourteen years, I will still be here.

  10. Jon

    I’ve enjoyed Chris’ writing since GOPLifer. “Enjoyed” really isn’t the right word – since his articles often made me think about certain subjects from a different perspective – they were never simply entertainment. Just as much as, the community that has followed him has made this one small area of the internet where comments are more than memes and bloviating.

    While Chris is right that social media didn’t do this, there has been a breakdown in social norms that kept some of the craziness that afflicts us at the subliminal level. CNN started the 24 hour news cycle in 1980. Rush Limbaugh’s show was syndicated to a national audience in 1988. Then FOX News opened the propaganda arm of the GOP in 1996. None of this caused the crazy, but it did prime the pump from the wellspring of grievances that run below the surface.

    40 years of “news” having to fill 24 hours with the latest “controversy” to entertain the populace and sell ads. 30+ years of one-sided conspiracy theorists on the radio during our commutes. 25 years of re-programming the conservative mind in a way that would have made Goebbels envious.

    I forgot to mention the Moral Majority and its lasting influence in the Evangelical crowd.

    Social media simply came along when we the people were dumbed down in various ways. We had grown used to multiple sources of “news” – and who’s to decide which “alternative facts” are correct? Don’t trust anyone who tells you anything that doesn’t confirm your own biases. Experts are obviously being paid. Politicians and government officials? Don’t make me laugh. Maybe trust the military, unless they try to tell you not to get stuck on stupid.

    Social media simply put crazy people in touch with other crazy people. Suddenly, one’s bubble was virtually a lot larger, and being crazy seems like the new normal. Forget dog whistles and virtue signaling – let the crazy shine, and be rewarded with multiple smiley emojis from like minded friends. The problem with being crazy is that you don’t know you’re crazy.

    Meme free, but enough bloviating.

  11. I’m currently reading David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass. I’m in the late Civil War portion of the story, and yes, I’m seeing some ugly rhymes forming in history. Douglass and his peers have proven quite prescient in their warnings about the consequences of not finishing off White supremacy.

    Chris’ blog in the Houston Chronicle first caught my eye when I saw him calling out fellow GOPers whenever they were being unreasonable in their complaints about then President Obama. While I turned away from the GOP back in the late 80s, I have always respected someone willing to call out their own when circumstances warrant it. Like the US during Reconstruction, the GOP had their nexus point after losing the 2012 election, and blew it.

    I again offer my condolences on the corruption of something you had devoted so much effect to. Being Cassandra sucks. Best wishes to your family and for your health, and I’ll still check here for things to read.

  12. It’s sobering to see this post here, but I can tell that the previous posts were building up to this. I won’t try to give false optimism or hope. Things are gonna get uglier than they already are.

    While I cannot offer much in the way of comfort or assurance as the US descends into darkness, I can offer my appreciation. I’ve been following your blogs since whichwayisright, and I’ve always appreciated your insights and analyses. It’s been a pleasure to read your takes on things, and even if new uploads aren’t going to be too frequent moving forward, I’ll continue to look forward to the next one.

    Thank you Chris. For everything. I’ll do what I can from my part of the States to push back against the encroaching blight. It might not be much, but it’ll be something.

  13. Well Chris, I understand your sentiment.

    If you are not prepared to leave the texas for a non-Gilead states, or another country, your best bet is to hunker down and live out your life as well as you can. I am sure many Germans who we not nazi’s did just fine, until about 1942. But the u.s. is not in the same position as nazi Germany, and will never be.

    China and russia will either run roughshod over american interests, or ally with it to form the new Axis of Evil.

    The true irony is that Germany may end up being the last democracy to fall, as the other democratic nations fall like dominos.

    I do have one question, which I have been asking for 4 plus years. Is the death cult more powerful if the tyrant is alive to lead it? Or is it more powerful if he is a martyr for the cause, and desantis or abbot is the dictator?

  14. I hear your frustration, Chris. I agree that the current political situation in the US is very depressing. But I agree with Creigh Gordon that the Republicans are overestimating their strength and underestimating the resolve of supporters of liberal democracy. I do agree it will be very ugly for awhile. However, I do believe that the liberal democrats will emerge victorious.

    In the long view, political systems in the US do change approximately at 40 year intervals. This current system started approximately 1980 with the election of Reagan. it is due for a change. I believe the change is close.

    If one is familiar with the Generations theory of Strauss and Howe. we are due for a generational climax approximately 2025. That is eighty years following the last generational climax in 1945 (my birth year). Globally and domestically events seem to be tracking towards such a climax.

