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Clinton, Biden, Kerry, and the Dilemma of Women in Politics

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It’s hard to isolate a single key graf from the Rebeca Traister piece we discussed earlier, but this is certainly one of them:

The anger at Clinton from some quarters — in tandem with the beatification of her from others — reminds us just how much this election tapped into unresolved and still largely unexplored issues around women and power. In the aftermath, the media has performed endless autopsies. We have talked about Wisconsin, about Comey, about Russia, about faulty messaging and her campaign’s internal conflicts. We have fought over unanswerable questions, like whether Sanders would have won and whether Clinton was particularly mismatched to this political moment, and about badly framed conflicts between identity politics and economic issues. But postmortems offering rational explanations for how a pussy-grabbing goblin managed to gain the White House over an experienced woman have mostly glossed over one of the well-worn dynamics in play: A competent woman losing a job to an incompetent man is not an anomalous Election Day surprise; it is Tuesday in America.

Let’s make a couple of instructive comparisons. Look — I like Joe Biden. He was a good vice president. But I still find the cottage industry of “Biden woulda won [if he wasn’t somehow, despite being Vice President of the United States, brutally suppressed by the Clinton machine]” assertions amazing. Lets review Joe Biden’s history of seeking presidential nominations, shall we? In 1988, Biden was forced to drop out of the race amid a plagiarism scandal. This race was ultimately won by noted superstar political talent Michael Dukakis, who really did run the inept and underachieving campaign Clinton is accused of running. In 2008, when Clinton barely lost to arguably the foremost political talent the Democratic Party has produced in a half-century, Biden ran a bungling, ineffectual campaign that ended in Iowa with zero delegates. If I may state the obvious, there is zero chance that a woman with that track record would be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. If the answer is that she would if she were vice president, the odds that a woman with Biden’s track record would be nominated as vice president are also roughly 0%.

It’s also not a coincidence that Clinton is treated with far more vituperation on the left than Biden is. Biden is very similar to Clinton — if anything historically a few clicks to the right. But can you imagine, say, Doug Henwood publishing His Turn: Biden Targets the Presidency if Clinton had announced she wasn’t running? And can you imagine a book title implying that it’s somehow unusual and unseemly for a male politician to seek power? I’m not saying gender is the only factor here — Clinton Derangement Syndrome is complicated, and the left variant has roots in very legitimate criticisms of Bill Clinton’s deeply compromised presidency. But it surely is a factor.

Or take John Kerry. Like Clinton he’s a DNC-friendly moderate liberal who voted for the Iraq War. He lost to George W. Bush and lost lost, being -3 million votes rather than +3 million. I think Kerry’s campaign was fine and he did about as well as can be expected, to be clear, but this line of defense is not available to people who think that elections are the sole responsibility of the candidates and discussing structural factors is just sour grapes. (Kerry’s more favorable Electoral College map, by the way, is another data point indicating that the unusual 2016 map was much more about Trump than Clinton, unless you think that the windsurfing patrician from Massachusetts had some special connection with the midwetsern white working class or Bob Shrum is a tactical SUPERGENIUS.) And yet, at the time there was considerably less agonizing on the left about whether he was worth supporting — Nader got .38% of the vote, with Cornel West and many other prominent Naderites endorsing Kerry. And after the fact there has been no significant faction of the left that just about shits in its pants every time Kerry gives an interview or commencement speech, or objected to Kerry continuing as senator or accepting the position of Secretary of State because he was obligated to retire from public life after having lost to George W. Bush. Again, I’m not saying that gender is the only factor here, but it surely is a factor.

Speaking of which, one of our own commenters gave a perfect summary of the latest round of Clinton Derangement Syndrome:

You know, I’m getting tired of all this. Dukakis went away. Gore went away. Mondale went away. McGovern went away.

She’s threatening to turn into William Jennings Bryan, who never went away.

The party desperately needs to develop a new generation of leaders. Those leaders need to have names that are not “Clinton”, both because of electoral reasons (baggage and the fact that the party has moved away from their cautious style of politics) and fairness reasons (we need to stand against family connections as the determinant of who gets ahead).

She’s been sucking up a lot of oxygen since the election. Chelsea has sucked up some too, and so has Bernie Sanders for that matter. It’s not good for the party. Losers need to go away. It’s harsh, but I really wish the Clintons would just go enjoy their retirement somewhere so liberalism can move on and work on 2018 and 2020 without their participation.

If I might be permitted to belabor the obvious:

  • The whole “consuming oxygen” thing is the kind of buzzword used by hacks like Mark Halperin that makes absolutely no sense under any inspection. Political discourse is not zero-sum game. Resistance to Trump is a positive-sum game. Clinton (or Biden, or Bernie) giving a speech or interview doesn’t prevent other Democratic leadership from emerging. The whole concept is nonsensical. Not only Biden and Bernie but Clinton have a lot of fans, and they can all play a useful role in mobilizing opposition to Trump. (Part of the problem here, as Trasiter’s story gets at, is that people who consumingly despise Hillary Clinton seem to be incapable of believing that anybody does like her.) Clinton, like Biden or Bernie, might also do some things that aren’t helpful and should be open to criticism, but the idea that there’s some problem with her saying things in public in principle is utterly absurd.
  • There is no chance that Clinton will run for the Democratic nomination in 2020. And even if she was planning on running, whether or not she gives a commencement speech is neither here not there to her imaginary 2020 run anyway.
  • The tradition of losing presidential candidates going away and never being heard from again is entirely imaginary. Jimmy Carter didn’t. Al Gore didn’t. Kerry, as we’ve discussed, didn’t. Mitt Romney didn’t. John McCain continues to average roughly 2.8 Sunday talk show appearances a week. And losing candidates remaining public figures did not suppress other leaders from emerging or influence the direction of the party in any way, for the obvious reason that CONSUMING OXYGEN is an asinine concept that very dumb pundits use to sound sophisticated.
  • The invocation of Chelsea Clinton really gives away the show. She’s not running for anything. There is no evidence she ever intends to run for anything. Her Twitter feed and her vanity award from a Hollywood trade publication have zero impact on American politics. The only reason she “consumes” any “oxygen” is that some obsessive Clinton haters left and right are also palpably desperate to have more Clintons to kick around.
  • If you don’t want to talk about Hillary Clinton, don’t talk about her. Her giving a commencement speech about the need for fresh leadership at her alma mater doesn’t demand discussion. “I wish Hillary Clinton would stop forcing us to discuss her” is, ah, protesting rather too much.

As I’ve said before — and as Clinton says in the interview — the idea that we should ignore real and ongoing issues like vote suppression and ratfucking by the FBI and the Russian state because it would detract from discussions of how someone who will never run for president again sucks isn’t about winning elections or resisting Trump. It’s pure Clinton Derangement Syndrome, and in at least some measure it helps explain why there have been zero women presidents in American history.

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  • Q.E.Dumbass

    in at least some measure it helps explain why there have been zero presidents in American history

    Well this was news to me

    Speaking of Cornel:

    In fact, one of the only worthy contributions an Asshole can make to society is to go up to a Douchebag and inform him of how much of a Douchebag he is and to button his shirt up, change pants, put down that phone and shut the hell up. It is probably the only time an Asshole will receive, and be worthy of, a standing ovation.”

    • N__B

      The phrase “zero presidency” brings to mind Trump as a kamikaze.

    • tsam

      Ugh. Sad day when I have to side with a white douchebro against a black intellectual.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Well to be fair, in the given analogy – where your sympathies lie with mine – Bill Maher is the asshole & Cornel West is the douchebag. Although Maher is arguably less of an asshole than a butthole. (And, of course, “asshole” and “douchebag” are not interchangeable, although “douche” can be considered a flanderization of assholishness).

        • Origami Isopod

          I think “butthole” is too mild for Maher tbh. “Suppurating anal fissure” gets closer to the truth, but “asshole” works well enough.

          This is aside from the fact that he happens to be correct on this particular issue.

      • Junipermo

        I permanently dismissed Cornel West as someone to take seriously in the aftermath of Dylann Roof’s racist slaughter in Charleston.

        Several family members of the victims talked about how they were trying to or did forgive Roof, and West was a guest on some NPR call in show. I don’t remember the exact words, but he criticized these family members for saying that they forgave, because they were supposed to be angry (instead of docile), taking to the streets and making a political stand against racism in the wake of the murders. It might be one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard a man say–no understanding or empathy at all for the family members, for whom this was a personal catastrophe for which they had to grieve, and who must have been taking solace in their religious beliefs about forgiveness.

        Like I said, I have zero interest in anything West has to say about anything now.

        • tsam

          I didn’t know about that, but that extinguishes the last of my sympathy for him. That’s just fucking cruel. While I understand what his larger point is, directing that point at people who forgave in the wake of this–these people are due for sainthood, not criticism. I only WISH I was as big a person as these people are.

          • Dilan Esper

            While I understand what his larger point is

            I don’t think West even has a larger point there.

            Forgiving people, even for serious wrongs, is simply not something to be condemned. It’s a personal prerogative of victims.

            I know a woman who forgave her rapist. Is she part of “rape culture”? It just boggles my mind that someone intelligent can think that way. (Especially since West is actually an expert on theology, which forms part of the core of his academic work. Did he read the Sermon on the Mount and say “that’s bullshit!”?)

            • tsam

              I think what he’s getting at is that we all need to rise up and condemn this act, but condemnation of the act and forgiving the actor aren’t exclusive acts and he’s absolutely nuts to be criticizing these victims. That’s beyond comprehension. It’s mean and nasty and just gross.

              • Junipermo

                But he very specifically and deliberately targeted criticism at the family members of Roof’s victims. He wasn’t making a general statement about how we all need to condemn and fight back against racism; lord knows the man talks enough and well enough to have said that if that’s what he meant. You are right that what he said was mean and nasty and gross.

                • Brien Jackson

                  He’s objectifying them to his own ends and incapable of caring about them as people.

                • tsam

                  Yeah–I’m certainly done with him after that. That’s just inexcusable, and he should know better.

                • Junipermo

                  I found the link where West made his remarks. It was on a show about how churches discussed the Charleston Massacre.

                  My recollection above was wrong. He said their forgiveness was premature, that it was bad theology that was reflective of “niggerized Christianity” of the black church, and that it indicates that the family members didn’t correctly value the lives of their murdered relatives, because the forgiveness came before any repentance on Roof’s part.

                  I’m not religious, so I can’t speak to the issue of “bad theology”. As a human being, I can only be gobsmacked at the inability of Cornel West to empathize with traumatized people trying to survive their trauma, instead choosing to lecture them about not being on point with their Christianity.

                  So, I’m still done with him.

                  http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-did-your-church-discuss-charleston/

                • My recollection above was wrong.

                  You know, I was expecting this to lead into something that made me think better of West, not far, far worse.

                • sibusisodan

                  The gospels have Jesus pronouncing/requesting forgiveness on/for his executors as he’s being executed. I’m not aware that they were repentant at this point, and I’m certainly not going to tell him he’s wrong!

                • tsam

                  Holy shit–

                  Yeah–I’m with Stepped–that’s even worse.

                  Forgiveness isn’t supposed to have anything to do with repentance.

                  I can only be gobsmacked at the inability of Cornel West to empathize with traumatized people trying to survive their trauma, instead choosing to lecture them about not being on point with their Christianity.

                  Yeah this.

                  I don’t even know what to do with all of that, so I’m just going to walk away.

                • Hob

                  It’s arguably even worse because West isn’t talking from a perspective outside of Christianity, where he could take issue with the whole concept of cheek-turning and unconditional forgiveness. He claims quite loudly to be speaking from a Christian tradition, although what he gets from that tradition (other than a rhetorical style, and a love of messianic language in general) has never been clear to me.

          • efgoldman

            I only WISH I was as big a person as these people are.

            I am not a believer or religious in any way, but damn, you have to respect the shit out of people who’s belief system allows forgiveness in that hideous situation.

            • tsam

              It’s a strength I’m nearly positive I don’t have. I don’t know if I could find that in myself.

            • Origami Isopod

              How they chose to deal with their grief is none of my business, and certainly none of West’s. That said, I think forgiveness is grossly overrated on both a personal and political level, and the pressure on oppressed people to forgive those who have wronged them is obscene.

              • blackbox

                This is an inane comment. There is no “pressure” on anyone to forgive serious wrongs in really any culture.

        • shah8

          I think that I get what West is saying, and in the vague, “someone else with a sense of compassion and audience can say this better”, I agree with it.

          I remember the general discussion about “forgiveness” when this happened. It was always deeply problematic, and a non-asshole West (I don’t care about him either) could have gotten the message across. These sort of public performances of “forgiviness” tend to serve white social needs and prioritize that over justice for black people or even the genuine sort of forgiveness that people need to move on.

          • blackbox

            These sort of public performances of “forgiviness” tend to serve white social needs and prioritize that over justice for black people or even the genuine sort of forgiveness that people need to move on.

            This is not a thing. Racists say grieving black families should “move on” in the same turn of phrase as “suck it up and move on.” That’s obvious. But nobody demands forgiveness.

  • King Goat

    If being a woman was a factor for presidential candidates so obviously opening us open to this clear, significant gender disadvantage why did so many people get behind one for the nomination? Was it more important for us to be true to some principle than to put us in the best position to win? That sounds like what Stein voters are (rightly) berated for doing.

    • DamnYankees

      Is this the “why are you hitting yourself” argument?

      • King Goat

        I don’t think it’s Clinton’s fault re any sexism she ran into, if that’s what you’re asking. I just don’t know how ‘well, she was bound to lose there’s so much sexism in the electorate’ is hard to square with ‘we’d like to win the general, let’s put a woman up as our candidate!’

        • humanoid.panda

          Except that studies show that misogyny doesn’t block women from winning- they only make it marginally harder. In same way, one could make the abstract argument that a black candidate with middle name Hussein was sub-optimal for dem odds in 2008.

          • King Goat

            It doesn’t block but it does disadvantage significantly? Then why get behind someone with that disadvantage as a nominee? I just don’t get people who said ‘here’s our strongest candidate, let’s get behind her’ and also ‘ah, any woman candidate was facing near insurmountable odds, that’s why we’ve never had one.’

            • TroubleMaker13

              So you’re saying that you support the nomination of conservative Democratic blue dogs in red districts?

              • King Goat

                I don’t think that’s necessarily related, but yes of course I do.

            • Joseph Slater

              Because in the actually existing world, ALL candidates have some sort of disadvantage — real or just potentially exploitable — including, but not limited to, old Jewish socialist guys and the other folks running in the Dem primaries. One never knows in advance how much a weakness will hurt, and one never can know.

              Now, if you want to say many folks underestimated the amount of sexism in the electorate, you might be right. Was that a reason not to support Hillary during the primaries? I’m going to say no, for a lot of reasons.

              • King Goat

                You mean if you knew at the time it was going to be such a significant disadvantage for her, like with hindsight and time travel, you wouldn’t look for another choice?

                • Joseph Slater

                  You are imagining a political strategy based on being able to time-travel? Because if I get to do that, I can imagine a whole bunch of things I might do. But I still wouldn’t be able to pick between “Flawed Hillary” and “Unflawed Alternative Candidate.” I still would be faced with other candidates who had flaws. And even if *I* would do something different — and for the record, I voted for Bernie in the primary — that doesn’t mean others would/should.

                  But since we’re playing these sorts of imaginary games, let’s now suppose that during the primaries you got a message from the future. That message was, “I will tell you one thing about the presidential election: Hillary Clinton will win the general election by nearly 3 million votes.” Would you have thought sexism was such a significant disadvantage that we shouldn’t vote for her?

                • King Goat

                  I didn’t introduce time travel. You said “if you want to say many folks underestimated the amount of sexism in the electorate, you might be right. Was that a reason not to support Hillary during the primaries?” And my response was, even if you had not misunderstimated, I mean, you somehow knew it was going to hurt her as bad as it did, you’d still think that wasn’t a reason to pick her? ‘She’ll lose because of this, but we should still go with her!’?

                • Joseph Slater

                  I’ll first note that no, you introduced the idea of time travel or something equally not-reality-based by way of “if you had known then what you know now.”

                  Second, I answered: if I had known sexism was going to be a bigger disadvantage than I had expected, I STILL WOULD HAVE HAD TO COMPARE THAT WITH OTHER, ACTUALLY-EXISTING CHOICES WHO HAD REAL DISADVANTAGES TOO.

                  Third, I’ll note for the record that you didn’t answer my hypo about you knowing that she was going to win the popular by almost 3 million.

                  Finally, if you define the question as “”She’ll lose because of this, but we should still go with her?” no, I wouldn’t have gone with her [actually, again, for the record, I voted for Bernie in the primaries, but I believe Hillary was an entirely defensible choice]. Anyway, it’s a meaningless question because WE COULDN’T HAVE KNOWN at the time that she would have lost because we DON’T have time travel. And of course there were other reasons besides sexism why she lost, and of course it was a very fluky and unlikely loss, given the popular vote margin.

                  I might ask, if you want to pursue this odd hypothetical, do I get to know in advance how the other Dem primary candidates would have done in the general for sure before I cast my primary vote? On second thought, never mind, let’s not pursue it.

            • Arouet

              It’s really simple. I, and many others, believe that Clinton’s margin of electability over Bernie was greater than the electoral disadvantage she faced being a woman.

              • King Goat

                I forget that around here the idea that we were long ago fated to only choose between Bernie and Hillary is Gospel. Nothing, including lots of people here who proactively supported Hillary early on taking a contrary stance could have steered us from those tracks fate inevitably steered us towards. Which is why JEB! was the GOP nominee!

                • FlipYrWhig

                  One day we’ll discover the answer to the mystery of why the candidate who ran and got the most votes from actual people somehow prevailed over the one who ran and got fewer votes AND EVEN the ones who didn’t run at all.

                • Arouet

                  By the time I got to vote it was HRC or Bernie. If I’d gotten to vote earlier I could’ve chosen Martin O’Malley, whoopee. I dont control who I get to vote for, sadly enough.

