Wax Presidents: The Inside Story

Alas, the Hall of Presidents and First Lzdies in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has shuttered its doors and sold its max presidents. Aardvark is pleased to share this from John Oliver …

… along with some well chosen words from Vasari, who has the inside scoop:

Despite the superficial news accounts of financial problems with the museum, the Gettysburg cultural insiders tell a different story. The presidential figures debated over several evenings whether Donald Trump should be admitted to the group. Support, led by Richard Nixon and Andrew Jackson, began to fade as Ulysses Grant, treasurer, shared preliminary cost estimates for a solid gold wax statue.

Bill Clinton suggested that Melania Trump be invited without her expensive husband. Hillary Clinton, in the First Ladies section of the museum, threatened to pay for an indoor Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza should Melania be accepted as a member. 

The debate became more and more dangerously heated, with Jefferson and Adams hurling inflammatory accusations of personal profit at one another, presumably a reference to the stock options each had accumulated in the museum. 

A wax cylinder, presumed to be from Henry Clay, broke the deadlock. “United You Fall, Divided You Stand,” read the cylinder on an old machine donated years earlier by Thomas Edison. 

Sad, but true. One by one the figures left the museum, boarded tour buses, and made their individual ways to places where benefactors had sworn to keep and protect them. George Washington nailed a quickly-lettered sign over the door as he left the museum. “You can have it.”

Today’s News

trumpcare

Trump supporters continued to celebrate the imminent loss of their health insurance. Though originally reported by Andy Borowitz in May, this, unfortunately, was not satire. See Conservatives are rage-tweeting that the Senate health care bill is “Obamacare lite.”

In other news, the radical leftists at CNBC put out a fake news report to the effect that Trump’s Carrier deal is not living up to the hype — jobs still going to Mexico.

In still other news, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll discloses that two thirds of Republicans believe that stories about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections are bogus.

And someone named Bret Stephens, writing in the New York Times, warns liberals against moral censoriousness.

Aardvark hopes that y’all enjoy your evening.

“Why Do We Keep Losing?”

loser

One of my posse posed that question by email this morning, and I replied, “Beats the shit out of me.”

Actually, with a little reflection, I see that I lied like a rug. Let me, then, give two actual answers to the question.

The first comes from the ever insightful Jonathan Chait, writing this morning in This Might Be the Worst Democratic Freak-out Ever. Chait’s point is that Democrats have lost several special elections simply because those elections have taken place in heavily Republican districts.

To me, Chait’s argument, which gets right to the nub of the matter, provides useful context but little comfort. This brings me to my second point.

First, some numbers. In 2016 the unspeakable Tom Price garnered 61.7 percent of the vote in the Sixth District, while Donald Trump received only 48.3 percent. That is to say, about 22 percent of Republican voters in the Sixth District could not hold their noses and vote for Trump, while the remaining 78 percent did vote for The Donald—in spite of his bullshit, or because they loved his bullshit, one or the other.

In yesterday’s special election Ossoff took 47.3 percent (a slight improvement over Hillary Clinton’s performance) while Handel garnered 52.7 percent. In other words, only 85 percent of Price’s voters picked Handel, while the remaining 15 percent either chose Ossoff or stayed home. My working hypothesis is that these 15 percent of Republican voters in the Sixth District saw the race as a referendum on Trump, and were still unwilling to cast what was effectively a vote for President Moron.

That said, Handel’s 52.7 percent of the vote significantly exceeded Trump’s 48.3 percent in 2016.

It is metaphysically possible that some of these incremental voters also saw the vote as a referendum on Trump, and, having seen The Donald in action as president, decided to send a strong message of support.

But my working hypothesis is that most of these no-to-Trump-yes-to-Handel voters still don’t like Trump, but came to see the Georgia election as a choice between a liberal Democrat and a country club Republican—and “came home” to vote for the country club Republican.

So why did Ossoff lose? My second answer is: because it’s really difficult to sell people a product they don’t want to buy. And the product the country club Republicans want to buy is significantly lower taxes.

If lowering taxes has the side benefit of taking Medicaid away from white trash and people of color—letting “those people” wallow in their richly deserved misery—then so much the better, say the country club Republicans.

This morning Morning Joe took a  long ride on one of his very favorite hobbyhorses: the alleged Democratic failure to find candidates who “culturally match” their districts. (Apparently, Ossoff would have done much better had he armed himself with assault rifles and shot up an abortion clinic.)

Joe’s point may actually have some validity, as a general observation. But I think it has nothing to do with the Sixth District. I think the affluent, well educated white folks in the Sixth District just want to pay lower taxes and screw poor people. I think these goals are so important to them that they are willing to overlook treachery, corruption, and America’s downward spiral.

Not a Credit

credit

Fifty-six percent of voters in Georgia’s Sixth District have college degrees, making it the sixth most educated congressional district in the United States. These affluent, mostly white folks have chosen as their representative Newt Gingrich, then Tom Price, and now Karen Handel, a person whose overweening ambition greatly exceeds her modest talents.

They have determined once again to elect a Republican, notwithstanding the demonstrated malevolent incompetence of the party and its leader.

They are not a credit to their race.

Latest Report from the Georgia Campaign

Although embroiled in a highly contested election, Democrat Jon Ossoff found time to shoot up the Republican congressional baseball team.

Charged with shooting his future Republican colleagues, Ossoff countered by pointed out that it was REPUBLICAN candidate Karen Hantel’s REPUBLICAN Party that was responsible for Sherman’s march through Georgia.

Jim Comey and the Bird of Paradise

One of my interlocutors has suggested that comment is required from Aardvark on Putin’s sarcastic “offer” of asylum to Jim Comey.

My comment is that, coming as it does from someone who regularly orders people murdered, the joke is not funny.

In any event, I understand that Comey has sent this response to Vladimir:

National Brotherhood Week

Aardvark was moved by the joint appearance last evening, on the PBS Evening News and elsewhere, of the Democratic and Republican baseball team managers. Aardvark approves, in the abstract, the advice that “let’s all cool the rhetoric.” Kumbaya is a nice song, and it’s fun and uplifting to sing it.

But it seems to me that two points are being overlooked.

First, it seems that Mr. Hodgkinson was motivated to engage in violence by political deeds, much more than political words.

Second, to focus on alleged rhetorical sins by the most famous among us tends to deny agency to the unfamous among us. We all have a duty to be angry about actions—not words, but actions—that rightly engender anger. And we all have a duty to keep our anger in check.

So, should we be singing Kumbaya, or should it be National Brotherhood Week. As for me, I go with National Brotherhood Week as the best musical expression of the current moment in our national life.