Seth Barrett Tillman: Trump, Academia, and Hyperbole


As to the Article XII argument …. In a peer reviewed journal article, Professor Somin wrote: “[T]he Privileges and Immunities Clause requires states to treat migrants from other states on par with their own citizens, thereby facilitating interstate mobility.” Somin cites U.S. Const. Art. IV, § 4. See Ilya Somin, Book Review, 28 Const. Comment. 303, 305 & n.5 (2012) (reviewing Michael Greve, The Upside-Down Constitution (2012)). But that’s not right: Article IV, Section 4 is the Guarantee Clause, not the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Now just to be clear: my point isn’t that both Trump and Somin are equally dopes. Rather my point is that anyone can miscite the Constitution, and we should be loathe to call someone “profoundly ignorant” just because they cite to the wrong article or the wrong clause. Anyone can make a mistake.

Read the whole thing.

Jonathan adds: It’s not just academia. The media, and in my (and probably your) experience Trump opponents in private conversation, apply different and much harsher standards to Trump than they do to Hillary. One of the current memes is that Trump isn’t stable enough to have his finger on the nuclear button. Yet Hillary, whose gross negligence made her and our secrets available to hostile foreign powers, and who appears literally to have sold out her country in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, gets a pass.

20 thoughts on “Seth Barrett Tillman: <i>Trump, Academia, and Hyperbole</i>”

  1. When did electoral politics become not much more than a silly game of GOTCHA!

    When G.W.Bush blanked on the name of the President of Uzbekistan in 2000?

    Anyway, I don’t need an expert on the details of the Constitution to be President, I am perfectly fine with someone who will get and take good professional advice on what the Constitution allows and doesn’t allow. That’s more than we’ve had about half the time since 1933, and it would be good enough for me.

    Beyond that, my general impression is that Trump has good common sense and is often able by induction to see important issues that need to be addressed–much more so than 99% of the politicians out there.

    His problem is that as an intuitive thinker he then leaps to an answer that makes intuitive sense at first impression, but in fact is an over-simple answer to a complicated question. If he can understand that things are often more complicated and stakeholders more numerous than is at first obvious, and that these things need to be carefully analyzed and understood because when the government makes a mistake, it’s a doozy, he would be all right.

  2. Trump’s recent ‘expression of regret’ for being so inartful didn’t help. The musical chairs at the top of his campaign has now got him flailing around looking desperate. Ironically, he may have finally found the right combination of tone and message. It should have happened at leaset six months ago, but Trump was too busy winning in the short run to realize how much he was losing in the long run. For a man who has built his fortune on failure and comebacks that isn’t surprising. Now we’ll see if he’s got one more comeback left, but I suspect it’s too late at this point.

  3. I think it was Victor Hansen a few years ago who described this phenomenon as a variation of the old Church practice of granting indulgences.

    If someone says the right, meaning progressive approved, stuff, and supports the right political/ social/economic policies, they get a continuing dispensation for any behavior or beliefs that would otherwise be condemned.

    People like Ted Kennedy and Bubba can do the most reprehensible things, and profess the wrong ideas in the past, if they are ready to spin on a dime and adopt the latest approved positions currently popular with all the trend setters, even if those positions are the exact opposite of their previous expressed beliefs.

    One of the most surprising elements in this election cycle is the way in which Trump has been able to turn the usual indulgence system on its head, and say and do things that cause all sorts of outrage on the prog side, which includes most media, and still find his support increase instead of suffer.

    Predictably, the very media and other outrage elements that give any prog in good standing a pass on anything they do, are now stunned and outraged that Trump supporters ignore them, and increase their Trump fever, whenever he says something non- pc and anti-multi-

    It’s been fun to watch, regardless of any particular feelings about Trump as a candidate.

  4. Remember the 3:00AM phone call from 2008? Didn’t HRC blow the phone call at 3 in the afternoon? Compare and contrast the BHO/HRC Benghazi response to any other president.

  5. Yes, indeedy – Hillary blew it, blew it big-time, advertising her readiness to take that call in 2008 in a TV ad … and then blowing it off in real life.

    And VR – yes, it’s been the most enormous fun, watching the establishment media outrage elements get tied into enormous knots of outraged disbelief when the Trumpers blow them off.

    I swear, for me this is Trumps main appeal — that he makes the good little proggies and their pets come f__king unglued.

