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Against Halperinism

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You will not be surprised to know that Matt Taibbi thinks that the first of many “random inside baseball campaign anecdotes that assume without argument that the degree of campaign infighting is the most important variable determining the outcome of elections” books about the 2016 campaign is very useful. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Steven Ginsberg, the senior politics editor of the Washington Post, raise questions about the value of books that compile a bunch of self-interested stories without any effort to put them in structural or comparative context:

“Shattered” is essentially a sequel to “HRC,” a 2014 book by Allen and Parnes that chronicled Clinton’s time at the State Department. It’s also the first offering of what will surely be many books about what really happened inside the 2016 campaigns. Going first has its advantages — perhaps in sales and attention — but in this case the quick-fire version proves too limiting.

Does it really matter who was pissy at whom in Brooklyn when we still don’t know what role the Russians played in the election or why FBI Director James Comey publicly announced a reopening of the email investigation in late October? Those questions are largely left unexplored here, other than as targets of Clinton’s post-election ire.

Staying inside Clinton’s inner circle also keeps the story oddly away from Trump, who is absent from much of the book even though he was the dominant force throughout the election. By contrast, Clinton’s primary fight against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont consumes much of the first half of the book. The authors provide plenty of details, but their takeaway is familiar: Sanders was unexpectedly popular; Clinton could never quite figure him out but nonetheless managed to outlast him.

[…]

Some of the criticism of Mook rings true — his celebrated voter modeling, for instance, turned out to be catastrophically off — but his portrait also carries the stench of bitter co-workers conveniently tossing after-the-fact blame his way.

“Shattered” leaves open the question of how Clinton lost. She and her campaign are convinced that Comey was the pivotal factor — and there is evidence to support that view. But the Comey episode doesn’t address why the race in the reliably blue Rust Belt was so close to begin with or what Clinton could have done to alter it.

Much of the post-election analysis has criticized Clinton and her campaign for focusing on “reach” states such as North Carolina instead of putting more resources in the upper Midwest. That view is both echoed and called into question in “Shattered,” which depicts a vexing Goldilocks-style problem for Clinton across the region.

In Wisconsin, she didn’t show up enough. In Michigan, local organizers thought it was best that she stayed away. In Pennsylvania, she campaigned as aggressively as anywhere in the nation. In all three, she lost by less than 1 percent of the vote. So what should she have done?

The answer often comes back to Mook’s model, which, we are reminded again and again, was wrong. But let’s say he had the right model — would Clinton have had a winning strategy, or would she have known she was going to lose? We’re never told.

Comparing this review to Kakutani’s, it’s not hard to understand why the Post‘s political reporting was dramatically better than the Times‘s in 2016.

As Pierce argues in an excellent recent post, the point about disappearing Trump is particularly important. Analyzing the outcome in the Rust Belt while mostly ignoring Trump is like sports talk radio callers who view a playoff loss solely through the lens of the losing team, while ignoring the plays the opposition had to make to win. I suppose it’s possible that a generic Republican nominee could have scrambled the electoral map like Trump did — but it’s far more plausible that they wouldn’t have. Either way, you can’t just ignore Trump, a very unique candidate both in terms of his strengths as well as his weaknesses, when you’re trying to figure out why he won. And perhaps better tactical choices could have caused Clinton to outperform the structural models by an even greater margin than she did, but the fact that her campaign had the same internal disagreements every campaign does isn’t actually evidence of this.

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  • wjts

    Internal campaign disagreements can’t be a detriment – many knowledgeable pundits have assured me that great leaders succeed by assembling a Team of Rivals.

    • nemdam

      The conclusion that infighting doomed the Clinton campaign is also ridiculous as this presupposes that Trump’s campaign was, in the parlance of our times, a fine-tuned machine. I don’t need to read an insidery book to know his campaign was a complete shit show on the inside. I have a feeling the same pundits criticizing Clinton’s campaign for infighting won’t have the same critiques for Trump.

      • humanoid.panda

        Also, the HRC campaign was a billion dollar enterprise. How many of these are ran without some infighting and drama?

        • nemdam

          Everyone knows the ideal way to run a billion dollar enterprise quickly thrown together in a year is to operate as a hive mind dominated by group think. Because then these pundits would all agree that Hillary ran a great campaign that tragically just fell short.

        • EliHawk

          Right. Plenty of fights between Axe and Plouffe and (later) Messina. But they won, so they’re all geniuses that get hot under the collar in high pressure situations.

    • tsam

      The results of Trump’s Creative Conflict paradigm speak for themselves. Who knew that getting simple tasks done was so complicated?

  • Q.E.Dumbass

    Related to the ever-increasing derpitude of Matt Taibbi: When a formerly good columnist comprehensively shits the bed to the extent so often seen during the election cycle, is that shitting the bed made retroactively worse by a) a delayed reversion to their former mean (Alex Pareene), b) consistently staying as shitty as they were during the election cycle (Lord Shafer), or c) actively accelerating their decline despite being bad-but-not-clearly-discreditable (Taibbi)?

    • aab84

      Taibbi’s problem is that he has a fairly monocausal view of the world. In times when world events fit that view (the economic crash, anything Thomas Friedman has ever written), he’s great. When things get more complicated, he comes across as one-note and kind of insufferable.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        When he isn’t punching down at easy targets like Friedman or Brooks he is completely useless as a writer.

        • Brett

          Aside from part of his book, I’m at a loss as to anything meaningful that he’s written in the past five years. He can write a good mockery of Friedman, but his columns are just about as forgettable as Friedman’s these days.

        • PunditusMaximus

          Friedman has a Pulitzer and Brooks owns the Op-Ed page at the NYT.

          Taibbi’s punching up, status-wise. And yeah, that matters.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            Yes, but Perm’s point is that shitting on Brooks and the Pornstache of Understanding is not that terribly hard. Of course that’s not to take away from his (legitimate) writing talent — it’s just that there’s not much there substantively that couldn’t be done by a random guy with moderate political education, and is thus not particularly impressive.

            • Rob in CT

              For example, wrt Brooks, Driftglass.

            • PunditusMaximus

              Given that Brooks and The Pornstache still rule the Establishment, apparently it’s not being done enough.

              • ColBatGuano

                I’m sure Taibbi’s efforts will be hugely successful soon.

      • kped

        Even there, i think he is overrated. On his stuff during the crash, he warned for years about Quantitative Easing being the next disaster, and how inflation was gonna get us all in our beds, etc. Krugman wrote about why this was wrong (responding to not just Taibbi, but to a lot of people who wrote similar things), explaining why this very standard Keynsian response wouldn’t do the things guys like Taibbi said. Krugman was of course correct.

        Taibbi writes about economics, but he actually doesn’t understand it beyond “markets bad always” (he’s also against cap and trade for this reason).

        • humanoid.panda

          Taibbi learned everything about the market from being in Moscow in the 1990s. That’s was a great background to understanding the run up to the crash, but a pretty terrible one to understanding economic policy ran by competent (if not bold enough..) people.

        • los

          kped says:

          very standard Keynsian response

          “BOR-ing! Too boring.”

    • catbirdman

      Mega-schmega dittos. Taibbi’s schtick is gonziosity, and Trump seems to have stymied him on that score.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Which one of the three options most negatively impacts their election-cycle performances, though?

    • TVTray

      You are commenting on the website Lawyers Guns & Money. It is 2017.

      • Rob in CT

        I love that you think this is a good line.

        • TVTray

          Thanks, Rob.

          • Rob in CT

            You’re very welcome, one-note trollboy.

            If you try really hard, maybe some day you can manage to make an actual argument, with enough content that it requires more than 1 sentence.

            And on that day, we will celebrate like parents whose toddler used the potty for the first time.

            Or you could keep shitting on the floor like usual. Your call.

            • humanoid.panda

              Or the moderators can ban the whole brigade already.

          • StillWithHer

            TVTray, that actually is a good joke regarding this Late Bush Presidency era relic. Rob is just a salty, salty boy.

      • D.N. Nation

        Spoiler alert! So are you! What a shocking swerve!

      • Dr. Waffle

        We can’t all be in the Kool Kids Klub like Michael Tracey and Freddie deBoer!

  • Brett

    Books like Halperin’s Game Change Cycle and Shattered should be read only as gossipy entertainment, not as anything meaningful to say about political campaigns.

    • brad

      Mhm. The HBO movie of Game Change is, to me, a horror movie parody of Sarah Palin’s candidacy. Which makes it good fun, but I pity anyone who thinks they’re learning anything from these schmucks.

      • Brett

        I haven’t seen the movie, but I have read the book. The Sarah Palin segments plus the John Edwards’ ones are my favorite (side-note, but if you ever want to read a book that could be titled Portrait of a Toadie, go read the book his former aide wrote about him – it complements the Edwards’ stuff in Game Change).

        • TopsyJane

          The treatment of the late Elizabeth Edwards in “Game Change” was the most despicable kind of campaign gossip. It’s one thing to say that image deviated from reality and quite another to take a machete to someone who’s no longer around to answer back. And no, I can’t imagine why a dying woman who devoted everything to her unfaithful husband’s collapsing career and reputation and holding her family together would behave angrily and irrationally.

          But then another thing these books feed on are Monster Women.

      • Crusty

        The HBO movie was good clean fun.

        • q-tip

          Yeah – it’s definitely fun. I like how it handles Obama as this other-worldly presence – he only ever appears on screens, accompanied by applause.

          I imagine that its narrative arcs (decent Republican pols make Faustian bargain; innocent country girl becomes a monster under the camera’s gaze) will infuriate many readers here, though.

  • D.N. Nation

    Shorter Taibbi: This old, fraying sweater just feels so…comfortable. I’ll wear something else tomorrow, I promise.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Trump’s election was a fluke, plain and simple. And it’s one that will be corrected in four years, if not sooner.

    • Joe_JP

      Trump’s election was a fluke, plain and simple. And it’s one that will be corrected in four years, if not sooner.

