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Presidential Campaigning Involves Politics

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So the latest appallingly stupid NothingBurger to come out of the Wikileaks dump appears courtesy of Lee Fang:


Shadowproof connects the dots:

The campaign pushed out content with the #ImSoEstablishment hashtag through Clinton, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and a “diverse array of bloggers and progressive people out in the world.” Shonda Rhimes, Ricky Martin, and Julianne Moore, each considered “non-political surrogates,” were enlisted to respond.

More remarkably, the campaign coordinated with bloggers and columnists to create the perception that Sanders’s comments were racist or detrimental to women. As Peterson put it, they were asked to “write about this from a racial justice and reproductive rights perspective, including a few people who joined us on a call to talk about the “Bernie Backlash” that was unfolding even before his remarks last night.”

Peterson named Sady Doyle, Gabe Ortiz, Elianne Ramos, Jamil Smith, and Aminatou Sow, as writers who were urged to publish pieces that would be helpful to the campaign. Jessica Valenti, according to Peterson, already was in the process of writing a column on the matter.

As several of the bloggers mentioned above are party to one or more of the endless, dreary, pointless twitter feuds that emerged around the 2016 Democratic primary campaign, the remnants of the Bernie Brigade went predictably ballistic:

So, a story.

As I have noted a couple of times, earlier this year I briefly served in an informal capacity as a foreign policy advisor to the Sanders campaign.  My role was extraordinarily small, largely because of mutual disinterest, but in the context of the above “news” it’s worth relating one anecdote.

In the process of agreeing to advise the campaign, I was asked about my willingness to be identified as a public advocate, or whether I would prefer an informal role.  I was happy to go public, but it turned out (I was told) that abolishing the Air Force was too spicy of an enchilada for Bernie to publicly associate himself with (revolutions ain’t what they used to be).

Not long after this (in late February), I received the following e-mail from an individual associated with the Sanders campaign (happy to release name if I receive permission, otherwise no):

 

screenshot-2016-10-21-08-18-03

I accepted the suggestion for the following reasons:

  1. I write two weekly columns, and always welcome new ideas.
  2. Although I often find myself on the more hawkish side of the left blogosphere, I had serious reservations about the role that Clinton played in the decision to intervene in Libya.
  3. I have long believed that the US political conversation needs sophisticated, robust voices on the left; not “liberals who like blowing stuff up,” but rather leftists who are knowledgeable of and engaged with the major debates on US national security. Working with Sanders generally, and writing the article specifically, supported this desire.

The person I worked with forwarded along several talking points to emphasize. I wrote the article, which I submitted to the National Interest (not generally regarded as a pro-Clinton outlet).  They never published; it’s possible that the article simply wasn’t very good, but NatInt was undergoing a bit of editorial turmoil at the time, and it’s possible the piece simply got lost in the shuffle.  I didn’t feel strongly, and so I didn’t push it.  I thought about publishing here at LGM, but had qualms about posting what amounted to an attack on the likely Democratic nominee. The “likely” was key here; if I had believed that Bernie Sanders had any chance at all of winning the nomination, I might well have pursued it further. I have no idea whether anyone else received similar e-mails.

Let me be utterly clear: THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THIS. It violated no meaningful norms or ethical standards, and invoke no specific moral qualms.  My reticence to engage came wholly and purely from concern that something I wrote would become a hit piece against the likely Democratic nominee. The Sanders campaign noted what it believed to be a key vulnerability of Hillary Clinton.  It reached out to writers who also believed that Clinton had made problematic decisions.  It suggested that these writers take advantage of a notable news story on the topic in question. In short, the Sanders campaign attempted to win an election by making an active effort to publicly highlight a difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It took active steps to develop a narrative, and to push that narrative forward in the media.

This is called politics.  I do wish that folks weren’t so committed to pretending that Hillary Clinton invented politics, or that the practice of politics is somehow dirty.

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  • Charlie S

    My goodness, it’s almost like the Clinton campaign was a competent political operation. Hence, it cannot be “progressive!”

    • MAJeff

      If only organizing and managing a competent complex organization involved skills useful in a President.

      • StellaB

        It must also be remembered that participating in politics is simply not ladylike.

        • Peterr

          Just ask Todd Akin:

          “I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

          Remind me again, Todd. How’d that work out for you?

          • DocAmazing

            McCaskill had ways of shutting that whole Akin thing down.

            • Peterr

              drops the mic, walks away

    • ThrottleJockey

      How about honesty in advertising? We demand it with cigarettes, no? I recall a few years back George Will got in a heap of hot water for writing critical articles about candidates without disclosing that his wife worked for rival campaigns. Now he states that explicitly in columns where its relevant.

      Explicitly stating that you’re a formal/informal/donor/supporter of Candidate X is the ethical thing to do. Full disclosure: Give them the facts and let the reader decide.

      • (((Hogan)))

        Sady Doyle, Gabe Ortiz, Elianne Ramos, Jamil Smith, and Aminatou Sow

        Who on that list didn’t disclose that they were supporting Clinton? Who on that list was/was married to a Clinton campaign staffer?

        • ThrottleJockey

          If they did explicitly disclose then there’s not even a wisp of a story here.

          • Brien Jackson

            Glad you concede there’s no story then.

          • They are claiming the Twitter and other online attacks on women, especially those ostensibly supporting Clinton, never happened, and and that the people named cooked up the idea, together with the campaign, of lying and pretending they did. That I know of, one prominent blogger explicitly claimed the first part of that months ago. This is being claimed as proof of the second part, There is no reason to believe either part.

          • Pat

            I believe that somewhere in these comment pages I linked to a Sady Doyle article that expressed unequivocal support for Clinton. It was very persuasive, and really well-written.

          • JMP

            Exactly; there is not even a wisp of a story here, no more than any of the other ridiculous lies claiming Hillary Clinton is somehow corrupt for doing things every politician does despite her actual history of being extremely honest and ethical.

      • There is a huge difference between writing about candidates who are paying you versus writing about candidates you merely support. It absolutely is not necessary for, say, a Clinton supporter to disclose this when writing an article critical of Trump. Writing positively about one candidate or negatively about their opponent is itself a disclosure of preference.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Actually not. You can make positive comments about someone and not be endorsing them, or negative comments about their opponent and not endorse (eg, JoeMika Brzekborough on Trump). Every single WaPo columnist has come out vociferously against Trump, but only some of them are endorsing Clinton.

          On the Democratic side, Sen. Dick Durbin introduced Obama that cold February morning when Obama announced his campaign for president and said many, many positive things then and afterward–but (explicitly) didn’t endorse. Positive comments are just positive comments. Negative comments are just negative comments.

          If you support a candidate, why not simply disclose it? Let the reader decide if your support might be biasing your comments.

          • “Endorsing” is a public act, which isn’t what I’m talking about. What I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be necessary to endorse a candidate to talk about politics. There are writers here at LGM who talked about the primaries who didn’t disclose who they intended to vote for. Maybe they didn’t know until they were in the voting booth. That’s fine. I certainly didn’t need a little subtitle under every post from Loomis saying “as of this post I was undecided… okay, now I’m leaning toward Sanders… Sanders’ campaign asked me for some info about job losses among loggers but I haven’t sent them any smiley emoticons yet… now I’m undecided again…”

            • ThrottleJockey

              I think once you’re working formally or informally with a campaign you should just disclose it. For some readers that’s useful information. I think with Loomis it took him a long time to come around to Sanders, but I seem to remember him publicly doing so and discussing his perceived hesitance in doing so. Farley did likewise.

              There are folks who make purely partisan arguments. Disclosing any partisan affiliation improves transparency and helps ferret out pure partisanship, and I’m all for improving transparency. Sunshine and disinfectant as they say.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                partisanship doesn’t equal dishonesty no matter how many times you keep trying to get away with saying it does

              • los

                working formally or informally with a campaign
                “formally” implies that the preference earn income, thus the preference is not “pure” preference (where “pure” preference is the same basis for preference of the majority of readers)

                just disclose it
                easy and less (~0) reproachable.

                although… the writing itself tends to define the preference.

                and…. btw… I pay very little attention to “endorsements”, because no reasoning (at least as msm reports endorsements) accompanies them.

          • Nang Mai

            It is a question of ethics and transparency. It is perfectly reasonable for a campaign to seek support; it is not reasonable for them to ask to keep that recruitment secret. Likewise, any busy writer will be tempted to write a story suggested by others if background and support materials come attached but it is probably unethical to keep that source hidden. The practice of pretending that stories are not solicited by the parties involved has been one of the key factors behind the dumbing down of corporate media pieces and the public’s general dissatisfaction with news reporting. Instead of parsing out the truth journalists behave as if they are members of corporate and/or political PR teams. When journalists regurgitate material without asking critical questions or doing follow up work they should be criticized for stenography reporting.

            • Warren Terra

              This is of course arrant nonsense. Regurgitating stuff someone else wrote for you, or saying something you don’t believe for money or other considerations, or rewriting a press release because you’re too lazy and ignorant to write your own story – those would all be bad and require disclosure.

              But: if you happen to write on a topic, frequently and with some expertise, you don’t have to disclose who encouraged you to speak up and say something you in any case believe! If it’s sincere, and it’s not sock puppetry, and there’s no compensation on offer, there’s no ethical minefield worth mentioning!

              • los

                saying something you don’t believe for money
                writing for, aka, “ulterior motive”
                vs
                If it’s sincere, and it’s not sock puppetry, and there’s no compensation
                yes, the writing is WYSIWYG.

              • Nang Mai

                Any ethical choice requires some thought and one size rarely fits all. The problem is that so few journalists seem to even bother considering these questions at all. I was really impressed with Huffington Post’s original decision to put all Donald Trump reports on the Entertainment page rather than the Politics page. If early on the other outlets had followed that lead we might have seen a lot more reporting and a whole lot less gossip and pearl clutching.

            • DAS

              So it’s about ethics in video game campaign journalism then? Perhaps it’s time for another blogger ethics panel?

              • Nang Mai

                Waving away the smoke screen …

                Are you suggesting it is ethical journalism to simply parrot a press release without any critical analysis then? Because I would call that PR work and not journalism.

                Whether a writer is a paid professional or someone who blogs for other reward if a source specifically asks you to remain silent about their identity or their request for a story you are making an ethical choice about whether or not to disclose that fact. Some journalists do have aspirational guidelines about when silence is warranted and when it is inappropriate. I’d say any political group or corporation asking for free publicity ought to be willing to have that request disclosed. If not, then that reluctance ought to be questioned.

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Your assumptions about the nature of the articles produced by the people named isn’t meaningful evidence of anything. You might even call them a smokescreen.

      • Shantanu Saha

        Explicitly stating that you’re a formal/informal/donor/supporter of Candidate X is the ethical thing to do. Full disclosure: Give them the facts and let the reader decide.

        Formal and informal donors and supporters of Donald Trump do not seem to be capable of ethical behavior.

        • Pat

          The point is that these people wrote articles in support of Clinton. For that reason, people who read the articles know who they are supporting.

          The issue is that the campaign may arrange or point out opportunities for the writer to express this opinion. In Farley’s example, that’s what happened; moreover, the campaign had no pull to get the article published.

          It’s not required that the writer disclose where they got the information that the magazine might be interested in their work.

          • Manny Kant

            The only thing I’d say is that you should disclose if you are being paid by a campaign. Everything else is fair game.

  • LWA

    Well said.
    Its often presented that the idea that political action can somehow transcend politics is naive and idealist, if stupid.
    I don’t even grant it the moral high ground.

    Politics, like the Hillary/ Bernie contest, is organizing people and arguing and persuading, and along the way, reconciling different points of view and competing interests with compromise and consensus.
    Hashing out difficult alliances is actually, I think the biggest benefits to the process. It requires us to step outside of our own world and see things from another perspective, and hold others in respect, even if we arrive there through cold rational interest.

  • AMK

    The left activist base has better morals than the right activist base; that doesn’t make it any less clueless politically.

