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Things That Shouldn’t Need Saying But Apparently Do

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Like Paul, I would have thought that a simple list documenting the extent to which Hillary Clinton has benefited from the Platitudes-By-Plutocrats-For-Plutocrats racket spoke for itself, but apparently not. A few points:

  • Paying wealthy people five-and-six-figures-plus-luxury-perks to deliver rote speeches is one of the more egregious essentially non-competitive mechanisms by which America’s underachieving and overcompensated elites reward themselves. It’s more of a systematic problem than a problem with any individual, true, but liberals should not just take this new norm for granted.
  • If Hillary Clinton was retired from politics, I would concede that the “hate the game not the player” argument would have some force. It’s true enough that abstinence on the part of Clinton would not cause the racket to vanish. But in fact she’s running for president, which makes this a real issue for three reasons: 1)many people paying obscene speaking fees are trying to cultivate influence from someone with an excellent chance to be the next president; 2)the extent to which the likely nominee of the leftmost major American political party participating in the P-B-P-F-P racket normalizes and legitimizes it; and 3)as Paul says, the dumb politics.
  • The theory of corruption advanced by John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy, it should really go without saying, is transparently wrong. These speaking fees do not constitute quid pro quo bribes, and they will not turn Hillary Clinton into a right-winger. But they’re nonetheless one of the many ways in which the wealthy exert disproportionate influence on the political process. And this isn’t like ordinary campaign finance, where unilateral Democratic disarmament isn’t an option. Clinton has to raise money to fund her campaign, but she doesn’t have to take millions of dollars for her Foundation and, worse, herself from rich people and groups trying to influence her.
  • Criticism of Hillary Clinton does not imply that she is not infinitely better than any possible Republican candidate. As a legal academic once wrote on an obscure blog, “The coming presidential election, for those of us in this category, will consist of ordering one of three things for dinner: pizza, Indian food, or anthrax. For me Sanders is pretty good Indian food, while HRC on her worst days is Pizza Hut pizza, but the choice between Pizza Hut and anthrax is not a choice in any conceivable sense of the word, and having any sort of argument about this in 2015 as opposed to 2000 seems really ridiculous.” The fact that Hillary Clinton does things worthy of criticism does not change this obvious fact, and it would be tedious to reiterate it every single time a criticism of Clinton is advanced.
  • The extremely high stakes of the forthcoming presidential election and the fact that Clinton is overwhelmingly likely to the the Democratic nominee makes these unforced political errors all the more worthy of criticism.
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  • Judas Peckerwood

    I’m constantly amazed by supposed progressives who see nothing wrong with this legal bribery (see the comments on Campos’s previous post for some examples). I look forward to them descending on this one as well to spin, spin, spin again.

    • gmack

      It’s the inevitable effect of the silly season. When in the middle of a campaign, analysis is never going to be examined solely on its merits; the rhetorical context is such that every argument about politics ends up getting refracted through the lens of the election.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Absolutely. But this is a good principle to remember all around when evaluating campaign-related speech. Otherwise smart people are often willing to say transparently idiotic things in the middle of a campaign. They deserve to be criticized for the dumb things they say. But saying dumb things doesn’t necessarily make the speakers stupid, just temporarily blinded by partisanship.

        • Dilan Esper

          I think it’s more than the silly season.

          I do think that there’s something of a divide on the American left between people who are fundamentally cool with American capitalism, including its opportunities to make obscene amounts of money, but just want to rein in whatever they see as its excesses and tax the people who make a lot of money, and people who think that we have more systematic problems and that greed not just isn’t good, but is really bad.

          The most trenchant comment of the people who disagreed with me in the other thread was the person who said “if I were in her situation, I’d do it”. Leaving aside the problems with that as an argument (which Scott sets out), there are really a lot of us who WOULDN’T do it if we were in in HRC’s position. Or at least I hope I wouldn’t do it– maybe I’m not as good a person as I think I am.

          I don’t think the object in life is to amass as much money as you can get away with amassing. I think it’s perfectly fine to live a nice comfortable life, but nobody needs the kind of money that the Clintons were making. And therefore there’s a moral fault involved in taking it.

          The thing is, a lot of liberals disagree with me about that.

          • Joe_JP

            nobody needs

            yup … a lot of things people are greedy about in this country … moral fault in what the hubby did with women too imho. Sorta seemed to get greedy and got a bit messy for the rest of us. But, people are greedy.

            The money thing affects how players in the system act but the other stuff does too. OTOH, he and she are playing in a system where that is one way to get power. There are others. But, he and she did some good things with it.

            • Ronan

              I think Bill’s behaviour was a meaningful abuse of his power and position. I’ve a lot of time for him as politician, but as a person he’s a bit of a joke.

            • DrDick

              Only some people are greedy and I try not to put them in positions of power them if possible.

              • Joe_JP

                “I” and “possible” seems to be doing a lot of work there

                • DrDick

                  I can only speak for myself, not the whole human race, especially since a large number of people here seem eager to do so. I am also a realist and recognize that many, if not most, of the people who run for high political office are not generally representative of the best in humanity. I am always willing to vote for the least objectionable candidate, which has meant the Democrat for my 64 years. I have problems with Clinton, though she is not exceptional among politicians, but she is infinitely better than any conceivable Republican, who have become the Children of the Damned.

          • Ronan

            I think it goes beyond a problem of a lack of political judgement, but approaches something akin to a lack of character. This might sound conservative bordering on Calvinistic but she does have an obligation to (relatively) suffer when her people are suffering. For example, I think someone running a business in a downturn that’s leaving people go has an obligation to downgrade their lifestyle. Not just for a practical reason (ie that money should reinvested rather than spent), but because you have an obligation to people, as an elite, to suffer with them. Would you throw parties celebrating a promotion if you heard your neighbour had been laid off?
            It strikes me as a fundamentally wrong way to behave, particularly by someone who is expected to serve the people. Not a political deal breaker, but not justifiable.

          • AMK

            I do think that there’s something of a divide on the American left between people who are fundamentally cool with American capitalism, including its opportunities to make obscene amounts of money, but just want to rein in whatever they see as its excesses and tax the people who make a lot of money, and people who think that we have more systematic problems and that greed not just isn’t good, but is really bad.

            Spot on. I’ll admit that I’m one of the former. My reaction would be to have Clinton to say something along the lines of “this is exactly why I think people like me should pay much higher taxes in this economy, so middle-class people pay less.” Her plans would do that, but she has not used them as a direct response to the speaking fees question.

            This speaks to a broader problem: when she talks about inequality and opportunity, she always reverts to canned stories from the campaign trail or her family growing up–she still tries to pretend she has more in common with the cashier than the CEO, which rubs everyone the wrong way and makes her an easy target. I think it speaks to political flat-footedness and bad advice from career sycophants around her (another problem) rather than a lack of progressive commitment….but I see how the matter is up for debate.

            Plenty of obscenely rich people have been genuine and effective advocates for progressive economics (the Roosevelts and Kennedys come to mind) but they never did it by denying their own obvious obscene wealth…if anything, they used it to enhance their credibility by being upfront. That Clinton still can’t grasp this is far more troubling to me than any speaking fee.

            • Roberta

              The problem is surely not just about her money. It’s who she’s getting it from, and the timing of it. If Hillary got obscenely rich because she took up coding and invented an awesome app, or because she had a rich uncle who died and left her his fortune, I know I wouldn’t be as disturbed as I am at her getting these huge fees from the likes of Goldman Sachs shortly before her run for president.

              • DrDick

                Also about how she is getting it. At very least, it gives an appearance of corruption and undue influence.

              • Dilan Esper

                Very few people get obscenely rich because they invent something genuinely useful to society. For instance, even most of the dot com billionaires just got lucky.

                And even with someone like Mark Zuckerberg- how rich do we really want him to get?

                • los

                  Mark Zuckerberg??

                  ——
                  For instance, even most of the dot com billionaires just got lucky
                  a lot of the best SW is freeware or open-source.

            • TopsyJane

              FDR and JFK were born rich — although neither man had much in common with the CEOs of their day. Any such denials would have been ludicrous. For most of their careers in public life, the Clintons really didn’t have that much in common with the “obscenely rich.” (Unfortunately, they’ve done their best since leaving the White House to make up for lost time.)

              Her plans would do that,

              Yes, she wants to raise her own taxes. Works for me.

      • And there are two powerful epistemically distorting forces:

        1) Fear that something like this will cause people who should know better not to vote or to waste a vote. I think people who gone on about how Paul’s post helps Trump are here.

        2) Backwards rationalisation. People know they will probably have to support Clinton and want to buck themselves up about it by minimizing these problems.

        Buck up others or oneself, heaven knows we need some bucking up.

        • MDrew

          There are a lot of Democrats who could have run. Maybe Democrats and Democrat-aligned types (like myself) broadly would be in this kind emotional funk (severely in need of bucking-up for very good reason) regarding any Democrat who would have been nominated. But perhaps they wouldn’t have been with some of the (real) possibilities.

          I regret that there wasn’t even a semblance of a genuine process for figuring out if there were any such possibilities in the party, aka a real primary.

          • I regret that there wasn’t even a semblance of a genuine process for figuring out if there were any such possibilities in the party, aka a real primary.

            Explicit primaries are way too late for slate vetting/bench development (see the Republican sitch): The bench must be developed over multiple cycles. I don’t know if there’s a clear way to solve this problem or whether it’s a systemtic problem (as opposed to something idiosyncratic…e.g., if Beau Biden hadn’t gotten sick and died, we might have had a three way contest at least; Biden isn’t ideal, but he seems to have less of the personal miasma that Clinton has with a lot of her establishment strength; otoh, he’s never been a good presidential campaigner, certainly not compared to Clinton, so he would have had to be quite different than his past…which would be possible).

    • Ransom Stoddard

      I’m constantly amazed by how little attention is paid to Clinton’s (progressive!) substantive policy positions on financial regulation (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/wall-street/), which should be what you *actually care about* in terms of evaluating her as a candidate.

      • Yep. As far as I’m concerned, if HRC got Wall Street to put $$ in her pocket, good for her.

        • Maybe her pal Kissinger taught her Schwarzenberg’s line: “we will astonish them by the magnitude of our ingratitude.”

          Or maybe she’s just familiar with the most quoted maxim of Willie Sutton’s.

        • Pat

          I don’t know if I’d have turned it down were I in her shoes.

