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Something to Chew On: Iconoclasts and Coattails

dsc00141_closeup_of_highland_cow2The New York Times editorial yesterday was about how the Democrats need to start listening to Bernie. He’s the one with his finger on the pulse of the country.

Regardless of how the nomination procedure turns out, I have to agree with this. It was one of my major concerns about Hillary this time around. She seemed to have gotten campaign advice from former Obama people who hadn’t been outside for awhile. They have no idea what has happened to us in the last 8 years. Or maybe they do and they think we’re all ok with being contractors with no benefits one layoff away from being entrepreneurs.

Hillary need to do another listening tour. I think she is hearing us now. That’s a good thing.

And unlike some Clintonistas, I think it would be a very good thing to push ourselves more in the direction of small, homogenous Scandinavian countries, which if you grouped them all together take up a whole lot of European territory (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, I might be tempted to throw in the Netherlands).

One belwether that points to the level of discontent is the Senate primary in Pennsylvania where Joe Sestak, who would presumably be the party pick but oddly wasn’t, lost.

And John Fetterman, a very unlikely Senator, won almost 20% of the vote. John is the mayor of Braddock, PA, about 15 minutes from where I live. I used to pass through Braddock and think, you know what would improve this place? A bomb. But Fetterman had other ideas. He’s a big fan of urban renewal and community and the kind of things that one might do in Norway.

I don’t think anyone expected him to get 20%. That’s significant. We ought to think deeply about that. Why would the state of PA give up 20% of its vote to a giant who doesn’t seem to own a suit who is the mayor of a bankrupt steel town on the Monongahela?

The other thing we need to note is that Katie McGinty actually won the primary. She’s a former chemist (yay!) and a current lawyer with a work history in environmental policy. I’m really thrilled to be able to vote for her this fall.

But I have to admit, she had a really crappy ballot position.It was waaaaay down on the ballot where the nether world candidates usually live. I’m sure it was just the luck of the draw. But to find her name and vote for her, you needed to be very committed.

That, oh, best beloveds, may very well be Hillary’s coat tails.

38 Responses

  1. I think you’re putting the cart before the house on places like Norway. You have to first get incomes to rise to the point where people can afford to pay 40 to 50% of their income in taxes. Vox did a story where they analyzed this and found out that even Bernie’s supporters were not willing to pay for what he was offering. To me the biggest knock against it right now is it failed in Vermont the most politically viable place for those ideas.

    • I think you’re putting the cart before the horse on income. The Titans of industry are trying to go weightless and there’s nothing to stop them right now. So, first, gotta tighten that up.
      Second, we are already paying high taxes because compared to other developed countries, we don’t get national healthcare or low cost post secondary education. We pay our regular taxes AND everything else that the French and Germans take for granted.
      You know what should change? Our obsession with big houses. Most people do not need more than 2000 sq ft with 2.1 children in the family. Anything bigger than that is excessive and costs more in energy.
      All things in moderation.
      I didn’t say we had to become Norway. But I’m certainly not in favor of our current progress towards Nigeria. So, yeah, let’s at least talk about it before we decide its unaffordable.

      • Some of that can be done by moving money around i.e. education. But the rest of it would have to done by educating voters. Like i said if Bernie’s own voters won’t pay for it then there’s a problem. And if keeping wages low is the aim of the titans then single payer is never going to happen because people are never going to be able to afford it.

      • Another problem is that so much of our tax money goes to maintain a far greater “national security” apparatus than is actually needed to defend this country from attack.

        It only needs to be that huge for its real purposes, which are corporate welfare for the “defense” industry and keeping the world relatively safe for Big Business to plunder with impunity. 👿

  2. Does anyone know what Stephanie Miller meant on radio today? Paraphrase: I (hrc supporter) am terrified (re what may happen). there are shenanigans going on in the voting process. End paraphrase. She thinks Republicans don’t want to run against Bernie. Not sure why. I hope RD is not giving up on hrc.

