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

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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.

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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:

Garry Wills writes flawed argument against Unger’s proposal

Pulitzer Prize winning author Garry Wills wrote a rebuttal of sorts to Roberto Unger’s proposal that Obama must be defeated in the 2012 election.

I’m disappointed that this is the best that Wills could do.  You tend to expect more from Pulitzer Prize winning authors but what can you do?  I once heard E. J. Corey give a seminar at one of my former (and now shuttered and mothballed) work sites and have come to understand that Nobel prize winning chemistry and engaging speaking skills do not always co-express.  Still, I expected Wills to try harder.  I’m not a winner of any prizes but I can shoot cannonballs through this post.

For exmple, take this paragraph early on:

I freely admit that Unger’s principles are better than Obama’s, that next to him Obama’s credentials as a progressive are muddied and blunted. If I had to choose between them as men of probity, I would prefer Unger as quick as the eye can blink. But in politics we never choose men of much probity. One of the recurring comedies of American politics is the rapture with which people elect a shining prince, and then collapse into self-pitying cries of betrayal when the shine comes off once the candidate is in office. A refrain of dismay runs the fairy tale in reverse: “We elected a prince and he turned into a frog.”

As we have been reminding Democrats for the past 4 years, the elected delegate count at the convention was much closer than the media let on.  Obama was not nominated by a landslide of overwhelming proportions.  He got through on a squeaker in elected delegates.  The number that separated them was less than 100 and may have been as few as 17.  Four of those delegates were taken from Hillary’s total in Michigan and the rest were unassigned delegates in Michigan that were given to Obama even though he wasn’t on the ballot.  To cinch the nomination, his campaign paid the superdelegates and their state campaign committees handsomely with finance industry largesse. Given the numbers, Clinton was more than justified in demanding a floor fight but with the media narrative so carefully constructed against her, she would have looked like an usurper. So, Wills is wrong here.  More than half of the party did not fall for a shining prince, whether Wills liked their choice or not (I suspect not.  Guys of Wills’ ilk were unabashed and uncritical Obama supporters, we have observed.).

Believe it or not, some of us voters evaluated the candidates carefully and selected someone who ran on issues, not her personal saga of self-actualization.  And we didn’t expect the new president to solve all of the world’s problems all at once.  We expected the new president to govern like a Democrat.

Not too much to ask of a candidate who ran on the Democratic party ticket.

Moving on.  Next he tells us why we should vote for the party, not the man (or presumably the woman):

That is why one should always vote on the party, instead of the candidate. The party has some continuity of commitment, no matter how compromised. What you are really voting for is the party’s constituency. That will determine priorities when it comes to appointments, legislative pressure, and things like nominating Supreme Court justices.

So, what is Wills saying here?  Is he acknowledging that Obama was some kind of decoy and not really a Democrat?  After his election, doesn’t the president informally become the head of his party?  Assuming that the party will take care of things, what is the role of the president at this point?  Conversely, if it is expected that he will craft policy that is in line with his party’s values, what are we to make of the four year spectacle when he has clearly NOT done this?  I’d be more than willing to let Obama off the hook for acting like a moderate Republican for the past four years if he’s not really expected to be the head of the party in a public sense but that leaves me wondering, who is running the show in the Democratic party?

Wills tries to define what’s in it for voters:

To vote for a Democrat means, now, to vote for the party’s influential members—for unions (including public unions of teachers, firemen, and policemen), for black and Latino minorities, for independent women. These will none of them get their way, exactly; but they will get more of a hearing and attention—“pandering,” if you want to call it that—than they would get in a Republican administration.

Ahhh, yes, do you mean the public unions that Obama tweeted good luck to in last week’s Wisconsin recall vote?  That worked out well.  What Wills is suggesting here is that the Democratic party become the insincere party of “special interests” instead of a party of vision of how the working and middle classes prosper in this brave new world.  A Democratic voter might reasonably expect the head of his party to aggressively defend the values of the party but Obama does not really display a passion for that kind of thing.

Wait.  This is satire…right?

Then he goes on to tell us how Romney represents the plutocrats, yada-yada-yada.  And Obama once infamously said that he is the only thing that stood between the bankers and the pitch forks just before he slapped them on the wrist and let them go.  By the way, there are a ton of unemployed people out here.  Hello?  Please spare us the lecture.

