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Hillary in Pittsburgh and about those Debates

copsfvawiaabijf

John Fetterman upstaged by daughter Gracie on Saturday at the Stronger Together rally in Pittsburgh

Hillary came to Pittsburgh on Saturday with Tim Kaine on their Stronger Together bus tour. So I went.

Note to those of you who get invited to future such events: If they say the doors open at 2:15pm, make sure to get in line at 11am. The line stretched from the convention center, down the block, and wrapped around the block. I stood in line for 2 hours before I got in the door. Then, I didn’t get a seat. It was standing room only. We were one of the last groups to get in. There were 2000 people who didn’t.

The Trump supporters were limited to a few cars full of “Women for Trump” and about 20 protestors holding signs annnnnnd that’s about it. Not a whole lot of STrumpets in Pittsburgh and the line for the Clinton rally dwarfed the one I saw for Trump a couple of months ago.

It took another two hours for the bus to arrive. Those of us who had been on our feet all that time sat down and played heads up or found outlets to charge our phones and tablets. But no one lost their temper. It was a pretty family friendly atmosphere.

In the leadup, we heard from locals like Mark Cuban and Mike Doyle. But the biggest applause was saved for John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, PA who ran for Senate. He was a Bernie supporter and truly a change agent. The dude is like 6’9″, wears, well, apparently whatever fits, and still managed to get about 20% of the primary vote. How did that happen?! It was an amazing feat for a guy who otherwise didn’t seem to have a chance. So, he was Mr. Popularity before the bus arrived. His little girl Grace stole the show holding up a sign and leading the chant, “Hill-a-ry, Hill-a-ry!”. Perfect timing. She upstaged her dad, which is pretty hard to do.

Hillary and Kaine arrived about 40 minutes later. The crowd went wild. Kaine did his Trump impression again.It was just as bad, in a charming, attention getting way. I really like him. And then Hillary took over, dressed in red and completely at ease. That was the most surprising part of the whole evening. She didn’t sound scripted, her voice didn’t have that harsh, staccato cadence. She was more relaxed, confident, spontaneous. Maybe all she needed was to get the nomination.

She talked about her first 100 days. It’s going to focus on infrastructure. And she made particular mention of improving broadband and expanding it to rural areas. She also said that she wasn’t going to govern exclusively from the Oval Office. She’s going to be on the move during her presidency. Now, I think I understand why she picked Kaine. She needs a strong, competent presence in DC while she has a strong competent presence on the road. This is going to be a different kind of presidency. If you want change, you’re going to get it.

One thing really stood out: she barely mentioned Donald Trump and I can’t recall that she ever specifically said his name. There were only a couple of references to him. Very interesting.

You know who else she barely mentioned? Obama. Sorry about that, Heather. Pittsburgh bleeds Democrat, we’re definitely and proudly a diverse city and yet hardly a peep about Obama. Maybe she wants to distinguish herself as a change agent. Of course, she wouldn’t have to make quite such a distinction if he was as wildly, maniacally popular as some Democrats think. Something to think about.

Then it was over about an hour after it began. I beat a hasty retreat. The venue was claustrophobic, warm and we all should have used a lot more deodorant.

But definitely worth the wait if you get an invitation from your local Democratic party.

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

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo shares my views about the debates. If you’ve been paying attention, you can probably predict what Trump is going to do next in any scenario. The Washington Post definitely has Trump’s number. It looks like the NYTimes is getting a clue too. They will find the next 99 days extremely entertaining. {{smirk}}

But back to the debates. Trump has two choices: 1.) Try to get out of them. He’s already trying to do this. or 2.) have his supporters disrupt Clinton whenever she speaks. He could do this personally as well but I’m guessing he’ll just bring in some rowdy dudes who will behave extraordinarily badly.

Josh writes along these lines in How and Why Trump will Try to Ditch the Debates:

The requirement is simple: get out of the debates, make them not happen without seeming to be the one who’s running away or tanking them. Here’s how. I suspect Trump will start claiming that that the process is “rigged” because Gary Johnson and Jill Stein aren’t included. For better or worse (I think better), the debate commission rules are crystal clear: You need to hit 15% support in a certain number of major polls to be included. It’s highly unlikely Johnson will meet that threshold; it’s almost impossible that Stein will. Inclusion over exclusion has an inherent logic to it even if it’s obviously self-serving and not appropriate in this case. So I think Trump will find this a comfortable position from which to attack the debates themselves.

