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      Just as people were soooo convinced that Trump couldn’t win the Republican nomination. Let’s clear a couple things up. Trump is not stupid by any useful definition of stupid. He has spent his life getting what he wanted. Trump is not crazy, except in terms of being crazy like a fox. He knew what he […]
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It’s not us, it’s you

Yesterday, Twitter was all aflutter when someone who purports to be a Bernie supporter put out a #DropOutHillary hashtag up and it started trending. Then people started to take offense and  Melissa McKewn started a #KeepWinningHillary hashtag up and it started trending.

It sounds very silly and juvenile and “I know you are but what am I?” but it’s really not funny.

For one thing, we don’t know who started it. Or what their motivation was. But back in 2008, it was very common for Hillary to kill Obama in a primary in say, Pennsylvania, and the next day, there would be headlines in some major paper quoting some Obama campaign flunky telling her to drop out because she couldn’t win (subtext, she couldn’t win without FL and MI which were being negotiated away by Obama and his backers with the DNC).

Some current Bernie supporters know this.

I also went to one of my first Hillary campaign meetings in Pittsburgh and there were some negative things said about Bernie people. But there were also many of us who publicly said we were not going to indulge in that because we have friends and family members who were decent people who didn’t want free stuff and were more issues oriented and it was wrong to paint all these people with the same brush.

Butcha know, Bernie people are starting to get a reputation for being messianic zealots. Samantha Bee did a segment on them recently and one of my favorite podcasters, Seth Andrews from The Thinking Atheist (who seems like the “I’m not taking sides sort”), came down equally hard on Bernie’s people as Trump’s.

I think Clinton people just want to get on with it. If they seem grouchy, maybe it’s because as jjintacoma said last night, Trump is negative towards her, the media is negative towards her and the Bernie people are against her. It gets old after awhile.

I’m not saying that she’s a “poor little me” type, quite the opposite. Because, you know, she keeps winning in spite of it all. So, clearly, there are many millions of people who see through all of the endless investigations that find nothing, and the accusations of dishonesty that are unfounded, and the crazy notion that she has ever traded her vote for contributions (ATT retroactive immunity bill? Hello!). There’s no conspiracy going on here to deprive anyone of votes.

She runs a clean campaign. If she didn’t, you can bet there would be yet another investigation about it.

She is possibly the cleanest candidate we have ever had run for office.

You may not like everything she says and I would agree that she took way too long this time to wake up to what’s really going on because it is really difficult to block out the constant cheering for Obama’s every thought, word and deed. But she is clean.

And some Bernie people should know it.

Chill out, people. This is a normal, no funny business primary season. There will be one winner and one person who will not win.

It’s not over yet. Not by a long shot. A lot could happen. Even the person who loses could make a huge difference. Let everyone vote and watch what happens. There’s no need for a protest vote yet.

Finally, if there are people who are sowing dissension between the two parts of the Democratic party, we need to consider who they are and who they are working for. Because they might be outsiders.

 

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.

Rachel Maddow Destroys the 2008 Narrative

Bernie says he’s going to contest the convention.

I like Bernie. But I think he is beginning to listen too much to the same damn people we had to put up with in 2008. This is what they think:

Hillary is evil. She has The Ring. Her voters are unimportant. She must step aside. 

I would go even further and speculate that many of Bernie’s middle aged male Democratic supporters are suffering from what I call The More Deserving Man Syndrome. That is, no matter what over accomplished woman is competing for what has been an exclusively male position before, there will always be that one more deserving man out there that only other men can see. But I digress.

Getting back to the title.

Rachel Maddow destroyed Bernie’s argument (post from BlueNationReview) for why there should be a contested convention by taking away one of the pillars of the “Obama ran a great campaign!” argument. She pointed out just how close the convention was in 2008. Actually, I think her estimate of a 4% pledged delegate difference is too high. It depends on how she is counting the Florida and Michigan delegations. If she is counting them as only half strength and Obama getting all of Michigan’s uncommitted delegates from a primary in which he wasn’t even on the ballot, then it was much, much closer than 4%. It was statistically insignificant.

Nevertheless, almost all of the superdelegates switched from Hillary to Obama. I say there was money involved, filtered to down ticket races from Obama’s Wall Street donors. But whatever.

Here’s the bottom line: Obama “won” the nomination from:

1.) Winning mostly caucus states. He lost most of the big Democratic prizes like CA, PA, NY, NJ, MA, FL, OH, TX, MI, NJ, just go look at the primary map

2.) Gifts of uncommitted delegates in MI plus a halving of FL and MI delegates by the fiat of the Rules Committee in May 2008.