          • John Revolta

            Back in the ’70s the early punks used to pile on Rod Stewart for having got rich by selling lots and lots of records. Stewart’s reply was: “What do they want me to do? Give the money back?

            • Campos & Lemieux say yes!

              Campos never surprises me, but I thought Lemieux was less out of touch. Establishment people acting all establishmenty! Shocking.

              • This is the sort of argument I’m getting pretty annoyed with from Clinton supporters. This sort of condescending disdain for those of us who actually want more than an establishment candidate acting all establishmenty. There’s something about it that reminds me of the old “there is no alternative” slogan. We have a potential candidate who hasn’t done this sort of crap, and he’s a bit of a longshot still, but fuck it, that’s the guy I’ll support. And either way, I figure it’s a good thing to encourage up-and-coming Democratic politicians to avoid the “Platitudes-By-Plutocrats-For-Plutocrats racket” entirely.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Campos & Lemieux say yes!

                At least in my case, you need to read more carefully. There’s a pretty important difference between how Rod Stewart made his money and how Hillary Clinton does. If Clinton made tens of millions of dollars selling tickets to and DVDs of her speeches to ordinary people, I wouldn’t find that particularly objectionable. Getting various boards of directors to pay you huge amounts of money for speeches really ain’t the same thing.

                Also, the last I checked Rod Stewart was not seeking public office, another rather important distinction.

                • DrDick

                  Exactly and if Clinton had made that money through some some sort of productive activity (an actual job), it would be much less objectionable (though I am one of those opposed to anyone making a million dollars).

            • Ronan

              Whether or not Rod Stewart earned too much is an interesting question, but not overly relevant. Whether or not you want your president to behave better than a pop star is more so.

              • John Revolta

                Well, yes. And once she’s the president, I’d expect her to stop doing such stuff.

                • EliHawk

                  Yeah, I expect the serious, introspective double album, but most people just want her to play the hits.

                • DrDick

                  I hold to rather higher standards for office, since I think this is reflective of both character and priorities. I will vote for her if she is the nominee, since everyone in the GOP is infinitely more corrupt and certifiably insane.

      • Nick never Nick

        It’s because there is more to politics than policy, and one important debate in America today is how the financial system will be brought to heel and regulated (or if it will be brought to heel and regulated). Clinton’s behaviour suggests what her response will be, which is a data point, just as much as a policy position is a data point.

        • Ransom Stoddard

          I’m actually skeptical of that (presidents lead coalitions, etc.), but it doesn’t contradict my point, which is that too little attention is being paid to HRC’s actual platform for financial regulation.

          • Davis X. Machina

            She doesn’t mean it, though. You can tell.

            • You’re right, Davis. We can’t tell at all whether she means it.

              Yay.

              • I would be much more sympathetic to the argument that we can’t believe anything Hillary says today if it wasn’t frequently made by people who argue we should totally believe everything Hillary said in the ’90s.

                • DrDick

                  I actually look for consistency over time, which is rather a problem here, even in the short term. Much of what she is saying now is in direct response to the Sanders campaign and does not correspond to what she has said and done in the past.

          • Nick never Nick

            And I’m actually sympathetic to that, because I also think debates should be about policy. However, policy is what people are willing to fight for, and spend their political resources and energy on. Obama had many policies that weren’t priorities, which is natural. Financial reform isn’t a priority of mine, but it is something I care about; not sure how much HRC does. Behaviour and priorities are the foundation that policy rests on.

            But ultimately, choosing a candidate is like choosing a stock — you want the one other people also want. HRC needs to get a better explanation, instead of arguing that this is normal behaviour for a leader of a liberal coalition.

            • Brien Jackson

              LEgislative priorities are in many ways heavily defined by Congress as well. If Demcorats end up with a Congressional majority and there’s a push for more financial regulations, a Clinton administration isn’t likely to impede that, adn campaign positions are actually a pretty good way of gauging what policy preferences a candidate has. Basically; it won’t matter if Republicans control at least one house of Congress, but otherwise you’re going to have a President that wants to impose a pretty good set of new regulations on the financial industry, and the least liberal members of the Senate caucus are likely to be a much bigger impediment to that than the White House.

      • PeakVT

        That’s all well and good, but both Clintons (as well as Obama) have a history of surrounding themselves with numerous advisors and appointees that come from Wall Street or are uncomfortably close to it. One of the points I think both Lemieux and Campos are trying to make is that these speaking fees are not necessarily directly corrupt, but are very likely to make Clinton sympathetic to arguments from the organizations that paid her to speak. Is she going to take the call of some who was, say, given a mortgage they shouldn’t have been during the credit boom a decade ago, and has had their credit ruined because of it? Probably not, and that will have more than a little to do with fact that person can’t afford her speaking fees.

        IOW: there’s corruption, and there’s bias. The speaking fees will almost certainly reinforce Clinton’s existing biases.

        Also, too: They will *unnecessarily* reinforce existing biases about Clinton. And why do that?

        Also, again: It will also matter if Clinton appoints Wall Street-sympathetic people (I’m looking at you, Larry Summers) to various positions within the government, as they will influence rule making and interpretation, which are important to any industry and probably more so for the finance industry. The speaking fees are likely to influence Clinton on that regard just because its a chance for the industry to put some names and faces in front of her.

        • shah8

          Obama is a lot smoother about Education Department grift than the Clintons, though.

          The problem is how the Clintons can be so obvious about this.

          • UserGoogol

            Clinton is running as a cold-hearted realist, and to a lesser extent was in 2008 as well. Someone who doesn’t particularly care about being grand ideals but instead on being familiar with how to work the system. Being moderately corrupt in a “this is just how the game is played” sort of way almost plays into that. Of course, it also comes with entirely predictable negatives. But it’s possible she just took for granted that people will always think she’s corrupt, so she might as well embrace it.

        • Cheap Wino

          “. . . very likely to make Clinton sympathetic to arguments from the organizations that paid her to speak.”

          You mean even more sympathetic than you or most political observers thought before you read the Citizen Uprising attack? The critique laid out about this behavior is solid. But this isn’t new or revelatory as it relates to Hillary. She was always like this, always in the position of being compromised by oligarchs. Why is this news?

        • Why is Larry Summers your bete noire here? Of late he’s been one of the major monetary and fiscal doves.

    • sibusisodan

      I think approximately half of those comments would go away if you replaced the word ‘disgusting’ in that OP with some other less visceral but equally disapproving alternative.

      When 95% of that post could be reproduced verbatim by a dkos ‘I’ll never vote for Hillary’ diary, the enpretzled pushback is understandable, if not agreeable.

      • Ktotwf

        Isn’t dailyKos the site cracking down on criticism of Clinton for the general election? The stereotype seems off a bit

        • sibusisodan

          Don’t know. I was just riffing off what Major Kong said on the other thread.

          • Nick never Nick

            You have just summed up the state of debate with exquisite perfection.

            • Judas Peckerwood

              Ouch?

        • Sly

          1) A bunch of major internet fora do that, resulting in much gnashing of teeth for about a week if 2008 is any kind of guidepost.

          2) The entirety of Moulitsas’s “cracking down on criticism” entails telling people (a) not to post bullshit about Benghazi and the like, (b) harrumphing about not voting or voting third party, and (c) to refrain from exclusively relying on stuff like, to use his words, “she’s a sell-out corporatist whore oligarch.” All three of which would, and I don’t think this is a major shock, get someone pilloried on this and any other ostensibly liberal-leaning site.

          If Sanders were the presumptive nominee, you’d see the exact same post except substituting “no Benghazi” with “no red-baiting.”

          • Ktotwf

            I was just pointing out that dailyKos doesn’t seem to fit its boogeyman status.

            • sibusisodan

              I will cheerfully withdraw the use of dkos and substitute anything which you’d consider less inaccurately distracting.

              Well, the edit window has closed. But the willingness is there!

              • Ronan

                Substitute in Freddie de boer. Should be okay.

          • Pat

            Good for Moulitsas. Raises the value of the discourse.

      • Chuchundra

        Exactly. It’s such a ridiculous piece of hyperbole that it’s impossible to take any subsequent discussion or commentary seriously.

        There are a lot of things that a politician might do that could be legitimately called disgusting. Taking money from people who have a lot of it isn’t remotely close.

        I’d call it unfortunate and disappointing. The reaction to it, however, is clearly part of the “Clinton Rules” where borderline questionable or concerning activities that are common in the political sphere become crimes against humanity.

        Bleh.

        • Ronan

          Imo, as a citizen of a republic you should hate your leadership. Actively despise them. vote for them, campaign for them, but spend every waking minute thinking about how you’ll be willing to bring them down if needs be. Be ready to assassinate them if necessary. Adopt the moral code of the agrarian secret societies.
          You seem to be under the impression that your political elite are no more consequential than the inhabitants of Jersey shore. Not so.

          Edit: the tv show, not the place.

          • Hogan

            There’s a story of an Irishman caught in a shipwreck in the South Pacific who hung onto a piece of flotsam and drifted for ten days, then washed up on a small island. He came wading out of the surf yelling “Who’s the government here? I’m against ’em!”

            • Ronan

              I think I knew him

        • The reaction to it, however, is clearly part of the “Clinton Rules” where borderline questionable or concerning activities that are common in the political sphere become crimes against humanity.

          Let me get this straight.

          After years of everybody lauding anti-oligarch, anti-Wall Street politics, the reaction you have to that post and thread – the one with half the self-proclaimed liberal Democrats saying “What’s the big deal?” is Hillary Clinton is being subject to overly harsh judgements?

          Really?

      • djw

        When 95% of that post could be reproduced verbatim by a dkos ‘I’ll never vote for Hillary’ diary,

        Well, but isn’t the 5% missing kind of the most important part?

        • sibusisodan

          It is, but given that it was a really long post with the key 5% at the end after a quite an viscerally emotive word, people on the internet have been known to respond without sufficient reflection in cases like that.

          I can imagine an alternative formulation of the post which doesn’t have half the furore over it because it’s shorter and doesn’t press certain buttons so strongly.

          That’s really small beer, of course, but this is the internet in a time of intense politics. People are going to read poorly.

          • sonamib

            Yeah but come on, this is LGM, a blog renowned Internet-wide* for its advocacy of always voting for the lesser of two evils.

            I understand that people were reacting on the heat of the moment, but seriously, an LGM frontpager arguing for sitting out a general election is something that’s never happened. That should have given everyone pause before misinterpreting the post.

            *I’m probably exaggerating.

            • sibusisodan

              I agree. It should have done.

