Irony is dead. A short footnote to Alanis

    Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think, that a reality TV host got elected leader of the free world? That the corporate media mocked his rants about a rigged system and yet he won anyway? It’s like Zuckerberg making billions publishing fake right wing news but lowly media minnow Breitbart is the villain. It’s like a buffoonish misogynist defeating a highly qualified woman. It’s like that woman spending eight (twelve? thirty?) years locking up the Establishment’s support and then it turns out the electorate doesn’t trust the establishment. It’s a hundred crass celebrity ads when all you needed was a rust-belt listening tour. Isn’t it just so Ironic, don’t you think?

    It’s when a white nationalist takes over from a successful black president.  It’s democrats hoping and helping the GOP nominate that white nationalist and now he runs the country. It’s like Sanders saying Trump is a danger to mankind and now wants to work together with him. It’s like just when we need a credible opposition, all we’ve got is Chuck “Wall Street Welcomes” Schumer. It’s mass demonstrations in New York and San Francisco when what you need is to flip two vulnerable moderate GOP senators in Nevada and Arizona. Who would have thought, it figures. 

    Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything's okay and everything's going right, And life has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up in your face.

    (Except if you insist on learning nothing from your mistakes and being surprised every time life doesn’t magically go your way. Isn’t that ironic?)


    Nicely done. It's like winning 51% of the vote and saying you need to start over from scratch. It's like getting out the Hispanic vote and finding out half are still pissed about Cuba. It's like holding huge rap concerts in swing state cities and finding your real rural swing voters hate rap. It's like running a non-profit charity and getting blasted for too big charitable donations. It's like showing up detailed & prepared but they wanted off-the-cuff and unplanned. It's like "being too safe" when your opponent just wants to destroy. It's like the guy who lost the primaries is the one to save the party. It's like running as a strong woman when they just wanted a strong man.

    Trump voters knew that Trump was lying. They knew that he attacked Rosie O'Donnell and Megan Kelly. They knew these things and they didn't care. They know that Trump is not qualified. They don't care. I don't know how you can make an appeal to tha Trump voter.

    Just showing up in rural rust-belt counties would have helped. If not to convince Trump voters, then at least to convince those who ended up abstaining that democrats care and are listening to them about their problems. 

    Apart from that, right now in the Senate the Democrats need two more votes to regain the majority or at least to block confirmations for the departmental and court nominations. Enough pressure on Flake and Heller on specific issues, if not wholesale rejection of Trump, and he will be seriously hamstrung. And that pressure just involves calling their offices, sending letters, showing up at town halls, making sure his staffers hear the complaints loud and clear.  

    The rust belt was the first place Hillary headed after the convention.

    And Bernie was campaigning in Michigan & Wisconsin shortly before the election - whether he made it to the boonies, doubt it.

    Obama and the Democrats wanted infrastructure spending to create jobs. They were blocked by the GOP.

    Infrastructure will likely get funded now.

    Krugman says the GOP infrastructure plans are all public/private where corporations put up say 18%, govt the rest in tax credits,  and Wall Street gets guaranteed profits. He uses the Chicago privatized parking meter fiasco as an example.  He says their plans will make America less competitive, enrich investors at main street expense, and won't create good jobs.


    Krugman is right.
    Tax credits can be a useful way to give new industries a leg up in markets stacked against them but using tax credits to finance government projects is simply bad accounting that leaves the public holding the bag.

    Where is a fiscal conservative when you need one?


    but in any case, I really don't know much about irony except that I know what I like.

    I didn't think it was disputed that Clinton didn't prioritize campaigning in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as much as Trump. Half as many events, or something. And even less emphasis on rural counties.

    But I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. I had a link but seem to have lost it.

    You might want too heck your junk mail for a link. Obi-wan.

    Alternately, you might want to 'check' it (blind as a bat, here). 

    I think there is some credence to the idea that the folks who don't see irony tend to be authoritarian and, perhaps, prone to a fundamentalist religion message. I think Trump got most of them to the polls.


    Really? there is such a thing as irony-blindness? 