He saves the best for last.  Moving right into insulting…:

The etherialists who are too good to stoop toward the “lesser evil” of politics—as if there were ever anything better than the lesser evil there—naively assume that if they just bring down the current system, or one part of it that has disappointed them, they can build a new and better thing of beauty out of the ruins. Of course they never get the tabula rasa on which to draw their ideal schemes. What they normally do is damage the party closest to their professed ideals.

Yes, this is the goal.  However, the party that is closest to our professed ideals is, sadly, not professing our ideals anymore.  Even we FDR style liberals are out of the loop, nevermind our loopy hippy cousins.  The party damaged itself in 2008 when it humiliated one candidate at the expense of another, rewrote the rules, used misogyny and was never held accountable, and rigged the convention with barely a peep of protest from its leaders.

More insults follow about how stupid we are and how independents are naive and ignorant and probably racist.  You know the drill.  Then there is the Nader fiasco.  I didn’t vote for Nader in 2000.  I voted for Al Gore because I actually believed in the dude.  Yes, the Naderites were pretty stupid back then because there really was a difference between the parties in 2000.  But when the party jettisoned all those differences in pursuit of the money from Obama’s backers in 2008, well, they kind of sold out.

And the evidence of that is overwhelming.  Sorry, Garry.  I could cite many examples from the badly structured and unaccountable bailout, to the insufficient request for fiscal stimulus, to the neglect of homeowners, to the even more egregious neglect of the unemployed, to the healthcare plan that makes us carrion to the insurance companies, to the badly played debt ceiling fiasco of last year, that’s just to start.  The clearly unconstitutional “kill list” that could include any American citizen deemed to be a threat goes beyond anything even I expected from Obama.  And Obama squandered his Congressional majority in his first two years, which goes back to point one about voting for the party. Apparently, he’s not really a people person when it comes to motivating his own party to do what he wants.  That involves confrontation and Obama’s agin’ it. Where did that reticence to engage Congress get us, Garry?  I guess the political and party affiliation of the president is important after all, eh?  I’m practicing my Canadian because I’m hoping one of my kids will move there and sponsor me.

Throughout his post, Wills shows over and over again that his is unable to imaginate any other Democrat than Obama as a presidential candidate.  I can only assume that to Wills, Obama must be *the* ultimate Democrat for president.  Wills is buying into the idea that there is no other candidate for president from the Democratic party who embodies the ideals of the Democratic party more closely than Obama.  If the party is corrupt and ineffective for the vast majority of Americans who voted for it, welcome to politics, suckers!  When the Democrats nominate their candidate in September, they will be saying that that person represents all of the best of that party in terms of values, skills and potential.  It simply does not get any better than this.

But here is the most important reason why Roberto Unger is on to something and Garry Wills is not:

The coming apocalypse of the “etherialists” is avoidable because Barack Obama is not the nominee yet.

Stop talking nonsense down at us and focus your ire on the party leadership who got us into this mess.  They’re the only ones who can get us out before the general election in November.

Weird…and probably misleading

I read this WaPo article, following a link from Atrios.  It’s about when Tim Geithner considered leaving and he recommended Hillary take his place as Secretary of the Treasury.  So, the summary goes like this: Geithner was ready to leave a couple of years ago and when they asked him who would be a good replacement, he suggested Hillary.  Here’s the run down of how that played out including the part that Atrios finds weird in bold:

Geithner had submitted a list of names to the White House. Chief of Staff William Daley appeared to “slow-walk” and rob the Clinton suggestion of any momentum, according to one of the administration officials. But actually, Daley was conducting his own vetting process, another official said.

He broached the idea with Clinton. An administration official familiar with the exchanges characterized her response as “cautious interest.” A person close to Clinton had a different take: “She listened respectfully and politely.”

Daley called a few trusted eminences on Wall Street, sounding them out on the personnel switch. Their response was resoundingly positive, both officials said. She had never been a banker, but as a senator from New York, Clinton had cultivated many relationships within the financial sector. Some of them had been longing for the kind of attention they had received from her and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, but rarely got from Obama.

And unlike Geithner, who disdained high jinks on Capitol Hill, Clinton had an intuition for political risk. She knew committee chairs. As the debt crisis worsened in the United States and Europe, Clinton’s popularity abroad would have also allowed her to talk sense to other leaders.

Weird indeed, considering that these were the very same bankers who rejected Clinton for Obama in 2008.  Back then, I suspect that Hillary looked a little too much like rehab so they threw their weight behind the guy who might like to party with them later.  That didn’t work out so well for any of them, or us, for that matter.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Clintons cultivated the bankers.  They’re politicians.  It’s what they do. Of course, there’s a difference between cultivating and prostitution. But as Karen Ho’s book, Liquidated, explained, bankers distrust Yale graduates as being too liberal.  I know that sounds facile on the surface but conditioning and tribalism are not easy things to overcome, even for the banker crowd.