              There’s a Thing which I, among others, am prey too on the Internet. Which is viciously worrying about minor second and third order effects in the absence of data, while blowing past the first-order problem.

              ‘What will this Opinion said in such a Manner do to people who are vaguely connected to the discussion? It might have a Bad Effect! Or if not directly, it might enable a Bad Effect further down the line, after some other Thing.’

              That’s rather different from a quantifiable direct effect.

              There’s also something about the way emotive language encourages an emotive, non-rational response.

      • JL

        The lack of any statement in it to the effect of “I’ll never vote for Hillary” seems like a pretty huge difference, regardless of what other similarities there might be. The fact that Paul wrote only a few months ago that he would vote for Hillary in the general also seems relevant.

        • Srsly, this.

          What that comment is saying is that criticism of Hillary Clinton for taking Wall Street money is, itself, without any message about not voting for her, almost exactly like saying you wont vote for her.

          It’s criticism of Hillary itself that he’s trying to put beyond the Pale.

          • sibusisodan

            Joe, given my comments on the other thread, do you think it’s a fair and accurate summary that I’m trying to put criticism of Clinton beyond the pale?

            If you think that it is, then I have to go do some rethinking about how I communicate.

            My point was solely that given the way that piece presented itself, combined with the general atmosphere of political crazy, it was begging to be misread.

            • I don’t think you’re trying to do that.

              I think your reasoning leads you inevitably to doing that unintentionally.

              You don’t think criticism of Clinton is beyond the Pale, but you think that advocacy for not voting for Clinton is beyond the Pale…and you read criticism of Clinton as advocacy for not voting for her.

              I don’t think the piece and how it was written is the problem.

    • Pseudonym

      I don’t understand why progressives are upset that Hillary Clinton is making Goldman Sachs poorer.

      Kidding. Does all politics make us dumber? Or is it a seasonal thing?

      • Warren Terra

        It’s a cute line, but the fear with the Clintons – and I say this as someone unconvinced of Sanders’s plausibility, and largely resigned to the Clintons – with that they’re too friendly with Goldman Sachs and their ilk, and that GS sure don’t seem to think the Clintons aim to make them poorer.

        ETA commented before you added the second paragraph.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        “I don’t understand why progressives are upset that Hillary Clinton is making Goldman Sachs poorer.”

        The “paid speeches” were just a cover. The actual purpose was recon for drone-strikes.

    • StellaB

      I’m constantly amazed by how hard some people can clutch their pearls.

      • Ronan

        To use an overused quote, the Clintons:

        “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made”

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          this seems like not only an overuse but a misuse of the quote

          • Ronan

            Part of it is (admittedly), they haven’t retreated back into their money. But they are careless. The political elite throughout the west are careless at this moment. Probably Obama less so than most. But how aren’t the Clintons ?

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              what do you mean by “careless”?

              edit: not just Clinton, the Western political elite in general

              • “Careless” seems a fairly good word for Bill (Lewinsky?! & speeches) and Hill (these speeches).

                Whatever it is, it’s not *careful*.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  yeah, and I still think he misused the quote. we can let that go, though, because I became more interested in what Ronan was getting at when he threw all the Western political elites into the mix

              • Ronan

                Careless, to me, equals unserious. I think Hillary hasn’t seriously reconsidered her foreign policy preferences after decades of failure. I think she obviously hasn’t reconsidered her attitude towards politics. I think she’s stuck in a politics that suited two decades ago but are now antiquated. I think her, and Bill, were always astute and effective but frivolous and amoral. Which suited their times, but are less endearing now.
                As an example, you could see this in the recent irish election (not best to extrapolate situations from one country on to another I know) where the new government, after the bust, started pushing old policies (tax cuts and spending increases) because there was a minimal uptake in the economy. Why continue the loop?
                I’m stuck in two minds, (1) I’m temperamental conservative, so instinctively go with the moderates and look sceptically on change (2) I think the current political class are both incompetent and thoughtless, and these two factors are driving us off a cliff edge.
                What exactly is Hillary’s selling point, beyond she knows what she’s doing ? Is it enough anymore? And why do we suppose she’s learned from the recklessness she’s been soaked in her political life ?

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  I’d say the word you really wanted to use for all that is “wrong” rather than “careless”. thanks for the clarification

                • Careless, to me, equals unserious. I think Hillary hasn’t seriously reconsidered her foreign policy preferences after decades of failure.

                  What? I mean, she was a pretty successful Secretary of State…

                  (No need to oversell the case against her, dude!)

                  What exactly is Hillary’s selling point, beyond she knows what she’s doing ? Is it enough anymore? And why do we suppose she’s learned from the recklessness she’s been soaked in her political life ?

                  Well, right now, it’s primarily “more Obama” both substantively and in the being a big first. Alas, we’re not seeing the scandal freeness, calmitude, and exacting campaign excellence. But that’s not a terrible selling point.

                • Ronan

                  No I honestly think carelessness gets it. I don’t think wrong does it justice. Wrong implies the potential to learn, careless a personality defect

                • Ronan

                  She was effective in a number of ways while (afaict) sticking to a decades long position with diminishing returns; supporting Iraq, pushing for Libya, lobbying for a Syrian war..I mean this isn’t all there is to her, but it shows an unwillingness to change. And a carelessness

                • Ronan

                  I might be overly committed to the rhetorical use of carelessness . But wrong doesn’t do it. Let me think ..

                • She was effective in a number of ways

                  Er…

                  while (afaict) sticking to a decades long position with diminishing returns; supporting Iraq, pushing for Libya, lobbying for a Syrian war..I mean this isn’t all there is to her,

                  Er…

                  but it shows an unwillingness to change.

                  Maybe? Of course, she needs to believe that 1) that all of these were wrong and 2) they followed from a common mindset. She’s conceded Iraq, but has she conceded the rest? If she did think they were wrong, would she not change?

                  And a carelessness

                  Now, I agree with jim. This doesn’t seem right. Her FP views aren’t careless (she both cares and is fairly careful). The speeches were careless.

                • N__B

                  I may be splitting an already-split hair, but her speeches seem to me to be thoughtless rather than careless.

                • Ronan

                  Tactless.

                  Edit: seriously though, not tactless. I’ll come back to split the hair further

                • Ronan

                  Okay I’ll concede careless. I need to sleep on this

                • Ronan

                  I need to regenerate my vocabulary

                • Ronan

                  Leaving aside the “carelessness” part though , I don’t get this :

                  ” Of course, she needs to believe that 1) that all of these were wrong and 2) they followed from a common mindset. She’s conceded Iraq, but has she conceded the rest? If she did think they were wrong, would she not change?”

                  Why does she she need to believe this? We can say that people are stuck in patterns of behaviour that we think(but they don’t accept) are destructive. It doesn’t rely on them acknowledging this for us to say they should change ?

                  Edit: and by extension, if they don’t, then they’re reluctant to change

                • Why does she she need to believe this? We can say that people are stuck in patterns of behaviour that we think(but they don’t accept) are destructive. It doesn’t rely on them acknowledging this for us to say they should change ?

                  There’s two possibilities:

                  1) She doesn’t change because of a persistent error of belief.
                  2) She doesn’t change because she resists change.

                  I raise these other things because I read your claims as being more 2. It’s clear that she’s changed in all sorts of ways wrt policy, so that suggests that if she’s persistently wrong, it’s because of 1. That, for me, is a different problem from *unwillingness* to change.

                  Edit: and by extension, if they don’t, then they’re reluctant to change

                  Reluctance and unwillingness suggest to me resisting change even when you have some reasonable belief you ought to. I see no clear evidence that Clinton is like that about FP.

                  She might be persistently wrong about FP, but (for me) that’s different.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        Oh, devastating reply. I withdraw from the field.

  • Denverite

    As a legal academic once wrote on an obscure blog, “The coming presidential election, for those of us in this category, will consist of ordering one of three things for dinner: pizza, Indian food, or anthrax. For me Sanders is pretty good Indian food, while HRC on her worst days is Pizza Hut pizza, but the choice between Pizza Hut and anthrax is not a choice in any conceivable sense of the word, and having any sort of argument about this in 2015 as opposed to 2000 seems really ridiculous.”

    So who is (Boulder’s universally excellent) Nepalese food in this metaphor?

    • gmack

      Actually, the question is whether Scott’s analysis still holds if Hillary Clinton on her worst days is not Pizza Hut pizza but instead ketchup or vodka.

      • JG

        She’s Dominos

        • Ktotwf

          Her leftward shift in the Primary = new crust recipe rollout.

        • Mike G

          More like Little Caesar’s. Or on her annoying days, a soggy Totino’s from a grocery freezer that isn’t cold enough.

          • EliHawk

            Favorite random bit of campaign finance trivia: The one loyal big business guy for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 was Jeno Paulucci, Inventor of the Pizza Roll, whose company was later merged with Totino’s when Pillsbury bought both of them out in the ’80s, and rebranded Jeno’s famed invention as Totino’s.

    • Hogan

      Worker control of the means of production.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Anthrax and TIRE RIMS.

      Sheesh.

      • mikeSchilling

        Give credit where credit is due, to the prescient John Cole, who wrote back in early 2009:

        Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.

    • Malaclypse

      Boulders restaurants – all of them – are the commanding heights, and shall be seized.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Man, the last time I was in Boulder (which will probably be my last time there, ever) there was just one (excellent) Nepalese restaurant. Or maybe two. But certainly not enough to let “universally” be applied non-ironically.

      Luckily, there is a(n excellent) Nepalese restaurant not much more than a mile from the Old Fogies’ Home.

  • I haven’t & won’t say these speeches are OK. I wish she never gave them. But I also think people overdetermine their effect, especially with Democrats, who have far more and stronger cross-pressures than do Republicans.

    As I mentioned on another thread, if corruption–even what by now would easily be illegal and most of which probably was illegal at the time–of the kind that made LBJ very wealthy determined every politicians choices, he sure wouldn’t have championed many of the policies he championed once in the Oval Office.

    [Update]: also, it’s not like her dalliances w big money are new. She was on the board of Walmart, and was still a liberal senator

    • Davis X. Machina

      She was on the board of Walmart, and was still a liberal senator

      The argument being made here is that there is no world in which both legs of that statement can simultaneously be true.

      • DocAmazing

        Liberal in some areas; a reliable Wall Street vote in others. “Liberal” as an attribute is neither binary nor absolute. Was it “liberal” of her to support the invasion of Iraq?

