"So, I tend to write about Biden’s age more than Trump’s sociopathy, and about the Dems’ identity and woke obsessions more than the Republicans’ fundamental corruption. Because the Dems have to find a way to 51%, lest we lapse into Hungary or Russia."

Joe Klien is very much part of the problem.

I am so tired of "it will be the Dems fault if trump wins"

Expand full comment

"The speaker is trying to convince his Republican conference that there will heavy political fallout from a shutdown"

Good luck trying to convince them of that. They're almost all in safely gerrymandered districts. They've chosen their voters, and this is what the voters they've chosen want. And if they don't give it to them, those voters will elect someone else who will. Which brings me to Joe Klein:

"So, I tend to write about Biden’s age more than Trump’s sociopathy, and about the Dems’ identity and woke obsessions more than the Republicans’ fundamental corruption. Because the Dems have to find a way to 51%, lest we lapse into Hungary or Russia."

If only that were true! No, the Dems don't just have to find a way to 51%, because what we have here isn't a democracy where the party that gets the most votes gets the most representatives. What we have is a gerrymandered shitshow as well as an Electoral College, where your Wyoming voter has more say than your California voter, and where rural land has more of a say than urban voters. Democrats need to do more than get to 51% just to try to maintain the current substandard level of democracy in this country (sorry, I've been reading The Tyranny of the Minority by Ziblatt and Levitsky, and it's horrifying).

Expand full comment

First Ruy and now more of that arrogant twerp Joe Klein. His diatribe against Democrats is not even truth based. “They believe in our institutions… even those—like the military—that they really don’t believe in.” What? I believe the Democrats are the party supporting the military. What a lazy, pathetic way to pretend that somehow his diatribes are helping anyone but Trump and the autocrats. And the sanctimony from someone who wrote a trashy political novel in the 90s as Anonymous and then lied over and over that it wasn’t him is astounding.

To quote Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

Expand full comment

The only person who should be interviewing Trump is Judge Chutkan. She should be asking a lot of questions AND giving him a lot of answers. She needs to inform him about the difference between there truth and lies, and between defending himself in court and putting peoples' lives in danger.

If he doesn't get the message, there should be no interviews form jail.

Expand full comment

Off-topic in today's article but relevant in the bigger picture to so many of our discussions: GOP abuse of power. As Charlie likes to put it, meanwhile, in Wisconsin ... state House speaker Robin Vos has threatened to withhold recommended cost-of-living pay raises to all University of Wisconsin system employees, over 30,000 of them, because the institution as a whole has not caved in to his demand that they eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion offices on its campuses. No submission = no raises for hard-working, loyal employees who have no role in the fight that Vos has picked. “I don’t think that they deserve to have any more resources until they accomplish the goal,” Vos told WisPolitics on Friday. “Not a nickel. When I say a nickel, that’s what I mean.”

In other words, what Vos wants, Vos is supposed to get, whether appropriate or not, without fair give-and-take negotiation and with no regard for who is hurt in the process. Such hostage-taking is what you get when hyperpartisan tribal politics, personal lust for power and relevance, and extreme gerrymandering take control of state government. It is like watching a kid pick the wings off of flies simply because it can. Or, if you prefer, punishing the troops in the military over a perceived grievance with a handful of generals. It is a case study in egregiously bad behavior by publicly-funded officials who believe themselves to be above consequences for their actions. I will, though, give Vos credit for one specific accomplishment. If his goal is to cement his status in the history books as one of the very worst politicians ever in the State of Wisconsin, he is accomplishing that, and with admirable skill for the task.


Expand full comment

About Democrats Klein writes: "even those—like the military—that they really don’t believe in."

Rather sweeping generalized judgement to just toss in there.

Expand full comment
Sep 19·edited Sep 19

Kristen Welker showed herself to be no better than Chuck Todd at conducting a hard-hitting interview. I would have loved to see Trump interviewed by someone like Mehdi Hasan instead. He knows how to have his facts lined up, how to maintain control of an interview even with oily, weaselly people like Trump, and how to fact check in real time. It's very likely Trump would have blown a gasket and stomped out of that interview because he couldn't push the interviewer around. So what? Show him throwing a temper tantrum. We watched that for 4 years while he was in the White House. It's time people were reminded of what he's really like.

