Hillary Falls on her Sword

She takes responsibility for Benghazi:

“I take responsibility,” she said in an interview with CNN. “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”

Well, alright then.  Make of that what you will.*

She has also spent the last week laying out the reasoning behind the recent diplomatic decisions and missions to the middle east. (Probably hoping that Obama will “get it” before the debate tonight)  I’m not surprised.  It’s her legendary third ball talking and she’s a loyal Democrat.  It’s likely that she wanted to soften the blow of Benghazi on Obama this evening at tonight’s debate since Republicans seem to be heading for that train wreck full speed.

And as Secretary of State, it is ultimately her responsibility.  There was a failure somewhere and she needs to do a Cause Map and a Kazein Event and make corrections.  It might be the case that there are others responsible as well, like Congress or Defense or Obama’s national security apparatus.  And we can’t let the Libyans off the hook here.  There are some elements in Libya who are determined to be flaming fundamentalist jerks who could very easily derail the rebuilding process.  And dealing with fundamentalists of any religion is pretty close to impossible.  They’re not rational people.  So, we can’t rule out the possibility that the film that caused so much turmoil in the middle east was a deliberate inflammatory event.  And who is responsible for THAT?

There’s no question in my mind that the Republicans were prepared to take full advantage of Benghazi as a way to peel some voters away from Obama.  By the way, I am not aware of any team membership for the PUMAs.  We only joke about having a welcome package.  As far as I know, the PUMA thing lost its mojo after the 2008 election with many of the liberal ones relegated to observer status.  We didn’t lose our minds and become birthers or Tea Partiers or Palin loving authoritarian whip kissers.  We’re just here trying to talk some sense into the rest of the party.  We gave it our best shot to try to convince them to drop Obama before it was too late.  Have you seen the polls lately??  I guess it’s possible for Obama to win this but it’s going to be a nail biter and he didn’t do himself any favors in the last debate.

There are still a lot of people out there who are pissed as hell at the Democrats for dumping Hillary and sticking them with a lightweight who only ended up making their lives more difficult and futures more uncertain.  Yep, they are not going to let the Democrats off the hook.  In retrospect, sucking up to the donors while thinking that throwing Lilly Ledbetter at the base they ditched was going to keep them down on the farm was a pretty fricking stupid idea.  It’s so stupid that it could only be dreamed up by the “culture of smartness” that has invaded Wall Street and the White House.  It’s the kind of atmosphere that assumes that if you didn’t get your degree from Princeton or Harvard, you’re instantly dumber than a box of rocks and can’t think yourself out of a paper bag.  They think they can exploit what they perceive as ignorance and asymmetric information and you’ll just go along with it because you have nowhere else to go.

That’s not a winning strategy.

See, those people the party blew off in 2008?  They still have votes.  Lots of them.  It’s simple A-R-I-T-H-M-E-T-I-C.  They call the donors the 1% for a reason.

So, Obama goes into this debate as the underdog.  Hillary is taking the fall.  Obama looks like, “Wha? We didn’t know anything about Benghazi.  That’s Hillary’s thing.  See? She even said so herself.”  Then the Republicans have to say, “How conveeeeenient for you to have such a dedicated Secretary of State.  {{flattery, flattery}}  She’s pretty strong.  What a man to step up and take the blame!”

That could be game, set, match if Obama has no decent comeback.  He’s going to have to fake some bonafide Democratic credentials to get himself out of this one.  Too bad we can’t unsee what we’ve seen in the past four years and prior debate.  Even if he manages to come up with a reasonable response, who is going to believe him?

Like I said, I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore.  I can’t stand Republicans and my former party has been aerosolized.  Occasionally, we get a sniff of something Democratic in the air from Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bill Clinton but the people in charge of the party sure don’t smell like Democrats and they don’t hang together like Democrats should with a sparkling top note, substantial drydown and long lasting sillage.

Anyway, bring on the debate!  I want to see which party praises Hillary more effusively.  It should be very revealing in so many ways.

*Sounds a bit disgusted at having to save Obama’s bacon again while she’s busily trying to keep things calm around the world.

Oh, Brother

The bro comes home.  (yeah, yeah, I know it’s Fox but in this rare case, it happens to be accurate. The footage has not been digitally retouched):

Check it out here.

Cool.

**********************************

Some of the comments I’m reading are encouraging readers to jump on the “Let’s pin the Benghazi disaster on Obama right before the election!” bandwagon.  Nah gunna do it.  Here’s why:

1.) It has been our policy here at The Confluence since 2008 to not propagate either party’s memes or propaganda.

2.) In this case, it would be disrespectful of the four embassy staff who died there to cynically use their deaths as a way to score political points.  I’d rather keep the investigation free of electoral politics.  There *is* a story there and people should be held accountable if they neglectfully or knowingly ignored warnings that put these people in danger but we must weigh this against the diplomatic mission and the current events and developing situation in Libya.  That will require a thoughtful investigation so that the State department and the CIA benefit from learning what went wrong and who spilled the beans, etc.  It will NOT benefit from a cynical election year ploy to undermine the State department and foreign policy in order to disgrace Obama.  Let him take himself down, he seems to be doing a pretty good job of it without any assistance.

3.) Hillary Clinton is a big girl.  Yes, she is.  This is her job.  Let her do it.  If she gets called to Capital Hill to testify, she can handle it.  The Republicans have inadvertently screwed themselves here.  She’s a seasoned veteran of cynical, hypocritical, politically motivated investigations.  I hope they won’t call her up before the investigation is complete but even if the House Republicans rush her, I feel confident that she will do her homework and do the best that she can.  Let’s not undermine her mojo by trying to protect her.  We overcome sexism and misogynism by taking on challenges and rising to the occasion.

4.) We let Bush get away with a lot of really nasty s%^&.  He started an unnecessary war in Iraq based on lies, he and his party drained the Treasury to reward their contractor cronies, they increased the deficit, refused to “cut and run” (it doesn’t get more cynical than THAT phrase) and the whole fiasco has destabilized part of asia and cost thousands of military servicepeople their lives and limbs.  If you weren’t upset by all that by demanding accountability from Cheney and Bush but you’re getting your knickers in a twist over Benghazi, then you have your priorities seriously messed up.  You need to do some soul searching.

