Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

The very lamest excuse of the 2016 Presidential election

Since November 8, we’ve been treated to no end of explanation for Donald Trump’s triumph over Hillary Clinton. Certain segments of the media have branded these “excuses” “lame“, and point to their own preferred explanations. But I’m not here to evaluate the validity of various claims that are essentially unprovable; I’d rather focus on lame excuses that are more verifiably so: ones that self-evidently lack explanatory power to the degree that they could have only been offered to the public in bad faith.

It is difficult to produce an excuse for the race’s outcome that fell unambiguously into this category; political scientists and pundits may debate what actually happened for years to come. So, without further ado, I would like to focus your attention on a slightly different category: the lamest excuse offered by the Hillary campaign for something other than the race’s final outcome.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times treated its readers to a strong contender for the title:

Continue reading The very lamest excuse of the 2016 Presidential election

Stephen Colbert’s Cartoon Hillary Clinton did not disappoint

The moment I heard Bill Clinton tell the DNC that the Republican response to his wife has been “to create a cartoon alternative, and run against the cartoon,” I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what Stephen Colbert was going to do with it. And indeed, when he went live that evening, Colbert immediately introduced his audience to Cartoon Donald Trump‘s Democratic opponent, Cartoon Hillary:

Continue reading Stephen Colbert’s Cartoon Hillary Clinton did not disappoint

Clinton Bookers Warren

Exactly five months ago, on the day Hillary Clinton debuted her new Twitter handle, I took the opportunity to highlight how a fellow Democrat with his own potential aspirations for 2016 had taken the opportunity to crash Hillary’s party:

So the primary challenger in the primaries who Smith called out by name — Newark Mayor Cory Booker — wasted absolutely no time in taking the opportunity to demonstrate that he has a slightly firmer grasp on what’s hip/cool/fresh/what the kids are into than does stodgy old Hillary… by advertising on Twitter:

Hillary and Corey

In case you were curious whether he planned to run for President — no, no, no need for concern: he’s just running for the Senate!

Well, now it’s Hillary’s turn to stake her claim to the 2016 Democratic nomination. In Noam Schreiber’s profile of Elizabeth Warren for the New Republic — focused mainly on the threat she may or may not pose to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary — it was hard to miss the advertisement dropped right into the middle of the article:

Continue reading Clinton Bookers Warren

Opportunistic much, Cory Booker?

Hillary’s not the only one who made a big move today.

As you know, the 2016 Presidential hopeful joined Twitter, and — though her history on the service is precisely one message long — quickly managed to turn herself into the topic of conversation (though, at the time of writing she seems to have been upstaged in the United States by the New England Patriots; #Tebow and Josh McDaniels are trending, but not #TextsFromHillary):

I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight one narrative surrounding Clinton’s entry to Twitter: that it is only the opening salvo of a broader attempt to “seem young.” Should she be elected President in 2016, she will be pushing 70, and though women generally have longer lifespans than men (so her age should be of marginally less concern than John McCain’s when he ran in 2008), life expectancy is not the only important component of a candidate’s age. Ben Smith lays out the real perceived threat to Hillary’s campaign in Hillary Clinton’s First Tweet Shows What She Fears Most:

Clinton Monday launched her Twitter feed — pre-leaked a week earlier to Politico by a staff that has shown no familiarity with the social web — with some of the most studied jokes in the history of the internet, riffing on a meme — Texts from Hillary — that’s more than a year old. The message of the image, the studied colloquialism and pantsuit jokes, and the idea was simple: “I’m not old.”

But as Smith points out, Hillary is old — and she won’t be going up again John McCain this time around — her challengers are likely to be considerably younger:

And the generational threat remains the main one to Hillary Clinton. Cory Booker’s likely ascent to the Senate in 2013 puts him, as one ally said, on a plausible, if perhaps unlikely, path to Iowa.

And Reagan-like “my opponent’s youth and inexperience”-type judo aside, Smith is right — age is at the least a cause for concern, and at the most could prove a formidable obstacle to the White House:

The . . . dagger at Clinton’s heart is generational. Even in 2008, Barack Obama won in part by promising to “turn the page” on the Clintonian past, and to welcome a new generation. In 2016, Hillary Clinton will face an electorate that includes people who were born just as Monica Lewinsky was becoming a household name, to whom the Clinton years are a kind of hazily positive past — the sort of film-reel history that Watergate represented in Bill Clinton’s election.

