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Who is the Hack of the Day?

[ 344 ] April 21, 2017 |

Entry #1:

Uh:

  • The idea that someone who got 48.1% of the vote in a multi-candidate runoff is “unelectable” is ridiculous.
  • Osoff grew up in the boundaries of GA-6 and moved outside of its boundaries for his spouse’s job. Who cares?
  • The only “talk” about Chelsea 2020 is coming from hack pundits and reporters who are palpably desperate to have another Clinton to kick around. There is literally no evidence that she is pursuing any political office, and she’s as likely to be the Dem nominee in 2020 as Edmund Muskie.

That’s an impressive number of howlers for 140 characters! But I have a dark horse candidate:

Yes, when evaluating a president’s legacy, among the most important criteria are the president’s vacation choices after leaving office. After all, it is well known that FDR’s social interactions were limited solely to the white working class, which is why the New Deal was popular.  This probably also explains why Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor although there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between her and Sam Alito.

I think it’s a tie.

 

 

 

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Comments (344)

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  1. pillsy says:

    Every once in a while Stoller will say something smart and I’ll forget what a dicksmack he is. And then he snaps me back to reality.

    • JMV Pyro says:

      Honestly, even with the stuff he tends to be good on(antitrust and finance) there are others you can go to (Mike Konczal) for a similar perspective without the added layer of dickishness.

  2. Origami Isopod says:

    MidnightJon’s comments at the top of the Peters conversation are top-notch. So is this shade from Peter Atencio.

  3. aab84 says:

    The persistent belief among the Matt Stollers of the world that Obama is unpopular among liberals and Democrats is . . . incredible. I know Stoller is a moron and a troll, but a lot of people seem to genuinely believe it, even though his approval has never fallen below like 80% among Dems. It’s a fascinating look into the ability of people to form bubbles and construct their own reality.

    • sleepyirv says:

      I cannot imagine any successful party left of center who could possibly say “Obama was terrible.” Where are the votes for that proposition outside of conservatives and swamp people? Bernie was kinda critical of Obama during the primary, but never went this far.

      • TopsyJane says:

        Bernie was kinda critical of Obama during the primary, but never went this far.

        Sanders was sharply critical of Obama and talked a lot about finding a “progressive challenger” to Obama in 2012, enough to annoy the White House. This was used against him by both O’Malley and Clinton, rather unfairly in my view.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      Stoller isn’t saying he’s unpopular among Democrats. You obviously can’t read. He’s making points about the state of the Democratic Party. You do know about that, right? How they control the fewest seats in state legislatures in a long, long time.

      • aab84 says:

        And by the time Trump leaves office, they will control far more and everyone will be writing stories asking “why can’t Republicans win at the state level anymore?”

        It’s counter-cyclical to the presidency. Just like Congressional midterms. We just insist on constructing narratives around it.

        • Phil Perspective says:

          You can believe that if you want, especially considering the state of the party in most states. That would require the Democrats, like the DCCC, to run serious candidates in tons of races. I’m not holding my breath since I know how incompetent the DCCC is, my own district being a perfect example.

          • Rob in CT says:

            Of course, those candidates have to exist and want to run.

            Is there a great candidate in your district who would’ve run but didn’t because of something the DCCC did? Who? What did the DCCC did/not do?

            Serious questions. I’m curious about this aspect of things (candidate recruitment).

            • josiah says:

              I will speak for NE-02. Joe Biden personally recruited one of our city council members who is generally fantastic, back in 2014. The guy backed out pretty quickly due to his children being too young, which some people here thought was an excuse to run during a more favorable year.

              Our district flipped in 2014 to a Democrat and flipped back to a Republican in 2016. I don’t know how aggressively Brad Ashford was recruited in 2014.

              Going into 2018, either Ashford or his wife are mulling a run, right now. I don’t know of anyone here who is really a strong challenger to Don Bacon in 2018 outside of the Ashfords. Well, we have Mello but he is problematic as surely every Democratic political junkie knows by now.

          • howard says:

            normally i ignore your remarks, but what stoller precisely said is that the obama presidency was a catastrophe that brought trump.

            that is about as stupid a remark as it’s possible to tweet, and defending it isn’t much smarter.

            • liberalrob says:

              Well, what he “precisely” said was that Obama was a “carastrophe,” which makes about as much sense as “catastrophe”…where is AutoCorrect when you need it?

          • cleek says:

            when the object of your ire seems to be both:
            a) overwhelmingly powerful
            b) fundamentally incompetent
            … you’re probably wrong about one or the other.

  4. Cervantes says:

    Fortunately Donald Trump has never spent any time on a billionaire’s yacht.

  5. Bill Murray says:

    I’m sure you can say something stupid enough to make the grade Scott

  6. cpinva says:

    maybe I missed something, but Ms. Blake’s comment came across as sarcasm to me.

    • kped says:

      You did miss it then…yes, it is sarcasm, Scott isn’t mocking Blake, he’s mocking Stoller in the same vein as Ms Blake.

    • aab84 says:

      Yes, but Stoller’s was not. He went on a 14 tweet tweetstorm about how Obama was a bad president and is to blame for Democratic losses over the last 8 years. He also called Pelosi “confused and stupid.”

      I swear, I’ve been exposed to Stoller since the MyDD days, and I still don’t have the slightest clue what his political philosophy consists of other than “the Democratic Party would be better if it threw away its popular leaders and just listened to me about everything.”

      • kped says:

        Lot of that thinking going around. He should start a boy band with Taibbi, FdB and Greenwald.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        Yes, but Stoller’s was not. He went on a 14 tweet tweetstorm about how Obama was a bad president and is to blame for Democratic losses over the last 8 years. He also called Pelosi “confused and stupid.”

        Below, I did a quarter-defense of Stoller on his original tweet. But the amount of ignorance, malice and misogyny one needs to call Pelosi “confused” is dumbfounding.

        • Manny Kant says:

          It’s hard to think of anyone who has been better at the basic job of “party leader in the House” than Pelosi in recent memory. (DeLay under Hastert’s nominal leadership would be the only real competitor; she’s obviously far superior to Ryan, Boehner, Gephardt, Gingrich, Foley)

      • FlipYrWhig says:

        “the Democratic Party would be better if it threw away its popular leaders and just listened to me about everything.”

