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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.

Obama White House Pinning the Blame on Hillary

Yep, all her fault.  According to a security person in Tripoli from the Utah National Guard, the embassy (unclear which one) asked for more security and that request was denied by the State department.  Hillary says the truth will all come out, we need to be patient.  But this is an election year and patience is not a virtue.  The Republicans want to pin the responsibility for the embassy attack in Benghazi on Obama and Obama wants to pin the responsibility on Hillary.

Interesting.  I probably wouldn’t have done it this way because I’ve read various accounts of who requested what for which embassy and who turned it down or didn’t ask for it or decided it wasn’t in their strategic long term interests.  Ambassador Chris Stevens was convinced that local Libyan security should be used when possible, if I recall correctly. It may have cost him his life in the end but from recent accounts, a few extra American military people, which is what was requested, wouldn’t have made a big difference.  The attack on the embassy was a full on assault with heavy fire and mortars. Whether the State department shares some of the blame for this disaster is something we will all find out eventually and the responsible parties will have to answer for it, including Hillary if she is at fault.  I want to hear all of the facts first.

Frankly, I would LOVE for Hillary to have to testify before Congress on the matter.  The sooner the better.  She’s not the headbanded lawyer with the missing box of billing records anymore.  Does either side really want to call Hillary to Capital Hill?  Think about that for awhile.  Let it soak in.  I’m not sure which campaign has the most to lose in that scenario but let us remember what James Carville once said of Hillary, “If Hillary gave Barack Obama one of her balls, they’d each have two.”

Craig Crawford has this to say on the matter:

President Obama’s team seems close to provoking a feud with the Clintons. The White House seems to be shifting blame to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi fiasco.

First, Vice President Joe Biden says in his debate “we” weren’t told U.S. diplomats asked for more security in Benghazi before the violence there. Then, White House press secretary Jay Carney explains that Biden meant only the White House had not been told, and in a telling remark says the matter was “handled by security professionals at the State Department.”

I can understand why Biden, who wants to run for president again, would relish a chance to undermine Hillary, who might also run again. But at a moment when Obama is relying so much on Bill Clinton for support does he really want to let this play out?

Well, considering that Obama owes his presidency to Wall Street and that the culture of smartness doesn’t do long term thinking, I think we can assume that they haven’t actually played that scenario out and are still under the impression that they can humiliate Hillary without consequences.

But don’t be surprised to find that the Republicans have sized up the situation and predicted the opposition’s likely reaction.

Get the popcorn.

VP debate tonight and stray thought from 2008

Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate between Joe “the cop between my brain and my mouth is at the donut shop” Biden and Paul “Ayn Rand is my goddess” Ryan.  We should do another live blog but since the body language thing has become chic this year, maybe we should watch and listen this time.  OR, we could turn off the visuals and just listen.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that maybe one of the reasons Barack Obama did so poorly in his first debate appearance this year is because in 2008, he was actually running against Sarah Palin.  Oh sure he was.  That’s all the general campaign was about, how much smarter and more qualified Barack Obama was compared to Sarah Palin.  John McCain hardly entered the picture at all.  I think I noticed it back then too but it didn’t occur to me that this might be why his debate performances in 2008 were not a fiasco.  He was all confident and cocky about beating Sarah, that was the real race that his campaign had set up in everyone’s mind.

Plus, he was running a game of “whack a racist”.  ANY criticism of Obama was twisted to be a racial slur.  It was quite effective.  Combined with his race against Sarah, how was a liberal supposed to effectively evaluate Obama?  Any legitimate criticism of him was muted and he was running against a woman who the left had dehumanized and characterized as the stupidest person on the planet.

This year, it’s different.  Visually, Mitt is very presidential.  He’s a big, tall man with presidential hair and an engaging vital manner.  He’s also a Republican, which in my humble opinion, is unforgivable.  But that’s not the point.  As Obama supposedly believes, debates are sideshows.  From a policy perspective, they’re meaningless.  But I think they serve a purpose that can’t be underrated.  In the modern debate, we get as close as we can to hand to hand combat between chieftains of competing clans.  It *is* physical.  That’s why it was important that Michael Dukakis looked short, that Richard Nixon sweat and that Barack Obama looked like he didn’t want to be there.