      Charles Pierce et. al. argue it is not as much of ‘a fluke’ as some wish to think. Trump brought with him various things that were a sort of apex of Republican shitstorm in recent years.

      Some of us thought he was so horrible, so clearly unqualified, that we would avoid him. And, EMAILS etc. helped losing that bet. But, someone somewhat less bad (e.g., some horrible governor, who at least had a bit of experience in government) wouldn’t have been so much better.

      As part of a larger trend, this ‘fluke’ business is a bit too optimistic.

      • Dilan Esper

        You have to give Trump his due as an electoral force. To Scott’s credit, he does.

      • Rob in CT

        Agree.

        Him winning a narrow EC win was fluky. The post-08 trend (some of which was simple reversion to the mean after 2 Dem waves), however, is not fluky.

        I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve bottomed out and will now be on the upswing, but we’ve a long way to go.

      • JMV Pyro

        There is a pretty good argument to be made that the Tea Party CEO Governors that got elected in 2010 like Scott and Snyder were proto-Trumps in how they latched onto right wing populism.

        • Linnaeus

          I’m not sure I’d put Snyder in that category. He positioned himself both during the Republican primary and the general election in 2010 as a social moderate with get-it-done business experience. When he ran for re-election in 2014, he ran on a message of effectiveness, fiscal responsibility, etc.

          It’s the state legislature where you see the real Tea Partiers. Where Snyder is dangerous, maybe more so that men like Walker or Scott, is that he sells himself as a moderate who isn’t a Tea Partier, but goes along with what the Tea Partiers in the lege want anyway.

          • rea

            And of course, poisons whole cities.

            • Linnaeus

              A minor snafu, to be sure.

              • liberalrob

                Real Americans have Brita filters on their faucets (and on their refrigerators…doesn’t everyone?). And/or regular Sparklett’s/Ozarka delivery.

            • farin

              He didn’t gloat (loudly) about it, which makes him the Principle Compassionate Conservative Democrats should model their policies on.

      • efgoldman

        Charles Pierce et. al. argue it is not as much of ‘a fluke’ as some wish to think. Trump brought with him various things that were a sort of apex of Republican shitstorm in recent years.

        I don’t think his nomination was a fluke (20/20 hindsight), It is the logical next step of what Pierce calls the prion disease.
        His election, though, is another matter. As we’ve noted here before, it’s like winning the $200 million powerball – every single one of a zillion small things has to break exactly the right way. If any one of a dozen or more things was different, HRC is president.

        • Joe_JP

          it’s like winning the $200 million powerball

          Nate Silver had something like 1 in 3 odds; others had much lower. But, this sort of lottery odds? That’s a whole different level.

          I do think his election required certain things to have happened. But, part of my comment was that someone not too much better than him very well might have had reasonable odds. Trump-like is pretty bad, big picture.

          • To be fair, Silver put up those odds after most of those things had already happened. He was assuring us throughout the primary that the shitgibbon wouldn’t win. Of course, he improved his model after that.

        • los

          Most (1 – 8) campaign misfortunes and challenges are classic. From friendly point of view:
          1. bumbling sometimes malicious non-RWNJ MSM. Worse than usual – conspicuously by CNN embracing Corey Lewandowski[1].
          2. “enemy’s” large expensive structured attacks. Worse only because of 9.
          3. “conventional” campaign errors.
          4. soft spots in candidate’s history.
          5. “enemy” reusing some of attacks created during Party primaries.
          6. friendly GOTV setbacks.
          7. “enemy” GOTV surge.
          8. Systemic election fraud in “enemy” states – critically significant in swing states, bigger than ever, and growing threat to the the USA’s survival.
          9. IMO, the Podesta phish plus Guccifer 2 hack was the only unusual factor.

          __________
          Corey Lewandowski resigns from CNN – Nov. 11, 2016 – CNN Money

          • los

            (response to:) efgoldman says:

            If any one of a dozen or more things was different, HRC is president.

          • los

            compare to…
            Trump’s campaign suffered from only 1, 2. With 3 – 7 campaign fared better than usual:
            1. Bumbling: some on Fox. Malicious: #NeverTrump, most notably NRO. Larger factor than usual.
            2. attacks: the usual.
            3. errors: more than the usual, but converted into advantage when the trumpcucks ignored or romanticized error-infested campaign.
            4. soft spots: ditto (of 3) – Criminal career, incompetence, idiocy – old tweets most glaringly, etc. – converted (“I want Trump to grab my daughter’s p**sy”)
            5. Democrats reusing GOP primary attacks. I recall none.
            6. GOTV setbacks: fewer than in recent presidential years: fanatically faithful trumpcucks; older types of cuckservatives wanted a fascist SCOTUS nominee and expected Pence to do more than Cheney did in Bush2.
            7. Democrat GOTV: weak in swing states – now infamously weak in rustbelt.
            8. Election fraud: only in NY, which made no EC difference.
            9. “enemy” hacks into the campaign: None

      • los

        some horrible governor, who at least had a bit of experience in government

        A President is only part of federal government.
        With GOP majorities Congress, any of the GOP candidates would have been about as bad as Trump, and the more “competent” are likely to have been worse than Trump.
        (From “competently” corrupt: Kasich, Cruz, Walker, Christie… all the way to easily manipulated: Carson)

        As part of a larger trend, this ‘fluke’ business is a bit too optimistic.

        US conservatism continues to spiral farther into Evil.

    • Taylor

      This is breathtakingly complacent.

      I remember when everyone in the West was shitting their pants about Zhirinovsky, an ex-KGB liberal politician in Russia laughed and said he wasn’t worried about Zhirinovsky, he was just a clown preparing Russia for the real demagogue. A few years later, we got Putin.

      Well, in this country, they voted for Zhirinovsky!

      No matter what happens now, it is impossible to view this country the same as before the election.

      Go abroad, and all anyone wants to talk about is how the fuck Trump became President.

      • humanoid.panda

        I remember when everyone in the West was shitting their pants about Zhirinovsky, an ex-KGB liberal politician in Russia laughed and said he wasn’t worried about Zhirinovsky, he was just a clown preparing Russia for the real demagogue. A few years later, we got Putin.

        Putin is not a Zhirinovsky. Putin is a younger, less ideologically encumbered Yuri Andropov. there is an enormous difference..

    • PunditusMaximus

      Tr45 is a bog-standard Republican of this generation,* and just like the elections of Pence, Brownback, Scott, Walker, and Rauner are not flukes, so too is Tr45 not a fluke.

      *note also that he’s kind of a bog-standard Republican voter of the past 40 years.

      • so-in-so

        Yes, even his “saying the quiet parts through a bull horn” is an observable trend within the GOP. Probably as each cycle passes the voters they were “training” became more immune to the dog whistles and as we go from Rush to Infowars and from McConnell’s “make Obama a one-term President” to “you lie” yelled out in the SOTU speech, the politicians tracked the same way.

        I suspect (hope?) the open racism has a limit. If there is one argument I buy about Sander’s beating tRump, it’s that a lot of people dissatisfied with their state in life saw HRC as “more of the same” and Drumpf as “what the hell, at least it’ll be different.”. Possibly Sanders would have been enough different as well to mitigate that. (HRC voter in both the primary and general, first time as a primary voter. FWIW).

        • PunditusMaximus

          I think the open racism has a persuasive limit; I don’t think that it has an inherent limit.

  • Murc

    Staying inside Clinton’s inner circle also keeps the story oddly away from Trump, who is absent from much of the book even though he was the dominant force throughout the election.

    More evidence buttressing my theory that one of the grand unexamined assumptions of American politics is that only Democrats have agency.

    When Democrats win, it is because of what they did. When Democrats lose, it is also because of what they did. The Republican Party is just… there. Just the default. It is gonna do what it is gonna do, like a dog licking its nuts. You don’t question it.

    And of course part of it is definitely that a deep examination of the Republican Party and its candidates would probably require rendering a judgment that a lot of these folks would prefer not render. “The Democrats are shit at X” is non-controversial; “the Republicans are grifters, racists, and grifting racists” will get the flying monkeys and possibly the dogs with bees in their mouths sent after you.

    • Phil Koop

      +1

    • nemdam

      I’m starting to believe it’s accurate to say the Republican party is Too Big to Fail. To correctly state the Republican party is built on grifting and racism that is unable to govern would be to say we effectively only have one viable party. And you can’t have a real democracy if there’s only one viable party. So the Republicans get continuously “bailed out” because without them it would force us to answer questions about our country that we probably aren’t ready to handle.

      • Rob in CT

        Will we ever be able to handle them?

      • Srsly Dad Y

        I basically said this last year when people were speculating about whether Trump’s near-certain crushing loss would spell the end of the Republican Party. IMHO since we have Ds, we must have Rs as the non-Ds. I think you’re right, the deep structure of public dialog requires the GOP (or something exactly like it with a different name) to exist in perpetuity.

      • Joe_JP

        The Sick Man of the U.S.

      • CP

        That’s really well put, actually.

        Although I’d argue there’s been a problem building since the post-Civil-War at least in terms of large demographics of the U.S. population never being forced to confront their shortcomings, and being allowed to skate over and over because we can’t hurt their precious fee-fees.

        • LeeEsq

          Its hard to get most individuals to confront their short comings. Getting large groups of people to confront their short comings is just impossible. No politician or party is going to get elected on a “you are terrible people and the only way to redemption is to vote for me or us” platform.

          • CP

            Which brings us back to nemdam’s point.

    • Rob in CT

      As you know by now, I totally agree. It explains so much political commentary.

    • djw

      There’s a lot to this, I think.

    • SatanicPanic

      Too many people on the left are too quick to hand-wring too, so we’re not good at doing that flying monkey thing. We need more flying monkeys.

    • TVTray

      “When Democrats win, it is because of what they did. When Democrats lose, it is also because of what they did.”

      This seems like a healthy view for people who vote for Democrats and support the Democratic party to take.