              • nixnutz

                For my part I didn’t consider electability at all because I have no faith in my ability to handicap these things. And if there’s any takeaway from 2016 it has to be to ignore anybody who expresses any certainty in these things. If Sam Wang’s insights can be so useless I sure don’t trust yours or mine.

            • Chetsky

              Love the way you twisted h.p’s words. Please, more! We demand to be entertained! MOAR LULZ!

          • xq

            Women appear to have a slight advantage in congressional elections (e.g, see here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/106591290105400111) though there are different interpretations of the results.

            Hard to extrapolate to the presidency since we have such little data on presidential races, but I doubt it’s a disadvantage for any woman who passes all the barriers towards becoming a serious primary contender.

            • I don’t know much detail, but I think the research on women candidates is gender may be close to neutral in a general election for legislative/Congressional offices, but that it’s a slight but still real negative for women running for executive offices.

              • Rob in CT

                It seems plausible to me that executive offices trigger more of a “need a manly daddy” impulse in voters.

            • Little Chak

              Does it become a disadvantage when, say, the woman’s primary opponent on the left begins running with the conservative “darn-this-affirmative-action-bulls*#t” line that she only as popular as she was because she was a woman, and that wasn’t good enough?

          • louislouis

            I think the difference was that even if others argued that about Obama, he downplayed it himself. IIRC, he’d say things like, “some people will vote for me because I’m black, some people will vote against me.” Obviously the man’s not an idiot and knew what was out there in terms of voter racism, but he didn’t want it at the forefront. By contrast, Clinton ran strongly on the theme of being a woman overcoming sexist barriers and took pains to argue that she was being treated unfairly based on her gender at every possible opportunity (as with the Bernie “shouting” comment). So there was some dissonance with the “most electable candidate” claim, which was pointed out as far back as the primaries.

            • Scott Lemieux

              took pains to argue that she was being treated unfairly based on her gender at every possible opportunity

              This script you’re writing for an HBO documdrama about an entirely fictional primary candidate is pretty lame.

        • cthulhu

          With Clinton I think there is a difference. Could a female candidate with less “baggage” than Clinton have won in 2016? Perhaps, even despite the inherent sexism in the US. But much of CDS is from sexism that has metastasized over her long career in the public eye. Often, when one is successful as a woman, it only gets worse for you over time in terms of people’s opinions of you.

          For example, there are plenty of male equivalents to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann but my experience tells me there’s an unusual amount of negative focus that continues to be placed on them.

          • John F

            For example, there are plenty of male equivalents to Sarah Palin

            Who? Trump?

            Michelle Bachmann

            sadly yes, there are, and many hold elective office.

          • ASV

            One ancillary takeaway from the announcement of this new anti-Pelosi Dem PAC is that baggage can be created when necessary, and credulous dopes within the party will gladly act as its porter.

            • cthulhu

              Just shout “neoliberal!” Seems to work on quite a few people. At this point the word seems to have lost all meaning other than “I don’t like you.”

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            Also people think that sexism applies to all women in the same ways.

            The fact that sex workers and stay-at-home moms are treated very differently doesn’t mean that only one can be a victim of sexism.

            The Lady MacBeth sexist trope is one that applies to Clinton that doesn’t apply to most other female politicians in the US. Her marriage to Bill creates opportunities for sexist narratives unavailable for use against Kirsten Gillibrand or Elizabeth Warren (or Jill Stein).

            Hence the constant refrain of “I would vote for a woman, just not THAT woman,” as if that proves that there was no sexism involved.

    • tsam

      Go to your closest community college and take a logic class, please.

    • Dilan Esper

      I think it’s perfectly possible to say both that (1) Hillary got a lot of unfair shit because of her gender and (2) there are also electoral advantages that will accrue to Democrats if they continue to nominate qualified women for office.

      • King Goat

        So it’s obvious that she lost because of sexism, but it was smart to pick her because it lays the groundwork for a later, less sexist time?

        • tsam

          The inverse: If we give up trying to get women elected, when do you think one is ever going to get elected? Being black was a deal breaker for about 230 years too, and is still a major roadblock for an average politician. Barack Obama was not average.

          • King Goat

            Is our goal to increase the odds of women winning or the party winning? I’m not sure how many of the women being deported or denied reproductive rights should be consoled with ‘well, we made ourselves more vulnerable but laid some very important groundwork for your daughters in the future!’

            If we thought misogyny had a decent chance of derailing Hillary as our nominee we shouldn’t have picked her.

            • Joseph Slater

              King, I know folks have told you this before in other threads, but for the record, there is no Central Committee that “picked” Hillary, and the selection that was done, through primary (and the occasional caucus) voting did not have on offer “Flawed Hillary” vs. “Unflawed Other Candidate.”

              • King Goat

                I don’t disagree. People picked Clinton. All those people especially those who early on supported her run, donated, volunteered, etc., resulting in her being such a strong front runner all did a foolish thing which resulted in helpin a goofy fascist beat us and become President.

                Now a lot of those people, looking to blame because it’s harder than learning from where you were so mistaken, have a few favorite targets. One is ‘she was a great pick after all, but it was sexism that did in Clinton.’ This ones particularly strange because we knew sexism existed and that she was a prime target for it when these people were telling us she’d make a great nominee…

                • so-in-so

                  Annnnd .. we are back to the B.S. “some OTHER candidate than HRC or Sanders, with no issues, would have magically appeared if only Dem primary voters had believed…”.

                  Lacking the time machine (damn Obama for not loaning it out) we had no reason to think that DJT could beat Clinton. By >100,000 votes across three states. While losing the popular vote.

                  At least the Bernie and (maybe) Biden supports have a candidate that tried or thought about running.

                • Junipermo

                  God, this is exhausting.

                  The reason HRC had such strong support within the party is because she earned it. Unlike another candidate who shall remain nameless, she’d been a registered Democrat for 40+ years. She worked to help other Democrats get elected. She held elective office as a Democrat. She served as Secretary of State. She built up relationships over a long period of time. She tried to address issues that key Democratic constituents cared about. And again, she didn’t just show up and start doing this a year before an election. She had been doing it for 40 years of her life.

                  You are implying that somehow she was unfairly “picked” instead of acknowledging that she earned what she got through her service to the party. You are also conveniently ignoring that she also earned the most votes in the primary, that voters chose her rather than someone who jumped the line and couldn’t be bothered to actually be a Democrat. That you and others continue to downplay that, and imply that somehow there was some unfair process that she took advantage of, is more evidence of just how deep the sexism against her runs, even amongst our supposed allies.

                  The people who are responsible for the election of Trump are the people that voted for him. Not people who had the audacity to vote for the most qualified candidate in the field. Not the primary voters who quite reasonably decided she was the best person for the job. Trump voters did this. Period.

                • Tom in BK

                  What Junipermo said. Times 2.9 million.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Unlike another candidate who shall remain nameless, she’d been a registered Democrat for 40+ years.

                  There’s validity to much of what you say, but this is not a point Hillary supporters should rely on. The fact that her opponent was not a party member is actually a reflection of the “clearing the field” that her supporters deny happened. It’s unprecedented that the second place finisher in a major party primary not be a party member. How could that possibly happen?

                  It’s pretty obvious why it did. Sanders is the one person who could run against Hillary who could not face any real sanction. They had no leverage over him. Everyone whom the Party had leverage over did not run.

                  The reason Hillary’s opponent was Sanders, at bottom, was because SHE WANTED IT TO BE SANDERS. Seriously. They did everything they could to convince Biden, Warren, etc., not to run. Given that, the attack of “he’s not really a Democrat” is more than a bit ironic.

                • King Goat

                  “The reason HRC had such strong support within the party is because she earned it. ”

                  With all due respect, I’m saying that all these reasons you point to are not good reasons to pick the nominee of your party if you think your party winning will do good, if so, then the only good reason is, will they win the general? I agree Clinton is heads and tails over Trump on paper and that she’s busted her butt selflessly for our party. In some cosmic sense she may have ‘deserved’ the nomination and it was ‘her turn.’ But that’s not the way to pick your nominee! You pick people who will win. If there are things that make them less likely to win, even if those things are bs in your eyes, you have to take them ultra-seriously. We’re not picking the town manager but the mayoral candidate, and if the mayoral candidate doesn’t win he never hires the town manager.

                • Joseph Slater

                  Yes, and it was an entirely defensible opinion that Hillary would have won in the general against Trump. The polls pretty much all predicted she would. And she actually did win the general by nearly 3 million.

                  You are asking Dem primary voters, as if they had a hive mind, to choose some other imaginary candidate (I remember that you don’t even argue Bernie would have won), when the one they picked came pretty much as close to winning as a candidate can while still actually losing. You do realize that a fluky close loss doesn’t mean that everyone should have known it would be a loss and therefore everyone should have . . . well, you don’t even specify what they should have done.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  I still don’t really get why KG’s argument isn’t “Hillary Clinton should not have run in the first place” but, instead, “when Hillary Clinton ran, the people who actually like her and think that she’d be a good president and had been waiting for her to have another shot for 8 years should have refrained from voting for her, because they should have been confident that their collective act of self-denial would provoke a chain reaction that would result in other candidates running, the best one winning, and no unanticipated consequences ever happening.” Nobody thinks or makes decisions this way.

                • Hob

                  FlipYrWhig: You’re right that that is the logical consequence of the stuff KG says, but it’s not an “argument.” It’s a game to get lots of people to waste lots and lots of time, and it’s clearly effective.

          • Dilan Esper

            I realize that in many areas of life, discrimination does elevate average white males, but has any President been average? All of them, good and bad, have had gigantic advantages even over other white males:

            Trump– successful businessman and television star, huge brand name
            Bush 43– son of a President, governor of Texas, owned a professional baseball team.
            Clinton– Rhodes scholar, governor of Arkansas
            Bush 41– congressman, CIA director, Vice President, son of a Senator
            Reagan– famous actor, governor of California
            Carter– submarine service, governor of Georgia
            Ford– longtime congressman
            Nixon– congressman, Senator, vice president, successful lawyer

            etc.

            So we wouldn’t expect Barack Obama, or anyone elected President, white or black, to be average. What you need to do is have the political system put more blacks and women (and atheists and gays and Jews and Muslims) in positions where they can demonstrate how exceptional they are.

            • brad

              Mhm, Trump and GW sure do have similar backgrounds, and achievements, to Bill and Obama.
              I don’t take you seriously for a moment and have been open about it, but this is fucking stupid to claim.

              • Dilan Esper

                Not similar at all, brad. But none of them are “average”.

                • brad

                  Which you’ve made into an utterly meaningless term when you want to use it to conflate GW’s history of drunken fuckups with Bill Clinton rising from pretty literally nothing to POTUS. Sure, they were either incredibly talented men who rose to prominence because of their charisma and intellects, or they were inept, incurious, idiot children of great privilege who had it handed to them.
                  Same difference.

                • Dilan Esper

                  brad:

                  Let’s take Bush 43. You mention his drunken fuckups. There are tons of recovering alcoholics in Texas who have drunken fuckups in their past. And yet, none of them are going to be President.

                  That’s my point. It’s not an equivalence. It’s simply an acknowledgment that only people who are exceptional in various ways can ever aspire to the Presidency.

                • brad

                  This, btw, is why I call this line of “thought” fucking stupid. You might as well be refuting yourself.

                  And just to say it, what you’re deliberately ignoring is agency. Clinton worked his ass off to get where he was. Bush failed upwards.

            • tsam

              How do those factors not compare to First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State? That’s a particularly sharp resume for a chief executive. Hillary Clinton wasn’t average either. There was no shame in nominating her for the job. She was objectively qualified and capable.

              • Dilan Esper

                In 2016, Hillary was immensely qualified to run for President.

                Not the “most qualified” as some of her supporters said (HW Bush was more qualified, for instance), but far more qualified than most major party nominees.

                As I said above, what we want to do is advance more women and minorities into that position of being immensely qualified to run. That should be a priority of the Democratic Party.

                • brad

                  I’m going to stop after this, but let’s just point out that Dilan thinks a 93 year old wheelchair bound man is more qualified to lead the country than Hillary.

                • Dilan Esper

                  brad:

                  WTF? Are you that dense? Obviously I was talking about HW Bush IN 1988.

                  Seriously, I fundamentally don’t understand some of the comments that appear in LGM threads. People seem to love to intentionally miss the point, intentionally distort people’s arguments, and intentionally create strawmen.

                  HW Bush was a more qualified candidate, when he ran, than Hillary was when she ran. Do I have to write it like that? Do you really not get that this is what I was saying?

                • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

                  Seriously, I fundamentally don’t understand some of the comments that appear in LGM threads. People seem to love to intentionally miss the point, intentionally distort people’s arguments, and intentionally create strawmen.

                  This is way too common, but I usually find it most deployed by the right.

                • brad

                  Or this is the regard you’re held in here. I’ve seen you resort to all sorts of ridiculous counterfactual bullshit when boxed in.
                  My mistake, your reputation.

                • I’m going to stop after this, but let’s just point out that Dilan thinks a 93 year old wheelchair bound man is more qualified to lead the country than Hillary.

                  Oh my lord. I think Dilan is completely off his nut on this and many other issues but this is is comically disingenuous. George H.W. Bush was not 93 or in a wheelchair when he ran for president.

                • brad

                  As I said, my mistake.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Thanks for the principled defense, stepped, even though I know you disagree with me wrt Hillary.

        • rm

          It’s smart to pick the best candidate who puts themself (gender-neutral singular they!) forward, and it’s smart to increase representation of women in elected offices, and you are making foolishly circular arguments.

          Also, Clinton won in almost any likely scenario — we got unlucky in several ways at once, because slim chances sometimes do happen. The largest factor in giving this disaster even a slim chance to happen was obvious, overwhelmingly pervasive, extreme misogyny in our culture. The symbolic power of the presidency + people’s unwillingness to be “under” a female boss = a vicious backlash.

          The campaign wasn’t “groundwork,” it was a victory that got snatched away by a confluence of nasty things happening at once.

          • King Goat

            So it was bad luck combined with misogyny creating dynamics in unforeseeable ways?

            • Pat

              With a large helping of foreign involvement working solely to elect Trump.

            • rm

              Yes, including what Pat said, and the result was like (to use an analogy I’m sure we all understand) throwing a 20-sided die, where Clinton would win with 1-19, and Trump would win if it came up 20. It came up 20. She had this advantage in spite of all the many factors working against her, because she was an excellent candidate who ran a good campaign. I can’t think of another actually existing Democrat (or Independent playing Democrat) who could have done better in 2016.

              • King Goat

                I think Scott was correct when he said Trump was an ‘objectively bad candidate running an objectively bad campaign.’ Losing to him inspires the question of whether Hillary was a good pick at all.

                Look, the currently accepted reason is that she lost because Comey screwed her over and the press covered it so much. But it was well known that she was the subject of an investigation by the FBI which was led by a lifelong GOP operative and that the press has long disliked her and played her ‘scandals’ up. This was a situation rather unique to Clinton, and yet people still pushed for her early on and then voted for her. Then it came back to bite her and them in the ass, but this was foreseeable to a disturbingly high level. People just ignored this kind of tinderbox which was surely going to be around a lot open flame because of other less strategic thinking that was dominating them.

                • so-in-so

                  Sure, the FBI, for the FRST TIME EVER, choosing to intervene in an election, in a very B.S. way, while hiding another ongoing investigation into the other side’s possible collusion with a foreign power, was TOTALLY foreseeable.

              • humanoid.panda

                She had this advantage in spite of all the many factors working against her, because she was an excellent candidate who ran a good campaign. I can’t think of another actually existing Democrat (or Independent playing Democrat) who could have done better in 2016.

                Look, I have deep respect for Hillary, gladly voted for her in the general (with some reluctance in the primary), and I think she got a terribly raw deal, but this is a very problematic statement: the fact is that HRC got to the finish line with the 2nd worse favorability of any candidate since polling ever started. Do you really think that if she doesn’t run and the race becomes free-for-all, the winner, generic Democrat X, can’t get to Romney level favorability, and thus ensure victory?

        • Dilan Esper

          I don’t think she lost “because of sexism”, per se. I think, honestly, she lost because Trump was a rather unique celebrity candidate who was able to withstand stuff that would have been fatal to any other candidate. Although there’s some sexism baked into that cake, of course. But it’s more than that– a male Dem candidate would have also had trouble against Trump’s celebrity candidacy.

          But I do think there are a ton of demographic trends within the electorate as a whole and within the Democratic Party that favor female candidates.

          In addition and in this sense agreeing with your point, the trailblazers in politics often lose. Al Smith lost, and JFK won. Jesse Jackson lost, and Barack Obama won. It’s a sad fact about discrimination that you often need someone to soften up the prejudices of people before you get the breakthrough. Hillary took one for the team, and if, as I think is going to happen, a woman is soon elected President, she’s going to be remembered as someone who helped make that happen.

          • King Goat

            I think sexism was significant, but her widely perceived membership in ‘the Establishment’ was what did her in. In exit polls majorities said Clinton was more trustworthy, would do better on the economy and national security, was seen as having a better temperament, etc. She lost big with those who said ‘this country needs a change.’

            • Pat

              And she failed to secure the increasingly important Russian oligarch endorsement.

              • King Goat

                Russia’s main contribution played to Clinton as the establishment candidate because she was vulnerable to such a charge.

              • Dilan Esper

                There’s an interesting point to be made about the Clintons and Russia:

                You can argue that Bill’s decisions in the 1990’s regarding NATO expansion, the sponsorship and support of kleptocrats and oligarchs, and the desire to create a new world order where the US would dominate and Russia would no longer be a superpower were key factors in the rise of Putin, which of course came back to bite his wife in the end.

                From a standpoint of American policy, of course, we can’t tolerate Putin’s interference in our elections and indeed it is an outrage that more counter-measures have not been implemented against it. But from a standpoint of Russian policy, Putin’s perception of Hillary Clinton was not inaccurate. She really did stand in opposition to Russia’s role as a great power with a sphere of influence in its near abroad.

