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Wednesday, November 6, 2019


True to my nature as a voting results junkie, I stayed up way past my bedtime [i.e. past nine p.m.!] to watch the Kentucky results.  I went to sleep happy, even though I had never heard of Beshear before last night.  I found the results enormously reassuring despite my low level of involvement with Kentucky politics.  First, the Democrats’ conquest of the suburbs continues.  Second, and much more significant, turnout was enormous.  This was an off-off-year election, and yet total turnout was almost 50% above what it was in 2015 when the last gubernatorial election was held.  I have repeatedly offered the opinion here that the key to a Democratic victory next year is the sort of record turnout we saw last year when we took back the House.  I remain convinced that impeachment will outrage and fire up Trump voters until it fails in the Senate, at which point the energy will drain out of Trump’s base months before next November.  Meanwhile, the failure of impeachment will infuriate our voters, and that fury will not die away in the late winter, spring, summer, and early fall of 2020.  Instead, it will inspire huge numbers of low-likelihood voters to go to the polls as their only way of expressing their disapproval of Trump. 

On another matter entirely, I think this wretched man Sondland is fatally weakened by having so off-putting a face.   Now, I am aware that looks are deceiving.  One of my heroes, David Hume, had a face like a suet pudding and a body to match, and yet he had the most agile, powerful, penetrating intellect of the 18th century.

But still.


Ecrasez L’Infame said...

I love the word “gubernatorial”. There’s hope for the human race so long as our languages have such lovely, absurd, hilarious freaks.

Jerry Fresia said...

If turnout is key then only Bernie or Warren would be able to save us.

Ridiculousicculus said...

David Hume had the most powerful, penetrating intellect of the 18th century? What about Kant? said...

Hmm, James Boswell had plenty of denigrating things to say about the looks of Gibbon and Goldsmith---even of Johnson too, but I don't recall him saying anything similarly snarky about Hume. Hume was a known (or at least suspected) infidel, but then so was Gibbon, yet devout as Boswell was, he reserved his ire only for Gibbon. Hume, ofcourse was a fellow Scotsman---perhaps enough said. Boswell records Johnson's remark about the clannishness of the Scots, as opposed to the Irish, "No, Sir, the Irish are a fair people, they never speak well of one another".

Michael said...

I was searching for a quote I couldn't quite recall, from a contemporary of Hume who described him as "well-fed" (I think), among other things. I was not successful, but I did find this, on Hume's Wikiquote page:

"Today, at any leading American university, a Kant, with all his dithering about God, freedom, and immortality, or even a Hume, wouldn't survive a year in graduate school, much less get hired as an instructor."
-Tom Wolfe, In the Land of the Rococo Marxists, Harpers, June 2000

All I can say is: Um...what?

David Palmeter said...

In D.C., the big election news is Virginia: the Democrats finally flipped both the State Senate and the House of Delegates and also control all five state-wide elective offices: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and both US Senate seats. After forty years of voting Republican in presidential elections--from Nixon in 1968 to Bush in 2004--it voted for Obama twice and Clinton last time. Seven of its 11 House seats are now held by Democrats. Since the Bush administration, Virginia has moved steadily from solidly Red to Purple to solidly Blue. Maybe there is a God.

Ed Barreras said...

Regarding Democrats winning “the suburbs” — I recall in 2018 reading some analysis (don’t remember where) to the effec that most Americans now live in suburban-like housing arrangements, and when we speak of Democratic strength (and T***p weakness) in “the suburbs,” what we’re really talking about are the upscale suburbs. So the parts of town where there’s a Pottery Barn, this commentator said. What was also heartening was seeing Beshear win in those eastern “coal districts” of Kentucky that used to be heavily Democratic. I am confident that Sanders could do well there too.

Dean said...

"Ramsay has faithfully recorded Hume’s physical appearance, which was described by a contemporary as: 'broad and fat, his mouth wide, and without any other expression than that of imbecility…the corpulence of his whole person was far better fitted to communicate the idea of a turtle-eating alderman than of a refined philosopher.'"

R McD said...

How can you say that about douce Davie?

Charles Pigden said...

Speaking as an amateur artist who has had a crack at Hume, I would say this. Hume is difficult to draw. He was not ugly but in fact mildly handsome underneath the fat. But the most remarkable feature of his face it its unremarkably. There are no strong lines and the lines that there are are blurred by fat. Consequently you have to achieve your effects by smudging on grey with a very soft pencil and then using a kneadable eraser to restore contours and highlights. It's hard work.

He also had a habit (especially after dinner) of staring vacantly not space which got him into trouble with Rousseau.

On Sondland. He's definitely an ugly fellow but straight-arrow Vindman is no oil-painting either. Porky and undistinguished-looking. A bit like Hume I guess.

Charles Pigden said...

PS That should have been 'unremarkability

Jim said...

Professor Wolff --

Before we get too excited about the gubernatorial Kentucky win, please read this NYT op-ed:

Now, not to be a downer, here in Philadelphia we have continued our progressive winning streak. Most significant was the win by Kendra Brooks of an At-Large City Council seat. Significant, since she is a member of the fledgling Working Families Party. Read the Philadelphia Inquirer coverage here:

-- Jim said...

I would transpose, in reference to Dean's Comment, Ramsay's rendition of Hume "as described by a contemporary", thus: "Broad and fat, his mouth wide, and without any other expression than that of imbecility...the corpulence of his whole person was far better fitted to communicate the idea of a turtle-eating alderman than that of an American President".