      • Murc

        Uh. You know there’s another party, right? Like a whole other political party that’s equally as large and powerful as the Democrats? And they do things? And those things have an effect on elections, and sometimes will cause an election to be won or lost independently of, or interrelated with, things the Democrats do?

        • tsam

          Uh. You know there’s another party, right?

          WHY WASN’T I TOLD???

          • CP

            WHY WASN’T I TOLD???

            Given the media landscape, this is actually a very legitimate question.

          • Colin Day

            Plausible deniability.

        • veleda_k

          You’ve lost me, Murc.

      • Harkov311

        I see. So the Republican party doesn’t exist. Gotcha.

        • so-in-so

          Hate to defend TV, but this does seem to be the Village and MSM take…

          GOP lacks agency (or they are the scorpion, and who can blame them for their nature).

          I’ve heard the Mommy vs Daddy party analogy a few times. Seems off since I know more people who like their mothers better than their fathers.

          • CP

            “Abusive relationship” is the much better analogy I’ve heard. So that’s about right, if “Daddy” were abusive.

            Meanwhile, “Mommy” being the only responsible parent is supposed to do all the work she normally would have to, and all the work Daddy would be doing if Daddy weren’t a douchelord, and repair all the damage that Daddy’s doing in the meantime as much as possible, all while putting on a good face for the children and dealing with nothing but bullshit from the rest of the world, mostly in the form of unsolicited advice ranging from “what the fuck is wrong with you? Why don’t you just leave that loser? Any self-respecting woman would’ve done it years ago!” on one end of the spectrum to “what the fuck is wrong with you? What kind of woman can’t keep her husband satisfied and her family together? This is why we can’t have nice things!” on the other.

      • tsam

        This seems like a healthy view for people who vote for Democrats and support the Democratic party to take.

        This seems like a sanctimonious piece of shit as comments go.

    • When Democrats win, it is because of what they did. When Democrats lose, it is also because of what they did.

      I think the bias that the losing campaign is responsible for losing is stronger than this. In 2009 the big book was about the McCain campaign, not the Obama campaign.

      • Dilan Esper

        I think you are both right.

      • postmodulator

        Which is sort of absurd, given the fundamentals McCain was up against.

        • Rob in CT

          Seriously, the guy was drawing dead. And still got 46%…

      • Murc

        Maybe, but I recall that in the aftermath of 2008 there was a hell of a lot of talk about how historic Obama’s campaign was compared to the talk about how bad McCain’s was.

        • humanoid.panda

          As much as at irks a lot of people on these comboxes to acknowledge this, the media always loved Obama and adored his strategists..

          • CP

            Well. Bush had so thoroughly and comprehensively shit the bed that even they couldn’t stand by the Republicans anymore. (At that time, at least). Combine that with Obama’s charisma and novelty, and yeah…

            Don’t know that that lasted very long past the 2008 election, though.

    • Harkov311

      Indeed. You mentioned this in a previous thread (I forget which), and I’m still not sure why the media just tends to assume that everyone except maybe poor non-white women defaults to Republican.

      It’s as if they think negative voting for the Democrats (voting Democratic not because you were so in love with them, but because the Republicans are just too awful to trust with anything) doesn’t exist, but it’s Republican opposite is totally reasonable.

    • josiah

      +45

    • Brett

      “What’s theirs is theirs, what’s ours is negotiable”.

    • PunditusMaximus

      +1

      This also explains the extreme media hostility to reporting how awful Republicans actually are, as humans and as officeholders.

    • JMV Pyro

      What’s really interesting is that you’ve got people who hold this belief all across the political spectrum. It’s obvious why they right believes it(deflects blame) and why the center believes it(both sides!), but I’ve been wondering for a while why parts of the left buy into it too.

      • SatanicPanic

        They hate Democrats and/or liberals. They think we’re standing in the way of their glorious revolution, by either mocking their tactics or by trying to help people in the short and medium terms.

        • CP

          Also, while they like to think of themselves as savvy and cynical and too smart to fall for all that stuff that the dumb herds of Democrats and Republicans are fed by the corporate-owned media…

          … the truth is that they’re nowhere near as above-it-all as they think, and are perfectly capable of absorbing a ton of MSM/GOP conventional wisdom by osmosis if nothing else.

          • SatanicPanic

            Absolutely. And probably their most fatal mistake is thinking that learning about how the government actually works is a waste of time.

            • nemdam

              I shit you not, I’ve heard leftists say it’s mistake that Hillary and the Democrats boast about their competence. That they actively shouldn’t worry or care about governing well and instead just shout “SINGLE PAYER!” because, in their mind, it’s an effective slogan to win in red states.

              I will never forget when Bernie was asked how he would break up the banks and he had no idea and was offended that anyone would criticize him for not knowing.

              • CP

                I will never forget when Bernie was asked how he would break up the banks and he had no idea and was offended that anyone would criticize him for not knowing.

                Yep. That’s when he went from “one trick pony who has one particular hobbyhorse but doesn’t know shit about anything else and doesn’t want to either” to “head-in-the-clouds cuckoolander who doesn’t even know shit about the thing that’s supposedly his specialty.”

              • econoclast

                I have reached a state of sufficient cynicism that I think this is basically correct. The voters are morons.

            • efgoldman

              probably their most fatal mistake is thinking that learning about how the government actually works is a waste of time.

              This and actually, you know, voting and working to elect their preferred candidate (which is NOT the same as flooding on line blogs and forums with knowledge free assertions)

              • CP

                It took me the longest time to realize why I couldn’t stand so much of the hard left despite agreeing with them on a lot, until I realized basically that. They want to be the new Democratic Party… but without doing any of the work that went into building the Democratic Party in the first place, and particularly the whole thing where a party is composed out of a whole bunch of constituencies who will give you their votes in exchange for you doing something that matters to them. Instead, it’s just “stand up on the stage, inspirationally read out a list of all the things you think should happen, and then wait for the crowds to carry you to victory.”

                • ColBatGuano

                  They want to be the new Democratic Party… but without doing any of the work that went into building the Democratic Party in the first place

                  It’s not easy being Green.

        • Harkov311

          It’s true. True believer socialists dislike liberals, even left-leaning ones, because they’re making capitalism bearable, thus delaying our glorious socialist future.

          Never does it seem to occur to that bunch that heightening the contradictions isn’t some sort of cosmic guarantee of socialism happening. Sometimes you get fascism instead. And even if you could guarantee socialism, that’s much more ends-justify-the-means than I’m willing to be, even if I were a socialist.

      • Murc

        but I’ve been wondering for a while why parts of the left buy into it too.

        I don’t think it happens consciously. Like I said, its an unexamined assumption. People don’t see it in the way they don’t see air.

      • Origami Isopod

        Those parts of the left, like the right, disdain identity politics. Any political organization that doesn’t center the needs and wants of straight white cis men is suspect.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Because they believe, correctly, that voting Republican is the public manifestation of severe mental illness.

        And yes, that many. And yes, the implications are vast.

    • liberalrob

      The Republican Party is just… there. Just the default. It is gonna do what it is gonna do, like a dog licking its nuts. You don’t question it.

      Because like Ron White said, you can’t fix stupid.

      We are not Republicans, we can’t change the Republican Party. We are Democrats, and it’s at least theoretically possible for us to change the Democratic Party. Also, in general we prefer to act in rational and logical ways to enact policies we have some basis to believe will result in better lives for the American people as a whole. Republicans generally seem to prefer emotional and reactionary responses to perceived ills that they feel are not their responsibility to redress, beyond taking steps to protect themselves from being affected by them. Whether this ideological dichotomy is actually the reality or not is of course debatable…Republicans will assert that their ideology is also based on rational and logical thought and they will point to those on the left who are themselves reactionary and emotional. But that’s beside the point. I know where my beliefs stand and what party best represents them, and that determines my party affiliation and therefore my agency in securing my party’s support for policies conforming to those beliefs.

    • farin

      only Democrats have agency

      “Why do you always make me hit you?”

    • los

      Murc says:

      “Republicans are shit at X” is also non-controversial.

      “Republicans are grifters, racists, evil, innately corrupt, etc.” is critical primary truth.
      Truth being ‘controversial’ is the problem.

  • EliHawk

    Leftists: Village Stenographers refuse to speak truth to power!

    Also Leftists: Check out all the juicy gossip about that neoliberal bitch!

    • Bitter Scribe

      I don’t think many leftists belong to both groups.

      • nemdam

        Matt Taibbi sure does. And he’s not the only one.

  • nemdam

    I’m not understanding this hate on Clinton’s data analytics and Mook’s reliance on it. Their data said that Wisconsin and Michigan were safe until Comey. Then they obviously saw something and went to Michigan. So it sounds like the data was correct as it showed Wisconsin and Michigan were safe until Comey, then the data showed they weren’t safe.

    This also ignores that the data said to stop campaigning in Virginia and Colorado because they were safe. This turned out to be true. The data also said Arizona was a swing state so they should campaign there. This is also true by the fact Trump only won the state by 3.5%.

    To criticize the data and Mook is to criticize them for not factoring in James Comey ahead of time. Which is obviously ridiculous.

    • randy khan

      I’ve had people tell me (on this very blog, in fact) that the Comey intervention (or something unspecified like it) should have been factored into the evaluation of Clinton as a candidate, so I suspect those same people would say that in this case as well.

      More broadly, I have the impression that there are people who aren’t comfortable with data analytics, even today, and just don’t trust the process. You see the same thing in sports – there’s a ton of data available and some people use it to their benefit and some people don’t. (I remember back in the day when Davey Johnson kept up-to-date matchup stats and used them in games, and people thought that made less sense than relying on some sense of whether a hitter was hot.) And it took maybe 10 years for teams to start adopting infield defensive shifts on a regular basis.

      • paul1970

        In the case of the presidential election, I think you’re right. But – is there a case that over-reliance on analytics is responsible for the abandonment of the 50-state strategy, which is arguably a big mistake in congressional and statewide elections?

        • Rob in CT

          Sure. And as usual, it’s important to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Correct, but don’t overcorrect. Data is good, but you don’t always know what it is telling you, and “high probability” is not “guarantee” and so forth.