        This is at least 85% of what “the left” says and does, depending on how you factor in “the Democratic Party would be better if it was a Bernie Sanders clone army because everyone everywhere loves disheveled Jewish socialists from farm states.”

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Ms. Blake’s comment came across as sarcasm to me.

      …um, yes?

      • Quaino says:

        In fairness to OP, if you have a script blocker on it just shows text version of the main tweet with zero context. I clicked through and finally found Stoller’s tweet because I figured that a) it was obvious sarcasm and b) you weren’t particularly stupid so I must be missing something.

      • cpinva says:

        “…um, yes?”

        your response to it came across (to me, anyway) as serious. clearly, I completely missed that finely honed sense of snark you often display.

  7. postmodulator says:

    We’re deporting college kids who came here when they were one year old and we let these people live here?

  8. kped says:

    Also…the Democratic Party didn’t spend 8M on Ossoff. He raised that money mostly via grass roots (DailyKos raised over $1M of it!). That tweet is worded to make it sound like the ghost of DWS that haunts the halls of the DNC personally spent that money on the race, instead of it being mostly small excited donors.

  9. humanoid.panda says:

    The 2020 line just blew my head. If you squint hard, you can see how Chelsea would easily win a House seat in a blue area (let’s call it Haberman level CDS). If you squint hard, you can imagine that if Gillibrand is president, Chelsea gets into the Senate, via either election or nomination. (Barro level CDS). But to believe that not only is Chelsea preparing to run for president but there are actual, living and breathing political actors who are preparing for that day, you would have to be a monumental lunatic. (Sullivan level CDS).

    • Colin Day says:

      And if I hope that she is alive in 2020?

    • Sullivan level CDS

      That’s for sure. I was actually taken aback when reading his latest screed. I knew he despised “the Clintons”, but I had forgotten how forthright about how intense and personal the hatred was. Lesser forms of CDS merely manifest in an assumption of bad faith in every action, but Sullivan is very clear that he considers the entire family to be a vile chancre on the body politic. You could hear him nearly punch through his laptop keyboard and feel the hot spittle.

      • PunditusMaximus says:

        Sully actually is the exemplar of the misogyny that the PUMAs think #BernieBros have.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          I always appreciate it when a dude tries to mansplain who is and isn’t a misogynist.

          • PunditusMaximus says:

            I always like it when rich white “feminists” use their lives and their sisters’ lives as footballs in their endless fight against people who’d bring less wealthy and POC women into the conversation.

            Mm, idpol.

            • Origami Isopod says:

              rich white “feminists”

              Brogressives, of course, get to determine through the internet which women are rich or not, which women are real feminists, and what topics should matter the most to them (hint: topics that affect straight cis white men).

              Go fuck yourself.

              • PunditusMaximus says:

                Heh, I always enjoy interacting with folks who train their real anger on the people who know what “intersectionality” means. Much worse than Sully’s deranged hate, I’m sure.

                • veleda_k says:

                  Awwww, PM knows a word. That makes him best, most real and wonderful feminist ever. Alternately, it makes him look like a six year old who won the first grade spelling bee and won’t shut up about it.

                  Like there isn’t a long history of male “feminists” knowing the right words while behavior like horrid jackasses.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  There’s a long history of everyone being fucking awful. 53% of white women voted for Trump.

                  Turns out, no matter what the idpol folks will tell you, it’s about whether or not you buy into the systems of oppression, not whether or not you have an intermediate place in them.

          • veleda_k says:

            PM knows all about Real True Feminism, and he’ll tell all you silly little girly brains as condescendingly as his manly self can manage.

            Christ, doesn’t this dumbfuck get tired of making a fool of himself?

            • PunditusMaximus says:

              How Women’s Studies Erased Black Women

              Why, it’s almost as though it isn’t optional to opt out of all three major systems of oppression.

              Don’t get me wrong; rich white lady feminists are totes feminist. In fact, they define the movement. Which is why so many women of color just opt out.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                ROFL, now you’re whitesplaining feminism to a woman of color.

                • veleda_k says:

                  Just want to be clear that I’m not a woman of color. Don’t want to look like I’m claiming experience that isn’t mine.

                  PM is still a moron.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Oh – sorry, I thought you were.

              • veleda_k says:

                No, really, the way you’re talking down to me without the slightest idea of my education, knowledge, or experiences is really proving your awesome feminist credentials. You’re not making yourself out to be self-important little worm at all. Good job, we’re all very impressed.

                Seriously, dude, can’t you do anything without stepping on a figurative rake? Or this cringe worthy incompetence just inherent to you?

              • gccolby says:

                Wow, PunditusMaximus is really smart! He read an article once, and now he’s going to explain to eeevvveeeryone that they’re doing feminism wrong! Lack of knowledge on those people’s ideas, knowledge or experience certainly won’t be a problem for PM before he opens his extremely intelligent and insightful article-reading piehole, no sir! After all he’s a lonely voice of sanity and reason on the Infamous Neoliberal Blog LGM, so really he’s throwing pearls to swine, here.

              • vacuumslayer says:

                Are you fucking kidding me with this shit? You’re actually explaining intersectional feminism to Origami Isopod? Son, you are barking up the wrongest of trees.

              • Darkrose says:

                Fuck you.

                As a black woman, I know who’s had my back on here, and who hasn’t. Here’s a hint: Origami Isopod is an ally. You’re an asshole.

            • gccolby says:

              PM knows all about Real True Feminism, and he’ll tell all you silly little girly brains as condescendingly as his manly self can manage.

              PM shows every sign of being one of the zillions of people who hadn’t really thought too much about feminism until it started exploding into the mainsteam (at least in liberal circles) circa 2012-2014. That feminism suddenly wasn’t a dirty word and was even popular is fantastic, of course, but you do have a wave of people who kind of assume that now is the first time that anyone has heard of ideas like intersectionality, or that criticisms of white feminism are new and no one has encountered the radical idea that generations of feminism have served mostly the interests of white, educated, middle and upper-class women.

              These criticisms and arguments are as important as ever, of course, especially since the current popularity of feminism means a heck of a lot of people are talking about without having a strong grounding in the history (to be clear, this is FINE, I don’t and didn’t have a deep foundation in academic feminism and I don’t care for gate-keeping). So they’re going to hear about how they’re wrong or hear about intersectionality for the first time A LOT.

