Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Obama: What's changed is the center of the GOP

By John Ballard

In the last few days separate interviews with Bill and Hillary Clinton, journalists have asked about her willingness or availability to run for president in 2016.  What difference might the election of another President Clinton have had on events of the last three years?

Now I'm no good at playing "what if?" games and have no intention of starting now. But it is safe to say that the election of a black president has animated the race issue in a way that nothing else could have done. And at some level the demonizing of Trayvon Martin is proxy evidence. Organizations that track hate groups report an escalation of activity, gun and ammo sales are at record levels and there is no doubt in my mind that bigotry is a root cause driving the animus toward immigrants and poor people.

That backward shift in what most Americans ifelt was progressive thinking turns out to be symbolic of a larger retrograde shift across the social and political landscape. With the election only a few months away it's time to focus on what happens if Barack Obama does not serve another term.

Not to put too fine a point on it, last night's Republican primaries signal that a candidate has finally been selected and the president, anticipating that development, delivered a hard-hitting political speech aimed at the GOP. He included a serious effort to set the narrative for the public argument for the next few months and in so many words said it's time for Democrats to circle the wagons.The transcript is a study in clear thinking, displaying some of the sharpest arrows in his quiver, but this part aimed at reporters is worth repeating.

I guess another way of thinking about this is -- and this bears on your reporting. I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they're equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented -- which reinforces I think people's cynicism about Washington generally. This is not one of those situations where there's an equivalence. I've got some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress who were prepared to make significant changes to entitlements that go against their political interests, and who said they were willing to do it. And we couldn't get a Republican to stand up and say, we'll raise some revenue, or even to suggest that we won't give more tax cuts to people who don't need them.

And so I think it's important to put the current debate in some historical context. It's not just true, by the way, of the budget. It's true of a lot of the debates that we're having out here.

Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems. The first President to talk about cap and trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you've got the other party essentially saying we shouldn�t even be thinking about environmental protection; let's gut the EPA.

Health care, which is in the news right now -- there's a reason why there's a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace in health care while still assuring that everybody got covered, in contrast to a single-payer plan. Now, suddenly, this is some socialist overreach.

So as all of you are doing your reporting, I think it's important to remember that the positions I'm taking now on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions. What's changed is the center of the Republican Party. And that�s certainly true with the budget.


  1. While they recall that 20 years ago the proposals and policies of the Obama Administration were being made by Republicans, they should also note that 20 years ago no Democrat would have been caught dead supporting these ideas. Actually you have to go back at least 30 years to get a real perspective - back when a Republican President established the EPA! Back when a Republican President was calling for a health care plan that was better than Obamacare because the Democrats were behind single-payer.
    The Republican Party isn't the only one that's moved to the right. If the Democrats hadn't followed them off the deep end, we might have a very different America today.

  2. You are probably correct. But as they say it is what it is and that's not a good reason to avoid keeping up the good fight.
    A big part of the dynamic lies with the election of a black president. No one other than a perfect role model would have done even as much as Obama has done, especially considering the shitpile he was handed from Day One. Face it, even now if he even mentions bigotry or racism he creates more problems politically than he solves. Even the tepid "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon" provoked a torrent of accusatory rhetoric from the right.
    I contend that the election of a black president caused a boil on the body politic and it has been coming to a head ever since. Everything else is smoke. Obama's bending over backward to accommodate the GOP, sad as it was, is now part of the record that this guy really did everything possible to be bipartisan. That sacrifice of traditional Democrat Party principles is now a part of the historic record that even the most mean-spirited critics will never succeed in revising.
    Something in the Trayvon Martin case is bringing this boil to a head and it will take another election to lance it. Even now, more than ever, Barack Obama risks a backlash if he suggests anything even close to what I just wrote and the end game of L'affaire Trayvon is almost irrelevant to the larger narrative. There is a chance that a second term for a black president may put the matter behind us once and for all. At least one can hope.

  3. John I thought I had a panglossian outlook but I see you're completely overtaken me and are racing to new heights.

  4. The tagline at my old blog was "I would rather be and optimist and be wrong than a pessimist who proves to be right."
    Along the lines I mentioned, look at this from Radley Balko:
    I guess the lesson here is that if you don�t want to get shot in the liver by a police officer in Bellaire, Texas, don�t drive the car you own and haven�t stolen to your parents� house, where you happen to live. Or maybe the lesson is to not voice your objections when a cop pushes your mother after she asks why he�s pointing a gun at you, who have done nothing wrong. Or maybe the lesson is to avoid having a cop imagine that you�re reaching toward your waistband for a weapon that doesn�t exist.
    Or maybe the lesson is just don�t be black in Bellaire, Texas.

  5. All you need to know about �cap and trade� of CO2 emissions is that the idea came from Enron.
    If Obama wants to embrace the policies that came from a criminal enterprise like Enron, he's on his own.

  6. His speech to the AP was kind of strange. He seemed to be trying to get moderate Republicans to vote for him, which they are not going to do, and to antagonize the liberal base which devoted to him and whose votes are assured. "Everything I've done was Republican policy twenty years ago." So, in addition to not coming up with anything new, simply retreading twenty-year-old ideas, he is actually a conservative. If I am a liberal Democrat, why do I want to vote for a conservative?