3.) Superdelegates

That’s it. There was nothing magical about Obama’s campaign. He wasn’t that successful. If it weren’t for the media helping him but constructing a false narrative about *his* inevitability, he could have been subjected to a legitimate floor flight from a opponent who had far more reason to contest his appointment. In short, he would be where Bernie is now.

Do you hear what I’m saying Emily Bazelon, David Plotz and John Dickerson??  Obama did not win in a landslide. It wasn’t even close to a landslide. He won because you guys helped him and gave his crazy ass supporters a lot more legitimacy than they deserved. Now, it is coming back again full circle because those same crazy ass guys think they can do it again.

And the reason we know just how ridiculously close the 2008 delegate count was is because Hillary was pressured to concede the nomination before the first ballot roll call ended and before California had to commit its delegates, by law, to Clinton. Pelosi et al wanted to hurry the whole thing along and flip the states without the legal requirement of a first ballot commitment before anyone caught on.

I can never listen to Love Train again without wanting to throw up.

You would think that the first female candidate to get that close to winning the nomination would be accorded the honor of a full first ballot roll call vote. How does that make you feel, Rachel Maddow? Her pledged delegates were bullied and harassed in some cases, and many states didn’t get an opportunity to vote for her during the first ballot. We’re not talking about the second ballot where they could switch. We’re saying that some states were forced to switch during the first ballot. And the vast majority of the media was totally onboard with robbing the first female candidate of a first round roll call vote that she was going to lose anyway by less than 100 votes if we count all the delegate reassignment.

The first female candidate with legitimate claim to the nomination was ordered by her party to step aside.

Does that sound cool to you now eight years later? Because it wasn’t to us.

But if the party had gone ahead with a regular roll call vote, just like every male candidate would have demanded, the vote would have looked way too close and might have roused the attention and enthusiasm of the voters who were not enamored with Obama and thought he didn’t have the experience to take on what the Bushies and the financial industry were going to leave him. And they would have been right.

But Hillary graciously stepped aside. Just like Al Gore graciously stepped aside. Just like John Kerry graciously stepped aside.

Three points. Hmmmm, there’s a trend there…  It’s almost as if someone wants a relatively weak and easy to control Democrat in the White House or a right wing Republican…

But Bernie wants to contest the convention. His supporters would like for Hillary to graciously step aside — again.

Really?  I’m talking to all you issues oriented Bernie supporters out there. Do you really want Bernie to push aside this female candidate who is winning in a legitimate, clean primary season without any hinky rules crap? Is this really what you want?

She’s winning fair and square. It’s not up to you to substitute your judgment for the judgment of other voters no matter how stupid, mislead or uninformed you may think they are. If you were able to tolerate the least prepared Democratic president, you can tolerate the most prepared. Yes, there will be people who will make her look like Satan incarnate. It’s going to be hard for her. But if she couldn’t challenge in a year when she had every right to do it, then Bernie should accept the will of the voters after everyone has had a vote, and concede graciously.

Nobody gets exactly what they want in an election year. There is no perfect candidate who will say all the right things and is certified and guaranteed to do exactly what you want once they get into office. Do you want that anyway? What if something really important comes up and that president has to do something they thought they’d never do? All you can do is look at their records, look at their accomplishments, see if they are learning as the campaign proceeds and vote accordingly.

That’s what Clinton’s voters have done and they will not step aside this year.

The Acela Primary: Morning After

Short takes from the morning after:

1.) We won 4/5 primaries last night. I’m really excited now. Wait, I’m a Hillary supporter. Am I even *allowed* to be excited?? How can it be that a non-young, uncool, “uneducated” person can be enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton? Doesn’t that violate the laws of nature or something? The “journalists” will get all confused. They’ll have to start complaining and write grudging news stories about something else they don’t like about her.

Anyway, I have 6 months to train and do the stair climber for canvassing in October and November in Pittsburgh. She wore me out this past weekend.

2.) People I don’t want to see on the TV anymore: David Axelrod. I really loathe this guy. I hate the way he mansplains to Hillary, as if she needs any advice from him, and he looks like a rat.

S. E. Cupp. Enough said.

3.) Just a plea to everyone here to let the Bernie supporters alone. Srsly. We know that some have been assholes but no one I met canvassing was anything less than nice and earnest. There are still primaries to go. Everyone should vote for who they want. I think Hillary understands what her own supporters went through in 2008 and doesn’t want Bernie’s people to be treated like that. So, let’s exercise some self-discipline and not pile on. There’s nothing weird about the primaries this year, the votes are not being manipulated, no one is cheating. It’s a clean primary.