        The argument that is being made here is that she has a history that should make one suspicious of her claims, of just how wedded she is to her platform, and of what she’s going to try to fit in under the cover of “liberal”.

        Being better than the Republican should not, by itself, be cause to embrace a candidate. If we’re at the “hold your nose and vote anyway” point, let’s at least be honest with ourselves about that.

        • Besides the bankruptcy bill, what votes can you identify that would reflect a Wall St bias that wasn’t the mainstream of the Democrats in the Senate and House?

          And note I’m not even getting in to whether her vote was influenced at all by the fact that she represented Wall St, so it’s interests were the interests of her state’s more than any other state’s.

          • sonamib

            Ok, so HRC is probably no more influenced by big money than other mainstream Democrats. But still, this systemic “soft corruption” exists and it’s worth some criticism. You may criticize it by finding an example of the objectionable behavior. If the likely Democratic general election nominee engages in it, it’s fair to criticize them in particular.

            This soft corruption is one of the ways the elite maintains its disproportionate influence in politics. It isn’t 100% effective, but it is a hell of a lot effective if you consider that they’re only a tiny minority of the population. Progressives want to challenge their power, so it’s useful to identify the roadblocks on our way.

            Edit : And yeah, even with that systemic soft corruption, the Democrats did manage to curtail a lot Wall Street’s power with Dodd-Frank. But the meaning of liberal/progressive is that we always strive to do better. Wall Street’s power needs to be curtailed further still.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Exactly. The problem is how close mainstream Democrats are to Wall Street, which tries very, very hard to buy both our major parties.

            • So would you argue that the speeches won’t influence her to be any more pro-Wall St than Dems who hadn’t given them? I suspect not–and I wouldn’t, either–but it does muddy the issue of the speeches and what they mean.

              • sapient

                Supreme Court justices accept speaking fees. Why are we not complaining? If there’s just an appearance of impropriety, then a whole host of people who give speeches for money shouldn’t be doing so.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Why are we not complaining?

                  We fucking well are complaining about that. (I believe it has even been mentioned on this blog; perhaps someone will track that down.)

                • As I said either here or the other thread, I share the complaint. I question the insinuation that it’s predicative of anything.

                • sonamib

                  No, I don’t think the speeches are particularly predictive. An establishment politician being at least somewhat sympathetic to Wall Street is overdetermined.

        • Sly

          Liberal in some areas; a reliable Wall Street vote in others.

          Name the last Senator from New York who wasn’t a “reliable Wall Street vote.”

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            And name the last Senator from Texas who wasn’t a reliable vote for the petroleum industry. What’s your point?

            Wall Street has an inordinate amount of power in America and an even more inordinate amount of power in New York. Maybe that’s an argument against electing any New York Senator president, but it certainly isn’t an argument that we shouldn’t care about a candidate’s closeness to Wall Street just because they come from New York.

            • DrDick

              Exactly!

            • Sly

              Biden carried water for the credit card industry for every year he spent in politics except for the past seven. LBJ kissed the rings of rich Texas ranchers for the entirety of his tenure in the House and Senate, and then told them to piss up a rope when he became President. When Gillibrand was first appointed to the Senate, a lot of NY liberals assumed that she’d continue the same middle-of-the-road mediocrity that defined her service as a Blue Dog representative from NY’s 20th. Instead they got a Senator who’s arguably more liberal than Schumer.

              So my point is that constituencies have relevance to a politician only in the present tense.

              • Gregor Sansa

                Interesting argument. Not sure yet that I agree on applying it to Clinton, but certainly worth thinking about.

        • DrDick

          Exactly and one of the reasons I find these speeches problematic. Also why I am a Sanders supporter (who performs as well or better than Clinton against all the GOP candidates)

        • Liberal in some areas; a reliable Wall Street vote in others.

          Which perfectly encapsulates her tenure at Wal Mart, according to the NYT story.

          She pushed on women. She pushed on the environment/energy.

          She didn’t push on wages or labor. At all.

      • I know. And while it’s not an argument that’s obviously bad or wrong, it’s one that’s too simple. Especially if applied in a deterministic way to every individual. And also, because Democrats are overtly a party in which ostensibly conflicting constituencies all have influence–poor, labor, consumers, a wide range of industrial and financial interests/sectors–to succumb to corruption as a Dem means you’re overtly screwing other people in your coalition. Of course that happens, a lot, but again, it complicates things (more than it does with Republicans, who are basically in the bag for just a handful of interests/sectors, and lie about intra-party conflict, which is why working class and poor Republicans are now in revolt against their party).

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          the whole thing is greasy at best but I suspect there’s an element of “we cant get them into the tent to piss out but let’s see if we can get them to at least not piss *into* the tent right away” going on so far as Clinton is concerned. Maybe

    • Phil Perspective

      I haven’t & won’t say these speeches are OK. I wish she never gave them. But I also think people over-determine their effect, especially with Democrats, who have far more and stronger cross-pressures than do Republicans.

      Then why is DWS looking to undermine Elizabeth Warren and CFPB?

  • StellaB

    So do the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women Santa Clara want to cultivate influence or do they just want to be near a celebrity?

    • Davis X. Machina

      Just spitballing here, but I’m guessing they want an increase in H1B visas, but for the lucky recipients to all be women.

      • Pat

        I’m sure there’s a lot of women in Asia and the Middle East who would cheer for that.

    • FlipYrWhig

      This is the thing to me and I said it in the other thread too. There are some financial sector audiences on the list. That’s what all the sturm und drang is about. That’s where the notion comes from that it was all about currying favor for a future presidency. So what about the audiences that have nothing to do with that? Because there are a lot of those too. It seems much more likely to me that as a blanket rule these were all celebrity appearances that enticed people to come to an event and be in the same room as one of the most famous people in the world. I think “well of course it was OBVIOUSLY about access and OBVIOUSLY despicable, why are we even talking about this?” needs, like, a modicum of actual argument.

  • It is doubtful whether Hillary will credibly adopt any of Bernie’s agenda, considering where her campaign money is coming from and how unwilling she is to alienate her circle of advisors.

    Where does this leave the Sanders people who see Hillary as experienced in waging wars, qualified as an entrenched pol, and realistic to suit the plutocracy’s tastes, and not really getting much of anything progressive done (alluding to the ways she has described herself)?

    The energetic Sanders supporters, including the Millennials who voted so heavily for Bernie, could form a New Progressive movement to exercise a policy pull on the establishment Democrats before November and to be a growing magnet after November with the objective of taking over the Democratic Party starting with winning local elections. This will have long-term benefits for our country.

    To those who point to history throwing water on such a potential breakout, I tell them to look at the 2016 presidential primaries. All bets are off when political debates become big media business with huge ratings, and when a gambling czar and builder of expensive real estate, Donald Drumpf (a hybrid Rep/Dem), is overturning all the old homilies about presidential politics, and is in a primary contest with two freshmen Senators whose vacuous ambitions are their only achievements.

    http://www.registercitizen.com/opinion/20160305/ralph-nader-what-will-many-bernie-sanders-voters-do-after-july

    • Just a Rube

      I can think of few people I would trust less for political advice than Ralph Nader.

    • apogean

      There is a vital distinction between saying “hold your nose and vote for the Democratic nominee, then do the hard work of pulling the party to the left by winning local elections” and saying “not a dime’s worth of difference, ignore national politics and focus on local elections.”

      • shah8

        can’t win local election if the national party refuses to support you, and sabotages you at every turn should you dismiss their “advice”.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          “Yeah!!”

          –Eric Cantor

        • Morse Code for J

          I would love to hear of an example where the Democratic National Committee went out of their way to sabotage a local election because they didn’t like the cut of the candidate’s jib. Because until I do, I’m saying this is pure bullshit.

          We have plenty of Democrats in West Virginia who will be at odds with the party on guns and the Clean Air Act from the moment they declare their candidacy. I have yet to hear of interference from the national level in one of our elections, let alone successful interference.

          • shah8

            Off the top of my head, I can think of Illinois and Florida congressional races. I’ve mentioned the Georgia Congressional/Senate race on this blog some times back. It’s actually pretty easy, so I’m not sure why anyone would think this is a controversial notion…

            • Morse Code for J

              Could you be more specific than that, please? Tell a story if you want me to believe you.

              Also, when I was thinking “local,” I was thinking mayors, sheriffs and state delegates. If we had different ideas of “local” in mind, that’s fine.

            • EliHawk

              Yeah, what Georgia Congressional/Senate race? Last I looked, Georgia’s Dems were still looking around for someone, anyone to take on Isakson (after letting him waltz to election and reelection in ’04 and ’10.) And hard to think of any real Congressional pick up opportunities in GA after they finally got Barrow in ’14 after Gerrymandering him 3 times.

          • sharonT

            There are a number of Democratic Senate primary races where the party is trying to influence the outcome. Ohio’s Senate race is one. Both the President and Vice President endorsed Ted Strickland over Sittenfield. Strickland is a conservative Democtrat with an A rating from the NRA. The endorsement seems to contradict the President’s speech a month or so ago when he said he wouldn’t support politicians who were gun law liberalization supporters.

            On a another level, CBC’s PAC is supporting Van Hollen vs Edwards in the Maryland democratic primary. Van Hollen has been Simpsonj Bowles curious and has been pitching himself as a “pragmatic” democrat in the Baltimore area.

            • shah8

              Yeah, basically, I decided to just say that this is actually really common and avoid specifics, just in case you’re (Morse Code for J) being deliberately obtuse. Basically, all you have to do is look out the window, man.

              • Morse Code for J

                I did, and all I saw was bullshit. Thanks for playing.

            • sharonT

              Oh, and I just remembered Pennsylvania’s democratic primary, for the Senate seat where the DSCC and state leadership worked overtime to recruit and support a candidate to run against Joe Sestack in that race.

              • JMV Pyro

                I can’t really blame them. Sesteck isn’t exactly what I’d call prime grade candidate.

                Granted, I have some personal biases here due to the stories about him treating his staff like crap. As an ex-intern myself, I take that personally. If I’m voting for the anti-establishment candidate in the PA primary, it’s going to be Fetterman, not Ole’ Admiral Joe.

                • Phil Perspective

                  I can’t really blame them. Sesteck isn’t exactly what I’d call prime grade candidate.

                  He out-performed every other statewide Democrat in 2010. The Democratic elite are still pissed at him for sending Snarlin’ Arlen Specter into retirement.