              The solution is to have some fucking humbleness and modesty when engaging in discussion with people you don’t know, especially if you’re actually a white dude. But that’s no problem for PM, no, feminism is just another thing for him to be publicly obnoxious about. The deep irony of his mansplaining The Problem of White Feminism to people who know and probably care more deeply about the subject than he does will escape him, of course.

              • veleda_k says:

                The funny thing is I actually have a degree in Women and Gender Studies. This on it’s own obviously doesn’t make me some sort of great feminist. (And as you say, down with gate-keeping.) But that PM thinks he can lecture me on my field? Deeply hilarious.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  What the hell? If you’re aware of what a racist shitshow Women’s Studies was, why the high and mighty dudgeon?

                  Kimberlé Crenshaw changed my life, massively, for the better. She was the first person whose description helped me understand how ableism and the other systems of oppression could create the weirdness that was my background.

                  But sure, let’s all minimize the harm Sully’s done in order to be mean to someone who’s pissed at Obama and HRC about their lousy economic policy. That’s useful.

                • veleda_k says:

                  You’re doing it again, this thing where you try to talk down to me, but it doesn’t work, because you’re an idiot who’s less useful than a bag of sand in the Sahara. If you’re going to be a condescending ass, is it so much to ask that you achieve a bare minimum of competency?

                  We really deserve a better class of mansplainers.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  I’m always fascinated by the folks who are willing to degrade words that denote actual serious problems humans face to instead get points on a meaningless internet discussion.

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  I’m always fascinated by the folks who are willing to degrade words that denote actual serious problems humans face to instead get points on a meaningless internet discussion.

                  Yep.

    • Domino says:

      It also runs immediately into a roadblock – if we assume (and I think it’s highly likely) that Corey Booker will run, just where exactly would Chelsea’s supporters come from?

      “Well, I was going to support the guy who has gone from mayor to Senator for several years, but instead I’ll go with the daughter of a former president who has never held public office”.

  10. Lost Left Coaster says:

    “There’s talk of Chelsea 2020” — I love that kind of shit. By love, I mean hate, but I love it. “There’s talk” — yeah, you’re the one talking about it dude. Those are the dictionary definition of weasel words — the Trumpist “people are saying” that really means “I’m speculating by pulling this out of my yuge asshole.”

  11. humanoid.panda says:

    As for Stoller though: the way he phrases his points is idiotic, but I think to point out that Obama’s personal popularity obscured deep dissatisfaction within the party with the technocratic politics he embodies is not an outrageously wrong thing to say.

    • Colin Day says:

      And after 4 years of Trump, will American voters crawl on broken glass for technocratic politics?

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      Lots of questionable assertions here, though, IMHO. Does Obama embody technocratic politics? Is there deep dissatisfaction with technocratic politics? What is technocratic politics and what is the opposite that dissatisfied Democrats want instead?

      • efgoldman says:

        What is technocratic politics and what is the opposite that dissatisfied Democrats want instead?

        And, since any legislation after 2010 was DOA, what else should he have done?

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Does Obama embody technocratic politics?

          To the extent that his entire persona is that of the cool professor, I’d say, yes.

          Is there deep dissatisfaction with technocratic politics?

          To the extent that someone won 40% of Democratic primary by basically saying “tax the rich and give the rest of us free college and free healthcar,” yes.

          What is technocratic politics and what is the opposite that dissatisfied Democrats want instead?

          reply

          Technocratic politics as I would define them, is the idea that expert, working in conjunction with regulated markets, can achieve progressive ends. Bernie’s reply was “no,let’s just tax rich people and give to middle class people.”

          And, since any legislation after 2010 was DOA, what else should he have done?

          I didn’t say this dissatisfaction was rational, only that it was real.

          • PunditusMaximus says:

            Technocratic politics also assumes a technocratic elite in the other Party. Because otherwise they’d be partisan, not technocratic.

            Hence, Republican daddies. And yeah, that happened after 2010.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              There was one Republican daddy nominated by Obama after 2010 and — while disastrous! — he had nothing to do with economic policy. This talking point isn’t getting any less lame.

              • veleda_k says:

                You really can’t expect poor PM to keep more than one talking point in his head. Let’s keep our expectations reasonable.

              • PunditusMaximus says:

                For some reason I thought Bernanke was ’11. Anyways.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  Bernanke is a registered republican, yes. But he also happened to be the guy who wrote the book on central bank responses to the Great Depression, and did pretty much everything a mainstream progressive Fed Chair (say Yellen- whom Obama appointed) would have done. He also kept calling for more fiscal stimulus.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  Bernanke was asleep at the god damned switch. I wish someone in the Obama Adminstration would have gotten fired for incompetence, instead of James O’Keefe’s career.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Bernanke was asleep at the god damned switch.

                  This is idiotic.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  Yes, yes, it’s always “idiotic” to want our leaders to succeed.

                • econoclast says:

                  I think Bernanke gets off too easy. Once the crisis happened, he was a good choice to contain it, but he did nothing to prevent it.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  No, no, it’s “idiotic” to expect the highest officeholders in the land to have a clue about the worst crisis since WWII developing. Us DFHs need to get in line.

                  “No one could have predicted” — W invented, Obama approved.

              • Manny Kant says:

                Two, surely – Comey and Hagel?

          • Phil Perspective says:

            The Republicans didn’t control things like the DOJ after 2010. Have you read anything else by Stoller lately? Re: anti-trust for instance.

          • FlipYrWhig says:

            I am a Bernie Sanders detractor, to say the least, so my views are perhaps jaundiced, but I think Sanders won about 20-25% of the Democratic vote on “Hillary Clinton isn’t liberal enough” and 15-20% on “Hillary Clinton is corrupt.” The number of people who would say that Sanders is a necessary corrective to the conservatism of Barack Obama is a very small piece of the former. They think they’re legion because they amplify one another, but they really, really aren’t.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              The number of people who would say that Sanders is a necessary corrective to the conservatism of Barack Obama is a very small piece of the former.

              But the reason you say this is because you are a political junky and have a fairly well-organized world view. Most people don’t. So it’s not that people think that OBama is too techncocratic and not focused on anti-trust enough. It’s that they want, to cite a famous slogan- change.