The foreign policy debate is coming up between Romney and Obama and I suspect that much will be made of Benghazi.  Or not.  I think this could backfire on the Republicans because there is a way for Obama and the Democrats to go on the offensive here that might win them back a bunch of Clintonistas.  It would require Obama to fake passion about something.  And that’s the problem.  He’s not a passionate guy and he doesn’t appear to believe in much of anything so any attempt at passion will look forced.  I dunno, maybe one of the debate prep team members will slap him around and knock some sense into him.  We’ll see.  But if they’ve been paying attention, they will know what to do.  This could be the Republicans third rail if they’re not careful.

Do 3rd party votes count? Of course they do!

Green Party Candidate, Jill Stein

This post was prompted by a question that bellecat left in the last thread:

I’ve seriously thinking for months to give my vote to the Green Party-Jill Stein; after all I’m an environmentalist and for clean energy.
But I keep reading that her votes -since there’s not chance of winning, will go automatically to Obama. It’s that true? What are your thoughts?

 

Justice Party Candidate, Rocky Anderson

There may be some confusion here about the concept of “winner take all” but I’ll get to that in a moment.

I’m not sure who is spreading this misinformation but you can never rule out motivated party operatives (either party) who are paid to write it.

There’s a very good reason why this is misinformation and obviously untrue.  If it were true that a major party could just reassign third party votes to its nominee, then Al Gore would have won the presidency in 2000.  Want a more recent example?  Jon Corzine lost to Chris Christie in 2009 because some of us New Jerseyans voted for Chris Daggett, an independent candidate.  Daggett collected about 5% of the votes (and I’m convinced that those votes came from Democrats, not Republicans).  Nevertheless, Daggett’s votes counted and Christie won.  If they had not, Corzine would have been losing New Jersey’s money today, not MF Global’s.

If the party is recognized by your state and has a ballot position for its candidate, the votes that candidate gets are going to count.  It might be a different story if you are writing in a name of a politician who is from the same party as the party’s official nominee.  We noted in 2008 that this happens in some states.  That’s why Joe Lieberman ran as an Independent Democrat in 2006.  It’s because he couldn’t run against his party’s official nominee on the same party ticket.  If you were planning to write in Hillary’s name for president, that vote might be converted to a vote for the party’s official nominee in some places. So, we recommended that voters check their local and state laws to see what would happen in that case.

Now, is it possible that a third party candidate like Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson can win?  Anything is possible but it’s not probable.  Some people will think they’re throwing their votes away and if they want to be chicken shit cowards, there’s nothing you can do to stop them from going along with the crowd, voting for one of the major party candidates and they whining afterwards that there’s never any choice.  But there are good reasons why a third party vote can still make a difference and why more Americans should vote third party instead of acting like two year olds who can’t defer their desire for instant gratification.

1.) The more votes a third party gets, the greater the chances that it will be taken seriously some day in the future. This is what happened to Canada’s New Democratic Party. It came out of virtually nowhere a couple of years ago to displace the Liberals from the second spot in opposition to the Conservatives.  And the Pirate party has made a strong showing in Germany, surprising even the Pirates themselves.  So, the major parties might be dominant now but you never know what’s going to happen a couple of years from now.

2.) Once a third party is firmly established, there’s an opportunity for some of them to run for downticket offices.  The introduction of a third party of significant critical mass in Congress may help break our gridlocked government.  The parties would have to realign themselves somewhat and make deals with other party alternatives.  This is what has happened internally with the Republican party with the introduction of the Tea Party candidates.  The Republican party has found itself having to negotiate and pander to them.  What we need is a similar voting block to the left of the Democrats.  And when I say “left”, I don’t mean commie left or treehugger left.  It just has to be noticeably left of the Democrats as they are now, which is essentially a moderately conservative party.

3.) You CAN influence the current election even if your third party candidate doesn’t win.  Like I pointed out before, Al Gore and Jon Corzine both lost support when their voters turned to third parties.  If there are enough voters choosing this option, the losing party might start taking a cold hard look at what it will take to win those voters back.  Just be sure you send the right message.  If you desert the Democrats out of anger and go to the Republican side or a right of center candidate, the party analysts are going to think you want more conservative politics.  They won’t see it as righteous indignation.  You don’t have to vote for your ideological enemies in order to punish the party you align yourself with most closely.  Vote as close as you can to your ideological allies and your party will eventually buy a clue.

Now, let’s say you vote third party and the Democrat still wins the popular vote in your state.  In most states of the union, the rule to convert the popular vote to the electoral college vote is “winner take all”.  So, if Obama won most of the popular votes in your state, he would take all of the electoral college representatives.  But he wouldn’t be singling out third party votes, he’d be taking the Republican voters’ votes as well.  It must suck to be a Republican in California or New York but that’s how it works.

But what if you live in a swing state or what if the polls remain very close all the way to election day?  If you live in a state that has a third party on the ballot, your vote could count quite a bit.  Because if you siphon away enough popular votes from one of the candidates, you could throw all of the electoral college votes to his opponent.  Some people call this a spoiler.  I think it depends on what your goal is.  I’m not sure that Nader had a legitimate case in 2000 but anyone who doesn’t like the way the Democrats have gone in the past two election cycles should feel free to express their displeasure.  If the Democrats want to avoid this scenario, they had better get on the stick and start courting the potential defectors toot sweet.  I’d be worried if I were the Democrats right now.  It’s not the Republican or independent voters they have to fear.  It is their own base that might defect from them that should be a major concern.

Let your conscience be your guide.  At this point, I don’t think it matters too much who occupies the White House.  It might be an issue if one of the Supreme Court justices retires or dies but not because of Roe v Wade. It’s because the president might appoint a more Wall Street/deregulation friendly justice and at this point, either president could do that.  I’m in favor of electing more Democrats to Congress because that might be helpful.  Then again, the Democratic party tends to suck all of the flavor out of the downticket candidates so, do the best you can.

But I think whoever is telling us that third party votes will be handed over to Obama is conflating the popular vote with the electoral college vote.  Your vote WILL count. Vote strategically.