            • Snuff curry

              I think sexism was significant, her widely perceived membership in ‘the Establishment’ was what did her in

              Re-defining what ‘the Establishment’ signifies in order to better brand our opponents as corrupt was not divorced from sexism in 2016; it was a strategy used by both of HRC’s opponents and has always worked in the past against women (that they carry water for the status quo and are not brave enough to transcend their false consciousness, plus they vote with their genitalia and not on merit). Cf the same designation ascribed to Planned Parenthood.

    • Murc

      If being a woman was a factor for presidential candidates so obviously opening us open to this clear, significant gender disadvantage why did so many people get behind one for the nomination?

      Because of the fact that, even this being the case, that her competitor was a better candidate was not so strong as to make those who disbelieved it clearly wrong?

      Like, I believed and still believe Sanders was the superior candidate and would have won if he had been nominated. But it is possible to believe this at the same time that one believes that thinking that Hillary Clinton was the superior candidate was not clearly the wrong decision to make at the time.

      Hillary Clinton is not Lyndon LaRouche. Deciding to vote for her in a primary is not an obviously nutty act.

      Was it more important for us to be true to some principle than to put us in the best position to win? That sounds like what Stein voters are (rightly) berated for doing.

      No. That’s not similar at all. Even if I accepted your argument, which I do not, there is a difference between “this doesn’t necessarily put us in the best position to win” and “I will actively and willfully try to help us lose,” which is what Stein voters do.

      • King Goat

        Stein voters say ‘there’s something more important than beating the GOP candidate.’ If we purposefully chose a candidate with what we thought was a significant disadvantage because we wanted to further some other value than winning that seems darn similar.

        • Junipermo

          We didn’t “purposefully choose” HRC to further a value other than winning. Dem primary voters supported her because they thought she was the best candidate.

          If any Stein voter thinks there was something more important than beating the GOP candidate, then they’re lost, clueless, and have no claim to being considered progressive.

          • King Goat

            Sexism is rampant, which is why there’s never been a woman president. Here’s a woman who is the best candidate for us to win the presidential election, let’s pick her.

            It doesn’t make sense.

            • Junipermo

              So…we should never nominate a woman for president, then?

              It is not a contradiction to say that sexism is rampant but believe a woman can still win despite it. By that logic, we shouldn’t have nominated two-time winner Barack Obama, because racism is rampant too.

              • King Goat

                It’s that the sexism gets invoked so conveniently after the loss. The people who pushed Clinton on us as such a strong candidate who would win in the general then, after her loss, turn on a dime and say ‘well, of course everyone knows how powerful sexism is in this country, that’s why we’ve never had a woman president.’ What was clouding your vision back when you were pushing for her as the nominee, tachyon research by Ozymandias?

                • Murc

                  The people who pushed Clinton on us as such a strong candidate

                  Sixty percent of the party do not need to “push” a candidate onto anyone.

                  Also, I would have some degree of sympathy for this standpoint were you a Sanders supporter and merely wanted to say “next time people who supported Clinton should listen to us instead.”

                  But you’re not! You actually think the proper choice during the primaries was “none of the above.” This makes it very hard to take your statements on the topic seriously.

                • King Goat

                  When I wrote above about people here who think that fate laid out the two choices of Bernie and Hillary back in ancient days and nothing we, the Democratic electorate, could have done differently would have thrown us off those tracks, we being bound to only one real act of free will, that being to vote in our allotted primary, I was thinking primarily of you.

                  I mean, come on. If Hillary had been met early on with the response from the party regulars with what JEB! (who had similar front runner and inevitability buzz) got, are you really going to say, ‘well, then it could only have been the Sanders!’? A defining difference in this election was that we Democrats passively let our nomination be structured for us as a choice between two terrible general candidates, and the GOP party regulars basically told their party establishment and major campaigns to go suck eggs (of course, they then went and nominated someone so bad we still almost won).

                • louislouis

                  It wasn’t just after the loss. It was during the *primary* There was always some level of incoherence between “most electable” and “severely hobbled by sexism/25 year personal hate campaign against her” and, judging by Traister’s article, it hasn’t been resolved, but merely adapted into a post-mortem. But that doesn’t address the foreseeability aspect.

                • Murc

                  When I wrote above about people here who think that fate laid out the two choices of Bernie and Hillary back in ancient days and nothing we, the Democratic electorate, could have done differently would have thrown us off those tracks, we being bound to only one real act of free will, that being to vote in our allotted primary, I was thinking primarily of you.

                  So you think of me when you think of beliefs I don’t hold and actions I haven’t taken? This seems odd.

                  I mean, come on. If Hillary had been met early on with the response from the party regulars with what JEB! (who had similar front runner and inevitability buzz) got, are you really going to say, ‘well, then it could only have been the Sanders!’?

                  Jeb never had anything remotely resembling either Clinton’s buzz or Clinton’s strong, enduring popularity at all levels of the party. Not even close. Your analogy is a very, very bad one.

                  It is true that if Clinton’s popularity at all levels of the party in mid-to-late 2015 was what Jeb’s was in mid-to-late 2015, we probably would have gotten some additional credible non-Clinton, non-Sanders candidates. But that’s a hell of an alternative timeline you posit.

                  A defining difference in this election was that we Democrats passively let our nomination be structured for us as a choice between two terrible general candidates

                  ,

                  We did no such thing.

                  and the GOP party regulars basically told their party establishment and major campaigns to go suck eggs (of course, they then went and nominated someone so bad we still almost won).

                  In order to do that they required Donald Trump to enter the race. If Donald Trump does not choose to do that, the GOP picks someone else.

              • louislouis

                I think there’s an important distinction here. There will likely always been a debate about the role sexism played in Clinton’s loss. What can’t be debated is that Clinton herself and her surrogates consistently argued that it would be a huge obstacle for her, and that, to make matters worse, she was the target of a decades’ long smear campaign which, as far as I know, isn’t true of any other living Democratic politician not named Clinton. Taking the campaign’s own arguments at face value, it’s hard to say that there weren’t considerations other than winning in play.

            • rm

              You are a nonsense fountain.

              Your words would be reasonable if we were talking about nominating someone who was Constitutionally ineligible from being sworn in, or someone who represented a cause that was sure to lose. The straw targets are going down hard in your world, but they don’t resemble reality.

              • King Goat

                Talk about nonsense.

                If I lived in Alabama and there was a really weak GOP candidate for office that year, and yet we still lost because let’s say we nominated a gay man in a same sex marriage for our side, how foolish would it be to say ‘well, he was so qualified on paper, he worked so hard for the party, he really was the best choice we could have made!’ We’d have to have our eyes closed to what Alabama electoral politics make possible and what it does not. And if we willingly closed our eyes to that because we, rightly, felt it abhorrent that people would disqualify him on those grounds, then when he loses and things are worse for everyone, especially gay people, then it’s somewhat on us.

            • Joseph Slater

              2008: racism is rampant, which is why we’ve never had a black president, which is why we shouldn’t nominate Obama. That was your argument then?

              Hey, maybe some people thought, after Obama won twice, that sexism wouldn’t stop the Democrat from winning, just as racism didn’t stop the Democrat from winning.

              Look, I know you can’t really be arguing that since X actually happened, therefore X was always likely to happen, and everyone should have known it was likely to happen. And I know at some level, you must understand the frustration with your argument that somebody else, you just can’t say who, should have/would have appeared in a Democratic party, if only everyone had thought differently.

              I think your real argument is that Hillary must have been a bad candidate because she lost, albeit in a fluky/unlikely way, to Trump. Which is a nice thing to believe. But, sadly, it’s not correct.

        • You keep on saying “significant disadvantage”, which isn’t something anyone else has claimed. Given a choice between a group of candidates, each of them is going to have advantages and disadvantages both from an electoral perspective and from the perspective of eventually holding office. It is possible to say that, say, Clinton has a disadvantage because of sexism but O’Malley has a disadvantage because of The Wire and Webb has a disadvantage because he might open fire at a debate, etc.

          Furthermore, I don’t think it’s necessary or even reasonable to choose a candidate solely based on electability. If I had reason to believe that Joe Lieberman had better chances in the general election than Bernie Sanders, I’d still vote for Sanders, because he would be a better president and because it’s impossible to be sure that the difference would be decisive (or even that I was correct in making that assessment). On the other hand, if it looked like a close race, or a video turned up of Sanders on (say) some kind of unhinged anti-religious rant (or some other event that made him unlikely to win), I’d probably hold my nose and vote for Joe. This is all part of the primary election process.

          Stein voters are voting in the general election. General elections are different than primaries.

          • FlipYrWhig

            I’m old enough to remember when the idea of voting based on “electability” was a much-derided sign of dastardly corporate neoliberal DLC tendencies that overvalued the opinions of Fred Hiatt et al., because it spread like wildfire across the blogosphere in the Kerry/Dean/Clark skirmishes of 2003-04.

  • vic rattlehead

    I think Gillibrand is poised to do a lot better than Clinton (even leaving aside Donald fatigue and the lack of 25 years of attacks on her). Sexism is of course not going away, but I think Gillibrand’s relative youth will help her in 2020, as well as being conventionally attractive. These are shallow things, but they will work in her (and thus, our) favor.

    • Dilan Esper

      There are deeper things too. It’s fashionable to assume that since Hillary is the victim of sexist attacks, that means sexism is the only reason people don’t like her.

      That’s just not true. Both her and her husband practice a rather slippery mode of politics. They are pikers compared to Trump, of course, but how about comparing them to Obama instead? And they are also from the DLC wing of the party and a lot of people are to the left of them. And they are hawks and a lot of voters are not hawks.

      Plus there are the competence issues I allude to below.

      The point is, there are plenty of women in politics who are never going to attain the negatives that Hillary attained, and it isn’t all because of sexism. It’s also because there are people in public life who are more honest than Hillary is, who are more committed to the party’s ideological principles than Hillary (and her husband) are, and who have demonstrated more competence in government than Hillary has.

      Obviously, the right wing will make sexist attacks on Gillibrand or Harris too. But there is a high probability that they won’t stick the way they stuck to Hillary.

      • King Goat

        Lots to agree with in here.

      • vic rattlehead

        I don’t necessarily disagree, and I don’t really think your point and mine are mutually exclusive. If Hillary looked like Gillibrand I imagine she would have had a slightly easier time. More attractive people are assumed to be more honest, more etc etc etc positive attributes.

        • Brad Nailer

          Call me crazy, but I spent the entire campaign thinking, most times I saw Hillary, “Gee, that’s a nice-looking woman” and I understood how she might have caught the eye of her slut husband back in the day.

          • Dilan Esper

            I don’t want to get into a big discussion of her looks, because, frankly, that’s one of the forms that sexism takes regarding female candidates– Chris Christie or Donald Trump can be fat, but heaven forbid a woman candidate who puts on a couple of pounds.

            But I’ve actually met Hillary Clinton, and I never thought she was ugly or unattractive. Not then, not now. I think that’s just something the right wing says about every liberal woman in politics. (E.g., they even call Michelle Obama ugly.)

          • John F

            “Gee, that’s a nice-looking woman”

            To each his own

            I understood how she might have caught the eye of her slut husband back in the day

            He saw her as a potential sugar daddy obviously :-)

            • rm

              She was hot in her day.

              This can be acknowledged while also denouncing the ageism and sexism that criticizes female politicians for their looks and clothes while not doing that bullshit to ugly old fat male politicians. (Of all the reasons to oppose Chris Christie, his weight is not a valid one).

        • Snuff curry

          If Hillary looked like Gillibrand I imagine she would have had a slightly easier time.

          Do you not remember the ’90s or were you just not there?

      • calling all toasters

        Shorter Dilan: 25 years of false attacks on Hillary have allowed me to (totally on my own) absorb their assumptions.

        • Dilan Esper

          calling, I’m in the reality based community here, and the people who pretend Hillary never did anything wrong are not.

          Just to pick one specific thing to make my point, Hillary’s Iraq war vote is not a sexist or false attack. It actually happened. And you need to be able to acknowledge that Hillary has been victimized by a ton of sexism while also being willing to acknowledge that some of the shit she gets is fair.

          • John F

            Hillary’s Iraq war vote is not a sexist or false attack.

            Is that all you’ve got?
            sure that’s not a sexist or false attack, but virtually everything else is. The Iraq war vote is pretty much wholly divorced from the 25 year “Hillary is the most dishonest politician to ever practice politics” campaign, WHITEWATER!!! VINCE FOSTER!!!! BENGHAZI!!! EMAILZ!!!!!!

            Her reputation for political dishonesty above and beyond average Pol is the result of a 25 year campaign of lies and exaggerations

            • Dilan Esper

              It’s not all. It’s a good example because it’s vivid. I can talk about her conduct with respect to cattle futures, or stonewalling the Whitewater investigation, or Libya, or e-mails, but with respect to all those, her defenders will come back with various defenses about how it was all a right wing smear. (Partly because conservatives went far beyond the facts in many of those cases and turned them into smears.) But if I talk about Iraq, what are they going to say?

              • John F

                …. so that’s all you’ve got. Concession accepted.

                • Dilan Esper

                  No

                  Since you demanded it:

                  The cattle futures was minor corruption. She’s not the first or the last politician to get an insider benefit in the markets, but she did that.

                  Whitewater was a non-scandal, but her advice to Bill to stonewall production of the records was absolutely HORRIBLE and directly led to the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment.

                  The Libya intervention was a terrible idea. She actually got bailed out by right wing obsession with Benghazi (which was a nothingburger), but we handed the country to ISIL and got 4 of our people killed because of some really dumb foreign policy thinking that Hillary was right in the center of.

                  The initial decision to create a private e-mail server was dumb and is totally on her, even though everything that followed isn’t.

                • King Goat

                  “The initial decision to create a private e-mail server was dumb and is totally on her, even though everything that followed isn’t.”

                  It was dumb, and it put her, if only in the most technical sense, in an investigation as a legitimate target for possible felony prosecution, or any of it’s lesser, but still politically disastrous, related legal steps such as indictment, charges, recommendation of charges, or, dismissal with negative leaks/comments. And an investigation we knew was being led by a life long GOP operative. That’s a uniquely awful position for a candidate to be in in my lifetime, and yet people lined up to support her early on. There’s a derangement syndrome related to Clinton, but not the one described here…

          • Rubychan228

            *sigh* Hillary has explained that vote, at length, multiple time.

            In short, Congress (and the American people) were being fed false Intel about WMD’s in Iraq and Sadam was allegedly not cooperating with UN weapons inspectors. Many felt that, if Iraq didn’t voluntarily comply with weapon inspections, we may need to use military force to make them comply.

            Bush made threats to this effect, but they were ineffective. So, Bush went before Congress. He asked them to pass a resolution authorizing him to use military force if and when he felt it was necessary…but he very clearly told Congress he did not intend to actually use it, at least not any time soon. He just wanted his threats to have more teeth to them.

            Much of Congress, including Hillary (who had/has a great deal of respect for the office of the presidency) didn’t even consider that he was not being genuine about this and voted for the resolution.

            Bush, who was lying his ass off when he spoke to congress immediately said some bullshit abut Iraq still not complying and used the resolution to start a stupid, unprovoked war.

            Pretending like Hillary hasn’t explained all this, or somehow managing to not know it despite how easily available the explanation is, and continuing to blame her for W’s lies……that’s a bunch of rank bullshit right there.

            (Interestingly, in my experience at least, the number of people who don’t know the facts of her Iraq vote tend to be overwhelmingly male. Almost as if men are hearing a negative data point about a women they don’t like an credulously swallowing it without doing any damn research on the subject.)

            • Dilan Esper

              Ruby:

              This is quite wrong.

              First of all, it isn’t as though Hillary being a hawk rests solely on the Iraq vote. She’s been on the hawkish side of EVERY military debate since she has been in national politics. She has never stood with the anti-war left, and has never once attended a protest of a war.

              Second, if her vote was the result of false intel, that’s still on her, because lots of Democrats got the call right. Barack Obama made the right call despite the false intel. So did Dennis Kucinich. So did Howard Dean. So did Bernie Sanders.

              Third, if she didn’t believe Bush was going to go to war, I’m sorry, that would make her a gigantic idiot, and I don’t believe that she was a gigantic idiot. I judge politicians based on my own intelligence. I’m not Albert Einstein. I went to a state school. I was not my high school class valedictorian. And yet, I knew that Bush was going to war. Absolutely 100 percent knew it. Put postings up on the Internet saying it.

              Hillary is FAR smarter than I am. To say that she didn’t know this is to assume that she was a complete nincompoop. Again, are you saying she was dumber than Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich. Because they knew Bush was going to war.

              Further, she voted for the fucking war. So in a sense, it really doesn’t matter why she did it. She voted to constitutionally authorize Bush to use military force. To say “I did that but I’m not responsible for it” is just ridiculous.

              Also, and this is the killer argument against Hillary’s conduct, if the war had gone well, do you think in a million years she wouldn’t have taken credit for the vote? She was going to say “yes the war went well, but I really didn’t vote to authorize it, and Bush lied to me”? Really? You truly believe that?

              The speech she gave was an out. A completely dishonest out. So if the war went well she could say she supported it and if it went poorly she could say she opposed it. You know why I know this? Her husband did THE EXACT SAME THING in the first Gulf War. “I would have voted with the majority but I agreed with some of the concerns of the minority.” Look it up.

              You know why else I know it was a dishonest out? Because she fucking continued to support the Iraq War for YEARS. She wasn’t out protesting the thing. She kept on saying it was going well. She was saying it would turn the corner. She was buying into the Friedman units. She didn’t even admit the war was a mistake IN 2008 when Obama was attacking her. Only after she lost to Obama did she FINALLY admit it.

              She LIKED the idea of invading Iraq. Why wouldn’t she? She supports American military power and dominance, Saddam had a horrible human rights record, and she thought it advanced US strategic objectives in the Middle East. And that happens to be consistent with every other foreign policy position she’s ever taken in 25 years as a national public figure.

              Finally, your last comment is ironic. I wouldn’t claim that you are blind to what really happened in Iraq because you are female and love Hillary too much to see her flaws. I would really never do that, as males make the same wrongheaded arguments you make.