    Personally I have low level irony-intolerance. Is it just me or is there is faint odour of superstition to irony. Like it's a label we slap on things where events don't turn out as expected but we sense some underlying cosmic logic to it. Like *someone * is sending a message. Often just a way of shirking responsibility for thinking things through.

    I get the odor part but I think superstition makes you kind of give up whereas irony, maybe a step or two later, makes you think it through again.

    Irony blindness?---I'm thinking about it.

    Ignominious I.E.D

    elected president?

    Nope. I'm not buying.

    It's not ironic.

    America"s first digital coup.


    Strato!! Nice seeing you!!

    Obey! Thank you for writing this! Great seeing you too!

    Me and my friends and family are pretty scared by this election.

    Makes the days of Widdledub and Blunderdick seem easy.

    We voted for Hillary here on the left coast but it didn't change the horrid outcome.

    Our states are also divided.  Rural v Urban.

    Now the big cities are just islands of Resistance.

    Unfortunately I do believe he means what he said.

    Every nasty word.

    It's like deciding that the only prospective Republican that you can beat is potential world class catastrophe, and deliberately providing him with critically needed credibility at the start of his primary campaign, so as to bring him within striking distance of the Presidency, notwithstanding you are rolling the dice for the fate of the planet just to goose your chances of becoming the first woman President...oh, yeah--then losing anyway to him because you ran a textbook bad campaign







    It's like using Trump's son-in-law's paper to find ammo against Trump. #FAIL

    It's like making an ad hominem argument against the impact of material available verbatim on wiki that is unchallenged as to its veridical nature, #History

    It's like having a "verbatim" leak that makes you look okay and having the "world's most trusted newspaper" alter it anyway to make you look bad.

    It's like not resigning from the Supreme Court, because of course the Democrat will win/and then the Democrat doesn't win and the Supreme Court gets all fucked up/isn't that ironic?  

    It's like not resigning and then hearing the most important abortion case and then finding out they probably wouldn't have replaced you anyway but instead waited for the next (white) president.

    It's like thinking you have an easy slot to fill coming up with an 83-year-old and then she decides she's going to wait til 88 or whenever you're out of office. Not ironic - spite.

    Irony is:

    “A memo sent out in April 2015 outlined a strategy to boost "Pied Piper" Republican candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson in an effort to force the whole slate of presidential hopefuls to "lock themselves into extreme conservative positions," an email hacked from the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, reveals.

    "Our hope is that the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate," the email, posted by WikiLeaks, which provided a link to the email on Twitter, shows.”, at politico

    There are so many others.  Nice to see you; this is The Real Obey of TPM days, isn't it?



    Irony is that the HRC campaign did achieve their hope.  A majority of voters found Trump to be unpalatable and voted for her instead.

    then i'd guess you've signed's (another soros, omiydar, and pals enterprise) petition to the electors of the elector college to change their votes to 'clinton'?

    too bad y'all didn't try to change the constitutional provision ahead of this travesty of a quadrennial electoral circus.  libruls made this happen, but there has no evidence that you've learned anything from it.

    by all means hammer Trump with Hillary's majority in votes to undermine any claims he has to a mandate for his policies, but let's please not call this a 'successful' strategy.

    I said it was irony, or didn't you get that?

    Another good one explaining the self-defeating effects of an "I'm still voting Trump" vote as happened in the Phillippines - oops, too late. I guess we can chortle and guffaw with "I told you so's", but for some reason lugubriousness reigns instead. As another story notes, "the hand grenade you threw into the system still had the pin in it". Great going, guys - fucking amateurs.

    It's like this all over. Here in Switzerland there was our Brexit (Swexit?) vote a couple of years ago. Talking to moderate, educated, well-to-do friends who voted for it, often the justification was just disgust at a lobbyist ridden parliament. They wanted to embarrass the government. I.e. same logic toddlers employ when they cover the walls in poop just to watch their parents clean it up. Seeing the establishment grovelling before King Donald is terrifying - to me. But I can understand the appeal others might see. 

    In short, the gesture is more a burning pile of poop on the establishment's stoop than a lobbed grenade. 

    I donno, Obey. I'm feeling pretty good with how my take on things worked out. 