              • McAllen says:

                So it’s not that people think that OBama is too techncocratic and not focused on anti-trust enough. It’s that they want, to cite a famous slogan- change.

                If this is true then this:

                Obama’s personal popularity obscured deep dissatisfaction within the party with the technocratic politics he embodies is not an outrageously wrong thing to say.

                is wrong.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  Why? People want radical change, Obama’s politics (but not his campaign persona) are deeply gradualist/institutionalist, so people like Obama, but don’t like his politics.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  Huh? It’s a restatement — people wanted change, Obama didn’t deliver, but Obama was so charismatic and capable that people put up with it until they didn’t.

                • Brien Jackson says:

                  “Why? People want radical change, Obama’s politics (but not his campaign persona) are deeply gradualist/institutionalist, so people like Obama, but don’t like his politics.”

                  This is a bizarre claim. Essentially every politician is an institutionalist if that means that as President they would have to work with Congress, the judiciary, and the various Constitutionally and statutorily empowered institutions of government. If Sanders and/or his backers thought he’d be any different then they’d be running into the same exact problems that Trump is now.

                  The difference here is that the people who want radical change and “outsider” politicians spend exactly zero time thinking about how the rules of government they no doubt still believe are the most awesome in human history fundamentally thwart their goals.

            • JMV Pyro says:

              One of the less talked about things that hampered Sanders’ campaign was the fact that he was running as a critique of the Obama years in a party where Obama was and remains popular. I think he would have liked to unload on Obama more forcefully, but even he realized that it was a nonstarter.

              • joel hanes says:

                I think [the socialist Senator from VT] would have liked to unload on Obama more forcefully

                He got Cornel West to do it for him.
                The socialist Senator from VT was stupid enough to think that constituted outreach to the black community.
                His chances of winning the nomination ended forever about one minute into West’s rodomontade.

              • Manny Kant says:

                In domestic policy, perhaps, In foreign policy, to the extent that he could be bothered to barely pretend to care about foreign policy, he ran as the status quo candidate as opposed to Clinton’s more hawkish vision.

          • djw says:

            If “technocratic politics” is a category that can be identified solely by the demeanor/public persona of its advocates, I’m not sure it’s a useful category.

            • Hogan says:

              But it does pair well with how most people use “populism.”

            • humanoid.panda says:

              If “technocratic politics” is a category that can be identified solely by the demeanor/public persona of its advocates, I’m not sure it’s a useful category.

              I laid out carefully my definition of what technocratic means: deference to expert, viewing market+regulation as the best policy tool.

              But like every other sort of politics, technocratic politics has symbolic dimensions, and Obama very well embodied those..

          • Origami Isopod says:

            I didn’t say this dissatisfaction was rational, only that it was real.

            With all respect to Obama and HRC, I don’t think mistrust of technocracy is entirely baseless. The vaunted technocrats of Bill Clinton’s administration swung the Democratic Party sharply to the right on economics.

            Even in a more progressive administration like Obama’s, it’s nice to have people whose life perspective differs from those who move in Ivy League circles. Most technocrats are pretty privileged overall.

            • Brien Jackson says:

              To be fair, reasonably intelligent technocrats don’t actually believe that there’s such a thing as technocracy divorced from politics, values, or ideology.

    • SatanicPanic says:

      This is something I get into arguments with the college leftists I sadly have too many of on my FB- if the left’s plan to make serious change in America starts with pooping on liberals, it’s not going to get very far. If it starts with pooping on Obama, it’s going to go absolutely nowhere.

  12. Bruce Vail says:

    I wouldn’t underestimate the propaganda value of photos of Obama frolicking with the billionaires. It sends the message: If you supported Obama, you were one of the rubes who got suckered.

    I hope Barack Obama has a nice long and pleasurable break from public life. He deserves it.

    But for the sake of the democratic values he always championed, I hope he leaves the billionaire buddies behind and returns to public life in 2019. The country needs his help to eject the crooks and perverts now in charge in Washington.

    • Lost Left Coaster says:

      I’d say that the propaganda value of those photos in the Trump era add up to just about, to use one of Vonnegut’s favourite phrases, doodley squat.

    • Junipermo says:

      If people let Obama’s post-presidency vacation choices obscure the real progressive policy gains he made in his 8 years in the WH, then they are stupid and there isn’t anything we can do to help them.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      Only cranks could possibly think that this is remotely “the message.”

      • EliHawk says:

        I mean, it gets to a divide: Do you value improving peoples’ lives more, or do you value punishing others? As someone else dropping burns on Stoller put it, “You’re right it is decidedly bad I got health coverage despite a bad heart and alcoholism bc Obama has rich friends.” For Stoller, that’s a problem because nobody prosecuted the Banksters, or whatever. The ‘billionaires’ got what’s theres and you got sold a bill of goods. For this guy, Obama made an actual big fucking difference in his life by implementing a major social program. It’s outcome focused liberalism versus retributive dogmatism.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          Do you value improving peoples’ lives more, or do you value punishing others?

          Yet another thing they have in common with the wingnuts.

        • Junipermo says:

          Good point.

          The thing is, one can believe that Obama was 100% wrong in his handling of the banks after the 2008 meltdown and also acknowledge that he helped millions of people with Obamacare, made progress on climate change, acted to protect and expand civil rights for the LGBT community, etc. But to do that requires that one not view the world as one does at the age of 4. Too much to ask of Stoller, apparently.

          • PunditusMaximus says:

            Oh please. It’s utterly verboten to believe that Obama was absolutely wrong in his handling of the banks and that one’s opinion of Obama could reasonably be colored by that terrible, ongoing, ideological failure with massive and destructive consequences.

            • liberalrob says:

              I guess I’m not well-informed, because I never knew that was what I was supposed to believe if I wanted to be considered a “leftist”.

            • sibusisodan says:

              You’d have to actually make the argument for it to be reasonable, rather than just assuming the conclusion.

              There is an argument to be made that judicial prosecutions of banking executives were i) possible and likely to succeed and ii) going to have net positive political effects…but it’s a difficult argument.

              The argument that HUD policy was missing a few obvious responses with on going negative consequences is by contrast easier to make.

              Neither argument requires placing the Obama administration on some kind of pedestal.