As for the constant chorus of 'Is Biden Too Old OMG!!!', somehow we NEVER hear that about Trump who's only a few years younger but much more senile that Joe Biden will ever be. After all, Biden knows who he ran against in 2020 while Trump says he beat Barack Obama in 2016. And that Joe Biden will take us into World War II. Those mental lapses aren't just part of Trump's quirky personality - they're indications of mental incapacity. But do we ever hear about that? Oh hell no.

At 80 years old, Biden may have arthritis and have slowed down a bit, but Trump is demented and poses a real danger to the country. Where's all the bed wetting over that?

Expand full comment

Joe Klein is insufferable and the idea that the stupid and sometimes malicious nature of Republican voters/electeds is the fault of Democrats is ridiculous. Imagine saying something is mortally appalling but then in the very next breath saying something that isn’t mortally appalling will force voters away. Instead of shaping the opinion of those “swing voters,” Klein is instead creating a permission structure for those voters to go vote with their tribe despite the crazy.

It really sticks in my craw that people like Klein don’t understand that the Democratic Party also has base voters. And a LOT of the time, those voters don’t get their policy preferences. And they suck it up and still do the rational thing. How about these swing moderates learn from that type of adult behavior and do the same damned thing. I swear to god Klein and others like him will give a pass to these people until the cows come home.

Expand full comment

Regarding COVID infections and deaths, I believe that people who refuse to get vaccinated should experience the consequences of their choice. I'm out of fucks to give on that front.

Expand full comment

Good grief, Joe Klein! It's the Democrats fault if Trump wins again so out of your frustration with Democrats, YOU write about Biden's age? Where is the logic in that? Are you ignoring the voter suppression and intimidation, as well as gerrymandering that is going on? Are you more concerned about someone who is 3 years older than his potential opponent, but not horrified by someone who is a a narcissistic sociopath.

And, Will Saletan, how much MORE evidence do we need of Trump's lies and menacing treatment of democracy? Since when do media give 1-hour interviews to presidential candidates? This was not the norm pre-Trump? Main-stream media is referred to as Fake News by Trump. His supporters love to see him walk all over "interviewers." JVL hit the nail on the head in his article. When journalists do not follow up and insist that Trump answer their questions rather than deflect and when they don't confront him with FACTS as the moment of his lies, they are being played. But...MSM wants access and they will tolerate his stream of lies. Trump did not call Welker a "nasty woman" because she failed to stand up to him and was deferential with her repeatedly calling him "Mister President." It's as if NBC learned nothing from the CNN debacle.

Expand full comment

McCarthy needs to reach across the aisle, along with his five best friends in the GOP, and work with the Democrats to avoid a shutdown. When the bomb throwers pitch a fit, he can tell them, "tough," and have the Democrats and his five best friends on his side, when the Freedom Caucus is humiliated in a failed removal attempt. With a de-fanged Freedom Caucus, reasonable members of the GOP Caucus will come out of the woodwork in support of bipartisan action.

Expand full comment

So TFG treats government documents with such respect that he uses them as post it notes and scrap paper. And Republicans find him the best person to run the country, seriously? He is the most facile, trivial, characterless charlatan in the country, and on his behalf people are torching their lives, careers, reputations, liberty, and solvency, to say nothing of democracy. It staggers the mind. And the only objection to him that gains any traction at all is that he might not win. Amazing.

Expand full comment

Here's a novel idea for how to interview Donald Trump successfully:

Don't interview him.

Don't take the bait. Don't give him a platform to spew his venom beyond what the far right already allows him. Don't indulge his uncontrollable urge to tell lies. Don't permit him to bully, badger, and berate the interviewers. And don't give him the oxygen that he craves and needs in order to fuel his election campaign, by allowing him to claim that he is a victim whenever someone confronts him and doesn't automatically let him have his way, and to peddle his cancerous grievance politics for purely personal gain. And do it for the best and most legitimate of all reasons: none of it is newsworthy.

