Political Animal


October 05, 2012 5:01 PM Quote of the Day: The Avignon Presidency

By Ed Kilgore

Sometimes a writer comes up with a sentence that summarizes the broader meaning of the day’s news so well there’s not much you can add. Here’s Dave Weigel:

The way things are going, if the GOP doesn’t win this election, I’d say there’s a 20% chance of a congressional investigation into vote fraud and a 5% chance of an Avignon Presidency set up by those who refuse to believe the election was lost.

I’d say the first percentage is way too low, and with a few more days like this one, the second may be too low as well.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Josef K on October 05, 2012 5:26 PM:

    This has been in the back of my mind for awhile, but always seems a bit beyond the pale.

    But then again, so much of the 'new normal' seemed the same way a few years ago.

  • ComradeAnon on October 05, 2012 5:27 PM:

    And thanks to the National Enquirer network, Koch and the Elvis is alive believers, there will be a willing, and probably heavily armed, posse lookin' fer trouble.

  • exlibra on October 05, 2012 5:39 PM:

    "Avignon Presidency"? With Rick Santorum at the head (since Mitt's the wrong religion)? Can't say I'd mind, provided Santorum actually moved to Avignon. And took all the SCOTUS RATS (Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia) with him. I'd even throw in Kennedy, just so that there'd be an odd number of justices, in case of a disagreement.

  • SadOldVet on October 05, 2012 5:46 PM:

    Typical and expected...

    If Drudge reports it, the repukes will investigate it.

    If a repuke admits to criminal activity (ie Cheney), the dumbocraps will look the other way.

  • millekat on October 05, 2012 6:11 PM:

    I could swear the term "Avignon Presidency" was already invented and used by Charles Pierce in relation to Dubya.

  • kevmo on October 05, 2012 6:14 PM:

    "Avignon" might be an apt analogy in more ways than one. The Papacy in Avignon was firmly under the control of nefarious outside influences. In the original instance, it was the French monarchy. In modern days, it might be the big-money funders of the Super-PAC's: Koch Bros et al.

    If the Dems didn't push for such an extreme measure after 2000 - when they arguably had a pretty damned good case for it - it would be hard for the GOP to do it this time, though.

  • Anonymous on October 05, 2012 6:24 PM:

    Joseph K,
    "...beyond the pale..."

    Hell, if the Republicans keep control of the House, they'll begin impeachment proceedings as soon as their hands are off the Bible on Inauguration Day.

    What for?
    They don't give a sh*t!

    Did you know that the President has 2 black daughters?

    And that the woman he sleeps with in the "WHITE" House, is black?

    And that he killed some Muslim in Pakistan!

    That makes what Clinton did with Monica seem like Charlie Sheen copping a feel with a starlet after snorting an 8-ball, drinking a bottle of tequila, and downing all of that with a case of IMPORTED beer!

  • tom on October 05, 2012 6:27 PM:

    But what happens if the GOP wins and there is strong evidence of voter suppression that threw the election? The uncomfortable fact is that there is no mechanism for adjudicating a possibly illegitimate election -- and since 2000, the Supreme Court is part of the problem and not the solution. We are one very close election away from a constitutional crisis.

  • g on October 05, 2012 6:50 PM:

    So let me see if I can understand the way the Right is thinking here:

    It's totally loony, moonbat-style conspiracy to think that because a video shows Mitt Romney slipping a piece of paper out of his pocket on the lectern at the debates, he might have cheated.

    But the idea that the Obama administration can cook the books of the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics by.5% just to give the President a bump in the polls is perfectly plausible.

    These people are insane.

  • TCinLA on October 05, 2012 7:05 PM:

    Forget an "Avignon Presidency," I've been expecting 1860 again if they lose this election. This time, let 'em go and then we can nuke 'em as the terrorist-supporting religious fundamentalist failed state they are. I'll be even the crew of the USS Colorado will take those orders.

  • RaflW on October 05, 2012 7:32 PM:

    Can the current House vote up articles of impeachment as a lame duck? I bet the can. I'd put those odds higher than 5% if Obama wins, more like 20% if somehow Obama wins and the next Congress likely to have Nancy P as speaker.

  • jjm on October 05, 2012 8:03 PM:

    They really have hung themselves way out there, haven't they, these haters of Obama? They do have followers, unfortunately. Today in a more or less upper middle class restaurant in a generally Democratic upper middle class town (yes we Californians have them) we overheard one lady tell another that the only reason Obama was elected the first time is because he's black, but that won't happen again because he just isn't bright enough to pull it off.

    Mouthing John Sununu. But hey! Sununu must be right because he's white (sort of...born in Cuba of Palestinian parents...)

    I have some hope that if this not too bright Obama wins a second term people like the restaurant lady above might have to reconsider. If not...

    One more thing. From the moment Obama was elected I recall pundits who were supportive of him nonetheless telling him every day, "What Obama needs to do now is..." Lends unwitting support to the people who think he's incompetent.

  • Sparko on October 05, 2012 10:51 PM:

    There is real danger I think in taking the most violent nuts lightly. As the majority has slipped away from them forever, acts of desperation are highly likely. They don't believe in Caucasian terrorists; but look at yahoo or huffpo or any sites frequented by Rove's excited idiots and you see a dark form of intimidation far beyond poll watching under the surface. They have stirred up a generation of new McVeighs I fear. Just because they cry "FEMA Camps!" doesn't mean we have to ignore treason and terror. Those billboards out there are not designed by pacifists.

  • Thomas De Cive on October 06, 2012 11:47 AM:

    Slandering people who are legitimately questioning this BLS report is going to backfire on you...."progressives".
    Even people on your side of the fence have scratched their heads about the anomalous data from the Household Survey....are they "truthers" too?

    Joe Nocera from the NYTimes slammed Republicans BUT let it slip that something was odd about the data.
    Typical of FASCISTS the world over, questioning the establishment is forbidden and must be delegitimized or punished......aint that right, progs.

    Op-Ed Columnist
    Jobs Report: Cooked or Correct?
    Published: October 5, 2012

    "Hence, Point No. 2: there is, indeed, something a little strange about the way the country derives its employment statistics. It turns out that the statistics the bureau releases each month are generated by two different reports. One, called the establishment report, is a survey of businesses. That’s where the 114,000 additional jobs comes from.

    The second is a survey of 55,000 households, where people are asked about their employment status. Extrapolating from the survey, the bureau concluded that an additional 873,000 people had found work in September. It is that number that brought the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.

    When I asked a bureau spokeswoman why there was such divergence between the two numbers, she said she had no idea. “The reports are totally separate,” she said."


  • charles pierce on October 06, 2012 12:54 PM:

    Somebody up top was kind enough to remember.
    Thank you.