The left continues to disintegrate

Apparently, this drone issue has become pretty serious among the remaining A-list bloggers of the left.  You can get the full PUMA treatment for even suggesting that the use of drones should be discussed.  I suspect that a no-drone stance will become the new black on the left, with good reason.  At least it’s not dogmatic, although if they’re not careful, it could become a dogmatic issue.  The problem is not that drones drop bombs on innocent people.  It’s that people with unlimited, unaccountable power can drop bombs on people they do not like and, because it is not personally expensive to them, the power will be abused.  You can count on it.  Drones with lethal capacity should be banned. You can’t control power like that.  You need to destroy it before it falls into the hands of the people who, meaning to do good, can ultimately not stop themselves from exercising it for their own purposes.  In a sense, this is the same problem we’ve been dealing with since Magna Carta.  One person has too much power and can use it indiscriminately to the point that no one is safe.

But while the no-droners are getting more than a little sympathy because they have incurred the unfair wrath of the party fanatics, they themselves still think it is unserious that the current president used vote suppression tactics to win the nomination in 2008.  For some reason, that doesn’t seem to bother them, although when Republicans try to invalidate whole populations of voters in PA, lefties have a royal fit.  Throwing a fit *is* the correct response, in case there were any doubts. But it’s no different than what the party did to its voters in 2008.  Inconvenient votes were suppressed, transferred or halved so that one person would have an advantage over another.  To me, it’s just as serious an issue as the drone problem.  Maybe more so.  If you can’t vote out the guy who uses drones, you’re pretty much screwed.

Oh, sure, it all happened four years ago and what does that have to do with today?  Isn’t it obvious?  The party locked itself in with Obama.   I still don’t think the Democrats who are feeling betrayed right now understand what they’re dealing with.  Obama used WALL STREET to get the nomination.   You know, those guys who brought the entire planet to the edge of economic oblivion??  They don’t know limits.  They’re like Enron on crack, PCP and bath salts with a chaser of testosterone. Wall Street culture has permeated the party.  That’s why the partisans are so aggressive.  It’s the way they operate.  They’re smart, they’re driven and they don’t think very far ahead.  They want to win, that much is clear.  But to them, governing is not so important.  What is important is staying in charge, looking out for their own interests and politically obliterating anyone that gets in their way.

So the party faithful decided not to primary Obama this year because that sounded crazy.  Now, some Democrats regret that we didn’t primary him.  I think that just having a concerted effort on the left to discuss it seriously would have been enough to get the DNC’s attention. But at the time it was suggested to push for the only viable alternative to Obama that would have had the Obama Democrats peeing their pants, those of us who could see this day coming were called crazy.

I dunno, maybe you have to be a little bit crazy to see outside the box.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  Maybe the left should stop trying to control everything for fear of losing and do something a little crazy every now and then.

Well, whatever, the left will have plenty of time to think about going a bit mad in 2014.  Let’s make the circular firing squad brief this time, shall we?

BTW, I heard that there’s a new NBC poll that put Obama ahead by a lousy 3 points.

Against Mitt Romney.

Obama should be coasting by now.

This ain’t over yet people and Obama’s no longer historic.  He’s no longer a political cypher either. Now we know the limits of his audacity.

The Republicans are sitting on a wad of cash and they will use it in the last couple of weeks to blame Obama for everything that has happened in the last four years.  He’ll get blamed for everything he did and all of the things he didn’t do. These are not ordinary times.  Real people are hurting and they’re angry.  They voted for a Democrat and they didn’t get one.  Political junkies knew that the Republicans would be obstructive pains in the asses.  That was their plan to return to power.  But that’s no excuse for the poor performance of the past four years.  If Obama had acted like a Democrat and used the power that the voters gave him the first two years and failed, he would have a much stronger case against the Republicans this year.  But you have to at least try to do what voters expect you to do before they cut you any slack and all indications are that he did worse than nothing.  He catered to the very people who got us into this mess.

Elections hinge on motivated voters.  Do you feel motivated?

One piece of advice to the new defectors: don’t let the partisans guilt trip you.  They’re going to say that it will be all your fault if Romney wins.  That’s bullshit.  It’s the party’s responsibility to nominate a candidate that represents your values and the platform of your party. You own your vote.  If the party is playing a game of political chicken with you in order to make you feel like you’re trapped into voting for their guy, remember that their job was to court you, not to take you for granted.  You have issues that are important to you and you shouldn’t always have to sit down and shut up while the candidate goes chasing after voters with whom you have little in common.  You don’t owe him anything.  If the polls get too close, he might start sweet talking you.  And if that happens, make him work for your vote.

Yeah, it will suck if Romney and more Republicans win.  I’m planning to vote D down ticket.  But it will suck worse for the guys who highjacked the party because they will be out of power and power is more addicting than anything else.  They’re going to hate that.

Good.

Welcome new Democrats In Exile.  We’re out of our customary initiation packages.  Grab some popcorn and make yourselves comfortable.

Democrats and Sexism, perfect together

Yes, she is more presidential than he will ever be.

Ladies, remember all those articles in the past year that said, “Gosh, Hillary is pretty darn near perfect! When Obama’s 2 terms are up, she’s going to run in 2016 and THEN all of the people who think Hillary will be a fantastic president will have a chance to vote for her, just you wait and see!”

That crap was all over the place in every newspaper.  It was all about delayed gratification.  Sure, Obama is a miserable incompetent and getting stuck with him for four more years is going to suck yak testicles, they seemed to say, but just think about 2016.  Keep your eyes on 2016.  Hillary is going to run.  No, she never said she would but we pundits just know it.  So, people, give it up for Barack just one more time and then you’ll get the competent, resolute, experienced, intelligent DEMOCRAT you’ve been waiting for.

Then, on Friday, an article appeared in the New York Times which changed all that because all the people who decided to take an old cold tater and wait for Hillary simmered in their own juices in 2012 and said nothing just like they were told, expecting nothing, demanding no promises from the DNC.  Here is the title of that article in all its glory:

For Ambitious Governor, a Clinton Stands in the Way

Read it and weep.

