The President’s Intellectual Exhaustion

Everyone from President Obama to Jason Furman, the principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank to Politico’s Jim VandeHei, agree that the so-called Buffett Rule is a gimmick that has almost no bearing on the budget deficit. And for good reason. The Treasury Department confirms that the tax would raise at most $5 billion a year—or less than 0.5 percent of the $1.2 trillion fiscal 2012 budget deficit and, over the next decade, 0.1 percent of the $45.43 trillion the federal government will spend (for more, see here). By one estimate, the “Buffett Rule” would cover 17 days of the president’s next decade of deficits. So it’s not, in any sense, a serious or meaningful proposal. And yet it has, as the New York Times reports, become a “centerpiece” of the Obama re-election campaign.

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The President’s Intellectual Exhaustion

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The Alt-Right’s Victimhood Pimps

Social justice in a funhouse mirror.

White nationalism is identity politics. Indeed, it is identity politics in its most primordial form. The leaders of the violent white supremacists in Virginia this past weekend may preach confidence-building and self-actualization but, like so many identity-first movements, they and their followers are steeped in historical grievance—because that grievance conveys authority. In their minds, that sense of oppression entitles them to compensation for the indignities they or their forbearers endured. There are now social incentives in place to claim victimization, and such claims have proliferated as a result. This phenomenon is almost universal to identity politics m movements, and the alt-right is no exception.

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Trump Will Always Disappoint His Conservative Apologists

Waiting for a mature Trump.

It took fewer than 12 hours for Donald Trump to effectively retract his condemnation of the white nationalists behind the weekend bloodshed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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The Proliferation of America’s Enemies

Controversies come and go so fast in the Trump administration that it’s all too easy to lose sight of individual issues. It is, therefore, worth remembering that before the events in Charlottesville grabbed public attention on Saturday, the president had been making news with his bellicose statements against North Korea and Venezuela.

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We Are Cowards

We ignored the warning signs.

The only morally acceptable response to the events in Charlottesville is full-throated condemnation. Full stop. This is not the time for moral equivalencies. The barbarism committed by a white supremacist in the name of white supremacy should not elicit sympathy or a deeper exploration of root causes. The root cause of this weekend’s murderous violence is racism. The end.

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Explaining Trump’s Charlottesville Behavior

The nucleolus of Trump.

You can choose to have whatever opinion you have on the president’s statement today condemning white supremacists, but it’s hard to believe he would have read it out if he’d had his druthers. No, the real Donald Trump was the one we saw on Saturday when he decided to condemn violence “on many sides” in response to the deliberately provocative and intentionally violent neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia; when he decided to refer to the events as “sad” in tweets; when he wished “best regards” to those injured by the car that was deliberately smashed into them, killing 1 and injuring 20. When he acted in that way, he was operating according to his instinct. And his instinct said:  Do not attack the white supremacists.

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