326 Comments
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Well, if anyone knows how the voters of Marie Gluesenkamp Perez' district feel, it is the Brooklyn-based, Ivy League-educated writer for Slate.

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He didn't just go to any Ivy, he's a Brown alum, the worst possible source of political analysis.

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founding

Brown and Cornell are to the Ivies as Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are to SEC Football.

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Brown is like Ole Miss. Will it be able to compete with Georgia or Bama? Of course not. But is it *the most* SEC? Absolutely.

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Hold on now son, give Lane time to work his dark magic. The portal shall bring us glorious victories!

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I have to say I’m surprised but delighted by this appearance of SEC football references in the SB comments. I would never have expected there to be overlap between those two audiences :)

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Football is good and entertaining and it should be talked about more here.

I need to set a reminder for the week prior to November 18 to stir up some energy by pitting Matt and Maya against Milan in this regard.

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391 hours until the first game for my Florida Gators. Go Gators!

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Roll Tide!

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A good friend is an Auburn booster. Lane Kiffin to Auburn was a done deal. Ole Miss has deep pockets.

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Auburn's perennially problem of Lucy (the universe) pulling away the football from Charlie Brown (Auburn) is truly a sight to behold.

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Instead they got BSU's head coach Bryan Harsin, who was an unmitigated disaster on The Plains, and was already starting to show signs of assholerly at the end of his BSU tenure.

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“brownwashing” would be a good term to describe this kind of shitty opinion journalism.

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As opposed to a Manhattan-raised, DC-based, Ivy League-educated former writer for Slate?

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JL - Snap!

Don't forget to mention he's a scion of Hollyweird also

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Man. I would vote for her. Not 💯 in agreement, but never going to be.

Also as a former maintenance person in the military… she got me there.

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Her blue-collar credentials are unimpeachable -- she's a graduate of Reed College.

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You don't have to have X identity to be supported by voters with X identity. You've never had to have X identity to be supported by voters with X identity. You only have to be credible in your efforts to champion their cause(s). Having X identity makes it easier, but it's not some kind of gotcha when you don't.

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"Having X identity makes it easier, but it's not some kind of gotcha when you don't."

If I agree with you that it shouldn't be a gotcha, will you agree that it is often used as one?

Anyhow-- yes, what makes someone a good public servant is working for your constituents' interests, no matter what your background may be.

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founding

As good a defender of the working person as FDR!

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You beat me to it!

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"As good a defender of the working person as FDR!"

The very model I had in mind when I agreed with Wigan above.

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As a graduate of the friendly cross town liberal arts rival in Lewis & Clark College...eh, never mind, no one cares, including grads of those schools.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

I know who Lewis & Clark were but I confess always thinking of Lois & Clark first, which let’s be honest is a much cooler name for a college.

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I won't be surprised if the school changes its name to "Lois & Clark" next time there's a 2020-scale freakout on racial issues.

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Lewinsky and Clark would be even better, especially given Monica's highly approved reputation of Twitter quips.

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Do people ever ask you if you knew Monica?

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Not as much these days. It was close, though, she graduated just a few years before I arrived.

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A fellow alum. Did we overlap? I was class of '08.

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Nope, I was class of 2003.

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FDR didn’t exactly have impeccable blue collar credentials either. Didn’t prevent him from being the working class’s greatest and most popular champion.

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Unlike Steve Jobs who couldn't hack it enough to get his degree from Reed.

This is probably why blue collar people can't fix Apple products to this day.

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It also might explain why I have a latent annoyance at Apple products.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

OK, but I think she and her husband run a car repair business.

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Yes, but her opponents have circulated a vicious rumor that she works on Subarus!

(Just trying to update the thespian joke for a new century.)

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She should run for office in Colorado if she’s down with Subarus.

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Subarus?!? Egads, that changes everything.

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It was always weird to me that Subarus were extraordinarily popular with two groups of people, one of whom was residents of the State of Maine. I had male cousins there who swore by them.

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Subarus are also pretty popular out West. There are some streets in Seattle where you can see six or more of them parked in a row

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Can confirm, extremely popular in the West.

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Subarus have famously been popular in Colorado for decades because they were one of the earliest car makers to have AWD as an option on all their vehicles.

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The Outback is one of the most revolutionary vehicles in history.