Trump does better in multi-person debates than one-on-ones. They’re much less debates in any real sense. They’re more like parallel taunt contests. The multi-person format also makes it easier to avoid policy detail. What’s more, Stein would certainly work with Trump in tag-teaming Hillary Clinton, putting her under fire from both the left and right. Johnson’s role is more uncertain. He less of an attack dog by temperament. And who he’d have more interest in attacking is less clear than it might seem. I’m sure Clinton would weather such a debate. But it’s clearly a less attractive option for her that a one on one with Trump.

What’s more, agreeing to such a debate in contravention of the debate commission rules and at Trump’s demand would show her giving into to Trump’s bullying, which would be extremely damaging quite apart from whether two person or four person debates are better in the abstract.

There is no possible way in Hell that Trump could win a substantive debate against Clinton. She is so good and chewed Obama up so badly in PA in 2008 that he had to slink off to North Carolina the next day to bluster and strut and nurse his wounds with his “dirt off my shoulder” routine. Yeah, Trump doesn’t stand a chance. She will make mincemeat of him. It will be yumiliating. He can’t have that. So, don’t expect to see him going mano-a-mano with his tiny little hands against Hillary without a lot of kicking and screaming.

It’s the last thing in the world he wants to do.

 

 

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Pennsylvania Primary

Today’s the day in PA, CT, DE, MD and RI! I hope all that hard work paid off.

My vote for the Democratic candidate for President is Hillary Clinton.

This is an easy case to make. She is far and away the most qualified and prepared candidate on either side of the aisle to become president. And although my heart was with Sanders, my head tells me that Hillary knows who to call to get things done. These are the reasons I voted for her in the NJ primary eight years ago and they haven’t changed.

The fact that she is a woman is secondary to me but it is the icing on the cake. It’s more historic than Obama and probably has greater implications down the road. There have been studies that show that the more women you have in government, the better off everyone is. Will one more woman be enough? I don’t know. But she may be able to bring more downticket women with her.That’s my hope.

So, good luck to all of us but may luck favor the prepared mind- Hillary Clinton.

For Senate, to replace Toomey, I’ve been supporting John Fetterman. He’s the mayor of Braddock, just down the road a piece from me. He’s definitely an iconoclast, and who says we couldn’t use more of them in the Senate? He has a passion for urban renewal. So, good luck, John!

And here’s a little shout out to Love and Kindness from Pittsburgh, the TV hometown of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was actually from Latrobe but the first public broadcasting station in the country, WQED, is in Pittsburgh:

Valar Dohaeris

Hi all, I’m canvassing again today. This time I got the Squirrel Hill territory. This is one of the loveliest parts of Pittsburgh. It doesn’t have the spectacular views of the Troy Hill/Spring Gardens area I was canvassing yesterday. But the streets are wide and relatively flat and for that I am grateful after yesterday’s ups and downs.

It’s another perfect day weather wise.  I’m wearing my Wendy Davis filibuster sneakers.

The title of this post refers to the beginning of Game of Thrones, season 6 tonight. Valar Dohaeris means “all men must serve”.  This is also my way of encouraging anyone in the Northeast corridor states with a primary on Tuesday to volunteer for your preferred national, state and local candidates.

A few hours of phone banking or walking door-to-door can make all the difference. And if you really believe in your candidate, it’s a good way to serve.

So that they can eventually serve you .

😎

 

 

PSAs

1.) Frank Bruni is starting to worry that Donald Trump is unstoppable, UNSTOPPABLE! Oh, what can he do to prevent Creamsicle from becoming president? I mean other than stop acting like a mean girl and forcing himself to report on Hillary accurately? It must be so frustrating for Frank and MoDo to have to come to terms with the damage that 23 years of relentless repetition of petty sniping, and not so petty innuendos of dishonesty, obfuscation, conspiracies, did I say lying (?), have wrecked on Hillary’s reputation. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. After all, all of their friends hate Hillary. There *must* be a reason, right?