Yes, just like in 2008, Hillary Clinton is the inconvenient woman who is standing in the way of the presidential ambitions of a younger man, Andrew Cuomo.

All that shit the party hinted at and intimated and implied and danced around to make you think that Hillary was going to run in 2016 was just a cynical ploy to get you onboard to vote for Obama now.  To me, this ranks right up there with Romney telling his donors that the 47% of Americans who pay no income taxes have the unmitigated gall to insist on eating.  Having a woman at the top of the Democratic ticket in 2012 or 2016 would only send a positive signal to OVER HALF of the population who is under siege from the religious right but who cares?  Not Democrats.

Of course, your mileage may vary but one of the reasons we are headed into this fall election with two candidates who don’t give a f^&* about working people or women is because the Democrats failed to challenge Obama with the only other person on their side of the aisle who had a prayer of beating the Republicans, Hillary Clinton.  You don’t get anything if you don’t ask for anything and the media was complicit in delaying the gratification of the desperate, the unemployed and the Clintonistas until 2016, so they asked for nothing.  See how this works?

If you don’t believe that the Democrats have absolutely no intention of EVER mentoring or promoting Hillary or likely any woman for president, read the article.  It’s full of the same sexist shit we saw in 2008.  For one thing, why aren’t we framing the headline, “For Ambitious Secretary of State, Democratic Males Continue to Obstruct”?  But wait! There’s more:

Creating frustration for his inner circle, as Mr. Cuomo considers a 2016 campaign for the White House, the eyes of his party are fixed on Mrs. Clinton, whose already sky-high stature among Democratic activists was enhanced by her husband’s crowd-pleasing speech this month at the party’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., and who can count on broad support if she decides to run.

Mrs. Clinton complicates Mr. Cuomo’s ambitions in several ways. Despite the fact that she hails from Illinois, she is now viewed as a New Yorker and commands deep loyalty from the state’s Democratic establishment. And Mr. Cuomo, 54, reveres her husband, former President Bill Clinton; he views Mr. Clinton as a mentor who helped him begin a career in politics, according to Cuomo friends and associates.

My GOD! There is a man who is frustrated!  This shall not stand!

And Hillary is complicating Cuomo’s ambitions.  Why is she doing that!?  Doesn’t she understand that he really wants to be president?

Neither she nor Mr. Cuomo has signaled any plans for the 2016 election, and the governor says he is focused on his current job. (Mrs. Clinton is not expected to stay in her cabinet post if Mr. Obama wins a second term.) But the potential collision between them is gripping the political world in New York.

“In terms of the psychodrama of politics, it does not get any better than this,” the Democrat close to Mr. Cuomo said.

While Mr. Cuomo has deep affection for Mr. Clinton and calls him for advice, his relationship with Mrs. Clinton is less personal.

What potential collision? The DNC virtually promised women and gullible Clintonistas that she was going to run.  All it needs to do is tell Andrew Cuomo is to suck it up and step aside.  How hard is that?

Ahhhh, but you see, Andrew Cuomo doesn’t have a personal relationship with Hillary Clinton, therefore, it will be OK for him to go after her personally and have his droogs tear her presidential ambitions to shreds.  It’s what Democratic males do.

What is most vexing to those who want to see Mr. Cuomo run is that Mrs. Clinton, given her popularity in the party, can take her time deciding whether to make another bid for the presidency, essentially freezing the rest of the Democratic field.

Yes, it’s altogether vexing.  Damn her.  Why doesn’t she just quit?  It’s almost as if she’s so popular because so many people have been waiting so long for her.

But here’s the best line in the article:

But others reject the notion that Mrs. Clinton poses a serious obstacle to Mr. Cuomo, saying she is enjoying a political honeymoon right now but still has many of the weaknesses that plagued her in the past, including a polarizing image.

By contrast, they say, Mr. Cuomo is a fresh face whom Democratic officials, donors and activists will naturally want to court — provided that he wins re-election in 2014, when Mrs. Clinton will most likely be out of a job in politics.

This is a not so subtle way of saying that Hillary is old.  Forget that her approval rating is stratospheric, she must still be called “polarizing”, she’s simply old news. She’ll be 68 before she’s allowed to run again.  She’ll be past her freshness date. And she’ll be running in a primary against this young whipper snapper with a penis who wants her to get the fuck out of his way.

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.  This is the way the party is going to get rid of Hillary.  They have no intention of ever putting her in the White House.  Repeat after me: The Democrats do not mentor women.  Don’t believe me?  Remember how the Democrats saddled Nancy Pelosi with Steny Hoyer instead of John Murtha, the guy she originally wanted?  Yep, before she was even out of the gate as Speaker of the House, the party guys stuck her with a minder who would simply ignore and override her. (I’ll try to find the pic where Nancy has to stand next to Steny after that announcement.  The look on her face says it all. ahh, found it.  See below. )  Nancy’s not much of a true liberal anyway, since she’s got her own clan to protect, but she’s not really in charge anyway.  Steny is.

Remember what happened to Chellie Pingree in Maine this year?  She was a Democratic representative who wanted to run for Olympia Snowe’s senate seat.  But the Democrats told Pingree they were going to support an independent candidate instead of her.  So, not only did the Democrats decide to support someone not even in their party, but they allowed a female senator’s seat to be replaced with a man.  We have a lousy 17% representation of women in Congress and Democrats have no obligation or desire to change that number.  Oh, sure, maybe Pingree couldn’t have won, but it’s not like the Democrats stood behind her and made her look like a formidable candidate.  Democrats don’t do that for their female candidates.  But they’ll do it for a first term senator Barack Obama and Andrew Cuomo, both of whom have the patience of a 2 year old.

Look at Elizabeth Warren.  The Democrats have been notably cool to her.  If she’s pulling ahead of Scott Brown now, she’s doing it pretty much on her own.  That’s because Democrats don’t back their female candidates. They have no faith in them, don’t want to have to work with them, act like they’re second best, tokens.  And they always expect them to step aside when an ambitious man wants to run for something.