              Perhaps you should consider that maybe people have different positions on Hillary than you do on the merits, and not because they are men.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Perhaps you should consider that maybe people have different positions on Hillary than you do on the merits, and not because they are men.

                Except, of course, that Joe Biden and John Kerry also voted for the war and are not treated to a fraction of the vituperation for it. All of the words you’ve written above are completely nonresponsive to the post.

                • tsam

                  Kerry got no hell for it until he tried to walk it back.

                  ETA: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I didn’t like it that people voted for the AUMF, either, but it’s not like there are hundreds of other candidates ready to take the place of the people who’ve been there doing the work for decades.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Howard Dean put up a serious challenge to John Kerry, supported by plenty of people on the left (what was then called the “netroots”), because of Kerry’s Iraq War vote. And even Kucinich drew some votes from Kerry over that. So I don’t think it’s accurate at all to say that Kerry didn’t get shit for his Iraq vote. The only reason he didn’t get more shit was because a smaller portion of the electorate understood it was a clusterfuck in 2004 than did in 2008.

                  I agree with you on Biden, however. He has never gotten any shit for it. OTOH, he’s never been a darling of the left either. Sanders is the darling of the left.

                  (Also, even if you were right about Kerry as well as Biden, that wouldn’t make Ruby’s accusation that critics of Hillary’s Iraq War vote are sexists well founded.)

        • King Goat

          This is like saying ‘if you hear a dog whistle you must be the dog’

          • Ronan

            is that not literally true though?

            • King Goat

              You think pointing out that someone is using phrases that resonate with racists makes you a racist? Of course not.

              Likewise, Dilan or anyone realizing that the attacks on Clinton had resonated and left her vulnerable doesn’t mean he bought into them.

              • so-in-so

                No, but REPEATING the racist dog whistles as “facts” sure does mean you are racist.

      • And they are hawks and a lot of voters are not hawks.

        “A lot” has a lot of range. For instance, a clear majority of Americans polled supported the Iraq war. And Iraq was actually less popular than most other military interventions.

        One possible proxy for dovishness (versus indifference or hawkishness) in the US population is the answer to the poll question “is our national defense stronger than it needs to be, weaker, or about right?” And the “stronger than it needs to be” answer has polled in the 5-15% range for decades, with the rest fairly evenly split between “not strong enough” and “just right”. About two thirds of Americans also consistently answer that it’s important that the US lead the world in military strength. (Gallup)

        • Dilan Esper

          I don’t disagree with you that there are plenty of non-hawks in the electorate. And there are plenty of “foul weather doves”– people who only become dovish in the wake of an Iraq or a Vietnam.

          But the doves that do exist, including the foul weather ones, tend to be Democrats. And that means that Hillary’s hawkishness is a political liability with one part of the electorate, and anti-war voters aren’t being sexist when they oppose or have more lukewarm support for her on that ground (or at least, certainly weren’t when they preferred Obama over her in 2008).

          And honestly, stepped, I think there were a lot of Democratic voters who soured on Hillary because of her hawkishness, which was not limited to Iraq. I can’t think of a single contested foreign policy issue where she sided with the anti-war left. A future female candidate with a better relationship with the anti-war left might be a better candidate. She also may not be (as I said, I take your point). Either way, that issue is a real issue with Hillary and not simple misogyny.

          • I absolutely agree that a lot of the left’s dislike of Clinton has to do with her hawkishness. It’s certainly my major issue with her — I think she’d have been about as progressive on domestic policy as any hypothetic Democratic replacement if she won in 2008 or 2016, but I think she would have been more hawkish than Obama. And I think all the evidence suggests that her hawkishness is sincere, not just a political pose to counterbalance sexist assumptions of weakness or whatever.

            (Still better than any Republican.)

  • Dilan Esper

    1. As always, I’m flattered when Scott responds to my comments.

    2. No doubt Hillary has been the victim of tons of sexism. Anyone who denies this is a sexist.

    3. I have no idea about Biden, although it is at least possible that he would have won because of the particular states Trump won. Having said that, I think that was hard to anticipate in advance and I am totally willing to give Hillary a pass on this, especially since I think she ran a great campaign.

    4. The only thing I will say about Kerry is that he was a far better Senator and Secretary of State than Hillary was (although his Iraq vote was just as outrageous as hers). There’s really no record of competence from Hillary. It’s basically at the core of why I don’t like her as a politician. She has fucked lots of stuff up. But Kerry had his chance and lost in 2004, and I don’t really want to hear much from him about that election either.

    5. My main point in my post, which Scott misses, is this. Hillary is a two-time presidential loser. There’s a tradition that losers should go away, and it’s a good one. It’s especially a good idea given the nepotism issues with continuing to promote the Clintons in politics. “Going away” does not mean “never participating in public life in any way again”. It does mean “don’t give interviews or commencement speeches or write books about the 2016 election”. If Hillary wants to do something good for the world, do what Gore did and take up an issue and engage in issue advocacy, or work for the Clinton Foundation full time, or whatever. Just don’t talk about 2016. It’s over and so is Hillary’s career as a national political figure.

    6. Political oxygen is a real thing. How much attention is Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, or any other potential 2020 candidate getting right now? Now how much attention are Hillary and Chelsea getting?

    • mpavilion

      Hillary is a two-time presidential loser.

      So is Biden, he addresses this.

      “don’t give interviews or commencement speeches or write books about the 2016 election”

      LOLOLOLOL. (There is no other way to respond to this horse which is beaten daily on Twitter as well)

      How much attention is Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, or any other potential 2020 candidate getting right now?

      Exactly as little as they should be getting (in the context of 2020), this far out from 2020.

      • randy khan

        Gillibrand, actually, has gotten a bunch of attention as a potential candidate. (And she’s more credible than Harris.)

        • mpavilion

          I’ve seen some articles, it’s just so far down the road. I hope fired-up Dems are focused mainly on flipping districts next year, not on 2020.

      • Brad Nailer

        Booker’s getting the wrong kind of attention, all of a sudden. Not sure where this is going, but it’s going somewhere.

        • efgoldman

          Not sure where this is going, but it’s going somewhere.

          Most likely someplace else than the Dem presidential nomination in 2020.

        • free_fries_

          He really didn’t say anything different than Dick Durbin though.

          CNN: Do you support removing Kushner’s security clearance?
          Booker: We need to investigate
          David Sirota: Kushner defender!!!

        • EliHawk

          The Owen Smithing is starting early, methinks.

    • randomworker

      /yawn.

    • CD

      Kerry is that he was a far better Senator and Secretary of State than Hillary was

      evidence? argument?

      How much attention is Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, or any other potential 2020 candidate getting right now? Now how much attention are Hillary and Chelsea getting?

      Attention is a function of what press want to cover, not what you think they should cover. It’s not like HRC is turning up at Gillibrand events to distract people.

      don’t give interviews or commencement speeches or write books about the 2016 election”

      Women should keep silent, huh? This is just weird.

      • Dilan Esper

        evidence? argument?

        Hillary has never done anything as competent and meaningful as re-opening our relationship with Vietnam, which Kerry did as a Senator. As Secretary of State, he did the Iran deal and changed our Cuba policy. She did Libya. I’d say he was better.

        Women should keep silent, huh? This is just weird.

        Considering my whole post says that LOSERS should keep silent, and ONLY about the election, not about public issues, this statement is completely made in bad faith.

        People who twist other people’s words to make false accusations of sexism are bad people.

    • McAllen

      My main point in my post, which Scott misses, is this. Hillary is a two-time presidential loser. There’s a tradition that losers should go away, and it’s a good one.

      As Scott pointed out, the last four losing presidential candidates have not “gone away,” so if this tradition ever existed it faded long before Clinton.

      Just don’t talk about 2016. It’s over and so is Hillary’s career as a national political figure.

      But what she says about 2016 is correct, and moreover it’s relevant for 2020.

      Political oxygen is a real thing. How much attention is Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, or any other potential 2020 candidate getting right now? Now how much attention are Hillary and Chelsea getting?

      How is this the Clintons’ fault, and not the fault of the people in the media obsessed with them?

      • Dilan Esper

        Gore never talked about the 2000 election. He went back to issue advocacy on global warming.

        Kerry went back to the Senate. Never talked about the 2004 election.

        Dukakis never talked about the 1988 election. Went back to academia.

        Mondale never talked about the 1984 election.

        Scott is wrong. What Hillary is doing is not consistent with what losers like her should do.

        • mpavilion

          Gore never talked about the 2000 election.

          http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics-july-dec08-algore_08-28/

          • Dilan Esper

            That’s from 2008, not 2001. Big difference.

            • mpavilion

              It was the final night of the 2008 convention. By your logic, if there was ever a time for a “loser” NOT to talk about his election defeat, it would be at the nominating convention for another Democratic candidate — right? Why should Gore (by your logic) remind the public of his **LOSERDOM**, right when the Democrats have the chance to re-take the White House? What could be a worse moment for such “WHINING” on the public stage?

              • Dilan Esper

                Quite wrong. I think 8 years later, Gore had given the party room to breathe and develop new stars (including the 2008 nominee). Whereas if he had been sucking up all the oxygen that Scott claims doesn’t exist in 2001, it would have been bad (and there would have been a market for it, believe me). It might have forestalled the rise of Howard Dean, who turned out to be the best DNC chair in my lifetime, for instance.

                • mpavilion

                  Anything “might have happened” when you’re dealing entirely in hypotheticals.

            • CP

              That’s from 2008, not 2001. Big difference.

              Oh for fuck’s sake. This is fucking ridiculous.

              We’ve just gone from “Presidential candidates always go away after the election!” to “Presidential candidates don’t always go away after the election, but they don’t talk about the election!” to “Presidential candidates don’t always go away after the election and they sometimes talk about the election, but only after a certain period of time has passed.”

              Exactly how many more times are the goalposts going to move, shrink, expand, and dance a jig so that you can go on pretending that there’s some kind of broad principle at stake, rather than just the bog-standard amount of Clinton Derangement Syndrome?

              • mpavilion

                “Gore didn’t talk about his loss between 2000 and 2004. That was the smart move!”

                We still lost in ’04.

                “Welllll… we got Howard Dean as DNC Chair, which may not have happened otherwise!”

            • Thom

              He should have talked about it sooner.

            • EliHawk

              When Al Gore, who had gone away forever, hosted a little known broadcast TV comedy show called Saturday Night Live in 2002, he had a sketch whose entire premise was: I REALLY WISH I WAS PRESIDENT RIGHT NOW, with the final punchline being “Well, he did win the popular vote.” But yeah, he NEVER brought the election up, at all.

        • Junipermo

          HRC’s defeat is not consistent with what happened to all the other “losers” you list here. HRC has also very clearly said that she isn’t running for office ever again, so I don’t know what more you want.

          You need to stop this.

          • Dilan Esper

            This is besides the point, but although I certainly don’t think she’s lying about not wanting to run again, if someone gave me the proper odds on that (say, 3 or 4 to 1), I’d take the bet. People change their minds and she is certainly keeping herself in the news in a way that would be consistent with later changing her mind and running.

            • petesh

              Nope, YOU are keeping her in the news, you and a bunch of hacks, of the kind that find it necessary to try to drag Clinton’s highly accomplished but not political daughter into politics. Why are you so obsessed?

            • efgoldman

              People change their minds and she is certainly keeping herself in the news in a way that would be consistent with later changing her mind

              This is, and has been, the first tenet of Clinton Derangement Syndrome: “Well, she said ‘a’ but everyone ‘knows’ she actually means ‘x’ because…. reasons?”
              For which I’ve never seen any, you know, actual evidence.
              And the extension is: “I know Chelsea is running for something, even though she said she isn’t.”

              • Dilan Esper

                ef:

                This is the sort of prediction that could lead you with cider squirting out of your ear in a few years’ time.

        • McAllen

          The point remains, though, that they didn’t go away as you claimed. They may not have talked about their elections the way Clinton is (though it’s not true that Gore never talked about the 2008 election), but why shouldn’t Clinton talk about it? She faced an unusual election with a lot of factors working against her, factors that will remain relevant in 2020.

          • nixnutz

            Wait, Dilan built an argument on a false claim? How will he ever live that oversight down? It’s so out of character.

          • sam

            also, it’s not like Clinton is randomly running around the streets shouting about the election to anyone within shouting distance. She is, by and large, ANSWERING QUESTIONS BEING ASKED OF HER about the election. Wellesley was the small exception, in that there was no interlocutor, but they still issued her an invitation, and do you really think her Alma Mater asked her to come speak at this moment in time because they wanted to hear her thoughts about [insert any other topic on earth]?

            At a bare minimum, the individual reporters (Amanpour, Traister) asking her these questions are interested in the answers. Maybe even a few people in the audience too!

            For MONTHS, I’ve watched as a bunch of whiny-assed leftists criticized her for “not doing enough”. For licking her wounds and “retreating into the woods” because she was “only in it for the power”. I can’t tell you the number of times I had to point out that AS SOON AS SHE ACTUALLY REAPPEARED, there will be a hearty chorus from all fucking corners of “GO AWAY”.

            And here we fucking are.

            I seriously DO NOT KNOW how she keeps doing it. She’s got skin thicker than a fucking rhinoceros.

            • tsam

              It makes me sad to say it, but I think it’s a shitload of scar tissue that makes that skin miles thick.

        • free_fries_

          What Hillary is doing is not consistent with what losers like her should do.

          Like Adlai Stevenson and Thomas Dewey? I guess those guys just evaporated after their 2nd losses didn’t they?

    • DamnYankees

      “Going away” does not mean “never participating in public life in any way again”. It does mean “don’t give interviews or commencement speeches or write books about the 2016 election”.

      I’d love to know what plausible activities are covered by the first clause and not banned by the second clause. Organizing a frolf league?

      • Dilan Esper

        I answer that question in my post. The Clinton Foundation, issue advocacy, etc.

        • DamnYankees

          Yeah, because no one would interpret her doing that as laying the groundwork for 2020, right?

          Her daughter write a childrens book and people slam her for being too political. Jesus Christ.

          • Dilan Esper

            The children’s book, other than being a big payday for no work (typical of heiresses and consistent with Chelsea’s prior work history), doesn’t bother me at all.

            But she has a media operation working for her that is getting her those awards and disseminating her tweets, and that’s something I wish would stop because I really want the party to move past the Clintons.

            • cleek

              I really want the party to move past the Clintons.

              be the change you want to see in the world.

            • efgoldman

              other than being a big payday for no work (typical of heiresses and consistent with Chelsea’s prior work history), doesn’t bother me at all.

              Your last clause is belied by your parenthetical. Obviously (and continuing this bullshit from yesterday) you resent the fuck out of it, for no logical reason.

              • Dilan Esper

                I don’t resent it. Lots of rich people do no work and get paid for it. That’s fine. The way the world works.

                But I don’t think they should be praised for it. Chelsea Clinton has accomplished less than zero in her life. When she worked for NBC, she got paid $600,000 for doing absolutely nothing in a gift job. If she had a different last name she’d basically be like any other member of the idle rich. That’s fine.

                But she gets fucking awards for it. And she has a media operation that is keeping her Q rating up and grooming her for a potential run for office. This is ridiculous and it should be resisted.

            • Origami Isopod

              typical of heiresses

              Who else heard that dogwhistle?

    • Junipermo

      You are seriously arguing that HRC shouldn’t give the commencement speech at her alma mater? And you want us to believe that you aren’t sexist?

      • Dilan Esper

        Why does that have anything to do with her gender? I would also argue that Gore should not have been giving any commencement speeches whining about the 2000 loss at his alma mater either.

        • mpavilion

          “Whining” LOL. You are such an asshole!

          • Dilan Esper

            It is customary in the English language to describe constantly complaining about a loss as “whining”. As in “whining about the refs” in sports.

            • It is customary in the English language to describe constantly complaining about a loss as “whining”.

              Define “constantly”, Dilan. Is it “customary” to define it as “I’m tired of hearing it already because I don’t like the person saying it’?

              Let’s be clear about a few things:

              Had Clinton refused to speak about the election, she would have been castigated for that

              Had Clinton spoken about it, but refused to express an opinion about why she lost, she’d have been blasted for that

              Clinton has not exactly been here there and everywhere since the election, complaining about the outcome.

              However, Dilan and others seem to enjoy telling her to “just shut up”. I mean, come on. It’s not like Clinton’s been spending the last few months monopolizing our attention, demanding to be heard, demanding to have her take on the election discussed. If Dilan et al. choose to discuss it in order to contemptuously tell her to shut up, it is because they wish to, not because they have to.

              So the question becomes, why? Why this obsession with putting down Hillary Clinton at every opportunity?

              I mean, look, I’m not a fan, but I find it odd that some folks get their jollies by jeering “Get thee to a nunnery and speak no more!” at her every time she dares to voice her opinion in public.

              • Dilan Esper

                Had Clinton refused to speak about the election, she would have been castigated for that

                Not by me.

                Indeed, I am very willing to praise her for things that I think she did well. Like– her entire fucking campaign, which was excellent. (And I criticized the tell-all “girls in the bus” book that came out about it.)

                • I am glad to hear that you would not have criticized Clinton for remaining silent about the election.

                  However – forgive me, for I know nothing of your semantic customs- by my lights the actual frequency of Clinton’s post-mortem observations since the election doesn’t come anywhere close to qualifying as “constant”. There’s a reason why people joked about her spending “time in the woods”.

                  As for “whining”, are you implying that any complaint about the election result qualifies as such (Trump and the Republicans would be pleased to hear it)? Or is it only when uttered by Hillary Rodham Clinton?

            • Lost Left Coaster

              In addition, it is also customary to dismiss women’s valid complaints as “whining.”

              • Dilan Esper

                “Whining” has nothing to do with the validity of the complaints or the gender. It just means complaining when you shouldn’t.

                • So, who is allowed to complain about the election results and the factors that produced those results?

    • sibusisodan

      There’s really no record of competence from Hillary.

      Dude, I live thousands of miles away from the US and I know enough to know that this is some bullshit.