The painstaking Twitter rollout is the digital representation of that neurosis.

So the primary challenger in the primaries who Smith called out by name — Newark Mayor Cory Booker — wasted absolutely no time in taking the opportunity to demonstrate that he has a slightly firmer grasp on what’s hip/cool/fresh/what the kids are into than does stodgy old Hillary… by advertising on Twitter:

Continue reading Opportunistic much, Cory Booker?

First, my apologies (again) to Jon Stewart; Second, I show Stephen Colbert how it’s done

I promise, Paper Treiger is not turning into a blog about Comedy Central’s late-night lineup. But before I make it stop looking suspiciously like that’s just what’s happening, I first owe Jon Stewart one more apology.

On April 7, I wrote that poor Mr. Leibowitz had become — as I put it — sort of adorably predictable. In the course of making this allegation, I not-so-boldly predicted that the Daily Show host would invoke Star Wars at least once over the coming week. I say the prediction was not-so-bold because it seemed at the time like hardly a week goes by — if not an episode — when he doesn’t somehow use Star Wars for an easy punchline. I was sure this was the safest bet in the world. I would have even put money on it.

And, as it turns out, I would have been out some money.

I just finished watching every episode of the Daily Show from the week of April 8 (with the exception of the Edie Falco interview, because I’m not that masochistic), and was shocked to discover that Jon Stewart did not once compare the Pope to the Evil Emperor — or otherwise invoke the galaxy far, far away.

So my apologies to Jon Stewart. Predictable as I thought, you are not.

Apology complete, I will note that he called out Star Wars — by name — in his first episode the following week, on April 16. But that’s not what I predicted, so all it counts for is trolling me.

Meanwhile, on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert also got in on the trolling. He waited only minutes — six minutes and forty seconds, to be exact — into Monday night’s episode to accuse Prez Billy Jeff of playing Jedi mind tricks on him.

But Colbert wasn’t happy rubbing salt in my wound just once, and waited only two minutes and forty seconds into Wednesday’s episode to draw the obvious parallel between the Navy’s new laser gun and the Death Star.

And in case hogging all the Star Wars references for the week wasn’t bad enough, Colbert topped off the segment by butchering my favorite line from Star Wars (and one that I deployed to better effect just last month), when he inexplicably told the ewoks, “I find your lack of faith highly laserable.”

So, to give this genre the respect it deserves, I present the following exploration compiled by myself and Mr. James Katz:

Continue reading First, my apologies (again) to Jon Stewart; Second, I show Stephen Colbert how it’s done

The NRA: towards a better understanding

In its January/February issue, Mother Jones covered a report on the link between lead and human behavior. Rick Nevin, a consultant at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development ran some tests on the link between lead and violent crime:

In a 2000 paper (PDF) he concluded that if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

As the graph linking pirates and global warming famously shows, it’s possible to commit a correlation/causation fallacy any which way you like, so Nevin repeated his research in other countries for confirmation:

Continue reading The NRA: towards a better understanding

Race politics: Jews, blacks, and the Presidency

For once, I read a magazine that wasn’t a few months old. More specifically, I read last week’s New York Times Magazine, which featured a fascinating story about the Aleppo Codex, as well as an interview with Jonathan Haidt. One question from interviewer Andrew Goldman is the subject of tonight’s post:

I have relatives who are Southern conservative Republicans, who say that the fact that almost the entire black population voted for Barack Obama is as inherently racist as the idea that all whites would vote for a white candidate. Do they have a point?

Haidt’s reply:

Had a Jew run at any point in the 20th century, just about every Jew would have voted for him, so I can’t criticize blacks for voting for a black president. There’s an enormous difference between voting for a candidate because you hate another ethnic group and voting for a candidate because he’s a member of your ethnic group.

There’s a lot to unpack in this response, and I’m not going to get into most of it, but I do want to respond to two of Haidt’s claims in turn.

Continue reading Race politics: Jews, blacks, and the Presidency