You can deny it all you want but that’s the truth, people.  Democrats don’t think very highly of women.  They just don’t. And when you’re no longer fresh, you won’t get off the damn stage.  And when push comes to shove, they’re going to sell you out on everything that’s important to you: equal pay, equality in general, abortion, contraception.  They will ignore you in meetings, call you “not a team player”, say that you’re “hard to work with”, you insist on your own way.  Don’t believe me?  Go ask Christine Romer, Brooksley Born, Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren. Heck, the White House didn’t even keep Nancy Pelosi in the loop on the debt ceiling meetings in the summer of 2011.  Obama’s team wanted to do their deal through Steny and leave Nancy out of it. They didn’t even have the courtesy of keeping her updated.  If you raise your voice, attempt to exercise power, express an opinion and don’t go back home to tend the garden, they don’t want you around.

I say this as a liberal, Democrat-in-Exile, not because I want the Republicans to win. It is past time for women to seriously consider not belonging to parties that do not have a hard quota of female representation in their foundation documents, just like some European parties do that have greater female representation in government.  It’s too late in 2012 but it’s not too late for 2014.  I am sick to death of these two political parties treating us like we don’t matter to their own ambitions, like our lives are not as important, that we’ll just go along with the program.  They treat us like children, substitute their own judgement for ours and flush our votes down the drain if they’re inconvenient.  That shit’s got to stop.

Given that this is the strategy they’re going to take to sideline Hillary and everyone who has been waiting for her turn, I can’t see myself ever voting for another Democrat for president in my lifetime.  I was dubious that Hillary would even want to run in 2016, no matter how much the media pushed that meme.  I think she sees the writing on the walls.  The Democrats don’t see her as a full person with the ability to command the way they see men.  She’s also to the left of Obama and the party doesn’t want to represent working people and women anymore than Republicans do. And then there the issue of penis years.  She could be as perfect a presidential candidate as there ever was and they’d still shave points off of her because she doesn’t have a penis. Penises make you want to be president more.  If you don’t have a penis, your ambition mojo is not as strong.

And they’ll drag up the old urban legends about how her campaign was badly run.  Yes, a campaign that won CA, PA, NY, NJ, TX, OH, MA, IN, MO, FL, MI, NM, WV, KY, AR etc, etc, was poorly managed. {{rolling eyes}} Nevermind that it was Obama’s campaign that needed to have the rules changed so the party could drag his sorry ass over the finish line for the nomination, it will always be HER campaign that was mismanaged because she concentrated on big Democratic states and ignored Idaho.

So, anyway, Democrats are lying, sexist assholes.  That’s the truth.  You’ve seen the data, draw your own conclusions.

If Boromir had seized the ring…

Tolkien talks about WWII and speculates what might have happened if Boromir had seized the ring and taken it to Minas Tirith:

“The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-Dûr would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

Tolkien hated allegories but it’s hard to not apply his scenario to just about any situation where a besieged group gets its hands on an unaccountable, powerful advantage.  Once you abandon your principles in order to gain the upper hand, there’s nothing to stop you or others from allowing treachery after treachery to happen without restraint.  Someone is bound to get hurt and it’s usually the little people who have no desire for power or unlimited wealth.  The powerful hold them in contempt and scorn them for failing to be as ruthless and selfish.

Before long, the hobbit gardener would be patronizingly praised for struggling to pull weeds without pay.

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The accusations of neoliberalism have flown fast and furiously at Bill Clinton since Wednesday night when he reminded us all about what our lives *used* to be like before the Democrats seized the ring stabbed him and his wife in the back. We’ve gotten little lectures from Atrios, Thereisnospoon and Matt Stoller.  Matt seems to be having a moment of cognitive dissonance.  He clearly doesn’t love Barack Obama anymore.  But he, like the others, have completely lost the plot over Bill Clinton.  One of our commenters tried to explain it to my silly lady brains about what the neoliberalism thing is all about.  Unfortunately, he used Chile and Pinochet as an example.

Yeah, THAT Pinochet.  You know, the guy who made torture into an art form and trained dogs to rape dissidents?

Can anyone out there see Bill Clinton even coming *close* to behaving like Pinochet or entertaining ideas of being a ruthlessly cruel, powermad dictator?

Anyway, while I understand that the University of Chicago is now the new Isengard and Milton Friedman is Saruman the White (and have forbidden the kid from going there, I don’t care how many recruiting letters they send her or how close it is to Ira Glass), I think the neoliberalism thing has been blown up to ridiculous proportions and misapplied to Bill Clinton.

Furthermore, I think it is the delusional neoliberalism boogieman that has in a way contributed to the advance of the true neoliberal president, Barack Obama.  Yep, in your paranoid frenzy to avoid electing a person who was associated with the hated neoliberal William Jefferson Pinochet, you have managed to elect and promote the guy who seems to be completely devoid of any principles whatsoever.

If you crazy neoliberalphobics didn’t exist, the right would have to invent you (and for all I know, the right has invented some of you).  You have done more to help them achieve their goals than Bill Clinton ever could and they’ve been trying for 20 years to shut him up.  In four short years, your unbridled enthusiasm to nurture Barack Obama and protect the country from Hillary Clinton has resulted in the worst performance by a Democratic president in my lifetime.

I’m not actually sure that Barack Obama *is* a Democrat, to be honest.  He’s got a D by his name on the ballot but I have read Democrat after Democrat in the past few days who say that they do not feel like Democrats anymore. Whatever the party is, they feel completely alienated from it.  It is making it easier for them to feel comfortable with their third party vote this fall.  This is a party where a small group has seized control and our input is no longer required.

This is not a plea for Hillary Clinton.  I never give up on sanity returning to the party but it’s pretty clear that as long as the “neoliberalism is evil!” Democrats are vulnerable to the corrupt and authoritarian party leadership poking them when its necessary to squelch the voices of dissent, sanity will not return to the party any time soon.  Hillary’s presidential aspirations are over and were over in 2008.  She’ll move on to something else and if it turns out that she is more powerful than ever and bedevils the young, overeducated, grad student suckup guys who let their paranoia get the best of them, I can hardly wait to see it.