    • (((Hogan)))

      The Corleone family had better morals than the right activist base.

      • Lamont Cranston

        The Corleone family had better morals than the right activist base.

        Sollozzo had better morals than the right activist base.

        • LWA

          And his gang couldn’t shoot straight either.

        • mikeSchilling

          Barzini was a pimp!

          And still had better morals than the right activist base.

          • Manny Kant

            Tattaglia was a pimp.

        • los

          Hitler had better morals than – oh, nevermind.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Putin better keep an eye on that horse he’s fond of riding.

        • los

          hey you with the “headless-horse, man” jokes.

      • AMK

        I guess the GOP is like Fredo’s competence with Jack Wolz’s human decency…

        • Lamont Cranston

          Just so you know I’m not a hard-hearted man…

      • cpinva

        and the Soprano’s had “family values”.

        • Pat

          Tony Soprano would had thoroughly eliminated any man that walked into his teen-aged daughter’s dressing room in order to see her naked.

          • There’s a longstanding thing where the mafia is painted as really emblematic of what some people call “communal values.” The idea that Tony Soprano might well eliminate any man who walked into any community member’s teenage daughter’s room when she was naked is part of that, if fantasy.

    • sharculese

      I reject the idea that someone who has to make it known that they resent being required to vote for someone they find less than ideal because the alternative is surrendering the nation to a gropey white supremacist is at all particularly moral. They’re still better than the people who won’t even do that much, but if you really have to make this all about you I don’t have a particularly high view of your moral compass.

      • Harkov311

        They have the Carly Simon Syndrome, you see; they think everything is about them.

        • Manny Kant

          OT, but my favorite thing ever: Warren Beatty thinks that song is about him. His actual quote: “Let’s be honest. That song is about me.”

    • Nobdy

      SOME OF the left activist base has better morals than the right activist base.

      It should be shocking how often you scratch at the veneer of a self-proclaimed liberal and find a whole rotting lot of misogyny and/or racism underneath.

      It should be shocking but it’s not.

      • msdc

        It’s still appalling, though.

        Also interesting to see (further down the feed) Valenti confirm something I’d wondered about from the leaked email: just because the Clinton campaign knew Valenti was writing a column about it didn’t mean they were pushing her to do it. They knew about the column because she asked them for a comment.

        “BREAKING: politicians try to work media, media asks them shit” just doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?

      • Origami Isopod

        It should be shocking how often you scratch at the veneer of a self-proclaimed liberal and find a whole rotting lot of misogyny and/or racism underneath.

        I suppose this is as good a place as any to mention that I clicked through to Gosztola’s stupid post, saw HRC being referred to in comments as “the harridan,” and hit the backbutton. Principled objections, my ass.

        • JL

          I have a soft spot for Gosztola because he covered the NATO 3 trial and did it well, and I was so desperate for someone to do that (the NATO 3 were arrested at the same set of protests where I picked up my PTSD, anything to do with that is pretty emotional for me). But he doesn’t seem to have a very good grasp of electoral politics, and some of his commenters are really horrible.

        • taelon

          Is Gostzola like a big deal? Maybe 3 months ago I was debating him on Twitter about some of his irresponsible journalism(I think Bernie Bro exit polls Rigged Primary nonsense*). Base don how much time he spent arguing with me I presumed he had a -lot- of time on his hands and thought his lil website was a silly little blog trying to copy Greenwald.

          I should go look up the details, but I recall that whatever it was, I gave him tons of data that directly refuted his so-called “journalism” and he didnt update/modify/disclaim. He was okay with deceiving his readers, regardless of the fact new information cast doubt on his claims

      • Someone in the replies there attacks Valenti for promoting the “transphobic Bernie Bro narrative”. I would really love to know what that could possibly mean.

        • Someone should send that to Language Log, to figure out whether the bros are supposed to be transphobic or what. That could be a whole new definition of “bro.”

        • JMP

          I think it’s based on the lie that the phrase “Bernie Bro” was somehow an insult against all Sanders supporters and not just the misogynist dickheads, in an attempt to pretend the phrase is somehow an offensive slur.

          • DocAmazing

            Much like the way some people got all worked up over the term “O-bots”, right?

        • Origami Isopod

          I can’t find it in any of the threads that Farley links to, but I’d bet you anything it was Valerie Keefe, who is a trans woman MRA. Her excuse is that cis men might actually be trans women who’ll transition someday. I can’t find any good single source describing her fuckery, but here are a couple of Tumblr posts.

        • taelon

          I a gay dude but admittedly low info on trans issues.

          However, I know that Bernie’s LGBT issues section was a disaster, so it is possible they had some really outdated nonsense about trans rights, possibly with healthcare.

          Bernie’s team only added the LGBT issues section a day or two after Hillary made the gaffe with Nancy Reagan and AIDS. They tried to capitalize on it. But did it poorly.

          For instance, the entire HIV/AIDS policy was written by someone who appeared to be unawarethere is a vaccine for AIDS already (a pill you take daily that is over 99% efective called PrEP or Truvada). So they proposed to spend billions on inititatives to eradicate AIDS, with the actual vaccine being a footnote to the article. Literally footnote.

          In the very last paragrapghalmost like an afterthought, it mentioned “prophylaxis” (PrEP = pre-exposure prophylaxis) but with no context or explanation. Now when you consider Bernie is generally isolationist, concerned first about US health vs. Africa, this is beyond uninformed. It is like a middle finger to HIV/AIDS activists in the US.

          If your goal is to eradicate AIDS in the US as his site claimed, why would you not start first with the vaccine pill, already taken by thousands of gays. Any sensible plan would promote/educate/reduce cost… and increase the use outside the gay community to straight sex workers for instance.

          whoops rant. o well.

          maybe someone reads it and learns something.

          point is bernies campaign was so ignorant on basic lgbt issues that im sure they did something transphobic (perhaps unintentionally)

      • Sly

        Beat me to it.

        Assuming that shared ideological goals translates into superior moral judgement is a mug’s game. There are plenty of liberals and leftists who I wouldn’t piss on if their head was on fire.

        • cpinva

          “There are plenty of liberals and leftists who I wouldn’t piss on if their head was on fire.”

          try a shovel instead. there’s that satisfying thud, and you can legitimately claim you were trying to help.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      So true.

    • addicted44

      I’d argue that the right activist base has terrible morals, but is extremely politically savvy, while the left activist base has better morals but are political dunces.

      The right activist base has been politically successful throughout the political spectrum.

  • Gregor Sansa

    Personally, I was turned off by Clinton’s faux outrage when Sanders said Planned Parenthood was “establishment”. Sanders was obviously talking about the PP decisionmakers, who are indeed part of the Democratic establishment, and not the frontline doctors. So when Clinton made it a thing, I felt that was really just pouncing on a poor choice of words.

    So it was bad form. In a little league game, I might even call it a foul. But in a big league primary, it is how the game is played, and distasteful as I find it, I recognize that it was smart politics.

    Thank you for showing that Sanders’s side did this kind of thing too. I’d be worried if they hadn’t.

    • nixnutz

      I don’t remember the “establishment” thing, I do remember the “reproductive rights are a distraction” thing, which I think you could characterize as a very aggressive take on a fairly innocuous own-goal, but it wasn’t crazy to suggest that Bernie’s comments reflected a real difference in priorities, and that bloggers who concentrate on feminist issues might take the question seriously.

      For me all this leak did was remind me of the low point of Sanders’ campaign.

      • ThrottleJockey

        I remember the “establishment thing” really well. It was a preposterous, totally contrived story…on a slow news day.

        Really Cecile Richards, daughter of a Texas Governor, educated at an Ivy League institution, and earning $600K a year isn’t part of the Establishment? And I’m sure Bill Clinton isn’t part of the Establishment either.

        • sharculese

          The thing is that Planned Parenthood and, to an even worse extent, NARAL really are completely different things depending on whether you’re talking about the national office or the state affiliates. Sure the national office is part of the Dem established, but the affiliates are decidedly not, and painting them with such a broad brush demeans the work of people who are on the front lines of protecting reproductive freedom.

          Basically it was inconsiderate to people he purportedly wanted to be an ally to and suggestive that he’d never had enough interest in the issue to know how things work and didn’t care enough to bone up before lashing out. Again, not a a firable offense, but an attitude worth rebuking.

          • There is absolutely a way to say what he said that wouldn’t have raised my hackles. Even using the term “establishment”. The problem is that what he said was

            we’re taking on not only Wall Street and the economic establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment

            which is language that sets up a factional struggle, with Planned Parenthood on the opposing side. I can imagine something along the lines of “that’s not surprising, because Clinton is the kind of establishment candidate Democrats are used to nominating, but I believe my record shows I have been a strong ally [yadda yadda] and I intend to demonstrate that we can win these primaries and win in November [yadda yadda political revolution]”. Or, you know, at the very least speaking to how regardless of the endorsements he supported these issues.

            • sharculese

              Oh, absolutely he also could have gone with “Hillary Clinton is the kind of candidate PP has been working with for years, and they’re the kind of organization she’s used to working with. Of course they support what’s comfortable and familiar, but just because I’m something new doesn’t mean I won’t be a strong ally than women” then pivot to talking about the youth and tie it together with some anecdotes about college-aged women he’s met on the campaign trail and their issues with obtaining reproductive care (kind of what Hillary did with abortion in the last debate.)

              He could have done that. He didn’t. He deserved to be called out for it.

              • Eli Rabett

                Exactly x right Clinton spent years working with and helping the DNC and PP and ma.y dem candidates. Then Bernie a.d his bots start screaming how unfair it is that they are favoring her.

            • Brien Jackson

              Right. What made the counterattack weird was that it was kind of muted. In a world where Sanders was a viable threat, Clinton is taking a sledgehammer to Sanders for casting Planned Parenthood as an enemy.

              • efgoldman

                What made the counterattack weird was that it was kind of muted.

                It’s possible that HRC and her team, being, you know, good at this politics business, reognized that Sanders ultimately wasn’t that much of a threat. She pulled a lot of punches all thru the primaries.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well right. But such a basically uncontested primary is weird without an incumbent.

            • JL

              Yeah, I do think he could have phrased it better, even though I parsed him like Gregor did and didn’t have a problem with it. At least, he could have phrased it better with PP. The Human Rights Campaign probably doesn’t deserve the effort of better phrasing.

              • Brien Jackson

                So….Sanders deserves a pass because you read him as saying something other than what he said?

                • JL

                  As I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, just like Gregor, even though I didn’t mind what Sanders said, I thought it was how the game is played, and smart politics, for Clinton to go after it.

                  Also, it’s not all that uncommon for people to interpret the connotations of a set of sentences somewhat differently!

                • Gregor Sansa

                  You mean, other than what you read him as saying?

                • Brien Jackson

                  Lol. Sanders identified them as part of the establishment he was “fighting.” It’s definitely not me who is straining the language here.

                • DocAmazing

                  No, just on the definition of “radical”.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well…what do you define as radical, beyond some things you won’t even claim PP opposes? Forced abortions?

                • I agree with Brian. Why is Bernie not responsible for what Bernie said? I was offended by him treating PP as some kind of corporatist interest group that is so powerful that we must rally to Bernie’s side to fight it. PP has been fighting for women for 100 god damned years. And that hasn’t been an establishment position.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Bernie is responsible for what Bernie said: that the people in PP who made the endorsement decision are part of the Democratic establishment. This is true. It’s also not good politics to express it like that. Hitting Bernie on that was fair game, but to me it was also inflating a poor choice of words into a policy statement that Bernie didn’t make.

                  (Note: I think that the non-establishment part of PP probably preferred Hillary on balance. Ideally, though, an organization like that should require a supermajority before taking the unusual step of endorsing in the primary. Would such a supermajority have existed? Very possibly.

                  Another story entirely at NRDC. I still haven’t forgiven them for endorsing Hillary despite Bernie’s stronger environmental record.)

                • Brien Jackson

                  The issue wasn’t calling Planned Parenthood “establishment,” but calling them part of an entity that Sanders was fighting against.