4.) Some Bernie bloggers should knock it off with the “olds” vs “youngs” narrative. No one I met this week who supported Bernie was younger than 30. Also, the middles, such as myself, got royally screwed by this recession, and lack of vigorous response, too. Our needs are no less critical. What’s really insane is that even the activist left is forcing different factions to fight against each other for the shrinking piece of pie that the hoarders of great wealth have left us. This is stupid. We should be working with each other, not figuring out which one of us has to be tossed from the lifeboat.

Just stop.

5.) Hillary the Hawk is another stupid mantra. That would imply that you are either a Hawk or a Dove. If you are a dove, you are goodness and light and peace personified. If you are a hawk, you are a warmongering, torturing tool of the military industrial complex. No, no, don’t deny what it is you are really saying.

Here’s a fact that you can’t deny: The continents are not moving any time soon. Humans have been fighting over the same places on earth since we took to the sea in ships. Look at all of the potential flash points on the map. They’re the same ones we fought over in World War II. That’s why China is building up islands in the South China Sea. It’s why the middle east is such a sensitive area around the Suez canal and Libya. It’s why we have NATO, fergawdssakes. Hitler realized that if he controlled the North Atlantic, he could bring Europe to its knees. And he almost succeeded.

Hillary didn’t single handedly start the war in Iraq. She didn’t precipitously pull troops out, destabilizing Iraq to give ISIS a fighting chance. But she’s not the kind of person who’s going to sit back and do nothing either. She’s no Dick Cheney and she’s not the Dalai Lama.

The left used to be better at shades of gray. Now, it’s just looking like it has its own Walking Dead faction.

Running out of time. Gotta jump in the shower. Well, not literally jump…

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.

 

The Bernie Operatives protest too much, Methinks

Suddenly, there’s a bunch of posts and articles all over the intertoobz about why it isn’t right for Hillary people to tell Bernie people that it’s time to get out.

It feels a lot like, what’s that defense mechanism called again? You know, the one where you accuse someone of doing the very thing you would have done? Oh, yeah. Projection.

Then there’s this crap from David Axelrod via Greg Sargent:

“He’s pushed her on a lot of issues in a positive way, and I think that his young supporters will be bitterly resentful if anyone tries to shove him out of the race.”

Yes, they probably would be resentful. But it’s not like 2008 when the party will deliberately withhold delegates from his win column from two large states, gift uncommitted delegates to his opponent, re-engineer the rules so that he gets those delegates back but only at half strength until the Sunday before the convention so it looks like he’s always behind, and then doesn’t get a full first ballot roll call vote at the convention so that nobody knows how close the earned delegate count actually is so that it won’t provoke a justified floor fight.

If all that happened to Bernie, his young supporters would have a very good reason to be bitterly resentful.

Funny how David Axelrod was totally onboard with all of that when it happened to Hillary in 2008. He wasn’t overtly worried about her supporters being bitterly resentful. It probably had something to do with her being a woman and assuming she was ok with being shoved aside and not complaining about it. I’m not sure he gave a damn about her supporters’ feelings in the least tiny bit. That’s why some of them left to join the Tea Party. That went well. So, you know, David can piss off for all I care.

But I can’t see Hillary’s people treating other candidates’ voters like s^&*. It’s not what decent people do. It does not result in party unity. And if Hillary approved of that kind of thing that David Axelrod encouraged in 2008, I would very much question her motives. Is she so determined to win that she’ll risk destroying any sense of fairness? Would she be willing to completely discount the votes and sentiments and will of millions of voters (like her voters in 2008, made up over half of all the Democratic voters in all of the primary states including CA, MA, NY, NJ, PA, TX, FL, MI, etc, etc)? Because if she would do that, then what else might she ignore during her presidency? Long term unemployed people? Desperate homeowners? Working people in general?

I only ask.

Fortunately, there’s no reason for any of us to have to contemplate scenarios where Hillary and her people would scream at Bernie’s people to “GET OUT, YOU STUPID <fill in the stereotypical offensive epithet here>, YOU’RE RUINING EVERYTHING!!!”. (We have pictures, Greg)

The primaries are going well. Everything looks on the up and up and Bernie will have his say at the convention and a honest to goodness first ballot roll call vote.

In the meantime, it is very important that Bernie doesn’t sink to the level of a Republican and damage Clinton and the party just so he can stay in the good graces of his supporters who may or may not be some of the same obnoxious Obots who had to have their way in 2008, got it, and got burned because they weren’t paying any damn attention to the fact that their candidate’s favorite presidents were all Republicans.