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And in Idaho and Alaska

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The popularity of Suburus in New England long predates their popularity in most of the rest of the country, I think.

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Parking lots a vast sea of forest-green Outbacks.

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I was going to point that out: Subarus have been popular in Maine for, approximately, forever. Great in the snow, great in the mud, reasonably priced, last forever…what’s not to like?

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Can't speak to this issue, but they are the best to own - super reliable and durable, and great in bad weather.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

That’s petit bourgeois, not working class. (Mostly just poking fun here; think that MGP is a good candidate for her district and don’t think her background really matters if the voters like her.)

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deletedAug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023
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Sadly, this doesn't surprise me. Just thinking about anarchists puts me in a rage.

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Not the same sort of blue confidential says, say someone who went to Yale. But passable.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

Thank you, Matt.

Volunteered for her last cycle. Drove from my very blue district to work weekends. Donated $$$.

Was so frustrated to see the Slate story headers and takes.

Perez is much less swaggery lib than her House caucus and that's the freaking point. I don't want to agree with her votes and policy initiatives if she's thinking about her constituency and her seat. My money and time are doing what I intended via Perez -- even if my politics might be more like the average House D.

When Perez betrays her constituency and overtly breaks promises there can always be a reckoning later.

Meanwhile, Joe Kent is not in Congress, which is probably great for everyone except his children.

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The biggest thing threatening Marie Gluesenkamp Perez seems to also be the biggest thing threatening Kristen Sinema; a low-turnout primary. Jonah Goldberg wrote a column about small dollar donors making American politics crazier, and unlike Matt he did mention this culprit at the very end. But he still missed the point! The primary is almost the entire ballgame here. No matter what people writing at Slate or donating to left-wing challengers do, who shows up to vote and decide the candidates listed on the general ballot in Gluesenkamp Perez's district will have way more of an effect!

If people want her to stick around, even in WA state's jungle primary rules, they need to show up when it counts. Our low-turnout primaries are really the biggest threat to our democracy. The behavior of House Republicans during the Jan 6 electors vote compared to their behavior on an anonymous ballot to keep Liz Cheney around the same time made that crystal clear. Low-turnout primaries are to blame to a *far greater extent* than any Slate article complaining a Democrat doesn't fully agree with Biden's patronage to colleges.

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Sammon's pitch for his article on Twitter calls MGP a mini-Sinema. Sinema was the pivotal vote in blocking a number of Dem priorities, despite representing a (very marginally) blue constituency, namely Arizona. His article contains zero examples of MGP doing this, despite being from a red constituency.

It's pretty extraordinary behaviour. Naturally his Twitter feeds also contains criticism of people who disagree with him, Rep and Dem, for spreading misinformation...

https://twitter.com/alex_sammon/status/1689681170961768452

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I'm shocked that Slate writers are terrible.

(Honorable exceptions for Fred Kaplan and Jordan Weismann.)

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The Sherrod Brown example is well taken. Right before the 2006 midterms, Republicans put the Military Commissions Act on the floor. Brown, then leading in the polls against Mike DeWine, was one of fairly few Dems who voted for it. There was outrage at Daily Kos and other vintage lefty blogosphere places; Brown had been played, if he couldn't be trusted on this what could he be trusted on, etc. But it neutralized (at that moment) the "who's soft on terrorism" issue, the bill was going to pass anyway, and Brown won by 12 points.

Point being, when Republicans run the House, they're going to jam Democrats on some bills that are popular and destined to pass but they (Dems) would never bring to floor. That's the idea - the Dem can either cast an unpopular vote that Republicans will roll up and beat them over the head with, or they can make their base angry that their local rep cast the politically opportune vote instead of the ideologically brave one.

The strangest omission in the Sammon piece is how MGP ended up facing Joe Kent - in the all-party primary, he got more votes than Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump over Jan. 6. But the strangest inclusion is the story of Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Blue Dog who pissed off local progressives so much that he lost his primary, then watched with some schadenfreude as the primary winner lost the seat. Her main weakness was that she was a recent arrival to Oregon, not that she was a progressive, but that situation wasn't good for the "just nominate bold progressives" thesis.

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Dave Weigel!! Great to see you here. I used to love following your Twitter thread, back when one could do that without signing up for an account. I'm a big fan.