    • No, hrc is still our best candidate and I fully support her.
      But the media and the Obama PR machine has been polishing this turd of an economy for too long. What we have is a populace that is realizing they’ve been had and they’re not believing the sunny optimism anymore.
      The thing that the Republicans are worried about, but doesn’t surprise me AT ALL, is that the people they’ve been snowing with trickle down crap and small government have always been New Deal beneficiaries. They grew up in the 50’s expecting pensions and social security and that they wouldn’t be expected to shell out so much for pharmaceuticals and stuff. And now some of those people have their kids living with them. Kids in their 50’s who can’t find jobs no matter what they try, who are living on almost exhausted savings.
      Voters on both sides of the aisle are ripe for a return to the new deal era. That’s why Bernie’s message is so powerful.
      BUT for execution, you need Hillary.
      I felt that early on, her campaign was missing the opportunity they are being presented with. They started with the expectation that the electoral advantage is going to remain with the Republicans in the House and the Senate. With Trump in first place and Scalia’s death and the rise of Sanders, literally everything is now in play. Everything.
      Because if Republicans who don’t like Trump sit this one out, there is an opportunity for Democrats who are motivated to sweep back in.
      So, o don’t believe Republicans are more afraid of Sanders. They are more afraid of Hillary adopting Sanders’ messaging to some extent.
      That will shake them to their knees.

    • No the Republicans absolutely if they had their pick would pick Bernie. No question about that.

      • Oh, absolutely. Bernie is mostly an unknown. Once he gets the Hillary+Swiftboat treatment, it would be a different story.
        They’d LOVE to run against Bernie. But it’s not going to happen.

    • I think she may be talking about (1) the caucuses and (2) the votes on Staten Island, where yesterday it was reported that most primary election ballots were ruled invalid (4000 of 4500!). 2,000+ people of them were not registered in the party they said they were. Clinton won NY at 58%, but on Staten Island, only got 53% to Sanders’ 47%. Trump won NY with 60%, but got 82% on Staten Island.

  3. Whoever said that must have been a troll for Bernie. If republicans didn’t want to run against Bernie they wouldn’t have been funding his campaign and running commercials promoting him with their PAC money. They also would be attacking and vetting him like they have Hillary. Talking about his shady past regarding Castro, his disbelief in public school, taxes his programs would bring, and his weird sexual things he’s said about child nudity, that women fantasize about rape and his belief that cancer is caused by not having orgasms.
    They are especially afraid of Hillary now since a lot of republicans are coming out and saying they’ll vote for him with Trump as their nominee.

    • Sorry, I meant repubs saying they’ll vote for HER, not him.😏

    • I like Bernie and have consistently said I wished Hillary would be more like him.
      Not going there with the personal attacks on either of them.

      • I think the point is it is what the GOP would use but Hillary has been nice enough not to use.

        • Exactly. Even if Sanders evolved beyond such silliness decades ago, the Mighty Wurlitzer will treat those bizarre things as if he said them last month.

  4. If I saw any sign that the people of this country are as a group eager for a socialist revamping of our country, i would not completely dismiss the NYT silly article. But the fact is that Republicans have been trouncing the Democrats in state and Congressional races. Now, some of that can be attributed to anti-Obama sentiment, or the fact that he didn’t really support downticket Democrats that much. But when the Republicans dominate in statehouses, and have governors taking away all sorts of social programs, trying to eliminate unions, this makes it pretty evident that the great mass of the nation does not want to have what they have in the countries you noted, which is a government which controls most of the means of production and demands very high taxes as the necessity to provide strong social programs. I personally favor much of that, but Americans generally do not. People don’t like “Obamacare,” and not because they are pining for an even more expansive plan. They didn’t support Hillary’s plan in 1993, either.

    What I do see is this virtually inarticulate anger, which comes from the Right and the Left. Trump is going to try to channel that, like the Fascists did in Europe in the last century. People see wages stagnant, and jobs disappearing. The reason for this is primarily the Bush era trickle down economics, which Obama was scarcely able to budge, in terms of getting the high-end tax rates increased. Sanders conveniently blames lost jobs on trade deals, and now so does Trump. Trump is of course a completely phony populist, he is a would-be dictator. Sanders is a doctrinaire actual socialist who could only get elected in tiny and iconoclastic Vermont. His jeremiads against big banks, Wall Street, the economy as a rigged casino, sound exciting, particularly to the left wing, which has hated virtually every Democratic president and candidate for the last fifty years or more. But Sanders has no idea how to implement any of his proposals, as was pretty evident in his Daily News interview. Further, even if he did know how, does anyone think that the Congress is going to pass legislation which would raise the corporate tax rates, tax Wall Street transactions, agree to single-payer health care? These proposals wouldn’t even get out of House Committee. And again, if there were some kind of mass popular uprising where very liberal candidates were beating their opponents in state and national races, then the NYT might makes some sense here. But there is not. It is a wishful fantasy, a fantasy which I have had, but which is dissipated by the current reality of consistent American voting against such things. If people understood them better, would they then vote for them? Perhaps, but they don’t, and won’t. And people don’t want their taxes raised, that is obvious.

