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.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Romney - No body likes him

Commentary By Ron Beasley

It's no surprise that those on the left don't like Willard Romney but the folks over at The American Conservative don't dislike him any less.  I have been passing on Daniel Larison's rants on Romney's foreign policy for months but he's not alone.  Social conservative Rod Dreher is not too excited with his foreign policy either, Dubya 2012.  

Scott Galupo:

The Loathsome Romney Candidacy: How Did We Get Here?

This is a milestone moment in American politics. "Fabulously wealthy" presidential candidates are more of a norm than an aberration - witness the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, the Bushes, Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, Ross Perot. But to a man, each of them ran at least in part on the principle of noblesse oblige - the idea that the wealthy must make sacrifices for the common good (yes, even George W. Bush, who promised not to "balance the budget on the backs of the poor).

In contrast, Romney and his ilk are having none of this. They are trying to persuade voters - and for all we know may have persuaded themselves - that, in effect, "As Goes Bain Capital, So Goes America."

I've thought a lot about this question over the last six months. How did this happen? How did we come to this pass, where a man like Mitt Romney - whose candidacy represents a breathtakingly cynical, borderline nihilistic pursuit of power on behalf of a tiny sliver of the population - sits within striking distance of the highest office in the land?

An accident - the last man standing. Perhaps not!

Still, the "accident" narrative only gets you so far. The reality is, Romney slipped through - and there are troubling factors that buoy his campaign. The complete rejection of mainstream macroeconomic theory is one such factor. Cultural animus toward Obama is another. Liberals overstate its extent, but it's undeniably real.

Most decisive is what I've been calling the theological fusion of social and economic conservatism. Too many evangelical Christians seem incapable of even questioning Mammon. Now they enthusiastically welcome the money changers into the temple. Like the Calvinists of old, they glorify market outcomes as a sign of divine favor.  And the cliche "class warfare" has served as a handy tool to shut down any deviation from this new orthodoxy.

The prospect of a second Obama term doesn't excite me. Nevertheless, my overriding hope is to see Mitt Romney spat out of the body politic, once and for all. (Bold mine)

Noah Millman responds and Larison responds to Millman.

Noah Millman makes a good observation, but he seems to be missing Scott Galupo's objection to Romney:

So expelling Mitt Romney will do nothing to change the fact that a critique of the financialization of American capitalism has barely begun anywhere in American politics.

That's correct, but what I believe Scott was saying was that he wants Romney to lose so that we will be rid of Mitt Romney as a political figure. Put another way, a political system that rewards someone like Romney with the Presidency is in extremely poor health, and Scott doesn't want our system to be as far gone as a Romney victory would prove it to be. 


Regardless, the point is that Scott is mostly objecting to what he calls Romney's "breathtakingly cynical, borderline nihilistic pursuit of power." It's the sheer cynicism involved that offends even more than the interests served by that cynicism.

I haven't seen such an effective critiuqe of Romney on any of the progressive blogs or media.


  1. Great observations, Ron. We seem to be looking at a contest where many of the party faithful on both sides fall somewhere between lukewarm and hostile to their respective candidates. The negativity of Conservatives is nearly matched by that of Liberals. It may have to do with the fashionable idea that the election is really about that elusive "middle" -- those who reportedly haven't made up their minds. Both strategies appear aimed at that target with nothing more than mindless fluff being fed to the faithful. I'm reminded of a few seasons ago when the motion picture industry put out several turkeys one summer attempting to craft movies from formulas rather than rolling the dice on insecure bets like good acting, creative directing, smart original screenwriting and showcasing new talent. I don't recall the summer or the movie titles, but I remember the fiasco which was the summer movie analogue to the banking crisis of 2008. Big fail.
    I've been getting a bit gloomy lately with the thought that Obama is likely to be a one-term president. For some time I was okay with him losing in 2012 for two reasons. First, if Roubini and others are even partly correct the next president will be in deeper global shit next year that Obama was in 2008. It gives me smug satisfaction thinking that may fall in a Republican lap. And second, Obama would still be available, like Grover Cleveland, for another non-consecutive term. But a few days ago he said clearly that this would be his last presidential campaign. Makes sense, since the next nomination is Hillary Clinton's to lose.
    Barring unforeseen circumstances Romney and the big money supporting him will outspend the Obama campaign twice or three times over. I learned today that Dinesh D'Sousa has an anti-Obama hit piece ready to go and there is already a cottage industry of bottom-feeders licking their chops. Both candidates will be gentlemen -- perhaps bending over backward at attempts to counterbalance the vitriol of the mobs behind them. I'm expecting hit-pieces that will make Swiftboat and that anti-Hillary film from Citizens United to look like Saturday morning kids entertainment. It's not gonna be a pretty picture.

  2. John
    I'm not as gloomy as you - I think Obama will win a second term. But I;m gloomier that you because I don't really think it makes much difference. See here!

  3. Yep. I'm hoping against hope we're both wrong. But forces now in progress are like trains or semis coasting downhill with the brakeboxes burned out. In addition to multiple effects of global warming and trans-national corporations operating with as few constraints as they can get away with, the world credit and banking industry is looking increasingly like a house of cards.
    I think Obama has done and continues to make odious decisions he knows what he's doing but feels trapped. He sees no way out so he instinctively tries to recover as much as he can from a string of catastrophic situations, from saving core players in the auto, banking and insurance industries to violating some of our most cherished values in the name of "national security." As I have said before, he didn't drive the vehicle but he learned quickly how to drive it.
    And he's not alone. I remember during the negotiations that finally ended with the passage of ACA watching the Senate negotiations on C-SPAN. I can still see both Max Baucus and Charles Grassley, a Democrat and a Republican, working together at reaching agreement on a variety of contentious points. And at different times both men, having reached agreement between themselves and having seriously excellent informed opinions, went into last minute meetings and were forced to come back from time to time, face the cameras and reverse positions because their handlers has clearly vetoed the compromises they had made. At one time or another both looked close to tears as they bravely looked into the cameras and mouthed words they knew were bullshit.
    One of the now forgotten close calls was how Bart Stupak, a Catholic Democrat, crafted an amendment bearing his name which was nothing more than a restatement of the Hyde amendment which was already settled matter regarding abortion, to placate a group of single-issue anti-abortion representatives being held captive by their various constituencies. He later decided to quit Congress altogether, utterly disgusted, I think, at the intransigence of the place. I watched one of his town hall meetings at a time when those events were being exploded by Tea Party and other activists intent on pushing single-issue agendas, most of which were aimed at derailing anything that had to do with whatever the White House seemed to be pushing. Stupak was a model of deportment and politeness, and I could hear in his words that he really understood the deeper importance of ACA, even though he was in no position to say so out loud.
    I'm convinced that the last two Supreme Court Justices were appointed in part because their predecessors (Stevens and Souter) were just worn out with the partisan cesspool which Washington has become. (At some level, though she is too much a lady to say so, that may well have been a factor in the early retirement of O-Connor.)
    I could go on, but the larger point is that events in American politics may have already reached a tipping point. It may be that it will take a generation or two more for the next corrective. I won't be here to witness it, but I will leave with the confidence I did so on the right side of history.

  4. Someday someone will give me a rational explanation of the meaning of that phrase, "the right side of history." To me it is gibberish that merely sounds like it supposed to be meaningful.
    As to American governance taking "a generation or two more for the next corrective," I think that is wildly optimistic. Governance in this country will not be corrected at all without revolution, because it requires to corrupt to vote for an end to corruption. It will not happen.