Trump and Tomasky: Where Liberalism and Conservatism Meet

Donald Trump in last night’s debate:

And we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They’ll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.

Michael Tomasky, liberal columnist for The Daily Beast and editor of the liberal journal Democracy, in December, after the San Bernadino killings:

…the rights you [Muslims] have as Americans have to be earned, fought for….If anything Obama should have been more emphatic about this. He should now go around to Muslim communities in Detroit and Chicago and the Bay Area and upstate New York and give a speech that tells them: If you want to be treated with less suspicion, then you have to make that happen.




  1. John K. Wilson October 10, 2016 at 9:32 am | #

    Actually Tomasky’s comments were much worse, because he ought to know what “rights” are and yet he still thinks they need to be “earned” (if you’re a Muslim). Trump’s assertion that Muslims “have to” report “hatred” is among the most mild things he’s said (as I note in my book “Trump Unveiled,” there’s much much worse).

  2. Foppe October 10, 2016 at 9:53 am | #

    Meritocracy in another of its many guises. Social darwinists all, they just use different measures — one power/money, the other education/money. Wish more liberals would wake themselves up to this, by at the very least reading Tom Frank’s Listen, Liberal, which in some ways could be considered a companion volume to your The Reactionary Mind

  3. Hal Ginsberg October 10, 2016 at 9:57 am | #

    “Liberals” like Tomasky, Jonathan Chait, Peter Beinart, and many others aren’t liberal at all. They consistently elevate what they perceive to be American foreign policy interests above the well-being and even lives of millions in other nations. When it comes to transparently self-serving statements by political and intellectual elites, they are remarkably credulous. Finally, in the face of persistent errors that result from their biases they show no willingness to reconsider their basic ideology. In honor of true liberals like John Locke, Thomas Paine, J.S. Mill, FDR, and Dr. Martin Luther King, we must lexicographically evict the current crop of faux-progressives from the liberal fold.

    • good2go October 10, 2016 at 2:31 pm | #

      Amen. Tomasky can have some good ideas and good thinking, but he also has a tendency to fall flat on his face. He’s a poor example of the liberalism Robin refers to.

      • halginsberg1963 October 11, 2016 at 11:04 pm | #

        lib·er·al·ism (lĭb′ər-ə-lĭz′əm, lĭb′rə-)
        1. The state or quality of being liberal.
        a. A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.

  4. xenon2 October 10, 2016 at 10:21 am | #

    This asking Muslims to report other Muslims is wrong.It may have its origins in a CIA study of every school, bakery, mosque, etc. in within 50 miles of nyc. I have it somewhere on this computer.It took years and included images, descriptions, meetings—it even included nj where they didn’t tell Mr.Terrorism himself,
    Christie, about the study.Students were appalled that their conversations were bugged.Not a single tip came from this study. Read about it here if you trust the nyt.

    I was happy he said that Assad and Russia are only ones fighting IS and that he disagrees with his own VP-candidate.

    Since I don’t believe there are any such a thing as ‘moderate rebels’—it exists only as an oxymoron.Gen.Austin testified before congress ‘only 4 or 5’ have been trained.This at a cost of $500M.
    Let’s say it was 5 soldiers. Does that it mean it cost $100M to train one soldier? I’m not good at math.

    Mike Pence than tweeted ‘great debate’ when it was over.

    The US is trying to topple yet another government.
    Good for MIC?

  5. Roquentin October 10, 2016 at 10:35 am | #

    Trump has become little more than a scapegoat. The more I understand this, the more annoyed I become with mainstream liberalism. They are using him as an excuse for the rest of us to not have to change, a chance to make people believe that if we got rid of Trump everything would be peachy keen.

    Maybe it’s the fact I got dinner with a Moroccan friend from college over the weekend. He’s an atheist now and has vaguely libertarian politics. Listening to him, it became instantly clear what complete and utter bullshit this line that “vote Hillary or you don’t care about Muslims” was. He considered the whole election to be a sham, a staged production, and rightfully so. It was in that moment I realized most of this knighting on behalf of Muslims or Arabs was done by Quixotic white people.

    I made it through about an hour of this debate before turning it off. I mostly kept thinking “It’s a shame Trump is so deplorable as a person and such a lousy politician. A more skilled public speaker really could have taken Hillary to the cleaners.” So much for that.