      It’s hard to believe the reasons for it aren’t latent sexism, since one of the longest track records Hillary has is political work for the rights of women. There are no good faith reasons for ignoring this, and it’s come up repeatedly on this site.

      • Dilan Esper

        I’m talking competence in government.

        Good intentions are different than competence. I don’t think Hillary’s the greatest feminist in the world (for instance, she doesn’t give two shits about women in Saudi Arabia), but she does have some record of working for various advocacy organizations.

        But that’s neither here nor there when it comes to competence. She was a bad Senator who fucked up Iraq and a bad Secretary of State who fucked up Libya. She also fucked up health care as First Lady. And she gave Clinton terrible advice on stonewalling the Whitewater probe, which led to impeachment.

        And her foreign policy platform was always overly hawkish.

        • SatanicPanic

          She also fucked up health care as First Lady.

          oh wow, yeah, this is CDS right here.

          • Murc

            This… this is a legitimate criticism. The White House let Hillary Clinton call the ball when it came to their push on health care, and it deliberately and consciously made her the face of it, a role she eagerly sought and embraced.

            The mistakes the Clinton White House made with regard to its health care push do indeed largely accrue to her.

            • SatanicPanic

              Isn’t that the White House’s fault then? We don’t think Hillary was leading Bill around by the nose, do we?

              • Murc

                It can be multiple peoples and institutions faults?

                • tsam

                  Could we reasonably expect a different outcome if Bill had led the effort? The entire idea sort of seemed like a non-starter, even if it was a good idea.

                  ETA: I was around and watching at the time, and if my memory is correct, the first thing the admin did was go after removing the restriction on gays in the military, which promptly blew up in his face, and Congress seemed to feel “attacked” by all of this, so the health security act was sort of doomed from the start.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  There was never any chance the bill was getting through the Senate (Daniel Patrick Moynihan — now there’s a New York senator worth hating!) But Clinton didn’t do a good job. It is ironic, however, that the erroneous approach used by the Clintons (develop a proposal independently and try to RAM IT DOWN CONGRESS’S THROAT without a priori buy-in) is the approach that many CDS sufferers on the left believe would have produced single player only Obama Didn’t. Even. Try. It.

          • manual

            Actually, her role in healthcare was actually really bad. She ignored Congress and made tons of missteps.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-health-care-missteps-a-chastened-hillary-clinton-emerged/2016/08/25/2d200cb4-64b4-11e6-be4e-23fc4d4d12b4_story.html?utm_term=.607a00945a87

            It’s kind of public record.

            • SatanicPanic

              sure, she misjudged Congress, but saying “she fucked up healthcare” makes it all her fault. There were a lot of people who failed.

              • sibusisodan

                I’d be interested to know if it was obvious at the time that her quarterbacking of the issue was what sunk it.

                Given the amount of hilariously stupid takes about the 09-10 healthcare run, I’d like a little more detail on this one.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  People definitely said it at the time, but, as you’re suggesting, it’s pretty convenient for DC Democrats and pundits to say “those arrogant dumbshits thought they’d walk all over Washington but THIS AINT ARKANSAS ANYMORE BITCH,” because they did that to Jimmy Carter too.

            • mpavilion

              She addresses this episode at length (and not without mea culpas) in her book “Living History.” But to the haters, no degree of after-the-fact analysis, apologies for missteps, etc., are acceptable… the analysis amounts to “whining”; the apologies and mea culpas are most certainly NOT accepted, etc.

        • efgoldman

          I don’t think Hillary’s the greatest feminist in the world

          That’s what it always comes down to for you, isn’t it. Some woman or women izzint doing feminism rite!

          • Dilan Esper

            ef, why don’t you include the context.

            Do you think Hillary Clinton has done anything for the women of Saudi Arabia? Because that’s the example I used.

            Seriously, don’t be a coward. Take the whole quote and attack it if you think it is wrong.

            • Hogan

              Do you have an example of a US feminist who’s done a lot for the women of Saudi Arabia, so we can compare?

            • Rob in CT

              So I see that we eventually reached the “Dear Muslima” part of the proceedings.

    • tsam

      You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?

      • Dilan Esper

        Why wouldn’t I? Scott takes my arguments seriously, even though he doesn’t agree with them.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Scott takes my arguments seriously

          Unless this meant “Very Seriously,” doesn’t this post argue that Lemieux thinks your arguments are misogynistic crap built on lies and gibberish?

          Congrats on successfully catapulting the propaganda, even if you’ve convinced people you are a crackpot.

          • Ronan

            In fairness, he takes them seriously enough to engage them in a long, well argued OP. So even if we dont personally see the insight in Dilan’s arguments, it seems others do.

            • rm

              I dunno, some of our blog authors can’t resist tearing apart an impressively wrongheaded thing, even if it’s unnecessary to do so, and look, here we are, unable to resist discussing it.

              • Ronan

                Im kind of in the revealed preferences camp. People might claim they dont find much value in Dilan’s insights, but the tendency to take them seriously enough to dedicate such time to rebutting them says other….

                • sibusisodan

                  Dilan specialises in daft argument delivered well.

                  It’s worth attending to not because it’s convincing or coherent, but because it borrows the outward appearance of such arguments: dressed up in fancy talk such that the goalposts moving and sleight of hand is not necessarily obvious.

                  That’s the form of argument which it is most useful to rebut. Hence the attention.

                • Ronan

                  We’re too far apart on this, sibusisodan. Some phrases I disagree with you on:

                  ‘Dilan specialises’

                  ‘delivered well’

                  ‘It’s worth attending to ‘

                  ‘it is most useful to rebut’

                  ‘dressed up in fancy talk’

                  ‘such that the goalposts moving and sleight of hand is not necessarily obvious’

                  Those I agree:

                  “not because it’s convincing or coherent” ; )

                • sibusisodan

                  Shall we celebrate our fraternal disagreement with fermented grain product?

                • Dilan Esper

                  Ronan, I love you too.

                  I know you don’t like my arguments, but your revealed preference point is PRECISELY how I feel when this blog calls me out.

                • Origami Isopod

                  People might claim they dont find much value in Dilan’s insights, but the tendency to take them seriously enough to dedicate such time to rebutting them says other….

                  Because SIWOTI syndrome. And because many people find it gratifying to rip into Dilan.

                • Ronan

                  I don’t dislike your comments, Dilan. You aren’t the worst person to ever put paw to keyboard. I just find your ascension to the implied position of LGM Lord of logic…..disconcerting.

    • kped

      ow how much attention are Hillary and Chelsea getting?

      Chelsea is getting attention why? Please, tell us what she is doing, and what she should be doing instead. Fucking hack.

      • kped

        To expand on this – what did Chelsea get attention for? Who gave her that attention? Did she seek it, or were the people giving it to her hacks like you (Dilan) who are so fucking obsessed with her every action that they had to freak out online about her.

        So what would you have her do? Do you realize you are an asshole?

    • djw

      If find both (5) and (6) obviously wrongheaded, but aren’t they in some conflict? Doesn’t your (very strange) redefinition of “going away” in point 5 directly contradict with your oxygen theory in 6? She could meet the revised “going away” standard while still “sucking up lots of oxygen” as long as she said “no comment” whenever the one specific topic she’s not allowed to talk about came up.

      • Dilan Esper

        Did Gore suck up any oxygen regarding the presidential race when he was talking about global warming? I don’t think so. He was basically ignored by the media. Had he been doing a bunch of personal appearances talking about 2000 he wouldn’t have been.

        And there’s a lesson in this. Doing good doesn’t mean being in the spotlight. I think people whose last name is Clinton have a tendency sometimes to forget that.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Is Clinton sucking up any oxygen regarding the presidential race when she gives a commencement speech at her alma mater calling for fresh political leadership? (SPOILER: no.)

    • I can’t link to both searches because of the spam filter, but a search for “Chelsea Clinton” filtered to the past month on Google News turns up mostly right-wing blog posts and celebrity mags (People, etc.). Searching for “Kirsten Gillibrand” turns up a lot of actual news reports about her public statements on legislation and Trump, 2020 speculation, etc. Same is true of Booker and Harris.

      In fact, the only time I ever hear about Chelsea Clinton these days is from people complaining about Chelsea Clinton, like you.

    • sleepyirv

      I think this is all perfectly reasonable. That at least the past 7 losing Presidential candidates (Romney, McCain, Kerry, Gore, Dole, Bush Sr., and Dukakis) those who otherwise didn’t hold public office disappeared for an election cycle, and the relitigation of the 2016 primaries (which inevitably follows the relitigation of the 2016 election) is possibly the most toxic topic for the Democratic Party currently and should be avoided like the plague.

      What concerns me most about Clinton (besides the 2016 bickering) staying in the fray is not that she’s going to run again, but that it keeps the family of Clinton hacks employed. People that this blog has been rightfully mocking since 2008.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hillary is a two-time presidential loser. There’s a tradition that losers should go away

      No there isn’t.

      Again, Joe Biden ran not one but two almost comically incompetent primary campaigns. He left public life in shame by accepting the vice presidency of the United States.

      Political oxygen is a real thing.

      No it’s not. And Gillibrand is actually getting a fair amount of attention even though we’re very far out from the primary process.

      • Right–what is with this myth that losers go away? Who went away? Dukakis, OK. But Barry Goldwater remained a very important senator, as did Humphrey. Ford and Bush went into retirement, but they were old. McCain remains as irritating as ever. Kerry was Secretary of State. Gore withdrew from electoral politics but became the most visible voice on climate change. Biden was Biden after two disastrous runs. Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle remained critical Democrats. Bob Dole stuck around until he chose to retire at a very old age and remained a public figure to the present.

        This myth is really frustrating.

        • sibusisodan

          McCain remains as irritating as ever. 

          His speech in Aus (today?), oof.

          ‘Bear with this administration; they’re still bedding in.’

        • tsam

          And what’s with the belief that they should, unless they’re someone like Blago or Weiner?

        • FlipYrWhig

          To be excessively fair, I think the rule is probably supposed to be something like “the losing candidate doesn’t lead the opposition to the winning candidate,” which would appear to be true, maybe crossed with “the losing candidate doesn’t try for a rematch,” which is true since Stevenson ’56, depending on how you count Nixon ’60 and ’68. I wonder when it became taboo. I bet it’s related to the mythos about how the “peaceful transfer of power” is supposed to work in America.

          • Scott Lemieux

            But obviously giving an interview and a commencement speech isn’t “leading the opposition.” She’s been far less active than Bernie, say.

        • EliHawk

          Ford and Bush went into retirement, but they were old.

          Ford very much didn’t go into retirement. He dodged the corporate boards because he seriously considered running against Carter in ’80, then tried to finnagle the VP Nod (and a ‘Co-Presidency,’ insisting on choosing Sec. State and Treasury, which lead the Reagan Team to say No Thanks) at the Republican National Convention in ’80. Only after that did he really retire and start making bank.

          Also: Dole quit the Senate in the course of his ’96 run, but was a big pop culture presence for the next four years, on SNL, commercials, and being a Daily Show correspondent. Gore and Kerry both test drove comeback candidacies in 02/06 respectively, but then declined when they didn’t get a good reception. (Kerry’s “Be smart so you don’t get stuck in Iraq” gaffe being the killer there.)

      • goldfleacollar

        Again, Joe Biden ran not one but two almost comically incompetent primary campaigns. He left public life in shame by accepting the vice presidency of the United States.

        That’s a fucking ridiculous comparison. Biden’s an obvious political savant and has won approximately a zillion elections. When his first campaign collapsed he was in his forties and presiding over the effort to kneecap weird-beard-Bork. Telling someone like that to disappear would be garbage-eating stupid. When his second run went nowhere he was given a consolation prize…exactly like Clinton.

        Clinton won exactly two elections in her entire life: first against a walking answer to a Trivial Pursuit question and second against a non-entity so non-entitious he made the first guy look like Napoleon.

        She’s also gonna be in her seventies by the time the next election rolls around. What exactly are we missing out on if we tell her to get lost? Why is it evidence of RAMPANT MISOGYNY to note that Biden is a much better politician than Clinton, has far more in the way of actual accomplishments, and accordingly cut him more slack for failed runs?

        • Scott Lemieux

          Biden’s an obvious political savant and has won approximately a zillion elections

          Yes, truly only the greatest of political talents could win a statewide election in Delaware as a Democrat.

          his second run went nowhere he was given a consolation prize…exactly like Clinton.

          Yes, Obama’s extremely close runner-up was made Secretary of State, and someone who got zero delegates was made his vice president. Exactly the same thing.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            I actually thought the comment was going to be sarcastic when I saw the “zillion elections remark.” As such, this comment is impressively unhinged – easily one of the most legitimately psychotic (we’re talking painting-shit-swastikas-on-the-walls levels of crazy) comments I’ve read in a long time.

            • Scott Lemieux

              I’m sure he could name every one of the Republican heavyweights Biden vanquished in his epic Senate campaigns!

            • goldfleacollar

              A fact-free defense of vacuous nonsense, that’s some incisive stuff. You gonna step up to the plate and defend the rather…novel Lemieux theory that the delegate runner-up is somehow entitled to be the VP pick? Or is Obama’s sexism also your explanation for why he picked a senator with almost 40 years of experience for VP instead of a senator with 12?

              Also i paint stars of david with my poop, thank you very much

              • Scott Lemieux

                novel Lemieux theory that the delegate runner-up is somehow entitled to be the VP pick?

                I’d suggest reading the posts before commenting but in your case I’m pretty confident it wouldn’t help.

            • Origami Isopod

              Is it NMAC/SWH again, coming back with more crazy? Or is it fresh meat?

          • goldfleacollar

            Yes, truly only the greatest of political talents could win a statewide election in Delaware as a Democrat.

            Biden won his first senatorial campaign as an extreme longshot candidate against a longterm Republican incumbent. He was one of youngest senators ever elected. Definitely no political talent there!

            Your implication that Delaware is a cakewalk for Democrat is also complete nonsense. The other senator was Republican for most of Biden’s tenure, as was the rep. The presidential votes went for Reagan and Bush.

            Clinton campaigned (in a bluer state) against Slick Rick Lazio for a seat held by a legendary Democratic senator. But yeah, their political careers are totally comparable.

            Yes, Obama’s extremely close runner-up was made Secretary of State, and someone who got zero delegates was made his vice president. Exactly the same thing.

            ohhhh, so this stuff is handed out based on delegate count now? I guess that’s why Clinton picked famous delegate-getter Tim Kaine for VP over Sanders ahahahahah. Also, are you accusing Obama of being sexist for offering Biden the VP spot instead of Clinton? What point are you even trying to make here?

            I’ll be here for a bit more if you feel like offering a cogent defense of your comparison.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Biden won his first senatorial campaign as an extreme longshot candidate against a longterm Republican incumbent. He was one of youngest senators ever elected. Definitely no political talent there!

              Your implication that Delaware is a cakewalk for Democrat is also complete nonsense. The other senator was Republican for most of Biden’s tenure, as was the rep. The presidential votes went for Reagan and Bush.

              Clinton campaigned (in a bluer state) against Slick Rick Lazio for a seat held by a legendary Democratic senator. But yeah, their political careers are totally comparable.

              This is all my ass. Biden won his first election by 1.5 points against an incumbent who no longer really wanted the job and had to be heavily pressured to run again. When Clinton won in 2000, New York had a Republican governor and was all of 2 years removed from its last Republican senator (and that “legendary Democratic Senator” makes Andrew Cuomo look like Bernie Sanders.) Lazio at the time was considered at the time to be a strong candidate. He is now remembered (if at all) as a nonentity because Clinton completely humiliated him. Obviously, neither deserves any particular credit for winning re-election to the Senate in a liberal state, races that are nearly impossible to lose.

              But let’s say arguendo that Biden beating Boggs by 1.5 points is more impressive than Clinton beating Lazio by 12 points. We also have to look at their records running for president. Clinton nearly beat a generational talent and then won fairly easily against a surprisingly strong challenger. Biden ran humiliatingly bad campaigns twice, the first in a field with zero strong candidates and the second, conveniently enough, against Clinton.

              So, yes, your argument is utterly idiotic.

              • goldfleacollar

                That sure is all your ass.

                Yeah, Biden only won that first election by 1.5%, and Boggs didn’t really want to run. But Boggs was also a two-time state governor, representative and senator with the full support of his party; practically a state monument. Biden was a freaking 30-year-old city councilman. Tell me, o expert: was Biden expected to win? Did the party throw its support behind him? What sort of margin do you think the smart money was betting in that race? Was it +1.5%?

                Haha, there’s more. That Senate race was in 1972, when Nixon mollywhipped McGovern. In Delaware specifically it was 60-40 Nixon, so Biden actually outperformed his own parties’ presidential nominee by 10 points. Hilariously, Clinton offers an almost perfect contrast: during her campaign Gore carried New York 60-35 while she only won by 12, massively underperforming her parties’ candidate. That Lazio guy sure must have been an awful strong candidate…

                Let’s pause this funtrain a moment to gawp at how fundamentally oily your arguments are. In your first post you unmistakably implied that Democrats have an easy time winning statewide elections in Delaware:

                Yes, truly only the greatest of political talents could win a statewide election in Delaware as a Democrat.

                So snide and yet so incredibly stupid! When I pinned this nonsense to the wall your response was…complete silence. Well, almost complete silence:

                Obviously, neither deserves any particular credit for winning re-election to the Senate in a liberal state, races that are nearly impossible to lose.

                Now it’s re-election that’s easy! Nice save! Of course, the zombie claim that 1972/8/84 Delaware is equivalently liberal to 2000/6 New York is still there, shambling along, but I sense an opening. Maybe…maybe 2 bad presidential campaigns don’t automatically disqualify a guy with 35 years of senatorial experience from the vice-presidency. Maybe his selection by that “generational talent” wasn’t damning evidence of sexism at all?