For the past four years, I’ve heard nothing but ridicule from these same party loyalist “neoliberalism is evil!” people who thought the PUMAs were stupid, uneducated, ugly, menopausal, working class women. And while a lot of former PUMAs let their anger take them places where Clintonistas should never go, there were a lot more of them who kept their heads down over the past four years so they wouldn’t have scorn and mockery heaped upon them.  Four years later, it is the “neoliberalism is evil!” clique and Obama faithful that look delusional and out of touch, sticking with a dying party that has gone out of its way to shed what it thinks are its losers.  Good luck to them.  No matter what happens this fall, they have managed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the right and I want no part of that.

In the meantime, the rest of us will have to put up with the “You have to vote for Obama or the bad guys will win!” crowd freaking out for the next 8 weeks.  I am not afraid of what is to come.  As long as friends stick together and work for a better way to live, we will weather the bad stuff.  The last thing I will ever do is voluntarily surrender my principles in order to satisfy the mob.

“Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. just so a Party-spokesman might have labeled departure from the misery of the Fuhrer’s or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery …. Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the “quisling” to the resistance of the patriot. (On Fairy-Stories)”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

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Take us out, Taylor:

Commence the defensive whining about Clinton

Well, that didn’t take long:

Whether or not he deserves any credit – and he certainly deserves a lot of credit for some bad things – what I think has been lost is the fact that the latter half of the Clinton years were good times. Good times in a way that that hadn’t been experienced since the late 60s or so. I don’t just mean in terms of purely quantifiable things – though the numbers there are good – it was also the case that there was a real sense of optimism. America, we’re back, bitches! It wasn’t all a horror story in the previous couple decades, but “morning in America” ads aside, there was a feeling of stagnation.

Dems have plenty of reasons to be mad at Bill Clinton, but for those wondering why there’s fondness – it’s because the economy boomed and he ultimately kicked their asses.

I was a Democrat and ran for the Board of Ed on a Democratic ticket back when Clinton was president and I don’t have any reason to be angry.  Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard all the reasons why people in Atrios’ clique think I *should* be mad at him and it’s not like I’m politically naive and don’t know what they’re talking about. Perhaps they overestimate their own self-importance and authority.  Or it just might be the case that a good chunk of the Democratic base (more than half), analyzed the data with their own set of criteria and expectations, which are no less legitimate, and came to a different conclusion.  And you’re never going to be able to convince us otherwise no matter how hard you try.  We only end up resenting the people who seem determined to rewrite history to reflect their own cultural biases.  They just frustrate our will, leave the Democratic party in a permanently broken state and make it easier for Republicans to win. I’m pretty sure that’s not what they want but they keep undermining their party with their futile attempts to make us change our minds.  It’s like they can’t evolve until they’ve stamped out every bit of good feelings we have for the Clintons.  They seem to be on a mission to delegitimize our perceptions.  I don’t think this is a good use of their time or effort.  It’s like an evangelical fundy spending 40 years trying to convert a non-believer.  At some point, it becomes disrespectful and we have to disassociate ourselves from the zealots.

Except for the Gramm- Bliley bill, which passed thru Congress with a veto proof majority, I just don’t see Clinton’s terms as a string of bad things.  Atrios’ little ditty sounds a lot like Reg and the People’s Front of Judea complaining about the Romans.

Whatever you think of Clinton, Obama can’t hold a candle to him.  Not even close. I can’t see either Clinton compromising our civil liberties or turning their backs on the unemployed or soon to be homeless for even one year compared to Obama’s four.  Clinton is a true politician and did Obama a huge favor last night that he didn’t deserve.  Some  of us don’t even recognize the Obama that Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton talked about last night.  THAT Barack Obama is a fictional character and we all know it.

I hope Clinton got something out of it, but don’t hold your breath for Hillary in 2016.  We were cheated out of that possibility by the people in Atrios’ tribe of Democrats.  And he would have to be politically naive to believe that the powers that installed Obama over our objections will ever let someone like her run unless they are defeated and scrubbed from the party.  It is my mission to deprive those people of power and that’s why I am voting third party this year.

But in any case, the proof is in the data, which Atrios readily admits to, as much as he doesn’t like it.  People like Bill Clinton because he was a good president, a masterful politician and their lives improved while he was in office.

Alas, beautiful theories destroyed by ugly facts.  Or, in this case, ugly theories destroyed by beautiful facts.

The Big Dawg’s Magic Trick: Pulling Obama’s Bacon Out of the Fire.

So, Bill Clinton, who all of the Obama fans and loyal Democrats will never forgive for 8 years of peace and prosperity, will attempt to turn us refuseniks into devoted Democratic voters.

I hope he asked for something good in return.

(It’s not going to be Hillary in 2016.  Just forget it.)

Now, Bill’s got a big problem.  He’s going to have to make the case that the Republicans are the ones who decided to make unemployment sky high going into the election.  And I don’t disagree with him.  *Except* that Obama had two years of a filibuster proof majority and the unemployed were loooooow on his priority list after saving the bankers and passing an inadequate and largely unimplemented health care insurance reform bill so he could look like a hero to other Democrats.  If he had put jobs, and I don’t mean just “manly” jobs, as his first priority, he wouldn’t need Bill to save his bacon.  (Well, that and killing the Bush tax cuts, implementing a HOLC program to save people’s houses after they are laid off, putting bankers who threaten the economy in jail, break up the biggest banks, etc.)

No, instead, all he needed to do was push for the $100 Billion that Christine Romer said would put a shitload of people back to work.  But you know, Romer was a woman and the Obama White House doesn’t really listen to women.  She also recommended a much bigger fiscal stimulus package but instead of asking for the moon and having to dial it back to a Romeresque number of $1.2 Trillion, Obama asked for much, much less than that to start and negotiated down.  Unnecessarily less.  He spent no political capital on the rest of us and much real capital on the banks.

Then he let Tim Geithner cover up what bad shape the banks were in.  If Congress had known about the LIBOR manipulations, and what serious condition the economy was in, well, we couldn’t have counted on the Republicans to lift a finger to help but we might have prevailed upon the more sensible Democrats to do the right thing (I know I’m being generous here.  Work with me.).