          I think it’s clear that we’re going back to a contest-everything stance, so I’m not too worried at this point about that. The test will be the next time the party is on top – that’s when complacency/overconfidence tend to set in.

          • humanoid.panda

            In the case of the presidential election, I think you’re right. But – is there a case that over-reliance on analytics is responsible for the abandonment of the 50-state strategy, which is arguably a big mistake in congressional and statewide elections?

            The counter-argument to that is that there is no contradiction between running a 50 state strategy and running analytics. Analytics can tell what candidates to run where, where you can get the most bang for the buck, unexpected opportunities in areas that seem solid red, etc.

            I’d even argue that a 50 state strategy without robust analytics is a waste of time and money.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              I get the impression sometimes the “50 state strategy” isn’t exactly strategic in its implementation

              • nemdam

                “50 state strategy” means “I think Democrats suck so let’s throw money away at unwinnable races.” Democrats have never won because of a “50 state strategy”. (This wasn’t the strategy in 2006.) Might as well campaign in Alabama in a Presidential election.

                • los

                  a little campaigning in hard-red states at least immunizes against the criticism of ignoring some voters.

          • efgoldman

            Correct, but don’t overcorrect. Data is good, but you don’t always know what it is telling you

            Any goddamned fool can predict the past.

            • los

              Any goddamned fool can predict the past.

              um… this is either:
              1. surprisingly often not true. The proof’s prime exhibit is the perennial “alt” cucks/cucks.
              2. or the altcucks/cucks aren’t even fools…

              :-(

        • randy khan

          I’d say the timing of the abandonment of the 50-state strategy suggests it was not based on analytics, as the real rise of analytics in the Democratic Party didn’t start until after Obama’s election.

          And I’d say that analytics shouldn’t have a role in deciding what elections to contest – you contest all of them if you possibly can. They should come in later in determining where to focus resources, with the understanding that things could change.

          If it were up to me, I’d have a baseline level of support I’d give to everyone who’s not an incumbent (presuming incumbents can get to that point on their own), and then use the analytics to figure out where to put extra emphasis (and, not at all incidentally, to help candidates target the right voters in their individual races).

          • PunditusMaximus

            Also, analytics in politics are inherently massively limited, because there isn’t enough repeatability. Same reason it’s way harder to do them in football than baseball.

            • randy khan

              Yes and no. There certainly are issues with repeatability in some respects, but over a span of 8 years every state has at least 7 state-wide elections plus additional Congressional elections. That’s a pretty good amount of data, and it lets you analyze trends and changes over time.

              (As an aside, a lot of football events are as common as baseball events – a running back can have as many rushing attempts as a baseball player has at-bats, and the lowest number of pass attempts by a single NFL team last year was just shy of 500. Other things aren’t, of course, like sacks, catches or interceptions.)

          • los

            randy khan says:

            And I’d say that analytics shouldn’t have a role in deciding what elections to contest – you contest all of them if you possibly can. They should come in later in determining where to focus resources, with the understanding that things could change.

            What does analysis tell us about this?
            :-)

      • medrawt

        People don’t understand probabilities. It doesn’t seem like something most of us are wired to be able to intuit well. I know that I can’t intuit well, but I’m aware of that so I can try to intellectually brute force myself into believing. People seem to basically convert all probabilities into

        0% (impossible)
        1% (almost impossible)
        50% (tossup)
        99% (almost guaranteed)
        100% (inevitable)

        Getting people to believe that a choice which a lot of data suggests had an 80% probability of success was the wrong choice when it failed once is … extraordinarily difficult.

        • Rob in CT

          Yeah, and even those of us who know, intellectually, that it doesn’t work that way have a hard time getting our subconscious brain to go along.

          IIRC, 538 had Trump with something like a 30% chance to win right before election day. Nearly 1 in 3. And I see people arguing that he “got it wrong” which is… nuts. He not only had T with a respectable shot, he laid out the way Trump could win in advance.

          • medrawt

            That I think there are problems with the way Nate Silver goes about his business is so frequently buried under the reality that most of the people criticizing the way Nate Silver goes about his business have no clue what the hell they’re talking about. (company on this blog mostly excepted)

            • Rob in CT

              Silver can get a little cute sometimes with “secret sauce” stuff*, but he’s looking pretty good right about now.

              * this was true back in the day when he was just doing sports. PECOTA wasn’t any better than (and arguably worse than) a slew of other projection systems, but it sure was more complicated!

              • Dilan Esper

                I know yoy guys hate when I talk about poker, but it helps people understand this. Getting 2 outed on the river is a 5 percent probability. Happens all the time if you play any length of time.

                • Rob in CT

                  Odd in response to me, as I’ve never said anything about your poker analogies.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Rob:

                  Fair point.

                • Linnaeus

                  I don’t hate it when you talk about poker, I just don’t always understand it because I don’t play it a lot.

                • I’m not sure I’d even have known that you’d ever talked about poker before if you hadn’t mentioned it in this comment. I definitely don’t remember you having done so.

                  That said, I’m with Linnaeus that I don’t understand it, but that’s fine; I don’t understand a lot of the sports talk on this blog either. I’ve just accepted that there will be references I don’t get.

                • los

                  Dilan Esper says:

                  Getting 2 outed on the river is a 5 percent probability. Happens all the time if you play any length of time

                  IOW, 5% feels rather often when the “quantity” of 100% (any length of time) is massive

                  /pedantry happens (but not so often)

              • humanoid.panda

                Silver can get a little cute sometimes with “secret sauce” stuff*, but he’s looking pretty good right about now.

                If I get it right, his secret sauce really helped him to outperform his competitors: an significant ingredient is an assumption that similar states are correlated..

                • Rob in CT

                  Yup! This time around his secret sauce really had added value.

                  Sometimes he adds stuff that doesn’t (that was why I mentioned PECOTA).

        • djw

          See also the argument from some thread the other day that Nate Silver got the ’16 election “wrong” because he “bet” on a Clinton victory.

          ETA what Rob said

          • Murc

            I’ve had to turn that over in my head a lot since then. I understand the logic involved but I’m having trouble squaring it with other facts.

        • so-in-so

          This is the problem with certain people’s line that “Obviously Clinton was a bad choice – she lost!”. It was an election, one of the two major party candidates, no matter how well chosen, would lose.

        • randy khan

          I occasionally have to give people probabilities on whether something will happen, and when I think it’s between 50 and 90 percent, I spend great effort on making sure I convey that it’s not certain – usually I say things like “2 out of 3” or anything that’s not an actual percentage, but I’m not sure it gets through.

          Case in point: Many years ago, I worked with a more senior colleague to come up with an analysis of the likelihood that a federal agency would approve a deal. We decided it was just a bit over 50-50, and wrote a memo explaining why we’d reached that conclusion and describing all of the potential problems. When the deal got to the company’s board meeting for approval, the guy we’d given the report to said we had concluded that the deal definitely would be approved. (Luckily, it was approved, although it was very difficult and fraught with complications.)

        • los

          medrawt says:

          I know that I can’t intuit well, but I’m aware of that so I can try to intellectually brute force myself into believing.

          brute ersatz intuit – patentable?

      • kped

        All very good points. And that’s the one lesson to learn – have a clean candidate, or as clean as possible, because a “Comey” can happen and fuck everything up. A lot of us made the mistake thinking Trump was too toxic for Clinton’s 30 year history of bullshit scandals and media hate to be a factor, but in the end, it was.

        But…like I said a few days ago in another thread, there isn’t really a lesson to learn here, as she was such a unique candidate, it’s unlikely another with Hillary’s pitfalls will even exist again, let alone run.

        • SatanicPanic

          or as clean as possible

          sure, but those goalposts have wheels on them

          • kped

            They do, but again, Hillary was unique. 30 years, multiple “scandals”, an entire newspaper essentially hating her (the “liberal” newspaper no less!). And a new “scandal” that could be exploited by a hack in the FBI. I mean…really unlikely for that much baggage to be held by another candidate.

            • humanoid.panda

              Clean is a difficult definition because the GOP can indeed drum up shit out of thin air (Rezko..). But I think “no active federal investigations before the primary even started” is a reasonable standard for candidates.

              • nemdam

                Given that the investigation was only discovered due to a 3 year witch hunt on Benghazi, most on the left rightly concluded the investigation was a mere formality. And at the time, it wasn’t even revealed as a criminal investigation.

                For Clinton to drop out because of a trivial email issue is to simply give in to GOP bullying and if that’s the lesson we take, the GOP will learn that they can force any strong Democratic candidate to drop out.

            • SatanicPanic

              Fair enough, to extend my analogy, the wheels on those goalposts are greasier when Clintons are concerned.

              • efgoldman

                the wheels on those goalposts are greasier when Clintons are concerned.

                Greasier or squeakier?

            • ColBatGuano

              really unlikely for that much baggage to be held by another candidate.

              John Edwards says hello.

            • Origami Isopod

              Talk to John Kerry about that.

              • kped

                Kerry barely lost to a popular wartime president. I’m not sure the whole swift boat thing did much to be honest, it was a hard election to win so soon after 9/11. People didn’t turn on Bush until late 2005 when Iraq was dragging and Katrina hit.

          • Dave W.

            So we should look for a Jimmy Carter to run every four years? With a Joe Lieberman as a running mate? Because I think those are the most obvious “as clean as possible” candidates in recent years for their respective offices, in both cases in response to recent scandals from prior occupants.

        • randy khan

          I think “have a clean candidate” is the wrong lesson here. The late Comey intervention was a random event. It could have been something else – Trump could have imploded in the middle of a speech and used actual racial slurs; ISIS could have bombed Chicago; Chelsea could have coldcocked Ivanka on the street; Bill could have been sued for child support for a two-year old. Any of those events could have had an effect on the election, and in some cases it would be hard to know which direction it would have gone.

