Sunday 10/9/16

  1. Death of the Religious Right (and the GOP?)
  2. Hacking is a two-way street
  3. Presidential Debates “R” Rating

1

[Author’s note: the following is a model of restraint and sobriety compared to what I first wrote vented.]

Until Friday’s release of the tape of Trump and Billy Bush (note: I had no idea who the latter was until this tape), I suspected that Trump would outperform the polls — maybe even enough to win — because the media blitz against Trump made it disreputable to announce, even to a pollster, that one was voting for him. (I’m not saying the media blitz is false or unwarranted, but the media are widely distrusted, and there’s a sense of what’s “unfair” that sometimes eludes me.)

Now I’m not so sure about his outperforming the polls — though I’ve thought “surely this is the last straw” more than once before. Could it be that Evangelicals will once again forgive He Who Has Never Done Anything Bad Enough to Require God’s Forgiveness because … Hillary?

I miss Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a rare intellectual in elective politics and full of surprises.

For my money, his most enduring legacy is coining “defining deviancy down.”

Defining Deviancy Down (DDD) was an expression coined by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1993. Moynihan based his phrase on the theory of Emile Durkheim that there is a limit to the bad behavior that a society can tolerate before it has to start lowering its standards.

The GOP and pro-Trump Evangelicals, including at least one old friend, are confirming the theory yet again.

Ralph Reed, humbug Pat Robertson’s sidekick at the Christian Coalition, is one of the Trump holdouts:

Ralph Reed, a conservative Christian activist and the head of Trump’s religious advisory board, said that as the father of two daughters, he was disappointed by the “inappropriate” comments.

“But people of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defend religious freedom, grow the economy, appoint conservative judges and oppose the Iran nuclear deal,” he said in an email.

He also said to NPR that he’d have no hesitation about his daughters going to work in close proximity to Trump.

Sure, Ralph. That’s the ticket.

To the older evangelicals planning to vote for Trump: You can try to explain the difference in electing a president and hiring a 23-year-old college graduate to evangelize students. You can say we’re electing a commander in chief and not a Sunday school teacher. You can say that God often raises up pagan leaders to deliver his people from their enemies. But no one is fooled by your arguments.

They can see you will apparently excuse anything in a Republican nominee so long as the alternative is a manifestly unqualified Clinton. And they will conclude that they don’t really need to listen to you when it comes to “traditional, biblical ethics.”

The 2016 presidential election will be remembered as the last spasm of energy from the Religious Right before its overdue death.

(Collin Hansen of the Gospel Coalition)

The Democrats, though, are not covering themselves with glory by their sudden and transparently tactical embrace of traditional standards of morality and decency.

2

Every day Putin’s site gets attacked by tens of thousands of hackers. Many of these attacks can be traced to U.S. territory. It’s not as though we accuse the White House or Langley of doing it each time it happens.

(Dmitry Peskov, press secretary for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, responding to formal U.S. allegations at Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.)

Say what you will, I vastly prefer this Spy vs Spy stuff to yesteryear’s fear of nuclear war with Russia.

3

I never would have imagined the day when I could not allow my children to watch an American presidential debate because I was worried about what lewd and lascivious things the Republican nominee would say on live television.

(Rod Dreher) Dreher warns the GOP, however, not to ignore the issues where Trump has been right, starting with the folly of the Iraq War.

And don’t miss this chilling quote:

We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

That was spoken by one of Dubya’s Senior Advisors to Ron Suskind, but doesn’t it represent today’s bipartisan foreign policy consensus?

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.