Palin and the Curse of a Thin Skin

In the June Atlantic, Joshua Green has a terrific piece called “The Tragedy of Sarah Palin” that gets at the maddening aspect of Palin’s gifts and strengths as a politician better than any single article has with the exception of Yuval Levin’s COMMENTARY piece two years ago. What really excited John McCain about Palin, and what made her a potentially major political figure, is the exceptional talent she displayed as an insurgent politician in Alaska and in her first two years as governor. Coming out of nowhere, she showed a kind of fearlessness against entrenched interests and a gift for rallying support in pursuit of rather starkly non-ideological governance goals. Of course, what made her an immediate sensation and then a lightning rod was the astonishing poise and rhetorical power she showed in that maiden appearance as McCain’s running mate in that gym in Ohio in August 2008—maybe the most impressive debut on the national stage in American history.

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Palin and the Curse of a Thin Skin

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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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