You know what?  Just forget it.  The dude just blew his first two years.  Totally blew them.  Unfortunately for us, they were the crucial two years.  It looks like Obama’s campaign is going to be a sentimental journey into BoBo land where if you would have only worked really hard and gone to the right schools and didn’t have unapproved sex, you wouldn’t be in the straits you’re in right now.  That utopia conveeeeeniently leaves out what happened to all of the scientists with PhDs I know who were 33 before they got their real first job after their post docs, but the Obama campaign is busting a gut trying not to mention the word ‘unemployment” or to in any way burst the merry little scenario they have built in their heads of well tended gardens in idyllic upper middle class suburbs.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, back to Bill.  Well, he’s got his work cut out for him tonight.  He’s got to get the remaining Clintonistas back in the fold.  Except the remaining Clintonistas are pissed as all hell.  Four years ago, we were dragged, kicking and screaming to vote for Mr. Caucus Fraud against our better judgement (some of us protest voted).  He wasn’t ready, had no practical experience, used misogyny against his opponent in a way that reverberated throughout the social sphere and we didn’t trust him because he was a ruthless, unethical and egotistical campaigner who took more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history up to that point.  We still don’t trust him.  Not only that but we were right about Obama.  It’s regrettable that so many Clintonistas took their ire a step too far and joined the Tea Party.  Not the smartest move but you can hardly blame them.  Obama made a point of blowing off the working class (which in this context, O Best Beloveds, means anyone not making a living off their investments).  So, bad move or not, they are no more guilty of letting their emotions cloud their judgement than the 2008 Obots were.

Some of us didn’t defect from our values.  We just left the party and became independents.  But we’re still liberal, FDR Democrats.  And Obama ain’t.  Not even close.  So, I think the best that Clinton can do is deliver a powerful, enthusiastic vision of the future, which Obama will fail to pay any attention to.  Bill’s a loyal Democrat and a mensch.  That’s what he does.

And the nation will shake it’s head and think, we could have had a V8.

Pay close attention to Bill’s words.  Without careful parsing, you could be persuaded to think he said something he actually didn’t.

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Oh, and the Democrats just f^&*ed the non-believers.  Would the Freedom From Religion Foundation care to comment?  Check out the expression on the face of the woman at minute mark 1:44.  Priceless.

Happy Labor Day to those of you who still have jobs!

Since I cut the cord, I have been blissfully unaware of all the meme pushing out there.  Lambert says there has been quite a stir on the Democratic side over the Clint Eastwood speech at the RNC.  A couple of days ago, I checked out the youtube video of it but couldn’t get past the first few minutes.  But it wasn’t because he sounded incoherent.

It was because I was so touched that Clint Eastwood remembered the unemployed that I didn’t want to see the rest of it where he might have gone completely off the rails.

Remember when Ross Perot went on and on about the deficit being the crazy aunt in the attic or wherever?    Well, he always was one sandwich short of a picnic.  Nowadays, all you hear about is the deficit.  One party is going to gouge us.  One party is going to gouge us and ask for a token sacrifice from the bonus class.

No one is talking about unemployment except everybody I know.  Because everybody I know has been laid off, got a new job, got laid off again, is about to get laid off, is retraining before they get laid off.  Layoff is inevitable.  It’s a fact of life now.

Just because an old semi-conservative Hollywood star talks about unemployment in front of a bunch of heartless, mean spirited rich people doesn’t mean that his criticism of Obama and the Democrats is incorrect.  As Karl Rove said recently, you don’t have to get personal.  The truth is the best thing the Republicans have going for them.  They might have caused the crisis to begin with but they weren’t in charge when the decision was made to ignore the unemployed so the bankers wouldn’t feel inconvenienced.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s something the Republicans would definitely do but voters never expected that kind of behavior from Democrats.

All I want to hear from the Democrats in Charlotte is how they are going to deal with Unemployment.  I don’t want to hear about the deficit or “entitlements”, i.e. those benefits we PREPAID, or any other stupid thing the bonus class would like to use to commandeer our attention.  I don’t want to hear about how this has been “played”, or the style, or the inside baseball, horseracey, competition.

Unemployment is not a competition.

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to watch crappy cable news coverage of things that are of no importance to me.  But I will be periodically perusing the videos coming out of the convention.  You’d better not let us unemployed people down because we may not have money anymore but we do have votes and there are a lot of us out here in the suburbs where four years ago you thought you had us in the bag.

Time to rewrite those speeches, Democrats.

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I hate Facebook.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.

I thought I was the only one who hated Facebook.  It’s not like I don’t want to be social. It’s just that I don’t like the interface or any of the stupid things people have to do in order to remain relevant.  I have an account but I NEVER use it except if I have to sign into the damn thing in order to get registered for a sweepstakes at my favorite design blogs.  If I had bothered to accept all the friend invitations I received since 2008, I’d look like one of the most popular people on Facebook.  We hit 58,000+ unique hits here at  The Confluence on one day in 2008.  Everybody wanted to be my friend (I don’t take this as an indication of the attractiveness of my many wonderful qualities or charisma.  As if. It’s just what people do, they “friend” you when you hit their radar).  And I’m sure that most of you are very lovely people…

But I hate Facebook.  Yep, I just hate it.  I’m right up there with George Clooney’s hatred of Facebook when he said “he would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page”.  Fortunately, I don’t have a prostate but I know the feeling.  Er, not of cold hands in my rectum.  Wait, that didn’t come out right.  Well, anyway, you know what I mean.  I don’t want to get into too many examples and extended metaphors.  Let’s just say that Facebook requires me to use my brain in ways that I find unnatural.  As a person whose former profession involved quite a bit of learning new interfaces, Facebook is non-intuitive to me and besides, why?  Just… why?  I don’t understand what is the big draw?  Don’t people get enough of my trivialities and whining here?  And I’m not interested in your trivialities and whining anymore than you’re interested in mine.  Post a blog and I’ll read it.  I want to hear your thoughts and the way you’re figuring things out in writing, your internal monologue.  That’s interesting.  That you’re eating breakfast?  Not interesting.

So, on the final day of the summer season, but not the season of summer, I’m stepping away from all the tech for awhile so I can do other stuff.  Maybe go outside, go shopping for the kid’s school supplies, see a movie, finish cleaning my basement, you know, useful things.  Don’t look for me on Facebook.

