Bad news for things that will inevitably happen anyway: Bernie Sanders is beating Hillary Clinton among primary voters in New Hampshire, according to a Boston Herald poll. Sanders led Clinton 44% to 37% last week, in a poll that had her leading him 44% to 8% back in March. If these trends continue, Sanders will roar into the November general with 119% of the vote. Then a 25 year-old will hijack his victory speech to promote her hashtag. But that’s all fancy, of course. Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee, and any criticism of her—to say nothing of support for Sanders or, please God, Joe Biden—is tantamount to voting Republican. You don’t want Scott Walker to be president, do you? Clinton 2016: Don’t Fuck This Up, America.
Consider for a moment how much more complex our world is than the one in which our ancestors lived. The physical environment is roughly the same—albeit with abortion protestors where burning witches used to be—but our interpretation of that world is far more nuanced. Prose fiction, classical physics, the germ theory of disease, moral relativism, environmental stewardship, being cool—all these concepts overlay one another to make the modern world stand in relation to the past as an origami crane relates to a sheet of paper. It’s Friday, and the more you know the more improbable that seems. Today’s link roundup is full of fine writing and heady concepts, plus fungus. Won’t you deepen the manifold with me?
An audio recording has surfaced from a 2009 Mediterranean cruise in which Fox News vice president and Washington coverage chief Bill Sammons admits to starting the rumor that Barack Obama is a socialist back in 2008. “Takes credit for” might be a more apt rendering of his demeanor. But, Sammon adds, he didn’t actually think it was true. Thank god, right? As long as the programming directors of the most popular 24-hour news network in the country don’t believe the descriptions of events they present to the public, someone will still be in a position to make decisions for the American people. It just won’t be, you know, us. Ain’t-I-a-dickens Sammon quote after the jump.
One of two narratives describes the Obama presidency, and if you tell me which one is true I can tell you which 24-hour news network you watch. Either President Barack Hussein Obama is a nouveau socialist whose cult of personality has allowed him to expand federal power to an unprecedented degree, or the Republican minority in Congress has put politics ahead of the best interests of the country and paralyzed the Hill with unrelenting obstructionism. We here at Combat! would never tell you what to believe,* but only one of these narratives has been fleshed out with a lot of scenes. Two weeks ago, Senate Republicans finally released the hold they had placed on Martha Johnson, the woman President Obama nominated seven months ago to head the General Services Administration. If you’ve never heard of the GSA, it’s probably because you are not a wholesale distributor of toilet paper and cleaning supplies; the agency’s primary task is to oversee the day-to-day maintenance of the Capitol and related buildings. Johnson was eventually confirmed with a vote of 94-2, suggesting that she was perhaps not such a controversial nominee after all. While an extreme example, she was just one of dozens of qualified applicants on whose nominations the GOP has placed holds, whether to ransom them for pet projects or out of a spirit of general dicketry. While calling the Republicans obstructionists seems unfair—they are the opposition party, after all—the discrepancy between their principled objections and their voting records is beginning to suggest that they’re playing politics, not government.