    Stick to the mainstream, play to the establishment, stay "safe" and do all the blah blah blah they tell you, and my view was you'd be a lamb to the slaughter - if the Republicans ran somebody with a populist bone on their body.

    They did.

    They won. 

    But now I have to listen to people - mostly my people, on my side - the Dems - whine on and on and endlessly fucking ON about how Bernie done us down or it was the anti-wimmins or I donno, any of an enormous list of their same goddamn reasons they always give.

    I fucking give up on these people. They wanna navel-gaze and find new people [other than themselves] to blame, well.... fuckit, I'm bored. I've been bored with this traditional Democratic party inside baseball talk for some time. They're a fucking waste.

    Literally all of Europe, all the world is facing complete political collapse and/or transformation, and we COMPLETELY IGNORED IT. And now most of the Dems are debating anything other than the fact that we just ran someone who was basically painted to the white line in the middle of the road. 

    And now we're shocked at the roadkill.

    The evidence from elections and political events in Canada, the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Iceland - ALL FUCKING IGNORED.  

    It's not ironic, Obey. It's fucking moronic.

    People - worldwide - are fucking outraged and FEEL THEIR LIVES COLLAPSING.

    Is this so goddamn hard to grasp? 

    They have no savings, they fear for their jobs daily, their kids live at home, and the old Gods are gone. 

    I gave up on discussing this election with my own people this time. Debating people telling me about how Trump COULD. NOT. WIN. The polls, the machine, the this the that.... blah blah blah they went.... and now what?

    Do people whose political insight and prognostications were SO BADLY SMASHED BY REALITY even have to take a few weeks to SHUT THE FUCK UP? And think? Rethink?

    They do not. 

    Any serious capacity for self-reflection, self-criticism, whatever - apparently it's into the dustbin of history.

    And meanwhile, we're stuck with a madman at the wheel.

    Congratulations. Now that you finished (I hope) patting yourself on the back, a few comments...

    1) People tend to do a few things well and poorly at the same time, especially if we think about different audiences. Sanders was great at taking anger to Dems, especially younger white ones. His populist fundraising was quite effective tied to a "get money out of politics" message in the primaries - how it would float in the generals with an onslaught of paid oppo advertising (including new dark fake news) is a bit less certain. Bernie's message to minorities is less certain and more tonedeaf. Hillary is more crafted for actually governing, doesn't have the simplified messaging, A better mashup of skills may have helped if the 2 factions could cooperate better.

    2) I'm still puzzled about Hillary's ground game and how effective her spending and outreach are. I hear GOTV and then there's mixed signals about paid and volunteers at grassroots level, how much is being spent on media buys and other channels, what's the effectiveness. Of course she got say 51-52% of the vote, which beat Brexit, but we can't keep playing tight margins with gonzo opposition and take-no-prisoners results.

    3) when you say anti-establishment, it's lovely to shake things up, but an obnoxious born-rich billionaire with elitist monied values is your change agent? 

    4) Republicans have made consistent gains at state level, largely through punching hippies and pushing cultural wars rather than sane economic policies. I think. From what I can tell, they're very good at passing the blame on to Democrats even while holding the majority. Democrats focussed ng on transgender bathrooms and a pipeline in Dakota certainly come across as elitist and unserious and contribute to the feeling we're not serious about core issues like jobs and wages, while contributing to whites' anger that their issues don't matter anymore.

    5) Hillary was basically running with Obamacare - which originally was supposed to combine universal with affordable, but did better with the 1st. and we're still losing the media battle, badly, whatever its successes, every failure gets multipied (including the latest cost hikes). 

    There are 4 runaway cost items - healthcare/insurance, education, housing, and 1 I can't remembatthe moment. Bernie addressed the 1st 2 in a yuge way, even though one of Trump's big successes was to say he'd dismantle Obamacare. Wage equality/growth are big issues, but without jobs, wage equality is silly - and we likely didn't stress jobs recovery enough (nor blame Bush enough). And for the low educated, free education may be a gift for someone else's kid - another culture war, not the solution we think it is.