  6. It reminds me of the situation decades ago when our football was entirely a game of runners carrying the ball. Then, to the consternation of the majority of football insiders, some teams began using forward passes instead of only laterals that were sideways or backward.

    Suddenly, offensive formations and defenses that had been on the top as the best to use were rendered obsolete, and passing became more and more important.

    I can remember as a kid watching college football games which pitted traditional running teams against teams that were using more and more passing. The commentators would often mention that certain coaches simply could not let go of their previously all powerful running formations and start to incorporate a passing game.

    Nowadays, those running formations are rarely ever used at all.

    Much the same consternation has enveloped the media and other standard bearers of the progressive pc outrage machine. They keep running out the same claims of racism, sexism, whatever-ism, that worked to derail non- progressive candidates in the past, and are stunned to find that Trump and his fans just shrug them off and go their merry way.

  7. “Nowadays, those running formations are rarely ever used at all.”

    Football keeps changing. The NFL got taken by a few running QBs a few years ago and Kapernick became the guy. The 49ers sent Smith off to Kansas City where he began to win and the defenses figured out the running QB, Except for Russell Wilson but I think he might be the only one still winning. Kapernick was a one season wonder.

    Politics may be a bit like that. Obama had supporters (I don’t give him any credit for running his own campaigns) who figured out how to contact retail voters and get them to vote.

    Romney, the merger expert, completely dropped the ball on his GOTV function.

    Trump is going for emotion and doing less on GOTV. I don’t know if it will work. Against a good Democrat (assuming there is one), he would be toast. Hillary, however, is a very weak candidate,

    If Trump wins, which I think is about 50% odds, watch the next election be full of blustering actors and TV types.

    “The musical chairs at the top of his campaign has now got him flailing around looking desperate. ”

    I disagree. The guy is learning on the fly and doing a pretty good job of it.

    Think for a moment about the Obamacare web site. That is 10% of running a presidential campaign, if that. I likened it to designing the plane while it is trying to take off.

    Trump is winging it and the election is very close. He could still blow it but he is learning very fast,

  8. Am I the only one who remembers Joe Biden insisting, in the 2008 VP debate, that Article I defines the functions of the executive branch?

    Did anyone ever call Biden “profoundly ignorant” for that slip, let alone furrow the brow and steeple the fingers and fret about how he “didn’t know what was in the Constitution”? I don’t recall it.

  9. Rather my point is that anyone can miscite the Constitution, and we should be loathe to call someone “profoundly ignorant” just because they cite to the wrong article or the wrong clause. Anyone can make a mistake.

    I agree. By modern-day standards the Constitution is a lengthy, difficult to understand document written in weird in nearly-incomprehensible English by old White racist, sexist, fascist, homophobes. Who can check references to such a thing?

  10. Did anyone ever call Biden “profoundly ignorant” for that slip, let alone furrow the brow and steeple the fingers and fret about how he “didn’t know what was in the Constitution”? I don’t recall it.

    If any member of the media, or any of the “respectable” GOPe members ever criticized a Democrat for factual ignorance . . . or failed to falsely criticize a conservative when he was right; they would be out of a job and exiled from the halls of power. It is what it is.

  11. SB,
    Now I am affirmed as to why Ted Cruz is disliked in DC and by the Trumpers, GOPe and the progressive elites everywhere. Whereas Trump is only disliked by DC, the GOPe, progressive elites everywhere and the part of the “never Trumpers” and Trump doubters (me for example) who are ideologically committed to limited government IAW the founding ideas and structure of the US constitutional republic as informed by the tradition of natural law and the Judio-Christian paradigm.


  12. It will be interesting if Rick Perry runs against Cruz for the Senate seat, I wanted Cruz to join Trump at the end and serve as VP with the intent of succeeding him.

    “There is a tide in the affairs of men….”

    I think Cruz is in the “loser’s corner.”

    Another riot at a Trump rally last night in Minneapolis.

    The rioters got into the motorcade and jumped on the Secret Service car.

    Does anyone think this will make the newspapers of the news today ?

  13. It is only a matter of time before the anti-Trump protesters push too far against the wrong Trump fan, or group of them, more likely, and get the crap beaten out of them at least, if not worse.

