Skip to main content

That 1968 Vibe



On a SLATE comment thread, I recently wrote as follows:

Is it just me, or does all this have a very 1968 vibe for anyone else? Here as there, the incumbent President is a Democrat. In '68, of course, LBJ was eligible to run again, but was knocked out early. Let's ignore that difference for a moment and see what else lines up.
There are two Democrats each with a plausible claim to continue the incumbent administration, for those who WANT to see it continued. There is a former cabinet member (Attorney General or Secretary of State, as the case may be) on the one side, and the sitting Vice President on the other. The establishment of the Dems could live with either of them.  There is also a very non-establishment figure coming off from the flanks, with a surprisingly strong following in the base, call him Eugene or Bernie as you please. All very '68.
The signature domestic accomplishment of the incumbent is in the area of health care reform, Medicare/Medicaid. Overseas, of course, there is an endless tunnel of violence and escalation.  
Oh, did I mention that the former cabinet member/candidate has a famous family name, reminding voters not of the incumbent but of the Democratic President before that?  All very '68. Of course I wish Secretary Clinton a long happy life, so there are some respects in which I very much don't want this analogy to hold. 
The point though is, Humphrey/Biden emerged from that nominating process triumphant but weakened, and it all helped bring about the Presidency of Richard Nixon.

A fellow calling himself Guinnessmonkey replied:

What?  Where, exactly, are American soldiers currently dying by the thousands, 'cause I must have missed that.
Though yes, Bernie = Eugene.  That wing of the Democratic Party runs one every few years, particularly after the Dems have held the White House for two terms.  It makes them forget what it's like to have a GOP president (often because they're too young to remember), so they start talking in terms of ideological purity instead of electability.

To which I in turn wrote:

hat the overseas violence hasn't played itself out the way it did in the '60s doesn't really hurt the analogy. The more antiseptic killing through drones is sufficient to fuel the sort of resentment Bernie/Eugene can tap. 
Another key point: if Biden does get into the race, Hilary will surely move to the left. She's now positioned as a centrist, like her old "triangulating" husband. Or, for that matter, like Robert Kennedy, whose signature accomplishment as AG had been to put a prominent labor leader in prison. A bit of triangulation before the word, there. 
Anyway, IF Biden gets in, expect him to lock up the centrist support, and Hillary to move left to co-opt Bernie's support. Which was Kennedy's play-book in '68.  Her belated discovery that Keystone might be a bad idea is an example, but so far just a small step. 

------------------------------- 

I just wanted to share.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

England as a Raft?

In a lecture delivered in 1880, William James asked rhetorically, "Would England ... be the drifting raft she is now in European affairs if a Frederic the Great had inherited her throne instead of a Victoria, and if Messrs Bentham, Mill, Cobden, and Bright had all been born in Prussia?"

Beneath that, in a collection of such lectures later published under James' direction, was placed the footnote, "The reader will remember when this was written."

The suggestion of the bit about Bentham, Mill, etc. is that the utilitarians as a school helped render England ineffective as a European power, a drifting raft.

The footnote was added in 1897. So either James is suggesting that the baleful influence of Bentham, Mill etc wore off in the meantime or that he had over-estimated it.

Let's unpack this a bit.  What was happening in the period before 1880 that made England seem a drifting raft in European affairs, to a friendly though foreign observer (to the older brother…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Francesco Orsi

I thought briefly that I had found a contemporary philosopher whose views on ethics and meta-ethics checked all four key boxes. An ally all down the line.

The four, as regular readers of this blog may remember, are: cognitivism, intuitionism, consequentialism, pluralism. These represent the views that, respectively: some ethical judgments constitute knowledge; one important source for this knowledge consists of quasi-sensory non-inferential primary recognitions ("intuitions"); the right is logically dependent upon the good; and there exists an irreducible plurality of good.

Francesco Orsi seemed to believe all of these propositions. Here's his website and a link to one relevant paper:

https://sites.google.com/site/francescoorsi1/

https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/3

What was better: Orsi is a young man. Born in 1980. A damned child! Has no memories of the age of disco!

So I emailed him asking if I was right that he believed all of those things. His answer: three out of …