    People at the bottom don't pay taxes - but uneducated whites vote as if they do, as if taxestheytaxes don't pay are key parts of their identity. My guess is the Republicans hage extended white identity to a halfway mythical state that keeps the anger always simmering even with irrelevant stuff.

    But we still don't have a clear message or solution on wagesl equality, how to improve takehome, how to transform rural or semi-suburban life and jobs and what-all. Nor does Donald, aside from "Make America Great Again" and his claims that his non-government wealth translates to wealth for all. And of course there's no blame or accountability for what a Republican Congress means in consequence, only a vague bipartisan contempt - both sides do it.

    6) Hillary was running as a "things are good, but need to be improved" candidate. Donald and Bernie ran as "everything sucks". Despite common media claims and endless echo, there was half and half disgruntlement. And you don't quite explain how to reconcile black anger and solutions over abuse with reflexive white "stop protesters" and "police need to do their job/law and order".

    7) immigration, terrorism, security - what's our play, what's our brand? Obama did a lot of deportation, but also a lot os soft cuddly on embracing all races. What do we believe, what's our policy, what do which faction of voters believe - Mexican, Cuban, black, white rural, white urban, ... what's the power message vs "build a wall"? In fact, what's our 3 or 4 core, simple screaming points? but vague, *without* any detailed solution, just a generic, vague but huge answer.

    Etc. your turn, say something real (aside from defending irresponsible Greeks who sucked off the system as long as they could and then just blame Germany)

    Got to run to work, but all's I know is that the last decade, we should've been tuned to "populism." Progressive values, a recognition that the times were in fast flux, but then just dialled it in as close to populist as we could get.

    Key is, almost every single issue I've ever come across can be done populist, but either in a reactionary or a progressive manner. Bill C was actually quite good at this. 

    Take up here last election. Justin Trudeau - son of big-name politician, considered soft as hell, high school drama teacher for God's sake - and he went to the left, HARD, during the campaign. Committed to running big deficits. But for infrastructure, jobs, etc. Swept the board. Not saying that was a magic answer, it isn't. Just that it's worth noting how hard he shifted ground, and how he flipped it off "deficit."

    When I see and hear the Dem leadership, all's I know is that for all their blah blah, they look and sound like the 1%. The elite, or the wanna be. Not many of them sound like Bill C in campaign mode. [And let's avoid debating whether Bill was truly right or left or whatever, I'm just talking about campaign style.]

    Think about this Peracles. 

    "I'm with her."

    Not... "She's with me." 

    I GET why they have that slogan, but the one thing it isn't, is populist. 

    And look at how the money got raised. 

    Forget blaming HRC, ok? We need to not spend our entire lives debating that.

    But what would make anyone think that slogan appealed to a fairly upset populace? 

    And doesn't raising money that way, while making cleaning up campaign finance a major plank, look and sound a bit absurd? 

    Forget focussing on Trump and HRC. WHY. ARE. WE. Where we are?


    I don't think my comments were re: blaming Hillary - it was examining 3 main styles and which ones worked to what degree and why, and what it means going forward. Yeah, I can run this all through a translator.

    Okay - newspeak: instead of the suckup to the "middle class", we will now speak about "working class". Everything will be about restoring manufacturing jobs, coal jobs, steel jobs, cotton, etc. Not that many of these people would work in them, but like all the people who wear cowboy hats and listen to country music, they think of themselves as this kind of Bruce Springsteen Dancers in the Dark, at least when not grabbing their junk in a Ted Nugent Stranglehold.

    No more "I"- always "we" or better "you guys". Never mind that only 17% of the electorate was rural - we now have to anoint every voter as a representative of the fading cowboy west. Forget cities - just because people live there doesn't mean they're important.

    Better to stoke people by playing up to local heroes - like Donald's calling out Joe Paterno while in Pittsburgh, kinda forgetting he's long dead and that Penn State is 140 miles away from Pittsburgh - he was calling out to the white not-quite-rural homies, letting them know he had their back (in a clean way, not like Jerry Sandusky and those football intern bottoms, but still, shouldn't have made such a big deal about those shower room scenes - just people trying to destroy Paterno's good name. "How's Joe Paterno? We're gonna bring that back? Right? How about that whole deal?" Yep, rigged. They come after you just for being white these days. We're under attack, Quinn - if not destroying our football, our diners, our pickups with a shotgun in the rack and a case of beer on the floor. Seat belts? don't get me started - fucking liberals. 