            • gccolby says:

              That you describe this as an ideological failure rather than a governing or policy failure, or even a failure of justice, is really telling. “It doesn’t matter whether or not it would’ve been a good idea, ideologically speaking he should’ve tried to throw those banking execs in jail!”

              Look, I’m very open to the idea that the administration should have more aggressively pursued prosecution of bank executives. It would certainly have been satisfying. The implicit assumption that Obama’s failure to do so has had massive and negative political consequences for the Democrats… needs support. Support which may well exist! But it needs to be argued for, not presented as obvious fact.

              • PunditusMaximus says:

                No, my point is that Obama’s treatment of the bankers was ideological — he overlooked massive and systematic lawbreaking because he genuinely believes that high-status humans have the right to break the law if they want to, and low-status human beings have the right to be hosed over extralegally if that’s what high-status humans want.

                cf: torture, The War On Some Drugs, assassination of American citizens, civil forfeiture.

                It’s a principle that weaves through all of Obama’s worst failures, and it’s super shitty.

                • Tehanu says:

                  because he genuinely believes that high-status humans have the right to break the law if they want to, and low-status human beings have the right to be hosed over extralegally if that’s what high-status humans want.

                  As the great Dennis Farina observed so trenchantly in Get Shorty: What a bunch of fucking bullshit. You don’t like how Obama failed to hose the banksters? Neither do I — but I don’t ascribe that failure to his having the motivations of Rich Uncle Pennybags, because I’m not an idiot.

        • Harkov311 says:

          Indeed. The Stollers of the world care more about punishing their enemies than about helping their friends. I’ve pointed out to them that all the bankster perp-walking in the world won’t help the people the banks actually hurt, and they look at me like I’m from outer space. I mean, I guess I thought the purpose of left liberalism was to help people in need. But apparently it’s actual purpose is to punish the designated enemies, and only after that, to help anyone.

          • Bruce B. says:

            In addition to making broad rhetorical gestures about all the people who are their friends, but who turn out not to be whenever it requires the gesturer to actually do something that might in any way be inconvenient or just not entertaining.

        • Brien Jackson says:

          This is basically the whole schtick of Bernie and the Stans too: Actually making improvements for people is at best a secondary concern to sticking it to Wall Street and billionaires.

    • pillsy says:

      . It sends the message: If you supported Obama, you were one of the rubes who got suckered.

      To about 17 people who would think that anyway. Complaints about optics always tend to be a little overblown, but optics of an ex-President’s vacation choices?

      • efgoldman says:

        Complaints about optics always tend to be a little overblown, but optics of an ex-President’s vacation choices?

        Especially given his :::ralph::: successor.

        • Pat says:

          I know, right? Trump wastes millions of dollars flying himself and the Secret Service to Florida every weekend, making everyone stay at his hotel and golfing every weekend.

          Only a Republican hack would think that Obama’s choices are bad optics.

    • humanoid.panda says:

      I wouldn’t underestimate the propaganda value of photos of Obama frolicking with the billionaires. It sends the message: If you supported Obama, you were one of the rubes who got suckered.

      Here is a newsflash: Americans love rich people, and love their leaders to lead glamorous life. The only president we had in last half century who shied from glamour and celebrity was Carter. And it didn’t go well.

      • Karen24 says:

        YES!!! THANK YOU!!!! I’m a liberal and I like to see pictures of the President and family being glamorous. It may be a stupid atavistic glurge bubbling up from the lower parts of my brain, but it’s still there and still powerful. Obama spends time with Springsteen and playwrites; Trump invites D-listers from the cover of the National Enquirer. This is a powerful story and we shouldn’t waste it.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          There is a reason why nearly all democracies separate the head of state from the head of government, and why the head of state tends to live in a fancy palace..

          • Karen24 says:

            Exactly. We should remember that all those Scandinavian Socialist Paradises are, also, monarchies.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              And even Bernie campaigned with rich, beautiful and successful people. Rosario Dawson and Emily Ratajowski are not exactly retired coal miners in their sixties as far as looks go..

              • Karen24 says:

                Exactly. There really is nothing wrong with being physically beautiful and having some style about you. I became a liberal mostly because I thought poor people should have a chance to be surrounded by beauty as much as rich people are.

        • Junipermo says:

          Yep. I enjoy beyond all reason the photos of the Obamas walking around looking fabulous, enjoying a well-earned rest after being president and first lady of this crazy place.

          An aside: I also admire the decidedly un-glamorous Jimmy Carter beyond all reason. Whatever his failings were as a president, he seems to be a really, truly good and kind person who has done a lot of good since he left office.

        • TopsyJane says:

          YES!!! THANK YOU!!!! I’m a liberal and I like to see pictures of the President and family being glamorous

          You’re in luck! Obama has said he fancies himself as an entrepreneurial venture capitalist type, so you should have many opportunities in future to press your nose against the window.

      • Pseudonym says:

        I’d say Carter has had a uniquely good ex-presidency, but that hardly makes his presidency a retrospective success.

      • Manny Kant says:

        We all remember the glamor and pageantry of the Gerald Ford presidency…

      • LeeEsq says:

        We should also remember that Carter was replaced by an actual former Hollywood actor. Reagan wasn’t one of the top Hollywood stars but he wasn’t a B-movie actor either. The studios treated him as a potential leading man.

        I really don’t understand a lot of leftist critic about American politics. They seem to believe simultaneously that Americans will elect a real leftist/socialist to office if offered a chance and that Americans are all a bunch of craven, status seeking celebrity worshipping free market capitalists at the same time. The two don’t compute. If Americans are the latter than they will never elect the former.

        • FlipYrWhig says:

          It’s just the “false consciousness” frame that Bernie Sanders himself believes. The idea is that The Man feeds people fluff to keep them distracted, but one day they’ll wake up angry and go to Mitch McConnell’s house and scare him, thereby creating a chain reaction that makes America a better place.

          • LeeEsq says:

            “False consciousness” was always one of the most unconvincing parts of Leftist thought. Its basically a way to hand waive the fact that people who you believe should agree with you, don’t agree with you.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              It’s just the “false consciousness” frame that Bernie Sanders himself believes.

              And as noted above, Sanders did not shy from celebrity when it came to his presidential run. (I see no particular reason why Emily Ratajowski is connected to the people in a way in which Lena Dunham isn’t.)