    I doubt anyone who has been paying any attention at all to the course of this campaign season will be surprised to learn from the lapdog media that it was the Trump people who became violent without any real cause other than the inflamed rhetoric of Trump.

    This formula has worked before, and the outrage machine is too locked into their tried and true tactics to realize it won’t work the same way this time. The progs are used to being seen as the sympathetic characters, and they still don’t realize that the average voter now holds them in utter contempt and disdain.

    It’ll be much better than these crappy Olympics.

  14. The rioters have well established ground rules of engagement. They and their handlers know well the potential danger that lurks. While the assailants are caught on tape, what’s often not recorded or noticed are the many handlers, which can usually be found on the near periphery, observing, recording and directing.

    They watch closely for “citizens” who would come to the aid of any victims. In this era, these are very likely more than just the usual leftist law students, quite probably actual federal employees. They also monitor police activity very closely, and again, probably have inside information.

    They have immediate access to legal representation, in anticipation of arrest. The average person seldom enjoys such a situation. Getting arrested can ruin your life. Job, marriage, savings, etc. The protesters have career paths where arrests are a bonus on the resume.

    The police are screwed, and as often is the case, take the path of least resistance. Instead of a well-deserved breaking of some punk’s face, they must watch for signs that the victim somehow instigated their assault.

    A Trump DOJ, should be both ruthless and relentless in the pursuit of these organizations and their players.

  15. I still wonder why Soros and some nonprofit foundations are funding this.

    The “Black Lives Matter” people are apparently the same as formed the nucleus of “Occupy Wall Street” and probably include many of the anarchists who trashed Seattle a few years ago.

    What do the funders of this anticipate as Return on Investment ?

    Soros made his fortune attacking the British Pound 25 years ago.

    I have to assume they have connections to the “Deep State.” This version of the story was on a leftist web site.

    the present objective of congressional Republicans is to render the executive branch powerless, at least until a Republican president is elected (a goal that voter suppression laws in GOP-controlled states are clearly intended to accomplish).

    That is obviously the leftist version.

    Despite this apparent impotence, President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented — at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement. Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions — with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either — even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials on the subject of illegal surveillance.

    That is more bipartisan.

    What does this have to do with Soros and the The Tides Foundation?

    In October 2011, Former Tides CEO Melissa L. Bradley stated in a blog post that Tides supports the Occupy Wall Street movement. She wrote that the movement “represents the best of American ideals and ingenuity.”

    Why ? Perhaps Anarchy. What do they gain ?

  16. I can only think that some of them are hoping to make money from the crash’n’burn, some are doing it deliberately for ideological reasons … and some, in the words of Alfred the Butler – just want to watch the world burn. They are assuming, of course, that in the eventual conflagration, that they and theirs well remain secure.
    We’ll see, I’m afraid.

  17. As I’ve said before, these folks live in a fantasy world. I wish them luck trying to survive when those who maintain the system that keeps the “elites” living in luxury will no longer work for them.

  18. ” those who maintain the system that keeps the “elites” living in luxury will no longer work for them.”

    This is also my problem with “Big L” Libertarians. Do they not know of the Second Law of Thermodynamics ?

    They consider civil society the default state of human existence. I assume the hedge fund managers who complain about the HVAC systems in their coop buildings in New York City assume someone will always be available to take out the trash and fix the sewer.

    I remember reading an account of what it was like to be a board member of such a coop.

    There is an old Chinese proverb (Probably spurious) that goes:

    First generation coolie,
    Second generation merchant,
    Third generation rich man,
    Fourth generation coolie.

    If people who assume civilization is a default state, pull down the West, they will live with the results.

  19. They consider civil society the default state of human existence. I assume the hedge fund managers who complain about the HVAC systems in their coop buildings in New York City assume someone will always be available to take out the trash and fix the sewer.

    Especially when they have wrecked the education of the young so much that it no longer trains the technicians we need to keep the system operating properly. Very few realize we keep less than a month’s worth of food in any city and the water and electricity are generated/distributed on demand. If the system crashes, no water period. No one can go more than 3-4 days without water.

  20. Water…think also about firefighting.

    I’m not sure how many water systems have diesel or gas turbine backup, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t anywhere near 100% coverage. Also can be an issue with sewer systems.

    I read somewhere than in the UK, the primary power for most water systems isn’t electricity but rather direct-drive turbines. Which sounds like a very good idea.

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