It might have also done in Hillary because at 5’7″, she had to look feisty to compete with his taller frame and longer limbs. He took up more space and with a female opponent, he strut his macho stuff and acted dismissively when she talked. It might not have been enough that she was the smartest person in the room who had done her homework and could whip up a policy in 30 seconds flat.  To the liberals and progressives who were afraid of losing again, she had to look more like Boudicca than Hermione Granger.

Boudicca, ass-kicking queen of the Britons
(bears striking resemblance to Julia Gillard)

Nevertheless, she took him on and won her debates with him to such an extent that he refused to debate her again during the primaries after she beat him in Pennsylvania. He sought out a friendlier crowd in NC the next day to lick his wounds, flip her the bird and brush the dirt off his shoulders.  It has often been said that he doesn’t like confrontation and that NC appearance showed that he was much better at acting like the mean BMOC when he was with his adoring fans than taking her on and losing to her again.

It’s been awhile since I read MoDo but I dropped into her column yesterday and she seems to have matured ever so slightly.  She’s not so flip these days, probably because her mancrush in 2008 turned out to be far worse for women that the woman she mocked for two decades.  Maybe she’s learned her lesson.  She also seems more than a little alarmed.  Oh sure, Obama will do better next time.  Someone will have figured out how he’s supposed to debate a real general campaign opponent.  But MoDo suggests it’s more serious than that:

Just as Poppy Bush didn’t try as hard as he should have because he assumed voters would reject Slick Willie, Obama lapsed into not trying because he assumed voters would reject Cayman Mitt.

The president averted his eyes as glittering opportunities passed, even when Romney sent a lob his way with a reference to his accountant.

Obama has been coddled by Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who sat next to Michelle at the debate, instead of the more politically strategic choice of local pols and their spouses. Jarrett believes that everyone must woo the prodigy who deigns to guide us, not the other way around.

At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying “what was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.

The debate was an uncomfortable window into Obama’s style in all things presidential.  What is urgent to you is not an emergency to him.  He’s smaller than we thought, less secure, confident and sure of his experience.  He doesn’t look like the alpha male commanding his clan.  He’s the guy who seeks assistance from the moderator with ingratiating comments.  That Obama doesn’t stand a chance against a real presidential candidate and not the carefully crafted illusions his campaign spun for him to do battle with four years ago.  And that is the weak prince we have had in office for four years while the barbarians knocked down the gates.

In a way, a strong showing by Joe Biden this evening might just do Obama in.

*********************************
And here’s another quote from that MoDo column that I find deeply disturbing:

Once during the 2008 campaign, reading about all the cataclysms jolting the economy and the world, Obama joked to an adviser: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

Can someone confirm whether he really said that?
Unbelievable.

Exit, Voice, loyalty and the Instance of the Fingerpost.

Were they really the same?

Last night I stumbled on a bunch of tweets between Matt Stoller and Jay Rosen.  I don’t know if you guys have been noticing this lately but it appears that the former Obama fans in the left blogosphere from 2008 have been freaking out about the tight spot they’re in.  It’s a bit of “Should I stay or should I go?  If I stay there will be trouble, if I go there will be double”.  I sympathize with them because I went through this same dilemma 4 years ago but I’ll get to that in a second.

Wnat seems to have finally tipped them past the zero point is the issue of drones.  I have a very Tolkienish attitude towards war.  It’s bad and I don’t worship it.  But I do worship the innocents who I feel responsible for, which means just about anyone trapped in war zone, under the threat of genocide or crimes against humanity (invading Iraq didn’t qualify in my humble opinion and the evidence used to get us into it was all lies anyway). And I think we have an obligation to help those people with military assistance or humanitarian aid.  That’s just me.  Your mileage may vary.