But if Frank is really worried that a nationalistic, policy-less, torture and violence loving narcissist might make it to the White House, Frank could change his ways. If this year’s zeitgeist is that voters want to back an anti-establishment Winner!, maybe Frank and his friends could ease up on saying she has an honesty problem all the time. Maybe they could review their own performance back in 2008 and say, “Jeez, we were rough on her for no reason, wouldja look at that! She won every big Democratic state in the primaries except for Georgia and Illinois! How is it she didn’t get nominated?? Did we have anything to do with that?” Maybe they could turn that Junior High spirit on Trump, his harem and the disrespectful way he treats women, including {{gag}} Megyn Kelly. Maybe they can get their Heathers to yumiliate him. You know how it’s done.

Or maybe Frank and his editors could stop insisting that Hillary refrains from criticizing Obama’s policies in any way, shape or form, and start acting like she’s got a great chance at, you know, winning.

Because it looks like it’s going to be either Trump or Hillary. Just think about that, Frank. Do you want President Hillary or President The Donald picking the next supreme court justice and decorating the Oval Office? Think Trump Tower, Frank, and acres of pink toned marble. I know, the horror, the horror.

2.) This is not an anti-Bernie zone. Some of my favorite people are feeling the Bern this year, including our own Katiebird. And I have at least one kid who is a Berniephile for very good reasons- student loans. Plus, Bernie isn’t using scorched earth, party ripping, exiling inducing tactics like Obama did in 2008. If there are people on Bernie’s team that are acting like fraternity assholes, I haven’t seen any evidence that Bernie endorses it. It’s not like his speechwriters are groping the breasts on Hillary Clinton paper cutouts, nor is the candidate “brushing dirt off his shoulders” after debates where he is trounced. So, you know, let’s let the power of their proposals get criticized and lay off each others supporters. I’m a Clintonista but I could easily see myself voting for Bernie without regret.

3.) There’s a very good youtube video I followed from Twitter on current economics and what’s to come. This is by Bruce Greenwald.

I’m not an economist so some of the data analysis and vocabulary was over my head. To me, a Minsky Moment is what happens just before the place is raided. But what did stand out were these two points at about minute mark 20:00 ish: 1.) the savings rate has been dropping in recent years and 2.) Americans in the bottom 80% economically need to spend 110% of their income to stay where they are in the socio-economic strata.

Watching this video gave me the same feeling I had back in the mid 2000’s when people were buying houses for crazy prices and then didn’t have money to furnish them. They felt they had to get in on the property ladder because the house prices kept going up and up without end and it was making the prospect of owning a house look more and more remote. Then the housing bubble crashed, in part because so many people were over extended.

We’re facing the same thing now. Too many people are over extended. Income is unstable. You could lose your job at any time through no fault of your own. You need to save for that. But you can’t save too much because the price of everything seems to be stuck on high. Major appliances are designed to last for 5-7 years. (I got this directly from the mouth of a major appliance manufacturer sales rep) Food is outrageously expensive. Have you bought beef lately? I feel like I’m becoming an involuntary vegetarian. The price of gas has come down but come summer, it will go up again. Then there is the price of health insurance, deductibles, etc. If you’re young, you’re saddled with massive student debt that can never be discharged. And you need to sock away some of your income for that 401K that other people gamble with because there are no pensions anymore.

One of two things has to happen: 1.) Wages have to go up or 2.) Prices are going to come down. Deflation looks like the scarier option on the scale of the global economy. But we can’t have our corporate overlords continue to capture portions of shrinking incomes and say, “Well, you know, they’re responsible for their own health, savings, education, etc. To be good citizens, they have to pay for this stuff themselves out of their own pockets. We just want our cut.”

There is a limit and we are already over it. Income instability leads to societal instability.

We’ve become crops to be harvested. A crop’s purpose is to provide money for others to take. If a crop starts saving money, that is not good for the harvesters. Future President Hillary needs to start talking about this problem very seriously because we can’t go on like this for much longer. The world’s economy is at stake.