    I just find it incredibly sanctimonious for the NYT to tell Hillary to listen to Sanders, that he has his finger on where the country wants to go. People like the impassioned rhetoric, but do not and would not like the actual nuts and bolts, which Sanders completely avoids discussing. One of the things which really bothers me about this campaign is that Sanders gets adulated as if he has briliantly uncovered some truths, or has awakened Americans to a new set of possibilities. No, he is repeating what the Democratic Left has been demanding for decades. It got McGovern nominated. Dukakis is a very nice guy, and a bright man, who really meant well. But voters did not want someone that liberal to run the country, more’s the pity. America has not gotten more liberal since then. You can’t just break up banks (Sanders has no idea how that woudl be implemented), raise taxes to 60% on the high end, which would be necessary to implement these social programs. These are non-starters. It’s fine to talk about them, even rail about them. But actually run that kind of campaign on a general election, and you’ll become another one of the quixotic heroes that the Left prefers, as opposed to actually winning elections with a moderate who has liberal leanings.

    If we only had the time and the leeway to try this out, we could see how completely ineffectual a Sanders presidency would be, and how horrific a Trump presidency would be. But we obviously don’t. America is not going to be Sweden, its ethos is so different. America has a powerful strain of anti-government, individualist, free enterprise attitudes. This shows up in virtually every national election, and it is not disappearing any time soon. Sanders has his finger on the pulse of the anti-Clinton Democratic Left, and young people who want free college tuition, which would cost about $5,000 a year in taxes for the middle class. To my mind, Hillary is a true New Deal, FDR Democrat, at least for a non-Depression era. It is a shame that the NYT and some other Democrats do not realize that, and keep wanting her to move to positions which are more in the realm of impassioned dogma, than substantive proposals which could be actually implemented.

    • Judging by the people I know, I think the NYT is exactly right on this.
      Granted, the media has caused some of the problems because they report from an Ivy League perspective and socio economic pov. But I have no doubt that voters are really angry at being taken for fools and sick of the constant exploitation and want something to happen to put the Jini back in the bottle.
      I don’t know who you are talking to but even committed Fox News watchers are starting to get a clue.

      • Well, I can tell you the whole revolution rhetoric scares POC because they are the first ones to get offed in a revolution. One of the reasons Bernie has done so poorly in the south and his wanting to hand everything over to the states. People that live with red state governors know about how useful that kind of thing is.

        • I think there is a middle ground between status quo and Revolution.
          I like punctuated evolution.

      • I agree with you that votets have this sense that theya re being exploited,. But that is an emotional reaction which somehow does not find its way into intelligent voting. Two years ago, a bunch of very conservative congresspeople and governors were swept into office. And all those people did to win, was to turn the anger toward big governnment, and social programs. They essentially say, “all these regulations on business, and these taxes,are ruining the economy. We need less taxes, less regulations, and this will create good jobs.” This is both wrong and inane, but people keep voting for it. I don’t see one sign whatsoever that the Republican Party is becoming more liberal, from the top or the bottom.

        Anger is cathartic, but anger not based on understanding of economics is easily diverted against the forces which the exploiters want to defeat. Note that Sanders never outlines what tax level he wants, or how he is going to possibly get the Congress to pass those kind of taxes. He can’t. The right wing wants a regressive flat tax, and many people like that idea, because they have no idea what the impact will be. When I see a liberal populist wave sweeping through the land, like in the 1900-1916 period .I’ll be more inclined to agree with the NYT about the pulse of the electorate. What I see is an electorate which is so in love with its own sense of anger, that they are potential prey for carnival barkers and demagogues.