But I can say unequivocally that I do not support the use of drones, ever.  The principle is clear: drones represent a disembodied use of power with virtually no accountability or consequences to the persons who use them.  They are, therefore, easily abused.  It might start with people in Pakistan you don’t like but there is nothing to stop the drone owners from using them on other groups they don’t like.  One abuse, even 6000 miles away, is the tiny pebble that is dislodged that will bring the mountain down on you.  I’ll even go so far as to say that I think that countries that use drones should be sanctioned by the international community.  Oh, yes, I do.  It’s not so much that we have become war criminals.  It’s that we have become a threat to any free people who gets in our way, including our own citizens.   So, yeah, I’m pretty down with them about drones.

But as to whether it makes sense to exit the political process, voice your opinion or stay loyal in a political environment where it appears your vote doesn’t matter, there is only one answer that makes sense: you must speak up, even at personal risk to yourself. That might mean voting for a third party.  But given the situation we’re in and the ramping up of authoritarianism, to not speak up now while you still have a voice would be counterproductive.

However, I still don’t think the Stollers, Rosens and  Ackroyds fully understand how we got to this point and until they realize where they went wrong, they may not be able to fix their current situation because they appear to be focusing on personalities and associations and not on principles.  If this were merely a problem of Obama’s personality or competence, it would have been relatively easy to get rid of him early in the 2012 primary season.  But what we are experiencing is the aftermath of a coup where the avenues to changing the outcome have been blocked, sometimes from within the party, sometimes from the activist base that is blindly punching the wind, hoping to land a blow.

So, at the risk of being a drone about this, I want to briefly revisit the 2008 election season using the concept of the Instance of the Fingerpost.  I ran across this concept described by a philosopher of the scientific revolution, Frances Bacon, when I read the book An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.  The concept is about how you distinguish between two things of apparently equal value.  Here is a description:

When in the investigation of any nature the understanding is so balanced as to be uncertain to which of two or more natures the cause of the nature in question should be assigned on account of the frequent and ordinary concurrence of many natures, instances of the fingerpost show the union of one of the natures with the nature in question to be sure and indissoluble, of the other to be varied and separable; and thus the question is decided, and the former nature is admitted as the cause, while the latter is dismissed and rejected. Such instances afford very great light and are of high authority, the course of interpretation sometimes ending in them and being completed. Sometimes these instances of the fingerpost meet us accidentally among those already noticed, but for the most part they are new, and are expressly and designedly sought for and applied, and discovered only by earnest and active diligence.

In other words, when you are trying to ascertain the true nature of something, you need to use your powers of observation and collect as much information about the thing as you can in order to make a judgement. And when you do, you will eventually find something regarding the true nature of your subject  that is so firmly intrinsic to it that it can’t be separated from it.  That instance is what sets it apart and tells you conclusively what its true nature is.

When I first started this blog in January 2008, I was a Clintonista but I was also a party loyalist.  That is, if the candidates were truly equal and had the same policies, Democratic principles etc, but differed only in approach or priorities, I would have had no problem voting for Barack Obama.  I stated as much somewhere  early on and for the first month or so blogging here, I tried very hard to maintain that position.

But then the observables became hard to ignore and I started to assign them to one candidate or the other.  In truth, they were not the same.  They were very different on policy, political philosophy and experience.  But I was still going to vote for the eventual nominee because the candidate was a Democrat and I was a loyalist.

That changed when I found my instance of the fingerpost.  In this case, it was the fact that Obama was incapable of winning the election without the aid of the DNC manipulating the votes of MI and FL.  Instead of seeing this as proof of Obama’s strength as a campaigner, I saw it as proof of his weakness.  The best that he could hope for, even with the strange apportionment of delegates in caucus states in 2008, was a tie.  But not only did he win the nomination, the party seems to have protested way too much about the viability of their other candidate.  They didn’t just sideline her, they humiliated her at the convention, denying her delegates a chance to vote for her on the first ballot.  It wasn’t just that they didn’t want a floor fight, they didn’t even want to acknowledge that she or her voters ever existed.  It was beyond what was reasonable. It was overkill.  On top of that was the scorched earth tactic that ran over women, all women, not just the candidates themselves.  It was bold, in your face, relentless, harsh, demeaning and we have been living with the fallout ever since.