                • Morse Code for J

                  They worked overtime to find the chief of staff of the sitting governor, who was herself a former DEP chief in Pennsylvania and a gubernatorial candidate herself in 2014? Or did they work overtime to find three candidates to field in the primary? I guess Fetterman’s an establishment man these days.

                  And Phil, the Democrats were pissed that Sestak decided to primary their best shot at holding that Senate seat against their advice, when Specter might have won (I say might, because I think Toomey’s people could have come up with something this strong on their own). Outperforming Dan Onorato at anything was not a major feat.

            • Brien Jackson

              Sittenfield isn’t a remotely viable statewide candidate, and the endorsements are total formalities as Strickland was going to demolish him anyway. Strickland is the state’s most popular Democrat, partly because of the NRA rating, and the only chance the Democrats have of beating Portman. Plus, there’s a general sense that Strickland is more a party guy than a committed gun supporter, and that he wouldn’t be an impediment in the Senate in the event there was an actual chance to pass a good gun control bill.

              Van Hollen has a lot of personal relationships with House members from his days heading the DCCC, and practically speaking there’s not much of a difference between him and Edwards. No idea where the Simpson-Bowles thing is coming from.

              • djw

                Sittenfield isn’t a remotely viable statewide candidate, and the endorsements are total formalities as Strickland was going to demolish him anyway. Strickland is the state’s most popular Democrat, partly because of the NRA rating, and the only chance the Democrats have of beating Portman.

                Yeah, this. I was Sittenfeld-curious 5 months ago; his campaign has gone absolutely nowhere and done nothing to convince me he’s got a half a clue how to win in this state. (Some of my students involved in College Democrats have the same reaction; their enthusiasm for him waned after meeting him and/or hearing him speak.) students Strickland has always been quite popular here (he came within a hair of winning in 2010). And he’s no Manchin–poor on guns (which is, undeniably, an electoral asset for an Ohio Democrat) but a fairly mainstream Democrat with some economic populist tendencies otherwise. Unless Portman screws up royally somehow, the difference between Strickland and Sittenfeld is something like a ~30-40% chance of taking the seat vs >10%. Not that it matters because Sittenfeld was never going to win the primary regardless of national party endorsements, but it would professional incompetence for the DNC not to back Strickland here.

                • Brien Jackson

                  The thing about his gun support is that it’s mostly been pre-determined or irrelevant. He represented a very rural, very conservative district in the House, but even then was never a serious impediment to the national party agenda. Then as governor it wasn’t a particularly relevant issue. So yeah, he gets a good rating from the NRA< but it's not like he's ever really gone to bat for them or even significantly helped their agenda.

                  The electoral point is really relevant though and, again, he's the most popular Democrat in the entire state. Maybe you could make an argument for Sherrod Brown, but even then the point remains that those two are the only ones who are even in the conversation.

          • DocAmazing

            Jesus, do I really need to drag out the San Francisco mayor’s race that gave us Gavin Newsom again?

            • apogean

              At least it’s on topic. It’s worrying when disgruntled leftists try to give examples of the DNC trying to muscle out Real Progressives in local races and can only come up with Senate and House candidates. If we want to build a base for progressive politics it needs to start with mayors, state houses, and governors.

              • Phil Perspective

                It’s worrying when disgruntled leftists try to give examples of the DNC trying to muscle out Real Progressives in local races and can only come up with Senate and House candidates.

                LOL!! Because that’s the easiest to come up with? And because others outside your area might know who they are. You aren’t going to know who Joe Smith and Harry Wilson are if I claim that the Democratic elite are trying to push one out of the local mayor’s race in favor of the other.

                • apogean

                  That can totally be an effective example. At least it provides evidence that you’re actually involved in building a progressive movement.

            • Brien Jackson

              Because of course the best thing Doc can come up with is the DNC opposing a non-Democrat. Wonderful!

  • T.E. Shaw

    Any chance of this blog weighing in on Rick Hasen’s “Plutocrats United”? I found myself agreeing with his argument that we should stop trying to shoe-horn arguments for campaign finance reform into a fuzzy definition of “corruption” and instead work towards a Supreme Court opinion that forthrightly embraces the notion that a desire for political equality justifies regulation.

    (To link this to the issue at hand: Hillary’s speeches do not constitute “legal bribery,” but rather a mechanism for perpetuating a political inequality of access and influence that favors the wealthy. Such access is meaningful and detrimental to democracy, but it does not guarantee a particular policy outcome in the way any sort of “bribery” would)

  • jeer9

    There’s a picture floating around of Donald, Hillary, Bill, and Melania schmoozing at some gala ball circa 2005 (the Clintons look enthralled with Herr Trumpf’s wit) that’s sure to get some play in the fall.

    The scene oozes not a dime’s worth of difference to the politically unsophisticated – who might then think: “Why not Trump?”

    • random

      “Why not Trump?”

      Trump is an extremely polarizing figure, people don’t really ‘why not this guy’ with him.

      • jeer9

        I believe there will be a part of the electorate in the general that is politically unsophisticated, really hates politics, thinks both parties are the same, etc., and such imagery, together with issues like HRC’s speaking fees, might be more than enough to persuade them to pull the lever for Trump.

        In any case, I think there’s a good chance that it will be closer than we might hope.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          There’s a decent case to be made that people are just as likely to look at Trump next to Sanders and say, “why not Trump?” since they’re both offering some widely untested ideas and have no executive branch experience.

          • FlipYrWhig

            Add to that that Trump’s “brand” is balls. If you have to choose between Trump and Sanders and they both seem quirky I think the odds are pretty good that a lot of people will take the guy who seems to relish killing America’s enemies.

            • random

              Trump is strongly disliked by the median voter, and there’s entire demographics who will spontaneously show up to vote against him no matter what happens, so I think it likely that either of Sanders or Clinton would take him down, even under reasonably adverse circumstances.

        • Pat

          Have you guys read the great article on authoritarianism and Trump yet?

          • JMV Pyro

            Linked to that one several days ago. Not everyone liked it, but it did at least start some good discussions.

            • Pat

              I’m always behind on my reading.

        • Tracy Lightcap

          That would be the majority of the electorate and there isn’t much evidence that what pols do before they run for office has squat for influence on their votes. The election will probably be pretty much settled in mid-summer, before anybody tries to bring any of this stuff up. I expect that Hillary will win it.

      • Ronan

        You know, I was a little surprised recently to hear from my uncle in the US, who is politically astute enough, a consistent democrat voter, although more (maybe self described) “moderate”, that he wasn’t all the shocked by trump. Certainly not to the extent I was. His position was broadly that this is what people are thinking, and although he wouldn’t vote for him he wasn’t terrified by the prospect. He could understand the anger (though he’s, my uncle, quite comfortable now) And he had no real love for the democrat candidates (he’d be too right for Sanders, but was hugely indifferent to Clinton )
        That’s merely an anecdote that doesn’t say much, but I thought it interesting none the less.

        • Ronan

          I should add, because I think it only fair, and US politics gets more grief from outsiders than it deserves..”terrifying” because of the power he could have. The equivalent in Europe and elsewhere (imo) is more terrifying pound for pound, but their political systems/irrelevant size negate that.

          • JG

            Actually Euro-parliamentary systems are probably more likely to empower extremist parties because small parties can gain disproportionate influence if they are needed to form a majority. The other alternative is the bland, anti-democratic grand-coalitions which have pretty much gutted social democratic parties.

            • Ronan

              Yes, ordinarily, but their power is limited, particularly relative to the black swan of a fascist in the white house.

  • Morse Code for J

    How much of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chest or her PAC is attributable to contacts made just like this? I don’t know. I would suspect a great deal, absent the crumbs sent her way by people like me ($250, in my case).

    How necessary is Hillary Clinton’s PAC money to her campaign, or to the campaigns to which she will donate funds she raised? I’d say that it’s at least somewhat useful; everybody seems to raise money as if it were. Democrats spit on the ground at the mention of Rahm Emanuel or Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, but they got to where they were at the White House and DNC by being the second- and third-biggest fundraisers of the cycle preceding Obama’s election (number one was Nancy Pelosi).

    However disgusted I am by the power of money in politics, it is a fact, and one not likely to change under a Republican House (and possibly a Senate also). I mean, Jesus – all I expect Hillary Clinton to do is to appoint a 5-4 liberal majority on the Supreme Court, and find people who will broadly serve the purposes of the laws establishing their Cabinet agencies. I expect her not to sign into law a disastrous tax cut that will exacerbate inequality while guaranteeing that debt service will crowd out more and more room in the budget until there is no discretionary spending and Social Security fights for its live.

    Maybe my expectations should be higher, but if our politics were capable of being transformed by a President’s example, Obama would have done it. Maybe Clinton can do that well or better by not pretending that the system will change around her.

    • sapient

      I completely agree with this. And, by the way, speaking fees are not in any way similar to the issues of Citizens United, which we’ll all recall was a Supreme Court rejection of a campaign finance law (in a case whose facts concerned targeting Hillary Clinton herself in a propaganda film).

      Arguably, the Clintons, being rich, didn’t need this money, or any money. If they weren’t rich, what would it have been okay for Hillary to do? Represent “clients” in a law firm? What kind of clients? How much remuneration would she have been allowed to receive? Where are the rules of ethics that pre-politicians should be following?

      • Joe_JP

        not in any way similar to the issues of Citizens United,

        kinda is — a major concern of that opinion is the strict definition of corruption and opposition to limiting the amount of money that a candidate can receive to help balance the playing field somewhat.

        That, not “money isn’t speech” (and money isn’t abortion but the Hyde Amendment is b.s. … some money is necessary for speech; question is how much should be allowed etc.) or “corporations are people” (they have been a sort of legal person for centuries) is the problem.

        This doesn’t quite make what she did “disgusting” and power brokers like her are going to have to associate with the PTB. Probably should have tone it down, but that’s the game, sorry. Still a concern but not quite disgusting. And, Obama wasn’t horrible for playing the game too.

        Meanwhile, HC associated with a lot of other good groups, talked to them, got money from them. Planned Parenthood and the rest. Maybe a list there too. She also back in 2000 went to a lot of black churches. That influenced her too. It’s a whole complicated mix.

        • sapient

          Could you please quote the passage from Citizens United that you think applies? Citizens United was about things that happened during a campaign, not about a private citizen receiving remuneration for speeches.

          • What’s being argued against in citing Citizens United i the idea that anything short of an explicit quid pro quo is perfectly cromulent. It’s actually a longstanding staple of conservative jurisprudence.

