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      Competent and good are not synonyms. Smart and good are not synonyms. Evil and competent are not synonyms. Virtues are not all moral virtues. Bravery is a morally neutral virtue. It makes bad people worse, and good people better and without it all virtues and vices are nearly meaningless. Competence is morally neutral. It is […]
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Northeast Corridor

It’s primary week in PA, CT, MD and RI. Holy Hemiola! It’s starting to get exciting now. Some short takes coming up:

1.) I’m starting to notice some gloating amongst the Clintonistas on Twitter towards the Bernie people. Just wanted to say that I’ve run into some really nice Bernie supporters in the past couple of days while I’ve been canvassing. They want to be heard and they need space to decide how best to make this election season count. I’d hate to see us driving them away by telling them they have nowhere else to go because that’s not true. They can always stay home in November. I doubt that Hillary will take any vote for granted because you never know what could happen in the days ahead. It’s dangerous to look too far into the future. So, if you feel like taunting a Bernie person, show some discipline and don’t.

2.) Did you see Hillary’s quick and deadly strike against Charles Koch yesterday when he said it almost might be better to vote for Hillary than whoever the Republican nominee is? Here it is:

Hillary Clinton Retweeted This Week

Not interested in endorsements from people who deny climate science and try to make it harder for people to vote.

All righty then. Things don’t necessarily go better with Koch.

I’d say that was pretty unambiguous, in case there was anyone out there stupid enough to believe she’d sell us out for Koch money.

3.) Nick Kristof wrote a tepid column yesterday about how Hillary was not dishonest… probably. (Note to self: never ask Nick Kristof for a recommendation) He also admits that the media gloms onto narratives and it can’t seem to let go of them. This has been unfair to Clinton. Then he immediately pivots into the newest narrative- she’s infuriating:

It’s true, of course, that Clinton is calculating — all politicians are, but she more than some. She has adjusted her positions on trade and the minimum wage to scrounge for votes, just as Sanders adjusted his position on guns.

Sanders’s positions seem less focus-group tested than Clinton’s, and she can be infuriatingly evasive. Partly that’s because she’s more hawkish than some Democrats, and partly that’s because she realizes she’s likely to face general election voters in November and is preserving wiggle room so she can veer back to the center then.

Does that make her scheming and unprincipled? Perhaps, but synonyms might be “pragmatic” and “electable.” That’s what presidential candidates do.

Then there’s the question of Clinton raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from speeches to Goldman Sachs and other companies. For a person planning to run for president, this was nuts. It also created potential conflicts of interest, but there’s no sign of any quid pro quo (in a broader sense, companies write checks to buy access and influence, but if that’s corrupt then so is our entire campaign finance system). Bill Clinton, Colin Powell and other prominent figures were speaking for high fees, so she probably thought she could get away with it as well.

It goes on from there.

Nevermind that Obama took oodles of money from Wall Street in 2007-2008 and had some very cosy meetings with the bankers who proceeded to flood his campaign coffers in February 2008 right after Super Tuesday, which he did not win, by the way. But why take my word for some of this? Check out this page on Frontline about Obama’s friendship with Wall Street and how he appeared to protect them from punishment.

Can we see his transcripts??

By the way, remember the telecom immunity bill that Clinton voted against in 2008? Of course we don’t. The Big Orange Satan told us that she voted against that in order to make Obama look bad for voting for it. {{rolling eyes}} And she also snuck some Banker squirming amendments into the bailout bill.

But I digress.

What I found really amusing about Nick Kristof’s column was that John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon used almost the exact same words to describe Hillary in the latest edition of Political Gabfest. Yeah, go listen. I was stunned when I was reading Kristof’s piece because it was like I had already heard it. So, this is the new narrative. Hillary is infuriating. Oooo, let’s let her get under our skin for being a human being who does and says things that are less than perfect and for not catering specifically to us.

My question is, where were they all together when they heard these words, absorbed them, and decided to disseminate them as if on cue?

Plus, listen to Emily, John and David go on and on about how the regular Northeast Corridor Amtrak train doesn’t have the same smell as the Acela. The regular train smells like students and academics and regular people. No special reason for bringing it up, they just noticed it. I’ve taken both trains but perhaps my sense of smell is not so refined. I never noticed a difference in cleaning products aromas.

Do they have any idea how they sound??

‘gits.

4.) Finally, the sixth season of Game of Thrones began last night and it looks like the women have had enough and aren’t going to take it anymore. Don’t get on the wrong side of a Sand Snake. In one of the best scenes from last night, Brienne of Tarth rides to the rescue of Sansa Stark, who is probably starting to realize she needs to learn how to use a sword like her sister Arya. Looks like the women of Westeros are deciding they have to look after themselves. Will Sansa start acting like a Lord of the North? Time will tell. Nine more episodes to go.