            • Justin Runia says:

              Speaking of consciousness, and people who had a few concrete ideas on it–Freud probably would have called out such insecurity as the projection that it is. Of course, in those heady days of Modernism, labeling things as ‘ideology’ was still kind of a diss…

            • FlipYrWhig says:

              Its basically a way to hand waive the fact that people who you believe should agree with you, don’t agree with you.

              Entirely. Hence any number of blinkered-yet-still-absurdly-confident left-ish presences on the Internet and social media.

        • liberalrob says:

          Reagan wasn’t one of the top Hollywood stars but he wasn’t a B-movie actor either. The studios treated him as a potential leading man.

          That explains all the Oscars he won.

          WTF? Reagan was AT BEST a B-lister. His most memorable line, “win one for the Gipper,” was in what I would consider a B-movie where he wasn’t even the male lead. If “the studios treated him as a potential leading man,” it was probably as much due to his being SAG president as any actual acting talent he had. That’s how I see it, anyway. Part of the joke was that even as an actor he wasn’t that great, so how could he be even a marginally good president?

          • Aaron Morrow says:

            The studios treated him as a potential leading man for B-movies, but he still couldn’t get more than third billing in Kings Row. He could act – watch that or The Killers sometime – but he was strictly a B-movie actor, or third supporting actor in A-films.

          • TopsyJane says:

            WTF? Reagan was AT BEST a B-lister

            Reagan started in the Bs, as many did, but he did hold star status, however briefly, and he was treated as a potential leading man for A pictures, regarded for a time as one of the more promising younger stars. Not the world’s greatest actor but a likable enough screen presence.

      • TopsyJane says:

        I rather doubt that Carter’s natural disinclination to glitz was what doomed his presidency.

        Branson is a braggart, famously hostile to unions, and at times as has seemed to have rather Trumpish tendencies, although of course he is far cleverer and richer. I should have thought that one of the more pleasant things about leaving political life would be freedom from the necessity of having to spend time in the company of people like Branson, but Obama will know best about that.

    • cleek says:

      when did the left become the party of sackcloth and ashes?

      if David Geffen offered you a ride on his fucking yacht, would you turn it down? “oh no, i couldn’t possibly take a trip on your awesome boat. it’s far too much of an affront to the proletariat!”

      • humanoid.panda says:

        Does it have to be yacht? What’s wrong with staying on solid ground, anyway?

      • LeeEsq says:

        I would get on David Geffen’s yacht but I’m a market liberal and not a leftist. I can understand where the Left is coming from. We had big fights on this blog about the values of consumerism and some genuinely non-materialistic commentators not understanding why people like their creature comforts.

        There has been a big anti-materialist tradition in Western thought since Plato wrote about the Allegory of the Cave. The Far Left inherited this tradition. Its why anti-capitalists always struggled with what a non-market economy and society should look like. The idea of socialism was that it provide for peoples needs or wants better than free market capitalism but a lot of socialist intellectuals hated anything that smacked of a middle class life including creature comforts. Many didn’t want their non-market economy and society to the more materialist urges of humans for things perceived as frivolous. Others had no problem with the non-market economy providing luxury goods.

        • ColBatGuano says:

          I’m a market liberal and not a leftist.

          And what leftists never seem to get is that there are far more of the former than the latter. Myself included.

      • Karen24 says:

        In a New York minute.

      • Shakezula says:

        When did the left become the party of shunning liberal gay men who own record companies?

      • Lee Rudolph says:

        if David Geffen offered you a ride on his fucking yacht, would you turn it down?

        I can imagine nothing more horrible than spending time with a billionaire, on or off a yacht (“on” would be worse). I am tongue-tied enough in the presence of Nobel laureates, Abel Prize winners, Fields Medalists, and (to come down a considerable notch) MacArthur Fellows—and in the last three categories I at least have shared some of their intellectual space. What’s David Geffen to me, or me to David Geffen? Billionaires really shouldn’t be allowed to exist (and I’m certain most of them would think the same of me, if they thought of me at all, which they surely don’t). Auden said that, in the presence of scientists (which he certainly sometimes was), he felt like a shabby curate in a room full of dukes. In the presence of billionaires (I’ve only met one, once, and he was a once and future mathematician; nor were we even introduced) I would feel more like a shabby suicide bomber wearing last season’s explosive vest.

        • sibusisodan says:

          In the presence of billionaires (I’ve only met one, once, and he was a once and future mathematician; nor were we even introduced)

          A billionaire mathematician? That’s awesome.

          I’m assuming he spends a lot of time staring at his shoes. His amazing, handcrafted, Italian leather shoes.

          Back in lab days, a friend of mine got to explain his work (in 30 seconds) to Bill Gates. I would have been terrible at this.

          • TopsyJane says:

            A billionaire mathematician? That’s awesome.

            James Simons will agree with you. Simons gives to Democrats and has some history of philanthropy, which excuses other dodgy activities – I guess. He also hired Robert Mercer, a beneficial hire in terms of his hedge fund’s bottom line but less beneficial in other respects.

    • tsam says:

      I wouldn’t underestimate the ability of maladjusted knotheads to take whatever message they want from it. Everyone knew Barack Obama wasn’t some kind of socialist unicorn, even us dumbass rubes who can’t find any fucks to give because surprise, a rich jackass is hanging out with another rich jackass and posting pictures of it.

  13. Aexia says:

    Maybe if Obama was a domestic abuser, Stoller would like him.

  14. njorl says:

    After leaving office, FDR spent all his time just laying around in a small dark room. Lincoln too. How can anyone think these men were good presidents?

    • Cervantes says:

      Q. Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?

      A. Nobody. It’s an above-ground mausoleum.

    • Hayden Arse says:

      Kennedy too!

    • JMV Pyro says:

      FDR actually did go yachting quite a bit during his Presidency, but “he welcomed their hatred” so it’s all good.

      I remain convinced that the Stoller-types would be fine with Obama hanging around billionaires if he had adopted a persona that Stoller liked. The man was a staffer for one of the richest people in Congress, so obviously that alone doesn’t bother him.

      • randy khan says:

        There was even a genuine Presidential Yacht in those days (and, actually, until 1977, when Jimmy Carter sold it).

      • TopsyJane says:

        FDR actually did go yachting quite a bit during his Presidency, but “he welcomed their hatred” so it’s all good.