            • goldfleacollar

              haha, i just wanted to follow up on this because it’s so funny. the primary delegates = vp legitimacy theory is obviously bonkers, but i thought i’d do a little research to see just how bonkers it is.

              it turns out in the last 30-odd years of democratic presidential primaries (going back to mondale) vice presidential picks have won a grand total of 559 delegates*. every single one of those 559 was won by john edwards. edwards is also the only case i can find for either party where the nominee tapped his major primary rival for vice president.

              so i guess we’re forced to conclude that john edwards was the only legit democratic vice-presidential pick in the last 30 years…

              *i’m cheating a bit by only counting delegates won by the vice-presidential candidate in that particular primary, but who cares if gore picked up a few hundred delegates in the process of being mulched by dukakis. gore, now there was a terrible vp pick: lost to dukakis and didn’t even have the excuse of a plagiarism scandal.

              • Scott Lemieux

                I would recommend reading the posts before commenting, but in your case I’m confident it wouldn’t help.

    • so-in-so

      #1 Yeah, the FPers may want to re-think this in the future.

  • mpavilion

    Great piece — thanks for pulling these threads together, Scott.

  • CraigMcMahon

    There was an “open letter” published via Medium by a former HRC Organizer about this stuff that got my blood boiling. (I don’t want to link it in case my comment gets eaten, and you smart people can use the Google- Alicia Ness wrote it). I spent a cathartic hour writing my own open letter to HRC. An excerpt follows:

    “And then Monday, I got your email.
    From: Hillary Clinton
    Subject: Craig, I hope you’ll join me
    As I skimmed it, I cringed, dreading the spate of Hot Takes I would have to endure once the press got a whiff. “You’re receiving this email because you’re a member of a team of big-hearted people who are committed to building a fairer, more inclusive America,” the email footer said. But wait! Despite Russian rat-fucking, despite a bunch of racist shitheels who pulled the lever for Donald Fucking Trump, despite the stadiums you could fill with illegally disenfranchised voters, and despite the fact that the press treated you like a shoo-in and cynically tried to score points with the right-wing crowd by being “tough” on you, not once had you personally shown up at my door, smeared in the ashes of your dreams, covered in sackcloth, wailing for my forgiveness.
    The next day, I stood in the shower and cried, feeling like an abused spouse, or the child of one. This is a very sensitive thing for me to say, and not at all an insult to actual survivors of abuse. You had said so many beautiful and encouraging things — how proud you were, how hopeful, how committed — but you still hadn’t apologized to me, Craig Thomas McMahon, personally. Sure, you’d “taken responsibility” in your latest interview with Christiane Amanpour, but that’s not the same as feeling bad. I wanted you to feel bad, Senator. I wanted to know that you felt bad, and I wanted to know it because you would stand there on my stoop, preferably in the rain, sobbing, pulling out fist-sized clumps of hair, begging for forgiveness. Is that really too much to ask? That you would spend the rest of your life doing nothing but visiting each and every American you and only you personally let down, gnashing your teeth in agony? When John Kerry lost in 2004, he didn’t just go back to being a Senator from Massachusetts! He still wanders the streets of Ohio slums, his teeth long-since rotted to stumps, his knees scaly and infected and raw from crawling over gravel to moan in penitence for allowing the Swift Boat Veterans to tell malicious lies about his war record.
    When I got that Onward Together email, I felt sick to my stomach. Of course I was going to open it, of course I was going to do whatever you ask me to do! It’s not enough for elected officials in a republic to be competent administrators. They must be the apotheosis of all of my hopes and dreams, somehow simultaneously just-like-me and ethereal in their perfection. And I’m glad you’ve formed a PAC to funnel funds to the most successful and important grassroots organizations responding to the horror that is our 45th president, I guess.
    I just want you to say:
    “This is all my fault. I should have been omniscient and omnipotent. I should have waved my hands and made it all better, but I didn’t, because I am just the worst. I made the horrible mistake of thinking if I had decades of experience, made my case honestly, and prepared the most progressive, well-detailed, thoroughly-researched platform in the recent history of the Democratic party, that if I won the respect of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, that if I spent years as the country’s foremost diplomat, and that if I served the man who beat me in 2008 faithfully, even if I didn’t always agree with everything he did, that I would have beaten the feckless thug and puppet of autocracy that the GOP nominated. However, because all complicated events have only one cause, it’s impossible therefore to say that anything at all other than my rank and manifest shittiness had any effect whatsoever on this election. Since I and only I am to blame for my inexcusable failure, I will now douse myself in accelerants and light myself ablaze for you, Craig. I can hope only that in the brief moments of agony before my rotten soul is extinguished forever, I will warm your stoop, therefore finally doing something right for once.”
    Then I want you to do that for every single man, woman, and child in America, even the ones who didn’t vote for you. Is that so much to ask?

    • Karen24

      This is brilliant and deserves many more affectionate and approving comments.

      • CraigMcMahon

        Thanks! The full one is 5000 words of pure catharsis…tho I think I was a little crueler than the original letter warranted.

  • Immortan Joe

    Women are property who should only produce male offspring.” – King James.

  • cleek

    why, it’s almost as if the people who worked tirelessly to smear Clinton from early 2015 all the way through the primary and then through the election, whose actions objectively helped Trump win, are still trying to smear Clinton; and maybe it’s because they realize what they did and they’re trying to come up with something that hides their own culpability.

    sore-loser Sanders supporters, lazy stupid reporters, phony Facebook activists – they fucked up and now we have Trump. and if they can find new ways to blame Clinton, they can keep any blame from landing on their own heads.

  • SatanicPanic

    I agree with you and I get what you’re trying to do here Mr. Lemieux, but this post is pretty much a welcome mat for dumb opinions.

    • efgoldman

      this post is pretty much a welcome mat for dumb opinions.

      It’s a blog comment session, ain’t it?

  • We will of course be arguing about this for decades. I do think that Clinton was unfairly targeted because she is a woman, and that Biden might have won simply because he is a man. But was that the primary factor? This is my take on the issue:

    1. What happened on the Republican side can only be classified as a populist revolt in which the ‘establishment’ candidates were summarily defeated by obvious human troll Donald Fucking Trump.

    2. What happened on the Democratic side can be classified as a populist battle in which Sanders performed unexpectedly well against ‘establishment’ candidate Hillary Clinton. Whether she deserved that label or not, next to Bernie she was clearly perceived as more establishment. Running as Obama’s third term probably didn’t help in terms of here being labeled as establishment.

    3. In terms of the election, the electorate was clearly divided on partisan grounds, but on both sides there was a clearly anti-establishment, populist mood. Much more so on the Republican side, but there on the Democratic side too.

    4. To her credit, Hillary moved significantly to the left and, at the end of the day, she still won the popular vote by a substantial margin.

    5. Where she lost, unfortunately, were areas where her gender (combined with decades of conservative attacks that were undoubtedly gender based) probably made a difference.

    6. Also, you know, Comey.

    I think Hillary’s gender was an issue. I don’t think it was THE issue, but it was probably just another part of the aggregate that ended with her electoral college defeat. Given that the election was ultimately decided by a few thousand populist votes, who knows if Biden would have won? You could just as easily make the argument that voter suppression efforts cost her the election, in which case it might have cost it for Biden, too.

    Going forward, I think the electorate is going to be so tired of Trump/Pence by 2020 that I don’t think gender is going to be that big an issue. I do think that it will be an issue after 2020 if a woman wins, in the same way that Obama’s race became an issue after he won the election(s).

    • Also, I think it’s great she’s coming back out of the wilderness and commenting on Trump’s bullshit. We need all hands on deck to fight this asshole.

      • Hondo

        Agreed. I don’t think it’s bad for her to be in the fight. The apparent fact that she will never be a candidate again may allow her to speak more freely and really go after the orange pussy grabber.
        We watched the Michael Moore film about Hillary the night before the election. There was a lot I didn’t know about her, and at the end it felt like that Belushi scene from Animal House:
        It ain’t over until we say it’s over! Who’s with me? Let’s go! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….and….thenshelost. Fuck!

        • Yeah, although I don’t think anyone on the Trump side thought he would win, either.

    • FlipYrWhig

      I think the whole “establishment” thing is total bullshit. Frankly I find it to be chiefly a way for a small number of leftier-than-thou hipsters and highly-educated white liberals to pretend like they are part of a working-class groundswell that is principally comprised of people who hate them.

      • SatanicPanic

        This too. Sheesh, I hear people on the left complaining about Nancy Pelosi, which is nuts to me. When was the last time we had a vote-corraller that good in the House? Paul Ryan wishes he was Nancy Pelosi. But some dumb leftists don’t like her personality so she’s got to go!

        • King Goat

          Most that don’t like her don’t like that we’ve seen us become a perpetual minority party under her leadership.

          • SatanicPanic

            Most that don’t like her don’t like that we’ve seen us become a perpetual minority party under her leadership.

            I deleted some very sarcastic remarks, and instead will just note that Nancy Pelosi has lead the Democrats in the House since 2002.

            • King Goat

              She was whip in 02, right?

              • SatanicPanic

                Minority leader since Gephardt. You see where I’m going with this, right?

                • King Goat

                  Yes I see. She presided over a loss, then some wins, and then a steady losing streak I should have said.

                • tsam

                  Any suggestions on what she might have done to make us all tired of winning?

                • SatanicPanic

                  King has none. And he’s firmly in “with notably rare exceptions” territory now.

                • King Goat

                  In what fantasy land does the face of an operation being called to step down after repeated massive losses by the operation met with such ‘hmmm, who could say/think such a thing without ill motives?’

          • Murc

            Most that don’t like her don’t like that we’ve seen us become a perpetual minority party under her leadership.

            Good god, what’s this to do with the price of tea in China?

            Pelosi is either Speaker of the House or Minority Leader. She has a role to play in electoral politics, as do all prominent Democrats, but that isn’t her primary job. She doesn’t run the DCCC.

            The Democratic Speaker of the House should be whoever can best work the machinery of the house to our benefit in the context of the House of Representatives. Our Minority Leader should be same. Not every job has to do with winning elections; legislative competence matters for some jobs, and Nancy Pelosi has that competence and also has had jobs that full under that category.

            • King Goat

              “Not every job has to do with winning elections;”

              No wonder we lose them with this attitude! You can’t do *any* legislative competence as the minority party.

              • Murc

                No wonder we lose them with this attitude!

                Believing things that are true? Yeah, wow, how awful.

                • King Goat

                  Politics is about perception more than truth, it’s naive to think otherwise. If Pelosi as a face of the party hurts us electorally, then who cares that she’s great at whipping and scheduling votes? Those things are valuable, but after and less so than being and staying in power.

                • Murc

                  If Pelosi as a face of the party hurts us electorally

                  This extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence.

                  then who cares that she’s great at whipping and scheduling votes?

                  I do. So does anybody who actually cares about governing.

              • SatanicPanic

                No wonder we lose them with this attitude!

                Because we have people in defined roles? WTF

                You can’t do *any* legislative competence as the minority party.

                Not true, but whatever.

            • SatanicPanic

              Exactly, you said it better than I could.

          • EliHawk

            Why yes, Dick Gephardt is a terrible House Minority Leader who will never be Speaker of the House. Now, who are we talking about, again?

        • Hondo

          Maybe you’re onto more than you realize about Ryan wishing he was Pelosi? We don’t know how he dresses when he’s alone. His dumbbell lifting poses looked pretty feminine to me.

        • Also, who could replace her? I don’t see anyone else being able to keep the minority coalition together better than she has.

          • SatanicPanic

            Tulsi Gabbard!

      • King Goat

        The ‘establishment’ as a source of deep dislike isn’t just some working class thing. ‘Those jerks in charge in DC’ or ‘the politicians’ or ‘the media’ are generally and lazily derided as the source of many societal ills across a wide spectrum. You’ve got to be wary about nominating people for whom the label ‘establishment’ sticks so easily if you want to win.

        • FlipYrWhig

          No, it’s stupid. On the right, there’s such a thing as an “establishment Republican,” meaning rich WASPs. On the left it’s a conjectural category that amounts to an intentional conflation of what people in the 1950s called “the Establishment” with what people in the 1960s called “the man” and what people in the early 2000s called “the DLC” and what people in the 2010s call “neoliberal,” as though those are all the same. Used of late to mean “any politician I don’t like.”

          • King Goat

            Establishment in an analytic mess, but that’s true of lots of ideas with tons of salience among a lot of voters. Having been a widely recognized name in national politics for decades Clinton was going to be in most people’s concept of ‘the establishment.’ And that’s a political liability these days.

            • FlipYrWhig

              “Establishment” when applied to Hillary Clinton has never been much more than a polite way to say “there’s just something I don’t like about her.” Like how when people say “I’m fiscally conservative” they mean “I resent how black people are on welfare.” The people who say Hillary Clinton is “establishment” mean she’s conservative and cautious, because they want someone more liberal and more “authentic.” (Thought experiment: is Jerry Brown “establishment”?) That has nothing to do with whatever the interests are of the “establishment” (meaning the rich, or the shadowy cabal that runs the world, or something) except by innuendo. It’s a trainwreck and I wish, like “fetch,” we stopped trying to make “establishment” happen.

              • I think there is some of that. Personally, I think she’s a lot more liberal than people think. But she is also close to the Democratic power structure, and so guilt by association.

                That being said, I do think people confuse establishment with being conservative. Establishment means ‘whoever is in power.’ Not the same as ‘conservative.’

                • FlipYrWhig

                  But the number of people who care about the “Democratic power structure” is exceptionally small. Which goes back to Scott in the OP about Biden. Is there any reason to think that Clinton is closer to the Democratic power structure than Biden is? The difference is mostly that Biden is folksy, has fewer scandals or faux scandals chalked up to his name, and doesn’t have as many rich/celebrity friends. But are rich celebrities the power structure? This is why the whole conversation seems beside the point. Hillary Clinton didn’t lose because of something something establishment in an anti-establishment moment. She lost because of scandal fatigue exacerbated by Comey.

                • King Goat

                  “She lost because of scandal fatigue”

                  Which isn’t tied to decades of being in the national political picture (and what comes with that, which is decades of charges from opponents)?

                • FlipYrWhig

                  What if there were a primary election and people could run to be a party’s candidate by making arguments about how the other candidates had various problems? Maybe that way we’d know how well said arguments would work.

          • Definition of political establishment: A dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organization.

            By that definition, Obama represented the ‘Democratic Establishment.’ Clinton, by association, was seen as a member of the Democratic establishment. Even after 30 years in Congress, Bernie was/is not considered a part of the Democratic establishment because he has never had a seat at the table until recently. Hence his outsider status. Many people felt left out by Obama’s policies (justified or not), and because he represented the dominant Democratic group, they considered him ‘The Establishment.’

            Does that mean that Obama represented THE ESTABLISHMENT? No. I think the fact that he was attacked mercilessly every day in office tells us who THE ESTABLISHMENT really is. But Obama was the president, and so guilt by association.

            • so-in-so

              So, Bernie would be a good guy until some time after Jan 20th, then the rotten veggies start flying?

            • FlipYrWhig

              So Bill Clinton circa 1992 was an outsider candidate with no connection to Washington, but the Clintons by 1993 were insidery and establishment, and then Obama circa 2008 was an outsider candidate, but then Obama circa 2009 was insidery and establishment, and Hillary Clinton was then insidery twice over?

              How many people do you think “felt left out by Obama’s policies”? From the right, like the Jim Webb/Joe Manchin critique that he didn’t do enough for Appalachia? Probably a reasonable number. From the left? Any reason to think this isn’t a teeny tiny number?

              • So Bill Clinton circa 1992 was an outsider candidate with no connection to Washington, but the Clintons by 1993 were insidery and establishment, and then Obama circa 2008 was an outsider candidate, but then Obama circa 2009 was insidery and establishment, and Hillary Clinton was then insidery twice over?

                By definition, yes.

                How many people do you think “felt left out by Obama’s policies”? From the right, like the Jim Webb/Joe Manchin critique that he didn’t do enough for Appalachia? Probably a reasonable number. From the left? Any reason to think this isn’t a teeny tiny number?

                I think there were a considerable number of people who considered themselves left out by his decision to breathe life back into the financial vampire squid instead of driving a stake through its heart when he had the chance. And he didn’t really have to do that much. He could have simply called a modern Pecora Commission and let public outrage do the work for him. But instead we got HAMP and the TPP.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  I don’t disagree that there are such people, but I do disagree that there are many of them, unless you’re combining them with conservative Democrats who soured on Obama because they considered him overly concerned with identity politics, i.e., black, brown, and LGBT issues.

                • Hob

                  “people who considered themselves left out by his decision to breathe life back into the financial vampire squid instead of driving a stake through its heart”

                  That’s a weird definition of “left out”, because you’re talking about a failure to meet a standard of retributive justice, not a failure to provide concrete improvements for a particular community. Unless you’re saying that there’s a large Democratic constituency that wouldn’t just like to see brokers get nailed to the wall, but considers that a more important measure of their own quality of life than whether they themselves have jobs, food, health care, etc.

                  You can’t even make that argument from the point of view of “I elected this guy specifically to do X, and then he didn’t do X, so he betrayed my support”; the crash wasn’t yet a visible issue in the 2008 election.

              • Davis X. Machina

                You stop being an outsider the moment you win.

                There’s no way to remain virtuous without losing.

                • blackbox

                  Well shit, we just found out why Democrats are always losing: clearly they’re just appeasing the insane parts of their base that actually think what you’re joking about there.

      • Sander’s clearly had more than a small number of people supporting him, and populism is by definition anti-establishment. Sanders ran against what he considered Obama’s centrist policies, and a lot of people resonated with that. A lot of people were still holding their nose when pulling the lever for Clinton even after Bernie’s support, because they expected her to shift right back to the center as soon as she was elected. And with Republicans in control of both sides of Congress, she probably would have, and we would be hearing a HUGE amount of “we told you so” screaming from the left. Whether you choose to call it anti-establishment or not, it was a real thing.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Sanders always had a small number of homogeneous people supporting him qua him, and then also pulled the votes of people who really hate Hillary Clinton for various reasons. But “the left” quite enjoyed pretending the dynamic was different, like when they thought the Tea Party and Occupy had SO MUCH IN COMMON DUDE LIKE THEY BOTH HATE BANKS

          ETA: I mean, the number of people who think Obama is _too conservative_ is, what, 5% of Democrats? 8%?