In any case, by the time Geithner was ready to retire from Treasury, the damage was already done.  The article reports that sources close to Clinton says she listened “politely and respectfully” to the suggestion but it doesn’t sound like she was interested.  She’s not stupid, which is probably why only a national emergency will ever persuade her to take the VP position and maybe not even then.  Why the f^&* would she want to do clean up after Geithner?  They didn’t get along almost from the beginning when he wanted to move into her territory at State.  At State, she’s not sullied by all of the domestic crap.  If Obama and Geithner made a royal mess of things and didn’t support the homeowners drowning in their mortgages, they couldn’t pin it on Hillary.  Her political reputation doesn’t take any hits.  Dragging her into Treasury would definitely do her in.

I think it says a lot about Clinton’s professionalism and capabilities that Geithner even suggested such a thing.  It’s like saying she’s the best that Obama has in his cabinet.  She can do practically anything.

But note who “slow walked” it around the White House.  It was Chief of Staff William Daley.  There is a political component of this that the Chicago boys don’t like.  Were they afraid she’d get more face time?  Get in to the office and find that there were things she actually could do after all?  Make Obama look even worse than he already does?

I don’t know.  There’s not enough information for me to go on, although I’m sure it is more meaningful to the people in the immediate vicinity of Washington.

What this article *does* do is associate Clinton’s name with Wall Street’s in a potentially negative way, implying that she would be friendlier to them than Obama has been (hard to imagine that, to be honest).  We’ve seen this kind of thing before whenever the voting public starts getting wistful about Hillary.  Suddenly, there are articles about “Hillaryland!” at State and how she doesn’t run State like a man would, like that’s a bad thing.  But it’s all rumors and innuendos, intended to put you off your kibble if you’re a Democrat constructing all of the possible 2012 election scenarios.

Nevertheless, we can’t deny that the bankers took a good look at both candidates in 2008 and decided to pass on Hillary, despite the “attention” she gave them as their senator from New York.  They threw all of their weight behind Obama in a major way.  Let’s not pretend that the bankers had nothing to do with Obama getting the nomination. It has always been my suspicion that the Clintons weren’t overwhelmed by the “complexity” of the financial industry, after their experience and time to reflect where things went wrong.  The fact that the bankers seemed receptive to the idea of Hillary going to Treasury indicates that they thought they didn’t have much to fear from her after they’d already rewritten the rules in their favor and endorsed the blank checks in 2008-2009.

It was the White House that blinked.

Also, Atrios has an Asshole Test about children of illegal immigrants.  Cut out and carry with you.  This is useful.

More of this please.  It could be a series.

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

BTW, this is what Hillary said in September 2008 and gives a pretty good indication why she didn’t get the nomination.  She put too damn much emphasis on bailing out people with bad mortgages.  Her priorities were all wrong even it turns out she was prematurely right.  Hmmm, if we’d elected her, we might actually be on our way to recovery right now and looking forward to a second Clinton term instead of dreading the future:

Read it and weep

From the New York Times article on Obama’s hit list summarized by Katiebird below, we find this tasty nugget that went unreported:

It was not only Mr. Obama’s distaste for legislative backslapping and arm-twisting, but also part of a deeper pattern, said an administration official who has watched him closely: the president seemed to have “a sense that if he sketches a vision, it will happen — without his really having thought through the mechanism by which it will happen.”

In fact, both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the attorney general, Mr. Holder, had warned that the plan to close the Guantánamo prison was in peril, and they volunteered to fight for it on Capitol Hill, according to officials. But with Mr. Obama’s backing, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, blocked them, saying health care reform had to go first.

Holy snot! So weird for the NYTimes to report anything like this for Hillary.  Well, obviously, this is not a principled position.  She did it to make Obama look bad.  But I don’t understand why the NYTimes is mentioning it.  It’s just so unlike them.

Where’s a factchecker when you need one…

Hillary, the VP rumor and what men don’t understand about powerful women

Gosh, it seems I have a lot to say today.

Charles Pierce is freaking out about the poll numbers.  Oh, sure, it was all fun and games to poke at Obama until someone loses an election.  After yesterday’s dystopian description of Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago that chilled me to the bone, Charles is backtracking today and telling the left to suck it up and vote for the bastard.