 

8 Responses

  1. 1. The “intellectual Left” is never going to like Hillary. Kristoff always seemed like a reasonable member of that group; and as you note, it is not quite that he dislikes her, but her rather disdains her for doing, or not doing, various things. And they are mostly all like that. They are looking for some idealized, flawless figure to lead the noble charge of the liberals against the right-wing hordes. But unfortunately, one never gets that fantasy person. Ted Kennedy was not, nor was Cuomo, to mention two of their past favorites. Nor were Hart, Dean, or Obama, to name some more. Sanders surely is not, nor is Warren. And they never really warmed to Bill Clinton.

    These intellectuals do not like compromise or pragmatism, they want an heroic figure from fiction, or at least they want FDR as of 1932. It should be very clear that now in America, the pure liberal is not going to win, except if the country were in a state of crisis, as with the Great Depression. My parents loved Adlai Stevenson, and I think he may have been closer to the ideal, except that he was probably incapable of winning a national election, even if we do allow for him coming along at the wrong time, after 20 years of Democratic control. McGovern was ineffectual as a candidate. What is the point of losing every election, as we were doing in the 70’s and ’80’s, just so we could feel noble about it? And once again, we must note that Hillary is probably more liberal on issues than Obama, probably more liberal than any Democratic candidate siince 1972, excepting Dukakis, who was another very nice and idealistic man who was not going to win on his platform.

    2. I saw Game of Thrones once; at least I saw 30 minutes of it, and it just wasn’t something that I enjoy, so I never watched it again. Just about that time, it really took off, and now is a veritable ratings colossus. I have never been a fan of sword and sorcery stories, although I do like the Arthurian saga, because it is at least set in history, even if invented. But then almost all of the few shows I like (“Awake,” “Crossbones,”), get summarily taken off the air, while most of the ones I am disinterested in, and even those I think are awful when I see one episode, seem to go on for years. With all that as caveat, I highly recommend “The Last Kingdom,” which barely got a renewal, after a great first season. It is very well written (from a series of novels by Bernard Cornwell), and it is about an interesting period of history, when the Saxons were trying to stave off the Vikings. It feels as if one is there, which is always high praise for an historical drama.

    • Yup, I liked The Last Kingdom. It was pretty good. But I didn’t like what they did to King Alfred. He seemed too one dimensional i.e. fundamentalist Catholic zealot and general ungrateful monarch.
      Game of thrones has staying power. It’s a bit out there. But I like it.
      Except for my sister and her son who are into GoT, not many of my relatives appreciate the fantasy or sci-fi genre. Not sure why that is. It’s almost like they’re afraid to give it a chance. But then again, they don’t get Monty Python or most satire. Go figure.
      Maybe they didn’t do that back in the 50s.

      • @RD: IIRC, aren’t most of your kinfolks fundies of one flavor or another? Fantasy and Sci-Fi tend to stimulate independent thought, which, according to Fundamentalism, is a broad and slippery path to perdition, never mind that Lewis and Tolkien were devout Christians (Catholic variety).

        • Though of course, fundies tend to be suspicious of those genuflecting Papists, too. 😉

        • Yes, indeedy. Some are evangelicals, some are fundies, some are Jehovah’s Witnesses. The others are various flavors of religiosity. My nephews are blissfully independent in thought and my sister for some reason likes fantasy like GoT, though I don’t think you could catch her reading Tolkien.
          I know that Tolkien was a devout Catholic and that flavors his writing but he is so subtle that you don’t even notice it. You just come away from it profoundly satisfied. Tolkien was a great believer in myth.
          Never got into CS Lewis. To Tolkien’s disappointment, Lewis went from fairly agnostic to Anglican, IIRC. Oh, well, you can’t win them all.

          • I had thought Lewis was Catholic as well, but Wiki agrees with RD.

      • GoT the Series is terrific. I watch it religiously, though it is sometimes exasperating. I found the first hundred pages of LoR a slog, though, wow did it pick-up in The Two Towers. The Hobbit was like reading Little Dorrit with dwarves. If you haven’t read any Thomas Covenant I’d recommend giving Lord Foul’s Bane a read. It’s been decades since I read the series but I still think about it. Oh. And Go Clinton!

  2. Tuesday might be the turning point for Madam President.

    Bernie needs to win 59% of the remaining delegates on average from here on out. That means that Hillary needs to average at least 42% to win with pledged delegates. Not counting her superior super-delegate strength. Being part of the Democratic party and a family that works hard to support other D’s running for office pays off. The Clintons do recognize that the two parties are not the same.

    Hillary is perennially one of the country’s and the world’s most admired women–until she steps outside the confines of her gender. She wouldn’t have had the opportunity to become Secretary of State had she not lobbied Bill to appoint a woman to a substantial cabinet post.

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