      • cleek

        bah. “establishment” is just a way to attempt to distinguish a professional backbench politician from a high-profile, successful politician.

        a guy who’s been in Congress since 1990 isn’t ‘establishment’ ? right.

        • Well, he was also not a Democrat util he decided to run, either. Is these such a thing as an ‘establishment’ Social Democrat in this country?

          • FlipYrWhig

            Gee, is it possible that the whole category of “establishment” that somehow doesn’t apply to someone who’s been a politician for 35 years is contentless?

            • Murc

              No. That’s not how it works. That’s never been how it works. There have been tons of politicians who had been in politics as basically their primary if not only career who were vehicles for anti-establishment sentiments.

              • Exactly. You have those who have a seat at the table, and those who don’t. Bernie was always considered a crank by the Democratic power structure.

              • FlipYrWhig

                OK, let’s zero in, then. Let’s start at, say, 1980.
                Who besides Sanders and Ron Paul does this apply to? And that’s just going to take us back to who “the establishment” even is, or if “the establishment” has any meaning for Democrats, which I don’t think it does. Back in the day, labor was a vital part of the Democratic power structure. Is that “establishment” or “anti-establishment”?

                IMHO what people are trying to get at by citing Sanders as “anti-establishment” is that he has roots in the counterculture. Fine. But that’s opposition to The Establishment, not opposition to “establishment Democrats,” which AFAICT doesn’t mean any actual people except for maybe Robert Rubin.

                • What I will say is that the Democratic establishment is no where near as clearly defined as the Republican establishment, but a power structure does exist, and if a Democrat is president, that person is going to be considered the leader of the Democratic party and associated with ‘the establishment’ even if no one can clearly define what that is. It just is.

                • Murc

                  OK, let’s zero in, then. Let’s start at, say, 1980.

                  How convenient. A year that lets us not count Barry Goldwater, Dick Nixon, George McGovern, and Ronald Reagan in the 60s and 70s.

                  Who besides Sanders and Ron Paul does this apply to?

                  How about the guy currently in the White House, who parachuted into the Republican Party and smashed all of its establishment figures and hierarchies into flinders?

                  There’s also a colorable case that Barack Obama rode an anti-establishment wave in 2008. I’m not sure I myself would believe it but it wouldn’t be nuts.

                  Back in the day, labor was a vital part of the Democratic power structure. Is that “establishment” or “anti-establishment”?

                  … neither? It’s a statement about the history of that interest group in the Democratic power structure?

                  IMHO what people are trying to get at by citing Sanders as “anti-establishment” is that he has roots in the counterculture.

                  I could give two tugs of a dead dog’s cock about Sanders roots in a counterculture that was dead before I was born.

                  not opposition to “establishment Democrats,” which AFAICT doesn’t mean any actual people except for maybe Robert Rubin.

                  I’m not responsibility for your inability to discern very plain things.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  @Murc: As I said, there is a category of actual people who can be captured under the heading “establishment Republicans.” It means “rich WASPs,” like most of the Bush family. They have a coherent set of interests and stances, like “low taxes” and “reduced regulation” and “global stability.” Trump defeated them.

                  What is the coherent set of interests and stances that “establishment Democrats” hold? If they’re changing year to year, I submit that that’s a serious analytical problem.

                • King Goat

                  “I submit that that’s a serious analytical problem.”

                  This is what you’re missing. An idea can not make ultimate sense and yet can be a widely held idea which then must be taken seriously in the political arena. The idea that ‘both sides do it’ and ‘not a dime’s worth of difference’ is twaddle, but it really resonates with a lot of people, and so in elections you have to do the work and take seriously things to not play into that idea. Ditto the idea of ‘establishment.’ It’s an analytically dubious idea, but one that you can still largely predict who the public will think falls into it or not and when it’s a bad thing. Like I said, Hillary beat Trump in exit polls on most major reasons to vote for someone: honesty, temperament, leadership on economy and national security. It took me a while to find one where Trump won! But he really won the ‘this country needs a change/wrong direction’ voters. Big time. If that mood is ascendant, then all the usual ‘pluses’ of ‘experience,’ or ‘competence’ (which is usually demonstrated experentially) become liabilities.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  I really don’t think “establishment” is helping to make any sense of that, though, KG.

                  Part of what Trump supporters think needs to be changed is, let’s call it, official liberalism. They think that there’s a liberal elite that looks down on them, and they think Hillary Clinton is part of that. What they want a change from is signs in Spanish in the hardware store and happy gay couples in sitcoms and commercials with interracial couples eating Cheerios together.

                  But what leftish Democrats mean when they say Hillary Clinton is “establishment” is that she’s old hat, she’s too conservative, she’s too tight with the financial sector, and so forth. That establishment (or elite) has almost nothing to do with the other one. The people on the left who think Hillary Clinton is establishment LIKE all the stuff that the people on the right who think she’s establishment (i.e., “liberal elite”) hate!

                  So this big overarching category of “establishment” is pulling together political views that are completely incompatible. And I think when people say it they’re largely deflecting. The people who don’t like Hillary Clinton from the left don’t really care about the establishment, they care about hawkishness and financial interests. They then identify hawkishness and finance as hallmarks of the establishment.

                  So, then, why do they do this? IMHO they did it in 2016 because they fell in love with the symmetry of Clinton:Sanders and Bush:Trump because, in turn, they have a lot invested in the idea that populism is a killer app for the left and the Democratic Party, and the interpretation of “establishment” is reverse-engineered to validate that populism is a surefire winner.

          • cleek

            Well, he was also not a Democrat util he decided to run, either.

            he’s been a Democrat several times – he becomes one whenever he needs to mooch off the party’s support structure.

      • Murc

        I think the whole “establishment” thing is total bullshit.

        Dude, a no-name elderly socialist from Vermont with a national profile somewhere between “slim” and “nonexistent” dropped into the Democratic Party nomination contest against one of the three or four most powerful, connected, prepared, and popular Democrats of the past three decades and got forty percent of the party to say “yeah! I want THAT guy!”

        That is almost by definition an expression of widespread dissatisfaction with establishment politics.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Not at all. It’s an expression of discontent with Hillary Clinton qua Hillary Clinton mixed with an expression of a desire for a liberal alternative. Think about Gore vs. Bill Bradley in 1999-2000. Were people voting for Bradley because he was “anti-establishment”? No, they were voting for him because Gore had (1) ethical lapses, (2) personality issues, (3) a checkered record from a liberal-left perspective. Familiar, eh?

          • EliHawk

            I mean, in early 2015, when HRC had near universal name recognition, she as getting 55-60% in Democratic Primary polling. 40-45% of the party’s voters wanted ‘something else,’ which could have been anything from Joe Biden to Sanders (but probably not Webb). A year and a half and two hundred million in Bernie Bucks later, he got…42%. Basically, he got the generic alternative votes, probably marginally improved by outspending her in a lot of states. If he’d gone up against, say, Obama, a two term ‘establishment’ President, he’d have gotten nowhere close to that. Which says a lot about discontent with the ‘Democratic Establishment.’

          • Murc

            It’s an expression of discontent with Hillary Clinton qua Hillary Clinton mixed with an expression of a desire for a liberal alternative.

            Which means they were discontented with Clinton’s politics and policies, which were the politics and policies of the majority of the established, power-wielding members of the Democratic Party.

            Think about Gore vs. Bill Bradley in 1999-2000. Were people voting for Bradley because he was “anti-establishment”?

            … yes! That was a big part of his draw! People were discontented with the DLC style politics that had taken over the Democratic Party and become its dominant mode of politics and policy, and those people reached for an alternative!

            No, they were voting for him because Gore had (1) ethical lapses, (2) personality issues, (3) a checkered record from a liberal-left perspective.

            Left-liberalism was on the outs within the party at that time. You make my point for me.

            • FlipYrWhig

              People were discontented with the DLC style politics that had taken over the Democratic Party and become its dominant mode of politics and policy, and those people reached for an alternative!

              ISTM that you’re saying the people who supported Bradley were anti-establishment, not that Bradley himself was somehow located in opposition to an establishment that, if it existed at all, he would have had much more to do with than the Clintons — who were outsiders, after all.

              Or consider Mondale and Hart. Mondale was more of an insider, right? Which makes Hart the outsider. And Mondale was old and Hart was young. And Hart was a McGovern staffer. And yet Hart was also the “New Democrat” / “new ideas” candidate who set in motion all of the things that would later be called “neoliberal.” I don’t think establishment vs. anti-establishment explains anything about that race.

              And that’s going to continue to be a problem. It’s not a helpful framework, especially not by comparison to ideology, record, or personality.

              Or else you’re going to get stuck explaining why the Cory Booker / Tammy Duckworth ticket beat Trump by too narrow a margin because it was too “establishment” even though it was young and diverse, because the real gripe will be “closeness to the financial sector,” which is a perfectly legitimate gripe irrespective of its position vis-a-vis “the establishment” or “the Democratic establishment.”

        • cleek

          got forty percent of the party to say “yeah! I want THAT guy!”

          40% is landslide territory.

          Mondale got 40% against Reagan.

          • Murc

            It could be that those levels of support have radically different contexts.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          If we didn’t have the 22nd Amendment, and Obama had been able to run for a third term (and let’s assume, he wanted to do so)… would Sanders have performed as well?

          I find it hard to believe that he would have done nearly as well.

      • manual

        I happily supported Hillary. But how a former Senator, SoS, First lady and biggest power broker in Washington DC is not part of the establishment…is well…

        Being part of the establishment is not necessarily bad. But if there is one, She is certainly a part of it.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Hillary Clinton is the “biggest power broker in Washington DC”?

          • Power comes out of the barrel of a gun. Connect the dots!

          • manual

            She literally cleared the field of democratic opposition. Everyone in DC politics – I live here – was walking on eggshells to not offend her campaign. I think its shrewd politics on her part. But he idea that Hillary is not a power broker is weird.

            CAP is run by her former legislative director, and almost every big comms and lobby shop has a relationship to her/ former staff.

            That is not an insult! It is a reality in a town where her husband spent two terms as president, she was a Senator and Secretary of State, a former presidential candidate and everyone knew she was running in ’16. It is just reality. The Clintons have tons of power in DC built up over decades and have utilized it.

            What an odd thing to say that someone with that much institutional power in a country is not a power broker – or even the biggest one. Or to say that she is not part of a political establishment? Odd

      • I think the whole “establishment” thing is total bullshit.

        The problem is that the concept of the “establishment”, and hence, of being “anti-establishment” is very vague but also very potent.

        Basically, when people speak of the “establishment”, they basically mean “People who run things, who aren’t like you and me”. That’s why people can speak of Trump as “anti-establishment” even though, from a different perspective, he’s clearly part of the establishment.

    • efgoldman

      Given that the election was ultimately decided by a few thousand populist votes….

      For “populist” on the right, substitute “racist.” Much closer to the truth.

  • JMP

    Of course Dilan manages to immediately derail the thread repeating the same old bullshit that was ripped apart in the actual post, even continuing the attacks on Chelsea Clinton pretending she’s somehow constantly out in the public eye even though she has not been at all since the election ended, because Clinton Derangement Syndrome is an incurable condition.

    • efgoldman

      Clinton Derangement Syndrome is an incurable condition.

      Unfortunately true.
      The first step in dealing with a problem is to admit you have one. Dilan is clearly obsessed with the Clinton women; it shows in his every post on the subject. And yet, he can’t and won’t admit it.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I mean, obviously I don’t think his responses are convincing, but it’s hard to argue he’s “derailing” a thread responding directly to his arguments.

      • tsam

        I sort of respect his tenacity in standing up for his argument, even though I think his argument is flat wrong.

  • petesh

    I have to say I thought that the OP was a fine (and entertaining) example of shooting fish in a barrel, but apparently the fish are wearing armor plate. Meteor, please.

  • EliHawk

    Another piece of CDS writ large: You still see people (notably Josh Barro) moan and moan about how terrible it was that Clinton conceded the next day rather than speaking in the middle of the night. How DARE she send out John Podesta instead of speaking herself? Meanwhile, John Kerry LITERALLY DID THE EXACT SAME THING: He sent Edwards out to say “keep counting votes” and then conceded after noon in Fanueil Hall the day after. You did not have people calling him out as a ‘sore loser’ six months later for waiting to make sure he’d lost.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      This is extra ridiculous given that we saw what happened in 2000 – conceding the election and then taking it back was NOT helpful to Gore.

      It was very close, and the margins continued to shrink in the decisive states even after she conceded.

      Even if it was an incredible longshot, I don’t blame her.

      (And also omg, she can have emotions. She still ended giving a gracious speech conceding to that piece of shit while holding it together far better than most of those assholes would have.)

  • CP

    The invocation of Chelsea Clinton really gives away the show. She’s not running for anything. There is no evidence she ever intends to run for anything. Her Twitter feed and her vanity award from a Hollywood trade publication have zero impact on American politics. The only reason she “consumes” any “oxygen” is that some obsessive Clinton haters left and right are also palpably desperate to have more Clintons to kick around.

    Yep. I keep saying this, but the Chelsea bashing even more than the Hillary is what signals to me just how fucking unhinged the CDS-syndrome is. At least Hillary Clinton has political achievements to her name that could arguably justify holding a grudge against her. But Chelsea Clinton is a person whose only contribution to the political discourse, as near as I can tell, consists of having a Twitter account. Which she uses largely the same way all the rest of us do. And on which she’s repeatedly denied that she’s run for any office. There is transparently zero basis for going after her, other than the fucking obsession that the right, the MSM, and far too much of the left have with having a Clinton woman to kick around.

    • John F

      This… Whenever anyone, ANYONE, brings up Chelsea in a political context you know the person throwing her name out there is a CDS sufferer.

      It’s like there would be a great void in their lives if there was no longer a Clinton to attack.

      Also, for a CDS sufferer it’s never enough. Trump beat Clinton (in their minds proving them right)- it’s not enough.
      Even though she lost, she’s going to die materially wealthy, and people acceptable in polite society are going to go to her funeral and eulogize her – and they can’t stand that. They want her to be shunned for the rest of her natural days, to die impoverished and universally known as a deceitful harridan.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I also consider this action (especially when done ad nihilum) as the point at which CDS starts definitely starts taking on a misogynistic element.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Is it noteworthy that Rush Limbaugh and even John McCain were insulting Chelsea even when she was a child in the White House?

        • Origami Isopod

          It is, but it’s not particular to Chelsea herself. Amy Carter was similarly insulted, and Malia and Sasha got even worse. If you are female and in the public eye, you are considered a target. If you are at all associated with liberals, leftists, and/or Democrats, you are especially a target. And if you are not white, it gets even nastier.

  • Gregor Sansa

    My hammer smashes ALL THE NAILS.

    Imagine, if you will, that the 2016 election had been run using 3-2-1 voting: voters could independently rate each candidate “Good”, “OK”, or “Bad”, with a robust system for choosing the top 2 and seeing which one is preferred by more voters.

    If the candidates were Clinton, Sanders, and a concrete Republican (Trump, Cruz, or Rubio; I don’t guarantee Kasich), then Sanders would probably win. Sure, there’s some sexism built in there. But the fact remains, Sanders would get enough crossover “OK” votes to easily beat Clinton in the last step.

    If the candidates were Clinton, Biden, and N Republicans (where 0<N<4), then Clinton would win. Sure, all the lefty CDS folks would rate Biden higher, but the rightists would rate them both equally "bad"; unlike Sanders, Biden wouldn't get significant crossover Republican "OK"s. And Clinton's base, starting with engaged female and/or Black voters, would easily trounce the CDSers. Meanwhile, all but the most deranged on the left would rate Clinton at least "OK", their purity satisfied by rating Biden higher. So the finalists would be Biden and Clinton, and Clinton would win. As she should.

    Moral of the story: pointless infighting is encouraged and worsened by FPTP voting. The trolls will always be with us, but in a better world we could ignore them more easily.

  • John F

    As Scott pointed out, the last four losing presidential candidates have not “gone away,” so if this tradition ever existed it faded long before Clinton.

    Well Nixon went away for a [short] while and to CDS sufferers she’s as bad if not worse than Nixon so…

    I was down on Clinton before the primaries began because, well I was aware that CDS was out there*. Then Trump got nominated and I assumed she would win despite CDS… and I was wrong.

    I think sexism was a factor, there were many factors, but CDS was a bigger factor than generic sexism. I really can’t think of anyone else who has such a longstanding and entrenched public image of dishonesty and corruption (among at least 40% of the country)- where that image is so utterly based upon crap. Usually people who have such a deep and broad image of dishonesty and corruption have actually done things to merit that perception. However, if you ask someone who thinks Shrillery is corrupt, they will either say something that is untrue (Whitewater, Vince Foster, etc etc) or bring up something that happened long after she had that reputation (Goldman Sachs speeches, etc.)

    And you know what, she WON the popular vote.

    * I also thought she’d be a bad campaigner, she was actually much better at it in 2016 than I anticipated.

    • so-in-so

      I’m not sure if CDS in individual voters was the biggest issue, but it turned out that CDS in the media and institutions like the FBI WAS a problem.

    • manual

      I agree with this take.

      She’s a bad campaigner. But really, a lot of the electorate had made up their mind about hillary 20 years ago. She’s done tons of dumb things.

      But know one has been more in the public eye in such a politicized way over such a long period of time. She – like her husband – is polarizing. And whether that is justified or not, it has long been the case.

      • efgoldman

        She – like her husband – is polarizing. And whether that is justified or not, it has long been the case.

        But you can’t blame that on an individual rather than our hideous media when it is the media, both the RW noise machine and staid establishment “journalism” like the NYT, that created and obsessed over entirely imaginary “scandals” for fucking decades.

      • FlipYrWhig

        I think the issue is not that she’s “a bad campaigner,” but that she’s a bad speech-maker by comparison to Obama and Bill (although I’m not a great fan of Bill’s style myself). OTOH she’s at least on par with Kerry and Gore. Maybe Biden’s a half-step above.