They are allowed to be disappointed. I have been disappointed many times in Democratic primaries. I always got over it and voted for the nominee. But I drew the line in 2008 because of all of the nasty crap that happened with the full consent of the party, Obama, the media and DAVID AXELROD.

WE were cheated, bullied and disrespected. Bernie’s voters are simply losing. BIG difference.

This part was particularly offensive:

It’s not yet clear whether the Clinton camp thinks it will have to make any meaningful concessions to Sanders in order to unite the party and bring in his supporters. But during her victory speech yesterday, Clinton struck the right preliminary tone for navigating what’s ahead. She stopped short of declaring the nomination locked up, while suggesting that “more voices” across the country still deserve to “be heard,” and thus that the contest should continue for the foreseeable future. Her surrogates may be tempted to heap disdain on Sanders and his supporters for wanting him to keep going, particularly if her pledged delegate lead expands. The Clinton campaign should discourage that.

We don’t need a lecture from Greg Sargent. We had enough of that crap in 2008, along with the Convention media narrative, “Why is Hillary not releasing her delegates? Doesn’t she know she’s harshing Obama’s melloooooow??” (I was in Denver, Greg. I talked to “journalists”. They all parroted the same damn thing)

No one has to tell Clinton or her far more sensitive supporters how to behave towards our friends who are still feeling the Bern, especially not some tut-tutting male blogger at the Washington Post.

I have full faith in Hillary Clinton to do the right thing for the party, to which she has been far more loyal than it has been to her, and for all of the voters, both hers and Bernie’s.

When she wants your input, I’m sure she’ll ask for it.

Update: Why are Clinton people so cranky? Why don’t you put up with 20+ years of lies and innuendo from the nutcase right and then find that the guy you thought wasn’t going to hurt you is using the same personal attacks that could have been written by some back office flunky at Fox News.

And add to that the media is determined to never say anything nice about you. Even the surrogates of the most determined, successful, accomplished, over qualified candidate in the last 20 years would start to get a bit peevish.

Especially after having gone through it once before in 2008. It’s generally true that women have to work much harder to get to the same position as a man. But this is like asking her to run this gauntlet twice without any help whatsoever. It makes what Obama had to go through look like a cake walk.

The better question is, why is Bernie doing it? What can he possibly hope to gain by it?

 

 

Notes from a Primary Night

Was that fun or what? I was phone banking last night at Hillary HQ in Pittsburgh. There was pot luck. Someone brought Greek pastries. I might have had more than my share. Some highlights:

1.) Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa showed up around 7pm and gave a pretty decent pep talk. Took questions. I could swear Hillary addressed at least one of them in her victory speech last night. It sounded very specific. Note to phone bankers- take a look at your candidate’s web site on issues to make sure you can address questions from the people you contact.

2.) My phone bank contacts were very positive for Hillary. There were only a few defectors to Bernie. Really looking forward to the primary next Tuesday. I hope she comes to Pittsburgh for her victory speech.

3.) I still love Bernie and have figured out that he attracts two groups of people. The first group is passionate about universal health care, the end to wars in the middle east, economic stability and income inequality. Katiebird is one of these people and I know that she is a very issues motivated person. The second group is passionate about themselves. They don’t see Hillary as a legitimate candidate and her voters are disposable. Many of these people are the same ones who voted for Obama back in 2008 and were not paying attention. Samantha Bee has a conversation with them on this week’s Full Frontal:

 

Ah, yes, we’re just feeble old geezers who can barely get the energy up to shake our Geritol bottles during Hillary’s speech. If only we had enthusiasm, pep and vigor.

{{rolling eyes}}

Look, I really like Bernie. But as Peter Daou pointed out last night on Twitter, his campaign has evolved from being about something to being about someone. And the idea that the pledged delegate count can be subverted by buying the superdelegates is not only undemoctatic, it’s just so 2008. I even heard CNN commentators admit last night that it’s essentially what Obama did back in 2008.Maybe we’re finally seeing the impermeable shell of media protection around Obama start to crack. Maybe pigs will fly out of my ass. Who knows.

Anyway, this is all to say that it’s beneath you, Bernie. The primary is tougher with you in it and Hillary runs better when she’s challenged. But this primary is clean, unlike 8 years ago. Let’s keep it that way and respect the will of the voters AND the candidates who earned those delegates. Introducing animosity at this stage when there’s no reason to feels like something a Republican would want us to do.

And who’s to say they’re not secretly goading us on.

4.) Speaking of Republicans, congrats to Donald Trump. This fall is going to be tremendous. YUGE!

{{Bwahahahahahahhahhhhhhhh!}}

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