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Maybe. For a long time, I thought that was actually Bob Saget.

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> Her main weakness was that she was a recent arrival to Oregon, not that she was a progressive

I would tweak this slightly. She was a recent arrival to Oregon from the Bay Area, and attack ads against her were specifically about importing failed progressive Bay Area policies to Oregon (the seat starts in the Portland suburbs and stretches to rural central Oregon).

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deletedAug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023
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Yeah, but this subthread is about Jamie McLeod-Skinner, not MGP.

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Dave, I second DT's very warm welcome here, thanks for reading and making an appearance in the comments section! I too have read your work for a very long time. How long? I can remember *way* back reading comments you wrote on Mark Prindle's music album review website.

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And a shout out to "The Show that Never Ends." Great book on prog rock.

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A great title, too: if I had to pick a favorite prog rock song, it would be the ELP song(s) that contained those lyrics.

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"And a shout out to "The Show that Never Ends." Great book on prog rock."

Absolutely. I bought a copy for my brother.

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I am not terribly in-tune with the views of exurban right-leaning voters, and only somewhat in tune with their rural counterparts. But I am aware enough, have enough working class and rural ties, to understand that the disproportionately young and, forgive me, rich (directly or by upbringing) folks doing the majority of writing, door-knocking, and campaign staffing for the Democratic Party have sold themselves a bill of goods on what they believe and why.

And that bill of goods is shared by the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting block, educated urban PMC folks.

I simply do not know how to bridge the gap there, when the shit that purports to understand rural voter motivations that folks I know nod sagely along with makes me, with my at best limited read on that situation, want to tear my hair out.

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rich educated urban progressives getting downscale dems to support loan forgiveness for MFA graduates feels very similar to conservative elites getting downscale conservatives to support cutting capital gains taxes

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

I'm endlessly annoyed that this is what the issue has been devolved into (Along with Matt's exasperating macroecon stimulus effect analysis). The college finance system is wildly broken. The unconstrained student loan system is at the very heart of it. Many hundreds of thousands of students and parents were scammed into subsidizing entire cottage industries of rent seeking around these academic institutions on utterly unvetted promises of economic mobility. Bleeding lower and middle class student borrowers, rural and urban alike, in order to artificially prop up wildly unjustified tuition rates is a scandal. It's not the well off students at these places that are stuck with crippling debt burdens because the outlays academia demands are already in line with their income levels. It's the poor student who has to level up their lifestyle expenses to go to a school that is consistent with their academic level that gets the shaft.

Now. Does every student loan deserve to get forgiven? Is Biden doing anything defensible? Clearly not. Plenty of rich people take out loans that they happily pay right on time just to take advantage of the low interest rates. New debt with people paying the full payments probably isn't a good candidate. But people who obviously can't do that? People on income driven repayment? Yeah, a lot of those people got real screwed and those loans are absolutely never getting paid back and we really need to do something about it.

This is much less an urban vs rural issue and much more a, "Can your kid afford to go the schools they get into?" issue.

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The problem is that without actually dismantling the underlying clusterfuck you’ve simply created the precedent that the whole sector will be bailed out whenever it gets out of control. The universities will go into overdrive to recreate this situation and no student or parent will have a real incentive to stop them. We’ll be right back here in ten years.

Short of firing the entire administrative class en masse, this is going to take real work, alongside a clean slate.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

Very much agree.

My personal theory is that we should put everyone on income based repayment by default and automatically forgive all balances after ~8-10 years of payments, with the schools being liable for those balances. We need to create an incentive to keep schools from saddling people with debt their degree isn't going to pay for.

Unrelated: I think you blocked me at some point, which, as far as I can tell, literally only keeps me from liking your posts. Or maybe you can't see this at all and I could just be talking shit behind your back, which seems like a pretty dumb implementation of blocking on Substack's part.

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Fuck if I know what they designed this site to do; my working theory is that aside from the “post” and “like” buttons nothing works, and those two only intermittently.

You were indeed on my block list but I didn’t know that as I’ve been able to see, reply to, and like your posts.

That said I don’t actually recall putting you there? Sure, your takes on law enforcement are wrong, but whatever. :p

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My charitable guess is that it's not designed for comment sections of this size. So our poor experience here is to a significant degree your fault :P

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Forgiving student loans will do nothing to fix the core issue, if anything it will incentivize the bad actors to be worse.