        • You know what? Sometimes voters have a right to be angry.
          I’m very angry.
          I’m not angry about immigrants or taxes on rich people or someone taking my guns away.
          I’m angry that I paid into social security and the surplus fund for my entire working life and it may be all I have to retire on and some jackass republican thinks it’s a giveaway to people who feel they’re entitled.
          Angry that at my age, I’m unemployable for some mysterious reason that makes no damn sense.
          I’m angry because I was forced to go thru all my savings and a chunk of my 401K before o got a decent ft job again and that means I have no money to give my daughters for college after 23 years in a STEM job.
          I’m angry that I have to justify to future employers why I can’t get a job in a STEM profession because they’re is a glut of newly minted PhDs who will work for peanuts and equity at some underfunded startup.
          I’m angry because if I get laid off again, I’ll have to grow my own food.
          I’m angry that I couldn’t afford obamacare for almost two years.
          I’m angry that anyone can even get penalized for that.
          Please, do not tell me I don’t know what I’m doing when I go into that voting booth. If I didn’t believe that Hillary could actually accomplish something, I would vote for Bernie in a heartbeat.

          • Not sure how you fix the bias against age in hiring. Supposedly you’re not supposed to do it but just like you’re not supposed to do it when it comes to women, they still do and they get away with it.

          • RD, my comment was certainly not directed at you specifically, or to those people who are angry and understand the causes. But there are many people who are angry, but who actually are fueled to vote for the people and entities which have caused the problems to begin with. The Tea Party was fueled by anger, of course.

            I am angry about all sorts of things, including the fact that the Fed has so propped up the banks, that they are paying less than 1% rates to the populace, and that may never change. This country has been run by the rich, mostly for the benefit of the rich, for centuries; with rare intervals where the rich have so screwed things up, that there is a general panic. And after that, people forget, and vote for the rich again.

            I am voting for all sorts of issues that do not personally benefit me at all. But I vastly prefer it to the other side winning, so I do so. I strongly support Hillary, and send her a good deal of money to help her campaign, because she is brilliant, compassionate and resourceful. I don’t believe for a second that Sanders could get anything he is proposing through the Congress, much less implement it. I guess it is good that he is bringing it up, but I do not believe that the populace would actually support it. Most of his voters want things like free tuition, without wanting to pay for any of it.Tell people the price tags for social legislation, and they lose interest in doing it. I am all for taxing the wealthy, but you have to get such a bill through Congress, otherwise it is demagoguery to keep railing about it.. Hillary can possibly tie some of this to other aspects of bills, and maybe get some help from Congress, though it will be difficult. Sanders, a political Jacobin who doesn’t even help Democrats downticket, does not comproimise,and would get nowhere. It may be impossible to break the grip that the wealthy have on our economy and our political system; but if it is at all done, it has to be done by degrees, even as frustrating as that is. Or we could just roll the dice on a violent revolution, but that has always led to oppressive dictatorships in human history. My hope would be for Hillary to get elected; then to appoint a much more reasonable Supreme Court; then to have Citizens United overturned; then to somehow stop the for-profit 24-hour right-wing propaganda networks. Then maybe we could change the very tilted playing field we are now on.

          • You know what the new over-the-hill age is?
            We’ve got a problem.

            BTW, revolutions do not need to be violent. And you don’t need a full revolution to get significant change.
            I’m not sure why people are getting so freaked out about the word revolution but I’m agin’ it.

          • Just the word revolution evokes a lot of bad images. Images of war ala Revolutionary War or coups where lots of people are murdered. The definition of revolution is a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.

      • Yes, the voters are angry, rightfully so, on both sides. This is an article worth reading:


        The problem I have is once again, as in 2008, voters seem to be voting on a candidates words, not their record of accomplishment.

    • Meant to add that Hillary started the campaign in Obama is great! mode and all we need to do is stay the course. And you know what? That wasn’t working for me because I didn’t believe it. Now that she is moving more towards Bernie, she is starting to sound more realistic.
      Her other message definitely wasn’t real. It’s not the color of the sky in the work I live in.

  5. Many people are mad, and for good reason, yet many appear largely unconcerned with whether or not their candidate is willing to, or will be able to (two different things) take action to change specific problems.

    I believe this is as least partly because we are under enormous stress right now. The sheer amount of denial it takes to live is extreme– we don’t talk about nuclear arms much, but they are still there, as dangerous and potentially world-ending as ever… climate change is rapidly creating havoc in all parts of the country… animals and plants are going extinct at an alarming rate… the worldwide economy is unstable and therefore largely not in the control of the U.S…. interpersonal patterns have changed dramatically (we communicate mostly via machines, we are much more isolated, relationships are unstable)– and on and on. Things are not as they were.

    Anger is often a screen emotion; there’s always something underneath it which would be even harder to feel: fear/panic/anxiety, despair/grief, guilt, shame, disbelief/horror.