          Many of the random events could happen to any candidate, and every candidate has specific events that could hurt her, even if they are random. So I think the lesson is that any analytics or other analysis you do has to account for the possibility that something bad will happen. I can’t say whether the Clinton campaign did that or not in deciding how to allocate its resources.

          • humanoid.panda

            The pneumonia attack in September is a random event. Comey was not so much. Even ignoring the entire “running with federal investigation” imbroglio, the campaign seemed not to know that Weiner had a computer which shared a mailbox with Humma’s computer. Which is the sort of thing a good lawyer should cover..

            • randy khan

              And here I was hoping for people to comment on the Chelsea-Ivanka brawl.

              Anyway, in the context of the campaign, it was a random event – remember that Comey said the investigation was done in July. The broader point is more important, though – every candidate has some vulnerability that could be highlighted by something out of her control. It could be someone voted against keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and a mentally ill relative shoots someone; it could be that the candidate’s spouse’s company is revealed to have dumped tons of toxic waste in a local park. You have to account for the possibility of strange things happening in your analytics.

              • ColBatGuano

                Yeah, Weiner’s laptop surfacing in October is a random event. That it was more consequential than “grab them by the pussy” is the burning question.

            • so-in-so

              Recalling a thread the other day when someone said that “even Hoover” never opened an investigation just to smear a candidate, it’s worth noting that Hoover also never did anything close to Comey’s intervention in an election. True, that was because he had enough “kompromat” on any candidate that he didn’t care which was elected…

              • Hogan

                If you can’t beat ’em, blackmail ’em.

          • efgoldman

            I think the lesson is that any analytics or other analysis you do has to account for the possibility that something bad will happen.

            Even after the primaries and nominating conventions, I think the naked racism, xenophobia, and misogyny of a VERY significant portion of the electorate was something the pundit class and Democratic campaign pros just didn’t grok. That’s not surprising.

        • los

          kped says:

          as clean as possible,

          1. politics isn’t/aren’t/ain’t clean.
          2. even if the Artificial Intelligence candidate could be PATDS[1], some twice-removed associates aren’t PATDS.

          another with Hillary’s pitfalls will even exist again

          Everyone[2] has their pitfalls.

          __________
          1. Pure As The Free Range Sushi
          2. Except me! I have other people’s pitfalls. But I swear I just found them laying on the sidewalk.

          • los

            pitfalls… on the sidewalk

            under the sidewalk

            /pedantry happens – sometimes badly.

    • josiah

      And if 80,000 people spread out over 3 states voted differently, we’d be hearing about how this was a great strategy, imo.

      • Rob in CT

        Eh, depends on the Senate outcome. If she eeked it out but still had a 52-48 R senate? Nah.

        • josiah

          I think, we get to 51-49 R without Comey. Possibly 50-50.

          I can’t make the case beyond that and I think Scott made a better argument on this a while back than I could hope to make. So I guess, I will concede my point on a “great strategy.”

          • humanoid.panda

            Given that correlation of Senate to Presidential outcome was 1:1, we almost certainly have a 50:50 Senate (PA and WI flip out way.) But then in 2018 we face a tsunami.

            • josiah

              That is certainly true. Feingold was a little weaker than I thought he would be, just in general. Ron Johnson doesn’t strike me as a great politician.

              But I don’t really get Wisconsin Republicans. They all seem to do better than I think they should.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Wisconsin has chosen to embrace its whiteness and the Wisconsin Dems are particularly dysfunctional.

                • efgoldman

                  Wisconsin has chosen to embrace its whiteness and the Wisconsin(*) Dems are particularly dysfunctional.

                  You can substitute many states(*) where Dems used to be at least competitive, and often in power. I know neither cause (there might not be a unified cause) nor a solution, but Amber Asswipe and the midterms usually going against the president’s party are going to give us our best opportunity since 2006.

                • los

                  PunditusMaximus says:

                  Wisconsin Dems are particularly dysfunctional

                  Relative naivete (+ some complacence?)[1] allowed enemy conquest.
                  The enemy has since systemically committed election crime, which adds to the challenge.

                  _________
                  1. Grayson, or even Franken, wouldn’t bring a feather to a MOAB fight.

    • humanoid.panda

      I’m not understanding this hate on Clinton’s data analytics and Mook’s reliance on it. Their data said that Wisconsin and Michigan were safe until Comey. Then they obviously saw something and went to Michigan. So it sounds like the data was correct as it showed Wisconsin and Michigan were safe until Comey, then the data showed they weren’t safe.

      I thjnk the issue here is that people figure out that in an election this close, better campaign tactics could have delivered that 100,000 votes. Which is fair enough, and in an infinite number of universes, there might be many where a slightly different ad placement and ad strategy gives HRC those 100,000 votes. Problem is that, as Greehnouse describes, the macro stuff- MI,WI travel, didn’t really matter, because Pennsylvania.

      The closest I got to a reasonable gripe about this is what I heard from a local party guy in PA: in 2012, the Obama people worked really hard to limit loses in rural PA, and HRC decided to squeeze all it could from the suburbs instead. Which does look like an error in retrospect, unless you ignore the fact that a)Trump really had a rural appeal that Romney lacked and b) as much as people hated Obama, hatred of HRC was something altogether different.

      So yeah, if we have a time machine, we surely tell Hillary to drop everything, and go on a series of listening tours of rural PA,MI, WI, as early as 2013, and making limiting the losses there a central strategic goal. But to require this level of prescience from anyone is not fair.

      • nemdam

        It’s a fair critique unlike so many others, but I still don’t buy it. Even at his lowest, the polls always had Trump doing better in rural areas and with white working class men than a typical Republican. The polls also showed Clinton doing better in the suburbs and with college educated white voters than previous Dems. So it’s reasonable to conclude that Clinton should’ve targeted suburbs and places with a lot of college educated white voters as the data showed that was the most persuadable demographic. And everyone always fails to point that Clinton did end up doing better with these voters than Obama.

        Now I don’t have data on this, but I’ve always suspected that this is the demo that was swayed most by the Comey letter. These were voters that usually voted Republican and that without the Comey letter to trigger their old tribal instincts, this demographic would’ve broken enough for Clinton to offset her losses in rural areas. And if this happens, then Clinton is hailed a genius (OK probably not. CDS would never acknowledge she did anything right.) for persuading Republican leaning voters to become the Democrats.

    • xq

      The problem with campaigning too much in AZ is that in almost every world in which Clinton wins AZ she doesn’t need it. Because state results are correlated. This logic remains true even if Clinton is up nationally by a lot and so states like AZ look close.

      In reality, Clinton didn’t campaign much in AZ, so that’s not a big deal. But the Clinton campaign probably did focus too much on IA and OH over WI and MI.

  • osceola

    I think there’s two reasons anyone agrees to be interviewed for these kinds of books:

    1) They are professional campaign operatives who need to make themselves look employable in two or four years. That means saying, “I was right, but they didn’t listen to me,” and “It wasn’t my fault; I told them not to do that.”

    2) Just as important, they have to talk to asswipes like Halperin because they know everyone else will be giving their side of it. In this regard it’s a defensive move in case the others put the blame on them (see No. 1).

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Bob Woodward perfected that method. “Well, you can choose not to talk to me if you want to, but you should know that other people are saying this ….” There was a classic Washington Monthly article about it.

  • TVTray

    If it prevents Mook from ever working again in a high-profile campaign, these books are godsends. Keep ’em coming!

    • Dilan Esper

      The person I want to go away is Podesta. He was always overrated, but in any rational organization he would take the fall for the hack.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I thought we all hated Brock.

        • humanoid.panda

          The person I want to go away is Podesta. He was always overrated, but in any rational organization he would take the fall for the hack.

          This is an idiocy of the first degree. Not only had Podesta been crucial in running two smooth WH operations, his emails showed rather clearly he and Tanden were by far the smartest people in the HRC orbit.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Not only had Podesta been crucial in running two smooth WH operations, his emails showed rather clearly he and Tanden were by far the smartest people in the HRC orbit.

            Exactly. “Podesta is an imbecile” isn’t quite as dumb as Dilan’s repeated insistence that William Douglas was an imbecile, but it’s close.

          • StillWithHer

            Jesus Christ, Neera Tanden and Podesta were the campaign’s two “aces in the hole”. Wow. Trump’s win is less of a mystery the more that comes out.

        • StillWithHer

          Brock is the easy target to hate because he can be tarred as being Right-wing when you want to distract from Podesta/Tanden/Mook et.al.

      • nemdam

        Victims of cyber crime, especially committed by a nation state, should always be blamed.

        • Dilan Esper

          He wasn’t the victim. He was the security guard who let the robbers in. Hillary and the DNC were the victims.

          I have even seen this guy compared to rape victims. Bullshit. He was a fiduciary whose responsibility was to not harm Hillary.

          • You’ve said this before, and I’ve said this before in response: according to the leaked emails, Podesta did exactly what non-technical people are asked to do when receiving a suspicious email. He contacted his IT staff (via his assistant). The IT staffer responded with bad advice, which his assistant apparently followed.

            • Dilan Esper

              That’s a highly incomplete explanation, because it ignores that only an idiot follows the advice literally and clicks on the email to change the password rather than logging on independently.

              Fortunately for the hackers, Podesta is one.

              And blaming his assiatant? Sorry. He’s responsible for maintaining the security of his email account.

              • nemdam

                This is absurdly wrong. I can’t put into words how wrong this is.

                Podesta did EXACTLY what he should’ve done. He got a suspicious email with a suspicious link. The fact that he recognized this shows he is not an idiot and takes cyber threats seriously. Because he’s not an idiot, he asked the “cop” what he should do. The “cop” accidentally gave him the wrong advice so he got hacked.

                This is just a completely fluky scenario where the only wrong thing done was a misspelling. The only person that should be fired, if anyone, is the IT person for giving the wrong advice. But considering his mistake was a misspelling, this seems questionable as anyone could accidentally do this. It’s not like the IT person just didn’t know what to do. He just made a fluky mistake, probably because everyone was working 24/7 and was tired.