        I think by the standards of compelling speech-making, Elizabeth Warren is also pretty bad, and I’m meh on Bernie Sanders. I don’t remember one way or the other the performances of 2020 prospective candidates like Gillibrand, Harris, Sherrod Brown, Booker, Deval Patrick. It’s not a widely possessed skill.

        • manual

          No. I think she’s bad at campaigning. She’s a bright policy mind that is not particularly naturally skilled for the politician crap. As much as I’d prefer less politician crap and more policy, the rest of the country does not.

          Also, her campaign was – again – painfully inept. That also reflects on the candidate eventually. The Allen/Parnes book is pretty clear that she made a lot of deliberate mistakes, had an incredibly inbred/chaotic campaign, and had trouble crafting a message.

          I dont think it is limited to speach giving. But I would agree – to an extent. I think she’s always been a much more skilled/shrewder debater than Obama, for example. But I think she also is a subobtimal retail/traditional politician. She has the skills set more for a PM or Senator than a President.

          • Everything I’ve read has suggested that Clinton is actually an excellent retail politician: get her in a room talking face-to-face with voters, and they love her. I understand she did a really good job of it when running for Senate, for instance. My understanding was that the book you refer to was more critical of the larger-scale tactics and messaging of the campaign.

            • Scott Lemieux

              She’s not an ideal candidate for president in part because she’s better at retail campaigning — which is essentially irrelevant to presidential campaigns — than speeches, although she is an excellent debater.

    • sam

      When the election cycle first started, one of my parents’ friends asked me (around mid-2015), if I was “ready for Hillary”.

      I kind of sighed and said I was more “resigned to Hillary”. While I personally always thought well of her, I KNEW that her running would turn into a massive CDS shitshow (and this was well before Trump entered the race). I had also lived through the entire Bill Clinton era, and just kind of didn’t want to deal with either of them anymore.

      But during the course of the primary and the general election, I felt myself becoming an ardent Hillary supporter, which surprised me a bit. I had forgotten how much of a feminist she was going back to her Arkansas first lady days, how brilliant she was, how much she had sacrificed to get Bill where he was, that she was actually really funny (when she wasn’t so afraid of being pilloried by the press that she hid all of those things), and just seeing her withstand ALL of the slings and arrows thrown her way…

      I like her more now than I ever did. And I’ve (almost) stopped making excuses for it, or prefacing every statement about how I like her with caveats about how “I know she has her issues…”

      It broke my heart when she lost. For her, for me, and for our country. I think she would have been a great president. and instead we got this shitshow.

    • Shantanu Saha

      I was a Clinton supporter in both the 2008 and 2016 campaigns. I was disappointed when she lost to Obama in 2008, but that disappointment went away when Obama proved to be such a formidable campaigner and excellent President.

      My only misgiving about the 2016 campaign was the CDS of the mainstream media and the legions of ratfucking operations run by the Republicans. What I did not expect was the internal ratfucking of the Sanders campaign, which is one of the things I will NEVER forgive Bernie or his more rabid followers for. Despite that, and despite the fundamentals that led me to believe that the election was a tossup, she managed to outperform the fundamentals to the tune of 3 million more votes than her opponent. Part of her stellar performance was the fact that her opponent was DONALD FUCKING TRUMP, but a lot of it was also due to her actions and her demeanor. She positively destroyed Trump during their three debates. By all rights, she should be the President of the United States, and if she was, I would not be having so many bad dreams right now.

      • I have a hot take that I’ve been rolling over in my head for a while now: I think Hillary Clinton might have actually gotten more votes against a non-Trump opponent. She may have even gotten more votes despite losing the popular vote. My reasoning is along these lines:

        Trump was an ideal foil for Clinton. He campaigned on pure emotionalism, with completely nonsensical policy proposals. He was willing to attack her much more viciously and personally than other Republicans might have been willing to. Ted Cruz, for instance, would have debated policy with Clinton. He would have called her a socialist. He would have talked about Benghazi, sure. But I don’t think Cruz would have gotten to “Crooked Hillary” and “Lock Her Up”. I certainly don’t think Rubio or Jeb! would have.

        Trump’s presence encouraged media figures to overemphasize Clinton’s negative qualities, real and imagined. This is partly due to a desire for “balance” and partly because “America prepares to hold its nose once again and vote for one of these clowns” is essentially the standard-issue nonpolitical position taken by pop culture, comedy (see Colbert and SNL), and so on.

        Finally, people didn’t really expect Trump to win. This caused the media to preemptively adopt a more critical stance than they normally would for a candidate. It encouraged skeptical voters to stay home. I think it also contributed to a general sense that she was arrogantly seizing the office she felt entitled to — I will note that SNL’s recurring joke was to have Hillary reacting with deranged glee to the idea she already had the election in the bag, for example.

        This is all speculative. But I think it’s entirely possible that Clinton vs. Rubio would have turned out a couple million more people and cut into the third party vote, and that at up to a million voters might have switched sides (I suspect there’s a solid chunk of suburban women who would have voted for Rubio over Clinton, say, but who wouldn’t vote for Trump). But I think there’s more than enough reason to believe that Trump was not the gimme of an opponent that people thought (reason #1 being that he won the electoral college).

        • Scott Lemieux

          I’ve been convinced for quite a while that if Clinton had run against Rubio or Cruz she would have won the EC, although perhaps with less of a popular vote margin.

  • MDrew

    the idea that we should ignore real and ongoing issues like vote suppression and ratfucking by the FBI and the Russian state because it would detract from discussions of how someone who will never run for president again sucks isn’t about winning elections or resisting Trump. It’s pure Clinton Derangement Syndrome, and in at least some measure it helps explain why there have been zero women presidents in American history.

    I remain interested to hear who in this political community has suggested this idea. (But: “talk about X” isn’t a sufficient definition of “ignore Y.” Indeed, “pay less attention to Y than one advocate prefers” isn’t a sufficient definition of “ignore Y.”)

    What’s a danger, though, is that the idea that we should ignore how someone who will never run for president again sucks because it would detract from discussions of real and ongoing issues like vote suppression and ratfucking by the FBI and the Russian state could end up helping Democrats figure out a way to lose the presidency to Donald J. Trump twice.

    • I remain interested to hear who in this political community has suggested this idea.

      There certainly are people who’ve repeatedly claimed just that in the LGM comment section. The argument has been: “People are only talking about these things because they don’t want to talk about how much HRC and the Dems generally suck”

      • MDrew

        I think you are wrong.

        But even if you are right, what you put in quotes there is not a view that “these things” should get zero attention, which is what it is to ignore something.

        • I think you are wrong.

          If you think I am wrong, I invite you to once again peruse these discussions here over the last months. Might jog your memory somewhat. I will not do your work for you by locating and linking to specific examples; the examples are sufficiently legion that anyone looking for them would not take long to find them.

          what you put in quotes there is not a view that “these things” should get zero attention, which is what it is to ignore something.

          Wrong, I’m afraid. To say that the only reason people are even talking about x is because they don’t want to deal with y, actually does suppose that x is not really worth discussing at all.

          • Scott Lemieux

            It would be wrong to cherrypick Glenn Greenwald, who after has only 875,000 Twitter followers. And we just had a discussion about two of America’s most prominent socialist intellectuals asserting that “Hillary Clinton sucks” is the only acceptable explanation for the 2016 election result.

            What’s a danger, though, is that the idea that we should ignore how someone who will never run for president again sucks because it would detract from discussions of real and ongoing issues like vote suppression and ratfucking by the FBI and the Russian state could end up helping Democrats figure out a way to lose the presidency to Donald J. Trump twice.

            Nah.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              Who’s the other most prominent socialist that isn’t Joe Lauria?

              • Scott Lemieux
                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  At this rate, how long do you think it’ll tank until Jacobin becomes a Counterpunch clone?

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I think it will continue to be a magazine that publishes some good stuff but could be better, which if course you can say about most publications.

            • MDrew

              Glenn Greenwald is in this political community? Nah.

              But in either case, so we’re talking about Greenwald. Fair enough.

              Nah.

              One man’s opinion. It’s a judgement call, and everyone is free to form their own on this. I for one invite everyone to do so.

              • Greenwald has, in point of fact, commented here before. It went about as you’d expect.

          • MDrew

            I’ve perused plenty in the last six months.

            I will not do your work for you by locating and linking to specific examples.

            That’s hilarious.

            • Obviously not very much. There are dozens of examples of exactly what a_paul_in_mtl describes.

  • Joe_JP

    The tradition of losing presidential candidates going away and never being heard from again is entirely imaginary. Jimmy Carter didn’t. Al Gore didn’t.

    There was a snide sounding reference (“his slide show”) to global warming, but even that isn’t quite right. Gore (quoting Wikipedia, but I remember him doing it, if not fully the timing) “beginning in late 2002” criticized Bush and Congress regarding Iraq. Gore also gave at least one major speech that I recall generally criticizing Bush’s record on civil liberties. He didn’t wait to 2008 etc. He also wrote a book in 2002 on family issues.

    I personally appreciated Gore speaking out on these issues, putting the family values stuff to the side.

  • sleepyirv

    1) Hillary Clinton is incredibly unpopular with the public, likely for a lot of bad reasons.

    2) Unlike other unpopular Democrats (e.g. Nancy Pelosi), Clinton is not otherwise doing anything of import for the Party.

    3) Democrats should not want unpopular figures to represent their Party in the minds of the public.

    4) This is a good time to give Democratic politicians the public don’t know or have above water popularity figures time on the stage. Like Gillibrand, Harris, and Warren.

    5) Clinton can do what she wants with her life and she is quite correct people will give her shit no matter what she does: I’ve seen a lot of the same critics who gave her shit for not saying anything the first couple months after the election go to giving her shit for talking now. I do not see how relitigating 2016 helps her Party or ideological causes.

    6) Somehow, I don’t think the Russian issue will go away even if Hillary never utters a word in public again.

    • efgoldman

      Democrats should not want unpopular figures to represent their Party in the minds of the public.

      See my comment a couple of subthreads above. This, in effect, limits the choice of Democratic candidates to those that te RWNJ noise machine and the NYT have ignored or chosen purposely to leave alone. They’re going to start in on Gillibrand, Harris, etc pretty soon, I’m sure.

      • John F

        Yeah, there may actually be value to having folks who are not running any time soon go put and soak up some of the RWNJ flack for awhile longer (Hillary, Reid, maybe Biden) to provide cover for those who are/will be running

      • sleepyirv

        If the Republicans can fit in 30 years of hate into 4 years, bully for them. In reality, Democrats need leadership now.

        • Shantanu Saha

          And white dudebros are just the leaders that can lead the way, with leadership!

    • so-in-so

      HRC WAS very popular, until it became clear she was a candidate for President. As SoS she pretty high positive numbers, well above “water level”.

      • sleepyirv

        All people who aren’t in elected office or running for elected office have better numbers than those running for office. It takes a bit of time for the stink of being a politician to wash off.

        • Shantanu Saha

          Please, tell us how we get these non-politician politicians to run for office without, you know, knowing something about politics. The other way leads to Trump.

  • manual

    This blog loves some Hillary. Happy to have voted for. And now that she lost the election. I am happy to move on to a democratic party without the clintons. That this makes me a crazy person on this blog commentariat says something about this blog.

    • I don’t want Hillary Clinton to run in 2020. I don’t think she is going to, either, but if she does I will criticize her for it and vote for someone else (in the primary!).

      I don’t think Chelsea Clinton has shown any interest in or aptitude for politics. If she wants to run for a local office somewhere that’s her prerogative. If she decided to run for a national office I’d think it was stupid and say so.

      As far as I know this doesn’t make me a crazy person here at LGM. I’d say that most people here probably agree with me.

      • Murc

        I don’t want Hillary Clinton to run in 2020.

        You know, the rational part of me agrees with you.

        My lizard brain says “a rematch where she fucks up Donald good and proper would be sweet.”

        If she decided to run for a national office I’d think it was stupid and say so.

        Chelsea Clinton seems like she’d be no worse a Congressperson than many others currently serving.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Not that I think it will happen, but IMHO Hillary Clinton would be a _fantastic_ VICE President. Alas, pundits from across the spectrum would shit enough bricks to build a Georgian block.

        • tsam

          My lizard brain says “a rematch where she fucks up Donald good and proper would be sweet.”

          NOW you’re talking.

          Can’t see it happening, but it would be the ultimate neener neener, motherfuckers.

        • I agree it’d be cathartic to see Hillary kick Donald’s ass, but I think in 2020 we’re going to have both electorally and substantively preferable candidates.

          Regarding Chelsea, I should have specified “without previous experience” or “right out of the gate” or whatever. I wouldn’t be incredibly vexed if she ran for the US Congress, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about it either. But she certainly wouldn’t be the worst candidate to run, you’re right about that. But I was also primarily thinking of Senate or (lol) the Presidency, of course.

          • Origami Isopod

            but I think in 2020 we’re going to have both electorally and substantively preferable candidates.

            I agree, and while I don’t think HRC should “go away,” I do think it’s time to usher in a newer generation of candidates whose political sensibilities have been shaped by recent national events.

            Chelsea is perfectly qualified to run for Congress IMO, but after the last quarter-century and especially the last few years, the misogynist screaming it would induce would be unbearable.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Chelsea Clinton seems like she’d be no worse a Congressperson than many others currently serving.

          Yeah, in addition to the utter lack of evidence that she’s interested in political office let’s say she becomes a House backbencher. Who gives a shit, really? Joe Kennedy III isn’t the reason America isn’t a meritocracy.

    • Scott Lemieux

      And now that she lost the election. I am happy to move on to a democratic party without the clintons.

      The good news is, they’ll never run for anything again! The only people who think otherwise are Clinton-hating cranks!

      That this makes me a crazy person on this blog commentariat says something about this blog.

      I would recommend reading the posts before commenting.

      • manual

        Was taling about the commentary from people here. And did read the post. Agreed with some of it. I still think she has spoken more pointedly about the loss than most electoral losers. But I dont actually care about her comments. They seem pretty small in grand scheme of things.

        But I do think the comments are pretty telling. I mean lots of people on this specific comment are talking about how great a 2020 rematch vs Trump would be…

        • I mean lots of people on this specific comment are talking about how great a 2020 rematch vs Trump would be

          Bullshit.

          • Are you referring to Murc’s remark that his “lizard brain says “a rematch where she fucks up Donald good and proper would be sweet.””, even though he understands, rationally, that such a rematch would make mo sense?

            Pretty thin gruel, I’d say.

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              Doubly funny since he wasn’t even a Clinton supporter in the primaries.

              • Murc

                Doubly funny since he wasn’t even a Clinton supporter in the primaries.

                Something I’m never going to forgive King Goat and NMAC and StillWithHer for is forcing me to spend month after month defending Hillary Clinton.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  NMAC and StillWithHer were the same person.

    • I am happy to move on to a democratic party without the clintons.

      Do you propose expelling them from the party? If not, what on Earth do you even mean? No Clinton is currently in a leadership role within the Democratic Party.

      • manual

        I do not. I am more saying it will be nice to not have them as the leadership of the party. I did not like Bill Clinton at all. I like Hillary much more than him. But Im merely saying there grasp on the party is over. And I think for the better.

        I am not someone who thinks Hillary is consolidating power for another run or is hurting anything right now. She honestly doesnt bother me. Im just saying time to move on. The Democrats have a lot of work to do. She seems to get that.

        And just as people are not begging for John Kerry’s advice for and outlook on the party, I look forward to Clinton assuming a similar role.

        • I am more saying it will be nice to not have them as the leadership of the party.

          Well, they’re not and no one here is seriously calling for their return to a leadership role.

          And just as people are not begging for John Kerry’s advice for and outlook on the party, I look forward to Clinton assuming a similar role.

          Clinton has not exactly played a very prominent role since the election, hence the jokes about her hiding in the woods. Now she has made some public comments and some people are saying that this is unacceptable for some reason. That is what a lot of people here are reacting to. I think you were mistaken in reading anything more into than that.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Im merely saying there grasp on the party is over.

          When did they wield this iron grip on the party? Was it in the 21st century? Because in 2004 they seemed to stay out of the fray and in 2008 they lost. And it’s not like their proteges and cronies did much of anything either, except for Terry McAuliffe. This seems to be putting an awful lot of stock in the influence of John Podesta’s think tank.

  • stonetools

    Whatever anyone says, Clinton isn’t going away. She has established a PAC and is going to be a major league fundraiser for the party.She won’t be running for anything but she will play a role behind the scenes.Kirsten Gillebrand is a protégé, who is a likely candidate for President, and there are other potential candidates who are closely allied with Clinton. Indeed, all of the potential 2020 candidates I can think of are closer to the Clintons than to the Berner crowd. So she will she playing a role in the Party going forward.
    What’s disheartening about Esper’s diatribe is that he seems to give not a damn about whether Clinton was telling the truth about the election. The election wasn’t a normal loss. A hostile foreign power really did intervene in the election to throw it to its preferred candidate. One of our major intelligence agencies really did stab Clinton in the back in unprecedented fashion. Most importantly, both the Russians and maybe the FBI could do it again.
    Esper’s response to this ? “Clinton should STFU because she lost.” With all due respect, that response is both incredibly dumb and incredibly boorish. She is raising important issues that we will have to face down the line. I, for one, am glad she is speaking out.

    • Origami Isopod

      Esper’s response to this ? “Clinton should STFU because she lost.” With all due respect, that response is both incredibly dumb and incredibly boorish.

      Esper’s sexism aside, there’s a resemblance there in his attitude to Trump’s disdain for "losers."

      • Joseph Slater

        Redistribute 100,000 or more of her 2.8 million popular vote victory and most of us here would be talking about how her excellent debate performances helped save the country from disaster.

  • blackbox

    Anyone who brings up Chelsea Clinton into an unrelated conversation is immediately suspect to me for CDS and/or just plain sexism. And, spoiler, basically any conversation you’re going to have is unrelated to her.

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