Not so fast, Charles.  In fact, if the Democrats want to dodge this rendezvous with electoral obscurity, now is the time for voters to lay down the law, draw a line in the sand and say, “You Shall Not Pass!”.  I’d make any grand bargain on Social Security and Medicare my rubicon but there are half a dozen other legitimate issues that Democrats should be forced to defend vigorously before voters yield.  No, I am not afraid of Romney, believe it or not.  At this point, the states are gleefully slashing through all of women’s reproductive rights and there are already 5 votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. Democrats yielded women’s issues without much of a fight so they can’t fall back on that old trick anymore.  I hate private equity firms and sons of rich family firms as much as anyone but Obama’s negotiations with Wall Street have been so godawful that it hardly makes a difference who’s the coldhearted Mr. Moneybucks in the White House.  In this case, it is perfectly fair to talk about equivalence.  Pierce just better hope that Democrats fare better in Congressional races.

My problem with Obama is that it’s not enough to have good intentions but a hostile opponent in Congress to blame stuff on.  You need to look as though you’ve actually broken a sweat defending our rights and quality of life and Obama hasn’t.  No one in my generation should settle for a Democratic president doing a lackluster job and then throwing up his hands in frustration and saying, “It’s inevitable that your life is going to suffer.  Deal with it, late babyboomer.  Sucks to be you.” I’m not settling for that.  We knew the job was going to be tougher than average following a disaster like George W. Bush.  He shouldn’t have run for the job if he wasn’t ready, and it was obvious that he wasn’t.  No excuses.  He had his chance to sit it out and wait but he had to have the White House now, now, now.  So, now it’s his responsibility and solemn obligation not to screw us over even if it’s really hard to do.

But it’s not Pierce alone who is starting to panic and grasp at straws.  Over at the Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky is testing the “Hillary-Biden VP Switch” idea again and seeing if it gets any more traction than it did before.  I’m not sure Obama would get the bang for the buck everyone expects from this ticket though and in some respects, it might almost be worse.

For example, did you know that recently Hillary compared the VP position to being First Lady?  That’s not necessarily derogatory but does touch on something that I think men just don’t get about powerful women, which I’ll get to in a moment.  The reason why Hillary says VP is like First Lady is because although the VP can be an important and influential advisor to the president, constitutionally, the position doesn’t have much power.  The VP can break ties in the Senate annnnd, that’s about it.  Otherwise, the VP is just hanging around for the president to experience some catastrophic event.  It’s sort of like being a political vulture or hyena.  A carrion pol.

I just finished the Passage to Power by Robert Caro about LBJ’s Kennedy years and what happened to him when he was VP was a textbook case of what you do not ever want to happen to a person with as much power potential as LBJ.  Johnson was a Senate powerhouse, a legislative genius who understood every representative and senator in Congress, their hidden desires and flaws, and how to manipulate those desires and timing to generate momentum and force legislation through.  The Kennedy brothers brought Johnson in as VP in order to neutralize his power and they were exceedingly successful.  They were so successful that they jeopardized their own policy agenda.  And Johnson was miserable as VP.  He was emasculated by the Kennedys who made sure that he couldn’t even make a trivial speech without having it cleared by the Attorney General.  When JFK was assassinated, Johnson revealed himself to be a great leader.  If he’d been as astute on Vietnam, we’d be worshipping him along with FDR and Lincoln.  But if Kennedy hadn’t met his fate in Dallas, Johnson would have faded into obscurity and the Civil Rights Law of 1964 might never have happened.  I’m no fan of Obama’s but even I wouldn’t wish that on him just so someone else could benefit.

I’m of the opinion that had Hillary wanted the VP in 2008, she could have had it.  We don’t know how it all went down but my suspicion is that she knew that she would be de-balled like Johnson if she had accepted the position and so she pre-emptively asked for State if Obama won.  And so the original choice for SOS, Joe Biden, switched places with Hillary.

So, assuming this is true, why would she want to be Obama’s VP now?  My guess is that she wouldn’t.  What really drives me up a wall about Tomasky’s post is that it reflects the guy’s point of view about what would save Obama’s ass in this election.  The focus is still on saving Obama at all costs.  Yes, he is tremendously inexperienced and doesn’t seem to be learning his job very well.  Yes, he’s not a very good politician and doesn’t act like he likes being around legislators and gladhanding for votes.  Yes, he made too many deals with Wall Street, the insurance companies, the religious right to the detriment of his base. Yes, the economy is terrible and he’s done nothing about unemployment.  Yes, he’s planning to give away all the money the late baby boomers PREPAID into social security for their retirements.  But somehow, the guys feel we’ve got to re-elect this man.  I don’t understand it.  It’s got to be a male graduate student guy thing, the cluelessness of being near the top of Maslow’s pyramid. I keep picturing that iconoclastic image of soldiers pushing the flag up Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima.  So much struggle for so little payoff.