            • sapient

              I’m still not convinced that Citizens United is relevant. If people are outraged by Clinton accepting speaking fees, there should be legislation specifically addressing what limits should exist. Whether the legislation includes “quid pro quo” or not, there should be firm guidelines about what a POTENTIAL candidate for office can do to make money, or what a former government official can do.

              Many people have inherited wealth and can make claims (like Donald Trump) that they’re beholden to no one. Do independently wealthy people lack corruption? Unless I saw a more universally applicable rule than “Clinton, before she was a candidate, was paid a lot of money to make speeches, and that looks bad to me” I’m not going to agree that it’s corrupt unless there is something more, like a quid pro quo. I don’t think that makes me agree in any way with Citizens United which concerned the constitutionality of campaign financing laws.

            • random

              Cromulent laughs at your Four Winds.

          • Joe_JP

            Hillary Clinton is not merely a “private citizen” but a senator, Secretary of State and someone who twice ran for President. So, like I said, the concerns of the critics of the opinion of the narrow definition of corruption, power of corporate spending and unbalanced influence on public policy remains.

            She has been in a “campaign” more or less since the late 1990s at any rate. So, this “could you please” tone like I’m clueless or something is a tad annoying and inane.

    • Morse Code for J

      “…while guaranteeing that debt service will crowd out more and more in the budget until there is no discretionary spending and Social Security fights for its life.” Apologies for my lack of editing.

    • postpartisandepression

      Just a question – if you were thinking about running for president would you turn down any opportunity to go an talk in front of the american association of women realtors or any of these organizations? Not unless you are an idiot.

      Look at the list of where she spoke – tons of them are places where small business people come together to organize. All of these are voters. What better way to get out and meet voters and hear their concerns. And yes I do know that Golman Sacks and the like are on the but seeing how many other everyday organizations puts it into perspective.

  • CrunchyFrog

    Yes, Clinton is a corporate sell-out – like every other major party Presidential candidate dating back at least to 1956 – AND yes she’s a lot better than whomever she’ll face in November. Pretty simple.

    • LosGatosCA

      That would have to be since 1952 since both parties nominated the same candidates in ’52 and ’56.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I said 1956 because I don’t know enough about Eisenhower and Stevenson to say they were on the take to the same degree. That was a different era – 91% top marginal tax rate being the main factor that mitigated the normal greed impulses.

        • When you said “dating back at least to 1956” were you including 1956 in that count? Because if you were, it’s pretty much the oddest place to make the cutoff, as the candidates from both parties were the same in ’52 and ’56. If the candidates in ’56 were complete corporate sellouts, it’s incredibly likely the same two guys were complete corporate sellouts in ’52.

      • EliHawk

        Adlai and Ike were clearly corrupted by Wall Street some time around 1954. I blame “The Catch.” Damn New York Giants.

  • shah8

    It’s not really a democracy when you have a choice between domino’s and anthrax, never mind the popularity of anthrax among the populace, who think it’s absinthe for some deluded reason.

    • Quaino

      Interestingly, people are going to vote for Pizza Hut over Indian food because Pizza Hut has a wall street problem whereas Indian food can’t appeal to non-whites. I’m curious when Democracy got redefined to mean selecting the current great hope of white liberals.

      • Actually, Sanders is winning Native Americans, Asians, and is about even among Latinos.

        But some people count and some don’t.

        • Do you have any good polling data to back that up? I’ve been looking, but haven’t found really anything that breaks down the demographics that far with any level of accuracy.

        • EliHawk

          Like the thousands of Latinos who voted for Clinton 71%-29% in Texas, the only major Latino state with a primary so far, apparently. And somewhere between 80 and 90% of African Americans. But some people can count, and some don’t.

          • Jackov

            So entrance/exits polls count, but only in “major” states. Sounds right.

            • EliHawk

              More like the only state with a primary and a Latino electorate large large enough they could get exit poll numbers on the race. We’ll have more data on Latinos when Florida votes on 3/15 and, if it gets that far, Arizona on 3/22. The number of Latinos in the other Super Tuesday states (MA, GA, AL, etc.) were too small a sample size to get a breakdown on who they supported (as opposed to percentage of the electorate). Entrance Polls to caucuses are generally terrible (because of churn, ability to change minds in the room, reallocating unviable candidates, and low turnout, among other reasons) but in Nevada’s most Latino precincts and Colorado’s two most Latino counties, HRC won handily.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            Shhh, don’t question him on this, he gets VERY angry and will accuse you of bad faith when you bring actual numbers into it.

            One entrance poll in Nevada with a small sample and large margin of error counts for more than the exit polls in Texas.

            It also counts more than this WaPo/Univision national poll of Hispanics which shows Hillary leading Bernie nationally by a large margin, and which shows results in line with the Texas exit polls.

            No, we can be sure Bernie is about even with Hispanics, as long as you consider losing by a margin of 30-40 pts to be “about even”.

    • Brien Jackson

      Yeah, it isn’t democracy when you get to choose between two people who were selected by a vote of their respective party members!

  • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

    As I regularly point out, we all know Clinton has more baggage than a Sampsonite outlet. Any Democrat will be constained by the makeup of congress.
    We also know that any Republican would be a disaster. Whether you think one R might be less bad than another, do you see President Trump vetoing any revanchist legislation that a Republican Congress would send him?

    • CrunchyFrog

      Any doubts about the value of appointing to the SCOTUS that might have existed have to be gone given the developments of the last few weeks. Already we’ve seen the big difference between 5-4 and 4-4.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    I am fine with a Hillary nomination. I would like a Bernie presidency although I am skeptical that the practical effect would be as large as others think, given the limits of presidential power. I am also skeptical she would veto much of any beneficial regulation on Wall St that came out of Congress. Part of this is because of who will be in Congress, so it’s unlikely any such bill will pass anyway. I do think she would not personally push as hard for it, but a veto? I am doubtful.

    What can be done, and I hope is done, is that Senators Sanders and Warren really hold her feet to the fire when it comes to financial regulation and so forth. The presidential nomination and election isn’t the final battle and it’s not the last chance to influence the direction of the government on these issues. The Sanders/Warren coalition is seemingly not a majority in the Democratic Party yet, but I’m optimistic that it will be soon enough.

    Hopefully Hillary will be smart enough to do what needs to be done to head off a primary challenge in 2020.

    • shah8

      I don’t expect Sanders or Warren to hold her feet to the fire. I’m reasonably certain that the world economy and politics is basically melting down. Slowly, but melting down none the less.

      As with the fanatical devotion to wage slavery causing critically low levels of systemic demand, the general *practical* ability for Clinton to veer rightwards in terms of policy for her partners at Wall Street, the military complex, etc, is basically minimal without serious blowback.

      • Pat

        I expect that the promises that Hillary has made during the primary to win over liberals will constrain her to a fairly progressive pathway. There’s a lot of fall-out for presidents who openly break big promises that they make to their base (Bush I, anybody?)

      • JG

        How would an economic meltdown (which I don’t really see as likely for the US) force her rightward? If anything it would force her radically leftward as she would have to pass a stimulus and no one would give a fuck about the deficit for a few years.

        • shah8

          I’m saying that economic conditions would block rightward policy choices.

      • Sebastian_h

        I don’t understand this argument. We have had very recent experience with financial meltdowns, and all over the world it led to right-ward entrenchment. Did the whole Greece fiasco or the Ireland thing escape notice? Or the whole too big to fail thing in the US?

        As payment for too big to fail we got slight changes in banking laws–not even putting us as far as the not-so-tightly-regulated-80s. This was immediately followed by bonuses-as-usual and the ascendance of austerity politics around the world.

        The status quo is STILL very bankster stacked and Clinton is still very much the status quo candidate.

    • JG

      “The presidential nomination and election isn’t the final battle and it’s not the last chance to influence the direction of the government on these issues.”

      Yeah, I would love to see us not disgrace ourselves in local and state elections for once in a midterm (I guess 2006 is an exception).

  • Moondog

    The extremely high stakes of the forthcoming presidential election and the fact that Clinton is overwhelmingly likely to the the Democratic nominee makes these unforced political errors all the more worthy of criticism.

    … and at the same time makes me not give a fat flying fuck that she took these assholes’ money.

    • alex284

      i know right?

      like republicans who are going to vote for an over-coiffed upper class twit who’s literally known for saying “you’re fired!” are going to put together a legitimate grievance on this issue?

      The general election arguments against Clinton will be “She’s ugly!” and “She’s a loser!” and “Ben Ghazi!” and “Socialist!” I don’t think we’ll hear much about these speeches.

  • cpinva

    it does speak for itself. “self, it says, I can’t believe people/groups are willing to pay some people ginormous amounts of money to give a speech, and probably a boring speech at that.” my guess is that it’s mostly for these people to (however briefly) rub shoulders with ms. Clinton, or whoever’s giving tonite’s boring speech. and you know what? who cares? that’s what. if that’s how people choose to spend their money, you’re certainly entitled to opine on it, but nothing makes your opinion superior to anyone else’s.

  • libarbarian

    Goldman Sachs doesn’t throw money away willynilly.

    Goldman Sachs paid $675,000 for Hillary to speak for an hour.

    What do you think they think they were getting for their money? $675,000 with of Entertainment? $675,000 worth of wise insights they couldn’t get for less?

    What do you think they were actually getting for their money? Nothing?

    • Quaino

      I worked for a company that paid Third Eye Blind and Lifehouse substantial money to give a concert… I assure you that you overestimate the frugality of rich corporatists unless you argue they wanted to gain favor with shitty 90s bands.

      • postmodulator

        Those corporate gigs are about the only money left in the music industry, by the way. Did Third Eye Blind sing their song about meth abuse for the rich corporatists?

      • alex284

        shut up, third eye blind is worth it.

    • StellaB

      I imagine that they got the same thing that the American Camping Association received. A chance for the little peope to rub shoulders with a celebrity for a bit.

    • Pseudonym

      Making themselves feel even more important.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      $675k is what GS spends on Post-its. What concerns me is how much influence Temple Beth El and the Americam Camping Association expect to get for $200+K. That’s a big chunk of their nut. No doubt something sukkah-related.

      • Mayur

        Thank you.

        GS spent way more than $675k on a two-day junket for Miami Basel this year (I know that because I did the drinks for them). This is pocket change.

    • Goldman Sachs doesn’t throw money away willynilly.