                • I don’t believe the misspelling excuse. If you change “legitimate” to “illegitimate” in the message, it doesn’t really make any sense.

                  The email closely resembles the actual one Google sends to notify you of suspicious activity. My guess is that the IT guy simply overlooked that the email included a link and thus was a spearphishing attempt. This kind of thing is common enough that big corp IT has canned email templates for it — i.e. if someone contacts support about a suspicious email, there’s a “suspicious email” response that leads off with “DO NOT CLICK ANY LINKS”.

                  IT security is hard. Podesta did the right thing for a layman. His IT guy fucked up. Campaigns hopefully will learn from this and actually hire security professionals.

                • nemdam

                  Yeah, fair point on the IT guy. Especially since the campaign knew they were getting attacked, the IT guy should not have let his message on whether or not a senior executive gets hacked hinge on a couple characters.

                  The fact that Podesta both was trained on the right thing and was the only individual to get hacked makes me thing the campaign did seriously invest in IT security. But it’s hard to prevent everything even with good people especially when you are being attacked by a nation state.

              • The email said “you need to change your password, click here”. Podesta asked IT “is this email legitimate?” IT said “yes, it is legitimate, you need to change your password”.

                If the email is legitimate, what’s wrong with clicking the link?

              • veleda_k

                only an idiot follows the advice literally

                Podesta asks for advice, follows the advice, but you’re still blaming him because he didn’t intuitively know which pieces of the advice were wrong. This is an unbelievably stupid statement, and it makes it clear just how desperate you are to blame Podesta, no matter what the facts are.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  what I get out of it is, if Dilan went to someone for advice (okay, but go with me here) and got *bad advice* and lost his job he’d just say, “yup, I deserved to be fired, I’ll just do small claims work from now on”

                • Dilan Esper

                  Jim:

                  Actually, if I get bad advice that I should recognize as bad advice, follow it to the detriment of my client, and then tell the client “it wasn’t my fault, I followed the bad advice”, I lose the client.

                  And the fact that you guys are so in the tank for this complete imbecile Podesta that you can’t see this point is amazing to me.

                • veleda_k

                  I should recognize as bad advice

                  Because, of course, the one who gets to determine that Podesta should have already known it was bad advice is you. I can’t think of anyone more qualified than you and your weird-ass ax grinding.

                • ColBatGuano

                  Actually, if I get bad advice that I should recognize as bad advice

                  Then why did you ask for it?

              • lunaticllama

                You believe that when non-technical people disregard the advice of their IT people private computer systems will have greater security?

                What you are suggesting is the easiest way to make private networks insecure. Just follow IT direction when you think it sounds good!

                This is not consistent with best practices in the IT industry.

          • nemdam

            Dude, he was a victim plain and simple. The cops are the IT security folks. He is hardly the first person to fall victim to a phising attacking. And this wasn’t just some rank amateurs trying this. It was a nation state developing tools specifically for this task and persistently attacking everyone they could on the campaign until they found an opening. He was also not alone in being the only one who was hacked.

            And he was clearly properly trained and paying attention to cyber threats. That’s why he contacted an IT person asking if he should click the link. There was a miscommunication, and unfortunately, this particular miscommunication was much more costly than anyone could’ve imagined.

            • Dilan Esper

              He wasn’t a victim.

              If I let my emails get hacked and my clients lose a case, I’m not the victim. My clients are!

              Jesus fucking Christ! Do none of you have job responsibilities and people you answer to?

              • nemdam

                My goodness. None of us are saying John Podesta shouldn’t take responsibility for his role in the results of the campaign. We are saying on this one issues, he was a victim.

                Just like if this happened in a regular business, you take responsibility for failing to deliver for your client. But when you do an internal analysis of what went wrong, you determine it was the IT guy’s fault or a random fluke.

                And yes, if your emails get hacked and you lose the client, you are still the victim of a cyber crime. This doesn’t mean you don’t try to improve your cyber defense, but it doesn’t change the fact your were the victim of a crime.

              • randy khan

                For a compare and contrast here, I know of a case involving the CFO of a non-profit who transferred a meaningful amount of money (but luckily not enough to affect the viability of the organization) to scammers because he saw an email he thought was from the executive director and didn’t realize it was a scam. Part of the problem was that he didn’t check to make sure the email was real.

                Podesta, on the other hand, did check and followed instructions. Some people (more sophisticated people) might have thought twice, but most people figure that the IT folks are the experts and do what they’re told. (Seriously, how many times a day does someone do what an anonymous voice at tech support says to do without any question?)

                These cases are different. In the case of the non-profit, the CFO’s responsibility is pretty obvious. In the Podesta case, Podesta’s share of the responsibility is pretty small, and arguably close to zero. The bulk of the responsibility falls to the hackers and to the IT person who gave the wrong advice.

              • econoclast

                You think if an executive of a company got hacked because he followed the advice of the IT security person exactly, that the executive would get blamed? You are sadly misinformed about how corporations work.

          • Hogan

            Do you blame Larry O’Brien for the Watergate break-in?

          • ColBatGuano

            Once again, I have to ask how his IT literacy correlates with his political acumen?

      • efgoldman

        The person I want to go away is Podesta.

        And his risotto recipe sucks!

  • Aaron Morrow

    Trump, a very unique candidate both in terms of his strengths as well as his weaknesses

    I wish I knew enough about their respective campaign styles to do more than a top-level comparison of Trump and Nixon’s elections. It appears to me that they are similar, but you’d have to analyze 1960 as well as 1968 to be sure.

    • josiah

      Based on a superficial read of the Republican Party, it seems that Trump took sections of each of the general Presidential campaigns of Republicans since 1960.

      • humanoid.panda

        One does to keep in mind that Nixon in 1960 ran on a less belligerent foreign policy than JFK, and was fresh out of an attempt to change Senate rules to help pass a civil rights law. Nixon of 1950 is not the Nixon of 1960 who is not the Nixon of 1968..

        • josiah

          And certainly not the Nixon of 1972.

  • Joe_JP

    The piece by Charlie Pierce is good but at times it felt a bit like it went to the other extreme. Trump had various qualities that turned out to work but he was still a bad candidate in certain ways. Some analysis seems to paper that over a bit too much.

    He needed help to win. At least, that is what the evidence suggests. He very well might have been the best of the field as to winnability, but that is as much a problem with the field. 2016 was Clinton’s election to lose in certain ways. The fact she did so well alone is a sign of her skills and in part the problems with her competition (who sold well in certain areas, but not in others).

    • econoclast

      Fundamentals predicted a Republican victory. People get tired of the same party holding the White House after two terms.

  • libarbarian

    I’m also very dissappointed that Taibbi also ignores the glaring fact that Hillary Clinton NEVER CONSULTED THE OMENS before deciding to run as president.

    How do you embark on a course of action as consequential as that without even attempting to divine the will of the the Gods and Fortune? I am in grave doubt that she even offered them any hecatombs to ask for their blessings!

    No wonder she lost.

  • Crusty

    That bucket of fried chicken there is our last best hope.

  • Murc

    I keep confusing Matt Taibbi with Matt Bai, and I feel like if I ever meet Bai I owe him an apology because of that.

    • josiah

      I do this all the time, too.

    • medrawt

      My memory of Matt Bai is … nah, you probably don’t. But maybe he’s improved?

      EDIT – and to suggest that is the case, Dilan Esper provides a link to make me chagrined, just like that!

      • josiah

        I’ve only read Matt Bai’s All the truth is out, which I rather enjoyed. And am ready for people to tell me why it is inaccurate or bad.

        I’m too young to remember Gary Hart so my impressions of him are mainly based on Bai and What it Takes.

    • Phil Perspective

      You wouldn’t be saying that if you were awake for the C- Augustus years. Bai was/is a complete hack.

    • JMV Pyro

      I’ll be honest, the guy has always made me a bit queezy. This is largely due to the stuff he got up to while working in Russia for The eXile.

  • Dilan Esper

    Matt Bai is good on this subject too:

    https://t.co/GJIMhQS27T?amp=1

    • rp0806

      That’s a shockingly good piece.

      • Rob in CT

        Yes, it is! Thanks to Dilan.

    • Bill Murray

      but bad on almost everything else

    • kvs

      Yeah, most political journalists seem to want to write The Boys on the Bus or film The War Room. Or like Taibbi, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.

      Almost none of them want to do the real work of understanding what shapes our politics and affects elections. Even The Victory Lab misses the mark by focusing on the margins.

      At a minimum, political analysts and reporters ought to have a mandatory reading list of things like The Gamble, Thinking Fast and Slow, and The Knowledge Illusion. They might even be convinced that they don’t just document, they influence.

      • randy khan

        Writing “Fear and Loathing” would require a drug and alcohol tolerance that I don’t think any modern reporters (other than the late, lamented David Carr) are likely to develop.

        Not to mention that Thompson had a combination of idealism and utter hatred for the system that’s hard to find today. Mostly reporters are cynical, but fatalistic, which was not Thompson at all.

      • sk7326

        “Boys on the Bus” was explicitly about them – and has more insight into media coverage than Cilizza is capable of producing in two or three decades. That is absolutely mandatory reading.

    • This was a great read. Thanks for linking it.

  • PunditusMaximus

    When HRC started cashing out and speaking at GS among others, I thought, “Ok, cool, good for her. She’s decided to top out out at Secretary of State and is feathering her nest, and goodness knows she’s put in and deserves a comfortable life.”

    Then she ran for President. And she never had a good answer for, “If someone paid me the kind of money GS paid you, I’d do what they asked without hesitation; how are you different?”

    That incoherence — the fact that the Clintons had a fairly effective money machine going that isn’t super compatible with coming into high office without owing a lot of favors — was at the core of HRC’s message incoherence.

    Combine that with Obama’s worst-in-Democratic-class economic record and the endless series of time bombs that Obama’s relentless appointment of Republican Daddies represented, and HRC was struggling uphill, to say the least.