But those were only the observables of an underlying unwholesomeness that had taken over the Democratic party that I had never witnessed before in my life.   The instance of the fingerpost was that when the party rewrote its rules to favor one candidate over another, the Obama campaign did not protest.  Whether you think that the Clintonistas should just get over it or not, you can not deny what happened.  The rules were rewritten in such a way so as to nullify the votes of one candidate’s voters because they were never able to achieve the critical mass in the public eye that would have made Clinton the obvious winner early on or even a legitimate contender later in the season. That’s what happened.  The process started early in the primary season, maybe even before the primary season began, but it solidified at the Convention.  If you were a Hillary Clinton voter in 2008, you might as well have stayed home during the primary season and not bothered with the canvassing and phone banking and rallies.  Your vote was either reassigned without your consent or not counted at all.  That is election fraud, in my opinion.  The party convinced voters that their primary elections were legitimate and then it turned around and invalidated the results in state after state.

So, I had to ask myself, what would I have done if it had been Howard Dean whose voters had gotten the shaft?  Would I still be angry?  I’d have to say I’d probably still be very concerned.  Because even though I don’t like Howard Dean, probably as much as Matt Stoller doesn’t like Hillary Clinton, if I saw that his campaign was doing its best to uphold the principle of fair reflection while the other campaign wasn’t, I’d support Dean’s challenges wholeheartedly.  Elections have to at least have the appearance of fairness or they’re pointless exercises.  It is my rule to NEVER, EVER vote for a candidate who messes around with the votes or nullifies elections such as was done with MI and FL in order to come out on top.  That was the instance.  You mess with the vote count and make some votes more equal than others, well, you’ve instantly earned my distrust.  How can I ever expect a candidate who is willing to do that to every respect by opinion or grievances or anything?  I can’t.

This is not just a case of political roughness.  And it’s not like one campaign was just really clever.  It was an act of aggression of one  candidate’s supporters against the other’s.  It was more like Kingmaking, with the more ruthless, violent opponent winning using every trick in the book and pulling out wads of cash when that wasn’t working.  Now, you might say that that’s just the way things work these days but I’m not interested in right by might.  I’m interested in a democratic process.  Besides, as I have said before, you can’t expect a candidate who ran like Ghenghis Khan to govern like Gandhi.  In Khan’s world, voters don’t matter.  I want to preserve the sanctity of the vote because as citizens, it is the only thing that gives us worth.  So, when someone violates that sanctity to game the system, that’s it for me.  His nature is revealed.

I also can’t trust him to stop with mere manipulation of delegate counts.  If he can get away with that and never be held accountable, then what is going to stop him from going even further?  (Notice I haven’t said anything about ACORN or any other nonsensical right wing meme.)If he didn’t get into office with the support of more than half of the party, what makes me think he even cares what we think?  And if his own supporters didn’t stop him, then he’s already hobbled them.  They need to stay onboard and be loyal in order to not lose face and power in the party infrastructure, or they come to their senses but realize that they are now powerless.  Separated from their natural allies in the party , i.e. the losing candidate’s voters, because of anger and resentment over the injustice of it all, they find themselves powerless, fewer in number and making excuses about why they made the decision to back the wrong candidate in the first place.  That’s not winning them any friends, by the way.  Meanwhile, the candidate goes on to represent his true constituency, the people who helped him buy off the rulemakers.  He is never held accountable because his party’s base is held hostage.

So while Matt and Jay muse over the right course of action, they should step back and think about what principles they think they are defending.  Matt, in particular, seems to have a severe case of Clinton Derangment Syndrome.  I don’t know why this is.  Maybe it’s the environment he’s in, the people he hangs out with, the glue he’s sniffing.  Whatever it is, it seems to be completely unhinged from reality.  He seems pretty damn set against Hillary Clinton in a way that I am not set against someone like Howard Dean as much as I dislike him.  I think this attitude has blinded people like him from taking the only possible actions this year that would have given them a voice. But in the Democratic party election scenario, the candidates are swappable.  Who they are is unimportant.  You can take any two Democrats and pit them together.  The one who attempts to game the system through vote manipulation reveals his true nature.  That is a candidate who sees elections as mere formalities, something that can be fixed or bought. He will lead his former supporters to despair that elections don’t count anymore.  And if the party could do it in 2008 without a fuss from the rank and file, they’ll do it again in the future.  You can count on it.