But that’s the problem.  They act like Obama is the most-ut and those around him are expected to sacrifice their own needs for his future.   I understand that Obama has this power over people.  They want to help him achieve his own personal goals and it doesn’t seem that important that his goals should be subordinated to the welfare of the country. This is where the reasoning behind the guy thing breaks down.  For that matter, some women don’t get it either.

But if that’s the case, why the Hell would a woman with Hillary’s power and ability continually put her own needs secondary to Obama’s?? We don’t expect Obama to sacrifice his ambitions for the good of the party or country. If I were her, I wouldn’t do it.  I wouldn’t put myself in a four year sound proof booth just to help Obama achieve self-actualization as a two term president, country be damned.  What would be in it for me?  Would I be able to influence policy?  Sha!, Obama’s smartest guys in the room, like Kennedy’s, aren’t going to let her anywhere near a lever of power.  So, without the ability to affect policy, what is she reduced to but a series of ceremonial appearances where she would be dragged out in front of crowds of Democrats, like some hostage, to make Obama look good.  At the end of four years, she’s going to be permanently associated with whatever failures Obama’s administration is notorious for without having had any opportunity to influence them.  And with that she’s supposed to run for office in 2016?  Like some 69 year old Chernyenko who the party is going to feel obliged to unenthusiastically endorse until some young whippersnapper beats her in the New Hampshire primary?  Are you f^&*ing kidding me?

Did it never occur to these guys that maybe she has her own ambition that is independent of and does not make reference to Obama’s?  If I were her, I’d never settle for less than the top spot because I would have the confidence to know I’d be good at the job.  And if I couldn’t get the top spot, I’d leave politics behind and become a powerhouse on the outside, holding Obama’s feet to the fire on gender equality or education or scientific infrastructure or something equally important.  There’s no point to being powerful, competent and smart if there’s no way to exercise it.  And there’s apparently no place in American politics for a woman who is not seen as a traditional helpmeet to a man.  But seriously, ladies, why do it for a dude who is not your husband and who is secretly driving you crazy with his bumbling incompetence?

Tell them to shove their shotgun wedding, Hillary.

Nice guy(s)

Clinton, surrounded and forced to give up her delegates on the floor of the Democratic Convention 2008.

If you’re wondering if the reports of bitterness between the Obama and Clinton camps are real or not, consider the fundraiser that Obama held with his donors a couple of days ago to help retire Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign debt:

Four years ago, the Obama fund-raising machine worked to bury Hillary Rodham Clinton. Now his contributors are opening their wallets for her.

Obama campaign officials have asked the president’s elite donors and fund-raisers to donate to Mrs. Clinton’s defunct presidential campaign committee, with the goal of retiring $245,000 in debt left over from her 2008 White House bid. As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton is barred from engaging in political activity or actively fund-raising for herself.

People familiar with the effort said the campaign’s outreach grew out of discussions with Mrs. Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, who has agreed to headline a series of major fund-raisers for Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, including one this Sunday at the Virginia home of Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Clinton has also been approached to help raise money for Priorities USA Action, a “super PAC” founded by former Obama aides that has had difficulty attracting donors.

But wait, you say, wasn’t there a deal struck back in 2008 that Obama donors would help Hillary retire her debt?  That’s why the campaign was only suspended, not ended and that it’s a common practice and courtesy and good for unity?  And anyway, Hillary hit the campaign trail with Bill and worked her heart out to help get Obama elected.  Surely, that was worth helping her retire her debt.

Apparently not:

It is not unusual for victors to help their former opponents pay down campaign debts: Mitt Romney and his family made contributions this year to the campaign committee of Tim Pawlenty, for example, after Mr. Pawlenty dropped out and endorsed Mr. Romney.

But Mrs. Clinton’s debt has in the past been a point of contention between her supporters and those of Mr. Obama. She ended her White House bid in 2008 with $20 million in debt and loans, and while Mr. Obama asked his top donors at the time to help defray it, many of them — still fuming after the contentious primary fight between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton — refused to do so.