This whole concept that we need every person in congress to be a member of the squad or the freedom caucus is ridiculous. Most normal voters don’t agree with either of them on 95% of issues. I make this point all the time when people want to find a “progressive” to run against Manchin or Tester. Those candidates don’t exist in those states. Not everywhere is say AOC’s district and Democrats better wake up and realize that, the sooner the better for them.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

Speaking of the inflated cost of a university education:

https://musgrave.substack.com/p/buy-me-a-chair?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2

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I hate DeSantis but he’s close to right on this issue (unfortunately, because he’s such a bad politician that he will kill the policy forever). We should do the student loan bailout but finance it 100% by a tax on college endowments.

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this is a transfer from future graduates to recent graduates. Not sure if that's a great idea.

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Hard to square this with the fact that going to college is still a very NPV-positive investment (by like, over a million dollars on average).

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*Graduating* from college is an NPV positive investment. Going to college isn’t - if you start and don’t graduate you’re even more screwed. And there are a lot of dropouts in the population, who get overlooked in this conversation.

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"Forgive debt for college dropouts" doesn't strike me as a great campaign slogan.

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honestly -- and this is just my opinion -- I would support that over forgiving debt for everyone.

Seems unfair to be bailed out of the costs of going to college while still reaping the benefits. But if you aren't receiving those benefits because you didn't graduate, then perhaps you should get some help.

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They also don’t have a lot of clout. But if you’re looking to establish more economic fairness you can’t ignore them.

IMO there is too much of a binary in these conversations between “college” and “non-college” without acknowledging that the non-college group is actually quite diverse.

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What if they dropped out because they couldn’t afford to continue? “Dropping out” of college doesn’t automatically make someone a bum--there are those who drop out because they’ve got better things to do (Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) and those who can’t afford to attend due to circumstances beyond their control.

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"Graduating" is kind of the whole point, eh? What is college but a signaling device? If you're an employer and I see two more or less identical candidates where one dropped out, but the other went all the way through, which one are you going to take? You want people who, once they start a job will finish the job.

Don't construe that to mean that I have no sympathy for people who are forced by circumstances to drop out. I've been there and going back was hard and painful, but nevertheless, at the end of the day it's all about graduation.

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"What is college but a signaling device?"

Some people learn a lot there too.

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What’s exasperating about the macroeconomic analysis? The macro effects of a policy seem important to whether to adopt it, but I feel like I’m misunderstanding you.

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It's only engaging with the stupidest part of the argument where there's no actual policy issue and it's all just a fight over which constituency is getting a handout. When Matt's take was, "I tentatively support student loan forgiveness because it would be stimulative." that was an incredibly stupid fucking reason to support a policy that he views as essentially buying votes. It's little better to now oppose buying those votes because it would be inflationary. Given how often he's touched on the topic he should really make the effort to actually grapple with the merits of debt financed higher ed.

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Well, as people have said above, debt forgiveness itself doesn’t grapple with the merits of debt financed higher ed, so to me it kind of makes sense for commentary around debt forgiveness not to grapple with that either. To confront that issue you’d need reform, not a debt holiday. (Also it’s not like Matt idiosyncratically introduced the stimulus question himself; he was responding to a point people used in favor of the measure. One can support a vote-buying measure when it has other good effects and oppose one when it doesn’t; one of Keynes’ big ideas is that when stimulus is needed there’s no wrong way to do it.)

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Before he gets to the merits he ought to grapple with the idea that the president can issue broad executive orders or regulatory actions on matters that are very clearly the purview of Congress.

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founding

The arguments between Kings and Parliament regarding who has the power to act have been going on over 800 years, since the Magna Carta in 1215.

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I posted this elsewhere - but the problem is not graduates. Grads from even mediocre schools generally can pay off their loans! People who took out debt but didn’t graduate, or who got some useless online degree, are in a much worse spot. Many of them are downscale. And they need help paying off loans more.

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Totally agree. Which is why the debt forgiveness for people scammed into going to shitty for-profit colleges received neither the criticism from conservatives nor the plaudits from progressives.