            • (((max)))

              which is language that sets up a factional struggle, with Planned Parenthood on the opposing side.

              That was after PP (or rather, Cecile Richards) had gone to some lengths to make a Clinton endorsement…with the understanding it was an anti-Bernie/anti-O’Malley endorsement. I rather thought that was the point of getting the unusual PP endorsement early rather than waiting until late spring.

              max
              [‘PP joined a factional struggle.’]

          • ThrottleJockey

            I guess it depends on your view of “the Establishment”. I don’t have a negative view of the establishment. They’re neither good nor bad. I don’t think of them as ‘elites’…The comments might be impolitic, if PP prefers to see itself as some upstart, scrappy organization, but its helped tens of millions of women over many, many decades and it counts as supporters Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, and Barack Obama just to name a few. They’re hardly upstart anymore, and much less fringe.

        • cpinva

          “Really Cecile Richards, daughter of a Texas Governor, educated at an Ivy League institution, and earning $600K a year isn’t part of the Establishment? And I’m sure Bill Clinton isn’t part of the Establishment either.”

          methinks you need to define your terms. to me (and Mr. Webster) the “establishment” would be the ruling group. in the case of the US, that would be the government, at all levels. Ms. Richards is neither an elected public official, nor an employee of any governmental body. neither is Bill Clinton, for that matter. so no, neither is part of the “establishment”, regardless of how much money they make, or who they know. no one is going to them, to get the potholes filled, or their social security check straightened out.

          making a lot of money, and being the president of an NGO doesn’t make you part of the establishment. no, it doesn’t.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Oh please don’t mix up Mr. Webster in your poor lexicon.

            In reality my definition is perfectly accurate. Hell Aimai up above ascribes an explicitly corporatist connotation to the word. It’s not my fault that Cecile Richards and Bill Clinton are offset of the Establishment. What did you think only conservatives comprised the Establishment? You think Davos and the Clinton Global Initiative Forum is attended strictly by evangelicals and libertarians?

            3. A group in a society exercising power and influence over matters of policy or taste, and seen as resisting change.
            synonyms: the authorities, the powers that be, the system, the ruling class; More: the hierarchy, the oligarchy;
            informal: Big Brother
            “they dare to poke fun at the Establishment”

            4. An influential group within a specified profession or area of activity.
            “rumblings of discontent among the medical establishment”

          • DocAmazing

            By this narrow definition, the CEOs of Exxon and Goldman Sachs aren’t part of the establishment. Not seeing it.

    • I thought Sanders’ comments were pretty bad at the time. It didn’t reflect well on him that his response to a respected and besieged organization like Planned Parenthood endorsing his opponent was to lump them into the “establishment” he was campaigning against. My concern about Sanders at the time was whether he was going to be able to keep his attacks on side and with a view toward the eventual Democratic nominee winning the general election.

      On the other hand, he also referred to the Human Rights Campaign in the same remarks, and I didn’t have qualms about that at all. They are solely an advocacy/political action group and are unquestionably and comfortably “establishment”, and also they suck.

      It certainly wasn’t a dealbreaker for me, but I’d put it roughly on par with Clinton’s bullshit about Nancy Reagan and HIV. Both were cases of needlessly ceding rhetorical ground to the real enemy, the Republicans.

      • sharculese

        Yeah, I don’t remember the comment in question, but, while Gregor’s parsing of it makes sense, it still ends up implying that the battle for reproductive rights is a done deal in a way that I don’t want a Democratic nominee for President doing. If Sanders said that, he deserved to get smacked around a bit. Not excommunicated, just told “hey we don’t talk that way.”

        On the other hand, he also referred to the Human Rights Campaign in the same remarks, and I didn’t have qualms about that at all. They are solely an advocacy/political action group and are unquestionably and comfortably “establishment”, and also they suck.

        Eh, I’m a bit more turned off by it. Online political junkies know HRC (the person, not the group) is a bit shady, I doubt the average well meaning liberal with an equals sign sticker on their car does, and phrasing it that way is maybe less than ideal.

        But yeah, all of this is still no worse than the Hillary/Nancy Reagan thing.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Besieged or not its hard to argue that Planned Parenthood isn’t part of the Establishment.

        • (((Hogan)))

          Especially if you never define what “the Establishment” is.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Anything that commands the support of half the country is the Establishment in my opinion. PP is every bit as Establishment as is the NAACP.

            An organization like, say, #BLM, which is controversial even among blacks and even on the left, would be an example of a civil rights organization that isn’t Establishment…Or to go back to the feminism side, an organization like Know Your IX which is still young and relatively small is a good example of a non-Establishment organization.

            • (((Hogan)))

              Anything that commands the support of half the country is the Establishment in my opinion. PP is every bit as Establishment as is the NAACP.

              Support is down from 83% in 1993 to 59% in 2016. I’d say their membership in your establishment is pretty tenuous.

              Single-payer health care polls at about the same level. How establishment is that?

        • The only relevant meaning of “the establishment” in this context is what Sanders says it means, and he was very clear at the time that he was campaigning against “the political establishment”.

        • cpinva

          “Besieged or not its hard to argue that Planned Parenthood isn’t part of the Establishment.”

          no, it isn’t hard at all, it took me all of about 30 seconds to do so. see my comment above.

          and for the record, what you think a word means doesn’t really matter at all, unless you’ve turned into the Queen of Hearts.

          • ThrottleJockey

            30 seconds of wasted effort. You should’ve taken 35 seconds and consulted a dictionary first. As you see the term Establishment doesn’t exclusively refer to government officials.

            You think the phrase Foreign Policy Establishment refers just to those in the employ of the State Department and relevant Congressional committees? Give me a break brother.

    • Brien Jackson

      I mean, Sanders clearly meant it derisively, and if you’re running a Democratic campaign how do you not attack an opponent for throwing shade at Planned Parenthood? What made it odd was the “Planned Parenthood isn’t establishment” angle of the attack, when what would have made more sense, if maybe not played so well, would have been “yes, Planned Parenthood is the establishment, so maybe the Democratic establishment isn’t so awful, huh?”

      • ThrottleJockey

        My understanding of his comments was that many Democratic power-brokers–Planned Parenthood undeniably being a key power broker–swung early and hard for Clinton because they expected her to win anyways and wanted to be on her side sooner rather than risk being perceived as enemies later. I don’t see evil on their part, but I see a certain cynicism or, more charitably, pragmatism…So I didn’t really see much derisiveness in the comment. He might as well as said “the sky is blue”.

        Of late Obama frequently critiques the “foreign policy Establishment” and I don’t see any great mockery or contemptuousness of them, just simple disagreement.

        • Brien Jackson

          This seems wrong on two levels. 1) I know the front-running narrative is popular, but I’ve never really bought it. It was as much of a problem that Sanders, who is not a Democrat and has no interest in organizing or institution building, has never done ANYTHING for these groups. That’s a really big deal in Democratic politics, and it’s hardly surprising that Planned Parenthood and even some unions endorsed the candidate who raises money for them, helps them on an organizational level, and routinely takes their calls. 2) Even then, it’s still a bad answer. If I was going to craft a necessary response to that it would be something like “While I’m obviously disappointed they’ve decided to endorse my opponent, I still have tremendous respect for Planned Parenthood and the work they do and intend to work very hard to advance their agenda as President.” Casting them as a fundamental enemy you’re fighting against is both really bad form AND incredibly unusual. I don’t remember Clinton or Obama throwing stones at groups who endorsed the other in 2008, for example.

        • cpinva

          “swung early and hard for Clinton because they expected her to win anyways and wanted to be on her side sooner rather than risk being perceived as enemies later.”

          maybe they did so because they liked her better? I know, hard to believe, because she’s so unlikable, but there you are. also, if I recall correctly (and this was many, many moons ago, so I could be wrong), there is a personal aspect as well. HRC was very much a fan of Ann Richards, Cecile’s mom, and former Gov. of TX. I believe she and Cecile met at some function and became, if not good buds, definitely like minds. both went on to do good things, so it’s no surprise at all that they would both support each other.

    • (((Hogan)))

      Sanders was obviously talking about the PP decisionmakers, who are indeed part of the Democratic establishment, and not the frontline doctors.

      I can’t be positive, but I would bet heavily that the frontline doctors supported the decisionmakers in this matter.

      • sharculese

        And there’s also the (c)4 action funds, which are, obviously more involved in the organizations political stances. When I was volunteering as a door-knocker during the 2013 elections in Virginia, the guy in charge was one of the most pro-Hillary people (and before he worked there he was writing model marijuana legalization bills, so not exactly the most establishment type) I have ever met, to the point where he didn’t believe people had reservations about Terry McAuliffe until the anemic returns started trickling in.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Or he was very establishment and just enjoyed a joint now and again! :-D

          I have a friend from Cali–a family practice doctor–who smokes weed weekly. She went to Stanford and did her residence at UCLA. Very establishment :-)

          • sharculese

            TJ if you’re going to argue that a professional marijuana legalization activist is “The Establishment” I have no idea what definition you’re working with.

            • ThrottleJockey

              It was just a joke.

              • The Dark God of Time

                CHEKOV: I was making a little joke, sir.

                SPOCK: Extremely little, Ensign.

      • Gregor Sansa

        I’d bet heavily it was mixed. Majority probably with Clinton, but since they hadn’t been asked, Sanders was reasonable to (clumsily try to) make the distinction.

      • efgoldman

        I can’t be positive, but I would bet heavily that the frontline doctors supported the decisionmakers in this matter.

        It’s also a distinction that we, as informed political junkies, may understand but casual listeners, even dedicated Democrats, probably didn’t – certainly not in the moment.

        • Brien Jackson

          It’s probably also bullshit.

    • JL

      I agree with this entire comment (and would add that the faux outrage about the Human Rights Campaign being “establishment” was even more offputting – who in LGBTQ activism does NOT consider the Human Rights Campaign to be establishment?). Including the part about it being how big league primaries work.

      • At the time there was at least some criticism that Sanders lumped the milquetoast-at-best HRC together with PP, which might not be radical but is under constant attack and actually engages in direct action. That was certainly how I felt about it at the time.

        • Brien Jackson

          If Planned Parenthood isn’t radical, what value is the word supposed to have?

          • DocAmazing

            Planned Parenthood is anything but radical. They strive to be respectable and nonconfrontational. That they are targeted by Jeebusiers does not make them radical, it makes them steadfast in their mission. “Radical” means “going after the roots”; try something like CodePink for that.

            • sharculese

              This is true and I’m fine with it. If Planned Parenthood could be truly radical without having to worry about keeping clinic doors open it would be great, but, as long as that tradeoff exists, I know which I prefer.

              • DocAmazing

                It would be difficult to be radical and to operate a healthcare facility, let alone a nationwide chain of them.

                • sharculese

                  Yeah, I think we’re agreeing here.

                • JL

                  The Black Panthers and Common Ground Relief, both of which are pretty unambiguously radical, both pulled off starting healthcare facilities that still exist today. But they aren’t national chains and the facilities have arguably become a bit more mainstream in order to last. So I agree with your statement, albeit with caveats.

                  On the mental health side (which is a bit different because of the differing levels of infrastructure requirement and thus funding) rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs started out radical and provide mental health support. Now they range from radical to thoroughly mainstream (and to be clear, wherever they fall on that spectrum, they provide necessary services). The rape crisis center that I volunteer for is at a different place on that spectrum (a more mainstream one) than the domestic violence program I volunteer for, though I think it’s been shifting back a bit in recent years.

                • DocAmazing

                  I work at an FQHC; it’s roots are in radicalism, but it has to pass the same Health Department, OSHA, and state medical inspections as the Mayo Clinic. Guerilla clinics are ad hoc things, and if they go on for any length of time, they find themselves law-abiding and respectable.

                • Colin Day

                  Replying to your next comment (doesn’t have a reply button):

                  What does passing health regulations have to do with being radical? Is maintaining medical facilities just selling out to the man?

