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      The funniest thing about Trump are those who feel he is of a piece, separate from American history, and somehow a break from it.  That this government is significantly qualitatively worse than those that came before, rather than an extension of it. (A good example is immigration policy, in which Trump is somewhat worse than […]
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This is what a liberal looks like

Paul Wellstone

Eight years ago today, Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter and three five other people were killed in a plane crash. Three years ago, Ezra Klein (in his pre-Kool-aid days) wrote a moving tribute:

Wellstone’s populism was not an affectation, or a political posture. It was laced into the fabric of his personality. It’s what made him different than other politicians. His measuring stick was not the poll numbers, not the editorial pages, not the political prognosticators, not the Sunday shows — it was the farmers, the students, the seniors, the people. His fealty to them explains his frequent lonesomeness in the Senate. When the people are your judges, you can stand against the Iraq War in an election year, you can lose votes 99-1. You can fail to pass legislation, because you know the compromise would fail your constituents. “Politics is not about power,” he would say. “Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives. It’s about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and the world. Politics is about doing well for the people.”

Because of this, Wellstone had an immunity to the political trends that few politicians exhibit. When liberal was an epithet, Paul Wellstone wrote a book called The Conscience of a Liberal. When unions were in deep decline, Wellstone stood with them, and now the AFL-CIO now gives an annual award in his honor. After the Clinton health plan was crushed and Democrats retreated from health reform, Wellstone pushed for single-payer. While Clinton was chasing dollars to outspend and overwhelm Bob Dole, Wellstone was calling for full public financing. When progressives were marginalized and cowed by the right’s cynical use of 9/11, Wellstone stood on the floor of the Senate, deep within the chambers of power, at the epicenter of cowardice and “responsible” hawkery, and roared on behalf of our ideals. That they were politically inconvenient never deterred him. “If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for,” he said, “at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.”

Rest in peace.


(h/t Okanogen)



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Bill-Bashing

This is what a Democrat looks like


Scary-smart Anglachel:

Which leads me to that last little snark of Mr. Marshall’s. Since I’ve got at least ten years on the guy and my background is political science (specifically, political theory – the study of systems, idea and ideologies), I figure I have both experience and subject matter knowledge on him, though I’m smart enough not to try to make a living analyzing politics. My memory is long and my knowledge of political events a hell of a lot clearer than WKJM, who has been part of the myth machine for several years now. What I recall about the1994 mid-terms was that Bill and Hillary had been put through the meat grinder over their whole-hearted but losing attempt to enact health care reform, they were reviled by the press (those hicks who trashed our lovely little place!), the Democratic party was in the last throws of losing the southern Dixiecrats, and Reaganism was still the norm. He enjoyed none of the advantages that Obama enjoys in terms of party and media support, and had much more respected opponents. The Democrats themselves were dealing with scandals in the House, and Newt was rolling out the Contract With America.

WKJ’s quote “Clinton was considered toxic politically in broad swathes of the country” begs the question of just who thought he was toxic. The majority of voters didn’t, but they weren’t voting for Bill. They were voting for their Congress Critters, just as they are today. The media certainly wasted no effort to inform me how horrible Clinton was as a president, which is how it earned the moniker the “so-called Liberal media”. Stevensonian cultural elites sat on their hands and refused to aggressively counter the Right-wing Noise Machine, all of which is documented in Somerby’s Incomparable Archives. In short, those of us who actually were, you know, there at the time and not invested in CDS understand the very different environments and opportunities. Not agreeing with Clinton or thinking that health care was handled badly is very different than thinking he was “toxic”.

[…]

Yes, Obama came in to office with a hellacious mess on his hands – and a majority in both houses and an electorate screaming for change. He had the political opportunity of a lifetime to transform the fundamental terms of political engagement, just as both FDR and Reagan did. He could have taken on the banks. He could have charged ahead for substantive health care reform. He could have pounded the shit out the failed policies of the Reagan Revolution and pinned the blame for everything on them, and the country would have lapped it up exactly the way they responded to FDR. But he didn’t and now he will play (at best) catch up for the remaining two years.

WKJM is not the only one who is trying to avoid talking about the reasons for party discontent by presenting a half-assed and historically inaccurate picture of the 1994 mid-term election. What he doesn’t seem to get is that because the majority of the nation doesn’t hold the Clintons in contempt the way he and the other Purchased Fellows do, every time he (and others of his ilk) make this comparison, he keeps reminding us about the way Bill never quit, never gave up, never stopped articulating his vision of what the party should be and how he was going to work to achieve that end. And that resulted in retaining the White House in 1996, and gaining back House seats in the next three elections – 1996, 1998, 2000.

There’s a bunch more.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but lately there seems to be a whole new movement of people dedicated to the revisionist-history version of bashing Bill Clinton. Some of the faces are new but some, like WKJM, are well known shills for the Democratic establishment.

They all seem to have a laundry list of reasons to hate the Big Dawg, and they throw around statistics like beads in NOLA but they have no personal anecdotes. It’s like they’re all just reciting stuff from a book. They claim that the prosperity of the Clinton years was all an illusion (the “dot-com bubble”) and blame him for our current economic mess.

I remember the Nineties, as well as the decade before and the one after. These Bill-Bashers describe a period very different from the one I lived through. They also describe a dark, evil and malign president, which is nothing like the Bill Clinton I watched in the news every day.

For one thing, he didn’t “betray” any of his constituents. He openly supported NAFTA and welfare reform when he was running. After he was elected, he still supported them. Don’t we WANT politicians to keep their promises?

The Bill-Bashers hate him for the promises he kept and ther hate him for the promises he tried but failed to keep. He gets all of the blame and none of the credit. They even hate him for the genocide in Rwanda, as if he could have single-handedly ended the crisis.

Most or all of the newer faces (and a few of the old ones) claim they don’t support Obama, but they really don’t seem to hate him. Not like they hate the Big Dawg, anyway. It’s like they would rather bash Bill than talk about the current situation.

I’m seeing a pattern, and wondering what is behind it. We know Obama is afraid of Hillary and for good reason. If she ran against him in 2012 she would beat him in a fair fight, and maybe even one that was supposed to be fixed. They can’t attack her as long as she is Secretary of State, so are they attacking Bill in an attempt to cast a stain on her?

Three years ago I would have just thought I was being too paranoid. That was before I saw Left Blogistan get covered in astroturf. Now I wonder if I’m not being paranoid enough.