        Not quite following this. FDR did challenge entrenched interests, and a good deal more than that. He was also born to money, and he wouldn’t have sneezed on the likes of Richard Branson.

  15. IM says:

    Stoller wins by a mile.

    The other one is just doing the usual spinning: The out party did invest a lot in this by-election and still they couldn’t get through! That is what Labour said after Stoke on Trent about UKIP.

  16. kvs says:

    I don’t understand the hand-wringing over a plurality finish in an 18-way race. It’s really fucking hard to do win an outright majority in that situation, especially in a district where you have a partisan disadvantage.

    For comparison sake, Trump didn’t win a majority share of the vote in any primary state until after there were only 2 other candidates.

    • FlipYrWhig says:

      See, they don’t try hard enough to win in every district, even when they might lose, except when they try too hard to win in districts that they might lose, because that’s a waste. Also Democrats need a 50 state strategy and stronger leadership, at the same time. Who the fuck knows, Jake, it’s Pundittown.

    • liberalrob says:

      Since he “only” got 48% of the vote and the 96 Republican candidates combined got the other 52%, he’s therefore doomed to lose the runoff 52-48.

      That’s the reasoning.

    • permafrost says:

      I blame Bernie Sanders for the Peters take. He made that exact same argument.

  17. Karen24 says:

    I have to vote for the Peters comment as more stupid, mainly because it’s so very counterproductive when the damned election for that seat is two months away. Ossoff is a 30-year-old ex-staffer who defeated three well-funded Republicans, one of whom once held statewide office in Georgia, by more than 20 points in a gerrymandered R district. He did this by raising gobs of money himself and working like a demented beaver for months. I would much prefer to be trying to find 2 points in an election that 20. This is a winnable seat, you effing defeatist moron. Keep your filthy pie hole shut until after the runoff.

  18. vacuumslayer says:

    Billionaire yachts are the worst. Give me a hobo yacht or GTFO

  19. D.N. Nation says:

    Osoff grew up in the boundaries of GA-6 and moved outside of its boundaries for his spouse’s job. Who cares?

    He literally lives down the road from its borders, and because this thing is gerrymandered to all hell and doesn’t actually rely on physical boundaries, there’s really no difference in where he has his house and where the district actually is. Granted, I live in Atlanta, so it’s easier to know this, but….you’re a reporter! Go find out stuff!

    The NYT has historically done an amusingly crummy job attempting to lean a thing about Atlanta when discussing it; its travel and food guides have for years talked about goddamn Gone with the Wind as some sort of starter reference point. At least the Falcons blew a 25-point lead and our Interstates are falling apart, so there’s at least a newer entry point into talking about the city.

    • Justin Runia says:

      The NYT has done a crappy job covering anything besides Presidential races since time immemorial. Which is why their reporters are already speculating about who is going to run in 2020.

    • sharculese says:

      Also too, let’s not forget that part of this is the state GOP’s fault for dragging NE Dekalb into the 6th to dilute the influence of Dem voters in the near suburbs.

      • EliHawk says:

        Though even then, before HRC the Dems were losing that slice of Dekalb. Nunn and Carter came closest there but still lost: Within the 6th, Nunn lost Cobb 66-31, Fulton 61-37, and Dekalb 49.5-48.2, while Carter lost Cobb 67-30, Fulton 62-31, and Dekalb 51-46. They had no reason to think Hillary Fucking Clinton would get 57% of the vote there, any more than they expected 10% swings to her elsewhere in the district.

  20. Manny Kant says:

    Shouldn’t we expect more of a “straight news” reporter for the NYT than we do of Matt Stoller?

  21. vacuumslayer says:

    late entry! late entry!

  22. DrDick says:

    Obviously the ticket to a lucrative career as a pundit is to suffer massive permanent brain damage.

  23. liberal says:

    Is there any truth to the claims I’ve seen that Ossoff isn’t running on the issues, just like HRC’s campaign?

  24. SNF says:

    Framing the divides in the Dem party as pro-Obama vs. anti-Obama will not end well for Stoller’s side.

  25. msdc says:

    In any “Hack of the Day” contest involving Matt Stoller, Stoller always wins.

    But this Peters kid has got moxie! Peters, I want 140 characters on why the Dems should nominate Ivanka and I want them on my desk now!

  26. awarrens says:

    RE: Peters…The only explanation is that he saw Cillizza fail upwards so spectacularly that he thought it wise to follow in those tracks.

  27. Harkov311 says:

    I’m really getting quite tired of this notion that you can’t be rich or have rich friends and still be a liberal.

    Fuck off, Stoller.

  28. ColBatGuano says:

    You should definitely hold your breath for that. Starting now.

  29. Roger Ailes says:

    Stoller yacht to off himself right now.

    http://www.usspotomac.org/

  30. SNF says:

    The only people talking about Chelsea running in 2020 are people who hate her but desperately want to be able to bash the Clintons again.

    • StillWithHer says:

      The fact that Hillary lost and left us in this mess means we never ran out of reasons to hate the Clintons.

      Chelsea and her wildly inept post-election media push are just that delicious soupcon of frosting on top

  31. sharculese says:

    There’s this thing called ‘growing the fuck up’ that you need to look into.

  32. jpgray says:

    Criticizing the Dem party strategy from the left means never having to say you’re sorry.

    Since running a true top-down slate of candidates with your preferred views has never been tried, whether today or in ANY PAST ERA KNOWN TO HUMANKIND, your leftist criticism can point to failures when they happen as evidence of the need for a change. If the only real test is to try the approach in full, and the left route has never been tested, then you are forever safe from inconsistency.

    But you’re also kind of useless. What’s always lacking is any kind of clear, practical path to success. Do any of these critics run for office? Why not? From where are these candidates supposed to appear?

    And that to me is the real question, and what needs attention.

    How do you feel, LGMers, about running for office tomorrow? It often is passed over, but can we make note that they are very strange creatures, the people who seek public office at a national level? What is our system selecting for? What sort of person looks at all this and thinks, “yes, I’ll throw in here.”

    My wife and I were just recently talking about a very superficial point – did you ever notice how uniformly unattractive pols are? The exceptions always seem to enjoy a huge advantage, so why not a cavalcade of hotties always?