                • DocAmazing

                  If you’re defining an organization as “radical” that devotes a very large amount of its time and resources to complying with government regulations, I’m curious as to how you’d define an organization that skirts them entirely.

                • (((Hogan)))

                  If you’re defining an organization as “radical” that devotes a very large amount of its time and resources to complying with government regulations, I’m curious as to how you’d define an organization that skirts them entirely.

                  Kermit Gosnell. Now there’s a radical.

            • Brien Jackson

              So aside from risking violence everytime they go to work, what non-radical positions does PP stake out?

              • DocAmazing

                You might have missed it, but Roe v. Wade made what PP does non-radical and entirely legal. Their opponents are criminals and terrorists (and arguably radicals), but PP is, as mentioned, a perfectly legal and respectable health-care provision and advocacy organization.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Planned Parenthood opposes the Hyde amendment full-stop, so hiding behind “legal” is a non-sequitor. So phrased another way, exactly who is more radical than Planned Parenthood?

                • DocAmazing

                  Even the non-radical NARAL is more “radical” than PP. Don’t mistake an organization’s enemies’ position with the organization’s position.

                • JL

                  exactly who is more radical than Planned Parenthood?

                  The National Network of Abortion Funds and many of its member funds, the Prison Birth Project, SisterSong, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, a number of independent abortion clinics (in particular, the ones that do late-term abortion in New Mexico etc), the Native Youth Sexual Health Project, CLPP, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now, Women on Waves/Women on Web. I’m not sure about PP vs NAF (the National Abortion Federation). Prooooobably All Above All, in the sense that All Above All is more aggressive about pushing a policy goal that PP shares, but I don’t insist on that.

                  What makes them more radical? Depends on the organization, but a few things that come to mind for some of the groups that I listed are: more radical political or policy positions, a more intersectional focus, provision of later-term abortions, more or a wider range of organizing activity, work on issues that PP doesn’t do much with like anti-abortion-stigma work.

                  None of this is meant to suggest that PP is bad or that what it does is not immensely valuable and necessary. A lot of these organizations work together with PP and/or provide complimentary services (for instance, abortion funds fund lots of abortions at PP). I volunteered for PP as a clinic escort for five years. And like DocAmazing says, it would be hard to operate at the scale that they do and be as radical as some of these groups. There’s room for more than one approach in repro health/rights/justice spaces.

                  But, well, you asked, and I have a decent knowledge of the repro health/rights/justices spaces (in addition to the years volunteering at PP, I’ve been volunteering with an abortion fund since 2009, including two years on the board, and have been to two NNAF National Organizing Summits).

                • Brien Jackson

                  So…Plannef Parenthood is working with tgese groups? Not opposing them at all? This is an odd definition of non-radical.

                • DocAmazing

                  “Radical” does not mean “failing to oppose possibly radical groups or positions”.

                • Brien Jackson

                  So….PP isn’t radical because they agree with/support radicals?

                • DocAmazing

                  Even the Democratic Party has, a very few times, made common cause with radicals; certainly labor unions have made common cause with radicals. Doesn’t make either the Democrats or unions “radical”, just working with allies.

                • Brien Jackson

                  This is still non-responsive. So to plot out the basics here, this is the contour of this discussion:

                  Me: What’s more radical than Planned Parenthood on abortion?

                  You: List of positions.

                  Me: So you are claiming Planned Parenthood doesn’t support any of that?

                  You: SQUIRREL!!!!!

                  Can we just skip to the part where you complain that the DNC is illegitimate because they don;t back Green Party candidates in San Francisco and just be done with it already?

                • DocAmazing

                  You’re embarrassing yourself more than usual, and that must require effort.

                  I’ve got a comment that’s in moderation because it has too many links to reproductive rights groups that actually are radical. But let’s break this down:

                  You wanted examples of positions and groups that were working on issues out in front of PP. JL gave you bunches; I gave you positions (my groups are in Moderation Purgatory). You responded that PP is radical because it does not oppose those groups or positions. Mr. Jackson, that is not what “radical” means.

                  Why do I bother replying to your compulsive misuse of the word “radical”? As keta points out below, that use of “radical” to describe a fairly mainstream, respectable organization like PP comes right out of the Operation Rescue playbook. Contra Aimai above, PP’s position is the establishment one: insurers, the Supreme Court, and the generally-regressive AMA all support (or, in your formulation, fail to oppose) the bulk of PP’s work, and their advocacy work is very specifically designed not to spook the centrists.

              • Donna Gratehouse

                The idea that women should be able to plan when and whether to have children and to have have sexual autonomy is indeed a radical concept to those who believe women should not have those abilities, but it’s really not to the majority of people.

              • keta

                Uh, it’s the opponents of Planned Parenthood that define PP as radical. It’s the opponents of PP that threaten violence. It’s the opponents to Planned Parenthood that insist the actions of PP are extreme.

                I’m unsure why you’re so insistent on the validity of a bogus right wing definition here Brien, but it comes across as pretty fucking stupid.

                • Brien Jackson

                  That’s not really what I’m driving at. My point is that there just isn’t any radical space to stake out further than PP, and we count them as not radical only because their stances are largely popular.

                • DocAmazing

                  There’s plenty of space more radical than PP: mandatory sex ed, governmnent-funded access to abortions with no restrictions, removing Roe v. Wade‘s second-and third-trimester limitations. PP is not radical because their stances are entirely within existing law and do not challenge it.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Huh? Which of those things does Planned Parenthood oppose in any way?

                • DocAmazing

                  Can you provide an example of PP advocating overturning Roe‘s second- and third-trimester limitations?

                • Brien Jackson

                  When have there been 5 SCOTUS votes for that since Casey? Not throwing money at pointless causes isn’t the same as opposing something.

                • DocAmazing

                  See keta above.

                • Brien Jackson

                  PP’s opponents characterize them as radical for bathing in the blood of almost born fetuses and forcing women into abortions. Since there’s no one of note who supports any of that, this isn’t an actual argument of any kind.

                • DocAmazing

                  You’ve really got your teeth into this, haven’t you? Look up what “radical” means. PP is not radical as it uses entirely legal, respectable means to advance its position.

                  PP is a liberal organization. If you’re going to argue that liberals never put their lives on the line to perform good acts and to fight for other people’s rights, but only radicals do, then I have to laugh–it’s usually us leftists and Reds who are accused of holding liberals in low esteem.

                • Brien Jackson

                  But this is non-responsive, again. If PP isn’t radical on the subject of reproductive rights, who is?

                • Gregor Sansa

                  People who support mandatory sex ed, government-funded abortion, or lifting the trimester restrictions.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Lol. Do you think PP opposrs any of that? This is basically self-refuting.

                • DocAmazing

                  SisterSong (http://sistersong.net/?option=com_content&view=article&id=26&Itemid=68). Forward Together (http://forwardtogether.org). URGE (http://urge.org). Those are a few to whet your appetite. I’m quite certain you can find more with little effort.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  This is basically self-refuting.

                  I’m glad you’re aware of the problems in conflating “engaged in supporting” with “does not oppose”.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Except they do support these things. Here, for example, is PP pretty clearly opposing restrictions on second and third term abortions.

                  https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/5113/9611/5527/Abortion_After_first_trimester.pdf

                  Now granted they don’t spend much in the way of resources trying to fight that battle in a judicial system headed by an anti-abortion rights SCOTUS, but making decisions about how to allocate finite resources is most definitely not the same thing as not supporting it at all. And in a future with a more aggressively pro-abortion rights SCOTUS I have no doubt whatsoever that PP will be providing a large chunk of funding if/when there are viable legal cases to, say, rule the Hyde amendment un-Constitutional or obliterate Casey and expand Roe’s guarantees.

                • DocAmazing

                  in a future with a more aggressively pro-abortion rights SCOTUS

                  agitating for overturning the Hyde Amendment and removal of trimester restrictions won’t be at all radical, it will be in accordance with the position of the Supreme Court.

              • Colin Day

                Replying to your next comment (no reply button):

                PP objects to the Hyde Amendment, yes. Does PP violate the Hyde Amendment? Is there anyone in the US who doesn’t object to some law?

                • (((Hogan)))

                  Does PP violate the Hyde Amendment?

                  How would that work, other than Medicaid fraud?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I mean, PP “violates” the Hyde Amendment by providing subsidized abortions…

                • DocAmazing

                  And so we see the difference between respectable, law-abiding liberal groups and radicals.

        • JL

          That’s reasonable. PP does a lot of great work (I was a clinic escort for them for five years)! The HRC, well, they’re pretty good at branding themselves and writing books in which they take credit for other people’s work. And I guess they, uh, have the corporate equality index.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      Coming as it did, shortly after the deadly attack on the CO clinic, I felt outrage was warranted. And also that people like Sanders don’t recognize PP beyond it’s political arm, which is a small part of the organization’s activities.

      • Origami Isopod

        I agree. Just because PP does not take the same stances as as Code Pink doesn’t make it “the establishment.” There is a lot of grey area between the establishment and radicalism. And focusing on Richards’ socioeconomic status strikes me as a thoroughly manarchist thing to do: eliding all axes of oppression other than class.

        • DocAmazing

          Her socioeconomic status, her high-end family connections, her high-end political connections–and then there’s her organization: coast-to-coast, well-established, beloved of numerous well-connected people. It is certainly embattled, but it is no less part of the health-care and political establishment, and Richards, for all that she is constantly under attack, is by any definition part of the political mainstream.

    • Warren Terra

      As I recall, it was pretty much par for the case all around:

      1) Long-established progressive advocacy groups that have been dealing with Clinton for decades and don’t see an opposing candidate of remotely similar stature endorse her candidacy, rather early and rather wholeheartedly. A lot of this went on.

      2) Bernie’s operation was fairly badly managed and given to airing its resentments; some of his supporters often did this in extremely unproductive ways. He could have taken this opportunity to say that he hugely admired the work of PP and the HRC, he understood their leaders were close to Clinton, and he pledged to be a great President for them and their issues and was certain they’d enthusiastically back him in the general. Instead he or his surrogates went nasty on the leaders of PP and the HRC for doing something it was completely obvious they’d do.

      3) Clinton or her surrogates, who mostly tried to avoid offending Bernie’s supporters so long as it was clear Bernie was losing, couldn’t resist this much of an open goal, and scored a few points on Bernie/his people going too far and being jerks about PP and the HRC.

      All in all, nothing in the slightest remarkable. The only remotely interesting thing about it is how sore some people continue to be.

  • Katie Helper: At least #bernieBros are committed enough to come up w/ our own propaganda w/ out coordinating w/ campaign

    Frankly, I’m glad that the Bernie campaign wasn’t behind a lot of the #BernieBro and #BernieorBust attack lines. I would think a lot less of the man if I thought otherwise. Not because I think it’s terrible to coordinate attack lines with activists, but because so many of the attack lines that were used were atrocious. Katie here may think that it shows a praiseworthy degree of “independence”, although the fact that groups outside a campaign originate talking points doesn’t make it any more impressive to see them being parroted endlessly online. I’ll just say that many of the things I saw didn’t reflect at all favorably on whoever originated them.

    I say this as someone who once subscribed to a number of Bernie Sanders support groups on Facebook, none of which were affiliated with the campaign. I left them all. Let’s just say the standard of discourse there got to be depressing.

    Given all that, I’d say that actually, more direction from the campaign would have been a very, very good thing indeed.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      Not because I think it’s terrible to coordinate attack lines with activists, but because so many of the attack lines that were used were atrocious. Katie here may think that it shows a praiseworthy degree of “independence”, although the fact that groups outside a campaign originate talking points doesn’t make it any more impressive to see them being parroted endlessly online. I’ll just say that many of the things I saw didn’t reflect at all favorably on whoever originated them.

      And Katie Halps is about the worst purveyor of it. I’m not even sure she’s a Sanders supporter anymore since I saw her hyping up Jill Stein recently.

      • Murc

        A lot of Sanders supporters didn’t really care much about the man himself, but for what they thought he represented. I count myself among this number.