    • Rob in CT

      “If someone paid me the kind of money GS paid you, I’d do what they asked without hesitation; how are you different?”

      “You would? What the fuck is wrong with you?”

      • PunditusMaximus

        That’s cute, and nope! Someone gives me dozen mil, and they own me. I don’t accept that money without knowing the score.

        Because who in the world would trust me to keep my word on ANYthing if that’s not enough?

        • Murc

          Someone gives me dozen mil, and they own me.

          The fact that you’re a bad person doesn’t mean we should assume everyone else is.

          I also don’t know why we should take this statement, or anything else you say, saeriously, as you admitted just yesterday you consider hyperbolic lies and anecdata to be legitimate argumentation tactics.

          • PunditusMaximus

            See, the funny thing is, most people think they don’t. So you translate “hyperbole” to “hyperbolic lies” because it’s more persuasive, because you actually agree with me that gilding the lily a bit is effective.

            But sure, you’re lots better than me because you’re dishonest about how deeply an offer that large would affect you.

            • Murc

              You said that you prefer to surround your ideas with “hyperbole, extremism, and anecdata.”

              Hyperbolic lies is an entirely honest paraphrase of this philosophy.

              But sure, you’re lots better than me because you’re dishonest about how deeply an offer that large would affect you.

              You don’t know me. The fact that you’re for sale to the highest bidder doesn’t mean we all are.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Hey man, I wouldn’t have run for President after giving those speeches.

        • Rob in CT

          Someone gives me dozen mil, and they own me.

          Well, maybe that’s the price for you to sell yourself.

          Setting aside the question of whether everyone else is really this way and are just lying to themselves about it:

          Hillary Clinton has a lot of money. I don’t recall the specific figures, but I don’t think she got $12 million just from Goldman (or banks). Quick googling:

          $2.9 million for 12 speeches.

          https://theintercept.com/2016/01/08/hillary-clinton-earned-more-from-12-speeches-to-big-banks-than-most-americans-earn-in-their-lifetime/

          She also got paid by a variety of other organizations people don’t find villainous enough to bother with (the American Camping Association! BOOGAH!).

          So, let’s take that $3 million. That was what fraction of HRC’s net worth? The equivalent for my family to that $3 mil would probably be… oh, 20 grand or so (very back ‘o the napkin there).

          But you’re sure that means they owned her. Well, $20 grand wouldn’t buy me, that’s for sure.

          • PunditusMaximus

            It’s funny that you mention the American Camping Association. HRC got 10% of their budget for one speech.

            It’s clear that they considered it a lobbying expense:

            Consider the final paragraph, on the final page of the ACA’s FY2014 financial disclosures (New York Section), which I might add are not available currently on the ACA NYNJ site (as of 2/21/2016). It took some digging to find the information on charitiesnys.com.

            “For the March 2015 Tri-State Camping Conference, the Organization hired a high-profile politician as a guest speaker, which resulted in an additional cost of $260,000. This was a one-time expense and such expenses are not expected to occur in the subsequent year.”

            (source)

            The folks that make up the ACA want to keep using J-1 visas to avoid US labor laws for their camp counselors. And they figured that having a marker to call in at the White House would be useful.

            These are not harmless humans. They’re pretty foul, actually. Anti-labor, certainly.

            • randy khan

              See my comment below on the GS speeches and how the speaker business actually works.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Dude the ACA is actually actively anti-labor, and they spent 10% of their annual budget on one speech with HRC.

                We gotta let go of the idea that this was all harmless fun.

                • randy khan

                  Dude, if the ACA thought that one speech would buy her, they were stupid.

                  And her calculus on the speech, to the extent she did any calculus other than checking whether it fit into her schedule, almost certainly did not involve looking at the American Camping Association’s agenda, because there was zero chance anyone was going to care. (You might have noticed that even the Bernie or Busters didn’t bring up this speech during the campaign.)

            • Rob in CT

              Lots of insinuation there, as usual with these arguments. Obviously the only reason they wanted her was to gain her support for that particular nefarious thing, and obviously because she gave the speech she was in hock to them. $260k for someone with over a hundred mil, no doubt that’s all it takes.

              Is she a witch? Let’s see if she floats.

              We’ll never know now, anyway. If she’d won and then ok’d expansion/protection of the J-1 program that would’ve been evidence of quid pro quo, but Hillary Clinton will never be President, so…

              • PunditusMaximus

                It’s 10% of their budget, man. They didn’t do that again before or since. And it’s their only legislative priority.

                Regardless of everything else, the American Camping Association is a straight anti-labor group.

        • veleda_k

          Someone gives me dozen mil, and they own me.

          This does not surprise me.

          • PunditusMaximus

            I’m not saying I’d accept. I’m saying that if I did accept, I’d know the terms of the deal.

            Sorry, man. I’ve known caloric-deficiency poor. Money means resources devoted to things that are important to me. I’ve got about 20 cousins that could use help putting their kids through college.

            • veleda_k

              Look, if you want to view yourself as belonging body and soul to anyone who will pay you the right amount, feel free. Just don’t drag the rest of us into the muck with you.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Yes, yes, you’re all better than me.

                And HRC.

                • veleda_k

                  Being better than you requires minimal effort. If you think you and Hillary Clinton are on the same level, your delusions of grandeur reach derangement levels.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  I’m so amused when people have such rage for “some person who said things that irritated me on the internet.”

                  There are actual bad humans out there.

                • ColBatGuano

                  Amusing after calling everyone here dishonest.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I’m so amused when people have such rage for “some person who said things that irritated me on the internet.”

                  I’m so amused when trolls show their hand with a wordier equivalent of “U MAD BRO?”

                • veleda_k

                  There are actual bad humans out there

                  Many of whom are online! So, let’s drop this trolling, “It’s only the internet, don’t get so upset” bullshit. If all you have is that the internet doesn’t matter, then you really should just slink away with your tail between your legs.

      • so-in-so

        If what they wanted was a couple of speeches that made them feel good, why not. Refusing wouldn’t feed and house any widows and orphans, nor would doing it take food or money from them.

        Thinking that it means more than that requires buying into the “HRC is corrupt” thing that has been a RW and now Russian project as well as ignoring tRumps far more open and obvious corruption.

        • PunditusMaximus

          I’m sorry, it’s too much money and it wasn’t a “couple of speeches”.

          You know as well as I do that GS viewed it as an investment.

          • randy khan

            I actually have a good friend in the speaker bureau business, and based on her experiences, actually it’s unlikely that GS thought any such thing.

            First, GS paid her going rate, so it wasn’t like the speeches were anything special for her. She probably took the dates because it was convenient and she didn’t have to travel across the country for them.

            Second, the real purpose of such events almost always is to impress the audience – “Ooooh, they got Hillary” is the goal.

            Third, this is Goldman Sachs, which these days expects to have its people in influential positions in every Administration. I doubt they would have felt any need to “invest” in her.

            Mind you, if she’d asked me if she should do those speeches, I would have told her to take someone else’s money because of the potential for people to be unhappy about any association with GS.

        • humanoid.panda

          If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money and then vote against them you’ve got no business being up here.

          • PunditusMaximus

            And if you can’t do that literally a thousand times’ worth in 15 minutes, you . . . wait, I got lost.

          • Murc

            The really annoying point is that PM is absolutely correct that taking giant amounts of coin from Goldman Sachs the year before you ran for President in a political environment still filled with seething rage against banksters was a colossally tone-deaf move on Clinton’s part. It looks and feels absolutely fucking terrible.

            It doesn’t make her corrupt in any way, but good lord it was such a failure of messaging and optics, and an unnecessary one.

            PM, of course, spins a yarn out of this that makes her a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.

            • PunditusMaximus

              Well, and the folks trying to skirt labor laws via J-1 visas, as Rob in CT points out.

              • Rob in CT

                LOL @ the dishonesty.

                I brought up the ACA. I did not “point out” that she was bought by them – that’s the insinuation of the Daily Kos diary you linked to.

                I have no objection whatsoever to the idea that she should have considered not making *quite* so much money on the speaker circuit right before running for Pres, and should’ve especially thought twice about getting paid by Banks not so long after they did their level best to set the world on fire.

                Poor political instincts, yes. The rest is, IMO, a stretch.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  My point is that you touted the American Camping Association as a harmless group when they’re an industry group with a specifically anti-labor focus.

                • randy khan

                  And you apparently think that a Daily Kos diary (was it even front-paged?) shows that the speech was politically damaging.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  No, I think the diary shows that it was nefarious. Flubbing the “what the hell did you say to them that was worth so much money?” question was the damaging part.

                • randy khan

                  We’re still talking about the ACA speech, which so far as I can tell even Bernie or Busters didn’t think was meaningful, right?

    • Dilan Esper

      Well it didn’t hurt Bill. Indeed, the DLC felt it helped him because he was “pro-business”.

      Of course, there is also a lot of Upton Sinclair style rationalization.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Bill wasn’t running as the successor to the man who stood between the banksters and the pitchforks and torches while trying uncomfortably to disavow a trade deal he once called the “gold standard”.

        He was running as a Southern Democrat who promised to be super mean to POC if it got important. And he was!

        • Dilan Esper

          I know. Times changed. And I think if you want to do a sophisticated analysis of Hillary’s presidential runs, that fact is very explanatory.

        • so-in-so

          This is a bit like the theory that HRC lost a “gimme” election. The evidence that banksters could have been successfully prosecuted (as opppsed to a few being tried, getting off, and the rest making life miserable for the Democratic Party) is limited. Recall that the mild statements Obama did make about the banks resulted in comparisons to “kristallnacht” among other things.

          OWS may have put the “one percent” idea on the map, but mostly got the usual “get a job” response from the middle class.

          You could argue that more money should have gone to home owners rather than banks or along with banks; again, there were GOP congress critters and some remaining centrist Dems who weren’t having that.

          • humanoid.panda

            You could argue that more money should have gone to home owners rather than banks or along with banks; again, there were GOP congress critters and some remaining centrist Dems who weren’t having that.