We all saw it, guys.  We were aware back in February of 2008 what was going on and what the DNC hoped to achieve.  The party was bought by the 1%, their malware candidate was installed and when the crash came, as they knew it would, he allowed them to go unpunished while he muted the voices of the citizens who needed and deserved better treatment.

You can exit, or voice but to stay loyal at this point in time is definitely not acting in your best interests.  The way back to sanity is not through a new hero or heroine.  It’s the long hard slog to restore the legitimacy of elections in every state.

And now, I’m done.

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.

Sorrow and Strength

The Secretary of State’s remarks at the transfer of remains of 4 State department employees stationed in Libya:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response on religious freedom, freedom of speech and diplomacy

Note that her remarks are grounded in constitutional principles and traditional American values.

 

I share her opinion that there is something cynical and intentionally provoking about the video. I don’t think I am treading into tin foil hat territory when I say that the timing, coming right after the Democratic convention when the nomination is set, is very suspicious.  The video also highlights a particular obsession among the Fox News set- pedophilia.  That combined with negative sentiment about Islam makes it particularly volatile.  I think this puts Obama in a tight spot but it is a spot of his own making.  In the weeks leading up to the election, he has to be careful not to alienate the religious voters that he has taken pains to court recently, going so far as to override the sentiments of half of the delegates at the convention when religion was reinserted into the platform.  He also has to be careful not to undermine his own foreign policy.  It will only give speculators an excuse to increase gas prices and unnecessarily destabilize an already unstable situation in the middle east. In a way, having Hillary there to deliver this message and take the blow is good for him.  Another Clinton helps Obama out, with little thanks, I’m betting.

I wouldn’t put the blame on the Republicans without proof that they were up to something.  But given their willingness to blow up the financial markets last year over the debt ceiling, I can’t rule out such a reckless move in order to discredit Obama.

Never underestimate the Republicans.  They play to win.  And despite what the loyal Democrats might think, Obama is especially vulnerable.

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

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

Take us out, Taylor:

Recap

You could have had a V8.

Update: I don’t agree with Digby’s latest post that it’s all the Republicans fault that we’re stuck at 8.2% unemployment.  Yes, all of the things she lists the Republicans definitely did.  They’re bastards and they have a vested interest in seeing that Obama is a one term president.

The problem with her argument is that in the first two years of the crisis, it was Democrats who had the power to ram through any damn thing they wanted to.  They could have played hardball and stuck together and presented a united front.  I’m even betting that Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman could have been leaned on to get their asses into line.  But there was no political push to do this.  It was an emergency and yet, the incoming Obama administration had no plans when it came into office.  It didn’t do its homework.  There has been plenty of evidence that Obama and Geithner totally blew it in the first two years and that’s why we’re stuck.

But the worst thing is that they seem to have just thrown up their hands and are are like, “Well, what do you want us to do about it now??  This shit is getting old.”  Let me just remind you that this is the same campaign tactic that Jon Corzine took and it didn’t work for him.

Let’s face it, the Democrats did this to the country when they decided to put a complete novice, bought by Wall Street, who had almost no legislative experience, in charge of the most important nation in the world in the midst of the worst economic downturn in 80 years.  There is no getting around it.  Obama’s lack of legislative progress reminds me of JFK’s and that was primarily self-inflicted because the Kennedy crew refused to use LBJ to muscle arm people into line.

Obama wasn’t dealing with a 100% hostile Congress in 2009.  He had almost a mandate and he could have used his political capital at that time to demand just about anything.  Instead, he spent an awful lot of time preening for the camera during the first two years and I know this because his face was on TV in the company cafeteria every fricking day during lunch.