        To some extent this was good, because most of us shrugged when he lost and moved on to Clinton. Others, however, shrugged when he lost… and moved on to Stein. Or Johnson. Or Trump.

        I would like to think that those of us who moved to Clinton had a much clearer idea of what Sanders was about than those who moved on to any of the other three.

        • Bruce B.

          To balance out ranting at you the other day, I must note that I really agree with this, particularly the last paragraph.

  • Xenos

    From an EU p.o.v., it is remarkable and a bit puzzling that Clinton is held accountable for Libya. This was Hollande’s baby, and of course the US went along with as they had been trying to get its NATO partners to take some initiative for years. For the US to fail to support the Libya campaign would have really cost the US in terms of credibility.

    • King Goat

      There was no good option in Libya. Not intervening would have resulted in the slaughter of many thousands and a displacement of even more falling upon our NATO allies.

      • Warren Terra

        This really doesn’t get enough attention. The Libya situation is bad – but if someone is going to place the blame on the US they really ought to explain what it should have done differently. The obvious candidates are (1) nothing, which as you say would have seen the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians in opposition-controlled regions, people at least purportedly campaigning for democracy; or (2) occupying Libya and building a stable state. You know, as happens successfully all the time.

        • ThrottleJockey

          I’ve read that Obama thinks US intervention was a mistake I retrospect so there’s him.

    • (((Hogan)))

      But that would mean abandoning the premise that the US is the unmoved mover of all international activity. If you start pulling on that string, the whole BernieOrBust world comes unraveled.

  • King Goat

    It has been great watching Fox News salivate over the Extra-Large Nothing Burger that has been the stories from these wiki leaks dump. At the gym it’s always on and yesterday they had a running story label ‘Wikileaks Latest has Left Furious at Clinton.’ It was as believable as if MSNBC ran with ‘Trump’s Views on Trade Likely Dealbreaker with Those on the Right.’

    • Warren Terra

      Except that you can find actual influential human beings “on the Right” who dislike Trump on trade, whereas the people “on the Left” upset with Clinton over her emails are a scattering of Maoists and other fringe wackos.

      For your comparison to really work, you’d have to pick something people “on the Right” really don’t care in the slightest about, like whether it’s cool for Trump to assault random women.

  • nemdam

    Is it correct to believe that the Intercept can now not be considered progressive and is fully anti-Hillary? Glenn Greenwald and crew have been writing derp for awhile, but the latest Wikileaks emails made me contemplate that he’s not an annoying moral crusader who occasionally writes useful stuff. But that he’s actually just full throated anti-Hillary and anti-Democratic Party. He’s willing turn normal campaign operations that he knows is nothing unusual into instances of corruption and is willing to write about documents stolen from a foreign government whose purpose is to get Donald Trump elected in the way that said foreign government wants them written. It’s not that writing about the leaks disqualifies you from being a progressive as that would be ridiculous. But given the way that Greenwald and the Intercept has reported on them, I can’t imagine that anybody who writes from a genuinely progressive perspective would report on the Wikileaks hacks the way they have. If you were Russia, isn’t the Intercept doing exactly what you would want them to do if your goal was to depress enthusiasm for Hillary?

    • Brien Jackson

      When should The Intercept have ever been considered progressive?

      • Origami Isopod

        Agreed. I don’t think it’s splitting hairs to differentiate between “leftist” and “progressive.” Two different sets of priorities with some overlap.

        • JL

          I thought “progressive” was the umbrella term meant to encompass both people who call themselves “liberal” and people who call themselves “leftist” (as well as people who call themselves both) without pissing any of them off too much.

          • That’s how I’ve always read it. And I think the Intercept is unquestionably progressive, even if I disagree with a lot of its editorial positions. I don’t know that it’s leftist per se. Quibbling about the difference between liberals and leftists seems like a distraction to me.

            • Brien Jackson

              Well I view The Intercept/Greenwald as basically reactionary, with some nominal left leaning views, but I guess that’s just me?.

            • DocAmazing

              Dance, angels, dance! There’s plenty of room on the head of that pin!

              • efgoldman

                Dance, angels, dance! There’s plenty of room on the head of that pin!

                Hey, Doc, we’re Democrats. Splitting and re-splitting and re-re-splitting the very same hairs is what we do.

                When we’re not busy cowering.

            • (((max)))

              And I think the Intercept is unquestionably progressive, even if I disagree with a lot of its editorial positions.

              I would view the Intercept as unquestionably liberal and anti-interventionist, in the European/civil libertarian sense. They are funded by Thiel. Greenwald is a lefty of some sort when it comes to Brazilian politics.

              max
              [‘Radley Balko is not a lefty or a progressive, but he doesn’t suck.’]

              • Pat

                They are funded by Thiel.

                Ding ding ding! I think we have our answer here, folks. How liberal or progressive, exactly, is Peter Thiel?

                • Colin Day

                  Thiel seems progressive on blood-transfusion research.

                • Jordan

                  No they aren’t.

              • Jordan

                They are funded by Thiel.

                Wait, what? I think maybe you have your ebay/paypal/whatever mafia members confused?

        • nemdam

          “Leftist”, “progressive”, or “liberal” I view as all basically meaning the same thing. Yes, I know people can split hairs about the difference, but my main point is that I don’t view the Intercept as any of these labels. They just seemed to have turned into anti-Hillary and anti-Democratic Party stooges as opposed to a publication about exposing government corruption.

          • NonyNony

            “Leftist”, “progressive”, or “liberal” I view as all basically meaning the same thing.

            Oh Jesus. Now you’ve done it. Representatives from the People’s Front of Judea, the Judean People’s Front, and the People of Judea Action Council will all be along shortly to argue about exactly how wrong you are.

            • (((max)))

              Is there a Judean Up With People Front?

              max
              [‘Just wondering.’]

            • Colin Day

              What have the lexicographers ever done for us?

          • bender

            I don’t regard “leftist” and “liberal” as the same thing. On some issues, they occupy different points on a spectrum from mild reform to massive institutional change, with similar goals in mind. On other issues, leftists and liberals have different analyses of what the problem is, and therefore different prescriptions about what kinds of actions are necessary to solve it.

            For example, both leftists and liberals want to reduce economic inequality by increasing the power of workers. Leftists and liberals are both supportive of labor unions on the whole. Economic measures intended to decrease unemployment, thereby giving workers more bargaining power with employers, is a liberal program. Replacing businesses owned by capitalists by worker-owned and -run cooperatives is a leftist program.

      • Right. Greenwald is a transparency advocate who opposes government regulating personal matters. But he went from voting for Bush to, in 2011, touting Gary Johnson.

        You aren’t a progressive if you support Gary Johnson. Hell, he opposed SSM!

        • Brien Jackson

          My view on Greenwald is that he’s so ignorant of basic politics/such a total moron that it’s hard to really define his politics in any coherent manner.

        • nemdam

          See, I question if he is even really a transparency advocate. Even though Hillary is far from perfect on this matter, she is still infinitely better than Trump. And if he really cared about this issue he would endorse Hillary and not run hit pieces against her that do nothing to inform readers. Yes, it would be perfectly fine if he still held Hillary accountable and criticized her even if he supported her. But the choice is clear for anyone who cares about civil liberties and transparency.

          The other part that makes me question his commitment, is why did he not hold Bernie and Trump to the same standard of transparency as Clinton? Remember, that it was the Intercept that first advocated for Clinton to release her Wall Street transcripts. If he was so concerned about transparency, why not hold Bernie accountable to the fact that he never released his taxes? Or Trump for never releasing his taxes or his speeches? Why did he not give Clinton credit for releasing 30+ years of tax returns and being transparent about the Clinton Foundation? I just find Glenn’s shtick to be inconsistent at best and disingenuous at worst.

          • DocAmazing

            Bernie Sanders did release his tax returns

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/06/30/on-tax-returns-sanders-and-wife-report-200000-in-income-mostly-from-his-senate-post/

            and Clinton really did have a transparency problem with those speeches and the appearance of being sympathetic to the financial pirates

            https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/10/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-podesta-emails-wikileaks/

            which could have been easily avoided.

            • nemdam

              Bernie released one year of his tax returns in May, after the primary was basically over. Clinton cleaned his clock on this issue. Never heard a peep about it from the Intercept.

              Given that no other presidential candidate had ever released speech transcripts, and none had ever been asked, it is a stretch to say she had a transparency problem with this. It was a completely new and arbitrary standard designed simply to hurt Clinton based on no evidence. She knew this, and she knew releasing them would do nothing to quell any criticism so she smartly decided not to.

              And Clinton proactively released all donors to the Clinton Foundation. She released the standard medical disclosures. Did Bernie ever do this? I’m honestly not sure and don’t care. But if he didn’t, I never heard anything about it.

              Let’s also not forget we basically had all of her State Department emails. And she had been subjected to countless congressional investigations on Benghazi and Whitewater.

              For the standard of a presidential candidate, Clinton easily passed. Arguably, she is the most transparent and well-known candidate to ever run.

              • DocAmazing

                Wikileaks has provided us with a collection of excerpts from her speeches; we find fun things like

                That was one of the reasons that I started traveling in February of ’09, so people could, you know, literally yell at me for the United States and our banking system causing this everywhere. Now, that’s an oversimplification we know, but it was the conventional wisdom. And I think that there’s a lot that could have been avoided in terms of both misunderstanding and really politicizing what happened with greater transparency, with greater openness on all sides, you know, what happened, how did it happen, how do we prevent it from happening? You guys help us figure it out and let’s make sure that we do it right this time.

                and

                You know, part of the problem with the political situation, too, is that there is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary.

                and

                My view is I want to defend natural gas. I want to defend repairing and building the pipelines we need to fuel our economy. I want to defend fracking under the right circumstances . . . I want to defend this stuff.

                Not getting out in front of that, but waiting for Wikileaks to show it to us, was a blunder–never mind what it suggests about how she is likely to govern.

                • nemdam

                  How is this a blunder? She is cruising to the White House. This has not hurt her general election campaign. If she released these transcripts during the primary, Bernie and his supporters would’ve used these quotes and others to attack her even more relentlessly for being part of the corrupt establishment. She wisely decided to just take the hit for not releasing them, and it looks like that was the right decision.

                • DocAmazing

                  And now the perception that she is part of the corrupt establishment has had a nice bit of verification, made all the more believable by the perception of cover-up. It’s not just BernieBros who are going to make hay of this, and urinating on one’s allies remains a poor long-term strategy.

                • Brien Jackson

                  And she’s either going to win or win the biggest landslide in contemporary Presidential politics. Can I blunder so poorly?

                • JMP

                  But that still doesn’t change the fact that a lot of idiots who claim to be liberal need to find any excuse whatsoever for their irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton (and we do know the real reason is because she is a woman, the Bernie Bros aren’t actually fooling anyone) and so of course pretended those speeches were somehow a big deal and used it for a justification of their lies to claim this very honest public servant is somehow corrupt despite how ridiculous that was.

                • DocAmazing

                  Oh, I have plenty of non-misogynist reasons not to like Clinton: sitting on the Wal*Mart board while it was the nation’s worst large employer and doing essentially nothing about that, playing a very active role in an administration that broadened the use of the death penalty, slashed welfare, and kicked people out of public housing; and, yes, siding with the rich. If she were a man (say, for example, a guy named Bill), I’d feel no less antipathy.

                  This is exactly the kind of unthinking support I’ve been talking about, by the way.

              • veleda_k

                What burned me was the way Sanders moved the goal posts. Clinton released her tax returns and asked Sanders to do the same. Sanders declared he wouldn’t do so until Clinton released all her speeches. She wanted an equal level of disclosure, and he demanded she do him one better.

                It’s a rather appropriate metaphor for gender relations.

            • TopsyJane

              Sanders consistently stalled on the release of his tax returns, which release should not have been contingent on HRC releasing her speech transcripts. One of these things is not like the other.

        • Harkov311

          This may give ol’ Glenny too much credit, but near as I can tell Greenwald seems to be a libertarian, of the “actually, the Constitution really is a suicide pact” variety.