    No wonder this country is crying out for daddy! Daddy doesn’t have to tell us his plans, he just has to be there and tell us everything is going to be great. It will be so great. Don’t worry. We know who the bad guys are, and daddy is going to get rid of them, and everything will be all right. And we feel calmer, taken care of by someone who cares about people like us.

    • You know who I blame? The dickheads who rammed Obama down our throats who was too weak to fight off the guys who were just waiting to shake us down.
      That’s whose to blame.
      I don’t know if they’re Republican, libertarian or just stupid and gullible Democratic male assholes of the activist persuasion. They deserve a stay at the Ramsay Bolton B&B.

      • That still pisses me off too. I really believe the “recession” was made worse by allowing regular people to lose homes and jobs while bankers and huge businesses to win. It pisses me off that with the out of work or shamefully underemployed STEM (and others) we are still increasing H1Bs. I don’t mind immigration, not at all, but give them green cards if we need them so much. Justify the education they supposedly have and the need for those skills in this economy. Let them have some control and negotiating position where their careers are concerned. H1Bs are glorified indentured servants, it isn’t fair to them or the workers they replace.

        The media are still selling ads – they want ratings. Creating an electorate eating up hot rhetoric and grabbing pitchforks is a ratings and clickbait game for them. Trump is the treasure trove of sound bytes. Bernie and his base keep the heat on Hillary who is looking at dancing on a wire to win his supporters who now believe she is messing with their votes (see Washington) while she tries to pivot the fight to Trump. I don’t know how we have arrived at this place where Hillary is fighting Sanders, the media and Trump at the same time – but it has me nervous. I don’t believe Sanders can win but I am concerned that his wanting a floor fight – or – to win outright – or – to just get his message more widely heard… and the media pile-on is going to screw us all.

        • Bernie and what he is saying reminds me of Nader. He’s basically running a Nader 2.0 campaign, trashing the party, everybody in the party and acting all holier than thou. He’s not going to get nominated and he knows it and he seems to want to trash everything and everybody on his way out. In his quest for purity he could end up damaging a lot of people’s lives but I honestly don’t think he cares.

          • I think Bernie has a message control and purpose problem. He is signalling different things and the messages coming from his campaign contradict him too. I just find it confusing what they are doing and what end-game they are hoping for.

            I did not pay attention to Nader back in the day. He wasn’t running as a Democrat – was he? I thought he was independent.

          • Nader did run as an Green party member however the rhetoric Bernie is spouting is nearly identical to Nader’s. It’s sad.

        • Yeah, I’m nervous too.
          On the other hand, if she wins, it really will be a mandate because she will be impervious to just about anything.
          Still, not looking forward to this. I really wish Bernie hadn’t gotten personal. It wasn’t necessary. And if they really believe, erroneously, that there’s something funny happening to their votes, she might as well write them off right now. They aren’t listening to anything but their own echo chamber.

          • The Bernie social media campaign is being run by the same people who ran Obama’s, right? It makes sense he’d have advisers who are drawn from there, as well. And their agenda is even to the left of Bernie’s. He’s not a sophisticated politician, in the sense, that he is not establishment, as he likes to say, so he is ripe for the using of move on dot org, etc. To me, it seems like he is being buffeted about the last few weeks, and perhaps is unable to not do what he’s being asked to do. Maybe.

          • Some of the Bernie supporters were never going to vote for Hillary. They hated her before she even announced she was running. Yeah, the personal attacks and the passive aggressive behavior of Bernie completely reeks of Obama. Perhaps it is because he hired the same people that Obama hired in 2008.

          • They were deeply suspicious about how long it took to seat the delegates at the congressional district caucus that HRC was taking their votes somehow and the super delegates were a big issue for them. They seemed to feel robbed by the process which I can relate to even if I don’t agree about the source of the issue. I’m not happy with the Washington State process either.

  6. I sure hope that some high level HRC staffer is reading the discussions here!! And, somewhat related, I have written several emails to H on hrc dot com when I got tired of some of her strategies. Every time, she changed tack in the next few days. I am NOT saying my emails were even read but it must be that enough people were saying some of the same things to her and she did respond. I can’t even remember them all but I for sure got sick of her apologizing 10,000 times for her Iraq vote. And allowing herself to be put on the defensive. She is now speaking more of what she will do and talking more to us people, etc.

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