    Our working theory is that those with the drive, resume, and sang froid / delusion necessary to face life-shredding gigs, if attractive, have far better avenues to success open to them than politics. The attractive pols that come to mind always seem to have a great unusual pressure on them to pursue a public political life (Obama, JFK depending on your taste).

    A shallow thing to examine, but you could get much more substantive on the question. What are the demographics of race runners and why do they hop in? What keeps others out? Are we at a natural disadvantage as a liberal party based on this sort of thing? Should we take some fliers on nobodies? What would make you run for office? Is our politics working?

    • Personally, the only thing that could convince me to run for office would be to be an entirely different person. I hate having my privacy invaded. If I ran for office, I would no longer have any privacy. I’ve discussed a lot of aspects of my personal life online, but I’ve done that under a pseudonym. People who know me in real life won’t trace these writings to me. Some of the things I’ve discussed (notably, my gender identity) could conceivably place me in real danger if they were public knowledge. All of these things would almost certainly come out if I ran for office.

      I also have a lengthy history of opinionated writings online that will piss off large numbers of people. In fifteen or twenty years, this may not matter; there will be so many people with such writings that voters may shrug their shoulders and say, “Eh, whatever” when someone wrote something ten years ago that seems controversial now. Maybe the same thing will even happen with nude pictures. But we’re definitely not there yet.

      And I have a lot of qualities that would make me unelectable, anyway. I’m agnostic. I live in a very red district, and making affectations at some sort of religion would probably be required to win office here. I don’t have any desire to do this. I’m also socialist and sympathetic to anarchism. Neither of these will get me elected here. Plus, as mentioned, my gender identity. I might be able to overcome the agnosticism or the gender identity, but all of them together are a deal-breaker.

      Not to mention, I’m simply not very good with people. I’m a tremendous introvert. I have trouble making eye contact with strangers for even short periods of time, and large crowds exhaust me. I’m bad at remembering names even under the best of circumstances. I don’t fake enthusiasm well.

      And running for office means putting your plans on hold for a long time; it’s expensive, and there’s no guarantee of any payoff. Even if you win, the task of actually working within the system is likely to be gruelling. Most of the work for this isn’t glamorous and you often have to start at the bottom.

      And some districts may even be dangerous for people with certain views to run in. I don’t really expect mine to be that bad, but there are some where I’d be afraid to run purely because I’d be afraid some gun-wielding shithead might try to gun me down.

      If my personality were different and I didn’t have some of those deal-breakers, I probably would strongly consider running for office. We definitely need sincerely well-intentioned to go into politics and try to improve them, and some of them are going to have to work within the system. (It’s just as important to work from outside as well by putting pressure on elected leaders and building labour organisation and so on.) But I’m definitely not the person to do it.

      Anyway, I suspect a lot of the factors I’ve mentioned contribute to why it’s difficult to find candidates for office. There have been programs to try to get more young people to do it, and IIRC in response to the shitgibbon’s election large numbers of women in particular resolved to start running for office.

    • PunditusMaximus says:

      I’ll probably end up running locally in 20 years or so. I’d never consider anything above that; I have a life, and some of that life is on Facebook, and conservatives would threaten to murder my friends and family. Just not worth it.

    • Hob says:

      I myself am a non-starter for fairly similar reasons to what CassandraLeo mentioned, besides which, I don’t think I’d be any good at all at being in government.

      The one person I know who has run for office is a guy I went to high school with, who was extremely nerdy like me, but much more focused and ambitious. He did well in science and academia, then decided to get into politics for what I thought were fairly good reasons: 1. someone’s gotta do it, 2. the Republicans were fucking up everything he held dear, 3. there seemed to be a slight opportunity to unseat a particularly loathsome GOP Congressman who’d been representing our district for way too long. He lost the primary pretty badly though (maybe better than expected for a total unknown, but still) as the local party was already pretty firmly committed to a known quantity, who went on to not do particularly well in the general, to no one’s real surprise.

      Unfortunately, that experience seems to have convinced him that the real problem is the Democratic Party: he got pretty deep into the dead-end-Berner stuff (despite apparently not being all that hot for Sanders per se), “Donna Brazile rigged the primaries and if you think that doesn’t make any sense then you’re a status-quo-loving elitist” etc. That pissed me off so badly that we had a probably-permanent falling out, and I ended up thinking (and, unfortunately, telling him) that it might’ve even been just as well he wasn’t elected to office, due to what I saw as the incredibly poor reasoning on display and a temperament that’s almost as bad as mine. But I have no idea if I’m right about that. It might be that someone I can’t stand as a political commentator could still be an effective legislator; I know he’s smart in ways I’m not, and he had the energy for campaigning, at least. I doubt he’ll try again, though.

    • bw says:

      My wife and I were just recently talking about a very superficial point – did you ever notice how uniformly unattractive pols are? The exceptions always seem to enjoy a huge advantage, so why not a cavalcade of hotties always?

      Our working theory is that those with the drive, resume, and sang froid / delusion necessary to face life-shredding gigs, if attractive, have far better avenues to success open to them than politics.

      Most of the people who historically went into politics were lawyers. Most of the people who become lawyers had to first jump through the hoops of the LSAT, law school, and the bar exam. There aren’t all that many people who are both a) bright enough to jump through those hoops and b) are physically attractive at a level 2+ standard deviations above the mean.

      One of my pet hypotheses is that around the late 1970s, as Reagan was on the rise, the GOP realized this dynamic could be gamed. Their ideology dictated that they couldn’t have very attractive policies, so they tried to mess around with especially b): to see if they could get more physically attractive people to run. Maybe not people at an actual movie star level of hotness, but better than they’d been doing before and better than Democrats (who valued competence first) were doing.

      So, yeah, they still had a lot of candidates who looked like bleached hogs (James Sensenbrenner and some other hideous-looking obese guy whose name I forgot), but they ended up winning lots of races with a pack of meatheads who looked like they’d played QB on the high school football team: John Ensign, Connie Mack, Steve Largent (literally a NFL star), George Allen, etc.

      tl:dr maybe we really do need to get George Clooney and Theo Epstein to start running in high-profile races.

  33. ForkyMcSpoon says:

    If certain the people who comment on this site were actual media pundits, instead of merely anonymous internet pundits, they could be contenders for this title.

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