Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The Way of the Doofus Warrior

Yesterday we looked at how a doofus and blowhard, awash in derp, can nonetheless have a tactical genius that allows him to defeat all enemies again and again. I focused on an analogy I'm familiar with: increased mobility as a key to victory for Northern Civil War generals. But something funny happened in response to this post. Over almost 15 years of doing this, all of my best ideas and insights and certainly most of our best news tips have come from email exchanges with readers. But in all that time I'm not sure a post has struck the same chord - and a quite specific and technical one at that - with so many readers at once. A number of readers wrote in and said they agreed with the Sherman analogy but that a much tighter conceptual framework comes from a highly influential American military theorist who died almost 20 years ago, Colonel John Richard Boyd.

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The William T. Sherman Of Crazy

As some of you know, I've long been fascinated by the innovation of more mobile forms of warfare during the American Civil War. Out in the West, Grant and Sherman began streamlining and eventually even abandoning conventional supply lines to allow themselves figuratively and in some cases almost literally to run circles around their enemies. The Civil War fielded huge armies which needed constant replenishment of vast amounts of stuff - food, clothes, weapons, ammunition and more - which in turn required well organized supply lines, all of which limited mobility. More mobility is better than less of course. But in warfare, increased mobility reaches a point where it ceases to be an incremental or quantitative advantage and becomes a qualitative and transformational difference.

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What's Left To Say About Katrina?

I'm overwhelmed by the Katrina 10th anniversary coverage: from Wright Thompson's 25,000-word epic for ESPN the Magazine to Michael Brown's self-serving "stop blaming me" plea in Politico Magazine, from the New York Times' sweeping multimedia package to this transparent attempt at George W. Bush rehabilitation on FoxNews.com.

But if you're going to read one thing about the flood, its aftermath, and the anniversary, it's this piece by my old friend Cheryl Wagner that we just posted. It's quiet, local, personal, emotional, true, and funny.

Lord Trump

Here's the trend lines of Google searches for Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and Barack Obama over the last 90 days. It's a decent measure of the effect on the GOP race and the effect on the GOP brand outside the angry white person community of Trump's entry into the race. Graph after the jump.

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Not Happening

Ed Kilgore is so not buying the draft Biden "movement":

The more you look at the Biden bandwagon, it looks more like a ghost ship being pulled through the mist by a combination of hungry political reporters, Hillary haters (including most of the conservative media), and Delaware-based Friends of Joe who, of course, would love to see him run.

Read Ed.

'Dog Whistle Politics At Its Finest'

Nothing about the Trump blitzkrieg so far suggests that his public diminution of Jorge Ramos is going to be an overstep in the nakedest political sense. In truth it's not clear what line he would have to cross to alienate the mass of aggrieved supporters egging him to to stick it to the women and minorities with abandon. (Amanda Marcotte writes at TPMCafe, "If he went beyond just saying nasty things and honked someone’s boob in public, that might be a step too far." But I'm not sure, honestly, that that would be the last straw either.)

But whether it hurts Trump narrowly in the short term is very different from the accumulating damage he is doing to the GOP among Hispanics. We talked with Hispanic political types to get a read on the Ramos fallout and on the broader reaction to the Trump candidacy.

“When Jorge Ramos was being escorted out of the room for demanding for his rights, it was is as if every other Latino American was being escorted out of the room for demanding for their rights,” one Latino GOP consultant told us.

More here.

'Everybody Likes Me'

Donald Trump explains why he's getting support from white supremacists like David Duke: "People like me across the board. Everybody likes me."

LiveWire