I don’t know what is wrong with this batch of Democrats but I don’t trust them.  They’re too friendly to bankers, too dismissive of working people and they don’t do their homework.  Obama and his crew did not come to Washington with a plan to save homeowners and preserve jobs.  They just didn’t, Digby.  There is no evidence that they even made those items a priority and plenty of evidence that they bent over backwards to save the financiers from the consequences of their bad behavior.  You can blame the other side all you want but the lack of plans is very telling and you can’t blame that on Republicans.  No one should get blamed for the lack of planning but Obama and the Democrats.  They let us all down and this particular batch does not deserve four more years.

As long as the Democrats refuse to change their lineup, that leaves us with Mitt, who we also don’t want.  I’d like to think there was a difference between the parties but I’m looking at a party of almost criminal incompetence vs a party of insanity.  As far as choices go, this is as bad as it gets.  We can’t do anything to change the crazy Republicans and as long as Obama is on the ticket, we will have to expect more of the same lassitude for four more years.  It is only by changing out the top of the ticket do we push the election into a new energy state and have a hint of a possibility of recapturing a mandate.  At this point, working people on both sides need something to look forward to.  There’s only one person who could potentially pull this off.

Otherwise, we continue on in our lost decade, the rich get stronger, the voters continue to be disenfranchised and any hope that we will regain our footing will be lost for a long, long time.

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

Let’s recap where we are leading up to this election, shall we:

The economy added a lousy 80,000 jobs last month.  The unemployment rate is stubbornly stuck at 8.2%.  Expect the assholes who are sitting on the money to stay sat until they get what they want, whatever that is.  In Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, he describes a proposal by Christina Romer, chairwoman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, that $100 billion would go a long way to putting many unemployed people back to work.  There were still Democratic majorities in Congress at the time. Obama passed on it.

Frankly, I’m finding this election to be really boring.  I don’t care how many frogs Mitt Romney blew up when he was a child or that Ann likes dressage.  I. Don’t. Care. Please don’t waste my time telling me how awful Republicans are, as if I didn’t already know.

Tell me why the Democrats aren’t just as awful from the standpoint of the unemployed.  You know what?  You can’t.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is on a marathon trip around the world putting out multiple fires, likely without much help from the National Security advisors who seem to like putting her in tight spots and then hanging her our to dry all by herself on the world stage.  Nice way to support the State department.  Way to go, Obama administration. Oh, and we haven’t gone to war with Iran yet, which all of the anti-Hillary Democrats were *convinced* she was going to do.

So, you know, there’s that.

Plus more people are losing their homes, yada-yada-yada…

There’s still time.  If the impending catastrophe in November is starting to look like the end of the world as we know it, and more voter suppression and internet censorship will surely follow, NOW would be the time to register your concern with your local Democratic party apparatus.

It ain’t over until the balloons drop in Charlotte.

Trust me, Democrats, you do not want to bore your voters.  And right now, there are a lot of us out here who are less likely to vote for your candidate with each new revelation about his administration.  The peer pressure tactics may not work nearly as well this year.  What makes me furious with the Democratic party is their insistence on ignoring voters and acting all parental about what candidates we are allowed to choose from.  Then comes the pressure tactics where you’re made to feel guilty if you don’t choose one of these horrible people.  You know, f^*( that sh^&.  It’s not up to me to make this right for the Democrats.  It’s up to the Democrats to make this right for me.  I’m sick of voting for the lesser evil, especially because I can’t tell anymore who that person is.  Don’t roll your eyes at me.  It’s not obvious to those of us who are losing our standards of living, watching Obama stand by while Rome burns.  He doesn’t take any pains to disguise his ennui for people losing their houses and everything else they worked so hard for.  And his crowd suppression tactics of the Occupy movement tells me all I need to know about whether he intends to do anything about our grievances.

So, shove it, D’s.  Get him the f&(* out of there or YOU will be responsible for what happens next.  The authoritarian strain is strong in this one and I refuse to participate in the destruction of the Democratic party any longer.

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Here is the current Obama attitude as interpreted by Lilly Von Shtupp:

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