      Assumes facts not in evidence :)

      Part of the problem is that very little of this is naked sneering corruption per se. It is all either stupid or subtle or both. Or, rather, all normalised. CEOs get big piles of money regardless of performance not because they and their friends rub their hands together in greedy glee, but because there’s an elaborate system which normalised it. Similarly, paying big bucks for speeches is just what Goldman Sachs does at this point, regardless of return per se. There is defiantly a strong threat of capture, but it’s capture, not bribery.

      It’s SO annoying that she did this.

      • Thinking about it more, if it is the case that this is such chump change that it’s plausible that they’d all be sincerely going “You thought THAT was a bribe?! We found that in a sofa!”, that’s still a pretty big problem. A class that simultaneously throws around such sums among friends while failing to pay or support a living wage is pretty horrible.

    • Linnaeus

      Did I hear you say that there must be a catch? Will you walk away from a fool and his money?

    • djw

      Goldman Sachs doesn’t throw money away willynilly.

      A massive profit-generating machine run by vain, ostentatious, Veblen-goods consuming men? Of course they do.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    On an unrelated note, do the results from tonight suggest Rubio might be finished?

    Cruz has a big win in Kansas, what looks to be a comfortable win in Maine and will keep it at least reasonably close in Kentucky even if he doesn’t win. Rubio’s ranging from 8% to 16% across those three states so far.

    After a day like today, it might be possible Kasich has a better chance than him.

    • junker

      Rubio and the media have in general have talked themselves into the idea that none of this matters, and that all that matters is winning Florida on the 15th.

      If you assume that is true, not sure what they next part of the story is.

    • postmodulator

      I am sort of startled. I had written Cruz off.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I look at it this way- if I were a republican and didnt want Trump I’d want the meanest candidate left standing to go against him- and no way is that ever going to be Rubio

        • Hogan

          Good point.

      • LosGatosCA

        It’s Kansas and Maine.

        They elected Brownback (2X) and LePage (2X).

        They’re too stupid to even have buyer’s remorse.

        Cruz is just their type of twit.

        • Charlie S

          So much for LePage’s endorsement of Trump.

          • Davis X. Machina

            The GOP here is badly split. I suspect these are anti-LePage, hence anti-Trump, not pro-Cruz, votes.

            • djw

              Yeah, I was wondering about that. Given how hated I’m lead to believe LaPage is these days (and he was never able to get the support of a majority of voters to begin with), did Trump really want his endorsement?

    • Joe_JP

      Looking at the map, I can see Kansas — he’s working from Texas and going up. Texas, Oklahoma & now Kansas. Next is Nebraska and the Dakotas. Maine is what Rubio should be concerned about. That’s where the “sane” people are supposed to be like the woman senator who is willing to have a hearing for a justice. We knew Kansas was gone. They wrote a book about it and everything.

      • Pat

        That New Yorker thing Trump has going doesn’t play at all well in the Midwest.

        Also, oil-producing states vote the Texan in the primary. (I just made that up, btw.)

        • Joe_JP

          got some things going for him though to get the racists, angry white vote etc. He’s a uniter.

      • JG

        Omaha and Lincoln could stop Cruz from getting Nebraska. I don’t know who would benefit, though.

        Bernie probably has a good chance there.

  • Live From Lowell, It’s Saturday Night

    Kinda OT, but whatever:

    I resigned from the board of Habitat, you prick!

    Did anyone else hear this in the voice of Will Ferrell shouting, “I drive a Dodge Stratus!”?
    http://tinyurl.com/jhlzwt5

    • FlipYrWhig

      Well NOW I will…

    • Lol, ha, I showed emotion about something that mattered.

      You sure pwned me.

      • Live From Lowell, It’s Saturday Night

        Dude, why do you think this is a “pwn” attempt at all? Just a silly observation. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

      • werewitch

        If you showed an emotion other than white-hot rage or snarling condescension from time to time, it’d be easier to accommodate the flare-ups. Lately it’s all furnace-blast all the time (or at least the vast majority of the time).

        Seriously, jfL who isn’t overheatedly arguing with someone is much more of a delight to read. Quietly blow people off a little more — you’ll feel better too.

        (I do know appeals to health and calmness can sound condescending, and I’ve rewritten this about six times attempting to minimize that and ensure my tone is sincere and friendly. Tried the best I could, man.)

        • sibusisodan

          Seriously, jfL who isn’t overheatedly arguing with someone is much more of a delight to read

          I would like to second this warmly. A blog treasure (along with all the other blog treasures round here).

    • Ronan

      I agree with Joe’s reply above, and I’m not sure why so many are so belligerent about this point. I’ve know plenty of people who have shown extreme pride in doing the right thing, for what others might think are minimal stakes. You can dismiss this as naivety, or corny, but at the end of the day you’re the ones excepting minimal standards from, what are evolving into, our feudal lords , and you’ll be whining about it come November.
      Have a little $&@?&$$ pride !!!!

      • Ronan

        If this wasn’t a pawn. I apologise

        • Live From Lowell, It’s Saturday Night

          Ronan – again, my silly link wasn’t an attempt to belittle or be belligerent, but a tossed-off thought based on a random connection I made in my not-yet-booze-addled brain. A tiny aside – calling someone a prick and a moron may be construed as belligerent, but, again, feel free to have at it however you like. Insults happen in the heat of arguments and I’m sure no one gave them a second thought. For the record, I firmly believe JfL is absolutely neither corny nor naive in staking out his positions. I’m all for him, and everyone on here, FP’er, regular, and lurker alike, expressing oneself with conviction and purpose, and I admire those who do so. FWIW, that’s what makes LGM worth following for those of us who don’t comment regularly. Slainte.

          • Ronan

            You’re right, and my apologies for my over the top response. I’ve become overly passionate on the topic of foreign feudal lords (again). I don’t know what’s come over me, tbh.

            Edit: don’t let it put you off commenting more regularly. I’m in a peculiar mood this evening.

  • werewitch

    At least General Petraeus had the decency to offer fifteen or sixteen lectures for the low, low price of six figures.

  • Cheap Wino

    Scott’s twitter feed says, “Clinton’s participation in the Platitudes-By-Plutocrats-For-Plutocrats racket is a real issue, not a fake one: [link to this post]” Undeniably true. But it’s far more germane to the problems with politics in our country generally as an issue than it is to Hillary Clinton as a 2016 Democratic candidate for president as an issue.

  • Steve LaBonne

    Tone-deaf and entitled. Just the candidate for a year when voters are especially hacked off with the Establishment.

  • JMV Pyro

    Honestly, my main issue with this is that it’s just an unnecessary own-goal. The thing that annoys me about the Clintons is that for people that have been getting attacked by Conservative Voltron for longer then I’ve been alive, they’re remarkably bad at thinking out things to avoid controversy. They certainly don’t act outside the norm for politicians, and there moral lapses aren’t nearly as bad when you look at things comparatively (Bill’s nowhere near the horndog Kennedy was, for example), but that isn’t the point.

    Politics doesn’t work the way it did in the past, where you could do these things (or more specifically, do them as a Democrat)and get away with them. As Josh Marshall said, DC is wired for Republicans and Democrats have a natural uphill battle for legitimacy with a multimillion dollar network of media that exists entirely to comb over people with a fine toothed comb with the hopes of kneecapping their political careers.

    That’s what I like about “No-Drama Obama”. The man is genuinely free of personal scandal. Clinton will get my vote in the primary should she win the nomination, but my god stuff like this is why I’m going for Bernie in the primaries, however flawed and he might be.

    I can deal with the centrism, because at least I know she’ll listen to people I agree with more, but dropping your guard like this in this day and age just doesn’t work.

    • I feel ya, here.

    • EliHawk

      I feel ya about that. The thing that annoys me most about the Clintons is the number of own goals. (and one of the things I like most about Obama is the lack of them).

    • SNF

      Honestly, I wonder if the Clintons are less careful because they’ve learned that it doesn’t matter. Even if they do everything right they get vilified just as much.

      • Ronan

        Precisely. Theyve been socialised into carelessness. This is the point i was making above. *he says cheekily*

      • Sebastian_h

        Well they’ve never tried doing everything right so they wouldn’t know.

        Bill Clinton’s major political skill was his charisma. Hillary’s major political skill was in-party politics (shutting out alternative power bases). As a team with him in front they were formidable because she could bully Democrats into staying in line and he could charm his way out of almost anything.

        They’ve been socialized to leverage her skills (bullying the base to keep it in line) in response to any attacks. This may not be a good election for that.

        • Pat

          Hillary is a bully?

          Hillary is a negotiator, not a bully. It’s what she was learning to do while Bill was governor.

  • jpgray

    I doubt those who see zero problems with this are taking time to think all the way around the issue. With something like this, I think we are inclined to just stop and rest our brains after finding an appealing view.

    For example, should HRC continue to give paid speeches while she is president? She could get even more at that point, so do these “why not” arguments still hold? I’m assuming the answer is no, but ask yourself what moral boundary is being crossed in that case. Why does that boundary exist while one holds the office, but not at all while one is gearing up to run for it?

    • DocAmazing

      She’s running for office, for Pete’s sake!

      • jpgray

        I thought it was clear we were speaking of speeches for personal income, not campaign fundraisers. Since, you know, that’s what the above is all about.

        A president in office could charge quite a bit more, really run up the score. Why restrict these speeches to ex or pre presidents – why not expand such a harmless pastime to those currently in office? Even the bad ones could do a week in Vegas, at least.

  • Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste

    All of this is very true. However, and I really wish that I did not have to keep saying this but evidently I do, the time to have done something about this was 2013. We leftie people could have been building a movement and grooming a stable of candidates, since 1980 or 1990 or even 2000 for fuck’s sake, but we didn’t.

    So, following the last election, we could have settled on somebody and done some legwork to prepare the field. Then we would not have had to overburden the junior Senator from the joke state of Vermont with all of our hopes and dreams and set him up for the latest in the string of noble yet useless failures that have been the sum total of high level leftist political operations for the last half century. We have some great ideas, and great people, but we keep losing because in some fundamental way – that we can not seem to diagnose and eliminate – we tend to be really, really stupid.

    • Gregor Sansa

      So there’s Jackson, then Perot sucks up the oxygen for a while, then Nader, then Dean, then Obama, then Sanders. Looking at that sequence and at the dialogue happening as Sanders fades (some who merely rage, rage against the dying of the White, but most people actually saying that was a nice try but next time we have to run somebody who’s got PoC connections from the start), I’d say that we’re slowly learning. Jackson to Perot is a (large) step down, but from there on each step is arguably upwards. (Not that Sanders is better than Obama in all ways, but he is more leftist without being nonviable, certainly better than Kucinich or Nader).