            If you really want to be fancy about it, you could argue the central mistake Obama made was before he was even elected, by not pushing Reid and Pelosi into ensuring that X percent of bailout went to houseowner relief. Make it a populist issue before the GOP grabs it. But that’s basically asking him to play Russian roulette with Bush as the economy is burning..

            • PunditusMaximus

              He could have made HAMP into something other than a cynical joke.

              In fact, the programs were never meant to help homeowners, designed only to “foam the runway” for the banks, to spread out foreclosures and allow banks to absorb them. Homeowners are the foam being crushed by a jumbo jet in that analogy, squeezed for as many payments as possible before ultimately losing their home.

          • PunditusMaximus

            The evidence that banksters could have been successfully prosecuted (as opppsed to a few being tried, getting off, and the rest making life miserable for the Democratic Party) is limited.

            Yep, nobody got prosecuted for the S&L crisis, so we have literally no analogues in the 25 years prior.

            • so-in-so

              So this crisis is S&L 2.0? And the same laws are all in place? Apparently the prosecutions weren’t all that effective, since the bigger banks went on to do worse things…

              I mean, I’d love to see a lot of them in orange jump suits,even if it was in a country club with tennis. I just don’t really see it happening after years of rolling back regulation and these being more clever people in how they used the system.

              • BillWAF

                Except that there were prosecutors who wanted to move forward, but Obama’s DOJ and Treasury Department blocked it. Neil Barofsky, a former AUSA from the Southern District who was the Treasury Department Inspector General for TARP, even wrote a book about it.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Yes and yes?

          • TopsyJane

            Actually, the banks were in total panic when Obama was elected. As Michael Lewis once observed, there was a moment when they were so terrified they would have done pretty much anything Obama told them they had to do.

            The moment passed. The Administration bailed them out, and in four years they were feeling perky enough to give lots of money to Romney and complain loudly whenever Obama mustered up enough nerve to voice a mild criticism.

            • PunditusMaximus

              I seriously cannot believe that we are relitigating this.

              St. Obama can never fail; he can only be failed.

    • SatanicPanic

      Combine that with Obama’s worst-in-Democratic-class economic record

      Unless you want to go all the way to Carter (which I imagine you don’t), he has exactly one Democratic to compare his tenure to, this is just silly.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Pre-WWII comparisons aren’t useful because the coalition changed, and Truman gets a pass because of the demobilization.

        https://hudson.org/research/12714-economic-growth-by-president

        Obama was the exception to “If you want to live like a Republican, vote for a Democrat.”

        This is . . . publicly available material? And I’m not the first person to present the idea that Obama’s economy was not a post-scarcity utopia?

        • SatanicPanic

          GDP growth was better under Carter than Obama, I guess the story ends there. *rolls eyes*

          • PunditusMaximus

            Also Clinton, Johnson, and Kennedy.

            And, you know, Ford and both Bushes.

        • ColBatGuano

          Would prosecuting the bankers have made digging out of the mess go faster? Obama took over just as the economy nosedived into a financial crisis. Ignoring that seems disingenuous. Oh wait…

          • PunditusMaximus

            …yes? The economy recovered about four years after the S&L crisis, while we’re in a 30 year Great Recession from the current one.

            • The S&L crash was also nowhere near as deep as the 2007 one, which is why it’s consistently been referred to as the worst one since the Great Depression. S&L didn’t affect nearly as many sectors of the economy as deeply, for starters because FIRE hadn’t as thoroughly intertwined their junk products throughout everyone’s savings.

              Should more of the FIRE sector have been punished for 2007? Yes. Did the political capital to do this exist? Probably not. As was pointed out above, Obama was accused of Kristallnacht for making some mildly critical comments about bankers. Prosecute Wall Street and maybe you don’t get healthcare, and there’s not even any guarantee that the prosecutions would be successful, so if they fail, you get a backlash from the right for even trying and from the left for failing. It’s not a particularly attractive move.

              Now, should there be more regulations? Obviously yes. Did the political capital to enact them exist in Obama’s term? Probably not. Between Franken’s late seating and Kennedy’s illness and death, the Democrats only had a filibuster-proof majority for about a month, so what Obama was able to enact legislatively was far more limited than most people appreciate. It’s really quite stunning that we got the ACA, Dodd-Frank, the stimulus, and the Detroit bailout. Most administrations wouldn’t have been able to enact that much.

            • Dave W.

              We’re mostly out by now, given that wage demands are starting to pick up and the Fed is starting to raise interest rates. But you can primarily blame the Republicans for winning the House in 2010. Obama’s team limited the size of the first stimulus package on the grounds it was a hard sell and they could come back for more if needed, but after 2010, the latter wasn’t going to happen. That’s the main thing that would have been needed to shorten the length of the recession.

              • Yes. This is one of the criticisms of Obama from the left that has had merit: the stimulus package should have been larger. That said, it’s not entirely clear whether the political capital to pass a larger one would even have existed even then.

                However, when you compare how we did over those years to how Europe did in the same period enacting austerity policies, it’s pretty clear we got off a lot better than they did.

    • Murc

      Combine that with Obama’s worst-in-Democratic-class economic record

      Obama’s record can only be worst-in-class if you compare it to other periods in which Congress was controlled by nihilistic reactionaries determined to burn it all down while a Democrat was in the White House and be found wanting.

      You can’t actually do that.

      • PunditusMaximus

        I’d agree with you if Obama hadn’t enabled them every god damned step of the way.

        Look forward, not back! We tortured some folks. I’m between you and the pitchforks. “Welcome to the directorship, Mr. Comey.”

        • Murc

          I’d agree with you if Obama hadn’t enabled them every god damned step of the way.

          This won’t become true the more times you say it.

          • so-in-so

            Did he even TRY sending them all to FEMA camps until they agreed to his agenda? Hmmm?

            • PunditusMaximus

              Mm, TPP.

              • There is middle ground between “does the entire bidding of the FIRE sector” and “strings up bankers from lampposts”, you realise.

    • econoclast

      Jesus, how do you think public speaking works? When someone goes on a speaking tour, they’re getting bought by each group they speak to?

  • kvs

    I have to applaud the Clinton staffers whose idea of appropriate pushback to the idea that there were disagreements–important or otherwise–was to post pictures of toasts on planes. That’s neither tonedeaf nor oblivious to the actual criticisms being made.

    • nemdam

      ??

      The central theme of the book was that Clinton’s campaign was doomed due to infighting and backstabbing. Showing how much everyone enjoyed working together would be the appropriate rebuttal. They aren’t contesting that people had criticisms or disagreements with others. This is true in any healthy organization or else you become gripped by group think.

      • kvs

        As to that, infighting and backstabbing happen among friends, too.

        • nemdam

          Um, yes? Especially if they are in a high pressure environment like a presidential campaign?

    • StillWithHer

      Yeah, and it definitely helps that there was an obvious and coordinated PR pushback basically THE DAY the book came out.

  • petesh

    Not enuf Bern in these hot comments

    • PunditusMaximus

      Not enuf Bern in these hot comments

      • petesh

        Thanks for the match!

  • revrick

    Ray Fair, a Yale University economist, has developed a tool to predict the outcome of Presidential elections based on four factors. It has forecast the outcome of every Presidential election since 1916, except for Obama’s reelection in 2012.
    In May 2015, he predicted that the Democratic Presidential candidate would lose and only garner 46% of the votes.
    By that measure, Hillary Clinton over performed.

  • Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste

    Why was the election so close?

    Because the Republicans, in their determination to deny Obama any victory they could possibly obstruct (and damage to the nation be damned), crippled every attempt to revive the economy after the financial system had been rescued.

    They calculated, cynically but correctly, that the president and his party would take the blame for the resulting chronic under performance – roughly a trillion dollars a year in foregone production of goods and services – that is causing everyone (outside the 1%, of course) a certain measure of suffering.

  • Jeff Ryan

    “Very unique”? Pray tell, how is something very unique?

    • BillWAF

      I can think of an example of something that is very unique. I remember seeing a desk in Providence RI that had been made by a famous colonial and/or early Federalist furniture maker. (I cannot remember the name, but it was not Duncan Phyfe.)

      The thing about this piece is that it had two features that no other desk by this craftsman had: 1) it had one more drawer than he had ever put in any other known desk; and 2) it was the only known piece to have the particular stain. Therefore, it had two unique features. Therefore, very or at least more unique seems to be a reasonable description

  • StillWithHer

    Can you all just be grown ups and admit that you like Taibbi when he attacks Republicans but not when he attacks Democrats from the Left?

    It has nothing to do with him being useful or useless or insightful or not. It is that he doesn’t much like Hillary Clinton and you do. End of story.

    • liberalrob

      He’s not even attacking Hillary Clinton in this article:

      What Allen and Parnes captured in Shattered was a far more revealing portrait of the Democratic Party intelligentsia than, say, the WikiLeaks dumps. And while the book is profoundly unflattering to Hillary Clinton, the problem it describes really has nothing to do with Secretary Clinton.

      The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.

      But it’s Taibbi so it’s crap. Scholarly!

  • one of the blue

    Only one thing I can think of Clinton could have done differently might have affected the result. President Obama mentioned more than once that part of his strategy was to spend a fair amount of time in rural areas, not to win them, but to drive down Republican margins there. After the 2016 election, a friend of mine mentioned that even though Clinton campaigned aggressively in Pennsylvania, she never visited the “T,” the multitude of rural counties both north of and between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Trump by contrast spent a lot of time in rural counties in quite a few states expressly for the purpose of goosing his own margins, a strategy that worked swimmingly well for him. Could Clinton have countered by spending more time in such places as Obama did? I’m not sure I have an answer.

    • TopsyJane

      I’m not sure it would have made that much difference, but sure, it might have helped.

      It’s only natural for a pol to think “I could have done better.” Obama has more reason than most, but I trust he realizes that running against Trump flummoxed some very good politicians and Clinton did better than many. You would still have to favor Obama over Trump in a big way, but 2016 was a very strange year.

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