    Another approach is that of Colin Woodard in his Eleven Nations of North America works. The current situation is very similar to that of the immediate Antebellum period when the South was totally in control and had a lot of hubris. However, there were two problems:
    First, the South ran out of land suitable for an agricultural economy based on slavery, due to the climatological change at the100th meridian. Second 1he population was increasing in the Northern states from European immigration. They gradually accumulated enough power to overwhelm the South. The South responded to the forthcoming change by seceding. . We know how that turned out.

    A similar situation is now occurring with the knowledge based economy of the 21st Century overwhelming the manufacturing and agricultural economy of the 20th. The new economy is mainly located in the urban area, where the Republicans do not have much power. They are only holding onto their power by means of the Constitutional biases towards the small population states and by means of Senate Rules such as the filibuster. Those rules enabled the packing of the Supreme Court.. In time they will lose that power. There will be a shock similar to the election of Lincoln and the secession in 1860 and the house of cards will collapse.

    Finally, the California is the Future series of articles in The Medium in 2018,, predicting that there would be a change in American politics approximately 15 years following the major shift in California. Though at the moment that seems to be fanciful, from my perspective on the Left Coast, I do believe it is happening, but slowly. California also changed slowly. It does have problems, but it is also doing many things right. As an example, my granddaughter graduated from San Diego State University in May. My wife and I watched the commencement on the computer as it was streamed. I was amazed at the number of minorities of all types who graduated. I guessed that they were around 40-50%, with of course a lot of Hispanics.

    This has been a long comment, but I do not believe that things are really as dire as they may seem. Once the throttle grip the Republicans have on power is broken, there will be a lot of policy ideas to discuss. A lot of people have a lot of ideas to further liberal democracy in the US. The immediate problem will be breaking that throttle grip. The Ds do seem to be hapless at times, and they do have some serious messaging problems. But there is a lot of ferment and discussion underneath. That will break the log jam in time and I believe it will be fairly soon. America does have a way of turning things around. Now is the time.

    I look forward to you returning to the forum in time, even though seeming there is nothing to say.

  15. For some time now, I have watched and despaired by the failure of rational people in our country to quell the madness in our politics. Republicans have outplayed Democrats at every turn, who, despite being the more principled, sane party, have been unable or unwilling to rally the nation to protect Democracy.

    I’m not sure what is going to happen but I know this: America is in deep trouble and this bodes badly not just our country but for the world.

    In speaking with people who support T about viewing the investigation schedule of the House 1/6 Committee (begins airing Thursday, June 9 at 7pm cst), I don’t sense a willingness to even consider the possibility that T et al attempted a coup of our government; and the reaction of some was “it was necessary”. They don’t have a clue about how America will be affected.

    Is it possible for democracy to survive in this environment? When Republicans are scheming to overturn and suppress voting by every means possible – regardless of turnout or outcome? I don’t think it can or will.

    I want to be wrong but I don’t see much to encourage me. Chris, I don’t know what to say other than thank you for your efforts to inform us and challenge us to think on a higher level. I have enjoyed every post and the insightful comments .

    Years ago, following Sandy Hook, I despaired at the absence of empathy and responsibility by the Republican Party. When this party looked the other way and did nothing except obstruct reasonable changes in gun laws, I believe this was the beginning of the end for any real hope for our country. We are now there and I am so very sad.

  16. I am an 81 year old who had the privilege of being challenged by teenagers for 15 years as their teacher, then worked 30 years in technical support for mainframe purchasers who were not shy to yell at me when millions of dollars of gear turned into dead metal. During that time I had four years working with educators at Harvard and Cornell unpacking how physics is learned. I have heard and seen a lot of questioning. NO ONE in all that time questioned as insightfully as Chris, or had his analytical skills. Selfishly I would hope Chris was commenting hourly. BUT he has the right to step back. My gratitude and admiration are boundless. Take care, much love Chris. Peter

      1. DFC

        I couldn’t agree more. Their mistakes are echoes of the ones they made in the runup to the Civil War: they presume unity among themselves that really is not there; they fall prey to the influence of manipulators; and their willful backwardness is fundamentally out of step with the time we live in. They act from malice and hubris. They don’t know who holds their own strings.

      2. Here’s another voice from out here in the NW corner of the contiguous states on the left coast, who agrees with you. There art a lot of people who believe in liberal democracy who are going to fight like hell to keep liberal democracy alive. There are a lot mot people in the blue states and they have a lot more economic clout. In reality the MAGA Republicans are a minority and they are only maintaining power via the Constitutional biases towards small population states, Senate rules that are not in accordance with original intent, and voter suppression and gerrymandering. The log jam will clear and to backed up waters will be released.

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