    I note from responses from real America that the protests, attacks, not accepting the results and overall intolerance comes from "progressive" America, not from Trump supporters, who were content to just beat up protesters and minorities at their own events. Perhaps liberals need to take a Populist Protests 101 class.

    Hate radio and shock jocks - that's who we're combatting. Farage, Johnson, et al lied their way to Brexit. In the great Internet/Google age, we have more manipulated info than ever - even factual statistics bodies get kneecapped on the way to driving a hardcore misleading Brexit position.. Think back if you can to the Benghazi hearings - multiple. Failures, but not matter. And then they stumble upon a relatively meaningless email server - gold. The Republicans run in fulltime opposition mode. They crash the car, they're looking for keys to another even from a hospital bed. They just reached out and stole a Supreme Court seat, and we just let them. Super important slot, no protests.

    News has changed - I try to follow the conservative press, but it's different - NRO is barely relevant - it's Breitbart, Drudge, and then the rest, all the blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, we're post TeaParty, Alt-Right, whatever, huge undercurrent we don't see clearly - what's the message that's sticking? Not what's on CNN - a large portion of America thinks any major newspaper or network aside from Fox is rigged. Getting a story on the front page of the NY Times largely doesnt matter, and the Times is more concerned about Hamilton or emails than Trump settling a major university scam or having secret business ties with Russia.

    Someone guesses a bunch of buses were for election protesters - gets retweeted a million or more times, makes the papers and right-wing outlets. Turns out they were for a software conference - correction got <5000 hits, no papers. Alt Truth is the new reality - we keep blaming Hillary, but she's been the prime motivator and target, though the birther movement shows it's far from just her. Now that far left Progressives don't have Crooked Warmongering Hillary to run against, what will they do?

    BTW, I saw a buddy from Oregon a few weeks ago, and his take on the Bundys was very different, and he noted the Bundys did get support from local ranchers, that the gov position wasnt fair (and he's far from a right-winger type). News as trickled through Huffpost and CNN and Fox is often far from reality, and now that Huffpost has wandered into putting out really crappy polling info with a guy who barely understands statistics and types of accumulating error, we're really in for some fantasy.

    And then there's Reality Show/NLP salesman Trump. We've continually had trouble in keeping Congress from Rick Santorum/Newt Gingrich/Tom DeLay types. And now we have a guy who leaves the voting populace in total cognitive dissonance, throwing up their hands and saying, "I give up, whatever you're selling I'll take 3". I watched Glen Garry Glen Ross last night - "I drove down here in an $80,000 Mercedes, that's my name. This Rolex cost more than your car." We *are* the loser salesmen with the lousy leads. Alec Baldwin/Donald Trump is the successful contemptuous messenger from downtown. And America isn't voting against establishment (check those re-election rates) - they're voting against malaise, lack of fire in the belly. Lack of scruples? No problem. But we need an audacious exceptional unworkable plan. Promise us anything, Promise just make it big, fill up our dreams, give us a million Likes. You're a success? I'm going to friend you on Facebook, maybe it'll rub off.

    Thanks for this Q!! Right all the way. Austria next, then France and then Germany. Somehow Fillon is supposed to be the hero swaying the masses against Le Pen. And Merkel and the SDP have left the extreme right as the only anti-establishment force going into the next election. That sounds promising. And now Italy looks headed for chaos with the constitutional referendum leaning towards a no. Their least bad hope is that literal and metaphorical clown Grillo. So yes, ALL of Europe. Even in Switzerland you hear intelligent otherwise moderate people voting for the extreme right UDC just because, hey, they throw a wrench in the workings of the corporate establishment, so why not? Liberal democracy dying with a shrug. 

    So yeah, I'm actually more hopeful about what can be done in the US. Not very hopeful, just ... more. 

    Latest Comments