Walker Bragman is back — and perhaps being paid actual cash money — to give some takes so hot they could be sliding down a mountain in Hawaii:
I strongly believe that Hillary will kill the momentum that has been generated over the last eight years by Barack Obama, the first liberal (not progressive) Democrat to be president in years–and that will do more damage to the Democratic brand than four years of a Republican president would do to the country.
Omitted: any domestic issue on which Clinton is to the right of Barack Obama. Reason for omission: there isn’t a halfpence worth of difference between them. Also, the distinction between “liberal” and “progressive” is entirely useless, and the next good political argument to rely on the word “brand” will be the first. (To make “brand” arguments in the wake of the 2010 midterms is…special.)
If the New Deal taught us anything it’s that unprecedented sweeping government action can happen quickly. FDR achieved significant reforms within the first hundred days of his presidency.
Yes, who can forget FDR just ramming legislation RIGHT DOWN THE THROATS of a Congress controlled by conservative Republicans. Bernie would be able to do exactly the same thing in 2017, but Hillary wouldn’t. even. try. Thank you for this very pertinent history lesson.
After some nonsense about how the country could use a lot of Katrinas because this will make things better based on airy heighten-the-contradictions speculation with somewhat less content than the Underpants Gnome theory, we get to the uniquely risible stuff:
The argument I keep hearing is “the SCOTUS is up for grabs in 2016 so we must vote Hillary if she gets nominated.”
As I said, but did not elaborate on in my first piece, this is more true for 2020 and 2024. Let’s assume we live in a world where Hillary has won the primary, and angry progressive’s didn’t turn out for her in the general so she lost. It is true we might lose Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 82-years-old, somewhere between 2016 and 2020. However, there is nothing to suggest that any of the other justices approaching retirement (Scalia, Breyer and Kennedy) will step down with her. The other justices are all in their late 70s. Scalia, the second oldest at 79 years of age, has indicated that nothing short of dementia will lead to his resignation. Justice Breyer announced in September of this year that he will retire “eventually,” indicating nothing imminent.
Where to even begin?
- The fact that Breyer has no immediate plans to retire makes it unpossible that it could happen!
- Remember the assumption about “angry progressive’s (not liberals!)” not turning out for when he gets to the assumption about how Democrats will retain the Senate so no harm, no foul if we get President Cruz. Yes, you’re right that this makes no sense.
- I would like a copy of Bragman’s theory that incumbency is a presumptive disadvantage in a presidential election so I can volunteer to teach a grade 8 civics class and give it an F.
- Bragman’s “no big deal” scenario involves a Republican president replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This means that on most politically salient issues the median vote on the Court will be John Roberts, who a couple high-profile defections aside votes 95% of the time with Sam Alito — the most consistently reactionary justice since World War II — in 5-4 cases. Well, if that’s it what’s the big deal? A Roe overruled here, an Obergefell there — it might hurt you but it won’t hurt Bragman, so really who cares.
Let’s head to the finish line:
As H.A. Goodman has previously written, this race is really about sending a message to the DNC and to the DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who served as co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for president) over their perceived shielding of the front runner from criticism.
The jokes pretty much write themselves on this one — I mean, dealbreaker arguments are bad enough when the chosen issue is of first-rank importance. But, yes, the biggest victim of at least 4 years of unified Republican rule would be Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Also, to state what should be painfully obvious, insurgent campaigns cannot expect the support of the party establishment. Tea Party Republicans don’t take their ball and go home because party elites don’t support their favored candidates.
And the punchline:
I cannot implicitly support this kind of undemocratic action from DNC by casting my ballot for someone who, if you take away the name and party affiliation, is essentially a moderate Republican.
It would take a wisdom far beyond my own to determine which is the most idiotic of these arguments. “Cast your general election vote based on the number of debates in the primaries” is stupid indeed, even by the standards of voting as consumerist onanism. But calling Hillary Clinton a “moderate Republican” — which would have been idiotic in 1972 and is light years beyond idiotic in 2015 — tops it. Rarely is such a colossally ignorant argument delivered with such self-congratulation.