Author: Bonnie Honig

In the streets a serenade

In the streets a serenade Bonnie Honig Emergencies like the current public health crisis can be occasions to retrench democracy or deepen it. Which will it be? In England, local elections are being deferred for a year as part of a more general crowd avoidance strategy designed to limit the spread of the new coronavirus (https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-51876269). England’s electoral commission recommended deferring the local elections until autumn but the government has opted for a delay of one year instead, for reasons that are “not clear,” an MP said. For the moment, however, West End theater performances have not been cancelled...

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Breathing Room: Dingell v Trump

Breathing Room: Dingell v. Trump Bonnie Honig   Watching Trump in Michigan this week talking about Debbie and John Dingell, I was struck by how he spoke the words as well as by what he said. Commentators noted the offenses against Dingell, the universally liked, longest serving Congressman from Michigan, who is recently deceased and unable therefore to respond to the suggestion he may be in Hell not Heaven right now. But the real target of Trump’s ire was not the man but his widow, Debbie Dingell, who at that moment was in Washington D.C. voting for his impeachment....

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MUELLER, THEY WROTE

MUELLER, THEY WROTE  BONNIE HONIG     Commenting on the Mueller testimony yesterday, James Poniewozik, of the New York Times, noted the difficulty of adapting big books for the small screen. “Asked to Put On a Show, Mueller Wishes You’d Read the Book,” was his witty headline. But the headline was misleading. What happened yesterday was more like an episode of live reality TV.   The thing about live reality TV is it doesn’t always go the way you expect. Regular TV programming, reality TV included, is scripted and edited. Only on live television might something actually happen. Janet Jackson’s...

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Renovating the House (and Senate…)

One thing that sent Christine Blasey Ford to therapy in 2012 was a marital disagreement about a house renovation. Such renovations create the kind of dramatic conflict that can really test a marriage: this is the trite premise of all those house design shows on HGTV. But the story Blasey Ford told was anything but trite. Against the advice of an architect, and against the wishes of her husband, she was insisting that their renovation plans feature two front doors. Two front doors? The architect and the husband objected. So off to therapy she and her husband went. It was there...

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Fortuna in Finland

Political theorists and other readers of the classics will recognize the advice, to use torture, do the “unthinkable,” and to “Be rougher and you’ll see a different relationship;” all of it said by Donald Trump in interviews stretching from the 1990’s to the 2016 campaign and then, most recently, in Europe at the NATO meeting. It strikingly echoes Machiavelli’s counsel in The Prince regarding how best to deal with Fortuna, Machiavelli’s term for the lucky break or random chance event that makes or breaks a man of action. Machiavelli personifies Fortuna, the prince’s frenemy, as a woman and he...

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