    • MDrew

      Totally agreed about burdening the noble Bernie Sanders with more than he could reasonably carry in terms of hopes and dreams, and just in terms of credibly challenging a figure as advantaged as the one he’s challenging. (And no joe, this doesn’t den that he greatly overperformed in carrying those burdens. But it was just too great a thing to expect him to carry the whole way.)

      But I’m not sure I agree there was really a path around a party so determined to clear they way for a particular candidate that they cut off the ability of a sitting vice president to run a credible campaign. Or anyone else of consequence. I think they were going to do it, and weren’t going to be stopped.

      Also, to give Clinton her due, I’m not sure anyone in the party could touch her given the depth of her connections to the various African-American communities across the country. She was very likely to win any nominating contest. But it least could have been a legitimate primary if some other leading Democrats had been ushered into the race, rather than ushered out.

      • Brien Jackson

        “But I’m not sure I agree there was really a path around a party so determined to clear they way for a particular candidate that they cut off the ability of a sitting vice president to run a credible campaign. Or anyone else of consequence. I think they were going to do it, and weren’t going to be stopped.”

        I mean, this remains complete nonsense all around, especially as you can now see that the actual election results are bearing out that there was essentially no way for anyone to beat Clinton, but it’s doubly ridiculous in the case of Biden, who didn’t even start seriously putting out feelers about a run until at least April/May of 2015. By that point, there just aren’t very many operatives left because, ya know, people gotta work, and if they aren’t so much as getting strong assurances from you that you’re going to run or getting paid to do some of the vrey basic early stuff, they’re going to sign on to someone else. Which is to say, even if the field was more open Biden wouldn’t have been able to run because he wasn’t doing the work of campaigning nearly early enough and, frankly, he’s not actually THAT overwhelmingly popular with Democrats anyway (he ran for President eight years ago after all and got basically zero support in a year where John Edwards placed second in Iowa and was the third leg in an Obama/Hillary ddebate).

        • I mean, this remains complete nonsense all around, especially as you can now see that the actual election results are bearing out that there was essentially no way for anyone to beat Clinton, but it’s doubly ridiculous in the case of Biden, who didn’t even start seriously putting out feelers about a run until at least April/May of 2015.

          Yes, the idea that Biden was knifed is clearly wrong. If Beau hadn’t gotten sick and died, Biden probably would have taken a shot. I think he would have a better shot this time around, and there’d have been a bigger duel in the invisible primary. But HRC would be favored to out-campaign him, just based on history, personal campaigning qualities and depth of voter and party support.

          Biden might have turned into a much better campainger for this round and if he managed to really steal the mantle of Obama redux, I think he would have had a better showing.

          • Brien Jackson

            I mean, the whole theory of Biden was that he’d win huge support from African Americans because he was Obama’s Vice-President. Given that Clinton is getting even bigger margins with black voters than Obama himself did, I’m just not seeing it. And I think Biden always knew he had no chance too, and was only mildly swayed at the last minute by the fawning media coverage he was getting.

            • I mean, the whole theory of Biden was that he’d win huge support from African Americans because he was Obama’s Vice-President.

              Oh, no. That’d not be my theory. My theory would be:

              1) Biden splits the youth/left Bernie vote plus gets nearly all the centrist “anyone but Clinton”/”we’re worried about electability vote”.
              2) He siphons some of Hillary’s support among blacks (because e.g., a perceived Obama endorsement) and women (violence against women act). In both cases, he doesn’t get a *lot*, but maybe peaks at 30% in some states. He is better at exploiting minority concerns about her electability.
              3) He gives HRC some difficulty in the endorsements and invisible primary.
              4) He finds his feet as a much better campaigner.

              If all this broke *just right*, he’d have a shot. But it would definitely be a long shot. If Obama intervened at all, he *might* be able to play kingmaker, but again only if Biden did everything right.

              To put it another way, he just needs to be a somewhat more establishment Sanders with somewhat more black voters. I don’t think that would have been *likely*, but I think it was a path. More likely is that he weakens Sanders a bit early on and Hillary has a much easier time overall.

    • AMK

      Bernie was not a “useless failure.” He’s been by far the most successful genuinely “leftist” politician in America for a very long time; he’s held Clinton’s feet to the fire on policy and rhetoric, and he’s mainstreamed his brand of “socialism” like nobody has since….who knows? If we have a genuinely left President any time in the next 30 years, he or she and everybody else will credit Sanders as the guy who started it all.

      Even his failures have accomplished a lot. After this election, people of color (especially the black community) will have the Dem establishment’s balls in a vaccum-sealed adamantium vault under guard at Fort Knox. “Law and order” triangulation and DWS-style schmoozefests with payday lenders will be impossible; Rahm Emmanuel will be a leper, and if the Jim Webb wing of the party was near-dead before, now it will be fossilized and hung in a museum.

      • postpartisandepression

        I couldn’t agree more I think Bernie has been wonderful for the primary and would happily vote for him if he wins. However I am a Hillary gal and will be just as pleased to vote for her.

        I think she is more left than she lets on and certainly more left than Barack Obama by far. So those of you who were obots hold onto your hats.

      • Pat

        This exactly, AMK.

  • MDrew

    This post/thread, on one of the most pro-Clinton and pro-Democrat blogs on the internet, basically consists of people all of whom will ultimately support Clinton saying things ranging from, at the most candidate-friendly, “I mean, it’s not really that bad; they pretty much all do it, at least all of the ones with reasonable chances to win,” to, well, whatever the severest criticism on the thread is. “A matter of character” I thought I saw, just to pick something at random.

    And this is the person the field was cleared for?

    Even given that it’s looking at an almost-sure victory for this office because of the situation on the other side now, that’s a hell of a spot for a party to have put itself in. IMHO.

    There were options, of course.

    Oh well. These decisions were made far above any of our heads – we’re just living with the party that is (parties that are, I guess). Oh well.

    • postpartisandepression

      The 2 things that really matter in this election is to make sure that the republican nominee does not win and that the coat tails of the democratic nominee sweeps them out of control of the Senate.

      Democrats don’t vote in the midterms to their everlasting detriment and then they wonder why they have problems.

      We have the opportunity to wrest control of the Supreme court for the next generation and so any democrat who does not enthusiastically go out and vote for whoever the nominee is enabling the republicans. That enabling has gone on far too long – it gave us Iraq and our huge war machine, it gave us the debt crisis and no matter what we have to put a stop to it.

      THAT is what you have to remember.

      • Moondog

        I dunno. You make some good points about war and so on but I’m going to have to think on this camping group’s motivations for a while.

  • postpartisandepression

    FYI I have a lengthy comment under Paul Campos post.

    Just to reiterate – of course a person running for president would run around the country meeting with every group they could possibly meet with and if its the National Associations of Realtors and car dealers and healthcare providers so much the better. These are voters and getting their feedback and hearing the problems they are facing or the good they are doing helps her make policy.

    Exactly which groups were disgusting? The American Camping Association Atlantic City, the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston, the Commercial Real Estate Women Network in Miami Beach, the
    Cardiovascular Research Foundation,the Institute of Scrap Recycling in Las Vegas?

    Hillary, unlike all of you, is doing her homework and that is what will make her a great president.

    • Lee Rudolph

      The groups, you faux naive troll, are not (with important exceptions) what’s disgusting to most of us who are disgusted: it’s the huge amounts of money involved. “Charging what the market will bear” is one thing for professional entertainers whose performances are quite explicitly and transparently going to make their employing organizations (movie studios, sports owners, whatever) a lot of money, out of which the entertainers’ fees will be paid; it is, or should be, an entirely different thing for professional politicians whose performances are NOT supposed to profit any organization beside the commonwealth.

      Speaking of things that shouldn’t need saying but apparently do.

      • postpartisandepression

        Ahh so it is the money they made not the speeches. Why?

        If I remember correctly the Clintons were literally broke when Bill Clinton left office in 2001- something to do with legal fees? If I also remember correctly they were ~ 10 million dollars in personal debt at the end of the 2008 campaign.

        So they could have chosen to rely on the retirement than the president gets to try and pay off their debts and left people hanging or they could have declared bankruptcy and also screwed people OR they could do what they needed to get out of debt. I am not appalled especially when lots of it went to charity.

        I am also sure Hillary could have gone to work for some wall street firm for millions of dollars and paid things off much faster.

        I don’t think a company has the right to tie up your work by making you sign non compete contracts and I don’t think we can tell people they have to stay in debt because the worked for the government.

        She was a private citizen over that time and stopped giving speeches when she declared.

        your faux naive friend

        • sapient

          Thank you. I’m with you on this, postpartisandepression.

  • I don’t get it.

    If points 1, 2, 3, and 5 are self-evidently true, what’s the fucking point of making an issue of them if point 4 is also self-evidently true?

    Because some knee-jerk Hillbots make dumb arguments for pizza over Indian food, therefore make anthrax a more likely outcome?

    • postpartisandepression

      1 is irrelevant – who cares – it will be or it will not be. You can’t legislate who is willing to pay for a speech. And I don’t think non compete clauses are fair either when a company does it.

      2 and 3 have nothing to do with corruption I would argue they are for meeting and talking to voters- perfectly legitimate and pretty smart. Read the list.

      4 – I’m good with that

      and 5 follows on 2 and 3 and is not a mistake if you know that you met with voters and listened to their concerns and base your policy on those things you learned.

      your local knee jerk Hillbot

      • postpart:

        I pretty much agree with you. Perhaps I should’ve added “Even if, for the sake of argument only, points 1, 2, 3, and 5 were self-evidently true …”

  • Tracy Lightcap

    What nobody has mentioned so far is the Unruh Rule. It’s what he used to say to new members of the California State Assembly. It’s a little vulgar in its original form and as sexist as the man himself, but it is what any good politician in this country lives by. Quoth Jesse:

    “Son (it was always thus in those days), you are going to be approached by all kinds of people who will make you offers for your vote. But let me tell you: if you can’t take their money, eat their food, drink their liquor, date (he didn’t use that exact word) their women, and still vote against them, you don’t belong up here.”

    I doubt that any of the money Hillary got from the Street or any of the “friendships” she made there will be worth a bucket of warm spit to the “financial community” if she gets elected.

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