The fight that people have is forgiving debt for people like me. Conservatives (correctly) see it as unfair, and progressives support it largely due to self-interest and in-group affiliation.

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There has been pretty significant forgiveness for many of these programs.

https://thecollegeinvestor.com/40244/for-profit-college-student-loan-forgiveness-list/

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100%. But is there a way to sever them? And if not, how should a reasonable House member vote?

My whole point is that it’s not clear cut that a Blue Dog Dem should oppose a loan forgiveness package.

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seems like the implementation would be tough and there may be unintended consequences but "you can get your debt forgiven if you didn't graduate within 15 years of when you matriculated" would be cheaper, help those who need it the most, and be less controversial and polarizing

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Can I triple like this?

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I didn't know anything about MGP, so I was reading her Wikipedia page and found this:

"She and her husband own an automobile repair shop in Portland, Oregon.[4]... The repair shop was review bombed by individuals unhappy with her decision to vote with Republicans on a bill repealing President Biden's student loan relief plan.[5]"

It's harder and harder to find any sympathy with the loan forgiveness crowd.

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On the other hand, “with a Democrat like me, you don’t need the Republican” is essentially her district campaign messaging—she’s a Democrat you can get behind even if you’d been considering voting for Joe Kent, and even if you were considering not voting for the other Joe.

I agree that the hit piece is BS but I struggle to envision it doing any real damage within her district; I sincerely doubt she’d be weak in a primary challenge by a candidate substantially to her left.

Anyway, I’m a big fan of hers even where we don’t align. I absolutely believe she’s a model for the type of candidate Dems need to be willing to run if we ever want a moment like 2008 again.

Bring back the 50-state strategy! ::DEAN SCREAM::

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As I understand Matt's argument, he's saying it would be good for progressives to say "Perez is too moderate for us." What's bad is if they say, "We really want her gone, but we know that her district is right-of-center and that she matches it well, so rather than arguing simply that she's too moderate, let's come up with some arguments that are specifically designed to poison her reputation with swing voters."

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Or, more likely, dissuade urban progressives from giving her campaign money and possibly encourage a primary rival that will ensure we have an R in her seat instead.

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Totally agree. Like I said, I think the Slate piece is bullshit, I’m just not convinced that way of thinking will penetrate her district. Even if it makes a handful of more progressive voters in her area doubt her pro-choice bona fides, I don’t think they’re going to find themselves with a viable option that they think will be better on abortion.

Having grown up in a working class rural area myself, I have a hard time envisioning that message really making a dent with the actual voters. In some ways I think it giving her the opportunity to say “people in New York and DC can say whatever they want, but I represent YOU and my pro-choice views aren’t going to keep me from supporting our military” is much more the kind of message moderates/swing voters in a district like that would get behind. I can totally imagine the beer-drinking dudes my stepdad hunted with saying “I don’t agree with her, but she’s a straight shooter compared to those OTHER Democrats.”

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It might not do damage to her but it’s reflective of damage that’s been done to media habits.

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1) heterodox Dems who vote right sometimes are better than orthodox Reps who vote right never.

2) Misrepresentations that are acceptable from politicians are not acceptable from journalists.

Anything else I missed?

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The Trump years have left journalists with slightly more credibility than Trump himself.

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Trump has an uncanny ability to turn his opponents into the things he says they are.

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On point 1, some people seem to think orthodox Reps are better than heterodox Dems, because orthodox Reps heighten the contradictions.

Others think that student loan forgiveness is so overwhelmingly critical to the cause of justice that every other issue can and should be held hostage to it. So there's no difference between a Republican House that doesn't support student loan forgiveness, and a Democratic House that doesn't support student loan forgiveness. For some odd reason, the vast majority of people who think this have either incomes or projected lifetime earnings that are well above average.

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"On point 1, some people seem to think orthodox Reps are better than heterodox Dems, because orthodox Reps heighten the contradictions."

It's the continued existence of such people that allows Matt to make banal observations like point 1 and retain his reputation as an edgy contrarian.

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I think the view is “I might be able to bully heterodox Dems into being orthodox ones, which I won’t ever be able to do with a Republican. Failing that, I can at least make a public example of the heterodox Dem as a warning to other Dems for what will happen to them if they step out of line.”

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How sad it is that this needs to be emphasized at all?