I can’t get past the suckiness

I’m trying to ‘get’ the Obama thing. Why are so many people ready to vote for a guy who seems pretty conservative to me. More like an 80s Republican than any Democrat I’ve ever known. So why do so many of my old Democratic buddies love this guy so much?  I won’t kid you — I can’t see myself voting for a Robot Drone Bomber.  But, many people do. So, I spent part of today trying to figure it out.

Frankly, I’m not getting very far.

There’s this post over at FireDogLake, Obama, The Not-So-Great Debate, Austerity and the Election. David Dayen is talking about this story over at Time —  What He Knows Now: Obama on Popularity, Partisanship and Getting Things Done in Washington (which is also discussed by Digby here)

After this, he improbably says that the election is “going to give voters a very clear choice.” There’s a discontinuity there, part of which can be absorbed by the realities of what the Romney campaign has proposed on paper – massive tax cuts, spending slashes on Medicaid and the poor that would cut to the bone. But Obama explains that his goal would be merely to cut those programs, just not all the way back that nobody could benefit from them.

My message to Democrats is the same message I’ve got to Republicans and independents, and that is, I want a balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines additional revenue, particularly from folks like me who can afford it, with prudent cuts on both the discretionary side and the mandatory side but that still allows us to make investments in the things we need to grow.

And that means I’m prepared to look at reforms in Medicaid. I’m prepared to look at smart reforms on Medicare. But there are things I won’t do, and this is part of the debate we’re having in this election. I do not think it is a good idea to set up Medicare as a voucher system in which seniors are spending up to $6,000 more out of pocket. That was the original proposal Congressman Ryan put forward. And there is still a strong impulse I think among some Republicans for that kind of approach.

I’m not going to slash Medicaid to the point where disabled kids or seniors who are in nursing homes are basically uncared for. We’re not going to violate the basic bargain that Social Security represents.

This is what passes for a great debate in American politics circa 2012. Sadder still, it IS a debate, just on a scale that leaves out the perspective of a substantial chunk, perhaps the majority, of the country.

And it’s funny because (I swear, I’m trying to figure out his appeal) then I came to this from Glenn Greenwald:

Election 2012 and the media: a vast rightwing conspiracy of stupid

Strong and rational though it may be, the temptation to ignore entirely the election year spectacle should be resisted. Despite its shallow and manipulative qualities – or, more accurately, because of them – this process has some serious repercussions for American political life.

The election process is where American politicians go to be venerated and glorified, all based on trivial personality attributes that have zero relationship to what they do with their power, but which, by design, convinces Americans that they’re blessed to be led by people with such noble and sterling character, no matter how much those political figures shaft them. (Wednesday, President Obama, during his highly-touted “Ask Me Anything” appearance on Reddit, predictably ignored the question from Mother Jones’s Nick Baumann about Obama’s killing of the American teenager Abdulrahman Awlaki, in favor of answering questions about the White House beer recipe and his favorite basketball player.)

The election process is where each political party spends hundreds of millions of dollars exploiting the same trivial personality attributes to demonize the other party’s politicians as culturally foreign, all to keep their followers in a high state of fear and thus lock-step loyalty.

So I don’t know what to think. I mean none of this is getting me any closer to voting for +8% to +20% unemployment and a Robot Drone Bomber or a Robot (HaHaHa) I mean Romney.

But, I’ll tell you this – I kind of expect crap from Republicans.  I don’t mean I accept it but, I live in Kansas and am surrounded by their logic so I expect it.  I get it. I get them.  But I never expected to live with this shit from Democrats everyday for a year or more!

Obamobedience

“So, who are you voting for?” an Obama follower asked me prior to the event.  I was holding posters with 12 friends and handing out hundreds of flyers that looked like Obama material until you read them. (PDF).

The posters objected to the tripling of weapons sales to foreign dictators last year, Obama’s willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare, the kill list, imprisonment without trial, warrantless spying, corporate trade agreements, the continued so-called “Bush” tax cuts, the war on Afghanistan, the drone wars, the increased military budget, the murder of Tariq Aziz and of Abdulrahman al Awlaki, the weak auto efficiency standards in the news that day, the refusal to prosecute torturers, Obama’s sabotaging of agreements to counter global warming, etc.

“So, who are you going to vote for?”

“Well,” I said, “you know, you can vote for someone good like Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, or you can vote for Obama, but today is not election day.  If you vote for the lesser evil candidate on election day, that’s great.  Knock yourself out.  But that does not begin to produce an argument for being his apologist and cheerleader throughout the year.  If you push the culture and the government in a better direction, both evil candidates will get a little less evil.  One guy wants to trash Social Security, and the other guy brags about his willingness to make huge compromises with that agenda — that is, to partially trash Social Security.  So, is your job to demand that not a dime be cut (regardless of how you vote), or is your job to cheer for the partially trash it guy, thereby guaranteeing that he and the other guy both get even worse?”

“Yeah, I see, but I’m trying to understand who you think we should vote for.”

“Let me try again.  Take Obama’s kill list for . . . “

“His what?”

“President Obama keeps a list of the people he wants to kill.  It was a frontpage New York Times story three months ago that made a lot of news but was carefully avoided by Democrats even more assiduously than you would have sought it out and trumpeted your outrage were the president a Republican.  Anyway, take the kill list, which includes Americans and non-Americans, adults and children.  Is it your job to ignore it, to celebrate it, or to protest it?  I don’t mean your job as a voter, but your job as a citizen.  What are you supposed to do in such a case?”

“Well what’s the alternative?”

“The alternative to murdering people?  Well, I don’t know how to put this.  The alternative is essentially not murdering people.”

“No, what’s the alternative to Obama? Isn’t the other guy worse?”

“I’m not sure I’m being very clear here.  70% of the country wants the war in Afghanistan ended.  Neither candidate is willing to end it.  Obama pretends he’s ending it.  Romney doesn’t mention it.  Should 70% of the country keep quiet while large numbers of people are killed?  Or should we approach both branches of our government, the two parties, with our just and moral demand until we’re satisfied — regardless of who we’re going to vote for?”

All bolding by me. (also referenced by Lambert in an earlier comment)

And that’s that.  I still don’t get it.

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