        • addicted44

          He’s a politically naive person’s idea of anti-establishment.

      • nemdam

        He is viewed as a serious writer on progressive media which I interpret as though he is at least sympathetic to progressives. I believe he has even defended himself as a progressive or at least stated that he shares many of their values. At a bare minimum, he does nothing to dissuade from people believing is a progressive.

        • DocAmazing

          Actually, in his early days, he copped to being a Libertarian. Make of that what you will.

          • PJ

            He is a libertarian. He continues to be a libertarian. But his target audience won’t allow him to fully publicize that.

        • (((Hogan)))

          At a bare minimum, he does nothing to dissuade from people believing is a progressive.

          I wouldn’t exactly say THAT . . .

    • keta

      Greewald has written about this. The bottom line is he feels The Intercept is practicng journalism.

      But journalism needs principles, not ad hoc decisions based on maximizing partisan advantage. And the most commonly applied principles render it a very easy call whether to report on the contents of the Podesta email archive, which is why every major media outlet in the U.S. is reporting on it.

      • (((max)))

        The acid test would be if he published hacked RNC mails if someone laid hand on them.

        max
        [‘But they haven’t.’]

        • I wouldn’t be surprised if Assange/Putin are sitting on RNC emails that can be construed to show a conspiracy to stop Trump. If released shortly after the election, it would do a lot to help ignite the anger of his supporters and further destabilize the GOP and the US political situation.

          Note that such a conspiracy doesn’t have to have happened — a handful of negative emails about Sanders from the DNC leak was all the “evidence” needed to posit a conspiracy there.

    • JL

      When I go to the front page of the Intercept, I see, among other things:

      – A negative piece about Curt Schilling and his desire to unseat Elizabeth Warren.

      – A piece criticizing the smearing of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. “The effort to undermine their credibility – carried out by right-wing bloggers, social media trolls, and the Trump campaign itself – is another reminder of why so many victims choose to remain silent.”

      – A piece trashing Chris Wallace and Elaine Quijano for buying into Pain Caucus propaganda in their debate moderation.

      – A piece about how voters are increasingly throwing out hardline district attorneys.

      – A piece about how Trump’s “voter fraud” lies are “part of the GOP’s DNA.”

      – A surprisingly nuanced dialogue between Glenn Greenwald and Naomi Klein about whether Wikileaks has been irresponsible with how it has treated the Podesta emails and what this means for people’s privacy.

      – A piece criticizing Trump for lashing out at foreign lobbyist donations at the same time as he’s accepting numerous large donations from foreign lobbyists.

      Yes, there are also pieces that are pretty harsh toward Clinton, some unreasonably so IMO. As well as a pile of pieces about surveillance (which seems compatible with progressive outlook), something about torture (also compatible), and something about a TV show that I’ve never heard of. And yes, Greenwald can have a pretty annoying schtick. And there are some people who write for the Intercept who I think are far more annoying and less useful than Greenwald. But it’s rather weird to me how many people want to dismiss the whole magazine. There’s a lot of good stuff in there! There’s a lot that’s obviously progressive! There’s even a lot of stuff that could be considered favorable to Clinton, at least in the sense that it’s hammering how horrible Trump is!

      • TroubleMaker13

        – A surprisingly nuanced dialogue between Glenn Greenwald and Naomi Klein about whether Wikileaks has been irresponsible with how it has treated the Podesta emails and what this means for people’s privacy.

        Yeah, I linked to this in the comment just below. Found it particularly refreshing and honest for Greenwald.

        • JMP

          Is there need for a nuanced dialogue about a question when the answer is very, very obviously “Yes”?

      • nemdam

        I was genuinely not aware of this range of articles. I do know he has expressed anti-anti-Trump views which is not uncommon among anti-Hillary people. And I do know that he has defended himself as a progressive when asked. In fact, I think he has even done it on this site.

        • XTPD

          Also, while I don’t read the Intercept regularly I recall Liliana Segura (formerly of AlterNet) is rather decent. (It helps that unlike her Salon counterpart she kept from embarrassing herself by sticking solely to the criminal justice beat during the primary).

          ETA: I noticed that Gawker’s Sam Biddle is a regular contributor, and I’ve always had a soft spot for his work. That said, the general anti-HRC horseshit is horrible enough for it to be a top Derpocalypse 2016 contender.

        • Warren Terra

          I was genuinely not aware of this range of articles.

          This is why I haven’t weighed in. I don’t think I’ve ever visited The Intercept‘s home page, except maybe shortly after it launched, so I simply don’t know enough about who they are. Most of the time when I see them mentioned, it’s because they’ve published some assh0lish nonsense, or because Glenn Greenwald in particular is being a jackass again, as he so frequently is – but those scattered incidents hardly suffice for me to assess the whole enterprise!

          • but those scattered incidents hardly suffice for me to assess the whole enterprise!

            You seem to misunderstand the nature and use of blog comment threads; indeed, of the Internet as a whole.

      • Brien Jackson

        I guess to each his own, but yeah, I don’t think much of that has all that much value when it’s balanced out with a bunch of bullshit about how awful Democrats, the Democratic President, and the Democratic nominee for President are.

        • DocAmazing

          Yes, it’s almost as bad as the Hillary hagiography one finds on numerous liberal websites.

          • XTPD

            Yes, it’s almost as bad as the Hillary hagiography one finds on numerous liberal websites.

            [cites omitted]

            • DocAmazing

              Last time I linked to people defending Clinton’s seeking Kissinger’s approval (going so far as to downplay Pinochet’s horrendousness), there was a generalized shit fit. Let’s instead try an experiment: I’ll mention Clinton’s “superpredators” speech and we’ll see how long it takes for someone to defend it.

              • Gregor Sansa

                That speech was bullshit.

                Now, if I point out that it was a long time ago, is that “hagiography”? I guess that Pontius Pilate has been canonized, then.

                • DocAmazing

                  Haven’t seen many breathless defenses of Pilate; a missed opportunity, as he’d be a great face for Ivory Soap.

                • Pilate comes across as a sympathetic character in The Master and Margarita, which I mention here primarily as bait for Major Kong.

    • TroubleMaker13

      I will say that I appreciate this from Greenwald, which shows at least a little circumspection with respect to Wikileaks.

      • Brien Jackson

        And yet, Greenwald has been parroting the line that WHO CAN TELL?!?!?! if Russia is behind this all?

        • heckblazer

          According to this article in Motherboard, the tool used to hack Podesta’s and Powell’s email has also been used to target Bellingcat (a website investigating MH17 that determined Russian-backed rebels downed it) and Eastern European journalists. So really, it could be anyone!

        • There was also an interesting article in Wired that pretty matter-of-factly addresses the WHO CAN TELL? attitude:

          https://www.wired.com/2016/07/heres-know-russia-dnc-hack/

    • msdc

      He’s willing turn normal campaign operations that he knows is nothing unusual

      I’m pretty sure Greenwald doesn’t know the slightest thing about the politics that exist outside his own head.

    • PJ

      The Intercept’s content is stuff that I can get in other places without the added baggage of the aggression they direct towards other writers on social media.

      For pure, undiluted anti-establishment, unapologetically leftist, pro-labor writing, why don’t people just read WSWS or The Socialist Worker?

  • Peterr

    I do wish that folks weren’t so committed to pretending that Hillary Clinton invented politics, or that the practice of politics is somehow dirty.

    Good luck with that.

    A Tbogg classic comes to mind, in which he tells a story that starts like this:

    Every year in Happy Gumdrop Fairy-Tale Land all of the sprites and elves and woodland creatures gather together to pick the Rainbow Sunshine Queen. Everyone is there: the Lollipop Guild, the Star-Twinkle Toddlers, the Sparkly Unicorns, the Cookie Baking Apple-cheeked Grandmothers, the Fluffy Bunny Bund, the Rumbly-Tumbly Pupperoos, the Snowflake Princesses, the Baby Duckies All-In-A-Row, the Laughing Babies, and the Dykes on Bikes. They have a big picnic with cupcakes and gumdrops and pudding pops, stopping only to cast their votes by throwing Magic Wishing Rocks into the Well of Laughter, Comity, and Good Intentions. Afterward they spend the rest of the night dancing and singing and waving glow sticks until dawn when they tumble sleepy-eyed into beds made of the purest and whitest goose down where they dream of angels and clouds of spun sugar.

    Click through for the end of the story.

  • “commentary pushing out the analysis”

    That’s a lovely turn of phrase, often followed by “Squeeze harder!”

    • DocAmazing

      Commentary needs a fresh roll.

  • What I find most surprising about this is they actually had people doing anything on policy. I know up until nearly the end of 2015 they had no policy director, and when they finally did it was his senate staff guy who took a leave.

    What’s not surprising is the request was to critique Clinton–perfectly appropriate, btw, even if probably unwise, for reasons Robert mentioned–and not an actual detailed policy initiative.

    • Robert Farley

      On the foreign policy side they started to stand up an operation in mid-February. That’s a pretty good indication that they didn’t take themselves particularly seriously up to that point (foreign policy is Clinton’s key vulnerability on the progressive side), and were surprised to find themselves as close as they were.

      • msdc

        The irony here is that mid-February is also roughly the time Clinton began pulling away in the delegate count and consolidating the party base in ways that made it clear that she would win the primary. Any new attacks at that point were being trained on the likely Democratic nominee, whether they recognized it or not.

  • Harkov311

    I’ve never understood why some people get so wrapped up in whether someone is “establishment” or not.

    If they support liberalism, I could care less how elite they supposedly are. I wonder how many of the dead-enders are unaware how very rich and extremely establishment FDR was.

    • petesh

      Class traitor! FDR, that is. Most folks nowadays do not remember the vitriol thrown at him, from the right, the far-right, the ultra-right and the extreme right. And a few deplorables.

      • Many on the right refused to even say his name, referring to him only as “That man in the White House” or simply “That man”.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          IOW, Republican behavior hasn’t changed in nearly a century.

        • bender

          Also “Rosenfeld”.

        • “He who walks behind the rows”

    • Halloween Jack

      I’ve never understood why some people get so wrapped up in whether someone is “establishment” or not.

      It was an easy signifier for boomers rebelling against anything that their parents liked.

      • I think it also signifies for those who are a kind of sincere Burkeans. Their thing is to critique the status quo. Establishment and status quo are synonyms. Therefore, those who are pro-establishment are those who are ignoring valid criticisms of the status quo. If they are really properly on the left, they should take those valid criticisms on board. (This is irrational and would result in an incoherent politics–almost no one would agree with where it ends up–but it proceeds, in logical fashion, from commonly accepted premises and it can be fairly argued as an improvement (for some definition of improvement) on what people do agree on.)

        Obviously, this only works for those who don’t know the Great Society and New Deal really have largely been rolled back, that this isn’t just an irrational belief on the part of segments of the population that haven’t gotten on board with progress yet. (Or for those who are, I don’t know, maybe anarchists for whom the New Deal is too state-centric for their tastes and don’t count it in Burkean poetess, though what on earth they would count in that case I don’t know.)

        • Tho it occurs to me it actually works especially badly in some areas for those who believe what’s essentially the opposite: For example, someone who is committed to there having been no real progress in gender roles since and as s result of second wave feminism. Their version of critique has to be of traditional pre- or anti-feminist ideas of women. Someone who has already taken on some form of feminist or postfeminist thinking can’t easily participate in their critique and may not be able to understand it, even.

      • tsam

        It was an easy signifier for boomers rebelling against anything that their parents liked.

        It’s an easy term to use as an excuse to hate stuff.

  • ResumeMan

    So Semi-off-topic:

    What do folks here think is the best use of resources (donations and time) at this point for the stretch run?

    It doesn’t seem like anything I could do would move the needle much for Hillary from here out. The next highest priority is the Senate; any races that especially need donations or phone banking?

    The House seems like a stretch, but OTOH, it’s more likely that a couple hundred bucks or a handful of phone banking hours could make a difference in a close House race than anything in the Senate (much less presidential).