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This might be one of the few times that right is left and left is right...

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With Slate no longer being contrarian, what exactly is its point? Does it generate traffic and make money?

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Looks like it’s to be another sinecure for replacement-level left wing journalists.

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“MGP just voted for a bill that angered progressives. Here’s why they should support her anyway” is absolutely something “Classic Slate” would have published.

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Was going to say exactly this. In the days when MY was there, it was generally left but the contrarian takes would make you say "hmmmmmmm" even when they were wrong. Now (with a few notable exceptions like Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern), it's just a lot of bad takes. And sex advice, apparently.

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And a lot of the sex advice qualifies as bad takes too, at least IMO. ("No, you don't have to reveal your STD status to your new partner. HIV drugs are really good these days . . . .")

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Even in Slate's golden days, the Dear Prudence section was always dreadfully bad. I'm so glad they got punked badly, and that should have been the end of that section, but alas....

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"I'm so glad they got punked badly...."

I had not heard about this episode. Do tell? Or link if you get the time?

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https://www.gawker.com/media/dear-prudie-it-was-me-all-along

I've always found the entire concept of the advice column to be bad, and the combination of this plus all the wackiness coming out of AITA to seal the deal.

I'd actually appreciate a WWE version of the advice column that makes the kayfabe clear and open.

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Thanks for the link!

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podcasts

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

And what’s the point of “journalists” like the one quoted in this article? That market is tough enough as it is but surely a big part of the problem is that people like that are employable. I know it may sound quaint but if you don’t have basic integrity you shouldn’t have a job as a journalist. It’s not just wrong but stupid to employ these people. Trashes the reputation of their publications.

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At this point they seem to be mostly coasting on their large number of advice columns, most of which give bad advice.

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That sub heading was a pretty perfidious case of lede-burying.

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I couldn’t finish the article. Does it ever explain who the author thinks her “backers” are and why they would be betrayed? Is this like a case where she had a lot of out-of-state donors who seem to think that entitles them to her votes?

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Not mentioned by Matt, but the Slate author did a glowing piece about her when she won. I think he might be taking her non-embrace of his progressive views personally.

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That would make a lot of sense. Most of slate these days is navel-gazing-but-asserting-you’re-not.

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> The median student loan burden in the United States is $0.

Ah, but the median student loan burden for someone who subscribes to Alex Sammon's shitty Slatepitches...

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Sammon seems wrapped around the *symbolism* of each vote and doesn’t appear to grasp the idea of voting strategically - eg going with the other side in a vote that is clearly destined to fail or pass; she has no material impact on the outcome of the vote, but she gets a chit to play during the campaign. It’s like he’s assuming that you can look at the sum of a Congressperson’s votes and treat it as a direct translation of her deeply-held beliefs

And maybe I’m just not seeing it, but I looked through the sponsors’ summary and skimmed the legislative text itself and I don’t know where Sammon is getting that ‘College for All’ includes money for trade schools...the overwhelming emphasis seems to be toward moving people toward a college degree.

I get that Community Colleges might offer some trade certifications, but if my stated goal was to prioritize training people in trades, or to at least put subsidizing trades on an equal footing with bachelors degrees, I wouldn’t support that bill either...

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

My working theory, which seems to be confirmed basically every time I test it, is that journalism does not, except for certain niches (our proprietor, for example) pay enough to attract people who aren’t complete fucking idiots anymore.

EDIT: I am probably being uncharitable and it would be more accurate to say that average journalist positions do not. There are definitely some bright folks even in mainstream publications, just not enough.

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I think the problem is that they're no longer trained as journalists, or at least not as reporters. They're no longer engaged in educating their readers by presenting an accurate picture of people and events; they're only expressing opinions and I suppose trying to persuade. Previous generations of journalists, even if they moved over to opinion, still had an ingrained sense of obligation to present a true picture first before they persuaded. The current set doesn't seem to have that obligation to truth first.

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"they're only expressing opinions and I suppose trying to persuade" I believe they like to call that "providing context "

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

Dems absolutely need MGP. I think she has said that she would only consider supporting partial student loan forgiveness (which is what Biden did: capped at 20K) if it were paired with something aimed at supporting the trades and technical education. Whether she meant it or not, that sounds like good policy and good politics to me. The other issue that really pisses off today's progressives is her stance on crime, which has been a consistent and correct theme of hers. So this isn't just about the student debt issue.