    • Will G-R October 10, 2016 at 11:05 am | #
      • Roquentin October 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm | #

        Indeed. One of the worst products of this election has been how it has enabled a level of self-congratulatory nonsense out of liberals that I’ve never seen before in my lifetime. I don’t know if the media has changed or I have, but it was never this obvious to me before. So many people I know and respect are just repeating the cant the major media outlets are pushing and being absolutely uncritical about it. Since Trump is so disgusting it makes it easy, but if I’m really honest I think the lack of self-awareness bothers me more at this point. The propaganda of this election has been fascinating, if nothing else.

        Well, maybe a lot of them are aware, but they’re just using mocking Trump to repress it. The reality of this election would be too awful and depression otherwise. It’s better to make a few wise cracks about “grabbing them by the pussy,” have a drink, and go to bed.

      • xenon2 October 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm | #


        I will tweet it.

      • s. wallerstein October 10, 2016 at 3:22 pm | #

        Great Zizek article. Thanks for the link.

  6. Hangaku Gozen October 11, 2016 at 1:14 am | #

    Some years into the post-9/11 period, I observed that Muslim Americans were being treated much like Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor: they’re constantly being forced to submit to tests to prove their patriotism or at least their support for their country; yet, no matter how far they go to show their “Americaness”—joining the military, acting as interpreters for US intelligence, voluntarily submitting to physical and documentary searches, obeying even the most arbitrary enforcement of laws—they remain under surveillance, subject to physical and verbal assault on the street and at work and school, and especially by the popular media. That Muslim Americans have not been subjected to being rounded up and placed in internment camps—yet (who knows what will happen if there is a Trump victory in November)—is not an attribute to Americans being more enlightened today, but rather, to the campaign by Japanese American survivors of the camps for reparations and wider education about the mostly hidden history of what happened to them. I should add I still get quizzed by “curious” non-Asians about how I “feel” about Pearl Harbor, or the Bataan death march, or the Rape of Nanking, even though I was born in the US and have never been to Japan. Many of these supposedly “well meaning” people regard themselves as liberal, and wax indignant when, tired to death of this line of questioning, I tell them it’s racist.

    It’s even more amazing to me that supposedly well-read academics and pundits repeat the same worn, ugly arguments. I suppose I shouldn’t be, given that supposed liberal minds like FDR, Earl Warren and other New Deal politicians, and Walter Lippman were more than happy to support the internment of US citizen of Japanese heritage for no better reason than that they were potentially a “Fifth Column” for the Japanese Imperial Army.

  7. mistah charley, ph.d. October 11, 2016 at 11:00 am | #

    i’m a leftist and a progressive, with the credit card receipts for donations to bernie to prove it

    nevertheless, upon reading trump’s claim that ” in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people” – i find myself wondering – is this true? how would one know this? what if it is true, at least to some degree?

  8. b. October 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm | #

    “They consistently elevate what they perceive to be American foreign policy interests above the well-being and even lives of millions in other nations.”

    There is the rotten heart of this election cycle, in my view. The contemporary “unitarred” POTUS has very little leverage left, domestically, and the selection process that winnows the candidates through money ensures that even in times where control of Congress is temporarily “friendly” to the President’s agenda, the agenda is simply a perpetuation of the same dysfunctional pathways of profit extraction out of federal revenue.

    The one area in which an elected President has free reign – unconstitutionally so – is what passes as “foreign policy” (that is, profit extraction facilitated by means of arms export, arms procurement and use of arms, both directly in war profiteering, and indirectly in supporting commercial “interests”). POTUS might not rule the house anymore, but out on the fields of the globalized plantation, the whip is still the only law.

    • b. October 11, 2016 at 12:04 pm | #

      In our discourse, it is not just “foreign policy interests”, but – unless seen in terms of occupation – “domestic” interests that are taking precedence over the well-being and even lives of non-citizens. The one area in which a President Clinton could reasonably expect to pursue, supported and unsupported by any realistically described Congress, “her own agenda” is safely beyond the borders. As Clinton’s record in Haiti and Libya – as well as her positions on Iraq and Syria – illustrate quite well, such agenda might also come with a substantial body count could be quite substantial. It is not said in polite society, but in a confrontation with Russia or China, even the blowback might not stay abroad.

      But from published opinion down to the individual voter, the potential risks are dismissed – it can’t happen here – and the damage “collateral” is considered “acceptably evil”. Bush was elected following his crimes in Iraq, it maybe should not be a surprise to me that “evil” is not considered unacceptable by definition, by a majority of the voters.

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