    Any suggestions? I’m in the Bay Area, and don’t plan to make any pre-election road trips, so my boots won’t be on the ground anywhere. It’s strictly a checkbook-and-telephone effort for me.

    • Peterr

      I don’t know if his campaign is organized for out-of-state help, but Jason Kander is in a dogfight with Roy Blunt here in MO, and I’d love to see Ol’ Roy put out to pasture. For a taste of Jason, here’s an interview he did on KC public radio, and his website is here.

    • JL

      Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, all have very close Senate races.

      This is a good tool for finding highly competitive House races.

    • msdc

      I’ll put in a good word for Christina Hartman in PA-16. A Democrat running for an open seat in a swing district where Clinton is currently leading Trump. Donations and phonebanking could really make a difference in this one.

      • Gregor Sansa

        How do you phonebank a specific district without being in that district? In ’08 and ’12 I managed to do that by twisting Obama’s tools to my will, but the Hillary tools are too smart for that.

        • msdc

          I don’t know if the presidential campaigns will let you pick a specific district to call into, but most House or Senate candidates should have a volunteer page that includes phonebanking.

    • ResumeMan

      Cool, that’s all good stuff. I’ll look into it and see where I could help.

    • AMK

      Help knock Scott Garrett off in NJ’s 5th district….he’s the only freedom caucus lunatic in the NYC area and a really noxious weed in the garden state. The race is a Cook PVI tossup.

      His opponent is the definition of corporate “establishment” Democrat: a former Bill Clinton speechwriter who’s now a Microsoft executive, raising money from all the banks. But bottom line is he’s a Dem vote when we need it.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    What, Jamelle Bouie wasn’t a part of the conspiracy? SHOCKING.

    • Drexciya

      Doesn’t matter, they got him to almost completely delete his account and leave twitter anyway. The white left is getting the left it wants.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        Was under the impression that he’d only deleted his old posts, not that he’d left Twitter entirely?

        Point is well-taken regardless, though.

        • Drexciya

          He ended up deleting those tweets too. Pretty sure he’s in full sabbatical, if not outright gone.

        • EliHawk

          Yeah, he seems to be watching Snitch right now.

          But what makes it even more ludicrous is that they pulled old tweets to dogpile on him that were…completely correct. White leftists pulled some old tweet of his out of context essentially saying that a Debt Ceiling breach (and subsequent financial Armageddon throughout the world) would cause more human suffering than a war with Iran. This was in the context of Conor Friedersdorf and his ilk saying “Vote Gary Johnson, not Obama in ’12, because DRONEZ and WAR WITH IRAN” were wrong. Neither of those opinions is in the slightest bit incorrect, and Friedersdorf and company are idiots.

      • Phil Perspective

        Do you know why he deleted most of his tweets?

        • Warren Terra

          Apparently some organized horde of flying monkeys decided to cherrypick his older tweets, out of context, and give him sh!t about them. He tired of their game.

        • sharculese

          Because dimwitted bullies like you threw a temper tantrum at hi and he didn’t feel like dealing with it?

          • That’s an excellent description of Phil Space.

          • Drexciya

            A temper tantrum that was part of an almost year long campaign full of such temper tantrums. What, you may ask, was it based on? Screenshotting out of context tweets, yelling at him for being an anti-Bernie Hillary supporter based on article titles he didn’t even write, telling him that his suggestions of racism or criticisms of Sanders was bad faith hackery and framing every legitimate, grounding objection as obvious neoliberal shilling. When he A) Admitted to voting for Bernie and supported him in the primary (something that was pretty clear) B) Expressed support for a social democratic agenda C) Endorsed a Federal Job Guarantee, citing a leftist like Darity to do it D) Supported on to Movement For Black Lives agenda he was still…a neoliberal shill who wrote anti-Bernie hit pieces to get in good with a future Clinton administration. That was in addition to suggestions that he was a dim affirmative action hire and that he wasn’t smart enough to support or oppose things for reasons other than presentation. The only difference between this particular effort and previous ones is that this one worked.

            Congratulations, true leftism has been achieved, and a legitimate, historically conscious black left voice has been given ample reasons to erase his contributions. All for the continuation of a project that thinks the height of leftism is making sure Trump supporters get included into multiracial coalitions, regardless of which of those coalitional partners that project imperils. It must be nice to know that one of the more visible locus’ of black pushback will have less incentive to embarrass that crowd again.

            • econoclast

              That’s depressing.

            • I hadn’t before made the connection between the recent “white working class” articles and the apparent attempts to incorporate seemingly left-curious bits of the more obnoxious parts of the Internet into the campaign, but as econoclast says, that’s depressing.

            • Pat

              Drexciya, Jamelle Bouie should be free to support whoever he wants, just like Sady Doyle should be free to support whoever she wants without getting torn apart on Twitter (as she was also). I wish we lived in that world too. These power struggles are very real and hurt real people.

              I can say as well that if Bouie is available, HRC would be wise to see that as an opportunity and make him an offer as a policy analyst in her administration. His writing is clear and cogent, and she needs views like his.

              • Scott Lemieux

                The branding of Jamelle as History’s Most Egregious Neoliberal would, to be clear, be insanely stupid and offensive if he supported Clinton in the primaries. But he didn’t.

            • tsam

              We seriously need to stop having these discussions about the motivations of Trump supporters. The idea that they’re so reactionary because they’re feeling economic distress is in itself racist because it supposes that economic insecurity is strictly a white phenomenon. There is mountains of data to support the idea that black and Latino people suffer much worse and more pervasive economic distress, but for some reason aren’t buying into Fascism as a way of solving the problem. In Trump world, minorities ARE the problem. So to the extent that Trumpism is about economic distress, it is only because they saw a black person driving a decent car and decided that was unacceptable and felt a need to do something about that. To the idea of bringing them into the fold–yeah fuck that. There’s enough of the white male left that thinks people like Bouie and Coates don’t deserve a seat at the table because their observations make them uncomfortable, which is obviously the entire intent of their work. This is necessary work.

              • Jacobin seems to be hanging on to the Marxist project where progress is always and only made by the working class. This kind of fell apart over the years, as is well known. You still see it in places in the idea, say, that misogyny and poor treatment of women wouldn’t happen in a proper workers’ paradise, so feminists should set their projects aside and work with admittedly sexist male socialists to being about the revolution (after which maybe the men will be enlightened and change their ways–or maybe the women will be–who can know?–it’s not like the experiment has been tried and we can look to history for an answer!). Similarly, maybe a properly non-capitalist economic system would eliminate racism!

                Or maybe the working class has all turned into the middle class or a “labor aristocracy,” except for racial minorities, so Marxists should focus on the latter. Or maybe Marxist focus on the worker has failed and should be replaced by a focus on “the wretched of the earth,” that is, people of color both here and in the developing world. Or . . . maybe the emphasis on the working class and its special connection to history really–properly understood–underwrites and/or presupposes something very like ethnonationalism, or so it would seem to the uninitiated! Or maybe not! Who can know? Marxism is such a useful tool, especially since nobody actually reads it.

      • PJ

        This is all very gross. I mean, on some level he really chose to mix it up with those guys (which, to be fair, ain’t a whole lotta high-profile mail journos challenging the white leftist bros from the left). But it seemed like it was just him vs Intercept/Jacobin a lot of the time.

        • Drexciya

          This is all very gross. I mean, on some level he really chose to mix it up with those guys (which, to be fair, ain’t a whole lotta high-profile mail journos challenging the white leftist bros from the left). But it seemed like it was just him vs Intercept/Jacobin a lot of the time.

          There’s no white left that’s intended to incorporate or reflect our interests, and there’s no white left that will stand for the assumption that they can be asserted independent of their paradigm. This was shown handily yesterday, and punished today. That’s really all this was, and enough people of color have been sufficiently absent or purged from establishment and establishment left spaces that they’re effectively immunized from any practical backlash, much less pressure for moral introspection.

          As I said above, the white left is getting the left it wants. The unappreciated irony is that it was aided by the whiteness of the liberal media they despise. After all, it does a very good job demographically/numerically isolating some voices and ensuring that others face a professional minefield if they voiced such sentiments themselves—which this incident has done no more than confirm.

          • PJ

            All fair points.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I was on the road yesterday — which particular assholes were involved this time? This really sickens me.

        • Drexciya

          One of The Chapo Trap House guys (Felix Biederman/@ByYourLogic) scrolled 4-5 years back into Bouie’s feed, excavated a tweet responding to a hypothetical proposed by Friedorsdorf, screenshotted and posted it way out of context to make it look like Bouie wanted a war with Iran, cue fake, performative outrage based on the assumption that this shows Bouie’s real comfort with corporatist neoliberal warmongering. All with proper (and in some cases, now removed) RT’s from the usual suspects at Jacobin and elsewhere, and a really, really nasty set of mentions/threads.

          More gross than the fact that this happened is what precipitated it: Bouie opened himself to reprisal by doing one of the more substantive and lengthy public engagements with a Jacobin writer I’ve seen (with Kilpatrick IIRC). It was an embarrassing and illuminating debate about a lot of analytical trends that are gaining traction on that side of the left right now and they were subjected to deserved criticism for it. It was also embarrassing in a way that could be the basis for problematizing aspects of their project. Now it’s gone. Bouie can be further dismissed based on a dishonest caricature of his beliefs, and there will be less basis to heed, much less respond to racially attentive criticism.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Thanks. That reading was just so obviously stupid, too. Even out of context it was obviously a “death is not an option” hypothetical, not advocacy of war with Iran. But, then most of the attacks on Bouie from these quarters haven’t been any smarter. And I should have guessed that it was Kilpatick getting his ass handed to him yet again that was the precipitating event.

            • Dr. Waffle

              It seems like Connor, Freddie, Lee Fang, etc., are addicted to being ritually humiliated by people who are smarter and more qualified than they are. It allows them to sic their idiot followers on people (usually women and/or POC) and thus feel like they have actual power or influence (spoiler: they don’t).

              • DocAmazing

                Don’t toss Lee Fang in there. He’s done valuable investigative work on the manufacturers of Oxy-Contin and their financing of anti-cannabis-legalization groups, among other subjects. You might not like what he digs up, but he’s a damn good reporter.

                • PJ

                  So, what … is he being forced to be part of the screengrab-and-bully gang just because he works for The Intercept?

          • PJ

            The sad thing is there isn’t an iota of self-awareness that will lead them to connect this bullshit behavior with not connecting with voters of color.

            The problem will always be stupid people of color who don’t know a good thing when the white socialist tells them it’s good.

            • Drexciya

              The problem will always be stupid people of color who don’t know a good thing when the white socialist tells them it’s good.

              Wooooooo.

              That’s what I keep saying and what white leftists keep telling us. Just like with Republicans, white leftists only expect us to provide votes and energy for the agendas they set. What they keep objecting to is the idea that coalitional participation necessitates reflecting and absorbing some of our interests and priorities, not just our numbers. Every time this comes up, it’s in the context of them clamoring for the latter, in an attempt to undermine the possibility of the former and I’m just really fed up with it.

              This becomes even more galling when you realize they know better, because the exact same approach nonwhites keep fighting for is the approach they reserve for their idealized image of “poor” Republicans. Trying to appeal to some mythic silent majority of soft Republicans is how that crowd became a bastion of anti-anti-racists who are so attuned to the working white poor, that all they see when racists are condemned is how the real elitists are the ones who smugly call them racist when it’s the corporations (and lack of a social democratic agenda they can sign on to!) that made them that way. It’s an insufferable act that’s only about uniting all classes of white people and using us as placeholders and useful idiots until they get to that point.

              • What they keep objecting to is the idea that coalitional participation necessitates reflecting and absorbing some of our interests and priorities, not just our numbers.

                This is really key. Coalition require work and compromise. Healthy coalitions tend to involve more than compromise, i.e., an exchange of understandings and increasing sharing of perspective.