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Strong upvote on this and strong upvote on MGP's general take on higher education, which appears to overlap very close to mine: we need a diverse array of options for our youth once they're done with high school, so that we can better find the correct solution for each one of them.

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Matt lays out this case very well and I almost entirely agree on the merits, but I think it’s worth pushing back on one point — that only about a quarter of people in MGP’s have college degrees and therefore she’s right to oppose student loan forgiveness.

This ignores that people who graduate from college generally aren’t the ones who have problems paying off student loans! They tend to have stable jobs and higher incomes. The people most impacted by student loan debt are those who attended “some college” or have an associates’ degree, who have paid for school but don’t have the credentials to show for it.

Matt has acknowledged this in the past (quoting from his piece “Wealth isn’t what matters” in 2021): “What’s missing from the balance sheet is the value of the degree. And that messes things up even within the internal analysis of student debt. A person who graduates from the University of Wisconsin is going to have more debt than someone who did two years at an online college and then dropped out. But the Wisconsin grad is much better off, because a bachelor’s degree from a flagship state university campus is valuable, and an incomplete from an online college is worthless.”

And while people with “some college” or an associates degree make up about a quarter of the US population 25+, they are ~37% of MGP’s constituents.

So if anything - she has more reason to vote for student loan relief than a congressperson who represents a rich, high education district.

IMO it’s totally fine to say loan forgiveness is a bad policy that Dems shouldn’t pursue - and I agree it would be hugely stimulative at a time when the economy doesn’t need stimulus. But suggesting that MGP is right to break with one of her party’s key promises just because relatively few people in her district have degrees doesn’t hold water.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

Maybe she would have supported student loan relief if it had real means testing and didn't include a wealth transfer from blue collar workers to ivy grads with rich parents working in journalism and at think tanks.

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So rich they had to take out loans?

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I know a guy from CT whose parents are both doctors and who paid all his school costs. He took out a student loan to finance some amazing Spring Break and Coachella experiences.

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Personally I’m a little skeptical that this type of borrowing accounts for a significant fraction of student loan debt.

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It's just anecdotes of course, but my wife's parents paid for all of her education expenses and she took out a student loan each year and put the money in the bank.

That money eventually became the down payment on our first house.

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

I do agree that people take out student loans for fraudulent purposes and they should be held accountable for doing so. I think that’s what you’re saying. :)

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So am I, but it is another example of the absurdity of a broad loan forgiveness.

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Not to mention, forcing people to pay interest on the paused debt, seems pointlessly cruel.

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The MGP hate can be simply explained: loud lefty Democrats are *especially* nonplussed when other Democrats succeed without being loud and lefty. It's a huge ego blow when someone can get elected without believing precisely what you believe and being shouty about it.

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Sammon’s piece is not a strategic hit piece intended to damage a political opponent by purposely skewing the facts. It is the product of, and a product for, ideological purists who genuinely can’t see past a “D is good guys, R is bad guys” understanding of the world, where actual policy positions serve only to prove one’s goodness/badness. It’s 💯% tired and overly simplistic thought distortions and, in the words of the kids these days, “I am so, so tired.”

Edit: a top search result for GIFs about voting: https://media0.giphy.com/media/26vUCOMzBiBZ0qW1a/giphy.gif

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Marie, it's really good to see you in the comments, I've missed your participation. Hope you've been well!

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Thanks! I’m still lurking, just took over daycare dropoff duty so now I don’t get 30 minutes to dwell in the comments over morning coffee 🤪

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At least that's an important duty. Early childcare is a frequent Slow Boring topic, so that could build some direct from experience takes for you to share when you regain time. Glad to hear you're still at least lurking!

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Ever since I tried to get more of my Facebook friends on both sides to vote for Hillary (found a "lesser of two weevils" graphic even though I didn't think she was a weevil at all), I've been trying to figure out how to nudge people away from this kind of simplistic thought. I routinely challenge it in other social media venues, but perhaps do it too sardonically to have much effect. I wish I knew how to formulate this kind of messaging in specific situations. I still have a fond hope that it's possible to make people think - just a little bit - by responding to them on Reddit or in a NYT comment.

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