I know it is tempting for the media to try to mine his words for "gotcha" moments regarding January 6 and other areas in which he is in legal peril. But is the reward worth the risk in giving him and his lies and tribal posturing still more exposure when it is guaranteed that he only will use it to propel his movement? I say no, and thus urge the press to do what we all would do with any misbehaving adolescent desperately in search of attention: ignore him. If Trump insists on acting like a small child, he should be treated accordingly. Deny him what he so desperately wants and see if he starts to hold his breath and stomp his feet until you do so. That might be the best part of the whole experience.

Expand full comment

Look, pro-democrats (not Democrats), if you want Biden to drop out, say so. But you don’t, for many reasons not limited to 1) well, ain’t that an act of extreme ingratitude?! BIDEN got us here. BIDEN has had one of the most successful first terms of any President in my lifetime. BIDEN has beaten back Trump himself, Trump-endorsed, and Trumpy-wannabe candidates TWICE, in 2020 & 2022. BIDEN got more votes for President than anyone, EVER. 2) Replacing BIDEN sends all sorts of negative signals, like the aforementioned ingratitude, disloyalty, disorganization, panic, supreme lack of confidence in our message as well as our candidate... leading to 3) BIDEN was and remains the consensus candidate. Not Harris. Not Newsome. Not Big Gretch. Not Shapiro. Not Klobuchar, or Mayor Pete, or any of the 2020 also-rans. It’s still Biden. And replacing him is, frankly, a shitty idea (see above).

So. Biden is still old, and getting older. We can’t replace him without damaging the cause. It sucks! So embrace the suck: we don’t care how old Biden is, we don’t care if, frankly, he gets replaced by his animatronic replicant from the Hall of Presidents, as long as democracy is protected at home and abroad.

THAT is the cause.

Expand full comment

I have the perfect solution to interviewing Trump: just don’t! No oxygen, no problem!

“Which raises a question: I haven’t toted up the word count, but I suspect that I spend a lot more space criticizing Dems than GOPs. Why is that?

Well, because it seems in these DysTrumpian times, the Democrats are the only hope of saving our democracy, despite their idiot array of indulgences. They are misguided, but not fundamentally irrational. They believe in our institutions, even those—like the Supreme Court and the electoral college—that are weighted against them; even those—like the military—that they really don’t believe in.”--Joe Klein

First off, has anyone under the age of 55 actually heard of this guy? Exactly.

Secondly, Klein talks of the democrats being misguided. I would posit the opposite! To say democrats don’t support the military when TurDville is holding up 300 senior confirmations because of his religious beliefs is rich. And it’s a Republican house that has failed to approve the military spending bill, that is usually an any easy, bi-partisan, consensus vote.

Since when have democrats railed against the military? Or threatened to defund it? Democrats are the ones that continually fund veteran programs and first responders, suffering from illnesses due to responding to the tragedy and the ground zero cleanup.

Republicans are the ones that have to be shamed into passing legislation or renewing the funding for these programs.

Republicans are only strong on defense spending, not our troops. Remember when an active duty military officer confronted Rumsfeld at the Pentagon during the Iraq war and said, “he and his unit had to purchase their own flak jackets and their vehicles weren’t armored. Rumsfeld’s response was, “ you go to war with the military you have, not the military you want!”

Easy for Rumsfeld to say, a man who never fought in a war. Or the fact that military contractors got exactly what they wanted, and even more than what they needed. From flak jackets, bullet proof vests to armored vehicles; our contractors had an open spigot of money flowing, while our military personnel had to scrape together junk steel and weld them into their vehicles.

There is a reason Halliburton stock increased 538% in just two years after the invasion of Iraq, and it’s not because they lacked generous contracts or flak jackets.

Republicans are always the law and order party that now wants to defund the DOJ and FBI. They are the pro-military party that finds no shortage of dollars for funding expensive military projects. Yet, can never find a penny for the troops.

Bottom line: the republicans never met a war they didn’t like. They just don’t like the troops who come back with PTSD, severe head trauma or missing limbs. Spending on the troops is apparently a bridge too far.

Joe Klein deserves to be forgotten by those who heard of him, and never bothered with, by those who don’t. Good riddance!

Expand full comment

Lincoln would be appalled that we are allowing a man who attacked the United States of America to run for President, play golf, and get his ass kissed on tv.

Expand full comment