                Lefty purist often go on about how *they* are taken for granted (which isn’t true!) while presuming that all other groups are and perhaps *should be* taken for granted.

                Enraging.

                • tsam

                  What’s most enraging to me is that assholes like these guys consider themselves intellectuals. An intellectual shouldn’t be trying to suppress a point of view simply because it makes them uncomfortable or because they maybe can’t personally identify with it. White people don’t “get” racism. That’s because white people commit racism. There is no question that the black vote is taken for granted. Lefty purists aren’t taken for granted, they’re just largely ignored because they ignore reality.

    • tsam

      He’s traveling on bus to vote in the whites only areas.

  • I found this in Wikileaks:
    https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/15968

    …it’s a spam e-mail to John Podesta from BIT, the Chinese mockademic conference scammers. Offering the lure of a Prestigious Speaking Opportunity in the hope that he’d pay $1300 to attend some scabby little bunfight in Korea.

    So far no one has bruited it about as proof of Clintonian perfidy, but it’s only a matter of time.

    • efgoldman

      So far no one has bruited it about as proof of Clintonian perfidy, but it’s only a matter of time.

      Please. Just connect the dots!
      Podesta goes to the conference and takes his risotto recipe with him.
      Undermines the whole Chinese rice industry.
      The Chinese are thus prostrate at HRC’s feet.
      Ta-daaa!

      • skate

        Not prostrate. Just too busy stirring the risotto to respond when HRC acts.

  • jpgray

    It would be nice to see Bernie get a bit of credit here for:

    (1) Shrugging off the Wikileaks “revelations”
    (2) Raising $2MM for downballot Dems in two days and making Paul Ryan look like a schmuck at the same time
    (3) Campaigning for Hillary – going to Phoenix next, I believe, to run up the score

    The caricature was “he won’t endorse/he’ll endorse too late/he won’t REALLY help her in the general/etc.” I mean, Primary Derangement and all, and yeah he’s way more dainty about surrogacy stuff than a soldier like Reid, but come on people: he’s not the preening wholly self-absorbed nutbar a few of you made him out to be.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I was never worried about what Sanders would do. Figured he’d need some down time- who wouldn’t, in his position (and I think a lot of *us* should have taken some down time too instead of gnashing things over and over again)- and then he’d be out and about. And yeah, Sanders does deserve a lot of appreciation for what he’s done for the general and in general

    • CrunchyFrog

      Sanders has done wonderfully. But let’s also remember that during the primary campaign he stuck to substantive issues. He refuse to pursue right wing nonsense like Benghazi and OMG EMAIL!!!! When the dust settles he can safely say that his contribution to the process was extremely positive and in the right direction.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    Brit Hume is still alive? learn something every day

    • calling all toasters

      You’ll hear it when his head pops.

  • Johnny sycophant

    Finally saw an anti Clinton TV ad… It’s fascinating for the wrong reasons, it’s attacking HRC from a feminist POV, or it thinks it does, Trump/ his people really do not have a single clue how to appeal to people outside their bubble, not a single clue.

    • Sly

      “We’ve been telling each other for decades that black people are too stupid to realize that they’re stuck on the Democratic Plantation. Why aren’t they agreeing with us?”

      Turns out America isn’t a giant Breitbart Comment Section Circle-Jerk. Who knew?

      • Warren Terra

        It was inevitable that the Republicans would eventually get high on their own supply, and predictably disastrous for them.

        • EliHawk

          At least this one (I’m assuming it’s the ones that were broadcast nationally during the Cubs game) had a reasonably coherent focus (Clinton Foundation takes money from people from awful regressive regimes like the Saudis/Qatar/UAE etc.). The other one I saw last night was just Benghazi + “What difference does it make?” with no attempt to actually explain what was bad that she did. Total example of an ad that only speaks to people who know the dog whistles. Everyone else (like 90% of those watching the baseball playoffs) are just “Huh?”

          • Scott Lemieux

            I saw the Benghazi one too. It was awful.

            • Dilan Esper

              In a less depressing election cycle, “Hillary is way too friendly to the Saudis” would be a legitimate political issue.

              On the other hand, in a less depressing country,”George W. Bush let a lot of Saudis partly responsible for 9/11 get away with it” would also be a legitimate political issue.

  • shaqnicholson

    This all seems very personal to a lot of the Intercept folks. Both Fang and Zaid Jilani worked for ThinkProgress/CAP for a while, and at least in Jilani’s case, was publicly ratfucked out of that job because of tweets about Israel. The way they’re covering the recent batches of the Wikileaks campaign e-mails suggests that Podesta, (especially) Neera Tanden, et. al are people they deeply resent.

  • ajay

    I wrote the article, which I submitted to the National Interest (not generally regarded as a pro-Clinton outlet). They never published; it’s possible that the article simply wasn’t very good, but NatInt was undergoing a bit of editorial turmoil at the time, and it’s possible the piece simply got lost in the shuffle. I didn’t feel strongly, and so I didn’t push it. I thought about publishing here at LGM, but had qualms about posting what amounted to an attack on the likely Democratic nominee. The “likely” was key here; if I had believed that Bernie Sanders had any chance at all of winning the nomination, I might well have pursued it further.

    Former Russia Today employee Robert Farley added “THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THIS. It violated no meaningful norms or ethical standards, and invoke no specific moral qualms.”

    So, to recap: you wrote a hit piece on a political candidate at the request of her opponent. You submitted this to an editor without informing them of the reason you had written it. (You don’t say whether the editor asked something like “oh, hey, a Libya piece; that’s a bit different. Why’d you decide on that topic?” Presumably you would then have come up with some other plausible reason.)
    The editor rejected it for other reasons. You then considered publishing the hit piece yourself, but decided against it because by that time it looked as though the target of the piece might be about to win her campaign, and you didn’t want to be seen to criticise her in public.

    At no point during this process did you feel any moral qualms at all.

    • ajay

      Just to clarify, from a professional editorial point of view: if a freelancer had tried to pull something like that on me, I would never have given him any work again. And if a staff journalist had tried to pull something like that on me, I would have sacked him.

    • Warren Terra

      Alternately: someone from some candidate’s campaign reached out to him, saying “We understand you already have opinions on this subject, opinions that we think could be a valuable part of the debate at this critical moment. We think it would be worth your time to write those ideas up and get them published. If you do get them published we may be able to draw upon your arguments, which would help our campaign and also help you get attention.”

      Not nearly so perfidious as “act as our sock puppet it’ll be good for you.”

      • ajay

        And I’m sure that is exactly the wording they used. A mouthpiece for a campaign is still a mouthpiece if they believe every word they are saying. Not revealing “the Sanders campaign asked me to write this” to your editor is a deal breaker.

      • ajay

        I mean, imagine if it was in a non-political context. Say I work as an opinion editor for the FT. The noted economist Robert Schmarley sends me an article about, let’s say, how important it is for the US government to raise capital levels for banks trading in energy products (something that Schmarley sincerely believes). There are good economic reasons for this change; but one side-effect is that it would (for various reasons to do with the way its business is structured) give Morgan Stanley a huge advantage over its competitors in the energy market.

        I accept and publish the article, and only later find out that the reason Schmarley wrote it is because his good friends at Morgan Stanley asked him to write it and send it to the FT, because they are really pushing for this regulation to go through, and he’s eager to do them a favour; Schmarley is in fact a member of an advisory panel at Morgan Stanley, though both he and the bank have kept this a secret.

        How do I now feel about Schmarley?

    • Robert Farley

      I was a Russia Today employee?

      • Robert Farley

        And with regards to your broader point… no. I get article ideas from any number of different sources, including individual writers, press releases, et al. Editors don’t care, as long as the work stands on its own.

        • ajay

          I was a Russia Today employee?

          Contributor, anyway. They got you without even having to pay.

          Editors don’t care, as long as the work stands on its own.

          This is not true: neither I nor any of my fellow editors would regard this sort of behaviour as remotely acceptable, as I said.

          • Robert Farley

            Apparently editors differ on this question. And to be clear; is appearing on RT without pay better than, or worse than, being paid? Do you have some specific objection to anything I said in any of my appearances on RT?

            • Schadenboner

              Forget it, Rob. It’s ajaytown.

              • Robert Farley

                I’m genuinely curious. Is it wrong to do something with a “secret” agenda, or wrong to do something openly? Not clear to me.

                • ajay

                  I’m genuinely curious. Is it wrong to do something with a “secret” agenda, or wrong to do something openly?

                  It’s wrong to do something with a secret agenda. (Why quotes around “secret”? Your agenda was secret. Your link with the campaign had been kept secret by both yourself and the campaign team.) See the Schmarley example above – even if Schmarley isn’t actually getting paid by Morgan Stanley, do you still think he’s acted entirely ethically?

                  Well, silly question, because obviously you do. But can you see why other people might say “hang on a minute, isn’t this a bit of a conflict of interest? This guy’s not an independent commentator, even though he appears to be; he’s writing this article with the deliberate intention of helping an organisation he’s secretly part of! In fact, he’s writing the article because they asked him to!”

                  Or are you taking the position (which you seem to be) that there is no such thing as a possible conflict of interest for journalists, because their arguments should simply stand on their own?

                • Robert Farley

                  I had no secret agenda. I had an informal link with the campaign that had, at that point and at all points thereafter, resulted in no exchange of money and no “access.” I anticipated no future favors, payments, or anything of the sort. There is no conflict of interest because there is no interest; my editors are well aware of my general political leanings, and publish me notwithstanding. They are also, undoubtedly, aware that I have conversations with humans who have a variety of different institutional affiliations. They don’t ask me to account for every one of these conversations, or interrogate me with respect to my variety of informal connections to various groups and/or movements.

                  Because, ya know, that would kind of be crazy.

                • ajay

                  I had no secret agenda. I had an informal link with the campaign that

                  …that involved them asking you to write articles for them, and you writing them, and both sides keeping this informal link a secret from everyone. This wasn’t just an “informal conversation” leading to you thinking “oh, that would make a good article”. This was the campaign asking you to do some work for them, and you doing it.

            • ajay

              And to be clear; is appearing on RT without pay better than, or worse than, being paid?

              An interesting ethical question. Worse, probably; you’re actually contributing your efforts for free to helping the propaganda effort of a murderous autocrat, rather than at least getting some cash out of him in return.

              (“But I wasn’t distributing propaganda! I believed everything I said!” This really is not much of a defence. RT exists only to further the foreign policy objectives of the Russian government. You helped it succeed, in a small way. A band that plays at a Klan rally isn’t innocent of association with racial hatred, even if all the music they play is innocuous; especially not if they agree to play at the rally for free because they need the exposure.)

              • Robert Farley

                Well then, you just kind of think I’m a bad person; this seems separate from the issue of payment, conflicts of interest, and so forth.

                For the record, with respect to RT almost all of my appearances were on the Alyona Show, almost all of those were conducted during the Bush administration, and almost all of those were about fairly technical discussions of military doctrine and military procurement. I suppose that, in some very tenuous sense, this furthered the ends of a murderous autocrat, but when we’re drilling down to that point we get into some pretty sketchy thinking. For example, right now you’re having a conversation with someone who propagandized (for free!) for a murderous autocrat. You contribute comments (many of them laudatory) to this site, which is owned by someone who has propagandized for a murderous autocrat. On the upside, at least you do so for free…

                • ajay

                  I do kind of think you’re a bad (or more just sort of dopey) person for the RT thing, yes. I think you should have had the sense to see that RT wasn’t a legitimate news organisation so much as it was a propaganda outlet for a pretty unpleasant government, especially given what your day job is, and you shouldn’t have gone anywhere near it, for payment or not. (I’ve turned down paid gigs with similar organisations for exactly these reasons.)

                  But I think it’s linked to the business about the Libya piece because you work on the basis that, as long as you have convinced yourself that there’s no problem, then everything is OK. And that’s not the way it works, and it’s a dangerous habit to get into because of the human capacity for self-deception.

                • Robert Farley

                  Indeed; when I convince myself that there’s no problem, I do in fact think that everything is ok.

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