Ahhhh, it’s all coming together now.  So, back in 2008 when Clinton donors had maxxed out their contributions to Hillary, they expected that Obama donors would step up and do the right thing.  But the Obama assholes from Wall Street and the “creative class” donors weren’t satisfied with the ritual humiliation of Clinton on the convention floor where they staged a phony roll call vote and forced her to fork over her delegates on live TV.  Nope, they threw all of that loyalty stuff out the window and had a little tantrum because she had the nerve to continue winning after they told her to stop running in February of 2008.  18,000,000 voters and winning all of the major primaries meant nothing to them.  They did not feel obligated to honor their promises, because that just the kind of Democrats they are.  Nice.

That $20,000,000 debt, by the way, was on top of her own money.  They were loans that she had to take out to fund her campaign because the party juggernaut wanted her out even as the voters still wanted her in.  For the last four years, she’s been dragging this giant debt around, unable to do her own fundraising to retire it while the Obama donors watched.  It has taken them four years while she’s been working her ass off to do what was expected of them.  What is wrong with these people?

So, now, the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak.  The Clinton donors hold the cards.  They don’t have to give a penny to Obama for his run in 2012, that is, not until Obama’s donors pay up.  I’d say the split is very real and could be a significant factor in this year’s election.  It goes beyond the donors.

No wonder why Hillary isn’t going to go to the Convention this year.  Besides the fact that she works round the clock as Secretary of State, why the hell would she want to return to the scene of the crime?

Obama and his donors are definitely not scoring points this year.  Loathsome isn’t descriptive enough.

Update: The AP has a new article on the detente between the Clinton and Obama camps.  As is the norm these days, it is trying to make the completely unrealistic expectation that Hillary will run in 2016 look believable.  But anyway, just ignore all that stuff about them being frenemies.  They’re all kissy-kissy now and meeting at Terry McAuliffe’s house tonight to swap checks.

I almost thought this was lifted straight from the Obama campaign spin office until I got to this nugget:

When Obama’s health care bill was in trouble, he and his staff, which included several veterans of the Clinton White House, called on the former president for help. In late 2009 and early 2010, Bill Clinton went to Capitol Hill to rally support and worked the phones with wary Democratic lawmakers.

After the Democratic party was battered in the 2010 elections, Obama called in Clinton for an Oval Office meeting. Afterward, the two made an impromptu appearance in the White House briefing room to talk to reporters. When Obama had to leave for a holiday party, Clinton stuck around, relishing in the attention and the give-and-take with the press.

That day in the briefing room underscored what some Democrats see as their one major worry in pairing Obama with Clinton too often. The ease with which Clinton connects with a range of audiences can call attention to the challenge Obama sometimes faces in doing the same thing.

But that certainly hasn’t stopped the Obama campaign from seeking Clinton’s help in winning a second term, and Clinton has made it clear he is ready and willing.

Wait! Wait!  I thought Obama’s angelic rhetoric inspired swooning in some of his audience members.  Wasn’t he supposed to be so extraordinarily politically gifted that potential enemies would melt on their first encounter?   

{{snort!}} Too funny.

I can just imagine what that fundraiser is going to be like tonight.  Kissy-kissy may very well turn into kissing asses.  Oh, to be a fly on those walls.

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

More details about John Edwards’ campaign life came out this past week.  He is on trial for illegally using campaign funds to pay off his girlfriend, Rielle Hunter, during the 2008 campaign season.

I was an Edwards fan until I actually saw him in action in 2007 at the YearlyKos meeting in Chicago and had a Malcolm Gladwell Blink! moment.  I had a similar reaction to George Bush Sr. when he made an appearance at Pitt a long time ago.  They both made my skin crawl.

Anyways, his one time campaign aide, Andrew Young, went above and beyond the call of duty to protect Edwards going as far as claiming paternity for Rielle and Edwards’ daughter, Quinn.  But there are other unsavory details as well.  Young’s nickname for Elizabeth Edwards was Ursula after the evil sea witch from The Little Mermaid.  I have mixed feelings about Elizabeth Edwards.  She seemed like the Lady McBeth type, extremely ambitious but projecting all of that onto her smarmy husband.  But she was also a human being with her own tragedies and triumphs and she didn’t deserve to have all the crap she went through in her last four years dumped on her while she was undergoing treatment for a terminal disease.  A little kindness and attention towards her might have gone a long way.

Anyway, John Edwards is still a louse and a narcissistic PT Barnum of a politician and all of us who thought he could have sincerely done something about The Two Americas should seriously get over it like a bad high school crush.

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